Thursday, May 31, 2012

School Days, Part 2

Last week, Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop prompt was to write about what we missed the least about school.  This week, the prompt I have chosen is:

5.) What about school do you miss the most?

I was raised out in the country, in a small town in Virginia.  I had a brother, 3 years younger than me, and parents...a dog, a cat, and one time, a pair of guinea pigs.  The closest family was not within walking distance, and the only other kids my age were a family of boys about 3 miles away, until you got into town.  I rarely had playmates other than my younger brother (who, I was convinced, had cooties!), and it was sometimes pretty lonely.

When I went to school, there were other kids!  I started school in a one-room schoolhouse, with 7 kids in the 1st grade, 7 in the 2nd grade, and 5 in the 3rd grade.  There was one teacher and one lunchroom, and the teacher's husband did the maintenance work that needed to be done.  (I even remember him killing a snake on the playground once.)  I attended that school 2 years before they decided to send the kids to the school in the next town.  That school had 300 kids in the school!  I had hit the jackpot!

Not only were there kids there, but there were different teachers for every class.  I loved most of my teachers, and I was a good student.  In one short jump, I had gone from a lonely little girl from the country to a happy little girl with lots of playmates!

However, to answer the question, what I miss most about school is the innocence.  I miss the safety that we enjoyed - that we could play outside without worrying that there was some perverted, evil person waiting to hurt us.  I miss the belief that friends would be there forever, and no one would go away.   Mostly what I miss about school is the youthful exuberance for life, and the feeling that we would live forever.  Sadly, now I know that isn't true.

Photo taken about 1960, in front of the jet that resided on school property for our entertainment.

Linking to Mama Kat's.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Birds, Birds and More Birds

What else would you have for World Bird Wednesday?

One of the most enjoyable day trips we took last year was to Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park in Scotland Neck, North Carolina.  Sylvan Heights is an 18-acre facility that features walk-in aviaries with birds from North and South America, Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia.

The park opened in 2006 under the leadership of Mike Lubbock.  He is considered by many avian biologists to be the most intuitive and prolific waterfowl aviculturalist in the world.  He started his work in England at the Wildfowl Trust before moving to America where he founded the center in 1989.  His mission is to unlock the mysteries of breeding birds.

He has won 17 World First Breeding Awards, and 15 for first breedings in North America.  His primary focus is in breeding waterfowl to assure the survival of those species that are disappearing in the wild and those endangered in managed collections around the world.

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

American Wood Duck

Greater Scaup

It will take you all day to fully appreciate the center - and I am looking forward to a return trip there this summer.  Unfortunately, I was remiss in naming each of these birds as I went along, so identifying them has become a difficult task!  I promise to do a better job when I return!

Linking to World Bird Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ruby Tuesday was a Day Lily!

I spent an hour at the Botanical Gardens on Saturday, photographing day lilies for hanging at the Gardens.  I had no idea there were so many varieties!

Of course, there were a few other "ruby" flowers there too...

Staghorn Sumac

The rest will have to wait for another Ruby Tuesday...

Linking to Ruby Tuesday 2.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Quotography - Anything

Really, ANYTHING?  It is so much easier to pick and choose when we have guidelines!  You KNOW photographers are a strange bunch!  I am amazed you have the courage to let us post ANYTHING!

So - here is my anything for this week.

Linking to Quotography.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

SOOC - Flowers Again!

I never tire of photographing flowers - this week has been a busy one, and I didn't get time to experiment much with macro shots and other tricks. I did talk a walk around my front yard to photograph these lovely flowers.  I am patiently anxiously waiting for the the day lilies to bloom...they seem a little later this year.  But, the Asiatic lilies have been blooming their heads off this week!

And, the Dahlia has grown so tall, it is almost as tall as my Harry Lauder Walkingstick!

The Echinacea is one of my very favorite flowers - the first one has bloomed.  I have a few others that are just in the bud stage.

I hope you haven't tired of walking around my flower garden!

I am linking this post to Floral Friday Fotos and SOOC.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Evening sun reflecting on the facade of the Bank of Hampton Roads, Norfolk, VA waterfront.
I loved the golden glow of the building in the evening light!

Linking to Weekend Reflections.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Waterfront Sky

On Monday afternoon, we decided to take a ride to the Norfolk, VA waterfront, to catch some afternoon sun shots.  The weather was nice on the water, and the sky cooperated!

All of these were taken within 40 minutes of each other...and all but the last 2 were taken from the same location, just in different directions.  Hard to believe there can be so much difference in the same sky!  The last 2 were taken from the same location, just a mile downriver from the first set, facing 2 different directions.  All were taken on the Elizabeth River, in Norfolk, VA.  The river is a very busy, industrial waterway and extremely important to the area.  It leads to the James River, which empties into the Chesapeake Bay.  The other end of the river connects to the Intercoastal Waterway.

Linking to Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

School Days

For Mama Kat's workshop this week, I chose the last prompt -
5.) What about school do you miss the least?

First, I have to say, I am so far out of school, I barely remember it at all with any clarity!  Now, having established that excuse for any faulty memories, I would have to say that the thing I miss the least is being one of only 3 red-headed kids in the fact in the whole county...and the only girl with red hair!  Obviously, having red hair these days is not abnormal, and is frequently the color of choice for people looking for a change!  But, when I was in school, in a small town, in a small county, where your dad was one of the 2 police officers in the county, having red hair just made you the butt of jokes.  You know them, I'm sure...I'd rather be dead than red on the head...look, here comes Woody Woodpecker...and several others that I have conveniently forgotten. 

I don't look very happy, do I?

Add to that my last name - Seymour - and you have another entire set of jokes...Under the grandstand, by SeeMore Butts was the most often used, and the most obnoxious!  Then, throw in the fact that I was small and timid, and you have a recipe for teasing.

When you are a child, no amount parental reassurance that you are beautiful, that they are just jealous, or whatever other platitudes parents offer, can take away the pain of the teasing.  I can tell you, as probably a lot of you can attest, that the things you were taunted with as a child don't ever really disappear.  But, I digress...

What about school do I miss the least?  I would have to say I don't miss the teasing!  But, I never let that stop me, and even managed to succeed in spite of the teasing!  So, take that, all you kids!  I may have had some rough spots in my life, but I am still going on, red hair and all...I am vertically challenged (my way of saying I am short), but have never found that to be a hindrance (except when I need something from the top shelf in the cupboard!), and although I have a different last name now, I kept my maiden name as my middle name when I married - because I was proud of it!

Happier Times!

I am linking to Mama Kat's.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Backyard Birds

The feeders have been busy at our house - the yellow finches have gone, as have the purple ones.  I wasn't aware these left so early in the spring...all I have left is the memories, and the photos, of course!

Bye-bye finches...hope to see you next year!

I am linking to Natures Footstep WingedOutdoor Wednesday and World Bird Wednesday

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday...

Who could hang a name on you...

Not saying goodbye...just singing that mind gets funny like that sometimes...

This was the watermelon my oldest son brought for Mother's Day.  It was, by far, the strangest pattern I have ever seen in a melon!  The kids enjoyed it wasn't bad...just odd for a melon, and rather pretty.

I am linking to Ruby Tuesday 2.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


The speaker at our Photo Club meeting this week showed a technique for making your blooms really showy.  After a trip to the hardware store to purchase LED flashlights, pipe clamps, threaded rod, nuts and bolts, and a length of PVC pipe, DH put together a wonderful light bar for me!  The following photos were my first experience with the new light bar, which is mounted to a tripod.  I think, with practice, this might be a wonderful way to create some real art!

These are straight out of the camera, using spot metering, ISO 1600, Shutter Speed 1/800, f5.6.

Linking to Floral Friday Fotos and SOOC.