Banks Peninsula, South Island, New Zealand

New Zealand sheep farm
Among the things New Zealand is known for are sheep farms, rugged coastlines and spectacular scenery. This photo encompasses all three of those features.  I happened on this scene while driving on a mountain road en route from Christchurch to the town of Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula of New Zealand's South Island.  When I stopped on the roadside to take this photo, I had to wonder if the sheep appreciated this wonderful view.

Mophead Hydrangea


There are two forms of Hydrangea flower clusters: round, flat flower heads called lacecaps; and round, mounded flower heads called mopheads.  This is an example of a mophead Hydrangea.

The blossom in the photo is from a Hydrangea that flourishes in front of my house in Colorado.  It blooms all summer, and requires very little care beyond making sure it has enough water.

Portrait of a Red Dorking Hen

Red Dorking hen
Red Dorking hen at 'Plimoth Plantation' in  Massachusetts
Meet the Red Dorking -- an ancient but now-rare breed of chicken.  I photographed this good-looking individual at the Plimoth Plantation, the "living history museum" near Plymouth, Massachusetts.  The Red Dorking chicken is one of the rare breeds of animals raised there today.

Plimoth Plantation re-creates the village life of the English immigrants who arrived in Massachusetts in the 17th century and established the Plymouth Colony.  The most well-known of those colonists were the Pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower.

If you would like to learn more about this five-toed chicken breed, here is a detailed article published a few years ago by Mother Earth News:
Dorking Chickens: Heritage Poultry Breeds

Buster in the doorway

Buster the cat, by the front door
It's been quite awhile since I posted a picture of our cat, Buster.  Here he is, sitting next to the open front door, seemingly lost in thought.  Maybe he is silently reflecting on his long and active life.

Buster had his 17th birthday this past summer, but as you can see, he is in quite good shape for a senior kitty.  He is very alert and healthy, save for some arthritis.  So, he sometimes goes down the stairs one at a time first thing in the morning, and he no longer leaps and jumps -- but he will still chase a toy across the floor.

Good kitty!

Ecstasy Hibiscus Macro

Ecstasy Hibiscus macro
Ecstasy Hibiscus - photographed in Hawaii
This is a macro photo of  'Ecstasy' --  one of my favorite Hibiscus varieties.  Here are some earlier photos of the Ecstasy Hibiscus: