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Scarecrow Fest

October 12th, 2015 Comments off

Another fantastic weekend is behind us.

Saturday morning we got together with friends to check out St. Charles’ Scarecrow Festival. It was the perfect day weather-wise. It was cool in the morning but the sun was out so it wasn’t too hot or cold.

First we had breakfast at this fabulous restaurant near the festival. I got the same thing as last time – Hawaiian eggs benedict. Joe and our friends each had a skillet. Both men ordered bloody marys too.

After breakfast we browsed the scarecrows before the festival officially opened. I didn’t bring a camera because I wasn’t sure whether I would take any photos, but I couldn’t resist, so I used my iPhone. The photos with the sun behind me came out fine but the other ones leave a lot to be desired. Ugh, I hate the iPhone camera because it’s so inconsistent in quality!

Revenge of the Great Pumpkin

We left the festival temporarily to check out a Ferret show at the Kane County Fairgrounds (our friends are huge ferret fans and own one). They had some really cute hammocks for sale so we got two for the rats. One is a big Halloween-themed cube hammock which I put in Milo and Gizmo’s cage. They love it.

After seeing everything at the show, we headed back to the festival so we could check out the craft booths. By this time it was close to noon so the parking garage we had used earlier that morning was completely full. We drove around the area for awhile and stumbled upon Delnor park which turns out is only a few blocks walk to the area where the crafts were. Score!

We spent some time checking out all the booths together. I bought a chocolate covered pretzel to snack on since I find them irresistible. We also spent some time checking out their petting zoo from a distance. They had a very interesting collection of exotic animals including a kookaburra and wallaby, but we had difficulty identifying one of the animals hopping around. The first thing that came to mind was jackalope which is funny because they don’t really exist. But this thing looked like a cross between a rabbit and a deer which is why my mind went there.

At this point, a stranger who had apparently been listening to our conversation, stuck his phone in my face to “prove” to me it was a capybara. I told him I’ve seen those at a zoo before and they were way larger than this, but he insisted, claiming it was a baby. Whatever. Mind your own business, dude! Finally, I got the attention of one of the animal handlers to ask her what the creature was and it turns out it was a pantagonian cavy.

We were pretty hungry after all that walking around, but the one thing that is not impressive at this fest is the food, so we went to Beef Shack for lunch. It was such a beautiful day we sat outside to enjoy our food. And we officially ruined Portillo’s beef for our friends by introducing them to Beef Shack, haha! Their beef sandwiches are the best!

On our way back home (we picked up our friends at their house that morning so we could take one car), I pointed out to our friends that Fermilab was nearby if they ever wanted to see the bison, so they asked if we could stop then. Unfortunately, the bison were way out in the field so it was hard to see them. We did see a hawk, though, and some killdeer (which is the only place I’ve yet to see these birds).

When we got back to our friends’ place we went inside for a bit to talk and play with their cute ferret. Overall it was a very long, but fun, day. There are very few people I could spend that much time with but even so, I did have a headache and we used the rest of the evening to decompress by watching tv. It has become very clear to us that while we do enjoy time socializing, we are very much introverts who could not do it two days in a row.

Which is why on Sunday we renewed our Costco membership and did some grocery shopping before the Bears game and spent the rest of the day inside. Since it was what I’m guessing the last warm day of the season, we opened the windows to get some fresh air. It was nice to walk around barefoot in the house; I predict I won’t be able to do that again until spring. For dinner I made beef stroganoff in the crock pot and apple muffins for dessert, both of which were delicious. It was a nice relaxing end to our weekend together.

» Scarecrow Festival photos on Flickr

Week of September 7th

September 14th, 2015 Comments off

Agility Course

Notable things that happened this week:

Made delicious homemade sloppy joes for dinner on Tuesday. Manwich has got nothing on me!

I received my annual review at work. As with last year, my lowest rating had to do with not having time to take on new responsibilities due to my part-time schedule. I think that’s a bit unfair since they’re the ones who were ok with it, but it didn’t affect my raise which was the maximum percentage they allow so I didn’t make a stink about it.

We had two friends over Saturday evening who will be stopping by the house next week to keep an eye on the rats for us. They came over at 4 pm and didn’t leave until well after midnight. We always have fun with them and already have a fall outing planned with them as well.

Sunday we attended the CS Barks Festival which is a dog-centered festival. It’s fun to see all the different breeds. We left earlier than we would have liked in order to get home in time for the Bears game. It’s a good thing we did, too, because even though our mattress delivery was scheduled for 2-6 they showed up at 12:30! We had to scramble to get the new mattress out of the way (since we’re keeping it for now) and vacuum all the dust bunnies under the bed, but we did it. Unfortunately, the bed was not comfortable our first night. The guy warned us the bed would feel firmer at first, but damn, it seems rock hard. It doesn’t feel anything like the bed we fell in love with at the store. We had to check the tag to make sure they sent us the plush model, and unless it has the wrong tag on it, they did. I hope we can adjust to it quickly as last night was a toss and turn night for the both of us.

Categories: Animals, Excursions, Friends, Photos, Shopping Tags:

Nature Weekend

August 25th, 2015 Comments off

Our weekend centered around nature activities which is always right up my alley.

Saturday we visited the Chicago Botanic Garden and saw the famous Corpse Flower that’s been in the news lately. It wasn’t our reason for visiting, actually, but still pretty cool to see. Our favorite sighting, however, was a ruby-throated hummingbird hanging out in the gardens when you first enter. There were two hanging out when we first arrived and we spotted another one two hours later when we were leaving. I wish I had remembered my 250mm lens but the picture I got wasn’t too bad considering I only had the 135mm.

Some of my favorite photos from our visit:

Butterfly

Windswept

Sunlit

Saturday evening we visited my parents and played our newest game – Exploding Kittens. It was quite fun! We also played Cards Against Humanity with Joe’s homemade cards. Brother # 1 ended up staying up until the wee hours of the morning coming up with more ideas for all the blank cards we still have. I got an email at 3:18 am with a huge list. He’s funny.

Sunday we did some grocery shopping in the morning since it was overcast and rainy. That cleared up around noon so we headed to Morton Arboretum and drove around. I remembered my 250mm lens this time and captured what I believe is a white-breasted nuthatch.

White-Breasted Nuthatch

Monday I met up with a friend at Cosley Zoo so I could give her some LEGOs and playdoh stuff for her kids. I figured why not give it to someone who will make use of it. It’s not like we’re going to play with it anymore. I held onto the playdoh too long as it was and the majority of it dried up but there were a few cans that were still good, plus a ton of accessories to shape the playdoh. It was hard parting with it because I have such fond playdoh memories but we haven’t played with it for over five years so there was no sense in letting it continue to take up space in the closet. Plus it freed up a plastic storage tote that I can re-purpose.

Anyway, I met her two children who are super adorable and pretty well-behaved for being a year and a half and four years old. The four year old, C, was NOT happy when we were ready to leave, however. He cried all the way back to the car. Poor guy. It was nice to catch up with her and meet her kids. I wish we could hang out more often but she’s so busy with family stuff, plus she lives about an hour away so the timing never seems to line up. I’m hoping she and her husband can make another game night. I’d like to have one sometime in October I think. Gotta unleash Exploding Kittens on more people!

Fermilab & Pratt’s Wayne Woods

May 25th, 2015 Comments off

Saturday we decided to take advantage of the only dry-weather day the weekend was planning to offer. Our original plan was to visit the Chicago Botanic Garden since their butterfly tent was opening, but when I visited their site to check the times it said due to the cold weather the number of butterflies would be limited. So we decided to postpone that visit. We ended up driving over to Fermilab instead since I see one woman who I follow on Flickr posting photos of birds taken there.

Our visit did not disappoint – I got shots of a duck with her ducklings, a red-winged blackbird, and a killdeer.

Duck with her Ducklings

Red-winged Blackbird

Female Killdeer

It was perplexing to me why as I approached the killdeer she wasn’t moving and started squawking at me until I got home and took a close look at the photo. She was protecting her eggs!

After that encounter we located the bison that I had read about and I got to see a couple of the babies.

Baby Bison

After that we were a bit bored so we drove over to Pratt’s Wayne Woods forest preserve to see what we could spot there. Not too many birds, but there were a ton of very large tadpoles about the size of golf balls.

Holy Tadpoles!

Tadpole

We enjoyed a picnic lunch we had packed and just relaxed for a bit taking in the beautiful day.

Right before leaving we stopped to use the restroom where we spotted this robins nest.

Robin's Nest

It was another fantastic day with my hubby!

Categories: Animals, Excursions, Photos Tags:

Bunny & Frog

May 18th, 2015 Comments off

Yesterday we went to an Animal Expo. Unfortunately most booths were selling snakes, lizards, and frogs, which are cool, but I prefer fluffy potential pets. Two booths had rats for sale but both were meant as snake food, including baby rats who hadn’t even opened their eyes yet. :(

This guy who sells sugar gliders was there, just like several years ago when we attended. I got to hold a baby female sugar glider and an older male one. The male peed on me! But oh were they both soooo soft and fluffy. They are expensive too. Plus they require a ton of interaction. I love playing with my pets but not for several hours a day.

One booth had little rabbits, and this one in particular caught our eye because he was white with black streaking in his fur. I tried finding a photo online to show how unique he looked, but I can’t find any because it was that unusual.

When we circled back to the booth the bunnies were loose on the table and he was sitting with his back legs splayed out just like the dog in the photo of this post. Sooo cute! I carefully started petting him and he didn’t mind. And he was so incredibly soft that I started to melt. When he got up I scooped him up and held him and he still didn’t mind. He just sat in my hands very calmly. It was awesome, and I was so tempted to buy him!

In the end we didn’t get the bunny, for a couple of reasons: 1) If Joe is allergic to cats, there’s a good chance a rabbit could bother him, 2) I don’t have time/room for another pet. Maybe someday. But boy was he cute! I really hope he wasn’t being sold as food too.

Another booth was selling red-eyed tree frogs for only $40 and as tempting as that was, I decided to wait and do some research about their care first to see if I’m up to the challenge. The animal expo is every month so if I decide I want one we’ll just go back next month.

Categories: Animals, Pets Tags: