THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley


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New Years Eve

Spent the afternoon visiting my Mother in-law. She is at Encore rehab, assisted and nursing living. And is there for the rehab part and looks like she is doing fine. It was refreshing to hear her say “I’m not going to let this thing beat me.”  And said with determination and conviction. You need that kind of determination to heal both physically and mentally. And I’m proud of her attitude.

Dome at Encore Rehab facility at Turf Valley.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Dome at Encore Rehab facility at Turf Valley.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Don’t have time to pull an end of year review of my blog. Not really interested in going back but more interested in getting out and snapping a few hundred frames to start the New Year early on Friday morning. Yeah its fun to look back, because as they say “if you forget the past, your doomed to repeat it.” And that is the last thing I want to happen when the object of this blog is to keep it fresh and growing.

But I will look back at this year as the time my wife and I got much closer. I think crisis will to that or it can also tear apart couples. I’m personally glad it was the first. I’ll remember it as a year of personal and physical challenges. I’ll remember it as a year of professional challenges. And in another 3 hours I can say I made it through them all this year.

I also remember it as the year my Son got engaged. I remember it as a year where I really got busy with this blog. Even though I had started it in 2014, this year was the year it came alive. Yeah it wasn’t the consistent effort I had hoped for but with all the things going on I’m pleased with my effort and start. Mainly because I think this helps my health. I think sharing and applying myself to a task gives me purpose besides the job that pays the bills. This lets me be in charge. This lets me share my views or images. This lets me relax. Its kind of like my personal therapy session.

So tomorrow begins a new year with a new effort and new ideas. Can you smell what TME is cooking?


 

Random Thoughts for Thursday December 31st 2015

  • Wishing everyone a healthy New Year.
  • I don’t know at what age I stopped going out to tear up the old year and ring in the new one but it happened. I’m fine with being home and relaxing. There is plenty of good sports to keep me entertained. And its much easier to see, hear and hold my wife the way I would like at home instead of some loud and crowded party.
  • The only way to repay someone who has shown great love and devotion is to repay it in kind.
  • We did as any good Marylander has done this evening. We are eating crab cakes.


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Foggy hump day morning

Being we have so much darkness this time of year in the northeast US, I figured I had better start to brush up on my night photography. It’s something I’ve wanted to accomplish this year but time is short to make that come true so we carry this goal into 2016. But it does accomplish the start of my goal to try to do a shot in Howard County each day and post it.

3925 Folly Quarter Road front gate entrance on a foggy morning. Photo by Mike Hartley

3925 Folly Quarter Road front gate entrance on a foggy morning.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I was going to shoot some Christmas lights but wasn’t feeling up to snuff. But I see a simple gate in the fog along Folly Quarter Road and I turned the car around and grabbed a few frames before heading home. Actually this gate leads to a huge estate that is for sale for I think 7 million $$. I believe I’ll head out this evening and shoot some Xmas displays.

And what was that brief light in the sky yesterday? Something bright behind those clouds but it never appeared. Rumor is some used to call it the sun. Well even though it’s not supposed to clear today, I think I might take a walk by the Patapsco river later. That is so close and I’ve ignored it long enough.


 

Random thoughts for Wednesday December 30th 2015

  • Is Santa a spokesman for BMW or Mercedes? Looks to me he is double dipping to me in watching their commercials.
  • I have some great children. Take my word for it.
  • Wow, 2015 has not really been my year. Won’t be sad to see it go.
  • Few things affect my productivity more than pain.
  • You know one of the fun things I like to do on vacation is get up early, snack and relax and then return to bed.
  • I have cleared more wall space for photographs. So my color printer starts acting up as I get to work trying to fill it. As Roseanne Roseannadanna used to say in a whiny voice “It’s always Something, if it’s not one thing, it’s another.”
  • It’s good to see families stepping up to take care of parents in their elder years. It’s sad to see those that don’t have that care.
  • Don’t forget, the Maryland game starts at 5pm today.
  • I started to eat more healthy yesterday. Wasn’t much fun, but living longer is. So I slowly change.
  • We are Grand-dog sitting on New Years eve. I’m so excited. Damn, did I just reveal my age?


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Busy Monday

Aren’t they all. Busy that is. One appointment or task or place to be after another. Such is life and I’ll never again complain about life or being busy. I believe busy is good. I know it is for the mind. And when I apply it to exercise that is good also. Wish I did more of the later.

Gourds on Main Street Photo by Mike Hartley

Gourds on Main Street
Photo by Mike Hartley

So I’ll post a few random shots from the weekend. That same weekend that was also very busy so I’m not thrilled with the limited selection. But in an effort to keep working hard on posting, sharing, photographing and writing each day. And by reading some others tips on blogging I’m learning to work and plan ahead more.

Color surrounds us. Photo by Mike Hartley

Color surrounds us.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I have to learn to transition from work, chore and responsibility time to creative time better. Lots of time, I’m mixing my shooting between family trips or events. Hell if I didn’t do that I’d never get a chance to get some practice.

But the transition I think about is one where I’m relaxed. Where I can think and slow down and see things I usually pass at light speed. Or hear sounds or take the time to look at a young child’s expressions.

For when relaxed and open, you are going to find things in life you didn’t know were there or were a quick blur seldom taken into account.

Anything can be interesting. Hell I could spend half my life photographing sand and I’d always be able to find something new. But I can only do that when I’m at peace. When I allow myself to turn some parts of  my life off.

I’m just glad I get the chance to spend a few minutes a day to think creatively. It’s a good contrast to the exacting computer work I do for the job that pays the bills. So I must continue this mission I’m on.

Along Marriotsville Road Photo by Mike Hartley

Along Marriotsville Road
Photo by Mike Hartley

Well, lets see if I can do better on Tuesday or if I’m forced to pull images from the vault. Who knows, maybe I’ll try to paint some images with words? Life is full of options if your open to seeing them.

A new family shopping on Main Street this weekend. Photo by Mike Hartley

A new family shopping on Main Street this weekend.
Photo by Mike Hartley

 


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Another back road drive with a few stops

I love just exploring the old roads of this county (Howard). Especially at this time of season. The only problem is there is absolutely no place to pull over in a lot of spots. I’m going to have to drag my better half along with me and let her drive so I can hop out and shoot more. Wishing it wasn’t so overcast this morning.

I believe I shot this on Underwood Road. Photo by Mike Hartley

I believe I shot this on Underwood Road.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m going to try to get back to one of my original goals which was to get out and shoot part of the county each day. Of course it’s fairly easy when nature provides the palette it does at this time. So the challenge will be to stay creative without the color.

Along Old Frederick Road. Photo by Mike Hartley

Along Old Frederick Road.
Photo by Mike Hartley

It’s amazing how the colors change as the light/sun changes.

Too bad nature can't save a few of these for the dead of winter. Photo by Mike Hartley

Too bad nature can’t save a few of these for the dead of winter.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I could spend the rest of my life shooting various barns in this county and not tire of it.

So many Barns, so little time. Photo by Mike Hartley

So many Barns, so little time.
Photo by Mike Hartley

A bit of a breeze kicked up and started to ruffle this guys hair blow.

Breeze in the treeze. Photo by Mike Hartley

Breeze in the treeze.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I wonder if I can capture any of the fall color at nights. Might be a thought to try this evening.

Corner of Old Frederick and Marriotsville Road. Photo by Mike Hartley

Corner of Old Frederick and Marriotsville Road.
Photo by Mike Hartley


Random Thoughts for Saturday October 24th 2015

  • It has been a beautiful fall this year.
  • Only by getting out and experiencing life, can you enjoy it. There are more things than a keyboard and smart phone.
  • You know for two lenses that aren’t worth crap, they certainly give my photography a lot of mileage.
  • Dinner with my family this evening. What a wonderful treat. Celebrating my Son in-laws birthday.
  • I love learning new things or new ways to think about things.
  • I’m going to see if I can lose another 10 lbs by walking more often and longer.


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Random Color of early Fall

Took a ride to Brighton Dam today and grabbed a few shots. Had a wonderful lunch at El Azteca in Clarksville and ran some errands. But the best part of the day was spending it with my wife. After a long work week for both of us it was nice to spend a Friday, taking a walk, talking and grabbing a bite to eat. Just like the old days when we had some time to ourselves.

Looking north I believe from Brighton Dam. Photo by Mike Hartley

Looking north I believe from Brighton Dam.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m so in love with her. And at almost 35 years together, it just keeps growing. I knew I was in love with her when I met her. She is the best thing in my life and gave me the two best children I could ask for. Again I state for the record I’m a piece of work. One who doesn’t deserve such love and riches. And I thank her for sticking with me despite my many faults.

Sign at trail entrance. Photo by Mike Hartley

Sign at trail entrance.
Photo by Mike Hartley

But each day now I spend in thought about her if I’m not with her. If I am, I spend it looking deeply at her and holding her hand often. Or giving her a kiss or a hug. I’ve always told her I love her. I’ve even had my times where I have shown her my love in some very good ways. I’ve always been a good provider. Well I’ve kept us out of the poor house but were not swimming in wealth. Except in the kind of wealth where I have her and she has me.

Glad I got out today and was able to snap away. Photo by Mike Hartley

Glad I got out today and was able to snap away.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So as I head out to see some friends for a quick HH and then back home into my wife’s loving embrace, I think about what a great day its been. How wonderful it is to witness the change of season. How going out yesterday in the upper 70s and warm breeze to the brisk temps of 60 with a cool breeze today is reminding me we are in a state of change. But that is the human condition. Adapting to change.

Brighton Dam Photo by Mike Hartley

Brighton Dam
Photo by Mike Hartley

So out again on Saturday to see if I can catch some more color. For the window for that will quickly close and that nasty winter season will be upon us. Photographically and physically my worst season of the year. I HATE COLD.

Not sure when peak color is, but its close. Photo by Mike Hartley

Not sure when peak color is, but its close.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Never hurts to slow down when crossing a creek and see what is upstream. When I first snapped this shot below, I didn’t think much of it till I got home and it kind of grew on me.

Stream crossing Brighton Dam road. Photo by Mike Hartley

Stream crossing Brighton Dam road.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Just a few shots below with the old camera.

Another sunroof shot on Highland Road. Photo by Mike Hartley

Another sunroof shot on Highland Road.
Photo by Mike Hartley

A sunroof shot going down Brighton Dam Road. Photo by Mike Hartley

A sunroof shot going down Brighton Dam Road.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Azalea garden in the fall. Photo by Mike Hartley

Azalea garden in the fall.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Gazebo looking over a beautiful fall day. Photo by Mike Hartley

Gazebo looking over a beautiful fall day.
Photo by Mike Hartley


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Outside

Wow, what a beautiful day here yesterday in the northeast US. Reminded me how nice it is to be out and about. The changing of seasons and the colors. It’s a great day to be alive. I’m starting to appreciate all the small things I take for granted as I whip through the work days and chores in between the few moments of fun with family and friends.

I think I snapped this coming up from Danials area. I've got to start documenting shots better. Photo by Mike Hartley

I think I snapped this coming up from Daniels area. I’ve got to start documenting shots better.
Photo by Mike Hartley

This guy reminded me of what I’ll be doing in a few weeks out on the bay. Spending a sunny day on the water. Now while yesterday was in the 70s and this young man was going barefoot, I will most likely dress a bit warmer when its November. You never know what you’re going to get in this state weather wise.

Fishing at Danials Dam Photo by Mike Hartley

Fishing at Daniels Dam
Photo by Mike Hartley

I couldn’t decide which image I liked more.

Another shot fishing at Danials Dam  Photo by Mike Hartley

Another shot fishing at Daniels Dam
Photo by Mike Hartley

I only had a few moments to shoot yesterday but hopefully today will provide more opportunity. It’s a wonderful time of year if you like color. But one of the things I used to hate about this season when I rode a motorcycle was wet leaves. Being they are all over the road this time of year its a real safety issue on 2 wheels. Be careful bikes, if you get some moisture.

Amazing what a small stream can carry. Photo by Mike Hartley

Amazing what a small stream can carry.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I guess the water level was a bit higher to carry these trees over the dam. Photo by Mike Hartley

I guess the water level was a bit higher to carry these trees over the dam.
Photo by Mike Hartley

 

Well, back out today to capture some colors of the season.

Rt 40 and Rt 99. Photo by Mike Hartley

Rt 40 and Rt 99.
Photo by Mike Hartley


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Kids, birds and thoughts

As we wandered the Columbia Mall this weekend, with the throngs of people who had the same idea and were tired of being trapped inside because of the weather, we came upon the play area for young children. What a joy to watch. Shear joy and abandon. I will never grow tired of watching the natural display of energy and emotion kids bring to play.

Columbia Mall play area. Photo by Mike Hartley

Columbia Mall play area.
Photo by Mike Hartley


I was just a hair off with my aim on this one. My back yard yesterday was a bird airport. I got lucky and caught a trio of blue birds. One on the tarmac lower left, one landing lower right and one just took off upper left.

Blue Bird Airport Photo by Mike Hartley

Blue Bird Airport
Photo by Mike Hartley


So now that the sun has returned, keep your head up and eyes open for that next great thing. And remember it isn’t in a lotto ticket or fantasy football bet or job promotion or new car or big house. It’s that next kiss and hug from the ones you love.

Robin, looking south I believe. Photo by Mike Hartley

Robin, looking south I believe.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So get off that merry-go-round of life that is focused on stuff and make it about experiences. And remember stupid. It’s about family and friends first. The only time you get on that merry-go-round is with your son or daughter on your lap. Riding a floor buffer with a friend is also acceptable.

Merry go round at Columbia Mall. Photo by Mike Hartley

Merry go round at Columbia Mall.
Photo by Mike Hartley


 

Random Thoughts for Monday October 5th 2015

  • You can not get back time you missed in your children’s youth. You can always earn more money anytime.
  • Management and I are on different planets sometimes. Now the only question is, which one of us left earth?
  • Management tip #1 Good communication solves issues before they become issues.
  • Eat well, Love well, Sleep well. 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.

 


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Feeling FINE

You know each day I’m finding more of a spring in my step. I’m learning that no matter what is ahead its how you look at each day that allows you to feel happy, feel fulfilled, feel connected, feeling like your making a contribution and to move forward. Yesterday I finally got around to some work on etchings in stone. Felt good to create something. Felt good to get moving on a  project. Felt good to make something for someone else.

Of course with practice my skills should increase so I’ll wait a bit before sharing some of those pieces. Thinking about switching to wood just for the ease of work with the materials and that I can get quicker practice on this. I’m realizing I have to think things through a bit more before grinding away. It is exciting to just freelance at it though. Sometimes those are the things I’ve been most pleased with.


Lunch at Shannon’s. 

Took my wife and in-laws to Shannon’s today. Well let me correct myself, they treated us (thank you again). I’ve always like Shannon’s Bar and Restaurant. Its good comfort food. I’m surprised it doesn’t attract a younger crowd though. Food was excellent as always. Never been disappointed here. Today’s meal was a grilled Reuben which was great. Actually two of us had the Reuben. A tuna melt and open faced roast beef sandwich with lots of gravy rounded out the order. Service was good as always.


Random Thoughts for Friday September 18th 2015

  • So much has been given to me. I hope I’ve shown the proper appreciation.
  • I can’t wait to listen to some music an old friend created and sent me this week.
  • So many suffer each day. How can we who are healthy and safe not be thankful.
  • So much to do, isn’t it great. So little time, doesn’t that suck.
  • I love living in this county. But its on the verge of such a drastic change that I’m not sure it’s still for me.
  • I had a county office tailgating me the other day. Too bad the law doesn’t apply to all.

So I’ll leave you this morning with this smiling face below. Just playing around.

Shelly Photo by Mike Hartley

Shelly
Photo by Mike Hartley

 

 


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Tuesday thoughts

I have no direction today. I’m on autopilot. I played some basketball and my mind wandered to my youth. That was till I tried that extreme reverse lay-up and my back reminded my I’m in my late 50’s. But I powered through. Work is a blur lately. So much change and chaos. Don’t get me wrong, my professional work life has been one big change. I’ve worked through the golden age of publishing in the Newspaper industry. I’ve gone through so many technology changes I could be a walking museum.

Kolache Kreations coffee and ice cream shop. Photo by Mike Hartley

Kolache Kreations coffee and ice cream shop.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Yesterday I decided to see if anyone was having an early practice or game at the Wallace Park HCYP fields along Frederick Road. As I passed by the coffee shop on the corner I saw something on the sign I hadn’t seen before. “ICE CREAM.” So I’m guessing I’m going to give this a try for the pastries and other treats in the morning and stop by in the evening with my wife for an ice cream or shake.

To bad the fields look quiet again. I miss those days of helping coach little league. Helping young kids learn the game and sportsmanship is, a wonderful thing to share. And the joy the kids display is more than any paycheck could give.

This coming weekend I’m going to be a shooting fool. I hope to get so much work done photographically starting Friday that I’ll be boring you with photos from it for months to come. It’s not often I get to spend hours in a day shooting for a few days in a row.

Bug - one of millions gracing my property. Well I should say OUR property. Photo by Mike Hartley

Bug – one of millions gracing my property. Well I should say OUR property.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So another few days at the job that pays the bills and then a glorious weekend. I sense the last swimming weekend of the year might be upon my. I also have an itch for something I haven’t had all year. Well I’ve had a ton of crabmeat but I haven’t PICKED any crabs this year. That is almost grounds to be ejected from the state of Maryland so I had better get on that horse and get a dozen or so of those bay dwellers.

So as this day winds down, I look forward to reflecting on how wonderful it was. How much fun it was to be able to get out and about. How lucky I am to have a great partner in life. How my stomach doesn’t ache for a meal.

Other random observations:

Through the abundance of chores, through the time spent on the job that pays the bills, through the endless appointments, through the endless commute, through the restless nights. My hammock cures all. Well as least for as long as the nap last.

Was it me or was every 3 out of 4 commercials for either Fan Duel or Draft Kings during football games this past weekend. That is not right. We are going to have a massive gambling problem in this country before long.


Random Thoughts for Tuesday September 15th 2015

  • You know I think my worth will be measured in what I mean to others.
  • It’s nice having a snowball stand right down the street.
  • How does one know, how many seasons lay ahead.
  • Predicting the coming snowfall season will be a big one. Hey, I got as good as a chance as any weatherman I know.
  • The cool nights are upon us. Where is that quilt?


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Sunday shells and stuff

Those were some rains yesterday and last night. I should get my backside outside in that and learn to shoot foul weather pics. But instead I decided to tinker around in my basement which becomes my makeshift studio. Never really thought or practiced studio shots before. I’m hoping to learn by shooting more. Anyway I also found a few close-up filters that were so old I had to clean them a few times before even using them. I’d say they had to be about 45 years old to be exact. And being I didn’t have much money back then the quality of the glass is suspect. I even stacked them at one point, but its good to experiment.

Photo by Mike Hartley

Photo by Mike Hartley

Photo by Mike Hartley

Photo by Mike Hartley

Photo by Mike Hartley

Photo by Mike Hartley

Photo by Mike Hartley

Photo by Mike Hartley

Seashell Photo by Mike Hartley

Seashell
Photo by Mike Hartley

Well lets see. I’ve misplaced (forgot where I stashed them) the different color background paper I had. Strike one. Lights, still don’t have that setup. Strike 2 and no shutter release – strike 3. Guess I could use the timer option but I don’t know that function on the camera yet. Tripod-check, table-check, camera-check, seashells-check. So you get what you have above.

Lets see if I can so something more creative in the future.


I was a little slow and didn’t have enough lens to catch this guy well over in Columbia at the lake the other afternoon. Guess I’ll have to concentrate on the Hawks up this end of the county.

I believe this is a Blue Heron cruising over Lake Kittamaqundi

I believe this is a Blue Heron cruising over Lake Kittamaqundi

And I see I left out a few other shots of the walk around the lake also. So to bore you further.


Beside me lays the output of a book I started to write about 6 1/2 years ago. I like the concept, I like the stories and ideas. I like the reason I started to write it. I like the effort I put into it till I forgot why I was writing it. Then it languished in never-never land till I output the contents of what I had to date to paper last week. The reason for writing it was re-inspired recently and this time it will not languish in never-never land. For today I begin again anew. And that is probably better because the first draft needed a lot of refinement.


Random Thoughts for Sunday September 13th 2015

  • I wish I had published Saturdays Random Thoughts below Yesterday.
  • Stop dreaming and take action.
  • Each time I go to the doctors, I see a ton of people who must feel like me thinking  “If I could only stay away from the doctors.” And that in itself is a very odd thought because they are wonderful people who only want to heal you.

Random Thoughts for Saturday September 12th 2015

  • Yesterday 9/11 would have been my Mom’s 92 birthday. I miss the excitement I would feel about that day and seeing her.
  • Yesterday 9/11 was a great day of tragedy and triumph for the USA.
  • Yesterday I did as Jim Valvano suggested in his quote – “To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”
  • Yesterday is a Beatles song I downloaded Yesterday.
  • Yesterday I loved my wife. Today I love her even more.


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What is the perfect day

Was just thinking about what makes up the perfect day, if there is such a thing. That day on the beach, that Christmas morning as a child, the day I got married and I let my mind continue wandering that path for a bit. Then I realized that they are all perfect so far. For if I look at small victories or pleasures each day I’m alive it’s a great experience. Even my worst days for the most part I have a lot to be thankful for.

I slept in Friday. I rarely do such a thing. It felt great. I also went for a walk in Columbia with my better half. We don’t get a chance to do that often with our schedules, so that is wonderful. Time to talk, laugh and cry together. We hugged, we kissed. We came home and shared an evening together. We shared our home which we worked so hard for.

Lake Kittamaqundi Photo by Mike Hartley

Lake Kittamaqundi
Photo by Mike Hartley

I have enough to eat today. I have a roof over my head. I have my health (sort of) but for the most part I’m good now. The sun was out and in the low 80’s so weather was perfect. So it was another in a string of wonder perfect days I’ve had. I’m glad I have the ability to see that now.

Today we even might go to Soft Stuff for an evening ice cream. I know, it’s not the best thing for me and it doesn’t set the right example if you’re trying to be healthy. But as a good friend of mine who uses words sparingly says “F it”. But what better thing to do on a rainy Saturday.

Thinking about the perfect day is a mindset for me from now on. Yeah there are things that piss me off throughout the day. Poor drivers mostly but I’ve learned to appreciate so much lately that I feel kind of guilty about any complaining I’ve done about life before this. For it showed the ignorance I had for the simple things or just the fact that I’m lucky enough to draw breath for another day. But now were on the right track.

For simple things like hearing my children’s voices on the phone. Sunshine hitting my back. The ability to go for a walk. Seeing friends and family are much more special.

So back to our walk in Columbia. Even though I’ve lived here before Columbia was a concept in James Rouse’s head, I hadn’t taken a walk around Lake Kittamaqundi on that new path they put around it. A very nice job was done on that project. Lots of benches to grab a break on or just relax and let the quiet surround you. A nicely paved and wide path all around it with a few nice bridges. And it’s pretty much level walk.

We did see some older folks. Some walking and some on bikes. There were also some young people. Of course the two kids with the Jehovah Witness church interrupted the zen feeling of the walk and sights and talk we had, I kept it very short and didn’t get rude but it was an unwanted interruption none the less.

It was funny as we strolled around the lake remembering the early days of the lake with skating or hockey games going on in the winter, fireworks from the roof of your car sitting on the medium of Route 29 and then walking over to the lakefront and back again. Parties, festivals and concerts. Taking a boat out to the small island near the north end and for nefarious activities. Oh the days of youth.

So below is a gallery of the walk and things I was able to capture and share today. I wouldn’t mind seeing some of that blue sky today but it doesn’t look like that is going to happen.


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Free time and it RAINS! But its football season

Not sure if I want to get outside and shoot the elements this evening or work on setting up my studio in the basement? Maybe both if I’m not to tired from watching the game later with the boys. For its FOOTBALL season and that is a good as an excuse to get together and raise some hell as any.

For our group it’s more about the time together than the game most of the time. We love the game of football, but were not your fantasy guys or the overly loyal or over-zealous fans. We have our teams we follow and support. We stay up with what is going on with teams and players but it’s about the friendships and laughter and catching up.

It’s about the BBQ and beverages. It’s about the ability to stay up till the end of the game and not be photographed sleeping with a beer balancing on your stomach with your hand on the mug. It’s about keeping one of our members from getting in a 3 point stance. It’s about sharing a gripe about the job or traffic.

It’s about what is going on health wise. It’s about what our spouses are up to and how happy we are or aren’t from time to time. And when you have been married as long as this group has, you have some war stories. It’s about what your siblings are up to or aren’t doing.

It’s about catching up on what are kids are doing and the last time we saw them and what we did. It’s about sharing stories from the past. It’s about planning trips for the future. Its talking about the few days left in our scheduled that the wives haven’t booked already to get together. I call that part counter planning. But of course women are better at it than we are.

It’s about a team that gathers together to celebrate life but never talk about that fact itself because we are too busy doing it. It’s a strange collection of men who I call my Brothers. I owe them so much. I cherish their friendships. If there is anything positive in me they helped shape and form it. A toast to my Brothers, no matter what sports season it is, or how misguided their sports loyalty’s are.


Cool, animals. Photo by Mike Hartley

Cool, animals.
Photo by Mike Hartley

OK, I know I’m a month ahead of time with these but with the way time is passing the trick or treater’s will be upon us again.

These are some old shots. Very old shots, I think that they may have been shot with that old Kodak D50 digital camera.

I think these were out at Landing Road Cider Mill Farm. Well of course I had to go Google it before wasting a ride down there to see if it still there. But this web page says the farm is now a housing development. Kind of sad. It does give some history about it and some good cider tips.

Wow, another old-time pleasure of the county lost forever. That place used to attract a huge crowd in the fall on the weekends. And the kids loved it.

King of the hill. Photo by Mike Hartley

King of the hill.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I know which pumpkin has the best face. Photo by Mike Hartley

I know which pumpkin has the best face.
Photo by Mike Hartley

You looking at ME? Photo by Mike Hartley

You looking at ME?
Photo by Mike Hartley


I’m starting to feel like this shed, a bit weathered.

Feeling a bit weathered Photo by Mike Hartley

Feeling a bit weathered
Photo by Mike Hartley


Random Thoughts for Thursday September 10th 2015

  • I once got a fortune (yes from a cookie) that said “you have the ability to touch the lives of many people.” I really believe that is true, I just hope its in a positive way.
  • I wasn’t always at peace with myself. And I might not always be at peace with myself in the future. But I can say I’ve had some days finally that I feel that way.
  • When I look at my family, I feel like I was a lottery winner. One lucky SOB.
  • Professional cultures vary like the number of businesses in operation.
  • I finally realized I can do a lot. And all I need to do is keep that confidence to do more.

Time got away from me yesterday but won’t let that happen again anytime soon.

 


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Equal time

Being I have to spend part of my day working in the city I figure its only fitting to spend some time away from it when I’m off. So today I took a drive down a local street (Henryton Road) that I haven’t been on in a while. A beautiful spot that is just a long dead-end. It used to be a through street till a flood took out the bridge a long time ago I believe.

Henryton Road Photo by Mike Hartley

Henryton Road
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m going to be walking this road a good bit in the future. For not only is it littered with beautiful woodland, it has streams snaking through it all along the road. When you enter it there are farms on both sides of the street. As I drove down the street its like my dead-end street, people wave and smile. They watch but they trust.

Henryton Road Photo by Mike Hartley

Henryton Road
Photo by Mike Hartley

It’s so quiet down here also. As I got out of my car a few times the only thing I could hear was the water in the streams and occasional squirrel jumping from branch to branch. I’m going back on Wednesday to measure out some distances in the car. Then I’m going to walk it a few times this coming fall to see what gems I can find. And I’m going to bring my tripod along.

Henryton Road Photo by Mike Hartley

Henryton Road
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts for Tuesday September 8th 2015

  • War was the great killer of our previous generation. Food will be this generations downfall.
  • I don’t know how this country can throw out millions of $$ worth of food each year when people are starving.
  • I could never tell my wife I love her enough, but I really try to each day.
  • Health can’t be over rated.
  • Looking through the lens of my camera give me insight that I don’t have if the camera isn’t in front of me.
  • You know you like life when you bolt out of bed regardless of how little sleep you got and your ready for business.


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Morning ride in the county, under the clouds

A Saturday morning on a holiday weekend and out before the crack of dawn I go. I’m all excited because the weatherman says its going to be beautiful out. So out I got at 7am and it’s cloudy as hell. But I’m not deterred so I head out to a spot I thought about yesterday because I haven’t been down there in many years.

Brighton Dam Rec area. Photo by Mike Hartley

Brighton Dam Rec area.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So down Ten Oaks road I head to Brighten Dam road. I remember going out there with my Mom a few decades back to look at the azalea’s blooming in the spring.

Well today the lower area of the dam is not accessible. So I walked over the bridge a bit and caught some early morning fishing going on.

And as I stood there I was still in awe of what I just drove past. I now know where the “Have’s” live. The homes in this area are just stunning and huge and every other description you can come up with. On the way down I was passed going the other way by a Porsche, Land Rover, Mercedes, BMW and other high-end rides. I thought there was something special going on till I saw some of the estates.

Very impressive building and landscaped properties, so if your inclined to take a peek at the affluence in the area take a drive out here. I’m going to make sure I go back when things are in bloom around the dam to get some good color along the water.

Brighton Dam fishing. Photo by Mike Hartley

Brighton Dam fishing.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So I leave this spot and head down Highland road. Just before the intersection at 108 and 216 this little gem caught my eye. I have no idea what it is beside military so I’ve got to go look this up or stop someday and ask some questions on this. And of course Google is your friend and I found a picture below it of in action. Never had seen this type vehicle before today. Being my Dad was a WWII vet I might have to go meet the keeper of this toy.

WW2 troop carrier. Photo by Mike Hartley

WW2 troop carrier.
Photo by Mike Hartley

gde-fon.com1680 × 1050

gde-fon.com1680 × 1050

Just after this shot of the vintage vehicle, I notice the sun trying unsuccessfully to break through the clouds. So I figure if it does Rocky George might be a nice close spot to get a few shots. Plus I needed to take a walk and get some exercise. And while I was enjoying my musical selections, I needed to get up.

032

So as soon as I’m walking down a short path to the water this guy takes off on the other side. Oh how nice a long lens would be at this time.

No problem, I’ll get it someday and then he will be as sharp and beautiful as some of the other images I see out here. But they are still majestic birds so I had to put this out there anyway.

The water level was low so I walked along the shore line. I’ll take the wooded trail another day when I get my better half to go along with me.

There were few people out this early which was a bit surprising. I guess people were enjoying sleeping in. With the overcast I was beginning to feel like I should have been one of them catching more shut-eye.

That blue heron wasn’t the only one going fishing this fine morning. There was a father/son team I ran into that hadn’t had any luck yet but the youthful enthusiasm wasn’t deterred one bit.

Father Son fishing on a holiday weekend. Photo by Mike Hartley

Father Son fishing on a holiday weekend.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Oh, free photographic tip. Anytime you catch someone launching a boat, take pictures. While most like this one are successful you never know when your going to catch someone taking an unexpected swim or making their SUV into a submarine.

Reflection of canoe Photo by Mike Hartley

Reflection of canoe
Photo by Mike Hartley

So I stay out for 2 1/2 hours hoping the clouds will dissipate and I get maybe 2 minutes worth of sun peaking between clouds. Well when I pull back into my driveway it decides to come out for good. But now its work and chore time so there goes that. No problem, I’ll pick up later today when I have to run some errands.

The thing about photography is taking your hardware with you at all times and being open to seeing things. So I didn’t let the clouds get me down and upon reflecting like the canoe above, it was a great morning.


The weight if its mighty bloom bows as the summer holiday weekend signifies the end of our summer season. Thanks to my neighbors Bruce and Marcie for their wonderful garden.

Sunflower bowing as the final holiday weekend is upon us. Photo by Mike Hartley

Sunflower bowing as the final holiday weekend is upon us.
Photo by Mike Hartley


Random Thoughts for Saturday Sept 5th 2015

  • Is it me or are spiders actually getting larger?
  • This is the first year in memory I didn’t see a Box Turtle.
  • I think I saw the Michael Jordan of fish jumping earlier today, he even switched fins.
  • I get to take care of my grand dog  for a few hours today. Life is good.
  • It’s never too late to start a new career. Never give up on your dreams.
  • You ever notice how doctors always aren’t on the same page?
  • Can you dig it said the hippie, with a shovel said the farmer.
  • I’m getting better at turning work off when I’m done with it. Wish I learned that 30 years ago.


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Saturday in the saddle for some

What a beautiful day. The blue of the sky this afternoon is hard to describe. I know I watched it from my hammock and it was very soothing. So I applaud this gentleman on the bike that keeps our skies blue. I put a lot of miles on a bicycle at one time in my life. Damn good exercise and a good way to see things. Of course with the traffic in this area it’s fairly dangerous also. But the thought of it has me thinking I might have to go wander that new bike shop (Race Pace Bicycles) on Bethany Lane.

I think I can smoke that van and bike going up this hill. Photo by Mike Hartley

I think I can smoke that van and bike going up this hill.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Had a wonderful dinner at Portelli’s in Ellicott City on Friday night. It is great to see them thriving and busy. It’s a tough town to sustain a business so when you find one who is standing the test of time, it’s going to be good. Service was great and my in-laws were very happy. My favorite is the first dish below. Was perfect last night.

Seafood Carbonara – sautéed shrimp, scallop & crab with spaghetti tossed in an egg pancetta cream sauce. Photo by Mike Hartley

Seafood Carbonara – sautéed shrimp, scallop & crab with spaghetti tossed in an egg pancetta cream sauce.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Surf & Turf Penne – jumbo shrimp and Filet Mignon tips with arugula & peppadew in a red wine cream sauce, served over penne with sautéed mushrooms. Photo by Mike Hartley

Surf & Turf Penne – jumbo shrimp and Filet Mignon tips with arugula & peppadew in a red wine cream sauce, served over penne with sautéed mushrooms.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Just a Reminder — OK, you have been on the rides down in Ocean City while you were on vacation. You have been to your local county fair. Only one more big one to go. Yep the Maryland State Fair on August 28th to September 7th. This is a special time of year for me because the State Fair was the first date I had with my wife. And despite this she married me anyway. There is no luckier man than I.

The Old coaster on the pier in Ocean City. Photo by Mike Hartley

The Old coaster on the pier in Ocean City.
Photo by Mike Hartley

You have been to the Howard County Fair. Now hit the big rides as the State Fair.

Ride at the Howard County Fair. Photo by Mike Hartley

Ride at the Howard County Fair.
Photo by Mike Hartley


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Howard County Fair

The 70th annual Howard County Fair has taken place and we were part of it again. A family tradition here in this household. We still go and I love it. Mainly because it’s so simple. It represents a lot of the old county before it was so developed. It’s about the kids and smiles. The competitions of animals, arts and crafts, gardening/farming, cooking and talent.

A pair of my favorites. Photo by Mike Hartley

A pair of my favorites.
Photo by Mike Hartley

It’s about the rides for the kids and its about the Pit Beef for the adults. It’s many things to many people. They had a nice run of weather this week and I hope attendance was good. From those I spoke to it was. Which surprised me to see some empty booths in the Exhibition Hall. Then again it was the day before the fair closed so I guess a few booked early.

I didn’t take anywhere the number of images I had hoped for because I got lost in family time. From eating the pit beef, pit turkey or put ham along with some great onion rings to wandering the barns, it was a wonderful time that just relaxed me.

For any minutes with my family is a wonderful thing. And while there isn’t the same excitement as when they were young and wanting to do the rides and games, it’s still wonderful.

Which flavor snowball should I have? A question I always have trouble with myself. Photo by Mike Hartley

Which flavor snowball should I have? A question I always have trouble with myself.
Photo by Mike Hartley

It also represents decades of memories. I used to work for the Howard County Times from the mid 70s to the mid 90s. So working the Fair Booth was a volunteer operation staffed by members of the Newspaper staff every year. We would sometimes volunteer for a few shifts during the week. Of course this wasn’t paid except for the free tee shirts we would get. My daughter reminded me of that one which I had forgotten. And it brought a smile back to my face also. I can see those green tee shirts now.

They would sign you up in pairs so one of my best friends and I would always do it. It involved sitting in the Fair Information booth making announcements, giving information, handing out fair copies of the paper and having fun. Of course we took our own cooler with us to keep properly hydrated. Luckily we always kept it under control. But as the night would go on the announcements became more spirited.

So tempting Photo by Mike Hartley

So tempting
Photo by Mike Hartley

I was looking at this booth all night, yep the sign is correct, Deep Fried Oreo’s. I swear it was calling me each time I walked past it. I have no idea how I avoided not placing an order.

There are lots of booths like this that had total support from my waistline to intake. But I was able to limit myself to one small cherry dip cone at the end of our visit. And unlike many fairs this time of year it was cool enough where it didn’t melt down my hand before I had a chance to finish it.

Something new at the fair. WINE AND BEER. That was a first if my memory strikes me right. Didn’t see any ill effects and most people who want to drink do so without approval anyway. But now you can purchase it in the fairgrounds.

All I know is I love the fair and hope to attend for many more years.

 

 


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Scotts Cove

An old friend called me the other morning. Rocky George, the paths, water and wildlife. I parked at Scotts Cove. I can’t believe they put a children’s play area there, when did that happen? It’s been decades since I used the trails back there along that water. So as the sun was starting to touch the treetops the other day the voices said to pull my ass off Route 29 and get some fresh air. I took a quick walk down to the water, with camera as always. Now that I’m walking more I’ll have to put this back on the destinations to explore again.

Scott's Cove at Rocky George. Photo by Mike Hartley

Scott’s Cove at Rocky George.
Photo by Mike Hartley

This county has so many wonderful spaces to get out in. Centennial is nice but a bit crowded at times. I used to go to Alpha Ridge till they took the hoop courts down. I feel like I’ve been to most of the parks through sports leagues or just pick-up stuff. I’ll have to get out and re-discover them all again and share them with you through photos. But that start will be next week because today is the Fair and some work on etchings.

And I’ve taken a few minutes to relax and unwind from a stressful part of the week, which I thought was over but it’s dragged me back in today also. So time to regain my focus and step away from the desk.

But before I go a few tidbits below.

I was glad to see a fellow county blogger AnnieRie Uncovered covered the County Fire Event this past Tuesday morning. I worked a night shift the evening before and just couldn’t make the call after an hour of sleep.

So it’s the weekend, get your sword out like the guy below and have at it.

Helmet - check , sabre belt - check, sabre - check. Photo by Mike Hartley

Helmet – check , sabre belt – check, sabre – check.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts for Friday August 14th 2015

  • I picked up a basketball for the first time in 2 years I’m guessing. And boy did it feel good. So part of the exercise routine it becomes again. Now I just have to hit the local sports store and see if they are selling games, because I must have misplaced mine.
  • Most quality writing takes time. Obviously I lack time. So thank you for putting up with my scribbles.
  • Recalling many fond memories of the Fair with my children and friends. Seemed like a closer knit community back in the day. Whoops, there I go showing my age.
  • There may be a day that I have nothing booked this weekend. Keep that secret between us please.
  • There is a new net on my basketball hoop. I plan on breaking it in. But I might have to invite friends.

OK, I’m trying to decide if I should take off and go see the Doobie Brothers and Greg Allman at Pier 6 on the 2nd of September?

Pier 6 tent Photo by Mike Hartley

Pier 6 tent
Photo by Mike Hartley

 


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Agnes 40 years ago

I was digging around an old box and ran across these B&W images (hey, I was a teenager and couldn’t always afford color film) and realized it was 40 years ago that these were taken. That was a bad year. Huge impact on the area and economy with hurricane Agnes. Things didn’t get back to normal for many months and in some cases years for some homes and businesses. One of the worst/costliest storms that I can remember. And it was the rain that wouldn’t stop. I know I have more and if I remember I think I did shoot a roll of color. Now where did I put that?

ELLICOTT CITY

Flooded Main Street Ellicott City from Agnes. Photo by Mike Hartley

Flooded Main Street Ellicott City from Agnes.
Photo by Mike Hartley

And the crowds came to see what nature can do.  Photo by Mike Hartley

And the crowds came to see what nature can do.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Water eye view of water where it shouldn't be.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Water eye view of water where it shouldn’t be.
Photo by Mike Hartley

COLUMBIA

Lakefront bell tower, nobody was swimming out to ring that.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Lakefront bell tower, nobody was swimming out to ring that.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Lake Kittamaqundi reaching out of its banks. Photo by Mike Hartley

Lake Kittamaqundi reaching out of its banks.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Wilde Lake had a new falls.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Wilde Lake had a new falls.
Photo by Mike Hartley

29 south along South Entrance Road. Photo by Mike Hartley

29 south along South Entrance Road.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Surfing on Southbound Rt 29.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Surfing on Southbound Rt 29.
Photo by Mike Hartley

South Entrance with Columbia Tennis barn in the background if I remember correctly.  Photo by Mike Hartley

South Entrance with Columbia Tennis barn in the background if I remember correctly.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Line on Rt 29 south trying to inch past Columbia.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Line on Rt 29 south trying to inch past Columbia.
Photo by Mike Hartley

LAUREL

The Homoco gas station off Rt 1 in Laurel. Photo by Mike Hartley

The Homoco gas station off Rt 1 in Laurel. I think those are new cars floating also from the Dodge dealer.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Entrance road to Laurel Racetrack.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Entrance road to Laurel Racetrack.
Photo by Mike Hartley

And here I thought it was all water under the bridge. Photo by Mike Hartley

And here I thought it was all water under the bridge.
Photo by Mike Hartley

At the PG HoCo line on southbound Rt 1. Photo by Mike Hartley

At the PG HoCo line on southbound Rt 1.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts for Sunday July 26th 2015

  • I hope I can share many more Sundays like this one with my children.
  • I’ve got a good bit of sleep to make up for on Monday.
  • I can tell losing another 10-15 lbs is going to be a fight.


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Ellicott City

I have to force myself not to stop and shoot in this town often. I love it and its got so many gifts photographically. Plus its like an old home that you used to live in. Actually worked in the town for about 6-7 years and loved it. It’s where I started my career in Newspapers. It’s the location of the first business I opened. It’s the town my wife grew up in. Its been the spot of many important meetings, conversations and dinners in my life. Not to mention some wonderful friends from there that I still maintain relationships with today.

I found a few old shots buried in a folder. Wish I had the negatives with them for a better quality scan but what the hell. Would rather post them, than spend time searching.

Mr Yates behind his counter. Photo by Mike Hartley

Mr Yates behind his counter.
Photo by Mike Hartley

But I do know I have to find the negative for the picture of Mr Yates behind the counter of his store (above). It brings back fond memories of running over there on hot summer nights and getting a handful or two of 5 cent Popsicle’s and a pack of smokes. If it was payday maybe the 10 cent fudgecicle’s or ice cream sandwich’s. For our plant didn’t have A/C so summers we baked in the pressroom area.

Fernand Tersiguel standing outside his establishment.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Fernand Tersiguel standing outside his establishment.
Photo by Mike Hartley

This shot of Fernand Tersiguel on the steps of his restaurant was a staple also of old EC. I was glad to see his Son continue the fine dining tradition there. It’s been a while, maybe I should return for a great meal one night. And speaking of night I had these two old shots down by the bridge as I was leaving work late one evening. Yeah our office for our own local paper was behind this picket fence and it was a wonderful spot.

