Curiosity About The Life Of A Towboat Crew

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Towboat 31219” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the page.

The morning sun is climbing high as I stopped by the Kanawha River for a few minutes of peaceful contemplation. Above me the large trucks are shifting gears as they slow down for the stoplight on the Chelyan bridge. I stopped here for two reasons. One, to catch a few breaths on the water’s edge and to look for a photo op. It wasn’t long before one of the Towboats came powering upstream. For me time on the river is a way of getting out of the office chair and enjoying life as God intended. But for the crew of a towboat the river is their office. It’s kinda surprising to me that I never considered a job as a deckhand since I like being on the river. I have to admit that I don’t really know much about the job. I presume there’s much more to it than waiting to reach the delivery point. As I understand it the boat is their home and that they’re on duty for long hours. I’m told that it’s as dangerous as being an underground miner. Not only is there a danger of falling into swift current but there’s stories about people slipping into a void in the payload of coal and being burried alive. However I do find the idea of traveling down the Kanawha River to the Ohio River and beyond interesting. Aside from the actual work that goes along the river jobs the views they have of spots seldom seen from the highway must be amazing if they have time to see them.

As the towboat maneuvers itself into position to accomplish the task at hand I am thankful for the work ethic of people in the coal industry. The fuel they provide not only keeps the lights on but also becomes the steel and aluminum in our infrastructure.

I’m also interested in the stories that a towboat crew might have. So if you’re reading this and happen to work on one these boats I’d love to hear about your memories in the comments section below.

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A Quick Update On My Natural Calendar

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Awakening In March” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the page.

I’m the kind of person who is done with ice and snow about 2 days after Christmas. I have been longing for green leaves and a walk down a moss covered path for quite some time now. We still have a little ways to go yet but yesterday’s revelation of the Bradford pear with it’s swollen flower buds was just the boost I needed. So much so that I decided to savor the moment and post the closeup as a second post. I live at a higher elevation and the valley always greens up a few days to a few weeks before it does at my house. In addition to the Bradford pear I’m starting to notice that familiar crimson tinge on the red maple twigs that tells me they are waking up too. The sight of these things reminds me of being challenged to swim from the Battle Run “Beach” to the campground under water. Unless you’re Michael Phelps it’s only possible by occasionally coming up for air a few times. These buds are the fresh breath I need to get through until mid April. In addition I’m thrilled that we reset the clocks to Daylight saving time tonight and that means it’s no longer dark when I get home. ( Can we just move it by 1/2 hour and leave it there?). You might be discouraged to see the snow covering the delicate buds but have no fear. This actually helps them survive the cold! I have been reviewing the metadata on in my archive to judge the dates of my natural calendar. Last year this tree was in full bloom on March 16th. By April 2nd the the Japanese Maple at the shopping center had tiny new leaves. The Redbud was in full bloom on April 14th and on April 23rd the dogwood trees were just starting to open. On April 25th last year I took a picture of a wild mustard plant in full bloom. And by April 27th the blackberries had both bloom and deep green leaves.

In closing, I know that tonight’s post is a little longer than normal and that I didn’t really cover the normal topic of taking time to declutter the mind but I do find encouragement in stepping back and gauging how long it is before the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains reveals itself in it’s milder form.

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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Refilling

Hello Friends!Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Ready For Refill” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the page.

The thunder of the steel wheels and diesel engine quells to a rumble as the brakes screech. The train is approaching the tipple ready to carry another load out of the mountains. Empty cars clatter as they bump into each other when the train slows down. One by one the engine pulls them into position under the chute to be filled by the men who pull light out of the darkness.

There’s always going to be those days when we’ve given it all we’ve got and there is no more. We start of with a full load of whatever it is that we have to deliver. For the most part a trainload of coal will be delivered to a single destination but for the purpose of the illustration let’s suppose that the payload is divided up between several places. The train starts off with a mile of cars in tow. It stops and drops a few cars here and a few cars there. Sooner or later it will need to return home to refill.

We as humans start off with a load of whatever it is that we have to provide for those in need. All of it can be defined as one form of energy or the other. It could be spiritual energy in the form of prayers for those in need, or food for the hungry. Perhaps it’s simply our labor that we sell a little piece at a time to an employer. But whatever form it takes it’s a certain amount of our life’s energy infused into a token. Sooner or later it will run out and will need to refill our cargo and refuel the engine. We need to return home. For me that’s seeking God in the quiet time. It’s rest for mind and spirit as well as my body. I hope that it’s the same for you but however you get refilled it’s a necessary part of life and something that should not be ignored. If we find ourselves just going through the motions then it’s probably because we need to fill up again.

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 onFacebook or use the Contact Form on my website

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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 or use the contact form on my website and 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 are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer.

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First Bloom.

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “First Bloom”. As with all of feature images on my copies can be purchased by following the instructions at the bottom of the page.

Tonight we’re having a little cold snap and as expected there is ice, snow and cold rain all on the same day. But I’m actually encouraged by the turn in the weather because historically there’s always a couple of snowy days before winter actually ends. Today’s snow means there’s only one or maybe two snows left to deal with. The next sign will be the emergence of the Serviceberry. Also known locally as Sarvis tree Serviceberry is probably the first thing to bloom in the Appalachian Mountains. As I understand it, the name comes from the old days when traveling during the winter months dangerous at best. Oftentimes when a person passed away in the winter the body was burried whenever it could be and the memorial service was delayed until Spring. There was little in the way of flowers to bring to the grave and thus the bloom of the Serviceberry tree filled the need. The tree would have been planted near churches and graveyards to ensure that flowers were available for those who came to the service. There’s other stories about how the tree got it’s name and there’s a long list of names for this family of trees. If I remember correctly from my forestry classes ( 20 years ago) the trees do hybridize frequently making exact identification of species and strains best left to tree nerds.

Because of the early bloom these trees are an important source of food for honeybees. It’s a mistake to think that honeybees sleep the winter away. They are busy all through the winter keeping the hive warm with their bodies and that means that they need fuel. A quick Google search says that a hive might need as much as thirty pounds of honey to make it through until Spring. TALK ABOUT A SUGAR BUZZ! By the time the weather warms up they’ll be ready to resupply and a good crop of Serviceberry bloom is just thing to tide them over until the rest of the flowers wake up. Honeybees feed the world so if you’re the kind of person who plants ornamentals and your local environment will support Serviceberry then you can do something that will actually make the world a better place by planting Serviceberry. Not only will you feed the bees that pollinate crops that feed the world but you’ll be rewarded with crop of your own. The Serviceberry fruit is edible and delicious! When I was a kid we would eat the raw when we could beat the wildlife to the berries but there’s a whole list of puddings, pies and preserves that use the berries.

I’m betting that some of my fellow Appalachians have some wonderful stories about picking Serviceberry fruit in late Spring and early Summer and I’d love to hear about your memories in the comments! If you’re reading this in one of the Facebook groups that have comments turned off then come on over to the Lloyd’s Lens Photography page on Facebook and tell me your story there. The weather is bad outside but we can look forward to seeing those delicate white flowers soon. The feature image for this post was taken in the last week of March a couple years ago.

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

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This Moment Is Mine

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Peaceful Resolution” and is available for purchase by using theinstructions at the bottom of the page.

The big blue truck veers from the highway and comes to an abrupt halt on the berm. The rain clouds have dissipated and the roads are clear of debris. It’s time to sit by the Kanawha River for a few minutes and recharge in the fresh air and warm sun. Down river Glen Ferris basks in the Sun beneath the dormant kudzu. The trees are still sleeping but the soil is starting to come to life deep beneath leaf litter. And the frogs are awake! Even though it’s broad daylight the forest is alive with the croaking and chirping of the males singing for a mate. I can also hear a cardinal high in a treetop declaring his love for his lifelong mate. The sun is at just the right angle to produce a nice reflection of the Methodist Church in the distance on the water. The breeze blows just enough to feel fresh but not enough to chill. I take a deep breaths and savor the atmosphere. There’s no rush today and the big blue truck ism going anywhere else for a while. Today is mine and I will take full advantage of each moment while it’s available because those moments when a person can clear away the mental clutter is just as important to health as diet and exercise.

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 onFacebook or use the Contact Form on my website

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I have new way for you purchase photos!

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 or use the contact form on my website and 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 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! 😊

Some Days Are For The Birds

Recently the warm weather allowed me to get out for a few minutes and visit the bird feeder at my dad’s house. Dad goes all out for his little feathered friends. The TV is on but he has his binoculars pressed to his face looking out the window at all the activity in the chestnut trees on the edge of the yard. The term “yard” is kinda used loosely at dad’s place. In general it’s any place where you mow plus just under the trees where the woods begin. As we observe the feeding dad recounts the events at the feeder over the past few days. He hasn’t actually named these birds out loud but he knows all of the species and individuals who frequently visit his yard. He tells me that the Common Flicker in tonight’s feature image is the boss of the yard and how he even challenges and keeps at bay the murder of crows that are larger and outnumber him. He talks about the covey of mourning doves and how one always lands on the feeder and tosses food down to the ground for the rest of them. A Pileated Woodpecker swoops in as dad talks and lands on a dead limb of a hickory tree. He hits the dead wood like a jackhammer and sends wood chips flying everywhere in his search for insects living in the wood. ( I tried to get a nice shot of the Pileated Woodpecker but he’s far too camera shy and took flight as soon as I stepped outside.) Dad has one mortal enemy at his bird feeder and surprisingly it’s not the squirrels. It’s a mob of Common Grackles that have run the bluebirds out of his yard and have even overwhelmed the Flicker on occasion. The former Marine came out in dad’s eyes when he postulated on how to defend his songbirds from the Grackles. A few minutes later he softened a little and said that God had a place for the Grackles too. Most of shots from the window didn’t really turn out well and so I put my wilderness stalking skills to work and began to ease myself closer to the feeder. Most of the birds scattered at first but soon the chickadees returned. Small and agile the chickadees figure they can be gone with a mouthful of food before the human can react. I remained as motionless as a stone until they began to ignore me. As soon as the others saw that I wasn’t chasing after the chickadees they also returned. Then finally the Flicker decided that it was time to let me know that this was his feeder. The others gave way to him as he came in for a landing. He dug into the seed mix and found the one he wanted. Then he flew directly at the camera so fast that I couldn’t adjust the focus. He pulled up at the last moment and landed on the branch above me. Few a few minutes he seemed to play peekaboo by popping out from the tree with the nut in his beak. Finally he tucked it into his hiding spot on an upper branch.

Common Flicker hiding a nut in a tree branch

I watched him repeat this stunt a few times before I went back inside to visit with dad some more and share the photos with him. I’ve been told that some days are for the birds but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I want to encourage you to spend some time birding. The songbirds not only bring much needed beauty to the dull winter climate but also share their beautiful songs and impart a little peace to your morning.

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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I am available for portrait sessions by appointment by appointment. To schedule a session please go tohttps://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/contact/

I am working on a new distribution channel for prints and products that will allow me to provide a better buyer experience but for now please continue to use the information below.

All Images used by this blog are the original work of Lloyd’s Lens Photography and may not be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer. To purchase a copy or request a license please contact me using either of links below.

The contact form on my website is found athttps://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/contact/

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A Few Minutes Of Peace In A Natural Sanctuary

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. Tonight’s feature image is titled “Sanctuary” and is available for purchase by using the contact instructions at the bottom of the page. This image is also available in black and white.

The cove of Cathedral Falls is quiet. The only sounds are the peaceful songs of the birds and the trickling of the water cascading down the rocks. Ripples emanate across the pool at the base of the cascade. Crayfish scoot about in pool and hide among the painted sandstone rocks. I take in the moment breathe in the oxygenated air at the bottom of the falls. Looking up towards the break in the canopy I notice the butterflies who seem to float down on a sunbeam and come to rest on a clump of moss for a drink. It’s a warm day and I take off my sandals and clip them to the snap link on my belt. The stone bed of the creek is worn smooth by the flowing water and a few crayfish dart out as I wade in. The water is only ankle deep but is a little cold at first. A glimmer catches my eye as I wade through. Bending over for a better look, I discover a shiny new penny. And it’s even heads up. I started to reach for it but had the second thought that maybe it’s a wish penny tossed into the pool by a child. I’m not superstitious but I suddenly felt like I was betraying the hopes of someone who made the wish and moved on leaving the penny where it landed. I’ve no need for any extra luck today anyway. All I really needed was a few minutes of peace in this natural Cathedral to seek some inspiration.

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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I am available for portrait sessions by appointment by appointment. To schedule a session please go tohttps://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/contact/

I am working on a new distribution channel for prints and products that will allow me to provide a better buyer experience but for now please continue to use the information below.

All Images used by this blog are the original work of Lloyd’s Lens Photography and may not be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer. To purchase a copy or request a license please contact me using either of links below.

The contact form on my website is found athttps://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/contact/

Or use the Message button on Facebook

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