Saturday, August 1, 2009

Johnny is 5!

We had Johnny's 5th Birthday party at Marbles Kids Museum today. We were in the party room from 1-2, and then we hung out in the museum afterward. Johnny had a yummy chocolate cake with 2 layers, vanilla buttercream frosting, and cheesecake filling. Did I say yum?!? As you can see from the pictures, the kids had a good time especially with the 'peas', the pirate ship, and in the water. Thanks to everyone who came. The rest of the pics are here.

Red-Bellied Hummingbirds

I took a few pictures out of my office window yesterday morning. I wanted to capture all of the woodpeckers that come to my suet feeders. I have several red-bellied woodpeckers including some super cute and bald (very little red on head) juveniles. They aren't small in size, but you can tell they are just kids. There are downy woodpeckers too, but no good pics of them yesterday.

I also went to the back deck and caught the male ruby throated hummingbird. Apparently the female uses the front porch feeder and he owns the back deck feeder. Hey, whatever works.

I hope to try again at these locations some afternoon when the lighting may be even better for picture taking. I had to set my camera on a tripod for these.

The rest of the pics are here including some of Johnny opening up his 'I am 5!' b'day gifts. Oh, and there's a cute drawing Joey did of his family at school.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Red-Tailed Hawk

I took this picture on my way to work yesterday near the swamp where I go often. I think he is a red-tailed hawk (see new note below). As I drove up, I saw him fly overhead in the sky. Nice of him to land on a tree branch that I could take pictures on without even getting out of my car! I wasn't too lazy to get out, but if I did, he probably would have flown. Anyway, I took some shots, moved up a few feet closer, took a few more, and moved again until he flew. Then, I got pics of him on two other branches. I guess it's my week to have twigs in my shots near my subject's faces. I have a few shots where there aren't any twigs, but his face is better in this pic and so is the color I think. Anyway, enjoy him. I did.

More shots of him are here. I was sad yet again to see the big dead try overlooking the pond on the ground. The storm the other day knocked it over. I took pics of a great blue heron standing in that tree a couple of weeks more. Such is the way nature works, though.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Day Out With Thomas Trip Day #3

It was time to head back home today. We were sad to leave the cabin and glad to be headed back at the same time. We got on the Blue Ridge Parkway just east of Bryson City and stayed on it until we got to Ashville. I don't know how many miles that was, but it was hours of driving and stopping to enjoy the view and take pics. I didn't want to get off the parkway when it was time, but we'd already been driving a long time and had many more miles to go.

As you can see, I took lots more flower and mountain pics. I was slightly more interested in flowers than the blue ridge, but I did enjoy the mountain view too.

The rest of today's pics are here.

Day Out With Thomas Trip Day #2

Day two was all about seeing Thomas! We got up early and had a breakfast fit for a little king at McDonald's. Our ride time was 10:45AM. So, as soon as we were done eating, we went to see Thomas. Bear in mind that Johnny turns 5 this coming Friday 7/30, and this is part of his b'day present. We had seen many of the Thomas exhibits the night before but went to see what wasn't open or what we'd missed while we waited. Then it was all aboard for a fun train ride along what I think was part of Deep Creek. The steel bridge was historical and built in 1899. In one of my pics, you can magnify the details of it. Very nice weather for our open style coach car. Really nice view down on the water. If only Joey hadn't gotten upset about...what was it he was upset about? Well, he was real upset for part of the trip. Before we knew it, the ride was over and we were getting off.

We decided to drive to Cherokee. We drove through the Indian reservation to get to the Smoky Mountain National Park. We chose to drive the Parkway over to Gatlinburg, TN. That was approx. 30 miles, but it took 2+ hours to get there because we stopped at scenic overlooks and took pictures. In Garlingburg, we ate at the Texas Roadhouse and then we drove back the way we came getting back to the log cabin just in time to let the boys take another dip in the hot tub before bed.

I really enjoyed all the photo ops on day 2. The Cedar Waxwing at the state line stop was just awesome as were the many different varieties of wildflowers.

The rest of day 2 pics are here.

Day Out With Thomas Trip Day #1

The family traveled to Bryson City, NC this weekend for a Day Out with Thomas (DOWT) event. This is our 5th year going but all the other times we've gone to the event at the NC Transportation Museum in Salisbury. This time, we combined the trip to see Thomas with a trip to the NC mountains. This is a picture collage from Friday's (7/24) pictures. We drove to Bryson City taking the Blue Ridge Parkway part of the last leg. We went to the Smoky Mountain National Park at Deep Creek where we watched tubers and the boys got their feet and a little more wet. We checked into our 'log cabin' and the boys checked out their loft and the hot tub. Then we dorve around Bryson City for an early sneak peak of Thomas.

The rest of the pics from Day 1 are here.