Jet lag: Peachtree City, Georgia

I woke up at 3:30 a.m in spite of my trying to stay up until 9 p.m. last night–jet lag wins. I’m happy to be home, but brought back sad, happy and exciting memories from my trip to Peachtree City, Georgia and to family.

It was great seeing family again. It’s been 2 1/2 years since we were last there. But, it was sad knowing my brother is gravely ill, with Louie Body Dementia, and visiting him for what may be the last time. The exciting memory came when my great nephew took me for a ride in their small plane. I’ll show you those images in my next post.

My goals this trip were to see my brother and take my sister-in-law to places she had not visited since moving to Georgia from California 3 years ago. I’m so glad I brought my GPS along! We were busy! My niece took us to Serenbe one afternoon. This is a fairly new community and well planned. We stopped for coffee on the way back at an antique shop that served delicious coffees.

It was a great getaway, and I enjoyed spending time with my niece. This type of visit is difficult, but I found that having my camera, got us out and away from the sadness for a while.

Meanwhile, I guess I’m going to try again to get my body clock back on Pacific coast time today.

Bittersweet visit: Historic Senoia, Georgia

Today I visited Chuck, my older brother, by myself. My visit to Peachtree City, Georgia is almost coming to a close and it has been bittersweet. Chuck, is fighting Louie Body Dementia and has been placed in an assisted living home. I knew he wouldn’t know who I was, because he stopped recognizing me on the phone a while ago. But today was a special visit. I was able to help feed him, and he ate a little bit food I knew he wasn’t fond of. It gave me time to gain some emotional closure over his ordeal. He’s fought cancer and won; had heart surgery and bounced back, but this illness has no turn around. I was soon joined by his son-in-law Greg and we were able to joke, not with him, but between ourselves. It made things less real.

Dementia is difficult for the caregiver and other family members, but this form is even more so since it involves Parkinsons also. I care gave to my mom, who had dementia, for 9 years, but she had a strong body. Chuck is suffering on all accounts. Through it all, the family here continues to take amazing care of him.

During my week’s visit, I told my sister-in-law, Brenda, that I wanted to take her places, getting her away from the house to relax. Brenda doesn’t drive, so we go to visit Chuck and then take off. Taking off sounds like we go a distance, we don’t. Everything is close here.

Through it all, photography has brought me out of the sorrow and into a different time and space. Our first get away was to Senoia, a small town with a Main Street shopping area. It was an easy walk through and fun. Since then, we visited Starrs Mill and Serenbe. My niece Roberta took us to Serenbe yesterday, and it was a lovely afternoon drive. And, last night, we joined the rest of the family for a birthday dinner celebration–the first without Chuck present.

Today’s images are of Senoia. I probably won’t have time to post from here again before I return home. And I’ll be taking sweet memories back with me.

Three years for a first: Daffodil Hill, Volcano, California

I finally made it to Daffodil Hill, in Volcano, after 3 years of trying to get there. Explanation: It’s only open a short time and if it rains, they close. And, it’s closed each time I was scheduled to go.

This ranch has been privately owned by a family since 1887. They open for about a month in the spring, inviting the public at no charge. They do accept donations, but you are never pressured to make one.

Richard and I went on the first Sunday they were open. A weekend visit meant more people. More people meant shooting either close ups of the flowers or include the other visitors. I did both.

But, this was a day of “firsts.” I’ve never been able to take a photo of a peacock with its colorful feathers open, but I did this time! What fun. One photo buddy said they only grow and display those feathers during mating season. I guess timing was on my side. The males are the peacocks, females (who don’t have the brilliant feathers) are peahens, the little chicks are peachicks. It takes about 3 years for male peachicks to have feathers to display.

So, here are my first images of my first visit to Daffodil Hill. I’m putting more than usual in because I wanted you to have a good idea of the farm. I have twice this amount edited.

 

Restoration: UC Davis Arboretum, Davis, part 2

She’s getting gussied up–well is an arboretum a female? The UC Davis Arboretum, in Davis, is a rambling 3.5 mile, 100 acre, garden along the banks of the old north channel of Putah Creek. It’s open to the public 24/7 at no charge (except for parking). As I mentioned in the previous post, half of the arboretum is being restored after our winter rains.

Even as we walked the west side, we saw benches being sanded and re-stained. The low water level was the only noticeable detraction during our visit. As we strolled, there were snowy egrets to entertain us. We found out they do get aggressive when it comes to one thinking another’s rock is a better fishing spot!

There were still some landscape opportunities also. In today’s photos, you can see how low the water level is. Although they did clean out all the algae that covered the water last year, making the creek look like it was carpeted in green.

I also like to people watch when I’m there. In this post, you’ll see the birds, landscapes and people. I’m hoping the restoration doesn’t take all summer. It is a nice place to go and relax.

 

Best therapy, photography: UC Davis Arboretum, Davis, California

I wasn’t feeling well. In fact, I told myself that I probably shouldn’t go. But, I knew I wasn’t contagious, wanted to go, so off I went with my Camera Totin’ Tuesday group to the UC Davis Arboretum. Located on the UC Davis campus, the arboretum draws people of all ages to walk, ride their bikes, picnic, study and take pictures.

I was warned by my friend Laura that they were in the process of restoring half the rambling arboretum and the water was low, but we decided we would go anyway. We knew the flower garden would be there. I took the majority of my images there in the small garden. The flowers were beautiful.

Laura was right, in some areas the water level was so low that you could see the ground beneath. There were less birds, no turtles, but it was still pretty in some areas. At least the red buds were blooming, adding their rich pink color to the landscape.

Because I wasn’t feeling well, I turned back earlier than others. Karen A. (We now have two members named Karen and both were on the outing.) walked back with me. The others came back in two’s. We were probably shooting for two hours.

The next stop was lunch–isn’t it always. So, I’m wondering whether it was the photography or the people that made me so anxious to go when I knew I should have stayed home?

In this post, I’ll show you some of the flowers. In part two I’ll show you some of the birds, landscape and people I was able to photograph.

 

Grandma’s turn: Coyote Pond Park, Lincoln, California

While the kids are away, grandma stays–with the grandkids. This weekend has been fun with the younger set of grandkids. I started early Friday morning and will go home tonight, Sunday. They are great kids and growing up fast. At 6 and 8 years, they are very self sufficient.

Yesterday, I told them that I’ve been a very good grandma and deserved a treat, which was to take my camera and shoot some pictures. So we went to Coyote Pond Park near their home. Actually, this is sort of a regular of theirs. Tucked in suburbia, the park has a small play area, a nice size pond where neighborhood kids can fish, and a nice paved walkway around the pond. I was surprised what a difference more water made for the park. We saw humming birds, an egret and a blue heron. Families were picnicking and kids were playing on the playground.

Because the walk was short, the kids enjoyed it, especially when they knew they would be able to play once it was over! My grandson spotted the hummer, and we watched as the blue heron was curious about what the egret was catching.

Take a look at this hidden treasure in Lincoln. Well, it was a treasure for grandma!

 

I love this place: The Sacramento Zoo

The Sacramento Zoo is a favorite of my Camera Totin’ Tuesday group. Why? It’s close and the animals are fun to photograph. We’ve been back often enough that we’re beginning to learn their names, learn their behaviors, and watch the babies grow.

Baby giraffe Rocket is almost as tall as his mom now. Too bad he won’t be staying at our zoo. Yes, we learn all about what’s happening! The little Red River Hogs are almost as big as their parents, but not any more cute. And, we’re getting a new tiger soon.

I say “we” because most of my group are members. As members, we get monthly newsletters and advanced notice of any special events. But, I also enjoy going to the zoo because it helps me perfect my photographic level. I’m doing much better with the F/4 300 mm lens now. It alone weighs 3 pounds! I carry it on a monopod. Sometimes I also take my Nikon D3100 with my 18 to 140 mm lens so I can get a better angle on the giraffes and flamingos. The F/4 is excellent at getting through the enclosures. Sometimes I have to stand way back!

Now that you understand more of why the zoo is featured so much in this blog, meet the animals!