Friday, May 31, 2013

Wild Things

Cygnets and Mom in Weymouth, England

Silvery marmosets

One-week-old giraffe smiles

Young mandrill

Osborne, the sea lion


Thirty minutes after I blogged ( and wrote on Facebook) about my e-mail being shut down, I was allowed to use it again.  I guess they looked and figured out I was just receiving photos without captions...  Stopped by the store on the way home to the apartment this morning, and got more canned food and crunchie treats for my kits.  Got a new kind of dried salmon that has Nedi begging for it.  Cloudy and Shady are fine, as is Miss Rosie.  Rosie actually played for about 5 minutes with Boo this morning - and it's the first time they have interacted that way; it was nice to see.  Lovey has been clingy, which is normal, when I'm away and taking care of other critters.
   It's been in the 60s the past few days, with a pretty good wind blowing yesterday and today.  There is snow falling up along the Divide even now, and Trail Ridge Road has had to be plowed several times in the past day and a half.  That means good news for skiers - Arapaho Basin is staying open for skiing through Sunday June 9, thanks to the snow and chilly weather up top-side....
   A young mountain lion tripped a remote camera on Mount Sanitas this past Monday evening, which is a local hiking area.

And I saw a creature I couldn't, or didn't, recognize the other night at Alexy's.  As I was going to bed, the motion sensor turned the light beside my window open, and, since I had my glasses on, I decided to see what had tripped the light.  Whatever it was, it stayed close to the side of the house, but heading west, toward the irrigation ditch, I finally saw it.  I am still not sure what it was.  It had brown fur, had a sinuous body, and I'm pretty sure (95 %) that the tail was also furred.  My first thought was ferret (or weasel or stoat) and/or a young river otter...  But I haven't seen it again, so it will remain a mystery...

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Weird - ...Just Weird....

Today I shared a few photos that I have scanned, at a friends' house, and sent to my e-mail account so I can have copies.  My e-mail account has been shut down for 24 hours by the Administrators because of  "an unusual high activity level."  I still have 8 loose photos to scan and send, plus my Mother's photo album from when she was a child, growing up on Chincoteague Island.
  Are the Administrators trying to tell me that too many photos and too much family history is a BAD thing?

Old Family Photos from Karlskrona, Sweden - Do You Recognize Anyone?

I inherited a mass of unidentified photos that had been kept in my great-grandmother's family album.  Of course, no one is identified, since the family knew the other members - but, more than 100 years later, I am at a loss.  My great grandmother was (American spelling) Hannah Olsen Johnson, possibly Hanna Ohlsson Johansson; she married Andrew Johnson (Anders or Andreas Johansson); they had two sons that I know of - my grandfather, Johan Waldo Johansson (Walter Johnson) and a son my Mother knew as Uncle Ben...
Just for the heck of it, I'm posting  five of my unidentified photos that were taken in Karlskrona, Sweden; some have a year embossed into the print.  If anyone who sees and recognizes any of the photos will contact me, via the Comments, I'll respond.  I really would like to know who these folks are!
Taken at the D. F. Kallman Studio in Karlskrona in 1905

Taken in 1912 at the Alma Swenson Studio in Karlskrona

Taken in 1916 at the Alma Swensson  Studio in Karlskrona
(I have a photo of the same girls in 1914, also)

Young girl, taken at the Hedvig Swennson Studio in Karlskrona

A Swedish sailor (?), taken at the Alma Swensson Studio in Karlskrona

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Florence, Italy; Wind River Reservation, Wyoming

May is winding down, and Boulder is having light rain showers. The temperature is in the upper 50s, and Nedi and Lovey are delighting in shaking rain and mud all over the keyboard and monitor as I try to type this.  If the rain lets up, like the weathermen say, around noon, I'll take Rosie out walking then.  The rain was coming down pretty heavily at our usual walk time this morning, so I called and delayed the walk time.  Rosie hates walking in the rain - I just pull on my rubber boots and go...    Lovey has multiple scratch scabs all over her tummy, from fighting with Kiki, the pale orange cat in B building.  Thank goodness that Nedi just hisses and runs!  One fighter is enough in the family.  And the kits are unsettled because my neighbor of 5 years, Chris, has moved out, and the maintenance man, Jim, is working next door, with all kinds of unexpected sounds that are very loud.
   I have really enjoyed reading the last few books - especially Dan Brown's Inferno (the latest Robert Langdon mystery/thriller)  and Margaret Coel's Buffalo Bill's Dead Now, a Wind River Reservation mystery.  Both books took intensive research and both of them grabbed me and wouldn't let me stop reading until I finished each book.  There were unexpected twists and turns in each story, and I highly recommend both of them.  As usual, Inferno has the characters running about in Europe, seeking clues and answers.  The majority of Margaret Coel's book takes place in and around the Wind River Rez in Wyoming, with some glimpses back in time (1890) seeing The Wild West Show in Europe.  They are super books.
Here are a few places mentioned in each book:
Il Duomo in Florence, Italy

The Ponte Vecchio in Florence

Death mask of Dante Alighieri

Part of the 2.2 million acre Wind River Reservation

St. Stephen's Mission on the Wind River Reservation

Farm on the Wind River Reservation.  Photo used by courtesy of the Northern Arapaho Tribe.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Family in the Bolder Boulder

The Bolder Boulder was run Monday, on Memorial Day, and, for the first time since 2006, there were less than 50,000 entrants.  The BB is a 5 kilometer (6 + miles) race along the hilly streets of Boulder.  This year, there were 48,741 runners.  One hundred and twenty-five of those runners were treated by EMTs, either along the way, or at the finish line - most for heat related illness.  One man had chest pain and was taken to the hospital, where he was "resting comfortably" in the afternoon.
  I am very proud to say that my 69-year-old brother-in-law finished 3rd in his age group, defeating 77 other men of his age.  And my sister, Kathy, was 7th in the 63-year-old category, besting 22 other women.  I am amazed that Kathy ran at all in this year's race, because she took a bad fall on pavement Sunday night.  She ran with scraped hands, road rash on her knees, a bad wrist, and huge bruises on her legs.  I have to admit that I would not have participated, had it happened to me.
  So, here's my shout out, since I wasn't at my usual spot:  "Way to go, Snow! Go, go, go!"

Magnolia Road

I will have to do some more digging to find out how Magnolia Road and Magnolia Mountain got it's name...  Magnolia trees do grow in Colorado, but due to the climate, they never reach the height and girth of the older trees in the South.  There's a magnolia tree at one of the houses where I pet- and house-sit, and it embarrasses me to admit that I had to ask the owner what kind of tree it was...  It's nothing like the magnolias we planted in our front yard in Florida - but I remember when the 60-foot trees were mere saplings, and that's pretty much how this 8-year old tree looks.  The climatic difference in growth is amazing.
  In any event, what is now known as the Wild Divine Ranch was originally known as the Scates Ranch on Magnolia Road, and it's history can be found at:
   Here are some photos that I took driving along Magnolia Road on Saturday:

Wild Divine (Scates') Ranch

My friend and neighbor, Beatrice Bell

Magnolia Road, with snow at Eldora ahead

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day in the United States

Today is a day we have set aside to give thanks to those people - male and female, of any race or religion - who have served in any unit of the Armed Forces of the United States of America.  The first of my relatives who are documented as arriving in North America arrived in the 1620s and 1630s - but for all I know, perhaps some on my very distant Viking ancestors were here earlier.  Men and women in my family have fought and served for this nation since Europe began to colonize her.  I am proud of their combined service records, and I wish they could know how much I appreciate their work and, in many cases, sacrifices.
  Three years after the American Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.
  The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.  The ceremonies centered around the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington mansion, once the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Various Washington officials, including Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, presided over the ceremonies. After speeches, children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home and members of the GAR made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns.
  Local springtime tributes to the Civil War dead already had been held in various places. One of the first occurred in Columbus, Miss., April 25, 1866, when a group of women visited a cemetery to decorate the graves of Confederate soldiers who had fallen in battle at Shiloh. Nearby were the graves of Union soldiers, neglected because they were the enemy. Disturbed at the sight of the bare graves, the women placed some of their flowers on those graves, as well.
  Today, cities in the North and the South claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day in 1866. Both Macon and Columbus, Ga., claim the title, as well as Richmond, Va. The village of Boalsburg, Pa., claims it began there two years earlier. A stone in a Carbondale, Ill., cemetery carries the statement that the first Decoration Day ceremony took place there on April 29, 1866. Carbondale was the wartime home of Gen. Logan. Approximately 25 places have been named in connection with the origin of Memorial Day, many of them in the South where most of the war dead were buried.
  In 1966, Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, N.Y., the “birthplace” of Memorial Day. There, a ceremony on May 5, 1866, honored local veterans who had fought in the Civil War. Businesses closed and residents flew flags at half-staff. Supporters of Waterloo’s claim say earlier observances in other places were either informal, not community-wide or one-time events.
  By the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held on May 30 throughout the nation. State legislatures passed proclamations designating the day, and the Army and Navy adopted regulations for proper observance at their facilities.  It was not until after World War I, however, that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress, though it is still often called Decoration Day. It was then also placed on the last Monday in May, as were some other federal holidays.
  Gen. Logan’s order for his posts to decorate graves in 1868 “with the choicest flowers of springtime” urged: “We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. ... Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.”
  The origins of special services to honor those who die in war can be found in antiquity. The Athenian leader Pericles offered a tribute to the fallen heroes of the Peloponnesian War over 24 centuries ago that could be applied today to the 1.1 million Americans who have died in the nation’s wars: “Not only are they commemorated by columns and inscriptions, but there dwells also an unwritten memorial of them, graven not on stone but in the hearts of men.”
  To ensure the sacrifices of America ’s fallen heroes are never forgotten, in December 2000, the U.S. Congress passed and the president signed into law “The National Moment of Remembrance Act,” P.L. 106-579, creating the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance. The commission’s charter is to “encourage the people of the United States to give something back to their country, which provides them so much freedom and opportunity” by encouraging and coordinating commemorations in the United States of Memorial Day and the National Moment of Remembrance.
  The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation. As Moment of Remembrance founder Carmella LaSpada states: “It’s a way we can all help put the memorial back in Memorial Day.”

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Wild Divine Ranch Photos

The entrance drive to Wild Divine Ranch

The main house

Historic barns on the property

Horses at pasture

Spring-fed pond

One of the many views

Visiting elk in the winter

Wild Divine Ranch On Magnolia Mountain

I have been in love with this ranch since I first drove past it - and the fact that the name is now "The Wild Divine Ranch" seems to seal the deal, since my last name is Devine...   The ranch is physically located at 6968 Magnolia Drive in the mailing area for Nederland, Colorado.  The property is a 15 minute drive from Nederland, and 22 minutes from downtown Boulder.  It consists of 189 acres on Magnolia Mountain (and is currently up for sale for $2,995,000).  But be aware that if you're going to live there, you'll need a four-wheel drive vehicle for any time it isn't summer - the road is steep and winding, heading up from Boulder.  The new ranch house is built of logs and has two bedrooms and two baths, and contains 1422 square feet.  There are historic barns and out buildings on the property, too.  The views are fantastic.  And every time I see the ranch, my whole whole body and soul cry out, "It's mine!  This is me."
  Bea and I passed Wild Divine while on our travels yesterday, before arriving in Nederland for lunch.  Or so we thought.  It was a few minutes after noon when we parked outside the Whistlestop Cafe for lunch, but they had electrical problems in the kitchen and were closed.  We went over to Buffalo Bill's Cafe and found they served beverages, candies and doughnuts.  We decided to try the Savoury Cafe, and climbed up three switch-backs of stairs, only to find the doors opened into the kitchen.  While we stood there in puzzlement, a client for the pizza place told us that to enter the Savoury Cafe, we'd have to walk back downstairs, walk around the building, and then walk up an additional flight on the other side...  We decided to eat in Allenspark.
  And eat we did.  I highly recommend the Meadow Mountain Cafe in Allenspark.  It is on Colorado State Road 7 in the business district of Allenspark, and is open only from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.  We arrived at 1, and were happy to see that they serve breakfast the entire time they are open.  The huge waffles and pancakes totally delicious, but Bea and I both felt the need for protein, so we ate beef hamburgers from locally grown cattle.  We also had fries - shoestring cut potatoes with a little bit of salt and pepper on them. I admit I ate one small bite from Bea's cinnamon roll that she got for dessert.  It was big, had a huge dollop of icing on it, and was then topped with fresh butter and heated.  That was to die for...
   We then drove on through Estes Park and up the Big Thompson Canyon to Loveland, and spent some time looking at houses in old town Berthoud.  I tried to find the brick church that is for sale, but couldn't.  Then we meandered back to Boulder via the Ute Highway, traveling through Hygiene.  Bea isn't familiar with North Boulder, so I drove around up there, and we both agreed that all of the little ticky-tacky houses and apartments and condos looked terrible.  They look as if they are all from the same three cookie-cutters, and the only thing that makes them different is the 5 colors of paint that are constantly repeated.  Ugh.
   Other than looking at NoBo, we had a fantastic day - driving, riding, and just looking and relaxing.  Thank you, Bea!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Wildlife in Ecuador

A buck in Ecuador

Male frigate bird

Golden mantled tamarin

Immature Galapagos hawk

A Sally Lightfoot crab

Memorial Day Weekend Is Here!

The annual Boulder Creek Festival starts today at 10 a.m. and runs through Monday.  The hours are, Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Monday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.  The Festival is free to the public and features something for everyone: 9 separate event areas with 500 vendors showcase everything from community arts and crafts to health alternatives and technology while 4 performance stages feature a spectrum of music and dance. The Festival also features carnival rides, food and beverage vendors, and the signature event: a rubber duck race down the creek! Join us over Memorial Day weekend 2013 for the 26th Annual Boulder Creek Festival®, the best event in Boulder!  The Festival sprawls along the Boulder Creek Pathway, from 6th to 13th Street (the Boulder Public Library is closed until Tuesday).  And one of the big draws will be the Bolder Boulder Road Race, which begins about 7 a.m. on Monday.  
   Estes Park will be hosting an Art Market at Bond Park this weekend, as well as a Western Heritage Antique Show at the Fairgrounds, Barn W.  And the national Park Service was able to get Trail Ridge Road cleared for it's annual opening - but temperatures up above 8,000 feet are expected to be in the 40s and low 50s this weekend, and there is a lot of snow piled up alongside the roadways.  (Trail Ridge Road climbs a bit above 12,000 feet at its' apex.)
   Parking spaces at the beach on Assateague are available and open this weekend, via the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.  The National Seashore has gone back to using ground clam shells for the parking area surface, so there shouldn't be chunks of asphalt floating around after the next big storm.  And, after reading the 1 p.m. Friday headline that traffic was backed up for 20 miles, waiting to cross the east-bound section of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, I was happy to be in Boulder.  (I'd rather be on Chincoteague itself, but at least I wasn't trying to drive there from the west side of the Bay!)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Mammals, Bird & Beetle

