The images I share here come from my heart. They are not to be reproduced without my express written permission.

A word-ful "wordless" Wednesday on Tuesday: Images from the Chinese Lantern Festival

 The Chinese Lantern Festival has been celebrated for nearly 2000 years and occurs on the final day of the New Year celebration.

The legend behind the festival is interesting. Some villagers killed a beautiful crane which flew down from heaven, angering the Jade Emperor. In response, he planned to destroy the village by fire. His daughter warned the villagers, who hung red lanterns around their homes, set bonfires in the streets, and exploded firecrackers. This gave the appearance of a village ablaze when viewed from heaven. The Jade Emperor, satisfied, decided not to burn down the village.

The lanterns you see here are created by hand on silk fabric which is stretched over steel frames and lit with hundreds of LED lights.


The dragon was 200 feet long, 21 feet high, and weighed in at 18,000 pounds.

The dragon squirted streams of water rather than flame.

Look at the detail on the fish!

Very "zen".

These jellyfish photos were taken at the North Carolina Aquarium in Fort Fisher. I could watch them for hours!

Seasonal fun at Duke Homestead in Durham NC

The Duke Homestead was built about 1852 by Washington Duke, on a farm that was about 300 acres in size when the American Civil War broke out. During the war, the property was, like many others, looted by Union Army. With little left beyond a small supply of tobacco, the family shifted from tobacco farming to tobacco processing, introducing cigarettes in 1881 to compete with loose-leaf tobacco. This property is where the Dukes did their early tobacco processing, eventually moving into downtown Durham in 1874. The Duke business was incorporated as the American Tobacco Company in 1890, and was the largest tobacco company in the world until an antitrust suit broke it up in 1911. In 1931, the farm was purchased by Duke University, and in 1966, the Duke Homestead was designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service.

A few of the original buildings still stand, and although visitors are welcomed year-round, there are special events during the Halloween and Christmas season. On Friday, the Halloween event took place. Votive lights lit paths to go from one activity to another. There was a "medicine man" offering elixers, demonstrations of turnip carving (a precursor to the Jack-O-Lantern), crafts for the kids, a fortune teller, hot cider, and kettle corn.

Take a quick step back into the 19th century!

The Duke Homestead lit with oil lamps and a lovely fireplace.

There were  crafts for the kids
My favorite part - some wonderful actors dressed in period costumes told spooky stories by candlelight.

After their tales were told, they invited the audience to share their own stories.

This little girl was brave enough to share a story of her own.

Wind and water, water and wind

Folks are struggling against the wind from Hurricane Irma, 3 states away! What a MONSTER!