march 23, 2018

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“When was the last time you spent a quiet moment just doing nothing – just sitting and looking at the sea, or watching the wind blowing the tree limbs, or waves rippling on a pond, a flickering candle or children playing in the park?” ~ Ralph Marston

 

great grandfather

 

The photo doesn’t remotely convey the size of this bur oak (although that’s a three-story house so, that might help for scale). Last week’s rehearsal took place during daylight hours and I was able to get a good look at it. Arborists have estimated the tree to be between 150-300 years old. That’s not unusual for a bur oak as they can live to be hundreds of years old, and grow up to 100 feet tall. This tree’s limbs are trimmed often to prevent them from falling into the house. It’s also been struck by lightning and still bears the scar. It’s amazing that it survived, really. It even had a groundhog living in it’s base for some time. Stacy and I were talking about bur oaks at dinner. She reckons Kentucky should make the bur oak our state tree. I can’t disagree. The old ones are especially impressive to say the least. According to UK’s Ag site, bur oaks grow well here in the Bluegrass. In fact, the “champion” bur oak is in neighboring Bourbon County. The site doesn’t say exactly what qualifies it as a champion, unfortunately. Champion or not, I love a bur oak. I guess that makes me a bonafide tree hugger. I’m good with that.

 

spring

february 20, 2018

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“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.” ~ Zen Shin

 

no kissing here

 

It was an unseasonably warm day. I came home before the sun was down and spent some time outside with Wally. That’s when I saw it. Do you see it? Mistletoe is a parasite. It can kill its host tree. It usually doesn’t, but it can sure stunt growth. I don’t think I ever noticed mistletoe until Angie pointed it out to me when I was living in Oklahoma many years ago. Naturally, I started seeing it everywhere after that, and I still do. I don’t see it very often in city trees, though, and it doesn’t seem quite as prevalent in Kentucky as it is in Oklahoma (I’m not an arborist and mine is a very unscientific study, not that you thought otherwise). The photo below shows two bunches of it. I like the idea of mistletoe – and who doesn’t love a green sprig of it over the Christmas doorway – but I’m not entirely pleased to find it in an adjoining neighbor’s tree. It’s now close enough to my fruit trees to take up residence. On the other hand, I’d have my own holiday supply. I’ll let you know if I go into the mistletoe business. 

 

two batches

november 2, 2016

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“I don’t believe you have to be better than everybody else.
I believe you have to be better than you ever thought you could be.”
~ Ken Venturi

 

the weave
the weave

 

California had some of the most interesting trees I’ve seen. I’m not sure what this tree is, but I was mesmerized standing under it. The intricacies of the limbs and trunks and leaves weaving a beautiful shade. Life is a lot like this tree, weaving intricate patterns that ultimately make a beautiful shade for us to stand in.

october 28, 2016

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“One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.”
~ Lucille Ball

 

oh, go climb a tree!
oh, go climb a tree!

 

Remember the post from two days ago and Sunken City when I mentioned that parts of Point Firman had sank too? Driving from our lookout near that overlook to Point Firman felt a lot further than it actually was. When I took this shot I felt I’d seen this tree before. I had. It’s the point between Sunken City and Point Firman. That drive was deceptive because they’re really very, very close (and, yea, that’s Long Beach in the background with tops of mountains peeking through). Plus, I think it’s hysterically funny that these grown men climbed this little tree. Never grow up completely. It takes all the fun out of life if you do.

 

silly fun
silly fun

november 30, 2015

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“Your attitude really does have an effect on how things work out. When you can’t change your life any other way, you can still change your attitude. When you do, your life changes.” ~ Bernie Siegel

 

dreary
dreary

 

Some of the trees high in the Pisgah Forest of North Carolina are weighed down in lichen and moss. It’s a moss that looks like the short, green cousin of Spanish Moss in the Southern states of the U.S. It’s easy to see in the fall when the leaves are off and the rain heavy clouds drape the mountain tops in mist. I tried to take a walk this morning to get a closer look, but those rain heavy clouds unloaded on me, and my excursion was short lived. I’ll say this though, if I ever have the chance to have a home in the mountains, I may never be heard from again. Beauty and peace beyond words in these high places.

 

water only flows this way once
water only flows this way once

november 28, 2015

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“Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be.” ~ Unknown

 

walking tall
walking tall

Mom and dad wanted a short time away in North Carolina, so they enlisted the help of a chauffeur; me. Despite the less than stellar weather, it was a beautiful drive (though much longer than we anticipated). We stopped at an overlook in Virginia where I snapped one tall tree against another. The older I get, the more I value my time with my folks. There will come a time, sooner rather than later, when they’re no longer able to travel. I’m grateful to be able to take them as long as they want to go…but there won’t be another trip as long as this one, I’m pretty sure of that. We’ve learned our milage limit with this one – ha!

july 16, 2015

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“Promise me you’ll always remember you’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” ~ Christopher Robin to Pooh

 

signs
signs

 

The 2 Pony Ranch is a special place for me and many others. The sign ushering visitors into the ranch is one of my favorite sights. I’m just going to leave this photo here to enjoy.

march 6, 2015

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“Learn from nature: See how everything gets accomplished and how the miracle of life unfolds without dissatisfaction or unhappiness.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

 

Kincaid's Kentucky
Kincaid’s Kentucky

 

Last night, as the full worm moon was rising, I walked outside for a few shots. The sky was beautiful. The surroundings glowed. The snow and stars twinkled like a mirror images. My home looked so warm and inviting from the outside. That must be one reason why I enjoy it so much. I wish I could have gotten out to the country for some evening shots, but I’m awfully grateful to get what I got.

 

The Lodge
The Lodge

 

in the stars
in the stars

march 2, 2015

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“Erase from your vocabulary the word “someday.” Do not save things for “special occasions.” Take into account the fact that every day is special. Every day is a gift that we must appreciate and be thankful for. Wear your attractive clothes, wear your nice perfume, use your fine silverware and dishes, and drink from your expensive crystal glasses … just because. Live every day to the fullest and savor every minute of it.” ~ Rodolfo Costa

 

twist and shout
twist and shout

 

I don’t think the second of March will ever pass again that I don’t feel a hole in my heart. Here we are, three years after the F-3, and to me, it feels like it just happened. There are some days I just ache for my grandmother’s home, my home, and my hometown. I miss them as if they were people, not things, but living, breathing human beings. The town; she’s so very slow to come back. What little has cropped up feels devoid of character somehow. It’s not as if West Liberty was a picture postcard town before the tornado, it wasn’t, but it did have that small town, all-American Mayberry something about it. Main Street was lined with a mix of stone and wood buildings, shutters and porches and worn flat sidewalks and people. There were homes, real homes, dotting the landscape, each different in color and texture and more people. I feel like I won the lottery growing up in that little town. We left for Arizona for a time, but all I ever wanted was to go back. It’s where I knew I belonged. A place and its people – those people at the time of my growing – were a mighty force. It wasn’t all perfect, but it was perfect for me. I suppose I will always yearn for the West Liberty I understood, and for as long as I live, I will be grateful for what I had there for as long as I had it, warts and all.

november 25, 2014

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“Remember that at any given moment there are a thousand things you can love.”
~ David Levithan

 

ain't that the berries
ain’t that the berries

 

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the three years since the outhouse began, it’s that you really can find something to love in every place, person, or thing that crosses your path. It might not be obvious. You might have to stop what you’re doing, stop what you’re thinking, breathe deeply, let go, and allow to surface in that moment the morsel that’s worth loving. I promise it’s there if you just let it rise. In a world filled with turmoil, when young men like Michael Brown are killed for no good reason, when a misfit band of insane militants chop heads for spectacle, when money buys elections, and children go to bed hungry in the richest nation the world has ever known, it’s important to remember what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Start by loving the little things. It builds collateral the whole world can use.

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