Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Our Adventure, Part III

Hello, it's me, Cammie!  Is everyone still with us?  I'll try to cut the chit-chat to a minimum, as I show you more photos from our incredible adventure to the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge.  When we left off yesterday, we were about to head into the heart of the refuge ...

... and that's where we saw these guys!

IMG_1187SnowyEgretAndWhiteFacedIbis
Snowy Egret and a White-Faced Ibis!

Or as Mom said at the time, "Some kind of Egret and what in the $%#@ is that?!?!"  She got a tad excited - it happened a lot that day.  Remember, most of the birdies we saw are migrating, so they aren't ones we see too often.  And many of those stick close to this salt-water refuge!

Here's another Egret:

IMG_1213GreatEgretInFlight
Great Egret

Maggie and I think SNOWY Egrets are greater than that guy.  I mean - SNOW!  Right?  No one asked us, though.

Speaking of great, here's a Great Blue Heron:

IMG_1256GreatBlueHeronInFlight
Great Blue Heron

That's not the best shot of a Great Blue Mom's ever taken, but she wanted us to post it because he was duking it out with this guy:

IMG_1260MississippiKite
Mississippi Kite

It was exciting!

Here is the long and short of it:

IMG_1301LeastSandpiperGreaterYellowlegs
Least Sandpiper and Greater Yellowlegs

Ha roo woo roo.  Get it?  Long and short ... yeah, OK.  Moving right along ...

In one of the marshes, Mom saw the Loch Ness Monster  Cormorant:

IMG_1337DoubleCrestedCormorant
Nessie

Just kidding!  Don't leave!

IMG_1344DoubleCrestedCormorantInFlight
Double Crested Cormorant

Apparently, Cormorants can be touchy.

Ooh! Quick! Look up!

IMG_1373AmericanWhitePelican
American White Pelicans

More Pelicans! And here comes another Snowy Egret!

IMG_1369SnowyEgretOops
UH-OH!

Well, when ya gotta go, ya gotta go. I hope he had a bag with him.

Here's either a young or a female Blackbird:

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Red-Winged Blackbird

And here's an adult male:

IMG_1507RedWingedBlackbird
Red-Winged Blackbird

Speaking of red ... we spotted this hawk quite a way off:

IMG_1433RedTailedHawk
Red-Tailed Hawk

Back on the water, Mom saw a bunch of these duckies:

IMG_1451BlueWingedTeals
Blue-Winged Teals

IMG_1454NorthernShovelers
And Northern Shovelers

Just to remind you we're in Kansas:

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More sunflowers!

IMG_1440Sunflowers
Ahh.... Kansas!

One of the most exciting things Mom saw were scads - SCADS - of these guys:

IMG_1514AmericanAvocet
American Avocet

She had only previously seen maybe one or two at a time, and those sightings have been rarities!  We'll share more pix of them with you before this whole thing is over.  For now, we're by a good stopping point, so we'll leave it here for the day.  Right ... here.

IMG_4250RattlesnakeCreek
Let's stop here

Right by Rattlesnake Creek.

IMG_4253HR-V
"Wait!  Wait, come BACK!  Mike?!?  Cam!?  MAGS?!?!"

Please stay tuned for more birdies and more Kansas!

Cammie!

PS:  We did not really leave Mom by Rattlesnake Creek, in case anyone was worried.  Ha roo woo roo.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Our Adventure, Part II

Greetings to all!  It's me, Maggie!  Today I'm taking over the reins to tell you more about the really cool adventure we had.  (If you need to get caught up, please read here and here.)

When Cam left off yesterday, I had spotted a sign for the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge.  Mom had been wanting to go there for a long time, but we hadn't made the trek down yet. According to its website, "Quivira was established in 1955 to provide and protect vital habitat for migratory waterfowl in the Central Flyway." It consists of 22,135 acres and contains a unique combination of rare inland salt marshes and sand prairie. That's right - salt water habitat, right here in Kansas! Awesome.

When I spotted the first sign, we were still 88 miles away, but as we got closer, Mom got more and more excited. Eventually, Cam had to use two paws to hold her down:

IMG_4206CamMeHR-V
"Easy, Mom!  Easy!  Stay!"

Just as we were about at our destination, Dad called out, "LOOK!  Up there!"  Mom searched the skies, then pointed her iPhone out the window and shot this:

IMG_4213Pelicans
Look in the cloud area!  A flock of birdies!!!

