BEYOND THE BACK DOOR …Last week’s camera booty

May 30, 2010 § 31 Comments

All this was going on just beyond the back door.

So I walked the dog and drifted to the sanctuary of the front porch.

And found none.
There are various forms of “sanctuary.”
Today, this wasn’t working for me.

I went to the zoo. I haven’t been in 12 years. It’s free. I usually have some heartache at all these “captured” animals, but sometimes you can get tripped up on your opinions and miss out on stuff. So I went.  It was early.

The first animal I saw was the black bear.
There went my bleeding heart.
He paced, swinging his head. 
No pictures, he said.
I demured, sent him a telepathic bear hug and moved on. 

The penguin house! It was cold and filled with their unique screeching. It was feeding time. The zoo person was dressed in orange, black and yellow and I didn’t spot her at first. She blended in with the tuxedo penguins.  Again, no pictures. Didn’t want to use a flash in there.
The penguin house is a wonderful structure with tons of rocks, pools, a deep swimming sea, crags, twists and turns and the water goes underground and outdoors to their  faux sea. So they can be indoors or out and get there privately. 

The walk through the zoo however is lovely. Oddly. It’s a huge expanse, full of flowered and bushy paths and walkways and bridges and plenty of ponds and lakes. They have created quite an ecosystem in there.  The city birds enjoy hopping and pecking about on the grass that grows on top of many of the little outbuildings. The zoo doesn’t smell. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying it’s all Disney here, with bluebirds fluttering around and the animals all hugging and talking and butterflies landing on everything.

But it is a park for all sorts of animals, including humans, and it’s beautiful. The city supports it with taxes and it’s staffed with specialists and Washington Univserity interns and offers all kinds of clubs and programs. And there are children, tons of them learning about animals and falling in love with  them, too and will maybe grow up to be protectors of the wilds, both neighboring and distant.

The camels were shedding. While this is not an attractive, it was very hippy-natural.  Of all the animals I saw, the camels carried the most scent. Maybe because they’re stabled.

Do prairie dogs belong in a zoo?
I guess if there’s enough prairie per dog, it works.
They seemed happy though not sure I’d recognize an unhappy one. And they were busy.  And communal in their movements: one dashed into a hole, they ALL dashed into a hole. One ate, they all ate.  One sat up and looked around, and they all froze.

The admiring crowd of humans was kind, very hushed, not whistling or trying to get their attention, or slapping at the fence or anything.
Completely unlike the behavior of the humans while watching the chimps.

 The chimps each had a stick that they poked into the hole in the log, brought it out, then licked it or drew the stick between their lips. There was some good eating in that log.

Back home and the workers were gone. The silence was loud and lovely. Their machines were parked in the shade, still shuttering.

The kitchen was cool. And clean.
Indoors, order. Outdoors, chaos.

I made strawberry shortcake. Making biscuits is very centering.

Yes, there was whipped cream! (although next time, I’ll make that by hand, too.)

Back to the front porch with the dessert. Summer. So much sweetness.


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§ 31 Responses to BEYOND THE BACK DOOR …Last week’s camera booty

  • mandy says:

    Sounds like a wonderful end to a great day. My heart always breaks for zoo animals as well, I haven’t been to a zoo for years. I am basically loving all the strawberry goodness I’ve been partaking in these past few weeks.

  • CLo says:

    Was this really all in one day? I have a terrible concept of time…

    • oh says:

      It’s amazing what you can do in one day if:
      1) you get up really early, ok, well not so early but around 6 when the construction guys are in the backyard and yelling to each other over the noise of their Bobcat, and 2) when you don’t have to go to work!

  • jeanie says:

    Oh, my! What a wonderful day — love that cute little prairie dog! And the shortcake — yum! I know what you mean about making biscuits being centering. I don’t go to the zoo often enough — if our zoo was as nice as this, I think I’d go more often!

    Happy Memorial Day!

    • oh says:

      Jeanie – I got to bake and cook a lot over the holiday weekend and kinda rediscovered it. Phew. Thought I had become totally ambivalent about food and prepping it. But no! (just ask the scale!)

  • diane says:

    A lot of adults no longer enjoy the zoo, but I think it is great fun. I LOVE all animals, and the photos you took came out fabulous. Thanks for sharing.

    • oh says:

      I think a full day, starting really early, might provide some “real life” photos. I think some of them,including the chimps, are used to posing!

      In the meantime, I’m looking for more “subjects” in my own backyard, oncee the workers are done. I see the chippies and squirrels running around like mad,waiting for things to settle down back there.

      Happy reading! (I’m headed to the couch with THE HELP which has me totally absorbed.)

  • Strawberries look OH so good!

    • oh says:

      I can’t believe I won!!!!
      OK, you’ve inspired me to get back out there and maybe post another giveaway, too. There’s nothing like bookswapping, especially with the wonderful book-reading bloggers out there! Thanks! more later…

  • Jeannine says:

    Great day! I could not stop chuckling at the pic of those wonderful camels, so utterly oblivious to their unsightly appearance (hideous if I stop being polite).
    And your comment. . . “The camels were shedding. . . While this is not attractive”. . . had me in stitches.

    • oh says:

      and suddenly, disgusted with my own limp locks, I walked into a salon the other morning (over the weekend) and sat down in a chair (no waiting) and got a decent haircut. Finally. She made very polite mention of my dead ends and “layers” but wow, it all worked out perfectly. Lucky. I should refer her to those camels!

