Weekly Photo Challenge: Habit

Scrub Jay Visit
Scrub Jay Visit, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)
Chickadee Feast
Chickadee Feast, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)

>>:::<<
powerfully alluring
nature is my meditation
a nourishing addiction
>>:::<<

How can one resist the daily solicitations of treats from visitors like these?  The bird in the first image is a scrub jay that has been coming quite regularly for the last three years, begging for peanuts.  A definite routine.  He has a charming personality.  Some days he will boldly let you know if you haven’t noticed his arrival yet or are ignoring him.  Other times, he will wait patiently.  When I took this image, he had been waiting for me to finish snapping photos of other wildlife around the yard, but perched himself in a very conspicuous area for me to see him.  Perhaps he knew I was aware of his presence and was confident I would not forget his treats.

The chickadees, as with the scrub jays, are year-round residents in our area.  They also come everyday, seeking their treats from the various bird feeders.  Occasionally they will take off with a peanut half their size, as one is attempting to do in the second image.  Their flight is wobbly with that heavy load, but they usually manage to get their feast to it’s destination.

Nature is definitely addictive.  But that’s a good thing.

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Hummingbird Profiles #4 – Amazing 素晴らしい

Hummingbird Profiles #4
Hummingbird Profiles #4, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)

>>:::<<
endlessly enduring
achieving the amazing
single parent
>>:::<<

I’m finally able to catch a few moments to post and visit a few blogs today.  Although I haven’t been able to respond to each of your comments, I continue to appreciate all your kind words, encouragement, visits and likes.  Thank you.

We hit more bumps in the road recently with my mother’s health, and her cancer chemotherapy treatments had to be postponed two times in a row now.  In addition, there is more cancer growth, another metastasized spot detected from an MRI scan taken a little over a week ago, more procedures, and radiation.  We continue to hope that we will receive some bit of good news in the near future, instead of worsening news.  These still remain scary, hectic, and gut wrenching times.

~~~~~

Here is the fourth image in my hummingbird photomanipulation series I did last year.  This is a female broad-tailed hummingbird.  An image of the male broad-tailed hummingbird was posted here.  Hummingbirds in general are quite amazing, and their dense, cuplike nests have been described as “amazing architectural creations that protect and nurture some of the most delicate birds.”  Hummingbird nests are built by the female, entirely by the female bird, spending several hours a day for up to a week collecting materials to build the nest.  Also, the females raise the chicks – single parenting.  The male hummingbirds are not involved in raising the young after the act of copulation is complete.

I continue to dedicate this hummingbird series to my mother.  My mother, who became divorced and a single parent when I was too young to remember, raised, supported and nurtured me, AND worked full time and multiple jobs to provide for me.  She has overcome many hardships over the years, and is one of the most compassionate, sincere and generous people I know.  She is also one of the most AMAZING and beautiful people I know!

I’m including two Japanese words to represent “amazing”

素晴らしい  (すばらしい), which is read subarashi
(superb; fantastic; marvelous; wonderful; terrific; amazing; great)

and

凄い  (すごい), which is read sugoi
(amazing – of strength; great – of skills; wonderful; terrific;)

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Hummingbird Profiles #3 – Powerful, Strength 強力

Hummingbird Profiles #3
Hummingbird Profiles #3, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)

>>:::<<
a new chill on my skin
colors change before my eyes
autumn migration
>>:::<<

Yesterday was the start of my Mom’s second chemotherapy treatment.  She will have 12 total treatments over the next six months, minimum.  There are certainly side effects, but not to the extent we expected so far.  She is not brutally ill like we anticipated.  She is doing ok overall even though it is still a struggle for her, especially for the first week after the treatment.  We are all well aware of the physical and mental power and strength needed to make our way through this journey, including all the other hurdles we have going on at the same time.

~~~~~

Here is the third image in my hummingbird photomanipulation series I did last year.  This is a male Rufous hummingbird.  The Rufous is a later arriver at our feeders, first appearing in the middle of July, and is also the first of the hummingbird species to leave.  Although a few hummingbirds are still here at our feeders, the Rufous in particular have already departed.  I did not have the opportunity to enjoy seeing and photographing the hummingbirds as much this summer as in previous years, but I at least got a couple of photo sessions in this past spring.

Since autumn officially arrives here in the northern hemisphere in a few days, on September 22, I thought the beautiful coloring of the Rufous hummingbird was appropriate to welcome the new season.

A common symbolism of hummingbirds is powerful energy and the ability to accomplish the seemingly impossible.  They are built for power, with about 30% of their weight consisting of flight muscles.  Some migrate impressive distances – up to 500 miles nonstop over the Gulf of Mexico.  Two behaviors separate the Rufous from other hummingbird:  1) It ventures farther north during the migration than any other, reaching the southeastern coast of Alaska, and 2) It has the longest known migration of any bird species, traveling over 3,000 miles between Mexico and Alaska.

Hummingbirds symbolize Powerful and Strength
(in Japanese, it is 強力 (きょうりょく), which is read kyouryoku

I also saw another translation of 強力 as “herculean strength.”  I believe it, given the strength and stamina these little hummingbirds need for their long journey!

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Hummingbird Profiles #2 – Ganbatte 頑張って

Hummingbird Profiles #2
Hummingbird Profiles #2, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)

>>:::<<
hummingbird miracles
and determined perseverance
nature’s masterpiece
>>:::<<

I’ve been a resident in my mother’s hospital room at the cancer hospital this past week.  She did well with the surgery and will require several weeks of recuperation, but we are playing the waiting game again with pathology results.  We do our best to persevere.

~~~~~

Here is the second image in my hummingbird photomanipulation series.  This is a male Black-chinned hummingbird, one of the first hummingbirds that usually arrive at our feeders for the season.  Since purple is one of my favorite colors, I love the glistening purple gorget when the light catches their throat just right.  Hummingbirds symbolize many things, as I’ve posted in the past, two of which are perseverance and overcoming the seemingly impossible.

In my opinion, hummingbirds are one of nature’s many great masterpieces!

The Japanese word for perseverance, to not give up or to “do your best” is:
Ganbatte  頑張って (がんばって)

…and more formal and more polite:
Ganbatte kudasai  頑張ってください

Related articles:

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Hummingbird Profiles #1 – JOY

Hummingbird Profiles #1
Hummingbird Profiles #1, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)

>>:::<<
rubies emeralds diamonds
precious gems dazzle in the sky
hummingbird splendor
>>:::<<

First of all, thank you very much for all the kind well wishes for my mother and our family in my recent postings.  I really appreciate and am touched by all your supportive and encouraging words.  Last week was hectic with more tests and procedures, but we are in the “waiting mode” right now – waiting for test results, waiting for surgery, etc., etc.  Cancer is a very wicked thing.

~~~~~

Last year, I created a few photomanipulations of hummingbird photos I took in our yard.  I intended to post them at the time, but I would develop a brain cramp whenever I tried to create a blog posting using the images…that is, until now.  It could be that now feels like the right time to post these images because hummingbirds symbolize what is needed so much right now:

A common symbolism of the hummingbird is JOY!
(Joy in Japanese is 喜び, which is read yorokobi.)

Tiniest of all birds, the hummingbird is quite spectacular.  It also symbolizes powerful energy, the ability to accomplish the seemingly impossible, and flexibility in life circumstances.  When in the air, their wings are continually in motion, which symbolizes tirelessness and perseverance.

I start off my hummingbird photomanipulation series today with an image of a male Broad-tailed hummingbird.  I find his pose sweet and adorable.  Also, my mother’s top two favorite colors are red and green, similar to the beautiful colors on this bird.

If you are in need of JOY today or at any time, I hope this image will bring you some.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape

Majestic #2
Majestic #2, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)

>>:::<<
trying to flee my lens
little do they realize
nature is my escape
>>:::<<

There are two forms of escape represented in this photo.  The Great Blue Heron is escaping me, and I escaped to nature.

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This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge encourages us to
share a picture that means escape to you.

Linking up with:
CAMERA CRITTERS
THE BIRD D’POT
WEEKLY TOP SHOT

Mother

Mother Goose
Mother Goose, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)
Photo taken on Mother’s Day at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in northern Utah, USA.
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Robin Nest
Robin Nest, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)
This nest was a in a tree in our yard.  The mother robin is carrying away a waste sac produced by the baby robins.

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>>:::<<

she is a treasured diamond
exquisite, pure and priceless
my mother’s absolute love
>>:::<<
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My mother embraces me with her unconditional love, caring, support, encouragement, compassion and listening.  She is a beautiful person, inside and out.

I hope all mothers enjoyed a lovely Mother’s Day!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Pattern

Male Flicker
Male Flicker, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)
Female Flicker
Female Flicker, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)

>>:::<<
indelible patterns
embellish autumn colors
woodpecker clothing
>>:::<<

These are photos of a male (top) and female (lower) Red-shafted Northern Flicker.  They are a medium-sized member of the woodpecker family and are known as one of the few woodpecker species that migrate.  They reside in western North America.  (There is also a Yellow-shafted variety that resides in eastern North America.)

Their outer coloring is mostly neutral with handsome black-scalloped plumage along their back, a bold black chest crescent, and white/buff with black spotting along their front feathers.  The males have a red moustache.  Both sexes are red under their tail and wings, and are stunning when they take off with their vibrant flashes and flickers of red!  They eat mainly ants and beetles, and spend lots of time on the ground.

Their colors are indicative of autumn for me.  Here, they frequent our suet feeders in the winter, and are gone by spring.

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is to share a picture which means pattern to you.

Linking up with:
CAMERA CRITTERS
THE BIRD D’POT
WEEKLY TOP SHOT

Wild Weekly Photo Challenge: Movement / Robin

Robins Bath 01
Robins Bath 01, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)

This is an American Robin who loves taking dips in the birdbath. He has established an almost daily bathing ritual, and is quite fun to watch.

Here he was this morning, back for his usual bath.  I hope you enjoy the photos!

Robins Bath 02
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Weekly Photo Challenge: From Above

Autographs in the Snow
Autographs in the Snow, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)

>>:::<<
carpet of snowflakes
informs me of charming visitors
birdie autographs
>>:::<<

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge encourages us to change our perspective on something and to share a photo of a subject shot directly from above.  I think it would be difficult to see more definition in the bird tracks at any other angle than from directly above them.

Wild Weekly Photo Challenge: Birds / Quest

Majestic Flight
Majestic Flight, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)

>>:::<<
a splash of sky
rising out of the water
majestic heron
>>:::<<

A Great Blue Heron on a quest for dinner!

This photo was taken just over a week ago at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in northern Utah, USA.  The Great Blue Heron is the largest of the herons in North America and is found throughout most of the continent.  They have been described as “graceful flyers with slow, steady, dignified wingbeats.”  They feed primarily on fish, insects, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians, and usually nest in trees or brushes near water’s edge.  They rarely venture away from bodies of water.  In Utah, they are a common breeding resident in the summer and nest in scattered colonies.  A few remain throughout the winter in areas of open water.

Note:  The website for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service states that the Bear River Bird Refuge is an oasis for water birds and “acclaimed as one of the world’s 10 best birding areas.” It provides habitat for more than 200 bird species.  It is definitely one of my favorite places to visit.

This photo is for the Wild Weekly Photo Challenge where we are encouraged to turn
our lens toward some feathery friends.  No one has to twist my arm to do that!
This is also for the “Tagged” letter challenge (letter “Q”) by Frizztext,
(“Q” is for Quest.)

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Love is in the Air at the Bird Refuge

Grebe Courtship 1
Grebe Courtship 1, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)

>>:::<<
dramatic performance

like a choreographed dance
instinctive courtship
>>:::<<

In my last posting, I mentioned that we had seen far fewer migratory birds at the local Bear River Bird Refuge than the same time last year.  We went for another visit this past Easter Sunday and I’m happy to report that the birds are gradually arriving, although, still not at the level we saw a year ago on March 24, 2012.  The birds that have arrived since our last visit (at least that we saw) were a few American Pelicans, about 10 to 15 cliff swallows and LOTS of Western Grebes.  The refuge is large, so I’m sure there are many more recent arrivals hiding in the marshes.

The focus of this post is the Western Grebe, which you see in the photos.  They are the largest of the North American grebes and are fish-eating water birds that winter along the west coast of North America and breed on inland lakes during the summer.  The bird is a common breeder in northern Utah, USA, where the refuge is located.  Their preferred habitats are lakes, marshes and coasts.  They are graceful with long flexible necks, and dive into the water, rather than fly away when approached.  They spend most of the time in water.  They are awkward walking on land as their feet are placed far back on the body.

What’s so unusual about the grebes is their courtship display, which is among the most elaborate breeding rituals of North American wildlife.  Their mating display is among the most complicated of all.  A long pair bond is formed and strengthened by elaborate courtship displays including neck-bobbing, flexing their necks backwards toward the water, ritualized preening, head shaking, diving, weed carrying, caressing each other with aquatic vegetation, etc.  The bond is reinforced by a dance, or “rushing” phase.  Each bird glances at one another before exploding into a synchronous sprint, side by side, across the water’s surface, with their bodies completely out of the water, like hydroplaning.  They stand high, their wings held back and their cobra-like head and neck rigid and curved gracefully forward until the race ends with a headfirst dive!!  Wow!  (This dance was the reason for my haiku above.)

If that doesn’t sound cute enough, when the young hatch, the babies ride on the backs of their parents, sometimes as many as four chicks at a time, while the other parent dives for fish and brings food to them.  (Click here to see photos.)

Grebes build floating nests on the water, constructed of reeds, weeds and other floating vegetation.  Both parents take turns sitting on a nest of two to six eggs that hatch in about 23 days.  After the chicks hatch, the nests are deserted and gradually dissolve into the lake.  This is a perfect example of “green” recycling.

Our last visit to the refuge must have been too early for us to see the “dance finale” of this fascinating courtship routine.  There were several pairs, and we only saw the head bobbing and preening, but that’s ok.  It was still fun to see.  Here are a few photos of the beginnings of a courtship:

Grebe Courtship 2
Grebe Courtship 2, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)
Grebe Courtship 3
Grebe Courtship 3, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)
Grebe Courtship 4
Grebe Courtship 4, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)
Grebe Courtship 5
Grebe Courtship 5, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)
Grebe Courtship 6
Grebe Courtship 6, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)
Grebe Courtship 7
Grebe Courtship 7, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Future Tense

Future BR Bird Refuge

>>:::<<
heartfelt invitation
excited for your return
spring migration
>>:::<<

Doesn’t this body of water look lonely, eagerly awaiting the return of migratory birds to fill it full of life, including the adorable playfulness of a whole new generation of baby birds?

It’s still phoneography month, and this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge encourages taking another photo with our camera phones.  I took this photo with my iPhone almost two weeks ago at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in northern Utah, USA.  The water was mostly covered in ice still, and was too early for the migratory birds to make their appearance.  We heard that the migration would occur a little later this year because the ice was taking longer to thaw, but we made the trip anyway hoping to see some year-round birds including bald eagles.

One year ago, this section of water was about like you see it (minus the ice), and full of various birds.  However, having one of the driest seasons on record left this area and other units of the refuge dry or drying up by mid-summer, when we made our previous trip.  It was sad to see this so dry, but the refuge was also keeping and diverting water only in priority nesting areas.  At least we were able to see a higher concentration of birds in the priority areas.

It is refreshing to see this refuge full of water again and I am anxious to return when the migratory birds start arriving.  According to information from the refuge, the birds have survived worst conditions than last year, but lets hope the future is better and brighter for them.

Here is another photo I took last weekend, on our second trip to the refuge this year.  The bird is a Great Blue Heron.  This photo was taken with my Pentax DSLR.

Heron Silhouette
Heron Silhouette, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)

I’ve had several postings in the past related to this refuge.  The refuge is on a delta of the Bear River in the northeast arm of the Great Salt Lake, and is the largest freshwater component of the Great Salt Lake ecosystem.  It “offers some of the most phenomenal water bird watching in the Western United States.”  According to the US Fish & Wildlife Services, the refuge is “acclaimed as one of the world’s 10 best birding areas” and has “long been considered one of the most valuable wetlands in the intermountain west region.”  It is a 74,000 acre National Wildlife Refuge and is host to millions of migratory birds yearly.  Located the edge of two North American migration flyways, the Central and Pacific flyways, it is an important resting, feeding, and nesting area for birds in both flyways and is a habitat for more than 200 bird species.

The mountain range you see in the first photo is the beautiful Wasatch Range, home to many world class ski resorts and a host of other outdoor pursuits.  Further to the right (south) near Salt Lake City, and just into these mountains, is where I live. Continue reading

Spring Is Here!

Hungry!
Hungry!, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)
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Launch!
Launch!, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)

>>:::<<
passionate wingsongs
carry loving nourishment
spring nesting
>>:::<<

Happy Spring to those in the Northern Hemisphere!

Today is officially the first day of spring here, yet it is a gloomy, rainy day, which will turn into snow for the next few days.   Snow is still on the ground, and the deer are still sporting their heavy winter coats, however, yesterday was a nice sunny day and the American Robins arrived with their beautiful songs.  A sure sign of spring!

The Western Scrub Jays are gathering food more frantically lately and we hear the constant flapping of their wings as they visit the feeders and beg for peanuts continually through the day – breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.  We also see the male feeding the female, which we learned is a way for the female to get used to the male feeding her while she sits on the nest for about three weeks straight, incubating their eggs.  Nesting should begin soon!

The photos above were taken yesterday and are of the same male scrub jay.  The second image is a combination of two different photos.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Lunchtime

Lunch
Lunch, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)

This is a juvenile male downy woodpecker being fed lunch by its mother.  The juvenile was able to land clumsily on the feeders, but wasn’t able to feed itself yet.  Thank goodness for Mama!  (If you have been following my blog for a while, I’m sure you’re not surprised that I’ve tried to work a nature shot, especially birds, into the photo challenge.)

Since it’s phoneography month, this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is to take a lunch photo with our cameraphones, that is, if we have a cameraphone.  The photo above was taken with my DSLR camera, but the photos below were taken with my recently acquired iPhone.

One of my favorite things to do is to try different eating establishments with my hubby and mother.  From the fancy to the non-fancy, we’re game to try many different places and cuisines, which we have done more frequently in the last couple of years.

Most recently, a burger, fries, beer and a movie sounded good, so hubby and I tried Brewvies in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.  It is a cinema pub “featuring first release and independent films shown in a pub and restaurant atmosphere.”  Here, you can order a meal and drinks at the bar, load them up on a tray, take them into the movie theatre with you, and even play some pool or a pinball machine afterwards.  Narrow tables are located in front of each row of theatre seats where you can set your food.  It is an older establishment, so the theatre is not fancy.  We watched Django, which was shown from a movie reel.  It had been a while since I had seen the occasional vertical lines in the picture and heard the movie projector running in the back room.

The drinks: For hubby, a Detour Double India Pale Ale, 9.5% abv. For me, since I’m a lightweight when it comes to alcohol and I prefer still to be standing after a drink, I went for the hard apple cider in a much smaller bottle than the IPA and less alcohol content.

The bartender had a “great suggestion” to combine the cider and Guinness together, and gave me a small amount of Guinness to try it out. I took a small swig of Guinness combined with a small swig of cider and decided that the taste wasn’t my cup of tea. I prefer to enjoy each one independent of the other.

Finally the food! I ordered a wild salmon burger with caramelized onions, chunks of roasted garlic and blue cheese crumbles. What a yummy combination that was! Oh, and it came with home made wedge cut fries.

Overall, it was a nice way to spend the afternoon!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward

Moving Forward Through Storms
Moving Forward Through Storms, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)

>>:::<<
the snow will still fall
paths and journeys will shift
moving forward
>>:::<<

This is a combined photo and doodle image, which I worked on this morning in the warmth of my home and surrounded outside by one of a few snowstorms we are receiving this week.  Also, this blog, which includes my explorations and experiments with photography, digital manipulations, doodling, haiku, etc., was created in 2011 as a therapeutic way for me to move forward in the midst of many developing health issues and chronic pain.

Here is a larger version of the doodle.  I created it on my iPad using the Paper by 53 and ArtStudio apps.  Before moving forward with more doodling recently, my attempts consisted of very bad stick figure drawings.  🙂

Moving out the Negative

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This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge
is to share a picture that says FORWARD to you.

 Linking up with:
PHOTO ART FRIDAY
TEXTURE TUESDAY
(kk textures used: edith and sybil)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Kiss

Scrub Jay Kiss
Scrub Jay Kiss, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)

>>:::<<
winter bling
enhances my allure
snow kisses
>>:::<<

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…and here’s also a KISS photo I took in Brugge (Bruges), Belgium:

Romance
Romance, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)

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This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge
is to share a picture that means KISS to you.

Linking up with:
TEXTURE TUESDAY
PHOTO ART FRIDAY
CAMERA CRITTERS
BIRD D’POT

Weekly Photo Challenge: Home

Home
Home, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)

>>:::<<
priceless journeys
in seas of euphoria
the sky is my home
>>:::<<

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge
is to share a picture that evokes home to you.

Linking up with:
PHOTO ART FRIDAY
CAMERA CRITTERS
THE BIRD D’POT
WEEKLY TOP SHOT
NATURE NOTES