Photography · Poetry

Back Yard Photographer – American Robin

A Robin’s Song

A song is heard in the distance, beautiful and pure.

A song of love, beauty and cheer.

A song to hear at the start of the day.

A song of promise and happiness as we go on our way.

A song in the evening as the day fades.

A song encapsulating how the day played.

Poem by Kim Lawless

Thank you for stopping by and checking our my blog! Hope you have been having a wonderful day!

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless

Photography · Writing

Grateful for the Local Zoo

Black Sloth Bear

Weather is starting to get nicer everyday and what a better way to spend the day than going to the zoo? That is exactly what my daughter, son-in-law, grandson and I did the other day. We had a great time! I enjoy the zoo even when I’m there on my own, but there is something about experiencing it through the eyes of a toddler.

Our zoo works on the animals habitats continuously – always trying to improve things for the animals and provide educational opportunities for the visitors. Because of this, there is also the wild construction beast or two to be seen. In between stopping to view the animals we also stopped to view the construction equipment. (I think my grandson probably enjoyed this the most.)

Wild Construction Beasts

Even with the excitement of the construction equipment we were able to find a few more animals that he was interested in. Here’s a few of my favorites:

Sea Lion
Ducks and Koi Fish – feeding frenzy
Jelly Fish
Toddler watching Penguins

At the end of the day, both Grandma and Grandson were tired. But we had had a good day – lots of giggles and fun watching the animals. Yes, I am definitely grateful for the local zoo.

Sometimes the smallest things can have the biggest impact – spread a little kindness and watch the world change.

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my blog!

All photos are by Kim Lawless

Photography · Writing

No Resolutions Just One Word

No resolutions this year. Most of mine barely make it to February before I think “eh. maybe next year”. Some of my friends and I were discussing our resolutions for 2021 when one of my friends mentioned that she doesn’t focus on resolutions. She prefers to chose one single word and practice it everyday. Her word for 2020 had been KIND. She said this year had tested the word and there were days that she didn’t live up to the definition. But overall she was able to turn some situations around and have a positive outcome.

That got me thinking about my past resolutions: lose weight, eat healthy, exercise more, be a better person. Pretty normal resolutions, but not any that express a true sense of self reflection and a true desire to make positive changes. These were so open ended. I mean, seriously, “be a better person” is not a clear resolution. How was I ever going to be successful without a concise definition? I had set myself up for failure and accepting of the “eh, maybe next year” attitude. Not anymore. It is time for true change.

After giving this a lot of thought and reflection, I have picked my word for 2021: Gratitude (the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness).

I am choosing to show gratitude by being thankful for what I have and for what I have experienced. Show more gratitude by lifting others up – applaud their successes and help when times are difficult. Be part of a world where there is more kindness than hatred, more caring than disinterest and where we think more about others and less about ourselves. I’m going to put my words into action and really practice my word – Gratitude – everyday. I have always told my children that actions speak louder than words. Now it is time to show them what this really means.

Yes, it is daunting. I don’t know if I will be able to show gratitude and appreciation everyday. But I do know I’m going to try, probably fall a time or two, and keep trying until GRATITUDE is a part of who I am.

To start this, I have mentally looked over the past year and found those things that I appreciate and that I am grateful to have experienced. Looking back, I have been fortunate enough to have had a pretty good year in my personal life. I got married in June, have a job that I enjoy, my family and I have stayed healthy (one person in my family did have COVID, but we were blessed that it was not a severe case) and I get to continue to grow in my photography hobby. Sure things have been different, but I feel blessed even in these unpredictable times. My hobby – photography – has been a good escape and I do enjoy sharing the photos and a story or two. I am very grateful and appreciative of the time when I get out and take photographs. It has been a wonderful way to see the beauty in nature. I’ve also been blessed with new friendships as we share photos and discuss the various subjects. I’ve been able to meet a variety of people while out on walks. It has been different with masks, and being socially distanced, but still we’ve been able to connect. So there’s my look back at the year.

I also took the opportunity to look at my photos and pick out a few of my favorites. These are photos from my walks and a few from my yard. I hope you like these too!

Thank you for joining me as I’ve become a bigger bird nerd, learned more about insects than I ever imagined, discovered nature’s beauty even in the weeds and learned more about photography every time I took a photo.

May you find your word, to help you through whatever 2021 has in store for all of us.

I hope you have a very happy New Year!

Thank you for stopping by my blog!

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless.

Photography · Writing

Back Yard Photographer – Beauty and the Bees

Sedum are starting to change color from the light green of summer to the pink/red of autumn. The bees and butterflies love sedum this time of year as they are full of nectar.

