The lure of blog stats

6 07 2008

Yesterday my blog reached a milestone of 20,000 hits!

I embarked on this exciting journey in mid-August, 2007. That month finished with 237 hits. I have posted 242 entries, contained within 26 categories. To date, 297 visitors have generously left comments, and for that I am most grateful. I could never have imagined how exciting having an audience for my work would be, nor how many interesting people would cross my path. This journey has introduced me to some really talented photographers, artists, craftsmen, writers, and just plain interesting folks. I’ve corresponded with people throughout the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, England…and some others I know I’m forgetting! I am constantly amazed by the honesty, passion, compassion, observations, and sheer talent out there. I come away so inspired when I frequent my favorite bloggers.

I have always made observations on a number of subjects; having a blog now means I can share that with like-minded readers and I have yet another creative outlet for my work and my thoughts. Friends now joke that everything they do with me could end up on a blog! And, to be honest, that’s not too far from the truth. I carry at least a small point-n-shoot with me at all times, so they know to be photo-ready when I’m nearby. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard statements such as: “Oh, no. You just know she’s going to blog about this, don’t you?” and “Watch out…you’re going to end up on her blog tonight!” While I’ve always thought I have a rather interesting life, having a blog to feed has compelled me to make it even more eventful.

The more I learned about the blog world, the more fascinating it became. Like most avid bloggers, I’ve been lured by the stats on my blog. They seem to be barometers of what viewers are looking for and tell me things like where they’ve come from, what keywords they used to find me, and even what links they’ve clicked from my site. With every photograph I shoot, I feel compelled to research the subject for my audience as well as to satisfy my own curiosity. I am constantly learning about a multitude of subjects and am so energized by this process. This newfound creative outlet urges me to keep observing…keep my eyes and (good) ears open…keep my camera on hand…participate in more adventures…research the names and origins of things.

From August 2007 (when I started blogging) to the end of that year, hits went from a low of 237-632 hits per month, then jumped to 1,241 in January 2008. It climbed sharply up to my 4,477 all-time high in May. My busiest day was Wednesday, April 30, 2008, with 346 hits. That was the day that I posted my photo session with Abbie Cranmer. (See “fourth place posting” below).

Just as I suspected, there are a lot of crafty gardeners out there who want to make concrete leaf castings. This recent posting on my concrete creations has attracted 911 visits since I posted it on May 29, coming into first place.

My top visited posting is Crafty room divider screen, with 734 views to date. Apparently there are a lot of people wanting to divide rooms out there and they don’t want something run-of-the-mill to accomplish that task. I even had a company that manufactures space and cubicle dividers comment on what a novel approach it was to dividers. Hey, mister! I want royalties if you copy it! I made this screen as a gift for Michael’s sister Nancy and never shared the photo (or the instructions) until I was hunting for interesting things to blog about. Who knew it would become such a hit?

The third place posting is the Color magic rose—with 686 views to date. I photographed this beauty at the gardens of Filoli in California last fall.

Coming in at fourth place was Spotlight on Abbie, with 504 views to date. I had the pleasure of photographing Abbie Cranmer for her feature article in the May/June 2008 Hearing Loss Magazine. Abbie has a lot of friends in blogland and cyberspace! Check out her blog, Chronicles of a Bionic Woman. You’ll enjoy it even if you don’t have a hearing loss. Her recent recap of losing her car keys and hunting for them at the local landfill is hilarious. Read about her misadventure here.

In fifth place, with 408 hits, is my entry about the Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth. Apparently there are lots of sightings around the country these days and people are curious about this elusive critter.

And they’re just as curious about this blogger. My About page has 382 hits to date, making it the 6th most visited post on my site.

And in seventh place with 260 hits, Abbie Cranmer comes back into the spotlight with a posting of the results of our photo session for the magazine, including glamour shots I did for her in my posting titled Bionic Woman = Cover Girl.

