Thursday, July 29, 2010

Skywatch Friday: flying east

These are two sky views from a motorcycle trip we took to Crex Meadow Wildlife Area in Wisconsin. We had gone to see a true prairie and catch sight of water fowl and other prairie birds. Turns out the fun doesn't begin until September when migration begins. The area is a stopping point for all manner of migrating flocks--thousands of birds we're told. This trip was to scope out a portion of its 30,000 acres of brush prairie and sedge marshes and wildlife in each. Its a remarkable tribute to reclamation to its original state. That day the sun was bright and the big Midwestern sky was blue. What you can't see in the photo below is a small group of Sand Hill Cranes grazing in the man-made field.

I'll keep you posted as the Autumn arrives. In the meantime, visit Skywatch Friday for more spectacular sky views.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

B is for Beatrix and Bambi

ABC Wednesday dawns with the second letter of the alphabet which always brings to mind one of my favorite English children’s book author and illustrator Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) whose birthday is today. Happy Birthday BEA!

and I found my own special Bambi this week peeking out of the cat tails. You can peek back here.

Monday, July 26, 2010

scavenger hunt, anyone?

Be it ever so rude, a bit of neighborly snooping in yards nearby uncovered some interesting red paint chips. Visit Mary's meme Ruby Tuesday for more surprises.

Happy Monday!

In my ramblings through the wooded areas I have come across profoundly beautiful flowers that easily compete with the showy annuals I have planted. The golden jewel is called Spotted Touch-Me-Not (from the impatiens family) that I've posted before. Its always exciting to see them tucked away in the shade. Another favorite of mine is the Hedge Bindweed or Wild Morning Glory (sometimes called Old Man's Nightcap!) for its delicate shade of pink.
See more beautiful flowers, wild or otherwise, at Today's Flowers.

But make no mistake: the weeds will win; nature bats last. Robert M. Pyle

Thursday, July 22, 2010

SkyWatch Friday: peace in the valley

This flat, wide marshland is called Grass Lake and before the drought last year it was common to see it scattered with Great White Egrets or ducks. This year the water level is higher and very lush from the rains but no birds when I rode my bike here on an otherwise perfect summer morning. Mullein stalks are in the foreground with yarrow and clover. Enjoy how cleverly Mother Nature arranges the colors in her bouquets in this field in the photo below.More beautiful sky views are at Skywatch Friday. Happy viewing!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

up in arms

Today marks the beginning of the seventh round of ABC Wednesday with the letter A--be it ever so pedestrian I had a hard time actually finding the fitting A. This is a photo of me at an early age when I was called Noni living with my Grandma when her son, Calvin, my beloved Uncle, was visiting. I could count on one hand how many times over the years I've seen him, but it was love at first sight. Years later he gave me away at my wedding. There is an abundance of arms in this old photo along with some interesting body language and for me, two favorites: a blue dress and Uncle Cal.
See more A's here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

soup's on!

Behold a robust example of the latest coneflower hybrids I found living the lush life in a neighbor's yard. A far cry from the native Prairie Echinacea! This one I think must be the 'Tomato Soup' variety. Therefore, I know what I'm having for lunch--make that with a grilled cheese sandwich on the side, please. See more delicious reds at Mary's Tuesday Meme, Ruby Tuesday.
They always say time changes things,
but you actually have to change them yourself.
Andy Warhol

Sunday, July 18, 2010

'not all who wander are lost'

I've just lived through an interesting weekend of sorts. Saturday I spent the morning 'birding' with three members of the local Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas Project, who helped me learn the ropes of collecting data from the bird activity in my 'block.' These women were experts at identifying bird behavior, song, habitat, nests and were unstoppable. You see, I had been, umm, slow at gathering this data because I really didn't know how to find my block which sits several miles north of St. Paul. I listened and walked and made notations. As I was being eaten alive by a huge batch of mosquitoes in a wooded area, one flew into my eye. I've never had that experience! I couldn't get it out, and apparently slept with its remains somewhere in my eye and after some robust dousing, got it out.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we had a huge storm pass through last evening with tornadoes dangerously close to the Twin Cities, one landing just a couple of miles from me. I'm dodging flying lawn chairs and lightening to remove the hanging pots from their hooks because a pair of house finches have a nest in my geraniums. Little did I know the female was sitting on the eggs when I brought the pot indoors, at which point she abandoned the nest and spent the next hour flying around my house! Long story short, I locked up my cat, and finally successfully shooed her out. This morning when I hung the pot outside again, two more eggs were in her nest and there she sat. I couldn't resist a snapshot before she got back on.

For this week's Camera Critters, I submit the nest with these gorgeous turquoise eggs along with a shot I captured of a rather miffed blue heron forced to leave his fishing hole when I came into view. I could hear him grumbling as he flew away.
Lastly, besides silly animal tricks, I have included one of my favorite summer flowers Heavenly Blue Morning Glories. There are many more beauties to see at Today's Flowers.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

We had some weather all day yesterday with tornado watches in the north of the state and heat advisories in the Twin Cities but by the end of the day clouds like these were rolling and taking the storms with them. This was taken facing north in our apartment complex. We watched the sky go from this bright blue to pink and turquoise at dusk.
Be awed and inspired by more sky views from across our planet at Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

' I’m a guy that likes to sit in one place.'

Rest in peace you dear, sad man. . .no one will miss you more than me, Harvey!

Monday, July 12, 2010

those were the days

A couple of weeks back our town had its annual, obligatory Back to the Fifties weekend. Those of us of a certain age never seem to tire of the long lines of old cars lovingly restored, cruising around the Twin Cities for 72 hours. This blast from the past, a pristine, two-tone red & white '50's Mercury Montclair was seen in the parking lot of Perkins where we had our Saturday baconfest breakfast. Drooling over the tuck and roll upholstery, I spied this little doll, dressed in more red in the style of the era. What's not to love about red in this venue?

Here are some fetching geraniums I snapped in Hyde Park when I worked at the U of Chicago in another lifetime. Incidentally they bloomed in the same graceful neighborhood as the home of the then professor/state legislator Barack Obama.

See more reds from the past and present at Mary's meme, Ruby Tuesday.

A real patriot is the fellow who gets a parking ticket and rejoices that the system works.--Bill Vaughan

daisy chains

Sometimes life can be just a field of wild daisies. We're in high summer now with an early spring and lots of rain since June. Flowers and foliage are lush and green. Both of these photos were taken in the same lake park where I walk--the field this summer and the closeup in the same spot two years ago. Like life, too, some things never change.
Spot more beauty at Today's Flowers, a virtual flower shop for all your beauty needs.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

because I can!

Today I was looking for paper to wrap a present for a very new six year old who lives down the hall. Of course, someone had absconded with the last roll of tape and I was out of 'cute' paper. Looking through my stash of paper I hoard for collages, I found this bit of whimsy I had started last fall, but never got back to. Now I don't know if its finished or not--what do you think?

Happy weekend!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

'Mackerel skies and mares tails, soon will be time to shorten sails.'

A lot of June was rainy and bleak in Minnesota; the skies remained cloudy for days at a time. This photo captures one of those rainy days on White Bear Lake with the water the same gray as the sky. See more skies from around the globe at Skywatch Friday.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

. . .with a cherry on top

On the 4th of July I took a stroll through my neighborhood before the humidity became unbearable and on my way home I saw this tree in a neighbor's front yard fairly exploding with cherries. They were perfect, totally suitable for a magazine spread. More importantly, how have they managed to keep the deer away?!

See more wonders of nature in red at Mary's meme, Ruby Tuesday.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Welcome home!

Dave and I rode our motorcycle in the Patriot Ride in June to honor all veterans but especially the returning Iraq/Afghanistan vets and their families. This is a new fundraiser event in Minnesota and as Dave explained to me, the parents of this generation of military want to make absolutely sure that another Vietnam doesn't happen to returning veterans. Dave was called a baby killer when he was in the San Francisco airport on his return from Southeast Asia. Some vets were spit on and called other names. So it was especially heartwarming to ride with over 2000 other bikers who wanted to raise money for the families.

At the halfway point this is the sight that greeted us at the gate.
See more sky views at Skywatch Friday and enjoy the Fourth of July weekend too!