Tag Archives: Photo Challenge

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Ordinary

Our theme this week is the Ordinary, hosted by I. J. Khanewala. There are many places, moments, things that we would say are ordinary. We may be surprised when the ordinary takes a turn.

My husband, Lynton and I started out this summer like any previous ordinary summers. Even though we didn’t take international trips, we took a couple of local getaways trips. We visited the grandkids. I took advantage of the summer colors and got some new flowers.

Lantana and Vinca

As soon as the summer rolled around the corner, things became a domino effect and tuned into an extraordinary summer. It was almost unstoppable without affecting the long-term effect.

There was an old 10’x8’ metal shed in the backyard. We had it for fifteen years. Lynton and I assembled it together. It was a major project we worked on it without getting upset with each other. I did my part, laying out all the nuts and bolts and parts. When Lynton assembled the panels, I handed him whatever he needed. I helped to hold the panels when he joined them together. The shed reminded us we could work together. What’s the big deal? It’s a big deal when two professionals live under the same roof. We could do our own things separately, but it takes extra consideration when working on the same project.

Finally, the shed was ready to retire. It leaked. The wooden floor was rotten and partly collapsed. We needed a new shed. We moved out everything from the old shed. Lynton demolished it.

I wanted a risen shed which is sturdier. I set a budget, but after looking for all the models, we picked one which cost twice as much as my initial budget.

“We better have a slab for the foundation. I wouldn’t be able to make a good leveled wooden foundation,” he said.

We got two quotes, but neither showed up for the job. It was a chance meeting when Lynton talked to a cement guy at a gas station. He came to give us a quote. He and his crew did the slab.

The section of the wall behind the shed bulged and threatened to collapse. We asked the cement guy for a quote. His quote was more reasonable than the one we got years ago. We needed a new wall, eventually. It would be hard to do it afterwards because there were only a few feet between the shed and the wall. We decided to have it done.

The guy and his crew demolished the wall, dug two feet deep and two feet behind the wall to pour cement for the foundation. All the dirt dug up was piling up on our lawn. It took them six weeks to build the wall.

The new retaining wall in front of the slope and the cypress trees

Lynton put the new shed together almost all by himself. I only helped to hold up some panels when he joined them together.

The shed has several windows and many skylights
The new shed sitting on a six-inch high slab

The soil in the backyard was hard after six weeks without water. We nurtured the soil and waited for the summer heat to die down. Then Lynton put in the new seeds for the grass. The grass in the above photo is new grass.

While the back yard construction was going on, I replaced many of the annual flowers to perennial. I picked the flowers for hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. Lantana was not my favorite flower because I thought it was not artistic. But it’s butterfly food. I raised 20 butterflies in the summer. Milkweed is for the butterflies to lay eggs. The adult butterflies need food, so it made sense to plant some flowers for butterfly food. Now I have pink or orange mixed colors, purple and yellow single color Lantana on the slope, in the backyard and front yard. They’re ready for the butterflies next year.

I planted more Sylvia for the bees because I need the bees to pollinate the plum and orange blossoms. I went crazy getting the Pentas when it was on sale. Not only the butterflies, but the hummingbirds and bees like them also.

Lantana
Sylvia
Pentas

For two months, the backyard was like a war zone. I’m glad the work is over. There shouldn’t be any more home improvement projects for the backyard for the remaining years we live in this house.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Ordinary

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Lens-Artists Challenge #168 – Seen Better Days

This week Tina of the Lens Artists team invites us to join them in exploring places and things that have “seen better days”. I’ll explain the reason I close the photos for this theme.

My husband, Lynton, is a helicopter pilot. During our travel, we often visited the military aircraft museums, submarines, and battleships. He wanted to be in the military to defend this country, but he was in the middle of his schooling and missed the opportunities. He has family members who were in the services for many years, but I’ll stay on track to do this post.

