Tag Archive | family

The Sweetest Flower of All

We recently took a road trip to Texas to celebrate the birth of our youngest granddaughter and I thought that it would be interesting to take pictures of our garden prior to leaving and compare them to how the garden looked when we returned two weeks later.

The beginning of June is the most colorful time of year in our garden and I knew we would probably miss seeing some of the flowers that were on the brink of blooming, but there were enough of them out to wish us a cheery farewell. The peonies were in full bloom and irises of all types and varieties were looking quite spectacular despite losing many to iris borers this year.


Blues and pinks and purples were well represented, with flax flowers, bluebells, salvia Caradonna, Baptisia australis, pinks, weigela, heuchera Coral Bells, Johnson’s Blue cranesbill and aquilegia all making a fine show.


The poppies, including my favorite Turkenlouis, were continuing to burst open but I figured I’d probably miss the pink Carneums.

A lot can happen in two weeks!  Apparently we had quite a bit of rain while we were gone and the weeds had taken over. There were still a few remnants of the flowers that had been blooming when we left and some that had come and gone while we were away. However, the garden was not without some fresh color.

Apart from all the weeds that have invaded every part of the garden, some of the plants that are supposed to be here have run rampant and there is also quite a bit of deadheading to be done; a lot of work ahead of us, no doubt. But all the toil will have been well worth it as we got to see the sweetest flower of all, our little Texas treasure.


 

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Liquid Ripples

The topic for the Weekly Photo Challenge is Liquid and comes fortuitously for me as you will see, later in this post.  Water can have a very calming effect and, with everything that’s happening in the world today, we could all use a few moments of tranquility to reflect, which is why, instead of heaving seas, raging rivers and tumbling waterfalls, I’ve opted for more peaceful scenes. The first two images were captured in Snowy Range Pass, Wyoming.

The next two pictures were taken at Sylvan Lake and Palisades State Park, South Dakota, perfect places to sit and meditate.

Wisconsin also has some very scenic spots in which to enjoy some relaxation time.

These gently rippling waters lead me to an opportunity to share a link with you that I sincerely hope you will try. My eldest grandson, someone of whom I have written about in several of my previous posts has recently started a podcast called Exit The Echoes. I cannot say enough good things about this young man, who recently became a father for the first time, and I am more than happy to give this new venture a mention here on WordPress.  The subject of his latest episode seemed to fit in so well with the pictures that I had in mind for this post, so please, if you can, spare a few minutes of your time to listen to  Meditation: Ripples And Echoes and I’m sure you will enjoy his liquid tones.

These last two pictures were taken at Whitefish Point, Michigan and Council Grounds, Wisconsin.

For more on The Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Post go to Liquid

Whose Zoo

Under normal circumstances nothing would induce me to visit somewhere like Brookfield Zoo on a sunny, mild Sunday, but when the Grandkids visit on a weekend and Sunday is the only available day, I have to brave the crowds and make the best of it.  As I suspected it would be, the place was packed! Luckily my Granddaughter is old enough to get around under her own steam and doesn’t tire easily so we got in a solid three hours of walking and seeing all kinds of wild and wonderful creatures. She even enticed me into the Australia House, something I swore I’d never do again after Mom and I were dive bombed by a giant bat, but I’m glad I chanced it as I got a nice shot of this kookaburra.

I always enjoy watching the giraffes. We caught this one in a confrontation with a couple of geese. The giraffe was a young one and was naturally curious about the two noisy interlopers in its enclosure. He bent down to get a closer look but the goose took exception and put up a bit of a fight. The youngster jumped back in alarm and then ambled off to chew on a few twigs.

My Granddaughter loves dogs so this one, an African painted dog, naturally caught her eye. No, I don’t think Momma will let you bring this one home!

Next up were the bison. I haven’t been this close to one of these animals since the time I found myself on the outside of an enclosure just a few yards away from one that they’d neglected to round up with the others, in Custer State Park, South Dakota. It was looking for its buddies and had snuck up on me, there being only one other hapless photographer between me and it.  Needless to say, I made a slow, backwards retreat to the car.

Granddaughter likes to get into the spirit of the thing.

On to everyone’s favorite, Tropic World. Well, everyone except me. I’m never very comfortable in here, with the birds flying about, but luckily they didn’t come too close and I was able to focus my attention on the animals.

The gorillas are always most impressive. especially the large silver-backed male who kept a wary eye on us and his family. There were several young ones playing about and I could feel for the mother as she tried to catch a few moments peace and quiet before they were back, jumping on top of her.

As is very often the case, many of the larger animals were taking a siesta and there wasn’t much action to be seen in either the bear or big cat enclosures.

 

It was a different story over by the sea lions. They were being put through their paces by some of the keepers and were demonstrating their fish-catching and flipper waving skills. Unfortunately there was a thick mesh screen separating us from the action but I found that if I zoomed in close enough with the camera, it magically disappeared.  All in all, quite a successful day, with one satisfied kid (after we’d stopped at the gift shop) and plenty of pictures to share.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge – Favorite Place

When Cheri Lucas Rowlands asked us for our interpretation of our favorite place for this week’s Photo Challenge, it will come as no surprise to some of you that I chose the Chicago Botanic Garden. On so many levels and for so many different reasons this is my go-to place, the place that never ceases to enchant me and to bring back so many happy memories. And where else would I go to see so much of my favorite color, purple!

No matter what time of year you visit the Garden there is always something beautiful to see. I have been here in all weathers and all conditions and there has never been a time when I’ve said I wished I’d stayed at home.

Every aspect of the place is pleasing.  Every path you take presents a different and spectacular view.  And the flowers are sensational!

Combine fantastic foliage and flowers with the appeal of various fountains, waterfalls and lakes and you have the perfect place to spend the day.

My mother adored the Garden and we spent many happy days here right up until a few weeks before she passed away. Our favorite spot in this our favorite place to visit was, perhaps not surprisingly, the English Garden, mainly because it reminded us of home and the other favorite places that we left behind so many years ago.

For more on The Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Post go to Favorite Place

Weekly Photo Challenge – Shadow

The subject for The Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Post is shadow and, while I have plenty of pictures that have shadows incidental to the overall image, I don’t seem to have taken many where the shadow was the focal point. This was the best I could manage.  For more on the Weekly Photo Challenge, which this week was set for us by Cheri Lucas Rowlands, go to https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/shadow-2017/

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A toad contemplates its shadow at a local nature center.

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Two barns, one at Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg and the other at Old World Wisconsin, patterned by shadows from nearby trees.

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Littlest grandson keeping a close eye on his shadow during an early April walk at Spring Valley.

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The ‘pergola effect’ shown here at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, the gardens at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville SC and the Rose Garden at Cantigny in Wheaton, Illinois.

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Trees in autumn cast long shadows at River Trails Nature Center in Northbrook, Illinois.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Solitude

Solitude.  Even when you’re not alone you can feel a sense of solitude, as I’m beginning to discover as I get older.  I always find this picture of my mother, sitting at the Chicago Botanic Garden, rather poignant.  Although she lived with us and was very rarely on her own, I knew that she felt lonely.  Most of her contemporaries had already died and she was far away from a place that she had known as home for almost seventy years.  When she passed away a few years ago, she left me with my own kind of solitude, taking with her shared memories of people, places and events that no one else but me remembers.

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Sometimes, even when you’re standing right next to a crowd of people, you can feel like you’re the only person on earth.

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Arches Nation Park in Utah.

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The Badlands in South Dakota.

For more on The Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Post go to https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/solitude/

The Empty Nest

Some years ago, a pair of robins set up housekeeping in a shrub conveniently located just outside our bedroom window. By dint of climbing atop a rather shaky chest-of-drawers we were able to watch as, over the ensuing days, they flew industriously back and forth with bits of nesting material, busily constructing what our local realtor would have described as a highly desirable residence. (Some of today’s houses should be built so well!)

But try as I might I could never seem to get a good enough shot of the proceedings; the branches always got in the way and, because this was in pre-digital camera days, it wasn’t until after it was too late to retake the pictures that I discovered, upon getting my prints back from the pharmacy, that my efforts had met with little or no success.

Meanwhile, the babies emerged from their delicate, blue eggs, ugly and featherless, immediately demanding to be fed while both parents tirelessly kept up a supply chain of worms and other delicacies for those hungry, gaping beaks that was nothing short of amazing.

Thanks to their heroic efforts, three skinny, defenseless young robins quickly developed into cocky, self-opinionated adolescents and it wasn’t long before we witnessed their first attempts at flight. Eventually the day dawned when, looking from our vantage point on top the chest, we experienced, literally, that empty-nest feeling, when we realized that the ‘kids’ had grown up and left home.

I wonder how those parents felt? Were they relieved; another brood brought safely to adulthood?  Or were they a little sad to see their fledglings moving on?  I doubt it on both counts.  In nature, life goes on.  In our case, however, we experienced all those feelings but, unlike the robins, our ‘babies’ return every once in a while, sometimes with ruffled feathers, still demanding to be fed.