The bridge over the Patapsco river and looking at the mill in the background. Photo by Mike Hartley

The bridge over the Patapsco river and looking at the mill in the background.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Looking up Main Street under the RR bridge.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Looking up Main Street under the RR bridge.
Photo by Mike Hartley

 


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Sunday morning images and thoughts

Nothing like an early Sunday morning ride along a county road in Howard County to start the last day of the weekend. Lots of joggers, bikes, a few motorcyclist and yours truly plodding along in the SUV. Don’t worry, I’m switching back to a car or bike soon. I miss riding the bike because of how much more I saw when riding. So much that I had a long list of places to come back and photograph. I learned this lesson again while riding as a passenger after surgery recently. I saw things going down that road I would never see if driving.

Pond reflections along Triadelphia Road. Photo by Mike Hartley

Pond reflections along Triadelphia Road.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So now I park the beast (SUV) and get my behind out and walk a bit. Wow, exercise, feels great. Just kidding, I enjoyed it for many years but the last two decades I got a bit slack. Well, a bit more than a bit slack. So I’ve decided to use this recent surgery and weight loss to get back on a better plan. A change to food/drink intake and regular exercise. I’ve been pretty good at it so far.

Farm along Tridelphia Mill Road. Photo by Mike Hartley

Farm along Tridelphia Mill Road.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Today was pretty much the first time in a month I’ve gotten outside for a quick shoot. It felt wonderful. Even though I didn’t come back with much it felt good to concentrate on the work I enjoy again. It did take me to an area I’d like to explore more. The Tridelphia Reservoir. Looks like a good area for nature shots.

Of Big Branch recreation area.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Off Big Branch recreation area.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Didn’t realize till I got home I had a number of reflection shots. Was just enjoying the moment and trying to remember what seems like a million things I had known when the camera was in my hand. Talk about rusty. No problem, just have to get back in the saddle and work hard at the craft again.

Reflection of tree in pond along Tridelphia Mill Road.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Reflection of tree in pond along Tridelphia Mill Road.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I remember as a youth, this county being nothing but farms and a few small neighborhoods. I’m glad to see some still here and doing well. Remember to get your behind out to the county fair and learn something about it, before Columbia came calling. And the rest of urban sprawl. Not that there isn’t some beauty in the new parts of the county. But some has not changed for the better.

Farmland Forever. For without it, what would we eat? Photo by Mike Hartley

Farmland Forever. For without it, what would we eat?
Photo by Mike Hartley

Silo, barn and rolling hills. Photo by Mike Hartley

Silo, barn and rolling hills.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Working Homes. Photo by Mike Hartley

Working Homes.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Home is where the farm is. Photo by Mike Hartley

Home is where the farm is.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Morning ride along Tridelphia Mill Road. Photo by Mike Hartley

Morning ride along Tridelphia Mill Road.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Along Tridelphia Road.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Along Tridelphia Road.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random thoughts for Sunday July 18th

  • I must be feeling a little better. For the first time in many weeks I found myself strumming some air guitar. But I’m miles away from windmills though.
  • One of my all time favorite speeches on ESPY awards from 1993 by Jimmy V. I just remembered I forgot to make a donation last Thursday. That will be task one on Monday morning
  • Those senseless killings in Chattanooga really are staying with me for some reason.
  • The pride I have for my children knows no bounds.
  • This week is about reconnecting with FRIENDS.


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Hump Day – feeling peachy

Actually I’ve lost track of days of the week, being off and pretty much home bound for over 2 weeks. But the calendar says it’s Hump Day, so be it. And in some ways it does feel like crossing a hump. The last two days have been the first in weeks that I’ve felt somewhat comfortable in a number of ways. Yesterday I tried driving again. Kind of strange when something you do at a clip of over 100 miles a day easily, to none at all for weeks, I felt a bit rusty. But being a veteran of the Washington/Baltimore madness, it only took a few minutes of orientation. So with that milestone I’m feeling just peachy again. Even though my better half insist on rest and healing.

Feeling just peachy.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Feeling just peachy.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I had a co-pilot on my first drive out, just in case I had any issues, but the drive went fine. So after a good lunch and Snowball, I took the opportunity to get my better half a dozen roses to surprise her with when she got home from work. It’s the least I can do for a wonderful partner in life.

Still can't touch the beauty of my wife.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Still can’t touch the beauty of my wife.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Like I said we went to lunch:

Howard County FoodBare Bones Bar and Grill

My daughter kindly came over to go to lunch with me and run a few errands.  I suggested Bare Bones in St Johns shopping center. Close by and always pretty good quality food and service. And it was a wonderful lunch. I had the Rockfish Fingers with corn fritters and coleslaw. Melissa had the crab pretzel and corn fritters also, and both meals were great. I like their menu because it always offers a good variety. The shrimp salad sandwiches are always spiced to my liking. The cream of crab soup is another one of my favorites.  My wife has always been a fan of the Bare Bones Special Salad. I’ve only tried the BB BBQ burger and Chili Burgers but both were great. Also the BBQ Pork and NY Strip steak sandwiches were tops.

The salmon, crab cakes and ribs have passed before me many times. But I just realized I’ve never tried a steak here. Well, we will have to make sure that it taken care of this year. And I already see the one I want. The Brewmiester Steak. Guess I’ll have to take the family next time to have my Son and Son in-law do a beer sampling/review. I’ve always enjoyed taking our parents and kids there so it covers the range of needs. And I’m guessing everyone knows about the bar side because that place always seems to be hoping whenever we go in.

Random thoughts for Wednesday July 8th, 2015

  • It seems like every commercial during the day is trying to take advantage of some older person for final arrangements or some kind of medical coverage. For middle-aged people we have the accident chasers or medical malpractice. And for the youth the promise of a great job through this or that online school.
  • It is better to be able to appreciate things in life, than have adversity set you back to make sure you have the proper perspective and respect for everything.
  • It was nice to pick up my camera again to FOCUS on an image instead of the pain and recovery issues. Even those will be there a while. I now have the ability and desire to shoot again.
  • I’m writing again. YES – lets see if I can sustain it again.


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Another day, another chance

Well my doctors at UMMC have given me another day and another chance to appreciate life.  Just made it home on Monday and starting to recover from my second cancer operation. And while its easy to focus on the pain and ask the question why me again, I find myself relaxed and thinking how fortunate I am to have such great friends, a very loving family and talented doctors that hopefully have made me cancer free for the second time. At least that is the hope, I’ll know more next week.

Barn frame from 1970 off Gorman road from what scribbling I had on the slide.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Barn frame from 1970 off Gorman road from what scribbling I had on the slide.
Photo by Mike Hartley

It has reminded me of lots of feelings that I had when diagnosed the first time with cancer over 6 years ago. It was a wake up call that I only paid partial attention to. And by that I mean I started to change and focus on the important things of life but as time went along and the years passed, I lost the focus that I had and failed to follow through with some thoughts about changing my life in a number of ways.

So I’ve been given another chance to do the right thing. Lets see if I can follow through this time. I’d like to first complete the book I started to write my children about 5 years ago. Next is taking better care of my body and mind. Some of the material things I thought about back then don’t seem to be important now. But goals like becoming a writer, artist and photographer are still there and I hope to use this forum to really get moving on those.

I did work a lot on becoming a better father and husband each day and I need to continue that and even increase that effort. Because becoming better at those each day is a great goal that needs work every day.

Oh, and if this rant doesn’t make sense, blame it on the oxycodone pain killers. They let my editor and proofreader go early.


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Manic Monday

Sometimes my mind feels like these wild onions on Mondays. But I never know which one I will get. The one in focus and electric in the foreground or the unfocused and fuzzy one in the background. Actually cancer gives you a bit of both each day. It helps you sort out what is important in life and focus on those things. But at the same time it defused everything else. Time becomes kind of twisted. You have trouble focusing on the task at hand. Sleep becomes erratic. The mind is like an overtaxed race engine running at peak rpm in a race that doesn’t end until everyone collapses in exhaustion.

A wild onion and his friends. Photo by Mike Hartley

A wild onion and his friends.
Photo by Mike Hartley

The thing that I have noticed in this round of cancer is that I find it affecting my patience more. I used to try to find a middle ground in situations but now I find myself standing at the extremes at times. And I don’t care to be there because I don’t consider myself indifferent or aggressive.

And while I couldn’t be more impressed with the state of medical technology/knowledge/experience and all the treatments that are offered, I have learned that each one of us is like our own individual medical library or more precise “Experiment”. For each of us are so unique and the possibility of infinite variables even in the “known” areas is staggering.

I marvel at the skill and knowledge and constant progression a medical career takes. It makes me think of the dedication it takes to keep treating each patient as an individual and not as a number on an assembly line.

But what I marvel at is there is NO certainty that anything you have done medically is completely effective or without many risk. You learn those things clearly when you go through “the process.” You know, I think that needs to go in the book as one of the top things that can happen in life. For someone to go through LIFE and skip “The Process.”

Howard County FOOD – 

We have been eating at The Canopy the last few decades and have always enjoyed it very much. Well technically we don’t eat at the Canopy because its pretty much a carry out, but you get the drift. I’ve sampled just about every menu item they offer and its all very good. Of course I’m a fan of the pit beef but I also have favorites in the pit ham, baby back ribs and beef ends in BBQ sauce. And of course the Ocean FRIES. I always order my fries “crispy.”  The coal slaw is great. Oh yeah, try the wings and potato salad.

About the only thing I haven’t had there is the crab soup. And I think I’ll remedy that next week. But if you want the cream of crab, that is only on Friday and Saturday’s.

The Canopy  Photo by Mike Hartley

The Canopy
Photo by Mike Hartley

Random thoughts for Monday June 15th.

  • Don’t ever forget to tell your family and friends how much you love them. That would be a horrible regret to have at the end if you miss the opportunity.
  • You don’t learn by walking away from problems.
  • While it’s always nice to look ahead and think about all the change and wonder in the future, I prefer to live in the here and now.
  • Now that I’ve worked 5 decades I’m left wondering what the hell these management schools are teaching people?
  • Driving is very fun. Driving to DC is not fun.

Another slide from my parents below. I believe it was dated 1953.

Lady Liberty Photo property of Threw Mikes Eyez

Lady Liberty
Photo property of Threw Mikes Eyez


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How long will the painting last

Along Rt 144 sits the old Friendly Inn. At least that is what I remember it as. And if I keep reaching back in the memory banks that mural around the top of the building was done shortly before it closed up I believe. So even when the sky isn’t painting the backdrop the mural provides the area texture. Actually this might be the next stop for the next strip mall of stores. For along Rt 40 they have just about used up all the free space, filled the old space and now have to move west along 144. At least that is what it feels like.

It seems like it has been vacant for 3-4 years now. A shame because I remember coming home this road for a number of years when I worked in Columbia. A much more peaceful drive than 29 at rush hour. Homewood to Folly Quarter to 144 and so on.

Old Friendly Inn along Rt 144 if my memory isn't failing me.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Old Friendly Inn along Rt 144 if my memory isn’t failing me.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I wonder if my children will see anything like I have in terms of the pace of change in an area for over 5 decades in Howard County. Sometimes when I’m riding by these old places I say to myself, “what could I do with that?” I come up with all kinds of grand ideas and then go to work every day. And then the next thing you know these places disappear one by one. I guess we’re all just temporary residents.

Yesterday was a special day because it reminded me of what makes me happy in life. I got to spend it with my family. It was a great day and I thank them all for their time and gifts.


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Patapsco Valley State Park – Grist Mill Trail

Took a family hike this morning. A walk for some of them but a hike for me. Took the camera along and thought I’d share a few shots from this morning. I believe I’ll start walking more each day after I feel better. For I helped move my Son yesterday before the hike this morning.


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Preakness Celebration Balloon Festival at Turf Valley

Do you think the young lady in the pink dress is asking her Dad for a teddy bear? Photo by Mike Hartley

Do you think the young lady in the pink dress is asking her Dad for a teddy bear?
Photo by Mike Hartley

Wow, I thought for sure we would see these balloons skyward Saturday morning but I guess it wasn’t meant to be. I believe they said the wind. Meaning I guess some was needed because it felt still to me. But what I know about ballooning could be summed up in one word, NOTHING. I should have gotten my behind out there the other days but work and responsibilities stepped in. But Saturday was a nice tribute to Wounded Warriors early and families were out enjoying the warm spring morning.

I do know balloons make a fairly good photo op and judging by the number of photographers out there it wasn’t getting by many in the area. I took a good number of shots but would like to edit that mess. In the mean time here is a quick video below. Wish they would have flown, it seemed like a beautiful morning. Because there is a limit to the beauty of the balloon on the ground.

 


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Columbia lakefront

Photo by Mike Hartley

Statue of the Rouse brothers. Photo by Mike Hartley

Stopped and had some lunch at Clyde’s in Columbia yesterday. Always liked Clyde’s despite the menu changes they have remained consistent. I miss a few of the old favorites but some new ones are very good also. It was a beautiful day out but just a little chilly. We took a few minutes to take in the view.

These won't be docked for long. Photo by Mike Hartley

These won’t be docked for long.
Photo by Mike Hartley

As I stood there I though back to when this lake in front of us was being made. I remember the land being cleared by these huge Cat’s and trucks up and down 29, 32 and 108 for years to come.

It was quite remarkable to grow up and watch farms and a few small towns and even smaller neighborhoods grow into what Howard County has become today.

Columbia People Tree Photo by Mike Hartley

Columbia People Tree
Photo by Mike Hartley

In a few weeks I’ll have some time to sort through some of the old photos my family and I snapped of the county before it became the juggernaut it has become. I’ll see what I can remember and share here.

Statue of James and Willard Rouse Photo by Mike Hartley

Statue of James and Willard Rouse
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m hoping the weather improves this week so I can get out and do some photography on Sunday. Then again I need foul weather pictures also so its never a bad day to photograph.

Last step, time to open your eyes. Photo by Mike Hartley

Last step, time to open your eyes.
Photo by Mike Hartley


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A walk on a cool morning in Ellicott City

After a wonderful breakfast with my wife we decided to take a walk in Ellicott City this morning. I’m so sick of this cold and cool weather. The first thing I see as I walk under the railroad bridge is ice still dripping off the stones. But we soon emerged into the warm sun and it felt great for a change of pace. And while it was not the normal end of March day, it was showing signs of springing to life again.


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Don’t be a Ketchup stain on the highway

Another fitting vanity plate.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Another fitting vanity plate.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I see in the news, a report from AAA that basically says teen distracted driving is involved in 58% of accidents they have. Well I think that is pretty good because its got to be near 100% for adults. OK, I’ll take 10% off that for booze. Using your smart phone or tablet or computer going down the road has got to be one of the worst things I’ve seen in my 4+ decades of driving.

Even police can’t do it and they are some very good drivers. I wish I had the camera on when a Montgomery county trooper I was next to and behind was weaving in and out of lanes while running something on his laptop the other day.  All of us see many instances of people either causing near misses or accidents from using the phone or texting or browsing while they THINK they are driving.

Actually as in most cases in life, statistics like the one released yesterday are meaningless when people are dying on the roads.

My first experience was (way back) when it was too expensive for companies to give everyone a cell phone which was really a brick. So they gave us beepers. My career has been one where I’ve been on-call a good bit of my life so having an electronic umbilical cord attached was done by my employers as soon as the technology was available. I never had a CB radio so about the most distracting thing in my car before that was the radio and that Hurst 4 speed.

Anyway you had a little beeper with a one line display of what might have been 15 numbers max. Just that little task of looking at that number while going down the road was enough to distract me I learned. Of course I then had to look for a pay phone to call back within 5 minutes and sometimes turn around and head back to work if I was on my way home or in the middle of any other activity. Can you believe they had pay phones at one time?

But I believe its more than just the act of looking at the device. Its the concentration that is taken away. I know that I can’t talk to work going down the road and troubleshoot a serious issue without complete concentration. And driving at the same time would be like putting a car on autopilot without an autopilot. Very stupid. And you know what, that is why I don’t believe that Hands Free really makes a substantial improvement.

And before you pass judgment on me as an inept nerd who can only do one thing at a time. I’m very good at multitasking. And I can and sadly say I have certainly mixed these activities in the past but I’ve been very good for a long time now and concentrate on driving only. Now I know some might say there is a lot of difference between saying hello honey, I’m 5 minutes from home and I’ll see you then in 10 seconds time vs. having an hour conversation going down the road. And that difference is that your chances of having someone step out in front of you or brake sharply are greatly reduced but what if your number comes up in those 10 seconds and your distracted?

All I know is a lot more people will be maimed and killed before we take action as a society change this behavior. And that is very bad. It’s leading to road rage and more unsafe driving. Its going to cost us all more for insurance. Its going to destroy lives. Driving is tough enough without distractions.

I’m always amazed at how many cars in this county (Howard County Maryland) have the bumper stickers that reads “Choose Civility”. Kind of ironic in a way. While out of our cars we would never think of killing someone, but while in our cars, we don’t give it a second thought.

I was waiting to get a haircut at Sal’s today and saw two things that made me sad. I watched a Mom who brought her two young sons in for a haircut pretty much have her attention in her smart phone. I saw the kids looking over at her, but her face down with the exception of telling Mike how short to cut her son’s hair. For I cherish the time I remember going for a haircut with my son and not doing anything else but watching and smiling.

Then I saw another Mother walking out of one of the stores through the lot with her young son with the phone in her ear. And she clearly wasn’t watching her child in a parking lot, especially a busy one like Village Green. Not that he did anything wrong but you could tell he could take a few wrong steps easily and she wouldn’t have noticed at all. Not that my attention with my own children has been the greatest at all times or that I’m slamming Mothers here today, Men are equally guilt I’m guessing.

And to top it off the ride home provided the weaving driver texting or playing a game but had that smart phone rocking along with their car. And yet another one face down with a green light. I did my standard, I counted to 3 and then hit the horn lightly to wake up the individual but not piss them off (that is a very fine line with some people). By the way I used to count to 5 but discovered that was just another way to waste 2 seconds because it didn’t matter to the person in front of me looking at the weather or stocks or news or blog or texting their girlfriend/boyfriend that the light was green.

