Sunday, March 31, 2013

Mandarin Orange Monday

LorikArt

 
 
On our way to Kearney, Nebraska, we stopped at a wonderful Museum that had the history of early settlers of the west.  It is built in an Archway over Rt. 80 and right out front is a magnificent metal sculpture of a Buffalo.

 
I thought .... hmmmm. I see some orange in there (See what you have done to me Lori). Maybe I could enhance it :)



Not one to leave well enough alone, I tried a different technique. I am thinking, I like this ... I'll frame it and send it to MOM :)

Have a Wonderful Easter Everyone ... and here's hoping that at least some of your Easter Eggs are Orange ... =0







Thursday, March 28, 2013

Photo Art Friday

Pixel Dust Photo Art
 
I live near Chicago and have seen a ton of Graffiti over the years. However, I am always driving when I see them and, as you know, it isn't a good idea to try to pull over in city traffic.  I did have a few pictures of graffiti on train cars ... I try passing my time, as I wait and wait for the train to pass, by snapping some shots of the cars that have graffiti on them.  This was the best of the bunch ...
 
 
As my choices were limited I decided to try to create some of my own.  Turns out it is not that easy and I struggled with it the same way I do with creating abstracts.  This is not my best post, but it will have to do as the time has come for PAF :)
 
I found a program on the net called "Graffiti Creator" so I plugged in my "From The Sol " and created.  The problem is once it is done, I was unable to save it to my computer so I took a picture of it and then used the magic extractor to pull it out.  The rest is just dabbling again. 
 
After I read Bonnie's remarks about using this as an opportunity to make a statement, I gave some thought to what I might want to address.  As I am blessed (as are most of my friends) to have a comfortable retirement, I often think of those who have suffered the loss of their retirement funds or maybe never had the opportunity to put money away for "The Golden Years".  This is a sad reality that many are facing in our country of wealth and I often ask myself why ... is there an answer to the question?  Is there a solution to the problem?   I think there are solutions, we just have to be willing to do the right things ...
 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday


Link to Create With Joy

This is my Mom's Granddaughter ... she is my very best friend when she comes to visit us. We do everything together.

She takes me shopping ...

She takes me to school ...

She takes me boating ...

She takes me swimming (which I hate, but don't tell her)

We play in the grass ...

We play in the snow ...

We play on the floor ...

We love each other ...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Platte River Adventure (1)

The International Crane Foundation's
Platte River Adventure with
Dr. George Archibald (Co-Founder) and
Dr. Richard Beilfuss (President and CEO)

We met our group at the motel at 5 pm and clamored into a bus right away.  It was our first meeting of everyone including our bus driver, Kurt, who turned out to be quite a birder himself.  There were people from all over America in our group, from Florida to Alaska, Virginia to California, Illinois to Colorado and, of course, Wisconsin where the home of the International Crane Foundation is located.  The planner, organizer, leader of the group, Jen, was there to get everyone introduced and to make sure we didn't leave anyone behind.  We were off on our first adventure ... a trip to the Switzer Ranch in the Sandhills of Nebraska.  Now how many of you knew that there were sand dunes in Nebraska ... I, for one, had no idea they were there.  How absolutely awesome they were.



We arrived at the ranch early evening and I felt like I had been dropped into a 1950's Cowboy movie (with modern accommodations, of course).  It was dream like and the Switzer family were all just wonderful people.  For information on the Switzer Ranch, all that they are doing and how you might be able to go there and enjoy what they have to offer, click on Switzer Ranch.  We were assigned our sleeping quarters and given a chance to freshen up. Then dinner in the Ranch House ...  Spaghetti, Meat balls, Italian Bread, salad, dessert ... and wine.)   All good home cooking ...  Soooooo Good!

    The Ranch House ...

   Our Bunk House and a store on the right ...





This was the view as we "waddled" back to our bunk house ... The ambiance was "Cowboy".  As I grew up a tomboy with the dream of someday being Roy Rogers ... this was a dream come true, however brief it was :)

 Wild Bird Wednesday 37

The next morning before sunrise, we made our way to the ranch store where coffee was to be had ... except our plan for this day was to go out and view the Prairie Chickens in a blind for two plus hours.  Anyone who drinks coffee knows, that you don't drink coffee unless the bathroom is in walking distance, so, I limited myself to a half a cup and crossed my fingers :)

The Switzer family has committed themselves to preserving the wonderful prairie grasslands that have for years been undisturbed on the Sandhills on their ranch.  In doing so they are also committed to preserving the habitat of the wildlife that shares their land with them.  The Prairie Chickens and the Pin Tail Grouse are both endangered and they are actively supporting the population on their land in hopes of restoring their numbers.  They have been designated an IBA (Important Bird Area) http://web4.audubon.org/bird/iba/ by the Nebraska chapter of the Audubon Society.

Off we went in a school bus to find the blind ... after a short walk we were in the blind, in the dark, not uttering a word ... it is important when viewing these natural displays that we do not disturb or stress the birds in any way,  Here is where I apologize for the quality of the pictures.  Both the low lighting of the dawn and the movement of the birds stressed my camera beyond it's capabilities ... sad but true that most of this trip is being held in the memory of an old poop ... and we all know what that means :)

The Prairie Chickens are from the Grouse family.  At this time of year they are in mating mode.   The males perform a mating dance to impress the females.  They raise head feathers above their heads, inflate orange sacs on the sides of their throats, and stutter-step around while making a deep booming sound that resonates throughout the prairie.  They perform their dance on a communal lek (an area of low grass ... clearing).  The males cordon off an area and then perform their dance that includes mock battles between themselves and the other males that venture into their area.  The dancing starts at the crack of dawn and goes on for hours into the morning and for several months.   This was a display I never dreamed of seeing ... the trip had already paid for itself 10 times over :)

At first they looked just like chickens scooting around like little wind up toys ...

Then the dance begins ...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Courting the female ...
 
Unimpressed female departs ... Really? I thought they were awesome ...
 
 
 
 
As we watched a coyote approached in hopes of some breakfast ... he stopped in his tracks, raised his nose and smelled "humans" ... off he went, a beautiful specimen of a much maligned breed.
 
And off we went back to the Ranch for eggs, bacon, pancakes, orange juice and COFFEE :0
But of course we had to do a little "Birding" on the way back ...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Head of Household on the Switzer Ranch
 
Sarah, daughter, business manager and our most delightful guide ...
 
Youngest Cowhand ... future Head of Household ...