Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Fisher Dog

Hi Fred, I'm Denise. Just visiting for a couple of days. You sure are a cute dog. Do you want to go home with me? No? Okay, no problem. I know you have to take care of your humans.

At least they got the boat in the water.

I have experience of that you know.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Norfolk Botanical Garden, Norfolk, Virginia

Thank you for all your caring and sweet comments from my last post. Things are slowly returning back to normal and I hope to stop by your blogs sometime during the next day or so. The wedding from what I heard was as you would imagine, a very special day for the bride-and-groom, and the happy couple are now enjoying their honeymoon on the west coast.

This is me outside the Visitors' Center at the Norfolk Botanical Garden in Virginia. I've been here many times over the years and always try to visit on our trips down to see Gregg's family who live in the next town. You can view a very interesting timeline on the history of Norfolk if you click here. I am standing next to one of the 300 plus Mermaids scattered throughout the city, all painted by local artists. This one is covered in flowers and leaves to honor the garden, whereas the one at the zoo is painted with the markings of a tiger. I posted one last year when we visited the Norfolk Navy Base dressed as a sailor, so you get the idea. Right at the bottom of this post is a more detailed look as shown in a collage of photographs. You can click on all the photos to get more detail.

While Gregg and his Dad spent some quality time together, Celia and I headed for the garden. It is only about 15 minutes away from their home. Below you can see a beautiful large vase of flowers inside the visitors' center. We wanted to find out about the eagles that were nesting nearby. You can see a video I posted of both parents feeding their chicks right here.

The paths closest to the nest are cordoned off to the general public, so that they are disturbed as little as possible.

We passed these young mothers enjoying a stroll and further along there were several photographers with tripods and long lenses, all hoping to get a good sighting. Often you can observe the eagles sitting on branches in the tree tops or flying into the nest. We were told by a gentleman that the best spot was at the designated viewing area, which that day had been ignored by most people, who preferred staying as close to the nest as possible. We took his word and headed for the observation area which you can see in the photo below.

Celia brought her binoculars along.

This little boy's mother, at his urgent request, lifted him up so that he could get a better view through that telescope.

We stayed there for two hours but did not have any luck spotting them. From what a photographer told me, one of the birds had just returned to its nest before we arrived and she showed me a good shot she had taken. I made do with a photo of the nest which you can make out below-center of the next photograph.

The only 'bird' I got was this wasp crawling up the pole. I am not sure if he is a mud dauber or a paper wasp.

While waiting I became somewhat restless but thanks to these interesting little creatures, I found something to photograph, a mud dauber or a paper wasp? I don't know enough to know for sure but I do know that the elongated nest below is that of mud dauber.

This is a different type of nest made by the paper wasp. It goes around scraping bits of wood off structures such as this, and his nest does indeed look a bit like a collection of paper swirls.

We passed by a shallow brook already covered with a carpet of blossoms.

The daffodils were everywhere.

We passed by the sculpture garden.....

and lots of trees showing off their blossoms.

Here's Celia.

More cherry blossoms.....

more sculptures scattered around the garden.....

more daffodils to bring a smile to anyone's face......

"when all at once I saw a crowd, a host of golden daffodils"..... l-u-v-e-r-l-e-y .....

I have photographed this statue before surrounded by daffodils. The last time I arrived passed their peak and was hoping for better luck this time, but they had been replaced by other flowers. Maybe next year the daffodils will be back.

Flowers are starting to bloom everywhere, what a wonderful time of the year.

Here is the photo of our Mermaid. Please enlarge if you want a more detailed look.

A ramble, a funny poem and a few flower photos.

I feel in need of a funny poem this morning and pretty pictures of flowers. For the first time I can remember Gregg and I are hard down with one of the worst colds we have ever had, and stranger than that have actually gotten sick at the same time, moreorless. I was about two days ahead of Gregg but he quickly caught up.

We were very sad because Saturday we were to go to the wedding of two young friends of ours and looking forward to it tremendously. However, we were so ill there was no way we could attend. At first when it looked like I wouldn't be up to it, Gregg said he would go representing both of us. Then the day after we had made this decision he got sick, and along with all his other symptoms he lost his voice.

We were trying to come up with all kinds of scenarios. Would we look out of place wearing masks? Threw that idea out and we weren't really serious. We thought at first to go and sit way in the back, so that if we had a coughing fit we could leave without disturbing anyone, tossed around a few other ways of how we could get there, then finally good reasoning won out because the thought of that very dear couple getting sick on their honeymoon and us being the cause of it sealed the deal. We decided to be responsible and not pass on the blasted germs also to our son and daughter-in-law and to everyone else. We stayed in bed all day with the energy level of a couple of sloths, suffering with fits of sneezing and coughing, chills and fevers, passing the box of tissues back and forth along with the cough drops, and feeling thoroughly miserable, not just because we were feeling so lousy but because we had to miss this lovely wedding. Blasted colds! It's been a donkey's age since we caught one and have to say have never gotten sick at the same time before.

