A Late Summer Break At Kanawha Falls

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Kanawha Falls 82219a” and is available for purchase by the instructions at the bottom of the article.

The late August sun pours down on the Kanawha River as my big blue truck comes to a rest under the arching trees. The roar of the falls drowns out the days noise and pushes away all of the pressures of civilization. I watched as the geese flew in and landed on the bare rocks that stand out from the falls. One by one they meander along until they find just the right spot to settle down for a break. It seems that they instinctively know that this place is a fortress to provide isolation from the modern world. I can feel the air flowing from the top of falls as it spills into valley. Occasionally the bird chatter is strong enough to breech the sound of the rushing water giving a contrast to the droning falls. Small flashes of sunlight dance among the ripples on the river’s surface as the minnows dart around in the shallows. A little farther down the banks a trail of smoke rises into the air and travels downstream as a fisherman prepares for an evening of trying to get the one that got away last time.

I wander around taking notice of the odd shapes of driftwood and color variations on the sandstone pebbles until my sense of peace is contented. Before making my way back to the big blue truck I raised my lens for a few shots of the falls so I can bring the peaceful feeling to you.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

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Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me on Facebook or Use the Contact form. The YouTube link below takes you one of my slideshows.

https://youtu.be/FDcrY6w8oY8

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Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer.

Thank you again for your support of my page!❤

Echoes Of A Lifetime

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Echoes Of A Lifetime” and is available for purchase by the instructions at the bottom of the article.

The cool morning air sweeps across the weathered wood and rusted tin roof of the old barn on Muddelty Creek. The marsh in back of the barn seems oddly silent. All summer the reeds and rushes were teeming with life. Today only a single yellow butterfly skips over the cattail down and ruby red rose hips. I turn my attention to the old barn. It seems to be missing more of its rusted tin roof. It sags a little more than I remember from my last trip.

Barns are the heart of the homestead. They house the animals and store the feed. It’s normally where at least some of the equipment is held. It’s where the hands are happy. Busy hands are happy hands of course. Barns are the engine that powers a life close to the land. Sometimes they smell like hay and grains. Sometimes it’s the animals or even grease and oil from the machines. It all depends on the purpose of the barn which often changes in the course of a lifetime. The sounds of a barn will range from the livestock to growl of a diesel engine but it always includes human voices. Conversations between fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, siblings and friends and any combination there of are soaked into the rough hewn walls and beams. The voice of the barn is their echoes and the story it tells us is that they slept in the house, but they lived here.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

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Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me on Facebook or Use the Contact form. The YouTube link below takes you one of my slideshows.

https://youtu.be/FDcrY6w8oY8

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I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply message me on Facebook oruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer.

Thank you again for your support of my page!❤

The Turning

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “The Turning 2019” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article. The title refers to the fact that these are the first true Fall leaves of 2019.

Don’t let the warm days fool you and take the calendar date with a grain of salt. Summer is over. The Almighty has commissioned a change in the season. I have seen it with my own eyes. I’m speaking of my natural calendar. For me Fall is when the leaves change color. The Yellow Poplar is among the first to change. Even with the long dry spell that we’ve had the leaves turn from a rich green to a cheerful yellow. A lot of people think that the color comes from cool weather but it’s actually in response to the wavelength of the light coming from the sun. Plants are vreally very efficient. The green chlorophyll is only able to use certain wavelengths of light and when those wavelengths are no longer available the chlorophyll dyes and the green goes away. The other colors were always there but they were covered by the green. The yellow color comes from Xanthophyll and the reds from Rodophyll. The tree is still processing sunlight into sugar and will continue to do so until the leaves drop. But the green is no longer needed so there’s no sense in maintaining those cells. Different types of trees have different llevels of the yellow and green pigments and so we get the beautiful mice of colors in the Appalachian Mountains.

At the first sign of changing leaves I start to crave the taste of homemade beef stew that’s been simmering on a woodstove all day. I have already been looking for my favorite oversized flannel shirt and have my boots ready for long walks through open forests. During the summer months the underbrush is likely to be hiding a venomous snake in my area so I get the most use of the trails in cool weather.

The big question this year is will we get to enjoy the Fall colors or will the dry weather drive the forest into an early dormancy. If the tree can’t get enough water to make sugar then it doesn’t need the leaves and shuts down until Spring.

The pop of yellow in this clump of trees does give me hope that we’ll see a beautiful and colorful Fall if it rains soon.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

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If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Click here to visithttps://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me on Facebook or Use the Contact form. The YouTube link below takes you one of my slideshows.

https://youtu.be/FDcrY6w8oY8

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply message me on Facebook oruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer

Thank you again for your support of my page!❤

Making Molasses & Rediscovering Heritage

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Purification Of Molasses”. Typically this is where I state that the image us available for purchase however tonight’s post is a little different. The photos in this post are not for sale.

The alarm on my phone insistently assaults my ears as I rub the sleep from my eyes. I haven’t had to get out of bed this early on a Saturday for a long time. Even my little buddy Scout raises his head slowly and opens one eye as if to say, “Dude, it’s still dark outside.” But I’m excited to get out of house even if it is a rough start. Today I get to do something that I have not been a part of for over thirty years. Today my cousins are making molasses.

My big blue truck rolls down the long gravel driveway. I neglected to ask what part of the farm they’ll be set up on but it wasn’t long until I heard the familiar rumble of the tractor’s diesel engine. Daniel and his son Matthew have been already been working for quite a while.

Daniel and Matthew working the cane mill.

 

 

Daniel’s father Wesley was a master farmer in my opinion. As I questioned Matthew about his renewed interest in making molasses I learned that my great uncle Wesley used to make 300 gallons of molasses per year and one year he produced 500 hundred gallons of the sweet treat. To put that in perspective, it takes about 10 gallons of Sorghum juice to make a gallon of molasses. Which means that he had to process about 3K gallons of raw product.

Gif depicting what processing 3000 gallons of Sorghum juice must have felt like.

 

In real life Daniel makes it look easy. That’s what I lifetime of experience does for you.

Matthew says that his interest in molasses was rekindled by stories of his grandmother’s molasses cookies. I remember those cookies. Every year at family reunion and again at Christmas. As I read Matthew’s answers to my questions I can smell and taste those sweet spices from my own childhood memories. Nothing from a factory could ever compare to food made with ingredients that was raised and processed on your own land.


A tractor load of Sorghum going through the mill.

Matthew became intrigued the process because his dad (Daniel) started raising sorghum to help suppliment the crop of another farm in the area. If the sorghum wasn’t needed then it could be fodder for the animals they raise. Even when they strip the leaves from the cane they’re fed to animals. Nothing goes to waste. Matthew and I both have concerns about how well most people in the world would survive if they had to go back to living off the land. It’s one thing to raise a few veggies in the garden but it’s another thing entirely to provide proper nutrition for your whole family plus the animals.


Daniel works steady feeding the mill and it wasn’t long before the wagon was empty. But we’re far from done.

Our ancestors were able to provide everything for themselves but they didn’t do it all by themselves. The comunity was extended family and no one branch could provide it all. One branch might specialize in sorghum, another might raise corn and still others would be good making clothes or welding equipment. The cane mill was built in a factory with cast iron parts but gear system that allows the tractor to power it was custom made.


A closeup shot of the linkage between the tractor and the mill. The running gears are mesmerizing to watch.

While they were working they told me that one molasses maker uses a similar mill but it’s powered by a horse walking in circles.

I asked Matthew if making the molasses made him feel closer to our Appalachian heritage. He says yes that it somewhat does.

The mill has only been set up for a couple of weeks but the father and son team has been working together for 40 plus years. They barely need to speak in order to coordinate the efforts. They’ve got most factories that worked in far outpaced in efficiency.


Sorghum juice flowing from the mill.

As the cane is crushed the juice drips from the 4 drums inside and runs down the spout into a large tub.


The first stage of filtering

The juice is first filtered through a burlap cloth. This takes out large pieces of crushed cane and catches most of the foam.

The fine pulp must also be removed.

 

 

The next filter is a fine mesh bag that takes out small pieces of pulp and more foam.

The evaporation pan has to be scrubbed before you can start cooking

 

The evaporation pan is an outside piece of equipment and has to kept with a coat of vegetable oil to prevent rust. The oil is scrubbed off before the cooking process can start.

Daniel lights the first fire to heat the water for scrubbing.

 

The water is heated up for scrubbing process.

Adding juice to the evaporation pan

 

Most people think that the raw juice is clear for some reason. The finished product is brown but the raw juice is green. There are still impurities in the mix that has to be removed.

A second fire is lit to evaporate the juice.

 

The second fire is lit. Fire is called a purifying element. The juice will be slowly simmered over the next several hours. This not only drives off the water but it also causes impurities to come out of suspension.

A handmade skimmer

 

The impurities form a film on the surface and handmade skimmers are used to remove it.

“If you don’t get all the green out it will taste green.”

“If you don’t get all the green out it will taste green.”

The skimming is labor intensive but it’s a necessary part of the process. Daniel never takes his eyes off of the evaporation pan as the juice simmers. His face is a portrait of concentration and discipline as he works. I made a comment about how important it is to keep the skimmer moving. He said that if you don’t get all the green out it will taste green. Earlier, another camera man was filming for local access T.V. and dipped a finger into some of residual juice that didn’t drain out of the first catch basin. He said that the unprocessed juice tasted like peas only sweet.

I wasn’t able to stay for the final product this time but I’ve eaten molasses that Daniel and his father made when I was a kid. It’s probably the best quality food around and certainly better than the corporate version found in the big box stores.

What’s more is knowing that Matthew is preserving a taste of my childhood and an important part of our Appalachian heritage.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

If you would like to Follow me on Facebook the web address is

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If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Click here to visithttps://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me on Facebook or Use the Contact form. The YouTube link below takes you one of my slideshows.

https://youtu.be/FDcrY6w8oY8

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply message me on Facebook oruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer

Thank you again for your support of my page!

The Lost Art Of Sitting Like A Knot On A Log

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Mossy Log 43019” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

The forest is quiet as I approach the fallen log. The fresh smell of the moss fills my nose and the leaf litter rustles slightly as I walk. The slight breeze coming off of Summerville Lake gently shakes the new leaves. I have come to this place for a few minutes of tranquility and to absorb the scenery.

There’s a particular art to sitting on a log in the woods but it’s not really hard to master. After making sure that there’s no woodland creatures already occupying the space get comfortable. You can have a seat on log or sit on the ground and use the log as a back rest. It all depends on your relaxation style.

Next, make sure that the phone is at least on silent. Completely off is better but silent or vibrate is acceptable. I’ve got some serious decompression to do and can’t afford to be distracted.

Now it’s time to get down to business and relax. I like to close my eyes and open my ears. Before long I realize that the forest wasn’t really as quiet as first thought. The birds are normally first thing I hear. As I tune in I’m actually be able to pick out individual conversations going in branches. As I continue to scan the forest with my ears open a chipmunk chirps his disapproval at finding someone else in his path and darts under the leaves. Occasionally a honeybee buzzes the small blue flowers at the other end of log.

In addition to the moss the scent of oak pollen occasionally wafts through. Honeysuckle is also in the air.

Even though my eyes are closed you can sense a shadow crossing above me and I open my eyes to find a red tailed hawk perched on branch close by. As our eyes meet he pauses and cocks his head to one side before his powerful wings carry him deeper into the forest.

The light softens as sun now peeks through the boles and sound of the birds is replaced by a single tree frog droning for his love.

Beyond the tree line the sky is in the process of changing from blue to a soft purple and then I hear it. The whip-poor-will signals that time to leave the forest and return to civilization.

Clicking the button on the key fob brings the headlights of the big blue truck to life and lights the way out of the forest. As I exit the pathway and open the door of the truck a screech owl crackle bids me a good evening. I smile and lean out the window to whistle an owl hoot of my own in reply before driving up the gravel road towards home.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

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If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Click the web to go tohttps://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me on Facebook or Use the Contact form.

https://youtu.be/FDcrY6w8oY8

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply message me on Facebook oruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you to https://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer.

Thank you again for your support of my page! 😊

Thinking In The Fourth Dimension

Hello Friends!Tonight’s feature image is titled “Morning Reflection On Three Rivers ” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

The early morning sun casts a golden hue across the three rivers. The calm water echoes the sky’s dance and God paints another masterpiece. I have only a few minutes of peaceful contemplation on the river’s edge as I prepare for the daily rituals common to my day job. It’s a small window of opportunity to be the real me on my own terms. As I form the picture in my head and plan out what I hope will be the final edit I carefully consider the elements contained within the margins. Light, shadow, color and texture come together in the form of points rays and curves. The goal isn’t as much to capture the shapes formed or the color perceived by the eye as much as it is to preserve the moment imprinted on my soul. I have set a goal for myself to use my lens as tool for expressing life in four dimensions. To do that I have to learn to think in the fourth dimension of time. By the time we graduated from elementary school the three dimensional concept is pretty well drilled into us. That of course being height, width and depth. But outside of the advanced sciences very little effort is commonly spent on time as a coordinate. I can’t really blame the education system. Even the advanced sciences tend to debate about the nature of time. To some of the experts it’s a scale and to others it’s a vector. But neither side of that debate has been able to actually hold time, dissect it and find it’s limits. It’s a feat that is beyond the reach of the laboratory. Oh they can observe it’s effects on the known universe and make mathematical models and predictions but that’s not the same as actually holding onto the substance of time. No, for that task you need an artist. Capturing time is a function of the spirit. It’s only possible to contain small amounts. The tools vary depending on the art form. Canvas and paint, molten metals, earthworks and cement as well as the poet’s pen and the musician’s notes are all tools for dipping into the river of time and bottling up the moment. I have chosen the lens to cage small pieces of this universal force of nature. I have poured into it bits and pieces of myself in an effort to preserve those moments indefinitely and share them with you. Perhaps one day science succeed in bottling up time. If so they will sell it to industry and industry will certainly put it a shelf and for the right price you’ll be able to add hours to your day. But if it were possible to add time to your life would it be satisfying? Or is it better to simply sit by the water and life to your time. I have chosen the latter option. A lifetime is more than the number of days on planet earth. It’s the fulfillment of the soul in those moments.

In closing, let me encourage you to set aside a few minutes of peace to experience a connection with God in His creation. I promise that it will add life to your time.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

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If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

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Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me onFacebook or use the contact form

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Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply message me on Facebook oruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer.

Thank you again for your support of my page! 😊

Trout Lilies – Forage Friday 4

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is untitled. However, if you want to purchase a copy please use the contact instructions at the bottom of the article.

There’s a lot of wild edible plants on my land that I only have theoretical knowledge of. I have read the materials, checked sources, double checked the references and learned the plant’s “face” so I could recognize it when I saw it. One such plant is Trout Lily. My land is on the shady side of the mountain. It’s a wet site which means that the soil stays moist most of the time and there’s a few spots that are downright swampy. I have noticed that the Trout Lilies are always found in those spots that are moist enough for the moss to grow but not actually wet. On the edge of the forest or in the more open portions where the ferns grow well.

The mottled patterns of leaf is pretty hard to mistake.

The nodding yellow flowers are also pretty distinctive. Several of the references I learned from stated that the flower wasn’t really in large supply and that care should be taken as not to over harvest. Other sources say that they’re plentiful but should only be eaten in very small amounts. The reason why is that they are Ematic. In other words, they make you sick to your stomach. Even to the point that it was suggested that it would be useful as a medicine for purging a stomach that has ingested a toxic plant. ( Just a reminder, Forage Friday is not intended to be a substitute for proper training and education. It is for entertainment purposes only. )

With the potential for a foraging excursion gone wrong and not in need of being purged of ingested poison I elected to abstain from Trout Lilies. However, the reference books describe the flavor as being similar to cucumbers and a good addition to salads but emphasis on the vary small amounts within a twenty-four hour period. This made the plant unsuitable for my purposes of finding alternative staple crops and so I never pursued the possibilities. The short availability season also had something to do with that decision. Like the Squirrel Corn and Dutchman’s Breeches they do add a lot of beauty to the edges of my yard. And since I have never actually tried them myself I can’t really say if they’re good. But since they are included in the field guides I’m including them in Forage Friday. As with all of the Forage Friday posts I have to recommend that you don’t rely solely on this post for information about wild edible plants.

The comments are open to the public and if you’re a person who has actually tried this one I’d love to hear about your experience.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

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If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

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Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me onFacebook or use the contact form

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply message me on Facebook oruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer.

Thank you again for your support of my page! 😊