Did you ever have one of those days that just seems to blur on into the next day and the next and ……well you know. I’ve been dealing with a case of writer’s block recently and it just keeps going on and on.
The trip home was okay but sort of a bust. I cooked for Mom a couple of times and she enjoyed that. We gave her a couple of nice American History books and she enjoyed those as well, after giving us a minor chewing out for spending the money on her.
Then the old best laid plans deal kicked in.
I have given this sea gull instructions to keep a close eye on you.
It was overcast or raining for just about the entire week we were there. I didn’t mind the bad weather for the first day or so because my back gave me fits after the 6 hour drive and I was stoned out of my gourd on pain killers..
One afternoon the sun came out just long enough for me to load the dogs in the truck and drive to the beach. We made it about 100 yards from the parking lot when a near miss by a huge bolt of lightning sent us scrambling for cover. That was the extent of our time on the beach.
The air show we were looking forward to was rained out. This is about the best shot I managed to get when the Blue Angels were practicing the day before the start of the weekend long performance. That patch of blue sky, top right, was about the only clear spot we saw the entire week we were in Virginia Beach and it only lasted for a few minutes.
Just in case you think you can get away from that first sea gull’s steely gaze I know where I can find more……lots more……and they’ll work for stale french fries.
We decided to try a different route for the return trip. While it was nice to see different scenery this route was 40 miles longer. That said, we’ll most likely use this route from now on because it only involved about 20 miles of Interstate and I hate the Interstates with a passion.
The new route should also provide some great photo opportunities……as long as we don’t find ourselves stuck in a 30 minute traffic backup due to road construction.
Did I mention that we spent that 30 minutes INSIDE a rain cloud? The cloud deck was around 1,500 feet and, according to the roadside sign where we sat waiting just before Lovers Leap, our elevation was 3,000 feet. (The sign was the only thing I could see besides the brake lights on the tractor trailer in front of us.)
As a former manager in a major heavy truck repair facility I am all too aware of just how many trucks on our nation’s highways are literally falling apart. I spent the entire 30 minutes praying that truck didn’t suffer a brake failure because we were sitting on a pretty serious grade and I have no desire to have “Squished by a damned semi!” engraved on my headstone.
Gulls weren’t the only burds I found at home. This egret was hanging out in the top of a tree when I took a ride to First Landing State Park one afternoon.
I shot these from the driver’s seat of the truck using a 500MM zoom lens because I didn’t feel like dealing with wiping the drizzle that was falling off the lens every other frame.
It wasn’t until I got back home and started going through the photos that I spotted this guy sitting on a branch at the top of that dead tree.
I think it’s an osprey but I could be wrong. He must have landed there while I was concentrating on the egret because he wasn’t there when I shot the first frame.
Oh, yes…….the sun finally did come out on our way home…….when we were about 15 miles from home. At least we got to see some of the fall colors which are just beginning to burst across the mountainsides.
Frankie has this weekend off and we’ve already planned a day trip to capture as much of it as we can. I think she’s been nipped by the shutter bug because she’s already claimed one of my DSLRs as hers and decided that I’m going to teach her how to shoot it. This should be a lot of fun!
Oh, wait……..that means I’ll have even more photos to sort and edit…..along with the 1,500 or so I managed to shoot back home in spite of the weather. I may never finish!
At least the writer’s block seems to be easing up a little.
Sorry I haven’t been around to make y’all shake your heads and ask yourselves why I haven’t been institutionalized yet…….and NO, that’s not why I haven’t been online much recently.
THE BOSS has had some medical issues that have been occupying what little is left of my mind. I haven’t even picked up a camera in several days.
She is being treated by several very competent medical professionals is okay, at home and at the moment well sedated. Her preliminary prognoses are very favorable and she’ll get a better handle on her condition tomorrow when she sees one of the specialists she’s been referred to and gets the lab results.
