Friday, 29 June 2018

Badger Bird...

I call this little sparrow the Badger Bird, since the markings on its head closely resemble the European badger. But it is actually the white-crowned sparrow and is often seen in the USA. I first saw this type of bird while we were in Oregon back in 2015, and I spotted it just outside our front door in Indiana this year. :)

Striking black and white stripes on the bird's head.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Surreal Skies...

There have been many beautiful, unreal skies over the past few months. Here are a few of my favourites. Most of these were taken just after a storm had rolled through; a thunderstorm often creates an excellent opportunity for appreciating God's creation!

 Pretty skies as seen from Odon.
 Wisps of clouds.
 Looking at the back of a severe thunderstorm moving through Daviess and Martin Counties.
 Another strong storm tracking through Daviess County.
 Beautiful clouds above our home.
Early morning skies.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Indigo Bunting...

Another seed-eating bird that has made an appearance over the spring months is the indigo bunting. It too enjoys dandelions and is common around garden bird feeders.

 Sitting in a pine tree nearby.
A pair of indigo buntings feeding on dandelions.

American Goldfinch...

The American goldfinch is a rather common visitor to bird feeders in this area of Indiana. I spotted this pair enjoying dandelions on a warm May day. :)

 Male American goldfinch.
The female and male feeding on the dandelions.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Spot the Bird!

I spotted a killdeer out in the field back in May. You can barely see it, because it's so well-hidden and camouflaged! Just look for the red eye! :)

 Keep an eye out for the red eye!
I'll make it a little easier. :)

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Lesser Yellowlegs...

The other day I was looking out of our upstairs window and noticed some commotion in the pond below. I grabbed my camera and snapped a few photos of a little killdeer, a type of plover very common here, taking a bath. It's at right in the photo here. And then I noticed a pair of lesser yellowlegs just to the left, also enjoying the cold water on a hot spring day. Lesser yellowlegs are small wading birds that live close to ponds and other bodies of water. I had actually seen the lesser yellowlegs before, foraging along the water's edge. It made for some great nature photography!

 The pretty killdeer at the water's edge.
The lesser yellowlegs taking a bath.
Very pretty shorebirds.
One of the lesser yellowlegs seen a week prior to the above photos.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Family fishing fun...

The weather finally warmed up towards the end of April, and it allowed us to enjoy some fun as a family fishing the local pond. We had a lovely Sunday afternoon and caught several bluegill, which we released back into the water. Riaan really enjoys spending time outside and loves seeing all types of nature up close. He had a blast!

 Looking at a little bluegill.
Candace helping Riaan with his fishing rod.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Granny Departs...

Mom headed back to Cape Town on Tuesday, 24th April. After Mom had said some tearful goodbyes to Candace and the still-sleeping Eliza, Riaan and I drove her up to Indianapolis International Airport. It was extremely difficult saying our goodbyes, and I had tears in my eyes and a huge lump in my throat. It was an awesome visit and we loved hosting my mom!

Riaan especially enjoyed having his Granny from Cape Town visiting him, too. I know that she's made quite an impression on him. He often talks about Granny (and Grandad) in Cape Town and how he misses her. We love you and miss you, Mom. Thanks so much for coming to visit us and come back anytime! If not, we hope to visit South Africa again in the next year or two, so we're looking forward to seeing everyone again then! :)

 Saying farewell to Eliza.
 View over the apron at Indianapolis International Airport.
 Granny gave Riaan her American change to put towards a toy or sweet.
Selfie with Mom/Granny before she headed through security and the boarding gates.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Final Walk to the Stop sign...

We took a final walk to the Stop sign at the end of our road on Monday night, 23rd April. It was great to do a little bit of exercise as a family, before Mom headed back to South Africa the next day. I try and walk Rusty along this gravel road a few times every week.

 Walking along the gravel road.
 Riaan running along with his chicken. :)
He really loves his Granny! :)

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Final Cherry Ghost visit with Mom...

We took Mom to the Cherry Ghost Coffee House for one final time on Monday, 23rd April. We had lovely turkey wraps for lunch and enjoyed coffee and hot chocolate, made by our friend Anna. It was a great way to spend our final afternoon together.

 City of Washington bench on Main Street near the Cherry Ghost.
 Our friend Anna holding Eliza and Riaan's chicken. :)
Enjoying quality coffee and hot chocolate together. :)

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Spring Mill State Park...

We took Mom to see one last state park for this trip on Saturday, 21st April. We took her to another favourite of ours, Spring Mill State Park. It was the Earth Day weekend and they had some interesting activities for children at the Lakeview Activity Centre. Riaan enjoyed creating a painting with a balloon, making a bird feeder and, as always, enjoyed browsing through the fun exhibits at the Nature Centre.

We then drove to the picnic area near the Pioneer Village, where we had a lovely picnic by the side of the little stream that winds its way through the valley. We then walked one of the trails that goes along the river. It makes its way all the way to Donaldson Cave. We saw interesting birds, flowers, insects, trees and fungi along this route. We then walked back to the car park, from where we set off for the Pioneer Village.

Mom enjoyed seeing all the historic buildings of the Pioneer Village, especially the massive grist (water) mill. The wheel was turning and they were grinding corn-meal, which was also interesting to see. We went in the mill and looked through the museum there, before exploring the other buildings of the Village. They had people dressed in period costume, demonstrating various skills of the Pioneer era. It was fascinating!

We then quickly visited the Spring Mill Inn before driving back home. It was a great, final Saturday with my Mom before her flight back to Cape Town on the 24th April. We are blessed to be close to so many wonderful Indiana State Parks! :)

 The entrance gate at Spring Mill State Park.
 Riaan and Granny balancing on a cement block outside the Nature Centre.
 Lakeview Activity Centre.
 Riaan painting with a balloon.
 Exploring the Nature Centre.
 Riaan's wingspan. :)
 Candace with sweet Eliza.
 Picnic time!
 Hiking along the pretty stream.
 Information sign at the Wilson Monument.
 The Wilson Monument was erected in 1866, honouring Alexander Wilson, the father of American ornithology.
 Donaldson Cave coming into view.
 Looking inside Donaldson Cave.
 Interesting fungi growing on a log.
 Another fungi.
 Pretty wild flowers.
 Six spotted tiger beetle. Really pretty colour!
 A tree branch cutting into the trunk of another tree.
 A closer view.
 The pretty river bank as we walked towards the Pioneer Village.
 Riaan and Granny read about the Northern Banded Watersnake.
 Riaan having a rest...
 And then racing Mommy and Eliza! :)
 Mom in front of the impressive gristmill.
 Riaan peers up at the massive water wheel.
 The miller grinding the corn-meal.
 Riaan helps Granny pound the corn.
 Exploring the museum upstairs.
 The back of the mill. It's a really neat building!
 Arches, complete with capstones, in the garden outside.
 Mom walking to the Granny White House, a Pioneer home.
Riaan found a cool hiding place! :)