Tuesday, April 25, 2017

We're in Sedona, Arizona!!

Here with my eight college friends from Hollins.  We've been friends for 47 years and still going strong.   Sedona is a magnificent, serene, beautiful piece of heaven and we are having the time of our lives.  Here are a few photos - best viewed if you click on each photo:
From left:  Karen KK Kalergis, Martha Peter, Debra Abbott, Lynda Moore, Bev Catlin, Maryanne Bing Rowe, Kathy Cox, Read Phillips and yours truly.  We are wearing our protest shirts courtesy of Debra.

Hiking in the red rocks.  From Left: Kathy Cox, Martha Peter, Bev Catlin, Lynda Moore, Read Phillips and yours truly

In our living room and entertaining the wonderful Helen Delaney who is back in the back center.

The view from our swimming pool

Friday, April 21, 2017

Curious Bluebird in Valley Forge

This beautiful bluebird landed right next to me as I was standing in the woods in Valley Forge.  At first he didn't know I was there, but then I shifted my feet and pointed my big lens in his direction.  He, at first pretended he didn't see me, but then got brave and looked right at me.  We stared at each other for a while.  I took some photographs and after I while he said he really had to go.  I let him go.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Headlight Over the Horizon

I was taking a picture of the wildflowers at dusk tonight in Valley Forge when a car was coming my way.  Sometimes it just works.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Ken's Bench

It is Easter Weekend and Yumiko came home from New York to celebrate.  A few months ago we ordered a bench to be placed at Ken's grave site in Valley Forge.  It was recently installed and Yumiko, Barb Reid (Ken's first wife and dear friend) and I went to visit.  We planted three hyacinth - one from each of us.  And Yumiko brought three pennies and a dime to place on the bench because we think they are a sign from Ken.

It was a beautiful day and so many signs that Ken is home and happy.  One guilty pang I have had since I chose the grave site was that Ken told me (after it was chosen) he wanted to be in the sunshine and not in the shade.  There was a huge tree right next to our plot.  Today when we came we were so surprised to see that that tree had been cut down.  Ken, who loves all trees probably ordered that one to be taken out so he would have a little more sunshine.  (He always did get his way. ) Then as we were sitting on the bench I saw a man who resembled Ken on a bike riding through the grave yard.  It was so surprising and shocking to see - as Ken was such a biker.  The man got off his bike, took off his helmet, and walked right up to us but stopped short at another grave site.  I think he may have been visiting a relative of his.  The final sign was - while Yumiko, Barb and I were sitting on the bench a huge great horned owl flew right over our heads.  Although I see owls perched once in a while, never has one flown directly over our heads and so close! Oh that Ken.

Here are a few pictures from our visit.  Miss him so much. (Click on photos to get a better view of Ken's fan club.)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Babies Have Arrived!!

I may be arrested for this, but I brought home a few praying mantis egg sacs from the fields of Valley Forge last fall.  I've done this for the last several years.  Shhhhhhhhh.  I put them in a glass jar with a little saran wrap on top and punched little air holes so there would be good circulation.  I put the jar on the window sill in the guest room.  And today, as I went into the room to check on things - the jar was buzzing with about two hundred baby praying mantises.  A few had already escaped through the air holes.  I rescued them and took everybody outside, keeping them in the jar until they were ready for their release into the world and a little photo session.  Here are a few of the little beauties.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Mr. Handsome Coyote in Valley Forge this Morning

I had a spectacular hour this morning with a coyote in Valley Forge.  He was not the least bit shy - even a little bored.  My 600mm lens let me get mighty close.  A few horseback riders came through and he trotted off to the den he shares with Mrs. Coyote and their new litter of pups.  Hopefully more to follow when the pups grow up enough to come out and play. Click on photos to see just how handsome this boy really is.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Robins in Love

