Spoils from a Chittenden Raid

Woodland Sunflower, Helianthus strumosus

My good  friend Glenn Levinson came over the other day for something of an impromptu visit with our family (Uncle Glenn!), and I had just come back from a grass, flower, and other types of plants raid at Chittenden Park in Guilford.  Now, I hadn’t seen Glenn in some time, and I was so happy to see him and be able to spend time with him, but precious sunlight was slipping away, and I had all these lovely things from Chittenden that were crying out to be photographed before it was too late. Fortunately, there were other family members on deck to keep the conversation going, and Glenn had to watch while I dragged out a Canon 5D Mark III (a non-descript-but-I-mean-business-sort-of-looking-camera), my very favorite 1.4 50mm lens, and an extension tube for close ups (all of these things given to me by my father). I started shooting, but it just wasn’t cutting it. I dragged out a tripod. Then a table. Then a backdrop. You might as well go all out. Let’s iron the backdrop! Glenn just kept saying, “Wow!” I felt a bit rude, but it had to be done.

Glenn! I’m so sorry if it was rude, and let’s have dinner together soon, but I hope you can enjoy the results.

I found ALL KINDS OF FREAKY THINGS at Chittenden that I had never seen or heard of before!

All this time, I thought I was collecting things against the law, but I read just this moment: “Wild flowers According to Dominic Price of wild plant protection charity Plantlife, “it is not normally an offence to pick the ‘Four Fs’ – fruit, foliage, fungi or flowers – if the plants are growing wild and it is for your personal use and not for sale.” I’m SO HAPPY!

I formatted three photos for use as wallpapers for 1920 x 1080. Please download to your heart’s content.

Here are the goods:

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Super 9 Shakes Up Salmagundi Club’s 2016 Photography Exhibition

John & Irene Liebler at the Salmagundi Club

Times are getting fewer and fewer that all nine of us can be in the same place, so these moments are precious to me. My best friend and business partner, Irene Liebler, submitted some of her work to the Salmagundi Club’s 2016 Non-Members’ Photography & Graphics Exhibition in Manhattan and got three pieces into the show (congratulations, Irene!), so it was a great excuse for all of us to go down… especially since all nine planets lined up, and no children had anything more interesting to do than hang out with their parents in the Big Apple.

As it turned out, not only did we all make it down, many, many friends showed up out of the woodwork to party with us! So much fun to see familiar face after familiar face turn up in places like the subway (Stephanie Hart), the restaurant (Deirdre Lonergan, Stephanie Gosteli, and Wendy Mackey), and the show (Jil Grey, Ellen Bean, Lauren Mallow (sp?), and Diane Heriot). It’s no small task to get to Manhattan from Guilford, so we were thrilled, and Irene was moved at the show of support.

One cool thing is that Rachel and her friend Scott Weady are the models in one of Irene’s pieces called “Sign of the Times.”

And, yes, that would be Abigail wearing four inch heels to traipse around Manhattan. Only Abigail.

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Garden Boys: Aaron (7) & Noah (5) Are a Raging Business Success

The moment I heard that my friends Aaron and Noah (ages seven and five) were running a flower business by selling arrangements in the park with flowers they grew in their own backyard, I was seized with a dire need to document the story. The cuteness factor was just too overwhelming to live life another moment without action. Combine that with the fact that I will forever be indebted to their parents, Grant and Amy, for providing a safe and encouraging environment for all three of my children to thrive in our church’s youth group, well… it would be a very small way to express my undying gratitude.

What I experienced went way beyond what I ever expected.  A salesman was being born right before my eyes (watch for when Aaron convinces two women to buy two arrangements instead of one because they couldn’t decide which one they wanted). And his description of what happened with the cone flowers made me laugh so hard, I broke the boundary of “the silent interviewer.” Their stamina for work was impressive at such young ages… a quality we can all be inspired by. Noah’s “sideman antics” are to die for, Aaron’s powers of articulation go well beyond his seven years, and the simplicity and beauty of their arrangements are stunning. I especially enjoyed watching everyone’s response to them. The boys were professional and respectful in all their dealings… and the response was beautiful to behold.

Grant and Amy, thank you for all you do for our church community and for my children in particular. I am grateful for your tireless work and for the parenting example you set. Your children have become precious to me.

Throwing Myself In Front of the Lawnmower

Bulbous Bluegrass, Poa bulbosa

Yard Grass


If a person is going to be excited about spring and the plants that come to life at that time, then it would seem natural to be happy about the obvious things in the Northeast like forsythia and crocuses. And then the cherry blossoms. I think I missed them. I seem to be late to the spring party this year. I was just thinking the other day, “If only the grass would start to come up, now THAT would make it spring for me.” And then yesterday, upon driving up my driveway, I noticed that this certain patch had sprung to life. It only grows in one, ten-foot square spot in a triangle between three trees in the front yard. I was SO HAPPY because last year I spent considerable time, to no avail, trying to identify this grass, and I haven’t seen it anywhere else. Something about it draws me to it. I think it’s the wild, scrawly bits of it. Like it needs a haircut. Like it has an attitude about being wild and crazy. Like “Why aren’t you wild and crazy too?”

After getting out of the car and inspecting it thoroughly, I was greatly satisfied that spring had finally arrived. I purposed in my heart at that moment to take pictures of it the next day, on Sunday, my day to give in fully to my ADD and “Projects That Make No Sense.”

It being Saturday, with a long list of unfinished web development projects for clients, I parked myself in front of the computer and committed my heart to servicing my clients. While deep into the machinations of how to make WordPress send blog posts automatically to Mail Chimp, I heard a loud noise outside. It was getting louder. It started to really bother me.  IT WAS THE LAWNMOWER! OMG!!! Is Bryan really MOWING THE LAWN RIGHT NOW! MY PRECIOUS PATCH OF GRASS!!! Fortunately, he is used to my addiction and only chuckled slightly when I threw myself in front of the mower just as he was going around the corner next to my precious patch. I’m sure you will all be glad to know that I saved all but one clump.

The photo you see here is the result of way too many hours on a Sunday trying to capture my feeling about this grass. If anyone can give me any help with identification, I would be ever so grateful.

My friend Jil Grey came over later and at least feigned interest enough to ask to see my other photos. LOL! I mean, that is a seriously good friend who can even scrounge around enough to ASK to see more photos of grass. HA HA! My favorite moment was when she said, “Well, that one sort of looks like they’re having a conversation. Like it’s a cocktail party.” HOW COULD SHE KNOW THAT?! I had set up that shot to convey that very idea.

Grass Cocktail Party