Monday, June 30, 2014

Disney's Animal Kingdom

I called my last post, Mirror, Mirror on the Wall.  I was promoting my new Etsy shop. (See my sidebar)  And the magic mirror I have for sale there.  See my last post!  So I was inspired to follow up with a post about our day at Disney's Animal Kingdom last March.  You won't find Snow White.  And no wicked Queens.  But it is all Disney.  And they do a good job creating an environment where enclosed animals and birds seem like they live a downright wild life.  I know one thing.  This roller coaster through the mountain is wild and wonderful. 
You'll see a Yeti.  Yikes.  And he may or may not totally annihilate the tracks that your coaster is speeding down at break neck speeds.  P.S.  That's my Yeti.  Not Disney's.  It might be a good idea to say this mantra while screaming.  Maybe the Yeti won't kill you. 

They have a wonderful bird show.  Where they send birds flying over the audience.  And they have exotic birds wandering around bird enclosures.  Believe it or not I hardly took any photos while I was enjoying the park.  I only used my camera a couple times.  And took all of these photos then.

Look at that tail!

We took a fast and furious safari ride.  I can't believe I got so many photos while riding so fast!

Wait a minute.  Where did this come from?

I love this photo.  The king of the Jungle is sleeping on the job.  Perched high over his domain.  Just like in the Lion King.

The tree of life.  From a distance it looks like a real tree.  But look closely and it tells a story.

Mirror, Mirror on the wall
Who's the fairest of them all?

Not me after a long day at Disney.  

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall....

Mirror, mirror on the wall

I ticky tacked objects on you.

But will it be loved by all?

Late breaking news flash...

I started an Etsy shop.  Unfortunately Etsy won't let me forget that I actually opened the shop in 2008.  Geez, give a gal a break.  Can't I start fresh? Well, my first handmade oddity is my magic mirror.  No, it won't take the pounds off.  Or make your jowls shrink.  Oh, how I wish it would.  But it is original!  And made with mischievous love.

I'll probably add photo cards.  And maybe some art prints to my shop.  I mean there are only 90,000 photos.  And 10,000 handmade mirrors.  I'm sure mine will sell no problem. Why are you snickering?

Head to my side bar to visit my new (old) shop!  Or click here!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Robin Update!

There's a new addition to the hood.

Beaks up!

Feed Me!  AAARRGGGHH!!  MOTHER!!!   STELLA!!!!!!  They are such hideous little monsters.

Mission completed.  And a temporary beaky smile erupts.  Thanks Mom.


Only around 5 days later they look more like birds and less like miniature prehistoric beak monsters.  There was a thinning of the herd since there were 4 bright blue eggs in the nest originally. They'll probably be flying around free as a bird next time we walk by!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Summer Time

Well, this one was a no brainer.  Summer is the theme this week over at  Easy as pie.  Or my favorite Summer Breakfast.  I've already made this with bing cherries this Spring.  And I can't wait to have it with the black raspberries shown here.  I don't have to worry about the local chipmunks stealing a bite.  But my cat Hana would give it a go.  Last night she managed to grab a whole cranberry cornmeal muffin and drop it on the floor.  AAARRRGGGHH! 

And don't forget to enjoy this with Summer strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries.  Even peaches.  Oh my.  Summer is the best.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Rustic Red Cedar Trail

We had an enchanted walk on the Red Cedar Trail this Spring.  The Sun warmed our spirits as we bird watched.  There were a lot of gloomy days leading up to this wonderful one.  There still are!

The wild flowers were bright and beautiful along the trail.

Fresh and green.

We saw a pair of eagles on the other side of the river.

We caught a Baltimore Oriole pausing in a tree.  Their singing is the best part.  I just read that the males get there bright orange hue from eating super ripe bright fruit.

A robin was making her nest.  She was lining it with mud as we walked by.

A bright blue sky and a deep red sumak.

Three deer walked in the trees along the other side of the Red Cedar river.

We spotted another lone eagle. What a come back they've made!

An old hole in the wall.

The Sun danced on the river behind a row of dandelions.  

My sparkly new header photo.  So pretty!

A peek at the Devil's Punch Bowl. It really was a devilishly lovely morning.

For more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Friday, June 13, 2014

Barns and Bandits

I think my favorite thing about this old illustration is the cow peeking out of the corner.  He feels so left out of the loft scene.  But he would not be denied his moment to shine. Moo!

I'm posting this today for the theme mask.  It has a masked bandit listening and lounging on a hay bail.  It is actually surprising that I have never done a raccoon centered piece.  Since they are childhood favorites.  We rescued quite a few on my real life farm. 

