Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge — Alphabet with a Twist — needs to have two E’s in the topic — peopl(I bolded all the 2 E words.)

When my father was in the army, our family was sent to Kagnew Station, Eritrea, in Ethiopia.  I was very young at the time and my memories are few, but my parents took a lot of pictures. I especially love the photographs of the people.

in a town?
On a country road
Look at her smile!
Clay jar backpacks
In the river
Outside a school?

I have vague memories of children materializing whenever we were out and about in Ethiopia. Those memories came flooding back when we first went to visit our work site in Bosnia. The car pulled in, and a small passel of girls came running out, excited to see “the Americans.”

The smile of a child is medicine for any soul.




Cee’s Photography Fun Foto Challenge: Alphabet with a Twist marches on to the letter D — 4 letter words that start with D. I added a twist to the twist this week and chose a 4 letter Bosnian word that begins with D.

Drvo means wood or tree.

I was very excited when, in Bosnia, I saw the word DRVO on a sign, because it was one of the words I had learned on the app I used before the trip. The sign was at a lumberyard, so I probably could have figured it out with the words. Lumberyards are readily identifiable by the lumber. Still — it felt like an accomplishment.

I took a few pictures of wood this afternoon — none of it lumber at a lumberyard, although I did drive by our local lumberyard and think about it.

Wooden railing, wooden steps, wooden half-barrel with sunflowers
Remnants of a stump
An old split-rail with a knothole
A closer look at the knothole
A look through the knothole
A red maple my father planted 45-50 years ago
Looking up at the branches of one of the maples
Firewood for winter

In a month all our maples will be wearing their most beautiful colors. We’ll be bringing that firewood into the house. The sunflower will be dried and ready for the birds.

Today, however, is a balmy September day, a good day to snap a few photos.




My like-affair with cows probably began when my parents bought an old farmhouse next door to a working dairy farm.

When little-girl-me pulled up a handful of grass and held it out to a friendly cow, my new bovine friend would take from my hand, drawing my fingers close enough that I could feel her smooth wet nose. There’s nothing quite like a cow’s muzzle.

Teenage me spent a week one year at the county fair, helping with the 4-H dairy judging. Not judging them, of course, but distributing ribbons. I watched, and listened, and plodded around the ring, stepping over fresh cow-pies, handing ribbons to my peers dressed in showman white.

“I really like the dairy-ness of this cow,” the judge said about an exceptional animal, and, to this day, I have no idea what he meant. It was a cow. A dairy cow.

When adult me traveled to Bosnia this year, I put together a little photo album of my family to show the family we were helping. Since I had a few empty pages at the end, I stuck in a view looking across the valley from our front door, and a picture of the cows down the road. The Bosnian women loved looking at the photos of my children. One of the Bosnian men got very excited about the picture of the cows. He pointed to the picture, then pointed to me, then back to the picture, obviously asking, “Are these yours?”

I shook my head. “No, they live down the road from my house,” I said. When it was translated to him. he looked sad. Maybe he was hoping to talk dairy.

I don’t know much about dairy, but I do appreciate cows’ wet muzzles, sorrowful eyes, and the clunky gait they have when they run.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge for this week, part of her Alphabet with a Twist series, is the letter C – The C word needs to be at least 4 letters in length. C-O-W-S — yep, that works.

Below is a series taken from a junior livestock show near us.

On the way to the show
Saying hello
Waiting to enter the ring
Refusing to enter the ring
Walking the perimeter of the show-ring while the judge watches
Posing — so the judge can get a good look
The judge asking a few questions


family · photography · poetry


Me — about 3

My hair was blonde when I was small
But it grew dark as I grew tall
My mother had the same thing too —
Blonde that darkened as she grew

’tis a funny thing — this natural blonde —
Some maintain, and don’t respond
To aging with six shades of brown
But old age gives its hoary crown

To all in silvery grayish white
Tresses giving up the fight
To stay the hue of summer sun
And let winter overrun

Vanity, you try my hair
But you won’t win ’cause I don’t care

In response to Daily Prompt: Rhyme

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Alphabet with a Twist – B

family · photography

Big and Small

Aviary Photo_130752467502654336
My mother must have taken this picture — 1965?

I thought I had a large family when I was growing up.

My parents had five children — a nice, symmetrical boy-girl-boy-girl-boy.

Then I met my husband. He was the second of thirteen. As if that wasn’t enough, his cousin also came to live with them when her mother passed away, so really there were fourteen children in the family.  And one bathroom.

Big is a relative term.  My family was not big in comparison with Bud’s.

Bud and I have eight children — somewhere in between mine and his. Not that we planned it. We never sat down and said, “I grew up in a family of five kids. You grew up in a family of thirteen. Let’s split the difference.”

That would have been silly.

That would also have been nine.

We are just blessed. So very blessed.

When I saw on Cee’s Photography blog a challenge about Big and Small, of course I thought of family.

Really — that’s pretty much what I think about 90% of the time. Family will never be an overworked topic for me.

In particular, I thought of this photograph — my youngest and my oldest sons.

Karl and Philip — 1998?

This was at Philip’s wedding. Karl was gaining on Philip a very little.

Karl and Philip 2007
Karl and Philip 2007

In recent pictures I found this one of Philip next to Karl while setting up a family shot. Philip’s little boy, Henry, loves his Uncle Karl.


Christmas 2016
Christmas 2016

But Philip is still taller than Karl.

And probably always will be.

I’ll have to keep an eye on these two, though.

Karl is a good pillow for Henry

Who will ultimately win this Big and Small?

Henry and Karl