Now, while she’s still unconscious I’ll go check the straps on her straight jacket and the padlocks on the chains. You’d think she’d behave herself, especially after I cut the handle off her broom, effectively grounding her but NO-O-O-O!
Did I mention that the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee are just moving in to combine with a low pressure system that arrived in our area last night? The weather guess says heavy rain, 4 to 8 inches, through Thursday followed by scattered thunderstorms through the weekend. I’ll go absolutely stir crazy! If you already think I’m as screwy as a soup sammich you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!
NOTE TO THE READER:
As some of you may know I have 2 blog pages (the other is my Virginia Through My Lens page on Blogger) and usually try to post something different on each one, each day. Sometimes I only have enough for one post so I alternate between pages. I feel that today’s blog is of such world shaking significance that I’m posting it on both sites in order to give all of my readers a chance to submit their input.
Please bear with me on this one. Anyone who has read a few of my blogs will tell you I’m not quite right. I mean no disrespect to our savior and creator. I’m only trying to shed a little light on what goes on inside my head.
I accept absolutely no responsibility for any bumps and/or bruises suffered from those prone to FOMCLMAOing or any other physical or emotional trauma resulting from reading this post. No animals were harmed in any way during the production of this nonsense.
Their are times when what’s left of my mind is a complete blank and I turn to my chief sources of inspiration, Chicken Invaders 3 or Three Stooges.com. Today I find that unnecessary. Brace yourself…….the inspiration for this post came to me in the shower.
As I was nearly finished mowing the front portion of our lawn God decided I needed a shower so he parked a HUGE black cloud over my yard and it commenced to rinsing me off. Then a tremendous bolt of lightning and incredible peal of thunder led me to realize that what He actually wanted was for me to stop mowing.
So I did……..before he sent another lightning bolt my way……I am capable of taking a hint………at least sometimes…….especially when lightning is involved.
Leaving my dedicated lawn mowing,
land mine fertilizer surprise from Buddy finding, grass coated, paint splattered shoes out on the porch for a good rinse I decided it would be a good idea to get in the shower and wash off the sweat and dirt God missed.
This is when the inspiration hit me.
As I reached for the shampoo I realized that their were 8 bottles of shampoo on the rack! This is especially strange as there are only three people living in our house…….well, Buddy isn’t technically a people but he doesn’t know that and I see no need to tell him otherwise.
One of these bottles of shampoo is mine; the same brand I’ve been using my entire life.
Another bottle is Buddy’s the same brand he’s used since we brought him home. His shampoo occupies the lowest of the four shelves on the rack. This is very important because it is out of my reach. While accidentally using it may leave me with a shiny coat I have no desire to have the following conversation:
ER doctor: So tell me, Mr. Allen, how exactly did you get flea shampoo in your eye?
Me: RATZENFRATZENFILTHANDFLARN!!! JUST STOP LAUGHING AND MAKE THE &#@*&% BURNING STOP!!!
The other six bottles, each half empty, a different brand and different scent must, therefor, belong to my bride, aka THE BOSS, aka SHE WHO SHALL BE OBEYED, aka BRINGER OF THE HEADBONE LUMPS, HEADACHES, TWEETY BIRDS AND FIREWORKS!
Does anyone know why a woman would need 6 different shampoos? Has anyone else noticed this phenomenon? If so I would appreciate your input on this perplexing subject.
I haven’t the slightest intention of asking Frankie.
Apparently I must have tracked grass clippings across the carpet or something.
At the moment she’s down on her hands and knees…….screaming at me to “COME OUT FROM UNDER THAT BED AND FIGHT LIKE A MAN, YOU BIG SISSY!”
Fat chance of that happening!
I’ll just stay down here until she cools down a bit. Buddy says he’ll bring me a cookie or a little kibble when she’s not looki………
Oh, look at all the little birdies!
Today’s post from my Blogger page. Some days I just don’t have enough to post different blogs but I thought my readers here might enjoy seeing what a slow “news” day is like around here.
