Sunday, April 30, 2017

Z is for Zora Arkus-Duntof, champion of the Corvette

Zora was born Christmas Day in Belgium. He grew up driving a street car and racing motorcycles. He earned a degree in mechanical engineering and was the first to hold the degree as Chief Engineer for the Corvette. This job came to him because he attended the auto show in New York in 1953, when the first Corvette was introduced. He was so impressed that he wrote a letter to the Chief Engineer at Chevrolet to compliment him and make suggestions to improve future production models. The engineers at Chevrolet were so impressed with him, they offered him a job opportunity. He changed the Corvette to have more horsepower using a V-8 in 1955 and fuel injection in 1957. And as they say, the rest is history.

I have a few pictures of Covettes below. We have owned two of these pictured the 1958 and the 1965. We have a 1966 convertible that needs restoration.


1958 
Restored 
2015
My rendering of the 65
Modern motor
Our 65 Coupe

Friday, April 28, 2017

Y is for Yolo, you only live once

I recently read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It was a retirement gift. The story tells of a shepard's journey to find his personal legend, a story of self-discovery. It's one of those books that causes you to evaluate your life. I read the cliff notes too. I'm reminded that you only get one life on this earth, so you should make it your best. Seek out your dreams, do not let fear control your actions, be intentionally grateful, and live in the present. I've tried to live my life in this way. Instead of writing my essay to explain, I've Included a few of my favorite nature pictures for your viewing pleasure.
Barn near President James & Dolly Madison's home
Blossom from the Tulip Poplar in my yard

Sunny day on the Mingo River

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

X is for Xavier Mission

I researched the letter x, I wanted ideas to connect a picture with this letter. First I need to let you know that I love old books, I collect them because they contain so much that is lost in the world today. So I have a few old books to peruse.

In New Universities Webster Dictionary from 1940 the letter Xx has 107 entries. It's a very thorough book.

In 1974, I purchased a Webster's New World Dictionary @1971 just before I started college. I used it to spell words, to find out if I should use an adverb or an adjective, to learn how to correctly pronounce the word, to uncover the meanings and to find synonyms for writing. Xx has 30 entries in it.

The World Book Encyclopedia of 1994, Xx has 17 entries. This is the most current hard bound resource I have. I used to have an app to help me, now I mostly use Wikipedia, or the dictionary from 1971.

Anyway, I think we have slowed use of the letter x. Maybe thats because it has 6 different sounds. No wonder English is a difficult language to learn. Many words beginning with Xx in the oldest book no longer appear in newer dictionaries. Xerox was not in the old book, but X-ray was. Xebec appeared in all three books. It is a 3-masted ship used in the Mediterranean. X-chromosone was only in the 1994 book.

Also appearing in all three books was St. Francis Xavier, a Jesuit missionary. That sounded familiar to me so I dug a little more, went to Wikipedia and hit the jackpot. I've been there and have pictures of the St. Francis Xavier Mission south of Tucson,  Arizona. It was established in 1692! It is beautiful! My photos aren't great because I was using a new camera, with settings unfamiliar to me.




W is for waterfalls

Waterfalls can be soothing to the weary traveler. There is something comforting about the sound of water falling that lulls us into a peaceful state. I have a few pictures of waterfalls. 

They can also be dangerous. Our desire to get up close can put us in danger of getting too close and losing our footing. Once while hiking near Steamboat Springs, CO, to see a waterfall up close, my husband heard our friend's feet scrambling in the gravel to stay on the trail. My husband was close enough that he grabbed the friend and prevented him from falling in the crevice. 

I believe the grandest waterfalls are in Yosemite CA. The park is awe inspiring. I suggest you go in the winter, when there will be fewer people. 

Yosemite CA
Yosemite CA

Rocky Creek Falls in in the Ozark portion of mid-Missouri. This one isn't tall, but it's beautiful.
Rocky Creek Falls, MO
Man made waterfall in Phoenix AZ

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

V is for vantage point

V is for vantage point, it often influences the success of your pictures. You can vary the vantage point to get an unusual shot. Find below a few examples of using variations of vantage point.


Here is a picture of the Ebony Damselfly up close.


Cruise Ship Level 1


This view was once my vantage point for 7 days. Mostly water was all I saw, this time it was land ahoy!
















Here is a picture of some good-natured teachers. Their vantage point was drastically reduced during this activity and they had to rely on other senses.



This picture offers a dramatic view of Maghonay Bay, Roatan, framed by palm fronds and tree leaves.








Belize River

This picture shows the view of the Belize River from a vantage point of a boat on the river.

Here is a view from the bottom looking upward.






Tuesday, April 25, 2017

U is for Unbelievable

This picture is unbelievable because I was simply taking a picture of the buttonbush. I did not know the Tiger Swallowtail was resting on the buttonbush.











Duck Creek Conservation Area

This picture is unbelievable because every time I view it, I am transported back to a calm, peaceful day in which I  took a group of eighth grade students fishing.


Wind River Canyon

This picture is unbelievable because we were traveling and talking on the phone with my father-in-law back home. He was an over-the-road trucker for many years. He knew exactly where we were, he told us to get ready for the most spectacular view. And it was!







DeVore Buffalo Jump

This picture is unbelievable because it depicts a buffalo jump. The Native Americans used the country-side topography to help them survive. They herded the buffalo toward the cliff where many buffalo died. The Native Americans used mostly every part of the buffalo for their survival.

Monday, April 24, 2017

T is for Thomas Jefferson, trees, tides and tobacco

The picture shows the view from Monticello, the home of our 3rd President, Thomas Jefferson. What impressed me the most on my visit there was the ingenuity he used to design his house and gardens. And I discovered that 2 other presidents lived approximately 30 miles away, James Monroe and James Madison. I also visited James and Dolly Madison's home.
Charlottesville, Virginia
Oak tree at Homas House in Louisiana 
The second picture shows the grandeur of the
oak trees in the south. The branches reached the ground. Spanish moss can be seen hanging
from the branches. This plantation was about
18 miles from the Mississippi River. The only
reason it was not burned was the fact that a Scot owned it.







This is one of my favorite beaches on the gulf coast of Florida. The tide is coming in, the birds are scurrying to get dinner before the water level is too high.


This picture was taken on a road trip through northern Kentucky. They have lots of tobacco growing
in large fields. I would like to get a plant just to see if I could grow it.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

S is for Shut-ins

Missouri has some unique places. Shut-ins are one type. Shut-in refers to a spot on a river where its path is limited due to rocks. The water must flow over and around the igneous rock, wearing it smooth.
I have three different shut-ins pictured below:
Madison County shut-ins




Johnson Shut-ins is a beautiful spot in Missouri. We have held teacher workshops there because of the unique flora and fauna. There are fens there with the Hines Emerald dragonfly. The shut-ins are quite a draw for visitors.




Friday, April 21, 2017

R is for river, roses and refuge

#A to Z Challenge
R is for river as in the Mississippi River. Here is a view through the trees.


R is for roses from my rose bush,



 and finally R is for refuge. This one is close to where I live. I try to visit as often as I can.
Mingo National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Q is for quail

I have a few quail on my small farm in Missouri. You can hear them cooing. I saw Gambil's Quail when I went to Arizona. They have a black curly question mark on top of their head. I was too excited to gat a good picture, but I will share it.



Wednesday, April 19, 2017

#A to Z Challenge Letter P is for Panama City Beach, Pecan Pie and Pumpkins made into Jack-O-Lanterns

Another place I love to visit is Panama City Beach or PCB for short. This spot is close to Tyndill Airforce Base. It is very secluded because it is hard to find. Most roads are marked "Do Not Enter" because the area is owned by the US AirForce. It took us a couple days to get enough nerve to drive down one of those roads toward this beach. After a short hike from the parking lot, we were in heaven: white sands and clear, blue water. We walked the length of the peninsula and were rewarded with manta ray sightings and unusual shells.




Making pecan pie is one of my go to desserts. It always turns out great! Here is one I made last Christmas:




I had to show you these pumpkins made by these children last Halloween. They had a blast. I'm trying to learn how to take night photos.




Tuesday, April 18, 2017

#A to Z Challenge Letter O is for Opuntia or prickly pear cactus and Owl Pellets


Opuntia or the common name, prickly pear cactus.



This is from a pot in my yard. It grows in sandy areas. I dug this up and potted it so it would not  spread all over my yard.













A subgenus of Opuntia (Cylindropuntia) is the cholla. I think this picture is a cholla in Arizona





























Owl pellets are regurgitated remains from owls. Many people mistakenly think the pellets are poop. The pellets contain bones, scales and fur from animals the owls have eaten. I teach students how to dissect the sanitized pellets, identify the remaining pieces and interpret what owls eat. I've used this activity with 2nd graders through high school. Students enjoy the investigation and are eager to share the knowledge gained with others.





Sunday, April 16, 2017

#A to Z Challenge Letter N is for New Orleans or NOLA

I first visited New Orleans when I was 17 with my high school classmates for our senior trip. We saw Brenda Lee perform at the Hotel Roosevelt. It is an endearing city with southern charm. I return when I get an opportunity. I went when the World's Fair was exhibiting there. We ate at the restaurant of the famous chef K Paul. I've gone to celebrate my birthday, which is on New Year's Day. We celebrated at one of Emeril's restaurants. I've taken family members to show them what I fell in love with: the plantations, the Beignets at Cafe Du Monde,  the artists at Jackson Square, the architecture all over the city, the history, the cemeteries, the seafood . . . You get the idea, I love NOLA.

Here are a few pictures:
Jackson Square


Jackson Cathedral
Above ground burial Cemetery #1
Beignets & Cafe Au Lait
Grounds at Houmas Plantation