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critters
Sep 10th, 2009 by Phoebe

spoted deer

 

that’s all

I SUMMON MY MINIONS!
Sep 9th, 2009 by Tessa
I summon you minions...

I summon you minions...

Pigeon "falconry"

Pigeon "falconry"

What’s the only thing better then a puppy or a school of giant koi bigger then my leg? A FLOCK OF CHEEKY PIDGEONS!

One of the markets we went to was along side a beautiful river. The water was so clear it almost looked like you were gazing into liquid glass. There was  a traditionalstyle,  vermilion bridge stretched across the length of the river. Under the bridge was a School of MASSIVE koi. One of the vendors at the market sold fish food. As we walked over to bye some, I kept my eyes on the ground, marveling at how clean the street was. We bought some food and hurried over to the river. The river was more like a large canal. The sides of it were made of river rock and cement with some grass poking out here and there. The ideal place for pigeons. We stopped at the steep slope and started throwing the small round pellets at the koi. The pigeons on the rocks slowly gathered under us to catch all of the poorly aimed pieces bouncing off of the slope. The foraging pigeons in the market behind us started to close in from the back. We were quickly surrounded on the wide sidewalk, about 10 yards away from the closest stall. Flustered by the pigeons and half flustered by my Mom hollering at them and running away (pigeons and camping without air mattresses are her week points), I started throwing the food as far as I could to get them away. My mom laughed.  ”You know you could probably get them to eat out of you hands!” She said as a joke, but I can never tell so I put some food in my hand and held it out thinking, what the heck! These pigeons have got to be the cleanest pigeons in the world!. Phoebe quickly picked up on it. After a little, I decided to try something cooler. I put the food in my hand and stood up with me hand in the air. Five  pigeons instantly jumped onto my hand and ate right from it.

Nacho Takayama

Canadian Critter count!
Aug 16th, 2009 by Phoebe
A cute little ground squirrel (we thought it was a giant chipmunk, but its not!)

A cute little ground squirrel (we thought it was a giant chipmunk, but its not!)

Big Horn Sheep (you can tell its a boy by its horns and other things)
Big Horn Sheep (you can tell its a boy by its horns and other things)
Pippy the house sheep that thinks its a dog and let us dress it up!
Pippy the house sheep that thinks its a dog and let us dress it up!

The Rocky Mountains in Canada have lots of animals that we don’t have in Arizona, and a few that we do have.  We drove around a lot so we had lots of time to look for animals.  We really wanted to see a bear and a moose, but we never saw the moose.  Here is a list of the animals we did see:

  • 1 BLACK bear (not huge but still cool!)
  • 7 Big horn sheep
  • 1 Elk
  • 2 deer
  • 1 Pika (a tiny little rodent only found it here)
  • Pelicans (really giant pelicans in Calgary – they weree along a river where there were salmon we think)
  • Sea gulls (also in Calgary – strange)
  • 1 wild turkey
  • Hawks (a lot of them)
  • Cows (many, many, many cows….)
  • Regular sheep and one “house sheep” named Pippy (see picture)
  • alpacas (they are SO cute and I want one and my mom said we can see if Phoenix allows us to have them when we get back!)
  • chick`a` munks (as I call them) or chippy munkos (what Tessa calls them)
  • black squirrels
  • Horses
  • Thaylee (pretty fluffyhouse cat at couchsurfer’s)

 And that is all for now!

Ahhh, the Canadian Rockies in the summer…
Aug 12th, 2009 by Kate

 

The Banff Hot Springs Hotel vista

The Banff Hot Springs Hotel vista

Banff Gondola ride

Banff Gondola ride

Sulpher Mountain hike - Banff

Sulpher Mountain hike - Banff

Top of Sulpher Mountain

Top of Sulpher Mountain

Really, you just have to see this place to believe it – it is so gorgeous.  Really really gorgeous.  REALLY.

 

We flew into Calgary last week to cold and rainy weather.  What a shock after the sunny humid days of the Bahamas and the dry intense heat of AZ.  It was about 50°F with constant light rain – and we looked like total fools with our 3 layers on.  We couchsurfed at a beautiful house in south Calgary – our host, Nathan, was actually out of town for the week, and in true couchsurfing fashion, he checked out our profile and decided we were worthy enough to actually let us stay at his house without him even being there!  The highlight of our Calgary stay was actually an adorable little gelato shop called “Fiasco” on 10th Ave and Kenzington.  The owner and staff were great fun, and their flavors were unlike any we had ever tried… my recommendation… Avocado Lime, Phoebe’s favorite… Salted Carmel (ala Auntie Tasch), Tessa’s fav… Honey Pear, and Jeff’s was the Chai Tea gelato… YUM!

 

From Calgary we headed an hour east through pretty rolling hills full of cow pastures and the Olympic ski jumps from the Calgary Olympics.  Have you ever seen those ski jumps in person?  They look scary enough when you see them on TV, but in person (or should I say speeding by them on the highway) they look TOTALLY INSANE!  Tess even thought they looked scary!

 

On to Canmore and Banff, and couchsurfing with Jody & Nic.  Canmore & Banff are sort of the gateway to the Rockies.  We all commented on how the landscape went from little rolling hills to GIANT mountains in such a short distance.  And the Rockies are actually rocky – I guess I’d never really thought about why they call them the Rockies – but the tops of all of them are bald and rocky (duh Kate).  The pine forests are impossibly thick, and it is hard to imagine being the first people that thought settling in this area would be a good idea.

 

We enjoyed our time in Banff (although its pretty touristy) – spending time checking out the Banff Hot Spring Hotel (Phoebe has decided she would like to get married there – we’ll start saving up for that as soon as we pay this trip off) and riding the gondola up to the top of Sulphur Mountain (and hiking down the entire 5.8kms – Tess will blog about that adventure).  We were disappointed to see that the hot springs had been turned into a big boring swimming pool and think that we should call our hot tub back home a “hot spring” and charge $8 a person so sit in it.

 

The next day we headed over to the infamous Lake Louise, and then over to Yoho National Park to visit the third largest waterfall in Canada, Tawkaka Falls.  We turned off the main highway to take the mountain road up to the falls, and no sooner had Jeff said “now girls, keep your eyes peeled, this is the kind of road that we’re likely to see animals on” then a big black bear lumbered onto the road in front of us.  IT WAS SO CUTE!  It is such a bummer that bears are so terribly dangerous because they are totally adorable and I could have one in our backyard next to the chickens.  I was so excited that I didn’t get the camera out fast enough to catch it – but we are very happy to add it to our critter count.

wasp on a stick!
Jul 20th, 2009 by Tessa

I was staying back one day at camp with all of the assistant counselors and one of my friends, Tom, when our counselor, David decided to show us a cool trick.

David, the guy counselor, decided to show us how to put a bee or wasp on a stick. You see, when a bee or wasp gets cold, they go into a dormant stage where they fall asleep, and as soon as it becomes warm again, they wake up. So we got a 2 foot stick, a foot long string, and a wasp from outside. We stuck the wasp in the freezer and waited for it to fall asleep. In the mean time we tied the string to the end of the stick. As soon as it fell asleep, we took it out, and while it was still cold, we  tied the string around it. This made us a “wasp on a stick”. As soon as it woke up, it couldn’t sting us because the stick was long enough that it couldn’t reach us (since it is on a string). I wasn’t involved in this activity, I simply watched them.  (at least I am obliged to say that so I don’t have bad wasp Karma) Now that it had woke up, it flew around on the stick and we walked it around. Before we left, we let it go though, either by cutting the string and running or by freezing it again and untying it.

Giant squalls and big-ass sharks
Jul 19th, 2009 by Kate

We are all falling into bed after a great weekend in West End, Grand Bahama.  It is the furthest-most western tip of the country, and the first stop for many boaters crossing over the Gulf Stream from Florida.  It was my youngest sister Claudia’s 15th birthday, and Jeff flew in from AZ for a long weekend..  Ten of us slept between my dad’s boat and a very wonderfully air-conditioned hotel room (yes, I know, this Third World country-thing with no AC is breaking me in for the Asia part of our trip!).

So my last post, when I said it is “better in the Bahamas” well I failed to mention that it is sometimes “bigger” here too.  Last night, we sat on the  dock with a bunch of other boaters grilling fish and swatting mosquitos when a really big, I mean really big, squall kicked up over the warm waters of the Gulf Stream and within minutes pounded the begebbers out of us!  Forty to fifty mile an hour winds with gust upwards of 65+, total horizontal rain, and lightening that literally made the entire ocean look like it was a sunny day.  The thunder cracked so loud you instictively looked around to see what was going to fall on your head.  So you’re thinking “big storm”  what’s the big deal… HA!  Our only place to retreat within a quarter mile were onto big floating boats with large poles sticking up high into the air – exactly the place our mother’s told us NOT to go in an electical storm (mom- was your eye twitching uncontrolably last night – its because we were ALL not heeding your warnings!)… 

So imagine about 15 of us huddled inside a boat cabin soaking wet in giant rocking waves, with lighting and thunder about, oh, every 3 seconds – and Phoebe screaming over and over again – IT’S A HURRICANE – and for those of you who know Phoebe, I need say nothing more.  After the storm passed, we all decided that even though we were a bit scared, it was sort of awesome too.

Oh but not as awesome as the 7 foot shark the kids saw (yes, length confirmed by non-overdramtic adult – read: not Kate) today while out snorkling!!!!  It was a nurse shark (they aren’t typically agressive) but sitll very cool and big (it was bigger than the dinghy they were in!).  They also saw a large sting ray, a lion fish (unfortunately not native to the Bahamas and reeking havoc on the local reef fish, but a very very beautiful fish), and an octopus that actually squirted ink!  They also hit the sea biscut lottery, so we’re going to try and bring some back to AZ and see how many make with without breaking into a zillion tiny bits.

Phoebe’s not home tonight to add to her critter count, so I’ll do it for her:

  • nurse shark
  • sting ray
  • octopus
  • conch
  • lion fish
  • sargent majors (those cute black & yellow fish)
  • snook (although there is some debate among the adults)
  • flounder
  • sea gulls
  • puffer fish
  • needle fish
  • trigger fish (dead & stinky but cool)
  • potcakes (stray mixed breed island dogs- Miranda you would won 500 dogs if you lived here)
  • giant hermit crabs
  • land crabs
It IS Better in the Bahamas!
Jul 13th, 2009 by Kate

Phoebe & Jack's Ocean Playground

The beaches and ocean here really are quite amazing… the one behind my sister’s house is by Bahamian-standards considered an “average” beach – nothing special – HA!!!!

The beach:  White sand finer than powder, tons of sea shells at low tide, no other people for a mile on each side, sea oat swaying, sea grapes sweetening the air, and in the afternoon, a beautiful breeze from the tradewinds…

The ocean:  When I get back to the real world, I’m going to make an entire box of crayola crayons that are just the shades of blue of the ocean in these islands.  There will be at least 50 crayons in that box.  You know when you are a kid you hear people say “the eskimos have 100 different names for snow”, well we are going to have to come up with new names to describe blue, because it would be a shame to let all these magnificant colors go unrecognized.

Behind my sister’s house, the ocean is literally a playground.  Within swimming distance are grassy beds with conch and starfish, small coral reefs teeming with Nemo and his peeps, sandy bottomed areas with sea cucumbers and other fabulously squishy creatures (hopefully Tess will post about her new best friend, the sea slug – no offense intended Chloe), and an area the girls have deemed “the sand dollar graveyard”.  At low tide, all of these areas are in less than 4 feet of water!  

We take the sea kayaks out about a 1/4 mile, stick our heads in to see if anything peaks our interest, set anchor, and plop on in (for those keeping track – the water is about 84F). 

Yes, indeed it IS better in the Bahamas…

Tessa with one of 100 starfish

Tessa with one of 100 starfish

Nacho Bahamas
the most adorable thing you ever saw ^_^
Jul 8th, 2009 by Tessa
So cute???

Just a little fact- that curly tails tail isn’t very curly ^.

 

“Curly Tails”  So cute!!

 

THERE ARE THESE AWESOME LITTLE GECKO LIKE THINGS ALL OVER THE PLACE!!!!!!!!!  they have these little tails and they curl up in a circle like a… like a… – Spiral! and they are the cutest thing you ever saw ^_^ I love them but they keep running away from me (oh no…)

Critter count
Jul 1st, 2009 by Phoebe

We are going to keep track of all the animals that we see on our trip.  Some of the animals that we’ll see are not ones from our country, and I think all my friends will think that the animals are cool.  We are going to keep a list and take pictures of the ones we think are awesomely cool.

So far we have seen:

  • 3 squirrels
  • blue jays
  • cardinals (not the football kind)
  • chamelons with red puffy necks
  • frog
  • Fritter dog, Ziggy, and Roz at Papas (two dogs and a cat)
  • Shugorei!!!  She is living at Nana and Pappy’s and was so happy to see us she wagged her butt so hard she knocked herself over
  • jumping fish in the St. Lucie (don’t know what kind though)
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