Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Back home in NC





When we left Minneapolis this morning it was -9. Brrr. We loved being there, seeing our old friends and my wife's family. All great people that epitomize "Minnesota Nice." We went tubing in a beautiful snow storm and spent time in Pequot Lakes in a fantastic log cabin. The best part? Coming home. I have been and will always be a son of North Carolina. The mountains, foot hills and the beach. I love all of it. I look forward to the blooming of the Magnolia blossoms when finally open, the perfume is something that can only be described as sublimely southern. I love this place and no matter where I may be, this will always be home.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Return to Minnesota




We are off to visit some family and friends in Minnesota where not only did we meet, marry and live for sixteen years, we learned how to live in VERY cold weather. This week should be OK with highs in the low 20's and lows in the mid single digits. These are photos of our first house with Dedo on the front step. I miss the house, but not the weather. When we moved back to NC, I gleefully left the snowblower in the garage.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Winter at Brookberry


Here is a shot from about 1970 of the upper barns at Brookberry Farm. Only one of these structures still stands and serves as a community party room for the development. I'd love to say we are going to have a white Christmas, but its about 50 and cloudy. Friday we take off for Minnesota, so we will have all the cold and snow we could ask for.

Merry Merry to all. - BG

Monday, December 22, 2008

Not quite Ansel Adams part II





Hunting Island is a natural preserve off the coast of SC. The scene on the beach is rather dramatic as there has been no attempt to clean up the felled trees after the many hurricanes and tropical storms. However, for a photographer ( I don't classify myself as such) it is an amazing sight.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fort Sumter


I mentioned Fort Sumter in my blog about A Forgotten Place. I took this last summer with my son on one of our Father/Son weekends. These are the cannons that fired the first shots of the Civil War. They are a grim reminder of what once was. Regrettably some things time has not healed. This article about wrongfully convicted and then exonerated Darryl Hunt appeared in today's local paper. The interview itself is an interesting look into his life now. The comments that follow are horrendous. I would mention that a DNA test proved his innocence. While he may have been a troubled teen, nothing justifies a conviction based on the idea that he was just as good as any other to convict. I find it interesting that he does not come across as bitter or angry towards those that convicted him. Compare this to the attitudes of the authors of the comments.

HBO Special on Darryl's story.


The Darryl Hunt Project for Freedom and Justice

Winter?


So the last few days have been upwards of 60 and raining enough that I have been contemplating building an ark. Between the dogs coming in covered in red clay and subsequently covering the house in red clay and having almost lost a shoe by stepping on to my front yard to adjust the Christmas lights, I am ready for some sunshine. All that said, I thought this was a very dramatic moment between cloud cover and sun out at the Farm.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Don't you miss summer?


Heck, don't you miss being a kid in summer? I took this in Charleston SC at the waterfront park.

Not exactly Ansel Adams


This is Stone Mountain NC. The family and I went for a great day of hiking last summer and there was plenty for a photographic hack such as myself to take pictures of. Its really amazing because it is clear that the soil simply slid off the mountainside to create a large meadow below. The remaining vegetation has to find small cracks and ledges to support itself. I thought there was something rather defiant about this little tree to choose this particular perch to call home.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A forgotten place



Castle Pinckney in the Charleston Harbor. Seems odd that it was left in such disrepair as just across the harbor is Fort Sumter. Castle Pinkney was a great spot in my youth for beaching the boat with friends and having a picnic (OK mainly a beer picnic). In some ways in its current condition it's all the more interesting as you have to figure out on your own what happened here wihtout the benefit of a US Monument tour guide to give you the canned routine or point to the many signs noting what happened and where. Mostly, you can sit on the old brick walls with friends and take pictures without getting yelled at by the Park Ranger.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Nature vs. pop culture


Somebody enjoyed a cold Coke out of the old 6.5oz bottle on some hot summer day working on the farm here in NC and placed the empty bottle on a branch with the intention of coming back for it later only to forget. I am guessing maybe fifteen years ago possibly more. The tree has simply enveloped the bottle, trust me, it's not coming out.

Anyway, I have developed an interest in various things left behind either intentionally or not as subject matter for my photography. See my previous post surrounding the old sail boat. I think all of these things have a story to tell regarding how they came to be there. I will post more of these things as I find interesting subjects.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Let's end a stressful week with a stressless place.





Boca Grande, FL is probably one of my favorite places in the world. We have been going down for spring break every year since I was about 4. My 95 year old Grandmother now lives there full time. It is peaceful and quaint and the backwater and tarpon fishing are world class. Here are a few pictures of sunset on different days. After weeks like this last one, vacations like this are worth everything it takes to get there.

Unbelievable!!

Apparently if you are a huge mismanaged bank, you can show up in Washington on a Sunday night and have $85,000,000,000 by Monday morning with few strings attached. However, if you are a 100 year old automobile company whose survival impacts somewhere up to 3,000,000 people and you need a LOAN, then you can just forget about it.

Make no mistake folks, this was not about the pea on the plate of $14B, it was about breaking the union's back (UAW). So for the sake of getting a political toe hold, they are going to torpedo the industry and ALL of us are going to feel it, and it's not going to feel good people.

Lastly, you think $14B is a lot? Wait until you see how much it will cost us in bankruptcies, not just the car companies, but all the down stream businesses that supplied them as well. Oh yeah, if they file for bankruptcy there will be more debt placed on the Federal Pension Corporation that is already underfunded by $44B as result of past massive bankruptcies, airlines, etc. And the layoffs and firings? The extra burden on tax payers will be huge. And just in case you really think this is about protecting the tax payer, think again - there is this issue of $2,000,000,000,000 that they refuse to disclose who they gave it to.

Take a look at world markets today and in particular our own. Well done boys, you caused the entire world to panic today!

What would bankruptcy look like? Click here and read.

My previous post on GM.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Brookberry Farm


This is the farm that my Grandfather built. It is in the process of being developed, so in order to share the memory of what it once looked like I put together this slide show. click here

To see the development, click here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

OK I am really a shallow person





Here is my secret love. Her name is Gertie, she is a 1972 BMW 3.0 CS that is presently 23 months into a year long restoration (aka Pandora's box). I was able to visit her recently and was pleasantly surprised to find that she was back together and has had her new heart implanted (a modified 3.5 for those that care) and the new transmission. You can see what she looked like before the surgery began and shots from her recent and current status. I am excited and with any luck, she'll be home this summer.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Karen

I thought it appropriate to show off my beautiful and talented wife. Everyone should be well aware that she is better than I deserve. To see her talented side - check out what she does by hand - www.karengraydesign.com


video

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Setting up for Christmas


We never go overboard, but I love the feeling of the house once we are done. The big question is going to be what the new dogs are going to make of the items that they have access to, namely the tree and low hanging ornaments. I am sure that some will appear to be too delicious to resist.

AAAAGGGGHHHHH!!

Test of the video uploading on blogger. This was Daniel and I trying to see if I could have a massive MI at Carowinds last summer.
video

Friday, December 5, 2008

Chester


May I present Chester. We happen to live in the house that occupies his yard and range of trees. This was taken last winter during a rare snow flurry where he quite cleverly just covered himself with his tail. He has been a source of entertainment not only for me and my family, but for my dogs as well who actually think they may catch him one day. He has padded his nest with batting stolen from the cushions on our outdoor furniture, has eaten the roots of several plants that we replant every year and on hot days will sprawl out on the railing with all legs hanging off the sides. Truly he is a character.

Where does this road take you?


I love narrow country roads, gravel driveways and other pathways that lead to the unseen. Photographing them and trying to capture the curiosity they stir is an amateur hobby of mine. So, where do YOU think this road leads? This is an exercise in imagination. (for those that are familiar with this location, you are disqualified - sorry)

As GM goes, so goes the country.


I wonder how the men and women who had their hands on this farm truck when it rolled off the assembly line in 1960 would feel about GM today. Once the heart of US manufacturing and now the poster child of corporate mismanagement. They built the vehicles that supplied the expansion of our nation, the tanks that helped win WWII and the lunar rover that explored the moon. Now they are crippled and asking for help.

I actually learned how to drive in a 1972 Chevy Cheyenne pick up truck, took my first unsanctioned joy ride in my Step Father's GMC Jimmy and have fond memories of the day that my Dad replaced his crashed BMW (should be noted that the BMW was destroyed by a 1974 Lincoln Continental on the NJ Turnpike) with a Buick station wagon complete with the fake wood siding that was so popular in the early 1980's. Bailout or no bailout, it is the end of an era and a company that had a presence in all of our lives. Is that a tear on the left headlamp?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Somebody please launch me one more time.



I found this old beauty at a boat yard in Seal Cove, Maine while we launched my brother-in-law's boat. You can kind of get a vision of what she looked liked silently slipping across the cold Maine waters with a typical "from awayer" dressed in a yellow rain slicker and Top-Siders at the helm. For one month out of every year when the family escaped the confines of New York she brought them all closer together and etched sweet memories of summer vacation in each of their minds. She had been stored some forty five years ago and the owner never returned. With her bow still proudly pointed into the wind, she seems to be begging to be allowed out to settle at the bottom of the Penobscot bay instead of slowing deteriorating in a shed.

Thought for a stressed out world


A good friend/mentor of sorts has been reminding me that during these tough days that the best cure for our own worries is to help someone else with theirs or better yet, do three nice things for another person each day and don't get caught. Compared to most, I am very lucky. I like to say that I have problems in areas of my life that most will be grateful to just have areas.

You can let me know what you did for others or, I would love some simple suggestions that we can all use. Remember, the recipient cannot find out, if they do, it does not count.