#Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays Writing/Photo Challenge #18: Travel

On the Road Again

In addition to being an introduction to the Writer’s Quotes Wednesday Writing challenge, this post is submitted in response to Lens Artist Challenge #140 “A Change of Scenery” hosted by guest host, Beth from Wandering Dawgs. “Beth suggests trying a different route on your walk, run, or bike ride of our local park. She also extends other opportunities for us, e.g. browsing our archives “to feature images from places we have visited in the past when you needed a change of scenery.”

Lisa Coleman invites us to share in the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge#41 Bird Reflections. Finally my photos also apply to Cee Neuner’s Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge Birds of Any Kind.

This was one of my dad’s favorite songs. He sang it every time we got in the car to go on a vacation. Interestingly, it was Mom who really took us on the road. When she and Dad divorced, the three of us, Mom, Randy and I, packed our belongings into a 1967 VW Bug and got on the road again traveling from Indiana to Oregon in five bumpy cramped days.


Oregon

Randy and I loved our new adventurous life. He still lives in Portland, OR not far from where we first settled, and I still love to visit. In 2018 when I went up to see him, we decided to spend a few days out of the hot, dusty, smoky, Portland air and go to Newport, Oregon. We stayed in a great suite right on the bay. Every morning we looked out and saw this bird standing in the water.

Same place. From our room he looked real. What do you think?

 “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”

Gustav Flaubert

LOL! That’s a good excuse for travel, I’ll take it. I disagree that it makes you modest. So what if your tiny? Small and mighty, learned, more interesting, understanding, maybe.

To me, travel is a rare privilege in life. How many people are fortunate enough to have the time and money it takes to travel? I will never see every country in the world. Yet I am so blessed. I take the opportunities to travel as they come to me. Via these reflected birds, I’ll only tell you about a very few places I’ve gone.

Australia

Two blogging friends invited me to come to Australia. It was the opportunity of a lifetime. These elegant, photogenic birds swam in the creeks at Healesville Sanctuary in Victoria, AU. Their reflections told them what they needed to know, “I am so beautiful.”

By the way, I just read Lisbet Collaert’s book, Plunge. Fabulous book, stirring, heart rending, you must read it especially if you are thinking of sailing full time. You can read her promo on my blog here. She didn’t have a lot of money to travel, but made that her lifestyle choice. It’s always a costly choice even on a budget, but this next quote tells why travel is so important.


“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” –

Seneca

Central California Coast

Who doesn’t want a strong, vigorous mind? I do, I do!

I have been fortunate enough to change scenery both by traveling and by moving. When we lived in California, it was only a two hour drive to escape the summer heat or the winter valley fog. We enjoyed a change of scenery in San Luis Obispo, Avila Beach or Pismo on the Central Coast of California.

birds on a log
I wonder if they were placing bets. 🙂

One of my favorite things to take with me when I travel is a camera, and my phone has been a dearest travel companion. On this occasion in 2013, I isolated myself for two weeks for NaNoWriMo to write a book. Each day I walked to Avila Beach from our trailer. One day I caught this flock of birds sitting on the log with my phone.

My husband thought it was my best picture ever even though the quality was not great. I always looked expectantly at that log every time I crossed over the golf course bridge hoping to see them again, but I never did.

bird reflection
Dinner time Cannibal bird

This hungry bird awaited me at the beach.


“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Mark Twain

Prescott, Arizona

When Vince and I married in 1995, he mentioned in passing that he loved the high desert and wanted to live there. I had a great job teaching in Woodlake, CA, and was as uninterested in living in a desert as these birds are in moving to the Arctic Circle.

Twenty-five years later, after he mentioned it maybe 30,000 times, I agreed that the time was right. If we were ever going to move to the desert, we should get a move on. As soon as I said yes, Vince sprang into action, and within three months, we had exchanged our California Dreaming for a home in the mountain city of Prescott, AZ.

We enjoy hundreds of miles of trails and a change of scenery as often as we wish.


