Showing posts with label mbgphoto. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mbgphoto. Show all posts

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Book Review of Honeysuckle Season

Greenhouse
In this book we are introduced to Libby a young women who has many recent struggles and an unknown future.


                                     

Summary of Book

Libby is a young woman who has just gone through several miscarriages, a painful divorce and the death of her father.  Since she is at a true crossroads in her life she decides to return to her roots in Bluestone, Virginia.  Here she moves into her father's home and begins a career as a wedding photographer.

She is asked to photograph a wedding at the historic Woodmont estates.  This is a place she remembers going to as a child with her mother.  The place brings back memories and after the wedding the owner Elaine Grant asks her help in getting the place ready for special events.  Elaine has also asked a young widower, Colton Reese to help in the restoration of a greenhouse on the estate.

The greenhouse was once the scene of many community gatherings.  It was built as a wedding gift for Elaine's grandmother and was at one time a beautiful and magical place.  The years have not been kind to the place and it is overgrown with honeysuckle vines and lots of weeds.  The greenhouse is said to be haunted and it hides secrets from years gone by.

It has been months since her father's desk and Libby is now ready to start going through some of his things.  When she does a letter she finds in his desk will bring to light long buried secrets with ties to the Woodmont estate.  

The author, Mary Ellen Taylor, weaves a wonderful story of love and loss, secrets and forgiveness, and a wonderful hope for the future.  Along the way you meet interesting characters and become caught up in their lives.

My Thoughts on the Book

I liked this book from the very beginning and was delighted with the way the author introduced the characters.  There was a hint of the secret throughout the book but I really didn't catch on till near the end.  This made it a real page turner.  The characters were lifelike and I took a real interest in their lives.  This would be a great book for book club discussions.

Other Books by This Author

Mary Ellen Taylor is an award winning author of Winters Cottage and Spring House and several other women's literature books.  She also writes under the name Mary Burton as a New York Times best selling suspense novelist.

                                           


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Thursday, September 10, 2020

Review of Across the Winding River

Across the Winding River was another one of those books I couldn't put down once I started reading it.  The author did a wonderful job of intertwining a story from World War II Germany and present day San Diego.  When Beth is helping her father go through his WWII mementos she discovers a photo of him and a mysterious women in Germany who is obviously pregnant. Who is this woman and what if any part did she play in her father's life. 

Link to Book through Amazon


                                                                    

Main Characters

  • Max-  Max is a dentist, who served as a medic in World War II.  He met several German resistance members whom he helped whenever he could.
  • Beth-  Max's daughter.  We meet her in the present day after her mother has died and she is taking care of her invalid father.  She wants to spend as much time as she can with him and engages him in talking about his time in the war.
  • Johanna- We first meet Johanna just before the war when Hitler is just starting to rise to power.  Johanna and her family have been able to hide the fact that she is one quarter Jewish through a grandfather who has since passed away.
  • Harald- Harald is a professor who marries Johanna.  During the war he is  pressed into service for a cause he does not believe in.
  • Margarethe (Metta) - Metta is a younger sister who marries a strict Nazi, before she realizes his true character.  She sneaks away whenever she can to work for the resistance.
  • Ansel- Ansel is Metta's husband and a very cruel person who is loyal to the Nazi cause.
  • Jonas and Heide- They belong to the German resistance.  When Jonas is wounded, Metta meets an American medic in the forest and brings him to help Jonas.

My Thought on the Book

I really loved the book.  It was easy to read and clearly marked whether you were in the present day or the World War II era.  Each chapter completed a section on one of the times.  There were several side stories on Beth, that endeared her to me.  She was a very likable character as was her father Max.  I found myself really routing for them and hoping they could solve the mystery that had lasted for over 50 years.



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Thursday, August 27, 2020

Visit Missouri- Review of Frontier Park-St. Charles


Located on the Missouri Riverfront in St. Charles you will find a wonderful park, the Lewis and Clark Boathouse Museum and a delightful nature center.


Lewis and Clark Boathouse Museum



The Lewis and Clark Boat House and Museum is a wonderful way to spend time reviewing the history that took place in this area.  There is a wonderful display on the Lewis and Clark Expedition with maps for you to follow the paths taken.  There is a replica of a keel boat used during the expedition times and many other artifacts from the era.  

