Playing It Cool

Thursday, March 30

When this squirrel saw me, it froze in place for a very long time.

Maybe he thought I couldn’t see him if sat very still.:)

Even when I moved a bit and he moved his head, his feet didn’t move.

I find God’s critters to be so interesting.

Birdfeeder Activity

Monday, January 23

Male Hairy Woodpecker

Female Downy Woodpecker

It’s easy to see the difference when watching them. The Hairy is about 9″ long with a long beak. The Downy is 6″ long with a short beak.

This squirrel was trying to keep another squirrel from the feeder.

This one eventually settled for the other feeder.

They sometimes irritate me when eating the bird seed, but this seed had been there for a few days and was wet from the rain, so I just enjoyed watching them gobble it up. ūüôā

Wolf Sanctuary

Saturday, August 27

This was part of our “Grandchildren’s Week”, but the¬†Saturday of that week – in the middle of August – and the next Saturday¬†did not suit us.

1On Saturdays and Sundays the sanctuary is open to the public. At other times you must make appointments – and it can be difficult to get an appointment.

We arrived at 9:15 and were the third car in line Рwaiting for the gates to open. They open at 9:30 and close at 10:00. That is the only tour time of the day.

2Our first task was to pay our entrance fee and get an arm band.

DSC_5385The grandchildren who went with me were Gloria, Ian, Jared, and Jesse. This is a favorite thing for them to do during our grandchildren week.

DSC_5377It is nice that this popular tourist attraction is only a few miles from our house.

DSC_5378The guides know each wolf and who is the alpha and omega in each pen.

The alpha always eats first and the omega wolf eats last. The beta wolves in the middle of the hierarchy may have a variety of ranks in the pack.

I learned that the omega wolf plays an important role in the pack because they help keep peace and are often the ones that do the discipline to the young ones.

DSC_5383This is the large pack. Most packs in this sanctuary have only two or three wolves.

There are a total of 46 wolves in the sanctuary.

This is mostly a rescue sanctuary, so it can be difficult to add a new wolf to a pack. At other times a new pack member is welcome.

DSC_5390The nice thing about being with the first tour group is that the wolves were hungry and eager for food.

There are about 30 people in a group and there were probably 5 or 6 groups. They were expecting about 200 people.


DSC_5377I thought she mentioned that two wolves died since we were there last year, but the children thought she mentioned three. They have a few wolves that are 15 or 16 years old.


DSC_5402When the alpha wolf in this pack died, they spent almost a year determining who was the alpha. There were three vying for the title.

I think this was the pack where the female won the competition. It is usually the scrappiest not the biggest or strongest. There are some who have no desire to be the alpha.



DSC_5407Their fur was pretty this time because they are finished shedding. Last year we went earlier, when they were in the middle of shedding, which make them look a bit ratty.



DSC_5412Some are full wolves others are part dog.









DSC_5436Each pack is fenced inside double fencing. Only the tour guide gets close to the wolves.



DSC_5446This one – from the big back – followed us down the path from the hillside.

It pleases me that our grandchildren enjoy this kind of a day. This was Gloria’s first visit. She said she wants to go back again sometime.

One of the Ever-Changing Days of Summer

DSC_2896Three squirrels!

Now I know why the bird feeders are being emptied so quickly.

DSC_2898Debbie, do you need any more pets!

DSC_3122When I noticed that rain was coming, I went outside with my camera and was surprised to be standing in sunshine and hearing the pelting of rain on my brothers’ barn roof just a quarter mile away.


DSC_3130The rain is coming across the cornfield.


DSC_3143It was interesting to be standing in rain and seeing a bright sky in the east.


DSC_3147Then it was over – just like a large rotating sprinkler had gone through our woodlot.







DSC_3118I have seen hummingbirds all summer but have rarely gotten a photo of them.

DSC_3117A male

DSC_3168A female

DSC_3170One of the beautiful, ever-changing days of summer.

Christmas Eve

Thursday Evening, December 24

Jere and Kristen invited us to join them and Roy and Deb in their Christmas Eve tradition of going to see a family movie at Penn Cinema and supper at their house.

Christmas Eve (1)Ian, Josh, Jared, Jana, Jesse, Allie

Christmas Eve (2)It was almost like having a private viewing, as it was our group and maybe six or eight other people.

Christmas Eve (3)Love unposed pictures! ūüôā

Christmas Eve (4)I gave them a second chance, and expect they will like this one better. However, they are still covering Jared’s face with the popcorn container.

Christmas Eve (5)This year they went to see The Road Chip – an Alvin and the Chipmunks movie.

Christmas Eve (6)Oh, what fun!

