Monday, November 20, 2017


Hello, everyone. It's me, Cammie! A couple weeks ago, we started telling you about a recent trip to Quivira National Wildlife Refuge to do some birding - then we got sidetracked! We thought we'd back up and fill you in on the rest of the trip! (Especially since we went again on Saturday ...)

Anyway, on the way down, we stopped at a rest stop along the interstate to stretch our legs.

"Ooh, Maggie - check it out!  All about our adopted home state of Kansas!"
"OK, I'm done."
"Wait!  I'm still reading."

As we mentioned a couple weeks ago, it was quite foggy that day.  Like ...

Road to Quivira NWR

... that foggy!  There were lots of deer out!  This White-Tailed Deer stopped and posed for Mom!

Mom to deer:  "... beware of cars!  And be careful - there are a lot of hunters out!  And ... oh, you're so beautiful!"

She loves deer.

Anyway - this is one of the first birdies we saw, and it was a "lifer" for Mom!

Black-Bellied Plover

Apparently, when they have their Winter outfits on, they don't have black bellies.  How confusing!

We saw both kinds of Meadowlarks!

Eastern Meadowlarks
And the Western Meadowlark (our state bird!)

Mom had some people in one of her birdie groups help with the ID on them; they can be very hard to tell apart.  She said that day, the easiest way to tell them apart was that the Westerns were much more cooperative!

There were lots of ducks there, like this tiny girl:

Ruddy Duck

In the much larger birdie category ...

A Bald Eagle, communing with some Mallards.  Cows in the background.

We also saw lots of Sandhill Cranes and some Whooping Cranes!  (Link to those at the end of the post; we were really far away.)

Back to small birdies, we saw this little Pied-Billed Grebe:


He was friendly enough!

There are some other shorebirds still out there, such as:

Greater Yellowlegs
American Avocets

It turned into such a beautiful day!  It was fun exploring different parts of the refuge.  We even went down some rather ... interesting roads.

There WAS a road sign, but ...
"Are you sure this was Dad's idea and not yours, Mom?  Seems like one of yours."
"Dad?  I think you need to let me drive."

What a great trip!  Thanks for coming along with us!  If you'd like to see more from that trip, please click here to visit our FlickR album (it's a 2-pager)!


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Serene Scenery Sunday - The Keepers

Hello, everyone!  It's me, Cam!  Did you all like Maggie's "outtakes" the other day?  Don't let her fool you - we let Mom get some "keepers", too!  I thought I'd share those with you today.  We'll start out front by the Burning Bush!

"Hey, I wonder if Tau's outside?"
"OK ... maybe we should try somewhere else."

I mean ... that wasn't a bad one, right?!?

We moved from there over to the stairs. Once Maggie realized Tau wasn't outside (he's her very favorite neighbor!) and the new neighbors really couldn't see us over there (we may have mentioned them the other day), we gave Mom what she was looking for:

"Yeah, fine, whatever."

Once in the backyard, I was quite cooperative!

"Hello!  You have treats, right?"
"Yes, Cammie!" 

And though Maggie was getting a bit ... BORED with the whole thing, she was cooperative, too!

"I'm getting bored, too, Mom."
"Seriously ... bore-ing!!!"

Mom opted for a change of scenery.  When we walked back up to the top of the yard, Maggie jumped up on one of the side retaining walls and struck a beautiful pose in front of some of the Maiden Grasses:

The very beautiful Polargold's Margaret Thatcher 

Mom didn't think I'd be able to get up there, but I surprised her! Here we both are!

D'Azul's Girl From Ipanema (me -- Cammie!) and Polargold's Margaret Thatcher (Mags!)

I quite like that one!

The next day, the Burning Bush was in full burn, so Mom tried again to use that as a backdrop. Here I am:


And here is one of both of us girls:

"You brought treats, right?"
"I hope they're the good kind, Mom."
"I've got Old Mother Hubbard's, girls!"

See? Not an outtake in the bunch! Very serene, don't you think?

Have a wonderful Sunday!


Saturday, November 18, 2017


Greetings to all! It's me, Maggie. Over here!

"Oh, hi!"

What's everyone up to today?

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher

Friday, November 17, 2017

(How Could These Be) Outtakes?!!?

Greetings to all!  It's me, Maggie!  Fall is a colorful time of year here in Kansas, and Mom's been overdoing it a bit as far as getting Cam and me to pose in our gardens.  We've risen to the challenge, of course, what with being Working Breed pups and all.  We have given her some outstanding shots.  For some reason, though, she sees some of them as "outtakes".  Take a look at these and see if you agree.

We'll start out front!

"Wait -- what's over there?"
"Nice garden flag, Mom!"

She was trying to get us in front of the Japanese Maple.  I think she missed.  Except for the trunk.  Seems like that's the tree's fault, not ours!  We moved over by the Burning Bush.

"Who's over there?  The new neighbors?"
"I think so."

We have new next-door neighbors.  Staring at them is far more interesting than looking at the camera.  What can I say?

Mom thought we should move over by the stairs to the backyard.  OK.

"I can still see them.  Hey, new neighbors!  We're over here now!"
"The honeysuckle is in my way.  I can't see them."

Mom thought we should try the backyard.  Fine with us!

"Oh.  Mags.  Mom has treats."

I wasn't really hungry.  And the treats were those teeny-tiny Zuke's.  You know, the 2-calorie kind?  Puh-lease.  I mean, they're good ... but Mom offers them one at a time.  Seriously.

We moved down by one of the pretty Maiden Grasses.

"How's this?  I love those tiny treats!"
"Oh, yeah.  Nice grass!"

I was just admiring the garden.  I thought that was what we were supposed to be doing!

