Who We Are

Friday, June 30, 2017

Photo Finish Friday

Hello, everyone!  It's me, Cam.  Today, I thought I'd do a quick post of a photo Mom took of me this week down in the garden.

Me in front of the Becky Daisies

As I told you last Saturday, those Daisies make me smile!

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Hand

Greetings to all!  It's me, Maggie.  I don't know how your morning went, but there were some really strange things going on here at Ao4 Headquarters!  First, there was a really long, ginormous thunderstorm, then our walk was delayed, and then ... well, I'd best just show you!

I had just finally finished the apr├Ęs-walk zoomies, when ...

"What's that?!?"

That's the door to the downstairs. I heard something coming up the stairs! I just knew it!

Being the very brave girl that I am (remember, I'm from the Women Warriors litter!), I went to investigate!


I mean, given all the other strange things happening this morning, and based on a legend passed down from Davy about some scary stuff sometimes happening down there ... you just can't be too sure! But I did know I had to protect Mom! Here's a short clip:

To watch on YouTube, please click here.

It could have been something scary!  Instead of my dad.

I hope that didn't scare anyone too badly. Fear not! I've got The Hand under control now. It even spoon-fed me some yogurt at lunch!

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Wordless Wednesday


Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Afternoon Games

Hello, everyone!  It's me, Cam.  As most of you know, Maggie and I go on a nice, long walk every morning.  That's usually followed by time out on the deck with Mom and Dad, maybe time with our supervised-only toys in the living room, and of course Maggie tossing in lots of zoomies there and there.  That's all well and good for the morning, but by the time the afternoon rolls around, it's too hot for another walk ... but Maggie and I made sure to get some more exercise.

It usually starts something like this:

"Hey, Cam. You've got a little something on your neck.  Let me just ..."
"Oh, no you don't!"
"What?!?  It's not like I was going to ..."
"Oh, we all know what you were going to do!"

And before you know it, I've taken the initiative and ... (roll tape):

To view on YouTube, please click here.

If anyone would like to join us, I'm sure we'll have another nice play session this afternoon!  Come on over - I'm sure our mom won't mind!


Monday, June 26, 2017

Ocean Walk

Greetings to all!  It's me, Maggie!  We had a great weekend here - even a little on the cool side for this time of year.  That meant we could go on our longer walking routes!  We name most of our routes and the one we chose yesterday was the "Ocean Walk"!  Come on along!

First let's head up the big road:

Me and Cam

Normally we walk on the other side of the road, but there was someone coming down the sidewalk with a pup and we didn't want to disturb them. More new smells this way for us, so Cam and I thought it was great!

We crossed the big road up near the top of the hill and before too long we saw a NoNoMaggieNo Bumblebee on some Thistle!

NoNoMaggieNo Bumblebee,
Latin name "
Bombus Leaveit Maggus No"

Just an iPhone shot; sorry it isn't crisper. And may I just add that if I had gotten as close to that NoNoMaggieNo Bumblebee as Mom did with her phone, there would have been a lot of mention of that bug's name. IF you know what I mean.

Moving right along ...

Here we are approaching one of our favorite meadows:

Us again!

Sometimes we see turkeys there, or deer, or bunnies!  Today, we saw wildflowers!

Black-Eyed Susans

Lots and lots of wildflowers!

More Black-Eyed Susans

And even more wildflowers!

Yeah.  You get the picture!

Mom was going kind of crazy on them - they are right up there with Sunflowers in her book of favorite Kansas flowers!

We left the meadow behind and headed down the path:

"Lions and tigers and bears!"
"Oh my!"

Unfortunately, we didn't see any lions, tigers, or bears.  Not even turkeys, deer, or bunnies!  Eventually, we did see the ocean, though!  Here we are on the trans-oceanic bridge:

"A great day to hit the beach, huh, Cam?"
"It sure is, Maggie!"

Mom didn't try to get us to pose beach-side or anything as it was starting to rain and she wanted to keep her iPhone in her pocket.  She didn't have treats anyway, so it was just as well.

What a great walk!  Did any of you have a break in the heat, too?  We sure made the most of it here!

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Serene Scenery Sunday

Greetings to all!  It's me, Maggie, here with Serene Scenery Sunday.  Last weekend, Mom, Dad, Cam, and I ventured down to Quivira National Wildlife Refuge once again.  I thought I'd share the highlights with you.  Ready to look at birdies?

Here's Mom's favorite - posing for the camera:

Snowy Plover, rocking the head-tilt!

We saw lots of birds wading around, hunting for bugs -- like this guy:

American Avocet

Here's one of his relatives holding court with some Wilson's Phalaropes:

"OK, listen up, everyone!  The reason I called you all together ..."

I'm not sure what his meeting was about, but except for the Phalarope on the left, they looked mighty interested in what he was saying!

Here's another Phalarope hanging out with a Sandpiper:

Least Sandpiper and Wilson's Phalarope

For those who may be wondering, I'm not sure if the Wilson in Wilson's Phalarope are related to the tennis ball guys.

