Sunday, January 1, 2017

GLOBAL WILDLIFE CENTER PART 3

Heidy-Ho, Blogging Pals.  I believe this will be the final installment of the Global Wildlife Center adventure.  I saved the best (for me) for last.

While we had been informed the animals were VERY comfortable with people and would easily eat from our hands, I could not have imagined how truly comfortable was an accurate description.


The reason the Giraffe family statue is so appropriate at the Center is due to the actual Giraffe family residing there!  Yes.  There are two "baby" Giraffes along with multiple adults.  You can only tell when you see them all together and notice the difference in height.  There is one "baby" to the left of the tall, center Giraffe, and one off to the right.



So... as we approached and rolled to a stop, the Giraffes slowly came toward our vehicle.  They are absolutely gorgeous, gentle, giants.  Maybe that's why their name begins with a "G."  :)  They clearly knew the drill and slowly stuck those long necks into the openings around our Pinz... and helped themselves to the treats.  I didn't care.  I just could not believe I was this close to a Giraffe.




We let them eat right out of the bucket for a while.  I was terrified I would spook them if I made a move... but I finally couldn't stand it any longer.  Could I get closer?  Not really!  I was already having to lean back to catch the pictures you see.  Could I pet a Giraffe?


Yes!!!  This sweet creature didn't even blink when I reached out and began petting its head while it ate.  I honestly did not want this time to end.

A bit further along, we encountered the "babies."  They were just as friendly as the adults and approached us the same way.  The two of them apparently hang out together and remained close together as they "invaded" our vehicle.  We let them feed on their own for a bit... and then I tried feeding them from my hand.  No problem.  One softly "Hoovered" the treats from my open palm while the other remained head-in-bucket.  What wonderful animals.




I reiterate.  Go to this facility.  Take the Private Pinz Tour with your family or a few friends.  Buy the big bucket of treats.  Believe me... this is not an experience you are likely to have elsewhere in the State of Louisiana.  For those of you in other states, check for this type of center in your area.  You may be surprised, as was I, to discover this marvelous experience so nearby.

That ends our tour.  I hope you enjoyed it.  I know it's not the same as being there.  Treat yourself to this kind of experience when you can.


Until next post...

Saturday, December 31, 2016

GLOBAL WILDLIFE CENTER PART 2

Heidy-Ho, Blogging Buddies.  I told you I would be back with more photos from the Global Wildlife Center adventure.  Here are some more.

There are Camels and there are Dromedaries.  If you are curious about the differences, click here for a short lesson.  (One easy difference: A Camel has two humps.  A Dromedary has one hump.)




There were birds, also, although not nearly as many as there were four-footed critters.  A couple of Geese (below) didn't seem to mind sharing space and snacks with the long-legged Greater Rhea which shares some characteristics with the Ostrich and the Emu... but is neither.




As we drove, this Greater Rhea was determined to keep up and get some snacks!!  They run quite well and have a pretty long stride at higher speed.





Who doesn't love a Llama?  Look at these faces!  These were so sweet and gentle.  They enjoyed eating the treats right from our hands.  One even chased alongside the Pinz as we drove while Charlotte held out treats for it to snack on mid-stride!!  Hilarious!!





The only somewhat enclosed animals were the Kangaroos.  They had a large enclosure surrounding the pond near the main buildings.  There were a number of them.  Two had Joeys (babies!) and we were able to spot a pair of little legs dangling from one mother's pouch.  We weren't able to capture a photo, however, as the mother was turned away from us.




Okay.  Some of you (us) are of an age that allows us to be familiar with the Watusi dance (be sure to watch the video)!  Others may remember some National Geographic specials which included information on the Watusi Tribe in Africa with extremely tall men and extremely colorful clothing.  There are also Watusi Cattle and there were some beautiful examples of them at the Center.  They are known for their exceptionally long horns.




The mother below had her calf with her.  Beautiful animals.


I believe the next lovely bovine was a cross of some other types of cattle.  Sorry, I cannot recall.  But it was a really beautiful animal and I want you to see it.



And... speaking of bovine... who doesn't love a bison?!?

Well, Hello, Charlotte!!!  Got anything for me?


No luck with Charlotte.  I'll try the other rider!  Hello!!!!!!  Whatcha' got for me?  Huh?


Okay.  Okay.  I'm a soft touch.  Have a cuppa' snacks! (My new best friend.)  :)


Alright.  That's a lotta' pictures for you today.  I think there will only be one more round... but it's one I think might amaze you.  It should at least make you want to make the trip.


Until next post...

Friday, December 30, 2016

UNBELIEVABLE!! GLOBAL WILDLIFE CENTER

Heidy-Ho, Blogging Buddies!!  You just are not going to believe this post... and a few after it to get all of the pictures to you!