When we went to Arizona one year, we visited the Luke Air Force Base Airpark. The aircraft had their glorious and courageous days to defend this country or assist other countries. I took many photos of the aircraft displayed and included these four in this post. They proudly retired. Their appearance reminds us of the price the heroes paid for our freedom.

“Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it… it flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it.” – Unknown

Fighter aircraft are fixed-wing military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat. In military conflict, the role of fighter aircraft is to establish an air superiority in the battle space. Domination of the airspace above a battlefield permits bombers and attack aircraft to engage in tactical and strategic bombing of enemy targets.

The Lockheed C-5 Galaxy is a large military transport aircraft. The USAF has operated the C-5 since 1969. At that time, the air lifter supported US military operations in all major conflicts, including Vietnam, Iraq, Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan, as well as allied support, such as Israel during the Yom Kippur War and operations in the Gulf War. The Galaxy has also distributed humanitarian aid, provided disaster relief, and supported the US space program.

The C-130H performs the tactical portion of the airlift mission and can carry out a diverse number of roles, including airlift support, Antarctic ice resupply, aeromedical missions, weather reconnaissance, aerial spray missions, firefighting duties, and natural disaster relief missions. 

I’m not an aircraft expert and can’t identify this fighter aircraft. It looks like this is a single seat F-16 fighting falcon. I know there are experts and retired military heroes out there. You could help me identify this one.

Air Force Rescue helicopter can be deployed in casualty evacuation, medical evacuation, non-combatant evacuation missions, civil search-and-rescue, humanitarian aid, disaster relief, and insertion or extraction of combat forces.

In Boston, we took photos of the USS Constitution and toured the warship USS Casson Young.

“Honor to the soldier and sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country’s cause. Honor, also, to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field and serves, as he best can, the same cause.” – Abraham Lincoln

The greatest glory for Constitution came during the War of 1812. Constitution’s crew defeated four British frigates during three separate engagements. She earned the nickname “Old Ironsides” because the cannon fire from enemy ships seemed as if they couldn’t penetrate her strong oak hull.

Built for speed and capability, USS Cassin Young engaged in seven Pacific battles in World War II, survived two Kamikaze hits, and served another full decade beyond her expected lifetime. Built in 1943 in San Pedro, California, she is one of 175 Fletcher-class destroyers built during World War II. 

When we were in Australia, we visited The Australian National Maritime Museum and toured the destroyer HMAS Vampire, and the submarine HMAS Onslow

“The sanctity of our battlefields, monuments, and veteran’s institutions is of utmost importance to preserve military history and pay respect to those who fought.” – Henry Waxman

HMAS Vampire was the third of three Australian-built destroyers serving in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). One of the all-welded ships built in Australia.

The submarine Onslow was laid down at the end of 1967 by Scott Shipbuilding and Engineering Company in Scotland, launched almost a year later, and commissioned into the RAN at the end of 1969.

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Lens-Artists Challenge #168 – Seen Better Days

Thank you for reading

Have a Wonderful Week

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Lens-Artists Challenge #167: Colors of Autumn

This week Amy introduced the theme on Colors of Autumn.

Every autumn we enjoy the beauty of the brilliant colors. The mixture of red, purple, orange and yellow results from chemical processes that take place in the tree as the seasons change from summer to winter.

During the spring and summer, the leaves absorb the sunlight to transform the energy into the green color. But in the autumn, because of changes in the length of daylight and changes in temperature, the leaves stop their food-making process. The green color disappears, and the yellow to orange colors become visible and give the leaves part of their autumn splendor. Other chemical changes may occur which form additional colors through the development of red pigments. Some mixtures give rise to the reddish and purplish autumn colors of trees such as dogwoods and sumacs, while others give the sugar maple its brilliant orange.

Trees in the neighborhood

Autumn is a great time for restaurants and stores to decorate their front with pumpkins and straw figures.

Families take their kids to the pumpkin farms and pick out their favorite pumpkins for Halloween carving or decoration.

My older granddaughter’s name is Autumn. Here are the colors of my granddaughter Autumn. She just turned four. Hubby and I went to her birthday celebration which took place last Saturday, a few days before her actual birthday.

When I talked about Autumn, I mostly talked about her reading. It’s just fair to show some photos of her doing other activities. My daughter Mercy and her hubby are aware of Autumn’s interest in reading. They want her to have a well-rounded development. Autumn is excellent in outdoor activities. She could hike for two miles. Before she turned three, she climbed rocks at the rock-climbing gym by herself, and zipped her hike up and down the slopped driveways on both sides of the street. It scared me when I watched the video my son-in-law took. I’m not opposed to little girls playing dressed-up and other girl’s activities. From the very beginning the kids’ lives, my daughter and son-in-law don’t want to limit the girls into a stenotype of development. I think Autumn can do whatever a boy could do, and more.

She just learned doing paddle boarding by herself since July this year. The background sound is Autumn’s baby sister Nora getting tired and fussing. I took the video in August when I went to Bend, Oregon and a national park with my daughter’s family.

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Lens-Artists Challenge #167: Colors of Autumn

Thank you for reading

Have a Wonderful Weekend

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Lens-Artists Challenge #166 – Artificial Light

This week, Ann-Christine invites us to look at artificial lighting in our photography.

Artificial Light is any light source that is not naturally occurring. Artificial Light includes things like flash light, streetlights, indoor lighting, or other man-made light sources. Technically, the only sources of light that are totally not “artificial” are sunlight, moonlight, and starlight. Ann-Christine learned something new, that candles do not count as artificial light.

The major advantage of artificial light sources over natural light is that we have them under our control. There are many tools for changing their characteristics. Artificial light lets us photograph topics that would be impossible to handle under natural light.

We went to Beijing, Xi’an, and Guilin in China on a family vacation. The tour guide took us to Guilin Crown Cave, which is a magnificent karst cave in Caoping Hui Nationality village about 29 km from Guilin. It is a part of Crown Mountain. The overall length of Crown Cave is 12 km (7.5 miles). The 3 km (nearly 1.9 miles) near Li River has been opened to the public. Stalagmites and stalactites are illuminated by an interior lighting system. Tourist could do sightseeing by boat or bamboo raft, but we went to a walking tour section.

At Key West, Florida, the fog moved in before the sun went down. The colored lights only increased the intensity of the mist in the air. You can only buy Cuban cigars from certain places and some online sites, but we found them in Key West. Hubby bought one and made a few puffs just for the fun of it. The light on his face is from the flash of the camera.

We often drive to Las Vegas for a short getaway and stay at Luxor ever since it was open. I took the following tw0 photos at Luxor. The light source came from the bottom of the statues creating outlining the contour, muscles, shades and shadows of the status.

Christmas is the best time to see artificial lights at night. We enjoyed driving around the neighborhood to see the Christmas decoration and the lighting at night. We also had a fun time taking the Holiday Light cruise at Huntington Beach to see the Christmas lights and the boat parade in the harbor.

The final image is my shot on the TV screen of the New Year’s Eve. Countries around the world incorporated the laser lights with the fireworks in their celebration of the coming of the New Year.

Lens-Artists Challenge #166 – Artificial Light

Thank you for reading.

Have a Wonderful Weekend!

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #165: Going Wide

This week for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Patti invited us to look at the photos with wide angle images. The wide-angle view is perfect for capturing a broad vista like a landscape, seascape, or cityscape.

Well, I have a small camera and I haven’t made any investment on camera equipment. When taking photos of landscape, seascape, or cityscape, I take them at different angles to capture the wide views.

I included two sets of photos from my travel archives, one set from Spain and another set from Germany. In Spain, we arrived in Madrid and took the tour bus to Toledo, Seville, Granada, and Barcelona. In Germany, we arrived in Frankfurt and took a boat to Cologne. We took a high-speed train from Cologne to Berlin. Then we were on the tour bus from Berlin to Würzburg, Bavaria, Munich, and Schwangau.

Here are the highlights of our travel.

Fountain in front of the Royal Theater

Teatro Real (Royal Theatre) is a major opera house in Madrid. Founded in 1818 and inaugurated on November 19,1850, it closed in 1925 and reopened in 1966. Beginning in 1988, it underwent major refurbishing and renovation works and finally reopened in 1997 with a capacity of 1,746 seats.

Royal Theater

Toledo is known as the Imperial City because it was the primary venue of the court of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor in Spain.

Old City of Toledo and River Tajo

The Roman bridge of Córdoba is a bridge in the Historic center of Córdoba, Andalusia, southern Spain, built in the early 1st century BC across the Guadalquivir River. The bridge was built by the Romans in the early 1st century BC, perhaps replacing a previous wooden one.

The Roman bridge of Córdoba

The City of Arts and Sciences is a cultural and architectural complex in the city of Valencia, Spain. It is the most important modern tourist destination in the city of Valencia and one of the 12 Treasures of Spain. It was designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela. The project began the first stages of construction in July 1996 and was inaugurated on April 16, 1998. The following structure L’Umbracle is an open structure enveloping a landscaped walk with plant species indigenous to Valencia 

L’Umbracle

We took the high-speed train from Cologne to Berlin. At one point the train was going 220 mph.

Cologne Train Station

The Berlin Wall, once known as ‘The Wall of Shame’ that separated the east and west Germany. In 1989, the wall finally came down. The 1,316 meter (4,317 feet) long remnant of The Berlin Wall was kept as a heritage protected landmark. The Wall was decorated by many international and German artists with graffiti and street art, expressing their hopes and reflecting their feelings on this momentous occasion.

Berlin Wall

The Würzburg Residence is a palace in Würzburg, Southern Germany. The Würzburg Residence was commissioned by the Prince-Bishop of Würzburg Johann Philipp Franz von Schönborn and his brother Friedrich Carl von Schönborn. It was built and decorated in the 18th century. The Residence was constructed between 1720 and 1744, decorated in the interior from 1740 to 1770 and landscaped with magnificent gardens from 1765 to 1780. 

The Würzburg Residence Garden
The Würzburg Residence Garden

Bavarian Alps is a summarizing term for several mountain ranges of the Northern Limestone Alps in the Germany state of Bavaria. Like the Alps as a whole, the Bavarian Alps were heavily influenced by the last ice age. Depositions by the ice age rivers and glaciers left behind a gently rolling landscape in the Alpine Foreland with lakes and bogs.

Germany Bavarian Alps

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #165: Going Wide

Thank you for reading.

Have a Wonderful Week!

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #155 – On the Water

John Steiner is the guest host for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #155. He says throughout history, people have gravitated to water for trade and for relaxation and he invited us to share the photos on the water.

This week, I have fun reflecting and finding the quotes and sayings about water and ocean. Please enjoy the scenes and the wisdom about Water throughout history.

“Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.” – Lao Tzu 

Toledo, Spain

“Water is soft and humble, but it is the most powerful and is the most endurable.”Debasish Mridha

Huntington Library, California

“There’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.” – Sarah Kay

Newport Beach, California

“Dance with the waves, move with the sea, let the rhythm of the water set your soul free.” – Christy Ann Martine

Maui, Hawaii

“Water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing, in the end, can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone.” – Margaret Atwood

“Water is the driving force of all nature.” — Leonardo da Vinci

Moulton Falls, Washington

“Life is like the ocean; it goes up and down.” ― Vanessa Paradis

Bondi Beach, Australia

“To reach a port we must set sail. Sail, not tie at anchor. Sail, not drift.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Pacific Ocean, Ensenada Cruise, Mexico

“We ourselves feel what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” – Mother Teresa

 “Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” ― Ryunosuke Satoro

Sunset, Ensenada Cruise, Mexico

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #155 – On the Water

Thank you for your visit. I welcome your generous comment.

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Lens-Artists Challenge #149 – Blue and Green Peacocks

This week Tina is returning to the color wheel and its cooler members, which include blue (primary) green (secondary) and blue-green or blue-violet aka purple (tertiary). 

When I think of this group of colors, my first thought took me to the post last week in which I included one photo of the peacock. This week I wanted to return to the Los Angeles County Arboretum to share with you what I learned about the history of the Arboretum, the original owner of the land, and the origin of the peacocks in the United States.

Elias Jackson “Lucky” Baldwin (April 3, 1828 – March 1, 1909) was one of the greatest pioneers of California business, an investor, and real estate speculator during the second half of the 19th century. He earned the nickname “Lucky” Baldwin due to his extraordinary good fortune in a number of business deals.

Baldwin was born in Hamilton, Ohio in 1828, the fourth of 14 children. At age 18, he married a neighbor girl named Sarah Ann Unruh and started to farm and train horses. In 1853, at the height of the California Gold Rush, he decided to relocate to California. He joined a large wagon train in Iowa. During the five-month journey, he got lost and save by friendly Native Americans who brought him back to the wagon train. He made a fortune during his remaining wagon journey and became a key player in the San Francisco Stock Exchange. His building materials were used to construct the U.S. Mint, Fort Point and the fort of Alcatraz Island.

In 1875, Baldwin moved to Southern California, purchased Rancho Santa Anita and constructed its buildings and grounds. With cash in hand, he opened the original Santa Anita Park racetrack, a few blocks east of its current location, in what is now Arcadia Park.

Baldwin was married four times. When he married his fourth wife, Lillie Bennett, the Queen Anne Cottage was built at the location where the Arboretum is as a honeymoon present by Lillie’s father.

During the 1890s, his wealth diminished, but Baldwin maintained an interest in horse racing and poker. His wife Lillie and his daughters Anita Baldwin McClaughry and Clara Baldwin Stocker were among many relatives and friends at his side when he died at the Arcadia ranch on March 1, 1909.

The Arboretum began in 1947 with California and Los Angeles jointly purchasing 111 acres to create an arboretum around the Baldwin site. The first greenhouse was constructed, and the first 1,000 trees were planted. In 1956 the Arboretum was open to the public. Construction and renovation of both greenhouses and gardens continued.

In addition to the gardens, the arboretum is home to a flock of some 200 peacocks, which are descendants of original birds imported by Baldwin from India. The peacock is a symbol of the city of Arcadia. The first record of peacock in what is now the United States was the introduction by Frances Sinclair on Kauai, Hawaii, in 1860. However, the first reported introduction into the continental United States occurred in 1879, when Elias J. Baldwin brought 3 pairs to his vast ranch in the San Gabriel Valley of California. Currently, peacocks can be found throughout neighborhoods surrounding the arboretum.

Queen Anne Cottage

The cottage was constructed in 1885-1886 for Baldwin and his third wife, Lillie Bennett, the daughter of the cottage’s architect Albert A. Bennett. Upon Elias J. Baldwin’s death in 1909, his daughter Anita closed the cottage and disposed of all furnishings. Some of the architectural elements of the cottage, such as the stained-glass windows, black walnut doors, and marble fireplace mantels, were stored in the coach barn. The stored items were reinstalled in the cottage during the 1951-1953 restoration.

The cottage has been used for many films and television shows, most famous for the opening of Fantasy Island where the character of Tattoo is ringing the bell in the cottage’s tower and Mr. Roarke is exiting from it.

Sources: Elias J. Baldwin, Los Angeles County Arboretum, Queen Anne Cottage

Peacocks in Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden- Arcadia (CA)

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #149 – Blue and Green Peacocks

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #148 – Spots and Dots

Ann-Christine’s Photo Challenge this week is Spots and Dots. She wants us to have fun with it! But, also recognize and enjoy the different interpretations, meanings and importance of these two little words. Spots and Dots. Because even if they are small…they can make a big difference.

I came back from a delightful Mother’s Day week visiting my daughter and the grandkids. My daughter Mercy talked with Autumn about Mother’s Day celebration and Autumn understood the relationship of mothers. She said, “My mommy is a mommy. You’re a mommy and you’re my mommy’s mommy. I’m not a mommy.”

Autumn loves to have the undivided attention of grandma. She has a huge appetite for books. On the days when she didn’t go to school, I read about ten books to her after breakfast. Then she played for a little while. Her latest favorite was building a fort with tunnels. She took out all the cushions from the couches to build the formation and covered them with blankets. She didn’t want my help but wanted me to watch (with attention).

Apparently, she has nap time at school, but she doesn’t take naps at home. Mercy wants her to have quiet time when Nora takes a nap. It’s also the time when Mercy takes a nap. It takes a lot of energy to care for a toddler and a baby.

There are boxes of books from my teaching days. I pick the age-appropriate books with me on each trip.

After the quiet time, I read another ten books to Autumn. She likes to listen to the same books over and over again, especially the books with longer text. She picks up more details of the stories from each repetition of reading.

The day is getting longer, and the sun doesn’t go down until about 8:00 p.m. We take the kids to a school playground across the street from the house. The neighbor next to the school has a home farm with chickens and six or seven goats. Many kids love to feed the goats.

After the walk or playground time, we read several more bedtime books to Autumn. She would ask to read “one more,” but we must be firm, otherwise, we’d be reading all night long.

In the afternoon on Mother’s Day, my daughter’s family, joined by another family went to the zoo. Autumn wanted to see the Polar Bear and carried the white stuffed bear with her. The Polar Bear was in the water under the cave for a long time but swam outside for a little while. I was glad that Autumn was not disappointed.

Nora turned one-year-old in March, so she is learning to climb the stairs and playing with different toys. She loves to follow her big sister and does the same thing. During the several days of my visit, she learned to do new things. It’s amazing to see the kids making so much progress at these ages.

There are many small dots of progress in the child development but in a long run there’s a huge impact in one’s life these small dots make. Research shows the first two years of a human life make the fastest and most growth within the shortest period compared to the remaining life span. As parents and careers, we could facilitate and make the small dots and spots colorful ones in the kids’ lives.

Mercy’s orchid plant
Spots at the zoo
More spots at the zoo
This gorgeous guy was in another garden showing off his spots and dots

This is Autumn at the zoo. How many dots and spots can you see?

Nora was fascinating to watch all the spots and dots flowing in different directions. She was trying to catch some of them.

Thank you for reading! Have a wonderful week ahead!

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Lens-Artists Challenge #144 – Baby Birds Taking Flight

This week, Tina would like us to think of the idea of flying. It could be any flying objects such as birds, butterflies, bees, insects, airplanes, balloons, or kites. I have many bird stories to tell, so I chose to share about the baby birds in my garden taking flights.

I started watching and feeding birds in 2014. Over the years, there were mourning doves, house finches and hummingbird gave birth to their babies. I was fortunate to watch these amazing creatures laid eggs, nurtured their young, guarded them until they took flight.

In 2016, I noticed two mourning doves were courting and mating. This pair built their nest in a tree, but the eggs were stolen. I suspected it was the naughty squirrel. The female dove seemed depressed and was motionless, sitting in the grass for over 20 minutes. The male dove was sitting still two feet from her. Only after she got up and stretched that he also stood up. I was sad for them, but it was beautiful watching these doves mourned for their loss.

In 2017, the same pair of doves built a nest on the top of the stone windowsill under the eaves in the front yard. I thought it was the same pair because the male dove had a ring around one leg, same as the dove in the previous year. Probably someone tried to track him. They built the nest together. She laid two eggs. They took turns incubating the eggs. My research showed that mourning doves are monogamous. The male and female look so much alike, and it seems only the female incubates but in fact they switch shifts. In 2020 I noticed them switching shifts.

The mourning doves used the nest the house finches built on the trellis in 2015 and have used that in 2017, 2018, twice in 2019, and 2020. When the baby doves were ready to fly, they were as big as mature doves.

In 2015, the house finches built a nest on the top tier of the trellis at the front porch. The female bird laid four eggs but sadly the eggs were gone. I had no idea what happened. I have kept the nest clean and strapped a piece of chicken wire to hold the bottom of the nest. The house finches returned to the same nest in 2016, she laid three eggs and four baby birds were hatched. I didn’t see the baby birds flying away. The house finches didn’t use the nest after that.

I’m fortunate to have a baby ruby-throated hummingbird born in my garden in 2018. The nest is like a cheese ball the size of a golf ball. When my husband trimmed the orange tree, without knowing it, he barely missed that branch. When I noticed that cheese ball, I climbed up the ladder to look. Somehow, I touched the nest and scared the baby to fall on the ground. I was more scared than he and quickly picked him up to put him back in the nest. When the baby was ready to leave the nest, he flew to the next tree, clung on to it for a little while before he took off.

All these amazing birds, by the time the babies are ready to leave the nests, they are ready to fly. I wonder if they’ll see their parents again. Amazingly, the baby hummingbird stays. He has been living in my garden since he was born. I’m sorry to say the papa bird died last year. My husband found him on the grass. He was at least four years old. Mama bird doesn’t live here, but she comes by to play with the baby. I think he has a brother that comes by occasionally.

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Lens-Artists Challenge #144 – Baby Birds Taking Flight

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Lens-Artists Challenge #139 – Special Moments

This week for Lens-Artist Challenge #139, Tina invited us to visit our special moments. While there are so many, I would included three events.

Mount St. Helens in Washington state was erupted on May 18, 1980. I was a student at Seattle Pacific University. The 5.1 magnitude earthquake caused a lateral eruption that reduced St. Helens’ height by about 1,300 feet (400 m) and left a crater 1 mile (1.6 km) to 2 miles (3.2 km) wide and 0.5 miles (800 m) deep. It was a major eruption among the 48 states since 1915. The ash drifted over many states and could be seen as far as Chicago. The evacuation was announced before the eruption. Mr. Harry Truman, a caretaker of a resort lodge, refused to leave. He said he belonged to the mountain and would die with the mountain. He, along with fifty-six people were killed.

My family and I went back to visit on September 10, 2016. The mud and debris still filled the river, and the crater was still very much alive. It seemed like nothing or few things would survive. I was in awe to see miles of century-old forests destroyed by the eruption have come back, richer and different from before. There were many beautiful wildflowers. Life overcomes!

I came to the US as a student in 1977. In all the years I was in Hong Kong, I had never visited the Great Wall. In 2012, some family member expressed the interest to take a family vacation in China. I got some tour information from the Chinese Newspaper and made contacts. One tour company offered a private tour with a van and a driver for ten people. After I got the commitment of eight members, I started planning. By the time we set the itinerary, made reservations for air and hotel, three members couldn’t make it. I was a little disappointed. The tour company contacted the tour in China they agreed to accommodate the seven of us. It was a special vacation because I have other countries on my visiting list and may not return to see the Great Wall.

We rarely get to celebrate the birthdays or anniversaries on the day of the event. In 2016, I could plan a trip to Spain in August during our anniversary. When we visited the Mosque of Córdoba, the architecture fascinated me, and I was busy taking photos. The tour moved on without me. It panicked me. Fortunately, my husband is tall, and I spotted him, and quickly merged back to the tour saying nothing.

We were in Barcelona to celebrate our anniversary. I wish to tour inside of Basilica de la Sagrada Familia but the tour didn’t not schedule it. We only had time to take photos. I literally was lying flat on the ground to get the view from the bottom to the top. Of course, my husband was on guard so people wouldn’t step on me and kill me.

The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc (Font màgica de Montjuïc) in Barcelona.

Lens-Artists Challenge #139 – Special Moments

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