Thursday, March 22, 2018

Checking In with My Ditch Friends

It may be brisk here (read that cold!) but the other day it was nice enough for a walk down to the Ditch to check out what early spring might look like. As I got closer I heard a lot of squalking going on. It was these two.

I'm not sure what the back story was, but they were chatting up a storm -- and loudly. No aggression, just a good old fashioned Canada geese shouting match!

These two were much quieter. At first I thought the one on the left might be nesting.

But when I walked into a different position, I could see she was on a bit of a sand bar.

Rounding the corner, I had no anticipation of seeing the deer. After all, it was mid-afternoon. And then I got a glimpse of this.

At least four were grazing; there might have been another out of viewing range. This one never moved, apart from an alert head twitching now and then.

Perhaps she is just waiting to give birth. She certainly wasn't grazing with the others.

Whenever the deer show up, I feel like it's a special gift. A small group of them have found some sanctuary on this little island. When it gets leafier, the sightings will be much more difficult. Not so for these critters!

I was surprised that the usual herds of ducks (that's probably not the right term but that is what it feels like!) weren't making an appearance. It was cold enough they may have been seeking some shelter from the wind in the reeds. But this was a fine pair.

When I first "shot" them they were quite far and the zoom was pretty maxed out. But I think they thought I might be a soft touch for duck food and started heading toward me!

Alas, they were disappointed. To be honest, I'm not even sure what to feed the ducks. Do any of my birder friends have a recommendation? I have heard that the traditional bread and crackers we used to feed them when I was a child aren't so good for them, so I just usually watch. But when Baby Grand is a little older, I know we'll want to feed them! Suggestions are welcome!

I don't expect we'll be seeing warm days anytime soon -- or rather, warm days that will stay on for good. But I look forward to more Ditch walks and a wider array of wildlife soon!

(And I will eagerly await Harry the Heron's return!)

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Down the Rabbit Hole!

You may remember when I visited our Children's Garden and it was a little cold! (HERE) Make that super snowy. Well, things have turned a bit weatherwise (although I hesitate to say it -- it's still cold but warmer and the snow is gone -- today at least!) It was nice a couple weeks ago so I decided to return to the garden and go down the rabbit hole with Peter, and Alice's white rabbit and the Cheshire cat! (Cue the music -- "Cheshire Kitten.") And don't forget to dress for the occasion!

These bunnies are at the Peter Rabbit garden, which will eventually grow all things one might find appealing to Peter and his friends -- lettuce, carrots, spinach and much more!

We'll pass by the big, beautiful "Wonderful World." It's surrounded by a rainbow walkway -- a fine reminder that our wonderful world is indeed a rainbow of sights, sounds and most of all, people.

Step with me over Monet's Bridge. Modeled after the famed bridge in Giverny, it crosses a wee pond in which soon one will see the golden koi fish (and maybe a frog or two!).

I'm told to get the color just right, the designer discretely removed a small chip of paint from the real deal in Giverny long ago and had it matched!

Just beyond that we enter the world of...

...and the Alice in Wonderland Maze!

Children love dashing through the maze, only to find a dead end!

Along the way they are "greeted" by some of the characters from the story, like the white rabbit...

...the caterpillar...

...and my favorite, the Cheshire Cat!

When all is done and if you find you way out the maze, a small, sweet courtyard awaits you!

I leave you with a few tags from a long-ago swap.

It was so long ago, most of you probably haven't seen them!

And now, without further ado, I must...

...because I'm late!

Have a wonderful week!

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Friday, March 16, 2018

Part of our Heritage: The R.E. Olds Museum

When I was a kid one of my grade school classmates and church friends was J. Woody. Doc (Armin) and Louise lived next door and I baby sat Davy (who I know is now David!) more than once. Bunny lived down the street and was a friend of my mom. What I didn't know as a child was that all of these people were descendants of one of our city's great pioneers, R.E. Olds, founder of REO Motorworks. And yes, if you ever drove an Oldsmobile, you have ties to Lansing, Michigan.

Last November attended an anniversary party at the R.E. Olds Museum here and it was a revelation in its wonderful display of classic automobiles from Oldsmobile and REO Motor Company as well as showing a slice of life for this power family in our community.

I should say that this is quite a small museum. Well, large enough to hold many cars, but we are talking one floor. They've done a magnificent job making the museum accessible to people, able to enjoy both the automotive history of the companies as well as the historical elements of family life.

This part of the post is all about the cars!

Imagine, taking a drive in this green beauty!

I have to admit, with its bright green, it was my favorite!

How many of us had a station wagon not unlike this one in our youth?

Nascar, anyone?

REO/Oldsmobile didn't just provide family cars. The police cars in Lansing were from this company.

So, too, were fire trucks in the day.

And a later day!

The museum showcases the functional "business" purposes of these cars well.

REO did farm trucks and tractors.

One could even be driven to their final reward (or the next-to-last stop) in one of their cars!

In some cases, there were child-size versions of the larger cars.

I loved the wonderful colors in the paints.

Have you noticed that most people don't have "happy colors" in their cars these days?

On road trips, I count "Happy Color" cars -- cars that are not silver, black, navy, brown or white. Depending on the day, I include maroon in there but fire-engine red is a happy color. Sometimes I can go a whole three hour trip and not even count ten! I might count this maroon, thought. it's so rich!

But I've only seen a KIA Soul this color.

So whether your tastes run from dignified black... something bright...

A vehicle for your fancies...

...or a fancy pint-sized car...

This place had it all! (But wait! There's more -- coming soon!)

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