Thursday, December 29, 2011

city hall/pretty sky

On my way to a bank robbery this afternoon, I stopped at a yield sign longer than necessary to take this photo.

Monday, December 19, 2011

cookout for the homeless

Alaijsha Wagner, 4, take a bite of an apple at a cookout for the homeless behind the Missouri Hotel on Sunday. Volunteers provided the meal for the homeless and also distributed warm clothing, blankets, hygiene items and toys.

"Mama D" and "Whitey" eat meals of barbecued pulled pork, baked beans, potato salad and chips behind the Missouri Hotel on Sunday. Here's the full story.

Friday, December 16, 2011


Yesterday I went to Bakersville, the "pioneer village" and headquarters of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds in Mansfield, MO. It was a ghost town, except for a few employees in the seed store, rushing around picking out packets of seeds to fill orders. I had fun checking out the animals and exploring the unmanned shops. I'm looking forward to the spring, when their monthly heritage festivals start up again.

Monday, December 5, 2011

wild turkey

I ran into this guy at the nature center on Saturday. Two of them crossed the trail at the beginning of my hike.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

angel and silo

While stopped for a train near the office the other day, I thought I saw some people standing in a parking lot. When I got a little closer I realized they were statues. There were about 20 in the same style, a solider, a pregnant woman, children and horses. I only had a few minutes before the light faded and a construction worker came to lock the gate. He told me that the building they're behind is owned by MSU and he thinks the statues were on Commercial Street at some point.

Monday, November 28, 2011

lovely day for a protest

Occupy Springfield demonstrates at Drury University on Monday, November 28, 2011. The group marched from MSU to OTC to Drury to show support for students at UC Davis who were recently pepper sprayed while demonstrating. It was a very cold day, but pretty.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Henning Conservation Area

Last weekend we hiked the Homesteaders Trail at the Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area in Branson with our friends Graham and Laura from Tulsa.

Friday, October 21, 2011

harvest time

This year's garden was the best ever! We harvested everything this week, just in time for the first frost. We have more habaneros than we know what to do with (about 800), so I'm trying to figure out how to preserve them (and everything else).

A rainbow of habaneros.

Aren't these the cutest little eggplants you've ever seen?

Jamie really babied the sunflowers, which are the first thing I've ever successfully grown from seed. We planted late, but once they dry, we should have a ton of sunflower seeds.

I taught myself how to can this year! From left: tomato sauce with basil and garlic, medium salsa, and mild salsa verde.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Youth

With a group of writers and editors, I've been working on a public service journalism project aimed at improving the lives of area children. Here are some teens I met through Rare Breed Youth Services.

Michael Housley feels his baby kick in the belly of his girlfriend, Sonserae Wilder, with their 9-month-old, DeShealyn, between them at Rare Breed Youth Services on Thursday, September 1, 2011. Wilder and Housley are both 19 years old and have been on their own--homeless, couch surfing, and staying in shelters--since they were 16.

Wilder said she was miserable in foster care and has been working hard to make sure her daughter's needs are met to keep the family intact.

Victoria Stokes, 19, also grew up in the foster care system. After running away at 17, she couch surfed until she found "the Breed" and got into their transitional living program. Now she has her own apartment and takes classes at Ozarks Technical Community College.

Victoria says she is happiest at home with her cat, Simba (a female, with a boy's name, she'd like me to point out.)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

coming home

A few weeks ago (Sept. 14) I had the privilege of photographing Army reservists reuniting with their loved ones after a year in Iraq and Kuwait. I'm kind of a sap, so I teared up a couple of times.

Sgt. Ronald Farrow hugs his granddaughters, Mallory Wood, 3 (left) and Mackenzie Wood, 4.

Samantha Tubbs kisses her husband, Jakeb Tubbs. Samantha's mom made the dress for their daughter, camo with peace signs.

Pedro Benitez holds his finance, Vanessa Tucker. Those two stood like that for a long time.

Monday, September 19, 2011

big cats

I got to photograph big cats last week. The first four are from the National Tiger Sanctuary in Saddlebrook and the last one is backstage at the Fercos Brothers show in Branson.

Merlin, a lion who didn't take to show business, is now retired at the sanctuary.

Right after this photo, Midnight leapt up a growled in my face. I screamed and jumped. The black leopard was someone's pet before coming to live at the sanctuary. People be crazy.

Vincent weights 750 lbs and stands 10 feet tall.

Banshee, a cougar, was a pet too.

Tony Fercos brushes his lion, Sinbad. "I always say 'Sinbad, like the entertainer' but people still think it's Simba," said Tony Fercos.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Little Sac Woods

We hiked at Little Sac Woods last weekend and ran into about a million spiders dangling in the middle of the trail.

What a weird tree, huh?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

yesterday's harvest

I keep hearing that people's gardens aren't doing so well this year, but ours has been prolific!

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Dear Blackie,

Where did you go? The other chickens aren't talking. You were always at the bottom of the pecking order, pecked at and picked on. But so pretty. I never got the kind of picture I wanted of the iridescence of your feathers. We miss you, even if the other chickens don't.

Val and Jamie

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

in the backyard

Jamie takes a break from gardening to chat with our ninety-eight-year-old neighbor, Nick. He always has good gardening advice, and his dog, Sara, is a sweetheart, too.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

baby giraffe

I got to go to the zoo recently and photograph a 2-day-old giraffe, Stretch, Jr. At 165 pounds and six feet, four inches tall, he's the biggest baby I've ever seen.
Kamili licks her 2-day-old calf Wednesday at the Dickerson Park Zoo. This is Kamili's sixth calf, and she is more protective of him than she has been in the past, said zookeeper Tracy Campbell.

Such a big baby, yet so small.

He has to learn how to use his tongue, because it's so long, Tracy said.

Stretch, Jr. nurses awkwardly.

Awe. He's all tuckered out. Tracy told me that adult giraffes only sleep about an hour per day, and in this kind of position. Usually the babies will curl up with their heads near their haunches, but this was just a little cat nap.

Monday, July 11, 2011

more fireworks

On Saturday Jamie and I borrowed a canoe (Thanks, Geoff and Rose!) and floated the James River. We stopped in at Hootontown afterward. They were about to start a fireworks show for the Freedom of the Road Bike Rally. We had never been so close to where they were shooting them off. It was a beautiful ending to a beautiful day.