Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Friendship & Field Trip

Turtles - lots of turtles - sunning on a log

It was about five years ago that I joined an on-line group for Flat Travelers (i.e. Flat Stanleys) where you signed up & hosted a Traveler for a few weeks, sent it home with a journal, photos, etc. & got to see all kinds of neat things from other states/countries. One of the first families that we hosted was from upstate New York - Deb Alix & her crew. We ended up hitting it off very well from that brief encounter. She asked about scrapbooking & one thing led to another.

Now five years later (and five kids later - between both of us) we still have a wonderful friendship. We have met about 5-6 times in person. I have traveled to New York & stayed at her house (with & without kid), we have traveled together to Pennsylvania for a weekend of scrapbooking with other on-line friends, & we have met right here in Maine when they come out for vacation each year.

Deb & I (I'm on the left)
All the kiddos

Yesterday morning I received a call around 9:30 saying that today would be a great day to get together. I should mention that they are here in Maine but about three hours south of me on the coast. We had already picked a place to meet so I went in to high gear & got my guys together & headed out.

We went to the Maine Wildlife Park down in Gray. It's always a really fun field trip. This is about the fourth or fifth time I've been there with my boys. I used to live a lot closer than I do now (30 mins vs. 2+ hours) but it's still worth it. I took about 100 photos, but I promise only to post the best here. :-)

A bobcat sleeping on a hanging log. All four paws are hanging off.
This is one of two baby fawns they had in an enclosure. Someone had found them & thought they were abandoned so brought them in for rehab. They had big signs saying not to touch them as some people have proven to be highly allergic to their saliva. I spent the five minutes or so we were there hauling J back from the fence. He thought the deer was just "so cute!" ::grin::

When we first got to the moose enclosure, this big guy was way at the back & hard to see. He then decided to come forward & stopped directly in front of us to graze. It was almost like he was saying, "Okay, take my photo now please. I'm ready." He was there for quite some time. Pretty neat since I don't normally want to be this close to a moose without a nice fence between him & I. ::grin::

Yes, the bear is begging. Seriously. They have large signs around the park saying not to feed the animals. People would come in with food - carrots & such for the deer - and they no longer allow you to do that. However, they do have dispensers by some of the animals where you can buy a handful of feed. Needless to say, the animals have learned that. The two bears were pacing near where the visitors stand & even got in to a couple of scuffles about it. One was noticeably bigger than the other. They both sat back like this & begged at certain points.

An immature bald eagle

The eagle was really neat. There were a couple boys there who had paid to be behind the scenes. One went in to this enclosure. They had to pick up the larger feathers that are shed. The ranger was saying that since this is a federally protected bird, they cannot keep the feathers. They are also federally protected. Every day he goes in & collects the big ones (not the downy ones that are shed) & mails them to an organization that distributes them to different Native American organizations to be used in their ceremonies. Then they came back in & fed the eagle some cut up rabbit. It was really cool to watch. We don't have many eagles here in Maine - yet. I think I've seen 2-3 in my lifetime here.

A raven eating some mice

This raven was very cool to watch. He was flitting around when the ranger & the young boy with him caught up to where we were to feed him. He is used to people since he's been here since he was young. In fact, another ranger said that he would never be released back in the wild because he is to used to being around people. Anyway, the boy started to give him the mice & he just started going nuts for them. He was grabbing 2-3 at a time. Then he would hop down to where we were standing & buried them! The kicker...he put a rock on top of his caches so he could find them later. He wasn't hungry then. It was a lot of fun to watch. We were lucky to have a ranger in trying to work with him to come to a glove. She said he had done it a lot last year but hadn't wanted to this year. She was asking the kids questions & telling them stuff. Then she said, "You guys are smart. You must have good teachers." ::grin:: Deb & I just grinned.

Near the entrance to the park is a cut-out bear where the kids can stick their heads in for a photo-op. Here are my boys -oldest to youngest:

And here are Deb's kids... click here to see Bess...

It was a great time & a good way to chat while the kids kept busy & had fun. I'm thankful for such a wonderful friend in Deb.


  1. Very cool pics of the zoo... and WOW! I didn't know that you and our very own SHS Debbie know each other! I hope to meet both of you the next time I travel back east.. probably sometime next spring, I'm hoping anyway.

  2. Oh, Lisa, how FUN to get all of your kids together and spend the day with Debbie's family! I knew you'd met each other but I did not know that you had stayed at her house in the past! You have known each other for quite a while!

  3. I told Debbie, I've been reading y'alls blogs for a year now. I remember seeing the photos from last year's trip. Cool field trip.

    Now are those cameras slung around your know obsessing over camera sizes this week. LOL

  4. Yes, De'Etta - they are cameras. We were commenting after Brian took the photos for us that we should have taken the camera cases off. :-) I posted on your blog that I have a Nikon CoolPix. Not my absolute favorite camera, but I have been able to get some fairly good photos of it. I hate the lag time on it while the flash recharges though - way too long.


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