We watched as the birdies seemed to be going the same way we were.  At first, I thought maybe they were stalking us, but then I remembered where we were going, and thought they were probably following the signs to Quivira, too!

As soon as we pulled in ...

IMG_4216MagsQuivera
"Yeah, I think you can get out for a quick shot, Mom.  Cam, let her go."

So Mom readied the camera, got out, and took this shot:

IMG_1138Pelicans
American White Pelicans!

We had barely arrived and already Mom was thrilled!

We decided before we took the drive through the refuge that we all needed to stretch our legs a bit.

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Me and Cam

We stopped near the Kids Fishing Pond.  Note, in case anyone who plans to visit Quivera is reading:  nice, clean facilities for all four of us ... if you know what I mean.  OK - back to the adventure!

Here's a look at the Fishing Pond:

IMG_4224KidsFishingPond
Kids Fishing Pond at Quivira

Cam hung around a bit:

IMG_4227KidsFishingPond
"I just wonder ... if I throw a line in, will I catch a kid?  They seem fun."

Meanwhile, Mom was snapping away.  There were lots of sunflowers in bloom:

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Sunflower

...and whatever this is:

IMG_1157Wildflower
Can anyone ID this?  Anyone?  Bueller?  

It was pretty, whatever it was!

We all loaded back up into the HR-V.  Our next stop was this observation tower:

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Observation Tower on the Little Salt Marsh

Unfortunately, it was closed for repairs.  Next time!

On our way out, Mom was delighted to see this birdie:

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Red-Headed Woodpecker!

We do love redheads, you know!

That was the very start, before driving into the heart of the refuge.  We'll be sharing those photos over the next few days, as Mom processes them!  Let's get belted in and ready to roll!

IMG_1179MagsMikeHR-V
"Show me your war face, Dad!"
"GRRRRR!"


Stay tuned!

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher

Monday, August 29, 2016

Our Adventure, Part I

Hello, everyone!  It's me, Cammie!  As I mentioned yesterday, Maggie and I took Mom and Dad on quite the adventure!  Let me start to tell the tale today.  Now ... where was I? Oh, right. Right about .... here:

IMG_4190CamHR-V
Me in our Husky Recreational Vehicle

The sun got really bright, so Mom let me wear her sunglasses.

I'd best back up and start at the beginning.  After breakfast and our walk, Mom and Dad packed up a few things and we all jumped into the HR-V.

IMG_4146MagsCamHR-V
"🎶Get your motor running!  Head out on the highway!  Looking for adventure ...🎶"
"Where are we going?"

We'd only been on the road a short while when ...

IMG_4150NavigatorDownMaggie
Navigator down!!!  Navigator DOWN!

I thought she was riding shotgun so she could navigate for Dad.  Apparently, he decided to use the navigation system in the HR-V instead, so Maggie opted to nap.

Instead of napping, Mom and I were having some fun in the backseat:

IMG_4149CamMeHR-V
"Hey, Cam..."
"Yes, Mom?"

Then she said no, that she meant ...

IMG_4172HayFromKS
HAY

Ha roo woo roo.  That one never gets old!  Mom and I giggled and giggled.

IMG_4174MagsHR-V
"Do I need to come back there and separate you two?!?"

Not everyone in the vehicle shares our sense of humor.

For a long, long, long time, we saw these things:

IMG_4167SmokyHillsWindFarm
Smoky Hill Wind Farm

They are wind turbines from the Smoky Hill Wind Farm.  They stretch on for miles!  No wonder Kansas is so windy, what with them growing wind.  You know.  On wind farms.  They should have mountain farms or snow farms or something more productive like that.

IMG_4178MagsHR-V
"Oh, yeah.  A snow farm!  Now that sounds dreamy!"

Oh.  Before I move along, if our friends Genny and Chai are reading this, that's Maggie's impression of Chai.  What do you think?

Anyway, back to our story.  After we drove a WHOLE lot further, we saw these signs ...

IMG_4168MagsSigns
"Cam!  Do you see it?"
"Yes!"
IMG_4169MagsHR-V
"I know where we're going!!!"
IMG_4184CamHR-V
"I CAN'T WAIT!!!"
"Settle down, Mom.  88 more miles to go."

