Photo Journal: April

Here are a few shots I have taken with my phone this Spring. Many of them were taken while I was landscaping at various places in New York. It’s awesome to slowly watch the season unfold. There is a different bloom every week and I love seeing all the colors! If anyone knows what the yellow flower in the second row is, please share in the comments below! I am struggling to identify that one.

The last picture is my new kitty! Her name is Marozi. Marozi is the name of a cryptid ( like bigfoot or Nessie) that looks like a spotted lion thought to exist in Africa. I call her Rozi for short. She is a big, fat, cuddle machine!

Thanks for stopping by this week! If you have any good Spring time stories to share, drop a line below!

Take care, free spirits!

Advertisements

We Survived Another Holiday!

It’s always weird when Christmas ends. You spend so much time preparing and leading up to it. There is the cleaning, cooking and baking, shopping, wrapping, decorating, visiting…the list goes on and on. Then, when the day finally comes, it’s over in the blink of an eye. Right back to your regular day to day. It’s like your exerting as much Christmas spirit as you possibly can and then it just….stops. What do you do when you still feel that charge though?

Use it towards the new year, perhaps? That is also an exciting time. The end of one chapter, the start of the next. What will this new story reveal? It’s ultimately up to you. Yea, there might be some surprises the universe will throw in but it’s your choice as to what path you will go down. I currently enjoy the trail I have been following so I think I will continue on the path I’m on. It feels amazing when I am working on my art. Everything in my personal life if finally settling into place as well. The word “feel” keeps ringing in my head. Everything just feels relaxed, harmonious, like everything is vibrating on the proper frequency. It’s comfortable, not like I want to melt into the couch. Comfortable as in, I have found myself. I’m comfortable in my skin. I feel like I’m doing what I’m suppose to. I haven’t felt this way in a long time. It’s awesome and I’m excited to use this power to soar through 2019!

My goal for 2019 is to continue working on my art so that I can become a fulltime artist. This is the most important task for me this year and I’ve never been more driven than I am right now! Thank you to everyone who has helped me this far and who continue to support me in achieving my goal! It means the world to me!

What was your favorite holiday activity? What do you want to achieve in the new year? Share your story in the comments below. I wish good vibes and high energy to everyone for the new year! Thanks for swinging by!

Take care, free spirits!

Three Year Anniversary!

Today marks my third year with my blog! I’ve come a long way and learned so much in those past three years. I can’t believe what can happen in such a short time! Special thanks to everyone who has followed along this journey with me! I can’t wait to see what the years ahead bring!

 

Lepidoptera Photography Collection

Lepidoptera is the order of butterflies and moths. I have discovered so many this year. Mostly in larvae form but still fascinating all the same. Here is my collection of various caterpillars, moths and butterflies that I have photographed so far.

Black Swallowtail Butterfly
Black Swallowtail Butterfly, distinguishable from other similar species by single dots on the back wings surrounded by orange. This particular one had a torn wing but it didn’t seem to keep it from taking air!

Green horned Caterpillar
Green Horned Caterpillar (see also Tomato hornworm and Tobacco Hornworm), Vegetable gardeners hate them as them munch, munch, munch away! It’s recommended to squash them but I wouldn’t have the heart to. Besides they transform into beautiful Sphinx moths!

 

 

Harnessed Tiger Moth
Harnessed Tiger Moth, often mistaken for a butterfly because of it’s striking pattern!

 

 

Io Moth Caterpillar
Io Moth Caterpillar, Stay away from this guy. Those spikes are tipped with poison which will leave you with a burning, itching rash for an hour or so!

Silver spotted skipper
Silver Spotted Skipper Butterfly, There are over 3,000 species of skipper in the world. This particular one can be found in 48 states in the U.S.

Tent Caterpillar
Tent Caterpillar, Various species create “tents” as homes while others like this one will just huddle in social groups in trees.

 

 

White marked tussock moth caterpillar
White marked Tussock Moth Caterpillar, This caterpillar boasts a long tail and hair tufts that will leave a rash similar to the Io Moth Caterpillar.

 

HM photo
Hummingbird Moth, You can learn all about these guys here in a previous post I put together.

 

 

Things to do: Tulip Fest

Tulip Fest 14.jpg

I was finally able to make my way out to the Tulip Fest in Albany, New York. It’s held every year on Mother’s Day weekend in Washington Park. I have been wanting to go for the past couple years but never got the chance to. This year I just barely made it! We went on the last day two hours before it ended. My son and I went on Mother’s Day the Sunday before last. I was a little concerned when I continuously heard from others that the crowds were horrendous! By the time we got there though, we parked only a block away and the crowds were minimal. There was plenty of elbow room! The tulips and other flowers were beautiful and everyone was getting their picture taken in front of them. There were a lot of different vendors and a whole section just for art vendors! I definitely want to set up my own booth there in the future!

It was a great place to take a relaxing walk and I enjoyed the time my son and I spent together. It was a great Mother’s Day and I enjoyed photographing the park. I hope you like the pictures and if you haven’t made your way to Tulip Fest yet, I recommend it for next year! Or have you been to one before? Share your Tulip Fest story or photo below! Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,

“The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.”

