Tag Archives: landscape photography

The Farm I Didn’t Buy

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Farm in South Dakota

When on the back roads to Mirror Lakes, I passed this beautiful farmland. It reminded me of the phrase, “bought the farm”, which has a meaning far different than actually purchasing a farm. However, I did chuckle as I thought  – there’s the farm I didn’t buy; but with its rolling hills, old farm buildings, rolls and rolls of hay, horses, and mountain range for a backdrop, it is certainly one I would love to have.

The setting is beautiful and being out of town, away from the chaos, is a welcoming reprieve. The long gravel road beside this little piece of heaven seems to remind you of a quieter, more peaceful time; surely less traveled than the paved roads throughout town.

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Gravel road leading to the farmland.

The buildings! I absolutely loved the buildings. I wonder how old they are. I was tempted to drive up to the house and knock, but the gate was locked and I didn’t want to jump the fence and get locked up for trespassing, or worse…shot. The thought did cross my mind as I contemplated exploring those old buildings.

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Old farm buildings
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I wonder how old these are?
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Love the rustic look.
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A perfect setting.

The hay bales reminded me of home and my mom. She always wanted some pictures of her and bales. We need to find some when I get back home and get those pictures done for her. I will have to take away her excuses. If she had been with me on this trip, we would have taken advantage of one of these rolls! Probably the one that was on the edge of the fence, standing all alone.

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Look at all the hay! This place is huge.
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Hay bales….more and more hay bales.
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For my mom.
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The lone greeter.

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The horses were keeping a close eye on me, particularly the big one in the middle. I’m sure they were curious as to why a Floridian was way up here in the hills taken shots of their home.

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Farm guardians

I’m glad I detoured off that main road and found this farm. It was absolutely perfect and I hope the owners know how blessed they are to have such a haven.

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Bear Butte – A Sacred Place

IMG_0068Heading out on a Sunday morning to a place I had only heard about from a friend, I didn’t know what to expect or what I may encounter when I finally got to Bear Butte. I saw the mountain off in the distance and knew it was Bear Butte even before I arrived. It stood majestically above the ground, buffalo were grazing around the base and near the entrance. I had to stop the car a moment to catch my breath at the beauty of it all.

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Parking the car, I entered the visitor’s center and walked around a bit, reading pamphlets and admiring the various articles on display. I still was not prepared for what I would see when I decided I would take the chance and do the 2-mile hike that ascends 1000 feet to the summit of Bear Butte.

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After my short lesson in the visitor’s center, I returned to my car to grab my camera, walking stick, and change into my hiking boots. Taking a deep breath, or as deep as I could since I was sick, I gazed up the trail lined with prayer ties and allowed myself to peer into the bright sunlight at the mountain summit some 4,426 foot above.

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The pathway was a bit treacherous in some areas and there were times when I thought I needed to turn back, especially after the last little “hut” that allowed shade and a place to sit and rest. There was one point about half-way up when I was questioning my decision to hike a mountain when I came upon a tree with a low hanging branch lined with various colored prayer ties.

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I dropped to the path, sweat beading on my face, breaths coming out short, and allowed the prayer ties to shade me from the sweltering sun. Closing my eyes, I kept repeating to myself that I could make this climb…2 miles wasn’t that far…and I really felt like I needed to reach the top for some reason. Before all these thoughts could tumble through my mind, a slight breeze began to blow….cool, soothing, and indeed a relief.IMG_0052IMG_0049IMG_0051After sitting a few minutes and allowing the breeze to bathe me, I decided to continue my journey. Along the way, I thought about all the prayer ties I saw. It truly was a beautiful site and out of respect for the people who left them and what they symbolize, I refrained from photographing them.

I heard various bugs, a few snakes warning rattle, and birds on my upward trek. The breeze sang through the ties that hung among the mountainside. The path became more treacherous closer to the summit, but I finally reached the top.

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Words cannot describe what I felt once I was there. I fell to my knees and cried for what seemed an eternity. I don’t even know why I cried, maybe it was from exhaustion, maybe it was from being sick, maybe it was that I had actually made it, maybe it was the thought of all those who had been before me and those that will come after me, maybe it was the mountain’s power flowing through me…or the Great Spirit’s, maybe it was all of those things. Whatever the reason, I laid back, staring at the cloudless blue above me, and let it flow.