The weather guessers are promising heavy rain this afternoon and tonight. I believe them. For those who don’t know that is the flag of the Commonwealth of Virginia flying below the National Colors.
One would think that with cell and radio towers way up there reception would be great.
One would be wrong. There are higher ridges and deeper valleys all around, making cell reception spotty unless you’re near one of the Interstates where the terrain is fairly level …… or on top of one of those higher peaks.
At a traffic light Buddy started whining and barking. Two lanes over I saw what he was on about.
“Buddy, tell them to let you drive, too. You’ve got a license. So what if it’s a dog license? You’re a dog!”
We like to fly the Stars and Stripes everywhere! You also see the Stars and Bars flying a lot in our neck of the woods, a reminder that West Virginia is only a couple of ridge lines away. They broke away from the Confederacy and joined up with the damned Yankees when Virginia seceded from the Union at the start of the War of Northern Aggression.
Frankie remembers her grand daddy telling her about seeing Union occupation troops patrolling the streets of Wytheville when he was a boy. That didn’t stop him from answering the nation’s call during the Spanish American War. As our nation celebrates Memorial Day on Monday Grandpa Hodge will be one of the many veterans we’ll be saluting in our family.
As I explained in todays post on my Virginia Through My Lens page unforeseen circumstances (Frankie broke the weather!) prevented my getting shots of the bald eagles I went looking for. However, we did make the trip to the river and I got a few frames of other critters.
I had to shoot this through a chain link fence. The guy behind us was gunning his engine preventing my climbing out of the truck and up on the roof to shoot over the fence…..and Frankie wouldn’t let me shoot his headlight out……something about getting arrested blah, blah, blah……
When we got to the river Buddy met another dog (a female boxer) but I couldn’t get any pictures because I was too busy trying not to get dragged to my death as Buddy went out of his mind. Anyway, we all know what dogs do when they first meet and we don’t need pictures of THAT!
After the boxer got into her truck Buddy made a bee line for the river. I had to keep him on lead because the river was up after the heavy rains last night and I wasn’t sure if he could handle the swift currents. There was quite a bit of flash flooding in this area overnight and a couple of the nearby communities were still dealing with high water. Laura’s boyfriend lives nearby and had to stay with an aunt and uncle because he couldn’t get to his mother’s house last night!
Ah, young love! This couple was enjoying the warm weather on a nearby picnic table. Figuring the last thing they needed was a couple of old geezers and a lunatic dog intruding we respected their privacy while still enjoying the music.
On the way out of the parking lot we discovered that the young man wasn’t the only musician. Both were very talented!
Naturally, after I had packed up most of my gear, climbed in the truck and got settled for the ride home the sun peaked out and the sky began to clear. I wasn’t too disappointed because the eagles I was looking for were nowhere in sight and I have an excuse to come back again when the weather’s nicer.
After we got home and had a bite to eat Frankie asked me to bring my camera outside to shoot a few frames of the mystery plant Mom gave her which is just about to bloom for the first time. Figuring there was no need for my long lens I mounted my 55-250MM and walked out the door.
Wouldn’t you know it; as soon as I snapped the first frame I heard honking overhead and looked up just in time to catch a group of Canada Geese flying low overhead! I also noticed the cloud cover had vanished!
I don’t know if I could have tracked these guys while trying to balance that monster lens looking straight up but I sure would have liked to give it a try.
Instead I settled for a shot of Frankie’s Knockout Roses which are blooming like wildfire!
Oh, well, even though I didn’t get to shoot the eagles we still had a nice day out and there’s always tomorrow. And, from the way Buddy reacted when he saw that river we have no doubt he’ll absolutely love the beach when we go home…….3 weeks from tomorrow! YEE-HAW!
Looking out in the yard this afternoon I thought I was having a flashback to the days of my misspent youth!
Tie dyed T-shirts!
People skipping, giggling and running around in circles in the rain!
THE BOSS even got caught up in the festivities!
That dawg has TWO tennis balls in his mouth!
Must have been something in the air making ‘em act that way …….
……..that’s what did it back in the day!
Why do I suddenly have the munchies?
Santa Claus arrived yesterday in his BIG BROWN TRUCK.
He delivered the new super telephoto zoom lens THE BOSS let me order and I am STOKED!
The new lens (150-500MM) compared to my previous “long lens” (55-250MM). The case that came with the new lens is almost as big as my camera bag! For that matter, the lens hood that come with that big critter in actually taller than the lens on the right!
THE BOSS let me ride along when she went to town to run some errands this morning and, as always, I had my camera with me. While Buddy and I waited for her in the Wal-Mart parking lot a man walking by noticed me experimenting with different camera and lens settings and stopped to ask if I could see the moon with that thing. I told him it was too close and I think he believed me.
Now I need to get Buddy fitted for a pack harness so that he can tote that monster for me. According to the manual that came with it ……..yes, I read the manual…….. the optical stabilizer allows for free hand shooting but until I get all the bells and whistles figured out the tripod I keep forgetting to take with me will suddenly become a must have item.
We’ve had rain 14 out of the last 18 days and it’s really putting a crimp in my photography excursions. The weather guesser says the sun should return this weekend and I’m hoping to he’s right because I’m itching to get out and put this monster through it’s paces. Pictures to follow……..
Yep, cabin fever and too many hours staring at the laptop monitor during online classes yesterday got the best of me. Even if it was pelting down rain and Buddy and I were on foot we were out looking for something to shoot this morning. Here are a few of the over 700 frames I shot before deciding that wandering around in the rain with $1,000+ worth of electronics and lenses in my hand might not be the best idea.
Frankie’s Sea Lavender
Columbine, or so I’m told
Buttercups (I didn’t have to ask anyone what they were!)
These go in the ground soon. Mom sent them home with us and they somehow ended up under the front porch. If Buddy hadn’t partially destroyed the porch we might never have found them!
At the rate this critter was moving he’ll be a butterfly before he reaches the end of the flowerbed,
You can always tell when a Blue Jay is nearby. These guys are LOUD!
Our lonesome Mourning Dove. This species mates for life and he has apparently lost his mate. He always arrives alone, feeds a little and waits for the rest of the flock. When they arrive to feast on the seed spilled from the feeders by the other birds he’ll fly up to perch on the shed roof and keep watch for marauding cats.
I actually shot this one late yesterday afternoon when the sun broke through the clouds for a few minutes. We’ve had a few stray sunbeams today but they haven’t lasted long enough to produce any rainbows today.
Now to see how long I can stand sorting and editing the photos I downloaded from the memory card. I’ve posted a few of the better ones I’ve already done on my Blogger page, Virginia Through My Lens.
Yesterday I mentioned wanting to get a few shots of a pink dogwood. The white variety is easy because they grow wild but the only pink ones I’ve seen have been in yards or near public buildings. Even though the light was poor due to rainy weather I managed to get a few frame today.
This first one is in a yard along the road to town. I shot this from the truck window while stopped in the middle of the road. One of the benefits of living in a rural area is sparse traffic. Another is having friendly residents who will stop and let you get your shot. The lady traveling in the opposite direction saw my lens sticking out of the window, stopped until I was finished then continued on her way with a wave and a smile!
My plan was to return later, park across the street at the medical clinic and shoot a few close ups on foot. THE BOSS saved me the trip, albeit unintentionally. After picking her up from work she asked me to stop by the library and what should I find right next the building but a pink dogwood!
I’ll return when the sun is out but not even the poor light of a rainy day could diminish the beauty of these blossoms.
The dogwood is the official tree of Virginia and it doesn’t feel like Spring until they’re in bloom. In fact, clicking on the Virginia link above will take you to the official Commonwealth web site where the blossoms are prominently displayed in the header.
Virginia, also known as the Old Dominion, is not a state. One of the original 13 colonies and home to Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in the New World, Virginia is one of four Commonwealths in the United States (Massachusetts, Kentucky and Pennsylvania are the others).
Okay, enough of the history lesson. I have another blog to write before I find a blanket to crawl under until the chill I got shooting photos in the rain subsides. This sort of weather, light rain and 45° F (7°C) really gets into my bones.
If you care to see what else I shot on this rainy day you can find them on my Blogger page. Thanks for the visit!
Yes, I realize this uncommon display of common sense is out of character for me but I have opted to stay home and behave myself. Ain’t a fit day out for man nor beast and it looks like tomorrow is gonna be more of the same! At least the drought is over.
Guess I’ll go old school and finish off that book I’ve been reading before the County Library starts sending me nasty e-mails about overdue fees.
Late Afternoon: Rain. The rain could be heavy at times. High near 41. East wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.
Tonight: Rain. The rain could be heavy at times. Low around 41. East wind between 10 and 13 mph becoming calm. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New rainfall amounts between three quarters and one inch possible.
Thursday: Showers likely, mainly before noon. Cloudy, with a high near 52. South wind 7 to 15 mph becoming northwest. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.
Thursday Night: A chance of rain showers before 3am, then a chance of rain and snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 30. West wind between 14 and 17 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible. Friday: A chance of rain and snow showers before 10am, then a slight chance of rain showers between 10am and 4pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 42. Breezy, with a west wind between 17 and 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
Thursday Night: A chance of rain showers before 3am, then a chance of rain and snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 30. West wind between 14 and 17 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.
Friday: A chance of rain and snow showers before 10am, then a slight chance of rain showers between 10am and 4pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 42. Breezy, with a west wind between 17 and 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
Much needed rain is falling and the cloud deck is hanging close to the ground. The flat light was just right for a few monochrome shots.
The high winds we’ve had the past couple of weeks have really done a job on the older, disused buildings in the area. Many have sections of metal roof peeled back while others have collapsed.
I can’t help but wonder what became of the workers at the feed mill when it was shut down and abandoned. I’ll have to ask Fish hook if he knows because it shut it’s doors long before we moved here.
Rain or shine, life goes on in the natural world. Even though it was so wet that the “beards” on these two wild turkey gobblers were plastered to their chests they were on the prowl for food as well as hens. mating season is just about to get under way and they’ll be rounding up their harems soon.
Our trip to town this morning was made under gray skies but the temperatures were relatively mild. An occasional rain shower and buds on the trees brought a taste of things to come with Spring just a couple of months away.
The trees bearing these buds are just across the street from the little cabin I blogged about earlier.
We’ve yet to learn any more about it’s history but I did get a few more shots of it today in between the showers.
Though the crude curtains in the windows give the illusion that someone has made the effort to preserve this old building the gaping door and rubbish piled inside attest to it’s neglect.
I can’t help but wonder what boots crossed this threshold and what stories lie buried within these mud chinked log walls.
Frankie came up with a great idea today. On her next day off we’re going to pay a visit to the County Historical Society and see what we can discover about this cabin. It’s located behind some restored Civil War era buildings which we will research as well.
I have a feeling that this will lead to a few blogs dealing with the history of the town, the county and the region. Frankie and I are both history buffs and she’s a budding photographer so I may even be able to get her interested in a blog of her own. We shall see …….
The weather is chilly, damp and gray and this is the type of day that makes me want to stay indoors and nurse my arthritic bones. However, I have long suffered an acute case of cabin fever that makes me want to bolt out the door as soon as my morning coffee gets my heart started. Today was no exception.
Just because the light is poor that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to shoot.
Even if it’s just the tree hanging over the truck as I sat in the library parking lot waiting for THE BOSS.
I’ll sure be glad when I get the new lenses for my glasses. Until then, checking any books out is a waste of time. At least I can increase the font size on my laptop.
Even the wading birds are trying to get in out of the weather!
I spotted this guy in a tree on the way home. He even flew down and landed in the pond for me to get a few frames but I like these, too.