Mom asked us to sit in front of the Austrian Pine and the Purple Emperor Sedum and do a "nice pose".  Piece of cake!

"On it, Mom!  How about a profile?"
"I think she wants us to look at the camera, Mags."
"Maggie ... please?"

Hey.  All she had to do was ask!

"Fine.  Here."
"I think this is a wrap."
"Yeah.  I think this is enough for today."

That last one got an AWFUL lot of "likes" on FaceBook, so I fail to see how these could all be outtakes!  Am I right here?!?

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Use 'Em If You've Got 'Em!

Hello, everyone! It's me, Cammie. A few weeks ago, Maggie mentioned that I have this "new" superpower -- Mom and Dad can't say "no" to me! Actually, this isn't something completely new, but I think my powers have been enhanced by these trips to see the nice Oncology people. Anyway ... now that my energy level has greatly improved, I'm enjoying my walks more than ever! In fact, a morning walk just doesn't quite do it for me right now, so after we have our lunch ...

"Hi, Mom. Whatcha doing?"

Please note Maggie's snooter at the far right in the shot above.  She had tried, but struck out.  I summoned my superpowers and gave it another go.

"Ah, c'mon!  That stuff will all be there later!  It's a gorgeous day out there!"
" ... look into my eyes ... deeper ... deeper ..."
"That was awesome, Cam!  You should ask Mom to grill us some salmon for dinner!"
"I kinda of like that rice and ground beef I've been getting!"

What can I say?  Superpowers.  Use 'em if you've got 'em!


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Double Vet Visit!

Greetings to all!  It's me, Maggie!  Yesterday, Cam and I both had to go see the vet - she had a routine re-check with the Oncology peeps and I had a routine re-check with the Pet Health peeps.  Both departments were very accommodating, and Mom was able to schedule Cam's appointment at 8 and mine at 9.  Plenty of time for everything, without much waiting around!  Perfect!

Here we are after we checked in:

Me and Cam

You'll note I let Cam lay on the quilt Mom brought.  It's the respectful thing to do.  Besides, I was busy doing this:

Me, snuggling with Dad's feety-feet

Mom had suggested that I lay down, so I thought Dad would appreciate a snuggle.  Two birds, one stone.  Or whatever.

Anyway, Cam's appointment was first, so while she was in with the Oncologists, I kept her quilt warm for her:

"Hope it goes well, Cam!  I've got the quilt covered for you!"

By all accounts, she was really super good.  I don't have pix from when I was in with my vet care team, but I did really well, too.  "Very patient" was tossed around a bit.  Cam has taught me to be a good ambassador for the breed!  Mom and Dad might have had a hand in that, too.

Anyway, after my appointment, we stuck around a bit to get the results from Cammie's test and to talk to her vet.  Cam gave me a few pointers on what to do in the waiting room, since she has more experience with that than I do.

"Just sit here quietly and look cute.  People will come over and adore you.  It's awesome!"
"Like this, Cam?"

She was right!  All kinds of people stopped and gave us hugs and told us how cute we are and how well-behaved we are.  Pretty cool!

Anyway, that was our morning!  It was nice to go in to the Vet school together!

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher

Monday, November 13, 2017

Before Anyone Asks ...

Greetings to all and hello! Before anyone asks ...


... we had nothing to do with this hole. Really.

Mags and Cam!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Serene Scenery Sunday

Hello, everyone! It's me, Cam! Maggie and I saw something new along the Hudson Trail the other day. It was very serene, so we thought we'd share some photos with you.

We were hiking along, just like normal. When we were almost at the end of the second leg of the trail, we spotted it!

"What's that up there on the right?"
"Something new!  Let's check it out!"

It was a bench!  We gave it a thorough checking out!

"This is very interesting!"
"I'll say!"

Can you see it?  It's a very clever bench, with special features!

The new bench!

Under the bench, we found this stone:

"The Lord is my rock" -- on a rock!

And on the right, there is a wooden box with very special things tucked inside!

A box full of Bible verses!

Let's take a closer look!

"It reads, 'Your Word is a light for my path'.  And this is on the path.  I like this!"
"There are things inside, too!"

Look at what's inside!

Inside the box!

There are pretty stones, with Bible verses on them.  Whoever put the bench there invites you to sit and read them - how serene is that?  And in the jar, there are cards with more Scripture on them that you can take with you!  It's really very peaceful - and such a kind offering!  Mom's favorite of the rocks bears 1 Peter 5:7 - "Cast your cares upon the Lord, for He cares about you."

It's really lovely.  We hope it brings joy and peace to those who stop.  It sure leaves us feeling serene!


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veterans Day 2017

Veterans Day, the 11th day of November, is traditionally when we pay tribute to those who served or who are serving in combat. It has become a day to salute all who have served honorably in our military.

Statue honoring our veterans in front of our county courthouse

Here at Army of Four Headquarters, we understand that freedom is not free. We thank our veterans for their selfless service, dedication to duty, and their courage. It is because of these men and women that we enjoy the great freedoms we have today. They are the strength of America.

Our nation's colors flying high at Ao4 HQs today, honoring our veterans

We are thankful for and humbled by our veterans' dedication to duty and to our country.  Our dad, Mom's dad, and many other members of our family have proudly served or are serving in our Armed Forces.  You are true American patriots and we couldn't be prouder of you.

Veterans - past and present - we thank God for you and pray for His blessing on each and every one of you.

Mags and Cammie

Friday, November 10, 2017

Photo Finish Friday

Hello, everyone! It's me, Cam. Our Burning Bush is just starting to turn red, but based on how lovely our weather has been (low 20s this morning, wind-chill in the teens!), Mom is thinking that it might not get totally red before the leaves fall off. That being said, I thought I should pose for a portrait in front of it this morning.


There may have been treats involved.