One afternoon while out in the back yard trying to photograph a hummingbird playfully dancing from his feeder to a tree and then resting on a branch, I nearly walked straight into the sedum filled with bees. (I some times focus too much on the main subject and miss other objects around me when taking pictures.) I was torn between getting photos of the hummingbird or getting photos of the bees. The hummingbird made the decision for me. He must have tired of our game as he flew off into a near-by tree. So, I started taking pictures of the bees.

Some facts about sedum:

  • Sedum is a symbol of peace and tranquility
  • These are succulent plants, storing water in their leaves
  • Drought tolerant
  • Easy to grow
  • There are ground covering and taller sedum

And facts about bees (source: http://www.mentalfloss.com):

  • Bees can recognize human faces
  • Bees have personalities
  • Caffeine makes bees work harder
  • Bees pollinate over $15 Billion work of crops each year
  • For navigation bees use the sun or when it is cloudy they use pollarized light.

Here’s some photos of the beauties and the bees.

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my blog! Hope you enjoy the photos!

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless

Photography · Writing

Back Yard Photographer – Seagulls and Cows?

Seagulls and cows is an odd combination to be writing about, but in about a two to three mile radius, this is just what my daughter and I saw. It was a bit of an odd day anyway, so I shouldn’t be too surprised by this combination after all. 🙂

We started the day going to the Sandhills. The journey started with a three hour drive to a small town that reminded me of some horror films I have seen. The first place we saw when we found the town, was a motel on a run down lot, broken windows, broken and rusted chairs sitting outside each room and the eerily half hung curtains. It just needed a broken neon sign to complete the scary hotel look. My daughter commented that it looked like something what would have been in an episode of Supernatural (one of our favorite TV shows). I wasn’t brave enough to get too close to the hotel for pictures, so my description will have to suffice.

The reason we even went to this small town was because it boasted to be the entrance to the Sandhills. We were trying to make a day trip out going to the Sandhills, so I had found this place while researching via the internet. Big surprise, the description of the place was, shall we say, exaggerated? In retrospect, I should have triple checked my sources when I saw the size of the town was only a couple hundred people. Not a typical town size for a place that boasts being the “entrance to the Sandhills”.

There was a lake on the outskirts of this town so, we decided to stop there and see if I could get some photos. My disappointment continued when we got there. The “lake” was not, what I had hoped. I didn’t see anything that inspired me to take pictures (probably because I wasn’t in the mood to find anything inspiring). None the less, this is where we decided to eat our picnic lunch. There were a few picnic tables in a shelter, so at least we had a decent place to eat.

My daughter is really wonderful (I’m pretty sure I’m biased when it comes to my daughter). She can find good in even the worse situations. After being disappointed by the lake view, I was ready to head back home. There was some scenery that would have been good to capture, so the day wouldn’t have been a total loss. But, my daughter said we shouldn’t give up on our day adventure. She wanted to make sure I had a day of getting landscape photos. So, because of her positive mood and my renewed spirit we continued on our road trip.

We traveled for at least another hour to a state park, which sounded more promising than the “entrance to the Sandhills” town. Along the way my daughter kept asking me to pull over so we could get some pictures of cows in the fields. As we were driving in Nebraska, there were MANY opportunities to get photos of cows in a field. We waited until we got closer to the state park. We had taken a few wrong turns along the way, so I really didn’t want to venture off the main path for the cow photos. When we were about ten miles from the state park, I agreed to pull over and take a look at the cows. My daughter was pretty happy about getting out of the car to see some cows. I must admit, I had fun too. The cows kept a pretty close eye on us. I don’t think many people pull off the side of the road, just to look at them. 🙂

Here’s a few picture of the cows:

After getting these pictures we headed to the state park. I was not disappointed when we got to there. We drove around and found a spot, where not only did I get to see the seagulls, but I also got some landscape and flowering weed photos. And, more sunflower photos. I will be posting some of these photos in future posts.

My daughter had brought along a book to read while I went walking around taking photos. Here’s the picture:

I had a good time getting pictures of the seagulls. The water levels at the lake were pretty low, so I was able to walk pretty close to them without frightening them off. I did have to go barefoot as my shoes would have come off in the mud/sand. As I walked along the mud/sand mix went past my ankles. I didn’t mind. As a child I always liked to play in the mud and squish it between my toes. 🙂

Here’s a few photos of the seagulls:

Even if the day didn’t go exactly as planned, we did end up having a great day. I got some good photos, my daughter got some reading time, we went places we hadn’t been before and most importantly, we got time together. It couldn’t have been a better day.

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my blog! I hope you liked the story about getting the photos of Seagulls and Cows. 🙂

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless