March 10th

Sunday, March 10th, 2019

Photographically, there have been some pretty cool situations I’ve found myself in.

Anytime I see our Barred Owl time seems to stand still, coming upon our resident doe standing just off our driveway munching on the thistle, unconcerned of our presence, the time I went over to the neighbors to photograph their blooming apple trees and a skunk was happily rooting around too (skunks are pretty cool, they get a bad rap), the time the turkey was standing on our front porch, and looked in the window at me.

Despite all of those times I felt lucky, like I was in the right place, right time, today blows those out of the water.

Paul and I had watched an otter slide on his belly to the lake earlier this morning, which is a rare sight out here, so we knew he was around, but we expected that to be the last time we would see him.

So, with that expectation, there may have been a lot of excited yelling in our house as I ran for my camera after I looked out our kitchen window to this:



I ran out onto our porch for a better look, and sure enough, here he came.


This otter came up our driveway and all the way up onto our cement pad in front of our garage.

And if that isn’t magical enough, he stopped and looked at me long enough for me to get a good picture of him (main image).

Then just as quickly as he came, he turned to his left (away from me), hopped the snowbank on the side of our house, and slid through our backyard and down through the field onto the lake.

I was dumbstruck.

He was mere feet away from me, at my house. On a snowy Sunday morning.

January 27th

Sunday, January 27th, 2019

Well, it’s starting to feel like January.

Dangerous below zero temperatures are moving in this week (a high of -10?! Gross!), and possibly 5-6” of snow is moving our way tonight. When they’re talking about frostbite in five minutes, you know it’s serious.

It was bound to happen sometime, but I’m never really ready for the frigid cold. Especially when you have outdoor animals – in and out of the house constantly monitoring everybody to make sure they’re all drinking water like they should (which means breaking or thawing ice in frozen tanks), as well as making sure they’re staying dry and as comfortable as possible. Praying that all of their instincts are on point to keep them safe – I can’t help them with that one.

Anyway, even if the weatherman wouldn’t have told me snow was coming, I would’ve known.

The pheasants we’re out before the sun was fully up this morning and stayed out for most of the day. Then the deer came through out into the open around lunchtime (during daylight) looking to feed before the weather changed. A herd of six stick around for most of the afternoon (four of the six pictured here).

Nature is amazing that way.

December 14th

Friday, December 14th, 2018

What a whirlwind of a morning.

If you’re friends of ours, you know that we’ve had some issues over the last year with some water in our basement thanks to some big rains this summer.

So today, gutters went on the house. They were here promptly at 8:30, didn’t waste any time and got right to work.

Now to be honest I underestimated how loud it was going to be – between the hammering, sawing, and portable radio they had with them it sounded like a party out there.

While this may sound irrelevant to my blog, I assure you it’s not.

Anyway, since I had to be home anyway it was the perfect time to be holed up in my office, online at TicketMaster for two hours waiting for Garth Brooks tickets to go on sale.

Now, I had done my homework on this whole thing, and the key was to log on early and take a seat in their “virtual waiting room” before tickets went on sale – that allowed you to get a spot in line just at 10am, getting you ahead of all those logging on at 10. So at 9am when it opened I was in the waiting room.

Definitely a “hurry up and wait” situation.

Once I was in I was in, so from 9-10 I cleaned my office, looked at the clock, updated my blog, looked at the clock, twiddled my thumbs, looked at the clock.

Once ten came around, I was doing finger stretches, hyping myself up, ready for the madness.

My screen refreshed, and I was so ready.

Here we go!

“2,000+ people ahead of you!”

Oh boy. MORE WAITING. It was killing me!

I had no idea how fast it was going to go, so I didn’t want to leave my computer or get busy with something else so I stared out the window.

A half hour later I was still waiting.

I happened to look out the window right when two does came barreling through our western tree line out into the open field. They were booking it – zig zagging every which way, crossing each other’s paths, totally in a panic it seemed.

Then they both stopped and stared at our house.

Then it dawned on me: The noise from the gutter guys!

Obviously confusing for them, as there was a lot of noise but not any large movements for them to gauge where it was coming from.

After getting a good look, they casually wandered on their way.

