Rainy weather, memory foam cushions in my new La-Z-Boy and a general lack of get up & go have all conspired to keep my cameras idle for the most part but I have snapped a few frames.
These 3 wandered out of the tree line behind the house just as the light was fading yesterday evening. The one on the left is a doe and the other two are yearling bucks.
These guys changed from their winter gray coat to summer red awfully fast. It’s said that the redder the coat the hotter the summer ahead. Looks like we’re in for a scorcher!
The rain has knocked almost all the blossoms off the Granny’s Bonnets but there are plenty of buds ready to bloom at any moment.
Buddy, Lunatic Lab #1, “helping out” with the photography.
Doesn’t that look on Molly’s face just scream “I’m not doing anything….honest!” ?
Gotta have a burd in the mix. Now, to catch up on the backlog of blogs I’ve missed while
unconscious sawing logs testing my new recliner.
The weather was nice today so Daddy got his cameras and wandered out the door. Molly and I went with him, of course. Mama says it’s our job to keep an eye on him because he does stupid things when he’s not supervised.
I don’t know why Mama gets all bent out of shape when Daddy stands on the picnic table. You can see all sorts of stuff from up here!
Those cows have got to be at least a mile away!
All I see is that herd of cats on the neighbor’s porch. As soon as I figure out how to get off my lead they’re in for a surprise!!
Molly has cats on the brain. She just loves chasing them. I bet she even dreams about chasing cats.
This is the first time I noticed the face on our tree. That is spooky!
Maybe Daddy should give the pruning saw a rest.
I don’t think the tree likes getting his branches chopped off! I can understand that. Mama and Daddy took me to the vet last winter and you wouldn’t believe what she chopped off!
Part of my job is guarding Daddy’s bird watching chair when he’s not using it. I tried sitting in it once but it flipped over backwards and that was the last time I fooled with that thing! I also learned that using Daddy’s water bottle for a chew toy makes him say all kinds of bad words! He’ll give you a drink if you ask but whatever you do, DO NOT EAT THE BOTTLE WHEN HE’S NOT LOOKING!
This is another part of keeping an eye on Daddy. I don’t think it’s physically possible to do what Mama says she’ll do to Daddy if he spends her Bingo money on camera gear, ammo or another gun but I do know that I don’t want to watch her try!
You’ve probably heard me refer to THE BOSS, SHE WHO SHALL BE OBEYED, my better half, the woman who has put up with me for the past 25 years. You may have even seen a photo or two of her winding up to whack me on the headbone with her trusty cast iron skillet. Sometimes I even deserve it but if she happens to read that last sentence I’ll deny any knowledge on the grounds that all that BANGY!, BANGY! on my delicate head has caused severe brain damage.
Today’s post is my attempt to prod her into processing her own shots and getting into blogging.
Last Christmas I gave her a point and shoot to carry around in her purse and she actually takes it out and uses it from time to time.
She’s also been known to take one of my DSLRs away from me on occasion and has captured some fine shots with it. I’m afraid that one of these days she’ll refuse to give it back, just as she did when she got over the fear of driving Godzilla, my beloved Ford Expedition. Now I’m lucky if she let’s me drive it a couple of times a month!
I have to be careful because that cast iron frying pan isn’t the only hardware she’s been known to have access to. I’m convinced that any day now the authorities are going to kick down the door and tear the house apart looking for that 16 inch shell she found when we toured the USS Wisconsin last summer. That’s no pea shooter shell…..THE BOSS is 5 feet tall and that’s just the projectile she’s posing with.
But I digress.
These are a few of the shots I found on the memory card in her point and shoot and I thought you might enjoy them. Oh yes, the watermark. Frankie was born and raised about 15 miles from here in a little mountain town in the New River Valley, or NRV to locals, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia, hence the NRVGirl tag.
From the minute Molly laid eyes on Frankie she decided she belonged to Mama. She’s also my baby girl. Buddy, who adopted me from day one, has been replaced as my chair warmer.
At nearly 100 lbs. she’s a little large for a lap dog but you can’t convince her of that.
She sill allows Buddy to lay on the floor beside my chair and get his ears scratched.
When she’s not keeping my chair or my lap warm she likes to guard my side of the bed.
THE BOSS has also been known to take some outdoor shots. She especially likes sunsets.
THE BOSS says I’ve spent enough time fooling around online so it’s back to kitchen duty for me. Anyone know a good remedy for dishpan hands?
You are going to share that cookie, aren’t you?
Taking advantage of what may be one of the last warm days this year the dogs and I spent some time outdoors watching the local wildlife at my wife’s feeders.
I was about to put the cameras away after doing some much needed cleaning, especially the sensor on the camera mounted with my long lens, when Frankie called me to the bedroom where Molly was laying on the foot of the bed intently studying something outside the window. The sun was setting fast but there was just enough light to get a few frames of these whitetails grazing in the back yard.
Individual images from the slide show can be found below the slide show.
Clicking the thumbnails will bring up the full size original.
Just a couple frames I shot while out with the dogs this morning.
I’m still adjusting to the change in medications so I stayed on the porch while Buddy and Molly were “on patrol”.
People often ask what equipment I use. Both of these shots are hand held at about 25 yards using a Sigma 150-500MM OS (optically stabilized) telephoto lens mounted on a Canon EOS Rebel T3 DSLR. I also use a Canon EOS Rebel XS, which was my first DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex).
In addition to the Sigma I have 2 Canon 18-55MM IS (image stabilized) lenses (this lens came with each camera), a Canon EF-S 55-250MM IS Telephoto Zoom Lens and a Canon EF-S 60MM f/2.8 Macro USM for close ups. Both cameras will accept all of these lenses, a very good thing now that my wife, Frankie (aka THE BOSS), has been bitten by the shutter bug as well.
NOTE TO THE READER:
I’m publishing this same post on my Virginia Through My Lens Blogger page. When I left Windows Live Spaces a few months back I couldn’t decide whether I preferred Blogger or Word Press so I tried both. After nearly a year I still can’t decide so I’ve decided to continue posting on both pages with this one focusing on photography and my Blogger page leaning more towards writing.
I hope you have a chance to visit each page and, as always, I welcome comments, tips, suggestions and criticism. That’s how I learn. I still can’t believe how much I’ve learned since I first started blogging and shooting photos in the spring of 2009. Y’all have taught me so much and I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate it. Thank you for your input, encouragement and most of all for your friendship.
I’m grounded, again, but that doesn’t keep me from pointing my lens out the window. THE BOSS really keeps them clean because she knows that as long as I’m busy with the cameras I won’t be fooling around with anything else.
Buddy is always ready to pose for a photo. Molly, on he other hand, was investigating something under the picnic table and was out of camera range.
It’s going to be interesting to see how long this volunteer sunflower holds out. We think one of the burds planted it in an old flower box because we sure didn’t. Overnight lows approaching freezing are in the forecast for next weekend so it’s days may be numbered.
The maple in the yard is just beginning to change colors in earnest. It should be solid yellow by the end of the month and bare week or so after. As always, I intend to let the leaves blow across the street into the jerk’s yard. I’d rather watch him rake hem up that do it myself. Besides, I don’t know how to operate a rake……..and I can’t be taught, either!
The wind was really whipping the branches today so I had to use a fast shutter speed on these two frames.
The next door neighbor’s porch is also within camera range. After Halloween I’ll ask Cody, who lives there, if he wants to get in on the “Blow Your Pumpkin to Smithereens” festivities. Blowing up pumpkins with a shotgun at the county range is a lot of fun. My nephew turned me on to this sport when we were visiting a few years ago and it’s become an annual tradition in our family, especially since you can buy leftover pumpkins at Lowe’s and Walmart for $1 a piece the day after the holiday.