Really.  Mom needed my calming influence.  She was about to burst!

More about the trip tomorrow!

Cammie!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sunday Selfie

Hello, everyone!  It's me, Cammie.  Mags and I just got back from taking Mom and Dad on an incredible adventure!  We all had a blast and we'll tell you all about it in the next few days.  Until then, here's a shot I took of myself while we were on the road:

IMG_4298CamHR-V

What an exciting day we all had!

Cammie!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

I Forgot

Greetings to all! It's me, Maggie. So there I was, hanging out in the small room off the kitchen ...

IMG_3554MagsDryer
"Wow.  There is nothing on.  I mean NOTHING."
IMG_3553MagsDryer
"Hey, Mom!  Don't we have cable in here?"

Then it hit me ...

IMG_3556MagsDryer
"Oh... right.  It's the new dryer."

I forgot.  I mean, it's a Samsung -- I thought it was a TV.

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher

Friday, August 26, 2016

Sweet Potato Slices!

Greetings to all!  It's me, Maggie!  Remember the sweet potatoes I mentioned in yesterday's post?  They are slices of crispy, chewy delightfulness -- and we made them ourselves!  I thought I'd share the recipe with you today, so you and your bipeds can whip up a batch!

If you're ready ... have your biped preheat the oven to 250℉, then let's get into position!

IMG_2161MagsKitchenHelp
"OK, Mom!  Let's get cooking!"

Next, get some sweet potatoes (we used two nice, big ones!) and give them a good scrubby-dub-dubbing.  Slice them about 1/8 of an inch thick or less -- just try to make them all the same thickness.  Again, this part is something the bipeds can handle.  Your job is to hang out and look cute.

Now have your biped place the sweet potato slices in a single layer on baking sheets.  There's a good chance my mom lined hers with foil - easier clean up and all.

Bake for about 3 hours, turning halfway through.  (For clarity's sake, I mean to turn the potato slices over - though if you'd like to turn around, feel free.)  Mom baked ours longer than 3 hours, as we wanted ours crispy.  Just test them out.  When they're done, cool them on wire racks, then store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks (as if they'd last that long...) or in the freezer for up to 4 months.

IMG_3838SweetPotatoSlices
YUMMY, YUMMY, YUMMY!!!

The whole house smells wonderful while you're baking these!  Mom did try one and said it was mighty tasty by biped standards, just lacked a little seasoning.  Now, your mission, should you accept, is to try them out!

As for Cam and me, and what we're willing to do for one ...

IMG_3876CamMagsSweetPotatoSlices
"I would swim the 7 seas, climb the highest hill ...!"
"Ain't no mountain high enough, Cam!"

We. Love. Them!!!  Honestly!  So very tasty, and just the right mixture of crunchy and chewy!

Mom said she'll definitely make them again.  They're a nice, healthy treat, packed full of vitamins and fiber!  I hope you'll help your biped whip up a batch for you!

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher

PS:  We will put this recipe over in our sidebar under Secret Family Recipes, so it's kept handy!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Another Way To Relax On The Deck

Greetings to all!  It's me, Maggie!  I know for myself, when I think about relaxing on the deck, I think about running around, playing Crazed River Otter Games (CROG) with Cam.  But yesterday, when we got home from our walk ...

IMG_4058CamMagsHome
"Yay, we're home!"
"Race you to the water bowl!"

... we got a quick drink, then headed out to play CROG for a while.  After we were pretty much done, Mom said it was so nice out that she had a treat for us! Oh, YEAH! She brought out some of our "under supervision only toys"!

I got my KONG Traxx:

IMG_4062MagsTraxx
"CHOMP, CHOMP, CHOMP!"

I love playing with that! And Mom stuffed some pieces of dried sweet potato in there for me! What a win-win!

Cam had stayed in the screened-in part of the deck to play with hers. I went in to join her after a while.  I showed her my Traxx and asked what she had.

IMG_4063CamMagsToys
"Cam, you got the KONG Dental Stick?!?  Cool!"
"Yes, with sweet potato stuffing!  YUM!"

She was really happy!  Here's a close-up of her giving the dental stick a good working over:

IMG_4069CamToy
"This is so fun!!!"

Mom asked if I liked playing with my toy, too.  This is what I told her:

IMG_4070MaggieHappy
"OH, yeah!!!"

What a great way to relax on the deck!

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher