“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.”~ W Berry

Urban Farm Hollyhocks
Urban Farm Hollyhocks

So, I am in Phoenix and driving through one of its many neighborhoods, which generally consist of modest homes and strip malls, and I see a huge mass of tall hollyhocks in every color. Of course, I had to stop: A. because the hollyhocks were so beautiful. B. because this looked so out of place for the suburban area. As it turns out, it was actually a small urban farm, not a huge garden as I had initially thought.

I was photographing all of the hollyhocks that outlined the  garden, not wanting to trespass and then saw some people and asked if it was okay to venture in. I started talking with a man there and came to learn some of this place’s interesting history. It all began when one man had a calling to do some good in this world and another man who donated the land to make the dream happen. The idea for Harvest for Humanity was born and they grow not only flowers but organic fruits, vegetables and herbs for the financially needy and for cancer patients. Volunteers run the operation at this point in time and they have even branched out to other areas within Phoenix. In addition to the concept being fantastic, I could not believe the quality of their produce.  Not only is it organic but it is also in the middle of the dusty desert. The thousands of flowers…..most all of them were actually perfect (e.g. no bug holes, healthy blooms, etc.). I was invited in not only to take pictures but I was also given cutters to pick some flowers and I ended up taking home a few sunflowers, a hollyhock stalk and 3 allium flowers. They had no donation jar out but a left a few dollars with my pair of cutters when I left.

Coming in contact with something like this gets one thinking about possibilities….dreams, possibilities, plans and then actions are what make up your reality, to a certain extent. Maybe all possibilities cannot manifest to fruition but without moving in the direction of your dreams, hoped for possibilities will most likely not happen. The soil is rich but one has to plant the seed.


“The world is full of hopeful analogies and handsome, dubious eggs, called possibilities.” ~G Eliot

Naturally Colored Eggs in A Bowl
Farmer’s Market Eggs

I want to let you photogs out there know about some pretty Lightroom pre-sets from VSCO (link below) that I downloaded today for free. The package contains camera brand-specific film simulation presets and they are very pleasing to my eye. I mostly use Flakebook these days to follow businesses that I am fond of and photo sites and I read about the freebie on FB in an article from PetaPixel.  I processed the above image with one of those pre-sets, although I never just use the pre-sets as is or even alone but the possibilities are endless.


“Tears are the safety valve of the heart when too much pressure is laid on it.”~ A Smith

Valves in Primary Colors

I just returned from seeing Disney’s Monkey Kingdom and I wholeheartedly recommend it. The cinematography was just stunning (photogs out there will really appreciate it) and you will find yourself feeling sorrow and then happiness for the main protagonist’s everyday struggles to both survive and care for her young. I do not know how much human intervention was behind some of the storylines (hungry macaques raiding a birthday party and eating a psychedelic pink-iced cake) and there was too much anthropomorphism for me to call this a documentary but it was a beautifully filmed piece and a kind of nature “feel good” movie. Heck, if you can suspend your scientific mind for a zombie movie, you can do so for an endearing bunch of monkeys! I left thinking about how similar some animal and human societies are and that these types of films leave you so much more for the better than say a pure escapism, shoot ’em up type of movie, although I suppose both have their places. Plus, if you go on opening week, Disney will donate 20 cents per admission to Conservation International, an organization dedicated to helping protect endangered species and preserving their habitats. It is a win-win! Take the kids, the grandkids (yes, the target audience is probably 10 years old-blush)….take yourself but go see it.


“My painting does not come from the easel.” – Jackson Pollock

Plein Air Painter by The Sea
Plein Air Painter by The Sea

He looked as if he’d fall into the water, he was so close (or appeared to be, from my angle) to the water.

Oh, and his tee shirt says “A Shark Ate My Homework”. LOL One time, our puppy ate my son’s homework. We still had possession of most of the pieces that the dog had chewed so we ended up taping it back together, minus a few small chunks. I put a post-it on the taped up sheet, telling the teacher, “This is what “the dog ate my homework” REALLY looks like.” She got a kick out of that. Anyway, we Americans all know that phrase (the dog ate my homework) but I bet not too many teachers actually see it for real!


“We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us.” ~ M McLuhan

A Bunch of  (1 of 1)
Doohickey-“a small object or gadget, especially one whose name the speaker does not know or cannot recall”

I think they are valves and pipes. Whatever they are, they made for a nice abstract.

Let’s just say that this week will not go down as one of my best. Easter was nice but then Sunday night came. I started to feel sick, as in with the flu. I have not been really sick in quite some time so I guess I have been lucky. I was driving home from the Phoenix area, feeling really bad, and stopped for a red light.  Well, the woman ahead of me decided the last minute to stop but ended up half in the lane of the oncoming traffic. She backed up to get out of the way of the cars; I backed up a bit, too, as far as I could, without hitting the car behind me. And I see that she never took her car out of reverse….I start beeping and waving my hands and I put my car in park as I know what is coming next! Light turns green, woman floors car, BAM, my front grill is demolished. We exchange insurance information, the police come and take a report and this takes an hour or so, all that time me hoping not to barf on the nice officer’s shiny shoes. I am just starting to feel normal, after sleeping like Rip Van Winkle for a day.

Today was tax preparation day for me, the third bad thing to happen.  Of death and taxes, of course, I will choose taxes but they still stink. :p And to think the week’s not even over yet……




General Store

” I went to the general store

but they wouldn’t let me buy anything specific.” ~ S Wright

Hay and Feed General Store
Hay and Feed General Store

Before there was Seinfeld, there was Steven Wright to point out life’s little ironies.

I recently came upon a treasure of a mining ghost town and museum and took a tour and about 200 images. It had a dozen or so buildings that stored a ton of old items from the glory days of mining. The above image was a general store set up that had vintage and antique items that would have been for sale in the early 1900s-1940s. Of course, everyone at that time must have needed hay and feed for their animals, the big draw according to the window and hats must have been quite big back then.  I do not mean that literally… I looked at the hats above, I kept thinking that people must have been much smaller boned back then (after all, heads do not generally get “fat” as they mostly consist of bone). The hats seemed so tiny, at least to me, I of larger than normal skull. :) The same can be said of the shoes (not visible here)……the women’s shoes looked shrunken and abnormally petite.

I must make it back before it closes for the summer and wander around once again. Some of these types of places tend to just disappear and close down or get so rigid with rules of what you can and cannot enter or photograph and I’d like to make sure I get to spend more time there.