Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #225 Wildlife Close to Home

Anne (Slow Shutter Speed) challenges me to look for non-domestic animals that live in my neighborhood. I live in Fair Oaks and much of the surrounding wildlife preserves and nature centers Anne has done a wonderful job describing. So I will look in my backyard, mostly.

Squirrels

This little guy (not sure of the gender) loved to eat the cactus that I called “Bob & Bea”. Bob and Bea were neighbors who lived across the street and gifted us this plant. One late, late evening I got a call that I had to come right away. I rushed right over for this emergency. This cactus blooms once at night and they didn’t want me to miss it. In my backyard, this plant bloomed over and over. Oh, back to the squirrel. He/she would come every day and eat just a little. Until there was no more plant. At the time I didn’t mind the company.

In my current house, my neighbor’s trees host many squirrels. There is an oak tree, a blackberry bush, and many other tidbits to munch on. But here in my yard, these industrious workers look for places to bury their acorns. My flower pots with their lovely soft soil are perfect. Not so cute when the dirt is dumped out of the pot, or the plants are uprooted. My dog Moxie is fascinated by squirrels. She doesn’t chase them away, she watches them quietly.

Birds

This summer a pair of Spotted Towee birds built a nest in my oleander bushes. I learned to recognize their particular bird call. While enjoying some of the berries I captured this image with my new iPhone 13 Pro.

While looking out my window this turkey surprised me.

Insects

Using my Fuji 80mm macro lens I was able to shoot some visitors to my garden. This dragonfly showed up for his photo shoot on time.

This fly knew it was better to settle outside on my succulent than in my house.

Green Acres Nursery opened up a short distance from my house. Sometimes I will visit with my camera, and sometimes I visit with Moxie. Both are welcome there.

Not quite wild, but unexpected

While visiting a local park with my grandson we came across some goats. Goats are used here to clear fields to prevent fires.

Thanks for checking out the local wildlife found in my Fair Oaks backyard and surrounding areas. What animals can you find in your local area if you stop, look and listen? Do any of my animals specifically capture your attention?

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #150 Let’s Get Wild

For this week’s Lens-Artists Photography Challenge, let’s get wild!  Dianne is talking about Mother Nature untouched and untrammelled, allowed to get on with her work without human help or hindrance.

Looking through my images I am more inclined to capture images with human interactions. My travels haven’t taken me far from home.

Squirrels take up residence in the trees.
And a dragonfly lands on a bush in my backyard!

I did manage to take a trip to the Island of Kauai with some of my photo friends.

Beautiful Kauai
Nene, official Hawaiian bird
Turkeys strutting their stuff
An Egret returning to the nest
Youngsters following along!
A wild discovery at Effie Yeaw Nature Center in Carmichael, Ca.
Finding nectar in the wilds of Kauai
Northern California coastal fog

Sorry, this wild blog may seem a bit scattered. My very special doodle, Charlie is in the hospital. His liver is not working to its best. The doctors are trying to figure this out. HIs numbers are quite unexpected for a such a young dog. Think good thoughts that Charlie will be home with me soon. We have never been apart.

Thanksgiving at home

For the past couple of years I have celebrated Thanksgiving with my parents at their place of residence. Easy for me, I just had to show up and be served. I kept saying was I was spending time with family, and that’s what mattered.

But I missed the smells throughout the house. Then there was the leftovers that I enjoy even more the next day. Growing up Thanksgiving always happened at my house. My father and mother would get up super early and stuff the turkey. Then house cleaned, Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Day Parade on the television, and the table set. My aunts, uncles and cousins would start arriving in the afternoon. Sometimes some of the cousins would stay overnight. Sometimes a couple of friends would be invited to join us.

So this year I decided that I wanted to bring Thanksgiving back to my house. I invited my Mom, my daughter and her family, and my son and his family. Asked my brother to join us and he drove up from Southern California with a friend for Libby, Lola his Chocolate Lab. Vegetarian requirements and Thanksgiving with friends kept my son’s family in the Bay Area. Plans were set for 10. And two dogs, and two cats. This is a good number for getting back to cooking for a group. My granddaughter spent the night before, but she didn’t want to help stuff the bird. She helped make the corn bread as baking was more her thing.

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Turkey stuffed and ready for the oven. Beanie Baby Turkey looks on.

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Fully cooked and smelling great!

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Brother Carving the Turkey

Many smiles at the dinner table. I did not spend too much time with my photography. I wanted to spend time with the family, and not play the role of documentary photographer. This is the first Thanksgiving without my Dad, and I was glad to have family around me.

Plenty of food, plenty of filled tummies, and plenty of excitement.

When my guests left I checked my email, and found the distressing news that my Uncle Mark passed away on Thanksgiving at 104 years of age. Not unexpected, but nevertheless so soon after my father’s passing. The last of the brothers are now gone.

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Uncle Mark in 2004 taken during a visit to Florida

Here’s to holidays with family!