Friday, May 31, 2013

CAMERA CRITTERS #269

The Happy Squirrel and I send you a smile....


and wish you a great weekend.

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Thank you Misty for hosting one of my favorite memes, and please click here to visit other interesting critters from all over the world.

Camera Critters

Thursday, May 30, 2013

SKYWATCH FRIDAY

A little cloud action going on in our area late this afternoon.  


It rained slightly as we drove towards this huge cloud.


The following photos are what I took on the way back home.  All taken with my cell phone.














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My thanks to YogiSandy and Sylvia who are our hosts at SkyWatch Friday.  Please click here to visit other sky watchers.


Happy SkyWatch Friday!

A walk around our favorite garden.....Part 2

Continuing our walk around the pond I wrote about a couple of posts back, Gregg had already reached the chairs.  I was still on the other side taking photographs of wild flowers when I heard him calling me.


By the time I caught up with him he was enjoying reading on his IPhone.  Times have changed haven't they, when you can carry a huge book, hundreds of books in fact, inside your pocket?


But some things remain the same, even in this electronic world we both still enjoy reading a good old-fashioned, honest-to-goodness book, where you can open the pages and turn to chapter one.  This is when we are usually at home and take a book down from the bookcase.


Our pond.


"If there is magic on the planet, it is contained in the water."
~Loren Eisley~


This photo I am using for my present header.


We were fascinated by these formations growing out of the ground.  They are called "Cypress Knees".


The description on the nearby marker read, "One feature of the Bald Cypress Tree (Taxodium distichum), is the presence of the "Cypress Knees".


The "Knees" are part of the root system and add stabilization to the tree.  The "Knees" are also believed to provide oxygen to the roots during flood conditions."


After spending some time sitting we decided it was time to walk back up to the visitor center and head for home.  This is the gazebo we often visit while here.  You may be able to spot Gregg if you enlarge the photo.  


We spotted Grandpa Turtle swimming just under the surface.  The koi were not to be found here where they usually are but later we spotted them on the other end of the lake.  You can buy fish food at the visitor center.  Probably the lack of koi is due to the lack of people feeding them.  


Not sure what this bird is.  We often see Red-wing Blackbirds in the area.  Maybe this is the female.  The birds we saw but didn't get photos of were a Brown Thrasher and also a Baltimore Oriole.  Way too fast for both of us.  They disappeared in the time it took us to reach for our cameras.  We did take some sketchy photos of the Barn Swallows flying over the lake.  Not that long ago they used to build their nests inside the gazebo but I think this has been discouraged as nesting now seems to be taking place underneath.  There were also a lot of Robins about.


We saw a notice on the door at the visitor center when we first arrived.  It was meant for a wedding photographer and later we saw bride and groom at the edge of the lake, maybe waiting for her/him.  We passed the occasional person dressed up for a wedding walking along the path, but it was very quiet otherwise.  I am assuming that the wedding was over with and a few guests decided to enjoy the scenery before they left for home.  Those boxes in the background are for the birds and there are steel funnels attached to stop predators from climbing up to the nests.


I don't know what this flower is unless it is the yarrow mentioned in an earlier post.  It was growing on the edge of the grass next to the lake.


The plant with the purple leaves is called Oxalis triangularis, otherwise known as Love plant or Purple Shamrock.  According to what I read it is a native of Brazil and prefers light shade and moist but well-drained soil.



A sculpture of a parent and child.  I have taken its photo from many different angles but decided to  try one from behind today.


The peonies were blooming profusely.  I will be sharing more on other posts.


The closest I could get to a name for this white flower was the Trailing blackberry.  If you disagree please let me know.  It looks very close to what I found here.


I guess I will know for sure when we go back and discover the birds enjoying the fruit.  Did you ever pick them as a child?  My Mum, my Sister and I would walk down our country lanes and get tons of wild blackberries off the hedgerows to eat later in a bowl with cream or if Mum made one of her pies.  Now those are good memories.


Wild Iris.....

and wild tendrils shooting out and producing pretty leaves, what kind I have no clue.  I do have a book on trees to look through but I'm tired tonight and need to get to bed.  It is well after midnight.  My concentration will be better in the morning after a good night's sleep.


A cute squirrel climbing up to a nest high up in the tree tops....


and this one waiting for us on the deck when I opened the curtains wide and opened the door on our return home.  I threw out his peanuts shortly afterwards because I am well-trained.  How can you not throw out peanuts when you get looked at like that?


It was a great walk around the garden and I hope you have enjoyed it too.  I have a lot more flowers to share at another time.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Green Heron taking off

We don't get to see many Green Heron's, and I am assuming this is one as I am by no means an expert.  When we walked down to the lake on our walk around Meadowlark, we disturbed this pretty bird.  Actually there were two, one that looked like an adult and a smaller juvenile.  The last time I saw a Green Heron was on a vacation several years ago.


I will be linking with Anni's Bird D'Pot, Stewart's Wild Bird Wednesday 
and Michelle's Nature Notes.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A walk around our favorite garden - Part 1

It is a beautiful morning here in Virginia.  I am going out for a walk with friends and then we're getting together at one of their houses for lunch.  I have known them ever since I have lived here, over 20 years, ever since our kids were in the same class together.  Of course the children are all grown up now and most are married, but us moms still get together regularly and its fun to find out how our kids are doing.  They were always at one of our houses and we got to know them pretty well, practically adopted them as honored family members.    

But now for today's post which thankfully I wrote a few days ago as today is going to be a busy one.  

As I mentioned earlier, Gregg and I were able to go to our favorite walkabout place last week.  We didn't leave the house until the late part of the afternoon, which was an ideal time really because it had been a hot, muggy kind of a day, the first we have had this year so far.  Now we are back to cooler temperatures which is very strange for this time of the year.  Today (I wrote this post on the 25th) it was cool and very windy but that is now.  Last Wednesday the weather was balmy.   The following is Gregg's photo of his hat on the arm of one of the chairs next to the pond, a particularly favorite spot of ours.   We realized when we got to the garden that we ought to have some head covering and treated ourselves to a couple of baseball caps from the gift shop....


and here we are wearing them, courtesy of Gregg's cell phone, and a little directing by me Gregg added.  It was our third try at a self-portrait and he had cut his face out of the picture the first two times.  "I think you need to tilt the phone a little bit this way,  little more, too far...." and keeping fingers crossed that third time's the charm, "you've got it!"  Way too close but what the heck.  Next time we'll have to try and remember our tripod.


The flowers planted here are absolutely gorgeous.  On our last visit the cherry blossoms were blooming, so were the daffodils and lots of other spring flowers.  This time I was more interested in the roses as I missed their peak last year.  


Wouldn't you know it a lot of them were faded, the petals were falling off some, but I think I got a few pretty ones.  I love roses.  They were my Mother's favorite flower.  Dad grew them in their garden, Mum would pick them out at the flower nursery and he would plant them in 'just the right spot'.  "No, not there, a little to the right, well, that's a bit too far away from.....",
"Maybe to the right of the sweet peas."  "Yes, that's just right."

Well, there you go, I am my Mother's child after all, says I with a smile on my face.


I loved looking at all the flowers at Meadowlark as we walked along.....


and the purple is one I took a photo of ages ago but have since forgotten its name, lavender yes?  That little tuft on the top always throws me.  I am still looking for what the yellow flowers are.  They remind me of a rather sunny Queen Anne's Lace except the wrong color of course.  There were several I couldn't identify and I looked carefully for identifying markers.  If they were totally obscured under the bushes I wasn't going to stick my hand down there and look around.  Yes, I am a great gardener - not really but I wish - and I am fascinated by snakes and bugs, but I don't want to be shaking hands with them without a good pair of thick gardening gloves.

(Added note: thanks to Marilyn, TexWisGirl and Beatrice P. Boyd, I have identified the yellow plant as Yarrow.  I looked it up and there are different types but from a page I visited here, it looks like this is a Fern Leaf Yarrow.  If you click on the link you can read more.

Also the Lavender is Spanish Lavender which was cultivated in America as far back as 1735.  It is native to the western Mediterranean, primarily the Pyrenees and other mountains in northern Spain. There is an article written here.)


I have been looking at this sundial since we first discovered the garden.  There are different flowers planted around it every year, always giving it a fresh look.


The butterfly garden is also a favorite stop but there were none today....


not unless you counted this very pretty stained-glass-style butterfly ornament.  I wouldn't mind that in our own garden.


These white flowers were everywhere.


Some more pretties....


and then not too far off the walking path we came across the ever present Canada Geese whose numbers didn't seem too overwhelming.


However, this one objected to me walking along the path next to his family.  He hissed a bit and bared his tongue.  I'm not that close, I used the zoom on my camera and I didn't hang around too long, taking the photo on the fly.


We saw Chipmunks everywhere, either scurrying up tree trunks such as this one, or darting across the pathways in front of us.


I told him his cousins at home said hi.


He told me to tell him hi back.


That's the end of Part 1.  Part 2 will be be shown soon.