Saturday, August 20, 2016

Blue Aster Dreams

At Yew Dell Gardens in Crestwood, Kentucky, many seasons back, I walked among the gardens and captured images of brightly colored flowers blooming throughout the flower beds. These Blue Asters were blooming in abundance as I stopped to captured a couple of images. Butterflies were flitting all around the blooms while a cool breeze blew. It was the perfect Fall day in Kentucky with plenty of sunshine and blue skies.

Here in Tennessee, there are signs of Fall's approach slowly creeping into my daily life. As I shop online I see new Fall decor showing up in the web stores. As I travel around the city, I see 'Help Wanted' signs perched on lawns and hanging on drive thru windows everywhere, as teenagers have returned to their books, leaving shops and restaurants in need of help.

Browsing local boutiques and shops, I discover new displays set out for Halloween with wreaths and garland and witches on brooms adorning tables and mantels alike. Soon there will be pumpkins and hay bales and dried corn stalks lining doorways, walkways and driveways. Temps will wane to chilly and the nights will turn crisp. Talk of witch's brews and cauldrons, of scarecrows coming to life in the night, will bring fright to the faces of youngsters. Falling leaves and painted pumpkins, candy corn and trick or treats. Fall is making it's way in as the dusty, heat saturated days of Summer bid us a fond farewell. I hope you have enjoyed this post as I bring you beautiful flowers and my fond memories of Fall's past. Wherever you may be on today, I wish you a wonderful weekend. ENJOY!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Sunflower Portrait

I captured this image last year in early August at Batey Farms in Murfreesboro. Sadly, I missed the Sunflowers they had this year. Last year you could walk throughout the field any time and take photos. This year they charged for folks taking portraits and only had one day folks could come by to photograph the fields. I hate it that they took all the fun out of it, but it's a working farm, so I guess you can't blame them. Besides just seeing a huge field of Sunflowers from afar is reward in itself. ENJOY!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Amish, Southern Kentucky

Today was the perfect day for a Sunday drive with blue skies, fluffy white clouds and abundant sunshine. My intinerary was simple. A short drive to a small community of Amish farms tucked away just west of Scottsville, in south central Kentucky. I wasn't disappointed as I reached the area in about a thirty to forty minute drive from my home. This community of Mennonites settled here many years past in search of affordable farmland having left their larger Mennonite community in Pennsylvania.

I had thought about visiting here for some time and only wished it were a day their farm markets were open. These people have peacefully co-existed here in southern Kentucky for many years, while our modern technologically-driven world surrounds them. They choose to live a 'plain' life, as they call it, with no electricity, working machinery or plumbing. It was evident everywhere I looked as horse drawn buggies and windmills blowing in the wind were plentiful.

This small community is situated within a mere seven mile stretch of land near Scottsville. They are self sustaining with their farms, school, church and shops all located within that small area. Most of the farmers, however, depend on big box stores all across our country to buy their crops. Those farmers that choose not to sell to the outside world operate roadside stands or markets, such as Habegger's Amish Market, within the community itself which attracts visitors from all over the country.

This small group of farmers settled here many years ago because they felt the modern world was encroaching on their simple way of life in central Pennsylvania where their larger Mennonite community exists.

As I was leaving the Amish area, I passed a farm where a little Amish girl was walking up the lane toward her house with her doll in her arms. I know Amish don't like their photo taken, but she wouldn't turn around so I could just get the back of her, so I finally snapped this image as I wanted a photo of her. I hope your weekend has been a good one. The temperatures and humidity today were much more bearable, yet I know it won't last. With this being the hottest Summer on record, or at best, one of them, I am looking forward to Fall. ENJOY!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Solitary Sandpipers

Several Summers past, I ventured to the Eastern Shores of Maryland in search of saltwater marshes and beaches that stretch as far as the eye could see. A stop at Assateague National Seashore to photograph the wild ponies that make the island their home was on my itinerary. Rest assured I snapped my fair share of wild pony images, however, I also captured countless images of birds. There were birds everywhere from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island. These I believe are Solitary Sandpipers resting on the water's edge on Assateague late in the day. As I stood to capture this image, I was surrounded by salt marshes and water as far as the eye could see. It was heaven. ENJOY!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Beautiful Arrington Vineyards

As you pass through the gates of Arrington Vineyards, which is situated about sixty miles south of Nashville, a huge wine barrel greets you surrounded by flowers and foliage. It definitely makes a statement not to be missed. To the left, as well as across the street, sits row after row of beautiful vineyards where Arrington's award winning grapes are ripening on the vines as I write this post.

Kix Brooks, of the country music duo, Brooks and Dunn, winemaker Kip Summers, and entrepreneur John Russell, AV, created Arrington some years back. The vineyard sits on 75 picturesque acres of Tennessee countryside and is a prime location for receptions and musical venues. One of the main buildings for visitors has a rustic lodge like feel and houses a Gift Shop and Tasting Room where you can purchase gifts, tours and wine tastings.

Take a look at just a few of the many wine bottles adorned with bright colored satin ribbons holding gold and silver medals won by Arrington's many wines. Anybody for a wine tasting?

With temperatures reading in the mid 90's on this particular afternoon, I didn't linger long out of doors, but managed to take a quick stroll among the grapevines down the hill from the Gift Shop and Tasting Room.

A huge lawn with picnic tables strewn about for visitors separates the main vineyards from the Tasting Room, the main offices and the Barrel House. On weekends bands play on the lawn, and with this being the Country Music Capital, there's surely a fair share of concerts that takes place throughout the year. If only it had been cooler so I could linger for a while among the vines.

Our weather in middle Tennessee has cooled off for today with intermittent thunderstorms. I am sure the heat will pick back up when the front moves through. It's been a grueling Summer with highs in the mid to upper 90's almost daily with the heat index topping out between 105 and 110. As I worked out in the heat each day, I found days when I couldn't wait to get home and 'peel off my clothes' from the heat. Did I mention I just might be ready for Fall. I didn't just say that, did I. Have a great weekend all. ENJOY!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Egret in Flight

A beautiful Great White Egret flies over Old Hickory Lake on a Summer day. There are only a few Egrets that make the lake their home in the warmer months. More often you will see Great Blue Herons. But when I do happen upon a beautiful Egret, I have to stop and take a photo. They look so graceful. During Fall you will find dozens of Egrets on the lake as they stop over on their migration to the Southern states. ENJOY!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Winging It

As I took a quick drive down the peninsula road in Hendersonville recently before calling it a day, I stopped at a lakeside park where I noticed three Cormorants were very busy drying their wings on several dead tree branches on Old Hickory Lake. Oddly enough, I rarely see Cormorants except right in this area of the lake.

One of the Cormorants looked to be making a fuss about something as I snapped away. I didn't know this bird had webbed feet which was a little surprising to me.

It has been a busy month for me and with the excessive heat, I haven't ventured outdoors that much. Up until the last week, there were severe thunderstorms almost daily. Everywhere you look there were piles of dead tree branches stacked up to be hauled away. Now it's just plain HOT. I hope you are staying cool wherever you are. I'll be back soon with some vineyard photos I captured last week. ENJOY!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Burr Terrace Garden, Cheekwood

On a warm Summer's day last year, I sat about capturing various images of Cheekwood Botanical Garden's beautiful Burr Terrace Garden.

Let's take a stroll through this gorgeous garden and take in its stone and brick highlights. Did you know this garden was built to be reminiscent of one of the oldest surviving botanical gardens in the world which stood in Padua, Italy.

One of my favorite gardens in Cheekwood, this space houses an enclosed cottage garden on three levels. I love the softness of the perennial plants, bushes and shrubs found throughout. The old limestone surely adds an old world feel.

Every visit to Cheekwood I find myself drawn to the beautiful landscaped gardens. One of the features I photographed while on this visit was the arbor with its vines hanging down over the sides and the beautiful stone columns. What is it about stone that makes everything seem more rustic and inviting.

In this last image, I captured a tad bit of color in the Burr Terrace Garden. The entire garden is vast with walkways throughout and an occasional bench to sit a spell. A visit to Cheekwood this Summer is surely on my list of things to do. So peaceful.

I hope you enjoyed our brief visit to Burr Terrace Garden to view its greenery in the warmer months. My favorite time to visit Cheekwood is early to mid Spring, but I love stopping in throughout the year just to see what is blooming. There's always color of some sort. In Spring, the manicured landscapes burst with Tulips and Daffodils, yet Summertime brings the vast greenery. It's so soothing. Hope you are having a wonderful weekend. ENJOY!