Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Last Hurrah. .

Jeremy has wanted to make two lake trips during the summer for a few years now. .
And I have always wanted to go down to see the pelican migration.
SOO. .
This summer when we got home mid-July and he started harping about going back. .
We decided to do one last long weekend. .
That would appease BOTH of us!
It was a FANTASTIC choice!!
We found a different place to stay that was on the water (our place this summer wasn't).
A place that we could leave the boat docked on the water and be able to just sit and watch life.
We got the kids out of school a couple hours early. .
And took off on the 5 hour trip.
We were hoping to get there in the light. .
especially since we didn't know where we were going and the roads tend to be hidden, narrow, and winding. .
with clusters of homes that you have never seen before
Out of which you must choose ONE house. .
Preferably the one that you already paid for!!
We didn't make it. .
It was pitch black when we found the place. .
with only one minor wrong turn. .
that wasn't even wrong. .
We just thought it was.
And THIS was the view out the window the next morning. .
Cami came in and woke us up yelling. .
Get UP. .
Come and look at this VIEW!!
And this one had his pole in the water before we had even made the coffee!
A cool part of this house. .
Was this little game room fixed up out in what would have been an attached garage.
they played pool for a while. .
and then figured out how to flip the top and turn it into air hockey. .
Which was a RIOT!!
It was quite cool in the morning. .
But after lunch there was the typical water sports on the boat. .
Along with a little swimming. .
And dancing. .
"What does the fox say!!"
I knew. .
that if my HUSBAND said the water was cold. .
That the water WAS. COLD.
So I didn't even attempt it. I just can't tolerate it!
As it was. .anytime the boat was moving. .
My sweatshirt was on!!
Of course. .
The main reason that we came in September. .
Was so I could spot some pelicans!
We looked and looked Friday afternoon. .
And I was finally convinced that we wouldn't ever see them. .
We finally spotted some BIG white birds on a little landing that had a small light house on it.
As we drove closer. .
We could see. .
That among this huge group of ring necked gulls. .
Were THREE big 'ole pelicans!!
Woo hoo!!
Devin and Cami were snacking on some Cheez it mix. .
And threw a few pieces into the water. .
Those gulls lit into the sky like no one's business. .
And quickly we were surrounded by them as they tried to get the crackers. .
It was  little bit like being in a weird scene from a scary movie!!
That fueled a throwing frenzy from my kids. .
And I bet they had tossed half or more of the box into the water before I had them shut down!!
I would have been only mild disappointed if we didn't see any more the rest of the day. .
We had been so close to them and they were just incredible to watch!
BUT. .
when my husband sets his mind to something. .
It just gets done. .
And HE wasn't finished looking for pelicans yet!
He continued cruising around.
And the rest of us just resumed our relaxed and lazy snacking and watching.
Soon, I recognized the huge bridge that goes into Grove which they call Sailboat Bridge. .
I KNEW that pelicans were usually sighted near there. .
It was on the map. .
From far off. .
we could see them. .
The MOTHER load. .
of pelicans!!
We were unable to get as close to these pelicans due to the shallowness of the water. .
Which was actually why there were so many there! They prefer shallow water to feed in.
So we watched them for a while. .
Jeremy circled the boat around all the sides of the little island. .
For our viewing pleasure!!
After that. .
It was easy to spot them flying and far off on the lake in little groups of 2 or 3.
Devin even noticed one Saturday morning flying through our little cove as he fished.
Saturday morning, we decided to go into Grove to watch the parade. It was their annual Pelican Festival, when they celebrate the migratory birds.
Devin and Cami caught plenty of candy. .
And enjoyed seeing a huge number of Shriners and their crazy little vehicles!!
The afternoon found us back on the water. .
All the people over age 11 complained about how C-O-L-D that water was. .
Devin and Cami. .
Not. A. Peep!!
They came out of the water all of 65 degrees. .
Not one complaint!!
It was also a little bit nice. .
To be home, showered, and fed by the time it got dark. .
is one of my favorite parts of the day!
Have you ever seen anything more serene?
The qualities of the photos are going down as it got darker. .
But, truly. .
I just could NOT help picking up my camera. .
Each time the colors changed!!
The last unexpected thing that we did over the weekend was this. .
A carnival!!
Cami has never been. .
Devin was very small, but brave. .
Grant rode A ride. .turned green and wouldn't speak to me for hours. .
And, although we could NEVER see Tristan's face in any carnival photos (because his head was ALWAYS between his legs as far as he could get it). .he maintains that he loves them!
They loved EVERY minute of this small carnival!!
For a kid whose last experience was sickness that he thought paralleled death. .
I was surprised that Grant went on the worst ride FIRST. .
And enjoyed every second of it!!
I talked Devin into going with this stranger because I felt bad that if he couldn't find someone to go (cause his girlfriend was having NO part in it) he would have missed out! I knew that Devin would likely do quite fine on the ride. .and I was right! He loved it too!
Cami rode this little dragon roller coaster about 15 times!! I know it is blurry. .
But I laugh every time I look at the guy under the guitar on the billboard. .
and then look at her expression!!
I was nervous about how she would do on a bigger ride. .
So we all went on the Ferris Wheel. .
I figured if she didn't freak way up there, it would be a good start.
She actually did great. .
So Tristan and Devin took her on a twirling, swirling, G-force-that-moves-your-face kind of ride. .
And she was totally and eternally HOOKED!
They definitely got their money's worth out of the ride wrist-bands. .
I've even had to copy off some of our photos. .
So Devin could take them and show his buddies what he had been up to!!
Sonic ice cream completed our night out!
Pretty cool stuff for these "small town" folks!!
Sadly. .
We had to head home Sunday. .
I guess my proverbial "bucket list" concept has caught on. .
Because I got a text from Grant on the way home (they followed us in our old Lincoln, as we no longer have enough seats in our pickup for everyone!) that said. .
"Well, I can check vomiting out of a high speeding vehicle off my bucket list now"
Turns out the stomach flu came to visit!!
The particular strain in our area right now causes you to feel bad. .
but apparently you really don't know you are going to throw up until RIGHT before it happens. .
Grant punched Tristan in the arm and flew his head out the window that was already opened to get extra air.
Tristan said he slowed down. .
but as it became apparent that Grant was doing just fine while puking out of the window. .
He just sped back up and kept right on going. .
And Grant leaned back and went to sleep. .
Never dull here. .
It's hard to believe that. .
At this time next year. .
We will be down 1 full time body in our crew. .
These memories become more and more precious every day!!
We enjoyed an AMAZING weekend!!
surrounded by AMAZING serenity!!
filled with AMAZING peace!!
 soaking up God's AMAZING beauty!
making AMAZING memories!
Simply. .

