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More Oregon Coast garden beauty at my kick-a** cousin’s house. She has got the growin bug. When people say you cannot grow a garden so close to the Ocean Coast sea spray, just look at these beauties and know it can be done! Near Lincoln City, Oregon just a few steps from the Pacific Ocean.

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My older cousin moved away to the mid west when she was just married. She stayed, raised a family, became a nurse, raised pure-bred horses and jumped with them, trained dogs, taught disabled youth how to ride horses AND planted gardens. Just your average mid-western woman. When she recently returned to Oregon and moved to a small community just blocks from the coast, various folks said she would not be able to make a garden in her front lawn. Just two or three growing seasons later, here are some of the results. Don’t mess with no dog-trainin and horse-ridin motha of grown kids. She can grow anything where she pleases!

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Oregon flower beauty!

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Oregon garden beauty! 

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Set along one of the many fresh rivers of Dominica, the Riverside Cafe offers food, drinks and a chance to buy into a housing scheme unlike most found on the island. If you build it must be approved by the owners, use natural products and employee local workers. When I first went there I was a little upset as they have built on a river I loved to swim in, but the women running the place told me everyone is welcome to still swim in their area, so that was a relief and I commend them for allowing people access. La Plaine, the town nearest the cafe, is the small town where I once lived in the 90s and have fond memories of walking its lanes, getting groceries from its one store and picking all the abundant fruit and veggies in my backyard garden. Dominica = Heaven!

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The beauty of a little visited Thai temple in Nong Bua Lampu in northeastern Thailand!

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Flower Show in Chiang Mai, Thailand…..I just love the floats!

All photos by Renee Irene

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Skimming on the water in a canoe through the mangroves is such an emotionally rich experience. For me, it also became a creative experience. I was mesmerized by the way the light filtered onto the dark water and the kind of creepy yet very alluring look to the forest itself. Up to the day I got to glide through the mangroves, I had no idea that a story would come up through me and have to be put on paper. A movie outline. I have written a few radio dramas but this was a visual story, influenced by a film I had watched one night in a village of the looming Independence of the Solomon Islands in 1978 and time with the people in the area. While in the canoe itself, the story just bubbled up into my head and demanded to be put on paper. These are a few of the photos I was taking those two or three days! I have refined the story and now doing research. I cannot get it out of my head. The creative process is kind of mysterious. I had been telling a few folks I had met that there was no way I could write a story set in the Solomons because I was just not there long enough to really get a feel for the place and then, bam, the story just hit me. 

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Kids again…in the US, Indonesia, Thailand and the Solomon Islands.

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Kids can be so natural in front of a camera if you wait a little while and let them play or just be themselves. It helps to be fond of children. They are one of my favorite subjects. While at home and traveling, I often prefer to photograph kids.

Sometimes they can even surprise you.

On a long trip around the islands of the Solomons, I came to a village along with local aid workers and was sitting on a porch with one or two adults and the village children rushed to sit with us, filling up the space. 

I had on Keen shoes, very strange looking  indeed, and support socks as traveling so much does do damage to veins. Maybe the children had never seen those kind of socks before and they could not get enough of them. As I sat there, they started to whisper to each other, “socksies.” In a few minutes it became a mantra - everyone saying socksies. After about 10 full minutes of this, with me trying to ignore that they were all fixated on my socks, two very brave little girls crawled under the bench to sneak a feel. I was very popular in that village along with my socks and Keen shoes! 

Throughout the islands my shoes would get all the kids’ attention. Over and over! 

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Making panorama photos is a science and an art and I am still a beginner but here are a few from Oregon, Indonesia, The Solomon Islands and Montana. One or two little mistake areas but as I said, still trying. Hope you enjoy!

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A pretty bay in Solomon Islands where rusting boats make it all the more interesting and dolphins come to play!

A pretty bay in Solomon Islands where rusting boats make it all the more interesting and dolphins come to play!

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Beauties of the Solomon Islands. 

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To me real joy is being on or in water. As I stood on the ship for days on end, going from village to village, island to island, I was living in total joy to be in these surroundings, whether sailing in good or bad weather, eating good or bad food, sleeping in good or bad places. For me, it is all JOY.

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In an Adventist village in Solomon Islands, the kids were the movers and shakers. From the moment we arrived, the young ones began to help my cohorts carry things up to their village and assist in the building for two latrines for the next two days. Most had a “basket” (Solomon language for purse or bag) and they seemed to be seriously organized in their age groups. When I asked about games, they took me by hand and proceeded to show me games they knew: games using rocks, hand clapping games, rope games, and outdoor sport games. This lasted a few hours. I not only felt welcomed but part of their day. I kept thinking about kids I know whose lives are lived mostly indoors and who think of selfish needs during their typical day, whose lives are dominated by a chair and some kind of digital toy. These village children, unlike any village I was to witness in Solomons, were making their day full outside, taking advantage of friendship and cooperation and enjoying being kids! I approve!