Photographs – Summer Creativity

A seashore or bay town is usually a boon to the creative spirit of its inhabitants. This horizontal line-up of birdhouses on the porch of a trailer in Fortescue, New Jersey, is a testament to creativity, and also a good photo for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Horizontal Lines.

I was surprised to find CREATIVITY listed as a virtue by Virtues for Life. This virtue, for me personally, is a lot easier to achieve than some of the stickier virtues…such as ‘Flexibility or Detachment,’ two virtues I have trouble following at times.

Another good example of horizontal lines is this flat-bottomed boat appropriately named, ‘The Greenhead Hotel.’ If you’ve ever been to the Delaware Bay or another New Jersey salt marsh in summer you won’t need to be told what greenhead implies. Once bitten by a greenhead fly you will never forget the name or the big pinch of the bite.

I’ll close this post with one of my favorite quotes on creativity.

Background – Elephant Ear leaf.

Quote – Fortitude

I love this little Johnny Jump Up Viola. Every year a plant or two of this variety springs up within the confines of a crack in my front stoop. The foliage gets a little bruised and battered by foot traffic and concrete detritus, but the bloom is radiant and perfect. This type of garden quirkiness always becomes a favorite, compelling me to keep at all my dreams, “Onward!”

Photo Challenges – Columns and Vertical Lines

A dragonfly, vertical lines on his wing, sitting on the column of a Shepherd’s Hook.

I love taking part in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenges. Today I checked the subject out and commented on Cee’s blog that the challenge looked like fun, and I would be on the lookout for a perfect subject to photograph. I wasn’t expecting the opportunity to present itself so fast! Within minutes I spotted this amazing fellow/gal on the shepherd’s hook my birdfeeder hangs on.

The hook is my column, the vertical lines are covering the dragonfly and his wings.

Detail of dragonfly wing/vertical lines

What a beautiful creature he is; I feel a sense of awe and wonder as I look at the details God created, the beauty of something as humble as an insect is an awesome example of his mysterious ways.

Quick Tip – Garden/Container Greenhouse Drainage

Here’s an easy way to create drainage holes in plastic disposable food containers. These containers come in all sizes and make perfect miniature greenhouses for stem cuttings and seed sowing, but creating drainage holes can be tricky. I’ve found that if I lay the container on the lawn to use as a stabilizer, an ice pick (screwdrivers and nails work great too) will easily pierce the plastic when hit with a hammer without tearing the bottom into shreds.

There you have it! Perfect drainage in less than five minutes with a minimum of fuss. Happy Gardening!

Perspective, Photograph & Quote – Waiting

The mountain laurel, late in blooming this year, is finally flowering. It blooms in a small woods near our home. I like to photograph the pristine white flowers illuminated by the canopy of trees and sky.

This Spring, everything has been late in coming into leaf or flower, we’ve waited on just about everything, including the warm weather. I found quite a few quotes on waiting and some lauded the ability to wait while others criticized the tendency. I liked this one by Lincoln…

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”

                                      ~ Abraham Lincoln

Today I think I will choose to hustle!

Quirkiness – Weather vane Wednesday/An Invitaton and Challenge

“As of the end of this month (and 2,000 Daily Prompts, 380 Photo Challenges, 260 Community Pools, and 100 First Fridays later), we will no longer publish new posts, prompts, or challenges on this site.” ~Daily Post

I’m disappointed that WordPress has stopped their daily/weekly challenges. I have met many of you, read your blogs, and followed you through these challenges, and I’m so grateful for that opportunity. I am hoping to find more challenges through your blogs and thought I would start one of my own that will keep all of us looking up. I’m challenging myself to post a weather vane photograph every Wednesday through June of 2019. I hope many of you will join me and leave a link or pingback in my post comments to your post and photo. Thanks!

History of Weather vanes

Glen Lake Boulevard, Pitman, NJ

Quirkiness – Can You See Me?

Can you see me? I’m a catbird nest, built low in a trumpet vine, directly beside the back porch, one of the busiest places in the yard, but does that deter the catbirds?

No! They keep redesigning and adding building materials.

Can you see me? I’m a baby mourning dove, still not comfortable with flight, hiding out under the shrub roses.

Can you see me? I blend in perfectly with the water lilies. Here’s a close-up view. My domed and arched eyes are perfect for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Arch Dome or Half Circle.

All these garden and pond photos were taken early this morning…Spring has finally arrived in New Jersey.

Teeny-tiny froglet on lily pads.

Quirky – Tip on Thursday/Do You See It?

Do you see it?
Look closer…try to find the leaves of four.
A change in pattern is a trick to use in finding four-leaf clovers.
Or you can use the new trick I’ve just discovered.
Look for luck right after the rain passes over.
The four-leaf clover has leaves that are closer together and holds a droplet of water in its center while its three-leafed siblings do not. You might get wet feet and knees, but you also might find some luck.

Peculiarities – Twists and Turtles

Today while I was searching for flowers and foliage to press I came upon a twisted swirl of yellow. A twist so unique and perfect for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge I raced back home to get my camera hoping my subject would be true to its nature and not move away too quickly.

He was still in place when I came back with my camera in hand. Although he glared an unfriendly warning at me with his orange eye, I took several good photos.

Even more peculiar was the sight of one of his woodsy pals crossing the road (To get to the other side I wonder???) when I returned home. I took a photo of him too before I helped him across, out of the way of oncoming cars.

I see Eastern box turtles at least once a season, but it is rare to see more than one on the same day. When I came home I found a four leaf clover in the yard. Some luck! All in all I think this post is perfect for Cee’s Oddball Challenge.

Quote – Memorial Day

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” – President John F. Kennedy

People – Summer Me

For those of you who wonder what I look like…this was taken earlier today right before our first day at the local lake. I’m wearing the sunhat and beach cover up my grand-daughter picked out for me for Mother’s Day. She has great style for a five-year-old. I love the big hat, it kept the sun off of me just like a portable umbrella. I am still a bit incognito behind the glasses, but folks…this is me. I wish for you all a sensational summer, and for those of you in the hemisphere down-under, I wish you an easy winter.

Quick Tip – Tip on Thursday/Volunteers

Among the clover…

…and the grasses of my back yard…I have been spotting and collecting dozens of garden volunteers. I call them volunteers, but they are in reality last year’s flowers that have self-seeded and sprouted in unexpected places.

This is the patch of Johnny-Jump-Up Violas the volunteers have sprung from this year. I have relocated enough of the flowers to plant a ten-foot border along my back porch. They will fill in and maybe self-seed more volunteers for next year. Hooray for Spring’s volunteers.

Any plant that the gardener didn’t put in, and is not a weed, is known by the term volunteer. In most cases gardeners consider these plants more than welcome, though they may need to be relocated or even shared. ~ Horticulture Magazine


Peculiarities – Art in Strange Places

I’m reposting these beautiful pieces of artificial reef because they could be considered a companion to yesterday’s Wheaton Arts post.

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When I stroll ocean beachfront, I always search for seaglass. The bays of my area also yield up bits of this treasure, but rarely a piece so perfectly frosted as those polished by the ocean.

Some of these pieces come from decades-old blown glass. Glassblowing was once a major business in my area of New Jersey. You can read the history of glassblowing in South Jersey here: South Jersey Glass Blowing History.

The cast-offs and waste, known as culls, were often dumped as “fill” for construction or used in combination with concrete as artificial reefs to curb what was even then a problem…beach erosion. Pieces of this glass can be found today in a few areas.

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I like the enormous concrete and fused glass slabs that have become home to mussels and other bay animals.

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My best guess on how these huge pieces of artificial reef were fashioned is that culls and discarded molten glass, still warm enough to be semi-liquid, were covered with concrete and then dumped along the shoreline of the bays. I like the enormous concrete and fused glass slabs that have become home to mussels and other bay animals. Tons of glass was likely mixed with concrete as moorings for homes. new year's day 027 In the above photo you can see an example of a bed of mussels making their home on a large piece of concrete-fused glass. I find these pieces of unintentional art, combined with the natural environment of tides and animal life, breathtaking in appearance. When I recently photographed them scattered on a hurricane-damaged beachfront something within my spirit responded to their undefined beauty. new year's day 023 I have included almost every picture I took of these strange artistic fusions of glass and concrete. A bit self-indulgent perhaps, but I know that the next time I visit they will most likely be gone. Unappreciated by most, they will be plowed under again and encased in new layers of concrete, forever hidden. Hopefully, their images will have a long life in the archives of this blog. new year's day 024 new year's day 028 new year's day 029 new year's day 030 new year's day 031 new year's day 032
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Place – Ten-Photo-Daytrip/Wheaton Arts

A daytrip to Wheaton Arts is a must if you are in the Philadelphia area and love blown glass and glass artworks.

Walk through the museum first. You will find a wide array of glass vessels, history and even a few items called whimseys. Whimseys were what the glassblowers worked on for themselves during their lunch hour.

In modern times glassblowers create many unique items, such as this marionette.

Even nails were decorated with blown glass.

We were pleased to see paperweights created by renowned glass artist Paul Stankard.

Here’s a close-up look at a bit of the art contained in the paperweights courtesy of a large poster.

Our next stop was the glassblowing studio. You can feel the heat in the building. The glow of the furnaces as sand is turned to liquid is so bright and hot it is impossible to gaze at it for any length of time. You can see the heat and glow reflected on the back of one of the glassblower’s shirts.

To say it’s fascinating to observe these craftsmen/women as they work is a definite understatement. I could have watched them all day. Another bonus is the gentleman who narrates and explains what they are doing.

If you are able you can schedule a lesson in advance and make your own paperweight. Even the most awkward crafter will create a beautiful paperweight under the tutelage of the glassblowers.

This is a worthwhile way to spend a few hours. Wheaton Arts is open April through December/Tuesday through Sundays, 10am – 5pm. Wheaton Arts is closed on most holidays.

Here’s something good to tell you, Wheaton Arts also sells the wares of the glassblowers and has a General Store filled with old-fashioned toys and candy. There is also a nature walk circling the property.