We saw a few herons, like this one:

Great Blue Heron

But mostly, it was the Day of the Black-Necked Stilt.  Here's a trio:

Black-Necked Stilts

They look very serene and calm, but many of them were super agitated like this one:

Black-Necked Stilt upset about something

We learned that during breeding season, they are strongly territorial birds.  So I guess what we saw was a bunch of mini turf wars.

This guy seemed much more laid back:

Serene Black-Necked Stilt

Much more in line with our tranquil theme!

Mom got fairly close to one of the many Egrets that we saw:

Great Egret

She was mighty happy about that.

And just when she was about to say how she sees a lot of Eastern Kingbirds at Quivira but not Westerns, she spotted this bird:

Western Kingbird

She should say things like that more often; maybe we'd see even more birdies!

We've shown you Ruddy Ducks before, but never with their signature blue bill!  Check him out!

Male Ruddy Duck 

Isn't that cool?  They only get the bright blue bills during the Summer months - and then only the males get it!

Toward the end of our trip, we saw one of Mom's (and Cammie's) favorite birds.  They are in the same family as Snowy Plovers.  A couple weeks ago, we showed you a Snowy doing some nest-guarding behavior.  Well, these guys are ACES at it!  Without further ado ... I give you, ladies and gentlemen, the Killdeer!

"Ow!  Oh, I broke a wing! Ow! Look at me, the helpless one. Pay no attention to my nest!"

They are extremely good actors - it was a very convincing display!  They go the extra mile to distract potential predators away from their nests or babies.  Mom (and Cam) find that behavior quite admirable!

To see more photos of this Academy Award-worthy performance and more birdies, please visit our FlickR album from last weekend at this link; we've also included a short film on Avocets and Stilts!  (Two page album.)

To end this post on a totally serene note, here's a picture of me in the front garden:

"You do have treats, right?  Ah, yes.  Yes, you do!"

It has nothing to do with our trip or birdies, but I was feeling the serenity.  Stay cool, everybody. And keep it serene.

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Will Pose For Treats

Hello, everyone!  It's me, Cam.  Yesterday, I mentioned that for my special time with my mom we walked around our gardens and I did some posing.  She is very happy with these photos, as I am looking at the camera and everything. She needs to keep in mind -- she had Zuke's Skinny Bakes in her pocket.  Lots of Zuke's!  It was awesome.  Let's take a look!

Here I am by the Russian Sage in the Bee Garden:

"Do you have the pumpkin-sweet potato ones?  I love those."

They are seriously tasty!  Sadly, they can be broken in half quite easily ... but I digress.

Here I am in the Friendship Garden, by the Beth Coneflowers:

"I think this pose warrants a whole one, Mom.  Really."

How can she say "no" to that face?

We moved on to the middle tier - and I sat down by the Lavender.

"How's this, Mom?"

That's Mom's new favorite photo of me. And Zuke's pumpkin-sweet potato are my favorite treat. Coincidence? I think not.

By the time we made our way over to the Daisies, I was all smiles!

"Can I tell you something?"
"I love these daisies!  They make me smile!"

... so does getting treats.

Our Purple Emperor Sedum is already getting big, even though Mom had trimmed it way back! Check it out:

"Is this a wrap?"

Mom decided rather abruptly to end our session right there -- except for that front porch pose with Mags.  Why?  Well ... you might notice I'm without my leash.  Mom had it draped over her shoulder for "just in case".  "In case of what," you might wonder.  Well, just as she snapped the photo above, Mom heard something then saw a baby bunny go flying out of the sedum right behind me.  For some reason, Mom decided to it was time for us to go.  Quickly.  I didn't even have time to give chase to the bun-puppy before she hooked me up.  Since she was still packing a few Zuke's, I was cool with that ... but I have to wonder -- whose yard is this anyway?!?

Oh, well.  Great session; great treats!


Friday, June 23, 2017

Porch Pose, Take 87

Hello, everyone!  It's me, Cammie!  As most of you know, our mom is always trying to get us to pose while she takes photos - and quite often it's by the planters on the front porch.  This morning, Maggie had some special daddy-daughter time, so Mom and I had some special time together, too!  Some of that time was spent walking around the backyard.  There may have been some posing involved.  And that posing may have been made possible by a supply of Zuke's treats Mom had stashed in her pocket.  It was very fun!

After we had our special time in the yard, Mom thought we should get Maggie, then us girls could try to pose on the porch.  Again.  Since I was well-aware of the treat situation ...

"Smile, girls!  C'mon, Mags!"
"Cam, are you SURE she still has treats?"
"Oh, I'm VERY sure!  How's this, Mom!?!?"

Maggie is a wee bit on the skeptical side!  We all know Mom is going to keep going until she gets both of us to smile for the camera.  I'm OK with that ... as long as she keeps the treats flowing!


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Attempted Cover-Up

Hello, everyone.  It's me, Cammie.  What?  Have I seen Maggie's camouflage Wubba?

"Nothing to see here!"

Now why would I want her Wubba when I'm clearly spending some quality time with Fishy?


OK, fine; I admit it!  I was trying to cover for her, and I took matters into my own paws.  And I took the Wubba into my own paws.  Mom seemed to know anyway, despite my attempted cover-up.

When I was done playing with Fishy, I gave Mom both of the toys. This is what the Wubba looked like:

My sister's handiwork

Mom had to sneak it into the pantry to get a shot of it.  A certain strong-toothed, strong-jawed someone wanted it back.  And she wanted it back baaaaaaaad.  

The powers are strong in Maggie. They are very strong!


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

I Meant "Mom" ...

Greetings to all!  It's me, Maggie.  So there we were at dinner the other day, when ...

"Excuse me, waitress.  My bowl seems to be empty ..."

Apparently, it's not one of those Endless Kibble/Bottomless Bowl deals.  Oh.  And apparently I shouldn't refer to my mom as the waitress.  Who knew?

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher 

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Importance Of Cookies

Hello, everyone!  It's me, Cam.  You'd think our mom would have learned by now!  To keep this short and concise, let me just show you the lesson we repeated the other morning.


"Hey, girls!  Look this way!  Girls!  Mags?  Cam?"
"Not feeling it, Mom."
"I don't think so."

And after:

"I have cookies!"
"Why didn't you say so to begin with?!?"
"How's this, Mom?"

As I said. You'd think she would have learned by now! Cookies are vital to getting us to pose!


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Serene Scenery Sunday

Greetings to all!  It's me, Maggie.  Since Cam just gave you a garden tour, I thought I'd give you this for Serene Scenery Sunday:


I hope you all have lots to smile about today!

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher

PS:  Happy Dad's Day to our dad!!!  I think this calls for popcorn!!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Rise And Shine!

Hello, everyone!  It's me, Cammie!  Dad took Maggie and I out early, then Mags and I got into bed to snooze a bit with Mom.

"It's light out, Cam!  Will she ever get up?"
"It's 6:30 already!  Time for breakfast!"

For some reason, Mom doesn't think of 6:30 as "sleeping in".  Hmm.

Have a great Saturday, everyone!


Friday, June 16, 2017

Don't Mind If I Do

Greetings to all!  It's me, Maggie!  It's been quite toasty here lately, so in order to beat the heat, we walk early ...

"It's going to be another scorcher, Cam!"
"I'm warm already!"

... pick the shadiest route we can ...

"Hudson Trail!"
"Always a good choice!"

... and make sure to drink plenty of water after we get home!

"Don't mind if I do, Mom."
"Umm... Mags, that's my water..."

It's so important to stay hydrated!

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Garden Walk

Hello, everyone!  It's me, Cammie!  Today, I'd like to take you on a walk around our backyard gardens.  Yes, it's hot out there, but it's shady in the morning, so we'll be OK.  Before we head out there, though, Maggie and I hope you had a happy Flag Day yesterday!

Happy now belated Flag Day from Maggie and me!

We let Mom post that to FaceBook, but since it was Wordless Wednesday yesterday, we went with the photo of Maggie under Dad's chair.  Anyway ... let's go out back and see how the gardens are doing!

Here I am beside the Bee Garden:

"The Bee Garden is abuzz with activity!"

Get it?  Abuzz?  And it's the Bee Garden?  Yeah, OK, Mom made me say that!  But the bees do love all the Russian Sage!

Just up from that is the Friendship Garden:

Me doing my Bored Super Model Look

Right now, the Zebra Grasses are looking great, and our Beth Coneflower and Aunt Janet Day Lilies are in bloom.  Several of the Sedum plants our neighbor Jim gave us are doing well, also!

Let's move down a bit and see what's going on in the Wildflower Garden!

Doing the Bored Super Model Look again

Up against the wall are Black Eyed Susans; they really took off this year!  Mom is excited about that!

Let's get Mom to back up a bit ...

"Please don't trip, Mom!"

Seriously.  She scares me sometimes!  The Milkweed and some of the Butterfly Weed are doing super well this year, too!  The Monarchs are going to be very happy!

Mom's backing up some more ...

"Hello down there!"

Those are our Becky Daisies in the foreground - they should be in bloom in a week or so.

Let's walk down to the middle tier.

"Here is our --- WAIT!  What's that?!?!"

OK, sorry.  I saw a bunny.  Fear not!  I stared at him until he hopped out of our yard.  (Many small animals seem to think our backyard was fenced in to give them some sort of safe-haven.  That's one of the reasons Maggie and I are often leashed back there.). Anyway ... here is our Lavender:

Me beside the Lavender

How about another Bored Super Model Pose?  This time on that middle tier:

Becky Daisies, Butterfly Weed, Red Creeping Thyme that is really pink,
Purple Emperor Sedum, Spirea, Bored Super Model (me!),
Lavender, Fountain Grass.

AND a fun grassy area to do zoomies.

Up at the top of the yard by the gate is one of my favorite places to pose:

"I think I see that bunny again!"

It's usually shady and cool there!

In our Flag Day picture at the top of the post, did you notice our US Army garden flag? Yesterday was also the 242nd birthday of the US Army!

Mags and me, celebrating the US Army!

What a great day!  I hope you enjoyed taking a quick walk around our backyard gardens.