And I assume the reason my posting Gigglebean with parrot and sugar glider comes in at 8th place with 240 hits, is because people are enamored with sugar gliders and want to learn more about them. FYI: Gigglebean is my nickname for my niece, Lauren. It seemed appropriate to call her that when she was four years old (when she was all giggles); it seems a bit odd to call her that at 24 (how in the world did she get that old so fast?)

Moving into 9th place is my posting on Mina Lobata (Spanish flag) with 207 hits. This is such a beautiful annual vine and I’m growing two of them again this year. Right now I must have about 40 blooms on one of the plants!

In 10th place, with 168 hits, is my posting entitled, Just how many hats does one gal need, which chronicles my obsession with crocheting hats (and my inability to read a crochet pattern) during the winter.

And the last triple-digit viewed postings are…

…a recap of a trip to San Francisco with my friends Sue and Gina last August. Napa, Sonoma, and Bodega Bay highlights a road trip Sue and I took to the wine country and the California coast (with 161 hits);

…a little green bug I photographed on an oak leaf hydrangea flower at River Farm in Alexandria, Virginia—headquarters for the American Horticultural Society (with 151 hits);

Then on to craft project #823—an easy to make garden art project using tiny terracotta pots, colorful acrylic paint, rusty wire, and shiny jewels (coming in at 133 hits);

Hungry baby Robins—a posting about a nest of baby Robins in the crabapple tree outside our kitchen windows (coming in at 125 hits); and finally…

My lushest garden ever—(coming in at 104 hits)—where I showcase one of our best gardening seasons ever, in both the front and backyard gardens of our townhouse.

I’m so fascinated about the search engine terms—the terms people used to find my blog. Take a gander at some of the more unusual search words readers typed in below. These subsequently lead them to my blog (some in an obviously round-about way). FYI: The typos are not mine. I just call ’em as I see ’em!

eastern tent caterpillar grows into butt (see a doctor about this..and quick!)
Does hummingbir have the legs?
(if not, those would be some hard belly landings)
pretty all different color tall pictures
(tall pictures?)
little green bug with exclamtion point o
(!)
dyer
(simple and to the point!)
nymph blog
(hmmmm….)
feeder rat poem
(feeder rats—now that’s fodder for poetry!)
sierra black booty
(I can only imagine)
just how many hats, cindy dyer
(more than one person can wear)
the cindy flower
(awww, you shouldn’t have)
tissues in crochet hats
(egads, please don’t)
misuse of thankfully
(leads them to a blog posting by my father, which he is happy about)
knees together girl
(this made me laugh out loud)
cindy dyer free dog
(?)
bodega bay goat rock sea gulls star fish
(just throw every word out there and see what you get!)
spainis wormman
(say what?)
long pet fish
(yes, I happen to have one of those)
hetch hetchy aqueduct
(yes, I’ve actually blogged about it)
spider party designs (a party for spiders? WWMD—what would Martha do?)
crocheted book worms
(now that’s something I haven’t tried making!)

And a special thank you to the repeat referrers who have put me on their blogroll and frequently send guests my way:

www.floridabackyard.org
www.my2008blog.wordpress.com
www.contradica.blogspot.com
www.jimspoliticalthoughts.blogspot.com
www.stereophonicbionic.blogspot.com
www.creativejoys.wordpress.com
www.jayhenley.com
www.outerchat.com
www.penick.net/digging
www.gottagarden.blogspot.com/
www.ci4me2007.wordpress.com
www.mommymirandamusings.blogspot.com
www.phillipoliver.blogspot.com
www.eatingindallas.wordpress.com
www.rosesingardens.blogspot.com/





Birds of a feather…

6 07 2008

This afternoon, after lunch at Austin Grill, Regina, Jeff, Michael, and Nancy (Michael’s sister) and I went to check out the Hidden Pond Nature Center just down the road from the restaurant. Jeff had noticed the sign for it some time ago and wanted to check it out. Hidden Pond encompasses 25 acres, and is a little gem of a place with a peaceful duckweed covered pond and lots of turtles, dragonflies, frogs, snakes, rabbits, and birds. We saw every one of these critters during our visit. Regina discovered the snake (I walked right past it and it was less than two feet away from me!) and a giant bullfrog. We spent at least 45 minutes in the visitor’s center, watching various birds land on the bird feeders just outside the 2-story building. The nature center staff members were very helpful and even offered me a chair and opened the window near the feeders so I could have an unobstructed view while shooting. They said visitors rarely stay as long as we did to watch the birds, so they were quite helpful. I was able to get some nice shots of a variety of birds. It is so close by that we’ve vowed to go back again soon. Below: Mourning dove, Tufted Titmouse, Black-capped Chickadee, female Cardinal, Northern House Wren, female House Finch (thanks, Regina!), male Cardinal, American Goldfinch, and a White-breasted Nuthatch. (If you are an avid birder and I have identified any of these incorrectly, please enlighten me!).

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Snake doctors

4 07 2008

My Dad posted this comment on dragonflies and since viewers don’t always read the comments, I thought I’d share his in a posting:

I hope y’all are ready for this — when I was a little feller in rural Alabama (eons ago), we didn’t call them dragonflies — they were “snake doctors.” In my part of the state (west central), little boys were always barefoot (except in the dead of winter). We moved very carefully when we saw a snake doctor, believing that somewhere near, an ailing snake lay in wait for the doctor, but willing to bite anything else that moved). I don’t recall anyone saying in what manner the insects administered to such sickly serpents. We didn’t question such facts back then — we just accepted them (come to think of it, I haven’t changed that much).

I have completely exhausted my store of superlatives for your photos so I’ll just say, “Keep ‘em coming.” And as always (in the interest of full disclosure), I must stress that although I am your father, my opinions are based on the product and not on family ties.

A bit of Alabama etymology: Y’all — the plural for y’all (you all) is “you’ins” (accent on the first syllable), sometimes pronounced “y’erns” (pronounced with only one syllable).





While we’re on the subject of dragonflies…

1 07 2008

I photographed these two Blue Dasher dragonflies in natural light without fill flash. You’ll get your best shots (of almost any subject, but insects in particular) on an overcast day.

Check out Eric Isley’s article, Dragonfly Photography 101, for great tips on capturing these beautiful insects, as well as David Westover’s (very detailed!) article on How to Photograph Dragonflies with Flash.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





I’ll give you a daisy a day, dear…

1 07 2008

Every time I see a daisy in bloom, the song “Daisy a Day” comes to me. I’ll sing it for friends but not many of them have heard it or remember it (but my sister Debbie does!). It’s so catchy and bittersweet—it stays in my head for days afterward. I first heard it when I was 13 and because I have a (completely useless) knack for remembering a vast number of song lyrics, I can sing it by heart to this day.

Jud Strunk, a popular folk singer, songwriter, and comedian, recorded this song in 1973. Although he recorded three humorous songs that also made it into the country music charts, this song was his most popular, and was one of the recordings chosen to accompany the Apollo astronauts on their missions to the moon. The song made the Top 15 in pop charts and the Top 40 on the country charts. Making his way to California, he appeared on Bewitched, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, Hee Haw and the Merv Griffin Show.

Strunk made his family home in Farmington, Maine. He ran for the Maine State Senate in 1970 and lost by only one vote. Strunk was a private pilot and suffered a heart attack while taking off in his 1941 Fairchild M62-A in October 1981, eight years after he recorded “Daisy a Day.” He was just 45 years old and left behind a wife and three sons.

In honor of the late Jud Strunk, I’m introducing you to this lovely tune. Listen to Strunk sing his song on the Johnny Carson Show. And here’s a nice presentation with photos by Ned Nickerson on the blog, www.giveyouadaisyaday.blogspot.com. Learn more about his life and career on www.judstrunk.com.

I’ll give you a daisy a day, dear.
I’ll give you a daisy a day.
I’ll love you until the rivers run still
And the four winds we know blow away.


FYI: The waterdrops were Mother Nature-placed and not from my water hose! 🙂