  • Veronica says:

    I want to go to the ZOO!!! I don’t even know where the is a Zoo in Alabama… maybe Birmingham. Must investigate. Thank you for the inspiration.

    • oh says:

      Hi, V! Zoos are strange in that they seem to exist in so many places though you don’t often hear about them. Hope you find one – or at least maybe an animal sanctuary?

  • Ruth says:

    It’s good you enjoyed the beauty and positives at the zoo. I share your ambivalence. The chimps are very sweet, and the bears, all of them. The camels are very hip, perfect.

    The strawberry shortcake, the cool quiet house, now that is something to come home to. And did you put on one of your husband’s old shirts? 🙂

    • oh says:

      I did! a nice old denim shirt of his! I also borrow one of his sweaters, a terrific blue color.

      As for the zoo, I’m good for another couple of years before visiting again.

  • qugrainne says:

    Right now my hair looks just like that camel! Amazing!!! Getting it lopped off tomorrow. Too warm.
    How does the back yard look now?
    Oh Happy Summer 🙂

    • oh says:

      You made me laugh out loud comparing your hair to the camel! Just cut off my winter hair, too. LIght, springy and wash-and-go (as if I ever do anything else with it!)
      happy almost summer and hugs to daughters and grandbaby T!

      • qugrainne says:

        Hair has been duly lopped – much needed in the humid north. I am definitely a wash and go kinda gal myself.

        It is definitely summer here… I have been picking strawberries for days!

        Hugs spread around, especially to Baby T, who is most deliciously huggable!!!

  • Rebecca says:

    Wow, Brendan, Mike and I ventured to the zoo last Friday afternoon. It was Brendan’s first visit. He slept through most of it though. We also saw the black bear first and my heart immediately went out to him as he paced. I almost thought we should turn around and go home because I wouldn’t be able to handle seeing more. Things quickly got better, especially after we saw Ralph Butler was playing that evening by the Lakeside Cafe. As a guest at our wedding, you know how special Ralph Butler is to us. We saw a few animals and had just enough time to grab a bench off to the side by the sea lions and listen to Ralph. Mike and I took turns dancing with Brendan. It was bliss.

    • oh says:

      Dancing with Baby B to Ralph B at the zoo? Awesome combination. Glad you stayed and heard Ralph! (kind of anniversary-ish in the coolest way!)

  • typehype says:

    The camel shots are really great. I love camels! There was a camel farm north of L.A. when I lived out there. The proprietors of the farm would pull out those tufts by the handful when the camels were shedding and save them. When I saw them doing that, I thought, oh right, duh, camel-hair coats. Camels do have bad breath and b.o., it’s true.

    But, I just love zoos. These days, I think it might be safer for animals to live inside a zoo, where, at least, they’re protected from bad humans (and poachers and oil spills).

    • oh says:

      camel breath is bad! sounds like something the French would say to someone who pissed them off.
      You know, I think you’ve got something there about animals being safer in a zoo – crazy, huh? But a beautiful zoo is a remarkable thing.

      I have to get over and visit you!!!!!!

  • shoreacres says:

    As someone who lived with a prairie dog for a few years, trust me – you would know an unhappy prairie dog. Scooter used to throw temper tantrums. He’d stand up like the one in your photo, stomp his little rear feet and ball up his front paws into little fists.

    It was hilarious and terrifying all at the same time, because you knew if you didn’t grab him in the middle of his tantrum and take him to prairie dog time out, you were his next target.

    But here’s another secret – prairie dogs love strawberries! And I would have loved your shortcake, too. I got fresh blackberries at the farmers’ market this morning, and that’s our direction for the day!

    • oh says:

      what? really? I had no idea one could really have one for a pet. geez, I think a tantrum on a prairie dog might make me laugh (and go “aaahh, cute”) but maybe not. And they like strawberries? sheesh, I know nothing about the little critters. (still chuckling over a “prairie dog time out!”)

  • seachanges says:

    Fascinating back door you have, one that’s so inviting and gives such wonderful pictures must be alright. And then the zoo… Sometimes pictures are just better than words aren’t they? Everything is there, all that stuff in your head, summed up by a picture even if it is not a picture of what is in your head. I love your photos, they are so full of life itself. And the summer… bliss.

    • oh says:

      Dear Sea, I have been “off the blog” for several weeks and just found your comment and plan to get around visiting you SOON! Always enjoy your tales of travel around GB!

  • Terri B. says:

    I need some centering. Perhaps I will make some biscuits too and then have strawberry shortcake on my porch. That truly does sound lovely.

    • oh says:

      Oh, Terri – such wee biscuits I made that I had to put two or three in each dish. (It’s all because of this mission I’m on to eat correctly, and eat less and the family just looks at me like, what? is that it?

      And aren’t the strawberries delicious this year?

  • qugrainne says:

    I don’t know which of us is worse at keeping up with this blogging business!

    I have had some major trauma/drama in my life, but I swear I am going to get back into the thick of it here, again.

    What is keeping you away so long!?

    • oh says:

      I’ve been doing the freelance thing and got really wrapped up in deadlines and at the same time, house renovations and at the same time, my “real” regular job. Nothing odd, just a couple weeks of a pretty intense schedule. Phew.
      Like you, I’m gonna try to jump back in. I was thinking of a whole new look and approach but it hasn’t come to me yet.
      in a nutshell: excuses? I have none. Call be “back to blogging!” Hope to see you ’round the neighborhood. (hugs to that little g-baby!)

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