Category Archives: Nature

Sights and smells of the great outdoors.

Photo Challenge – Hope

Canada Goose on Nest. Photo: TLClark, 3/31/2020.

“Oh, they’re back,” I thought as one Canada goose stood at attention and honked at me to stay away. Another was floating in the run-off pound. A third was sitting on the nest. Canada Geese don’t seem to ever fully leave this area; my thought had to do with the nest.

It’s a sign of hope. The pond used to be an excellent place for a goose to raise a family. Four or five years ago there would be six or more goslings there. Occasionally the parental units would stop traffic to march the young ones across the street to the larger neighborhood pond.

But then a medical building went up just south of it. And now new condos are being built to the west. I saw the geese and their nest a year ago. But never did see any goslings. Hope springs eternal.

Canada Goose & Mallard Ducks. Photo: TLClark, 3/31/2020.

The nest was my first thought for the Tuesday Photo Challenge of HOPE. So I grabbed the camera when my best beloved and I headed out for a walk yesterday. One Canada goose was on the nest; a pair of mallard ducks was nearby.

The walk itself – with proper physical distancing from whoever else might be out – provides a bit of hope in this era of COVID-19 pandemic. Getting out of the house to enjoy sunshine and blue sky is as much for our mental health as it is for physical well-being.

An annual sign of hope are swelling leaf buds. I marvel at the variety. Here are a few pictures from our corner of the world on the last day of March.

Leaf Buds. Photo: TLClark, 3/31/2020.
Leaf Buds with Shadow. Photo: TLClark, 3/31/2020.
Illusion of a Shadow. Photo: TLClark, 3/31/2020.
Look Up. Photo: TLClark, 3/31/2020.
Look In (Miniature Lilac). Photo: TLClark, 3/31/2020.

Photo Challenge: Portal

Beardshear Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. Photo: TLClark, 6/25/2019.

make the climb
open a door
for higher education

Wandering on the Iowa State University campus while my beloved participated in a study, I was pleasantly surprised to find Beardshear Hall. From the stories he tells, Beadshear was his home away from home back in the day he was working on his Ph.D.

Tulip Garden, Reiman Gardens, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. Photo: TLClark, 5/4/2018.

step through the gate
to enjoy the tulips

I’m more inclined to take pictures of flowers than I am to photograph gates. But this gate caught my attention on a beautiful spring day at Reiman Gardens.


Posted in response to Dutch goes the Photo! Tuesday Photo Challenge – Portal.

Flower of the Day Challenge: Advent Flowers

Alstromeria. Photo: TLClark, 12/29/19.

We bought a bunch of mixed flowers several weeks ago, choosing purple and white because we were still in the season of Advent. Just a few of the blooms remain.

While drying dishes last evening I noticed the stigma of the alstromeria (commonly called Peruvian Lily or Lily of the Incas or Parrot Lily). Though the flower is nearing the end of its vase life, the stigma was still standing straight up.

Alstromeria. Photo: TLClark, 12/29/19.

Though the flower is nearing the end of its vase life, the stigma was still standing straight up. Wondering if I could capture it in a photo, I left my husband to finish the dishes while I played with the camera. I’m pleased with the result – the automatic flash highlighted the flowers and completely darkened the background. The only editing of the photos was cropping.

Alstromeria. Photo: TLClark, 12/29/19.

Posted in response to Cee’s Flower of the Day challenge.

Life Is Short

Gerbera Daisy. Photo: TLCLark, 12/1/19.

“Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are travelling the dark journey with us.  Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind.”

–  Henri Frederic Amiel (Swiss Philosopher, 1821 – 1881)

Last week did not go according to plan. Not that we had any specific plans. But instead of staying home, we dropped everything to go be with family. Short story: Mom fell. Brain bleeds, broken cheek bone, and lots of facial bruising.

The good news: she’s doing really, really well.

It could have been otherwise.

Now that we’re home and getting back to our regular routine, I’ve been thinking about a Commissioning/Benediction I’ve used at the end of many Worship services. Based on a quote (above) by Henri Frederic Amiel, it goes like this:

Life is short
and we do not have much time
to gladden the hearts of those who travel with us.
So be swift to love,
Make haste to be kind,
And go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

~ ~ ~

It’s more than a flower picture, but since it is a flower I’m linking to Cee’s Flower of the Day Photo Challenge! Thank-you, Cee, for sharing beautiful flowers and encouraging the rest of us to do the same.

Photo Challenge: Fantasy

Butterfly, Nature Connects Exhibit, Reiman Gardens, Summer 2016. Photo: TLClark.

If you had all the LEGO(c) bricks you’d ever dreamed of having and more than enough time to create whatever you might imagine, would that be a fantasy come true?

Pansy with Bee, Nature Connects Exhibit, Reiman Gardens, Summer 2016. Photo: TLClark.

Or are you more the sort to just enjoy another’s creation?

Dragonfly, Nature Connects Exhibit, Reiman Gardens, Summer 2016. Photo: TLClark.

Pictures are from the 2016 exhibit “Nature Connects: Art with LEGO(c) Bricks” at Reiman Gardens, Ames, Iowa. The sculptures were created by Sean Kenney.

Go to https://www.inside.iastate.edu/article/2016/04/21/legos for a more information about the 2016 exhibit. Visit https://www.reimangardens.com/exhibition/2020-wild-and-whimsical/ for information about the exhibit scheduled for 2020.

~ ~ ~

Posted in response to Tuesday Photo Challenge – Fantasy by Dutch goes the Photo!

Photo Challenge: Slope

Slope, Dry Land Pasture, Eastern Montana. Photo: TLClark, 8/16/12.

One of my first thoughts to this photo challenge was mathematical: slope equals rise over run. My dad – a retired high school math teacher – chose the top picture because it clearly shows a slope of about 30 degrees. I’m definitely my father’s daughter!

Rock, Sagebrush and Tree, Dry Land Pasture, Eastern Montana. Photo: TLClark, 8/16/12.

All three pictures are of Dry Land Pasture in Eastern Montana. It’s pasture, according to Dad, because “there’s grass and they run cows on it.” Dad may have been a math teacher, but he was always glad to help friends out on a ranch: milking a cow if they had to be out of town, branding calves in the spring, haying fields and stacking bales in summer, feeding cattle in the winter.

Dry Land Pasture, Eastern Montana. Photo: TLClark, 8/16/12.

This particular August day Dad and I and one of my nephews were out at the Neumann Ranch to check the garden and to play with our cameras. Glad to have a chance to share a few shots. Thanks, Frank, for the photo challenge!

Photo Challenge: Steep

Gibbon Falls, Yellowstone National Park. Photo: TLClark, 10/10/2018

I don’t remember taking family vacations as a kid growing up in eastern Montana. I do remember camping trips – to Medicine Rocks State Park, the Long Pines, the Beartooth Mountains, and Yellowstone National Park.

As a young, single, professional adult working in Helena, Montana, I took a Girl Scout Troop (Juniors) to Yellowstone National Park (with other adults to help drive and supervise).

But as far as I can remember, last fall – when my husband and I were doing a little sight-seeing on our way home from a wedding – was the first time I stopped to see Gibbon Falls.

It is as steep as it looks – straight down on both sides of the Gibbon River! Gibbon Falls itself has a drop of 84 feet (26 m).

Thanks, Frank, for the challenge!

Leaves: First Snow

Crabapple Leaves with Snow. Photo: TLClark, 10/29/19.

First snowfall of the season in Ankeny, Iowa, October 29, 2019. Pictures of leaves on trees in our yard or the neighbor’s yard taken mid-morning. Most of the snow had melted by Noon.

Leaves with Snow against Sky. Photo: TLClark, 10/29/19.
Long Pine Needles with Snow. Photo: TLClark, 10/29/19.
Brown Leaf with Snow. Photo: TLClark, 10/29/19.
Maple Leaf in Snow. Photo: TLClark, 10/29/19.
Red Stem of Maple Leaf. Photo: TLClark, 10/19/19.
Neighbor’s Tree. Photo: TLClark, 10/29/19.