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Archive for the ‘Nick & Nora and Flora & Fauna’ Category

Every now and then I like to organize a MMT – A Magical Mystery Tour with my husband and sometimes with friends too.  Last week I surprised Peter and our two friends, Rosemarie and Murray with an early morning adventure outside of the City.  We left a 8:00AM, with my husband repeating dire warnings about rush hour traffic.  I told him we were headed across the George Washington Bridge and that’s when they knew we were leaving the island ( you know New Yorker’s).

There was lots of guessing along the way and as the signs for the Delaware Water Gap grew more frequent, everyone was really wondering just how far were we going?  It took us about an hour and a half and we were in Columbia, NJ.  Our directions took us up a steep hill and into some very rural woodsy area – we arrived at the Lakata Wolf Preserve. 

Timber Wolves

Timber Wolves

We were fortunate that the day was chilly and was drizzling on and off because there were only 8 of us scheduled for the morning tour and that made it like our very own private experience.  We were shuttled up into the huge preserve area where 4 packs of wolves reside, each in their own 10 acre compound. 

Jim, who runs the preserve with his wife Becky, was our guide.  He told us SO MANY interesting details about the wolves both in general as a species but also with anecdotes about many of his “kids”.  The wolves there have all been raised in captivity and believe it or not, they come running as he calls out their names.  Of course that fact that they know he has dog treats on him doesn’t hurt because wolves can scent for 2 miles!  The wolves are beautiful; There are Timber Wolves, Arctic Wolves and British Colombian Black Wolves.  Their luminous yellow eyes capture your attention as they study you while you’re admiring them.  The Arctic Wolves have beautiful white coats (although better not to be seen my dear) and are the least social of the packs.  They kept their distance for the most part only coming to the fence for a treat.

And they howl!! Peter and Murray attempted a wolf howl to see if any of the packs would respond but they weren’t fooled.  Jim gave out one long howl and one by one each pack began to howl.  That was AMAZING to hear!  Wolves do not howl at the moon – they do point their noses up in the air so that their howl will travel further and louder.  Howling is used for many different reasons and in different voices.  If you were a wolf you’d know whether or not the howl was meant to signal you to come and join me or if it was meant to scare you off and make the pack sound like there were more of them than you thought or should attempt to take on!

Wolf packs are structured with an Alpha male and a Beta male and as with most animal species it is the most fit that survive.  The alpha male always eats first and wolves will eat all they can at any time because they don’t know where their next meal is coming from;  hence they are on the move all the time looking for game.  These wolves are well-fed mostly with deer meat.  Jim tosses in big chunks of frozen deer meat for each one of the wolves.  By having it frozen when it lands in their den area, the alpha will take his and by the time he makes any headway into it, the others have had a chance to grab their portion and each retreats to their own corner to chow down.

I could go on and on about all the super facts and information I learned on this visit but I would rather you experience it yourself.  The link to their website is http://www.lakotawolf.com/.  There is also a store, which is as you would expect, exceptional.  Artifacts and highly unusual items fill this place and it feels like you are in a movie set for a Trading Post.  The women who run it are delightful. 

Murray Head took all of the photos in this blog.  He had a wonderful time doing so, only lamenting that the wire fence was messing up his shots!

Serious Staring

Serious Staring

Arctic Wolf

Arctic Wolf

Poised To Catch A Treat

Poised To Catch A Treat

“Can You Hear Me Now”

Oh My What Big Teeth You Have

Oh My What Big Teeth You Have

Stretching

Stretching

Nuzzling

Nuzzling

“Begging” for a treat

Guarding

Guarding

A Wolf At Rest

A Wolf At Rest

Beautiful To Behold

Beautiful To Behold

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Over the Thanksgiving holiday, Murray spent some time with us and he took a lot of photos of our cats, Nick and Nora.  They are brother and sister but don’t look at all alike.  Did you know that a female cat can be impregnated by two different males?  When you look at these two, it’s obvious their mom fell into that category.  Like any mother, I think my fur babies are beautiful and so today I decided to post some of Murray’s photos.

Nicky is my sweet boy, gentle, inquisitive, sleek and serene.  He lets me pick him up, roll him over, brush his teeth and clip his nails.  He’s the alpha cat in the house and he does chase his sister now and then.  He’s my handsome little prince and he likes to pose for the camera too.

All photos courtesy of Murray Head

What's Going On Over There?

What’s Going On Over There?

OK I'm Ready For My Close-Up

OK I’m Ready For My Close-Up

Good Lighting Is Essential

Good Lighting Is Essential

Love His Long Whiskers

Love His Long Whiskers

Nora is a moosh;  She sleeps with us every night, curled up between our pillows or snuggled between legs.  She is a plump softie, quiet, and a major lap-sitter.  Nora knows where all the warm sun spots are and naps in all of them.  She loves to sit in boxes, even those that are too small.  She isn’t as social as Nicky who always greets people at the door.  Nora is more apt to run and hide under the bed for a while.  She doesn’t like the grandchildren and has hissed at Finley and batted her hand.  Naughty girl.

I'm Not A Toy

I’m Not A Toy

Nora As Part Of A Still Life

Nora As Part Of A Still Life

Peek A Boo

Peek A Boo

Nora And The Mouse

Nora And The Mouse

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The summer is quickly waning, I always know that when the Lariope  blooms its purple flowers, it won’t be long before nothing is blooming.  But last week I got a real treat from Mother Nature – a beautiful fragrant red and white rose blossomed.

This weekend we’ve had intense heat and sunshine and rain – a perfect combination to breathe  some extended life into the rose bushes and the geraniums.

