2023 · Days of The Week · In Our Garden · On Our Property · Wildlife Wednesday

Pearl Crescent Butterfly (Phyciodes tharos)

The Pearl Crescent is a butterfly of North America. It is found in all parts of the United States except the west coast, and throughout Mexico and parts of southern Canada, in particular Ontario. Its habitat is open areas such as pastures, road edges, vacant lots, fields, and open pine woods. Its pattern is quite variable. Males usually have black antenna knobs. Its upperside is orange with black borders; postmedian and submarginal areas are crossed by fine black marks. The underside of the hindwing has a dark marginal patch containing a light-colored crescent.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearl_crescent

2023 · Days of The Week · Flower Friday · In Our Garden · On Our Property

Dutch Iris

Dutch iris (Iris × hollandica) is a hybrid bulbous iris. Its name does not reflect its place of origin but rather the Dutch people who hybridized it. Iris xiphium, the parent species associated with the Dutch iris comes from Spain and Portugal. The 3- to 4-inch flowers are usually multi-colored. Blue, bluish-purple, white, bronze, rose, gold and yellow are the most common colors.

https://www.thespruce.com/growing-dutch-irises-5101138

2023 · Days of The Week · Wildlife Wednesday

Western Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma californica)

Western Scrub Jay

Western scrub-jays have long tails and small bills. The head, wings, and tail are blue, the back is brown, the underside is gray to tan, and the throat is white. Unlike the Steller’s jay and the blue jays, they do not have a crest. Western scrub jays include several subspecies that live along the Pacific coast and in the interior West. The Pacific coastal group has a distinct blue collar and is brighter in color than those of the interior West. They also have beaks that are short and hooked for eating acorns, while interior scrub jays have longer, more pointed beaks for extracting pine nuts from pinecones. Their behavior can be bold and inquisitive, and their calls can be loud and raucous, although the jays of the interior tend to be quieter, and their calls are lower-pitched than those of the coast. Western scrub jays are about 11.5 inches (29 centimeters) in length and have a wingspan of just over 15 inches (38 centimeters).

https://www.nwf.org/Educational-Resources/Wildlife-Guide/Birds/Western-Scrub-Jay

2023 · Days of The Week · Throwback Thursday · Winter Wonderland

Texas Snow Day In January ~ 2013

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In mid-January of 2013, we weren’t expecting snow that day. Even FOX4’s Head Meteorologist, Dan Henry, said what a surprise it was getting snow. But in Texas, the weather is possible and very unpredictable. It can say light rain on the radar. And then we end up with snow the following morning. The birds were all fluffed up to stay warm in the cold breeze. Katelynn liked it. She didn’t have to school and could play with her little sister in the snow that day.

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2023 · Days of The Week · Wildlife Wednesday

American Bison (Bison bison)

This animal’s true name is the American bison, but most people call them buffalo. Bison are the largest terrestrial animal in North America. They can stand up to six feet (1.8 meters) tall. A male can weigh upwards of a ton (900 kilograms), and a female can weigh about 900 pounds (400 kilograms). Along with their formidable size, bison have several unique traits that help to identify them. One of the most noticeable is the hump on their shoulders. Another characteristic is their deep brown fur, which can grow very long, especially around the face and head. Bison also grow long beards and manes. The head of a bison is very large with a thick skull. Bison fight by crashing their heads or horns together. Both male and female bison have short, curved, black horns, which can grow to two feet (0.6 meters) long.

Before human intervention, bison once ranged over much of North America, including central Canada and most of the interior United States. The only places free of bison were along the coasts and deserts. Today bison are only wild in national parks, state parks, and reserves. Your best chance of seeing wild bison is to visit Yellowstone National Park in the USA or Wood Buffalo National Park in Canada. American bison like open plains, savannas, and grasslands. Despite their immense size, bison still have to worry about predators. Buffalo calves can easily become the prey of a wolf pack or grizzly bear.

https://www.nwf.org/Educational-Resources/Wildlife-Guide/Mammals/American-Bison

2023 · Days of The Week · Flower Friday · In Our Garden · On Our Property · The Greenhouse

