Sunday, May 31, 2015

Serene Scenery Sunday

Greetings to all!  It's me, Maggie, here with Serene Scenery Sunday.  Mom took this week's photos out at Tuttle Creek State Park and at the Steve Lloyd Wetlands --- or at least on the way there/back.  We hope these pictures will help you relax and feel all kinds of serenity!  Ready to take a look?

First up are a couple birds Mom has never seen or photographed before!

IMG_7331YellowWarbler
Yellow Warbler

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Orchard Oriole, 1st Summer male

Later on, that Orchard Oriole will turn bright orange!

Mom got this guy sitting on a sign:

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Eastern Kingbird

I sure hope he had a permit!!!

Here's a cool-looking froggie:

IMG_7453Frog
"Shh!  I'm camouflaged; you aren't supposed to see me!"

Mom made sure to not say anything to the herons in the area about Mr. Froggie!

Those pix were all taken out at Tuttle; here are some Mom shot yesterday at the Steve Lloyd Wetlands!

Dad spotted this birdie way out in the distance!

IMG_7800BaltimoreOriole
Baltimore Oriole

Mom had to zoom way in on him with her bazooka (I mean the 600mm lens) and then crop it.  She couldn't believe Dad saw him!

They saw lots of Indigo Buntings; they were way more cooperative than the ones at Tuttle!  Here's one of them:

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Indigo Bunting

Blue is one of Mom's favorite colors, so she just loves the little Buntings!

Speaking of little ... here's another very small birdie:

IMG_7642AmericanGoldfinch
American Goldfinch in a Mulberry Tree

Mom thinks the Goldfinch might want to give the mulberries a little more time to get ripe!

Mom and Dad also saw a lot of Dickcissels.  There was one who let them get SUPER close to him - and he sang for them!  Here he is:

IMG_7723Dickcissel
Dickcissel 

That photo is not cropped -- that's how close their pet Dickcissel let them get!  (Dickcissels are about the size of small sparrows, just to give you a size gauge!)

Speaking of up close and not cropped ... here is a shot of some much larger birds:

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Turkey Vultures

Sure, they're a bit spooky-looking, but mighty cool in their own right!

And for what was the most unexpected bird they saw ...

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Peacock!

Yes, a Peacock!!!  In the middle of totally Nowhere, Kansas!  Isn't he beautiful?!!?  And wow, he just looks as proud as a ... well, OK.  Now I know where the phrase "proud as a peacock" comes from!

Does seeing all of those photos get you to your serene place?  They sure do it for me!

IMG_1472Mags
"So serene ... so relaxed ... so ... Zzzz...."

Have a wonderful Sunday, everyone! Keep it serene!

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher

Saturday, May 30, 2015

It All Depends On The Definition

Greetings to all!  It's me, Maggie!  Yep.  Right.  Over.  Here.  Having a private conversation with my dad.

IMG_8082MagsOttoman
"What, Mom?"

The way I understand it, I'm not "sitting" on the ottoman, I'm "leaning" on the ottoman! AND ... from what I've heard, if I have two feet on the ground, it doesn't count anyway.

Dad gets it; Mom will come around in time!

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Best Part About TV Time

Hello, everyone!  It's me, Cammie.  I'm not as into watching TV and movies as Maggie is, but there is one thing that really appeals to me.

IMG_7987Cam
"So... what are we watching, anyway, Mags?"

IMG_8067MagsTV
"It's the second part of that 'Texas Rising' show, Cam.  Haven't you been paying attention?"

IMG_7984CamSnuggle
"Oh.  I ... umm ... (oh, yeah, Mom.  Right there!)  I might have gotten a tad distracted."

I can't help it if my favorite part of watching TV is snuggling with Mom!  What about all of you?  What's the best part about TV time for you?

Cammie!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Library Ottoman

Greetings to all!  It's me, Maggie!  So there I was the other day, playing Fetch downstairs with Mom ... when I realized there is yet another ottoman here at Ao4 Headquarters.  It's in the Library and is really cool!



Apparently, I'm not allowed on that one, either. Who knew? And who comes up with these rules?

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher

PS: If the video won't play, please click here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Upper Hand

Hello, everyone!  It's me, Cammie!  Just out here on the deck with Maggie!

IMG_7786CamMags
"Oh.  Umm... hi, Mom."
"Mrrrrrffff!"

Just ... relaxing.  Nothing to see here!

(I can't always let the puppy have the upper hand, you know!)

Cammie!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day 2015

Memorial Day is a day to honor those who have fallen in the service of our country - our war dead. It is a day of reverence and respect rather than one of celebration.


At Arlington National Cemetery, where so many of our veterans have been laid to rest, the 3rd US Infantry Regiment (Old Guard) honors our fallen heroes by placing American flags at their grave sites.


This tradition is known as "Flags In".


The soldiers place small American flags one foot in front and centered before each veteran's grave marker.


Please remember to take time today to honor our fallen.  

"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends."
John 15:13

God bless our fallen veterans and comfort their families. We will never forget you!

On behalf of all of us at Ao4 Headquarters,
Cammie and Mags

Photos courtesy of the 3rd Infantry Regiment, the US Army, and Arlington National Cemetery.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Serene Scenery Sunday

Hello, everyone!  It's me, Cam.  This week, our pictures are for the birds.  I mean they are of birds.  Mostly.  Anyway, these are photos Mom took on a few different outings to Tuttle Creek State Park.  Ready to take a look?

Here's a little birdie with a snack!

IMG_6337WhiteBreastedNuthatch
White Breasted Nuthatch

We've had a lot of rain lately and there has been a good deal of flooding.  The water levels in the River Pond, Willow Lake, and the other little ponds where Mom usually sees all kinds of birds are higher than she's ever seen them.  Unfortunately, this means a lot of the water birds aren't around (that doesn't make sense to us, either -- something about food sources not as readily available or something like that).  One of the birds Mom has seen a couple times is this little Sandpiper:

IMG_6295SpottedSandpiper
Spotted Sandpiper

Mom usually sees them along the "rocky shoal" in the River Pond, but that is totally under water!  Fortunately, that guy discovered a log along Willow Lake where he could look for whatever it is that Sandpipers eat!

Since Mom has resorted to photographing little birds, she has seen a few she's never seen before!  Here is one:

IMG_6273GreatCrestedFlycatcher
Great Crested Flycatcher

Mom was mighty excited about seeing him - and being able to get a shot!  She was even more excited to finally get some shots of this gorgeous redhead:

IMG_6609RedHeadedWoodpecker
Redheaded Woodpecker

We do have a love of redheads around here, you know!

There have been a lot of these birdies around:

IMG_6262EasternKingbird
Eastern Kingbird

There are a couple areas in the park where Mom can spot Indigo Buntings.  Unfortunately, they are in heavily shaded areas, so it's hard for her to get a decent shot.  She LOVES these birdies, though, so here's one of the better shots she got off:

IMG_6813IndigoBunting
Indigo Bunting

They are intensely BLUE!

Here's a birdie doing a levitation act:

IMG_6697Swainson'sThrush
Swainson's Thrush

Pretty tricky, isn't he?

While we're using the word "pretty", check out the iridescence of this guy's feathers:

IMG_6833Grackle
Common Grackle

His name might be "Common" Grackle, but the way the sun was hitting him made him look rather extraordinary!

Here's one pond resident who didn't seem to mind all the recent rains:

IMG_6845Frog
Froggie!

Mom said she asked him how deep the water was and he said it was .... knee deep.  Get it?  Ha roo woo roo!

Moving right along ... here are more tiny birdies:

IMG_6921EasternPhoebe
Eastern Phoebe

Remember the levitating Thrush we showed you?  Not to be outdone, here's a Bluebird trying his hand ... errr ... claw at it:

IMG_6941HoveringEasternBluebird
Eastern Bluebird, floating on air

There are bunches of Swallows swooping all over the ponds, catching bugs.  (GOOD BIRDIES!!!)  It's hard for Mom to get clear shots of them in flight, but she managed to find some who had actually perched!  Here is one of them:

IMG_7042NorthernRoughWingedSwallow
Northern Rough-Winged Swallow

We heard yesterday was National Turtle Day or something, so here's a turtle!

IMG_7043RedEarredSliderTurtle
Red-Eared Slider Turtle.  We think.

A birdie that likes to tease Mom by flying right in front of her, then hiding in the bushes and trees is the Oriole!  They like to go deep into the brush areas, making it tough for Mom to get decent photos. She was delighted when this guy held still:

IMG_7116BaltimoreOriole
Baltimore Oriole

And last, but not least, is one of the coolest things Mom has seen out at Tuttle lately:

IMG_7123MamaPossumWithBabies
Mama Opossum - with babies on board!

Isn't she a good mama, getting her babies to safety!?!? Go Mama, go!!! And her babies are SO CUTE! Oh! And in addition to eating snakes, rodents, and fruits, guess what else they eat? Bugs - to include TICKS! That's right - opossums apparently eat the kind of ticks that carry Lyme Disease!  How wonderful is that?!?  I think that's a cause we can all get behind!

That's a wrap for Serene Scenery Sunday - we hope you enjoyed your virtual trip to Tuttle Creek State Park!  Have a wonderful Sunday!

Cammie!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Not Always Like This

Greetings to all!  It's me, Maggie.  I'm in here.

IMG_7925Maggie

Ah!  Saturday!

IMG_7926Maggie
"What???"

Oh.  I know what you're thinking.  "Must be nice lounging around" -- right?  Well, it's not always like this!  Let's scroll back on the camera roll, shall we???

IMG_3507MagsDust
"Sigh.  Must I do everything around here?"

That's right.  Working Breeds need some kick-back time, too!

Have a restful weekend, everyone!

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher

Friday, May 22, 2015

Photo Finish Friday!

Greetings to all!  It's me, Maggie, here with Photo Finish Friday.  Today, I have a miscellaneous assortment of photos Mom finally downloaded from her iPhone.  It's basically a look at some of the things we've been up to lately.  Ready?

I've been having some great ball-playing time out on the deck!  Here I am with my Jolly Ball:

IMG_7576MagsJollyBall
Me playing Fetch with my Jolly Ball

We've been putting in a lot of good miles this week:

IMG_7893CamMagsHudsonTrail
"Birdie!"
"Oooh!  Brown Thrasher!  Good call, Cam!"

We've been having an awful lot of rain lately.  Our skies have looked like this on many of our walks:

IMG_7799MagsCamStormySkies
"I think we might want to step up the pace!"
"Yep!  Double-time, everyone!  Let's hurry home!"

So, between all the walking and rain, we've also done a little bit of this:

IMG_7771MagsCamSnooze
"Zzz..."
"Do not wake her!  Please.  Please do... not... wake the sleeping puppy!!!"

We also got to go out to Tuttle Creek State Park this week!  Mom didn't take pictures of us there, but here is a shot of her and Cam on the way home:

IMG_7876CamRAV4
Mom and Cam, snuggling on the way home

And if you're wondering if we had fun walking around at the park, here's my answer for you:

IMG_7877MagsRAV4
"You betcha!"

I also delivered a few political speeches:

IMG_7887MagsCam
"And in closing, let me paraphrase my namesake - 'in politics, if you want anything said, ask a human. If you want anything done, ask a Siberian!'”
"Mmm-hmm..."

That's close enough to what she said!  Really!

Mom and I got some fun ball-playing in during the evenings, too.

IMG_7823MagsBall
Me and my green ball during a break in the action

Oh.  And Dad brought one of the ottomans from the Library upstairs.  I'm not allowed to sit on it, either, so I use it as a launchpad instead!

IMG_7854CamMags
"Look out, Mom!  This might get crazy!"
"BOOM!"

All in all, a mighty good week.  Oh.  And are you ready for the big finish?

IMG_7884MaggieBox
"Could this week get ANY better?!?!"

That's right - I also got another new box!  Has this been a great week or WHAT?!?!

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Open Invitation

Greetings to all!  It's me, Maggie!  I'm here in the new box I showed you on Sunday.

IMG_7778MagsInABox
"Hello!"

Would anyone like to join me?

IMG_7777MagsInABox

Cam is busy standing Guard Duty, or I'm sure she would.

IMG_7776MagsInABox
"There's plenty of room!"

Anyone? Anyone at all?

You have an open invitation to join me!

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher