Who We Are

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Serene Scenery Sunday

Hello, everyone!  It's me, Cammie!  Today, Maggie and I thought we'd wrap up our most recent trip to Quivira National Wildlife Refuge by sharing some of Mom's iPhone shots with you!  Mostly, it's wildflowers and landscapes ... but I'm partial to this one of me and Maggie in the driveway:

"We're all buckled in and ready to go!"
"Yeah.  Let's get the show on the road!"

We saw lots and lots of wildflowers on our journey!  They were all so beautiful - we thought they'd be perfect for Serene Scenery Sunday!

There were fields dotted with this tiny beauty ...

Erect Dayflower

... and long spikes of these:

4-Point Evening Primrose

The colors were so rich and the cloud-cover and recent storms in the area made them appear super saturated!

When we got to Quivira NWR, we saw Sunflowers everywhere!

Sunflowers lining the road into the Refuge

This flower so delicate and looks like crinkled crepe paper - but beware of those thorny stems!

Prickly Poppy

These sunflowers have a nice view of the Big Salt Marsh:

Sunflowers at the BSM

Even though there are no visible wildflowers in this next shot, we thought we'd include it.  This is one of the Egrets/Herons fishing holes, taken with Mom's iPhone!

Secret Heron Hangout 

(Egrets are in the Heron family, so they share the clubhouse.)

Moving right along ...

Mom took these shots on the way out of the refuge:


Sunflowers, another yellow wildflower, barbed wire, a dirt road ... how much more Kansas-y can you get?!?  How about if we toss some sorghum into the scene?  Look on the other side of the road:


It was such a fun trip, but very exhausting!  I was going to suggest Maggie and I play License Plate Bingo on the way home, but we did this instead:

"Let's just nap, Mags."
"One step ahead of you, Camzzzz...."

It was such a fun day!  We hope our photos brought you some serenity!


Saturday, July 14, 2018

Last Week's Trip Was For The Birds

Greetings to all!  It's me, Maggie!  Today - more birds from our latest trip to Quivira NWR!  Ready to roll?

We're never quite sure what we're going to find down there, which is part of the excitement.  Every time we've gone, it's been a different experience.  Just last May, Mom saw her much-adored Snowy Plover for the first time.  We saw a few this trip, too; here's one:

The Snowy Plover!

So ... what could be better than a Snowy Plover?!?  How about a Snowy Plover puppy?!!

❤ A young Snowy Plover! 

Yeah, Mom went a bit bonkers over him.

Maybe more than "a bit".

We also saw some Black-Necked Stilts:

Black-Necked Stilt

I still think they should be re-named "Red-Legged Stilts".

Here's one infiltrating a gathering of American Avocets:

American Avocets and a Black-Necked Stilt

Here's another long-legged birdie:

Greater Yellowlegs

One of the biggest surprises was seeing a Bald Eagle!  They are normally here in Kansas during migration and in the Winter; it is rare to see one during the hot Summer months.

Bald Eagle

It was very exciting!

We also saw a few Pelicans:

American White Pelicans

Mom was thrilled to get all three of our Egrets in one photo!

Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, and a Cattle Egret

The Great Egrets are taller, with yellow bills.  The Snowies have the black bills.  The Cattle Egret is the smallest, has a yellow bill, and has red/orange on the top of his head.

We saw a lot of Great Blue Herons; Mom caught this guy by himself:

Great Blue Heron

Our last bird shot for you is a group photo:

Two White-Faced Ibises, a Great Egret, and a Snowy Egret

For a hot, Summer day, when we really didn't think we'd see much, we sure took in a lot of beautiful birdies!!!

"So many birdies, Mags!  I'm exhausted!"
"I wonder what else is out there?"

We'll share more sights with you tomorrow!  If you'd like to see more of the birdies, please visit our FlickR album at this link.

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher

Friday, July 13, 2018

Friday Funnies

Greetings to all!  It's me, Maggie!  Today, Cam and I thought we'd show you more photos from our recent trip down to Quivira National Wildlife Refuge.  Yesterday, Cam shared some of the photos from our stop in Ellinwood; today I thought you'd like to see some of the more amusing bird photos.

Let's see what's out there!

"Dad!  Hold up.  There's a traffic jam up ahead!"

Even in the refuge, there is traffic from time to time! Check it out:

Traffic jam, Quivira NWR style!

In this case, it was a Snowy Egret and a Great Egret.  We got past them, but then hit some sort of traffic check-point:

"Hold it right there!  Papers, please!"
"See if they have any frogs on them."
"Yeah.  Or bugs.  Charge them a few dragonflies if they want to go further!"

Who knew Snowy Egrets could be so assertive?!?

We saw a group of White-Faced Ibises. This one guy seemed rather friendly!

"Camera Lady?!?  Hey!  Hey, over here!  Hello!"

These three Snowy Egrets were pretty cooperative about posing!

"Oh, wait!  Chins up, everyone!"
"Yes!  Raise your chins - it's more flattering!"
"I'm not ready!"
"Oh, for the love of ..."

