Foster Failure

So, since my last entry, I have fostered six wonderful pups. There was Ziva, the Wonder Dog, whom I’ve already introduced. She was adopted a week after she came to stay with us.

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Then there was Gigi. I fostered her around Easter. She had the privilege of being our little Easter poster pup.

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She only stayed with us about two weeks before she was adopted.

Then there was Bayou. He was pretty awesome…a bit hyper and quite a handful, but he trained easily. I wanted to keep him a little longer, but he was only with us about three weeks before he found his furever home.

Bayou

Then we were asked to foster a cute little pup by the name of Cosmo. We were able to keep him a couple of weeks before he was fixed, then he was adopted about a week and half later by a wonderful family with lots of kids. He needed lots of kids to match his lovable, rambunctious little personality.

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Then about the same day this little bundle of joy was adopted, I was asked to foster another little lab pup named Twigs. (I think someone decided I needed to be the lab mix foster mommy.) Twigs was awesome, but we didn’t call him Twigs. We called him Jinxy after a favorite character on Warehouse 13. He was a little cutie, and he was nearly as rambunctious. He cried if he was put in the crate, so he ended up sleeping in the bed with us. After he was fixed, he was adopted within about a week by a sweet couple who planned to spoil him rotten, which is what his tender little soul needed.

Twigs (aka Jinxy)

And then we fostered a furbaby I met on my first day fostering…Pilgrim. Apparently, ours was the first foster home he had been in, even though he had been with PPNK for six months. He had stayed at the PPNK farm for a bit, and then he was moved to Dog Spot because he could jump fences. After a few days of having this wonderful guy in our home, I just couldn’t figure out why he hadn’t been adopted yet. He was amazing! He loved to ride in the car, he was already housebroken, and he was an absolute joy! We had him for about four weeks, and then I got a call that someone wanted to meet him. I was not happy about this prospect. We had all fallen in love with him, and I’m pretty sure he had already adopted us. So when the person who was supposed to meet him didn’t show, I signed those adoption papers. He is now a Cato!

So meet our wonderful foster failure and newest family member…Pilgrim Cato!

And our other furbabies like him pretty good too!

June 27, 2017Pilgrim and other shots59June 27, 2017Pilgrim and other shots64So, the Cato family has grown, and my husband is not allowing me to foster anymore. I guess I’ll just have to keep helping with adoption days and go out to the farm regularly. I’m so glad Pilgrim has joined our family though.

Fur Babies!

So, I know it has been a while since I have blogged. Life has been a little crazy with health issues. Hopefully, I’m able to get back in the game for a little while though.

Since my last post, I have started volunteering with an organization called Pound Puppies ‘n Kittens. They rescue dogs from local shelters and work to get them adopted. I help out on Saturdays with adoptions at the local Petsmart, and I have recently become a fur baby foster mom. I thought I would share a few photos of these great little fur babies. I’m getting in some good practice with pet photography and helping to get them adopted all at the same time. I’m loving it!

The feature photo is of Pilgrim. He’s a great pup and is still up for adoption. He’s quite the jumper and climber, so he would definitely need a tall fence. He’s super sweet.

This next photo is of Frazier. He’s an active little guy with an old man face. He’s a little Basset terrier mix. I just love to play with him and take him for walks on adoption days.

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The next photo is of Squirrel. She is such a super sweet dog, and I think she was finally adopted. She has a crooked little smile due to an under-bite. She was just absolutely lovable.

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I can’t remember the next pup’s name, but he was bound in the cone of shame due to being fixed and biting at his stitches.

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I believe this next one’s name is Zoey, and she is beautiful and sweet.

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The next pup is Eddie. He is an American Pit Bull Terrier mix. He’s super sweet with people, but I’m not sure how he does with other dogs. He’s still available for adoption and needs lots of love.

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Now, the next pup is close to my heart, because she’s my new foster pup. I also have several cute photos of her. She is so sweet! She’s great with other pets, even cats. She loves children. She loves to play fetch, and she’s a puppy still, so she loves to chew. You might catch her sneaking things off the end tables to chew on. She’s even housebroken…though I crate her at night so she doesn’t decide to find something to chew on that she shouldn’t. So, without anymore ado…meet Ziva the Wonder Dog!

And finally, I’ll share a few photos of an adoption success. This next little guy was named No-No and got renamed to Snowball…seven year old girls, what can I say. He was adopted by my mother, sister, and niece, and he is already prince of the house.

I’ve had such a blast with all of these little guys, and there are several more at the farm waiting for homes. If you get a chance, check out http://www.ppnk.org and see all of the wonderful fur babies up for adoption. Also, if you live in the area, you might want to consider fostering or adopting yourself…just a thought.

Oh, and just so you know, there are cats and kittens too!

 

Providence Canyon State Park

Late this summer, I had the opportunity to visit another state park gem…Providence Canyon State Park. It is what we in Georgia refer to as the Little Grand Canyon. I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, so I don’t know how close to the truth that description is; however, I did find the canyons here to be quite fascinating.

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The most striking feature about the canyon is how soft the walls are. There were many signs stating that climbing and repelling were prohibited, but I assumed the warnings were in place because the state did not wish to be responsible for anyone getting hurt. It was not until we reached the bottom of the canyon and I actually ran my fingers along one of the walls that I realized just how dangerous attempting to climb or repel on them might be. The walls felt as if they were made of pure sand. The sand glittered in the little rivulets of water flowing in the canyon valley and tumbled down the walls with as little as a butterfly landing.

I couldn’t imagine anyone attempting to climb the walls. It was more than obvious that the canyon was carved out from erosion. What was truly amazing was that the walls were even there…that they did not fall. Not only were they there, but people wandered about at the top along the rim trail. The fact that those massive walls were mostly sand and that we were walking and driving on the land above was astonishing! God’s world is truly amazing!

The day we visited the park was beautiful in that there were little to no clouds. As we gazed up at the canyon walls, we could take in the sight of the white and red colored walls against a beautiful deep blue sky. It was truly breathtaking. Of course, the heat was also breathtaking…quite literally. Within a couple of hours of exploring, we had consumed our water, my fair skin was burning, and we were drenched in sweat. Thankfully, I brought my tripod into the canyon to get some good shots, because my hands were shaking too much from heat and exertion to get any good clear shots hand-held.

The contrast of the blue sky made for some interesting black and white photos as well.

Another spectacular sight we were privileged to see on this particular day was swarms of butterflies everywhere. Not only were there the usual little swarms of sulphers, but there were also Common Buckeyes and Gulf Fritillaries. I had never seen quite so many of the two latter species in such great numbers in one place before, and their colors were bright and shimmering in the sunlight streaming into the canyon. It was like walking through a fairyland. I sat for quite some time trying to get some good photos of those busy little insects flitting from place to place. Out of the many shots I took, only a few came out clear. It was quite relaxing to just sit and watch them flit about, and every one that landed on the sandy walls sent a little stream of sand trickling down. It was a bit unnerving that such a tiny, lightweight creature could disturb the walls so. It made me wonder what happened when a rain storm came through.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to explore much on this warm day. I will be heading out there when the weather is cooler to do some more exploring soon I hope. But until then, I hope you enjoy the shots I was able to get from this expedition.

Family, Girls’ Trips, and Coastal Towns (Part 4)

Charleston, SC 

Wow! So it has only taken me three months to finally finish editing these photos and get around to writing this blog. This hot summer proved to be a busy one! But now I’ll sit down and tell you about a trip to one of my favorite places…Charleston, SC. I absolutely adore this city, and my daughter and I visited here for a mother-daughter trip for the second time in two years. This time we were able to take our time and explore and have fun!

The trip out was pretty nice, and we listened to our favorite music all the way. We only had to turn around once when Googly Bear told us to “stay right to keep left”. That produced quite the confusion and laughter. Along the way, however, we happened upon a woods fire. I think it was a controlled burn as it was happening on a tree farm. We were on a back road somewhere in South Carolina, so we stopped, got out, and took some photos.

I decided that a couple of these shots would make for some good light glowing in the eerie fog photos, so I doctored them up a bit in post-processsing and came up with these:

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And as for spooky photos, Charleston is a great place to do a little ghost hunting. We headed out every evening for a little ghost hunting and exploring the city at night. We didn’t find any ghosts this time, but we found some places they sure would like. The city is filled with graveyards, old churches, and parks full of haunting stories and pirate tales. If you ever make it out there, be sure to take one of the walking ghost tours.

Aside from ghost hunting, this trip gave me and my daughter some bonding time…mostly in the form of me acting like a teenager again. Our condo had a loft with some pretty good acoustics, so we sang and said silly stuff just to hear our voices bounce around the room. It also made a good spot to throw pillows from. We stayed up late giggling and having a blast!

During the days, we explored the city hitting the Market first to pick up a few things we can only find in Charleston. Then we hit the sidewalks to find all that we could find in a two day span.  There are several interesting historic churches and graveyards to visit,

as well as dozens of historic buildings,

and interesting doors, alleys, parks, and windows.

We were also able to visit the Nathaniel Russel House with its beautiful gardens…

…lovely antique decor…

…and stunning architecture.

(And that gold paint on the crown molding…it has actual 24 kt gold in it! Wow!)

Well, at the end of this trip, we had walked our feet off and had a wonderful little girls’ trip. Of course, as is the case with most of our trips, there must be some disaster along with our adventure. I ran over something in the road and got a hole in my tire just outside of Charleston. Much thanks to the SCDOT for coming to assist me with a tire change and the wonderful guy at Automotive Solutions for repairing the tire and getting us back on the road and headed home.

And that, my friends, is the end of our Spring 2016 girls’ adventures. Keep checking for future adventures! A trip back out to Arkansas and Missouri are soon to come!

 

Family, Girls’ Trips, and Coastal Towns (Part 3)

Savannah, GA

Well, Savannah just happens to be on our way home from Jekyll Island, so it seemed like a perfect place to stop to eat…and take pictures, and visit churches, and see parks, and get chocolate! What can I say? We’re women. We need chocolate.

Now, after the adventures of the previous two days, you would think we would have no energy left for walking. Well, you would be right…but we mustered some up anyway. We thought we might indulge in a carriage ride, but apparently it was necessary to book those in advance if possible, so we had to pass. I did, however, get a couple of nice photos of some carriages and horses…

…and a dog poking his head out of a second story window where some construction was in progress.

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And of course, the squirrels couldn’t let the dogs and horses take all of the camera time, so a couple of those little guys posed for photos too.

The flowers were in bloom, so the parks were dotted with lots of beautiful colors.

And my beautiful daughter…well, we had to purchase a souvenir T-shirt to cover her sunburned shoulders.

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And a fountain seemed to be a great place for two girls to stop and rest their feet (and text I suppose).

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Now this was rather a rushed trip, as it is impossible to see all there is to see in Savannah in an afternoon. I, however, did my best to provide a speed tour. The Lutheran church, the Catholic church, and Forsyth Park made the list for the day to introduce my family to the beauty of Savannah.

We stopped in at the Lutheran Church first. I had visited this one in the past and wanted to show my mother the stained glass windows.

After visiting here for a few minutes, a nice gentleman who was a member of the church told us a little bit about the history of the building. Then he recommended that we take a short walk to the Catholic cathedral to see its beauty. The last time I was in the city, we didn’t make it to the Catholic church before the doors were closed to the public. This day, however, we were lucky enough to get to go inside. And what a sight it was!

It felt a bit irreverent walking around taking photos in the church like that, but there were others there admiring and taking photos as well. I hope we didn’t disturb those who had come there for more spiritual reasons.

Our next stop was Forsyth Park which is the largest of the parks in Savannah. We were greeted on entering by a young barefoot man playing his acoustic guitar and singing.

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I think perhaps he was one of the college students.

Finally, we headed to LuLu’s Chocolate Bar to indulge in a decadent chocolate confection. I, unfortunately, have no photos of that wondrous dessert as we ate it…all.  Now, though this is the end of this adventure, there is still one more to come. About a month later, my daughter and I traveled to the beautiful city of Charleston, so stay tuned for that adventure!

 

Family, Girls’ Trips, and Coastal Towns (Part 2)

Jekyll Island, GA: Day 2

Day two of our adventure found us in the historic district of Jekyll Island on the north end of the island. My niece wanted to see the nature center, so it was just me and my daughter for the first part of the morning. Nothing was quite opened yet, so we walked around a bit and took some photos.

