It’s hard to believe that I’ve been blogging for a year now. That got me wondering, what was I doing at this time last year? I was tickled to see that almost to the day, I was in the middle of the hummingbird migration.
Minnehaha Falls is one of the most popular parks in Minneapolis. It’s so busy in the summer that I usually avoid it, but I had to see my frozen waterfall thawed. It had to be marvelous right now if someone would actually take a kayak over it.
My favorite park statue had me thinking about The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
I’m not sure about the angels, but I can tell you we found something else with wings: birds. This watering hole in Griffith Park seemed to be the life of the party:
You couldn’t take your eyes off it for a second or you’d miss something:
I couldn’t keep up with this Allen’s Hummingbird:
Birds of a feather flock together:
And it turns out, bathe together:
And pretty soon you won’t be alone anymore:
There were big birds too. This stunning Cooper’s Hawk posed for a long time:
And this Red-tailed Hawk was intent on hunting:
Memorial Day has a long history that began after the Civil War. Originally known as Decoration Day, the day was meant to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died during the war. It is now a federal holiday designated to remember all Americans who have died in service and many extend that beyond, decorating graves of loved ones who are no longer with us.
As always, the sea of headstones at Fort Snelling National Cemetery was a moving sight and a reminder that many loved ones have been lost over the years:
You don’t have to go far to find beauty, it’s in your own backyard. We can learn a lot from animals to make sure we don’t miss it.
Next time you’re outside, make sure you stop:
And if you like what you see, don’t be shy about saying so:
It’s hard to believe that just a month ago, Minnehaha Falls looked like this:
With 60 degree temperatures, we ignored all of our adult responsibilities and played outside on Sunday. We are five minutes from Fort Snelling State Park, the perfect place to go for a little fun in the sun:
After months (and months, and months) of searching, we finally saw our first owl! Unfortunately, the Barred Owl was on the hunt and I was so excited by it, there are no pictures. We did see more Cedar Waxwings and this handsome fellow struck a pose for me:
As novice birders, we get really jazzed about every new find. We spent a long time trying to identify this quiet bird who didn’t seem bothered by our antics. In the end, we decided it was the common Dark-Eyed Junco, a bird we are very familiar with but not from this angle:
There were a lot of water birds out. In addition to all of the usual suspects, we saw a Common Merganser:
And the most exotic animal of all, Danny sported his new spring hairdo and soaked up some sun himself. Still not approved by his vet for lengthy hikes, he showed us that even a walk around the neighborhood and some lounging in the backyard was a great way to spend a 60 degree Sunday:
This is my final post in my photo series from the Minnesota Valley Nature Preserve, and it’s for the birds!
I don’t remember when my fascination with birds began, but I do remember watching David Attenborough’s LIFE OF BIRDS on PBS 15 years ago, eyes wide with wonder. Each week, I tuned in for the next episode of the nine-part series. That was before television had its digital transition, there was no such thing as TiVo or Netflix, and my internet connection was via dial-up. It’s hard to imagine that world anymore.
At the time, I was shocked by what I watched. Those amazing birds could be some nasty little buggers. But there is also beauty and endurance that you can’t imagine.
Now I look for birds all the time. Living in Minneapolis, I feel fortunate that there is such a wide variety – you just have to watch for them. Earlier this week, I saw an eagle roosting in a tree on my way home from work. Red-Tailed Hawks are a regular fixture on light poles along the freeway and the Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds went right through my yard on their migration last fall. I’m an equal opportunity observer with birds, the Black-Capped Chickadee is one of my favorites and Nuthatches make me laugh with the weird little sound they make. I hadn’t realized how many birds were in my urban backyard until I started to look, I encourage you to take some time to look yourself.
Here are some of my shots from the nature preserve:
What? Martha Stewart doesn’t like bloggers? That’s fine, this blogger doesn’t like her fortune cookie recipe. My first pass at Valentine treats was a disaster, I ended up with a stack of fortunes and a mess of dough that looked like this:
It was not a good thing. Fortunately, I know when to accept defeat, especially when the Valentine’s Day clock is running out. These little gems saved the day and were super simple to make, Cherry Bonbon Cookies:
Afterwards, The Husband and I celebrated our Valentine’s Day at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. It was a crisp afternoon for a walk, but so beautiful:
And I was mesmerized by the birds:
Saturday we were up bright and early so we went to my FAVORITE breakfast location ever, Day by Day Cafe in St. Paul. The Husband had one of his top picks, “The Heart Stopper.” Just kidding, it was Biscuits & Gravy with Sausage Gravy:
I had my favorite, The Earth Breakfast:
After my first taste of Nutella last weekend, I needed to follow the advice of a friend/reader who said it was a breeze to make. He was right! I whipped up a batch to give my own version of the Lake & Irving Nutella French Toast a try:
I used the recipe from The Splendid Table and it was gooooooooood but I almost burned my hazel nuts (aka: filberts) in the toasting process, so keep an eye on them when you make your own. Also, the comments on this recipe are correct, it will harden overnight – I softened mine in the microwave. The Nutella was so simple, I tried my hand at whipping up some peanut butter at the same time:
The peanut butter was good but a bit bland. I used 1 cup of dry roasted peanuts (no salt) and then added a little bit of olive oil for smoothness. Perhaps it will grow on me if I forget how much I love the taste of Skippy Natural?
Now, I really prefer a savory breakfast but I must say… my Nutella French Toast was fantastic. I added fresh strawberry puree and bananas. The fruit added a bright flavor to all of the chocolatey sweetness, The Husband took a classic approach and ate his with maple syrup. I’m telling you, it attracted attention:
Sunday I slaved away on my dress and finally won the war against jersey. I can’t wait to start my next pattern, I already have one in mind. I’ll be dressing Matilda up for a fashion show later this week.
The hard work sewing had me hungry for a veggie burger. We stopped in at The Blue Door in Longfellow for dinner. It was good, but I have a hard time being happy with a veggie burger when it doesn’t include some form of avocado on top – I’ll take traditional or guacamole:
I have been thinking about the raptors from the Minnesota Raptor Center photography class all week and started playing with photo animation. This was a fun way to visualize some of the moments we captured, though they were nothing compared to the majesty of these birds in person.
The Great Horned Owl