Garden Pansy (Viola × wittrockiana)

The garden pansy (Viola ×wittrockiana) is a hybrid, one of whose parents is V. tricolor, which is a weed of European grainfields, the other parents being V. lutea and V. altaica. The tufted pansy, or horned viola (V. cornuta), is the parent of numerous forms of bedding pansies. The wild pansy (V. tricolor), also known as Johnny-jump-up, heartsease, and love-in-idleness, has been widely naturalized in North America. The flowers of this form are usually purple and yellow and less than 2 cm (0.8 inches) across.

https://www.britannica.com/plant/pansy-plant

2023 · Days of The Week · Wildlife Wednesday

Flame Skimmer (Libellula saturata)

Flame Skimmer (Libellula saturata)

Male flame skimmers are known for their entirely red or dark orange body, which includes eyes, legs, and even wing veins. Females are usually a medium or darker brown with some thin, yellow markings. This type of skimmer varies in size but is generally measured between two and three inches long. These naiads are known for being rather large and chubby-looking due to their rounded abdomen. They are covered with hair but, unlike most young dragonflies, they lack hooks or spines.

2023 · Days of The Week · My Travel Journal · Texas · Travel Tuesday · USA

State Park of Texas: Fair Park, Dallas: A Visit At The Texas Discovery Gardens 2012 (1)

Every time, we visit the State Fair of Texas we can’t miss out on the Texas Discovery Gardens in Fair Park. The girls love to see the flowers outdoors and the Butterfly House. This year, they had a special treat for Katelynn at their expo: Snakes, spiders, and bugs. Katelynn loves all these creepy crawlies. There were some venomous snakes and hairy-legged spiders. Not to forget to mention the cockroaches. Thank goodness, they have been locked in their terrariums. I like them much better when there is a protective glass between those critters and me.

… to be continued …

2023 · Days of The Week · Throwback Thursday

A Sunny January Afternoon In Texas ~ 2013

I miss those warmer January days in North Texas. Don’t get me wrong, Texas can have some cold Winter days. But on a lot of days, it was warm enough to sit on the backyard deck to enjoy wildlife feeding on berries, and watch the clouds go by in the sky. It also was easier to photograph the birds in the trees, in January and February. There was no leaf to obstruct the view.

2023 · Days of The Week · Wildlife Wednesday

Elk/Wapiti (Cervus canadensis)

Elk at the Elk & Bison Prairie in Land Between The Lakes

The North American Elk is one of the largest species within the deer family, Cervidae, and one of the largest terrestrial mammals in its native range of North America and Central and East Asia. The word “elk” originally referred to the European variety of the moose, Alces alces, but was transferred to Cervus canadensis by North American colonists. The name “wapiti” is sometimes used for Cervus canadensis, which derives from a Shawnee and Cree word meaning “white rump”.

Elk range in forest and forest-edge habitats, feeding on grasses, plants, leaves, and bark. Male elk have large antlers which they shed each year. Males also engage in ritualized mating behaviors during the rut, including posturing, antler wrestling (sparring), and bugling, a loud series of vocalizations that establishes dominance over other males and attracts females. Although it is currently native to North America and central/eastern Asia, it had a much broader distribution in the past. Populations were present across Eurasia into Western Europe during the Late Pleistocene and survived into the early Holocene in southern Sweden and the Alps; the extinct Merriam’s elk subspecies ranged into Mexico. The elk have adapted well to countries where it has been introduced, including Argentina and New Zealand. Its adaptability may threaten endemic species and the ecosystems into which it has been submitted.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elk

2023 · Days of The Week · My Travel Journal · Texas · Travel Tuesday · USA

State Fair of Texas, Fair Park, Dallas: A Stroll Through Fair Park ~ 2012 🎡

We walked on the fairgrounds to look at some sculptures and go to the Texas Discovery Gardens. Big Tex celebrated his 60th Anniversary at the State Fair of Texas. Unfortunately, 13 days later he burned down to his frame. He had an electrical short in his wiring, which moved his jaw. It was a sad day in Dallas’ History. The following year, he was rebuilt.

… to be continued …

2022 · Christmas Season · Days of The Week · My Travel Journal · Texas · Throwback Thursday · USA

Christmas Season (Part V) ~ 2012 (1)

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Christmas Season in Texas 2012

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2022 · Days of The Week · Wildlife Wednesday

Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctus horribilis)

Young grizzly in the meadow. Here, the bear is changing the fur from Winter to Summer.

The grizzly bear is a kind of brown bear. Many people in North America use the common name “grizzly bear” to refer to the smaller and lighter-colored bear that occurs in interior areas and the term “brown bear” to refer to the larger and typically darker-colored bear in coastal areas. However, most of these bears are now considered the same subspecies.

In North America, there are two subspecies of brown bears (Ursus arctos): the Kodiak bear, which occurs only on the islands of the Kodiak Archipelago, and the grizzly bear, which occurs everywhere else. Brown bears also occur in Russia, Europe, Scandinavia, and Asia.

Grizzly bears are large and range in color from very light tan (almost white) to dark brown. They have a dished face, short, rounded ears, and a large shoulder hump. The hump is where a mass of muscles attach to the bear’s backbone and give the bear additional strength for digging. They have very long claws on their front feet that also give them the extra ability to dig after food and dig their dens.

Grizzly bears weigh upward of 700 pounds (315 kilograms). The males are heavier than the females and can weigh 200 to 300 kilograms (about 400 to 600 pounds). A large female can weigh 110 to 160 kilograms (about 250 to 350 pounds) in the lower 48 States.

https://www.nwf.org/Educational-Resources/Wildlife-Guide/Mammals/Grizzly-Bear

2022 · Days of The Week · My Travel Journal · Texas · Travel Tuesday · USA

State Fair of Texas, Fair Park, Dallas: The Automobile Building 2012 🎡

It was the first weekend of October when we visited the State Fair of Texas in 2012. And it was chilly. Most of the time, we avoided the wind and walked into buildings. Since the Automobile Building protected us from the chill, I captured photos of the Mural on the walls along the Esplanade Fountain in Fair Park, Dallas, Texas.

History of the Automobile Building:
http://www.texasescapes.com/DallasTexas/Dallas-Texas-Fair-Park-11-Automobile-Building.htm

… to be continued …

2022 · Christmas Season · Days of The Week · My Travel Journal · Texas · Throwback Thursday · USA

Christmas Season (Part IV) ~ 2010 – 2011

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2010

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In 2010, Kevin, Katelynn, Sara, and I went to our local Christmas Parade again. This time, the girls got a glimpse of Santa. Katelynn was in first grade. Her class had the school play “Santa’s Suit”, where she was the “Lego” Elf. On Christmas Eve, Katelynn lost her first tooth. So, the Toothfairy and Santa visited our home on the same night. Unfortunately, Sara had a bad cold on Christmas Day. She wasn’t too happy. But we made the best out of the situation.

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2011

Santa left apples, oranges, nuts, and candy under the tree. Of course, Sara found the candy first and wanted some. Kevin and I said, she could have some after breakfast. Instead of listening, she was very sneaky, put one in her mouth, and acted like she didn’t know what we were talking about. Lexi was happy, she had a new toy duck, which was shredded by her and Ranger the same day.

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2022 · Days of The Week · Wildlife Wednesday

Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus)

Hermit Thrush by the Bittern Marsh Trail in the Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area (LLELA)

A bird with a lovely, melancholy song, the Hermit Thrush lurks in the understories of far northern forests in summer and is a frequent winter companion across much of southern North America. It forages on the forest floor by rummaging through leaf litter or seizing insects with its bill. The Hermit Thrush has a rich brown upper body and smudged spots on the breast, with a reddish tail that sets it apart from similar species in its genus.

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Hermit_Thrush/

2022 · Days of The Week · My Travel Journal · Texas · Travel Tuesday · USA

A Day In Downtown Dallas, Texas ~ 2011

In November 2011 I met with a friend and her son from Germany in downtown Dallas. This allowed us to do some sightseeing in town. We looked at a lot of buildings like the Fountain Building, the Bank of America Building (the tallest building in Dallas), the Old Red Dallas County Courthouse, the Comerica Bank Building, … etc.

I always wanted to go to the Sixth Floor Museum by Dealey Plaza. In the museum, we were not allowed to photograph. But it was very interesting to look at pictures, read history, and watch videos of Kennedy’s Presidency until the assassination at Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas on November 22, 1963, and the aftermath. No matter, how often I watch those videos I always become a bit sentimental.

2022 · Christmas Season · Days of The Week · My Travel Journal · Texas · Throwback Thursday · USA

Christmas Season (Part III) ~ 2008 – 2009

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2008

Since Kevin’s homemade Christmas tree got positive feedback, he installed it in 2008, again. The same year, I decorated a Christmas wreath for our girls.

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2009

Sara’s 1st Christmas; She was still so tiny.

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2022 · Days of The Week · In Our Forest · On Our Property · Wildlife Wednesday

Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus)

Eastern chipmunks are found in forests, but also in suburban gardens and city parks, as long as there are rocks, stumps, or fallen logs to provide perching sites and cover for burrow entrances They dig complex burrows with many entrances and chambers as well as short escape tunnels, and each chipmunk defends a small area around its burrow, threatening, chasing, and even fighting with a neighbor who invades the space The chipmunks spend the winter underground, but venture to the surface occasionally on mild, sunny days They enter torpor for a few days at a time, and then arouse to feed on stored nuts and seeds Life expectancy in the wild is slightly more than a year.

http://fieldguides.eol.org/

2022 · Alabama · Days of The Week · Florida · Louisiana · Mississippi · My Travel Journal · Travel Tuesday · USA

Driving From Florida To Texas ~ 2011

After almost a week in Walt Disney World, it was time to drive back home. That day, we made it from Buena Vista, Florida all the way to New Orleans. There we had a motel room, and drove through “The Big Easy”. Five and half years later, we still could see the signs of Hurricane Katrina, she left behind. Even our motel room smelled musky from the flooding in August 2005. It was devastating to see all these damages due to the storm.

~ THE END ~

2022 · California · Christmas Season · Days of The Week · My Travel Journal · Texas · Throwback Thursday · USA

Christmas Season (Part II) ~ 2006 – 2007

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2006

In the Christmas Season of 2006, Kevin, Katelynn, and I visited California. Since we celebrated the 60th Anniversary of Kevin’s grandparents in Anaheim, we stayed an extra day to go to Disneyland.

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2007

In 2007, Kevin installed his first outdoor Christmas tree made of Christmas light chains. Everything was holden up by a PVC pipe.

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… to be continued …

2022 · Days of The Week · In Our Garden · On Our Property · Wildlife Wednesday

Seven-spotted Lady Beetle (Coccinella septempunctata)

Ladybirds are perhaps the most well-known and popular of all European beetles, and the seven-spotted ladybird is one of the most common species. The Seven-spotted Lady Beetle is native to Europe and was successfully established in the U.S. in 1973. This rounded beetle has bright red wing cases with seven black spots, although some individuals may have more or fewer spots. The thorax is black with patches of pale yellow at the front corners. The common name of this group of beetles, ‘ladybird’, was originally given to the seven-spot in honor of the Virgin Mary; the red wing cases symbolize the Virgin’s red cloak, with the seven spots representing her seven joys and seven sorrows. The larvae are blackish in color and are active predators of aphids.

2022 · Days of The Week · Florida · My Travel Journal · Travel Tuesday · USA

A Beautiful Evening & Firework In Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Florida 2011

This was the last evening at Walt Disney World. We took the kids on as many rides as possible, before we watched the firework and went to the bus station. That night my feet were hurting from all the walking around in the park. And I couldn’t wait to lift them up in our Resort room. Sara was ready to go home and sleep in her own bed, again. It was a long week. But I knew from my previous two trips to Walt Disney World in 2002 and 2007, it would be exhausting after so many days. I was beaten.

