Tuesday, April 12, 2011


The alstroemeria flower symbolizes friendship and devotion.

The species of alstroemeria are known to come from one of two distinct areas of South America, one in central Chile, the other in eastern Brazil.
The flowers of alstroemeria are generally showy, with leaves that grow upside down, and with the leaf also twisting as it grows out from the stem. The most popular are hybrids commonly grown today from two species; one species from Chile (winter-growing), the other species from Brazil (summer-growing).
It has been known to resemble the a miniature lily, and has also been called the Peruvian Lily or Lily of the Incas. They are named after its discoverer, Baron Claus von Alstromer, a Swedish baron who collected the seeds on a trip to Spain in 1753.
The Alstroemeria or often reffered to Lily is a flower of the 30th wedding anniversary flower for symbolizing magnificence of pride, beauty and devotion.
These were taken with my 100mm f2.8 macro lens.You can click on the image to see them in larger size.

Friday, March 18, 2011


About one year ago, my mother came home from respite care with the hospice service I was using. While there for observation after a fall, she was medicated so heavily she was in a stupor and often did not recognize me when I went to visit. I always questioned how she could have been "observed" under such conditions.

This photograph of the lace curtains in my mother's bedroom was taken in early May, about 2 months later. The green and yellow beyond the curtain speak of rebirth and new beginnings.

But on the bedroom side of the curtain, life was beginning to wane. There was a veil between life and the approaching transition.

This photograph is a poignant reminder of my mom's last days.

Seems so appropriate to close with a poem that was one of her favorites and was read at her Life Celebration.

by John Updike

And another regrettable thing about death
is the ceasing of your own brand of magic,
which took a whole life to develop and market —
the quips, the witticisms, the slant
adjusted to a few, those loved ones nearest
the lip of the stage, their soft faces blanched
in the footlight glow, their laughter close to
their tears confused with their diamond
their warm pooled breath in and out with your heartbeat,
their response and your performance twinned.
The jokes over the phone. The memories packed
in the rapid-access file. The whole act.
Who will do it again? That's it: no one;
imitators and descendants aren't the same.
              — in the New Yorker, 5/07/1990

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Friday, February 18, 2011


Recently when I forwarded information about Nor'wester Readers gaining national coverage on AOL's PAW NATION, I got many emails from the recipients with comments like, "Oh, that's cute," or "It must be fun." All I can do is shake my head. I find it difficult to understand why people cannot grasp the profound effect that therapy dogs have in such a wide variety of environments.  So profound, that the US Senate has proclaimed every November 14th as National Reading Education Assistance Dogs Day.

A video from Intermountain Therapy Animals, originator of the R.E.A.D. program from which so many education therapy dog programs, like Nor'wester Readers, have taken inspiration, shows the typical impact that these wonderful dogs have.

One of our teachers shared an amazing story about a little boy who had no friends until his therapy dog walked into the classroom. One on one time with his four-legged friend gave the boy confidence, security, and motivation to work harder at his reading; as his confidence grew, the other children in the class started to accept him.

Another dog in our program worked with a guidance counselor to help a child with anger issues.  Before the dog arrived, the child refused to talk about anger; but with the dog's presence, the child would talk to the dog and began to verbalize her feelings. Not only was the dog a good listener, but the calming presence was instrumental in creating a safe and stress free environment.

These stories go on and on -- another is about a little boy who was very shy and fearful about reading aloud and who gained confidence after reading to his therapy dog -- so much so that he invited the school principal to come to his class to hear him read a story he'd written about his reading buddy.

Cute and fun??? -- NOT!!
Powerful, motivational, and a doorway to a lifelong love of reading and learning??? ABSOLUTELY!!

Thursday, February 03, 2011


Our area had an ice storm, and I took advantage of the opportunity to get out and do some  photography. There was no sunshine which does add more interest to the ice.  If you would like to view the images in a larger size, just float your mouse over the picture and click.

 The neighbor's red maple tree was gorgeous.

 Another shot of the red maple. I love the color in the background.

 Boxwood peeking out from under mounds of snow.

 Evergreen fans

Sunday, January 30, 2011


I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show.           ~Andrew Wyeth

Took the most amazing walk at Tyler State Park yesterday while it was snowing. Invigorating, but at the same time peaceful -- walking through a world of stillness. I can begin to imagine what Thoreau must have felt when he co-existed with nature in his small cabin by Walden Pond. This is a shot up the path I had just descended.

Schofield Ford Covered Bridge in Tyler State Park. The original bridge was burned by arsonists. The community raised funds, and rebuilt the bridge across the Neshaminy Creek, following the old bridge design as closely as possible.

 Neshaminy Creek scene just below the bridge.

 Loved the painterly look of this tree in the snowfall.

 One of the original homes from the Tyler Farm.

 A view from inside the covered bridge showing the trees on the hillside. Loved the contrast.

A shot of the Neshaminy Creek. There must have been condensation or water on my lens which caused the softness in the upper left hand corner.

This is one of my favorite shots. The falling snow makes it looks like a painting.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I am so envious of photographers who manage to capture birds with their mega zoom lenses and in such crisp detail and focus. Several days ago, after a light snow, I spent quite a bit of time in front of my dining room window with my new Canon 70-200mm f2.8L IS USM lens. Some of the photographers in the SmugMug Daily Community say God made this lens. Indeed, it is a wonderful lens which has helped me capture better quality bird images. There is still lots of room for improvement, especially since these photos were shot through glass, but I wanted to share a few with those of you who follow my blog. ** Side note: I shot about 350 photographs and only saved 65.

 White-throated sparrow
 Carolina wren
 Blue Jay
 Black-capped Chickadee
 House Finch
 Song Sparrow (I think)
 The bird seed robber
 House Finch

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


"Exquisite flowers, majestic trees, dazzling fountains, extravagant conservatory, starlit theatre, thunderous organ—all describe the magic of Longwood Gardens, a horticultural showstopper where the gardening arts are encased in classic forms and enhanced by modern technology. Many generations helped create Longwood Gardens, but one individual—Pierre S. du Pont (1870-1954), industrialist, conservationist, farmer, designer, impresario, and philanthropist—made the most enduring contribution. 

More than 200 years earlier, the land had been inhabited by the native Lenni Lenape tribe who hunted, fished, and farmed the productive wilderness. In 1700, a Quaker family named Peirce purchased the property from William Penn and soon established a working farm. Joshua and Samuel Peirce began planting an arboretum on the farm in 1798. The farm was purchased in 1906 by Pierre du Pont so he could preserve the trees, and from 1907 until the 1930s Mr. du Pont created most of what is enjoyed today. In 1946, the Gardens were turned over to a foundation set up by Mr. du Pont. After his death in 1954 Longwood's first director was hired. Since that time Longwood Gardens has matured into a magnificent horticultural showplace filled with countless opportunities for enjoyment and learning." (excerpt from Longwood website)

All photographs were taken by me and can be viewed larger by placing your mouse cursor directly over the image and clicking. My Longwood Gardens Christmas gallery can be viewed here.  All photographs are available for purchase.

Looking up through the roof of the gazebo pictured in the next photograph.

Gazebo and lake in a light snow


Lamp posts and tiers

Orange tree

A variety of Jasmine

In the Conservatory

Wreath of ferns



Lines, circles, and curves

Bird of Paradise