Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy New Year!

I'll be out of town for the next few days so I wanted to get a post in. I hope everyone has a very happy and safe new year and don't make any resolutions that you can't keep! This is Megan, by the way. You should recognize her from a couple of previous posts -she's my sweety.
Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 27, 2009


I, for one, am glad this weekend is over. I always enjoy Christmas and most of the hustle and bustle but there seemed to be a lot more hustle than bustle this year. Christmas Eve after running around all day we went to the children's mass at St. Agnes Cathedral with my mother and then out to dinner. On Christmas morning we had family over for breakfast and then went to my sister's for dinner later in the day. Saturday my oldest son and the grandkids came to stay for a couple of days and we had another Christmas with them. As if all of that didn't keep me busy enough I had to replace a busted water pipe Saturday afternoon that ended up blowing out twice more and therefore needed to be babysat for most of the night to make sure it was good. (and yes - if I'd have done it right the first time ...)
I'm tired. I hope you like the winter sunset over Truman Lake- I did...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It Just Doesn't Get Any Better...

Well, tomorrow is Christmas Eve! Everything is coming together for the big day. I personally am done shopping- something I can't always say by this time. Although I still have ideas for something else to chase around town trying to find, I believe that I'll let it rest and call it good.
In just a matter of a few days our chance for snow has went from 12% to 3-5 inches predicted for tomorrow! That's the crazy weather of the Ozarks but you know I'm digging it.
I'm definitely looking forward to a white Christmas -it just doesn't get any better than that...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Next Best Thing...

We made our annual trek to see the lights at Silver Dollar City this past week. If you're ever in this part of the country at Christmas time you should do yourself a favor and go there. The whole village - and I mean the whole village is lit up with what is probably millions of Christmas lights. Every building, every pathway, every light post and every tree is adorned with lights. The air is filled with Christmas music from one corner to the next. It's an experience that you and ( if you have them)your children should not pass up. If you're having trouble getting into the spirit of things then you surely won't be by the time you leave. It's the next best thing to the North Pole at Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

So You're Saying There's A Chance...

Well, last I heard we have about a 12% chance of snow on Christmas. Yes, I'm one of those people. Actually I wouldn't care if it snowed all year as long as it snowed for Christmas. I like the cloudy days with flurries while I listen to my Christmas music and sip my cappuccino. I guess that in a lot of ways I'm pretty old fashioned- at least at this time of year. I want to hear Bing Crosby and Dean Martin and some really mellow jazz. And always, always Vince Guaraldi's Charlie Brown Christmas!
I imagine that for now I'll just have to settle for frost on the ground and some chilly temperatures while I'm waiting for the chance of snow to improve.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Winter Dramas

The sunsets always seem to be more , I don't know, dramatic in the winter months. The colors are more brilliant, the clouds are more turbulent and the sky changes so quickly that every shot is a whole different scene. There's something about standing out in the field (or on top of my house as in this case)with the wind whipping around you and the cold slapping your face that just getting the picture is an adventure in itself.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Well we got our first snow today. Not really a snow snow-more like a dusting. But the snow that did come down came hard and fast and horizontal, painting the landscape as it went and leaving the countryside spattered with a fresh coat of white .

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sweet Dreams...

Every now and then the words just don't seem to come to me. I always try to add something to the picture that makes the post a little more interesting. I could even go so far as to say that at times I agonize over my lack of content.
And then sometimes I get a picture like this.
This is Brooklyn...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Helianthus strumosus

This is the Helianthus strumosus - otherwise known as the paleleaf woodland sunflower. I know this because I finally found the web site that is the know-all and tell-all of Missouri plant life. It's called, believe it or not, Missouriplants.com. I just wanted to share that with you. I know that when you're trying to identify flowers color is very important but at this time of year I figured that a black and white was more suitable- kind of like an image in your mind of past memories. Memories that you feed off of until the time comes when the real thing is once again available.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Splash of Red

Wow, what a blur the last five days have been! I wanted to have a extra special post on the many things that I'm thankful for last Wednesday but Thanksgiving rushed right in. The holiday weekend brought us a lot of extra family time with a lot of extra family. We have quite a large family and our get togethers are always a good time. So I guess that even with all of God's beauty that I'm lucky enough to be surrounded by what it all comes down to is family. I have to say though, even with all that said I'm always thankful for a splash of red on an otherwise dreary, drizzly day!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

My First Award!

The Best Blog Award!!
Many thanks to my fellow blogger David at One Foote Closer for bestowing this award upon me. I'm pretty new at the blogging business so I'm feeling especially appreciative. David has been very encouraging in my pursuit of the perfect blog (if there were such a thing!) with his comments.
Click on his link and begin enjoying his work. Don't forget to become a follower!
I have been instructed to choose 15 blogs that I feel are worthy of this award to pass it on to. Check back in soon to see who they are.
Thanks again to David!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Rocket Man

"Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids
In fact it's cold as hell
And there's no one there to raise them if you did
And all this science I don't understand
It's just my job five days a week
A rocket man, a rocket man
And I think it's gonna be a long, long time
Till touch down brings me round again to find
I'm not the man they think I am at home
Oh no no no I'm a rocket man
Rocket man burning out his fuse up here alone"
Elton John
- I used to think that I was a rocket man. As a matter of fact it took me way too many years to find out that I wasn't nor did I really want to be. What a waste of spirit... Anyway, I'm pretty happy right here on God's green(red, brown, yellow, blue...) earth these days. Whether it's two feet squarely on the ground or flat on my back watching the skys there's no place I'd rather be and no other way I'd rather be living it!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Song Sparrow

Usually when I'm out on a hike I don't get too close to the wildlife. Not that I wouldn't like to but I'm not trying to be especially quiet, I'm just looking for the cool shots and enjoying the time out. My equipment is not that good for any really long range shots so wildlife photos are just bonus.Birds seem to be especially tricky- they let you sneak up on them and just as you're about to "capture the moment" they flit off just out of range(or sight).
Fortunately for me, this one was a little over confident about it's camouflage and sat still long enough for me to get a couple of decent shots.
This, by the way, is a Song Sparrow. By my count there are roughly forty three different types of sparrows inhabiting southwest Missouri at one time or another of the year. And I thought that a sparro
w was just a sparrow!
Everyday that I get out in the woods I learn something new and that's just one more reason to be out there. I doubt that I'll ever become an ornithologist but I can certainly see why people do. You can find out more about the Song Sparrow and just about any other bird you can think of at http://www.allaboutbirds.org/- it's a great site for the bird lover in all of us.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Those Were the Days...

You might remember a few posts back that I said that I was looking forward to going back to Compton Hollow in the fall. I didn't quite make my goal of checking out the fall foliage but I made it back none the less.
All of that aside- I decided to check out the watering holes and try to locate a couple more than I had already seen. Well my friends, this is the watering hole that I've been looking for. (figuratively speaking of course) I don't know- something about this pond just engulfed me. When I came over the ridge at the edge of the pond in the middle of the woods and saw this sight it just seemed to take me somewhere else. I thought about places and times that I hadn't thought about in years as I sat on the edge of the pond. The spot you can see to the far left of the picture is where I daydreamed for some time before finally deciding to pull myself away.
I could get really philosophic here but I won't. I could continue to get sentimental - but I won't. Maybe it wouldn't have affected you as it did me. I somehow think that it would have...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Barn in the Woods

It was a fairly odd sight. Smack dab in the middle of the woods with no roads or paths for any 4 wheeled type of transportation there it sat. The infamous "barn in the woods". Now,
I'll try to make this story as short as possible. After taking several shots from as many angles I decided to head back to the car. I do realize that I'm an adult but it was a little spooky- in a Blair Witch sort of way. I knew where I was so I took the quicker trail back as it was getting late. Wanting to get one last look at the woods though, I peeled off of the trail for a quick look around. It should have only taken 15 or 20 minutes. Forty five minutes later I'm actually starting to think that I may have to cut right through the brush and head for the sounds of the highway. Funny thing is those sounds were starting to fade and my imagination was starting to grow. I made up this story in my head about the "pull" of the barn and how people went in but didn't come out! Just as I was starting to laugh at myself, out of the corner of my eye there it was - the barn! I'm sure I jerked a major case of whiplash in my neck when I saw it too. Somehow, I'd managed to stumble across that barn a second time, something I'd been unable to do even once in several previous hikes. Once again, I knew where I was and where I needed to go. This time the 15 or 20 minute hike took no more than 5 minutes. No side excursions this time. Well I'm sorry this post got so wordy but I thought that it was a funny story and I don't mind laughing at myself once in a while. I haven't been back to the barn in the woods -at least, not yet. Maybe some bright sunny day...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Did You Know?

In 1906 the first forward pass was thrown. The first NFL football field was 360 yards long and 225 yards wide! The first college football game took place on November 6, 1869 and was between Rutgers and Princeton. Although Rutgers won that contest 6-4 Princeton won the next 68 games in a row from 1870 to 1938!
These are just a few of the game's facts that my son Brendon has, on occasion, chosen to inform me of. At 10 years old, he's the walking, talking Wikipedia of football trivia- especially the early years. So this year's Halloween costume was an easy choice. (Now if we can just figure out how to get that tooth back in...)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

From Brilliant to Gone...

Well a lot of the leaves have already went from brilliant to brown and from brown to gone. It is November after all and I guess that they are supposed to be gone by now, but man fall just seems to come and go so fast. I know that officially autumn is still here for a few more weeks but sometimes I wonder what the point is after the leaves have had their annual show.
We can take comfort in the fact though, that there is plenty of beauty all around us still, just waiting for the click of a shutter and a nice spot on the wall to be forever immortalized.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Yeah yeah, I know. Halloween was yesterday but I can still say it! (besides I'm only posting on Wednesdays and Sundays) And seeing how I wanted to incorporate something with some fall colors I went over to Maplewood Cemetery for my annual fall color shots. This is one of the prettiest places for fall colors in all of the Springfield area. There are a lot of nice areas in the fall
around here but not too many have the peacefulness that permeates this place.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Plea For Help!

OK well, I had intended to write something at least a little entertaining but wanting to acknowledge the subject of my photo I took a side journey into the internet trying to identify these purplish flowers. I'm sure that I should know what they are
but, for the life of me,I couldn't find them anywhere in the very short list of Missouri wildflower "handbooks" that was made available to me.
So this is an open invitation (more like a plea for help!) for anyone with knowledge of a good web site about Missouri wildflowers to to let me know about it.
I have, as I'm sure you realize, an abundance of wildflower photos and in order to sound a little like I know what I'm talking about I've got to be able to identify these beautys. My email address is in my complete profile at the right. Thanks in advance-Jeff

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hole In The Wall

This is Valley Water Mill and this little hole in the wall is actually a place of historic significance. In the middle and late nineteenth century it was used as a grist mill and pond and then in the early and middle twentieth century as a water supply for the city of Springfield,Mo. The grist mill was in service until 1898.
This approximately 100 acre area contains a 17 acre lake, wetlands, a spring-fed stream, caves, sinkholes, glades and forests. There is a 2 1/2 mile trail to take all of this in by.
Pretty cool to take in all of this beauty and get a history lesson too. It's truly awesome to live in the Ozarks!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Just Give It a Minute...

Recently I visited the Bois D'Arc Conservation Area. The trails there aren't as intertwined with the landscape as most. What I mean by that is the trails are wide enough to drive a truck through- a big truck. Great for a walk, but not neccessarily being "one" with nature. I enjoy being in the midst of the woods or fields - as I said before, not knowing what's around the bend.
As I sat pondering whether to go off the trail and into the woods this guy fluttered in and sat next to me on this musk thistle. I must have watched him for several minutes because by the time he flew off he had quite a dusting of pollen. I guess this story really isn't going anywhere other than to say that nature is all around us. If you don't think so just give it a minute- it'll come to you.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bottoms Up!

This chicory doesn't seem to know that summer has come and gone. It seemed to be pretty darn healthy when I saw it recently. I wonder if that has anything to do with it's reputation for making a relatively stout drink. I understand that one can roast the root of the plant and either drink it or use it as an additive for coffee. I doubt that I would go to all of the trouble to roast, grind and brew a cup but I wouldn't mind trying it. Maybe some day I'll be feeling all Ewell Gibbons (remember Mr. Grapenuts?) and I'll give it a try.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


As I said, the leaves aren't quite at peak color yet. In my last post I may have insinuated that I would be waiting until that time to get out and photograph the fall foliage. Surely you know me better than that! ( Must have been the cold feet!) It's this time of year when the trees still have plenty of green left and the landscape is blotched with the brilliant oranges, yellows and reds that I call my pictures "tweeners" - the time between summer green and autumn gold.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Warm Summer Day

Today it finally set in that summer is over. It's been a little extra chilly all day long and I just could not warm my feet up. I know that it's snowing in other parts of the U.S. but we've had it pretty nice around here until lately. The leaves aren't quite at peak change yet so I've not done much in the way of foliage photos. In the mean time I'll just sit and look at this picture when I start to chill because it definitely says warm summer day to me.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Blue Highway

One of the many winding two lane highways in southwestern Missouri. I often like to turn off of the main highway and follow the smaller routes just to see where they go. Most, like this one, lead me to places that make me feel lucky to be a part of and I know I won't soon forget.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

You Can Never Go Back...

That's what they say anyway. This is an area next to the Sac River that I used to picnic with my family some 40 odd years ago. As it turns out, I now live just a couple of miles down the road from this spot. One day I got permission from the landowner to go down and walk around with my camera hoping that I would be magically transported back to those days, something that I'd been wanting to do for years.
40 years is a very long time. I'm pretty sure that I was somewhere in the immediate vicinity of our summer picnics but nothing clicked and nothing I saw swept me back to that time.
But as I looked around, hoping for just a flicker of those days I did go back and I was there, if only momentarily - if only within my own memories...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Rollin' In...

The field behind my house seems to be a collecting area for any fog that might be rolling in. At this time of year when the temperature has such drastic changes between night and day more likely than not the field will fill with a heavy fog as the sun sets and stay until the morning sun burns it away.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Picture of Grace

This, I believe, is a Pompom goldfish. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong . I was doing some volunteer photography at the local Discovery Center for an upcoming brochure when the fish tank caught my eye.The crowd of children had began to thin out for the time being so I had some time to waste. Believe me, when you're working with mass numbers of kids (not that I didn't enjoy it...) a quiet moment watching the fish can bring you right back down to earth.At least with this one, I didn't have to hunt down the parent to get a model release signed.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Just Around the Bend

Here's what hiking and nature photography is all about for me. See that spot where the road curves to the left and seems to disappear? Can you see what's around the corner there where the field meets the trees? Can you tell what's in the tree line up the road? Of course you can't . It's that mystery of what's around the next bend and all that you see along the way that keeps drawing me back. As long as there are curves in the paths I'll be keep craning my neck to see what lies ahead and doing my best to show you what I've seen.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Diamond in the Rough

Sometimes when you're walking in the woods the shadows will move as the wind blows and drops of sunshine can collect on an otherwise unnoticed spot, causing it to seemingly sparkle.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Baby T...

Although I have an obvious love for the great outdoors I've been feeling like I should post something different-just for a change of pace. As I was wondering what direction to go in along came baby T and quickly made up my mind.
She was born on July 8,2009 and weighed a mighty 5lbs.,10 oz.
Here's to baby T and here's to hoping she'll have the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors as much as I have...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Chickory Flower

How often do we really look at our surroundings? This chickory flower is a perfect example of that question. To many people this is just a weed dotting the landscape in the fields of southwest Missouri. But once you get a good close look, a really good look, you'll realize that it's another one of God's many masterpieces!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Watering Hole

Here is another from Compton Hollow. The "official" Mo. Dept. of Conservation map calls this a watering hole for the local wildlife. This is an awesome area that has 5.5 miles of trails on 840 acres. I'll have more posts from this and future hikes here in the future. Although I'm not ready for summer to be over, I'm looking forward to fall at Compton Hollow.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Rose

No particular reason that I posted this picture. It's another in a series of b/w roses and I just felt the need to post a b/w. Hope you like it!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Gate

This gate is in my neighbor's back yard. I've never noticed it before. It actually goes into a field that he doesn't own so I don't know the significance of it. I saw it when I was watching the incoming storm and thought it was strange. I'm not sure why I like this picture but I do. It seems to take on an eerie light - kind of like the calm before the storm...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Almost Ready...

These blackberries weren't quite ready to pick when I took this picture. Unfortunately I can't go hiking as often as I'd like so by the time I had returned to the area the animals/hikers had taken care of them for me!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Say Cheese!

This little guy just wouldn't leave me alone until I took his(?) picture. He kept following me around with this big ol' grin on his face until I finally gave in. In leaving he promised to come by in a few days and show me his new outfit.
(click on the picture to see just how big that grin really is!)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Suddenly Sedum...

I think that the sedum in our flower bed out front is a little late in blooming this year. These tiny buds seem to take on a glow-in-the-dark look in this picture. I'm sure that one day soon I'll turn to look at them and they'll be all pink and fuzzy and covered with bees and butterflies.
(I'll let you know!)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I'll have to say that there's a lot of luck involved when I can get a good lightning shot like this. This was taken from my front yard and at the time I remember complaining about the electric poles being in the way. After the shot though, I really liked how they added to the whole theme.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Buggin' Out

These little aviators were everywhere on my last hike on the Sac River Trail. It was after a rain and I think that's what stirred them up. I'm sorry to say that I'm not sure what they are -some sort of dragonfly I suppose.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


This picture was taken a few months back. These days Landon is practicing the fine art of placing one foot in front of the other. (and is getting pretty good at it!)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Just Around the Bend

This was just a particularly foggy morning so I hit the small highways close by and found more than enough photo opportunities.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Land of the Giants

This is another from Compton Hollow. The trails there provide the opportunity to go from dense forest to open fields in several areas.


These clouds hung low until nightfall when they rewarded our patience with a rain that cooled us from the hot summer day.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

After the Rain

The air hung heavy and allowed the rain drops to find a place to rest on this rose.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Quick Round

These two were trying to get a round of golf in before it startred to rain- they didn't make it!

Sunday, July 12, 2009