Luckily, that ate up the remainder of my waiting time, and we did end up getting tickets!

Pretty crazy considering the show sold out in an hour, and 50,000 people were still waiting in line when it closed.

October 16th

Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

Animals have such healing powers. Especially large animals.

I don’t know why I always seem to forget that.

I assisted Shelley at what has turned into our annual fall photoshoot with Ames Percherons this afternoon, and those gentle giants just never cease to captivate me.

When you simply stand in their presence, it allows your mind to quiet and empty; their demeanor and spirit gently invades your senses, pulling out all anxieties. You smile easier, breathe easier, feel the peace fill your heart.

Maybe it’s because they are true examples of God’s creation. They thunder when they move, literally shake the ground, but it only takes two human hands to bring them all to a stop again. Power and grace. To look at an animal so large, yet so unimposing. To be so close to danger, but feel so safe.

It’s such a spiritual experience, there’s just nothing else like it. You can ask any horse person and they’ll agree – drafts are in a league of their own. Even the UPS guy drove down the road, turned back around, and stopped to watch.

They just draw you in.

Even the deer aren’t alarmed by them. We had just returned to the barn after the team thundered all over that hill the deer are standing on, but the deer act as if they were never there. It’s like they were hanging out in the trees, enjoying the show, and walked out to eat their clover as we left.

I’ve been feeling smothered by my anxiety lately, which isn’t uncommon for this time of year (goodbye long, sunny days), but knowing that doesn’t make it any easier to hit that fall wall. But it’s amazing how God placed this afternoon on my schedule knowing exactly what I needed. My neck pain has subsided, my headache from earlier today is gone, my appetite is back, and I’m ready for tomorrow.

Heeeyo let’s do this!

August 10th

Friday, August 10th, 2018

I got a glimpse into God’s delight this morning. It still has me smiling.

I was packing up my car, on my way out the door to meet my friend, Tiffany, for a walk this morning when I heard Sandhill Cranes out in one of our hay fields. Freshly cut on Wednesday, we’ve had all sorts of critters hanging around out there now that the grass is down. So while hearing them didn’t surprise me, their distressed calls did. They sounded like they were being threatened; their tone was an anxious one.

So I put down what I was carrying, and peeked out of the garage. I went from concerned to delighted in less than a second.

Our two twin fawns were out antagonizing the cranes.

So what did I do? All together now: “I ran for my camera.”

How do I know those are the fawns, you may be wondering. Their playful, innocent nature gave them away. While they’ve grown very quickly physically, it was obvious from their behavior that they were still learning. Their curiosity in the cranes was endearing; the cranes were yelling at them, but that only increased their need to understand what they were.

Specifically for the fawn in front.  The instigator.

After the moment in my main photo for today, the fawns started grazing, and the cranes took that opportunity to move away from them. However, their distance didn’t last long. Instigator wandered back over, causing the cranes to really get defensive. They both opened their wings, ducked their heads, and charged.



This caused a gleeful retreat from said instigator, tossing his head and bounding around like a giddy foal.


He then ran over to his sibling,


And they ran back toward the treeline together. But not before sharing in a mutual delight of a new discovery.


Childlike wonder and delight aren’t a right reserved to humans. You see it in puppies, kittens, foals, calves, and as seen today, in wild animals as well.

It was a fun moment to witness today! I hope you all enjoyed this little play out of events as much as I did!

June 25th

Monday, June 25th, 2018

This may be one of my most favorite images of mine to date.

Is he not gorgeous?!

Pheasants are normally very shy birds, so it’s rare that I’m able to get close to one. This guy hung out with me for fifteen minutes this morning, and then another few minutes this evening, and it was one of the coolest things I’ve experienced while shooting. It’s pretty humbling when a wild animal lets you into their world even if for just a few minutes.

To see the entire sequence of how this “shoot” went, be sure to check out my Facebook page!

May 26th

Saturday, May 26th, 2018

This magical place has made me say “wow” so many times today.

I mean, when your day starts out by swimming with sea turtles, it’s hard not to be in awe of God’s creation.

Yep, sea turtles.

Before we left yesterday, I had been thinking about the animals that would be here to photograph. Sea Turtles were at the top of my wish list, but honestly didn’t expect to see any. Not only did we see them, but they came in so close!

By law you must stay at least ten feet away from them, but they were so curious! I was giggling with glee, folks. An experience I will never forget that is for sure.

But let’s rewind.

Hawaii is five hours behind central time, so Paul and I woke up at 5am, bright eyed and ready to go. We showered up, packed up for the day and went into town in search of coffee. Right across from Jerry’s Pizza was a local shop, so we stopped there.

Remember how I mentioned the chickens that were in the median in our drive last night?

Evidently feral chickens is a thing on the north shore. They are EVERYWHERE. Including the parking lot where we stopped for coffee this morning. We were the only people in the parking lot, and as we got out of the Jeep, they came out from under bushes, parked cars, everywhere and came toward us like we were going to feed them.


I quite enjoyed it.

So then we hit the road, found a pull off where we went down to the beach and met the sea turtles.


Pure magic.

Then we basically beach hopped the rest of the day. We drove along the entire north shore to see what each beach looked like, how wavy it was, what was around for food, parking, etc. It’s amazing how the beaches, weather, and the surf change depending on where you are on the island.
It was so so lovely. No agenda, no rush, no expectations.

And then driving home from Pounders Beach (BIG waves there, hence the name), there was an amazing burst of color as the sun set.

IMG_9453IMG_9807IMG_9467Top: Beach view of Pounders
Middle: Locals body boarding on waves for scale
Bottom: Paul enjoying the waves with the busted body board he found (ha!).

We’re hoping to beat the crowds and go to a popular snorkeling spot tomorrow morning. We’ll see what the morning brings!

May 17th

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

I never imagined that I would be this excited about photographing a skunk.

But folks, I am so pumped!

My neighbors have gorgeous apple trees, all in peak bloom right now, so I wandered down there this morning to photograph them. My neighbor, Jeannie, came out to greet me, and to warn me about the skunk in their backyard.

So naturally, Courtney peeks around the corner of the house, sees the pretty light, and runs for her camera and toward the skunk.

Skunks have an exceptional sense of smell and hearing, but very poor eyesight. They can only see about 10 feet, hence the reason they rely on their spray as protection. However, this guy was not concerned about me at all. Out for breakfast, happily scrounging around for bugs and worms.

In fact, he acted as if I wasn’t there at all (although I’m sure he heard and smelled me), until I whistled at him, hoping to get him to lift his head and look toward me. Instead, he hustled into the tall grass, and into the protection of the trees.

Once he left, I came back to my main objective: the blooms.

I don’t know about all of you, but the blooms I’ve seen this spring have just been spectacular. Trees absolutely full, bursting, with blooms.

These didn’t disappoint.

April 9th

Monday, April 9th, 2018

I’m not one to wish days away, but I’m ready for this one to be done.

Burke is at the vet getting some dental work done, and after how our last vet visit went, I’m nervous and am just ready to have it behind us.

And evidently we were giving off death vibes because this Turkey Vulture wouldn’t leave us alone on our way out to the woods this afternoon. Can anyone say creepy? Creepy.

Cool, I guess, but still creepy.

April 6th

Friday, April 6th, 2018

Happy Friday!

This guy’s flying into his weekend.

Honesty time here: this was a lucky shot. I only got three shutter clicks before he was gone (Pheasants are FAST!), and purely because my focusing mode was set to Al Servo was why I was able to catch him.

After the heavy snow we got this week, I’ve been happy to see these guys back out and about. Heavy snow can crush their nests, and ultimately cause suffocation.

Hopefully the snow storm from this week will be the last. I think everyone (humans and animals alike) are ready for spring.

March 30th

Friday, March 30th, 2018

This weather is the pits.

Back to below freezing temperatures, snow flurries this afternoon, overcast skies.

But as Paul and I were washing dishes after breakfast, a herd of eight deer came across the field from the west, heading east towards the woods.

This gave me time to run and grab my camera. And in a stroke of luck, Paul and I had left our garage door open after returning from running errands this morning, meaning I was able to sneak outside undetected and grab some images.

That brought some sunshine to my day!