Each year I usually set aside $20 just for pumpkins and another $20 or 30 to replace the shotgun shells. I’ve heard that modern shotgun shells remain stable far longer than they used to but I was taught to replace stored ammo with fresh at least once a year and still do. One of these days we’re going to find the dirt berm on the 25 yard line at the range covered in pumpkin vines! Then we won’t have to buy pumpkins to blow up or haul ‘em up to the range. That’s redneck recycling at it’s best!
THE BOSS (New River Valley Girl) got this shot of Miss Molly “guarding” Daddy’s chair.
While I got this one this morning.
With Molly guarding one end of the house from marauding cats and Buddy guarding the other, the burds can visit the feeders in Burd Town with no fear of getting eaten themselves!
The weather was absolutely magnificent today; crystal clear skies, 75°F, humidity hovering around 40% and only the barest hint of a breeze! This afternoon THE BOSS and I grabbed our cameras and the livestock, piled into Godzilla and headed out to see what we could see. We ended up in and around Rural Retreat, a little town about 10 miles due west.
Of course gas is down to $3.00 a gallon today…..I filled up yesterday at $3.15! Big deal? Well, Godzilla gets around 12 miles per gallon in town, 16 MPG highway and has a 30 gallon tank. Do the math.
The fate of the old railroad depot in Rural Retreat was in doubt because of a dispute over who actually owned it. Thankfully, a non-profit foundation has been established, secured the deed and a drive for funds to restore it is under way. One more piece of history saved from the wrecking ball!
THE BOSS was putting “her new camera” through the paces, the DSLR she commandeered from me, capturing this handsome young man exercising his small horses. The shot above and the next three are Frankie’s hence the NRVGirl (New River Valley Girl) watermark.
You’ll note that the livestock tend to go in opposite directions until they A) decide where the best smelling stuff is or B) dislocate my arms.
Molly on the scent of the small horses’ newly discovered delicacy, grasshoppers. Someone has apparently told Buddy and Molly that grasshoppers taste just like chicken because they sure love hunting and eating them!
In case you’re wondering, the T-shirt bears the US Air Force Pararescue logo. I served as a proud Pararescueman, or PJ, for most of my 9 years of active duty in the USAF Reserves following my tour in ICBMs.
“Come on, Molly; one good tug and we’ll see if the old guy can still swim like he used to!”
I’m really stoked about the frames above and below. Both were featured on the local CBS affiliate this evening! I’m grinning about it and Frankie’s doing the YEE-HAW! dance!
The moon, BOSS, the moon!
We still have a couple of weeks before the fall foliage reaches it’s peak but the varied altitudes here in the Blue Ridge Mountains actually causes prime leaf peeping season to last longer than it does back home on the coast.
At higher elevations the color change occurs earlier than in the lower, protected valleys.
The change is governed not just by temperature but by wind, as well. All around we see trees with red and yellow leaves near the top or on one side and bright green leaves closer to the ground and on the leeward side of the tree.
Hope, y’all don’t get tired of Autumn leaves before I get tired of shooting them. It won’t be long before I’m posting burds and snow!
After a cold, blustery, drizzly start yesterday the sun finally came out in the afternoon and Frankie (aka THE BOSS, Baby Duck, Duck Butt, my darling bride, my better half, Shotgun, she who SHALL be obeyed, Meanness, that wild little woman with the cast iron skillet, bringer of headaches) agreed that a ride in the country with the cameras was a great idea….much better, in fact, than emptying the kitchen cabinets and re-organizing the canned goods as she had planned! Yes, it was my idea and yes, I am a bad influence MWAHAHA! but I digress. We had fun, the livestock enjoyed the ride and the cabinets can always wait for a rainy day.
Old Glory was really whipping in the stiff breeze at Sheetz while I was doing my part to keep OPEC happy, putting $65.00 worth of regular into Godzilla’s
bottomless pit gas tank.
