~Hurry up Spring, we’re waiting!

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I took these photos last year on May 4, 2014. The beautiful Western Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly was enjoying nectar from a tree in our yard. This May 4th is very different!

Today, it has been rainy and cool; I feel as if Spring hasn’t arrived yet in northern Colorado. We have had lots of rain, which is good, but it brings cool, gloomy days. Our flowering trees haven’t bloomed, the sumacs are just starting to leaf out and I haven’t seen any butterflies.

We arrived back home in early April and discovered that we had lost a few of our trees and shrubs – a Radiant Crabapple and a Cherry tree. These two trees were planted many, many years ago, have bloomed every year to our delight and to the delight of many species of bird, butterfly and honey bee. I am truly saddened by, losing them.

They died over the winter, we are guessing, due to lack of moisture, but not sure. We have noticed, driving around town, that many of the local pine trees have died. Luckily, none of our pines seem to have been affected by the weather conditions of this past winter.

On a happier note we have many birds visiting our yard and especially enjoying some of the birdbaths we keep filled for them. One of the birdbaths we can see from our dining table and early each morning, while drinking coffee, we are entertained by many of them taking a bath.

It is funny to observe the different techniques each species of bird seems to have for bathing (not sure if this extends to individual birds). The American Robin will jump right in, splash and splash until we think all the water has been emptied out; the Western Scrub Jay will jump in, splash a couple of times, hop out and up on a branch in a big Blue Spruce where it sits for a few seconds and then repeats its’ steps; the Black-headed Chickadee, with sit on the rim of the birdbath, look around for quite awhile and then deciding it is safe will jump in where it splashes around giving itself a really good bath.

I few of the migrating birds I can’t wait to see each spring are back – the Townsend Solitary, Western Kingbird, Bullock’s Oriole, Lazuli Bunting, White-crowned Sparrow just to list a few. I haven’t seen any Hummingbirds yet. Hopefully, I will capture a few photos of them.

Speaking of migrating, we are enjoying being back home and have settled into our “being home” routines. This past Sunday, I completed a four week Pickleball class, which I truly enjoyed and I look forward to playing the game during the next several months. I have been buying a few house plants and can’t wait to start planting in my flower gardens (when it warms up enough).

Howard has been having fun with electronic projects (building things using Arduino micro-controllers) and enjoying his Ham Radio.  We walk the “girls” two miles everyday and go to the gym three/four times a week, so hopefully we will keep fit!

Just a few rambling notes on this 4th day of May. Hurry up Spring, we’re waiting!

I hope, wherever you might be, you are enjoying your Spring!

~Weekly Photo Challenge: Intricate

The  Daily Post – Photo Challenge – Week of May 2, 2015 – “Intricate.

Hubby and I like to hike and on occasion we come across a Golden Orb Spider. They create a huge and intricate web.

Banana Spider
This photo was taken at Lake Louisa State Park, near Clermont, Florida.
A Side View
These two photos were taken at Ray Roberts State Park near Dallas, Texas

Golden Orb

The following photos are Milkweed Seeds. I took these photos while visiting a local park where I live. I think they have an interesting and intricate form.

Milkweed
Milkweed
Bursting Milkweed Pod
Bursting Milkweed Pod
It looks like the silk from a spiders web.
It looks like the silk from a spider’s web.

The featured image is a photo I took at another local park located off Highway 34 as you would travel west from Loveland to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. It is early morning rain drops on a spider’s web. The header photo are two Lady Bugs doing what they do to create more Lady Bugs! Photo taken in my yard.

I hope you enjoy my Intricate photos.

~Black-necked Stilt at Bitter Lakes National Wildlife  Refuge

 The Black-necked Stilt – a striking black and white shorebird with long red legs

These photos were taken last year in April as we headed toward Colorado.  We stayed at Bottomless Lakes State Park in New Mexico and drove to Bitter Lakes National Wildlife from the campground. I previously posted a few photos from this area last year, but none of the Stilt. This year we cut our trip back to Colorado about three weeks short, so we didn’t get to stop in New Mexico.

Black-necked Stilts like shallow still bodies of water with muddy bottoms and grassy shorelines.

Black-necked Stilt on Bitter Lake
Black-necked Stilt on Bitter Lake

I watched this beauty as she headed for the shoreline looking for food until she flew away.

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If you would like to know more about Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, please chick here: 

Bitter Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, where the Chihuahuan Desert meets the southern plains.
Bitter Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, where the Chihuahuan Desert meets the southern plains.

~Sharing with

`Rambling Woods for Nature Notes

`Prairie Birder for Feathers on Friday

~Weekly Photo Challenge: Motion

The Daily Post – Photo Challenge – Week of April 24, 2015 – “Motion.”

In Rocky Mountain National Park
In Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado).
Annie, running in the pasture.
Annie, running in the pasture (Mississippi).
"This feels so good" Hot Rod rolling in the grass.
“This feels so good” Hot Rod rolling in the grass (Mississippi).
Coming in for a landing!
Coming in for a landing (Florida).
Fiesty Female  Wild Turkey
Fiesty Female Wild Turkey (Florida).
Snowing
Snowing (Colorado).
"Come soar with me!"
“Come soar with me!” Florida
Soaring
Osprey (Florida).
Over it goes (Montana).
Canada Goose, over the falls (Montana).

~Pickleball Class Two

Pickleball  Mania….

Last Sunday I wrote a post about my first experience starting a four week Pickleball class at our local gym. Yesterday, I attended class two of four. Hubby and I left home early and headed for the gym so I could watch a group of experienced Pickleball players in action. They were playing during what is called – Pickleball Open Play.

Hubby went to exercise and I enjoyed observing these competitive 50+ group of people playing a game they truly love. I am on my own here, hubby has no interest in playing.

There were as many women as men and they were just as competitive. After my class is over, I can sign up to join in on the fun, played in a rotational type of system, whenever there is Pickleball Open Play. These times are scheduled for each season and everyone gets to play with all skill levels being welcomed.

After the Open Play session on Sunday our class began and the seven students and one instructor got to play for most of the sixty minutes. We learned how to keep score, which team started play first, which team member served first, etc. It was great fun!

Our local gym is very popular and heavily used, and there are demands on space from all types of people with different interests. The Pickleball court (temporary) is set up in one of the inside basketball courts and isn’t left up; it is taken down after each scheduled event.

So basketball playing younger folks are competing with Pickleball playing seniors for space. During the summer months the only time people can play Pickleball inside is from 6:00am to 9:00am two days a week. That is just not fair! Who wants to play Pickleball this early, we are still drinking coffee at this time of day.

I find myself observing how many places around town are setup for basketball and tennis, lamenting on the lack of people out there playing and fussing, “why don’t they convert some of these to Pickleball courts.” Go figure! I must be crazy after only two classes. Not to mention that it is still pretty darn chilly here so of course people won’t be out playing – but still. I can fuss if I want.

Fighting for playing space with basketball and tennis players – and oh don’t forget the 50+ Volleyball players – I would have never thought this would happen here.

There are a few outdoor courts available in Loveland and some nearby in other communities, such as Windsor, Greeley and Fort Collins. Who wants to play Pickleball, outside, during the winter months in Colorado?  We have enough to worry about, like playing  5,000 feet above sea level.

Loveland is becoming a retirement location for seniors to retire to from mostly the colder northern states. So maybe, with more of us, we will have a say on the types of facilities that are build and maintained. Power to 50+ Seniors!

I have to give credit to Loveland, which has always maintained and upgraded community facilities, for all ages, to enjoy. Colorado and Loveland are committed to promoting healthy activities for all age groups. Lots of facilities, parks, pools, tennis and basketball courts, and bike paths around town. Good job Loveland!

Hubby and I  have enjoyed our local Recreation Center since 1986 and have seen many renovations and additions. I heard the other day that during a recent spring break there were 3,500 visitors to our gym in one day.

Pickleball is relatively new here so I am sure the powers that be will try to accommodate crazy seniors hitting a plastic ball with holes in it across a 36 inch heigh net with a paddle. Do you have a mental picture of this in your head? {grins}

I will try to get some photos to add to my next Pickleball post. If you play Pickleball, I invite you to share your experiences playing this sport.

~Poetry, In Between the Seasons

Cold winds blow, snow piles high,
winter won’t let go,
at the door spring,
won’t plow through,
in between the seasons.

Winter has grabbed my ankle,
spring has ahold of my hand,
I am teetering,
unbalanced,
in between the seasons.

Piles of clothes adorn a chair,
light weight, heavy weight,
socks galore,
all worn in a single day,
in between the seasons.

Until one leaves,
and the other one arrives,
I am perplexed and,
can’t sit in my chair,
in between the seasons.

Not complaining maybe a little,
should not,
winter will fade away
spring will be bold
alas in between no more.

For now,
I am,
stuck,
in between
the seasons.

~Sandwich Tern

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~

Whats on your mind little tern, 

standing at water’s edge in the early morning light,

as you watch the gulf waters churn. 

With waves pounding the shore, 

luring you with its rhymed verse, 

hunger and fading light brings signs of yore.

~

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Back in October, 2014…

As I walked along the shore, hoping to watch the sunrise, I came upon this Sandwich Tern. He, just like me, was all alone on this particular morning and together we watched the day begin.

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I think this is an adult non-breeding bird. Notice the yellowish bill tip.
Enjoying an early morning bath in the Gulf
Enjoying an early morning bath in the Gulf
Sandwich Tern
Jumped right in.
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This Sandwich Tern gave me a gift on this morning; he was number 375.

Sharing with:

`Eileen at Viewing Nature with Eileen for Saturday’s Critters

http://viewingnaturewitheileen.blogspot.com/2015/04/saturdays-critters-70.html

Enjoying retirement: On The Road & At Home

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