Weekly Photo Challenge: Saturation

Natural Saturation
This was taken at the historic Mendenhall Home in Jamestown, North Carolina. My parents volunteer with the site and my dad gave me a private tour of it last week. Many more photos to come of the various structures on the grounds of this old Quaker homestead.

As for this week’s photo challenge theme of saturation, the sun was shining brightly, the sky was a pure blue, the grass and trees were jeweled shades of green, and the old barn was a rich, earthy shade of red. I had just walked out of the dark interior of the barn and was dazzled by the view above me.

Farm Fest

Farm Fest
Today we attended the Eleventh Annual Farm Fest. Obviously I was looking forward to getting lots of photos of animals, barns, and hopefully some picturesque Americana scenes. I made sure I had my camera with me. Unfortunately, I didn’t check to make sure that my camera’s memory card was in place. Ooops! Stuck at home in the laptop. Fortunately, I had my camera phone with me and was able to take a few shots, although not the quality ones I had hoped to get.
Farm Fest
The main reason we went was because the Scottish music group my dad plays in was one of the performers at the festival. He’s the tall one in the center playing the tin whistle. They performed early on, so afterward, we were able to take a look at the stalls of exhibitors and enjoy a nice lunch.
Farm Fest
The farm is primarily sheep, but they do also have some llamas and goats. I was admiring a couple of the llamas from a distance, but one seemed to be concerned that I wasn’t going to get him on his good side, so he came right up to me. With visions of spitting llamas in my head, I quickly backed up, hopefully out of range. Still, he is a handsome fella.
Farm Fest
There were also sheep herding displays taking place, with a variety of border collies showing off their skills. I happened to see them “backstage” before they went on.
Farm Fest Border Collies
Farm Fest
The main focus of the festival this year was food and fiber. They had a variety of fiber artists displaying their wares, as well as some woodworkers, jewelry makers, soap makers, and farmers offering honey, jams, salsa, and more. There were some beautiful yarns on display and a variety of sheep skins. If I were a more serious knitter, I would have been extremely tempted.
Farm Fest
The weather was perfect, with the sun shining and comfortable temperatures, making it a wonderful day to enjoy everything on offer.
Farm Fest
That said, the most entertaining part of the day was when a complete stranger came up to my dad and commented on how handsome he is and she then asked for a hug. My dad, the rock star! The kilt gets them every time.
Dad

Cops on Bikes

Bike Cop
One of the differences that I can’t help but notice while being back in the US is the lack of bicycles. I’ve seen seven since being back. One of those was the police officer in the photo. Of the seven cyclists I’ve seen here, five have been wearing at least a helmet and most have been wearing some sort of special clothing.

Police in the US, at least in North Carolina, are always on mountain bikes or speed bikes. Certainly not the oma/opa fiets you typically see police riding in the Netherlands. This is a typical look for Dutch police on bikes. In other words, not much different than everyone else, except for the uniform. But even then, they wear a normal uniform and rarely wear a helmet. I don’t even have any photos of Dutch police on bikes — although I do have pictures of police on horseback — because they’re a pretty normal sight.

Dutch bike police also don’t seem to have the same kind of “attitude” that American bike cops have, although I’d say Dutch police in general don’t have the same kind of attitude that American cops often have. Take that however you choose. šŸ˜‰ On the other hand, this photo was taken on an actual mountain, so fair play to the bicycle cop who can handle the climbs!

(Apologies for the poor quality of the photo. It was done with an old camera phone.)

High Point City Lake Park

High Point City Lake Park
Everyone has parks, so I can’t say that the High Point City Lake Park (technically located in Jamestown, NC) is particularly American in what it offers. However, it does have a lot of nostalgic memories for me. As well as visiting regularly for the annual A Day in the Park, high school friends and I went quite often, whether just to hang out or to occasionally try our hand at grilling and serving up a picnic.

It’s a fairly large park, with a number of amenities — numerous grills, picnic tables, shelters, a merry-go-round, miniature golf, and a 340-acre lake. There’s even a miniature train (large enough for adults to ride), with scenic views of the lake. I have fond memories of riding the train on past visits.
Day in the Park 2013
High Point City Lake Park
Much of Jamestown (NC) was settled and turned into a thriving town thanks to the Quakers who lived in the area. In fact, there is an old Quaker Meeting House in the park and also an old shop that belonged to Richard Mendenhall, one of the important figures in Jamestown’s history. I’ll be posting more about the Menhenhalls in a future post.

The lake itself is the result of a dam being built, which covered an old home once belonging to one of the old families of the area. One side is the picturesque lake and on the other is the drier section of the dam. The dam has a surprisingly elegant appearance, reminiscent of old aqueducts.
High Point City Lake Park
High Point City Lake Park
High Point City Lake Park
High Point City Lake Park

The park can be quite busy during the summer months, but its size and wooded nature lends a certain sense of tranquillity that makes it a favorite.

A Day in the Park

Day in the Park 2013
Look! It’s a big school bus in its natural habitat! After seeing a couple of the big yellow buses in Utrecht, it’s almost entertaining to see them actually on the streets here in the US. They come in all sizes and colors here, although the yellow remains the most typical for actual daily school runs. White ones, such as the one seen here, are more commonly used for extra activities, such as transporting students and athletes to sporting events, or in this case, transporting the members of the Andrews High School marching band.
Andrews Marching Band
Here in the US, most schools have a marching band that performs at sporting events, as well as local parades and festivals. The Andrews marching band performs each year at the annual Day in the Park in Jamestown. They started off marching through some of the park, before finishing at the stage area where the band played a few songs and the dance squad performed.
Andrews Marching Band
Andrews Marching Band
Andrews Marching Band
Andrews Marching Band

The Day in the Park has been going on for years and is a mix of music, games, food, crafts, and stalls where people show off their skills, sell their wares, or simply spread the word about their organization. I’ve attended quite frequently over the years, in part because my father is a regular exhibitor.
Day in the Park 2013
This year, he could be found in the Folk Life display, where people exhibited basket weaving, yarn making, quilts, and, in my dad’s case, ships in a bottle. He’s been making them for years and attends the festival to tell people about the hobby and explain a bit about how it’s done.
Day in the Park 2013
Day in the Park 2013
Day in the Park 2013
Day in the Park 2013
If you’re ever in Jamestown around the 20th of September, give or take a day or so, do check out the Day in the Park. It’s a fun, friendly event in a beautiful setting (more of the actual park to come in another post). In all, you could say it’s gezellig.

Toto, I don’t think we’re in Utrecht

photo
If you were wondering, I made it without incident back to the US on Monday. I lived here long enough that I’m not experiencing complete reverse culture shock, but I am a bit more aware of certain things now. It feels more as if my life in the US and my life in the NL are two completely separate things. Not good or bad; just completely different.

As for photos and blogging, I’ve been taking photos, but unfortunately I forgot to get a plug converter for my European laptop (with a useless battery), so I can’t upload photos until I get an adapter for my laptop. I did take a couple of photos today with my phone’s camera, though. One of the amusing differences between Utrecht (and much of the Netherlands) and North Carolina is the matter of elevation. We’ve got a lot more hills and mountains here. For that matter, just getting to the house requires muscles I haven’t used much in the past five years. Trust me, the photo doesn’t begin to show how steep a hill this is. I’ve been on rollercoasters with easier drops.
photo
Fortunately, there are lots of magnolia trees to enjoy on the trek.
photo

Father and Daughter Views of Autumn

Canal Colors
It’s hard to resist the stunning views of canals flanked by trees looking like colourful autumn sentries. I took this photo a couple of weeks ago, heading to this spot specifically after having seen another photo of it on Twitter. It’s a charming spot at any time, but with the range of autumn colours, from golden orange to purple, it was particularly appealing.

Yesterday, we had a brief respite from the rain and overcast weather, so when we headed out for groceries, I couldn’t resist taking my camera along and getting a few shots from the Wittevrouwenbrug.

Herfst Kleuren

It seems I’m not the only one in my family that can’t resist taking photos of the autumn leaves and their many colours. My dad, who used to work as a professional photographer and whose talent I try to emulate, sent me a link to a couple of his own photos that appeared on his local newspaper’s website. His photo is the one that accompanies the article, and if you click through to look at the rest of the photos, his photos are number 1 and number 23. It’s worth giving a click through all of the photos to see some of the beauty of North Carolina’s Piedmont area during this season. I’ll say this for North Carolina: it gives good autumn.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer

Bliss
We’ve been having a spell of warm, sunny weather here in Utrecht, although from the looks of things, we’ll be back to cool and wet by the end of the week. But at least it’s summer-like weather for the last big holiday until the end of the year.

We’re celebrating Pinksterdagen today and tomorrow, which coincides with the US Memorial Day tomorrow. Memorial Day is usually thought of as the beginning of summer, which often means lots of grilling and days spent by the pool. I’ve been feeling nostalgic for the pool we had in our last house in North Carolina. Floating in the lovely water and enjoying the feeling of weightlessness was one of my favourite things. I could go to a public pool, but it’s just not the same. The quiet peacefulness of our pool, surrounded by a forest of greenery really was idea.

Pool

I also miss sitting on the swing on our back deck, while we cooked ribs on the grill, combining smoking, braising, and straight grilling to get the best ribs ever! We still grill occasionally, but it’s not quite the same. Fortunately, we do have a nice terrace that allows us all to sit out and enjoy the summer sunshine.
The Good Life

Weekly Photo Challenge: Textured

Ramshackle Shack
This week I went back into my archives for a texture-related photo and decided to explore a bit of the texture of architecture, specifically buildings that I came across living in the southern part of the US. I liked revisiting bits of architecture that are a little different from what I see now.

This first building with it’s rough-hewn, splitting wood, and rusted tin roof, surrounded by feathery flora, is a shed/cabin that I passed regularly when I last lived in Greensboro, North Carolina. It was a small building in the middle of fields and woods, just across the street from a few houses. If nothing else, it’s a change from the tightly packed urban city center I live in now.

Green on Green
On the opposite end of the spectrum is this beautiful house in Savannah, Georgia. It’s definitely a city house, but it brings a bit of the country into the city. It’s a riot of texture with the highly decorative iron railings, smooth wooden shutters, and ivy-covered walls. Gone are the smooth walls. They’ve been replaced by the tactile fabric of flora. I always want to run my hand across these living walls.