Adventures in Argentina–Flora and Fauna Near Iguazu Falls


Across the highway from the helicopter business, we visited a surprisedly large bird sanctuary, recommended by our taxi driver/guide.  We did not expect anything as lovely as what we found. Most of the birds and flowers there are native to the area.  However, a few rarer species from other parts of the world exist there as well.

IMG_3052

IMG_3084

Surprised, I recalled seeing these exact same flowers on my two trips to Costa Rica.  In fact, I found another photo on an older blog post from one of my Costa Rica trips.

IMG_3082

Endangered, many countries where these wonderful parrots live do everything they can to save them.  They pair for life–we found the evidence amusing and enchanting.

IMG_3081

Whenever we saw an uneven number together, we looked elsewhere and found the mate drinking or feeding.

IMG_3053

IMG_3088

Of course, there has to be toucans.  Some even clowned for the tourists.  People clustered all around to watch their antics.

IMG_3085

IMG_3050

Where you have flowers you have butterflies.

IMG_3078

Butterflies love Gaston.

IMG_3031

They landed on him, flew to his fingers, let him pick them up without flying away.  I tried, but no luck.

IMG_3079

IMG_3048

A fabulous morning on the Brazilian side, starting with the helicopter ride and ending here with flowers, birds, and butterflies.

 

Walking Among the Flowers


After feeding the horses, completing chores, a late afternoon walk to look for the last of the wild flowers took my fancy.  Here in the canyon country of the Panhandle of Texas, the majority of wildflowers are three colors:  yellow, white, purple.

IMG_2856

Butterflies feeding in the gay feather.

IMG_2857

At first I thought this might be bitterweed but now, not sure.

IMG_2858

Although this one and the last one may resemble each other, they are different.

IMG_2859

Looked up, the sun decided to shine–at my place four inches of rain in the last week and more than seven inches ahead of normal.

IMG_2860

Black foot daisies and prairie zinnias bloom from early spring almost until frost.

IMG_2861

IMG_2862

Athena among the flowers.

IMG_2863

Prickly pear can grow almost anywhere.

IMG_2864

I almost missed this one hidden among the grass.

Unconditional Love


IMG_2222

IMG_2300

IMG_2238

IMG_2180

IMG_1548

img_2385

IMG_2318

All the beautiful flowers I see today, Mother’s Day 2017, make me think of my mother.  She loved flowers, especially roses, horses, music, beauty.  When I think of her, I also think of unconditional love.  Even when young and I sometimes thought she expected too much of me, I still knew she loved me no matter what the circumstances and always would.  For this I feel unending gratitude.  As a teacher, it has become very clear to me that many children do not experience the kind of love my mother gave me.  She died suddenly many years ago.  Her love will never leave me.  Thank you, Mom, wherever you are!!

A Week of Wonder and Flowers


 

This past week was my birthday.  The wonder started a week ago when my friends came for dinner and my friend’s father, visiting from Mexico. brought me red roses.  I had not seen my friends in a long time and it was fun.  Then on Sunday, Roberto, the father, and I went hiking in Palo Duro Canyon on a new trail.  I never saw a name for it.

IMG_2638

We found this trail by starting at Chinaberry (for those who go to the Canyon), taking Comanche Trail up to this new trail.  When they intersect, we went north rather than south on Comanche.

IMG_2641

If you read the previous blog in December about hiking Comanche, you saw this peak but from the center and to the south.  This is a view from the north looking south.

IMG_2640

IMG_2642

Eventually, after hiking up and down across an arroyo, you end up above the river which looks tiny here, but when a big rain comes, it can rise many feet in a few hours.  It was very sunny, I had a hard time focusing so occasionally a finger got in the way.

IMG_2643

Roberto has a funny sense of humor.  He could not resist pretending to hold up one of the many giant boulders along the trail.

IMG_2644

IMG_2646

This is not a difficult walk and not too long if you only have a few hours.  We came across a group of wild turkeys, but they moved so much, I was unable to get a good photo so gave up.

Wednesday was my birthday.  It began with my first period class–I teach senior high school English.  They showered the room with confetti, brought me a giant chocolate muffin with a candle in the middle, lit the candle and sang me Happy Birthday.  Then during second period, two of my students arrived with two bouquets of flowers.  The room smelled wonderful for three days.  I brought the flowers home yesterday in a big box.

IMG_2652

My grandson told the florist to make me a giant bouquet with exotic flowers.  This is one side of it.  Orchids, roses, hydrangeas, and some really unusual flowers which I cannot identify.

IMG_2653

This is the other side of the same bouquet.

This bouquet is from my son.  He knows my favorite color is orange and that I have a lot of that color in my house so….

IMG_2656

I am seriously nerdy and asked for an atlas for my birthday.  My daughter outdid herself and bought this one full of all sorts of information I never expected and maps.  I love maps.  When I read a book from Latin America, Africa, etc., I look up the places on maps.

Last night I sang songs, using the poems of Octavio Paz and Pablo Neruda among others, with the Amarillo Master Chorale in a church with perfect acoustics for choral music.  Tonight I will see friends at an opera party.  What a wonderful week!!

Spring Break Adventure–3


Today was day one in Big Bend National Park.  This place is huge.  We drove down to the Rio Grande, took a hike up a big hill/cliff above it, and later drove off on a gravel road which became a bit daunting at times–four wheel drive only. We saw people riding horses across the desert, others canoeing down the river, all sorts of mountains, cactus in bloom, ruined corrals from a extinct ranch, and passed a border control check point–nothing new really.  Used to get checked all the time down near the border. Here are photos I took along the way.

 

Gifts–Isabella and Roses


For the last month DJ Knopick-Barrett, the Production Manager for Amarillo Opera, has stayed with me–her third time to do so.  When she was last here, in early summer, she took hikes with my dog Isabella.  I had no idea she had also photographed her. Isabella died not long before DJ arrived this time.

DJ said her goodbyes this morning and I left for work.  She had a late morning flight.  When I returned home from work today, I was touched nearly to the point of tears.  DJ not only had photographed Isabella, she had enlarged the photo and framed it.

img_2385