Unexpected Guest

We recently found our back yard with a new addition to it that did not realize had been installed. Looking out of our windows, we noticed a large mound of dirt previously not there before. Soon, a distinctive face popped up from behind the dirt: A badger!

When looking straight at the dirt pile, it didn’t seem that large. But when we walked out there once the badger was underground again, we realized the amount of dirt that had been moved was nearly 7-8 feet wide.

Even the neighborhood barn cat (who we affectionately call Winter) was curious and decided to investigate precariously close to the hole.

Soon after these photos were taken, we spotted the badger at night on a game cam we put out in the back with a single baby. Thus, we dubbed the yard infiltrator Bernadette the Badger.

Bernadette is welcome to stay so long as no major damage is done beyond the den she dug to move her baby to. We’ll be keeping a careful eye on the back yard, but so far, she’s bothered no one. As long as we keep the peace, she’s welcome to the space until she moves on in a few weeks most likely.

Missing Home

Like most who have been using smart phones and high speed shutter cameras for several years, I have the equivalent of the junk drawer of photos on my computer. Laptop after laptop, year after year, the “to sort” folder of digital photos has grown regularly. Now and then when I need something mindless to do, I’ll roll up my sleeves and begin sorting the important ones into dated folders and deleting others. There are still thousands to go, undoubtedly.

Occasionally, in doing so, a gem will be seen again that brings me a smile. This one has been on my screen most of today just because of the beautiful day when it was taken and how much I miss the people in it: My parents.

This was a day where my husband and I had flown home to visit my family and see some of the best fall photo spots around town. We had been enjoying a location known for waterfalls and were strolling down the path heading to the next viewing spot. Seeing my mom and dad walking so casually with not a care in the world is something that makes me very happy.

Like most people who live far away from home and have been separated due to travel and health concerns, we’re nearing the point soon where 2nd dose vaccinations mean confidence that coming home through multiple airports will not be quite the risk it once was.

Light is at the end of the tunnel – and it looks very much like this photo.

Clouds On Fire

IMG_3788

This was a photo from last year, just before the pandemic hit. It’s a gorgeous photo with the only editing being to sharpen some detail of the outline of the trees and distant details. The hues of color and fire are entirely from Mother Nature. Who knew the world would change so much just weeks later. But for that evening, it was just another Wyoming feast for the eyes.

Finally, It Has a Name

2020-01-28_Zygotoria Midnight Blue 2

This hybrid was a total puzzle as to what it was until I did some online searching and found this beautiful lady to be a Zygotoria Midnight Blue “Cardinal’s Roost”. The blooms emit a scent like a large vase full of roses and the petals stretch approximately three inches across.  The last of the blooms recently fell off of the single stalk this week, but this photo is a beautiful reminder of hopefully more flowering to come.

Thoughts of Autumn

Revisiting autumn memories in Virginia on a Wyoming winter’s day.

BLOG 20091121 GARDENS PHOTOS 3 - 3

I stumbled across this photograph that always warms my heart when I see it. It was an intentionally random frame of the changing leaves in the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in  Lakeside, Virginia. This treasure chest of cultivated gardens was a place I loved to visit and always returned home refreshed and peaceful.

The garden areas one could stroll quietly were a gem in the rough of daily noise of life. Here there was quiet contemplation and mutual appreciation of the solitude from any other souls found while strolling along paths or on benches.

“Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.” – Stanley Horowitz

On this autumn day, I couldn’t take my gaze away from the trees and leaves. All were on full, glorious display with greens, golds, reds, bronze and every shade in between. There is something special about all the seasons in every region, but autumn back east carries something unique in the  falling leaves and the variations of transitioning seasonal colors. Something wise and very old.

This is what I find myself reflecting on today here in the Wyoming winter among the sharp winds and the cold. I remember standing still with watchful eyes on a winding brick pathway aged with moss. And I can still see in my mind, beyond this photo, the old and well-tended tree branches and woods brimming with autumn secrets and beauty. Hopefully, someday, I’ll have the chance to visit again and see this place now years well past, and enjoy the quiet embrace of this beautiful east coast season again.

