Posts by shelli

We need the insight that position, revenge, wealth, fame, or possessions are, more often than not, obstacles to our happiness. We need to cultivate the wish to be free of these things so we can enjoy the wonders of life that are always available — the blue sky, the trees, our beautiful children.

— Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching

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This spring I had the pleasure of being called back to the William Harris Homestead to take more photographs. It was a treat for me because I was able to photograph the log house in a different season. (You can view Autumn at the William Harris Homestead here.)

This is my favorite photograph of the log house. I love the early spring foliage on those tall, majestic trees.

I was hired to do three jobs this time. I took photos of the log house and outbuildings, including their beautiful new pavilion. I photographed another field trip, and I also got to take some staff photographs. The people who work at the homestead are talented, knowledgeable and warm-hearted, and they give the kids on the school tours a real treat. I’m going to include some photos from all those sessions in this one post, so I hope you enjoy them.

A view of the barn, the salt house and the log house in the background.

up close view of barn walls, corn crib and log house and smokehouse

log house and pavilion

The staff at the homestead are very happy to have this new pavilion which is used for various events and rentals. It has nice bathroom facilities for guests too.

Field trip. Students get a tour of the log house and learn about the early Harris family and how they lived in the 19th century.

Inside the log house

A Civil War reenactor teaches kids what daily life was like for a soldier in the Civil War. Here one of the students is inspecting a soldier’s boot.

Students also receive a blacksmith demonstration (pictured above), a hay ride, and view artifacts that have been excavated at the homestead.

The excellent staff at the William Harris Homestead. Pictured left to right: Robby Mitchell, Dixie Hamilton, Melissa Basta, Margaret Parker (seated), Doc Watson, Tanya Parker, and Butch Dover

Just the ladies

Have you ever been to the William Harris Homestead? If you live in Georgia and haven’t been yet, I highly recommend you stop by!


One morning I was sitting on my front porch and reading aloud to my boys when these two downy woodpeckers flew into a nearby tree. I was so glad I had my camera with me.

At first we thought it was a male and female courting each other, but we never saw a red patch on the back of either head, which would indicate a male. They looked like two females, and one of them was fussing at the other.

Could it be a mother and a juvenile? Juveniles have red crowns, but they will fade as they mature. Perhaps this mother is trying to tell her offspring that she won’t feed it anymore? But I took this photo on March 24th. Hmmm. Do they nest that early?

Could it be two females fussing over a nest site? We just don’t know. If you have any ideas, please leave a comment!

Downy woodpeckers are the smallest woodpecker in North America. We see them a lot in our yard, and we love them.

What birds have you seen lately?

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Great Egret

My family spent Thanksgiving week in Ormond Beach, Florida, and since my youngest son is a budding ornithologist, we spent a lot of time searching for birds. (He has turned us all into birders.) They weren’t hard to find, though. On the beach, the birds were accustomed to humans, and we were able to get quite close. Here are a few of my favorite photos from the trip.

Great Egret with two sanderlings and a willet in the background.

We passed by groups of gulls and terns sitting together on the beach. We mostly saw ring-billed and laughing gulls.

Mostly laughing gulls, we think.

Ring-billed gull with friends.

Sanderlings flying low over the surf.

Sanderlings in the sunrise.

The sanderlings were our favorite birds to watch. They are so cute running back and forth in the surf.

Snowy Egret

Laughing gulls and Royal Terns. We think they grouped together to protect themselves from the wind.

I will miss passing by the birds on our walks down the beach.

No birds this time. Just the sunrise over Ormond Beach.

While we were there, we also spotted osprey hunting in the ocean, anhingas, a great blue heron, white ibis, double-crested cormorants, brown pelicans, ruddy turnstones, turkey vultures and black vultures, common pigeons, common grackles, American crow, tricolored heron, belted kingfisher, little blue heron, a yellow-bellied woodpecker and spotted sandpipers.

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I’m happy to introduce Grace Adeline, a new member of Elaine’s household. Elaine hired me six years ago to photograph Grace’s predecessor, Nellie. (Click here to view those photos.) These dogs are Great Pyrenees, and they are gorgeous. Elaine trains them to become therapy dogs, and they help children learn how to read.

Grace Adeline is all puppy right now, but she has a sweet and calm disposition. She was curious about everything and everyone. She never fussed about getting her photos taken, although I did have to use a fast shutter speed!

Elaine has been kind enough to let me share her entire gallery with you. Click here, if you would like to view that.

These photos were taken at the beautiful William Harris Homestead.

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Six years ago, I had the privilege of taking photographs of a beautiful Great Pyrenees named Nellie. She was an animal very dear to the heart of her owner, and she was also a dog who worked as a therapy dog. She helped young children struggling to learn how to read. Sadly, she passed away a few months ago.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of taking photographs of her successor, Grace Adeline. Grace is also going to train to become a therapy dog. I’m going to share more photographs with you soon, but I wanted to share this one first. It’s one of my favorites. This is Grace and her owner, Elaine.

Thank you, Elaine. It’s a high compliment for me to have a repeat customer!

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Earlier this week, I took a walk on a trail while my kids were at their homeschool class at the botanical garden. It’s been about twenty years since I’ve walked alone on this trail — my favorite trail. I used to walk here alone quite frequently. How I’ve missed it.

But I don’t think I’ve ever walked on it during the middle of winter when it was 30 degrees Fahrenheit outside!

Part of the stream was ice.

All around me were different shades of brown. Brown is beautiful, I think.

Despite the cold, I passed quite a few joggers and other people walking. I think this time of year more than ever, people need nature. Don’t you agree?

This did not hinder this mother’s magical moment of being alone. The trails at the botanical garden are always peaceful.

There’s always that happy thrill when I reach the river and listen to its soft current rippling and sliding by.

The birds were not deterred by the cold either. I saw a phoebe, some kind of sparrow with two black stripes on its head, a Carolina wren, cardinal, and others that were too far away and fast for me to identify.

Luckily, in the last minute dash to get out the door on time that morning, I thought about bringing my camera. I’m so glad I did.

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