Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wild Things, Part 2: Rae's backyard

Doesn't it seem strange that I encountered more wildlife in my friend Rae's suburban backyard last weekend than I have in the past six months near my home out in the "country"?

First, there was this bunny.

Okay, I do spot bunnies near us, but they're always on the run (from the puppies.) 
Any photo I take is a blur of a white tail, if I'm lucky enough to get that much!

I appreciated this one standing still for me.

Would you believe a killdeer has nested right smack dab in the middle of Rae's backyard?
She's a little upset in this photo...

...because she's protecting these...

...from this!

Rae wouldn't normally aggravate an animal (that's why they're all living in her yard!) but she knew I'd want to snap a shot of the beautiful eggs. 
Thanks, Rae and Ms. Killdeer!

Okay, it's obvious these aren't real fish, but they're still pretty wild, aren't they?

Rae's dogs are only wild when there's a pool and a ball involved.

Here's Molly, showing perfect form...

The ducks were the best models, though. 
Most of the time this one could be found on her nest, hidden away in some tall grasses beside the pool.

She finally took a break and I captured a shot of her eggs.

And then a few of the lovely couple going for a morning swim.

The missus is the one with the fancy, of course.
(Oops, I've just been corrected. That's actually the mister! I guess in the bird world, that figures. He's the flashiest, for sure!)

Stay tuned for Wild Things, Part 3: My parent's backyard

Monday, June 27, 2011

Wild Things, Part 1: Squirrels (and a cute little green bird)

Last week, I spotted a little squirrel snacking under the bird feeder, just as I stepped out the front door. Usually they skitter right away as soon as they see us, but this one stayed put. It must have been hungry! Naturally, I thought "photo op!" and slipped back inside for my camera.

I kept expecting it to dash away, but instead, the next thing I knew, another little guy (girl?) ventured into camera range...

Why, hello there! Care to join me for lunch?

 and then, what a treat! a little green bird decided it must be safe and joined the party.

Don't mind if I do! Thank you!

I ran out of time to post these before heading out of town for the weekend, but even though my camera is filled with photos of weekend fun in the sun with girlfriends, I'm posting these first. It's the least I can do in gratitude for this little guy's (girl's?) desperate courage.

P.S. Anyone know what kind of bird this is?
P.S.S. You probably already guessed from the title, but I have even more photographs of wild things that I'll First, I have to finally install Photoshop Elements to use for editing the "fun in the sun" photos of my girlfriends, or they'll kill me. (They gave it to me for this very reason.) Oh, and then I have to write about my weekend over on Long Hollow. But I'll be back with more wild things here soon!

Monday, June 20, 2011

I am the Lizard King...

I can do anything.
~Jim Morrison

This anole came visiting a few weeks ago. 
I haven't seen him since, but he was such a natural model, I imagine he's halfway to New York by now.

We rarely see anoles around here. 
In La Porte, where we used to live (where things were much greener) they were everywhere. 
When the kids were little and we'd spot one peeking in the window, I'd tell them "Those are Santa's spies, keeping an eye on you to make sure you're being good!" 
(Moms have to stay a step ahead!)

Precisely the least, the softest, lightest, a lizard's rustling, a breath, a flash, a moment - a little makes the way of the best happiness.
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

At noon in the desert a panting lizard waited for history, its elbows tense, watching the curve of a particular road as if something might happen.
~William Stafford

I am not a demon. I am a lizard, a shark, a heat-seeking
panther. I want to be Bob Denver on acid playing the

- Nicolas Cage 

           The Old Lizard 
by Federico GarcĂ­a Lorca
translated by Lysander Kemp

In the parched path 
I have seen the good lizard 
(one drop of crocodile) 
With his green frock-coat 
of an abbot of the devil, 
his correct bearing 
and his stiff collar, 
he has the sad air 
of an old professor. 
Those faded eyes 
of a broken artist, 
how they watch the afternoon 
in dismay!

Is this, my friend, 
your twilight constitutional? 
Please use your cane, 
you are very old, Mr. Lizard, 
and the children of the village 
may startle you.
What are you seeking in the path, 
my near-sighted philosopher, 
if the wavering phantasm 
of the parched afternoon 
has broken the horizon? 

Are you seeking the blue alms 
of the moribund heaven? 
A penny of a star? 
Or perhaps 
you've been reading a volume 
of Lamartine, and you relish 
the plateresque trills 
of the birds? 

(You watch the setting sun, 
and your eyes shine, 
oh, dragon of the frogs, 
with a human radiance. 
Ideas, gondolas without oars, 
cross the shadowy 
waters of your 
burnt-out eyes.) 

Have you come looking 
for that lovely lady lizard, 
green as the wheatfields 
of May, 
as the long locks
of sleeping pools, 
who scorned you, and then 
left you in your field? 
Oh, sweet idyll, broken 
among the sweet sedges! 
But, live! What the devil! 
I like you. 
The motto "I oppose 
the serpent" triumphs 
in that grand double chin 
of a Christian archbishop. 

Now the sun has dissolved 
in the cup of the mountains, 
and the flocks 
cloud the roadway. 
It is the hour to depart: 
leave the dry path 
and your meditations. 
You will have time 
to look at the stars 
when the worms are eating you 
at their leisure.

Go home to your house 
by the village, of the crickets! 
Good night, my friend 
Mr. Lizard! 

Now the field is empty, 
the mountains dim, 
the roadway deserted. 
Only, now and again, 
a cuckoo sings in the darkness 
of the poplar trees.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Happy Birthday, Old Glory!

You still look FABULOUS TO ME!

Did you know today is Flag Day? 
On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution adopting the American flag. 

It's not an official federal holiday, but does that matter? 

Take a minute today to sing happy birthday in her honor and to say a prayer for our troops who labor for us- who risk their lives for us - under her colors. 
Toss in a prayer for our country while you're at it. I think we need it.

I Pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. 

For more information on the Stars and Stripes, click HERE.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Meeting Frankie's Royal Cousins

Back in April, Tom jumped on a Craig's List offer for free firewood. He had to cut it himself, but he didn't mind  when he spotted peacocks roaming through the couple's yard and neighborhood. 
He got a kick out of the eldest male who spent hours admiring his own reflection in Tom's hubcaps, full fan.
"You need to go out there with your camera," he told me.
So I did.

I first spotted the females, so beautiful in a subtle way, don't you agree?

Something around the face reminded me of Frankie...

Then I spotted him, the King, running from the paparazzi.

He led me to his sons, the princes, regally pacing a neighbor's porch roof, proclaiming their royalty with loud calls that sounded strangely similar to the maawwwing of a Siamese cat in heat.

King skittered back across the street and through the woods and up to his own throne.

My best sweet talk failed to coax him into a full fan for me - obviously he wasn't in the mood and just wanted to be left alone to rule his kingdom in peace...

So I left.
But I went back a few days later, determined to capture that full fan.

You again? he said. (Not out loud of course. But I could see it in his eyes.)

He tried to ignore me, but I kept snapping anyway, captivated by his gorgeous feathers. 
Full fan or not, they were breathtaking. Such rich color and diverse patterns!
The black and white feathers reminded me of Frankie, of course.

Harassment, er, I mean, persistence pays off...

I suspect this is some kind of avian insult, but I still think it's pretty cool.

I guess he felt kind of sorry for me...

"Okay, show's over, lady. Go home," he told me. 
(I could read it in his tail feathers.)

I snapped a few more...

But I finally took the hint that his Majesty was tiring of my paparazzi antics. 
(That, plus I didn't feel like crawling through bushes.)

"I'm a peacock, you gotta let me fly!" ~ Mark Wahlberg in "The Other Guys"