Christmas Eve (7)It was a combination of Roy and Deb’s house “The Nut Hut” and the movie Home Alone.

Christmas Eve (8)I didn’t even like taking¬†a bathroom break because I didn’t want to miss the action.

Christmas Eve (9)

Christmas Eve (10)

Christmas Eve (12)

Christmas Eve (11)When they discovered that their “dad” was dating this young man’s mother, they did all kinds of things to keep them apart – because they didn’t like each other. Buy the end of the movie they liked each other and did every thing they could to get their parents together again. ūüôā

The four got in all kinds of trouble in both situations.

Christmas Eve (13)This was the evening sky when we left the cinema.

Christmas Eve (14)

Christmas Eve (15)The drive to Jere and Kristen’s house.

Christmas Eve (16)

Christmas Eve (17)The sunset at Jere and Kristen’s house.

Christmas Eve (18)

Christmas Eve (19)Lighting candles before supper

Christmas Eve (20)

Christmas Eve (21)I brought homemade bread – cheesy/herb and wheat – baked by our niece Amy.

Christmas Eve (22)A pretty bowl ready for taco soup

Christmas Eve (23)

Christmas Eve (24)Frosty – a newly rescued animal at¬†Roy and Deb’s – was a highlight of the evening.

His mama gave birth to quadruplets – one died at birth and she made it clear that she wasn’t going to take care of the runt.

DSC_6194Of course, that is exactly the kind of animal Roy and Deb love to give a chance at life. He already has a lot of people asking to be his forever parents.

Christmas Eve (25)

Christmas Eve (26)

Christmas Eve (27)

Christmas Eve (28)Yes, he his calling for food – “baaaaa!”

That was a fun evening – thanks Jere and Kristen for inviting us.

Taking Inge to Visit the Nut Hut (Roy & Deb’s Place)

Saturday, December 12

Annie Oakley (2)When Inge mentioned that she would like to meet the Nut Hut animals, we made it happen for her.

Her first meeting was with Annie Oakley – the prairie dog.

Batman (1)She wanted to meet each one, but Batman was the one she really wanted to meet. I love the look of pleasure in Inge’s eyes.

Batman (3)Inge loves cats and has watched Batman grow up into a beautiful black cat Рvia pictures only.

He was a mangy, skinny kitten when he arrived at the Nut Hut.

Dale (Downs Squirrel)Dale was pushed out of the nest by his mother because he was born with something similar to Downs Syndrome.

Evan (1)Evan the possum is beautiful – for a possum.

Evan (2)When I asked Deb why she hadn’t released him in the fall, she said¬†because Dale has bonded with Evan¬†like a parent – and due¬†to being¬†special needs,¬†Dale needs a parent.

Harley (4)Harley knew immediately that Inge was a cat-lover and responded to her attention.

Harley (6)Deb said it is unusual for Harley to respond to people the way he did  to Inge.

PresleyPresley is a special needs raccoon – and must stay at the Nut Hut.

Skippi Rae (1)Skippi Rae is one of Deb’s first rescues and oversees the deck where many¬†outside squirrels come to eat.

Skippi Rae (2)One time she “warned” all the inside animals that there was a hawk outside.

Roy, Deb, and DaleRoy and Deb (our youngest daughter) truly care for¬†their rescues and love when they can release them – as they do with most animals –¬†but when the animal¬†cannot go back into the wild, they make sure they have a good life – with them or someone else.

I missed getting a picture of their flying squirrel and hedge hog – and the two skunks are hibernating for the winter.

Since we were there, they got a tiny baby goat. He was one of four, and the mother made sure everyone knew that she was not going to take care of him. I will have some pictures of him in the near future.

DSC_5829They live in an area where there are many Amish, so we usually see signs of them on our way to or from their place.

DSC_5834Holsteins in a field always make me miss my dad Рa dairy farmer.


DSC_5831Thanks, Roy and Deb, for taking time to show Inge your animals.

It was fun for us to see each of them Рand meet Dale and Evan for the first time.

A Day In Court

Wednesday, August 5

This was the day I kept Reuben and Judi’s little ones while they were in court concerning Little K’s adoption.

Reuben and Judi's children (1)Our daughter Deb brought Lydia back to our house so she could help me care for the little ones.

Reuben and Judi's children (2)Deb rescues many orphaned baby animals during the spring and summer months (deer, raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, skunks, and opossums), then releases them Рand usually brings something along when she comes to visit.

Reuben and Judi's children (3)Little K enjoyed the baby raccoon.

Reuben and Judi's children (4)

Reuben and Judi's children (5)Eating a pop tart.

