278: Making faces

Time is the substance from which I am made.  Time is a river which carries me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger than devours me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire.

~ Jorge Luis Borges

I’ve mentioned in at least one previous post that I have mixed feelings about visiting the zoo, any zoo.  I realize that without zoos I would not be able to see most of the animals I’ve had the thrill of seeing in a zoo.  However, sometimes it seems to me the animals themselves are not entirely happy to have ended up in a zoo.

Some of them nap in the sun, looking fairly comfortable and at home.  (I can’t explain why — because I have no idea — but this lion reminds me of the late Jerry Garcia.)

Snow Leopard

Others lay there looking sad.

Sumatran Tiger

Put a few small children in front of the tiger’s window, and after pacing a bit, he comes up to the window to have a good look.

I adore penguins.  If I had to pick a favorite animal, it would be a penguin.  Yet the penguins at the Akron Zoo don’t look very happy to me.

Humboldt Penguin

I could be wrong.  I’ve never seen penguins of any kind in their natural habitat.  I’ve seen them in movies where they usually add some happy-sounding music as they frolic on the ice or in the water.  Perhaps it’s the addition of the music that has given me the impression penguins are happy creatures when they’re in their element and all is well.


The alpacas, on the other hand, seem content enough (even if this guy does look like he’s going to take a bite out of someone).

Andean Condor

The condor looks a little like a stern general to me, getting ready to lead a battle.  See what I mean about anthropomorphizing?


The capybara remind me of hamsters.  Very large hamsters.  A typical capybara is 3-4 feet long and weighs between 59 and 174 pounds.  I have to wonder who came up with those weight numbers.  Why so specific?  Did they have something against rounding up or down?

Something caught the attention of the Snow Leopard

Zoos are instrumental in helping to protect wildlife through education, conservation, restoration, and reintroduction programs.  Without them, many of us would never see and learn about the animals that need protection.  That’s where the “like” part of my mixed feelings about zoos comes in.  And let’s face it.  I didn’t think jellyfish were nearly as cool when the Man ‘o Wars were washing up on the beach during our vacation in Florida.  (Yes, yes, I know.  They are not true jellyfish.  There were moon jellyfish washing up at that time, too.)  Seeing them in the zoo allowed me to get a glimpse at how beautiful they can be.

Today’s Outdoor Adventures

This morning's view of the pond. (From about, oh, half way between the house and garden area. It's a little bit of a hike to the garden from the house.)

I’ve been outside for a few hours today.  I took a walk around the pond to see what’s happening and blooming.  Then I spent a lot of time in the garden doing some weeding and other chores.  I have to tell you, I am becoming a big fan of square foot gardening.  It makes the weeding so much easier.

Oxeye Daisy, looking a little flustered and ruffled because of the wind.

We’ve had a little problem in the garden recently.  One that required stealth and strawberries to resolve.  Something was eating our vegetables.  Two beautiful heads of romaine lettuce were devoured right down to the nub about a week or so before they were ready to pick.  Most of the leaves on the cucumber plants have been eaten (but the flowers were left behind).  And a couple of tops of tomato plants have gone missing (once again, the flowers were left behind).

Mmmmm... the raspberries are ripening!

We put out the Havaheart (or Have-a-Heart) trap, loaded with strawberries and cabbage leaves on Sunday morning.  I know it sounds like an odd combination, but you never know what might be appealing to whatever it is you’re trying to catch.  The trap, by the way, was one of our better investments.  We have relocated many nuisance animals through the use of the trap, usually to more scenic areas.  It’s a win-win for all.  Well, maybe not for the poor animal that has to build or dig a new home, something that could have been avoided if they had only stayed out of the garden or the dam.

The first Black-Eyed Susan of the season.

By late afternoon we caught a groundhog.  A good sized groundhog.  He has been moved to a new (undisclosed) location, a place with a reputation for welcoming everyone (and a great big field behind it).

Breezy Acres is quite breezy today, ruffling all the pretty flowers.

Hopefully he or she is living the good life in his or her new location.  For those inquiring minds who might want to know, the groundhog ate the strawberries AND the cabbage leaves.  It was well fed before it was moved.

This afternoon's view of the pond from the garden area.

Aside from the plants that were attacked by the veggie eating groundhog, the garden looks good.  The Swiss chard should be ready to pick soon.  The corn will be more than knee-high by the 4th of July.  The tomatoes and peppers are setting up nicely.  I’m not sure what will happen with the cukes.  I’m hoping they will be okay since the flowers were left behind, but wonder if the leaves don’t protect the flowers and cucumbers somehow.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

Weather-wise, it’s not a bad day.  It started out hot and sticky (humid).  A dry (no rain) cold front moved through this afternoon.  I have a pretty good idea of when that occurred as it went from being hot and sticky when I started working in the garden to being rather pleasant with a refreshing, dry, cooler breeze.

That’s about it from the Bogs for today.  I’ll be back tomorrow with another edition of my great outdoor adventures (heh).  Thanks for dropping by!

19 Comments on “278: Making faces”

  1. thebigbookofdating says:

    O my, what amazing photos, the big cats are amazing up close!