There were several beautiful old buildings, and it was nice and quiet beside the water. But eventually the hour neared 10am, so we headed back over to the benches in front of the fudge shop. Yes…we were waiting for the fudge shop to open, because one must have some chocolate to begin one’s adventure. As we waited patiently for that door to open, I spied a squirrel in the tree above busily building a nest. He was quite fun to watch, though not quite that easy to capture in picture.

When lunch time rolled around, the rest of the family joined us. They were coming from the turtle center, so we were trying to meet them near there. I, of course, got out the handy-dandy brochure with a map. Apparently, I am no good at reading handy-dandy brochures with maps, because I took us the long way around to go right next door. But, we did eventually find one another. I got a few good photos on the scenic route to the turtle center as well.

Now the trees in this area were perfect for photo ops, so I, totally to the dismay of the younger of our party, delayed lunch for a bit to take photos.

Though I was met with some complaints, I think in the end she enjoyed monkeying around in the trees. In fact, she even made a friend. And in the end, we did make our way to fill our tummies. After lunch, my daughter and I decided that we wanted to see the Sea Turtle Hospital, so we went and visited the recuperating sea turtles before we left.

After this adventure, I took everyone to my favorite place on the island…the Driftwood Beach. It proved to be the perfect place for portrait photography.

I think my models had a bit of fun doing the shoot, and I might have had a little fun too. The only challenge was that it was a bit windy…

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…just a little bit.

I was amazed by the patterns the water had carved into the driftwood, and there was one stump on the beach with some particularly interesting patterns and a little puddle of water standing beneath it. Of course, we all had to dip our toes in the little puddle of water, but I’ll spare you the feet pictures.

Well…maybe I won’t spare you the feet pictures…

I will, however, spare you the photos of me dancing around on the beach. That’s just not pretty. No one wants to see that…except my daughter, who may blackmail with them later in life.

Later in the evening, we returned to the nature viewing area and fishing pier. I did capture a few photos of some of the fishermen’s catches, but seeing as how the photos made me nauseous later (and were only taken at the request of my niece with the somewhat morbid sense of awe)…I’ll not be including them. I did manage a few shots of some noisy gulls and some lovely shots of a couple of brown pelicans…and one little boat-tailed grackle who managed to get his silhouette in the mix.

And the final joy was watching a dolphin play near the pier. This was the second dolphin I had seen on this trip. The first was playing near the beach on our first morning there. With all of the natural wonders to be seen, this is the perfect vacation destination for nature enthusiasts and photographers. I know it is one of my favorite places!

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But don’t go away yet! There are still two more destinations I have to share with you, so stay tuned!

Family, Girls’ Trips, and Coastal Towns (Part 1)

Jekyll Island, GA (Day 1)

Nothing says “Fantastic Spring Break!” like having the privilege of taking your niece on her first trip to the ocean. This year Spring Break was supposed to hold the bittersweet adventure of sending my son off to the Coast Guard, but that adventure was delayed and another began. I called my mother, and by the end of the day, she, my sister, my niece, my daughter and myself were packed and off to the beach. My almost seven year old niece had never been to the ocean before, so her Aunt Athenia was very happy to take her and prepared to take lots and lots of photos. And yes, I do intend to share many of them with you.

Of course, the first photo has to be a child’s first view of the ocean…

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…but she didn’t quite cooperate on the waiting for me part, and she really didn’t want to turn around for a picture either. But as soon as she made her way down to the water, we were in for a solid morning of exploring the beach ecosystem and getting our feet wet in the waves.

It was such a joy searching for sand dollars, crabs, shells, and other beach creatures and watching my niece enjoy the beach with her mother.

We even chased a few birds here and there.

And as for me and my daughter, well we found a few minutes to have a little creative Whovian fun.

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And of course, it is always a joy to watch a teenage girl hang out with her grandmother.

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Later in the day, my beloved family managed to find a furry beach goer to hang out with. Of course, they made friends with the human beach goers as well.

By the time evening rolled around, the youngest two girls of our party needed a Disney fix, so they lounged in the suite while us old folk went for a little walk. And by little walk, I mean something in the range of a 2 to 3 mile hike through the marsh! A certain photographer/blogger forgot that the last time she took the trail she did it by bicycle. That little nature hike was quite a bit longer than memory recalled. It was, however, quite worth the trip.

For the first time ever, I saw a bald eagle in the wild! That alone was worth the hike!

However, many other natural beauties graced our vision along the rest of the hike, and the golden hours of the evening were the perfect time to witness them. As the temperature cool and the sun begins to set, the wildlife either comes out to dine or settles down to sleep (or roost as the case may be). We watched as deer nestled into the marsh grasses or grazed amongst the foliage.

We marveled at snails clinging to the marsh grasses.

And we watched in awe and wonder as the ocean birds flew about the marsh and settled down to roost for the night.

And besides the wildlife, there were beautiful landscapes to behold as well.

And the most amazing scenic landscape of all was the sunset.

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And that beautiful sunset was the end of Day 1 of our adventure. Stay tuned for more!

Ahhh…Spring!

Ahhh…Spring! The world is waking from its winter slumber. The trees and plants are budding and blooming,

the bees are busy gathering nectar and pollinating the flowers,

the butterflies are emerging,

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the birds are migrating and beginning their nests,

and the lizards are emerging from…from…well, from wherever it is they hide away during the winter.

Everything is new and alive and awake…including me. Well, maybe not new, but definitely alive and awake. My mind is awake with thoughts. My lungs are filled with spring air. The very essence of my being can feel the world around me waking up and coming to life.

So here I sit at one in the morning writing while everyone else is sleeping and dreaming sweet spring dreams. I feel the need to create, and this seems to be the least intrusive outlet of my creative urges, as it will allow my loved ones to continue to slumber.

Yet soon, in the daylight hours, I will be out photographing the waking world and sharing its joys and wonders with you, my faithful readers. But until then, I will leave you with a beautiful sunrise

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and a peaceful sunset

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to enjoy until the ‘morrow.

Christmas Memories (Part 2: Twilights at Chimney Park)

Our next Christmas adventure is sure to become part of our yearly tradition, and I stumbled upon this gem on a family photoshoot. An old friend of mine needed some family photos done, so I suggested we head out to Chimney Park behind the local library as it has many nice spots for photos. Upon arriving, we discovered that there were people there decorating for an event that night. This worked out wonderfully for our photoshoot with the lovely Christmas decorations, and everyone there was very kind and patient with us.

A gentleman finally told me what all the decorating was about and invited us out to the event that evening. The event was “Twilights at Chimney Park”. For $5 we could see the lights, get a hot dog, hot chocolate, and s’mores, and enjoy various choirs singing carols. It seemed like a wonderful event to take my niece to, especially considering how much she enjoyed the Fairy Festival earlier in the year, so I proceeded to call and offer an invite and make plans to return that evening.

It was truly magical! You pay your fee, receive your tickets, and then the local elves whisk you into a winter wonderland filled with the sights and sounds of Christmas!

The first smell upon entering was that of hot chocolate, so of course, I stopped for a cup. We arrived early, so of course we were one of the first families in line to see Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Then we set out to explore the rest of the winter wonderland.

This tiny little park had magically exploded into a world of Christmas wonder. It was truly a fun and magical adventure, and I’m sure we will return year after year.

 

 

Christmas Memories (Part 1: Decorating and the Parade)

Christmas is over and a new year has begun, so we are left with but memories of the special things that happen at this most wonderful time of the year. Old traditions mix with new memories to say goodbye to one year and issue in the next.

So, with that being said, I will trot down memory lane and tell you about my Christmas. This year was a little different than most. My daughter turned 16 this year near Christmas, so a Sweet 16 Birthday Trip was scheduled during this holiday season. Because of this, we skipped many of the family gatherings in favor of a trip to Disney World. Yes folks, we skipped Christmas…but not entirely. Some traditions must be kept, and some traditions were sadly missed, but Christmas was still fun and exciting and especially special this year.

Now the tradition that always brings in the holiday season is of course the decorating. Every year on Thanksgiving Night we begin decorating the house for Christmas. When the guests are gone and our bellies are stuffed with turkey and all the fixings, we put on the Christmas music and bring the decorations down from the attic.

And of course, no Christmas tree is complete without a cat sleeping under its branches.

Every year we each get a new ornament, so each one we place on the tree has a special Christmas memory attached.