Reuben and Judi's children (6)

Reuben and Judi's children (7)Jesse was along as well, because he was spending the week with Roy and Deb.

Reuben and Judi's children (8)

Reuben and Judi's children (9)

Reuben and Judi's children (10)Miss K wasn’t comfortable touching the raccoon.

Reuben and Judi's children (11)

Reuben and Judi's children (12)

Reuben and Judi's children (13)

Reuben and Judi's children (14)Gathering shellbarks for Deb’s squirrels.

Reuben and Judi's children (15)

Reuben and Judi's children (16)Uncle Cerwin is home.

Reuben and Judi's children (17)Miss K loves to play this game on one of my old computers.

Reuben and Judi's children (18)I’ve had this game since our oldest grandchildren were little.

Reuben and Judi's children (19)I like this game for little children because they can feed animals, plow fields, play songs, feed children, pick up toys, and help a dog find a bone by pressing the space bar on the keyboard.

Reuben and Judi's children (20)While they were in my office, Little K and I were in the living room.

Reuben and Judi's children (21)We learned to not put any trash in this waste can while they were here because he loved trying to play on top of it or throw toys into it.

Reuben and Judi's children (22)

Reuben and Judi's children (23)He was standing quite well while they were here, and taking a few steps. He began walking shortly after they returned home.


Reuben and Judi came home with fairly good news – that the parent’s previous signatures to the adoption arrangement almost guaranteed that Reuben and Judi could keep Little K. The judge was going to look over everything and get back to them in a week or two.


Update: I received a “Praise the Lord” email the other day informing us that the adoption has been approved, and will be finalized sometime this fall.¬†We are so excited for them.

Cousin‚Äôs Week ‚Äď Day 5 ‚Äď Graystone Ridge Alpacas

Friday Morning, July 17

1 (1)When looking for local things to do for Cousin’s Week, I came upon this alpaca farm owned by the Longeneckers.¬†I¬†rarely drive on this road, and was not¬†aware there was an alpaca farm so close to Manheim.

1 (2)Donna Longenecker is on the left. It is easy to tell that she loves their alpacas.

1b (3)

1a (1)

1a (2)They had “circus week” a few days before our visit, and some of the white alpacas still had markings from the paint.

1a (4)

1a (5)

1a (3)The Longeneckers breed their alpacas for their fiber.

1a (6)Donna had stories about each one and their personalities.

1b (2)

1b (4)

1b (5)

1b (6)

1b (7)

1b (1)They also have angora goats.

1b (8)

1b (9)

1b (10a)

1b (11)

1cFree range chickens round out the menagerie of animals at this barn.

2 (1)

2 (2)

2 (3)

2 (4)Alpacas only have lower teeth and upper molars – but no upper front teeth. For that reason they have an interesting way of chewing their food.

2 (5)

3 (2)

3 (1)Donna said this one always has a hungry look because of her big eyes.

3 (2a)

3 (3)

3 (4)Donna told us a cute story about this bell.

They installed it, hoping to teach the animals when it was time to eat.

3 (5)A few days later, the alpacas (or goats – I forget which) reached over the fence and began ringing the bell when they were hungry. ūüôā

4Jared was interested in the fiber that was displayed in bags. They had recently been sheared.

5 (1)

5 (2)Our last stop was their store.

5 (3)She had several things they had felted Рwhich is similar to shrinking wool.

5 (4)Jared with an alpaca hat.

5 (5)Jesse with the hat, a finger puppet, and a pair of socks.

5 (6)

5 (7)

5 (8)A headband.

5 (9)These two were next to the driveway as we left the farm. The barn is to the left of this picture.

I was glad we took time to learn about alpacas.

Jared’s Birthday Party

Friday Evening, May 22

0Roy and Deb arrived with several baby raccoons that were recently rescued. I think these were from someone’s backyard.

0aThe owners of the property knew something happened to the mother because the babies were squealing and I think these are the ones that were falling out of a tree.

1Jared giving one a bit of love.



DSC_4034Time for supper.





DSC_4040They will be ready for release before too many weeks.

DSC_4046I forget what happened that tickled Jared’s funny bone.

DSC_4049He was supposed to close his eyes until the candles were lit.

DSC_4052His favorite – chocolate cake with peanut butter icing.

DSC_4053I missed him blowing out the candles, but snapped the picture just as he finished.


DSC_4057Opening presents

DSC_4058A cute card from his brother Josh.

DSC_4059Hey, Brother! This card can’t be opened unless an extremely charming, witty, and fun person touches it!

I didn’t get a photo of the inside, but it said something like – No problem. I touched it.


Birthdays are so much fun.