Big Art

Murals abound in the city of Philadelphia!


Thursday Doors 2017

While I didn’t quite squeak out a full year of doors, I was still lucky enough to be introduced to Norm’s Thursday Doors challenge by my magnificent friend (and Italy compadre) Manja. Many of the doors, not surprisingly, were ones I strolled by, entered, or just plain adored whilst in my Italy travels this past summer. It’s a challenge to keep my post brief, so I’ll have to dig not so deep to try to pick my ultimate favs.

Closer to home – well, kind of! Seems these doors actually span coast to coast 🙂

Of Butterflies and Birds (and flowers, too)

Nature and its flora and fauna are astoundingly amazing, and I have mad respect for its existence and preservation. And while I can oogle at Nat Geo, or a myriad of other online resources to see amazing nature photography, I love being behind the lens in capturing a growing collection of both the known and new animals and plants who’ve stood (well…. crouched, flown, crawled, swayed, hopped,  etc) before me.

I try to spend at least once a week out and about, both to polish up my hobby skills, and to continue to get to know my new camera and big ol’ zoom lens. But even more so, because it certainly is a great way to decompress and sooth body/mind/soul. I value that above all.

Yesterday morning October rolled in, a brisk 48 degrees as I headed to one of my fav local gardens… First up: Monarch Butterflies! All the ones I saw today (and any that you all see, if you live west of the Rocky Mountains), will migrate to Mexico and overwinter/ hibernate in Oyamel Fir trees! The monarch is the only butterfly known to make a two-way migration as birds do, traveling up to 3,000 miles to get to their winter home. And of course, they are an invaluable pollinator. Super cool and beautiful insect!

While the east coast finds itself home year round to many normally migratory birds who live further inland, I still never really know if a bird like the Grey Catbird is that year-rounder. Here in the Philadelphia area, we are sketchy as being considered fully part of that coastal population. Alas, I’ve not seen the Catbirds around my home, but did in fact see several on this visit. They are berry eaters, and the tree I discovered them eating from (still need to determine the variety!) allowed me some nice shots.

Last up, the Blue-headed Vireo, a small cheeky songbird – also migrating thru on its way to the Gulf coast or Mexico.

Thursday Doors September 21: Summer Wanes…

We headed to the weekly grower’s market again this past weekend, having been really fortunate with great weather during this changing of the seasons. And once again, taking it on foot as opposed to tooling around in my car makes it alllllll a new adventure.

I open with, of all things, a gelateria! Yes, Manja Mexi Movie, it’s here in my (almost) back yard waiting for you! Though I’ve not tried it, I’m told the owner is from Italy and knows his gelato! I’ll keep you posted if it’s legit 🙂

For this week’s doors challenge.

As we ended at the market, I photographed the yummy local fruits and veggies that I bought (but no, not the dogs!)


Thursday Doors, July 6: A tale of two Italian towns

My last two hill towns of Italy left me with a sense that surely nothing could surpass them (though, my friend Manja tells me that’s just not so – I’ll have to believe her, for now 🙂 … )

Orvieto and Civita di Bagnoregio, the last of my Italy destinations, dished out a lovely assortment of doors (and more).

For Norm Frampton’s Thursday Doors challenge

Volterra: Ancient Times and Fairy Tales

While it’s not easy – or even necessary – to choose a favorite place in Italy, I may have to put Volterra on the top of my list. Coming off of our first stop of Rome, and the city-esque crowds of tourists, Volterra was an incredible respite. And, an amazingly gorgeous hill town that left me teary-eyed from the overwhelming charm and history.

Volterra, historically, is a walled hill town dating back to at least the end of the 8th century BC. What’s amazing is, it’s believed to have been continuously inhabited since that time. AMAZING. This is a place where just being and sharing space with the beauty and history settled into my soul in a gentle, healing, humbling way.

Much of my pictography in this post is meant to convey Volterra in a simplistic way. The irony of simplistic is, here it is charming and beautiful, no matter where or how one ventures in this lovely classic Italy hill town.

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Panoramic view from Volterra, beautiful Tuscany

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Under the Tuscan Moon

Early a.m. view from my room window

Ombra della sera, “Shadow of the evening”, Etruscan museum. The statue represents a nude male, 22.6 inches tall, with very elongated body but head in normal proportions. It is estimated by archaeologists to date from the third century BC.  Quite humbling.

Wine cellar, the wine tasting fantastic.

Roman Theatre, excavated in the 1950’s, built in the late 1st century BC.

Volterra Cathedral

San Giusto, Volterra

Cute Italian dogs and cute Italian men 🙂

Etruscan Arch, entry into town

One of many, many quaint streets in Volterra.

Beautiful everything here.