Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Lunch with Liz and Ellen

Since we moved back from New Hampshire in 2004 I have kept in contact with Liz and Ellen. They are close friends of mine and I enjoy their company very much. We took one afternoon and met them for lunch, we had a blast. Of course Brody looked so handsome in his sweater vest outfit.

Brody at 5 months

I spent the week giving full attention to my grandson Brody. He is a good natured baby and a joy to be around. Of course I also enjoyed the time with Adam and Justine.

Adam giving Brody a small football to play with.

Even though Adam would not let Brody go trick-or-treating this year I still had to get a picture of him dressed up in his costume -- his first Halloween.

He is just beginning to eat solid foods. It was so much fun feeding him. He hasn't quite got down the chewing and he kinda starts chewing before you can get the spoon in his mouth. Granny had a blast!

Brody received a balloon from a birthday party that was going on next to us when we went out to eat one evening. Don't worry we watched him very close with the balloon and never let him get it anywhere near his mouth.

Leaf Peepers

I have been gone for a week to New Hampshire. Although the main focus of the trip was to see Adam, Justine, and Brody I couldn't help but notice the wonderful colors of fall in New Hampshire. Even though our trees do turn in the fall they do not compare with the variation of colors you can see during fall in New Hampshire. The New Hampshire residents commonly refer to us out of state tourists as "Leaf Peepers". These pictures are from Bow Lake which is just a few miles from where Adam and Justine live. I was actually a little late for the peek of the fall colors, but they are still beautiful.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Falling Leaves Quilt

Thursday of this week I went to visit my mom. She is making me some dresses and I went down to try them on. Both her and my Aunt Nette are very talented. Either one of them could sew just about anything, not to mention their drawing and painting skills. My Aunt Nette has even been recently honored as one of the chosen few artists of Arkansas who will have their pieces displayed in the governor's offices this year. She has been honored by the governor and is planning to attend a reception given by Senator Pryor in November.

Mom recently finished a quilt she created by using the leaves from the trees in her yard as a pattern. She has called her quilt "falling leaves". The pictures really don't do the quilt justice, but at least you get the idea.

Fall Approaches slowly

Fall is approaching, but the only tree that is really beginning to show it is our sugar maple ("Yankee tree"). The silver maple leaves are still green and are refusing to change colors. Even the tulip tree I planted in honor of Tabitha and Sean's wedding is still green and wanting to flower for the third time this year.

Candy tied to the sugar maple.

Tulip tree with its third set of buds this year. We have got to see it in bloom twice already and if the weather stays warm, maybe a third bloom is in store for us.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Slimmers and Mums

What left this wild design on my cherry stump?Oh, there is the slimmer!
Here are a couple of shots of last year's mums. Everyone gave me their baskets of old bloomed-out mums last year and look at how they look this year. Not bad.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Crystal Springs

As Debbie posted below, we spent the day together just driving and seeing new sights. With the kids all grown and gone, it is really a new era in our lives and marriage. We can just up and go wherever and whenever we want without considering whether the kids will enjoy it or we can afford it. Thus, the price and stress of such outtings have really gone down. As far as Debbie and I are concerned, it doesn't take that much to entertain us. Show me the outdoors and give me a camera and I am happy. I love nature and I love being out in it. I can't wait until my grandchildren are old enough to go exploring with me. I have so much I want to show them. I love the baby period (Brody was a blast and Brayden will be too), but I can't wait for the "Why" stages.

Speaking of toddlers, here is a picture taken of me in 1964 at a site we visited today, Crystal Springs. Wow! Things have really changed over the last 45 years. I was really surprised the place still exists much less went through so many improvements. Visits to my grandpa and grandma Rowland always included some outdoor activity such as swimming at Crystal Springs. My grandfather died before I ever really got a chance to know him, but mom tells me he was quite the outdoorsman. One of his favorite pass times was bee hunting (tracking bees, finding the hives, and collecting the wild honey). Mom also told me he loved wildflowers and hunting. In fact, we went through the places both my grandparents were reared, Avant and Bear, AR. Both places were quite remote.

Old Crystal Springs
(Me in the tube, Perry behind me, and Annette in sexy bathing cap.)

New and Improved Crystal Springs

Saturday Outing

Today we decided to check out one of the points of interest in Arkansas. We were looking for something different. We definitely got that!. Of course we have listed this under "the places you do not take friends and family when they come to visit"!.

We left our house and traveled around Hot Springs on the east side. We were heading just outside of Jessieville, or so we thought. We ended up turning back toward Story. When we found the sign showing the direction to Richardson Bottoms we became a little concerned when we turned down the dirt road, a little more concerned the further we drove. When we finally reached our destination we found it to be a widened out place in the road where a sign describing the swampy conditions was posted. There was not a bird in sight, not even a frog that we could see so we amused ourselves by taking pictures of flowers and water lillies. I don't think I have ever seen a water lilly grown outside a controlled environment. It is a little amazing there could be a kind of swamp at the top of a mountain. Well this is it.

Here is the picture of one of the water lillies close up.

This is a picture of some of the flowers by the side of the road.

After getting back on the road heading toward Hot Springs from the west side Troy spotted a Hawk. How he saw it I will never understand. Even after he stopped he had to point it out to me, then I was able to get a close up shot of it through the truck window.

Once we were on our way back into Hot Springs from the west side we decided to stop at Crystal Springs. Both of us had been there when we were growing up, but hadn't seen it for years. Here is a picture of the spillway at the day area.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Nasty Weather

Poor little finch is waiting for the winds to change and bring in some warmer and drier weather.
The wet weather is giving everyone a bad hair (feather) day!

I am not complaining; we needed the rain and the birds will come to eat rain or shine.

Offering New Course

At the urging of my department chair, I am officially offering an eight-day, biogeography course of New England. I don't suspect I will have too many students sign up for the course (must have at least 10 for the class to make) because most go on the tropical biology course to Panama. However, I thought it was important that students experience the other end of the spectrum when it comes to marine and terrestrial environments. For example, the rocky shores with the crashing cold waves as opposed to the long stretches of level sandy white beaches with ripples instead of waves. Or the barren tundra of Mt. Washington vs. the lush jungles of Panama. Oh, well we will see how many sign up. Here is the poster and students have until March to give me their deposit.