We''l start July off by turning the cute-o-meter on extreme overload.

a bundle of baby bunnies

The girls enjoyed going to our friend's farm again this summer. Life teems from every corner there.

a birds' and wasp nest in a corner

Anna was reunited with her beloved buck bunny, Calico

Anna with Calico the rabbit

They loved the pretty new roosters

a rooster

And promised our friend to not chase them too much.

the other rooster

The farm dog may not look like much, but he keeps the foxes at bay most of the time.

Toby the farm dog

Meanwhile, out on the prairie...

cirrus clouds

Clouds are the brushstrokes of nature

another view of the clouds

After finding so many mushrooms at a the Park of Doom (the girls dislike it due to the overabundance of wood ticks there in the spring), I found myself wandering there more than our usual haunt when the kiddos declined my invitation to wander the wilderness with me.
A bonus of being alone: more encounters with the natives, like this muskrat:

a muskrat

After sizing each other up for a spell, it gracefully swam away.

the muskrat swimming

Some actual wild geese, unlike their tame city cousins who beg for human handouts:

some Canada Geese

The prairie's in full bloom now.

a yellow flower

Bonus bug photo bomb:

a bug on a daisy

The flowers on the viney Bindweed typically only last a day, so I consider it an honor to witness one open.

a bindweed flower

My silent wandering startled a fawn and myself simultaneously.

a fleeing fawn

I lowered myself behind some foliage and froze. Slowly the curious babe reappeared.

the fawn

It's tentative call for Mom quickly brought crashing noising right behind me:

several adult deer

A couple short vocal bursts and they fled the scene, leaving a reminder of the encounter in the mud.

deer hoof prints

That spontaneous happening negated my plan of returning to the vehicle before sunset.

the approaching darkenss

Oh well. Time to find a good viewing spot and make the best of it.

Shannon looking about

Halfway up this large tree will do.

Shannon, treed

Was it worth stumbling through the woods in the dark afterwards? Oh yeah.

the sunset

All too soon we had the dog days of July upon us. Anna made the best of it:

Anna in our kiddie pool

Rosa has a fetish for vacuuming.
I'm serious. It's a thing for her, really.
So when she volunteers to vacuum out the vehicle, I gleefully agree.

Rosa vacuuming the van

Humans are strange. Especially some of their product ideas. And the fact other humans willingly buy said ideas.
Walmart, the ultimate idea-land of But Why?

flowers potted in feet shaped pots

Nature's products are more enticing to me.

an egg

My new favorite friends to find: the muskrat family.

the muskrat

They make little snufflie whimpering sounds as they work. Tickle me charmed.

the muskrat

At times during my wandering I get the feeling I'm being watched by the natives as much as I'm ogling at them. This song sparrow seems to be sizing me up:

a song sparrow

Pelted by nuts on a windless day? We know who to blame:

a grey squirrel

Peepers that size were just meant for staring.

a rabbit

I spy a sideways old lady face on this fungus. Do you, too?

turkey tail fungus

X marks the source of the long shadows

The sun behind tree branches forming an X

Another neat beams of light over the horizon shot:

light filtering down over a forested stream

The shadow of a bearded man photo bombed my shadow selfie:

a shadow with the likeness of a bearded man above my shadow on a tree

Ah don't let it spook you. That creaking and groaning noise is just the resident cracked tree.

a cracked tree

Just one of my most beloved walking paths....

a path in the woods

Back to feeling like I'm being spied on:

a deer

I see faces.... everywhere.... faces....

clouds in the shape of a face

The next day brings a sun filled visit to the local arboretum. Here's Ella:




And Rosa:


"Make a train cake, Mom!"
"It looks like a race car..."
". . ."
"But, I mean, it looks delicious, though!"

the train cake

I guess I'll accept that.

another view of the cake

Besides we had something to celebrate: Rosa received her first talk slip.

Rosa with her talk slip

After all that cake we better head to the playground and burn off all that energy.

Ella at the playground

Ella is quite the ham. Yes, I'm Captain Obvious.

Ella climbing

Wanna piece of ham?

Ella up close

After depositing that ham bone back at home, I ventured to somewhere . . . calmer

the prairie

A couple rebellious brown-eyed susans are more my style

brown eye susan flowers among a sea of purple thistles

The fleeting Bindweed flower

a bindweed flower

Flowers: They're like little bundles of math, science, and art exploding into being.

close-up of a cone flower center

Something about going into a tunnel is so disorientating.

looking upside-down into a tunnel

Oh wait . . .
my bad
That was upside down.
Here we go:

the same photo right side up

Let's bring in the artsy nature shots, shall we? Cue the wildflowers!

a shot of flowers

It's tree time!


How about a fungi cameo?

a mushroom

Here's a European import, or as some like to refer to them as: an invasive species. May I present the humble creeping bellflower; coming soon to a garden near you.

creeping bellflower

This little number is named Vervain.


Gotta love nature's knack for symmetry

a yellow flower with buds on either side of it

This little gal is named Starry Campion. Bet she gets teased a lot.

a white flower called Starry Campion


a toad

Time to watch the moon rise:

a rising full moon

Only nature could make a cold hard rock look so cool.

a close-up of the moon

Remembers folks, put the phone down and notice the eye candy. The internet will be there tomorrow. Whether all this will be is up to each one of us.

the prairie

Each moment is so fleeting

at moon among the flowers

Some things are never missed until they're gone...

a field of flowers

Or maybe never missed at all?
So the neighbor's cats had kittens.
And they let them outdoors.
In town.
The kiddos and I tend to become somewhat...
um... distressed
having to regularly witness two-dimensional cat carcasses on fifth avenue.
So we may have brought one of those meowing babes into our abode one rainy afternoon...

Gold the kitten

and never let him go. He didn't mind at all. He has literally never looked back.
May we present our newest member of our clan: Gold, the teenage boy cat:

Gold on Nora's lap

Ah summer... the time of year where we get to visit the cobweb filled basement while sirens blare overhead.
Why does severe weather seem to always occur when I'm baking?
Oh well.
The tornado missed our town, the power stayed on this time; the cake baked as planned. Rosa was especially thrilled.

Rosa with the Sponge Bob cake

Oh wait! Rain makes more. . .
Time for a wander!

cauliflower mushroom

Made for a new batch of bugs as well. Great news for the locals.

a bird

Just. So. Cool.

an orange mushroom

Not sure what exactly happened in this one's growth, but the effect is pretty neat.

a split mushroom

Have you even witnessed a deer having a temper tantrum? Me either, until one day...
At first she just snorted at me. I smiled and shot away with my trusty Fuji.

a doe

Then she started stamping her hooves:

She stops; her big ears hearing what I cannot:

The deer stomping

A snorting and crashing from the woods behind me drops me to the ground. She waits for her assistance:

The deer again

Reassured I am no threat, she glances my direction one last time; then jogs after her parnter.

one last shot of the doe

Thus concludes our pictorial journey through June and July 2016. We had much planned for the six weeks or so left before school started back up In September; but that's another tale...

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