Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Weekend of Love!

Last weekend was lovely!  My college daughter came home for a visit.  It was a good relief for her and a good relief for me!  We had lots of fun together.  The first thing she did was to reconnect with her little nephew!

Flirting with a baby is a lot like flirting in general.  Rachael batted her eyes and used her wiles to attract this handsome little man!

She also knew the way to a man's heart is through really cool "Vroom, Vrooms!"

Pop Pop's Big Book of Classic Cars was just too hard to resist!

And so Auntie "Rey Ro" (also his word for Lego, so maybe she's Aunt Lego!)  became his fast friend!

She was already MY fast friend!  And she woke up early with me to go out and spent time in my Nature Spot.  I let her have my favorite rock to sit on.  And we listened to the birds calling and watched and waited for the peace that nature brings.

She got to see the Blue-winged Teal Ducks!

And the very silly Hooded Merganser!

The next day we went to the ZOO!!  I had never been to Como Zoo!  With it's huge conservatories!

I might have made her pose out front one too many times!

But we also brought Katie and Jackson!  So I had others to take pictures of!

One of the conservatories was like a tropical paradise.  Complete with tiny yellow birds...

A banana tree...

And a sloth!  That didn't move even a tiny bit.  I thought he was fake...until I saw they were feeding him real lettuce leaves.

Jackson thought the huge fish in the aquarium were really cool!

He could have watched them forever, but it was time to move on....

So he took hold of his Pop Pop's hand and off they went to find more wonders!

He giggled at the monkeys!

And was surprised by the Orangutans!


Maybe it was because we all see a reflection of ourselves in the primates!

Sometimes Jackson got to ride up high!

The giant tortoises were definitely way down low!

There were penguins!

Rachael jumped right up on the bison fence!

Fortunately, they didn't seem to care.

We saw tatty Reindeer. Trying to lose their dense winter coats!

Arctic Foxes that looked too much like our Fritz!

All the Giraffes had lofty ideas!

But the Ostriches stayed quite grounded!  With cute little fuzzy ears!

I only ever saw Zebras rear ends---because they ran and hid every single time I got the camera lens up to my eye!

We had fun saying "Kudu."  "Who do?"  "Kudu!"  And the whole "You remind me of a man...."

We stopped in the other conservatory on our way out of the zoo.  It was filled to the brim with spring flowers!

The daffodils were intoxicating!

They just smelled so very delicious!

There were even sweet little yellow ranunculus flowers!  A family favorite!

The last day of our weekend was Sunday.  While waiting to go to church in the morning, we did a fun photo shoot with this pretty little girl of mine!

Her smile is contagious!

 It was a wonderful weekend!  And I will miss this Darling Grown-up Baby Girl of Mine!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Every Day a Gift! Especially Earth Day!

I knew I would receive the gift of calm.  I knew I would receive the gift of serenity.  The woods and nature always give me that.  But I had no idea that every single day, I would find something new.  Every single day a new species of animal would come near and introduce itself to me!  I had no idea this many species could exist in one small ecosystem.  In one small backyard!!

Here are some of my newest friends!  They are beautiful and amazing!  And I feel God in their presence and existence!  What beautiful creations the earth has for us!

This tiny little bird is a Palm Warbler!  It has a beautiful yellow eyebrow and yellow and brown feathers everywhere.  And it was singing its heart out this morning!

I have found 2 other warblers in my little woods.

The Yellow-rumped Warbler.  A darling little bird with spots of yellow on his head, under his wing, and on his rump!

And then there was the Golden-winged Warbler.  Distinctive because of his Lone Ranger black eye mask!  And, of course, a golden yellow patch on those lower wings!

But a new warbler wasn't my only gift today!

I looked down at the neighbor's lakefront and saw some ducks.  When I zoomed in and captured their picture, I realized they were ducks I had never see them before!

The male has a beautiful white spot on his head.

I was able to take quite a few photos of them....

But eventually, my click, click, clicking made them nervous....

And they took flight!

I came home and had to look and look on Google to find out what kind of ducks they were.  Turns out they are called Blue-winged Teal Ducks!  Apparently, the top of their wings has a large blue spot on it.  So pretty!

This is not new, but I'm good friends with the Red-bellied Woodpeckers now.  I know their call and they make it every time they come back to their tree.

But as the leaves burst out of the branches, it's getting harder to take pictures.  It's getting harder to spot where the birds are---so far away up in the branches.  Early spring is probably going to prove to be my best photography opportunity.

It was a beautiful morning in my Nature Spot.  But I was to find one more new species when I came inside!

The Pink-tongued Teal-eyed Rachael!  Who is home from college for the weekend!  Wearing Great-aunt Emma's Earth Earrings!

Happy Earth Day!!!