Now it’s your turn. Are you among the hundreds of thousands ready to get back on the road again? Pull out your camera. Write in your journal, write a post and link to this week’s #WQWWC (Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays Writing Challenge).

Or maybe you’d rather make it a photo challenge. That works for me. Maybe you don’t even want to write a post. That works, too.

Find a quote or respond to one of mine.

Where to find quotes

Quotes are great fun. You can see how I quadruple-dipped here with one post. Make your post count for the most visibility and have fun with it.

If you respond to this #WQWWC prompt – Travel, leave me a link in the comment section. I don’t always get pingbacks. I love it when you do that, too, but I have missed people and I hate to do that.

WQWWC Instructions
9 Ways to Respond to a Quote for Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays Writing Challenge

You can copy, paste and edit this little logo in your own post and add my link each week to the url and have an automatic pingback. Or just add it if you think its a good logo. Canva is my graphic artistic consultant.

#WQWWC Logo
Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays Writing Challenge Logo

Thanks again for stopping by my blog and playing with quotes.

My Reading List for This Week

A comment about reading. When you commit to submitting to a photo or writing challenge, it’s most rewarding if you meet the people in the community. Reading adds a lot of time to the process. I never thought I could read this many blogs in a month, much less a day. But I found that if I take the time to cut and paste the links into a document – even my blog, but I also use a Google Doc, I can read at least half of these in a day. I’ve never tried to read this many blogs in a day, so this is my challenge.

You are welcome to cut and paste my list into any document and see how well you can do with it. If you put this list of links in your next photo challenge for any of these wonderful bloggers, you give them some extra coverage too. So it’s win-win.

#WQWWC List


#LAPC List


Bird Weekly Challenge


Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

have a great week!

FOTD Tulips from Longwood Gardens

Cee Neuner posts a Flower of the Day Challenge. I have enough flower pictures in my archives to post every day for about three years, but I’ve never posted every day for an extended period of time, and seldom more than once a day. Since I have other projects in the works, I’m in a quandary.

Cinquain by Willow Dot

Nature resplendent

Warm colours challenge the sun.
Glory to behold
 FOTD tulips from Longwood Gardens

April is coming up and Becky B’s Bright Squares are coming up in two days.

So here’s my question, how do you feel about posting more than one post per day?

Bitmoji

Yes, Our WP Blogging Experts Agree – Your Site Needs Two Things

You Need Both a Search Box and Categories

I asked you all how you help yourself and others to find posts and pictures hidden inside the megabytes of storage WordPress keeps for you. They all agreed that the most helpful technologies on your blog are the search box and identifying categories for each post.

Marsha Ingrao and Kalev photo search -Oregon

Each contributor’s comments have been woven into this post. If you like what they say or want to take a look at their blog, I’ve included a link to one of their recent blog posts in their first comment so you can find them and ask questions or take a look to see how their site is organized.

Hugh Roberts spends hours helping people with his blog tip category. He had this to say about using categories.

Hi Marsha, I have a photography category on my blog, which has 5 sub-categories – Daily Squares, Lens Artist Photo challenge, Wordless Wednesday, Sunday Stills, and Thursday Doors. So if anybody wanted to look at my Daily Squares posts, they would choose that category to see a list of posts. Here’s a screenshot of the categories I mentioned. Hugh’s instructions for using categories.

Hugh Roberts
Want to know how Hugh did this? Read this post.

Yes, I have the search bar widget on my blog, so it shows on every page of my blog because it’s on the widget bar. I recommend that every blogger has a search bar on their blog for several reasons. I’ve written posts about it. Here are Hugh’s instructions to install a search bar widget.

And yes, categorising your blog posts is vital. I liken blogs not have categorised posts as walking into a library to look for a certain book and finding that none of the books has been put into categories. You have to search the whole library for that book on the six wives of Henry VIII, instead of just looking in the history section for it. How many people would bother?

When looking for photos for certain challenges, I use the search bar in the WordPress media library to look for suitable photos because I label my photos when I add them to the library. It seems to work well.

Hugh Roberts

Even if you think nobody can see your categories listed on your sidebar, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them. They work invisibly with your search bar to help people find posts they want to read. The other item that works hard for you without showing is the information you add to your photos. We talked about that in our last post.

When Anne Leueen talks about WP Admin, she is talking about the internal working of a website or backside, that you can see and your readers cannot see.

I use categories but the idea of a search widget is new to me. I will have to look into that. To search my photos in media I click on My Site then select WP Admin then Media and put in the date. I usually have an idea of when I used the photos and it is much , much faster than scrolling down through years of photos!

Anne Leueen

I have a much better idea of time now that I have organized my photos on my computer.

Both Challenge Hosts, Becky B and Cee Neuner, Challenge Hostess of many challenges, have search widgets in their sidebar.

Search function is so useful, many themes seem to add it automatically for you in your menus or footers, but if not do look to add one if you have side-menus and footers. So useful! 

Becky B (Squares Hostess)
Sunset in Maui
I’m ready for Becky B’s April Squares – bright. Sunset in Hawaii

My friend Carol reminds me about a technique to help people outside of WordPress on social media to notice your post.

I always include the latest hashtag in the text and the tags  for Becky’s challenges.

The Eternal Traveller

Cee Neuner, famous in the blogging world for her many challenges like Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, Cee’s Black and White Challenge, and Flower of the Day Challenge, to name just a few, agrees.

Categories help people find things on your site when they are visiting your site. You should use them. Tags are more important to help people find things when they are searching Google or Bing and are not on your site. You should add tags to each post. I always put my full name in the tag bar for every post. I also put my blog address and the name of my challenge. This helps search engines like Google and it also protects your content.

Cee Neuner
FOTD Cee Neuner, tulips, orange, red, purple
Ready to submit for Cee Neuner’s Flower of the Day Challenge – Tulips

Where Should You Put a Search Bar Widget?

For my readers, I have the Search tool right up front in the right margin near the top. As a travel blogger, mostly United States, it is easy to (categorize my posts) by state or country name. I also have some photography categories referenced since a geographic region may not be appropriate for the specific post topic. I also use tags for specific terms in the text when appropriate. Finally, I have a category called “But I Digress…” where I put everything else.

John Steiner

Lisa Coleman notes that you can move widgets anywhere on your sidebar and footers that you want them. Lisa explains why she moved her Search Bar Widget.

I just moved my search box to the top of my pages. It still appears at the bottom of my home page which I can’t change because of my theme. All other pages, including my blog page, the search is at the top of my sidebar. For instance, I sometimes want to put a link into a new post from a past post because something triggers a subject. I want to reference that past blog for any new followers who haven’t seen it (if they choose to click on the link).

I begin my search outside of WP via a new tab in Chrome. I go to my blog and search my own blog. It is easy to put the topic or keyword into search. It will bring up all posts from newest to oldest for that search. I can then go through until I find the post, click on the post and copy the URL, paste it into the link for the new post.

I now have an old post get new attention. 

Lisa Coleman
Australian pelican
My pelican photo for Lisa’s Bird Weekly Photo Challenge

Is the Search Bar Widget Just for Guests?

Categories help visitors quickly know what topics your website is about and allows them to navigate your site faster.

https://www.wpbeginner.com/glossary/category/

While these two technologies assist guests trying to find something on your blog, there are other uses.

I have a basic search box in my right sidebar. I probably use it more than anyone else…

Jim Borden

Our next expert, Sarah of Toonsarah, like Hugh, has categories and sub-categories. Sarah tells how she searches for posts on her blog.

When I want to find things myself I do it one of two ways. If I’m looking for a complete post I use my own menu as I usually know how I will have categorised it. However as I add more posts and each category has more within it, that will become cumbersome I guess. I may start to use my search box then!

Sarah Wilkies

Sarah is a travel blogger, so you might find her choices of category topics helpful.

