My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Monday, June 24, 2013

Solstice Photo Safari

On Thursday I took the dogs for one of our regular daily walks, but it was such a cool, lovely morning and we were all enjoying ourselves so much that it turned into a longer walk than planned. And so we soon found ourselves at Kendrick Park, with its newest resident, a baby bison calf who shares her birthday with BW (June 6), and Kendrick Mansion, with its latest batch of beautiful blooming flowers. And me with no camera. :-( So the next morning, which after a night of thunderstorms started out overcast (perfect for taking flower photos), I loaded the girls in the Jeep and off we went on a photo safari! 

First we stopped at Kendrick Park to see the bison calf. She and her family were some distance away and I was kicking myself for leaving my telephoto lens at home, but did the best I could to get some decent photos of her through the chain link fence while she ate her breakfast...

She's so little now that it's hard to imagine her ever being as big as her elders someday!

Click here to see a couple of adorable closeup photos of the baby from the local Sheridan newspaper.

One of the elk ladies came over and hung out with me while I took my photos, and at one point I had a photo op of the distant bison family framed perfectly between her ears as she stared right into my camera lens! But before I could snap it she put her head down and refused to raise it or look at me again. And believe me, I begged and pleaded with her in every language (including critter) that I know! But nope, this was all I was going to get and I'd better be damned grateful for it... 

Not quite a photo bomb, but not without its charms! :-)

After our critter fix we went to Kendrick Mansion's rose garden, whose residents were a lot closer and far more cooperative at posing for photos. :-) And they smelled even prettier than they looked...

Believe it or not, I had to use my editing tools to tone down this color! It really was at least this day-glo vibrant, but in my original photo the color looked fake!

These pretty apricot roses had the best fragrance...

This hot pink one wasn't even in the rose garden, but was hiding by itself in the shade of a hedge in a discreet corner of the grounds. It would have been very easy to miss, but I'm glad I didn't as it was my favorite! I don't know if it was the from sprinklers or the previous night's rain, but I love the water drops caught on its pretty petals...

This has always been my favorite spot on the mansion grounds. I love the old sundial, the beautiful views from here, and the various flowers that bloom at different times in the two tidy rows. Right now this spot is all about irises, mostly attired in bridal white (appropriately for June!)... 

I went back after the clouds vanished and the sun came out to get this next shot. Looks like a great spot for a wedding, doesn't it? (Ha, I first mistyped that "weeding" - well, great spot for that, too!) :-) ...

The irises, not to be outdone by their thorny rivals in the rose garden, were definitely ready for their own closeups...

A wasp visitor plays his pollinating part while enjoying his own yummy breakfast... 

Unfortunately, by the time I finally made my way to photograph the grand finale - the garden's precocious pink peonies (as promised!) - the clouds that had been predicted to last all day ran off to ruin some picnics in Nebraska and the sun shone bedazzlingly. Which made for a lovely day, but not for the best lighting for flower photos! Undeterred, I snapped away... starting with these frothy light pink peonies that remind me quite a bit of some of these tantalizing vegan strawberry shake photos...

And then moving on to these neon superstars with their blindingly bright-colored beauty (the cloud cover really would have made them pop!)...

Whoa. Okay, blink a few times and try to get your normal vision back, because now we're heading down the hill into the main part of Kendrick Park, where I discovered that the remains of a big old cottonwood that was sadly cut down last year had been magically transformed into a trout (by local tree artisan David Peterson)...

I love how it looks like he's jumping up to catch that leafy tree branch 
(which does look a little like a mayfly, especially to a cottonwood trout!) :-)

And finally we wandered by the public pool, still deserted at that morning hour, where I saw another whimsical catcher-of-flies, this new frog slide at the adjacent kiddie pool. Had a little fun with it in editing to blur out the chainlink fence behind him, another part of the huge elk and bison pasture where this post started out (yes, you can swim under the bemused gaze of elk and bison here!), and titled it "The Frog Days of Summer" :-)...


