Thursday, February 23, 2012

Catching Up ~


Whenever we leave for a while, there's always lots of catching up to do. I did manage to finish a prayer shawl for a friend who's having a rough time with her health. This pattern is one of my favorites and is done in Homespun yarn which can always be counted on to be soft and cuddly. (details on ravelry)


Way back in December, our quilting group decided on a challenge to use the balloon fabric in a strip 48 1/2" long. True to my procrastinating streak, I waited until the day before it was due to finish it. Thankfully, I'd prepared all the parts and only had to sew it up in my bleary, jet-lagged state. It was fun to see all the different strips last Friday and how well they blended together!

Now, I'm off to work on my Sunbonnet Sue block, speaking of catching up!
And then of course, there was lots of catching up to do with Max. He changes daily, I think. What a sweet little guy!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

One of our favorite spots to visit in Florida is the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. This time the weather was perfect, and we saw more wildlife than ever before.




This painted bunting was one of two that were snacking at this feeder. We also saw an indigo bunting there. I've never seen such a colorful bird before! You can't see its back, but it's chartreuse!
Who knows what this red shouldered hawk is thinking?

We have lots of lichen in the Pacific Northwest, but I've never seen red ones like these. In this photo there are at least 3 different kinds of lichen.

This little fellow is the state butterfly of Florida, the zebra longwing. Does Washington have a state butterfly? I have no idea.

This is, if I remember correctly, a gold-crowned night-heron and supposedly somewhat rare.

We saw lots of ibises both inside and outside of the sanctuary. This one was looking for dinner!


Here's the same heron sharing the limelight with an anhinga. Do you suppose this bird was the inspiration for the thunderbird on totem poles?

This time we saw more baby alligators than grown ones. Hard to believe they grow so huge, isn't it?
Mama 'gator has a baby on her back! You have to look very carefully to see the baby's yellow and black stripped tail. (in the upper left corner) You don't mess with Mama!

This is a black-crowned night-heron. For some reason, they make me think of Sherlock Holmes.
This pretty butter fly reminds me of a monarch, but it's called a queen butterfly. The plant is pickerelweed.

I'd never seen a barred owl before, and we saw two of them. If you look carefully, you can see the second one hiding in the leaves.



The one bird we didn't see in the swamp was the wood stork. They are supposed to be nesting at this time of year, and this sanctuary is one of their favorite spots to nest. The ranger told us this is the second year they haven't nested and seemed very concerned. We did see a flock of 15 overhead though. If you're ever in the area, I'd highly recommend a visit to this special place!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Fun in the Sun!

We just got back from 10 days in Florida and our attempt to find a little extra February sunshine. It wasn't as warm as we'd expected, but we did see lots of sun and a lot of friends as well. The day we left Seattle, of course, it was sunny and mild. In fact it was so clear, our pilot went out of his way to show off Mount Rainier ~ lots of snow up there!



On our first day, we drove from Orlando to Lakeland to see our friend Mary Jo, who left Seattle to be closer to one of her sons. She used to sing in choir with us and housesat for us often when we traveled. We miss her a lot! (And boy, does the humidity do a number on one's hair. Yikes!)





That night we enjoyed a lovely sunset on St. Pete's Beach. We also had fun bird watching the next morning before we headed to Bonita Springs to visit Dick's high school friends, the Matthews.



After a fun evening with Dave and Barbara, we drove even further south to Naples where we spent several days with my sister and her husband





We had fun strolling around Naples, both the shopping area and the beach. The roots of the banyon trees are so interesting and make great hiding places.




These poinsettias were happily blooming OUTSIDE!




The place where Jane and Ted were staying was right across the street from an adult literacy program. I didn't get to go inside, but Dick took this photo for old times' sake.

In no time at all it was time for us to begin our trek back to Orlando, but first we stopped in Sarasota to see our cousin Bambi and her husband. We spent several hours reminiscing about our family, especially Uncle Howie, who passed away on the 8th at the age of 93. He will be missed! Aunt Phyllis is now the only one left of that generation.

After bidding Jane and Ted and Dwight and Bambi farewell, we headed back to St. Pete's Beach instead of Miami because the weather report was better there. We took a couple of long walks on the beach before returning to Orlando.

That pink building in the distance is a very old hotel and a well-known landmark.

Somehow Dick managed to catch all my favorite beach birds in this one photo. I just love those terns who surely must spend hours arranging their feathers! (We also visited the Corkscrew Sanctuary with Jane and Ted, but I'm saving that for another post.)



Before returning to Seattle, we also spent an afternoon and evening with my blogging friend Dee and her husband Steve. We had such a great time though that we failed to take any pictures. We met Dee at her favorite yarnshop (Sip and Knit) before driving a long ways to Dee's house and a fun evening with her and Steve at a local barbecue spot. Check out Dee's blog to see what she surprised me with.


After spending several hours in the Chicago airport on the way home with these three, we hopped another plane back to Seattle and you guessed it, RAIN!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Grounded!


If you take a close look at Sue's feet, you will see that she's let some grass grow under them. My TAST group thought she looked like she was "floating", so now she's been grounded! Check here to see some amazing stitching.

The other day our mailman brought a lovely surprise from my friend Becca. Aren't the crocheted hearts pretty? And she's done some nice stitching as well. It's already been used in its first book too! Check out her blog to see her lovely photography and the wonderful things she creates.
I am taking a short "technology break". See you again in a bit.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Next Generation~~~

Aiming high!


Dee's account of Kerby inspired me to ask for a photo of Miss Blue Eyes with Red Bear and Friend.



Wouldn't you love an umbrella with him holding it?


Don't you think he's smiling?