Sweetwater Organic Community Farm: Saturday Through My Lens

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm Today is a rainy, dreary Saturday, so I'm going to turn the clock back to last weekend for this week's Saturday Through My Lens at the Sweetwater Organic Community Farm in Tampa.   I learned about the farm from a flyer I got at the Cuban Sandwich Festival in Ybor City.  The olive lady gave it to me while she was convincing me to try her black olive salad, even though I detest black olives.  (She challenged me to try it, and I must admit it was delish!) The Sweetwater Organic Community Farm's Sunday Farmer's Market sounded like the perfect weekend outing for My Knight and me. They feature several area vendors with handmade crafts and yummy things like fresh baked bread and smoothies.  And of course there is lots of fresh organic produce.

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm fresh organic produce

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm organic green beans

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm fresh squash

 I've been making a lot of smoothies at home, incorporating different fruits and veggies.  I really like adding kale to my smoothies, so we picked up a bunch at the market.  One of the market vendors had a smoothie with kale, celery, cucumber, pineapple, honey and ginger.  It was so refreshing!  I never thought of adding celery before, but I will now.

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm fresh kale

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm Kale

In addition to the smoothies, we also tried a salt caramel popsicle (heavenly!).  We got all adventurous and tried our first nut burger, which was actually very tasty.  I've been looking for recipes to recreate one at home.

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm nut burger

The farm has members who pay an annual fee in exchange for a weekly share of fresh produce and herbs.  They also agree to volunteer a minimum number of hours on the farm so that the work is shared among the community.

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm fresh organic produce

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm

The weather was perfect for a farmer's market day.  It was bright and cheerfully sunny with a bit of a breeze.

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm

It got quite warm as the day wore on, but the majestic oak trees gave us plenty of cool shade for relaxing and listening to the live music from local bands and singers.

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm Oaks

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm

Even the sunflowers seemed to be seeking out shade to get a little break from the spring sun.

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm sunflowers

While other plants seem to be stretching with all their might to soak up as much sun as possible.

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm

Sweetwater Organic Community FarmI am so thankful for the farmers who put in all the hard work so we can have fresh healthy food.  Because Lord knows I do not have a green thumb on either hand!

Sweetwater Organic Community FarmBut all these goodies make me want to try my hand at it myself!  You should visit Sweetwater Organic Community Farm's Sunday Market before they're closed for the summer.  The Farmer's Market is open on Sundays from 12-4pm from November to May.  Maybe I'll see you there!

La Madeleine, Paris: Saturday Through My Lens

This week's Saturday Through My Lens features L'église Sainte-Marie-Madeleine, or as she is more commonly known, La Madeleine.

L'église Sainte-Marie-Madeleine; La Madeleine, Paris

This incredible cathedral was originally consecrated as a church dedicated to Mary Magdalene in 1182, but it didn't look anything like this then.  In the 831 years since the original synagogue site was seized from the Jews of Paris, there have been many designers, architects, kings, emperors, and government with a hand in the history of La Madeleine.  The building as it is today was consecrated in 1842.

La Madeleine, Paris; L'église Sainte-Marie-Madeleine

Throughout the years between, construction began, stopped, was razed, restarted, restopped, rerazed, over and over and over again, each time with a different design and many different purposes: church, temple, library, train station, ballroom.  In 1806, Napoleon decided to honor himself by building "A Temple to the Glory of the Great Army", and that is pretty much the building we see today.  The building that existed when Napoleon started construction was destroyed and rebuilt with his new design, but its massive columns were left standing.

La Madeleine, Paris; L'église Sainte-Marie-Madeleine

La Madeleine has 52 columns surrounding her body, each approximately 65 feet high.  The columns were part of the 1777 design, which was based on the Roman Pantheon.  (which, of course, Rome borrowed from the original Corinthian temples!)

La Madeleine, Paris; L'église Sainte-Marie-Madeleine

The main altar features the church's namesake, Mary Magdalene, being lifted to the heavens by angels.  The fresco on the half-dome above the altar is entitled The History of Christianity, and if you look closely, you might recognize the key figures of Christianity in the painting.  Along with Napoleon, front and center, of course!

