golden pheasant

On a recent trip to Georgia to see Nate & Shea, Julius and Dominic we visited an adventure park where I spotted this female golden pheasant, which is native to the forests and mountains of western China.

3.19.17 ~ female golden pheasant ~ Valdosta, Georgia

As I was photographing the rather plain female, I happened to look down and saw a colorful male briskly walking straight toward me. What a face!

3.19.17 ~ male golden pheasant ~ Valdosta, Georgia

I darted out of his way and captured a side view as he quickly made his way over to his mate.

3.19.17 ~ male golden pheasant ~ Valdosta, Georgia

two nephews

February 2015 ~ Dominic, Nate and Julius ~ Kingsland, Georgia
Dominic (left) and Julius (right), with their adored Uncle Nate (center) ~ photo by Shannon Rodgers

If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder … he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.
~ Rachel Carson
(The Sense of Wonder)

dinosaurs in the woods

6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut
Dominic and Julius at The Dinosaur Place ~ 6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut
6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut
Dominic ~ The Dinosaur Place ~ 6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut

While Nate & Shea were in Connecticut for the wedding, we also spent a fun day at an outdoor Dinosaur Place with them and their nephews.  It was very hot so we were glad to be in the woods most of the time, and enjoyed watching the kids play on the splash pad after our long dinosaur walk.

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The Dinosaur Place ~ 6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut

I don’t know the names of these dinosaurs, but Dominic knows ALL of them and he’s only 4 years old!  It was fun seeing this lost world through the eyes and imaginations of the little ones.

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The Dinosaur Place ~ 6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut
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Julius and Dominic ~ The Dinosaur Place ~ 6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut
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Julius ~ The Dinosaur Place ~ 6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut
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The Dinosaur Place ~ 6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut
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The Dinosaur Place ~ 6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut
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The Dinosaur Place ~ 6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut
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The Dinosaur Place ~ 6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut
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The Dinosaur Place ~ 6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut
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Dominic ~ The Dinosaur Place ~ 6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut
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The Dinosaur Place ~ 6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut
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Julius ~ The Dinosaur Place ~ 6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut
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Dominic enjoying the amazing playground ~ The Dinosaur Place ~ 6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut
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Dominic ~ The Dinosaur Place ~ 6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut

fourth day

12.28.12 ~ Kingsland, Georgia
12.28.12 ~ Kingsland, Georgia

…we heard it was snowing in Connecticut, but alas, we were in Georgia…

12.28.12 ~ Kingsland, Georgia
12.28.12 ~ Kingsland, Georgia

Our car ride from Virginia to Georgia was long and grueling, but we finally made it to our destination very late Thursday night. It was so wonderful to see Nate & Shea again, and the rest of their multi-generational family: Shea’s mom, Angie, who so generously gave us her room for a few days, and Shea’s sister Sarah and her two little boys, Julius and Dominic. It is a full house, but a big house, and we thoroughly enjoyed the hospitality we were shown. Angie is a fabulous cook and kindly catered to our food quirks!

12.28.12 ~ Kingsland, Georgia
Dominic and Nate ~ 12.28.12 ~ Kingsland, Georgia

We brought the little guys some Lego bricks sets as a gift. Dominic adores his Uncle – and the feeling is mutual – so we got a kick out of watching Nate help him build his little Lego helicopter.

12.28.12 ~ Kingsland, Georgia
Dominic ~ 12.28.12 ~ Kingsland, Georgia

Dominic loves bugs and animals and I enjoyed reading his dinosaur book to him. Thankfully it had a pronunciation guide. Little ones have so much energy!!!

On the fifth day of Christmas Nate, Shea, Tim and I drove into Florida and ate lunch at Bahama Breeze, a Caribbean seafood restaurant in Jacksonville – the food was great and the atmosphere was tropical. Then the four of us went to see Life of Pi in 3D – it was the 3rd time for me and the 2nd time for Tim, but not in 3D before. The 3D experience was better than I thought it would be!

After we returned to the house we were treated to a spectacular sunset, Georgia style, which kind of made up for missing our snowstorm…

12.28.12 ~ Kingsland, Georgia
12.28.12 ~ Kingsland, Georgia

On the sixth day of Christmas the guys watched football while Shea read her new Nook, a Christmas gift, and I read my old Kindle. Later Tim & I sat up late (late by my standards anyway) into the night with Nate, talking about the movie, interplanetary travel, quantum physics, gun control, and assorted other existential and scientific topics. I am always amazed by these conversations because Nate seems to have gotten his logical side from Tim and his sense of wonder from me in perfectly balanced proportion.

On the seventh day of Christmas we started the long journey home, from southern Georgia to northern Virginia. Lady Zoë was looking for me and let me pet her again, but still was not ready to sit on my lap.

On the eighth day of Christmas we drove from Virginia to Connecticut, resisting the urge to stop by Dima & Larisa’s, but thrilled to find snow still on the ground in Connecticut! Winter is finally here and I hope it plans to stick around for a little while this year. And our Christmas tree was still standing and looking as pretty as when we left – we had been afraid that a week without watering would be the end of her. All in all, it was a wonderful trip!

evening under the nut trees

10.1.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.1.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut

O chestnut tree, great-rooted blossomer,
Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole?
O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
How can we know the dancer from the dance?
~ William Butler Yeats
(Our Secret Discipline: Yeats & Lyric Form)

Yesterday I finished writing and scheduling the next three blog posts, and then went off happily to a cookout at Nate & Shea’s. We’re trying to squeeze in as many visits as possible before they move away… My plan was to “coast” for a few days, by responding to comments here and catching up on my reading and commenting on other friends’ blogs…

The pictures are of the branches of  a pair of nut trees in the front yard of Nate & Shea’s house. Most of the leaves, and zillions of the nuts, had come off during Tropical Storm Irene. Nate was using a snow shovel to clean the nuts off the lawn after the storm. The trees looked so sculptural in the cloudy light.

10.1.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.1.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut

The sun came out after a while and Tim & I started playing badminton with four little guys, ages ranging from 2 to 7, and we were having a blast teaching them how to serve and we were all darting around trying to hit the shuttlecocks. Well, apparently I dove too far or tripped on one of those nuts or the edge of the sidewalk, and next thing I knew I was down on the ground, my body on the cement and my face down in the grass and soil. It’s a good thing we’ve had so much rain lately and the ground is really squishy. Tim said there was an imprint of my face left in the ground. I felt disoriented, as if I had been rudely awakened from sleep.

My right hand got the worst of it! It’s a sign of our times that my first thought was not how hard it might be to write, but how hard it might be to use my mouse! My mouse-hand! Shea gingerly bandaged the wounds and gave me an ice pack and I was able to enjoy the rest of the evening under the trees, gathered around the fire and the music – I love Nate’s Pandora Radio station – we seem to have the same taste in music. Ate dinner with my left hand. My right shoulder and arm are feeling very sore this morning, and my hand is very swollen! But nothing seems to be broken or in need of stitches and it looks like typing – I type with two index fingers anyway – and mouse clicking will not be too much of a problem, since I can leave the bandaged pinkie hanging off to the side…

10.1.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.1.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut

waves still crashing

The authorities couldn’t keep the folks who love their beach away for too long. A couple of hours after Tim & I attempted to go and were stopped, Nate & Shea (son and daughter-in-law) went for a look and they were finally letting people in! All the pictures in this post were taken by Shea on Sunday, the 28th, and are being used with her permission.

Beach Pond Road, leading to Eastern Point Beach, was still flooded.

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

Another tree downed – so sad… Look at all the seaweed left on the street.

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

One of Shea’s nephews on the beach…

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

And her other nephew…

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

Part of the wall between the beach and the parking lot was damaged…

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

A park bench moved by the waves into the parking lot. The pay-loader was cleaning up the sand from the beach which had been swept up by the sea and was covering the parking lot.

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

Local lads enjoying the force of the wind…

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

Three more benches landed here…

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

The little house on the little rock island made it through –  I suspect the storm surge was probably up to the first floor.

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

Waves still crashing on the parking lot. At its peak the storm surge covered the parking lot with white caps – I saw a picture of it on Facebook but haven’t got permission to use it.

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

Damage on the Thames River end of the parking lot.

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

The pile of beach sand the pay-loader scooped up. I wonder if they will move it back down to the beach at some point.

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

Photos by Shannon Rodgers

Some people have expressed disappointment that this storm wasn’t as exciting as it was predicted to be. I just have to put my 2¢ in:

Making sensible preparations for a hurricane is like putting on your seat-belt. There’s a reason why people are always saying to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. When we drive or ride in our cars and arrive safely at our destinations do we complain that we didn’t have the possible accident we are ready for? Or that we are disappointed because the ride wasn’t exciting enough? Sure, some newscasters get carried away with their superlatives, but many try to emphasize the basic unpredictability of hurricanes and underscore the importance of being safe and not sorry. So far 38 people were killed in this storm, 2 of them in Connecticut. And 3.3 million people are still without power, and many have lost their homes. No doubt they feel they had more than enough unwanted excitement.

Thank you, Shea, for the great pictures! I think this marks the end of my Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene coverage…