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.

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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!

 

Feathered Friends

One of my favorite hobbies is bird-watching. When I was a little girl, I got a school assignment in science to go bird-watching and identify the birds I found. I asked Daddy if I could borrow his binoculars, and I headed out to find my little feathered friends. Ever since then, I have enjoyed watching for and discovering as many bird species as I can find. I entice my little feathered friends with various bird feeders around the yard and bushes and trees for them to hide and nest in. Over the years, many a little feathered couple has taken up residence in my yard, returning year after year to dine and nest. In fact, as I write, Mama and Daddy Mockingbird are chasing off an unwanted guest, Big Bad Mr. Crow. (I suppose he got too close to the kiddos in the nest when he spied that dead mouse on the walk. The mouse is in the woods now, and hopefully Mr. Crow will move on and the Mockingbirds can settle down with the little chippers.)

Speaking of mockingbirds, they are rather brave and interesting birds. For some reason, they aren’t too keen on the squirrels. They often dive bomb the little fur balls as they’re raiding the bird feeders. Mockingbirds don’t eat the seeds, so I have often wondered how the little thieves managed to attract their negative attention. I suppose maybe they just interfere with the bug-catching. I’ve also seen them dive bomb my Aussie a time or two…which was met with little to no recognition of their attempts. Needless to say, they don’t really bother with hounding her anymore (hehe…hounding). The mocking birds often chase after larger birds, and I hear their squabbles every now and again when I step outside. They seem to be somewhat ok with me hanging around, so I’ve managed a few decent photos of them.

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Now back to that crow. He had his fair share of chasing off the predators last Sunday. We were headed out to take a drive on that beautiful day, and as I was heading to the car, I heard that crow making an awful racket. He kept flying up into the air and then diving down to the treetops making quite a fuss. I turned to my husband and said, “What is that crazy crow doing?”

Well, within seconds of making that statement, I heard the cries of a hawk. My husband spotted him sitting in the very top of a pine tree. I had my camera in my hand, so I wasted no time in framing a few shots of that beautiful guy. Eventually the crow stirred him from his treetop, and I was blessed with several shots of that beautiful specimen in flight. I hear him occasionally and see evidence of his presence, but Sunday, we got to see him…a beautiful red-tailed hawk. He’s been resident in this wood for many years, but only on rare occasion do you get a glimpse of him.

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Another little guy I managed a shot of recently is the Blue Grosbeak. I was staring out of the window of my back door, and I thought I was looking at one of the bluebirds nesting in the backyard. As I squinted to get a better view (I wasn’t wearing my glasses), I realized that maybe I wasn’t looking at a bluebird after all. So I went to get my glasses and realized I was right. Right away I got my camera and zoomed in on him and got his picture. Then, I looked him up in my various bird books and identified him as a Blue Grosbeak…another fine specimen to add to my bird collection.

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The rest of my feathered friends are regulars and will flit about even when I’m outside. Sometimes I think the sparrows actually pose for their pictures. I managed a really great shot of one of my sparrow friends coming in for a landing on the feeder.

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And then there are the various and abundant sparrow photos…

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Then there’s my flitty little friend, the tufted titmouse…

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And the chickadee…

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A rare catch of a female scarlet tanager…

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And the cardinal…

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I also got a couple of shots of the missus before the mister shooed her away…

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And the tufted titmouse had a friend over, a female brown-headed cowbird.

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And finally, the house finches (finally, for the backyard anyway).

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Now, not all of my feathered friends visit the backyard. Sometimes, I go to visit them. I found this little guy hanging out at the park next to the lake. He was knocking on a dead tree trunk and sounded like a woodpecker. When I spotted him, I realized he wasn’t a woodpecker at all. He was a Brown-Headed Nuthatch. He was only at about head height on the dead trunk, and I think he was posing for me, so I got several good shots of him.

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My little bird collection is steadily increasing, and hopefully I can wow you all with some more great species before summer’s end. But for now, the birds bid you “Adieu”.

Murphy’s Law and Silver Linings

Wow! It’s been a little while since I’ve written anything. I’ve started to write quite a few times, but that thing called life gets in the way. In fact, I feel like I’ve been recovering from one disaster after another since the beginning of the year. Murphy’s Law has dominated, and anything that can go wrong has gone wrong. However, every cloud has a silver lining.

On Christmas day, I hurt my thumb. It was a severe strain, and you think that would be easy enough to recover from. However, I think it would have been easier to recover from a break than a sprain. After three months of therapy and a ridiculous medical expense to pay, my thumb still hurts. I am able to type again, which was nearly impossible wearing the brace, and I can almost open jars by myself again without much pain, but I still have some healing to do. I’m not letting it stop me though. I’m determined to get back to writing and photographing.

Therapy took a big chunk out of my schedule that I wasn’t expecting. Between driving to and from, the therapy itself, and the frequent lunch dates with my husband (insert smiley here), I didn’t have much time left for the many other things I needed to do. So I scrambled to get things done, and unfortunately blogging was low on the priority list. Then, just as therapy ended and I was ready to get back blogging, I awoke to a flooded garage.

Now, I know what you’re probably picturing, but it really was an interesting discovery. My studio and workshop resides in the garage, and a little more than half of the garage floor is covered in a burgundy colored foam flooring that locks together like a puzzle. At this point in the story, the workshop was not quite organized like I would have liked. In fact, my husband and I had spent some time browsing Home Depot that very week looking for shelving units to organize my creative work space. Well, I stepped into the workshop to do a little work, and as I stepped, barefoot as is usually the case at home, I kept noticing that water was seeping up between the squares of flooring. My first thought, of course, was that the rain had managed to blow in under the garage door. When I knelt down to retrieve something from under a table, I realized that that there might be quite a bit more water than I realized when the knee of my jeans became completely soaked with water. I began to feel around and realized that there was enough water that I needed to get some things out of there and get the flooring up. I called my son in for help, and we began to move things. As we picked up the flooring near the wall, I discovered that the water was not rainwater after all. It was flowing from the wall. And on the other side of the wall…the kitchen sink. Into the kitchen I went, and I pulled things from under the sink and discovered that the pipe had a steady drip. When I called my husband, he knew immediately what was leaking and told me what to turn off. It was leaking from the valve to the outside spigot, and it had been leaking for about two days. Thankfully, the flooring protected all of my supplies and equipment, so no damage there. After cleaning up and my living room being filled with half of the garage for two days, I set out to purchase those handy-dandy shelving units to get everything organized…and off the floor, in case of a similar incident in the future. Needless to say, between repairs and organizing, that entire week was shot. The silver lining however, my work space is now happy and organized.

This, however, was not the end. Come Friday, Murphy’s law was at it again. My darling cat, Butterscotch, decided to take to sleeping on my laptop. I guess he was doing this because the laptop was warm. Anyway, he jumped up there and CRASH! My external hard drive with all of my photos fell to the floor. I got up and plugged it into the computer and immediately received the “fatal error” message. Oh no! I texted my computer genius friend and got the hard drive to him straight away. It was to no avail, however. My darling cat had destroyed it. I scrambled to my social websites and cloud storage sites to retrieve the lost photos, and of course, I cried quite a bit. Then, last weekend, as I was cleaning up my laptop of unneeded files, we discovered that my husband had backed up most of the information on the hard drive back in the fall onto his profile on the laptop. We found the treasured pictures from our trip to Missouri and many of the original files for most of my photos. The only thing that is missing now…2014 Christmas photos and trip to Gatlinburg and a trip to the Whistle Stop Cafe. Those had not gotten backed up anywhere yet. So, the loss was not nearly as devastating as I had imagined, and I am back up and running…and taking new photos.

Now I am mostly healed from injuries, organized, and back to work. Hopefully, I will not go so long without blogging in the future, so stay tuned! The weather is good, spring is here, and travels are in the planning. I’ve also got a few festivals I’ll be attending in the near future, so I plan to tell you all about them!

Winter Birds

Winter is upon us. How do I know this? Well, from the influx of little winter birds of course! My Daddy always called them snowbirds, and since he called them snowbirds, I naturally thought that there appearance meant there would be snow soon. Much to my dismay, their appearance did not always bring snow. Living in the south, we look for every sign we can that snow will be coming soon, because we don’t get it very often…but I digress, so let’s get back to the snowbirds.

I realized last year that I couldn’t keep calling these little guys snowbirds, especially considering there were several different species hopping around the yard. Therefore, I got out my handy dandy field guide and perused its depths looking for my little birds. I picked this guide up at a gift shop at a state park within the last year, and it has become an indispensable part of my hiking and photography repertoire. With my handy dandy field guide and internet access, I was able to identify the most common winter bird that my daddy referred to as a snowbird.

The Dark-Eyed Junco

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He’s a wonderful little bird and a sure sign that winter has arrived. This little guy flies right in with the cold it seems. And on Thanksgiving Day, several of these fat, fluffy little guys were hopping around in my butterfly bushes.

Who would have ever thought that butterfly bushes would attract birds? But they do. These bushes attract all of the smallest little chippers into their spidery branches. Apparently the twisting and weaving branches of this bush provide a safe haven for small birds, as it is quite difficult to see into their branches. Also, the branches are very small in diameter, which is perfect for little feet to wrap around.

It had rained on the days leading up to Thanksgiving, and the rain had collected in some holes the dogs had dug underneath the bushes forming two perfect little bird baths. As I sat at the kitchen table listening to Mama talk, I started to notice the birds gathering to drink and bathe. (My cat, Butterscotch, noticed them too. He sat in eager anticipation, just hoping somehow the window would disappear, and he could spring on the unsuspecting little feather dusters.) Their little chips and chirps caught my attention, and I began to watch them. They would flit down to the little puddles, take a drink, splish and splash a little to rinse their feathers, and then flit back up to a branch to preen. I was captivated. I grabbed my camera and began taking pictures of these little cuties. I only managed a handful of good shots, but I will share the ones I got.

Ruby-Crowned Kinglet

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Carolina Wren

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Tufted Titmouse

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Carolina Chickadee

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When they began to disperse, I filled the feeders with food hoping to bring them back. They have been feeding at the feeders ever since. In fact, they are enjoying their breakfast as I type.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe holiday. Remember to give thanks for all the wonderful people in your life, and enjoy the feasting!

Fort Mountain State Park

Fort Mountain State Park…my latest hiking adventure. My trusty hiking companion, Dixie, and I set out for another grand adventure last Saturday. Two and half hours and one nervous Aussie Mix later, we left the comforts of civilization (meaning all cell phone signal was lost) and entered the mountain wilderness.

Atop the mountain are several trails that link and criss-cross and such. Now, the map shows that these trails should equal a little less than a mile; however, that only includes two of the five trails up there and certainly does not include walking them more than once. So, I managed to turn that less than a mile into somewhere between three and five. I’m not really sure how far I traveled as I was conserving phone battery and not using my handy-dandy endomondo tracker app. I managed a good many steps on my fitbit pedometer though.

Well, the first place Dixie and I checked out was the Stone Tower at the mountaintop. There was quite a bit of caution tape about the place. I’m not quite sure what they were working on up there, or even what was supposed to be roped off, but we explored a bit. I went to the right of the tower, and there was a window on the lower level. If you looked through the window, you could see straight through the window to the back of the tower and out into the woods beyond. I thought it made for a good photo opportunity, so I snapped a few shots. I tried one of the shots out in a chroma key software demo, and it makes quite a nice backdrop for a photo shoot. In fact, after trying out the software, I may see about doing some chroma key work for photo shoots. Rabbit trails…ok, back to the topic.

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After, exploring and photographing the stone tower, Dixie and I decided to head down another trail to the back and right of the tower. The path led around and, I assumed at the time and correctly by the way, back across our original trail. We heard something crashing around in the trees out to our left. I saw the limbs crashing around, but I never saw what was causing the commotion. A little further down the path, we came across a family. As I was about to turn to the right down the Stone Wall Trail, the guy in the front calls out, “There’s a bear down that way! I saw it, and we headed in the other direction.” Of course, I was like, “Cool, I think I’ll go get a picture.” I headed, well, in the direction of the bear. (As a side note here, animals scare me way less than people do.) I had traveled about a hundred feet or so, when the family we met started in our direction. Now, whether that was to keep an eye on the crazy woman with the camera who wanted to photograph a bear to make sure she didn’t get eaten, or whether to get a closer look at the bear I didn’t seem afraid of, I’m not sure. But they followed behind, and sadly to say, we didn’t see that bear. I did, however, see a Great Spangled Fritillary and got several pictures of his pretty self. After all, who can resist a big beautiful orange and black butterfly.