The Great Egret on the far right ... not so much.

I'm not sure, but I think one of these American Avocets is trying to trip one of his flock members:

"Heh, heh, heh ... watch this!"

We didn't see anybirdie fall, so I think they were on to him.

There were big flocks of Snowy Egrets and big flocks of Great Egrets -- then smaller groupings of a mix of the two!

"Hey, buddy. This area is for Greats only."
"Yeah.  'Great' Egrets.  Whatever.  We Snowies are every bit as great as you!"

We think so, too!

Oh.  For anyone wondering about the small bird on the left up there, it is a Semipalmated Sandpiper.

Lastly, we were intrigued by this small group of Snowy Egrets:

"Belinda's back from the salon.  Check her out, but don't be obvious!"
"La la la ... just doing a little preening ... la la la ... OMG, seriously?!?"
"Hey girls!  Check out my new hairdo!  What do you think?"

For the record, we think she looks lovely.  Maybe a little less teasing and spraying on the top next time, but other than that ... really nice.

We hope these shots brought you a smile or two!  Happy weekend everyone!

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher

Thursday, July 12, 2018


Hello, everyone!  It's me, Cammie.  Last week, Maggie and I went on a birding trip with Mom and Dad.  We'll get to the birdies eventually, but we wanted to show you highlights from one of our rest stops.  And with that, let me say ...

"Hay from Ellinwood!"

That one never gets old, does it? OK ... maybe ... but moving right along ...

We normally stop at a ball field on the edge of town after one of our trips to Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, but Mom kept looking down this street, thinking it would be fun to explore:

Downtown Ellinwood, KS

See the church down there? She really wanted a closer look at it! She saw on her maps program that there is a nice field across from it, so that sounded like a winner for all of us!

She took a few shots of the old church ...

St. Joseph's Catholic Church, built in 1900

... and Mags and I got to stretch our legs, get some water, and have a little snack.

Me, sitting patiently while Mom took 157 photos of the church

Maggie and I posed by a cool plaque/monument to a guy named Fred Wolf:

Me and Maggie, being very good girls

Fred Wolf was a famous businessman in Ellinwood.  His father built the Wolf Hotel in 1894 and son Fred added the Sunflower dining room in 1924.  The downstairs of the hotel still houses the first air conditioning in Barton County!  In August of 1930, Fred deeded land you see us posing on in the photo above to the City of Ellinwood with the provision that it be used and maintained as a public park. The band shell in the background was built in 1931 in the art deco style - with an addition added in 1938.  The band shell is significant for its association with the growth and development of Ellinwood.

We liked this part of the plaque:


As I mentioned we did some looking around:

Mags and me in Ellinwood

Here's a shot of Dad offering us some water:

"How about some more water, girls?"
"What's down there?"
"No, thanks, Dad.  I don't want to have to pee on the way home."

We did more exploring, then one more quick pose:

"I sure had fun!"
"Me, too!  I love Ellinwood!"

I think we're going to make that part of our normal "trip to Quivira" routine!  It is a great place for all four of us!

As I said, we'll share more pix from our trip soon!


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Like Old Friends

Greetings to all!  It's me, Maggie.  The other day, Mom let Cam and I play with a couple "under supervision only" toys!  It was great - like seeing old friends!

I spent some time with The Toy Formerly Known As 3-Rings:

Me and The Toy Formerly Known As 3-Rings

And Cam played with Sneaky Snake:

"And don't even THINK about squeaking at me this time, Sneaky Snake!"

I didn't hear a peep out of him, so he may have learned his lesson.  I mean, sure, I removed the world's largest squeaker from him, but he's still got a couple others in him.  

I made a lot of good progress with The Toy Formerly Known As 3-Rings:

"I think we can safely call you '2-Rings' now!"

You might not be able to tell much from that photo, but check this out:

My handiwork

Pretty impressive, huh?

"Do you see that, Sneaky Snake?  One SQUEAK out of you, and I'm turning you over to Maggie."

I'm always on call to perform another Squeakectomy, but I think Sneaky chose wisely this time.

It was great spending time with our special toys!  And it really was like seeing old friends!

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher

Monday, July 09, 2018


Hello, everyone. It's me, Cammie!  As many of you know, our mom is very much into birdies.  A couple years ago, we showed you that she has quite a history of "birding", and showed you excerpts from a bird book she wrote when she was just a little biped of about 6.  We love that Mom's mom kept it and sent it to her.  Another surprise came in the mail last week, this time in the form of a duck!

Mom carved it from a block of wood when she was about 14.  She said it was a very expensive duck, as it cost her a trip to the ER at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, after putting a carving chisel through her thumb ... but that she really liked her duck.  Her teacher (who gave her an A) named him "Duckie Duddle".

"How many stitches did you get, Mom?"
"No, really, Mom.  It's very nice."

Maggie and I think he looks more like a baby Grebe of some sort rather than a duck, but since Mom's the one who paid the price ... a DUCK it is!