Mini Orchids

2020-01-13 Younghome Little Snow

I’ve started a hobby of buying discounted orchids after they’ve lost their blooms on store shelves and are no longer deemed attractive. Usually sellers will steeply discount them and leave them to dry out as they can’t afford to care for them for their multi-month resting period vs. displaying more attractive plants in bloom to sell.

This little one is a miniature orchid called Younghome Little Snow. While the leaves may grow slightly, the small stature of the blooms and stalks will stay ever small (per what I’ve read). This one began losing its blooms weeks ago and I elected to snip the stalk when it was down to the last 2 so that it could go ahead and start regenerating leaves and resting. (This was also a discount orchid with a sun burn on one of its leaves).

I’ve kept the stalk in a cup with water and the blooms are still going strong now several  weeks later – very surprising! What makes it even more unique is that these snowy white petals with the slightest hue of pink and yellow are barely bigger than a quarter. It’s such a sweet little plant; petal-perfect in every way 🙂

Quietly Merry and Bright

2019-12-25 Crockpot

This year’s Christmas was a quiet holiday at home due to schedules not lining up for all of our families to come together on the day. The hubs and I still celebrated with Fury the Wonder Cat and even had a brief wave of snow flurries (I don’t know that flurries qualify for a white Christmas but it was still nice). We kept the air of the holidays going with this concoction in the crock pot which helped our home both look and smell merry and bright!

Nighttime Visitor

We had just gotten ready to call it a night yesterday when we saw this fluffy traveller visit our bird feeder last night.

Evidently skunks eat birdseed. I was not aware of this, but, any port in a storm when it snows, I suppose.

Fury was quick to take point by positioning herself at the large bay window to keep watch on the developing situation.

We slept well knowing all was well 😉

A Little Piece of Heaven on Earth

IMG_2599

For our second anniversary we re-visited a favorite location in the Vedauwoo Recreation Area near where we live in Wyoming. My husband found this beautiful “crow’s nest” on top of a rocky hill and knew of it before he took me up there to camp one night. It is truly one of the most beautiful places I’ve been yet in my life and it’s our favorite spot to be.

IMG_2601

The camp site is like a bowl, surrounded by boulders and rock formations on all sides. At night, the wind can absolutely howl at this height. But we were there to watch the sun set and it was perfect, with just a slight movement of air (not even a wind) now and then. Sunset and sunrise here are magical hours.

IMG_2610

Everywhere you look, it’s a scene to be photographed. It’s important though, to put the camera down now and then and just take it in as God intended. On hiking up to the top this day, I took all the photos I wanted and then did just that. Put my camera away and sat with my husband taking in the views and roasting marshmallows.

IMG_2612

I find the trees and dead wood make their own composition just as strikingly as the far away views of mountains and plains. There is something interesting to see at every turn.

IMG_2624

My husband is a tireless worker and is always busy. His happy place is being outdoors and I love to see him relax when we venture here. It’s different when you’re somewhere that has quiet like this place. Even I feel it when I arrive. You are compelled to not talk so much, to sense everything around you differently and you just are different. It’s the re-set that happens when you’re in nature. It’s how we should be, but how we forget to be.

IMG_5907

On the way up the trail to get to the crow’s nest, we stumbled right into this pair of bull moose. They were happy to be left alone and continue to munch around the underbrush. (They seemed to realize we didn’t pose any threat but they kept a wary eye on us and never got too close).

IMG_5923

Once we had made it up to the crow’s nest, we caught sight of them again; this time much farther away but still on the move on a neighboring hilltop.

IMG_5949

There is abundant birding up here as well. We just had to sit still and watch around us and birds were everywhere, flitting this way and that, making final runs for food and what not before the sun set.

IMG_5932

This one seemed to set a reverie of evening light and stillness as it perched calmly in this tree. It was as if it knew the day was ending and it wanted to take it all in before retiring.

IMG_5939

It’s our little piece of heaven on earth. No better way to spend a special day 🙂