My friend, Sarajane visited us at the cottage and she is the credited photographer for these beautiful photos.

Face Forward

Face Forward

 

Close Enough To Smell

Close Enough To Smell

Reaching For The Sun

Reaching For The Sun

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You’ve heard that old saying, It’s strictly for the birds, well today’s (again I seem to be a day late) blog post is for the birds, about the birds and in celebration of our feathered friends!  The phrase is used to denote something worthless, trivial or of interest only to gullible people. Not so here!

I wish I had gone along with Murray when he went out to take these photos because I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of these beauties in flight!  Magnificent and not necessary to say anymore!

All photos courtesy of Murray Head

Beautiful Blue Heron

Beautiful Blue Heron

If there’s one bird I never take for granted and each and every time one stops by my feeder, I stop to look at it.  Looking through binoculars at this handsome prince of a bird is always a thrill for me.  Really who doesn’t love Cardinals?

Who Is That Masked Man?

Who Is That Masked Man?

Of course we’ve seen flocks of birds everywhere but this particular group of Gulls reminded me of something that surely no one under the age of 40 will know what I’m talking about! 

Gregg

Gregg

Murray Head took all these photos and with his artist’s eye he captured this bird in flight at precisely the right moment as it flew past the house.  It looks as if the bird were placed there as a prop for balance in the photo!

AIWYFI-Art Is Where You Find It

AIWYFI-Art Is Where You Find It

Sea Gulls seem to be a bit territorial and not social when it comes to food and mating!  Sometimes when I throw bread to them,  one will come along and scare another one away from a piece of bread and now they’ve both moved away from the piece so a third one comes by to snatch it.  In this photo, it looks some other male was trying to move in on the Gull’s Girl!

You Better Take Off!

Get Outta Here!

When you’re wet and cold at the beach, you wrap yourself up in a towel and sort of fold into yourself.  Just look how this Crow is sitting on the wire.  Looks like he went for a quick dip! 

Brrr brr

Brrr brr

The Laughing Gull is a favorite of mine at the shore. His head is more rounded than other gulls and this species seems to be a bit more clever at grabbing food tossed in the air.  They spend more time circling me as I toss bread in the air  rather than gathering on the sand at my feet.  They are very compact and streamlined.  Look at those great feathers!    

Aerodynamically Perfect

Aerodynamically Perfect

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Mother Nature is two-faced, there’s no question about it. I’m still wearing winter coats and scarves on my way to work, I’m putting the heat on in the den at night. On Sunday, my friend Susan sent me a photo of the falling snow in her backyard and my friend Kim posted the all too familiar picture of the stabbed snowman because in upstate New York where she lives, they got almost a foot of snow.

Even though the temperature keeps fluctuating, there are other greater rituals in place. Regardless of snow or wind or ice, the daffodils send up their bright shoots, the crocuses blossom and many of the birds who wintered elsewhere come home. These photos were taken in Central Park this past weekend.

All photos courtesy of Murray Head

Behold the magnificent Blue Heron captured in flight!

Blue Heron

Blue Heron

There’s no more snow in the park BUT we do have Snow Drops!  Aren’t they pretty?

Spring Snow Drops

Spring Snow Drops

Even though Cardinals hang around all year, they are so beautiful and regal, how could I not include him in this array of seasonal color?

Regal Red Cardinal

Regal Red Cardinal

A splash of sunshine in your garden. 

A Bit of Sunshine

A Bit of Sunshine

I love it when I hear the first Red Wing Blackbird arrive at our feeder.  They have a very distinct and melodic trill.

Love His Epaulets

Love His Epaulets

The first purple crocus each year reminds me that Spring is truly on my doorstep.

Hello Spring!

Hello Spring!

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PATIENCE

PATIENCE

Nick and Nora patiently wait for dinner BUT they already had it an hour ago!

 

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My friend Barbara just returned from a lovely long trip to South Africa.  I had been there with her many years ago and loved every minute of my adventure and experience.  I went back to South Africa a few years ago, this time with my husband and my sister and brother in-law.  We had a great time and I was able to relive and revisit some of the best of my former trip.  On my second trip we went to Kruger National Park and on safari.  There is NOTHING like seeing one of great beasts of Africa close up and free.  Giraffes towered over the truck, a pride of lions walked alongside our vehicle before dawn one day.

Africa is ginormous and different!  Not just different from here, lol, Manhattan but different looking countryside is everywhere.  I can’t say that I have traveled extensively through my own country so I don’t know if the mountains in Colorado resemble the mountains in Africa or if the forests of the Northwest are anything like the amazing forest we saw along the Panoramic Route.

Barbara left South Africa to go on a road trip that took them northeast to Namibia and she went on safari there.  Unfortunately she didn’t send me a lot of photos – but I did get to see them last night.  I was flabbergasted by the totally different terrain there.  Gone were the lush green forests and waterfalls of South Africa and in their place, dessert.  Deserts filled with Quiver trees and brush.  Huge almost barren landscapes next to virgin beaches with the whitest of sand.  And there were also fields of flowers in every color imaginable.  When I was in South Africa I fell in love with Proteas, that beautiful big fat blossom of a flower, but Barbara had photos of flowers I never knew existed.

PROTEAS photo by blogs.scientificamerican.com

PROTEAS
photo by blogs.scientificamerican.com

Best of all, best of any trip to Africa are the wildlife.   I have one photo she sent to me while she was there.  It speaks for itself.

Magnificent Beasts photo by Barbara

Magnificent Beasts
photo by Barbara

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