As I mentioned in my last post, our stay at the Birches B&B in Maine was wonderful. Besides enjoying the fabulous breakfasts, the interior of the home was of interest. It showcased art created by family as well as locals. Susie Homer, the owner of the B&B, is a descendant of Winslow Homer, the famous 19th century landscape painter. She had his famous Breezing Up painting hanging above the fireplace but it was not an original. Susie did possess many of Wendell Gilley’s hand carved birds which graced many surfaces in the home. Wendell lived on Mount Desert Island, Maine and started out by carving two-inch birds for Abercrombie and Fitch. Susie’s grandmother was a friend of Wendell’s. Apparently, Wendell’s early attempts at carving birds were crude. In the attempt to help him, Susie’s grandmother and her friends would collect dead birds, wrap them in their handkerchieves, and carry them in their purses to Wendell. After careful inspection of these birds, Wendell’s carvings slowly became more refined and life-like. He ultimately became famous, and today hundreds of his beautiful bird carvings can be seen at the Wendell Gilley Museum in Southwest Harbor.
These beautiful Koi were in a pond in the sculpture garden of one of my favorite galleries in Santa Fe, the Gerald Peters Gallery.
If you follow my blog you may remember my post on December 18, 2015, entitled Cowboy Mitch. When I posted Mitch’s touching story about his childhood memories and love of everything cowboy, I had one goal in mind, to get him up on a horse. Although Mitch wears a cowboy hat and boots, and regularly watches old western reruns on TV, he has never ridden a horse, until today. My daughter takes therapeutic riding lessons at Stride Ahead in Decatur, and when they heard about Mitch’s story they agreed to give him a riding lesson. Today, the hour I spent with Mitch, the instructor, Sarah Tomaka, and the volunteers at Stride Ahead, was magical. Watching Mitch ride his horse, Dreamer, was like watching a kid in a candy store. Pure joy!
Thank you Sarah (on left), Emory student volunteers (with Mitch and Dreamer), and Anne Preston, director of Stride Ahead, for making today possible.
Since moving to our current house two years ago, a neighbor, TK, has kept his 1959 Cadillac parked at the far end of his driveway. This morning, I noticed that the car was parked on the street so I rushed home to retrieve my camera. I took lots of shots of the car from different angles but knew that i needed a human subject in the composition to complete the shot. Lucky for me, TK stepped out of his front door and agreed to be photographed. Meanwhile, TK’s dog, Zephyr, was madly scratching and barking at the front door so TK let her out. I was excited about the prospect of photographing TK, his car and dog together, but Zephyr would not stay still long enough to be photographed with her master.
Decatur celebrated Earth Day this past weekend and the Southeastern Reptile Rescue participated in this event. By educating the public about reptiles the Southeastern Reptile Rescue aims to reduce people’s fears and misconceptions about snakes and in turn increase our respect for these creatures. Featured on the shoulders of this young lady is a Boa constrictor, commonly known as a “red-tailed boa”. This Boa weighs about 90 lbs and eats a five-pound rabbit once a month to sustain itself.
This week I accompanied third grade students from Oakhurst Elementary School in Decatur to Decimal Place Farm in Conley, GA. The school received a mini-grant from the Decatur Education Foundation for a project called, Be The Change. This project teaches the children how the gift of a goat can empower a family to turn hunger into hope and prosperity. At the farm, the students had the opportunity to milk a goat and learn how the milk could be used to make cheese. Aside from their educational experience, the children also discovered that goats are gentle and social creatures. The day after their visit to the farm, these third graders learned that they would be donating a goat to a poor family in Africa.
Little Creek Farm is a 40-acre horse farm that is located in Decatur, a short drive from my house. The stables board over 40 horses which are all privately owned. Some of the horse owners have graciously lent their horses for use to a program at the farm called Stride Ahead. Stride Ahead offers Equine-Assisted Therapy and Therapeutic Riding to individuals with special needs. My daughter has been riding with Stride Ahead for 8 months and her sessions at the farm are always the highlight of her week. During her hour lessons I have had the opportunity to enjoy this magical place. Although the commotion of the city lingers just a few feet from the entrance to Little Creek Farm, I am transported to the country when I visit. Aside from being a beautiful place to ride, Little Creek Farm has a fascinating history. The most interesting fact about the farm is that during the Battle of Atlanta in 1864, thousands of exhausted Union troops and cavalry camped along South Peachtree Creek which runs through the property. Last week during my daughter’s lesson, it rained heavily for a short period of time. Most of the riders stayed inside the covered arena to ride but there was one rider and trainer that braved the muddy fields outside. Lucky for me since they added an element of interest to the image I captured of the farm at sunset.