Goblin Valley Photos

The trip to Goblin Valley was really fun. Thunderstorms had been forecast but they were supposed to hold off until the late afternoon. The forecast was part right: it poured during the 4-hour drive there but it stopped raining once we got to the park in the late afternoon, which was nice. But the rain had turned the soft red clay dirt into super slippery, mushy mud. We had already invested so much time in getting there that we braved the mud and climbed down onto the valley floor to poke around. The scenery was amazing.

There were a few other people braving the mud.

E clowning around with N.

My shoes after walking around on the valley floor.

The mud was really something: it sucked my shoes right off my feet a few times. We hadn’t brought extra shoes and so we ended up driving home barefoot. We wanted to stop somewhere for dinner so we first stopped at a Walmart and bought some cheap shoes to wear. Before we went into the store we tried to clean off our muddy shoes the best we could but I still felt very self-conscious. It was the first (and hopefully the last) time that I felt under-dressed for shopping at Walmart.

We had one other little mishap besides the mud: we had miscalculated the amount of gas we needed. When we got to the park we were running quite low on gas so on the way back we drove straight to the nearest gas station which was in the opposite direction than our home. It added about 45 minutes to the drive home but I think it ended up being worth since we got to see this place:

Best gas station ever!

All and all, it was a really fun trip. If you go, bring extra shoes and clothes, towels, and a big jug of water to wash up with. (There isn’t any running water at the park.) And make sure you have at least a quarter tank of gas when you get there–learn from our mistakes!

Farm Country

(My apologies, but work has kept me really busy these past few days and I haven’t gotten around to sorting through the keychains and weeding out the duplicates for the giveaway. But I promise to do it this weekend and I’ll have the giveaway up on Monday.)

Even with work being crazy this week, E and I found the time to go to Farm Country over at Thanksgiving Point. It’s only 5 minutes away from our house and so it’s a really easy outing. It was the first time we’d been there and E loved it.

E liked seeing all the animals; they have goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, cows, and horses. The goats were his clear favorite, probably because they were the most obliging when he tried to feed them corn.

It was pretty cute. E kept running around staring at everything and spontaneously shrieking in joy.

I think we’ll be back.

Have a great weekend!

B&W Holga Cherry Blossoms

Last week I noticed that the cherry trees in an orchard by my house were blooming. So I took along my Holga camera and on the way home from the gym I took a few photos. I used black and white film and so they came out a bit moody looking.

There was a large cloud of bees buzzing around the trees. Even though the orchard’s on a fairly busy road, the bees’ buzzing was loud enough to drown out the sound of the passing traffic. The sky was sunny and bright and it was a lovely spring day.

Grandpa’s Visit

Over the weekend E. caught up on the sleep he had missed during the whole allergy episode and seems to be back to normal. The earliest appointment I could get with the allergist our doctor recommended was October 17th (!) but I had them put me on the waiting list for cancelations. I asked the receptionist how long the waiting list was and she said “very long,” and so I’m not counting on getting in before October, which is a little lame.

Grandpa flew home on Saturday. His visit was a lot of fun. It took E. a day or so to get used to having another person in the house (at first he looked surprised every time he caught sight of Grandpa in the house) but once he got used to it E. was quite taken with Grandpa.

Grandpa was quite taken with the hummingbird that built a nest in our tree. He enjoyed watching the nest through the front window. Last week I thought I could see tiny little beaks poking up out of the nest, and this week we confirmed it. Two hummingbirds chicks hatched successfully!

In this photo you can see the chicks’ feathers starting to grow in. When I was watching them I would sometimes see them stick their tiny tongues out. Very cute.

Fine Feathered Friends

Some of you may remember Robin Watch ’08 and it’s unfortunate end. I’ve always had a fondness for birds. There’s something so delicate and wild about them and it’s softly thrilling when I see a bird up close.

Last week I noticed a hummingbird flying around the tree just outside our front door. When I would open the front door it would fly right up to the screen door and look at me. A neighbor came to the door and after she got buzzed by the hummingbird she suggested that maybe it had a nest in the tree. I looked and looked but couldn’t find anything for a long time. But then I saw this:

The nest is TINY, smaller than an egg. I read online that hummingbirds make their nests out of moss, plant fibers, and spider webs. In the photo you can see the spider webs covering the outside of the nest. The webs remind me of the story of Thumbelina – I like to picture the hummingbird going to the spiders and bartering for some spider silk (because I’m a nerd like that). More likely than not the hummingbird probably just ate the spiders and then tore away their webs.

The nest is surprisingly close to our front door. Can you see it in the photo below?

I did some online research on hummingbirds and bought a hummingbird feeder and set it up outside. (Hummingbird PSA: apparently if you have a hummingbird feeder you shouldn’t add red dye to the food and you should clean and refill the feeder at least once a week.) I haven’t noticed the hummingbird using the feeder yet, but if she starts using it hopefully I can get some more pictures.

My baby bird

I’ve been feeding E. rice cereal once a day since Sunday and yesterday I could tell that the light went on in his head. He started opening his mouth and leaning forward as soon as he was finished swallowing the last bite. N. said he looked like a baby bird. It was pretty cute. A couple of times he even grabbed my arm to guide the spoon I was holding into his mouth.

In other news, it looks like Robin Watch ’08 has ended sadly. Last week there was a horrible windstorm and the willow tree was shaken like crazy. Afterwards I didn’t see the female robin sitting on the nest for days. I went outside and checked and two eggs had fallen out of the nest and smashed on the ground. I took a peek inside the nest and there was one egg left, but since the robin hadn’t been sitting on it for days there wasn’t any way it would hatch.

I read online that robins lay about 3 clutches of eggs a season, so the pair probably decided to cut their loses after losing the eggs in the storm and decided to build a new nest somewhere else and try again.

Announcing Robin Watch ’08!

The other day I noticed a robin hopping around our backyard picking up pieces of dry grass in its beak. Then he flew up into the willow tree next to our house and added the grass to a nest he was building. I was excited to see it building a nest in our tree. Ever since I was a kid I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for robins. They sing so prettily and it cracks me up how fast their tiny feet move when they run around on the ground. And their eggs are that wonderful shade of blue.

I looked it up and apparently the female robin will sit on the eggs for about 2 weeks and then they hatch. After that, it only takes another 2 weeks until the babies are ready to leave the nest.

The female robin started sitting on the nest consistently over the weekend, and so I’m going to keep an eye on her to see when the eggs hatch. The nest is in a tree right outside our bedroom window and so hopefully I’ll be able to get some good shots using my telephoto lens.

Let the countdown begin!