Tuesday, March 31, 2015

For the Birds

I subscribe to the 'rare-bird-alert' via Cornell Ornithology Lab and received one on Sunday about this goose on a nearby lake.  Monday, I had some time on my hands (housework out of the question) and the day was shaping up to be beautiful, so I decided to do a little nature walk before work.

On my way into Helena Regulating Reservoir, I passed by and heard several meadowlarks.  Of course, all over town there are crows and magpies.  On the lake are large groups of American Coots.  Funny looking little thing and they dive for their dinner.

They aren't a duck, because they don't have webbed feet.  Their feet are 'lobed'.  And to take off, they run across the water.

Also in the mix were a few American Widgeons and a Northern Shoveler.

The Widgeon is new to me this year and first spotted by Texter at the pond near us.  They have a white stripe down their face.  And the Shoveler, with it's big bill, could almost be confused at times with a mallard.

Pelicans overhead and seagulls on the ground.

A pair of Killdeer were picking their way along the shoreline.

Tons of claws on the shore and lots of little shells.  Between those and the seagulls I would almost think I was on the beach somewhere.

And this little fellow was flexing his wings (or hers).

I sat in my car and ate a bit of lunch.  I pretty much had the whole area to myself.  There was a group of horseback riders which came through.  I did restrain myself and didn't try and steal a horse and gallop off.  But it was so hard.

I started out on the far side of the lake.  After a bit of walking on the shore, I moved over to the other side of the lake.  There were my Canada geese against a lovely mountain background.  To round out the bird count, there are tons of crows and magpies all over town.  I saw a lone bluebird on my way out of the lake area and several meadowlarks.  I also heard a woodpecker, but couldn't find him in the trees.

So dragged my butt into the car (loaded down with feathers and claws, Savvy thinks I killed something) and drove off to work.  I have a great hike coming up this weekend (complete with a soak in the hot springs) and several more hikes over the next few weeks.  Hopefully, Mother Nature won't think Montana deserves a bit more winter before letting spring officially be here.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Mandala Monday (Without a Mandala)

Branches with dried leaves left over from fall against a spring Montana sky.  

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Week In Review

Sick...that's it, just sick.  Friday before last, the old 'tickle-in-the-throat' started and by Monday it was 'can-you-please-just-shoot-me' time.  It's bad when even a two year old moves a trash can into your room for all the kleenex on the floor.

And this is how I have to read a lot of times.  A have a friend who posts pretty pictures of kittens on her lap while reading.  Me, I get 30 pounds of Lady K on mine!

Besides the illness, this past week was pretty uneventful except for Lady K turned 2!  Complete with cupcakes Texter/Mommy made.  

Otherwise - 

  • 5 posts to blog
  • 6 books read
  • 24,880 steps or 11.39 miles
  • manicure and pedicure plus a haircut to up my spirits
  • purchased some new art supplies
  • 47 cent pair of new jeans bought for Savvy and my 47 cent sweater
  • discovered a new BBQ place which will be opening up soon (I hope)
I have a to-do list which needs to be started on and more coffee to consume!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

I'm In Love With A Duck

There he is, my love.  Unfortunately, he is already paired up.  This is "Woody", the wood duck.  Isn't he a handsome fellow?  He is so lovely and looks painted.  Surely feathers couldn't recreate these colors and patterns.

And a couple of my loves are getting brave enough to come up on the bank and eat bread.  Still not as brave as the geese or mallards, but getting there.

Is it wrong to want to be there when he molts so I might get some of those beautiful feathers?  Is it wrong to want to just stand him on my desk and stroke him?

There he is, my love.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Duck Walk

About three blocks from our apartment, just across the street and down the dirt road, is the Lewis and Clark fairgrounds and a small wetlands area.  And ducks!  And 'goose'.  

Just a few of the ducks and geese which are on the lake here.  It is not unusual to hear the geese, in particular, honking at our house.  

And seagulls.  Lots of them, much to Texter's dismay (she hates seagulls).  And they are such pains when throwing bread to the ducks.

Big goose which can look Lady K in the eye.  But I think they are coming to an agreement about being fed.

Sorry for the quality, but taken with my iPhone.  Texter, who is turning slowly, but surely, into a good birdwatcher, spotted this fellow among the mallards last week.  Then we rushed home and flipped through the bird books to discover we had seen an American Wigeon.

Luckily, Canada is not that well represented among the ducks.  But there are 3-4 pairs on the lake. 

And other geese, some of which are obviously from a blended family.  Or maybe an a snow goose going from juvenile to adulthood.

Wasn't close enough to get a good picture of this fellow, even with my telephoto lens (will accept donations for a bigger lens!).  However, I think it is a Lesser Scaup.  But not sure.

Tons of mallards.  I love their feathers.  Is it wrong to use want to pluck a few?

On our latest 'duck walk', as we were walking down the dirt road, we were treated by a few 'butts'.

Actually, Texter spotted them first and was dancing around me in the middle of the road, going 'Mom, Mom, Mom' and grabbing for the camera around my neck.  They were laying in some scrub trees by the road and took off across the pasture - those big, huge white tails up in the air.  I think we ticked them off, disturbing their nap.

And a bit further up, the wildlife changed to a more domestic variety.

Guinea hens strolling across the road.  And according to the guy who came out of the house they headed to, there was a coyote running around earlier that morning.  Probably looking for a bit of poultry for breakfast.

I love it we have this wildlife just outside our door.  On the down side, is the dog's poo spot also has visitors at times coming through and they have to sniff and investigate rather than doing what they are suppose to be doing.

But I enjoy exposing Lady K to all these times of animal life, some of it right at her fingertips, if she has a bit of bread.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lady K is Two!

A year ago 'we' were just learning to walk and crawling more than walking.  Now we can pull 'waggy'  after demanding to 'go, go, go'.

And sometimes she is content to be a passenger, but not too often.  She has to be 'hands on' with most things.  She is definitely not an observer of life.

She and the large geese are coming to terms with each other.  She loves going to 'ducks'.  And it's a nice little walk, only about 2-3 blocks away from the apartment.

The problem is getting bread from Texter.  Her mother loves to feed the ducks too, so there is a little bit of hoarding going on.  Luckily, I work with some great people who are funneling me their stale bread and chips for 'ducks'.

A raisin bread and peanut butter sandwich for lunch with the ducks requires some contemplation on life - and the large 'duckies'.

I can't wait to see what the next year will bring.  I am loving being able to watch and observe this time around which I unfortunately couldn't do with Texter and Savvy.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Mandala Monday

We are still reeling from our sugar high from the road trip last week.  And probably will for several more weeks.  Actually, the hard lemon candies I purchased are coming in handy for my sour throat the past few days.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Week In Review - 2 Days and Counting

Actually today, with my head and chest a bit congested, I don't feel like thinking.  Really, I don't feel I can think!  I want to be a vegetable.  Maybe a cauliflower.  So I can't even summon the energy to do a weekly review.  I'm barely able to make my coffee this morning.

Therefore, I will focus on Lady K.

In 2 days, her Ladyship will be 2 years old.  And I am constantly amazed at how she has grown by leaps and bounds.  She can now dress herself (to a certain degree).  She is more into 'undressing'.  Just the other day she comes into my room, dressed in Texter's sleep pants, with both her legs into one side.  And a coat.  She was ready to "go, go, go" (one of her favorite words).

Yesterday, she greeted the day with a 'ruff'.  Already she understands cosplay!  And words.  She can communicate with  more and more words every day.  Keeping up with her is a challenge.  

So off to take come cold medicine and more coffee and a nap.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Day Trip to The Sweet Palace

Savvy has been working 10-14 hour days with barely a day off each week (and loving it).  She came to Montana in August and is now the General Manager of her store.  She says no voodoo was involved.  Anyway, yesterday was suppose to be really nice outside and they (Savvy and Texter) had a choice, Freezout Lake and bird watching or The Sweet Palace.  You can probably guess where we went.

We loaded up in the morning with a bit of trepidation.  Lady K is prone to car sickness on longer rides.  Around town, no problem.  On the road, it's not so much fun.  Texter packed a bin of clothes and blankets and water and no big breakfast before we left.  Our problem then was a child who doesn't understand the concept she has to stay in the car seat and was really cranky about it.  But who could stay inside on a day that looked like this?

Our destination was The Sweet Palace in Philipsburg, Montana.  Part of the route we had been on several times as it is the road to Missoula.  But about halfway there, you turn off and head south.  (Actually, this forms a nice "loop" back down to Butte and back up to Helena.)  We parked across the street (in front of the library) and walked over to open the doors to this...

Row upon row, bucket and jar upon bucket and jar of every kind of candy imaginable!

Lady K was intrigued by the puppets they had for sale there.  And if I had an extra $55 I would have carried home a dragon.

Savvy did check out everything, but settled on a box of assorted handmade chocolates and then a little sleeve of 'beer' flavored ones (I think that's what they are).

I did selected a milk chocolate and dark chocolate nut cluster (pecan and cashew).  These things are bigger than my hand.

Savvy is making sure her selections are satisfactory and cussing me for bringing her before payday and not after. 

And a colorful display of candy everywhere.  You can chose to create your own bags of candy or they have some remade for you.  Texter and I selected our own.  She did a bag of jelly beans (Lady K loves jelly beans) as a 'potty' reward for Lady K.  Then we went through the gummies (blue raspberry for her and banana, orange flavors for me) and then the fruit slices.

Between trying not to drool on the candy displays, there is an area upstairs where you can sit and ponder your purchases.

After driving ourselves crazy trying to pick and choose, we decided lunch and a stroll around the rest of the town was necessary.

We made it as far as the soda shop across the street.  Savvy had a bison burger (tastes like beef) and a little cup of chili (which she had to share with Lady K).

Texter had chicken strips and homemade potato chips, while I had fish and chips.  Everything was freshly made and delicious.  Unfortunately, we did not leave any room for a malt. 

Working off lunch and the anticipated calories of all the candy we were bringing home, we strolled through Philipsburg.  One of the things I love were the little architectural features everywhere, from the buildings to the decorations on them.

There were several other places to eat and poke around in.  I can imagine during the summer tourist season, Philipsburg gets pretty busy.  It's just a bit up the road from a couple of large lakes.  But as delightful as the buildings and what is in them are, the outside is just as much fun with lots of statues around the downtown area.

Savvy and Lady K discover a garden area at the end of the block.  It must be really pretty in the summer.

The town is really a paradox.  First off, it is in the middle of nowhere.  This only served to strengthen my resolve to learn more about Montana history because I am often confounded about 'why here' with regards to the location of towns.  Secondly, there is obviously empty buildings and some for sale signs, but what is there is cute and pretty and very well done.

Back into the car we piled, Lady K only protesting mildly at this point and off we drove the rest of the loop home.  

How could you not love driving through country like this?  The lakes were still frozen over.

We had to stop for me to take pictures and Savvy ventured onto the 'ice' and checked out a hole.  I figured it was left from someone ice fishing earlier in the year.

Typical scenery.....yawn.

We drove through Anaconda and another case of wanting to know more about the state I live in.  I know vaguely (very, very vaguely) Anaconda was mining, but that's about it.  Having lived in a mill town in my early years, I can recognize 'company' homes, which were evident as we drove through.

So we started a little after 9am and got home about 3pm.  Weather was beautiful.  Lady K had no car sickness this time.  However, Texter and Savvy did pop some dramamine.  It seems I was the only one not dozing on the ride home.

Peeking up from behind Savvy's box of chocolates, is a little Easter bunny and a couple of malted milk 'eggs'.  And somewhere in there is a little bag with some licorice for a couple of co-workers who love licorice.  The big bag of taffy will be split up and taken to the library and Qdoba for consumption.  The rest will be slowly and carefully savored over the coming weeks.  And another trip is in the works, probably in the fall after the tourists leave (I'm not a tourist, I live here!).