The State of Nebraska

For me, driving across country didn't feel really strange until we reached Nebraska.  I'm not saying anything negative about the state of Nebraska; in fact it was beautiful.  But for two girls from New England, it was in Nebraska that things suddenly seemed very very foreign.  For one thing, they aren't joking about the big sky country.  It's hard to capture in photos taken through a car window on an iPhone, but the sky really is enormous!

And from Route 80, at least, it appears that nothing but corn is grown in Nebraska.  I could elaborate on what effect all that corn has on the environment, but I wont.  Suffice it to say that if Nebraska is part of the breadbasket of this country, then all we should expect is corn bread!

Actually, there are quite a few cows in Nebraska, as well.  Meghan and I decided these were Black Angus cattle because they were black and we started to see them around Omaha.

The wind really goes whipping across those plains, too!  It took us all day to drive across Nebraska, and the wind never stopped blowing the car off the road! It also never ceased to increase in elevation across the state.  We began at about 1200 feet above sea level, and ended at about 5000 feel elevation.  I drove for about seven hours that day, and then I fell apart with the strain of trying to keep the car on the road while the wind and the trucks conspired to blow us away.  Oh, and the NEVER ENDING construction on the interstate didn't help me relax at all!

By the time these pictures were taken, however, Meg was driving and I was enjoying the scenery.  We followed the North Platte River for endless miles, and it was not only beautiful, but I think I saw two flocks of Sandhill Cranes in flight.  Seeing Sandhill Cranes would have been a big thrill, but Meg was not even close to being enthused enough to stop the car. Despite the fact that I missed out on a lifetime bird, I found the state of Nebraska both beautiful and exotic - and so did my daughter.  If you've never been there, you really should visit!


Framingham Foliage 2011

One of only two fall foliage images taken in Framingham this year. The trip to California intefered a bit!

My second Framingham foliage picture.


California Gulls

I'm not even going to try to identify all the gulls we saw in California.   It took me years to be comfortable with our Massachusetts gulls, and I don't have years to learn all these other ones!

These handsome fellows were everywhere.  I particularly like the eyeliner look.

They look like they're waiting for a bus!

As you can see, there were plenty of gulls everywhere.  My daughter took this photo at a little pond just south of San Francisco.

Meghan also captured this unusual view of a juvenile gull of some sort. She also took the next picture, which is my favorite gull photo of the trip.

I love how she captured the young gull through the tall reeds.  The photo was so interesting that I was inspired to use a few photoshop filters to make it even more 'artisitic'.  It is beginning to seem as if everyone in my family is talented at bird photography!


Koi in California

My daughter, Meghan, took these beautiful photos of a Koi pond in a Japanese Garden near San Francisco.

These fish are astonishingly gorgeous!  They are also incredibly huge!

Koi are actually domesticated carp that are bred specifically for their spectacular colors. Koi ponds are more prevalent in warmer climates than they are in places with long, cold winters such as we have here in New England. If you want a Koi pond around here, it has to be much deeper than the one pictured here.

These lovely fish are easy prey for herons and egrets, so no matter where you live, your Koi pond will be koi-less unless you find a way to keep herons away!