  2. anhinga says:

    I’m as ambivelent (sp) as you about zoos. Nice pictures.

  3. Kieran Hamilton says:

    Great shots, especially the snow leopard and tigers, such beautiful animals. I know what you mean about zoo’s, I have mixed feelings about them. Although when I go to the zoo I’m like a child! Edinburgh zoo has lots and lots of penguins who seem very happy. They have a penguin march outside the enclosure, and the penguin who leads the march is an honorary colonel-in-chief of the Norwegian army and has been knighted, seriously!

  4. jenna says:

    We had the BEST groundhog growing up. He ate the weeds. He helped himself to the vegetable and flower garden weeds regularly. So polite.

    I have the same ambiguous mindset towards zoos. I think they’re getting better, but it didn’t stop me from adding my name to the petition to relocate the elephants from my local zoo to a much more elephant-friendly place. I miss seeing them, but they deserve lots and lots of acres, not one tiny, walled enclosure.

  5. jenna says:

    I meant ambivalent. Not ambiguous. I was just reading “ambiguous” in an article next to my keyboard. Heh.

  6. Just a truly amazing post, thanks for sharing it with us 🙂

  7. Kel says:

    love that photo of the lion sleeping
    the raspberries look luscious and the black-eyed susan looks like a dancing ballerina

  8. Zoos also make me sad! So sad. Though not as sad as a visit to the circus does. That really bothers me.

    Love your garden photos. The biggest problems we have with pests in our city garden are our own damn dogs!

    Great post, Robin!


  9. Karma says:

    I really enjoyed this post. I love the animal faces. Although I don’t know if it is the case or not, I like to think that zoo animals are mostly rescues or born-in-captivity; animals that wouldn’t necessarily have a better life if they were wild. Best wishes for recovery of the veggie garden.

  10. bearyweather says:

    OMGosh I need your trap. My groundhog (woodchuck as we call them here) comes right up on the front porch and surveys the yard. I have written posts about him before, but he has been especially bad this year. He ate all of my pansies and then dug the dirt out of the pots on the porch looking for something. My vegetables are protected with some fencing or I am guessing those would be gone, too. I am also in a daily battle with him as he tries to dig a new tunnel under my garage. He digs, I fill it in. He has to go somewhere else. Trouble is, I am in the middle of nowhere … wonder if someone “relocated” him here?

    I have the same mixed feelings about the zoo.

  11. SAJ says:

    i TOTALLY agree with you! i get sad for so many of the animals every time i go to the zoo. but like you said, they do alot of good as well. very cool pictures! since i usually go to the zoo with R, i often don’t take my camera because I feel like it will be too muchf ro me to handle with her, and then I always regret not having it- or at;east not having my good camera with a zoom!

  12. starbear says:

    Your raspberries are way ahead of ours! Zoos – perhaps we “need” to have zoos to reflect back our own unnatural captivity? Or to capture what we are not…. or think we are not – exotic, unique, special, each in our own way? I wonder which of us would end up in zoos if animals were the zookeepers?
    Reading your blog always makes me think! Thank you!

  13. Hallysann says:

    Some beautiful pictures here.
    Lots of mixed feelings about zoos, a bit like having a pet.
    Would the pet be happier in it’s own habitat ? or do some of them benefit from us as much as we benefit from them ?

  14. eof737 says:

    Gorgeous photos and a great story about your garden invader…
    About Zoos, I used to have my reservation but on a recent visit to the Bronx Zoo, I was reminded that with loving attention and lots of room, animals in captivity can thrive. Their natural environment is truly a war zone… and while I’m not an advocate for zooifying (I just made up that word, lol!) all of nature, the good zoos do an awesome job. 🙂

  15. Bo Mackison says:

    The best zoos provide plenty of space, but it still seems like not enough. I too understand the need for zoos for study, education, etc. but I don;t get enjoyment from seeing the animals like I did when I took my children as toddlers.

    As for your garden, I;m glad you could move your groundhog. I’ve lost pepper plants, zucchini blossoms, and lots of flowers to gourmet rabbits, and really, there aren’t enough traps in Madison to get rid of all the rabbits. I feel like I am under attack! 🙂 Why can;t rabbit eat grass!!!

  16. How sweet! The lion looks like he’s enjoying the smell of those leaves 🙂

  17. Dana says:

    I’m as ambivalent about zoos as the next person, but seeing your photos today, I’m REALLY happy that zoos exist– the pictures are too sweet! (I especially enjoy your sad-shaped penguin. It totally looks like it’s moping about, sans happy music.)

    Glad to hear you have gotten rid of the groundhog. Nothing like unintentionally growing a gourmet feast for this creature!

  18. Kathy says:

    I know what you mean about having mixed feelings about visiting zoos. Me, too. It seems an unanswerable conundrum. I do love the photos you took there, though. How magnificent to get up so close to the big animals! I had to stare awhile an the “general” to figure him out. Of course, I’m not sure I figured him out…lol… Thanks, Robin.

  19. Robin says:

    Yikes. It looks like I didn’t respond to any of the comments on this post. My apologies. All the traveling has put me so far behind that catching up is not likely.

    Thank you all for your comments and visits. I appreciate it. 🙂

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