From a Muddy Mess to Almost Perfection!

How a lovely couple totally greened-up their corner of the world.

Written and photographed by Dan Pendleton, Lexington, Kentucky USA


Joseph (Joe) and Dayle Vaughan live in a quiet neighborhood off Lakeshore Drive in Lexington and by the way things look now you’d never know their back yard was once a raging river when it rained.

The Vaughan’s may have thought they had made a terrible mistake buying this property, but things would, in the long run, change.

With American Water company’s property line and fencing just feet away from their back door, no one had ever given this area must attention to any sort of landscaping or upkeep, and you could tell.

A video that Joe saved on his cellphone shows a rush of water running down this small embankment and down a ‘mother nature’ created muddy pathway behind not only their property but their neighbors also.

Something had to be done, and it had to be done quickly.

Joe and Dayle had a plan.

The only way to keep this area from being nothing more than an ugly eyesore was to restore the entire area with some hard work and dedication — and that’s what they did.

But just like every plan, it’s going to take some time, talent, and treasure (money) to beautify the place.

Knowing a thing or two about plants, shrubs, and flowers, and doing a lot of research online, the Vaughan’s got busy and within month’s thing’s were looking up.

Dayle and Joe Vaughan

Joe actually tells me that they had thought at one point they were finished with gardening until they moved here and realized differently. I’m glad they did.

With Joe and Dayle working around their full-time jobs, Joe at UK and Dayle in retail at Wal-Mart, they managed to do a little here and there, and on weekends. Plus, they were also in the middle of a restoration project inside their home as well. That in itself is a completely different story.

You see, not only are they really good at gardening, they are Carpenter’s, painters, wallpaper hangers — and all around genuine people. I have been given a tour of the inside and their mastery work is amazing.

Back to the outside, they got busy laying their pathway with sand and then small rock on top to soak up the rain water.

Once this was done it was time to re-enforce the embankment with dirt, soil, mulch, and flagstones to form the walls for the flowers beds, which also helped to abate the water flow. They’ve actually built several mini-beds scattered around the area as well.

Inside and around the beds they added some perennial ground-coverings like Pachysandra Terminalis which is a free spreading, bushy evergreen foliage perennial plant useful for shrub borders or woodland garden. The oval, glossy, dark green leaves are clustered at the tips of the stems. Spikes of small white flowers are produced in early summer.

Perennial ground-covers are an indispensable part of any well-designed garden providing colorful flowers and attractive foliage. These low growing ground cover plants are great for using as an alternative lawn (especially in shaded areas), filling spaces between flagstone or pavers, or for creating a “living mulch” that cools the ground and suppresses weed growth.

For cultivation grow in any (but not very dry), organic soil. Choose a position in a partial or full shade.

Pachysandra Terminalis

In addition, they added a variety of flowers, and plants such as Impatiens, Petunias, Phlox, Marigold’s, and several others.

Stone flower bed with colorful flowers and foliage



Calendula. This dwarf pot marigold is a bushy fast-growing annual.

Dayle tells me the story of what she does with her Vinca to keep it alive during the winter months. She’ll take the Vinca from the pot and plant it in the ground because if it stays in the pot it will surely die. If you replant it in the ground the warmer ground temperatures will help it survive the harshness of the cold.

Vinca, Merry Go Round Red

Throughout the Vaughan garden decorations are also common as clay or ceramic statues adorn the landscape.

Momma raccoon and her babies keep a watchful eye on the place from the sanctity of their wire-coated cage (den).

Not really stopping just in their general area, Joe and Dayle have totally helped out the neighborhood by adding additional flower beds with flowers and plants to their surrounding neighbors, as well as, extending the stone pathway beyond their immediate area. A pleasant and thoughtful gesture that helps beautify this entire area.

Stone pathway leads behind the neighbors toward the carport area

Oh by the way, did I tell you that Joe is a master repairman? Shame on me if I didn’t. The bench shown below was found in a dumpster to which Joe rescued and brought back to life placing it at the end of the stone pathway near the carport in a wonderfully shaded area. Such a nice and peaceful retreat when something is weighing heavily on your mind.

Metal bench Joe rescued from a dumpster and restored

For additional color and decoration, they added a flower pot beside it.

With hours and hours of time spent to restore this entire area, and many hours to maintain it, the Vaughan’s have turned a once lifeless slime pit into a master of art work in just a matter of months. You won’t believe your eyes.

Master gardener Joe Vaughan
Iron pot stand from Gatlinburg, Tennessee sits near the carport

The Vaughan’s also placed or put out some Yellow Zena’s, Wild Flowers, Queen Ann’s Lace, Blue Star Creeper, Sea Oats, English Ivy, and some Drift Roses.

With so much beauty all around the area, you just have see for yourself. There’s so much here to see I couldn’t take it all in in just a few hours I was there. So, with that being said, I’ll just share the rest in a picture.

Thank you, Joe and Dayle Vaughan for taking the time and interest to give back to the community and nature something no one else has. A true blessing for all.



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Dan Pendleton

August 2017

PS: If you’re ever around Dayle get her to tell you the story of how she and Joe met.


Jessamine County Fair

Written and photographed by: Dan Pendleton
Sunday, July 16th, 2017

It was a hot July afternoon yesterday as I found myself headed to Nicholasville, Kentucky for the 2017 Jessamine County Fair held annually at the fairgrounds off Longview Drive.

These fairgrounds however, are owned by the city, and are considered actual fairgrounds, which even says so on the (Google) map, and hosts several events throughout the year — including the county fair.

Arriving around 5:00pm, I thought I was early because the website said gates opened at 6:00pm, which to my surprise, wasn’t true. There were cars arriving already and people everywhere which lead me to believe they opened earlier than I expected. No problem though. I was glad they were open already.

Finding a place to park, which wasn’t hard, I first made my way to the Fairgrounds Office to check with the grounds manager before I went off taking pictures of this and that without permission. As a photographer, it’s always a good idea to check in with the management team because you might get kicked out before you get started.

Most people are a little leery about photographers taking pictures of them, and/or their family when they aren’t familiar with you, and know what you’re doing.

After checking in with the fair manager Holly, I told her what I was there for and she gave me the green light to shoot most anything, (except for the Baby Show, who had their own photographer). Even if she said it was okay, and as darling as those little things are, I’m not going to do it — unless, of course, I was in that type of photography business.

Graciously obliging Holly’s receptiveness, I returned to the car to get the gear and proceeded back inside. After all, I’m not taking my gear inside to be denied entry and then have to tote it back to the car — not that it weighs that much anyway.

As I approached the gates going in, I ran in to this kind lady working a jewelry booth by the name of Barbara Giles of Nicholasville, Kentucky. Barbara is the sister of Ann Bayes, whom I work with on my full-time job at University of Kentucky, and is married to a friend and former shuttle bus driver himself, Glenn Giles. All the jewelry is hand crafted by the booth owner who actually has a shop in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. Barbara has helped out there as well. They have some very beautiful pieces of jewelry all handcrafted by special hands. The shop owner seems to know what she’s doing.

Barbara Giles

After chatting with Barbara for a few minutes, I made my way around to the main fairgrounds and prepared my cameras for action, and had my first encounter with a young lady working a ball toss booth where you toss a ball into a trashcan while the lid opens and closes. Not as easy as you might think. She was nice enough to let me photograph her, even with sunglasses on. Most of her prizes were fury little dolls, which I believe included the likes of Elmo and others’.

Lovely Young Carnival Attendant

I did notice that most of the Amusement attendants are Hispanics, which I have nothing against, and have had the pleasure of knowing many Hispanics through-out the years myself who have been extremely nice to me.

My next stop landed me with a Hispanic male operating the Shoot-the-Cup booth where you get one try with a rifle to shoot one of the different colored cups for your prize. However, at $5.00 a pop, that seemed a little steep to me. I watched a few people try and I didn’t see one person win. This one may be rigged.

Also supporting sunglasses is this young man operating the Shoot-the-Cup booth.

Next was the Basketball Hoop booth where, you guessed it, you toss the basketball in to the hoop (goal) to win the prize. This too, is a bit on the steep side at $5.00 per ball. Yes, you only get one toss for five bucks! Don’t know about these Amusement Park booth’s. Something may be fishy here.

Very nice young man operating the basketball hoop booth

Before leaving the basketball booth, the attendant, a nice young Hisp chatted with me and then wanted his picture taken. So, I did and told him where he could find it. He was happy.

Once I left him, I turned to discover these cute little rubber duckies bobbing in the water.

Rubber Duckies bobbing in the water

Here you pay your fee to take a chance at winning a prize duck with a hidden number on its bottom side. Each duck has a different number which determines what prize you win. Kind of cute, I guess.

But now, on to the rides.

Not having been here in many years, I didn’t know exactly what to expect as far as rides go. Not your typical sized fair, like Lions Bluegrass Fair in Lexington, Kentucky. There were many rides, but not a lot.

Below I’ve included a few photos of people having a lot of fun on a beautiful Kentucky weather afternoon.

The Scrambler
A Small Dragon Coaster
Pre-historic Creature Ride
Will it go ’round in circles?

Spending almost two hours shooting many photos was a pleasure, and most people were very receptive, but I forgot to take anything to drink and I certainly wasn’t going to pay those prices for a drink. By now though, I’m getting pretty thirsty.

But, I have to say the salted (or unsalted) pretzels sure did look tasty!

Yum, yum! Pretzel!

I can only imagine had I had one of those tempting pretzels, I would have certainly needed something to drink for sure!

One of the more popular rides for everyone of all ages, was the ‘Slide’. Making your way to the top (what looked to be about 75 feet or so), the attendant meets you to give you something like a burlap sack to put around your feet, legs and bottom side, and then gives you a shove down the slide. Away you go! That looked like lot’s of fun!

The ‘Slide’

Hesitant in leaving, I made my way out the same way I came in only to hear off in the distance an auctioneer rattling on as they typically do. I never could understand those guys (or gals), but always found it amazing how they did it. I found out they actually go to school for that sort of thing.

Anyway. After migrating towards this bellowing I came across a bunch of people with horses enclosed in this dirt arena pulling something.

Ah, I thought, and found out it was actually a team of horses pulling cement blocks inside this blue thing. Once the team of horses was hooked to this thing, boy, off they went but only for a short distance. Then, they’d make their way to the end of the arena and wait their turn to be bellowed at by the auctioneer.

Horse Pulling Contest

Kind of neat in a way, if that’s your thing – but absolutely a total waste of time to me.

Wrapping it all up, it was a sweet two hours photographing the Jessamine County Fair in Nicholasville, and if you ever have a chance to visit, please do.

Oh, by the way.  If you go near that team of horses watch out for the horse poop. I wasn’t so lucky! Had to wash my shoes when I got home!

Stay safe!


4th of July, 2017 a success!

Written and photographed by: Dan Pendleton

It wasn’t the ideal weather conditions in Lexington today with a steady to often times, gentle rain falling, but it didn’t dampen too many spirits as people came out to the Festival downtown, and then the Parade at 2:00pm.


With people from all walks of life, it was a festive and enjoyable time for all, especially the kids!


There was plenty of food…


And yes… booze! And plenty of extra’s.


I can only imagine some of those who par-took of this grainy beverage weren’t too far from the port-a-potty.


Ronald McDonald showed up for the Parade, and then later that night at UK’s Arboretum the fireworks began promptly at 10:00pm.



So, all-in-all it was a great day to be living in the Bluegrass and people seemed to really enjoy themselves. I know I did. See you next year!


“Lakeside Live” is a smash!

Written and photographed by: Dan Pendleton

Saturday, July 1, 2017

For weeks now as I traveled either down Nicholasville Road or New Circle Road (Circle 4) in Lexington, I noticed a lot of people and music coming from the plaza nearby. Interesting, I thought, and seriously wanted to investigate this event I had been hearing on the weekends for weeks now.

So on this late, but beautiful summer Saturday afternoon, I stopped by ‘The Mall at Lexington Green’ to see exactly what was up… and you know what? I found out.

The plaza (albeit one of the older ones in town), is hosting throughout the summer months (Friday, Saturday and Sundays), this event called, ‘Lakeside Live’ where you bring the family and friends and enjoy an evening of food, fun and live music. Its a really cool thing! And the best thing about it is, it’s free! The band does accept tips and they have a ‘tip cup’ right on stage.

So, with camera bag and gear in tow, I spent about two hours there enjoying the people, and the music.

Tonight’s band was a local central Kentucky band who does mostly weddings and socials called, ‘Boogie G and The Titanics’, and I’m guessing Boogie G stands for George since George Burdette seems to be the owner and lead playing a beautiful Bass guitar.

George Burdette lead singer/player for Boogie G

Other band members are, lead guitarist Dan Trisko, and drummer, Steve Lewis. Each of these guys also sing and harmonize very well together. However, George seems to sing most of the songs.

With my cameras strapped around me, off I went walking around the place snapping photos one right after another and found myself amazed at how nice the people were letting me get in their way and seemingly enjoying the fact that I was there photographing.

Some wanted me to take their picture, even.


Music from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s bellowed throughout the place, which is by the way, outdoors near a pond with a fountain and the weather, although hot and muggy, wasn’t too bad at all. Big Ass Fans has two or three fans circulating some air and I believe they help sponsor the event. I did of course, have to take shower number two afterwards.

Food (and there was plenty of that from local restaurants in the plaza), family, friends and fun makes this event very special and many of the patrons, who were to my surprise, elderly, got up and danced in a small space near the stage. These people like to party and have a good time! Of course booze helps a little bit.



Picking my way through the crowd, I found myself dancing to the beat and smiling at the people as I took their photos. I think I had as much fun as they did.

‘Boogie G’ had everyone either tapping with their hands and feet, or on the marble slab dance floor dancing.

There were people of all ages and race stretching as far as the hotel patio on the other side of the lake. Parking, however, isn’t the best and folks, including myself, parked along the curb coming around the backside of the plaza.

So all-in-all, on this late Saturday afternoon, early evening, I found out what was going on at ‘The Mall at Lexington Green’ and I gotta say its pretty neat! I did tell my wife about it and I’d like for her and I to go. Y’all come, too! I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

‘Lakeside Live’ is a smash! Enjoy!


Oh, btw. Mister Softee is there, too!

Whole Foods Market

I stopped by Whole Foods Market in the new ‘Summit at Fritz Farm’ in Lexington this afternoon, and talked to some very nice people there.

Now if you don’t know much about the place, they pride themselves in naturally grown and organic foods for a healthier living. Not a bad idea! We could all live healthier lives by the food we eat. I know I certainly could.

Fresh Grilled Corn-on-the-Cobb

While there, I talked to a very nice gentleman named, Dave, helping out in Lexington for the grand opening weekend.

Dave has been with Whole Foods Market for twenty-two years and really loves his job. His smile is genuine, and he is well suited for customer service. Dave tells me he is an assistant Team-Leader at his Columbus, Ohio store (blah, Buckeyes), where he has been his entire career with Whole Foods. Kudos, Dave. Nice job!

Dave, (on the right), laughs with a fellow employee during a happy moment.

Started in 1984, Whole Foods Market at grown to 466 stores world-wide and just recently opened this new location in Lexington. They were previously located just up the road at Lexington Green, but Dave says the store was so run down, they had to move – and soon! So they did! And now they are located in Lexington’s newest shopping plaza (center) at the southeast corner of Nicholasville Road and Man O’ War.

The land still belongs to the Fritz family, much like Hamburg belongs to (or did), the Madden family.

So next time you’re in this area, and you like a healthier choice for your food consumption, stop by Whole Foods Market and check them out. Say hello to Dave too, while you’re there.

Oh by-the-way, the company was just purchased by Amazon, but is planning to keep the Whole Foods brand alive. At least for now.


The great state of Kentucky has so much to offer from its beautiful hills of the east, to the majestic Bluegrass region in the central, followed by the flat lands of the west near the mighty Mississippi River, and the people of the 15th state of the union (est. 1792) are some of the hardest working and genuine people you’d ever want to meet.

From the coal miner of Harlan County, to the factory worker of Jessamine County, to the medical staff of  Warren County – this is you Kentucky, and the people of it.

Come join us, Jeff and Dan, as we travel across a region once inhabited by Indians to capture your story.

Truly a majestic and charming place this Kentucky, along with its people!