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How would I have done this before?

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I've been doing 'handyman' stuff for years.  I think its part of my father's legacy.  He would never hire someone to do something that he could do himself!  Of course that meant some things never quite got done.  Hmmmm. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree...
Before Patrick passed away, I often used his big GMC van to haul plywood, sheetrock, cement sacks, name it.  I could fit 12' boards inside, stretching all the way forward, between the front seats to the engine consoleand then close the back doors.  But we sold it.  It was getting on in years (16) and miles (100k+) and we really didn't have a place to park the full-size behemoth in addition to our other two vehicles.
After a year without the van, I realized a lot of the stuff I would haul didn't need to go in the back of Holly's one year old Outback.  Sure, with the seat backs down, it could haul a lot, and we did. But lumber, messy sacks of cement, and wet bags of mulch were things I didn'…

Which would you choose?

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On our last day in Petit Jean State Park, we decided to take one more hike.  A short way into the pine forest at the start of the Seven Hollows Trail, we encountered a split in the trail.  Which way would you go?

It turns out that it didn't matter. It was one long loop, and you saw all three natural attractions no matter which way you went.

This kind of reminds me of our blog.  I keep starting and stopping, thinking I should make it a photo blog, maybe a commentary blog, or some sort of other blog, like something about essential tremor.

Then I realized its just like the sign -- it doesn't matter, because I can do it all in this one blog.  So you may see pictures of the kids one post, a rant about cuts to social security in another, and info about ailments like essential tremor or glaucoma in a third.  If I can do it, I'll tag posts so you don't see what you don't want to see.

Boats along the beach

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I traveled to Brazil for the first time recently, staying in Balneario Camboriu at night, while attending to work in a nearby industrial city. Sunday morning was free time, so I decided to walk the 3-1/2 miles to Barra Sul. There is a good sidewalk that runs along the beach that I anticipated would make for an easy walk.

Along the way, I ran across a couple of large rowboats. I'm not sure what these are for -- fishing, fitness, fun, or what. But they made great props for a picture looking back up the beach to the north. I only had my Nokia Lumia 830 with me. But with optical image stabilization, it produced more than acceptable results.

Sometimes, you don't see the picture until much later...

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Almost a year ago, I had a great experience at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont.  The Fall Photo Workshop pumped and refreshed my love of both the mountains and photography.  Over three days, the 20+ attendees hiked over ridge lines to waterfalls, awoke before dawn to drive to sunrise vistas, stumbled in the brush among old abandoned cabins, and setup tripods in the middle of ice-cold streams while taking hundreds of pictures.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from the Institute inviting me to attend again, but due to work commitments, it just isn't doable.  But they also added that Will Clay, the instructor for the past couple of decades was retiring from teaching the class after this fall.  As part of the celebration, they asked prior attendees to each send one or two pictures from their time at the workshop.

So, I began looking through my pictures for two to send.  I went through the ones we self-selected as our best at the workshop, and picked one of a seed …

Fall has arrived!

Its down to 80 at 7pm with only 52% humidity and a nice wind out of the north!  It may not seem like much, but it's enough of a change to make walking in the evening a pleasure.   We might see 90 once or twice more, but the cooler weather is a very nice change.

Swamp Hibiscus

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We first discovered swamp hibiscus in Dan Gill's Louisiana Gardeners Guide while looking for perinnial flowering plants for our house off East Broussard in 2003.  Hibiscus moscheutos are prolific, low maintenance, moisture loving plants that regularly grow back more profusely each year. We planted a few at our Elmhurst Park home after we moved in a few years ago. The five, 1-gallon nursery plants have become a ten foot wall of blooms. Here is one of this morning's blooms: The blooms are one-dayers, so we always try to enjoy them before we leave for work, as they'll be droopy by late afternoon. 
You may have to hunt for them, we found ours at a locally-owned nursery. When cold weather arrives just let them die off. Cut off the dead stalks before spring. Straight green shoots will start appearing in late march to late April. As they grow, you may decide a lattice would be helpful to keep the stems upright. 
Give it a try! FWIW, we live in Lafayette, LA, USDA Hardiness Zone 9b. #…