I have a search box at the top of every page, next to the menu. I do use categories, which I sub-divide as follows:


Destinations (organised by continent / country / and sometimes broken down further)


Themes, including landscape, eco-tourism, food & drink, wildlife (again sometimes broken down further e.g. wildlife has a sub-category of birds)


Photography, with sub-divisions of different styles of gallery (by place or by theme) and all the photography challenges listed separately so fellow-bloggers can, I hope, find them

Sarah Wilkies

Sidebar or Not?

Sarah brought up a couple more issues that you may wonder about as well. The first is whether or not to use the sidebar. In addition to a search bar, sidebar widgets might include a tag cloud, a list of categories, your name and picture, and many other helpful items.

Whenever I create a new category I also add it to my menu, so I don’t also put them in my sidebar but I do have a tag cloud there. I did a very small and informal survey among Facebook friends who blog, as I was considering getting rid of the sidebar, but the feedback seemed to be that people do use them to navigate the site.

Sarah Wilkies

Many of you know Restless Jo. She adds to that issue, which is that the widgets you use can vary depending on the theme and type of WordPress site you have.

Oh help! You know I’m rubbish at this! I used to use Categories but when I changed to a paying site I lost my sidebar. Or should I say I coveted the space more and eliminated it, along with footers. I do have a search on the front page just under the Header but I doubt anyone uses it. Hopeless! Don’t take any tips from me. 

Restless Jo
Prescott Walk downtown
a picture from my post, Prescott Walks #2 Downtown Prescott

So there is the sidebar controversy. Do you use a side bar? On which side are you? Keep in mind that categories keep working behind closed doors as long as you enter that information and have a search bar in your sidebar.

How Many Categories Are Enough?

The second controversy Sarah brings up is about how many categories you should use in your blog. Sarah has probably been contacted by the same web developers that I have been promising to make my website function better if only I do… Where do you stand on this next topic?

As to the number of categories, the advice I read is that you shouldn’t have more than 15 categories and tags in total as WP tends associate large numbers of both with spammers and won’t include the post in Reader searches etc. I have no idea if that’s correct but for the present it’s advice I follow. 

Sarah Wilkies

You can add as many tags as you like to a post. However, the WordPress.com Reader will filter out posts using more than 15 tags and categories (combined) as an anti-spam measure.

Hugh Roberts

Ooh are they saying 15 in total for both tags and categories – yikes. I have way more than 15 because of the tags! I thought that only related to categories – off to research

Becky B. (Squares)

I have more than 15 categories I can choose from depending on the topic of the post. When a website designer salesperson told me I had too many categories, I eliminated some. Listening to Hugh, it sounds like the advice limiting both tags and categories is meant to apply to each post. That makes a lot more sense. I do not show all my categories in my sidebar, it’s too cumbersome.

Add Categories to Menu

Like posts, you might not want to add too many items to your Menu bar. In your menu setting, you can chose to add a category as either a parent or sub-topic as a menu item. Here again, most bloggers want you to opt for the simple. Fewer is better.

On a scale of 1-5 how helpful was this information?

Do you have any other questions or suggestions. Feel free to talk about it in the comment bar or contact me directly through my contact page.

Bitmoji

Thanks for joining us today. Have a great week.

#Sunday Stills: Respect Your Cat

Thank you Terri, for the honor of hosting Sunday Stills for a couple of weeks. I am so excited because March 28 is Respect Your Cat Day. Did you know that cat videos are the most popular on YouTube? I hope you have some cat pictures to share for this week’s #Sunday Stills.

Moji v cosmos

  • 3 kittens in a tree
  • 2 cats on a shade cloth
  • cat chewing on the cord to attaching shade cloth to house
  • tabby cat on a wooden path
  • two black cats on chairs

Cats filled our lives for the entire 20 years we lived in Elderwood.


How to Respect Your Cats

Outdoor Cats

Respect your cat feral cat colony
2.5 acres with about 50-60 feral cats

Our cats came from our neighbor’s 2.5 acre feral cat colony. In the country people dump cats. If the dumpee can afford to keep and fix them, they have found a home. If not, they reproduce and live as semi-wild animals. All of our cats found us or came from next door.

“All outdoor animals are at risk from wild and domestic animals. The only way to totally protect your animal is to keep it indoors. Of course, that has its limitations, too.”

Dr. Gerald Haggard, Exeter Veterinary Hospital
Respect your cat Moji
Moji at four weeks.

When we got our cats, they looked like something from the trash, covered with spider webs, matted fur and goobery eyes. Moji was scared of everything and had a favorite hiding place that the spiders also loved. She was too young to be away from her mother, even though she was old enough to ween. She sucked on Nutter’s and Porshe’s ears in order to go to sleep. They did not seem to mind.


What to Do After Adopting a Feral Kitten
  • Bathe them but gently, with a wash cloth not immersion.
  • Trim their nails if you plan to hold them.
  • Feed them cat milk replacement, not milk until they are weened.
  • Take them to the vet for infected eyes – amoxicillin can save their lives. We lost one kitten trying to treat it ourselves.
  • Get their recommended shots.
  • Cats with fleas usually have worms. That’s why keeping them flea-free is so important and so difficult if they are outdoor cats. Comb out fleas dipping the comb in soapy water after each combing until they are old enough for a flea collar.
  • Get them fixed as soon as they are old enough.
  • Get them chipped. We lost Porsche at about one-year-old because he bolted at breakfast one day and never came back. We were devastated.
  • Give them a safe place to go, especially at night. We lost Butters because something took him away, or he wandered away one night.
  • Give them clean food and water, out of reach of other animals, if possible. Take the food in at night to avoid attracting wild animals like skunks and raccoons.
  • Provide some kind of heating and cooling for them in extreme temperatures.
  • If you cage them, provide litter boxes for each cat. They like clean boxes, too.
  • Respect your cat Porsche
  • Respect you cat Nutters and Butters on cooling pad
  • Respect your cat milk replacer
  • Respect your cat indoor cage
  • Respect Your Cat Porsche, Nutters, Butters on the floor

Caging our Ourdoor Animals

Living in the country, twenty years ago when we arrived, we treated our cats like feral cats. We weren’t cat people, but cats came anyway. Most survived for many years with that kind of attention. They rarely went to the vet, They survived if they survived.

As Scardy aged, his fights caused us several expensive trips to the vet. After the last trip and after losing a couple of our new babies, Vince decided to build them a large cage by putting a chain link gate at either end of the walkway between the garage and house.

3 cats on a cat tree
Moji-top, Porsche- middle, Nutters-bowl

At first I was uptight about keeping them caged at night, but within a short time even Scardy and I adapted. We had to make some adjustments when they were little as you can see on the video.

Young Nutters adjusts to being in the cage.

As they aged, the kittens, especially Moji, loved the cage. They had a place to run when they got scared, and could get into the garage as well. We had a safe place to feed them. Because it was covered, it was cooler in the summer than most places in the yard except wet dirt.


Outdoor Pets Have Plenty to Do

  • respect your cat Nutters on shade cloth
  • respect your cat Moji and Nutter Butter
  • respect your cat Nutters in bushes
  • respect your cat three cats in a tree
  • respect your cat exploring the shade cloth
  • respect your cat Nutters hunting
  • Respect your cat Nutters in tube
  • Respect your cat Nutters and Cayman

Indoor Cats

When we moved from their rural home in Elderwood, CA to the mountain community of Prescott, AZ, their lives changed in many ways as did the ways we showed them respect. Scardy and Porsche are now gone. Moji and Nutter Butter reside indoors full time because of the wild animal danger here.

