Saturday, March 31, 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

Camera Critters # 208

Gregg's dad and his wife visited us a couple of weekends ago, and for the first time we took them to one of our favorite places, Meadowlark Gardens.  I have shared photos from Meadowlark many times before and if you click on the label below this post, it will take you to them.  

One of the lakes is full of koi and turtles.  I have seen koi at least three feet long.

The turtles are always interesting to me, and this one swam over a koi as we watched.

He is a painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) and is the most widespread native turtle of North America.  

Fossils that have been found show that they have existed for 15 million years, but four regionally based subspecies (the eastern, midland, southern and western) evolved during the last ice age.

"Try to be like the turtle, at ease in your own shell."
~Bill Copeland~

"I'm Yertle the Turtle!
Oh, marvelous me!
For I am  the ruler of
All that you see!"

"Your Majesty.
Please....I don't like 
To complain.
But down here
Below, we are feeling
great pain."

"And the turtles, of course.....
All the turtles are free
As turtles, and maybe,
All creatures
should be."

~Dr. Seuss~


Thank you Misty for hosting Camera Critters.
To see other fun critters please click here.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Betsy Ross House

Betsy Ross, a fourth-generation American born in 1752, is credited with making the first American Flag.  You can read her biography here.

When we went to Philadelphia we saw a lot of historical buildings, one of which was the Betsy Ross House.   As you walk into the courtyard the actual house is on the right-hand side.  

I read the following online.  "The house was built 250 years ago.  The front portion was built around 1740, with the stair hall (paizza) and the rear section added 10 to 20 years later.  It served as both a business and  residence for many different shopkeepers and artisans for more than 150 years; shopkeeper, an apothecary and Betsy Ross, the legendary upholsterer.  Betsy and her husband John occupied the house from 1773 until 1786."

The courtyard is lovely and I liked the fountain graced with two cats.  

It was made from bronze in 1973 by Philadelphia Sculptor Henry Mitchell (1915-1980).

Surrounding the fountain are 13 truncated triangular stones a few inches high, and written on the side of each triangle is the name of one of the original 13 colonies.  (To illustrate this I found the following photo online.)

Betsy's grave site is in the courtyard on the opposite side from the house.

We were only allowed to take photographs in the upholstery room.  I got the following photographs online, which I made into a collage.   You can enlarge if you want to get more details.

The next four photographs I took in the upholstery room.

While walking around there were photos of various famous people who had visited over the years.  A few were, Ronald Reagan, Michelle Obama, Basil Rathbone (my favorite Sherlock Holmes of all time), Roy Rogers, Vanna White (from Wheel of Fortune), and the Ghost Hunter guys, Jason, Grant and their team, who filmed one of their shows here.   No, I did not notice any shadowy figures during our tour!

There is a very nice Museum Shop which has all kinds of neat things to purchase.  You can see what I treated myself to at the bottom of this post.  

The following photo of the front of the house is one I also found online. 

And just as I said  to myself that I wasn't going to add any more Teddy Bears to my collection, when I was in the museum shop this one jumped out at me.  

Not sure why I didn't get a Betsy Ross Teddy Bear.  I'm thinking now that they wouldn't have had one, though I did see other lookalikes as you may have noticed in the shop photographs, but they weren't Teddy Bears and so......

Hello again Ben!  Welcome to our humble abode.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

For Dog Lovers

I pulled into the crowded parking lot at the supermarket and rolled down the car windows to make sure my Labrador had fresh air.  She was stretched, full out, on the back seat and I wanted to impress upon her that she must remain there.  I walked to the curb backward, pointing my finger at the car and saying emphatically, "Now you stay!  Do you hear me?  Stay!  Stay!  The driver of a nearby car, a young lady, gave me a strange look and said, "Why don't you just put it in park?"

~Author Unknown~

Dog Owner's Prayer

Help me learn to disregard
Canine craters in my yard,
And show me how to be a buddy,
Even when my sofa's muddy.

Don't allow my pup to munch
Postal carriers for lunch.
Please shield my neighbor's cat from view,
And guide my steps around the doo!

Train me not to curse and scowl
When it's puppy's night to howl.
Grant I shan't wake in fear
With a cold nose in my ear!

Give me patience without end
And help me be....
"My dog's best friend."

~Author Unknown~

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Feathered friends in the garden

These were not as chatty as the birds in my previous post but it could be that the lady who feeds them was half asleep when she took these photos, and still is....
One of my favorite birds around here is the Tufted Titmouse.  I love their sweet song.   I have a pair that visit every day.  They flit around so much that it's hard to get them in the same picture, but I was lucky.

I think this one is a female Cowbird.  She was always with the males and those I easily recognize.  Feel free to let me know if I am wrong.

This one is a Red-bellied Woodpecker, a female I'm guessing as there is a touch of grey on her head.  She is the same one as in my previous post and was checking out the seed - or bugs -that had fallen into the cracks.

The Cardinals are in the garden all year round and I love them.  In fact I love all the birds that visit here, as I have probably mentioned before.

The Goldfinches have been visiting for about the last month.   This one seems to have gone through its molting process as the others looked a bit bedraggled and patchy.

We also get many Sparrows and Robins, a few Downy Woodpeckers, Black-capped Chickadees, Blue Jays, lots of Mourning Doves, Grackles and the occasional Crow. Hawks landed on the deck rail quite a while ago, parent and child and I would see them at the top of the tallest tree. They were absolutely gorgeous but I was ambivalent.  I wanted them to hang around and yet wanted them to move on also. I haven't seen them in a very long time.  I stopped filling the bird feeders for obvious reasons, but I think the little birds knew they were in danger as they were also scarce for a while.  When after a few days the Hawks didn't make any more appearances, I refilled the bird feeders.   I had a Red-Wing Blackbird for a few days but he moved on, and I used to have lots of Starlings who got really agitated with the Grackles and fought for their place at the feeders.  They haven't been around for a long time either.  We also get House Finches and Wrens.   In the wintertime a lot of Grey-slated Junco's keep us company but when we had the warmer weather they disappeared.  They have done this every year since we have lived in our home.   Always a welcome sight at the beginning of winter and I am sad to see them go in the Spring.  

I enjoy the activity in the garden and am always looking for a new bird to land here, one that I haven't seen before.  Then there are the Squirrels and Chipmunks, and the occasional Raccoon, but then that's another story.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Ah, and there lies the rub, he eventually splashed all the water out of the bowl.  No bath for you Mr. Grackle, at least not until the woman staring at us through the window refills the water bowl.   She's scary, we always fly into the trees when she comes out the door.

Saturday, March 24, 2012