Tag Archives: animals

Charming Attraction

They flutter. They fly. They sip. They light for a second or few on you hat. Or shoulder.

Within the confines of the topical climate Butterfly House all of the above can happen within a minute or two.

It’s enchanting from the moment you step on the path between lush plants.

Some are excellent in the art of camouflage. Clinging to a tree trunk, the dull, brown side of their wings exposed, they appear as a leaf at first glance. A nice trick in the wild where hungry predators lurk.

Others remind a person of flying flowers. They skim through the air in flashes of blue, or orange, or yellow. Speed and agility are in their favor to live long enough to mate and find a proper place to lay eggs.

Does your city or community have a Butterfly House or Dome?

In St. Louis it is located in a suburban park and charges an admission fee.


One Large Attraction

Some say “Bigger is better.” Others dispute that with “The best things come in small packages.”

Today I’m going to highlight a St. Louis resident who is on the large side — by physical size and popularity. He achieved the popularity on the day he was born – 25 1/2 years ago. And while it was a large baby, it took him years to reach his current, adult stature.

His early birthday parties were celebrated in style. And popular with local TV stations as well as St. Louis children young and old.

He’s a father of four daughters now. And he appears to take it all in stride.

Meet Raja – one of several (and the largest) of the “favorite sons” at the St. Louis Zoo. Be sure to stop in and visit with him and the rest of the herd the next time your travels bring you here.

Admission is free. There is a charge to park.

Practice Makes Perfect

Have you ever taken music lessons?

Or received coaching for a sport?

What about learning to cook a favorite dish?

How to you become expert (or even moderately proficient) at any of the above?

Practice. Practice. Practice.  And then some more practice.

While natural talent and ability gives immeasurable assistance — the best in their field practice, practice, practice. It does not matter if they have a world-wide reputation for excellence. To keep that standard they practice.

No Translation Required

Some things are universal.

During my lifetime, the use of international symbols on signs has become more common in the United States. Think of the circle with a slash overlaying a sign to mean “NO”. Or the stylized figures on many public restroom doors.

This applies to words also. On my vacation, while admiring the interior of a Gothic cathedral, one of the daily masses took place. “Alleluia” is the same in both German and English.

But back to signs. While I may have been a little slow to understand some which I saw on vacation, this one I got right away.

I will not enter your yard to pet the dog.


Keep Off the Ice!

Our city had a stretch of cold weather this winter — longer and harder than recent years. It was tempting to walk on a pond. And dangerous.

Warm days have visited since. Ice no longer clings to the shore of the still water. So the temptation for humans is less. And other creatures — well, geese are designed to swim so they should be fine.

The photo today is of another creature. One which I seldom think of in relation to ice and ponds and lakes and such. Yes, I know they are there. And when I do stop to think — I know they go deep, to where the water is liquid and food available.

Can you find them in this photo?

Goldfish under ice.

He wants to be a Star

My final blog for 2017. It’s been one of those years where one month will zip past at light speed and another dawdle like a kid walking to the dentist.

It has been filled with words. Lots and lots of words. In case you wonder, an author does not write a book, or a chapter, or even a page only once. No, it is written. Then re-written. Then edited. It may even end up deleted. And brought back. Or not. But expect it to be edited even then. Even after you are brave enough to let another person read it, the polishing does not stop.

My writing time in 2017 included much of this procedure with a story I once thought was finished. It was not. It needed to be changed and improved. I have great hopes for 2018. The distant relative of this fellow wants to find his name on the page.

Browsing Reindeer

My knowledge of real reindeer is slim. The whitetail deer which populates much of the American Midwest and Northeast — that is more familiar.

And whitetail deer are browsers. They love to nibble on bushes and trees. Perhaps they can stay more alert for enemies than when grazing on grasses.

My decorative deer appears to enjoy boxwood. No problem. It’s after hunting season in this area and he’s safe. And still. This year I was allowed to add a festive ribbon to his chest.

Non-flying variety of deer.

Whooooo Designed This?

A wreath on the front door welcomes guests. And at this time of year more doors than usual wear them.

Some are simple — a swirl of pine boughs. Or perhaps holly.

Others get rather elaborate.

On my most recent visit to the Missouri Botanical Garden, they had a display – available via silent auction – of some beautiful door decor. They were too large for my door and the bids were too high for my wallet, but a person can enjoy for free.

These white owls wisely welcome you to the holiday season.

Thankful Tom

My friend Tom is thankful you did not invite him to your Thanksgiving feast!

Wishing all Americans a wonderful day today. Whether you are shopping, avoiding the crowds, or working — may the season of thanks continue.

Guard Duty

Farm animals. Working animals. Some of them take their jobs serious.

Say the phrase “working animal” and several things may come to mind.

Dogs – they guard the house, assist the handicapped, and sniff out the criminal and the explosive.

Horses – strength and training combine to have them pull all sorts of useful and entertaining vehicles. Buggies. Wagons. Farm implements. Parade floats. And many of them hold their head taking pride in their work.

Cats – urban residents may not want to admit it — but felines (when allowed to roam) cut down on the rodent population. Often they are aided in this task by large birds. Yum, yum, mouse supper.

And then we have today’s featured guest. Definitely guard duty. And a creature I don’t want to anger or do battle with.

GOOSE – with attitude.