These hairy, spotted, trumpet-like flowers are from a flowering plant called Common Foxglove. Foxglove is a biennial that produces some lovely and vibrant flowers, most often with purple coloring, and so they are popular in many garden landscapes. Interestingly, the plant and flowers are pretty poisonous and full of deadly toxins…so try not to let any curious/hungry pets or kids near these if you have them!
Why is my lil’ niece, Jada, smiling in this photo? Maybe it was the delicious dinner she was chowing down on, or a stupid/funny face I was making behind the camera, or because she just likes to smile and laugh and be happy…I’d probably go for the third choice, although the yummy food probably played a part as well.
Wineberries Up Close
Wineberries are delicious! A species of raspberry, wineberries are native to China and Japan and are actually an invasive species here in the U.S. Just recently, these plump, juicy berries have been popping out like crazy, and Heather and I picked a bowl of them to enjoy (we also noticed others in our neighborhood doing the same thing).
So if you see these wineberries around, eat a bunch to help suppress the spread of these invasives even further!
Leggs is a good dog, and depending on his anxiety level, he is pretty good at listening to and following directions. On this particular autumn day, Leggs and I took a little stroll through Stokes State Forest before heading to the big grassy area at Kittle Field to take some pictures. I set up my tripod and was able to get Leggs to sit and stay at just the right spot, although he was looking at me like he didn’t understand why he couldn’t come by me behind the camera. So then when I set the timer and crouched down next to him, he of course starting putting his paw up for a high-five.
I of course gave him a high-five back…and a little biscuit or two…
Ham and Beans
Who doesn’t love ham and beans?!? Well, I can think of a few people, but that doesn’t take away from the deliciousness of this tasty dish. While visiting Dollywood in Tennessee, we came across “Granny Ogle’s Ham and Beans” that served…you guessed it…ham and beans, along with other traditional southern fare including BBQ beef, coleslaw, pot roast, cornbread, and fruit cobbler (with homemade ice cream, of course). Unfortunately, all of the other food in Dollywood was so good, we didn’t have a chance to eat at Granny’s, but it sure smelled great as we walked by!
Aren’t these barred rock hens cute? They’re just a few of the chickens Amy has that, among other things, provide her with more eggs than she can think to use! They’re fun to play with, although they always think you’ve got some sort of food to give them.
Check out Amy’s blog, Our Happy Coop, for more about her chickens and all kinds of other great stuff from baking to babies!
Merry Christmas…in July!!
While the halfway-point to Christmas was a month ago, “Christmas in June” just doesn’t have the same ring to it as “Christmas in July” (must be that extra syllable). So today, think of snowballs, ornaments, toy trains, Christmas carols, and whatever else might remind you of the 25th of December.
Merry Christmas in July!
Low-Flow Waterfall Along Indian Ladder Trail
While this is a pretty scenic area in John Boyd Thacher State Park near Albany, New York, just imagine if the water was REALLY flowing over the cliff edge! My visit to this park was pretty cool, despite the low flow of the streams feeding the couple of waterfalls, but I would definitely like to check out this Indian Ladder Trail again after a period of heavier rainfall.
Wonderful -24° Celsius Morning
The past couple days, the temperatures here in northern New Jersey have been hovering between 95°F and 105°F, and when I am feeling quite hot, I try to remember this particular day in the Yukon when the temperature was more than 110° cooler! The temperature on this clear morning was about -24°C (about -11°F), and the air was so crisp it was definitely difficult to breathe it in at times. But we were out for a bit digging snowpits, accumulating ice on our eyelashes and exposed faces, and enjoying a beautiful Yukon morning.
The Path Ahead
Walking through a cornfield maze as an adult, it can be easy to forget just how tall the cornstalks seem to smaller kids walking through. For instance, in the corn maze in the above photo, I was typically able to see the distant hilly horizon or even a tall tower in the middle of the maze, but Hannah and Madison generally didn’t have these navigational clues to aid them. But they certainly did have a “we know the right way” attitude as they led us all around through the corn, even if they had to stop once in awhile to figure out which path to take.
Check out this cool rock! I forget where I found this particular specimen, but upon opening it along a prominent fracture, I discovered the treasures held within. Unfortunately, the somewhat-spherical pieces in the one half are not dinosaur eggs, but they’re still pretty cool! They are actually concretions, which are sort of like portions of rocks that become hard before the rest of the surrounding rock, and they can also be a variety of shapes and sizes. It’s really cool to come across very round concretions that look odd mixed in with the rest of the rock.
While this certainly is not a sunflower, it does make me think of some sort of stylized sun with vibrant yellows and reds and singular strokes extending outwards around the outside. And today I definitely thought about the sun and the hot temperatures we are currently dealing with. With the temperatures in the area approaching 100°F over the next few days, just think that it could be a lot worse living on the surface of the sun, where the surface temperature is estimated to be 9941°F…
I guess that doesn’t make me feel any cooler…but wow, the sun is hot!
Wave Your Hands In the Air…
…Like you just don’t care. Or, like my parents in the photo above, wave them for no particular reason other than to do something silly in front of the camera.
So go ahead, wave your arms around, maybe add a “Wooooo!” or other fun sound effect. And don’t worry about doing it at work or in public, no one will stare at you…I promise…
Frankford Township Antique Fire Engine
Firemen parades can be quite enjoyable, and I had a fun time photographing tons of fire trucks at this particular parade last October. This fire engine was one of the cooler old trucks at the parade, although certainly not the oldest (I’m guessing this is 40s/50s, and there were a handful of antique engines from the 20s and earlier). It was one in a long line of trucks from the volunteer Frankford Township fire department, of which my father-in-law Tom was chief for a while.
Madison the Midge Fly
Did you know that the midge fly is the only pollinator of cocoa plants (where chocolate comes from)?? Well, now you do. And that is why the midge fly is in the Pollination Hall of Fame at the Bronx Zoo. Even though she was barely tall enough to reach, Madison was able to become a midge fly for a few seconds on our trip to the zoo a few years back. We probably should have sought out some chocolate after this, but we instead sought relief from the extreme heat on this particular hot June day at the zoo.
When I was first told about the cabin that I would be staying in while doing fieldwork in the Yukon, I had this image of a tiny wood cabin surrounded by tall trees and nestled in a little valley surrounded by mountains…so you could imagine my excitement when we arrived at the cabin and it was just like I was hoping it would be! This photo captures the cabin in its awesome setting very well, and I think I like the scenery with the white snow better than the brilliant green of summer.
But no matter what season, this really was a cozy cabin out in the middle of nowhere.
“Elsie and Tame Cow, 1942”
This is one of the older photos of my Grandma Cook that I’ve come across, and I especially like the description written on the back (see the photo title). My grandma (Elsie) was only 19 when this photo was taken with a friendly cow on a flat pasture in the midwest. With a nice pair of horns on his head, I hope he remained friendly for the duration of the photoshoot!
Triple Arches in Glacier National Park
Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park really is remarkable as it cuts through the continental divide amidst some outstanding mountain scenery. One of the more impressive structures along this heavily-traveled road is the Triple Arches bridge that is located near Logan Pass. This stone/concrete bridge spans about 65 feet and was built in 1927 to get the road across some fairly sizable gaps in the mountainside. It blends in to the surrounding rock pretty well, so you might not even notice the three archways if you’re not paying close attention…or, if you are only looking out at the fantastic views away from the road…
Ballpark at Dawn
With the bright glow of dawn in the background and a light misty fog in the outfield, this photo of Skylands Park on a summer morning shows the field in a different light than most people typically see. Lucky for me, I pulled an all-nighter working security, so I was up for the sunrise. I was also the only person in the stadium all night…it was a little creepy at times, but overall I had a fun night at the ballpark.
Right now, I believe the ballpark is sitting empty for the first summer since its inaugural season in 1994. The previous team, the Sussex Skyhawks, did not renew their lease and the stadium owners were unable to get a different team in this year.
This past weekend, I managed to get Noah giggling and laughing for what seemed like a long time (although it was probably 5 minutes or so). As he bounced up and down on a horse toy, I bounced around right in front of him (head, body, and arms wobbling all over the place). Then he would stop, so I would stop and put my head down. Then he wouldn’t move until I sneakily looked at him, which was his cue to start bouncing and laughing again as I started bouncing around. So you can imagine how long this could go on…bounce, laugh, stop, stare, bounce, laugh,…
Of course, a couple times I stopped bouncing around just long enough to snap a photo of Noah gigglin’ away.
Sled Dog Photoshoot at Fish Lake
The Yukon is full of outstanding scenery, and this location just outside the city of Whitehorse is no exception. On this particular day, frozen Fish Lake was our starting point for a climb up in the mountains (near the mountain top shown at the far right), and as we were getting our gear together, we watched a sled dog team have their very own photoshoot! There were a bunch of people helping out, including a few people holding reflective boards to add some fill light to the dogs, and while it would have been cool to stick around and watch the dogs, we had to get goin’ for a long hike ahead.
I’d say that a good indication that you’re in a great location is when it’s chosen as the spot to do a professional photoshoot!
Cheers, Grandpa Wiersma! It’s Your Birthday!
Raise a frosty pint (or, if you’re thirsty at the Zeppelin Hall biergarten, a large liter mug…) of your favorite adult beverage and toast to Grandpa Wiersma’s birthday!
Hope you have a great birthday!!
Happy 30th Birthday, Dad!!
Well…maybe it’s not quite you’re 30th birthday today…but it was back in 1977 when mom took this photo after making a nice square cake! Hope you made a good wish when you blew out the candles!
Happy Birthday! Oh, and I think I’ve seen those jeans somewhere recently…probably the box of halloween stuff…
Textured Sky at Sunrise
While camping up in New York this past weekend, I woke up around 5:30am as a bunch of birds started off their day by being quite loud. Instead of trying to fall back to sleep, I decided to take some photos and ended up enjoying a great sunrise! At one point, I looked straight up and noticed some really cool wispy clouds that were slightly orange from the rising sun and created a nice texture against the deep blue sky.
Next time you’re watching the sun rise, be sure to look around at the rest of the sky for more wonderful sights!