The leaves are changing colors as Autumn sets in. If you’re a follower of this blog be prepared for a lot of leaf peeping shots in the next couple of weeks. Frankie has laid claim to one of my DSLRs and is learning how to use it. Her little point and shoot is great for snapshots and small enough to carry in her purse but “her new” Canon EOS Rebel XS can do so much more, including accepting all of my lenses! Now all I have to do is get her hooked on blogging………..
Naturally, we took the livestock with us. Molly is more laid back when it comes to going for a ride. She usually curls up on the seat or in the cargo area of the truck and catches a few Z’s……when she’s not chewing the corner off the door trim or eating the protective plug for the auxiliary power port in the back seat.
Adult Labs are used by waterfowl hunters because they have a “soft mouth” and don’t damage the birds. Lab puppies can and will chew up everything in sight! At about a year old Molly is still a pup and we’ve got a good 6 months to a year before she stops chewing. That’s why there are rolled up newspapers stashed all over the house; a swat on the nose with one doesn’t really hurt but the noise gets the message across.
Buddy, on the other hand, loves riding with his head out the window, ears, lips and tongue flapping in the breeze. He’s about 3 years old and pretty much matured. After eating 2 power cords within a week of our adopting him, both of which were plugged into the wall outlets at the time, he got over his chewing spell. He still does his best to become invisible when Molly screws up and one of us reaches for a nose whacker.
We spotted a small herd of these funny looking deer (gazelles?) just down the road from Frankie’s alma mater, Fort Chiswell High School.
Actually, there’s an exotic animal zoo on the other side of the hill from where I shot these. Oh, and the camera is level in both of these shots. I told you there was a hill!
As I was trying to frame a shot of wildflowers along Frankie’s side of the road I realized there was something moving behind the flowers. (She was driving and I was on the passenger side using a 500MM zoom lens aiming through her open window.)
I handed her the camera and she found this spike whitetail deer (a yearling buck with very short antlers) hiding in the weeds. At first we thought he had been injured but when we turned around and came back to this spot a few minutes later he was gone.
The gravel road leading through the woods made for a smooth ride while the surrounding ridges blocked a good deal of that stiff breeze I mentioned. It was still chilly enough that we needed the heater, especially with my window down so that I could shoot pictures and the back windows partially down so the dawgs could give their sniffers a workout.
One of the last things one would expect to find way back in the woods along a gravel road is a stately old mansion. This is the Major Graham Mansion which is reputed to be haunted and is currently open to pre-Halloween tours.
Just down the road from the mansion is this abandoned house which causes a chill to run down our spines each time we pass it. No, we didn’t get out for a closer look. To coin a phrase, I ain’t afraid of no ghosts. However, they’re probably bullet proof so I’m not pushing my luck!
A Hedge Apple (Maclura pomifera) on the side of the road. I had no idea what they were but Frankie did. A small deciduous shrub also known as Osage-orange, Horse-apple, Bois D’Arc, or Bodark and native to parts of Texas the plant is commonly used as a windbreak in prairie states. The fruit is also used as an insect repellant and, now that we know, will be getting a test run in our house next year because they are said to be very effective at repelling fleas.
These were also tons of baseball size walnuts scattered everywhere long the side of the road. The abundance of walnuts, acorns and other natural signs we’ve observed recently have us convinced that we’re in for another hard winter. I guess it’s a good thing we stocked up on ice melter when it went on sale this past spring.
Cattails (Typha) in a creek bed just down the road from where that spike had been hiding. We used to whack each other with these things when I was a kid and catch hell when we came home and had puffs of white fuzz (the seeds inside the brown cover) all over our clothes and hair.
Yep, that’s why these are called the Blue Ridge Mountains but it will only be a week or two until they’re a riot of color. I can hardly wait! Of course, not too long after the color fades and those ridges will be white and I hardly wait for that, either! The kid next door knows my back and legs are all screwed up and he has already volunteered to shovel our walk and parking area when he does his!
Preparations are under way for our trip home to celebrate Mom’s 88th birthday.This means the sorting, packing, re-sorting, re-packing, re-re-sorting…..well you get the idea….. is underway and I’ll be out in the backyard cursing at the trees any minute now.
This is good practice for the trip home because it’s a proven fact that the idiot per mile population on Virginia’s highways increases exponentially as you travel east until you get to the gridlock that is Hampton Roads, road rage capitol of the known world. Add to that the stress from having to keep a sharp eye out for speed traps and it’s little wonder my blood pressure spikes every time I have to make the trip.
If there is one thing the USAF taught me that stuck it’s how to pack. I can usually get my bags packed (duffle, camera bags and computer bag) in 10 minutes but Frankie, Queen of the Pack Rats, always has a terrible time cramming everything into and on top of the truck. If we had a tractor trailer she would find a way to overload it! I’m always amazed that a fidget (Female mIDGET) always needs a suitcase that’s at least twice the size of everything I carry, combined.
Once Frankie finishes overloading Godzilla I have to wait until she falls asleep before going out and unloading enough
junk crap trash “good stuff” to allow room for me to drive the truck and use the rear view mirrors. When she wakes up she always tries to stuff the excess back into the truck until I get that look in my eye and start searching for matches. Then she squirrels it away until her next attempt at setting a Guinness Book world record for most junk hauled across Virginia in a passenger vehicle.
Internet access at Mom’s involves a trip to McDonald’s to use their free Wi-Fi access because Mom views computers as one of the greatest evils ever visited upon mankind. My Internet Service Provider does not offer dial up access and the cost of a wireless plan would put a dent in my camera gear budget and that ain’t happening! I do have a 3G cell phone but I’m an old geezer and only use my cell for phone. I dropped the data plan after realizing that I only used it for about an hour total during the 3 month mandatory prescription period when I first got the phone. I figured the extra $49 a month would be better spent on that huge lens I wanted……and I did!
Anyhoo, I’ll be off line for most of the next week. When I get back I should have loads of pictures to share. On the other hand I may make the papers if I succumb to temptation and open fire on the idiots in a Virginia Beach traffic jam. At least tourist season is over so I’ll only have to deal with local idiots wandering around lost and not the summer time imported variety (mostly from Ohio, New Jersey and Quebec), as well.
See you when we get back….. unless I’m incarcerated or involuntarily committed!
P.S. If you happen to find yourself on a Virginia highway anywhere between Mount Rogers and the Atlantic Ocean during the next week you may want to re-consider your trip. That large green object with a dog head hanging out each side rapidly growing larger in your rear view mirrors will be Godzilla moving at a high rate of speed in and easterly direction tomorrow and westerly a week from tomorrow. I’m not braking for anything! You have been warned.
This is the surprise I was talking about in my last post.
We just got home from the Smyth County Animal Shelter where we pulled Buddy’s new companion, Molly. She’s estimated to be a year old, has been spayed and, as far as we can tell, is in excellent health. We don’t know if she’s up to date on all her shots but if her previous owner went to the trouble and expense of having her spayed it stands to reason she’s probably had all vaccinations. Just the same she’ll be paying a visit to our vet.
We decided to adopt for several reasons:
Buddy has severe separation anxiety, even to the point that he whines and howls if I leave him in the house while I mow the yard. We feel that a companion animal may help with this.
Molly was picked up as a stray on 16 August and her days were numbered.
We absolutely love Labs and wish we had room for dozens but we only have room for two.
She’s so beautiful we just had to bring her home!
First order of business when we got home was Frontline Flea Treatment (just in case), fitting Molly with a “halty harness” until Santa Claus arrives in his big brown truck with the new collars and double lead then a big ol’ bowl of kibble which she wolfed down.
Buddy and Molly are still getting acquainted but, after the 30 mile trip home in the back seat with Laura, the sniffing and growling has stopped and the “kissing” has commenced! At least we don’t have to worry about puppies because they’ve both been fixed.