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“It’s ironic, but until you can free those final monsters within the jungle of yourself, your life, your soul is up for grabs.”  Rona Barrett

Our second to last day here on this beautiful paradise found us walking through the Limahuli Botanical Gardens on the North Shore of Kauai.   These gardens are built upon an ancient Hawaiian community.  They’ve done an amazing job preserving and showcasing many of the indigenous plant species, as well as many others that were introduced over the years.  

The tour today was self guided – which meant we took four hours to go about a mile!  It’s a nice wandering trail that is a nice hike up the mountain to a beautiful vista of the ocean, and then a nice meandering path back down to the bottom.  It was completely different from the tour we took the other day at Kauai Botanical Gardens, and very well worth our effort.  We took tons and tons of photos.  

I’ll be posting a few of the photos on my other blog: Me’n My D800e.  

The weather co-operated as well . . . it was windy but didn’t rain on us once.  At least not until we arrived back at the Villa’s.

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“Life is full of beauty.  Notice it.  Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces.  Smell the rain, and feel the wind.  Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.”  Ashley Smith

It’s yet another windy, rainy day here on Kauai’s beautiful North Shore.  I feel like a stuck record!  We headed out for a tour of a local Botanical Garden.  It’s a privately run enterprise just a short distance from where we are staying in Princeville.   We took the 3 hour guided tour (highly recommended!) which included tastings of many of the local fruits, as well as a very interesting Chocolate tasting and presentation.  Despite the downpours that happened frequently during the tour – we really enjoyed ourselves and learned about the local fauna.  

My husband and I lagged behind the group most of the time as we stopped to take many photo’s of the beautiful plant life.  

I think we look a little soggy here in this shot.  Luckily, umbrella’s were provided but we still got wet!  

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“Fear less, hope more, eat less, chew more, whine less, breathe more, talk less, say more, hate less, love more, and good things will be yours.”  Swedish Proverb

We had great plans today to tour the McBride Botanical Gardens in Poipu, Kauai.  We woke up to dark, stormy skies.  It had stormed all night long with stretches of heavy rain.  We hoped that perhaps it was a bit calmer and clearer on the south part of the Island, as it so often can be.  However when we arrived at the Gardens, the tours had been closed due to wind gusts up to 50mph.  

Instead, we drove around to a few spots that we’d visited before.  

My shot for today is at the Spouting Horn.  The surf is quite high right now so the Spouting Horn was giving off a good display.  I decided to get away from the crowds at the lookout, and walked down around the end of the fence and on to the lava rocks to get this better vantage point.  

The sun even came out for a few minutes!  

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Linus: “Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere.  He’s gotta pick this one.  He’s got to.  I don’t see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one.  You can look around and there’s not a sign of hypocrisy.  Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see.” It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

My Great Nephew’s pre-school class took a visit to The Apple Barn, a local farm that has many fun and education activities for kids.  I was fortunate enough to tag along and had a blast!  One small part of the morning was a hay ride out to the Pumpkin Patch.  The kids were told that if they could pick out one pumpkin for free, but they had to be able to carry it off the field themselves.  The biggest obstacle was – so many pumpkins to choose from!  He walked around picking one up by the stem and hefting it to see how heavy, then would drop it rejecting is as too heavy.  He did this time after time after time . . . until he found this one . . . the PERFECT Pumpkin!  The look on his face is priceless!

I love moments like this . . . watching a child discover and explore and figure things out for themselves.  And I love that I get to be there to document it!

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“I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”  Henry David Thoreau 

In addition to Zucchini, we are growing Pumpkins in the garden.  We got a really nice crop of them last year (I still have some pureed pumpkin in the freezer).  This is just one of them – I think we’ll end up with four or five nice ones.  They are just starting to turn color . . . so pretty!  That is my shadow over the left side.

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“I’m queen of my own compost heap & I’m getting used to the smell.”  Ani DiFranco

The City is starting a new Waste Disposal program effective October 1st.  It involves three waste bins – one for Recyclables, one for Organic waste (compost) and one for Garbage.  Organic waste will be picked up every week, but Recyclables and Garbage will alternate weeks.  We live in the country on acreage, so we’ll not put Organic waste at the curb, as we keep a big compost pile out back.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been as diligent about walking out to the compost pile – its just been easier to dump it in the garbage.  Now that garbage is only being picked up every other week, I have to get in the habit of  “taking the walk”.  So today I hauled all the guts from the zucchini that I’ve been processing the last few days.  Interestingly enough, the city allows animal waste in the Organics bin . . . but I won’t allow that in our garden compost.  Also – the coyotes would have a feast off the compost if we put chicken bones and other animal waste out there. 

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“Vegetables are a must on a diet.  I suggest carrot cake, zuchinni bread, and pumpkin pie.”  Jim Davis

We planted zuchinni again this year . . . what were we thinking??  

I grated up and packaged 12 freezer bags (4 cups each) out of 3 large Zuchinni’s.  These guys are what’s left to deal with.  I’m going to do up several batches of zuchinni bread/muffins that will be enjoyed throughout the winter.  The grated Zuchinni will go in to soups, stews, spaghetti sauce etc . . . adding a yummy and healthy twist to my recipes.  

So I guess that’s what we were thinking!

(oh  . . . and those tomatoes are from the garden too . . . still have to figure out what to do with them!)

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“You’ve got to push yourself harder. You’ve got to start looking for pictures nobody else could take. You’ve got to take the tools you have and probe deeper.”  William Albert Allard

Well . . . today I got out and started shooting with my new Nikon D800!  Hubby and I went to a local park just around dinner time, that we haven’t been to in years.  It was fun to try out the new lenses on both the D800E and the D7000.  The D7000 is a great camera and will continue to be my go-to for portraits and kid shots.  The files are more manageable considering I take so many pictures of the little ones.  The D800E will be my workhorse for Stock and Fine Art Photography.  I’m so excited after seeing the results from the shoot today . . . some really awesome nature shots that will soon be up on my Smug Mug site.    

This was taken with the D800E, and the 70-200mm 2.8 VRII.

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“Revered for its beauty, the stunning dahlia flower comes in diverse shapes, sizes and colors. The dahlia blooms for extended periods of time, surpassing most other garden flowers, and many gardening enthusiasts refer to it as the “Queen of the Autumn Garden.” The dahlia’s allure has a far reach: it is San Francisco’s official flower, an official emblem of Mexico, and is considered in Japan to be a sign of good taste.”  Michelle Fortunado, eHow Contributor

Canby, Oregon is known as the Dahlia Capital of the World.  We were lucky enough to be in town for their annual Dahlia Festival.  I have never seen so many Dahlia’s in one place, fields and fields of them!  And so many different shapes, colors, sizes . . . absolutely amazing!    It actually became a bit overwhelming . . . we spent a couple of hours there in the morning and then went back in the early evening so I could get some pictures in the “golden light”.  

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“Earth laughs in flowers.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson
 

I picked out some dahlia tubers at the local nursery in the spring, and planted them in a nice sunny spot.  They seemed to start off slowly, but suddenly I look out and here is this massive flower on one of the plants!  It’s just gorgeous . . . I just love it when my garden surprises me like this . . . 

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