The Beauty Around Us

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Posts tagged ‘Our Granddaughters Harper and Juniper’

Nature Play Area

I have had this blog post in mind for almost two weeks, ever since my granddaughters and I visited our local Audubon Center.  I wanted to share a few photographs of my granddaughters, as it has been a while since I did so in this blog.  Also, I wanted to showcase the Nature Play Area at the Audubon Center.

According to its website the Audubon Community Nature Center “is a 600-acre wetland preserve that includes over five miles of trails, a native tree arboretum, picnic areas, a natural play space, and educational gardens for you to explore daily from dawn until dusk. … The Nature Center itself is home to the Blue Heron Gift Shop and three floors of interactive exhibits, including live animals, which inform and engage visitors of all ages. …  You can visit Liberty, a non-releasable Bald Eagle, in her enclosure near the [Nature Center] building.”

The Audubon Center is located approximately 12 miles from our house at 1600 Riverside Road in Jamestown, NY.  We walk the trails and visit Liberty frequently.  We have visited the Nature Center building, as well, but just a few times.  This blog post, though, is about the nature play area only.

The nature play area is located near the Nature Center building.

In Mar 2016 the nature play area had a tunnel made out of a tree and stepping “stones” made out of trees.

Mar 2016
Our granddaughters climbed through and on the tree tunnel.

Mar 2016
Bob and our granddaughters check out the stepping “stones” made out of trees.

I can’t recall if there was anything else to play on in the nature play area during our visit in March 2016.

During our visit to the Audubon Center on October 7th the girls found three new additions to the nature play area.

The girls had fun pretending they were stuck in this shelter.

The girls are sitting on Tank, a 12-foot and 1,500 pound concrete turtle.

Last fall, Tank the Turtle was created and donated to the Audubon Nature Center by Mike Whitmire of Whitmire Block and Outdoor Living, Starbrick, PA.

Spotted Salamander

The most recent addition to the Nature Play Area is this spotted salamander, which was also created and donated to the Audubon Center by Mike Whitmire of Whitmire Block and Outdoor Living.  The spotted salamander measures roughly 14 feet from its nose to the tip of its tail.  The spotted salamander had not yet been named.



Christmas 2018

We celebrated Christmas three times.

Christmas celebration #1 was held on Sunday at my brother and sister-in-law’s home.  We left our home in Warren PA at 10:30 am en route Jim and Judy’s house. Jim and Judy live about an hour’s drive north of Pittsburgh. We arrived at Jim and Judy’s house at 1:00 pm.  We thought we were the last to arrive.  But that was not the case.  While we were filling our plates, Judy’s brother Donald and his wife Gina arrived.  Others who came to Christmas dinner, in addition to Jim and Judy, Donald and Gina and Bob and I, were our nephew Michael, his wife Kailey and their three children; our nephew Jared, his wife Sara and their two children; Sara’s parents; and Judy’s mother.  Our niece Emily and her husband Dan and their daughter, who live in Minnesota, were not able to join us this year.  Christmas dinner included turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, noodles, sweet potatoes, pickled eggs, and corn.  Dessert included pumpkin pie, chocolate dream pie, cookies and a gingerbread cake.  We departed Jim and Judy’s house at 3:30 pm, as gifts were being opened.  Bob and I did not participate in the gift exchange; however, Judy made sure I didn’t leave empty handed. 

Judy made this wooden sign for me. Great job, Judy, and THANK YOU!

We returned home at 6:00 pm.  It was good to see my brother and his family and the others.  We had a very good visit with everyone.

Christmas celebration #2 was held on Monday at Stacey’s house.  We left home at 1:30 pm and arrived at Stacey’s house about 15 minutes later.  Chris (Stacey’s mother) and Jay arrived a short time later.  Our dinner included roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and, for dessert, apple pie, ambrosia, and brownies.  Harper and Juniper received a surprise visit from Santa Claus.

Santa Claus is showing our granddaughters that their names are on his nice list.

Santa Claus brought the girls early Christmas presents.

Harper and Juniper with Santa Claus

Stacey, Chris, Jay and I knew Santa Claus would be stopping by.  Nevertheless Santa Claus took Stacey and me by surprise.  We expected Santa to come to the front door.  Instead he came to the back door.  We heard bells and “ho-ho-ho” a short while before he made an appearance.  At first we didn’t know what we were hearing.  To me the noise sounded like it was coming from a radio.  Stacey and I got up from the table (we were finishing up dinner) and walked into the kitchen.  We were looking out the kitchen window, when Santa’s face appeared.  He startled us!

After dinner we opened gifts.  Everyone was happy with their gifts.

I took a few pictures, after we opened our gifts.

“Big Grandma” Chris and her granddaughters

“Big Grandma” Chris, Grandma Linda, and our granddaughters

Stacey and her daughters

While we were at Stacey’s house, it snowed. 

Snow fell on Christmas Eve!

It stayed cold through Christmas Day, so we had a white Christmas.

Christmas celebration #3 was at our home on Christmas Day, with only Bob and I in attendance.  Bob and I opened our Christmas gifts to each other in the morning.  We are happy with our respective gifts.  I prepared Christmas dinner, which we ate around 2:00 pm.  Christmas dinner included baked ham, baked potato, whole berry cranberry sauce, cauliflower and broccoli medley and, for dessert, pumpkin pie.  The ham was a spiral ham.  We have lots of ham leftovers!

’Twas a very merry Christmas for Bob and me. We spent the Christmas holiday with the people who mean the most to us.  We are so blessed!





Black Friday

We spent several hours with our granddaughters Harper and June on Friday, November 23.

We picked up the girls at their house around 10:30 am. 

We drove to Friendly’s Restaurant in Jamestown NY, where we had an enjoyable lunch. 

Friendly’s Restaurant provides kid’s activity placemats to entertain children, while waiting for food.


Our granddaughters, Bob and I at Friendly’s Restaurant

The girls ordered their usual meal–hot dogs and macaroni and cheese with an ice cream sundae.  Both girls chose Rudy the Reindeer sundaes. 

Rudy the Reindeer Sundae (photo obtained from Friendly’s Restaurant website)

Bob had a fish dinner; I had a BBQ chicken sandwich with fries.  Both of our meals included a small sundae.  Harper didn’t eat her macaroni and cheese, but she ate most of my fries.  Juniper didn’t eat any of her hot dogs.  I asked for a box, and we took home the macaroni and cheese and hot dogs for the girls to share later.  By the way, when we returned home and I had a good look at our restaurant bill, I noticed that Bob and my entrees were reduced by 50%.  Happy Black Friday to us!

After lunch we drove to our house, where the girls played for several hours with toys and on their tablets.  We also watched TV.   I had to chuckle, when June asked me what was in the gray plastic tote.  The tote is the girls’ toy box.  For a while now I have brought out only a few select items for the girls to play with, when they visit.  On this visit, though, I brought out all their toys.  June asked if she could open the tote, when I told her their toys were inside.  I said sure.  When she opened the tote and saw the toys, June’s eyes got big and she said “Wow!”.  There was not one new toy in that tote!

The girls talked with Judy (my brother’s wife), too, via Facebook video chat.  That was a fun call for the girls, as they put on silly faces and hats and played some quick games with Aunt Judy.  

When I finished putting away the girls’ toys, after their Friday visit, I was missing one toy–the baby doll that Harper had been playing with.  I found Harper’s baby on Wednesday morning.

Lost baby found

I found Harper’s baby in one of my kitchen drawers.





First Grade

Our granddaughters entered first grade on August 29th. Picture day was on October 12th. Stacey ordered a digital download package for each girl. Yesterday I received a copy of the image files contained in each digital download package.

Each digital download package includes 3 files: an 8×10 image, a 5×7 image and a print release. The 8×10 image is 2400 pixels x 3000 pixels. This resolution-size image will produce quality prints at or above industry standards for 8×10, 11×14 and 16×20 size pictures. The 5×7 image is 1500 pixels x 2100 pixels. This file size is suitable for reproducing 5×7 and smaller size prints.

I placed a print order last evening through Nations Photo Lab.  The prints that I ordered were a fraction of last year’s cost. Last year I ordered prints from the school photography studio company.  A digital download package is the way to go!  You can make all the prints you want for much less than the cost of buying a print package from the photography studio.

Harper and Juniper’s first grade pictures
What beautiful granddaughters we have!

By the way Harper has one less tooth now than that showing in the picture.  As of earlier this week, Juniper still had all her top teeth.  She did tell me, though, that a couple teeth are wiggling.

Speaking of first grade …

01-Grade1-Image 0127
This is my first grade picture.
School Year 1962-1963



Our granddaughters entered Kindergarten in September, this year.  Picture day was late September.  Yesterday I received prints of the girls that I ordered.  This morning I hung the girls’ pictures on our wall.

UntitledOur Granddaughters

The photograph in the middle is a picture that I took in September 2016 to commemorate the girls’ first day of the second (and final) year of preschool.  In that photograph Harper is standing, and Juniper is sitting with her back to the camera.  What a photo session that was!  On either side of the middle photograph are the girls’ Kindergarten pictures.  Harper is on the left; Juniper is on the right.

How time flies!  Harper and Juniper are growing up WAY too fast!

Speaking of Kindergarten …

00-Kindergarten-Image 0126
This is my Kindergarten picture 🙂
School Year 1961-1962
56 years ago!




Halloween 2017

It is October 31.  It is trick or treat night in our town from 6:00-8:00 pm.  This is going to be quick, as I am handing out candy AND penning this post.

Our first trick-or-treaters were our granddaughters, along with their mom.

Halloween 2017
Our granddaughters and their mom

The girls are dressed as Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr.  Stacey is dressed as Joyce in the Netflix show “Stranger Things”.

The girls’ cousin arrived 10 minutes later.

Halloween 2017
Harper, Juniper, Stacey and Maddi

Maddi took a picture of Bob and me with our granddaughters and Stacey.

Halloween 2017
Happy Halloween!

Warren County Fair

Late last month my friend Nokomis asked if I would be willing to take pictures of her daughter at the Warren County Fair Queen Pageant on Monday, August 7. Honored to be asked to take pictures, I readily agreed to do so. Nokomis gifted me two fair passes, good for free admission all week long, for taking the pictures.  The gift was unnecessary, but welcome.

The Warren County Fair was held the week of August 7.  Bob and I attended the fair three times.

On Monday, August 7, we attended the Warren County Fair Queen Pageant.  We arrived at the fair grounds around 5:30 pm. I thought we might have difficulty finding parking because admission to the fair was free Monday evening.  We easily found parking. Shortly before the pageant was to begin I took a picture of two of six princesses who would be crowned during the pageant.

Two pretty princesses
The girl in blue is my friend Nokomis’s daughter.

My main focus during the pageant was photographing Nokomis’s daughter.  Here are some highlights from the Warren County Fair Queen pageant.

My friend’s daughter presented…

…and crowned.

LJG23188The princesses did very well in their dance routine.

LJG23196Each princess was asked one question.
My friend’s daughter was asked what is her horse’s name. She responded “Tinkerbell”.

LJG23202This year’s fair queen and runner up.

My favorite picture of the evening, though, was not on stage.  This was my favorite picture, which is both a candid and evocative portrait of a princess and her daddy.

_LG23161A princess and her daddy

The Warren County Fair Queen Pageant ended at 8:20 pm.  We returned home by 9:00 pm.

Bob and I went to the Warren County Fair again on Wednesday, August 9, after Bob came home from work. We spent about 2 1/2 hours at the fair. We ate dinner, supporting the Zem Zem Hornets with our food purchases. Bob ordered a hot Italian sausage sandwich; I ordered a Steak ‘n Cheese sandwich. We found seating at a picnic table and enjoyed a picnic-style dinner.

After dinner we began to check out the barn animals. We had only reached the rabbit barn, when Nokomis found us. She said that a show would soon be starting at the Equestrian Show Ring.  At first the riding was just for fun, giving the horses some exercise.

XZ091315My friend’s daughter, riding Tinkerbell

The corral was cleared after a short time, in preparation for a performance by the Equestrian Drill Team. Nokomis’s daughter was part of the drill team.  Here is a short video of the drill team performance.

If you are not able to view the embedded video, please click here for a direct link to the video.

I took this picture at the conclusion of the drill team performance.

XZ091334Nokomis’s daughter is the young girl riding the smallest horse.

Bob and I left the Equestrian Show Ring after the drill team performance and visited the barn animals. We saw cows, more horses, chickens, more bunnies, goats, sheep and pigs. We checked out the commercial displays inside some of the buildings, as well as food, quilts, crocheting, art and photographic displays.

Bob and I attended the Warren County Fair again on Saturday, August 12, the last day of the fair.  We arrived around 12:00 pm. We ate lunch, supporting the St. Luke Roman Catholic Church of Youngsville PA with our food purchases. Bob ordered a meatball sub combo meal; I ordered a 3-meat sub combo meal. Besides our sandwiches lunch included beverage of choice, pretzels and a chocolate chip cookie (Bob) and chocolate peanut butter fudge (Linda). We found seating at a picnic table and enjoyed a picnic-style lunch.

After lunch we went in search of Nokomis to see if she had a better handle on when the costumed horse show would begin, rather than her earlier in the week “sometime in the afternoon” response (the best that she could give us at the time). Bob and I went to the Equestrian Show Ring, where we stumbled upon our friends, Doyle and Sheila B.  After a brief chat, I left still looking for Nokomis. Bob stayed behind and continued chatting with Doyle and Sheila. I saw Nokomis’s dad (Scott), who was looking for Nokomis too. After a brief chat with Scott, I walked to Tinkerbell’s stall, which I found empty. The empty stall told me that Tinkerbell and Nokomis’s daughter were participating in a horse competition. I walked back to the Equestrian Show Ring, on the opposite side from where Bob was sitting with Sheila and Doyle. I spotted Nokomis, her daughter and Tinkerbell in the staging area of the show ring. There was an ongoing horse show but not the costumed horse show, at least not yet. I walked back over to where Doyle, Sheila and Bob were seated. Sheila and Doyle’s son Brian and his family had joined Sheila and Doyle. Bob and I didn’t stay for long, upon my return, as his daughter Stacey messaged me around 1:00 pm stating that she and the girls had arrived at the fair.

Bob and I made our way to The Midway, where we found Stacey and the girls. Bob and I hung out with Stacey and the girls while they rode rides.

_LG23256Harper and Juniper on the “bug ride”.

Harper, Juniper and Stacey rode the Carousel.

_LG23259Stacey, Juniper and Harper on the Carousel

In the preceding picture, Harper is in the forefront, just before the carousel ride began.

_LG23260Here is Juniper, enjoying the carousel ride.

_LG23262Harper and Juniper on the helicopter ride.

_LG23269The girls liked the “frog ride”.


The majority of The Midway rides were included with the fair entrance fee. Some of the rides, though, cost extra. Bob and I paid $5.00 for each girl so that they could bungee jump.

Juniper did the bungee jump first.

_LG23275Juniper gets buckled in for her bungee jump.

And here she goes …

If you are not able to view the embedded video, please click here for a direct link to the video.

Harper’s turn was next.

_LG23283Harper is buckled in and ready to begin her bungee jump.

And here she goes…

If you are not able to view the embedded video, please click here for a direct link to the video.

After a while the girls tired of riding rides.  We went to the Equestrian Show Ring, after stopping for water for the girls and a sandwich for Stacey (Harper and Juniper were not hungry). We arrived at the Equestrian Show Ring toward the end of the costumed horse show.

_LG23291My friend Nokomis and her daughter’s costumed horse entry

_LG23293Some of the other costumed horse entries

If we had arrived at the beginning of the costumed horse show, I would have photographed each contestant.  All of the costumes were very creative.

_LG23295Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet
Eating her curds and whey,
Along came a spider,
Who sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away.

I didn’t capture Miss Muffet being frightened away by the spider.  She got up from her tuffet and ran to the bleachers, screaming all the way!

_LG23297My friend’s daughter won first place for her “Little Miss Muffet” entry in the costumed horse show.

Harper and Juniper enjoyed the costumed horse show.  I wish we had arrived in time to see the entire show.

We left the Equestrian Show Ring, after the costumed horse show, and checked out some of the barn animals. Harper and Juniper met Nokomis and her daughter.  Nokomis showed the girls the big white draft horse that her daughter would next be competing on.

_LG23298The girls liked that Nokomis said it was OK to pet the horse.


Leaving the barn area, we parted ways with Stacey and the girls.  We caught up with them again later at the Fire Fighter show.

_LG23301Fire Fighter Show

At the end of the show all children were invited to crawl on the floor through a building that had “real, fake smoke” inside.

Juniper emerges from the smoke-filled building.


Harper emerges from the smoke-filled building.
The boy with his hands raised up is the girls’ friend, William.


We left Stacey and the girls after the Fire Fighter show and went to find seats for the Terry Lee Goffee concert. Stacey and the girls went with William and his grandmother to The Midway to go on more rides.

The Terry Lee Goffee concert is a tribute show to Johnny Cash. The show was awesome. All the songs one would expect to be heard at a Johnny Cash concert were performed by Terry Lee Goffee. He sounded just like the real deal! We sat in lower bleacher seating, which ended up being great seating for taking pictures with my Olympus OM-D E-M1 camera and 75mm prime lens.

_LG23337Terry Lee Goffee, as Johnny Cash

Here is a video clip of one of the songs Mr. Goffee performed.  Listen and you, too, will think he sounds just like the real deal!

If you are not able to view the embedded video, please click here for a direct link to the video.

What a great week we had at the Warren County Fair!  Thank you, again, Nokomis for the complimentary fair passes.  We very much appreciated your gift.




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