Just look and laugh at these old time images.  That sofa.  The horror!  I love the top one with me and my cousin Ann.  The family cat is squeezing in between us.  Coonie of course was feeling around overhead.  Their favorite past time.  Feeling around and looking for buried treasure.  Like the gumdrops we would put in the Barbie doll pool.  Gum drops are universally known as raccoon food after all. And look how smug I look on the bottom photo.  It looks like I'm thinking.  "Yeh, I'm cool.  I have a pet raccoon."  The good old days.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Close Your Mouth

When ever I see people chewing gum with their mouth open I want to say, "Close your mouth or you'll attract flies"  Oh, how I wish one would fly in.  That would certainly be a new gum flavor.  Yuck!

Well, sometimes an open mouth is a good thing.  Like in this lucky capture.  Most birds would love to just open their beek and have nature do the rest.  But this hummer would probably prefer something sweet. 

I just love these photos taken in Fortuna, Costa Rica. That's why I'm re-posting my sedate hummer for the 100 post celebration over at Wild Bird Wednesday  Stewart M. is a major bird watcher in Australia.  And he's posting some of his old favorites this week.  It was fun to hit my WBW labels and see all the bird posts I've shared so far.  It was hard to pick a favorite.  We've traveled to some amazing places to bird watch.  But then again I've captured some beautiful Minnesota birds as well.

Hotel el Silencio del Campo

This is where the hummer shots were taken.  At the base of Arenal Volcano.  It is no surprise to take a magical photo in paradise.  I'd love to stroll this side walk again!  

Friday, June 6, 2014

It's National Doughnut Day!

 My Mom's tried, tattered and true recipe. I remember coming home from school to the smell of doughnuts frying. It was always a surprise.  And was a good day after all!  

I'm re-posting my Mom's doughnut recipe for National Doughnut Day.  Yum!

 I've had to laugh at some of the comments from my recipe posts.  Everyone wonders how I stay so thin.  Well, maybe I'm not thin!  How do you know?  To some of you I'm just a virtual artist.  But I say everything in moderation.  Except exercise.  I'm not going to lie.   That you have to do mega-moderately.  Bummer.  But it really helps to get through 1/2 hour on the stairmaster if I can imagine how delicious a cosmopolitan will taste with dinner.  Or if I'm doing a morning walk around one of our chain of lakes.  Hmmm.  What carrot can I dangle at the end of a stick in front of me?  A delicious chocolate covered doughnut perhaps?   Now it's time to make the old fashioned doughnuts.... 
Pre- mix the dry ingredients:

4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp salt 
1 tsp soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Now in another bowl mix:

2 beaten eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp melted butter

Then add the wet ingredients to the dry.  Mix just until the consistency of this photo.  Chill for 1 hour.

 Roll out the dough on a floured surface (about 1/2 inch thick) and dust with more flour on top of dough.  

Besides a rolling pin you'll need a doughnut cutter and a hole puncher.  I roll my dough thin because I like crisper doughnuts.
Don't worry about mis-shapen doughnuts.  They will all taste the same in the end. Re-roll all remaining dough pieces and cut more doughnuts. 
I use my tried and true cast iron skillet. (but a deeper pan might be safer) I fill it 1/2 way full with peanut oil and use a good quality thermometer.  Bring it up to 375 degrees.  And be careful.  I always wait till after lunch to fry my doughnuts. That is when the cats are napping!  Don't over fill the skillet with dough or your oil will reduce in temperature.  
Fry them all and put them on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels. I put the holes in cinnamon sugar.
 Here I frosted them with a chocolate ganache.  Heat 1/3 cup 1/2 and 1/2 just until the edge of the milk starts to simmer.  No longer. Then take it off the heat and stir in 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips. I'm not apologizing for the doughnut's crunchy and mis-shapen appearance.  Those are my favorite ones! These don't taste greasy.  Just earthy, crunchy and fabulous. And they freeze beautifully.  I put them in my freezer on the cookie sheet until firm.  Then I take them out and put them in a zip loc bag.    
 Here's my portion.  It is an indulgence.  But life is too short not to enjoy yourself.  You could deny yourself of the good things in life and then get hit by a bus the next day. Yikes.  My husband takes the bus.  But everything in moderation.  And my age and weight will continue to remain a mystery! Please pass on this fabulous recipe.  Or make it with your Mom today.

Happy Doughnut day!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Into the Woods

Spring was in a holding pattern a few weeks ago.  There was unwelcome cold, rain, tornadoes, and floods.  Now the landscape is lush and green.  But we are still having cold, rain, tornadoes and floods. Yikes.  So when the sun finally came out earlier this month it seemed like a joyous event. I headed to Wood Lake Nature Center for some well...nature.

The buds were unfolding their wings.

There was a little bit of color sprouting around.  But not much!

A hawk was waiting for a meal to drop by.  I love how the new growth looks like a watercolor wash in the background.

All the other birds were darting around for their meals.  This photo has a literal water background.  But it also looks like a watercolor wash.  

The muskrats were swimming around.

I spotted a nest in the vines.

The buds were accumulating overhead.  Now spring is turning into summer.  But there is such beauty in the contrast of the beginning.

For more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday