Finally, It Has a Name

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This hybrid was a total puzzle as to what it was until I did some online searching and found this beautiful lady to be a Zygotoria Midnight Blue “Cardinal’s Roost”. The blooms emit a scent like a large vase full of roses and the petals stretch approximately three inches across.  The last of the blooms recently fell off of the single stalk this week, but this photo is a beautiful reminder of hopefully more flowering to come.

Thoughts of Autumn

Revisiting autumn memories in Virginia on a Wyoming winter’s day.

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I stumbled across this photograph that always warms my heart when I see it. It was an intentionally random frame of the changing leaves in the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in  Lakeside, Virginia. This treasure chest of cultivated gardens was a place I loved to visit and always returned home refreshed and peaceful.

The garden areas one could stroll quietly were a gem in the rough of daily noise of life. Here there was quiet contemplation and mutual appreciation of the solitude from any other souls found while strolling along paths or on benches.

“Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.” – Stanley Horowitz

On this autumn day, I couldn’t take my gaze away from the trees and leaves. All were on full, glorious display with greens, golds, reds, bronze and every shade in between. There is something special about all the seasons in every region, but autumn back east carries something unique in the  falling leaves and the variations of transitioning seasonal colors. Something wise and very old.

This is what I find myself reflecting on today here in the Wyoming winter among the sharp winds and the cold. I remember standing still with watchful eyes on a winding brick pathway aged with moss. And I can still see in my mind, beyond this photo, the old and well-tended tree branches and woods brimming with autumn secrets and beauty. Hopefully, someday, I’ll have the chance to visit again and see this place now years well past, and enjoy the quiet embrace of this beautiful east coast season again.

Mini Orchids

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I’ve started a hobby of buying discounted orchids after they’ve lost their blooms on store shelves and are no longer deemed attractive. Usually sellers will steeply discount them and leave them to dry out as they can’t afford to care for them for their multi-month resting period vs. displaying more attractive plants in bloom to sell.

This little one is a miniature orchid called Younghome Little Snow. While the leaves may grow slightly, the small stature of the blooms and stalks will stay ever small (per what I’ve read). This one began losing its blooms weeks ago and I elected to snip the stalk when it was down to the last 2 so that it could go ahead and start regenerating leaves and resting. (This was also a discount orchid with a sun burn on one of its leaves).

I’ve kept the stalk in a cup with water and the blooms are still going strong now several  weeks later – very surprising! What makes it even more unique is that these snowy white petals with the slightest hue of pink and yellow are barely bigger than a quarter. It’s such a sweet little plant; petal-perfect in every way 🙂

Quietly Merry and Bright

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This year’s Christmas was a quiet holiday at home due to schedules not lining up for all of our families to come together on the day. The hubs and I still celebrated with Fury the Wonder Cat and even had a brief wave of snow flurries (I don’t know that flurries qualify for a white Christmas but it was still nice). We kept the air of the holidays going with this concoction in the crock pot which helped our home both look and smell merry and bright!

Nighttime Visitor

We had just gotten ready to call it a night yesterday when we saw this fluffy traveller visit our bird feeder last night.

Evidently skunks eat birdseed. I was not aware of this, but, any port in a storm when it snows, I suppose.

Fury was quick to take point by positioning herself at the large bay window to keep watch on the developing situation.

We slept well knowing all was well 😉

A Little Piece of Heaven on Earth

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For our second anniversary we re-visited a favorite location in the Vedauwoo Recreation Area near where we live in Wyoming. My husband found this beautiful “crow’s nest” on top of a rocky hill and knew of it before he took me up there to camp one night. It is truly one of the most beautiful places I’ve been yet in my life and it’s our favorite spot to be.

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The camp site is like a bowl, surrounded by boulders and rock formations on all sides. At night, the wind can absolutely howl at this height. But we were there to watch the sun set and it was perfect, with just a slight movement of air (not even a wind) now and then. Sunset and sunrise here are magical hours.

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Everywhere you look, it’s a scene to be photographed. It’s important though, to put the camera down now and then and just take it in as God intended. On hiking up to the top this day, I took all the photos I wanted and then did just that. Put my camera away and sat with my husband taking in the views and roasting marshmallows.

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I find the trees and dead wood make their own composition just as strikingly as the far away views of mountains and plains. There is something interesting to see at every turn.

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My husband is a tireless worker and is always busy. His happy place is being outdoors and I love to see him relax when we venture here. It’s different when you’re somewhere that has quiet like this place. Even I feel it when I arrive. You are compelled to not talk so much, to sense everything around you differently and you just are different. It’s the re-set that happens when you’re in nature. It’s how we should be, but how we forget to be.

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On the way up the trail to get to the crow’s nest, we stumbled right into this pair of bull moose. They were happy to be left alone and continue to munch around the underbrush. (They seemed to realize we didn’t pose any threat but they kept a wary eye on us and never got too close).

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Once we had made it up to the crow’s nest, we caught sight of them again; this time much farther away but still on the move on a neighboring hilltop.

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There is abundant birding up here as well. We just had to sit still and watch around us and birds were everywhere, flitting this way and that, making final runs for food and what not before the sun set.

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This one seemed to set a reverie of evening light and stillness as it perched calmly in this tree. It was as if it knew the day was ending and it wanted to take it all in before retiring.

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It’s our little piece of heaven on earth. No better way to spend a special day 🙂

Thunderbirds

We were treated to a free air show from our front yard in Cheyenne, WY while the USAF Thunderbirds performed their annual air acrobatics as part of the 2019 Cheyenne Frontier Days celebrations.

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My sister-in-law and her husband were in town to see the bull riding competition and stayed with us during their trip. As they prepared to leave, we heard the tell-tale sound of loud aircraft overhead and went outside.

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These photos were taken as we sat in the grass and watched the show. They flew northward towards our home over and over as they used the area to prepare their formations and fly over the airshow viewing area (this year at F.E. Warren Air Force Base.

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The precision flying on display was nothing short of amazing and was a treat to get to enjoy unexpectedly from the comfort of our own home. The skies were blue with just the faintest clouds here and there; a perfect day for an air show.

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My husband and I traded off the mobile and SLR cameras as I bounced back and forth between taking photos and taking videos. Ultimately my husband snagged most of these photos (because he’s pretty handy with photography). We both loved the opportunity to get shots of the jets flying in front of and around the moon still visible in the late morning sky.

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This shot was similar to the jets in formation above, but the contrast was terrific against the clouds and if you zoom in, you can almost make out the pilots in each cockpit.

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I can’t fathom the knowledge and training that goes into making performances like these look so smooth. Undoubtedly, it’s a lot of skill and trust amongst teammates.

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Even with a strong telephoto lens, this guy was wayyyyy up there.

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By the time this formation finished, it looked almost like the outline of a morning glory in bloom. The timing was exact and each jet was in identical position from each of the four points while a fifth jet flew straight up from the middle.

All in all, a really fantastic opportunity to get to see the USAF Thunderbirds in action and be in awe of a tremendous team of airmen. We look forward to seeing them again next year hopefully!