THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley


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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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Every town needs one

Every town needs a “Town House.” No I’m not speaking of a Townhouse development. And in most cases even though some governments and agencies might appoint others, there is usually one and or one family that somehow becomes the “Town House.” It might be the biggest home in the area. But more often than not its something special that appeals to all. Maybe a modest home with incredible landscaping or wonderous trees. Maybe it’s the one farm left with a home tucked into the middle of the property surrounded by cookie cutter neighborhoods. Maybe its the Oldest Home in the community. Maybe its the favorite family of the community. Maybe its the local firehouse hall that everyone feels at home because its the central place for community events.

Town House Photo by Mike Hartley

Town House in Sykesville MD
Photo by Mike Hartley

I guess if I were to think about it for my area (Woodstock MD) I’d have to say its two structures that sit on one property. At the corner of Woodstock Road and Old Frederick Road (Route 99). This street (Woodstock Road) is our main street and this is at its entrance on one end of it. So that has some significance to me. When I first came here, I believe it was owned by a long-standing family in the community “The Millers.” The home itself isn’t anything huge but it does sit at the top of a hill overlooking some nice rolling hills, (till a lot of that was developed). It still has some nice views to the side and behind it.

But what makes this special also is that at the front corner of the property is “The Snowball Stand” which has stood before I came here and the 30 years since. The property and stand are owned and operated by the Hill family now. It’s a place where you might see your neighbor more than at home when the stand is open. There is a gazebos in the yard that people sit and gather round or just sit in their cars for the first half of the snowball.

It used to have just a stop sign at the corner but civilization caught up with us out here and now we have a traffic light because we have traffic. Well traffic is all relative. As you can see early on a Saturday morning its lightweight.

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

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

Then again, I’m sure some might want to call the Woodstock Inn at the other end of town the Town House. I’m flexible, I never said there couldn’t be two.


I always knew there was something I didn’t like about Twitter. Which makes me glad I never participated in it.

I’m going to miss driving my car. I might take this opportunity of having shoulder surgery to learn to shoot with one hand better.

I think I’ll try to  teach myself some studio photography over the next month.

Please forgive me if I miss a day or two starting this week.


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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