Wednesday, December 22, 2010

First-Day-of-Winter Nature Walk 2010

Our family goes for a nature walk on the first day of each new season. Below are pictures from this years' first-day-of-winter nature walk at Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood, WA.  It was very gray outside with no sun peaking through at all.  It started to sprinkle a couple times while we were on the walk, but the rain ended up staying away, thank goodness (because I hadn't brought an umbrella and can't take pictures in the rain without one, not because we mind getting wet ;)).

Also see First-Day-of-Winter Nature Walk 2009, First-Day-of-Summer Nature Walk 2010, and First-Day-of-Autumn Nature Walk 2010.

My daughter pointed out the moss heart!
To see more hearts visit ~* Guest Heart Thursday *~

garry oak forest

My 6-year old found the mushrooms
in the picture above this one at the base
of this tree! They are so small that I was
surprised that he found them. :)

double-crested cormorants


Waughop Lake

Female mallard above and American coot below

horse chesnut trees

banana slug

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Barns at Fort Steilacoom Park Part 5 -- More Snowy Pics

The snow is all gone now, and we've been having rain!

I have some more pretty snowy barn pictures to share with you, though!  These were taken last Tuesday, a week ago.

You can also see pictures of the above barns here and here.

my older son took this picture
You can see more pictures of the above double-barn here.

You can see more pictures of the above barn here.

~* To see more barns visit Old Barns.*~

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving! Meet our "Snowfriend"!

My children built this sweet snowfriend today.  They couldn't decide if it was a girl or a boy, and so they decided to call it a snowfriend.  As you can see, our snowfriend is full of love!  The open arms, the happy, friendly smile, and do you see it? . . .

 . . . There is even a little heart-shaped rock in our snowfriend's smile!
  I hope you all have been having a wonderful day today!! 
To see more hearts, visit Guest Heart Thursday.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

ABC Wednesday: S is for Snow. . .

stark shadows cast over steps in the snow

sweet snow angels

silly fun with snowballs!


a solitary leaf in the frozen snow

a leaf-strewn, snowy shoreline 

a seagull standing in the snow

the sun starting to set
school buildings seen in the distance

looking straight up at the sky

strolling slowly on the slippery, snowy path
my son holding two sticks

Monday, November 22, 2010

Barns at Fort Steilacoom Park Part 4

We had snow today and went for a walk at Fort Steilacoom Park. The first pictures are from November 12th, and the snowy pictures are from today.

(taken at twilight on November 12, 2010)

(taken during the morning of November 22, 2010)

The barn on the left is the above barn, and on the right
is the double barn from last week.

(you can click on this to see a bigger picture)

~* Old Barns *~

Friday, November 19, 2010

Mali, the Female Sumatran Tiger Cub at PDZA, had Surgery on Monday

(we think this is Mali, but it's hard for us to tell her and her brother apart)
picture taken on Sept. 1, 2010
On Monday, Mali, the five-month-old female Sumatran tiger cub at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, underwent surgery to remove bone cartilage that was apparently blocking the lower end of her stomach and keeping food from reaching her intestines.  She appeared to have eaten an extra large meal on Sunday, and her meal included a bone to gnaw on.  Bones are something that tigers usually eat.

There were complications after the surgery, and she went into cardiac arrest.  She was resuscitated, but they believe she experienced some brain damage due to lack of oxygen.

She was in critical condition for a couple days after the surgery, but is now showing major improvement, and they are cautiously hopeful that she will continue to get better every day.  She is walking, standing on her hind legs, vocalizing, and eating and drinking, but she lost her sight due to the trauma her brain experienced and she still can't see.  It sounds like there is a good chance she might regain her vision in the future.

If you'd like to keep up to date regarding how Mali is doing, you can visit the Point Defiance Zoo and Acquarium's press release page at

Update on Monday, November 22, 2010:  The News Tribune has an article about Mali today--Point Defiance Tiger Continues to Improve. The description of the article reads: "A 5-month-old tiger cub continued to gain strength and improve her coordination Sunday, six days after she nearly died from a post-surgery heart attack, a Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium spokeswoman said." What good news!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

ABC Wednesday: R is for Red. . .

 (you can click on the picture to see a larger version)

On our walk yesterday there were a lot of "r's"!  My youngest wore his radical, rockin' red rainboots and jumped in a rain puddle.  My younger two relaxed a moment and looked at the reflections in a rain puddle. We climbed up a route of large rotund rocks until we reached the top. We saw some rotten wood, some really pretty red mushrooms, the red wood of a madrona tree, and a red fire hydrant. My children ran near the red barns. And during the walk they took time to rest.  I wonder if there are any more "r's" in these pictures that I have missed! 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Effects of the Windstorm at Fort Steilacoom Park

Last night there was a windstorm in Western Washington. Our windchimes were chiming loudly and the lights were flickering, so I built a fire in the fireplace in our library in case the electricity were to go out. Shortly after I got it started the electricity did indeed go out. It went out at about 9 o'clock, and it was out all night and morning. It came on at about 12:30pm.

My children got their sleeping bags, and we all slept in the library. It was kind of fun! It's always a relief when the electricity comes back on, though, because while it's off you remember all the great things that electricity provides such as hot showers, clean dishes and clothes, warm food, cold food (in the refrigerator and freezer), and a light while going to the bathroom at night! Oh, and of course the computer.

In the morning we went for a walk at Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood, WA, to check out the damage there, and we found out that those who take care of such things had already been working hard clearing the pathways in the park. Here are pictures of some of the trees we saw that had fallen down or which had broken branches.

Black Locust tree with broken branch
Branch from the above Black Locust tree
Another view of the Black Locust tree
Years ago this tree fell down and many new trees began
growing from it. It surprised us to see that another tree
had fallen on it!
A type of poplar--I think Lombardy Poplar?
The trunk where it broke.
Another tree that fell nearby
It crashed into a bench when it fell.
Only half of this tree fell.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Barns at Fort Steilacoom Park Part 3

We've been enjoying looking at the barns at Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood, Washington. They were built in the early 1900s. There are various types of barns at the park, and they are all fascinating, but I think this one is our favorite. It's a double barn with two brick silos in the middle. These pictures were taken last Friday at twilight.

Here are links to past blog entries with pictures of two other barns at Fort Steilacoom park:
A Barn at Fort Steilacom Park
Another Barn at Fort Steilacoom Park

Next week I'll post pictures of still another one of the barns at Fort Steilacoom Park.

~* Old Barns *~