Who We Are

Thursday, June 30, 2016

KSU Wildcats

Hello, everyone!  It's me, Cammie!  As some of you may know, we live in Manhattan, Kansas - home of the Kansas State University Wildcats.  The other morning on our walk, Maggie and I were discussing the fact that though we see K-State's signature color - purple - everywhere we go, we've never actually SEEN a wildcat.

"Yeah, well, ya never know.  One could come slinking over the top of this wall or something!"
"Ha roo woo roo.  Right, Maggie.  A wildcat on the rock wall!"
"Like that's every going to happen!"
"Well, it could.  You just never know!"

For the record, we've seen PLENTY of KSU Wildcats -- but still no wildcats. ...except through Mom's photoshop skills and our imaginations.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wordless Wednesday


Mags and (...yawwwwwn...) Cam

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Greetings to all!  It's me, Maggie.  I thought I'd try my hand at doing a selfie today.


I wasn't quite sure where to look.

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher

Monday, June 27, 2016

A Mighty Good Weekend

Greetings to all!  It's me, Maggie!  Did everyone have a good weekend?  Cam and I stayed busy, despite the heat!

We got our exercise early in the morning, with great all-family walks:

"Awesome sunrise, huh, Cam?"

The walks were followed by some very important indoor activities; here I am, saving my mom from a snake attack:

"Maggie!  Maggie!  Help!  The snake's got me!"
"I'm on it, Mom!  C'mere, Sneaky Snake!!!" 

And, naturally, I was duly rewarded for my valiant efforts:

"Maggie?  Would you like some--"
"Ca--oh!  You're already here!  Good girl!"
"Did someone say 'watermelon'?!?!"

No one needs to call us twice when melon is at stake.  Actually, no one needs to call us at all.  We know when Mom's carving one up and we come running!

All in all, a mighty good weekend!  We hope yours was just as great!

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Serene Sunday

Hello, everyone!  It's me, Cammie, here with my Maggie.  FlickR wouldn't let us upload photos until just now, so we thought we'd keep it short today.  How's this for a dose of serenity?

Me and Maggie

Have a lovely rest of the day!


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Saturday Smiles

Greetings to all! It's me, Mags, here with Cammie. How about a couple of smiles to kick off the weekend?


Make it a great one, friends!

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher

Friday, June 24, 2016

Flower Friday

Hello, everyone!  It's me, Cammie.  Today, we are joining with our friends at Dory's Backyard to take part in Flower Friday.

There are tons of blooms in our gardens right now!  One that Mom was very happy to see is our Beth Coneflower!

It's a purple one!!!

It was a transplant from our friend Beth's garden and we weren't sure if it was going to be purple or white. It was looking pretty sad for a while there - it probably missed Beth and the Border Collies - but it's doing great now!

Mom has been making lots of changes in the garden! She took out the pavers that were in the Wildflower Garden (Dad moved those up the hill for her to use in the garden out front), she built a little path to the back garden hose with the pavers that used to be out front (Dad moved those down the hill for her), and she put a bunch of native limestone chunks that Dad got for her in the Wildflower, Bee, and Butterfly Gardens. And elsewhere, too. It was a lot of work, as you can imagine, so she brought in a special supervisor:

"Oh, yeah.  Right there, Dad!"
"Smile, Cam!"

Yes, ME!  Dad and I both were supervising Mom while she laid in the pavers to the hose in that shot.  You can tell we were working VERY hard!!!

While she worked in the Wildflower Garden ...

"Hey, what do you guys think?  Mike?  Cam?  Hellooooooo?"
"Do you hear something, Cam?"
"No ... no, I don't."

Oh.  You can see the Cheyenne Spirit Coneflowers in the foreground - aren't they lovely?  And just to the left, you can see one of the new ones - a Daydream Coneflower.  Oh.  And in the upper left-hand window of the house, if you look closely ... there's Maggie!  She was on Guard Duty!

OK, back to work!

"C'mon.  Seriously.  What do you think of the rocks like this?"
❤ ❤ ❤, Cammie!"
❤ ❤ ❤, Daddy!!!"

As you can see, I'm very good at supervising and didn't let anything or anyone distract me!

We hope you enjoyed seeing some of our flowers today!


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Garden Chores

Hello, everyone!  It's me, Cammie!  I know we're late posting today.  There's been a lot going on. The garden is taking more and more of Mom's time, as she moves plants and rocks around, does the weeding, and tries to keep up with the watering.  I mean, with the temps hovering around 100 since who knows when, she has to water every day - sometimes more than once.  It's getting out of control.

The other morning, Maggie sent her a strong mind-meld message.

"Get some help out here, so we have more time together!  Less time in the garden, more time in the house with us!!"
"Yeah, Mom.  Listen to Maggie's mind-meld!"

Maggie had a good idea, about getting help, but ...

"You want me to do what?  But ... but it was Maggie's idea!!!"

That wasn't exactly what we had in mind!!! How about you - do you help with garden chores?