Photo Journal: Schodack Town Park

We had a quick break in the rain last weekend where the sun peeked out and the air was warm. My family and I made our way to Schodack Town Park for a peaceful stroll before more rain was due to come that evening. It was nice to finally get out and enjoy the outdoors, the green, the water, the wildlife. I love nature! We found some salamanders that I was able to get a few macro shots of and we also found big beautiful green frogs. I sought out to photography some wildlife and I was able to do just that. I was surprised we did not find any turtles. If your looking for a quiet and easy hike to enjoy some sunshine and see some critters, Schodack Town Park is a good place to start.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoy the photographs!

Until next time,

“The most beautiful thing in the world is, of course, the world itself.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

**************************************************

  • Ending quote from the movie “Castaway”

Travel to: New England Aquarium

New England Aquarium (24)

It was trying to be a difficult day but no matter how hard the day tried we still had a blast! The drive to Boston, MA is roughly three hours for us. We had heard great admiration about the New England Aquarium from friends and family and knew it would be worth the drive. It was forecasted to be a sunny 70 degrees that day but turned out to be a cloudy,windy 40!

New England Aquarium (32)

When we finally arrived in the city, we wanted to check out Quincy Market before hand to grab lunch. We had tickets for a 3-D IMAX movie at the aquarium but gave ourselves enough time to eat first. So we started walking towards what we thought was the market until we realized we were walking in the wrong direction for 15 minutes. Did I mention it was cold out! We wasted so much time trying to figure out where we were but we finally found Quincy Market, found some food (very yummy seafood from Salty Dog), and quickly got to the aquarium to catch our movie.

Lines were crazy but moved quickly. We thought we might miss our show but made it in the nick of time. Phew! Turns out we didn’t have to rush. They were having issues with the equipment and couldn’t get the movie to play. They tried for 25 minutes before they called it. Luckily they offered refunds or tickets for another visit. We chose the tickets. We stayed in good spirits and headed to the actual aquarium now. That’s when the real fun began!

New England Aquarium (25)

It was pretty crowded but it was a systematic chaos. We were still able to check out everything. Everyone kept moving to give others a chance to look at all the different tanks. When we first walked in, we headed straight for the penguins. The penguin enclosures were just below the first floor so you walked above them, looking over the ledge. It was like they could swim through the bottom floor and you could watch them as you walked around the entire aquarium. There was three different species and they were feeding them when we were there. They were funny to watch; they hopped from here to there, diving in the water and swimming rapidly after each other! I kept thinking about the Penguins of Madagascar and it made me laugh.

New England Aquarium (1)

In the very center of the building is a huge cylindrical tank that starts on the first floor and goes all the way to the top. There is a walkway that spirals all the way up and you can watch all the fish swim by in the gigantic tube of water. It’s about four floors high and all the way at the top, at the time, they were giving a seminar and you could look down into the huge tank. There were bonnethead sharks, rays, big balloonfish, and so many other colorful crazy things I don’t even know what they were! Not to mention the green sea turtle which you would never believe her gigantic size until you see her in person! Beautiful, gorgeous animal! She was definitely my favorite creature in the entire aquarium.

We saw shadowy piranhas, electric eels, mesmerizing jellyfish, seals and sea lions, a beautiful octopus and even a ginormous anaconda! We saw native fish, exotic fish, one, fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish! (see what I did there ;)) The cuttlefish were oddly adorable as well!

New England Aquarium (28)

The entire day was overwhelmingly fantastic! I really wish I could go on a slow day or in a perfect world after hours. I would just sit there all night; I would watch them all and draw everything I could in amazing colors. I would fill an entire sketchbook. Maybe one of these days I will go out there and do just that. Talk about some meditation.

New England Aquarium (33)

So much seemed to go against the grain with this day but it turned out absolutely amazing…and we didn’t even get to see the 3-D IMAX movie! We are excited to see one next time we go back because we are definitely going back!

Have you been to the New England Aquarium? What was your favorite creature? Share your story in the comments below. And if you haven’t made it there yet, I highly recommend going with the family! (or alone for some artful meditation ;)) Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed the photography!

Until next time,

“I am a nice shark, not a mindless eating machine. If I am to change this image, I must first change myself. Fish are friends, not food.”

New England Aquarium (17)

New England Aquarium (4)

New England Aquarium (21)

New England Aquarium (9)

New England Aquarium (29)

Photo Journal: Beloved Pets

I was finally able to visit a friend I hadn’t seen in a while yesterday. I brought my camera so I could mess around with it some more and get a feel for the different lenses. I took pictures of her pets who are always a pleasure to see. She has one dog, Country, and two cats, Smokey and Bella. Her son was visiting as well and brought his pup, Ruby, for a playdate. Bella was hiding the entire time so I wasn’t able to get a picture of her but I got the other three. They are so adorable, as are most animals in my opinion. Ruby is a young, energetic pup that wanted to play and be in everyone’s lap. Country enjoys silence, order and naps. Smokey the cat is a big, fat love muffin. Just make sure you have your back brace on before you pick her up. She is a total Garfield!

