Magical, winged, woodland creatures

In preparation for hand-feeding the hummingbirds, the ranger at Lake Hope, Ohio said, “Bees will be attracted to the sugar water. Let them be. They don’t want to sting you, they want to drink the sugar water. If you flap your arms and carry on, you will never get a hummingbird to come.”

Hummingbird feeding

This woman was the picture of patience, and it paid off. I wish I could have reached her before she left. I would have sent her the photo.


Whoah. Incoming. She sure kept her cool. I’m not sure I could have.


When the first hummingbird I ever saw, years ago, as it was zipping through my garden, buzzed by me, I ducked, thinking it was a very large insect.


What do you think? Insect or bird? Maybe insect.


No, definitely bird.


Or maybe magical, winged, woodland creature dancing with the fairies.

Hummingbirds, photoshopI suspect she thinks so. I thought she deserved a hummingbird or two or three, even if she wasn’t patient enough to ever get one without a little help from Adobe Elements.

25th Annual Fort Ancient Celebration: A Gathering of Four Directions

Last Saturday, June 13, Mark and I attended the 25th Annual Fort Ancient Celebration: A Gathering of Four Directions, sometimes referred to as the Fort Ancient Pow Wow, with our photo group—Scoot and Shoot.


It was a two-day event filled with activities and demonstrations like talks about Herbs, a Dream Catcher Workshop, and Women’s Drum Demonstration:Struck by Lightning.

Vendors sold handmade crafts.

I bought a little pouch, like those hanging in the background, to carry my cell around when I am without pockets.

Two food trucks sold some traditional food, and not-so-traditional, food.

Frybread was a big item on the menu. I tried some with cinnamon and sugar and it reminded me a little of a thick, soft, cinnamon funnel cake. It was tasty, and no doubt fattening, which brings me to my next point.

I was given a short history lesson about frybread by the owner of the food truck I visited. When the US government forced the Indians to relocate to New Mexico, where their traditional crops of vegetables and beans wouldn’t grow, they gave them canned goods and the ingredients to make frybread: white flour, processed sugar and lard. By today’s standards, we all know how poorly this serves as nutrition.

“Frybread is revered by some as a symbol of Native pride and unity,” but it is also “ blamed for contributing to high levels of diabetes and obesity on reservations,” (Fry Bread, Inc). The Fry Bread link is interesting and worth a quick visit.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGenerally, I like to take candid photos, following the implicit rule that if you are in a public place, you are fair game to be photographed. If I want to sell a photo I’ve taken of someone, however, I have to have signed permission. As a sign of respect, at this event, we were requested to ask permission before taking a photograph. We were granted permission to take photos of the Grand Entry with exception of a few particular times that included the veterans’ flag and honor songs.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis dancer is waiting for the festivities to begin.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Grand Entry was largely a parade of participants who entered the arena accompanied by live music. I found it to be meditative and soul-stirring.

I spoke with the woman in front, in this photo, who told me she is 50% Native, but when she is not attending special events, she lives as the rest of us do. She is the mother of the young man with the long head dress in the above picture. The head dress was a gift from her. She is proud and happy that her son chooses to participate and honor his native heritage.

 This tiny dancer captured my heart. I also photographed another young girl, a little older than this one, who I overheard was participating for the first time. I snapped a shot of her as she was lining up for the Grand Entry. She was standing, very attentive and solemn, beside a woman who was teaching her what to do. I neglected to ask for permission before I captured that moment, so I am not sharing it here.


Fort Ancient, the site of the gathering is located in Warren County, Ohio, on a plateau above the Little Miami River. It is a prehistoric site built during the Hopewell Culture from 100 BC to 500 AD and consists of earthen walls and mounds built and used by prehistoric people to mark the movements of the sun and moon. Fort Ancient was primarily used for ceremonial and social gatherings on certain days of the year, as identified by solar and lunar movements.

“Today the structure is considered to be the largest and best preserved prehistoric Indian enclosure in North America,” (, Celebration a Gathering of the Four Directions).

The people who built Fort Ancient mounds were of the Hopewell Culture, not a specific tribe. Beginning around 200 B.C. archaeaologists noted a new Native American culture developing and spreading throughout the Midwest. They named the culture Hopewell. Tribes that identified as being part of the Hopewell culture had an agricultural lifestyle and complex trading system and tended to reside near major waterways. In Ohio, the Hopewell culture in strong in the Ohio Valley, the Scioto Valley, and the Miami Valley, (Ohio History Central, Hopewell Culture).

According to Indian Country Today, The Native earthworks in Ohio: in Newark; Serpent Mound, in Peebles; Fort Ancient, in Lebanon; and Hopewell Culture National Historical Park/Mound City, in Chillicothe—are being considered for UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites,”  (Indian Country Today, Ohio’s Magnificent Earthworks – an Ancient Astronomical Wonder).

You can read more about how the earthworks were made and function here: Ohio Earthworks.

Zoo blooms – a Scoot and Shoot event



Zoo blooms at Cincinnati Zoo – April 23, 2014

Walk a while among the tulips,


where a single bloom can be perfection.


White-faced Scops Owl from Africa. Three years old and full-grown.

See nature in all it’s majesty and intrigue.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATawny Frog Mouth from Australia OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAimitates the bark of a tree

See nature in all its glory.


One gorilla hides behind a tree.


The other stands for all to see.


A perfect pair of lions stand side by side.


And a polar bear follows his nose with a smile.


Celebrate spring.


Celebrate life in all its design.


Celebrate life in all its humor.


Celebrate a pile of sand that arrives today.


Life is beautiful. Life is good.


Live it.


See more Scoot and Shoot posts here.


What would you do?

Table decorations-2013-10-03

Party table decorations – taken October 3, 2013

I told you all about the Project 365 challenge I was doing where I have to take a photograph every day. I can save them up and post them in batches, but the idea is that I shoot one every day. I started this in August and was vigilant about getting a photo every day even if that meant I had to take a picture of Arthur pulling on my shoelaces as I sat in my recliner late at night, or I had to walk around my yard yet again and try to find a spot of color in the waning flowers.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, my “What would you do?”  is not an earth-shattering question or dilemma, just a little getting-to-know-you-better question.

You might have noticed my recent absence, or short cameo appearances, in the blogging world. We have been planning, preparing, and then throwing a celebration or reception at our home for our son and daughter-in-law who got married in a private ceremony in August. The party was this weekend, so once I clean up the crumbs, wash the sheets and towels, and put away the toys, my to-do list will become exponentially shorter.

I was still able to get my one photo a day in the days leading up to the party. I took pictures of the mums we were shopping for, and the solar globe lanterns we hung on our deck. But when our children and grandchildren started arriving for the weekend, and the party day came, I fell off the photo wagon. You would think the opposite would be true, but not so.

So here’s my question. What should I do about the photo a day?

Should I wave a white flag and say, “This is really too large a comitment, I’m going to abandon it after only two months” ?

Should I cheat and take make-up pictures today changing the meta data to make it look like I kept going?

Should I just leave the days without photos blank, and keep going from here, accepting the fact that I’m not perfect, nor do I need to be?

What would you do?

What’s blooming now that it’s September

It’s been a while since I photographed the flowers in our gardens, but to be honest, it’s been a rough summer on them and they haven’t looked all that picture worthy.

Recently Mark and I spent a couple of days digging out the last swatch of Chameleon Ivy tangled with the roots of the Liriope and Daylilies in the Angel Garden. Halleluia. I think we are done with that for the most part.

In our St. Francis Garden the roses have made a come-back since earlier scorching heat followed by a good drenching, or vice versa, pretty much decimated them. I cut them all back and they came out in full force a week or two ago. They are starting to fade now. And the Sedum are starting to turn color. Otherwise it is pretty lean pickin’s in the garden. We plan to plant some mums again this fall. For some reason we’ve not had good success with them here.

Out front the Hosta are blooming and so are the Liriope. We have quite a few Liriope around the yard and in the garden.

We added a few Caryopteris to the Angel Garden last year. I’ve always loved this blue misty bush.

And finally a single zinnia bloom made it to the light of day. I think the deer have been pruning the plants that sprouted from the seeds I planted in the spring. I like to cut zinnias to bring them inside. Perhaps a bud vase this year. I dead-headed the spent daisies a few weeks ago while we were working on the ivy, but a few are brightening up the garden still. Let’s hear it for the late bloomers. We put marigolds in a bare spot that we are trying to decide what to do with. We may keep that area for annuals. It’s nice to have color you can count on all summer.

I was thinking about abandoning the Woodland Garden. It is just a lot of gardens to take care of. But I walked up there today to see if there were any wildflowers blooming. The Woodland Garden looks so inviting. I startled a robin that was perched on a tree. I may take my camera and camp out on the bench some afternoon to see if any of my winged friends come to call. I think I may keep the garden after all.


And my final bloomer isn’t a flower at all, bu the berries that came after the flowers on the Gray Dogwood trees (or shrubs). I think they deserved mention. Don’t you?

How are the flowers doing where you are?

The 365 project — a self-portrait

06-In the rear view

Self portrait—in the rear view mirror, August 6, 2013

Just when I need another project, I started taking part in the 365Project. One of my photographer friends who I met last year at the Balloon Glow, and who invited me to join the West Chester Photo Club, told me about the 365project. The idea is to take a photo a day and post it on your page there. You don’t have to post every day, but the photo should be taken each day.

Like many of the other social sites, you can make friends and comment on others’ photos. I think I will be able to learn a lot about photography this way.

You can find my photos here.

If you decide to join me there, make sure and let me know. You can tell me here or friend me there. I hope you will.

Scenes of summer


Morning swim lesson at the VOA – June 2013

I’ve been snapping photos here and there the last few weeks. I’m taking this opportunity to share them with you now.


Hummingbird – June 04, 2013

This little hummer was making daily visits for a while. I haven’t seen him lately. He liked some of the potted plants on our deck.


House wren – June 04, 2013

I call this one  “House wren in bird house.”


Fawn – July 18, 2013

This hillside across the drive from our house used to be thick with honeysuckle. Mark has cleared a large section of it out. The little fawn decided to take a bit of a rest here.


Fawn – July 18, 2013

I didn’t see the mother nearby. Perhaps she told this little guy to wait for her here.


Sunflowers – July 19, 2013

Not bad for a few volunteers. I’m enjoying the height and color they’ve added to my garden.


Male American Goldfinch on sunflowers – July 19, 2013

I call this one “Elevensies” after a tradition brought to me by a good friend and once-coworker, Cathy, who needed that morning snack to get through to lunch.


Young buck – July 18, 2013

I’m not sure why this buck only has one antler. I googled it and nosed around a bit, but there was too much reading involved for the amount of time I wanted to spend. Perhaps you know and can tell me.


Male American Goldfinch on sunflower – July 19, 2013

I call this one “Yellow.”


Female American Goldfinch on sunflower – July 19, 2013

Let’s not forget the female. She clearly wanted her portrait taken as well.


House wren – July 20, 2013

I was sitting at my computer desk, minding my own business, when this little guy started hopping back and forth on the two porch rockers sitting outside our large study window. He was there for quite a while before he flew up into the tree. And he was giving me the what-for. I’m not sure what he was carrying on about.

I suppose that’s just one more thing I’ll never know.


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