Back Yard Photographer – What is that?

House Wren

During the summer, while working in the flower gardens, I would see a small critter run around in the flower bed, weaving in and out of the various plants. The first few times I didn’t think to much of it. Maybe it was just a field mouse. There are a couple in my gardening shed, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see some playing in the flower beds.

But, I kept seeing these tiny things dart in and out of the flowers. They were so quick, that it took me a while to capture a some what clear picture of it. The pictures in this post are the only decent pictures I got, but not my only interaction.

While trying to get some hummingbird pictures, I kept hearing a loud, pretty bird call. It sounded like it was right next to me when I was by the hummingbird. I kept looking around in the trees right by me. I finally saw this tiny bird singing it’s pretty song. I was amazed that such a loud sound came from such a tiny bird. The house wren is smaller than a house finch and smaller than a goldfinch.

Next summer, I will be looking for this little bird, with camera in hand, ready to capture a clear picture.

Here’s a few interesting fact about the House Wren (per my resource:

  • Nest inside holes in trees or nest boxes
  • Use spider egg sacks in their nesting material (probably to help combat mites and other parasites that get in their nests)
  • Weighs about as much as two quarters
  • Fierce fighter for nesting holes – They will harass and peck at larger birds. Sometimes they will remove the eggs or young from the nest of other birds. They truly are small but mighty.

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog!

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless.

Photography · Writing

Back Yard Photographer – Apple Orchards

A couple of years ago, our local pumpkin patch expanded their business to include an apple orchard. Now I can go pick a variety of apples off trees in the orchard. It is fun to do, and it also brings back lots of wonderful memories.

While I was growing up, my parents, brother and I would go to the local orchard and spend time not only picking apples, but also enjoying all the apple treats. One of the special treats was we always got a gallon of cold apple cider to take home. While at the orchard, we would try the hot apple cider, caramel apples and share a slice or two of apple pie. If you didn’t want all those apple snacks, they also offered popcorn and other kinds of fruit. We always had a good time going there – a memory I treasure.

My grandparents lived on a farm when I was a little girl. They had a line of apple trees that separated the edge of their back lawn from a cornfield. When it was apple picking time, we would go to visit them and help get the apples off the trees. My memory is a little fuzzy, because I don’t remember if we did this on weekends or when I got to spend a week or so with them on vacation. I do remember climbing up the ladder and handing the apples down to my grandpa. Grandma and Great-Grandma would make apple crisp out of some of the apples we picked. They also made apple butter and apple jelly. Yum!! I’m getting kinda hungry for some apple butter on toast.

There was another farm less than a mile away from my grandparents. The family that lived there were relatives on my grandma’s side of the family. A dirt road connected the two farms, my brother, cousins and I would either ride our bikes over to that farm or we would walk. When we got there we were always greeted by their horse – Dolly. She was a sweet, good natured horse. We would get to pet her, ride her and help take care of her when we went to visit. During apple season we would take a couple of the bruised apples over to the neighboring farm so we could give Dolly an extra treat. She liked the apples as much as we did. 🙂

I’m glad we have the apple orchard near us now. It will be good to go and make new memories. I might even have to learn how to make apple butter. 🙂

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my blog! Hopefully these stories will remind you of some happy memories and make you smile.

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless

Photography · Writing

Back Yard Photographer… Ahhhh, Autumn

On a morning towards the end of October, the sun was shining and the sky was a perfect shade of blue. The air had a crispness as the temperature was in the high 30’s (Fahrenheit). Colors of Autumn were becoming more prominent, yet the greens of Summer lingered. It was on this morning, I grabbed my camera and went outside to enjoy the beautiful colors and refreshing breeze. I needed the calm; the serenity. Fortunately, one of my favorite spots to capture the changing colors, is within walking distance from my house.

It is along this path, that I am reminded of the beauty of each day, no matter what the season.

Here’s some photos from my walk that morning. Hope you enjoy them!

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my blog!

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless

Photography · Writing

Back Yard Photographer – Where did the Summer go?

Summer Time Grilling

Procrastination does not make Summer last longer – trust me, I tried. 🙂 I have started this post so many times, that I have lost count. The plan was to have it posted the first day of Autumn, well that didn’t work out (obviously). I’ve been in a weird place lately – but I feel myself coming out of it.