I hope you enjoy their sweet faces as much as I do. What do you love about your pet? Share your story in the comments below! Thanks for stopping by this week!

Until next time,

“Maybe the legend of dogs coming from wolves is jus… is just wrong. Maybe, like, maybe one puppy asked his mom, “Where did we come from?” And the mom said “Woof.” And the kid was like, “Oh wolves?” And she was like, “Yeah, fine.”

 

 

The True Nermal

 

It’s a phenomenal feeling when your son tells you everyday for months that you got him the best birthday present he has ever received. This is usually the case though when it involves a kitten. It has been almost a year now since we have brought home that kitten for my son so I figured it was time to give her the spotlight.

Her name is Chloe. We told my son he could name her whatever he wanted. We were surprised when he picked a cute and fitting name instead of Mittens, Fluffy or something of the sort. I think he may have been inspired by the movie, “The Secret Life of Pets” but he denies this. It’s just coincidental that our Chloe also happens to be a gray cat like in the movie.

At the time, my friend’s cat had just had a litter that she was trying to find homes for. All the other kittens had been spoken for except one little gray dust bunny. About 80% of her was pure fluff with the remaining 20% being her actual body. She was only eleven weeks old and was so tiny she could fit in a tea cup! All Chloe wanted to do from the moment we met her was melt away in our arms, safe, cozy and protected.

Here we are about a year later and she’s still melting into our arms like an infant made of putty. She has her daily routine which consists of 8-10 naps throughout the day, only waking for the necessities that require moving. You know… eating and drinking , pooping, receiving attention. The three basic needs of cats. She rises after her morning/noon siestas, in a sleepy stupor. She realizes it has been far too long since she has had human interaction and tracks us down. With no mind or matter what we may be in the middle of, she meows every so sweetly and consistently until we pick her up and love her. She will also harass you endlessly if she can see a bare spot in her food bowl. There can be piles of food on the sides of the bowl, plenty for her to eat, but if she can see the bottom even the slightest bit she demands it be filled to the top. She then daintily paws out one piece of food at a time and eats it off of the floor. When she’s finished, she’ll paw out the next piece and eat that one and so on and so forth until she is satisfied. The same goes for her water. There cannot be one tiny hair in it, even her own. It must be totally fresh and filled to the top. When she goes to drink it, she has to shake her bowl so she can see the water rippling. In the process, she’s dragging her water dish across the kitchen floor spilling more water than she’s drinking. All the while, she’s not actually drinking anything because the water is sloshing around and she hates getting water on her chin. Life can be challenging for the domestic cat, let me tell ya!

Besides naps, she also enjoys a good round of cat and mouse. In this game, you are the mouse. She comes out of nowhere and attacks your feet, legs, long hair, whatever she decides must die at the moment. She loves hiding under the bed…silently waiting…to leap out at me latching onto my leg like an octopus! It’s always in good fun and she never hurts us when she’s playing but by George she scares the crap out of me! She loves her kitty toys. Mr. Owl, a stuffed owl who squeaks and is always covered in catnip, is a top pick of hers. Although, her favorite “toy” is the plastic seal you peel off of milk cartons and such. I had left one on the table and when she came across it (jumping on the tables like bad kitties do)she went ballistic! She was batting it around, chasing it and carrying it around proudly like a fresh kill. You could spend hours watching this cat play with garbage. It is absolutely hilarious. Especially since she is still in that young, clumsy stage. Now I always throw them on the floor for her to enjoy for a while.

She is a riot and we love having her around. I still find it irresistible to run up to her and pet her and squeeze her and love her just like Elmyra from Tiny Toons! Her fur is ridiculously soft and she is so trusting she will droop over your neck like a scarf, just hanging there. She will lay in your arms, roll around getting comfortable and expect you to catch her if she starts to fall. She would love to be chauffeured around the house, sleeping in your arms. The less effort she has to put in the better. Even when you try to set her down, she won’t put her legs down and support herself. She will just lay wherever you placed her, however you placed her. I have never met such a “lax-a-daisy” cat! Even as I currently write this, she is laying completely sprawled out in my lap, sleeping like a rock! I have to keep sliding the laptop closer to my chest because she’s gradually overtaking my bubble. Yet, I keep sitting here uncomfortably typing this to appease her. Damn cats…gonna take over the world with their adorably cute mind control they have over humans. “Awwwww….look at the adorable kitty cat!” After that, your hooked. They have officially taken control.

That is the story of how the true Nermal came to be. “The cuuuuutest cat in the world” and she very well knows it! Her little “cat”itude proves it. She is “paw”sitively spoiled. I am not “kitten” around. Ok…ok…I’ll stop. Thanks for stopping by this week! Hope you enjoyed meeting Princess Chloe.

What silly things do your cats do? Share your story in the comments below!

Until next time,

“You just woke me up from a very deep catnap. Even a great beauty needs her beauty sleep.”