THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley


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Stormy Saturday – rise before the rain

Stormy Saturday – Well the forecast says so. But for me being out and about early in the day I’ve gotten a few shots and stayed dry. When I saw the possibility of 2-4 inches of rain I thought oh crap. They just opened Main Street. I wanted to ride down there anyway to just walk and maybe catch some early morning activity.

The sun struggled to come up this morning and did its best to fight through the clouds but it was a losing cause. But cruising with the top down is nice regardless. I stopped at the Snowball stand and the Howard County Conservancy for a shot or two.

Sunrise this morning in Woodstock MD.
Photo by MIke Hartley

Howard County Conservancy
Photo by Mike Hartley

As I headed to old Ellicott City for a morning stroll I discovered there was someone more tired than I was who planted this sign upside down at the entrance to Town and Country apartments. I wonder if they still call them Town and Country. Well that’s what they were several decades ago when some friends lived there.

Someones world is upside down this morning.
Photo by Mike Hartley

In the time it took to drive from Woodstock to EC the sun had vanished behind clouds. As I enter a town with my first drive down main street in months the flashing caution lights with the dark clouds were not a combination I was hoping for.

Not the skyline this city needs.
Photo by Mike Hartley

As I expected I found beauty and destruction. But more progress than I though possible actually. One of the things I’ve always liked about this town is the wildlife it has. No not the people. You can step out and look at a stream and see ducks, fish, blue heron and the occasional snake, fox or deer depending on the time of day you’re in town.

An early morning fisherman just under the bridge. These are some big birds. 
Photo by MIke Hartley

There was an awful lot of this also.

This sign isn’t really needed. The town is evidence enough.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I wonder how many of these have come and gone.

I can’t imagine the pain of losing your work.
Photo by Mike Hartley

We liked eating here. So if your hungry or thirsty next weekend on the 28th, think about attending the EC Strong Festival.

Think about supporting the EC Strong Festival.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Help raise these in people.

Disasters seem to happen every day. Help raise someones.
Photo by MIke Hartley

And give them.

Photo by Mike Hartley

And live by.

Words to live by.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Even in a town hit hard, there is beauty to be found.


Random Thoughts of the Day

I need to get to the range. You never know when that practice will come in handy.

Did something change with the crust at Ledo pizza? The last two I’ve had have been thicker and rather doughy. That thin and crispy is what I like. And I’ve seen this from two different shops.

Rain = Sleep


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1pm Veterans Day parade in EC

Veterans Day parade in Ellicott City today at 1pm. Didn’t know till I drove down to take some early morning shots and saw the people setting up and banners. Wish I could get back down for it but some chores await me. Did get a lot of other shots which I’ll share later. Felt great taking a walk through the town. I need that kind of exercise every morning. And only one person is going to make that happen so I’ve got to find a mirror to keep me accountable.

Even though it’s a bit cool the town was hoping 4 hours before the parade. I love this town, I parked behind my old Newspaper building. Well the first one that I worked at in EC which was Stromberg Publications or as people know it “the Times Papers.” Lots of good memories there before Patuxent purchased it and moved to Columbia. But even better memories were made there so no complaints. But if given the choice of towns to work in, I’d pick EC.


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Saturday signals

What a great day. Grand dog is visiting and getting a few chores done. Relaxing is one of them and that is going fairly well. Grabbed a shot below at the Pink Cabbage yesterday after a bite to eat next door. It reminded me of this weekend, a little caution on either side and full speed ahead in the middle. I was going to try to get up to the Fairgrounds but that is looking iffy. Probably just make a donation and skip the relay part.

Pick a bucket and roll with it.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m very glad we finally stopped by the Town Grill at Foster Country Store on Rt 144 and Triadelphia road. I think I’ll give it a shot for breakfast this week. I’ve been looking for a new place to stop in the morning. But anyway lunch was great and I love the service and small feel of the place. Plus is prompts me to take a ride down Triadelphia road, which is a nice cruise.

Yep and its good.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I love the back roads of Howard County. But its troubling to see every space continued to be filled. Speaking of that we went past Wallace Park the other day and lo and behold that beautiful field on the left that seemed to go on forever is being developed it appears. When will it stop? Anyway I’ll let you know how breakfast is here soon.

Town Grill
Photo by Mike Hartley


I’m counting on a day that the body is all on the same page.

Pushing myself to learn more than I did today, and each day.

Can you smell what Mother Nature is Cooking?

Thoughts to those who just need a positive one.

And that’s all she wrote for this post. Whoops, I guess that should technically read “That’s all he wrote for this post.”


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Monday flashback

Ah the simple days of working on Main Street. Started in 1976 near the top of the hill at Stromberg Publishing (aka The Times papers).  Started dating my better half who lived up the road during those early years. Fell into a career I had no idea I was interested in. And now 41 years later it is decision that I’m glad I stuck with.

Mr Yates was a fine merchant. I patronized him often.
Photo by Mike Hartley

But I do miss working so close to home and in such a town that felt like family. Well lots of them were family at Stromberg. Hell if there were a policy on nepotism then over half the company would have been let go. But even if you weren’t blood family, you we’re part of the company family. I’m sorry that so many young people miss out on that feeling now.

I miss the nickel Popsicle’s from Mr. Yates store. I miss the feel of that small town. Especially being I commute to a large town (DC). And the company I work for doesn’t feel like family anymore. Then again that’s not a knock at it, most companies don’t have that feel. All I know is I miss the close relationships I once had at work.


I got to see my daughter on her birthday. Took her some flowers and a balloon. She is so precious. I’m so glad my children settled fairly close to home so I can still do these things.


Well, didn’t get a chance to shoot today but hope to this fine Tuesday that is almost upon us.


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Take a minute

Wow, adding that 10 hour work day at the job that pays the bills back into the schedule really crimps my free time. Such is life. I did take a minute today to grab a frame at the Howard County Conservancy. And another from the entrance of the Conservancy looking up to Woodstock and the famous Snowball Stand.

 Howard County Conservancy Photo by Mike Hartley

Howard County Conservancy
Photo by Mike Hartley

Yep the stand is close for the winter. But we made it through January and I think we’re at least half way to spring so I’m starting to think about what flavor my first snowball of the season will be.

Looking up Rt 99 and Woodstock Road.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Looking up Rt 99 and Woodstock Road.
Photo by Mike Hartley

But I also took a minute to look at the sky today. Something I used to have time to do and enjoy as a youth often. Not so much now and I miss it. And I think I figured out why. You see as I’ve aged I’ve watched the generation before me age. And men seem to go through this morphing at a certain age.

All your life your standing at 90 degrees. At 50 you feel the sudden inertia behind you pushing you forward, sort of like a stiff wind at your back trying to fold you in half. At 60 you’re slouching forward at a 80 degree acute angle at least half the time and you didn’t even notice it till you see a photo. Yeah your neck still works fine and you can see the sky.

At 70 years of age your listing forward at 60 degree angle and even if your neck is still fully functional your only able to see about a 1/3 of the sky. Your starting to see more ceiling fan in the bathroom than clouds.

At 80 years of age you’re at a 45 degree angle forward and basically looking at the pavement and shoes. If someone speaks and you get your neck to move upwards you may be able to make eye contact but seeing their hairstyle is probably out of the question. That is why old men are always in trouble, their wives go to the salon and expect them to notice the new dew. Well they always miss it because they can’t see it.

At 90 you’re so bent over you’re looking at your own behind. The sky is a reflection in a puddle. That is why I don’t take puddle reflection photos now. I figure I’ll have time to do it when I’m older.

At 100 you’re going back to your youth. They have scooted your bed out to the porch so you can stare at the sky all day and night. Well I can dream of living to 100 years old.


  • Boy, you blink after the New Years Party and its the end of the month.
  • My barbershop raised their price by a $1. Now I’m going to have to ask for a raise or become a hippie again.
  • Do you think its wrong to (fill in the blank). Never mind, I don’t want to add to the political discourse today.
  • I know I should give up drinking Cokes. But the label almost matches the color of my car and I love sugar.
  • Take a deep breath. Now repeat. Add exhales as needed.


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A New Years eve dinner

What a great evening last night. A fun time and dinner with a couple of our best friends. But I have to comment on a business that closed its doors last night in Howard County. I’ve always liked their entrance. It says “Love, Laughter and Friends. Always Welcome Here.” So it’s with a heavy heart that I see another HoCo business close. Baltimore Sun article about it here.

This establishment, Luna Bella is no more. It’s located very close to one of my best friends homes and its a restaurant we have patronized for some time. Both dine in and carry out. Great food and great service, gone from the community.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Photo by Mike Hartley

It was wonderful hearing the stories of the staff and owners last night. Some real good people. We and many others were there to wish them well in the future.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Photo by Mike Hartley

The sign says Welcome Sit, Relax and Enjoy. And we did “sit, relax and enjoy” many a night.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Photo by Mike Hartley

And while there were many tears of joy, there was also a sadness.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Photo by Mike Hartley


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Goodbye growing season

Almost time for that dormant winter season. Not that I’m any expert on growing anything but given the season in the northeast its pretty much planning for next year I’m guessing. Of course these guys could really answer all those and more questions at the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Central Maryland Research Branch along Folly Quarter Road.

Along Folly Quarter Rd. Photo by Mike Hartley

Along Folly Quarter Rd.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I love traveling that road. Well the bike riders who like it complicate it at times and people not paying attention but its a much better ride than Route 29 if you got the time and want to see some country. This U of MD site along that road is well maintained and I’m always looking at what they are growing and how well it’s doing.

But this looks like the final cutting of the year so I’ll just look forward to spring and the coming of the Green Again. In the mean time I had better get out and try to capture some of the fall colors. Were going to be subjected to that grey of winter all too soon.