Sunday, June 25, 2017

Anthomania


An extravagant obsession with flowers?  Not really sure about the word extravagant in the definition of anthomania in that my affection hardly seems absurd nor do I spend a lot of money on flowers.  I just really, really like them.  Wildflowers or hot house flowers, public gardens or private ones, rows of perennials outside Home Depot or the plantings in my own back yard -- I'm enraptured.  There might be a strong correlation between my general love of nature and my enjoyment of flowers.  After all, aren't they a showy version of what nature provides as a soothing balm to indoor sterility and the time of year when seemingly nothing is actively growing?  What I do know for sure (to steal a line from Oprah) is that to me, nearly all things that fall under the umbrella of flora delight me.  I suppose there are worse "obsessions" to have.

Here are some more subjects from the last few weekends:






There is a new addition to our family.  On Thursday we heard about four abandoned kittens that were left in a dumpster.  No one is sure how long they were there, and the culprit (that's not the only word I've used to describe this person) is unknown.  Thankfully, they were rescued before the garbage truck arrived.  We'd been thinking of getting a companion for our much-loved calico, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so.  She's an eight week old, long-haired tortoiseshell according to the vet we visited over the weekend.  Tim and I are already in love with her.  Take a look:


No name yet, but we've considered Little Spitfire, Lucy, Sophie, June Bug and Amy (as in Amy Farah Fowler of Big Bang Theory fame since Penny is named after a character on that show).

Miss Penny enjoying the last light of the evening.

Penny doing what she enjoys most - watching birds, hiding in the grass.

We get some pretty lovely sunsets here in Utah.

Friday, June 2, 2017

“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and winds long to play with your hair.” –Kahlil Gibran

Some of my favorite things about summer - bare feet and driving with the windows down. 

Last Sunday, Tim and I walked up a steep road just to see where it led.  It seemed we might get to a saddle with the chance to walk along it for a bit.  However, the road petered out, and the game trails (or as I sometimes call them - animal super highways) weren't wide enough for us to follow.  A short hike in the end, but we were rewarded with some lovely wildflowers.  Arrowleaf balsamroot, Indian paintbrush, larkspur, phlox, forget-me-not.  I looked for shooting stars, but perhaps it was too late in the season to see any.






Afterward we went for a drive down a long, dusty dirt road.  We saw several pronghorn which is always a pleasure.  I never tire of their pretty faces, dainty legs and coloring.  They're found in this part of Utah year-round so sightings are common.  Even so, I perk up whenever I spot them.


not a great photo, but they were moving away from the road as we passed

Toward the end of our drive, we were rewarded with a large band of wild horses.  Despite being wild, this particular group seems rather tolerant of humans watching and photographing them.  (Lucky perhaps for the folks who irresponsibly approach them within a few feet or yards.)  This herd has spent days and days in this area, grazing, rolling in the muddy ponds and doing what it is that horses do.  I feel pretty blessed that we live in a place inhabited by all sorts of wildlife.  From snakes to birds, from pronghorn to mustangs, we see and hear all manner of critters on a daily basis.  Further reason to enjoy and admire summer.
 



Saturday, May 13, 2017

Red Butte Garden






Tim took these photos of Momma mallard and her ducklings.  She had ten little ones.  No wonder she needed to nap!





 



On Thursday night, Tim and I went to view a taping of our long-time favorite NPR show - Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! in Salt Lake at Abravanel Hall.  Good heavens, we laughed so much.  I was super excited that Mo Rocca was one of the panelists.  I told the stranger next to me that he ought to be prepared for how loud I might cheer when they introduce him on stage.  He replied he would likely do the same.  We had a lot of fun, and the Abravanel Hall is a very handsome venue.

For Tim's birthday, he asked for a membership to the Red Butte Garden.  I happily obliged in part so we could have early access to concert tickets (Mary Chapin Carpenter in July), but we also plan to visit the gardens as often as possible.  Our friend, Steph, took us there for a visit back in 2012, and we've been wanting to go back since.  The rose garden is yet to bloom, but plenty of other beautiful, fragrant and colorful things were on full display.  After a long stroll, we took advantage of being in town for their annual plant sale.  I picked up a gorgeous rubber plant, and Tim grabbed some exotic house plants for the patio.  Their employees and volunteers are so friendly and informative - just kind souls.  What a lovely afternoon.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Antelope Island State Park

sunset from the causeway
the view from our camp site

I just loved this view - kind of stark and melancholy with the clouds in the background.

I met my good friend, Trina, at the Bridge Bay campground on Antelope Island Thursday evening.  By the time I arrived, the sun was setting.  It was close to dark when I found our campsite.  We started a fire, had some snacks, and shivered while catching up.  The forecast earlier in the day called for possible snow, sustained winds, and overnight temps in the 20s.  Many layers of clothes and multiple sleeping bags and blankets later, I slept restlessly in my car.  But seeing an old friend from Yellowstone was worth it, without question.  

Morning brought sunshine, singing birds of all kinds, and a much needed hot cup of tea.  We did a beautiful five-mile hike above the edge of the Great Salt Lake, and I spent a good chunk of the day touring the eastern side of the island.  

The bison  were grazing in various spots, a small obstinacy here, a few bulls there.  A handful of pronghorn made an appearance, too.  The bird life, however, was most plentiful - western meadowlarks, magpies, chukars, ravens, American avocets, long-billed curlews, red-winged blackbirds, California gulls, European Starlings and more.  My hope was to spot burrowing owls but no luck there.  

The weather didn't lend the day to lingering - flurries, rain, wind and quite cold temperatures sent me home by mid-afternoon in search of a hot meal, a cuppa, and an early night to bed.  I hope to get back there soon.  It had been almost ten years since my first visit, but I've no plans to wait that long for my next trip.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

"The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also." --Harriet Ann Jacobs


Last weekend Tim and I went to visit the International Peace Gardens in Salt Lake City.  It's a lovely group of small gardens representing various countries from around the world - Finland, Greece, England, Japan, Vietnam, China, France, Sweden, etc.  There are picnic areas and playgrounds adjacent to the Peace Garden where kids were hunting for Easter Eggs and families were having barbecues.  Lots of children were dressed in their colorful Easter best while their parents posed them next to flowers and trees and statuary.  It was a perfect way to spend a sunny spring Saturday morning. 





We then moved on to Liberty Park, also in Salt Lake City.  This park seems quite popular for runners, cyclists, dog walkers, volleyball and football players, Frisbee enthusiasts, kids who like to roll down hills, and picnickers.  It's also enjoyed by those who simply like to stroll while spotting birds, looking at mountain views, perusing whatever might be blooming, and possibly buying prayer flags or a pair of earrings from a local artist.  We visit this park quite often.  It's also home to an aviary and a Museum of Utah Folk Arts.  Indeed there is something for everyone.  


While photographing the tulip in the above photo, I found this painted rock inside the petals.  I chuckled to think that someone took the time to paint a face on a pebble, carry it in their pocket, and then hide it for another to find.  A way to spread joy?  A random acts of happiness?  I'm not sure of their intent, but it made me smile.




Sunday, April 9, 2017

sunup

This is the snowy scene we woke up to this morning.  


  
not even the colorful, spring-themed birdies could keep the snow at bay