I never get tired of “the show”

February 15, 2010

 

There are lots of big lakes within driving distance of the city where we live, so ever since my parents and I moved here when I was nine years old, I have known lots of people who had lake cottages, or even lived at a lake and drove into town each day to work.  And, even though, over the years I had been a guest at lake cottages many times, I really never saw what all the fuss was about.  Sure, it was fun for an afternoon of boating and swimming, but what was so great about spending alot of time at a lake?

Then, when Hubby and I were looking for a new home after a developer had bought our farmhouse, friends who lived on this small  lake in an addition right in town, had us over for dinner.  We loved the neighborhood (which includes two other small lakes) and we were intrigued by the fact that you could actually fish, swim and have a non-motorized boat right out your back door!  So, long story short, we ended up buying the house that was for sale second door from our friends.

And now I get it.  Yes, the activities we can do on the water (mainly done when our grandchildren are here) are fun, but for me, it is the constant entertainment right outside the window that routinely thrills me.

I know that geese are frequently considered an annoyance, but I love to watch them, along with lots of  ducks and occasional swans, loons or herons thrown in!

I’ve never considered myself a big lover of wildlife, but I have to say that I never get tired of seeing what’s going on on the lake.

I have also come to realize how hard it is to take a picture of birds in flight!  I’ve never gotten “the perfect shot” I invision — even though I’ve seen a perfect one many times, but always at a time when I didn’t have camera in hand.

Whether I ever get the perfect picture or not, I never get tired of the “show”.


Another Bunny Tale …

September 10, 2009

 

Linda e-mailed me to remind me of this other bunny tale I hadn’t told.  Thank you, Linda.  (She has kept an on-line journal FOREVER, so she probably just did a search on “bunny” and came up with every one of the bunny stories I’ve ever told her.  Now, THAT is organization!)

So, here’s the story.

When our children were very little, we lived in an old house in a small town.  Our block was somewhat unusual because a hundred years before, a working canal had gone through there, and a slight indention was still evident where the canal had been.  So, there was something like a sunken park in the middle of our block that all our back yards backed up to.  It was all grass (mowed by a retired neighbor) with a few trees at our end and it had gradually filled in over the years, so the sides sloped gently only about four feet — a perfect playground for all the kids.

We were blessed in that neighborhood with lots of little kids about the same age who all played together well.  But, Mark, the little boy who lived down on the corner, while he did play well with the others, was unique in a couple ways.  First of all, he was a little bit older, but also he was a foster child who lived alone with his foster parents (who may have been his grandparents — I was never sure).  They seemed to be a very nice older couple, but I don’t think they spent much time with Mark.  Another thing unique about Mark was that he was a very serious little boy with a very low, kind of deadpan voice.  So, it was cute on several levels that he would come and knock on our door and when I would go to the door, he would say in his deep voice coming out of a little boy, “Can the Cop come out and play?”  That was Hubby.  And sometimes Hubby would go out and play catch with Mark, or push him in the swing — just spend some time with him. 

One Saturday morning the neighborhood kids were playing on the swing set in our back yard.  But, Hubby came inside and told me that there was a problem.  He pointed out the window and I could see the kids all clustered around, looking at a tiny baby rabbit.  I immediately noticed that the bunny was just sitting there, not trying to hop away.  Hubby said that was the problem.  The dog, which he had put in the kennel as soon as he saw what was happening, had gotten hold of the bunny and apparently had broken its back, because it couldn’t move. 

Hubby (thank you God, for a husband who could/would take care of things like this), said he was going to have to kill the bunny, but, of course, didn’t want the kids to see.  So, his plan was for me to bring a treat out on the back porch and corral the kids there while he took the bunny out in the canal and killed and buried it.  Our garage was detached and sat a little behind the house, blocking the view of some of the canal.

So, I did as he asked.  And, while I was talking to the kids and they were eating their treat, Hubby took a shovel out into the yard and scooped up the bunny.  When the kids wanted to know where he was going with the bunny, he told them he was going to let it go in the canal.

Okay, we had a plan.  We were going to spare the children from one of the harsh realities of life.  We thought.

When Hubby returned to the porch a few minutes later with an empty shovel, one of the kids said, “Did the bunny hop away?”  Hubby said, “No, the bunny died.  So, I buried it.”

Then Mark in his serious, low voice said, “Did it die before or after you hit it with the shovel?” Apparently I wasn’t doing as good a job distracting him as I was the smaller kids.

Hubby just said, “It was hurt when I took it out there and it died.”  Then I offered more snacks and changed the subject.

Bless his heart, Mark didn’t ask any more questions, and I don’t think the other kids caught on.

Sometimes even a well-intentioned plan just doesn’t work out as planned.

I hadn’t thought about Mark in a long time and when I re-read this story I suddenly had tears in my eyes.  I wonder where he is now? 

Dear Heavenly Father, whereever Mark is, I pray for his good health and happiness, and may He know you and Your love. Amen


Hold The Bunny, Please

September 9, 2009

 

I have a fairly new blogging friend in the UK named Leslie.  She and her husband are great chefs, hence the name of their blog, Cooking with the Joneses.

I love reading their recipes and seeing the usually delicious-looking pictures, and am often tempted to try one.  So, if anyone could make cooked rabbit look or sound good to me, it would be the Joneses.  

They have now posted a recipe for rabbit here.

But, I’m sorry to say, Leslie and Baz, it didn’t work.  I still just can’t imagine eating rabbit.

And, let me tell you, this isn’t the first time I’ve resisted.

~ When Hubby and I were first married, he went rabbit hunting one Saturday at his parent’s farm.  Being a 19 year old city girl, or maybe just being in denial, it never occurred to me that he might actually shoot a rabbit! 

Several hours later, when he proudly walked in the front door of our apartment, which was the bottom floor of an old house (I tell you that to explain an apartment with a front and back door), he was carrying a plastic bag with a long naked body in it!  It was a rabbit carcass!  I remember how proud he looked, and then he began to talk about how we were going to cook it.  I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I think I could sum it up this way, “NOT A CHANCE!” (possibly accompanied by tears).  And then after whatever “discussion” we had, I next remember him walking out the back door to put “Bugs” in the trash and telling me, somewhat grumpily, that I should never tell his parents that we threw away good food!  (I don’t remember them asking how we liked our rabbit dinner, so they may have suspected, or even privately predicted, what would happen.  Remember, they knew me too!)

~ Then when DD and Gunny were approximately 8 and 10 years old, we had a rabbit take up residence in the back yard of our rural home, eating everything in sight.  Several efforts to run it off had been unsuccessful.  So, since I had become much more accepting of my farm boy’s ways,  it didn’t surprise me when he said he was going to have to get rid of the rabbit.  And, this time, he said HE WAS going to cook it!

Okay.  I had become more realistic about the food chain than I had been as a young city girl, but I still just couldn’t imagine eating a rabbit.  Well, Hubby had also learned and become more accepting of a few things about me.  So, we came to an agreement … he cooked the rabbit and he and the kids ate it (and the kids even said they enjoyed it!) … while I went to the mall to shop.  They had the kitchen all cleaned up, with all evidence of their meal gone, by the time I got home, with a cute new pair of shoes.  Perfect.

Even though I was raised on beef, pork and chicken bought from the grocery store, 44 years of being married to Hubby has made me much more realistic about where my meat comes from.  But I still just can’t get used to the idea of eating “wild stuff” … especially bunny rabbit.


The Zoo, A Camera, Mimi and Me!

August 25, 2009

 

P1030643   We have a wonderful children’s zoo here.

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  P1030644(1)   The entry sets the tone for a first class experience.

 

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  The zoo is very well maintained and landscaped, so that it is a pleasure not just for children because of the animals, but also a real treat for adults, especially ones with a camera.

Last year my friend Linda and I took Coco, Lulu and Mimi there, and Coco and Lulu had their faces painted, but Mimi wasn’t comfortable having hers done.  So, when Mimi and I went to the zoo while the girls were here a couple weeks ago (her big sisters stayed home with Papa to swim), I think she had already decided she was going to having her face painted this time.  As we looked at the animals, she would ask every so often whether we would pass the spot where the face painter was last year. 

P1030496(1)  It was a beautiful day and not really “August hot”, but it was early afternoon and some of the animals, like these bobcats, were taking their naps.

