Sunday Stills – Ahhhh Summer Solstice – Again

In Sunday Stills this week, Terri invites to take a look at the Summer Solstice … again. While Marsha’s WQW prompt is June Holidays and Johnbo’s cellpic sunday invites us to get out and USE that cell phone camera! So without further ado, let’s get rollin’.

Little fluffy puffs of goose

Summer Solstice, also known as Litha and Midsummer’s Eve, is nearly upon us. Days are longer, nights are shorter, and the natural world is full of life. I adore Summer Solstice. The celebration of life, the long days, the warm evenings, a glass of iced tea on my deck, watching the goslings.

Young geese

It seems I can almost see them growing in just a few weeks. With the summer warmth and abundance of yummy green stuff, they have transformed from little balls of fluff into sturdy young geese.

Wee-bity bunny

“Life finds a way.” ~Dr. Ian Malcolm – Jurassic Park

A wee-bity bunny hides from the summer solstice heat in South Dakota. He is so perfectly camouflaged he is hard to spot. He was just a bit larger than the palm of my hand. Taken with my Moto g6, cropped and resized in windows photos and paint, yeah I know I’m such a techie ;-).

“Ancestor” metal sculpture Salisbury, UK

Because no Solstice celebration would be complete without some tribute to my beloved Stonehenge, “The Ancestor.” The Ancestor, built by Andy and Michelle Rawlings, made it’s debut at Stonehenge for the summer solstice 2010. It was built of thousands of bits of steel pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle and weighs about 7 tonnes. This shot was taken in front of the Holiday Inn Stonehenge, in Salisbury, UK.


There’s just something about a driftwood covered beach that says “I am Summer, come take off your shoes, dig your toes in my sand.” Here a couple of wild adventurers have ditched their shoes to dance in the waves on the beach near Kapaa, Hawaii.

A feather in the wind Westfir, Oregon

“Life is short. It can come and go like a feather in the wind.”
~Shania Twain

For that other beloved June Holiday – Father’s Day, I offer

“There are things that I’ve forgotten that I loved about the man,

but I’ll always remember the love in Daddy’s hands.”

~Holly Dunn

That’s it from Castle Serenity have a wonderful week ~Peace ~JP

Sunday Stills – Counting the Moments

For Terri’s Sunday Stills Where we’re working “by the numbers.” Also linking up with Johnbo’s Cellpic Sunday (yep every one was taken with my cell phone), and Marsha’s Writer’s Quote Wednesday; H.G. Wells quote which totally works for vacations, some of the time travel destinations.

Interesting prompt, particularly for a former bean counter. You’d think, counter that I am I’d have lots of number related pics but nooooo. Although a good portion of my life was spent in the “thrill of totting up a balanced book, a thousand ciphers neatly in a row” (A British Bank ~Mary Poppins 1964).

does anybody else miss 13-column pads? ;-p

Sometimes, numbers do kind of tell a story though so let’s see what we come up with.

pitch by numbers trainer

Above is a junior throw trainer we worked on in Kunshan, China. The background is made up of “hook” fabric (as in hook and loop, grabby side) and when tennis balls are thrown at it they stick so a young baseball player can see where his throw is ending up. Helps develop aim and muscle memory. It was a fun project although I will say that I learned more about the hook side of “velcro” fabric than I ever wanted to know, including that it can break skin ouch.

Bus schedule – Taipei Taiwan

Thankfully numbers are a constant when traveling in Asia. Here at the station in Taipei, Taiwan it was actually pretty easy to find our way around as we were taking the 208 bus back to the hotel. I wish I had a taken a picture of Superhubs with a map showing our driver how to get to the factory we were touring. 😉

Virgin River Springdale Uah

Now this one doesn’t have any numbers, but oh my it tells a numbery story. Thousands of rock cairns gathered alongside the Virgin River at Zion National Park. It tells the story of the “hundred year flood” that hit the park in 2014, altering the path of the river in several places. They also remind me of man’s inherent need to leave his mark upon the world, to create some artistic tribute, proof that “we were here.”

Big Clock marking the moments

At this stage of my life, most numbers are markers of time. Above a large clock at the Wellington Museum, Wellington, NZ.

It’s Time

“It’s Time” they say
the seconds tick by
in a runic sort of rhyme
each filled with a kind
of mysterious portent
of times that once were
moments that are
and some things
that have not yet been ~JP

Time Machine in Wellington, NZ

The display at the Time Machine immersive show at Wellington Museum in Wellington, NZ. The 14 minute show covers Wellington’s story from the Big Bang through the future. The experience blurs the lines between real and cinematic in a thoroughly delightful way.

“We all have our time machines, don’t we. Those that take us back are memories… And those that carry us forward, are dreams.” ~H.G. Wells

Some numbers alter the course of reality

For me at least it all boils down to this: “Time is not measured by clocks, but by moments.” ~Unknown

Here are numbers that will always remain in my memory. 391372 is Superhubs, 1518 was the time his (first) surgery was complete. Happy, joyful numbers that remind me that tomorrow is never guaranteed and every day is a gift.

That’s it from Castle Serenity ~Til next time in the words of Casey Kasem “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.” ~JP

Ducks and Cranes and Goslings … Oh My – a Sunday Stills Adventure

For Terri’s Sunday Stills let’s have a little feathery fun. My Grandmother called me her Little Feather when I was small, because I danced like a feather in the wind, everywhere I went so I’ve always rather had a thing for feathered friends. My apologies for any repeats, I am sans computer currently, my laptop bit the dust and we’re have trouble with the new replacement. So I’m working off of my cellphone. Yikes 😳


A sord of mallards make themselves right at home. We have a pair that are too old to fly and stay year round. These are younger, seasonal residents. At last count they numbered 23 drake’s. Yep the young whippersnappers are all boys. Figures 😉

Great blue heron at my lake

It was cloudy for this shot, and I don’t seem to have much in the way of photo editing available at the moment, but this Great Blue Heron is a frequent visitor here and he was standing so majestically. Like he was saying “is this my best side”

Our new goslings

Spring is all about life and renewal. We have a single breeding pair of Canadian geese who summer here at our tiny lake. For the past couple of years they have nested here and this year was no exception. I watched intently as they built their floating nest, then about a week ago, both parents started flapping and fussing at the nest site and shortly 7 little puffballs emerged. We watched as they took their first swim and the next day they had found their way to our tree, out of the sun. Sigh … I love little baby things.

A young Robin hopped by to say hello. I referred to them as South Dakota Roadrunners because we so seldom saw them fly. Mostly they just zip along on the grass, pausing to search for a juicy worm.

A bird sculpture at the Rapid City airport. Fitting isn’t it?

Also linking up today to John bo’s cellpicsunday since all of these were taken with my cellphone as I don’t have access to my archives. And Marsha’s #PPAC for the lovely airport sculpture.

Til next time — be kind to each other — JP

Monday Musings – Spoon deficit and women in art

It’s been a week dear friends and my bones are feeling every hour of it. Most of it was spent traveling. Now I’d like to tell you that it was a fun little spring break trip, I’d really, really like to tell you that. Buttttt… it was a “quick” trip to take care of final business transferring our remaining South Dakota property.

We spent six of seven days traversing 2700 miles of misery known as “Interstate across the Great Plains States”. We battled scenic boredom, road fatigue, rain, sleet, snow, and 70 mph wind gusts. I ran out of spoons on day 2 and have been running on spoon deficit ever since.

Make no mistake, spoon deficit is real, and it’s ugly, sleep is no cure and the effects can stretch on for weeks or months. For me, it involves flu-like symptoms including muscle aches, joint pain, fever, chills, and a wracking cough that puts childhood croup to shame. Ahhh well, eventually my immune system will stop it’s current tantrum. In the meantime, I’ve put together a few bits of Public Art for Marsha’s PPAC. I loved Marsha’s review last week of “Women in Public Art” and thought I’d follow suit. So here are a few shots I’ve collected of women in public art.

Advantages of Being a Woman Artist – Guerilla Girls Poster Art 1988

Here a crappy shot of a piece of paper art from the Te Papa museum in Wellington, NZ. The poor focus is a result of incredibly brilliant lighting, smudgy glass overlay and a seriously old cell phone camera. My apologies but it still makes the point. I think my favorite is the first reason “working without the pressure of success.” 😉

Lady Octopus Queens Garden Invercargill, NZ

Here “Lady Octopus” in Invercargill, NZ an interesting interpretation of feminine form. I have always found it fascinating that less than 11% of art in US museums comes from female artists, yet over 85% of human “nudes” art are female in form. Not sure if that’s a compliment to the divine feminine or just gender bias. Ah well, a topic for another post.

Lady of the Woods, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon US

Here’s another interpretation of feminine form in the “Lady of the Woods” sculpture at Crater Lake, Oregon, US. Carved by Dr. Earl Russell Bush in October 1918. It took Dr. Bush just 11 days to create his homage to the beauty of the forest around him out of the huge volcanic boulder using tools he convinced a Corps of Engineers blacksmith to make for him. “This statue represents my offering to the forest, my interpretation of its awful stillness and repose, its beauty, fascination, and unseen life. A deep love of this virgin wilderness has fastened itself upon me and remains today. It seemed that I must leave something behind …. if it arouses thought in those who see it, I shall be amply repaid.”

Dignity – Chamberlain SD US
Wouldst that “Dignity” were that easy to find. 😉

And finally, “Dignity” a 50-foot tall stainless steel sculpture by Dale Claude Lamphere depicts an Indigenous woman in plains-style dress receiving a star quilt. According to Lamphere, “Dignity represents the courage, perseverance and wisdom of the Lakota and Dakota culture in South Dakota. My hope is that the sculpture might serve as a symbol of respect and promise for the future.”

Many thanks to Marsha for the challenge and her inspiration that got me off my spoonie butt today. And, even though it’s not Sunday, I’m gonna link up to Johnbo’s Cellpic Sunday since “Dignity” and “Women Artists” were both shot with various cell phones. 😉

Til next time ~Stay rooted in the ground but keep reaching for the stars ~JP

Jaded Point of View – Sunday Shots

For Terri’s Sunday Stills where monthly color challenge is “jade,” John’s cellpic sunday and Natalie’s Weekend Coffee Share

Jade comes in as many colors as you can name. There rests in the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan a jade carving of bokchoy. Carved from a single piece of multicolored jadeite, it starts with pure white stalks graduating to the brilliant green leaves. But I digress. The most highly valued type of jade is Imperial Jade, which is the deep green color we’ve all come to know and admire. That’s what I’ve gone with here. So without further ado …

A Jaded point of view

Let’s start in Dunedin, NZ at Larnach Castle, here in the ladies sitting room, walls painted a delightful light jade color and resting atop the marble mantle two ceramic vases and two carvings in deeper shades of jade green.

Huge Sycamore

In Queenstown, NZ we find a natural jade in the needles of this huge sycamore tree which was brought from my native California some 300 years ago according to the tour plaque.

Heading north to Japan, we find jade-colored moss and ferns on an old stone bridge in Kyoto, Japan

dragon water spout

Here a grey-green jade colored (OK it’s really more verdigris) bronze dragon water spout at Kurama-dera, Japan

lily pads

Taking a turn to the west, we find ourselves surrounded by jade colored lily pads in a water garden in Suzhou, China


And finally, far west, closer to home, we find a field of white hail stones littered with jade leaves and pine needles from the “holy hand grenade of hail storms” of 2021 in Rapid City, South Dakota, USA. This was snapped with my cell phone a few hours after the storm abated.

That’s it from Castle Serenity, I’m off to use my Gau Sha. 😉

Weird Kind of Week Needs a Fresh Perspective

Cardinal in our tree getting a fresh perspective
Dinky Dinos go into business as “towel handlers” yeah, waaaaay too much time on our hands
February Sunset beautiful fresh air – what more can I say

The sun begins to pinken the sky
like an artist’s languid brush stroke
lazily drawn across the canvas
from triangle I breathe into crescent

ducks fly by in quiet formation
they gently land sending ripples
stretching across the lake
my body moves slowly with intention

I glide from plank into cobra
as I breathe in the beauty of
chantilly clouds tinted fragile rose
against the lightening sky

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you it’s been a weird kind of week and I need a fresh perspective. A rollercoaster of emotions ranging from a new diagnosis of secondary raynaud’s phenomenon, probably just part of the sarcoidosis (OK, that’s good right?), to learning that a beloved little brother is homeless, to a son becoming the victim of a road rage shooting (he’s fine, bullets didn’t penetrate the inner door of the truck). Like I said, good, but … weird. So, pass the decaf Lady Grey (a decaf black/lavender blend), with milk please, no sugar let’s take a bit of fresh air. Hope y’all are having great weeks, and on to a fabulous March!

Linking up to Natalie’s Weekend Coffee Share and Cellpic Sunday with Johnbo. and Sunday Stills at Terri Webster’s. Do come on in and join the fun and pick up a fresh perspective.

Til next time ~ Stay Calm and pass the decaf ~JP