Kites on the beach, what could go wrong? Well, as you see in the feature photo, a huge expanse of beach, tiny little kites in the sky, (K heard there were huge kites the day before), and even a plane crash…
Exactly what makes a trip to ZooTampa most pleasant even when it’s hot outside is what can frustrate a person when they are taking pictures. The shade, so welcome in the summer, but so frustrating when the adorable young orangutans are playing so delightfully, only doing it when they are in deepest shade and/or facing away from you. These young ones are usually my favorite subjects, but of course on this trip I was totally infatuated with that new little one month old baby boy. He doesn’t even have a name yet, one of the keepers said that they will have a naming contest soon. It might have been a less enjoyable day had I not had that distraction because the other toddlers (?) were so hard to capture.
But even big babies still need their mommies now and then.
The two mothers were nursing their babies side by side when the bigger baby reached out, clearly interested in the little new comer.
Dear old dad wasn’t totally ignored, by me or by his little one.
Even granny got into the act, this according to another observer who did seem to be very informed about these orangutans. She knew their names, dates of birth, and their relationship with each other. The mom, I was told her name is Randy, brought the baby over and sat beside her mother for a while.
But mostly the day was about this new mother and child. I really couldn’t tell if I was getting the baby’s face, or if he’d be noticeable at all, so I just kept shooting. There is so much that is familiar in the interactions between these beautiful creatures. But I guess that shouldn’t surprise me since we share 97% of our DNA with them…
I do have to wonder though, what is she thinking?
Four long days of driving gave me lots of time to think about what I’d do when I got home, but so far it seems I’ve done almost nothing at all. Four long days of being home and not being able to decide what to do have followed. Maybe it’s the heat, or maybe I’m just really tired. I remembered how I thought I would enjoy being online without having to compete for a chance to plug in the computer, but I’ve hardly done that either. But I finally decided to look at the pictures I took on my last day in the Tetons. As usual I had headed out in the car early that day, and this time I stopped to see the bison on the west, the mountain, side of the road. That gives a different perspective on the scene, doesn’t it? And imagine my surprise when I looked at the very first picture that I took and realized that I’d caught a mom and baby.I chatted with another photographer as we enjoyed the scene. He had lived in the area for 40 years he said, and he takes every chance he gets to enjoy the scenery in the good weather, because the winters are brutal. Which reminded me of what my friend said about visiting the campground in the winter, or attempting to visit their campsite. Thigh deep snow defeated their attempt. And my cousin had stressed that she sits out on her deck and enjoys her flowers every minute that she can because the summer is so short in Jackson. It really was perfect summer weather with chilly nights and then hot in the sun. I found that if I sat in dappled shade to read a book I needed a sweatshirt. Yes, to me that was perfect weather, and a wonderful trip that I was lucky to be able to enjoy. Especially this year, when things aren’t quite normal. I’m not sure I feel quite normal either, but I’m working on it…
On Thursday I found myself on a chauffeur driven trip just up the road to Yellowstone National Park. My friend Karen not only did the driving, but her time here has turned her into an expert in the area. I only wish I could remember half of what she told me as were toured the park.
Entering from the south entrance the first major area we reached was Old Faithful. Karen says that she has a knack for just missing the eruption, but not this time. I took my first picture as we walked from the parking lot for fear that I’d miss it altogether. And then another, and another. There is a boardwalk that lets you walk among the geysers and springs, and each direction you look has you gasping in amazement (not so much the altitude, that’s getting better). As you walk you can’t help but notice the sulfur odor, as you find your self amazed at all the geysers, big ones and tiny little ones, evidence of eruptions under your feet as it the place has a life of it’s own. Which I suppose it does. Karen pointed out the buffalo hoof marks in the land between the geysers. Some buffalo prefer to roam this area, eating vegetation which grows in this odd environment. And these buffalo don’t live as long as they might, the grasses have minerals which wear their teeth more quickly than other diets would. Just one of the many lessons of the day for me. Rivers also rise from this area on their way to the sea. I suppose they join other rivers and lakes on their way, but they are born here.
Our photography guru, Jeff, once pointedly commented that he always crops his pictures to further emphasize the subject of the photo. I felt like he was talking just to me. But some of these photos were so nice, I thought, and included the colors, the rivers, the historic Old Faithful Inn, and I couldn’t bear to crop. Maybe that’s one of the joys of this stage of life, breaking the rules that you obsessively followed all your life. It seems to be working for me…
Oh come on, don’t tell me that you haven’t fried yourself a nice piece of quiche for breakfast before. Or ever. Especially when your brilliant idea from the day before didn’t turn out as you’d planned. I wanted to use up the spinach that I’d left a few days in the refrigerator, and I had potatoes I hadn’t used, so I thought they would make a dandy hash brown crusted quiche. There may be a reason that the online recipes I saw called for frozen hash browns, perhaps they magically don’t turn brown the way potatoes usually do. I know that mine were turning brown faster than I could grate them. But I was committed (don’t say it) at that point so on I went, browning the hash brown crust first, and even though the bottom crust looked more soggy than crusty I went ahead and poured in the filling and baked it. Which didn’t improve the bottom crust any, but it was edible. Faced with trying to figure out what to do with it the next day I knew I had nothing to lose so I resorted to my little frying pan, and when I saw it was browning quickly I covered the pan, even though I imagined a volcano erupting in there, but surprisingly it was quite good.
I’ve been feeling rather scatter-brained lately Not able to sit down and make a plan for what I might want to do this summer, even if it’s just a fantasy. I opened the maps function of the computer and put in the farthest possible destination for myself, and now I stare at the map of the US with that blue line that would lead me there. And there are choices, not one blue line but two, and infinitely more really. Last year going to New England felt cozy, but looking at that map, that blue line, makes me feel like I’d be traveling naked. Exposed. So my mind boggles even as I try to use up the stuff in the refrigerator and tell myself to start making lists. Making plans, and frying my quiche…
Day one at Fort DeSoto campgrounds had me finally set up by 3 PM. This is a lovely campground but the tent/pop up area has a narrow, one-way, road, with equally narrow and abrupt turn-offs in which to back your camper. Even with two people directing me it was quite an ordeal, and it has occurred to me that getting it out of here just might be as bad, or worse. Guess I’ll worry about that later.
But I was anxious to get out for pictures so I rushed up to North Beach because I could see that the sun would be setting in that direction. On the way I stopped for the first couple of osprey nests I saw, but I soon realized that they were everywhere, and they all were occupied by at least one adult. They certainly didn’t have any protection from the wind up there. And the ranger had told me that there was an eagle nest on the cell tower, you can’t miss it, he said. It wasn’t the natural setting of the eagles I’m used to seeing so I probably won’t be staking this nest out.
With temperatures in the 40s and a brutal wind, it was almost too much, for a Floridian at least. And the waves crashing on the rocks were dramatic, but the tide was coming in and I began to worry that the camera would get splashed. But it didn’t, and neither did I, and the sunset was lovely. And I drove back to the campground never suspecting that I’d discover that when I plugged in the heater, or the charger for the computer, that the plugs weren’t going to work. Lights yes, plugs no. And I must have used my last gasp of propane testing that I had propane, because that heater didn’t work either. So I’m roughing it until I figure it out, and warmer weather is coming, or so they say.