I had never heard of the Global Wildlife Center, much less known it was in southeast Louisiana... a mere 4 hour drive away from where I am in southwest Louisiana.  My friend, Charlotte B., with whom I have traveled on several "excellent adventures", made me aware of it and suggested it might be a good place for us to visit.  We were long overdue for a catch-up and it seemed like a great idea.  She is such a good amateur photographer and it was a perfect spot for photo ops!  Check out the web site but definitely check out the photos I have posted for you.  Most are hers with a few of my cellphone camera photos mixed in.


I will tell you that kids of ALL ages will enjoy this place.  We were fortunate our booking in early December happened to be on a wonderful, beautiful day... albeit a bit chilly (which will explain our attire!).  Sunshine.  No wind to speak of.  Perfect.  Having reviewed information on the web site, I had booked a Private Pinz Tour for us.  You can read more there about the two different types of tours.

Without further ado... please join me on my visit to the Global Wildlife Center in Folsom, Louisiana!!

The main buildings and a lovely statue of a giraffe family.  (That will make sense later.)





After loading up in our Pinz (and getting our huge bucket of animal feed piled into the thing!), we headed out to the "savanna"-like area comprised of about 700 acres (with an additional 200 acres in hay for wintertime feeding when necessary).  Ahead of us was one of the Safari Wagon Tours which holds multiple folks.  I assure you all of the animals know exactly what is coming when these roll onto the landscape!!  LOL!!  The whole nearby herd arrived en masse for some feed!  Yes, there are a couple of giraffes in the picture.  The numbers of exotic deer was huge!





There was a sign posted in our Pinz clearly stating that anyone feeding a Zebra would be removed from the tour!!  I asked our lovely guide why that would occur?  She advised that the Zebras were "love-biters" and they loved anyone feeding them... meaning potential "love-bites" from them.  Unfortunately, a Zebra "love-bite" can be rather large, painful, and unwanted!  Made sense.  Hated to have to not feed them, though, since everyone else was getting fed.  Sorry, guys!  :(





Some of the racks on the exotics were just amazing.  We happened to be there during rutting season... so there was a lot of clashing of racks as we drove through.




While not an exotic, this elk was a lovely specimen.  My friend, Charlotte B., enjoyed him until he caught her with his rack!!  He gave her a good jolt but she was an excellent sport about it.  Just don't think you are "safe" due to your being inside a vehicle.  :)



The next photo shows the same type of vehicle we were in (Pinz).  It gives you some scale to the animals we were enjoying.  Yes, you are seeing a Llama, Giraffes, and Zebras with the exotic deer.



Okay!!  Now you know what we are doing.  There are more photos for you... some more "up close and personal" than you could possibly imagine.  I know I wasn't quite prepared for it!!  Stay tuned!!

Until next post...

Sunday, November 20, 2016

"STUFF"

Heidy-Ho, my Blogging Buddies!

I apologize profusely for the length of time since my last post.  There have been some changes here that created other priorities.  I do have some photos for you to enjoy, however, and I have enough for more than one post... so I hope to get a bit "caught up" with posts.

With that said, please allow me to provide you with some shots I found interesting.

First of all, I saw something I had not seen before... nor did I know it was possible.  During my early morning walks, I found the usual beauty (photo #1 below) but also found something unusual to me.  Take a look at photos #2-#5 below and see if you notice something.  (I'll tell you what I saw after the photos.)







Do you see what I saw?  The sun has not yet risen and is still just below the horizon... but the clouds were positioned in such a way that the sun cast shadows from below them!!  Yes... those grey areas you see above the clouds are actually the shadows of the clouds!!  I had never seen this before and found it to be completely interesting.

My favorite holiday has nearly always been Halloween.  I remember my grandmother making homemade fudge, cookies, and caramel popcorn balls.  She would tie clear wrap around an appropriate "serving" of these items (2 pieces of fudge, 3 cookies, and a popcorn ball!) using orange and black ribbon to close them.  She would then place a number of them on a tray.  When her doorbell would ring, she arrived at the door with the tray in hand.  I'm pretty sure there were parents who drove their kids across town (which didn't take more than 5 minutes!) to get one of her special homemade Halloween "treats!"  I know my brother and I insisted my parents take us there VERY early to be sure we got ours!  I doubt we would have missed out on them... but we wanted to be sure.  As an adult, I would dress up to answer the door.  One year I dressed as a Gypsy fortune-teller.  I would "read the palm" of each child, taking cues from them about what they liked, etc.  It was lots of fun and they would stand wide-eyed while I told them about their future... which was always good.  :)

With all of that now in the open, I present you with a few photos I was able to take in Texas as Halloween approached this year.








Glad to see there are still those who get into the "spirit" of the thing!!  :)

Finally, I was driving down one of the many country roads here and came across a newly cut field.  The fun part was what was occupying the field!  Little opportunists, these.  I watched them for a few minutes as they mowed across like a synchronized swimming team!