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Watching the US Open

Greetings to all!  It's me, Maggie.  Did anyone else catch the US Open over the weekend?  Before I go any further -- I mean the golf tournament.  My great-brother Zimmie had a really funny joke played on him by our great-sister Amber back in 2008 ... click here to see it ... so I wanted to clarify.  Ha roo roo roo!  But anyway, did you see it?  It was very exciting!

Oh, sure, there were some really amazing shots made, but I'm not referring to those.

And we loved it when Sergio Garcia made a birdie -- then rescued a poor, scared baby birdie on the course!

And there was the controversial call made on Dustin Johnson - or at least questionable as to how the officials handled the whole thing - but he went on to win the tournament anyway!

That was all really thrilling, but the most intoxicating part of the whole thing came right as they were heading into a commercial.  I was checking out the Leader Board ...

"OK, Lowry is still leading ... but I'm pulling for Dustin Johnson!"

"Pulling" for him.  A little Siberian Husky humor there.  Anyway ... back to the TV!

"What's coming up next?  WAIT!  BUNNY!?!?!"

I couldn't believe my eyes!  I had to get closer!

"YES!  BUNNY!!!"

How exciting is that?!?

"I can't believe I'm this close to him!  He's a good-sized one, too!"

It was truly exciting!  He hopped off, but I went to the window to watch for him.

"I'm watching for you, Bunny!!!"

I'd hate for him to eat all of Mom's plants out there in the garden!  I stayed on Guard Duty there for quite a while!

Did you catch the Open?  What did you watch over the weekend?

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher

Monday, June 20, 2016

One More

Hello, everyone!  It's me, Cammie!  Thank you for all the kind words on yesterday's garden tour; I had fun showing you around.  I did forget one of the PowWow Wild Berry Coneflower shots, though. I really thought you'd like seeing this one because it's enormous!  I mean it's GIGANTIC!  Want to see?

Are you ready?

Keep scrolling!

You might want to make sure you're sitting down.

And don't have any coffee or water in your mouth.

Are you sure you're ready?

Here you go:

"Oooh, that's a big one!"

And Mom was thinking about giving her plants some Miracle Grow. Something tells me they don't need it!


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Serene Scenery Sunday

Hello, everyone.  It's me, Cammie!  For Serene Scenery Sunday this week, we have a bit of a garden tour lined up for you.  Ready to take a look at what's blooming here at Ao4 Headquarters?  Let's have a look around!

Let's start by the mailbox!  We finally have a new bloom on the Gerbera Daisies!

Gerbera Daisy against the Kansas Sky

In the Butterfly Garden, the Butterfly Bushes are doing great! Here's one of them:

Butterfly Bush

The plants in there are all less than a year old; Mom is still filling in with rock chunks (thanks Dad! and happy Father's Day!) and new plants. Here is a look at part of the whole tier:

Part of the Butterfly Garden

In the foreground is one of the new plants - a hybrid Sombrero/Hot Coral Coneflower! It's the sort of chili-pepper colored one! See toward the back, the tall yellow one? That's another new one - a Daydream Coneflower! They should do well in there and help attract more butterflies!

Here is one of the PowWow Wild Berry Coneflowers:

PowWow Wild Berry Coneflower

Here is one of the Black Eyed Susans out back in the Wildflower Garden:

Black Eyed Susan

The ones Mom planted in the Fall didn't make it, so she bought more and re-planted. She REALLY wanted Black Eyed Susans in there!

Mom still can't get enough of the Cheyenne Spirit Coneflowers.

Cheyenne Spirit Coneflower

Can you see the other Cheyenne Spirit Coneflowers in the background? They're so multi-colored!  Let's take a look!

Cheyenne Spirit Coneflowers; Yarrow in the background

Here is a Daylily Mom started from seeds that our aunt sent her about 15 or more years ago:

Aunt Janet Daylilies

This is their best year yet!

Lastly, our Becky Daisies are starting to explode in blooms! Even though Mom trimmed them way back early on, they are HUGE - about 4 feet tall!

Becky Daisies

If you'd like to see more photos of our gardens, please click here to visit our FlickR album!

We hope you feel nice and serene now!  Have a lovely Sunday - and stay cool and hydrated!


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Morning Meeting

Hello, everyone.  It's me, Cammie!  Maggie and I were just discussing our plans for the weekend.

"Sigh.  It's too hot for that ... what else could we do?"
"Yeah ... I got nothin' ..."

Our "real feel" temps have been well over 100 degrees lately.  Other than a walk before it gets blistering hot then laying around in the air conditioning, we're kind of coming up empty!  Do any of you have fun plans for the weekend?


Friday, June 17, 2016

Help Where Help Is Needed

Greetings to all!  It's me, Maggie!  You all know how fond I am of the vacuum!  I'm into keeping pace with Mom while she drives it, watching her closely to make sure she gets everything, cord management ... hopefully being vacuumed myself -- I love it all!

The other day, we were using the vac with attachments, so I asked Mom to give 10 Downing Street a bit of a cleaning.

"Yeah, that looks good.  Did you get under the cooling pad, too?"

It was great.  I got to be vac-ed a bit myself afterwards.  Sorry, no video this time.  We were on to other things.  Like using the other vac.

"Wait!  You missed a --- ah!  Got it!  Excellent job, Mom!"

A two-vac day. It was awesome!

I helped everywhere except for the kitchen - Cam was in there, so I figured she could handle it.

"You don't expect me to get up, do you?"
"Nah.  You're good."

She has her own approach to helping.

Do you help out, when your bipeds need help?

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher

Thursday, June 16, 2016

We're Rock Stars!

Hello, everyone!  It's me - Cammie!  A few days ago, when we were out on an all-family walk, I did this:

"How about these?"

I meant the rocks.  We're always on the lookout for interesting chunks of limestone to add to our garden, and I thought I spotted some good ones!

"What do you think, Dad?"
"These are good ones, Cam!"
"Hey, c'mon.  Less rocking, more walking!"

He said we'd leave them there for the time being ... then imagine my surprise when I saw these right outside the garage door this morning!

"I'm so happy!"
"Me, too, Cam!!"
"I'm more into hard rock than I am into hard rocks, but these are nice!"

Mom and Dad will place them later, but Mom is sure thrilled with this latest batch!  


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Flag Day/US Army Birthday

Hello, everyone!  It's me, Cammie.  Remember a few days ago, during Flower Friday, when we closed by wishing you a happy Flag Day and US Army Birthday?  Yeah.  Well, it would appear that one of us around here who's in charge of reading the calendar (cough, Mom, cough, cough) was asleep at the wheel.

"Every day should be Flag Day!"
"And a day to celebrate the US Army!"

Let's run that porch-pose by you one more time!

"Happy birthday to the US Army!"
"And happy Flag Day to Old Glory!"

Have a great day, everyone!


Monday, June 13, 2016

Brushing Session?

Hello, everyone!  It's me, Cammie.  The other day, Mom sat down on the nice, cool, tile floor with me so we could have a little brushing session.  I just love doing that!  Only then Maggie came in to see what we were doing and ...

"You're going to need to stretch a bit, Mom."
"Mind if I snuggle in?"

Yes.  I'm the one in the purple and green collar; Maggie has the red and blue.  Honestly - Maggie is so darn cute - how could we even think about asking her to move?!?

"Maggie has some seriously awesome snuggle powers, folks.  Seriously!"

Mom declared our brushing session over - and we just all had a nice snuggle instead.


Sunday, June 12, 2016

Serene Scenery Sunday

Hello, everyone!  It's me, Cammie!  This week, for Serene Scenery Sunday, I'd like to walk around the back gardens with you and show you around, OK?  It's  ungodly hot  in the 90s here, so get a drink of water first, then we'll head out!

Here I am by the Bee Garden:

"This place is buzzing with activity!"

Get it?  The Bee Garden?  Buzzing?  Moving right along ...

Here's a look at the Friendship Garden:

"I found some shade!!!"

That's our Beth Coneflower on my right - your left.  It's looking pretty sad.  I think it misses Beth.  I was looking at our Aunt Janet Daylily.  Mom forgot to take a picture of them, but this is our best year so far!  (Mom started them from seeds that our aunt sent us!)  We'll get a good picture later.

Moving up a bit ...

"Wait!  What was that?!?"

I thought I saw something moving in the rocks.  You never know who's going to show up.  Oh!  And you can actually see some of the tiny sedum plants that Mom started!  Yay!

Let's move down the hill ...

"Gotta keep my eyes peeled!"

As I said, you never know who's going to show up in our gardens!  Look at our latest visitor:

Eastern Collared Lizard

Doesn't he have a magnificent tail?  Mom was excited enough when she saw the Great Plains Skinks - Maggie introduced you to them a couple weeks ago.  Now she's REALLY excited about having this guy around.  He's pretty friendly and likes to pose by the Wildflower Garden.  Humph.  I can pose, too!

"How's this, Mom?"
"Excellent, Cam!"
"Ha!  'Excellent!' Eat your heart out, Carl the Eastern Collared Lizard ... wherever you are!"

Oh.  And those are one of Mom's Cheyenne Spirit Coneflowers in that shot above.  The PowWow Wild Berry Coneflowers in the Wildflower Garden are just starting to bloom - here's a look at one of those!


Near the Wildflower Garden, some of the Butterfly Weed is in full bloom!

"Hey, Carl!  Do you ever get hot out here?"

No wonder he follows Mom around while she's watering and weeding!

I was going to pose by the Blue Sea Oat Grasses and sedums ...

"Ooooh!  Feel the breeze!!!!"

... but decided to enjoy a nice breeze instead!  So peaceful!  So serene!

The last thing I have for you today is our Lavender!

Blue Fragrant Lavender

Isn't it beautiful?!?  And it really is so fragrant!

"Have a lovely, serene Sunday, everyone!"

Thanks for touring the back gardens with me!  Now let's go back in the air-conditioned house and get a nice, cool drink of water!