  1. The cute little baby is all fuzzy wuzzy — makes you want to reach out and pet her. I imagine the parents wouldn't take kindly to that.

    The sundial scene is my favorite — looks like it should be a painting.

    Too bad you don't live in Seattle. You could spend all the sunless days taking photos of flowers.

    1. No, they probably wouldn't - but that doesn't make me want to cuddle her any less! :-)

      It's a very pretty spot, and I'd be surprised if one of our local artists hasn't painted it - someone should! Be a beautiful watercolor.

      Well, I may get a chance soon enough - as long as it doesn't rain! Don't want my Rebel baby to get wet! :-)

  2. Loved the baby bison, especially the close-ups. Kendrick Park looks like a truly magical place and you're so lucky to have it nearby. And you still have irises and fair! xoxo

    1. Oh sure, the photos I didn't take! Traitor. ;-) Kendrick Park is quite nice - it used to be right outside our front door, remember? Good old Dragonfly Cottage - the neighborhood is so full of houses now it's hardly recognizable. One house was built so close that Dragonfly's owners can't even park in their own garage! Ridiculous.

      Some of the irises have gone by the board, but there are still plenty blooming, and the mock oranges are in full bloom now too - even our little guy has put out several wee blossoms! :-)

    2. CG just thought the close-ups had more "awww" factor. ;-)

    3. Of course it does. I wish I could have gotten a much closer photo - sometimes the bison are right up by the fence - but Mama is probably keeping her little one as far from the madding crowd as she can, and who can blame her? I was glad I found those Sheridan Press photos, and in such a sharable format.

  3. A baby bison!!! Oh my goodness. I would have surely burst at the sight of such cuteness. Such a beautiful elk, too. So stubborn, though!

    I think all of your flower photos turned out gorgeous, despite the lighting. Irises are always so delicate & feminine looking and those darker peonies really pop!

    I adore the carving of the fish, although it is sad that the tree was cut down. That frog slide is very cool! ha!

    1. I know, isn't she adorable?? When I was there on Thursday, the bison were nowhere to be seen but that elk cow and one other plus the sole bull elk were right by the fence. The other female was all scruffy looking, still shedding her winter coat, and I complimented this one on how sleek and shiny she looked. Fat lot of good all that praise did me when I wanted her to pose for me Friday, huh? :-) Stubborn is right - she reminded me of Josie! LOL

      Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed the flowers. It feels strange not photographing wildflowers in our pasture anymore, but I sure have a big variety of cultivars in town to point my camera at! I agree with your description of irises - I think they're very elegant. The Audrey Hepburn of flowers. :-)

      They say they cut those big cottonwoods down due to "safety issues." Maybe they feared they would fall across the road that runs through the park, I don't know. He carved on into an ice cream cone (the scoops of ice cream are painted pink and brown - I think it's tacky, but given that it's near the ice cream stand, I guess some thought it clever), and the trout and next is a wolf. I didn't see evidence that he started that one yet. Ironic, given Wyoming's prevailing attitude toward and deplorable treatment of that particular animal!

      I wish I were small enough to go down that frog slide! Actually, I'd wished there had been kids using it, that would have made an even better picture!

  4. Another post which had me oohing and aahing (and filled with jealousy). I loved the bison, all of your links and those gardens look truly magical. And some day I WILL grow peonies. (I hope). I would love to swim in that pool and adore the carved trout.
    Thank you very much.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Ellie Sue! I had fun taking the photos, too! And I have great faith in your future peony-growing success. :-)

  5. I've never seen a baby bison, for some ridiculous reason I didn't expect them to be so small!!
    So much colour,and yes...I really can smell the roses(I had lit a rose incense stick before I came blog visiting!!).
    Jane x

    1. I know, it's always a bit surprising when such a large critter has such a relatively small baby! Pandas are the most shocking of all. Funny that you lit a rose incense stick and then ended up viewing my rose photos! A multi-sensory experience. :-)

  6. Hi! It looks you had a very nice summer solstice day. The scenery is very beautiful. Rose and iris flowers are stunning beautiful too.
    BTW ,you use a bleeding heart flowers in your hedder section. The flowers are beautiful too.
    Wishing you a wonderful day.

