Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"Picture This At Last" Is Relocating to Hampton Road....

More than two years ago I entered the blogosphere for the very first time with this blog.  It was a great way to let our friends and family in Phoenix know about our new life in the Ozarks.  I was surprised at how quickly this forum became a whole new window on the world and a door to open to new friends and ideas.  Thank you all for your support and inspiration through comments and your own blogs.

I've been neglecting "Picture This...." and my favorites far too long.  Expansion of my photography, greeting cards, art and writing have led to other blogs in an attempt to separate these businesses and interests.  In particular, the photography opportunities have grown to the point where I am establishing a new business called Hampton Road Photography and a new blog to go with it.  With any luck that will become a website, not to mention a growing enterprise.

Additionally, I am so at home in Branson and want to support this community's interests and tourism.  So, my blog The Family Branson will be getting more attention.  Along with highlighting shows and attractions in the Missouri Ozarks I want this blog to portray life in a very blessed and beautiful area.

My greeting cards will continue to appear on Made For Keeps, as that is a passion-turned-business that has enriched my life immensely with creativity, friends, and artistic design.

Occasionally I am inspired by words.  The Oyster's Pearl will be the new home for writing, whenever that spirit moves me.  Not much there yet, though!

I hope you all will follow me on these new blogs.  It will be good to catch up with everyone!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Capturing Snowflakes

Many folks are not likely to appreciate these pics, especially those in the Mid-Atlantic states today, but I just couldn't help snapping some shots of our SW Missouri snowflakes.  Like much of the country we have had a very wet and cold winter (global warming? yeah, right!).  I've actually lost count of the snowfalls we've had this year.  Last year and two years ago we had a combined total of 3 measurable snows. 

The snow this morning started as rain, turned to sleet, then burst into large heavy flakes.  Gorgeous!  And the best part?  It didn't stick to the roads!  This kept up for quite a while, but is now just cloudy.  But never fear -- another storm is on the way in a couple of days.  I know, I know --- what's the big deal?  I guess I am still enjoying the winters I missed out on for the 30 years I lived in the Arizona desert. 

This is the view from my deck, zoomed in on the woods below.......
With a toasty fire going and a warm mug of hot chocolate (laced with Amaretto) I could watch this all day.  But of course I don't plan on going into town today, either.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What Do Three-Year-Olds Do When All the Presents Are Opened?

Note:  I have been gone for waaaay too long!  So much of my time, especially before the holidays, was spent on Made For Keeps, my greeting card business.  I've been doing quite a lot of photography and now working on a balance between my passions for art, photography, and writing.

Play with the wrapping papers, of course!!
Last weekend was my grandniece's 3rd birthday and, this year, I was able to attend her party.  She is a lucky little girl with a loving family and lots of friends.  She had such a great time at her party!

By the end of the paper wars there was only teeny little shreds of tissue and wrapping paper left........ all over the floor!!  Isn't that the way it is supposed be?

I'm looking forward to catching up with everyone's blogs.  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Orphaned Fawn and the Old Golden

Wow, it has been way too long since I posted here! But I have a heartwarming story for you.

My sister Patty is a devoted animal lover and is often called upon by the Sioux City, Iowa, Animal Control to "foster" animals that require special care. Usually her "foster kids" are dogs or cats. She's had the occasional raccoon, baby skunk and deer.

Her newest charge is a deer, but the youngest she's ever had. This little fellow was a late season birth and either orphaned or abandoned. Estimated date of birth is October 5 and he was spotted near the road by a passerby who called Animal Control. They recovered him and called Patty to see if she could take care of him. The challenge for this little one is that, being born so late in the season, he has not had the opportunity to grow and gain strength for the winter. Under Patty's care he is being bottle fed and kept warm.

Patty's 13-year-old Golden Retriever, Bentley, has grown very feeble and they have nearly lost him a couple of times. But here he is providing warmth and surrogacy for this fawn, and contented to do so. He is accustomed to the "foster kids" and has really taken on a special role in this case.

The baby (he doesn't have a name -- we need to fix that) appears to be doing well. One of his struggles is standing and walking on the hardwood floor. Patty said he is like Bambi on ice, with his legs splaying in all directions. As he grows and winter comes, he will still require care and a warm place. He can't stay in the house forever (potty training is not an option) and Patty's barn isn't heated. But, as is always the case, God protects his creatures great and small. For now the great Bentley is providing warmth and comfort for the tiny fawn.

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Rare Sight .....

..... a live armadillo! This is rare for a couple of reasons. One is that he (or she) was in our large grassy area, about 100 yards from the ravine. I had never seen one back there but always suspected they were in the woods. This one came quite close to our fenced-in area. Just wandering around in the open.

(Apologies for the fuzziness of the photo. I grabbed the camera and started shooting without getting the proper lens and settings. Also it was toward dusk. Also, I was on the cell phone and the Canon 40D is not a one-handed instrument. Please, don't talk and shoot!)
The other reason this is a rare photo is that, as many people will attest to, most of the armadillos we see are, uh, road kill. Sad but true. As I was researching why this little fellow might have approached to near the house (and 4 dogs) I found an interesting tidbit of info that explains the common sightings of victims on the road. Here from
"Another behavior that has been a fatal one for the nine-banded armadillo is the ability to jump 3-4 feet vertically into the air when it is startled (Wilson, 1997). In the southeastern portion of the U.S., automobiles are constantly killing nine-banded armadillos. At first it was thought that the tires or the front of the car was impacting these armadillos, which do not look both ways before they cross a road. Later it was observed that when an automobile drove over an armadillo, it would be startled and would end up jumping vertically against the car (Storrs, 1982). "

I just hope I never hit one. It would not be the only one jumping 3-4 feet into the air!

So, this little critter waddled back down into the woods, safe another day from motor vehicles.

Thanks for indulging me this little biology lesson. I still get excited seeing these wild creatures in our back yard.


In God We Trust

Monday, August 31, 2009

Talk About BIG!

This week's Thematic Photographic is BIG.  When I received this email this morning I recognized it as the Hoover Dam ---- and that it is BIG!  This bridge is long overdue for the route from Phoenix to Las Vegas and it is good to see it underway!  Not that I will ever drive over that thing!  I would rather take the Grand Canyon Sky Walk!

THE WIDER VIEW: Taking shape, the new bridge at the Hoover Dam

Creeping closer inch by inch – 900 feet above the mighty Colorado River – the two sides of a $160 million bridge at the Hoover Dam in America slowly take shape. The bridge will carry a new section of US Route 93 past the bottleneck of the old road which can be seen twisting and winding around and across the dam itself. When complete, it will provide a new link between the states of Nevada and Arizona. In an incredible feat of engineering, the road will be supported on the two massive concrete arches which jut out of the rock face. The arches are made up of 53 individual sections – each 24 feet long – which have been cast on-site and are being lifted into place using an improvised high-wire crane strung between temporary steel pylons.
Spectacular: The new Hoover Dam bypass

The arches will eventually measure more than 1,000 feet across. At the moment, the structure looks like a traditional suspension bridge. But once the arches are complete, the suspending cables on each side will be removed. Extra vertical columns will then be installed on the arches to carry the road. The bridge has become known as the Hoover Dam bypass, although it is officially called the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, after a former governor of Nevada and an American Football player from Arizona who joined the US Army and was killed in Afghanistan. Work on the bridge started in 2005 and should finish next year. An estimated 17,000 cars and trucks will cross it every day. The dam was started in 1931 and used enough concrete to build a road from New York to San Francisco. The stretch of water it created, Lake Mead, is 110 miles long and took six years to fill. The original road was opened at the same time as the famous dam in 1936.

Thanks for stopping by and have a BIG day!
In God We Trust

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Who Could Resist This Face?

We couldn't resist her! She is the newest addition to our family and her name is Mattie. She was needing a good home and I couldn't say no. So she joins our other three Shih Tzus and is very much at home after only one day and one night. She is between 18 months and 2 years old, weighs about 5 pounds, and is a cuddler! She has already had a litter of pups though she still has that puppy smell herself. Mattie is proving to be very smart and photogenic.

Mattie was originally named Bubbles, but I just couldn't take that, so she is Mattie, short for Matilda, one of my favorite children's stories and movies. She is learning her new name pretty quickly, but when all else fails she answers to "Bubba".

Cookie, Emma and Shakes have been very good to her. Smokie the cat, not so much.

Jerry hasn't seen her yet but he has been wanting another Shih Tzu. I was the one resisting it till I met Mattie. He can't wait to see her.

So, welcome, Mattie!