  • Respect Your Cat Nutters watches tv
  • Respect your cat Nutters cuddles

Nutter Butter and Moji’s Indoor life

  • The doctor prescribed tranquilizers for the nine hour driving trip from CA to AZ. They weren’t crazy about the cages, but they slept most of the way.
  • They are much safer and cleaner even than they were in their cage. Prescott has many wild animals and cats are not safe outside.
  • They like to look outside, but haven’t been too interested to sneak outside in the cold.
  • They love to cuddle.
  • Nutters loves TV. Animated and animal stories are his favorites. He loved “Penguin.”
  • They both love toys.
  • We have to keep them away from the dog food. It makes them sick. So do hairballs.
  • They love to wake us up at 4:00 am to feed them even though they have food in their tree. This is not working well for us.
  • Nutters and Kalev, our dog, still wear their Seresto flea collars. They have to be changed every nine months. Moji took hers off. Since she is indoors 100% I haven’t worried about her yet.
  • The harness and leash I bought for Nutters did not stay on longer than five minutes. As soon as I tried to get him to go outside he backed up and scraped it off against a chair leg. I guess he doesn’t want to go outside badly enough to be safe. 🙂
  • Nutters has been throwing up hairballs because he’s grooming no only himself, but long-haired Moji. I called the vet and they recommended hairball medicine. I didn’t find it at Walmart even though it is on their website. I found hairball treats, a special undercoat brush that removes a lot of hair without hurting them, and some food for cats with sensitive stomachs by Blue. He loves it, and so far, no hairball messes in the house.

Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders


Super Spring Green Bursts of Color

  1. Aletta
  2. Amy
  3. Betty Louise
  4. Brian Bushboy
  5. Cathy
  6. Cathy
  7. Carol
  8. Cee
  9. Dawn
  10. Debbie
  11. Denyse
  12. Donna SORRY I MISSED YOU, DONNA!
  13. Frank
  14. Graham
  15. Hugh
  16. Irene
  17. Jacquie
  18. Jez
  19. Jo
  20. Joe
  21. Kanaloon
  22. Kirstin
  23. Liana
  24. Mama Xingfu
  25. Maria
  26. Marsha, that’s me
  27. Natalie
  28. Paul
  29. Russell
  30. Sadje
  31. Sarah
  32. Sue
  33. Susanne
  34. Tracey
  35. Woolley Muses AKA Don
  36. Yvette

Thanks again for Joining me this week.

I hope I did not bore you with too much catty information. Have a great week! 🙂

Thursday’s Trios Three Apples A Day Keeps…

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

Benjamin Franklin

Who hasn’t heard that quote, but did you know who said it? I didn’t. Ben Franklin made a lot of quoteworthy statements during his life. One man took them to heart and tried to remake his life living in accordance with Ben’s advice. If you haven’t read the book Ben and Me by Cameron Gunn, you are missing one of the funniest books in the history of mankind. I read it on a plane with tears in my eyes from trying not to laugh out loud. Here is my review, if you want a little taste of it. Sadly all my post’s likes disappeared when I moved it from my self-hosted blog, not because the book is bad. 🙂


Carol Cormier hosts a relatively new challenge, Thursday Trios, which encourages us to take pictures of groups of threes. Today my husband Vince brought home the most beautiful apples. Pretty as a picture, if you ask me.

An apple a day keeps anyone away if you throw it hard enough!

Stepher Colbert

So pretty, in fact, the the three bunnies had to jump into the picture.

Nobody was throwing apples at the bunnies. They stayed

That tree is very old, but I never saw prettier blossoms on it than it now bears. That tree grows new wood each year. Like that apple tree, I try to grow a new little wood each year.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I like that quote. I am not growing any new wood, but I try to learn something new each day. Inspired, I walked outside at 5:00 to grab some golden hour pictures to experiment with lines and shapes.

Fortunately it wasn’t snowing today on Blooming Hills Drive, our street. Sure enough – three clumps of blossoms jumped into my camera, survivals of the gusty 30 mph winds on Wednesday and snow on Thursday.

a trio of clumps of blossoms  on Blooming Hills Drive.
Blossoms of Blooming Hills Drive – FINALLY

Hope to see you here tomorrow for #Sunday Stills Respecting Your Cat.

A trio of black cats
I thought there were three cats in this picture. Vince says there are only two. What do you think?

Writers Quotes Wednesday’s new Quote Theme is Travel for next week – It’s time to get back to it. Have you seen the new Lens Artist Challenge #140 for this week – A Change of Scenery – hosted this week by Beth from Wandering Dawgs? It’s perfect for double dipping.

Have a wonderful week.