All I know is I talk to my children about it. I try to not use the phone or apps or anything while I’m driving at all. And now I’ve written my first manifesto on the subject of technology and driving. There is a time and a place for those tools. Please make that choice wisely.

Who knows, I’ve been looking at those GoPro cameras and being I do a fair amount of traveling on some of the worst roads in the area, I might have to put some of the more entertaining drivers up here.

 

 


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Snow shovels, back in the shed and Robins out.

 

Yep, its changing and I like it. Despite the cool day today and Tuesday ahead, I’m not the only one feeling like stretching my wings.

On my front dogwood tree. Photo by Mike Hartley

On my front dogwood tree.
Photo by Mike Hartley

And now that the shovels are in the shed.

Snow shovels away for the season. Photo by Mike Hartley

Snow shovels away for the season.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Won’t be long now for the Snowball stand in Woodstock to be opening. Can’t wait for my first large cherry snowball of the season.  It will certainly wash away the dog days of winter that covered the building.

Can't wait till the real snowballs are dished out. Photo by Mike Hartley

Can’t wait till the real snowballs are dished out.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Found these 3 low res images on an old system but couldn’t find originals. I’m so disorganized. Found these old snow shot buried in an old website I had.

Old carriage that used to be by the Woodstock Inn. Photo by Mike Hartley

Old carriage that used to be by the Woodstock Inn.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Along Route 99 before Waverly fully invaded the Woods.  What a pleasant stretch of road before that development came. Now it’s almost a daily event where someone will pull out in front of you from a dead stop while you’re doing 50mph which is the speed limit. By the way, when I took the shot below I didn’t realize my car lights parked on the other side by the post office were illuminating the speed limit sign so well.

There is no speed limit on Nature. Photo by Mike Hartley

There is no speed limit on Nature.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Oh, and one last thing. In honor of National Puppy Day I post the following pic of my Son and future Daughter in-law’s puppy.

My granddog Photo by Mike Hartley

My granddog
Photo by Mike Hartley


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Is it over?

Just looked at the Weather channel site and was looking for the first day of spring weather. And what do I see but a snow rain mix predicted with maybe 1-3″ in our area. Tell me it isn’t so. I’ve left 3 full days for them to revise the forecast and remove that snow and make it rain. Speaking of the Weather Channel on TV. It’s no longer on Fios so my goal of growing very old and watching that and calling my kids to tell them about a storm in some part of the world will have to be revised.

No Mas Photo by Mike Hartley

No Mas
Photo by Mike Hartley

Not sure which year I took the two below shots. All I know is I don’t want to see this look for some time. I think I took both with that old Kodak D50 camera.

Looking down St Paul Street. Photo by Mike Hartley

Looking down St Paul Street.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Snow on Main St. Photo by Mike Hartley

Snow on Main St.
Photo by Mike Hartley

 

 


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Ellicott City along Main Street

I love how they sat things out in the summertime at A Journey from Junk. Can’t wait to get back there in the coming weekends and see this town come to life again.

Old shot along Main Street in Ellicott City Photo by Mike Hartley

Old shot along Main Street in Ellicott City
Photo by Mike Hartley

Some more old shots from an early digital camera (640x480K) that I can’t find the originals of so these are pretty small, low res images.

Tongue Row EC Photo by Mike Hartley

Tongue Row EC
Photo by Mike Hartley

Snow at Railroad Museum  Photo by Mike Hartley

Snow at Railroad Museum
Photo by Mike Hartley

Blacksmith on Main Street Photo by Mike Hartley

Blacksmith on Main Street
Photo by Mike Hartley

Flowers in front of old Yates Market Photo by Mike Hartley

Flowers in front of old Yates Market
Photo by Mike Hartley

 

 

 


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Howard County on Friday the 13th

I got out before the clouds fully moved in but not much before that. Was nice to get out and shoot again. Even though it wasn’t the warmest of days it was still a nice one.

Shots are from along Marriotsville Road, Folly Quarter Road, Route 144 and Carol Mill Road.


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A sunny afternoon in Howard County

Took a short ride after some errands this afternoon. Would like to spend the whole day out shooting but really tired so did the best I could in an hour or two. This cold really takes the energy levels away.

Had a nice lunch at Jason’s Deli in Columbia. Was very tasty and will likely visit again. Seems to be popular with the younger crowd. Probably because of the healthy menu offerings. Fortunately for us old school types they still have Reuben’s piled high with corned beef or pastrami or both I believe. And my favorite beverage (Cokes) and free ice cream. Soft serve variety. What’s not to like. Friendly and good service. Pretty clean and I think the salad bar was getting lots of action.


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Random Howard County images

Random seasons, random spots gallery.

Didn’t feel like going out on Tuesday. I have aversion to ice if it isn’t in a drink or cooler. And that nonsense on Wednesday (rain and fog) looks so unappealing that I’ve again kept to the dryness and warmth of the home. But today I’m going to venture out for what is hopefully our last snow storm of the season and shoot the county under its new blanket of snow.

 

Maybe I’ll take the old SUV just in case anyone wants to play bumper cars. Then again its just sleeting out so far so with a snowflake or two thrown in just to tease us.

 


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Howard County Cold

Saw another photographer discuss how he was trying to embrace the season of winter. I believe he was also commenting on the unique opportunities to get once in a lifetime events like a good portion of the bay frozen over. It’s really true, winter with snow and ice and cold afford some wonderful images.

So I’m going to try to get with the program myself, even though it’s the last day of Feb 2015. Then again we all may be saved by a series of 60 degree days before the first day of spring and do away with this nonsense.

Frozen pond just up from Waverly Mansion. Photo by Mike Hartley

Frozen pond just up from Waverly Mansion.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Humans are the only ones grousing about the cold this year. Wildlife looks very uncomfortable.

How am I supposed to fish under there? Photo by Mike Hartley

How am I supposed to fish under there?
Photo by Mike Hartley

Everyone’s steps are covered.

Snow covered steps at St. Peters on Rogers Ave.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Snow covered steps at St. Peters on Rogers Ave.
Photo by Mike Hartley

By the way, during what decade did people, (kids) stop skating on this lake. We were discussing it back when we were kids there would be dozens if not hundreds of people out there in winter. Hockey games broke out if my memory was correct.

Seems like spring is a long way off instead of the 21 days it is from this shot.  Photo by Mike Hartley

Seems like spring is a long way off instead of the 21 days it is from this shot.
Photo by Mike Hartley

 


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A better morning than yesterday in Howard County

Could this sign be a bit premature, or it a sign winter may actually end sometime? It has been up for a while now, but each day I stop by it the sun has been out. So yesterday in the snow (again) I figured it was the fitting time for this shot.

Summer, what summer? Photo by Mike Hartley

Summer, what summer?
Photo by Mike Hartley

At least this morning were not having to share the streets with Plows.

Snowplow along Rt 99 Photo by Mike Hartley

Snowplow along Rt 99
Photo by Mike Hartley

Anyone up for some ice fishing?

Snow covered boats along Scott's Cove. Photo by Mike Hartley

Snow covered boats along Scott’s Cove.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I’m really on the fence about this winter.

All I want to see is beach towels over my pool fence, Not snow. Photo by Mike Hartley

All I want to see is beach towels over my pool fence, Not snow.
Photo by Mike Hartley

So while this death grip of winter that we seem to be caught in. I’ll leave an image that evokes some warmer thoughts.

Come on sunshine. Photo by Mike Hartley

Come on sunshine.
Photo by Mike Hartley

Life gets busy for me sometimes. Actually any day where only one job is on the plate for the day is a good day. Those days where you have two to three major time commitments (jobs) are brutal. So I apologize for my few absences this week and I’ll try to make up for it this weekend.


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Howard County – from soil to stars

Went out for a ride today with my better half and took a few shots. Wasn’t please with much of it besides the contrast of these two shots which I’ll call from soil to the stars. This is our Howard County.

Farm along Route 216.

Coming up Hall Shop road towards Rt 216 Photo by Mike Hartley

Coming up Hall Shop road towards Rt 216
Photo by Mike Hartley

Our big neighbor, John Hopkins Applied Physics Lab.

I believe these guys may be one of the counties largest employers.  Photo by Mike Hartley

I believe these guys may be one of the counties largest employers.
Photo by Mike Hartley

I was wrong in my photo caption. They are the largest employer in the county if you can believe these stats. Funny, I grew up here before Columbia was an idea in Jim Rouse’s noggin and this place was already a fixture in the county from 1954. We used to walk across Rt 29 (you could do it back then) which was only 1 lane in each direction from Hammond Village to the Southern States store on the corner for a soda. This shop also overlooked (well up the ridge a bit) the APL campus at that time which was impressive. What it has grown to today is amazing. I have some friends and neighbors who work there and they seem to love it. If I had any common sense I’d apply and skip that long commute I do to DC each day.