Collared peccaries - mother and baby

European bison

Prevost's squirrel

European goldfinch

Rainbow leaf beetle

Supper, Catnip, and Memorial Day Weekend

I have 63 pages left to red to complete Inferno.  It is very good and keeps up a whirlwind pace with a lot of twists and turns; it's fascinating.  We've been very chilly here, mornings, since the beginning of the week - temperatures have dropped into the 40s every night, and it's not until noon that I really feel warm again.  But we're supposed to be in the 80s for this Memorial Day weekend - and, hopefully, the nights won't feel too chill.  I had supper at Turley's last night - and I say that tongue-in-cheek, because Bea had buttermilk pancakes and I had French toast, with us splitting the bacon and eggs.  But we sat and talked and relaxed and had quite a few good laughs.
  This morning, however, I found a late-night post from her on Facebook, stating the police had knocked on her door in the early hours because there had been a break-in in one of the apartments. So as soon as I walk Rosie, I will rush home, and try to see if I can discover anything.  Bea should be up by ten, so I can call and ask her for particulars, if nothing else...
  I gave Cloudy and Shady some of the organic catnip I purchased the other day - Cloudy has never responded strongly to catnip, but I was somewhat shocked that Shady got so high he fell off the dining room table.  He was not hurt, just embarrassed, but wanted to get back up to imbibing the catnip as soon as possible.  Nedi plays with his catnip-soaked toys very intently for about ten minutes each, while Lovey eats her catnip and then runs around like a nut.
  I hope to take a lot of scenic photos tomorrow, on Magnolia Mountain, in Nederland, along the Peak to Peak Highway, and in Big Thompson Canyon.  It should be a very fun and relaxing day trip - and, hopefully, Bea will take some photos of me, so I'll have a few different ones to share...    Enjoy the up-coming Holiday weekend!   -  And, if you're on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, visit the Native American Powwow in Eastville; in Boulder, visit the Boulder Creek Festival!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Miscellaneous Photos

Collection of vintage steam engines in Karlskrona, Sweden

Drowned trees of Epecuen, Argentina

Plantain squirrel

The Rock of Cashel, Ireland

Island idyll

Books, a Party, & Catnip

I'm halfway through Dan Brown's new book, Inferno, and am enjoying it - it's one of his usual thrillers, with a certain amount of time left to save the world, using ancient texts and paintings.  And, since I want to know it all, I'm also getting a good grounding on the history of Florence and Venice, as well.  I'm still getting over a few emotional upsets caused by recent books - In Randy Wayne White's latest novel , the 20th in a series about Doctor Marion Ford (marine biologist) and his buddy Tomlinson,  one is left not knowing whether Doc will live or die...  And after 20 books in the series, there is always the possibility that the author is tired of his main characters.  But I want to read another twenty books about Doc Ford's adventures!  (That's me, whining.)  I was also amazed when I reached the final page of Dana Stabenow's latest Kate Shugak mystery - is the tale of Kate, Mutt and Jim going to end this way?  I am praying that it doesn't.  Again, I want to read more adventures involving Kate and Mutt - and Jim and Liam, too.
   I think Max's graduation party was part hit, part flop last night.  His folks had invited equal numbers of student friends and adult friends to attend; but Nancy told me they had received less than a 10% response to the RSVP invitations.  So they planned on at least 50% of the folks to turn up; and the party was catered by Chipotle, which means really good food.  But they had more than 80% of the food left at 9 p.m., when I returned Rosie back to the family home - they kept trying to convince me to take some of the chicken or steak, but they didn't know what the marinades consisted of, and I refused because I didn't want to get sick due to my food allergies.  I returned at 8:30 this morning to take Rosie out for our walk, and woke Joel up; then I woke him again, upon our return at 9:40...  I felt bad about that, but Rosie needed the exercise.  I know that a lot of Max's friends came to the party, and when I left last night, he was sitting on the sofa surrounded by girls - that's why I think the party was a hit (in some ways).
   Lovey and Nedi were treated to a new batch of organic catnip when I arrived home this morning - and I'd swear, that 90 minutes later, Lovey is still high as a kite.  My vet says that the effects of catnip only last for 15 minutes, but Lovey acts like she's high for up to 3 hours, depending on the type of catnip I give her...  Nedi is high, also, and is chasing Lovey all over the apartment.  (Jim is mowing the back yard and the kids don't like the roar of the riding mower.)  Going out for supper with a friend tonight; we should have a good time.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Four-week-old lemur

Six-week-old porcupine with parents

Peregrine falcon

Siberian lynx

Seven-week-old Arctic fox