Every Frog Has His Day

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

Rainy days and Mondays are not to be desired or so it’s been said. Admittedly, I would have rather spent the day sitting in the sunshine and enjoying the birds singing while watching the ferry diddles play in the trees. But even the rainy day has it’s own joy if you look hard enough. Just beyond the trees and down the hill a piece is a ditch where the water pools. This is the frogs gather and sing for a mate in wet weather. It occurs to me that for a frog rainy days are one of life’s true joys. If it’s a warm sunny day a frog has to stay close to water and in the shadows to keep from drying out. But if it’s a warm rain a frog gets to come out and play. He spends his whole day making up songs that express his appreciation of the clouds. I can picture the scene in my mind. Mr Frog jumps out of the water and gazes skyward. A frog’s smile might be hard to detect but promise you that it’s there. He wiggles his webbed toes in the fresh mud. Then he takes a breath so deep that he blows up like a green balloon. Then he lets out a song like no song has ever been sung before. For a frog it’s the best Monday ever! One for the books! As the rain continues to fall gently the birds gather in the thick evergreen trees and the ferry diddles go to their dens. Everyone sits quietly waiting for rain to stop as they listen to frogs make beautiful music. Eventually I move from the window to the awning on the back of building and listen myself. Suddenly the gray sky doesn’t seem so bad. Monday isn’t so tough when your world is full of music.

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Casting Off

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Anchor Point 1” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the page.

The river never stops. Even when it’s cold enough to freeze the ice slides forward on a thin layer of liquid water beneath. There are times when it rages and sweeps away everything in its path and times when it laps gently at the shore delivering life to the landscape. But it never stops.

Time flows like a river. Our perception can give us the impression of time flying as when visiting with an old friend or we can slow time to a crawl as when that cup of coffee is knocked off of the table and seems to hover in mid air for a moment. But it never really stops. Time erodes the world. It carries away the opportunities of the moment and changes our personal landscape. One way that this happens is by living in the past. It’s good to have a sense of nostalgia especially if it gives us a sense of peace but if it blinds us to the present it can be a problem. I’m guilty of this. I think it’s human nature to hold onto things that bring us happiness. But if we miss today’s opportunity we’re going to miss tomorrow’s happiness as we watch yesterday’s joy fade away into the past. I chose tonight’s feature image to represent holding onto yesterday because it is an anchor point. It’s purpose is to hold the boat in one place while the river flows by. It’s that stability that gives us the ability to board the boat and navigate through the river but at some point have to cast off. Casting off requires letting go of the anchor point that is weathered and worn. Here then is the paradox, letting go of the anchor exposes us to the hazards of the current but without letting go we may as well not be in the boat in the first place. What will we do in the river of time? Will we go boldly into current and build the future or will we hold onto the anchor point until the river swells and sweeps it away? Certainly there’s a place for nostalgia in our lives. But it should be more of an aid to navigation than a anchor the prevents travel beyond the starting point. It’s place in our lives should be where we can visit and resupply for the next journey but never the place where we are stuck.

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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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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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! 😊

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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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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Out Of The Darkness

Hello Friends! For well over a year now I have posted at least once per day and to the best of my knowledge I have never recycled a picture. Technically that’s still true because tonight’s feature image is a new version of a previously published image. So I’ve titled the new version “Light At The End Of The Tunnel 2019”. If you would like to purchase a copy please use the contact instructions at the bottom of the bottom of the page.

Some days it feels like you’re on top of the world and nothing can go wrong. But then other days feel more like the world’s on top of you and nothing is working out according to the original vision. It’s going to be okay. The darkness won’t last forever.

Most of us don’t really know how many people are sending prayers on our behalf when troubles come. Especially if we’re busy just trying to survive the darkness. But trust me here, you have far more friends and family that believe in you than you’re aware of. Some of the dark places last a little longer than others but none of them are permanent dwelling places as long as you continue to push forward. Even as I write this I can here the pessimist’ s comments about the light being “a freight train heading your way “. Well, I can tell you that odds of encountering that oncoming train are greater for those who set up camp inside the tunnel than it is for those who continue to push towards the end. In fact, giving up before you reach the light is just about going to guarantee that train encounter so don’t give up! Keep making progress no matter what. Soon you will reach the light and the end of that dark place. And when you step outside of the tunnel remember that it takes some time for your eyes to readjust to the outside world again. There might even be a little pain but that won’t last either. As you rub your eyes and look around you’ll see how much beauty there is surrounding you again. With the darkness behind you and the fresh air filling your lungs I want you to know that we never had any doubts that you would make through.

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 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.

Thank you again for your support of my page! 😊

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

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/

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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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