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We explored the trail and the Stone Wall a bit, all the while keeping an eye out for bears. I say we, but I think Dixie was just interested in anything that moved really. We crossed over the Stone Tower Trail, and we headed on out the Stone Wall Trail. A little way down the trail, Dixie got a scent and kept trying to run after something. I’m not quite sure what she was after, but I heard a lovely little twitter in the trees in the direction she was heading, so away we went. I spotted a lovely little yellow bird flitting about and twittering, so we sat down on a rock outcropping and watched and photographed. It took me three days to identify this little guy from the photographs I took, but I think I finally identified him. I believe he is a Pine Warbler. He was quite lovely and had a captivating little tune to sing.

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From there we headed out to the overlook. The view was breathtaking. The blue-gray of the mountains in the distance, the sun rays streaming through the clouds to bathe the mountains in light, and the hawk flying about looking for a meal. The sun was bright, and it was a bit warm out, but we lingered about for a spell to take a few photographs.

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After leaving our lofty perch, we headed back up to the Stone Tower, then circled back down to the bottom where we were parked, and then we followed another trail that led us right back to the overlook. I took a few more photographs, playing with the exposure settings and such. Then we took one more trip around the Stone Wall Trail and headed back to the car.

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At the car, we looked at the map (which, by the way, I didn’t bother taking with me on the trails). The Lake Loop Trail and the Big Rock Trail were both near the picnic shelters and cabins, so we headed in that direction. The first trail we came up on was the Big Rock Trail. It was listed as a very long trail, only about three quarters of a mile, so I figured it shouldn’t take too long. We walked the trail for a little ways, and I was  beginning to get the feeling that the name might be misleading. I hadn’t seen any sign of a big rock, at least not one any bigger than the others I had seen. But then we found it. It wasn’t really a big rock, per se, but more of a stream along some smoothed rock that cascaded down the side of the mountain. Pools formed in the rock in places where the stream flowed, and someone had stacked some stones in the stream. (I’ve seen these little stacked stone towers in many places now, and I’m still not sure what they mean or why people do it.) It was so peaceful here, and I stood out on the rocks and got several pictures up and down stream. Dixie and I stayed here for quite some time before moving on.

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After leaving the stream, we followed the trail on out to the roadway. There was a bench facing an open area near the storm drain outlet. I assumed, and rightly so after reading, that the bench was there to sit and watch for birds and deer (and squirrels). As we walked up the hill, I spotted a butterfly. It was a Spicebush Swallowtail. I got several pictures of this little guy before heading on. I have quite a habit of chasing butterflies.

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As we reached the top of the hill, I realized that we could cross the street and get to the Lake Loop Trail. It was late in the evening by now, and I decided that it would be a nice way to end the day. So, around the lake we went. It was a peaceful walk until we neared the beach. Being hot that day, many people apparently decided that going for a swim was a good idea. You could hear laughter and splashing all the way across the lake. There were several people enjoying the evening in kayaks, canoes, and on paddleboards. I don’t think anyone had the paddleboats out though. I took quite a few nice photographs around the lake.

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By the time I got to the side of the lake where all of the people were, the sun was shining through the trees creating an ethereal glow. It was almost as if you could gaze through a veil into another world. It made for some lovely photographs, along with a canoe sitting just off of the beach awaiting its rider’s return.

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All in all, it was not a bad day. In fact, it was quite a beautiful day. I can’t wait to go back and try out the Gahutti Trail (8 miles of wilderness beauty).

Making a Day of It

What could be better than doing a family photo shoot for friends? Well making a whole day of it, of course!

Last week, I did a photo shoot at Stone Mountain Park in the Grist Mill area for one of my best friends, Melissa. She had not had a family photo done since her son was born, so we headed out to Stone Mountain to take some family pics with a beautiful backdrop, and we made plans to have a picnic and stay for the laser show. It turned out to be a fabulous day for all.

(Melissa gave me permission to use their photos on my blog, so I am taking full advantage 🙂 .)

First we started out with the family pics. I got some wonderful shots of Melissa and David as a couple…

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I also got a few good family shots…

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And some great individual shots and parent/child shots as well…

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And a squirrel and chipmunk decided to get in on the photo action too…

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After the family photos, we took a stroll across the covered bridge for a picnic. It was a lovely day to dine by the lake, peaceful and quiet. Then, we headed over to the lawn to wait for the laser show.

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After two normal hands and one never-ending hand of UNO where we laughed until our sides hurt the laser show began…

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It was a great evening to share with friends, and a wonderful photo shoot. You couldn’t ask for a better day.

Family

 

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Last week I had the wonderful pleasure of doing a family photo shoot for my mother. It was certainly a challenge to get myself into the picture, but we made it happen, and I think we were all pleased with the results. This is the first family photo that Avalene is in and the first one that my father is not, so this is a rather bittersweet photo. My mother stands as the matriarch of our small family as my father watches from heaven, and my husband stands as the sole father figure left to us. However, we stand strong and proud and happy to be a family.

Avalene proved to be quite the little monkey while trying to get the photos. It took a bit of convincing to get her to pose, but we finally managed by letting her hold the bright eyed Furby (which she was determined to turn evil before the night was over…by the way, this is done by overfeeding it). She loves sock monkeys as much as I do, so she got to pose with Gigantor the Sock Monkey. I think he enjoyed having his picture taken with her.

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We also got individual family photos…

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Some cousins shots…

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A mother/daughters shot…

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A few fun shots…

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And a few beauty shots…

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It was a great evening, and now my family has a few photos to add to our collection.

 

The Old Courthouse

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Ahhhh….the old courthouse. That old clock tower has stood watch over our county since 1834, a mere 13 years after the county was founded. For me however, it is a view that says “home”.  

When I was little, that old clock never quite worked right. Sometimes it was running, but the time would be way off. Other times, the time would be right. And then other times, it just didn’t run at all. On the occasion that we would ride by at the time that was on the clock, I would comment, “hey, the clock is right!” to which my Daddy would reply, twice a day every day. Oh the memories. 

When the Olympics came to town in 1996, they finally fixed that old clock and renovated that old courthouse. The clock has pretty much been right ever since, so you can set your watch by it now. Of course, the courthouse was still in use up until then. Court was held regularly in there when I was a girl, so I never really got to see the inside of it. I remember going to observe court in session when I was in a Business Law class in high school, and once I had jury duty after I was married. But those are the only two times I ever really remember going inside of the building. 

On Wednesday, that changed. For the first time, I went in and explored that old building, and I am so thankful that my friend, Deborah, talked me into it. We were greeted by some friendly Newton County Sheriff’s Deputies at the desk. They told us to look around and try not to get in any trouble. They also told us about some other interesting buildings in town from an architectural viewpoint, so I may go and get some photos of those in the near future. 

The first things that greet you when you step into this old building are the ornate staircases. They are beautifully crafted, and there are three flights of stairs. 

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At the top of each flight is a very large window looking out over the town. However, I’m 5’9″ tall, and I couldn’t even peer up and out of these windows on tip toe. Perhaps they were designed more for lighting the building than for gazing out. 

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On the second floor is the courtroom. How I never knew that there was only one courtroom is a mystery. For some reason I always thought there were several. The seating looked like pews from an old church, and the floor was inclined so that everyone could see what was going on with the trial. I didn’t get any pictures of the seating, but I did get a few of the balcony with the beautiful old clock.

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The ceiling had a very interesting design as well, and you can see ceilings like this in many of the older buildings around the square (the ones that haven’t been covered by drop ceilings anyway). 

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The courtroom now serves as the place where the Newton County Board of Commissioners meets, so the building is still being used regularly and is open for the public for these important meetings. 

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As we explored the outside of the building, we saw a lonely chimney at the side between the courthouse and the Mystic Grill. 

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Inside we found a fireplace that this lonely chimney likely connects to.

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As you walk out the doors, you notice the beauty of the entrance that you may not have noticed on the way in. The ornate arches and beautiful brickwork done by the masons of the day and the beauty of the square awaiting you make you just want to sit down on the steps and take it all in for a few minutes. 

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I am so happy to have taken the opportunity to explore my old courthouse, and I am so glad that I live in this beautiful Georgia community where my father lived, his mother before him, countless generations since before the official establishment of this county, and now my children who have grown up here and can call this place home as well.