I hope you have found at least one or two things of interest.  It seems like the best things show up when I am not looking for them!  Perhaps that is how it is should be always!  :)  So... don't look... but be aware and keep your eyes open for something for which you weren't looking.

I will try to post at least once more before Gobbler Day... but in case I miss that, I wish all of you a wonderful Turkey Day!!  Find something to be thankful for as I know there are many things we all sometimes take for granted.

Until next post...

Sunday, September 11, 2016

GOD BLESS SGT MAJ STRICKLAND - 9/11/2016

Greetings to my Blogging Pals. Those who have been with me a while know about my participation in Project 2996. I began my participation in 2009 and plan to continue this as long as I am able to do so. I ask each of you to take a moment to remember what happened on 9/11/2001. Even if you read my tributes previously, please read them again. It's important that we see this as an individual, personal event... not just something that happened in New York, D.C., and Pennsylvania over a decade ago. It affects us all and will continue to do so. I do not see the 12th Anniversary as any different from the 2nd, the 19th, or the 100th. The pain for the families is the same. But this is a tribute to their loved one!! Please read about this wonderful gentleman.
*** This was posted in 2009 as my tribute to Sgt. Maj. Larry Strickland. I repeat it here as I will continue doing so on each anniversary of 9/11 as long as I am able. There are a couple of notes and updates from 2010 in italic.

Please meet Sgt. Maj. Larry Strickland. He was 52 years old, born in Washington State, and had a Bachelor of Science degree. He had served our country in a lot of places including Germany, Washington State, Washington DC, Texas, and Virginia. He had many awards and decorations. Most devastating for me to learn was his plan to retire upon completion of 30 years of service... at the end of September 2001. After all of his service, he was close to spending more time on his hobbies (fishing, hiking, gourmet cooking, and needlepoint) and especially looking forward to spending more time with his family. SGM Strickland left behind a wife, Debra, who was the Garrison Command Sergeant Major of Fort Belvoir, VA. at the time, three adult children, and one grandson who will never know his grandfather as he was only a year old when SGM Strickland was taken. His parents also were left to deal with the untimely loss of their child.

NOTE: I posted a note to the family at Legacy.com and received two emails.

One was from SGM Strickland's son-in-law and read, in part:

"I came across your blog today while searching for SM Larry Strickland. I am lucky enough to be married to his daughter Julia and I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for caring enough to research this remarkable man. Everything you read about him and his character is true. He left behind an amazingly strong wife, a beautiful daughter, his two sons, and his grandson. His grandson was 4, not 1 as many newspaper articles claim, so he does remember his grandfather, and fondly."(I was SO happy to read that his grandson did remember his grandfather and wanted to share that with you all! MNC)


The other email was from SGM Strickland's daughter and read, in part:


"Mary, thank you very much for your kind words. I am Larry's daughter, and it is wonderful to know that though it's been 8 years, remembering him and this tragic event is still as important now as it was the day it happened. He was truly a wonderful man, and the best father anyone could ask for."


SGM Strickland headed out to work that day at the Pentagon as there were some meetings he deemed important enough to attend even though he could have skipped them. He had annual leave built up that needed to be used or lost. He chose to go to work. If you knew nothing more about him than that, you would know the character of the man. It was that character that had him in his office on the second floor when the wing he was in was struck by American Airlines Flight 77.

But this is a tribute to SGM Strickland's life. And I've got to tell you the things said about him and written about him are absolutely glowing!! What a wonderful thing... to have those left behind remember you so well and so lovingly. It's not just family. These were friends, co-workers, people who knew him on a "business" level where, many times, the feelings are not so great. I would suggest you take a few moments today to review three different web sites where there are tributes (and from where I gathered much of the information I am sharing with you). It really won't take that long and, thankfully, most of us did not actually know anyone who was lost that day. Perhaps it would be good to learn about at least one of them. I know it gave me a very new perspective.

Pentagon Memorial Fund - Names of the souls lost at the Pentagon are alphabetical by last name. Scroll down and click on SGM Strickland's name to read about his service career.

Columns - The University of Washington Alumni Magazine- Read a really great article here about SGM Strickland's personal life. Sounds like someone we would all like to have known.

The Washington Post - This project is a database of all of the souls lost that day and has a very nice tribute to SGM Strickland.

Legacy.com - This is where folks can leave notes for the family. Many folks were positively impacted by SGM Strickland. Some commented here about their appreciation of the man. I invite you to take just a moment to leave a note here to let the family know the loss of their loved one is something we all remember.

9-11 Heroes - This is another site where a note can be left. Again... take a moment to leave a note on at least one of the sites. You have no idea how much this can mean to family members.

Thank you, SGM Strickland, for your service, for your honor, and for your character. I'm glad I got to know you.

We should never forget.