Saturday, September 26, 2009

Laid Back Squirrel

My Giraffe Head Tree entertains me to no end. During my last visit to the lake it seemed the GHT's leg had grown an extra bump, but it was just a squirrel! This guy slept peacefully for over an hour, sometimes turning over, waking to catch himself before falling. He was so tranquil, so blissful, so laid back....until another squirrel wanted to sleep there, too. A chase ensued, round and round, up and down, chattering and fussing and cussing in squirrel language. This guy won the round, and ended up sleeping here again just as before. Squirrels can be little nuisances, but they sure are entertaining. Isn't he just the cutest thing? What a great squirrel perch, with a Giraffe as a sentry!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Live your best life

"The best things are nearest: breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of God just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things of life."

Robert Louis Stevenson

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

There and back again

Milkweed seeds

Last week found me at the lake house until Friday...which stretched into Monday, then Tuesday as an ordered car part arrived late. You know I love being at the lake. However, this trip turned into quite the challenge as there was no computer or Internet, and no television. Television isn't my usual thing, preferring instead to listen to music...but the stereo was also gone. "Thank God for iPod" was my mantra at first.

However, once the initial shock of having little to no electronic stimulation - and no car with which to drive anywhere - I found a peace descend upon me, as well as a sharp, clear focus. Sitting outside on the deck with the winds and birds and sound of the waves was my safe haven. I read nearly three novels and began writing my business plan and planned my website. It didn't take that long as I had no distractions. My mom gave me a book to read that continues to guide my head and keep me focused. "Finding Water" by Julia Cameron. It's the third book in her series, the "Artist's Way Journey. Her art is writing, but it was simple to mentally strike through the word "writing" and insert the word "photography." She and I spent a lot of time together as well. The week flew by.

In the solitude of the deck squirrels would tip-toe across my table; wrens would dance and peck along the deck railing; birds landed on the trees nearby and called to each other; damselflies lit on the pages of my book. All while I was sitting there being still. Each visit was a welcome home.

Today finds me back in the 'burbs experiencing just how intrusive and disruptive computers, Internet, television, and other electronic monsters - washing machines, vacuums, dishwashers - are to our day-to-day. I'm having trouble concentrating. I recall reading that it takes exactly three days to completely relax when one goes on vacation, but only if one doesn't take their laptops or are constantly on their cell phones.

Turn off the world and tune into yourself from time to time. Next time I plan to leave the iPod at home.

Monday, September 7, 2009


The suburbs got to me one day a couple of weeks ago. I had to be at the lake, craved being at the lake, all by myself, alone, me and the winds and waves and birds. Clean air, light, breezes playing with my hair, the smell alone is worth the drive. There's nothing like the scent of the wind off the lake. It's cooler there, cleaner there, magical there. Driving from the east it was clear a storm was percolating on the western horizon. Watching it build was exhilarating even as I hoped to beat it there. Storms on the lake are a favorite event. Dark grey clouds billowed higher and higher as I approached but were still a distance away when I pulled into the driveway. The photo above is taken as I got out of the car, looking nearly straight up. It was coming - not much time.

I poured a glass of wine and headed to the deck quickly. Feeling that pre-storm jolt of air was critical to my being. The flag was whipping and snapping in salute, and there was a respectable chop on the lake's surface.

I am happiest here. This is where I find my bliss, my peace, my soul.

The newly-cleared bank looks good. The buckeyes already dropping leaves for autumn. By now they're simply sticks laden with pods which will soon pop open, dropping their nutmeg colored buckeye seeds onto the ground.

Looking up - the storm is approaching. Please, please, please just a few more minutes.

So much humidity building; condensation beads form despite the wind.

How rude. I really should share with my blogging friends.

Here it comes. A sheet of misty gray rolls across the lake, bringing with it torrential rains and beautiful winds and whipping tree branches. Besides the Giraffe Head Tree this dead tree has to be a favorite. Ospreys dine there, Great Horned Owls linger there, Bald Eagles perch there, as do all manner of woodpeckers and songbirds. And squirrels and raccoons. Easy to spot.

I hope you enjoyed this little moment in time with me.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Burritt Museum

My sister-in-law and brother-in-law just left after a wonderful, joyous, fun visit. Being around them is like a breath of fresh air. Lengthy stays in Great Britain and Europe make them vastly interesting people with which to talk. They love books and museums and prefer not to let the grass grow under their feet. Very active, they drive all over visiting their kids and family and love touring the area, discovering quirky shops. While here Mort added to his magnet collection, which I discovered now totals over 3,000. Good heavens! This visit was going to be short so after the obligatory book store visits we trundled up Monte Sano Mountain to visit Burritt Museum.

The history of the Goldsmith-Shiffman family was on display this trip, which was vastly interesting. The usual exhibits of local history and that of the Burritt's were of interest as well. If you find yourself interested please visit the Burritt Museum's website. For this post I just want to give you a sense of place. Above is the hubby, his sister Linda and bro-in-law Mort. Linda is a breast cancer survivor, having completed her chemo and radiation this summer. Her hair is beginning to grow back and she proudly sports her stylish short "do!"

Mort loves a good gift shop, as do Linda and I. Oh, my heavens this shop was scrumptious. I was good and didn't buy anything, but spotted this book with Baylee's double on the cover! She was with us in spirit!

These two wedding dresses were on display. Exquisite!

Dr. Burritt designed this unusual mantel. Local sandstone cut by a local artisan in what Dr. Burritt says is a Bald Eagle design. One really has to use one's imagination, but I think it beautiful nonetheless.

After the museum and mansion tour we walked outside to the Living Museum. Various cabins were moved on the grounds in order to preserve them, and the Museum added living exhibits of life on a colonial farm. There were Shetland ponies, goats, sheep, chickens and various and sundry other creatures one could pet. There were weaving exhibits, blacksmith exhibits and gardens. Burritt sells local honey in the gift shop. Again, check the website for details, but these are some of my favorite shots.

A rusted bucket graces a twig fence.

Rusted pails and kindling.

My favorite - a spinning wheel.

One of the museum volunteers demonstrates spinning on the wheel. I used to weave and find this process absolutely fascinating.

Leaving the Living Museum we walk to the pavilion and scenic overlook. The light was terrible for photographing the view, but the entire city stretched beneath us.

Back inside the gift shop while waiting for Mort to buy his magnet I spotted this chicken and thought of Eve. Eve - you and Morgan would love this museum!!! Hey, if anyone goes or calls - talk to Judy and tell her I sent ya. Super lady who gave us lots of great advice before our visit!


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