I came across this poem a while ago and it brought back the memory of when while fishing my Dad slipped off the rock, not into a pond but into the sea. My Mother, bless her, was always very nervous near water and so would quietly tell me to go along with Dad so that I could 'take care of him'. "I'm always worried your Dad is going to fall in Neesy." She never wanting him to go on his own. I used to go fishing with my Dad quite a bit but wasn't a fisherman at heart as I never failed to get upset when I saw the fish on the line, and asking him if the worms could feel pain being stuck on the hook like that. Poor Dad, blessed with two girls and no sons. He was always so good and never got cross at such questions. I know he enjoyed my company even though I am sure he must have rolled his eyes a few times.

Dad was never very successful at catching 'the big one' but back then I didn't get it, that he was never that bothered about catching 'the big one', that the idea was to sit in peace and silence for a few hours. For him it was part of the enjoyment and so we sat in companionable silence for the most part. That is until he actually caught a pretty sizable fish and before I could say those magical and predictable words, "You are going to throw it back aren't you Dad?" he got so excited that he slipped off the rock and fell into the sea. I rushed over in a panic, not that I would have been able to pull him out. It was a bit too far down for me. I watched as he climbed out of the water gripping onto the edge of the rock with his fingers and hoisting himself back next to me. I was trembling but still remember being amazed that he was still wearing his fishing hat, which was sopping wet along with the rest of him, and his glasses were still on his nose all lopsided.

Once we got over the shock we both stared at each other and burst out laughing and couldn't stop for ages. We stayed long enough for his clothes to dry out and we made a pact. We decided it would be best not to tell Mum when we got home because she would have gone into a panic at the thought of it, and we felt it would be kinder for her not to know.

Daddy Fell into the Pond

by Alfred Noyes

Everyone grumbled. The sky was grey.
We had nothing to do and nothing to say.
We were nearing the end of a dismal day,
And then there seemed to be nothing beyond,
Then Daddy fell into the pond!

And everyone's face grew merry and bright,
And Timothy danced for sheer delight.
"Give me the camera, quick, oh quick!
He's crawling out of the duckweed!" Click!

Then the gardener suddenly slapped his knee,
And doubled up, shaking silently,
And the ducks all quacked as if they were daft,
And it sounded as if the old drake laughed.
Oh, there wasn't a thing that didn't respond
When Daddy Fell into the pond!


(All photos were taken at the Norfolk Botanical Garden, Norfolk, Virginia)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bald Eagle Video from Norfolk Botanical Garden

These are the three chicks that are presently in a nest at the Norfolk Botanical Garden, which I visited on our long weekend in Virginia Beach. I found the video on YouTube. The first recording of a nest being built at the garden was in 2004. If you click here you can see their history up to the present day.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Walking along the Boardwalk in Virginia Beach

When we visit Virginia Beach - you can find all about the city's history if you click here - one of the things we always love to do is walk along the Boardwalk. Here is King Neptune again. You can read all about him here. He attracts many tourists with their cameras. Gregg took all these photos of him. In fact, Gregg took a lot of these photos in today's post.

Son of Saturn, Lord of the Sea, King Neptune stands at 26 feet tall and is the largest statue erected in the United States since the Iwo Jima Memorial.

The sculptor is Paul DiPasquale and it was erected in 2005 in honor of the annual Neptune Festival. . The process required 80 tons of clay, 25 tons of plaster, 1 ton of glue and 7,500 grinding and sanding discs.

And here I am at its base. There is also various marine life displayed. Each time I visit I am always in awe of this magnificent statue, always as though I am seeing it for the first time.

We are both enjoying the warmth of the sunshine and it is almost too warm for our winter clothing.

There is also a lot of activity on the water. This is the first time I noticed someone wearing a safety helmet while riding one of these things. Smart man!

The seagulls were enjoying the sun just as much as we were.

We drove down on Saint Patrick's Day and couldn't help but notice a lot of marquis were being set up along the beach. This one was big enough to hold a thousand people. Lots of parties and I also found out there was going to be a marathon. Glad we came this day and not the weekend. It would have been a zoo and I think they were closing off a lot of the streets for the marathon.

There is a separate lane for rentals such as this, and in the summer there are many cyclists. You have to be careful when crossing over to the other side. I nearly got run over one year by a policeman who yelled, "Use your eyes!" I probably gave him a scare too. They get up to quite a speed. So, it's best to look both ways beforehand and use your common sense just like you would when crossing a busy road.

Hmmm.......what is Denise taking a photo of?

This time when we headed for the boardwalk we decided to turn right. Gregg said we had pretty much explored the other direction on past visits and I am glad we did as we came across a school of colorful fish.

There are several artsy sculptures as you walk along. This is the first time I have seen this one.

Be still my beating heart, I am in love! This adorable Wheaton Terrier caught my eye just about the same time he saw me when he started wagging his tail furiously. Friendly little fella!

I took loads of photos of him.

This little girl was too fast.....

but lo and behold on our way back to the car we caught up with her as she was about to cross the road at a traffic light. This is Maggie with her very nice human. You can get into some lovely conversations while waiting for the lights to change.
Hope you've enjoyed your stroll along the Boardwalk.