… to be continued …

2022 · Bavaria · Christmas Season · Days of The Week · Germany · My Travel Journal · Texas · Throwback Thursday · USA

Christmas Season (Part I) ~ 2003 – 2005

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2003

Christmas 2003 was bittersweet. It was Katelynn’s first Christmas, but at the same time, it was our last Christmas in Germany.

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2004

In December 2004, we had a Dallas Holiday Wish Celebration. The Beach Boys had a concert, and even Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto came for visit to sing and dance in front of the Dallas City Hall. I have it all on video tape footage and didn’t captured too many photo of the event.

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2005

In 2005 we bought our house in Texas. The same year, we celebrated Christmas/Yuletide in our new home.

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… to be continued …

2022 · Days of The Week · Wildlife Wednesday

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus)

Scissor-tailed Flycatchers breed in savannas with scattered trees, shrubs, and patches of brush in the south-central U.S. and just over the border into northern Mexico. They also breed in towns, farm fields, pastures, and landscaped areas like golf courses or parks—areas with a mixture of feeding perches, open space, and trees for nesting. Scissor-tailed Flycatchers spend the winter in southern Mexico and Central America, in humid savannas, pastures, agricultural lands, scrublands, villages, towns, and the edges of tropical deciduous forests. They commonly stay below 5,000 feet elevation but occasionally winter at up to 7,500 feet. Sometimes they roost in towns and disperse to the countryside to forage.

The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher flies in straight lines with fast wingbeats, its tail folded. It also often hovers with its tail spread or makes abrupt turns in midair. Scissor-tailed Flycatchers form large roosts during spring and fall migration, and they flock in winter as well. In some populations, the males continue roosting in groups throughout the breeding season, but breeding birds tend to forage alone or in pairs. Males arrive before females in the early spring to establish and defend territories. After pairing up, both males and females chase and attack other individuals that intrude onto their territory. Trespassing happens frequently, especially in the early morning, so keep an eye out if you see these birds as you may be treated to an amazing aerial chase. Pairs are monogamous within a breeding season but don’t always reunite in later years. Scissor-tailed Flycatchers attack intruding Red-tailed Hawks, Swainson’s Hawks, Turkey Vultures, Mourning Doves, Great-tailed Grackles, Common Grackles, Northern Mockingbirds, Western Kingbirds, Loggerhead Shrikes, House Sparrows, American Crows, Blue Jays, and Lark Sparrows.

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Scissor-tailed_Flycatcher/lifehistory

2022 · Days of The Week · Florida · My Travel Journal · Travel Tuesday · USA

Dinner At The Crystal Palace In Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Florida 2011

Our family went for dinner in the late afternoon at the Crystal Palace. There we met Eeyore, Piglet, Tigger, and Winnie the Pooh. It was great food. Especially, Sara enjoyed her Macaroni & Cheese and vegetables. She made quite a mess on the table. But, that is the fun part.

… to be continued …

2022 · Days of The Week · Festivals · My Travel Journal · Special Events · Texas · Throwback Thursday · USA

Chinese Lantern Festival, Dallas 2012

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At the pond in Dallas Fair Park 2012

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… to be continued … in November 2023

2022 · Days of The Week · Wildlife Wednesday

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)

Turkey Vultures are the most widespread of all the New World Vultures. They range across most of the Americas from southern Canada, through most of the continental United States, into Mexico, Central America,, and most of South America all the way south to Tierra del Fuego at the tip of Argentina. Northern populations of Turkey Vultures are migratory and will travel south to spend winters in Mexico, Central America, and coastal regions of the United States. During migration season, if you are in the right spot, it is possible to see waves upon waves of thousands of Turkey Vultures, along with other species of vultures and other species of raptors, as they float across the sky toward warmer climates.

Turkey Vultures are adapted to living in a wide range of habitats and can be found anywhere. You may spot one soaring over deserts and grasslands in search of prey, roosting in trees in forested areas, feeding on dead fish alongside marshes or coastlines, perching on fence posts in agricultural fields, or even scavenging around garbage dumps and landfills. They spend a lot of time soaring and can travel great distances in relatively short periods.

https://peregrinefund.org/explore-raptors-species/vultures/turkey-vulture