Place – Six on Saturday – Cedar Lake

Twenty-five years ago, on hot summer days, I took my pre-teen sons to a beautiful swimming pond called Washington Lake. The place closed, was vacant for years, but recently was repurposed into a walking park. The day was warm, but there was plenty of ice on the water to remind us it was still February. It was a perfect opportunity to visit a beloved place I hadn’t seen in decades.

The beach, once dotted with lawn chairs and umbrellas, is still wide and inviting. New docks now stand where once my boys jumped from diving boards and slid down slides.

The water is so clear it reminded us of the Caribbean. It is pristine, almost like looking through glass.

We walked all the way around, something you couldn’t do years ago, now the walking trails give you a 360 degree view.

This little knoll seemed a perfect place to picnic.

The white pine in the surrounding woodland is beautiful. I saw a lot of milkweed pods too, a good place for monarch butterflies to thrive. In about six weeks or so the trees might begin to bud. We will try to visit often in the next few months.

This challenge is part of Six on Saturday and Skywatch.

Photo Challenge – Sycamores

I love the beautiful bark on Sycamore trees. Although, the actual tree Zacchaeus climbed in the Bible story was a Fig Sycamore, I am still reminded of the children’s chorus when I gaze at a sycamore tree. In our area Sycamore leaves begin drying out and falling long before other trees. We don’t find them very colorful, although I have read in other areas of the country they will exhibit a bit of gold.

The story of Zacchaeus – Luke 19:1-10

This post is part of Friday Skywatch.

Phlowers – Blooming in the Garden/April 9, 2021

I planted a new Forsythia in the side garden. It seems to be doing well, and the bright yellow blooms have been a mood booster for sure. The Forsythia is part of this week’s Friday Skywatch.

Daffodils are still opening and blooming in several different colors and sizes.

Starflowers are opening up in the side garden.

Siberian Squill, one of my Springtime favorites, reflects the gorgeous blue of the sky. This dainty flower is my choice for Cee’s Flower of the Day. (I had originally, in error, named this bulb plant as Glory of the Snow. Reading another bloggers post I realized I had the wrong name and changed it to the correct label.)

Periwinkles are my ‘never-give-up’ flower. They are surrounded on all sides, overtaken by English Ivy, yet they wiggle their way through the tangled stems and bloom every Spring.

“Flowers are the music of the ground. From earth’s lips spoken without sound.” ~Edwin Curran (American Poet)

Phlowers – Flower of the Day/Fan Flower

I love Fan Flowers (Scaevola aemula) for many reasons. The fan-shaped bloom comes to mind first. The ease in growing them and the way the blossoms cascade over the edge of a hanging basket is also a plus.

They combine well in their pot with yellow and black pansies, purple heliotrope and diamond frost euphorbia.

My plants are often visited by goldfinches. They pluck the ripening seeds from the lower branches of the plant, giving me many moments to admire their beauty as they feed. Fan flowers are one of many plants that attract and shelter backyard birds.

I have a pinkish fan flower, but it is not as vibrant as the purple. I like having more choices though, and this color combines nicely with other shades of pink and purple.

Fan flowers are one of my favorites for flower pressing. If picked just after they unfurl they retain their color perfectly. They combine well with other pressed flowers.

This post is part of Skywatch Friday and Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Photo Challenges – South Jersey Spring has Sprung

On occasion, I enjoy taking part in Restless Jo’s Monday Walks. Warm weather is perfect for a springtime stroll in the small woods behind my neighborhood. There isn’t much budding yet, but I still found plenty of God’s art to admire.

Circular patterned stumps were a good choice for Ryan Photography’s Photo of the Week. I enjoy aged wood and stumps; gnarly pieces of branches adorned with moss give my spirit a lift.

I came upon a hollowed out portion of a tree. “That’s where the dolls come to get a drink after everyone’s sleeping.” I heard the voice of my beloved grandmother as if she stood beside me. She told the best stories about dolls and woodland animals and their naughty shenanigans when children and their parents slept. At that moment the water inside the hollow really did seem magical as it took me back in time, oh, about fifty years.

Of course, the rest of my walk was enchanted with lovely memories. I found fairy wishes bursting out of a pod and released them into the air. I thought my camera didn’t capture their image, but when I downloaded them, I could just see the outline of one wish as it flew through the air. Can you see it against the sky? A fairy wish floating through the air is also something that lifts my mood.

I don’t know if Spring has completely sprung but the lichen were thriving in the warmer temperatures.

Once again, I heard my grandmother’s voice telling a story, “The dolls used the lichen as a ladder and climbed all the way to the top of the tree, but they couldn’t get back down again! ‘Oh no!’ cried the dolls, ‘What are we going to do?'” How rich my life remains because she helped my imagination come alive. I hope I can do the same for my grandchildren.

Photographs & Perspective – Autumn Bound

My family often gathers together for Thursday evening dinner. The conversation last night turned toward summer’s end, and the finish of fun activities, picnics, and warm weather. The swimming season at lake and pool is over, school is starting next week, and coatless weather will soon be replaced with jackets and hats. Since my sons have been working in high heat and humidity outdoors, they aren’t sorry to see temperatures in the 90’s disappear, but we all wish the freedom and fun of summer would never vanish. The calendar might proclaim summer not ending for twenty-two days, but Labor Day weekend in the U.S. always seems to announce Autumn.

Although they bloom all summer, sunflowers are commonly associated with Autumn. I recently found these beauties growing in the front of a neighbor’s home. The day was overcast, the sun still rising, and the grey of the sky created an unearthly backdrop for these beauties. I think they will be perfect to use as the September header image for the blog. Good-bye August…Hello September.

This post is part of Skywatch Friday and Fandango One Word Challenge (FOWC) – Bound

Photo & Place – Weather Vane Wednesday/Ocean City, NJ, 12th and the Boardwalk

Monday evening, we drove to Ocean City, a good hour’s drive, just to have boardwalk pizza for dinner. Eating pizza at Manco and Manco, once known as Mac and Manco, is a tradition for many people in our area. The pizza was delicious and sitting on a counter stool with the ocean in view while we ate was sublime. Oh, and did I say, Manco and Manco makes the best pizza in the world? I also was lucky and found several weather vanes in the area. Here is one with a resting gull beside it. Happy Wednesday to you!

Skywatch

I miss the WordPress Photo Challenge and thought an interesting alternative would be to offer one of my own on Wednesdays. Weather Vane Wednesdays is just what the title implies, a photo of a weather vane.

Create a weather vane post, the name doesn’t have to be in the title. If you would like others to see your post leave a link to your blog in the comment box. You can also tag the post #weathervaneweds. If you place a link to my post in your post you will create a pingback that will appear in the comment section. Thanks so much for taking part in my challenge

Pheathers – Lovebirds

I love to take morning walks. This week when I opened the door I immediately saw the silhouette of two large lovebirds on a distant tree. I grabbed my camera and actually jogged toward them, intent on getting a photograph before they flew away. I was sure they must be a pair of eagles. We have spotted one flying high overhead in our vicinity more than once. Perhaps the lone eagle had found a mate.

By the time I neared the tree where they roosted, I was a bit out of breath, but able to zoom in with my camera and check out the photo in the viewfinder. Oh, the pain of it! I was out of breath and wildly disheveled just to get a picture of a pair of old turkey buzzards.

Oh well, I guess buzzards can be lovebirds too. They are very prolific in this area. There is usually not a day goes by that I don’t see a few gracefully circling high in the air. Maybe next time I’ll be able to capture that elusive image of our neighborhood eagle. For now, I’ll have to enjoy the buzzards.

This post is part of Skywatch Friday.

Perspective – Rain and Rainbows

Rain or Rainbows – What a terrific subject for this week’s Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge. I went to one of my favorite places over the weekend, Fortescue, New Jersey, on the Delaware Bay, only to find that the weather was contrary to what we had hoped for when we left home.

The sky was cold and grey and the temperature reflected it. The rain pelted those fishing off the beach; we think they were trying to hook some winter flounder, striper or bunker. We saw a fishing rod bend with a possible bite, but whatever nibbled at it got away.

Where there is rain you will find rainbows. Although I didn’t see a rainbow in the sky, the upturned oyster shells scattered by the surf on the beach reflected a brilliant iridescence, the only rainbow I found.

When they dry, the oysters are plain and bluish-gray in appearance.

The last rainbow is a throwback photograph and video of last year’s vacation in Jamaica. In the early morning, on the way to breakfast, my husband spotted this amazing spider web, damp after the gardener’s early morning watering; the web’s moisture captured the sun and reflected it as a shimmering rainbow.

My 30 second YouTube Video will give you a good look at the spiderweb as it danced in the wind and reflected rainbows.

Photograph – Skywatch Friday – Eerie Skyscape

I was outside on my front lawn last night, camera pointed toward the sky. I haven’t taken part in Skywatch Friday for quite a while. Last night’s sky was the perfect opportunity to create a post. The eerie sky was the forerunner of a winter storm. A chilly mix is falling even as I write these words…rain mixed with snow. I went outside before breakfast, dressed in my nightclothes,  and picked a big bouquet of daffodils; I wasn’t willing to allow all the beautiful yellow blooms to be crushed beneath the weight of falling snow.