The  museum also gives a lot of information on the Missouri River ecosystem.  

Outside the museum you will find a wonderful nature center.  It is a small area but packed with informational signs and lots of beautiful flowers.  I particularly like to photograph the sunflowers.  

Here are some photos from a late July visit to the area.


 




I was delighted by all of the colorful cone flowers that were in bloom on this visit.






Frontier Park

Just east of the museum area on the riverfront you will find Frontier Park.


The park covers 16 acres and is a wonderful way to spend a leisurely time watching the boats on the riverfront, watching events on the stage, visiting the old railroad depot, or taking a walk along the Katy trail. Here are the features of the park according to the St. Charles Parks website.

  • 16 Acres
  • 15 Foot Lewis & Clark Statue
  • MKT Depot
  • MO Dept. of Natural Resources Katy Trail runs through Frontier Park
  • Outdoor Jaycee Stage
  • 2 Picnic Shelters
  • Paved Hike/Bike Trail
  • Rest Area (Benches)
  • Restrooms are open year round.


From <http://www.stcharlesparks.com/park/frontier-park/



At Christmas time the city celebrates a "St. Charles Christmas Traditions".  One of the traditions includes a parade featuring Santa's from various countries.  At the end Santa Claus stops at the railroad depot above for children to visit and have their photos taken with Santa Claus  A couple of years ago my two youngest granddaughters were visiting before the holidays and I took them to see Santa.  The depot was a wonderful spot for this tradition.  



The St. Charles area features a lot of festivals held in the area and the stage seen above is often the place where entertainment is featured. People can bring their lawn chairs and sit in the grassy areas surrounding the stage.  Some of the festivals include an Independance Day Celebration, Festival of the Little Hills, Craft Fairs and much more.

This area along the Missouri riverfront in St. Charles is a real treasure of the city and an area I never tire of visiting.

Zazzle Products from my Photographs





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Thursday, August 13, 2020

Review of The Last of the Moon Girls

I downloaded the book The Last of the Moon Girls by Barbara  Davis when it was on the July list for Amazon Prime's First Reads.  I probably picked it because I wasn't sure what else to pick, but I was pleasantly surprise when it turned out to be one of the best books I've read in a long time.  In fact when I got to about 50% in the book, I ended up staying up half the night until I finished the book.  I found it to be a delightful read full of interesting characters, an unsolved murder, and some thoughtful messages on forgiveness and finding ones self.


Brief Synopsis of Plot

Lizzy Moon had left the family farm in New Hampshire 8 years before to follow her dream.  She now had a promising career in New York city and no intention of ever returning to the "family" business. The family farm was a "herbal farm" and generations of Moon woman had used their various skills as "healers" to run the farm. Lizzy was to be the last of the Moon girls.

All of this was before Lizzy got a call letting her know her beloved grandmother, Althea, had passed away leaving her the farm.  Still, Lizzy had every intention of returning to pack up the farm and put it for sale.

When Lizzy returns she is met with a farm that is very deteriorated and fields of lavender that are full of weeds.  She is also confronted with the unsolved murders of two girls from 8 years before and insinuations from the towns people that followed her grandmother to her grave.

The book has a wonderful series of twists and turns that causes Lizzy to take another look at her life and what she thinks she wants.

This is an excellent read and I would highly recommend it.  I also think this would be an excellent book for a book club discussion.  There are lots of interesting topics within the book that should lead to a lively discussion.

  






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Thursday, July 23, 2020

Visit Missouri-Fort Zumwalt Park


We have several parks in our area, but my favorite is Fort Zumwalt Park.  This 48 acre park is both scenic and historic.  It has a wonderful 3.5 acre lake and lots of trails and paths to enjoy nature.


Newly Renovated

The lake named Lake Wetsel, after a board member that championed the lake, was completely dredged during 2019.  At that time several small bridges and a walking path were added.  This makes it a wonderful place to take a stroll or go for a more energetic walk.




Historic Features


I love seeing the fort each time I go to the park.  It is a wonderful recreation of a log cabin from the late 1700's.  Here is a quote about the Zumwalt home from the O'Fallon city website.   https://www.ofallon.mo.us/fort-zumwalt-park
"It’s hard to imagine the O’Fallon area as the leading edge of the American frontier. But in 1799, when Daniel Boone and his family settled just a few miles away, the area was a wilderness in which Native Americans hunted, fished and trapped game.
At about the same time that Daniel Boone arrived, Jacob Zumwalt and his extended family settled in the O’Fallon area circa 1798, building a large log home. A few years later, when the War of 1812 set off deadly guerilla raids with Native Americans ambushing and killing American settlers, local families fled to the shelter provided by the Zumwalt’s home, which is said to have been fortified with a stockade fence.  A spring, which is now Lake Whetsel, supplied water.
Zumwalt’s Fort, as the fortified house came to be called, was one of 35-plus “settler forts” that once stood in Missouri. Boone’s Fort at present-day Matson, Missouri, was the largest.
The reconstructed Zumwalt’s Fort opened in 2015 as a gift to the City from the O’Fallon Community Foundation. It is the only rebuilt War of 1812 settler fort in the state.
Interpretive signs at the site provide structural details and information about the people who lived here in the days when the O’Fallon area was part of the American frontier."

Another historic house in the park is the Heald house.  It is a large brick home built near the fort on a hill called "Stony Point" .  It was first built in 1884 and was renovated by the City of O'Fallon in 2001.  I love taking photos of the flowers around the house.



Wildlife

Wildlife abounds in the park both in the woods surrounding the lake and in the lake itself.  I particularly like watching the colorful ducks in the lake.




















Here is an Iris I photographed along the lake.

Other Activities at the Park

The park features many other attractions and special events.  Here are a few of the most popular.
  • Picnic Areas
  • Pavilion for Group Gatherings
  • Large Playground
  • 18 Hole Disc Golf Course- this scenic 18 hole course winds it way through the park.  The course is free for open play and scorecards are available near the first tee.
  • Celebration of Lights- each December the park hosts a annual celebration of lights.  This celebration features a drive-through display of seasonal lights.  It also has nights set aside for a walking tour and some nights there are carriage rides available.
  • Founders Day Celebration-The park hosts this celebration in May with live blue-grass music, hands on activities and heritage demonstrations.
  • The Park is the host for The St. Charles Model Railroad Club.

Photo Shoot

I love to do photo shoots with my granddaughters and the park is the perfect place to take their photos.  Here are a few from their recent visit.






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Thursday, July 9, 2020

Review of The Lending Library

The Lending Library by Alice Fogelson is a delightful story about a teacher's love for books and how she helps the community when the town library is temporarily closed.  I found the book when it was one of the Amazon Prime monthly First Read books.  I love that feature on Amazon because it has introduced me to so many interesting books and authors.


Summary of the Book

The book is about a confirmed bibliophile and frustrated artist, Dodie Fairisle, who moves from New York city to a small Connecticut town where she teaches art in the elementary school.

When the Chatsworth town library is found to have asbestos it is forced to close indefinately.  Dodie is so frustrated for herself and the town that she decides to create a lending library in the sunroom of her home.

Dodie is very committed to making the library a success and she uses her skills as a baker providing treats and her love of books to recommend books for each person who comes into the lending library.

One person that comes regularly to the library is a construction worker named Shep Jamison.  Shep is very handsome and Dodie spends a lot of time picking out books that she feels Shep would like.

The first part of the book is setting up the library and the people that Dodie meets.  The second part of the book becomes bogged down with many side stories, including love interests of friends, death of a friend, adoption processes and Dodie's stressed out desire to become a mother.

My Thoughts on the Book

I picked up this book at a time when I was looking for something lighter to read.  The book, for the most part filled that need.   I particularly  enjoyed the parts about Dodie and her work with the library. I also enjoyed the interesting cast of characters, including Dodie's friends and the people that frequented the library.

 There were times though in the second half where the story became a bit intense and perhaps unbelievable.  Even so, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it.

Find the Book on Amazon

                                                                     


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Thursday, June 25, 2020

Visit Missouri-Klondike Park St. Charles County

Klondike Park Meeting Facility

On a recent beautiful June afternoon,  my friend and I ventured out into Missouri Wine Country.  After a wonderful lunch at a winery overlooking the Missouri River Valley, we stopped at Klondike park for a bit of hiking and photography.

Location of Park

Klondike park is located in St. Charles county just 14 miles south of the 40/94 interchange.  It is a wonderful location with over 250 acres nestled in the middle of Missouri Wine Country.

Boat Ramp

As we left the winery we took the first exit we saw for the park and found that this exit really just led to the boat ramp with access to the Missouri river and not into the park itself.  We decided to get out for a few minutes to photograph the river from this vantage point.

There is a power plant in this area and from the boat ramp we got a good view of the power plant across the river.
We had really wanted the main entrance to the park so we got back in the car and went down hwy 94 for about 1/4 of a mile and we came to the main entrance.

Features of Klondike Park

The park has a modern meeting facility (pictured at the beginning of this page) that is perfect for both family and business meetings.

One of the key features of the park is the beautiful bluffs overlooking the Missouri River valley.  There is a paved path that you can hike to the top of the bluffs for some scenic views of the area.

Hiking and Biking Trails

There are more than 4 miles of natural and paved trails for hiking and biking.  The trail pictured above is one that we took to go down to the river.  It was an unpaved path that went down a rather steep hill before it crossed the Katy Trail and eventually ended up at the river.

Katy Trail

The Katy Trail is a 237 mile hiking and biking trail that goes across most of Missouri.  Over half of the trail follows the path that explorers Lewis and Clark took along the Missouri River.

Camping at Klondike Park

If you are looking for a place to stay, Klondike park offers camping facilities including, 6 rustic cabins, 43 campsites, restrooms and showers.

Other facilities include:
  • Picnic shelters
  • Playgrounds for children
  • Large lake that is fully stocked

Unique Birding/Wildlife Area

We found there were numerous opportunities to take photographs.  There were many fields with wildflowers and birds.

Image from Klondike Park

Here is a canvas I found on Amazon which depicts a scene from Klondike Park.  Klondike Park is just north of Augusta, Missouri.

Here is a book with information on day hiking trips in Missouri.




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Thursday, June 11, 2020

Book Review on Golden Poppies


Golden Poppies by Laila Ibrahim was my pick for the Amazon Prime free books for May.  I always enjoy historical fiction and I was not disappointed with this compelling story.


The Book on Amazon




Main themes of the Book


There are several themes that run throughout the book.  
  • Love and friendship that endures throughout the years
  • Racial discord and fear
  • Inequality 
  • Women's Voting Rights
  • Strong and resilient women


Highlights of the Book


This book looks at two generations of people who are linked by friendship and racial solidarity.

The book begins in 1894 with the story of Mattie, a former slave who escaped the plantation on which she lived and worked.  When the story begins Mattie is now living in Chicago and is very ill.  Her daughter, Jordan and grandaughter, Naomi are by her side; but Mattie desires to see her old friend Lisbeth one more time before she dies.  Mattie had been Lisbeth's nanny on the plantation before she escaped and they have kept in touch with each other through the years.   Jordan finally agrees to getting in touch with Lisbeth, even though she doesn't know if she wants to share her mother's last days with a "white" woman.  Upon getting the message, Lisbeth immediately makes plans to leave her home in Oakland California to visit Mattie.  Lisbeth's daughter Sadie travels with her by train to Chicago.

I don't want to give away the whole story but after Mattie's death all four woman end up going to Oakland.  During the weeks that follow they  become involved in the Women's Suffrage Movement.

There are many interesting side stories that make the book a real page turner.  These include the birth of a child, a husband's abuse, an interracial marriage and the continued loyalty and friendship of the two families.

My Thoughts on the Book


I found the book to be very compelling.   It was one of those books I just couldn't put down.  The author made the characters come to life and I found myself routing for their success and fearing for their safety.  

My favorite character was Sadie, Lisbeth's daughter, who had several struggles of her own during the story but always was there for her Mom and her friends.  She was married to a man who was very domineering and her struggles seemed very true, both for those times and today.

I think the one thing that struck me was that in all the struggles, even though they took place over a 100 years ago, you can see that many things are still the same today.  Sadly, sometimes the more things change the more they remain the same.  



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Thursday, May 28, 2020

Review of Spring Bird Photography

Young Sparrow
Spring is one of my favorite times to photograph birds.  It is so wonderful to wake up in the morning and hear all the birds singing in the trees.  Each day I look through my camera zoom lens and try to locate new birds to my area.  Some are just passing through during their migratory routes and others will stay here for the summer.  Still others are year round residents that are growing their families in the spring.  The photo above shows a young sparrow that I captured on our back fence.


Mockingbirds



I was walking in our neighborhood park when I spotted a group of Mockingbirds.  I have rarely seen them in our yard so I was excited to see several in the park.  As I watched the birds, I soon saw a young Mockingbird in the same area.  They look quite in a disarray with their feathers all fluffed out.  I wasn't sure what I was seeing at first but I took some photos and looked them up in my bird book when I got home. 



Changing to Spring Clothes


Some birds change their colors in the springtime.  One that does this in our area is the American Goldfinch.  In the winter the bird has a brownish coat but as warmer weather approaches the feathers molt into a brilliant yellow color.  They are a delightfully colorful little bird that I always enjoy seeing at our finch feeder.


The below photo shows the American Goldfinch in their winter coat. You will note they just have a touch of color under their beak.


The Birdbath a Popular Spring/Summer Hangout


The birds seem to love the birdbath in the warmer weather.  Most birds just stop by for a drink, but the Robins love to hop right in for a splashy bath.


It seems like we are having a lot of Robins this spring.  They don't really go to the feeders but they do love the birdbath.

New Bird for Our Yard


I am always on the lookout for new birds in our yard.  This spring I spotted a white crowned sparrow.  They are quite a stately looking bird.


Whenever I see a new bird, I try to photograph them from several different angles.  I then pull out my bird identification book and look for them.  I also post photos online and ask for help or confirmation for my identifications.

The book below has been a big help in my bird identification.




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Thursday, May 14, 2020

Review of Spring Photography

Lilacs in the Springtime

Spring is such a wonderful time for photography.  Flowers are blooming everywhere including my own backyard.  I love to go for walks in the neighborhood each day and see what new flowers and flowering trees and bushes are blooming on that day.  In the area of the country I live ,  midwest USA, the beauty begins to unfold in mid March.  From that time and for the next 2-3 months there are new delights to find each day!  On this page I will share with you, through my photography,  some of my favorite springtime flowers.


Early Bloomers

Tulips are one of my favorite early spring flowers.  There are different types of tulips that will start blooming in our area throughout April and May.  The photographs taken below were captured during the first week of April.

This next photo was taken in late April.  This tulip is fully opened and still beautiful.

Zazzle Cards from my Tulip Photos

I love creating cards to send to friends and family from my photographs.  Here are a couple I made on Zazzle.

Yellow Tulip
Yellow Tulip
by mbgphoto

Flowering Trees and Bushes

In the springtime flowering bushes and trees are a wonderful sight to behold.  I particularly like the Lilac bush as seen in the photo at the beginning of this article.  In addition to being beautiful they have a very fragrant smell and I love cutting some off my lilac bush and bringing them in to my house. They make the whole house smell good.

The red bud tree is another beauty of springtime.  In the spring you can see them all over the hillsides in our part of the country.  Here is a photo of one that I took at a park near our home.

One of my favorite trees is the dogwood tree.  They can be found in both pink and white flowers.  Here is a photo of each.

Later Spring Flowers

Once spring is well under way, in late April or May, the Iris's start to bloom.  They are such beautiful and stately flowers.  I love to photograph them.  This first  photo is an Iris from my friend's garden.
I really like the two toned colors.  Here is another two toned Iris, this one was taken on a walk I took at the Missouri Extension garden.
A solid white Iris can be quite striking.  Here is one taken at Missouri Extension garden.

Wildflowers in the Spring

Spring is a wonderful time for wild flowers.  You can see many of these native plants along the sides of roads, in parks and in some peoples gardens.  Here are a few that I found beautiful.






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The Review This Contributors

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Review This is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
We may be apart, but You Are Not Forgotten

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