Come, Ride With Us

Motor Man and I are taking an early morning trip to the beaches of Corolla, N.C., and we would like to invite you to join us. Hop in the back seat, and buckle up: we never know what the condition of the sand will be. It may be a rough ride at times.

Since we “slept in” a little this morning, we won’t be there right at sunrise, but we can promise that the beach will be beautiful anyway.

stumps sand and sun 7-24-2016 7-01-17 AM

Look!  This is what we like to see in the distance: horses down by the ocean. At this point we say: “At least it won’t be a zero (horse count) day”.

horses ahead 7-24-2016 7-03-24 AM

Although we are happy to see the horses anywhere, the ocean usually provides the best backdrop.

horses at sunrise 7-24-2016 7-04-39 AM

Since we don’t see any other horses further up the beach, let’s drive over the dune and see if we can find some on the “sand roads”.

Aha – seems we aren’t the only ones to have slept in this morning.  (As always, although it looks as though we’re close to the horses, there’s an ordinance requiring humans to keep a distance of at least 50 feet.  So our “zoom” lens gets a workout at the beach, then I often crop the photos once uploaded to the computer to bring the images in even closer.)

morning nap1 7-24-2016 7-52-33 AM

A cattle egret is hitching an early morning ride (and probably enjoying a nice breakfast of insects off the horse’s back).

horse and cattle egret 7-24-2016 7-57-37 AM

It’s always a thrill to drive over a dune and spot a gorgeous stallion standing on another dune. Zoom lens in action again. Now you know why the camera is in my lap the entire time we’re on the beach. You never know when you’ll have a photo op.

horse on dune 7-24-2016 8-26-23 AM

And lucky you: we don’t often see the resident mule, Raymond. Seems we caught him munching on a sea oat stalk.  And did you spot the dragonfly that photobombed Raymond’s picture?

raymond and dragonfly7-24-2016 7-20-39 AM 7-24-2016 7-20-39 AM

Wow, those couple of hours sure flew by. Let’s cross back over the dune and drive along the ocean as we leave the 4-wheel drive beach.

dune and ocean 7-24-2016 9-47-31 AM

It was a nice horse-viewing morning: we saw a total of 29. That’s about average; we’ve been a few times and not seen any, and the most we’ve ever seen was around 75.

You’re welcome to join us anytime – we love having company on our trips to see the horses.

~These Days Of Mine~

Mutual Of Omaha’s?

Motor Man has said many times that it’s a wild kingdom around our yard. And my pictures today prove that he’s correct.

Actually, he snapped this picture Sunday of our little resident hummie, having a snack.

hummie at feeder 7-24-2016 8-12-48 PM

Later in the day, I spotted this creature out by the water.  I’m guessing it’s a juvenile waterfowl of some sort, perhaps a heron? Some of my readers may be able to identify it for me.

unknown waterfowl 7-24-2016 5-52-22 PM

Monday, mid-afternoon (when our heat index was around 110), I noticed a deer, helping herself to the bird bath.

having a drink 7-25-2016 12-49-55 PM

And, then, using it for a scratching post. (By the way, although the squirrel looks real enough, that’s part of the bird bath. However, we DO have our share of squirrels here in the wild kingdom.)

scratching 7-25-2016 12-49-49 PM

And, then, along comes baby to have a drink from the “kid’s water fountain”.

mom and fawn 7-25-2016 12-50-18 PM

Yesterday, after having the above photos loaded for today’s blog post, I happened to walk in the kitchen to find this:

2 big birds2 7-26-2016 4-09-47 PM

The mystery bird from photo # 2 was perched on our deck railing, and he’d brought a friend (see lower railing).  What’s concerning to me is that I have a hummingbird feeder on the shepherd’s hook.  Could they have been possibly stalking my hummies?  We just can’t have that.

As I moved in for a closer picture, I got this shot as mystery bird took flight.

bird in flight 7-26-2016 4-12-13 PM

And that concludes this week’s report from our wild kingdom. Who knows what may show up around here next?

~These Days Of Mine~

Every Picture…

They say that every picture tells a story, so goodness knows, I have lots of stories stored on my computer. Today, I’m sharing a few that don’t really warrant blog posts of their own.

Motor Man and I were up and at our shop very early a couple of weeks ago. The sun was rising across the street, but how to get a photo with all the buildings, electric lines, etc?   Somehow I managed. (The lamp post is located at the bank across the street from our shop.)

sunrise and lamp post7-12-2016 6-29-43 AM 7-12-2016 6-29-43 AM

I’m not sure what had caught Sundae’s attention outside the living room window one evening last month.  I took this picture just because she was standing on the back of the chair, peering out the window. When I uploaded the photo, I immediately noticed the reflection of her eyes.

sundaes eyes 6-24-2016 9-14-28 PM

A photo from the morning of our hot air balloon ride, obviously, before Motor Man and I climbed in the basket.  We launched from nearby Windsor Castle Park where several old barns are located.  I stepped between a couple of them to get this picture.

balloon and barns 6-19-2016 6-37-01 AM

 Yes, I’m still “at war” with the deer, trying to keep them from munching away on all my plants.  But, it’s a love/hate relationship.  How can you not love this little cutie? (At least when you aren’t actually catching him in the act of eating your plants.)

fawn leaping 6-26-2016 6-26-37 AM

And last but not least, a dramatic sunset from one evening last week.  This story could be titled: “hot and dry with a tease of a storm”.

sunset 7-15-2016 8-13-40 PM

Remember to capture those little “stories” whenever you have the opportunity!

~These Days Of Mine~

A “Bird’s” Eye View

Long ago, I came to the conclusion that my husband should have been born with wings. Although he’s uncomfortable on balconies and the like, he would easily hang out of the window of an airplane if that were possible. He loves air travel.

So, last summer, we went parasailing.

And in the past few weeks, we’ve been up in a hot air balloon.  Twice.

Yesterday, we took a helicopter tour of the Outer Banks, including the Corolla area where “my” wild horses are.  We couldn’t have chosen a more beautiful day for our trip. Our adventure began at the tiny, but busy, airport in Manteo. Coastal Helicopters is the name of the business that operates the flights. We would definitely recommend them if you’re considering doing this.  They have several tours from which to choose.

helo 7-21-2016 11-11-41 AM

At the beginning of our flight, we flew over Jockey’s Ridge, a landmark of the area and the tallest sand dune on the East Coast.

jockeys ridge 7-21-2016 11-20-02 AM

We flew over several shipwrecks.  And, yes, the ocean was really that color.

shipwrecks1 7-21-2016 11-24-36 AM 7-21-2016 11-24-36 AM

And Currituck Lighthouse, located in the village of Corolla.

currituck lighthouse 7-21-2016 11-40-30 AM

I found this to be interesting:  just because we’re so familiar with it, I took this picture of the access to the 4-wheel-drive area of the beach.  After I uploaded it to my computer, I realized that the red wrecker is on its way to retrieve the van, which is obviously stuck in the sand.  There are numerous signs warning folks that the area is limited to 4-wheel drive vehicles only.  (I’m guessing that tow truck driver makes a pretty nice income from folks who don’t see/ignore all those signs.)

4wd entrance 7-21-2016 11-41-19 AM 7-21-2016 11-41-19 AM

“What? Our van isn’t 4-wheel drive?!”

And we saw horses…

pasture best 7-21-2016 11-48-58 AM

Each year, the Corolla Wild Horse Fund,  the organization that manages the herd, does an aerial count by helicopter of the horses.  AND, I learned yesterday that our pilot is the one who flies the director on those missions.  It was easy to see that he had a good eye for spotting the horses.  We even saw one of this year’s little ones with its parents.

horses and baby 7-21-2016 11-43-08 AM

Our friend, Bev, went with us on the tour.  It was her first time ever in a helicopter, and she loved it.   Larry, our pilot, posed with us for a photo when we returned to the airport.

4 of us1 7-21-2016 12-36-05 PM

I can’t help but wonder what adventure my Motor Man is cooking up next….

~These Days Of Mine~

Not The Woman’s Club Garden Tour

Each summer, I publish a post, sharing photos of the flowers in our yard that the deer have allowed me to enjoy. Most of these plants are ones that are somewhat deer resistant. But others have survived due to the nearly constant application of Liquid Stench Fence, sometimes at wee hours of the morning after a night-time rain.

Early in the spring, I planted this old wash tub with petunias, marigolds and a purple Veronica. And added the little wooden birdhouse/welcome stake.

wash tub beginning 6-14-2016 1-20-54 PM

It seems to approve of the location I chose.

after pic washtub 7-19-2016 5-53-17 PM

 Several years ago, I discovered this beautiful little vine called Mezoo (Livingstone Daisy). The deer completely ignore it (YAY!),  it’s easy to grow and has a tiny red bloom at the tip. I planted a variegated geranium with it. This picture was taken about a month ago.

geraniums and mezoo 6-14-2016 1-25-11 PM

And although the lighting is different and it’s been moved to a new location, you can see how much that sweet little vine has grown. I consider it a pretty version of the Addams Family Cousin Itt.

geranium and mezoo2 7-19-2016 5-55-04 PM

We’ve had this garden bench for several years. We bought it new, but I love how it’s aged.  Pink petunias seem happy growing in the watering can, and I couldn’t resist the pillow at Walmart for $5.

bench and petunias 7-19-2016 5-52-26 PM

An idea borrowed from Pinterest: white petunias in a little old galvanized bucket.

old bucket white petunias 7-19-2016 5-52-30 PM

Succulents planted in a colander on an old wooden chair, another Pinterest idea.

succulents 7-19-2016 5-52-49 PM

And, finally, this is my first year planting caladiums. This picture was taken about a month ago.

caladiums before 6-14-2016 1-24-56 PM

And this was yesterday.

caladiums after 7-19-2016 5-55-38 PM

So, some things have survived the deer.  I’ve ordered a new deer repellent that is supposedly water resistant, so it only needs to be applied every few weeks. As soon as it’s delivered, I’m going to test it on either sunflowers, begonias, garden phlox….. all lessons learned in the past. If it works, that will be worth of a blog post of its own.

~These Days Of Mine~

…And A Little Flower

You may recall that I’ve mentioned before my mother’s love of butterflies. In the 20+ years since her death, I’ve rarely seen one that I haven’t thought of her.

Last week, I glanced out of our dining room window late one afternoon and noticed a Swallowtail amongst my flowers. Within seconds, my camera and I were headed outside.

butterfly 7-14-2016 6-43-10 PM

I was honored that our local paper thought this photo worthy of publication yesterday.

I don’t recall the name of the perennial, but I’ll try to remember/research that before this post publishes. (Update: no luck.  Perhaps my readers can help identify?)

butterfly2 7-14-2016 6-43-34 PM

The butterfly was flitting all around this old metal stake, and I hoped it would land nearer, but it didn’t oblige.

butterfly and stake 7-14-2016 6-42-15 PM

But it definitely put on a show for me.

butterfly3 7-14-2016 6-40-25 PM

And I could almost feel Mom’s smile.

butterfly5 7-14-2016 6-41-01 PM

Just living is not enough,” said the butterfly, “one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower.
Hans Christian Andersen

~These Days Of  Mine~

“Adventure – Us”

Yes, I know that’s SUCH a corny title. But, we were rather adventurous last week when my niece, Donna, and her son, Connor visited. Today, I’m going to share some photos from our excursions.  Fasten your seat belts: it’s a fast-paced post.

As you may have expected, we made a day trip to the Outer Banks, where we saw 23 horses. As we came over one of the dunes, “Eagle-eye” Connor was the first to spot this little one and his mom.  This is baby Liberty, first discovered on Memorial Day weekend. The name was suggested by Corolla Wild Horse Fund Facebook page followers and became official.  He’s a brownish/gray color now, but I’m told he’ll grow to be a beautiful black stallion like his dad.

(zoom lens and photo was cropped after uploading)

(zoom lens and photo was cropped after uploading)

A few weeks ago, when Donna learned that Motor Man and I had gone on a hot air balloon ride, she and Connor decided they’d like to do that during their visit with us. So… off on another early morning adventure.

Connor and Motor Man helped the crew prepare the balloon for our launch.

fire jr connor 7-7-2016 6-55-10 AM

We flew over a lake…

lake and trees 7-7-2016 7-20-14 AM

…and saw our reflection.

balloon reflection in lake 7-7-2016 7-20-49 AM

And posed for a picture once we landed.

4 of us after ride 7-7-2016 7-42-50 AM

On their last full day with us, we traveled to Virginia’s Eastern Shore to the village of Chincoteague.  We took a boat tour, where we saw more horses, waterfowl and dolphin. Cap’n Fred even scooped up a horseshoe crab to show us – up close and personal.  He told us it was harmless and offered us the opportunity to touch it. Um, yeah.  Donna was the only one brave enough to take him up on that offer.

horseshoe crab 7-10-2016 12-13-31 PM

After a wonderful tour, it was time for yet another photo. Cap’n Fred was kind enough to join us.

4 of us2 7-10-2016 2-09-55 PM

It was nice to stay busy doing fun things, but, as you can imagine, that made the time go by so quickly.  Before we knew it,  it was time for Donna and Connor to head home.  Guess we’ll get to work on ideas for adventures for their next visit.

~These Days Of Mine~