Weekly Photo Challenge: Creepy

Creepy to some …. nature’s circle of life to others.  A tuft of fur, bones picked clean, a dismembered leg, signs of a deer’s death but symbols of sustaining life for others.

Death on Ice
Life and Death on Frozen Lake Superior

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge.  “Creepy” is this week’s theme.  Everyone is welcome to join in the Challenge; further details on how to participate and links to others’ responses are found here.

Ciao! ~ Kat

Happy Third Anniversary (to me)!

Three years ago this week, I took the leap and hit the “publish” button for the first time.  The blog “Travel. Garden. Eat.” entered the blogosphere.  Three years of blogging = 314 posts, 21,118 visitors, and 48,048 views.

As I begin year four of my blogging journey, it is interesting to look back on posts of interest — whether yours or mine.  Some have been shared far and wide, others that I hold dear because of the memories they evoke may have stayed closer to home – it’s all good.  When one first tentatively puts that post out for public consumption, whether the effort is viewed or “liked” holds more importance, but I think over time that becomes less and less a point of attention.  Instead, this blog continues to be my creative outlet, for words and images.

Versailles on a Rainy Day
Versailles on a Rainy Day

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”

~ Anaïs Nin

The topics of traveling, gardening and eating merely serve as a base — life is rich and varied, and I think blogging often provides the opportunity to remind oneself that the little things in life are often the most rewarding.  A walk in the woods can be just as rejuvenating and eye-opening as a journey across the sea.  Our own backyards often yield just as much interest as the backyards of our neighbors far and near.

Beargrass in Glacier National Park
Beargrass in Glacier National Park

The most viewed posts over the past few years reflect that philosophy of interest near and far.  For the five months I blogged in 2012, the posts with the highest views were all in response to Weekly Photo Challenges — a great way to engage bloggers on a wide variety of topics, and  help inspire a little creative stretch from time to time!  The challenges of Big, Renewal, and Everyday Life generated the most traffic that first year.

Buona sera, Trastevere!
Buona sera, Trastevere!

In 2013, traveling and eating both were reflected in the most viewed posts:

Pre-wash rinse, courtesy of the cat

Moving on to 2014, one of the most popular posts for visitors was my visit to the Apostle Islands’ Ice Caves, “It’s Not Too Late for the Party: Day-Tripping to the Apostle Islands Ice Caves.”

Kat in the cold seat
Kat in the cold seat

And, finally, 2015 — a year not over yet, but one in which I finally returned to gardening in “Gardener’s Mecca in Minnesota: An Illustration of the ‘Why’” for the most viewed post this year-to-date.  Interestingly, one of my older posts, “Iceberg Lake Trail ~ Glacier National Park” also has been a popular post this year — it is a favorite travel memory, so always happy to revisit that one!

“A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.”

~ Ansel Adams

Iceberg Lake Trail ~ Glacier National Park
Iceberg Lake Trail ~ Glacier National Park

Thank you to all who have followed along since the first year, as well as those who have joined more recently — all 989 of you (spammers and all — I don’t flatter myself to think that I have almost 1000 engaged followers, but I am grateful and amazed by how many truly interesting and engaging bloggers and readers I have met along the way!).  For a little celebratory fun, I updated the look of the blog, and welcome any feedback you have — Font hard to read? Like the layout? Miss the old look?  All comments welcome.

lakewalk kathy corbin 2 4_22_13

Thanks for reading – blog on!

Ciao! ~ Kat

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inspiration

If you Google the definition of the word “inspiration,” the first definition that comes up is:

the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.

Even though I did not get out when it was technically still full, last night’s waning Blue Moon was inspiring, particularly when combined with another source of creative inspiration – Lake Superior. I felt compelled to load up the camera and tripod and head down to the water’s edge as the orange-pink orb crept up over the horizon of the big lake.

Waning Blue Moon over Lake Superior, 8/1/15

The higher the moon rose, working its way through wispy strands of clouds, the more intense the reflection on Lake Superior’s water became.

Waning Blue Moon over Lake Superior, 8/1/15

Moonshine as brilliant as sunshine, the water embracing its light, encouraging it to climb ever higher and then do it all over again tomorrow.

Waning Blue Moon over Lake Superior, 8/1/15

Ciao! ~ Kat

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge.  “Inspiration” is this week’s theme.  Everyone is welcome to join in the Challenge; further details on how to participate and links to others’ responses are found here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Close Up (the Family Reunion Edition)

On July 26, 2015, in a small town in Iowa, the descendants of some of the original Benton County homesteaders gathered for the 100th annual Brody Family Reunion.  One of the treasures brought to the reunion by a distant cousin was an almost 100-year old postage stamp quilt, hand-quilted by my great-great grandmother.  At any distance, the quilt is an amazing piece of handiwork.

Hand-quilted postage stamp quilt

With each closer look, one’s appreciation for the love and attention paid to this heirloom only grows.

Hand-quilted postage stamp quilt

What appears at first glance to be a precise, machine-measured covering is a collection of meticulous, individually-embroidered stitches.

Hand-quilted postage stamp quilt

Close up, one can marvel at the slightest variation from each carefully placed stitch – the thousands of tiny segments of thread, woven in and out of the fabric, through the hundreds of postage stamp-sized fabric squares.

Hand-quilted postage stamp quilt

This quilt was just one of many special mementos shared during the reunion weekend, as family members old and new became acquainted or reacquainted again.  Members gathered from all over Iowa, and traveled from as far as California, Washington, Alabama, and Utah, to name a few states.  Babies were cradled in the arms of those approaching their own century mark.  The potluck table was loaded with salads and cupcakes and pies, as the aroma of the roasted pork and ham filled the church hall.  Professions and vocations ran the gamut, as did political beliefs, spanning both ends of the spectrum.

Over 100 years, the family tree grows many branches, each still drawing strength from the original trunk.  That old wide-arching tree, just like the arms-length view of the hand-crafted quilt, have a lot in common as illustrative symbols of the family tree and relation’s ties. They remind us that just like no two branches are quite the same, and each carefully pieced quilt may have some slight variations or imperfections, we have much more in common than we even want to admit at times.

We are fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, friends and community members, wanting the best for those we care about, and feeling pain when we lose those we love. We may talk a little different, check a different box in the voting booth, spend our leisure time in different ways, but we are family.  Pull one thread, and you find it’s connected to the rest of the quilt.  Find a calico quilt block in this corner, and sure enough in an opposite corner you might find a similar pattern.  Maybe they don’t match exactly, but they coordinate closely enough to complement each other and complete the pattern that is so pleasing to the eye from afar.  If the quilter used the same fabric for each block, how dull that finished bedcover would be!  It is the diversity of pattern and contrast in color that create the fascinating beauty of the hand-pieced quilt.

Urbana Cemetery - Urbana, Iowa

I prepared a press release for local news outlets, and share it with you here to provide additional background information on the woman behind the quilt and the enduring tradition of the Brody gatherings:

Hugh and Joanna (Osborn) Brody established their homestead in Polk Township, just a couple miles south of Urbana, shortly after the Osborn family moved to the area in 1840.  Joanna Brody was the guest of honor at the annual family reunions, which were held in the Urbana area every summer beginning on August 24, 1916, with 125 family members in attendance.  On July 26, 2015, over 200 descendants of Hugh and Joanna Brody are expected to gather at St. Mary’s Church in Urbana for the 100th Annual Brody Family Reunion. 

The September 6, 1921 edition of The Vinton Eagle published Joanna Brody’s obituary, “Benton’s Oldest Settler is Dead.” She had lived 78 of the last 81 years on the same homesteaded farm, before coming to her final resting place in Kisling Cemetery.  After coming by wagon from Indiana, the Osborn family landed in Center Point.  Hugh Brody married Joanna Osborn in 1843, and they had 11 children.  At the time of Joanna’s death in 1921, she was reported to leave 50 grandchildren, 90 great-grandchildren, and 19 great-great-grandchildren.

Hugh and Joanna Brody and family
Hugh and Joanna Brody and adult children, with my great-great grandmother, Rebecca Jane Brody, sitting at the far right of the front row.
Brody kith and kin from all over the country are again returning to the area, filling the Urbana Inn & Suites for the weekend to reconnect (or to connect for the first time!) and share family history stories, photos and other memorabilia.  A new page will be added to the reunion record book that was purchased in 1917, recording minutes from the business meeting at the reunion, and continuing the tradition of documenting family births, deaths, marriages, as well as special program features of this year’s get-together. 

1939 Brody family reunion
Brody Family Reunion, ca. 1939
The words from that first reunion in 1916 ring as true today as they did 100 years ago, from the “Address of Welcome” delivered by Reverend David Shepherd, son-in-law of matriarch Joanna Brody: 

“Man is a social being and it is meet and proper that there by family reunions of all family relatives from time to time, which has been the case with well-ordered families for ages past and will continue to be as long as time shall remain.  These reunions are calculated to draw the relatives closer together, though each family are doing for themselves. By these reunions we become more interested in one another’s welfare and thereby preserve a spirit of unity and love for the best well-being of all.”

The unity and love of the Brody family lives on. 

Ciao! ~ Kat

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge.  “Close Up” is this week’s theme.  Everyone is welcome to join in the Challenge; further details on how to participate and links to others’ responses are found here.

The Festival of San Fermín in Pamplona

Kat at travelgardeneat:

Remember my earlier re-blog regarding my son studying abroad in Spain?! I think you may enjoy his post on his recent visit to Pamplona during the Running of the Bulls at the San Fermin Festival.

Ciao! ~ Kat

Originally posted on Chuck's Trip:

Stepping cautiously through treacherous terrain–vomit and tens of thousands of broken bottles–crossing raging rivers of sangría in the streets, and making sure not to provoke the local wildlife…the Festival of San Fermín was almost like a safari.

Last weekend I took a train to Pamplona to stay there Friday and Saturday nights, leaving Sunday afternoon. I would say that the Running of the Bulls is something I don’t necessarily approve of, but at the same time something I had to see. From what I heard from other students and witnessed for myself, the run can be as dangerous as you want to make it; some people hear the first boom that indicates the bulls have been released and run straight for the arena without ever really being in harm’s way, while others try to get as close to the bulls as possible. A short jaunt in front of some pissed…

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