Leaves Make Me Nostalgic

WordPress photo challenge: nostalgia

#blogboost
Google defines nostalgia as “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.”
synonyms: reminiscence, remembrance, recollection
Crape Myrtle tree
Crape Myrtle trees

When I was about age 10, my dad began to enjoy my presence. He loved to take pictures, so on Saturdays, he loaded up his equipment and me, his best view finder, into the old Buick in search of a perfect scenic spot. I loved his pictures of fall leaves. The love of fall colors makes me nostalgic and brings me joy.

Fall Grape Leaves
Fall Grape Leaves

We do not get the magnificent colors in all trees that Indiana does, but we still have some gorgeous fall plants. Several years ago on my own impromptu photo shoot, I found a grape field so beautiful I had to pull over, jump out of my car, and take pictures.

Fall grape leaves in December, 2012
Fall grape leaves in December 2012

Hoosiers tout many varieties of maple trees but the foothill community of Woodlake, CA in Tulare County honors the humble white oak or valley oak.

California White Oak
California White or Valley Oak

Wikipedia has a list of various kinds of oaks along with where they are found which I found helpful in trying to figure out which kind of oak this is.  Google lists images of oaks by type.

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variety unknown to me

It takes hours to compare leaves to pictures to figure out what kinds of trees and plants we see along the roads. I never appreciated people who can spout off names like that until I started writing my blog. I don’t think this is an oak tree because the bark is too smooth. Kiwanis supports the blue signs we see along the highways in our areas that names the crop next to the highway. But most places do not have signs.

Elderwood, CA in December
Elderwood, CA in December

While I think this is pretty, it cannot compare to the eastern parts of the United States for color and brilliance. However, in the east, the mountains do not pop up over the tops of the trees. In Hockessin, Delaware even if the mountains were there, you wouldn’t be able to see them because forests line nearly every street and obscure everything but the nearest leaves.

Walnut tree
Walnut tree

When my first husband and I moved to California, we lived in the middle of a walnut grove. My understanding is that growers grafted English walnut trees to the hardy black walnut trees then painted the trunks to keep the bugs out.

walnut tree
walnut tree

Even though I did not like to eat walnuts, I loved gathering them after the shakers harvested the main crop. The ants and I got the rest of them. The ants did not like what I did next. But it served them right for biting me one day when I gathered walnuts by making a hammock of my t-shirt. I baked the walnuts in their shells at 250 degrees for an hour or so to cure them. My friends loved their presents. The ants – not so much!

back to the grapes
back to the grapes

I caught this vagrant red beauty leaving the nest and fluttering down to create the soft carpet below the vine for the winter.

For more nostalgic moments, click here.

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016
I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

September Garden Challenge

#Delaware trip Longwood Gardens #2

Flower portraiture – capturing the beauty of a single bloom

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Yesterday Woodlake and Hockessin temperatures both registered 84 degrees. Don’t be confused. In Woodlake that temperature is perfect. Delaware sun and humidity mixed to make salt water spring like a national park geyser from my forehead and nose.

After meandering through Pierce’s Woods and visiting his 1730s home, stifling in the tropical section of the Longwood Gardens Conservatory in Kennett Square, PA, we came full circle in the huge conservatory and found this perfect chenille plant. Better known as Acalypha hispida, conservatory designers saved the best of the 1,100 varieties on the 2,000 acres for last.

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OK, that may just be my opinion. By the time I found Princess Hispida, I had already taken 177 pictures, was dripping wet, ready to get out of the Conservatory, and stop somewhere for ice cream. I apologised to the princess for my abruptness, bowed low and snapped pictures for the Streaming Thoughts News.

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Accustomed to thousands of daily admirers, she took my blubbering in stride. Her red dreadlocks stood out among the competitors and I circled around to capture the exquisite luxurious locks of her highness in numerous shots.

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With so many competitors, you often forget their names, or where they sat, as I did with Princes Hispida. If you know the name of the plant, you can find where it is on the Longwood Garden’s website. I did not remember her name. Lucky for me, Google located a long red fuzzy plant in about .5 seconds. In Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, Princess H’s beauty is exotic. In Papua, New Guinea, she and her hardy zone 10 sisters are one in a million.

I wonder if I would look exotic if I moved to Papua, New Guinea. I’ll see if hubby wants to relocate.

For more entries in the September Garden Challenge click here.

How to Tour Longwood Gardens Like an Expert

#Delaware trip Longwood Gardens #1

I love to walk. Hal, age 91, and I walked for two hours through Winterthur and met a couple who walked there often.

“We walk here and at Longwood Gardens,” they told us.

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“Where’s that?” I asked. My mental wheels turned.

“Kennett Square, PA about 15 minutes from here.”

“You’ve never been to Longwood Gardens when you visited before?” Hal sounded incredulous that he could have overlooked something as iconic as visiting Longwood Gardens.

“Never heard of it.”

“Everyone goes to Longwood Gardens. We need to go.”

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Disclaimer

After years of practicing touring every kind of museum under the sun, the best advice I can give you about touring like an expert is never to think you are an expert. Make comparisons, guesses, then check your facts. If you know you are going somewhere, you can check your facts first, but you’ll probably forget them because you don’t need to know them yet. I love to go in green and come out with more expertise than when I went in.

That being said, you are going to become more of an expert about Longwood Gardens that I was, and can build on the knowledge you gain here.

The Outdoor Gardens at Longwood Gardens.

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We arrived at about 11:30, and unlike Winterthur, there were no shady areas in which to walk. The sun warmed us and the water features added humidity to the air.

 

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Pierre du Pont enjoyed water. We came across a lake across from the Italian Water Gardens. Framing the picture on the right is the column of a gazebo. Unless you happen to be a frog, you would not want to jump in and swim in this lake. If you do, you will look like a frog when you come out.

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I stood inside the lakeside gazebo to photograph Hal looking at the lake.

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What impressed me most about this gazebo was the ceiling’s intricate pattern. Pierre du Pont designed his own gardens and incorporated much of what he learned on his travels to Italy.

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With thousands of plants on thousands of acres, it is a photographer’s paradise. I couldn’t click fast enough.

Longwood Gardens

Hal and I wandered into the garden and through the woods until 2:30. We caught the closing chords of the organ concert in the conservatory.

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We did not let much grass grow under our feet, but there was some growing over our heads.

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The display of flowers on the grounds outside reminded me of Buchart Gardens in Victoria, BC. There is a lot of stonework here in Delaware and Pennsylvania, but this garden is not built into the rock quarry.

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Du Pont created the Italian Water Gardens with the most elaborate water show in the world when it was built in 1925-27. He could time the display, much like they do today at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.

Overlooking the Italian Water Gardens is a Canopy Cathedral. What attracted me were the windows. It was not as grand as the windows led me to believe, but it is worth the short climb to go inside to look out over the meadow.

Much of the wood for this structure came from reclaimed wood. The floors came from a toothpaste factory in Toronto, Canada.

Follow me as I go upstairs.

Finally, we look through the beautiful window panes onto the meadow and Italian Water Gardens.

I hope you enjoyed your tour today of the Longwood Gardens. I’ll take you to other parts of it in another post. Stay tuned.

7 Cherry on the Sundae Moments in 2016 – So Far!

#WP Photo Challenge

Cherries, sweet goodness, the joys and best of life

If the cherry is on top, all’s well that ends well, right? Life is a bowl of cherries. That is this week’s photo challenge, “cherry on top.” I tried to cherry pick the best photos from my 2016 collection that fit that description.

Definitely red
Definitely red

It was hot July 3rd in the Central Valley. As appointed photographer for the Kiwanis July 3rd Blast, I sought out interesting shots. Sure enough, here was the cherry on top.

a very cute parade rider with a cherry on top
a very cute parade rider with a cherry on top

She probably did not need to be coaxed to ride in the parade. In a few years, she will probably be Miss Woodlake.

Intent on history, his and 275 others' enjoyment of the new Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum was the cherry on top of the entire effort.
Intent on history, his and 275 others’ enjoyment of the new Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum was the cherry on top of the entire effort.

At the Grand Opening of the Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum, we experience double-vision with this cherry-red cap. Maybe he is reading about the founding members of the Woodlake Lions.