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 P1030502(2)  When you enter the African Veldt, there is mist everywhere for dramatic effect.

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P1030513(2)   I have no idea what kind of bird makes this type of nest, but I am really impressed considering the trouble I have making a round ball of cookie dough when the recipe calls for that, and I’m not trying to fly at the same time!

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P1030523(1)   As you might expect, the ring-tailed slooths were acting, well, very slooth-ish!

P1030525   I can say, without hesitation, that this is the closest I have ever been to a lion!  There was a window that looked out into his enclosure and he was laying on a wide ledge up against the window.  There were alot of people crowding around so it was hard to get a picture, but it’s also no accident that I’m standing at the “south” end of the lion but just taking a picture of his “north” end.   Let’s just say that the position he was in, left no doubt that he was a lion and not a lioness!   Moving on …

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P1030544(1)   At first glance, I wondered if this was another unusual bird’s nest …

P1030557(1)   But then a giraffe wandered up and I realized it was his version of “fast food”!

P1030558(1)   This baby giraffe can still reach the ground to eat.  A worker told us that giraffes give birth standing up and the babies are born feet first, so they are born standing up!

P1030559(2)   A worker was up on the elevated walk letting people feed this giraffe his favorite leaves.

P1030545(2)   Up on the walk, it was fun to see his head up so close.  It was huge!

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P1030548(1)   Do you recognize the stripes that I had “colorized” for my post yesterday?

P1030548(1)(1)   A Photo-shopped “horse” of a different color!

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P1030562(1)   It added to the “feel’ of Africa that you could hear drums off in the distance occasionally.  Then we came around a corner in the trail and saw who was playing the drums!

P1030564(1)   Not exactly the fierce natives you might invision playing the drums!

P1030565(1)   The drums were very popular with all the children, except Mimi.  She suddenly turned shy and didn’t want to try them, so I had to settle for pictures of other kids playing them.

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Then we came to the face painter!

P1030578(1)x   There was no line, so Mimi immediately showed the artist how she wanted her face painted — she pointed at the butterfly.  Except ….. she didn’t want any paint on her eyelids.   Hmmm.  The artist and I agreed that the design would lose something if the eyes were left unpainted.  She could end up looking more like an owl than a butterfly!

So the artist came up with a compromise … she would paint a butterfly on one cheek and flowers on the other.  That sounded good to Mimi and me.

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P1030587(1)  A very pretty butterfly! 

P1030590(1)   But, apparently, her specialty is butterflies because I wasn’t as impressed with the flower on the other cheek.  I suggested she add a second smaller one  which she was perfectly willing to do.

At about this time she mentioned that she usually sold tickets at the front gate and was just filling in for the face painter.  Yikes!  But, she hastened to add that she was an art major in college.

P1030592(1)   Okay.  Not bad.  Maybe this was going to be just lovely.

P1030593(1)   Then she painted on the really green, really heavy vine to connect the flowers and the butterfly.

P1030600(1)  Okay.  The end product wasn’t bad.  Mimi got to have her face painted, without having paint on her eyelids.   And I really did appreciate that the face painter came up with a design that worked for Mimi.  So, we left happy.

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Our final stop was the seals’ pool.

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A fun day at the zoo.  And lots of pictures to help us remember our visit.


A Tree for All Seasons

June 9, 2009

 

100_3969e1  I’ve shown you this huge blue spruce before … it lives in Jack and Sandys’ yard across the street.  There are several reasons I especially notice it.  First of all, when I open our front door, it is directly in my line of sight, so easily catches my interest.  Also, the neighborhood mailbox sets just to the left of it, so at least once a day I walk fairly close to it.  But, mainly I notice it because it is just a magnificent tree.

100_4338f  At Christmastime, Jack decorates it in big, colorful lights.  I took this picture at night last Christmas, and was delighted with the (accidentally) abstract look of it. 

But, I just realized recently that the tree dresses up at least one other time of the year that I had never noticed before. 

About a month ago, I had walked out to the mailbox and could hear a bird singing its little heart out, so I looked toward the song. 

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P1010848(1)x   The bird was high in the blue spruce. 

But, as I was really taking the time to look at the tree to find the bird, I realized for the first time that it was “dressed up” for a new season, Spring, and this time it did it itself!  (So, of course, I went to get my camera!)

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I had no idea that pine cones started out as beautiful red “flowers” on an evergreen.  They were the reddest at the very top, so I assume sunlight influences the amount of color.   

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I’m going to start paying more attention to my favorite blue spruce so that I will be sure to notice any other surprises it might have to share!

Truly, a tree to be enjoyed in every season.


Excuse Me, Will You Be Long?

May 27, 2009

 

Line at the Litter Box When DD was in law school and she and two cats shared a tiny apartment.  Two cats, one litter box … it was inevitable.  Sometimes there was a line.


A Family Outing

May 22, 2009

 

P1010801(1)   This “pile of fluff” next to a goose out at the water’s edge caught my eye.  Then as I watched,  I saw it move a little and realized it was a “gaggle of goslings” (is that the right term?).  The babies must have been napping with Mama keeping a look-out.

P1010803(1)  But then Daddy arrived and the babies woke up and started moving around.

P1010806(1)   Is it just me or do you agree that Daddy looks like he’s swimming extra tall and proud as he leads his family?

Geese are as common as an old shoe in our area, year-round.  But I am still charmed whenever I see a new cycle of life begin with their babies in the Spring.


Birds Go to the Mall Too!

April 15, 2009

 

When I was leaving the Mall one day last week, I heard a chorus of chirping birds that was coming from this clump of evergreens next to the entrance.

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It was really loud and sounded like there must be hundreds of birds in there.  So, of course, I thought “photo op”!  Okay.  I formed a plan.  I went to my car, got my camera ready on the seat beside me, and then drove over and parked in the “no parking zone” right in front of the trees.  I was thinking that just me driving up close might scare the birds and hundreds might fly out — what a picture THAT would be!

Unfortunately the birds hadn’t “gotten the memo” because they didn’t all fly out.  In fact, they did a very good job of ignoring me, even when I then tapped on the horn to see if THAT would get them moving.

So, I just sat there a few minutes and took some pictures of the few birds that did show themselves, which just happened to be backlit against a beautiful sky.

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I would love to know what so many birds were doing in there.  It sounded for all the world like choir practice!


Peaceful, Rural Indiana

April 13, 2009

 

One of my sisters lives a couple hours south of us, so I sometimes make a day trip down there.  She and her husband live out in the country so part of the trip is on rural roads that are very peaceful.

p10102541   I love a drive down an infrequently traveled country road.

p10102581    What a handsome barn this must have been when it was new.

p10102611   When I look at an old structure like this, whether a barn or a house, I like to think about what it looked like when it was new, and what kind of stories it could tell …  not only about the events that have taken place in it, but the family that built it, and the pride they must have taken in their new barn. 

 p10102591  The long lane back to Sis’ house.

After lunch, Sis and I sat at her kitchen table and played Triple Yahtzee, Mama’s favorite game that she got us all hooked on, from years of playing it with her! 

 p10102631      But it is always a little hard for me to concentrate on the game when we sit there because of the great view from the bay windows next to the table.  And, I had taken my camera out of my purse and layed it on the table next to me this time, so the idea of “photo ops” made the view even more distracting than usual.   (Hmmm. Do you think Sis seats me looking out the windows to make me a worse Yahtzee players?  Really not necessary!)

 p10102641     My BIL puts corn at the base of that tree most mornings.  So, the squirrels and deer are frequent visitors.

p10102681   On this particular day, no deer showed up, but this very healthy looking little squirrel and several of his friends stopped by for a bite.

p101027611   I love the view down the creek.  What a wonderful window to look out of while you’re eating your morning cereal!  I’ll have to take more pictures when things have greened up.

p10102722    I think these are pigeons.

  p10102742     Look how perfectly they blend in with the surroundings.  Hmmm. It occurs to me that they are the same color as concrete buildings too.  Maybe that’s the reason they like to perch on them!  

p10102771   This is when I lonnnng for a camera with a really powerful lens, because I would have loved to have gotten a close-up of this redheaded woodpecker.  I love his black and white with a touch of red coloring.  But he was fun to watch anyway … very busy.  I picture him thinking, “So many trees … so little time!”

A beautiful day in the country.  And Sis let me win at Triple Yahtzee too!


Cinderella and the “Barn Cat”

April 2, 2009

 

p10008401   Hello, my name is Cinderella.  This is my home.  I am a Persian and queen of all I survey.  My people who live here  recognize how absolutely adorable I am, so they regularly hug and cuddle me, and I allow them to do so only because, although I would never admit it to them, it feels wonderful!  

You know, you always hear complaints about how hard it is to find good “help” these days, but I have to say the people attending me are very acceptable at seeing to my needs.  They fill my food and water bowls and clean my, ahum, “personal hygiene container” regularly, without too much grumbling.  So, over all, I feel my life is very compatible with the cultured lady I consider myself …  except for one thing.

 p100083411   Him. 

His name is Flash (a name that I sincerely hope portends his tenure as a member of our household, as in “a flash in the pan” … brief!), and my people allow him to live here too, although I have no idea why.  The dog, Mr. Bibble (a shitz shu who has some roughneck tendencies of his own, by the way, but that story will have to wait for another day), told me confidentially that he suspects that Flash may even be on shaky ground here, because of his wild, uncontrolled behavior.  That doesn’t surprise me in the least.  Truthfully, I have no idea why they would have brought such a rowdy, barn cat into our lovely home in the first place.  Yes, that’s what I said, I’m quite sure he is just a common barn cat, because of how he behaves, I don’t care if they do say he’s a Persian, like me.  Surely, no true Persian would run madly about the house all the time, acting in a very “street brawler” manner, as he frequently does.  Why,  just look at us.  Anyone with even a modicum of intelligence should be able to tell that I am a much more sophisticated feline than that, that cat.

 p1000818    I like to spend my days reclining in a lady-like way in soft, cozy spots.  Under a living room chair is one of my favorite spots, but I also enjoy lying on the seats of the dining room chairs.  It’s usually nice and dark in there and because I’m on a chair pushed under the table, it makes me hard to find.  I especially like that because sometimes a lady just needs her alone time.

 On the other hand, “BC” (barn cat), as I think of him, is always “looking for some action”  in the common vernacular … some mischief to get into, something, or someone to chase or wrestle with, or something to jump off of, sit on top of, or jump over! 

p10008391   Here, he gives the deceptive appearance that he is resting, but you’ll notice that he’s really looking into the darkened dining room, hoping to catch me unawares and get me to wrestle with him or chase him.  I won’t say I have never engaged in these activities, but it has only been the times when I was bored and needed a little entertainment, or a little exercise to keep my elegant self in shape!  And, I’ve certainly never enjoyed it!

p10008561   Although, I do have to admit that while Nana was visiting and she dangled a bright green ribbon between us, I just couldn’t resist playing with it for a while, even though it meant I had to share it with him.

p10008601   It must have just been by chance that he gave me the first turn at playing with the ribbon, because I’m absolutely sure he’s never heard the term “ladie’s first”!

p10008521   Then, when he took his turn, after I had fanned it delicately a few times, he roughly batted it as if he were a boxer!  I really didn’t want to seem interested, but it was hard not to watch.  He really is quite quick and coordinated! 

But, just because I was willing to play that time, I don’t want him to think I enjoy fraternizing with him. 

So, when I move about the house, I usually do it very covertly in order to avoid him.

p1000835   Here I am under my favorite living room chair.  But, I’ve decided I need a little change, so I’m going to sneak into the dining room to a nice dark spot on a chair in there.

p10008441   But, I need to move, in turn, quickly …

  p100082611  … and stealthily so that he doesn’t see me. 

p10008461   I’ve just stopped here by these boots to rest a minute and then I’ll make my final sprint to my favorite dining room chair.

p10008471    Oh, no!  He’s seen me! 

 p10008311     I’ll have to give him my “I won’t put up with your rough play” look! 

Unfortunately, he has distracted me, so that I don’t see someone else approaching who has decided she wants to play with me.

p10008742   Hmmm.  I am really quite fond of this little person as she is one of the best at tummy rubs, but a little of this game she sometimes likes to play with me can go a long way.  Right now, a little “rough housing” with Flash isn’t looking so bad after all!