At the beginning of the year I had vowed to focus on being grateful and showing gratitude – boy have I fallen off that wagon! It wasn’t until this morning, when I sat down to write (and finish) this post that I realized just how bad I’ve been. I started off being very negative and whining about what hadn’t happened. Then it struck me – there had been a lot of good things happen and that is where my focus should be. So, I deleted the post and started again. Time to focus on good things.

There was a post where someone had mentioned that they like to look at the start of Autumn as a new beginning and not as the end of the Summer season. That got me thinking – what a great attitude! It truly all is in perspective and what you make of the moment. So, I’m shaking of the grumpiness (I will save that for another day – Ha!) and getting back to looking at the world through grateful eyes.

This Summer was spent mainly at home, which was fine. I got to spend time in my yard, working in my flower garden and taking lots of pictures of flowers. I tried to grow zinnias this year – they were very successful! Not only did they take over one of my flower beds, but the butterflies, bees and hummingbirds loved them!! Guess what will be in the flower bed next year. 😉

The time I spent in my yard taking photos, was nice and I did have fun. I had at least three hummingbirds flying around the yard. I spent many evenings trying to capture the “perfect” photo of a hummingbird. I had been outside with such frequency that one day when I was getting photos of zinnias, one of my neighbors asked if I had gotten a picture of the hummingbird yet. 🙂 Well, I didn’t get what I thought was the perfect photo, but I did get a few that I liked. Here’s a few of the better ones – hope you like them too:

Since there had been so much success with the zinnias – they were the subject of a bunch of photos. Here’s a few of my favorites:

I did get some photos of bees, butterflies and Frank (the squirrel that visits our back yard), but I will save those for a cold wintery day when a little reminder of Summer, just might be needed.

Now, Autumn – the beautiful colors, crisp air, camp fires and the promise of new beginnings. It really is a matter of perspective.

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my blog. Hope you enjoy it!!

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless

Photography · Short Stories · Writing

Back Yard Photographer – Grateful For A Patch of Dirt

Weird to take a picture of dirt – I know. As you know, every picture has a story and this is no different.

This particular patch of dirt has gone through quite the evolution. In a way it is reminiscent of the Shel Silverstein book, The Giving Tree. The dirt patch is always ready to do what we ask of it and it gives us so much more.

When my children and I moved into my current house, my youngest was excited about the big play area in the back yard. To a six year old play equipment in their back yard is a big deal. This was a small set with a couple of swings, a climbing area and a little spot for a fort. She was excited every time she went to play in the yard. She didn’t play in the dirt much, but she did love that fort with the swings. This little patch of dirt was the strength beneath the equipment and made for a soft landing if you slipped out of the swing. Trust me – I know.

As my children grew, the need for the play area became less and less. Every once in a while I would see my daughters with their friends sitting on the swings while they discussed the latest crush or the happenings at school. This happened less and less. It became obvious that the play area just wasn’t needed anymore. We tore it down and stored the wooden pieces.

The next great project was to try a vegetable garden. I used some of the wood from the play equipment to mark off the garden by building around the patch of dirt. I thought this was going to be easy – the dirt was already there and all I would need to do is drop in the seeds. I dreamt of the delicious vegetables that we would enjoy from the garden. But, that didn’t happen. The little dirt patch tried. Some of the seeds sprouted, but little critters got to them before we could get any vegetables. I tried this for several years and finally decided no more gardens.

Even when the gardening was done, I didn’t put any grass seed down or try anything to fill in the patch of dirt. I just let it be there. This was not necessarily by design as I hadn’t decided what I wanted to do next. So, the patch of dirt just sat there. I was almost ready to put some sod down to get some grass to grow when I noticed all of the activity in this little patch. Several different types of birds would cool themselves in the dirt. Even rabbits and squirrels found the dirt to be a perfect place to rest. It was about this time that I got my camera and begin taking photos. My new photography hobby began – inspired, in part, by dirt.

But the greatest thing this patch of dirt has brought is a place for me and my grandson to play together. We have spent hours playing in the dirt. We’ve dug a lot of holes, planted many rocks, built roads for pretend cars and made mud pies. We would always be dirty when we were done playing (some times it was more muddy than dirty). This was no big deal because it meant we had had fun (and now we could play with bubbles while he took a bath!).

I now have a granddaughter, who I look forward to spending time with, while playing in the dirt.

So yes, it is just a patch of dirt. But, for me, it is a treasure chest of memories.

Here’s some photos of the fun in the dirt.

Yes, I am grateful for my very special patch of dirt and all the wonderful memories.

Hope you liked this post. Thank you for stopping by and checking out my blog.

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless.