Monday, March 21, 2011

... Back

I guess I should have knocked on wood or something.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Going, Going ...

This is G with his friend from across the street, standing in front of the remains of his fort. You know, the one he was sitting on top of in a picture a few weeks ago. There was a picture of him sitting on top of a larger snow pile in that same post, and that pile is even smaller than this one now (it's in a sunnier spot). At the rate things are going, we may lose the last of our snow before the end of this week. And with any luck we won't be getting any more any time soon.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Franklin Park Zoo

Inspired in part by the pictures Julia sent us from the reunion which included Hogle Zoo pictures (thanks, Julia!), G and I decided to go to the Franklin Park Zoo today. I'd never been before. I was under the impression that it was the main Zoo in Boston. That's probably true if you mean actually in Boston. In fact, it may be the only zoo in Boston. But there are at least two others in the Boston area, and having been to all three now I'm not sure that Franklin Park isn't the worst. That might not be fair since I visited the others in the summer. Only about half of the exhibits were actually open today. Many of the animals which are unable to withstand the cold weather have no provision for indoor viewing. In some cases I think they may actually be shipped somewhere farther south for the winter. Anyway, the Stone Zoo probably isn't really any better. In fact, if you were to combine the Stone Zoo with the Franklin Park Zoo (and eliminate the resulting redundancies) you'd probably end up with something close to Hogle Zoo. In some ways they really are combined, except for geographically. They appear to have a combined management. Although our single day's admission to Franklin Park wouldn't have gotten us into the Stone Zoo as well, if I'd bought a year's membership that would have worked for both.

The Franklin Park Zoo is still plenty large enough to tire out a 5 year old walking completely through it. Some of the missing animals have rather large habitats. And it was interesting to see which animals were able to deal with the cold and which weren't. For instance, we saw a rather large lion outside sunning itself on a rock. The rock was clear but the rest of the habitat was still covered in snow. Some tigers were also outside in an area with lots of snow on the ground. An area which I think would normally have held both zebras and giraffes had the zebras, but no giraffes.

There was a rather large indoor exhibit area for tropical animals which included a very large colony of gorillas. I tried to get a picture of the tiny baby gorilla clinging to its mother's leg as she walked around, but the crowd in front of the window was too large and by the time I was able to get close enough for a picture the mother had wandered out of sight. I did get a few pictures elsewhere, though. Here's G with a red panda. (The red panda is on the roof of the building behind G.)

G is for goat:

G hanging out with the flamingos:

G wanted to get his picture with the mandrill. This was in the tropical building and the area wasn't well lit. In the resulting picture G was well lit, but the mandrill was completely in the dark. I've tried to edit the picture to enhance the mandrill without completely washing G out. This is as good as I could get it. Maybe it's for the best, considering the mandrill's position and the prominence of a certain portion of his anatomy.

Finally, I'm not sure why zoos always seem to have a playground area, but the Franklin Park Zoo is no exception and as usual G was as interested in playing in it as he was in seeing any of the animals. This despite the fact that the ground in the play area was still very much snow covered.

Today was actually a rather warm day - the high was in the lower 50's. We only had one day this week that didn't get above freezing, It snowed enough last Sunday morning that church was canceled, but we've had more rain than snow since then. If it weren't for the still deep snow on the ground everywhere that hasn't been shoveled or plowed it would really feel like spring.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sledding, Flat Stanley, and Winning the Lottery

Spring may finally be arriving here. We had more snow over the weekend - somewhere near half a foot, or at least that's how high it was piled on my car. But since then we've been having rain and the highs have been well above freezing. I just checked the ten day forecast and we have another cold snap coming on Thursday but the highs are supposed to quickly get back up into the 40's after that and stay there, so in a couple of weeks we may even have some patches of bare ground.

I forgot to take my camera with me when we went sledding on President's day, so no pictures from that (sorry Rachelle). It wasn't really a very good sledding day, anyway. We only got an inch or two of snow that morning, and the local sledding hill had been sledded to death before that - all the previous snow had been compacted into solid ice. So while we could make pretty good time sledding down the hill it was pretty hard on our bottoms and getting back up the hill was nearly impossible.

To make up for the lack of sledding pictures from last week, here is a picture from a year ago:
Also, one other picture. We had a visit from Flat Stanley, and he went to a Star Wars themed birthday party with G on Saturday. Here's a picture of them with a couple of other boys at the party:
Both of the boys in the picture with G and Flat Stanley are in G's primary class. The one on the left is the birthday boy.

I understand that Flat Stanley also went to Parker's Maple Barn in New Hampshire that morning, but I don't have any pictures of that since I wasn't there.

The other notable event on Saturday is that G and I both got richer. G's big brothers were playing in a basketball league (M's team won the championship!), and they had a raffle for a fund raiser. There was a winner for each day of the month in February. On Saturday I got a call informing me that I'd won on the previous Thursday. Later that day I went to pick up my winnings at the local hardware store (I won $50). As I was leaving I ran into G with his mother and brothers as they were going in to pick up his winnings - he'd won that day's drawing. (This was after Parker's Maple Barn and before the birthday party.) He also won $50, which in his case just about doubled his net worth.