Posted in Books, Inspiration, Writing

MY 8 FAVORITES BOOKS (for the first half) OF 2018 ~ Part One

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“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”
George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons

***Caution ~ possible spoiler alert!***

The first half of 2018 is history and I wanted to share some of my favorite reads with you.  Although most of these aren’t new books, they were all new to me this year.  I love to read, and I get a little nutty if I don’t have at least one book going.  Often I’m listening to one on audio (I drive A LOT!) while reading something else when I have the time to sit down and really hold a book.  My all time favorite genre is Continue reading “MY 8 FAVORITES BOOKS (for the first half) OF 2018 ~ Part One”

Posted in Farming, Inspiration, Photography, Seasons, Writing

IMAGES OF JUNE: A Walk in the Tennessee Countryside

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June has been a crazy busy month here in Middle Tennessee,  at least for me!  It’s the first month of summer, time off from work, the whole wide world to conquer.  I’ve been really busy this month trying to meet a writing goal I set for myself, so I’ve spent a lot of time indoors sitting at the computer.  Thankfully, the goal has been met.  I’ve finished the final rewrite of my first novel and it is actually out to a couple of readers right now.  I’m over the moon excited and ready to start the next step, which is Continue reading “IMAGES OF JUNE: A Walk in the Tennessee Countryside”

Posted in Farming, Inspiration, Photography, Seasons

IMAGES OF MAY: Summer Already? Scenes from the Farm

 

You are as welcome as the flowers in May. 

Charles Macklin

Well, to be sure, May just got away from me.  The end of the school year is always something of a blur.  This year was no exception.  But one thing I have been doing this month is noticing the changes going on all around us on the farm here in Middle Tennessee.  It seems we went directly from Winter to Summer, with only a mere interlude which we could call Spring.  I hope you enjoy these images from the farm.  Summer is here, and the best is yet to come!

Our barn is probably one of my most favorite things to photograph.  It just seems to change personality with the season and the weather.  We’ve had an especially wet and stormy May, and these brooding barn photos seem to tell the story.

We are so blessed to live in the country on a dead end road.  Everywhere I look I feel as though I’ve stepped back in time.

As full of spirit as the month of May, and as gorgeous as the sun in Midsummer.  

William Shakespeare

I had a chance to visit the lovely working gardens at Historic Mansker Station in Goodlettsville, TN.  I love the sense of history you get just walking through these beautiful grounds.

Best of all has been the beauty of the sky this month.  It’s ever-changing beauty never fails to draw me out for a photo opportunity during a misty evening or a beautiful sunset.  Happy May, and let Summer begin!

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Blessings!

Sue

Posted in Farming, Inspiration, Photography, Seasons

IMAGES OF APRIL: Spring Finally Arrives In Tennessee!

“That is one good thing about this world…there are always sure to be more springs.”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

It’s been a long time coming this year, but it seems as though winter has finally loosened its grip on us.  Chilly wet days have metamorphosed into beautiful breezy, sun-filled mornings and afternoons.  And can I just say… I’m loving it!  I hope you’ll enjoy some scenes from the our rural Tennessee farm in spring.

Our apple trees actually started blooming several weeks ago.  The blooms are almost spent now, and tiny apples will begin to appear in the coming weeks.  Hopefully we can keep the squirrels away from them this year.

One of my favorite sights in spring is the simple beauty of the dogwoods blooming in the woods.

Maybe they’re wildflowers; maybe they’re weeds.  All I know is that they are beautiful and they make me smile (and sneeze!).

I finally found some time this weekend to get out and pull the weeds from my flower beds.  There will be many more beautiful perennials coming on soon.  I’m a tough master to my flowers, and I expect a lot from them.  If I have to baby it, it needs to find another home.

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I know it just looks like a field of grass, but soon this will be our pumpkin field!

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The mist coming in over the hills at sunset.

And if you needed any more reason to love the country in springtime, how about this.  Sometimes at night, when the mist makes its way down from the ridge and into the hollows around our farm, we just stand and look out over the land in wonder and remember what a beautiful life this is.

What’s your favorite thing about spring?  Please leave me a comment.  I’d love to hear from you!

“She turned to the sunlight    

And shook her yellow head,

And whispered to her neighbor:    

“Winter is dead.” 

A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young

Happy Spring!

Blessings ~

Sue

Posted in Inspiration, Photography, Seasons

IMAGES OF MARCH: Awaiting Spring in Middle Tennessee!

It’s been a wet, cold, unspring-like March here in Middle Tennessee this year.  I know I shouldn’t complain.  My daughter, who lives in Northern Iowa just posted pictures of about 8 inches of snow.  Ok, so I’m spoiled.  We usually have a rather mild winter in Tennessee and a beautiful, early spring.  Somebody forgot to remind Mother Nature of  that this year!  Or maybe we just made her mad??  Anyway, there are some signs that better days are on the way.  I hope you enjoy some of my images from March in Middle Tennessee.  Haste ye back soon, warmer days!!!

 

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Springtime on Sycamore Creek

 

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”

Charles Dickens

In March the soft rains continued, and each storm waited courteously until its predecessor sunk beneath the ground.”

John Steinbeck

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In march winter is holding back and spring is pulling forward. Something holds and something pulls inside of us too.” 

Jean Hersey

“Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener appears to be only one of his instruments, not the composer.”

Geoffery Charlesworth

Parthenon in March
The Parthenon, Centennial Park, Nashville, Tennessee

“March is a month of expectation.”

Emily Dickenson

Walking Path at Centennial Park
A walking path in Centennial Park ~ Nashville, Tennessee

“March… In like a Lion, Out like a Lamb”

An old proverb

Happy Spring Ya’all!!

~Sue

Posted in ancestry, Books, Family, Inspiration

THE LUCK OF THE IRISH: Journey to Tracing My Scots-Irish Ancestry

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Today is a special day in my life and the life of my family. I grew up a Patrick. From the time I was old enough to “get it” I always just assumed I was Irish. Yes… I did have one of those shirts that read “Kiss Me, I’m Irish”. No… I do not still have that shirt! My family celebrated the holiday in a lot of ways; not just the usual celebrations. You know, green beer and such. My parents were married on St. Patrick’s Day. That was the beginning of a legacy. Since then my brother and nephew have chosen to tie the knot on or just after the day, carrying on the family tradition.

Why did it matter so much to me, this being Irish?? There’s something very “romantic” about the island of Eire. The idea of being from there seems to pull on a lot of people’s heartstrings. It’s not just the whisky, the food or the beautiful scenery. Maybe it’s the magic. The thought of the Emerald Isle brings up images of leprechauns and fairies, rainbows and pots of gold. But for me it was just a way to feel like I belonged somewhere, that my family had a past, and this was it. We were Irish.

An Irish Blessing

“May there always be work for your hands to do
May your purse always hold a coin or two;
May the sun always shine on your windowpane;
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain;
May the hand of a friend always be near you;
May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you. “

So imagine my chagrin

Continue reading “THE LUCK OF THE IRISH: Journey to Tracing My Scots-Irish Ancestry”

Posted in Family, Farming, Photography

The End of an Era: Out With the Old…

What an interesting week this has been. I finally received the results from my Ancesty.com DNA kit this week; a wonderful Christmas present from my hubby. I’ve been anxiously awaiting the results ever since I submitted the sample in early January.  There weren’t a lot of surprises.  I already knew quite a bit about where my grandparents came from, the regions of the world and the area where they settled here in America.  The exciting part for me was the list of matches from the Ancestry database.  This week I discovered a new cousin!  Well, technically she’s a 2nd or 3rd cousin.  I haven’t quite worked all of that out yet.  But what a joy it was to converse with my 72 year old cousin through email and marvel at how a simple DNA test could bring about such a thing! It really makes me realize what a small world this is!

On the flip side, I received some sad news as well.  The home and barn on the farm where my grandparents lived during my childhood were torn down this week.  It wasn’t a surprise. Continue reading “The End of an Era: Out With the Old…”

Posted in Books, Writing

Book Review: Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day

Every now and then I like to do a random book review, and believe me, this one is going to be kind of random.  I LOVE TO READ!  Yes, I said that in all shouty caps.  But I do.  The problem is that my life leaves very little time for reading.  So I’ve found a great way to improvise.  It’s called Overdrive, and it allows me to listen to books on my phone while I drive.  Did I mention that I drive a lot!  My commute to and from work along with drive time between schools allows me anywhere from an hour to two hours or more each day to indulge my reading “habit”.  I typically have a list of books waiting for me on Overdrive.  It’s like an addiction.  Basically I can’t be without a book!

Anyway, recently I hit a dead zone.  That is to say, all of the books I wanted to read were on hold.  I had nothing to read!  This was not good!  So in a fit of desperation I turned to the suggested reads on my library page.  That’s where I found Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire.

Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day

Can I just tell you that this might be the weirdest book I’ve ever read?  Well, it would probably make the top 10 list anyway.  You see, this book is about a ghost.  I guess that in and of itself isn’t all that weird.  There have been lots of books written about ghosts over the years.  But in this book the ghost is the main character.  Her name is Continue reading “Book Review: Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day”

Posted in Inspiration, Photography, Seasons

January Reflections (Part 3) The Majesty of Winter

What a joy it’s been sharing with you the beauty and talent of three friends with a gift for capturing the majesty of the world around them. Welcome to January Reflections!

Nicole McClung lives beside a lake in Wisconsin and photographs the amazing grandeur of nature all around her.

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Photo Courtesy of Nicole McClung

“[W]hat a severe yet master artist old Winter is…. No longer the canvas and the pigments, but the marble and the chisel.”

~John Burroughs, “The Snow-Walkers,” 1866

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Photo Courtesy of Nicole McClung

 “We feel cold, but we don’t mind it, because we will not come to harm. And if we wrapped up against the cold, we wouldn’t feel other things, like the bright tingle of the stars, or the music of the Aurora, or best of all the silky feeling of moonlight on our skin. It’s worth being cold for that.”

~Philip Pullman, Northern Lights

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Photo Courtesy of Nicole McClung

“There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you ….. In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.”
–  Ruth Stout

Posted in Inspiration, Photography, Seasons

January Reflections (Part 2) A Winter Interlude

This week I’m sharing with you the photographic art of three amazingly talented friends who have a gift for capturing the beauty around them.  Welcome to Part 2 of a 3 part blog on highlighting the beauty of the January World.

Jan Walker lives in Middle Tennessee and enjoys photographing the bird life in her own backyard during each and every season of the year. 26219909_10213659237108935_8581357993395715132_n[2]

“When nature made the blue-bird she wished to propitiate both the sky and the earth, so she gave him the color of the one on his back and the hue of the other on his breast.”  ~John Burroughs

Birds are a miracle because they prove to us there is a finer, simpler state of being which we may strive to attain.”

Douglas Coupland

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Photos Courtesy of Jan Corley Walker

“There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the forest clothed to its very hollows in snow.  It is the still ecstasy of nature, wherein every spray, every blade of grass, every spire of reed, every intricacy of twig, is clad with radiance.”
–  William Sharp