IMG_00591 IMG_0058 IMG_0059 IMG_0047I stayed up on top a while, exploring and just feeling what was around me. I admired the view and tried to make a few photographs of the area without getting the prayer ties in them.

The trip down wasn’t nearly as difficult as the trip up and I had a difficult time leaving. I really wanted to stay atop that mountain for a day or two, or longer.

I am so thankful this mountain is protected and I can certainly understand why Bear Butte is considered a sacred place, a gift from the Creator. I cannot say what all happened during my hike on this mountain. That’s between me and the Creator, but I can say I definitely will go back again before I leave this area.

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Wasn’t It Just Yesterday?

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Isn’t it amazing how quickly time seems to pass? I can remember wanting to hurry up and get old enough to drive, old enough to move out of the house, old enough to leave the small town I lived in; so much wanting to rush time so this or that would happen and now, with age, I find myself wishing it would slow down just for a little while. I don’t really want it to stop, I just want it to slow down.

I mean when did I hit my 20-year milestone? 30? 40? And 50 not far away? Wasn’t it just yesterday my daughter giggled as she ran through the field, curly blond hair flying around her face as her chubby little legs carried her down the hill? Wasn’t it just yesterday when I celebrated passing nursing boards? Wasn’t it just yesterday I held my twin granddaughters, one in each arm, as they peacefully slept? Wasn’t it just yesterday I waited to hear my grandson had been born and welcome him to our world? Wasn’t it just yesterday I watched my daughter graduate from nursing school? Wasn’t it just yesterday I was saying goodbye to this loved one or that one that had passed? Wasn’t it just yesterday…?

Whenever I can I try to slow down…or at least be still a minute to enjoy a sunrise or sunset, or even both. For some reason, I just do not want to miss anymore of those. I don’t want to think it was just yesterday that I saw one, when in reality it was two months ago. When we are young life seems like it takes so long and as we get older we realize just how short it really is. Enjoy your moments, because soon our today will be no more and we will no longer be able to say, “Wasn’t it just yesterday”?

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More From the Dothan Area Botanical Gardens

I never grow tired of visiting the Botanical Gardens in Dothan because I’m always able to see something differently there or experience some new feeling. This trip didn’t disappoint me and I have decided to share something that I wrote while taking my photographs. Hope you enjoy!

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With no where to go, I sit in the garden contemplating, thinking, planning until my mind exhausts itself and is able to relinquish the maddening thoughts to finally be still.IMG_4683

A peace flows over me as a breeze lifts stray strands of hair and the sun glides from behind the clouds; its warmth soothing me and its rays relaxing my soul.

Even on what is a cold, cloudy day, color is to be found; colors to brighten  even the most distressed spirits. With each plant, a vibrant color takes away some of the gray.IMG_4649IMG_4663IMG_4652IMG_4653IMG_4662IMG_4660

The birds’ songs join with the trickling of the flowing water, creating an almost magical sound… a lullaby;  draining the remaining chaotic thoughts from the mind.IMG_4693

Stone faces keep watch over the gardens, the playground of fairies, gnomes, and other wee beings. Silently they stand guard as the world revolves around them, their thoughts never to be known.IMG_4665IMG_4667

Pathways, some easily discerned and others not so much, lead the wanderer to wherever they choose to be. Some going downhill, some uphill, yet others curving to destinations ahead.

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These paths remind me of the ones I have taken on my life journey; some clear and easily navigated, others littered with debris and obstacles that must be overcome.IMG_4669IMG_4673

Walking along them, with the wind’s voice whispering among the trees, I realize that my journey is far from over. There’s still so much to see….so much to do…so much to share…and so much love to give.IMG_4658IMG_4651IMG_4679

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Dothan Area Botanical Gardens

This morning, I needed a little break from my normal routine and I owed myself an Artist’s Date. Upon rising and seeing how beautiful it was outside, I decided to make the Dothan Area Botanical Gardens my date spot. It was perfect and I was the only one there in the earlier morning hours. I spent a bit of time in the Asian Garden section listening to the running water and watching the fish. Later, after admiring the rest of the gardens and the roses, I found myself sitting in an out of the way bench and writing. It was perfect!

Dothan Area Botanical Gardens Walking Trail

Dothan Area Botanical Gardens Stones

Dothan Area Botanical Gardens Bridge and Pool

Dothan Area Botanical Gardens Trees and Sky

Dothan Area Botanical Gardens Little Free Library

Dothan Area Botanical Gardens Roses

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