Happy Turkey Day!

I’ll be taking a few days off from the blog, but will leave you with this tale of Turkey Day from long ago. And yes,, some of you may remember it. 😊

When I was growing up my favorite part of Thanksgiving wasn’t the turkey. Neither was it the dressing which is my favorite today but not then. What I remember most are the hors d’oeuvres and the wine flips and the trip downtown for football.

First the hors d’oeuvres, which is not only the hardest thing to spell, but also may be too grand a word for what we made. We started with crackers, then squirted on the cheese. Next we added cold cuts like salami and pepperoni, then olives and pickles, and used a toothpick to hold the tower together. We placed them on a tray and delivered them to our guests in style and when it was empty we ran back to the kitchen to build the next batch until all the components were gone. Tasty little treats they were.

But dinner was not yet, for while the turkey was in the oven, my sisters drove us to Seattle’s Memorial Stadium for Turkey Day, to watch their high school football team, the Chief Sealth Seahawks, play in the championship game. And I – the little sister – got to tag along with them and their friends. I loved every minute I was in the presence of those confident teenage girls and couldn’t wait to be their age.

The ride home was exhilarating if we won, as we shouted out the windows to the losers driving by, “Seahawks Rule!” Whatever the kids from other cars would yell back, we would always counter with, “who won the game?” and that would silence them.

I remember the year Chief Sealth lost to the Roosevelt Roughriders, 10 to 7.

The ride home was quiet, and we rolled up our windows. But by the time we made it back home, the sting of the loss was over, the turkey was ready, and its aroma filled the air. As we ate our dinner, mom pulled out the special beaded wine glasses and filled ours with 7-Up and a splash of wine, turning our drink a lovely pink (promise not to tell.) Next year we said.

Happy Thanksgiving to You and Yours.

~ Susanne

Back with the Birds of Oahu

It was just last month that we were in Oahu enjoying the sunshine, beaches, and swaying palm trees….

and yes, the birds!

If you follow this blog, you’ll know that I’m an avid birdwatcher and I love birds of all colors, sizes and persuasions. So I’m finally back as promised to share some of my favorite birds from Oahu.

I’ll start with these sweet doves. They were everywhere, gentle and talkative, both the Zebra Dove and the Spotted Dove. I spent a lot of time figuring out which was which, but now that I have, it seems pretty obvious! The first one has the stripes thus ‘zebra’ and how about those baby blue eyes? The second has the distinctive spots, hence the name and is the larger of the two.

(Click on pictures in the galleries to enlarge them.)

Interestingly, I saw them sharing the same space as the free roaming kitty cats at Ala Moana Park so perhaps they struck up some kind of truce? (I hope so.)

Next are the Common Waxbills. I saw these tiny birds in the grass, always as part of a flock. Just between me and you – I always feel a little bad when any creature has ‘common’ in its name. So let me tell you it’s also known as St Helena Waxbill, and is native to sub-Saharan Africa, a member of the estrildid finch family.

They looked like a miniature version of the Red-crested or Brazilian Cardinal below, which seemed to have the same habits. I love the bright red in both species!

I found the Cattle Egrets in large grassy fields where they were unafraid and willing to pose for me. These were at the Kualoa Regional Park on the windward side of the island and are native to Africa and Spain.

The Black-crowned Night Heron are native to Hawaii, and I found them everywhere in Waikiki, where they were always looking for dinner.

I saw many Pacific Golden Plovers, also native to Hawaii, on or near beaches.

I only found one of these handsome birds – a Red-whiskered BulBul chattering away at Wahiawa Botanical Garden. They feed on fruits, insects, and nectar and are native to tropical Asia.

The White-rumped Shama or Shama Thrush, was hanging out at the Waimea Valley Arboretum. I believe the fluffy one in the second picture is a juvenile Shama and he was singing up a storm when I came upon him.

Moving on, please tell me – why did the chicken cross the road? Perhaps to get away from all the other chickens! I saw them everywhere on the island, a nuisance to some, but charming to me, and protected.

Finally, I’ll close with my favorite little songbird. I found him in the middle of Waikiki, flitting among the flowers on the grounds of one of the hotels. He was so fast, I thought it might be a hummingbird. Solitary, and native to E. Asia, it was a Japanese White-eye or Mejiro. My checklist noted that it can be hard to spot in the trees, so I felt special for having seen it.

Checklist? Yes, I identified all the birds in this post from checklists that I picked up at the Botanical Gardens we visited. (Here’s more on the gardens if you missed it.)

And that will do for today.

Sharing with Sunday Stills, Shades of Brown.

~ Susanne

The Gingko and the Chickadees on the Cedar River Trail

I went for a walk on the Cedar River Trail to see the Golden Gingko in glory.

I gawked – like I did when I saw it the first time, years ago.

I stopped to bask in its color and admire it from this way and that, from the ground up to the sky above

bright against its neighbor.

Their combined leaves took on a magical quality

and then I noticed the chickadees

happy and energetic, flitting from branch to branch, feeding, oblivious to me watching below.

I was happy to share in their joy.

Sharing with #WalkingSquares.

~ Susanne

A Nature Walk at Flaming Geyser

Sorry but you’ll be hard pressed to find a flaming geyser – its methane source petered out years ago, though tossing a match into the well, may get you a reaction (we didn’t have any.)

But who cares with so much beauty surrounding you at Flaming Geyser State Park?

Last week, on a cold and frosty autumn day we bundled up and went for a walk in the park, starting out on the deserted road that runs through the center,

then into the woods to walk the trail beside the Green River.

We saw ducks heading downstream,

and salmon fighting their way upstream, returning to their birthplace to spawn, a fall miracle that never ceases to amaze me.

We paused for a few minutes to absorb this peaceful scene where the river decided to hide and rest a while,

then exited the woods, where as if on cue, two bald eagles appeared overhead.

A fitting end to a beautiful walk. And I even managed to ‘square’ all my photos for Becky’s WalkingSquares challenge.

And that’s all for this Monday morning. Better get out for today’s walk.

~ Susanne

A Conversation with Tiger

“Good morning, Tiger. Don’t look so alarmed. There will be no trip to the vet today”

“Sorry, Sue.”

“We were doing it for you, Tiger. Because we care about you. Just a short ride. A quick checkup. It would have been fine. “

“But you were going to put me in the box, weren’t you Sue?”

“Well yes, Tiger. That’s how it works. Into the box and off to the vet. Kitties do it all the time. Why couldn’t you?”

“I can’t help it, Sue. Bad memories.”

“Kind of like me and the dentist, I guess. But at least I go, Tiger. I don’t hide under the bed.”

“But you would if you could, right Sue?”

“That’s beside the point, Tiger. Eventually I go.”

So, there was no trip to the vet this week.

We’ll try again.

Maybe.

~ Susanne

Morning Moonshots

I regret to say I missed the lunar eclipse earlier this week.

I just couldn’t fathom leaving my warm bed in the middle of the night and venturing out alone into the freezing cold. Hmm, now that I put it that way maybe it’s understandable.

To make up for it, I met the moon this morning at a decent hour on my front porch where I snapped these –

and these which I intensified just for fun.

No law against that, right?

~ Susanne

Bogged Down in Squares at Shadow Lake Bog

Not too far from our home in Renton is an ancient bog, surrounded by forest, carpeted with moss and decorated with magic mushrooms. The trail and boardwalk through the bog is short but marvelous so I thought it would be perfect for this week’s Sunday Stills Challenge.

The famous Shadow Lake Bog is the jewel of the Nature Preserve. This 8,000 – 10,000-year-old, peat-moss bog is a remnant of the Puget Lobe Glacier, which once covered the majority of Western Washington. SHADOW Lake Bog is the only spaghnum-hemlock peat bog under protection in Washington state. The bog’s unique soil and water qualities allow plants found nowhere else in Washington to grow.”

Shadow Lake Preserve

And did you notice? All of my pictures are squares! So I’m also sharing with Becky’s #WalkingSquares.

~ Susanne

‘Tis the Season for Hummers

November has come on strong and stormy as it often does in the Pacific Northwest. Perhaps that’s why I’m seeing more hummingbirds at the feeders; it’s easier for them to get their food fast and ready to go without fighting against the wind and the rain.

I cleaned and refilled both feeders on Saturday and waited nearby for them to appear.

Then this morning I saw one overhead in the evergreen tree as I stood on the deck. He seemed a bit smaller than the others, perhaps a youngster? Or maybe he only looked young all fluffed up to stay warm. Either way, he completely charmed me as he turned this way and that while I took pictures.

Afterwards he buzzed down to the feeder while I stayed behind taking pictures from a distance.

Even so, he seemed to look right at me, as if thanking me for the food.

The pleasure is all mine.

~ Susanne

On the Street Where I Live

Some days I don’t feel like walking far; I just need some fresh air and beauty.

Thankfully, there’s a park at the end of my street full of color.

~ Susanne

Just a Walk in the Park for Squares

While in Hawaii I amassed thousands of steps on my Fitbit. It was not a chore but a delight, as walking in good weather with gorgeous scenery usually is.

Since our return to Seattle, we’ve had nothing but rain. Rain, rain, and more rain. It was welcomed at first, to end the long summer drought and smokey skies and wildfires in the mountains nearby.

But I’m already weary of it and somewhat dreading months of the same until spring.

Even so, I’m determined to walk, whether on the treadmill at the gym (I finally returned after covid) but hopefully outside as well.

Earlier this week we went for a walk at Nolte State Park in between rain showers and the air was fresh and clean and filled with the fragrance of fall leaves.

We saw interesting trees and stumps and lichens and mushrooms

and lovely reflections in the lake.

I’m sharing this post for Becky’s Walking Squares Challenge and for that reason all of my photos are squares.

I’m so happy to have her back in the blogosphere.

~ Susanne

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