The VIP opening of the Museum was a cherry topping experience for me. Here’s why.

My phone rang. I was about to step back into my tour bus in Hawaii. It was Carl Peden. We had never met, but he donated lots of artifacts to the museum from his time serving the White House as the pilot of Air Force One. On a whim, I asked him if he would be one of the speakers at the VIP opening. To my surprise, he agreed.

Carl Peden, so vibrant at the Museum VIP opening, passed away two days later on President's Day. We all mourn his passing.
Carl Peden, so vibrant at the Museum VIP opening.

At the end of his speech he took off his jacket and handed it to our President, Rudy Garcia, for the Museum. What an electrifying end to his speech!

Woodlake Museum iPhone photos

He proudly pointed out his name on the donor list to his relatives.

On President’s Day, two days later, he passed away. I think this event might have been the last cherry on his cake. We loved having him.

Tulare County is one of the agricultural capitals of the world.
Tulare County is one of the agricultural capitals of the world.

The Tulare County Agricultural Fair is the cherry of all ag festivals. Thousands of ag professionals come from all over the world to see cherries like the one pictured. They probably know what this machine does, too! I just think it’s pretty and red.

a festive find at the botanical gardens
a festive find at the botanical gardens

Cacti don’t bloom that often, but when they do, they give us a magnificent show. This cherry-picked this photo emerged out of hundreds during the Woodlake Botanical Gardens Berry Festival this May. Beware, do not try to eat it, though!

Gelato anyone?
Gelato anyone?

Las Vegas is hot year round compared to most places. Gelato seemed like the best option for dinner after hubby played a rousing hand of poker all day. Nourishing? Not really. A delicious end to a fun day? Definitely!

Cherry of a life time!
Cherry vacation of a lifetime!

Though not overly thrilled with being the cherry in this picture, I was on cloud nine the week we were in Hawaii with my friends Carol, the Eternal Traveler from Australia, and Connie, my friend from TCOE, and their husbands.

The guys made it too!
The guys made it too!

You never know how it is going to work out when you put six people who have never traveled together on a week’s vacation, let alone six people, most of whom have never met in person. This Hawaiian trip was more than the icing on the cake. It was definitely the cherry on top!

Mr. ET enjoyed whale watching.
Mr. ET enjoyed whale watching. I love this picture of his enthusiasm!
We had fun trying to fit into a selfie. Where's V?
We had fun trying to fit into a selfie. Where’s V? Can you see him next to me?

We all look a little wind-blown. Make-up? Forget about it! Fun? You bet!

We climbed hundreds of stairs to take this picture at the top of Iao State Park.
We climbed hundreds of stairs to take this picture at the top of Iao State Park.

Huff, huff, huff! We made it to the top! My cherry-colored hat protected my face from frying in the sun, but held in the heat. Yes, I’m still smiling, but let’s sit down and have a nice cool drink, what do you think?

I lost my cherry bonnet in the shade, and wore my sarong in a most appealing way, don't you think?
I lost my cherry bonnet in the shade, and wore my sarong in a most appealing way, don’t you think?

Near the end of the week, and we are still smiling, but I’m sad inside because it will end soon.

Are cherries more valuable because they are so tiny compared to the rest of life?
Are cherries more valuable because they are so tiny compared to the rest of life?

One week out of our lives, such a small chunk, but it leaves lasting memories as bright as cherries on a chocolate soda.

And eventually the sun set on the cherry experience.
And eventually, the sun set on the cherry experience.

For more cherries, click the icon.

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016
I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

If you enjoyed this, be the cherry on my sundae and please share it. 🙂

 

The Essence of Summer – What does summer mean to you?

#Garden Challenge

Last weekend Woodlake’s Botanical Gardens in Woodlake, CA hosted its annual Berry Festival. Berries ripen in May and June just before the really hot temperatures hit.

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Artichokes flower

The roses which are so beautiful in April, are just about gone. This lone bush still looked luxurious.

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Roses are red…
Basil is green.
Basil is green.
These sure are sweet.
Blackberries are sweet. (Well not the red ones!)
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And, dang, what are these? My memory’s gone along with the sign.

For more Garden photos click here.