La Madeleine's Domes; L'église Sainte-Marie-Madeleine

In addition to the altar's half-dome, there are three Renaissance-style domes in the roof.  The gilded ceilings are quite a contrast to the stone simplicity of the Paris's more well-known cathedral, Notre Dame.

L'église Sainte-Marie-Madeleine; La Madeleine

The bronze doors of La Madeleine are huge.  Like, really big.  Like, look at My Knight standing in front of them to give you an idea of how big.  That's huge.  And above the gi-normous doors is the pipe organ, which was built in 1845 and is still used for masses and concerts today.  L'église Sainte-Marie-Madeleine; La Madeleine's pipe organ

As with most temples and cathedrals, the sculptures and statues are breathtaking, and I find I can stand in front of them and get lost in the expressions and the lifelike qualities.  Not to mention the amount of talent and work that went into making them.

L'église Sainte-Marie-Madeleine

L'église Sainte-Marie-Madeleine

I don't think I'd like to be left alone here in the dark though.  My imagination might get the best of me.

L'église Sainte-Marie-Madeleine

L'église Sainte-Marie-Madeleine

There have been several famous funerals witnessed by the statues, including King Louis XVI's.  He was brought to La Madeleine after his beheading and buried beneath her unceremoniously with just a few words spoken.  (He has since been exhumed and laid to rest more formally beside Marie Antoinette.)

La Madeleine; L'église Sainte-Marie-Madeleine

Chopin's funeral was also held here, with quite the scandal it seems.  Chopin's requested Mozart's Requiem for his final (after-death) concert.  The piece required female voices, but female voices were not allowed in the church.  (Ironic, considering it was a church dedicated, built for, and named for a female figure in Christian history.)  Happy ending though.  Church leaders finally relented and hid the female singers behind a black velvet curtain.

L'église Sainte-Marie-Madeleine

L'église Sainte-Marie-Madeleine is located in the 8th Arrondissement of Paris in the Opera Quarter.  She is offiically a parish of the Archdiocese of Paris, and there are still masses, funerals, and weddings held at La Madeleine today.  I highly recommend you visit her next time you're in the City of Lights!  And if you'd like to meet some interesting people, practice your French, and help the homeless, stop by Monday-Friday during lunch hours for a simple meal served by volunteers.

Arachnophobia: Saturday Through My Lens

I know I freaked some of you out with the pics of the snake in the tub, so I want to give you fair warning and a spoiler alert in case you suffer from arachnophobia.  This week's Saturday Through My Lens features spiders and webs I encountered on my morning hike last weekend at Wekiwa Springs State Park.

arachnophobia, spider web, spider, Wekiwa River State Park

The early morning sun (well, let's be honest....it wasn't THAT early!), but anyway, the sun's rays illuminate the intricacy of the web and shine a spotlight on these leggy creatures. spiders and webs at Wekiwa River State Park; arachnophobia It is amazing how many layers they spin, all interconnected in a stunning display of lines and geometric rule-bending.

spiders and webs at Wekiwa River State Park; arachnophobia

  Continue reading "Arachnophobia: Saturday Through My Lens"

Crashing Waves: Saturday Through My Lens

UPDATE:  Evidently the snazzy slideshow feature does not work in email format unless you actually click on the title to visit the post.  So I inserted all the pictures in the normal way and republished.  Sorry about that!  In honor of summer coming to a close, this week's Saturday Through My Lens showcases the exhilaration of crashing waves. Jersey Shore crashing waves I didn't bring the camera to the beach this year in an effort to live in the moment instead of behind the lens.  (Well, I did have my iPhone camera with me at all times, but.....)  So here are a few of my favorite shots from a vacay two years ago on the Jersey Shore.

Jersey Shore crashing waves

Waves are a lot like life, I think.  Sometimes you see what's coming, and you can prepare for it and ride it out.

Jersey Shore crashing waves

Sometimes it sneaks up on you and overwhelms you, taking you places you didn't want to go.

Sometimes it sneaks up on you and overwhelms you, taking you places you didn't want to go.

Sometimes it sneaks up on you and overwhelms you, taking you places you didn't want to go.  Continue reading "Crashing Waves: Saturday Through My Lens"