I often see robins fighting.  This pair however could have been a mating couple play fighting in Valley Forge.  They stayed together a long time.  At one point another robin flew into their territory and was chased away.  The first robin came back and they began their dance again.  See the kiss at the end.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Rain Rain Rain

It was raining cats and dogs yesterday, but I still had the itch to go out and take photographs.  So I put on all my rain gear, put the raincoat on my camera and lens and was totally blessed by the little and big critters who came out to say hello.  Here they are:  the little vole, the rain deer, the redwing blackbird, and the beautiful little Eastern Phoebe.  Click on each to see those rain drops.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Valley Forge Coyotes (Click photos for better view)

A few weeks ago I saw a fleeting glimpse of a coyote in Valley Forge. Then a few days ago after it snowed, I saw two coyotes chasing each other far off in the distance.  Then the day before yesterday I saw my two coyotes in the field and was able to get reasonably close to get a photo.  Today... Oh today.... I went to Valley Forge early hoping I would get lucky again.  But as I entered the big field I saw two other photographers waiting in the brush hoping for the coyote and I knew it
was not my time.  So I doubled back and decided to take a different path. As I was walking along the side of the woods a truck with a wonderful park employee came driving by on the field road.  He stopped and we had a great conversation about the park and its beauty and the wonderful wildlife.  I asked him if he knew where the coyotes were and he said yes....  And he showed me photos of coyotes he had taken with his cell phone.  I was amazed.  I came back to Valley Forge late in the afternoon today.  I walked up County Line Road and was stopped by a park employee saying I was not allowed on the road because of the asbestos removal and I had better get off the road immediately.  I held my tongue and politely asked if it were O.K. if I walked in the field. He said yes.  We bid goodbye and I walked in the field until I came to the place where the other much nicer park employee told me the coyote den was.  I crouched on a ledge overlooking the den with a lot of weeds in my face.  I waited a long time, but finally I saw a little movement.  There was the beautiful coyote and she was transporting her brand new little babies from one part of the location to another.  I took lots of photographs - all a little fuzzy, but truly amazing none the less.  After she transported the second baby and knowing I was there I decided to fold up my equipment and head on home and rejoice in the beauty of the world.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Valley Forge First Day of Spring

The harrier was flying over the fields and the coyote came out into the open.  Oh, it's going to be a good spring.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Ken and Yumiko and More Lessons in Life

I'm not sure if I have become a true believer that you can communicate with the dearly departed, but I am getting closer every day.  Now I know some will think this is crazy, but I have been talking to Ken a lot as I drive out to Valley Forge and often when I am walking in the fields.  And it feels so good and I feel like I really am talking to him and he is listening.  Let me go back a few weeks and give you an example of how this has been evolving.  Yumiko had called me on the phone from NYU.  She was quite stressed as she had a lot of tests and was worried and tired and just needed somebody to listen and comfort her.  Instead of being a comfort, I was my old bossy self and told her in a mean way that she needed to get more rest, eat more food, stop worrying so much,  make more friends, play more.  Just awful.

We hung up the phone and immediately I could feel Ken frowning down at me.  Saying, "Kitty, stop micro managing!  Let Yumiko be."  It was so real.  I could feel his disapproval so strongly.  I tried to call Yumiko back, but no answer.  I texted her, no answer.  I face timed her, no answer.  So I just sat and stewed for about an hour.  Finally Yumiko called me back.  And Yumiko being Yumiko apologized for not answering my calls.  Then she said during that time she was writing a letter to her dad about her old ma. She needed him to comfort her and he did.

My oh my oh my.  The lessons that man and that beautiful girl keep teaching me.  All is good.  Yumiko forgave me.   I am trying not to be such an old bossy mom.

So.... yesterday afternoon as I was driving out to Valley Forge I asked Ken if he might send a few birds my way.  When I got down into the big field - there was my Harrier Hawk just as beautiful as she could be.  And a beautiful Kestrel and my young red tailed hawk.  All there to greet me.  Click on each to see the beauty in their eyes.