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Kansas Native Wildflower Weekend

Hey Friends!!
Hope this writing finds everyone well, and enjoying some delicious weather!!
This past weekend found most of our family enjoying the great outdoors in one fashion or another. .
This girl and I. .
attended a really great event. .
Sponsored by the Kansas Native Plant Society.
Every year, interested persons group together in one part of the state. .
And enjoy the comradery of fellow flower enthusiasts. .
As they listen to expert lectures, go through business meeting essentials. .
And our favorite part. .
Field trips!
This year it was held in Pratt. .
Not too far from us.
And I KNEW. .
that the locations within the scenic Red Hills would be amazing!
We were NOT disappointed!
Cami and I drove up on Friday afternoon for the field trips. .
The first stop included a nature museum in Pratt.
There were lots of stuffed Kansas animal and bird specimens. .
Exhibits displaying live fish, reptiles, and this one showing common bird eggs and nests.
They also have a small native plant garden that this bee hive works to pollinate.
It is a little hard to see, but to Cami's far right, you can see an oak framed tube.
It comes out from the bottom of this bee hive, goes around the wall. .
And the bees go outside through a hole in the wall about the size of a golf ball. .
Very  COOL. .
for little people and big people alike!
While we were inside the museum. .
I heard someone call my name. .
I was fairly certain it was the gardener whom I follow from the blog Gaia Garden.
She recognized Miss Cami!!
We enjoyed catching up and getting to know each other for the rest of the afternoon.
She was a gracious and patient teacher to my little girl. .
And Cami enjoyed every personal minute of her time!!
They were using a stick to lift up a pile of cow poo to see what kind of bugs they could find under it. .
And she taught her some things about taking pictures as well!!
We found this ginormous spider on Friday afternoon. .
and then saw quite a few more like it throughout our weekend. .
Miss Gaia gave it some really long name. .
And I know she will forgive me for forgetting!!
Cami and I ate dinner with 75 other gardeners in Sun City Kansas that night. .
And then headed for our own beds!!
We went a little late on Saturday. .
in hopes of missing part of the stuff that a 6 year old would most definitely NOT enjoy.
But she REALLY enjoyed the nature aspect of the weekend. .
Rocks. .
Sticks. .
Butterflies and bugs. .
What is NOT to love about that!!
One of the things that I was looking forward to most. .
Was meeting up with the Gardener from Sherlock Street.
Cami was our photographer. .no faces here but check the LUSCIOUS Kansas clouds!!
It was SO great to catch up on life with her. .
From "meeting her" online. .
To trying to answer the questions from my teenager about WHY I would invite a stranger to our house a few years ago. .
Through lots of garden related emails over the last several years. .
And multiple mail service plant swaps. .
She has proved to be a GREAT friend. .
And there is always plenty to visit about!
She showed me new ways to use my camera. .
With stunning results. .
The three of us (and one 1/2 pint) wandered around all afternoon. .
observing. .
teaching and learning. .
visiting. .
and laughing!!
It was an incredible weekend!!
We headed home Saturday night, even though the tours extended into Sunday. .
We were provoked to go check out our own little patch of nature. .
Finding plenty of flowers that I had NO idea we had (including snow on the mountain!!)!!
And hubby took us "ditch diving" on the hunt for THIS flower. .
so I could collect some seed and try to get some growing in an area that I hope to plant with native grasses and flowers.
Look how these little guys are growing!! Faster than my kids!!
All in all. .
a FABULOUS weekend. .
Very refreshing for our souls!!
Wishing you all a BLESSED last week of September!!