    1. Yes we did, and I appreciate your coming all the way from Japan to share it with us! :-) I always enjoy seeing the scenery, buildings and flowers on your blog. And yes, those bleeding hearts in my header grow at a neighbor's house, and I admired them all during the time they were blooming. I love my photo so much I may not take it down till Autumn, even though the bleeding hearts have long since stopped blooming here...

  7. I've decided to start at the top and catch up on older posts when you're on vacation. I'm surprised that you've had time to post anything new this week with all you have going on - remarkable!

    I really enjoyed your opening cartoon - a perfect photo safari introduction.

    I guess I'll give you my favorites by category since you have such an ecclectic variety of photos. I loved the bison best and found the baby totally cute. Thanks for the closeup from the newspaper. I didn't realize they look so differently than their mamas and papas. I agree it's hard to imagine them growing up so big!

    The stars in the flower category for me were those neon pink peonies for sure. I can't really decide between the last three photos of them - glad you included them all! I hardly ever see peonies that don't have some defect on them and mostly I see light colored ones. Those were amazing!

    And in the statue category my favorite was Dave Peterson's trout. I always enjoy seeing his new work and that one is particularly fun since he "colored" it so much. I assume he does that with burning? The frog slide was a close second. How fun that would be to slide down if I was four again!

    1. I know, I didn't think I'd manage it but I was very motivated because I had all these photos I really wanted to share, and knew that when we came back from vacation that what time I'll have between getting caught up on everything around the place and going to Havre and then getting ready for my in-laws' visit the last week of August (oy!) will be spent downloading, sorting, editing, uploading to Photobucket, and hopefully posting photos from our trip! Also, blogging is often therapeutic for me, so when I'm feeling stressed it's a great outlet.

      Thanks for mentioning the cartoon! I thought it was really cute. :-) And thanks for the run-down of your favorite photos, and in such an organized way! :-) That baby bison definitely steals the show (even from afar), but did have stiff competition from those hot-pink, flawless peonies! I imagine Peterson did "color" the trout with burning, and did a great job of it! Do you remember the reading bear on the stack of books that he carved in his own front yard? Used to walk and ride my bike past it a lot when we lived in the rental by the cemetery, and put it in one of my posts from back then. I'd link to it, but don't have time to go look for it now and am figuring you remember it anyway since I think that's the only other sculpture of his I've shared (though I could be wrong! After 449 published posts, it gets harder to keep track!

      I'd have loved that fun frog slide as a kid, too!

    2. I'm so glad that doing these posts is theraputic! Then I won't feel so guilty when I'm hanging around your keyboard with my person-begging face looking up at you hoping that you'll get that first vacation post done! :-)

      I hope you're having a great time! And I'll refrain from begging for the first week your home at least.

  8. What beautiful photos! Some could be post-cards! And Ah... The power of pink! ;)

    1. Thank you, Bea! We do have some photogenic scenery around here, I never lack for photo ops. And that may be the most powerful example of pink power I've seen! Quite the color, isn't it? Looks like some of the tropical beauties that surround you, I'll bet! :-)

  9. What an amazing gift to be able to see bison like that! Stunning photography as usual!

    1. I wish we could still see vast herds of them grazing on the tall native grasses, instead of just a little cluster of them in a park! But my regret at what travesties were committed make these guys no less wonderful to be able to see and admire. They are incredible beings! And thank you for your lovely compliment on my photographs! :-)

  10. So beautiful - I could gaze at those flowers for ages!

    1. I know, but I think those hot pink peonies would scald your retinas after a while. LOL


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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