Tag Archives: animals

The herd.

 

Crazy weather this winter left the wildlife a little shell shocked.

Snow, rain, ice, warm temperatures, then more snow and ice. They didn’t know what the hell was going on.

We had skunks in January and fox in February.

And deer?

 

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Yes dear, we had deer.

 

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Veritable herds of deer.

 

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Who we love to watch.

 

 

I mean really….

How can you not?

 

 

Such beautiful creatures.

 

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They almost make the slow internet speed we have to suffer in the country worthwhile.

For a Living Museum, it sure had a lot of dead things…..

 

Making our way inside, I was surprised by the number of dead things at the Virginia Living Museum.

And to be honest?

They didn’t look too happy about the fact either.

 

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Look at the stink eye on this owl.

Clearly he’s not pleased with that skeleton placement.

 

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The woodchuck has a piece of wood.

A bit too on point…. no?

 

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And Bambi?

Well, he looks like he’s ready to bite off a curator’s finger…. or two.

 

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Even the turtle you climb into wasn’t immune from the specter of death.

 

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But what really took the cake?

The Christmas tree….

 

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Complete with a fish skull angel topper.

 

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If that doesn’t give junior screaming holiday nightmares… nothing will.

 

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Thankfully there were live creatures as well.

 

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Though little people had to be talked into petting them.

 

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Horseshoe crabs used to wash up on the Jersey shore by the dozens when I was a kid and they always fascinated me.

 

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A more prehistoric sea creature you’re not apt to find.

 

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There were interestingly set up exhibits on multiple levels.

 

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Where the husband practiced his fish whispering again.

 

 

 

Various tanks contained the beautiful…

 

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And the bizarre.

 

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I couldn’t quite figure out this crab.

 

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Was he picking his nose… or giving me the finger?

Tough call.

 

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I was pleased to see my favorite Lionfish again….

 

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Spiky venomous fins and all.

 

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Gracie fell totally in love with a puffer and sang songs to it…..

 

 

 

Though she got yelled at by a volunteer for being a little too physical with the tank.

 

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I’m not sure why disco colored lights ruled in the jellyfish area.

 

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But we enjoyed the aquarium and it’s funky residents.

 

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There was an odd cave like area….

 

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That was very dark and next to impossible to take pictures in… so I can’t share the bats and snakes and reptiles we saw.

But I did manage a shot of the sign for my husband’s spirit animal.

 

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Yup… change the shiny objects part to rusty crap? And they’re his people.

Gracie enjoyed the interactive children’s section where all the other kids were making plates of plastic food for their parents.

My contribution to the meal she was making for her mother?

 

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What can I say?

You just can’t beat a nicely roasted rat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dead things, live things and lots of things in between.

 

After we settled into resort #2, we tried to pick a day’s activity that we could all enjoy… because yours truly was not visiting another theme park, no matter how much I loved that child.

 

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Hence the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News. Part zoo, part aquarium and lots of interactive children’s exhibits.

 

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Because who doesn’t love a velociraptor Santa Claus?

 

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An extensive boardwalk wraps around the wildlife enclosure where little people can run to their heart’s content.

 

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And the old folks can enjoy the beauty of a red fox…..

 

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And a bobcat.

 

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Who even though a wild cat, still enjoyed a cardboard box.

 

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                                          Insert required cute group photo here.

 

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There was a plastic dinosaur section…..

 

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Where little hands could get filthy excavating some plastic bones.

 

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Injured vultures…..

 

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And bald eagles were next… this one with a clearly broken wing. And if you’ve ever wondered how large an eagle’s nest is?

 

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Yeah. They’re pretty damned large.

 

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More boardwalks, more running.

 

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And some shore birds…

 

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Whose antics I could easily have stood and watched all day.

 

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Did she see anything?

No, but she had fun trying.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Busch Gardens Virginia….or as I like to call it, Hell.

 

I think we’ve established we are not theme park people.

So spending 6 hours at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg while on Christmas vacation?

 

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It’s billed as the prettiest theme park in the country.

 

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And while I doubt that’s a very high bar…..

 

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It’s plastic fantastic fake European villages failed to impress….. seeing they were less village and more overpriced stores filled with gimmicky tourist merchandise.

It was enough to make me drink.

 

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Warm Apple Pie Cocktail in hand… we continued.

(You knew it was coming, don’t look so surprised.  If ever I was in dire need of alcohol? It was then.)

 

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So we paid a fortune, had drinks in hand and a 7 year old who wanted to go on some rides. Problem was… most of them weren’t operational for Christmas.

This did not go over well with the little person in our midst.

 

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She couldn’t drink, and she didn’t care about fake Europe… she just wanted some rides!

 

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We found a few animals to distract her.

 

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But it was cold and she was growing more bored with each step. Every ride we passed? Locked up tight.

And then viola!

 

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I spotted a gondola.

 

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3 adults and a midget. We’re in!

So we get on line.

A long line.

A very long line that took us almost 40 minutes to reach the end.

We boarded, anticipating a leisurely ride over the park.

 

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And I kid you not, after taking this picture….

And this video….

 

 

Which lasted 40 seconds, we were done.

One second of ride for each minute we waited on line. Totally worth it!

Not.

 

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We landed in “France”.

And you know what? I’ve been to France…. this wasn’t even close.

Still not finding a working ride, I spotted Hogwarts and the child’s eyes lit up.

Yay me!

 

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Boo Busch Gardens…. it was blocked off and locked up tight.

I was beginning to hate this place.

 

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Psychedelic camera toting bear aside.

Did I mention it was cold?

 

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I mean down right freezing for southerners and even quite brisk for us Yankees after a few hours of walking.

 

 

At least this made her laugh.

If we had known all the fun kid stuff would be closed? We wouldn’t have gone in the afternoon but just waited until after dark for the lights.

 

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Even the scooter brigade looked disappointed.

 

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We did mange to find an old time carousel.

 

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Where we waited on line for another 30 minutes to ride for 30 seconds. You could seriously get whiplash from how quickly these things end.

 

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Magic dragons were climbed on….

 

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Towers were explored….

 

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More alcohol was needed….

Okay, maybe that was just me.

 

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Rope bridges were crossed….

 

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Even by the husband if you can believe it.

 

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Another warm up station later, it was starting to get dark enough to see some lights.

And yes, as cold and miserable as I was….. I was going to wait until dark for the lights we paid almost $300 to see.

A preview…

 

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If you shovel… they will come.

 

With apologies to Kevin Costner….

 

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I’m talking about the deer.

 

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When snow covers the ground and grass is hard to find?

 

 

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Shoveling a path is a sure way to attract a crowd.

 

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Or a herd, as the case may be.

 

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We were really glad to see our resident 12 point buck survived hunting season.

 

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And visits daily with his harem.

 

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Of course he also chases them away when the treats run low.

 

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Cheeky bugger.

Here’s a little clip in between snow storms.

 

Cape Cod Day 3… Plimoth Plantation. Goats, beer, a cranky llama and the Mooflower

 

Continuing through the English settlement we saw garden plots…

 

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And goats.

 

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Who liked a good chin scratch.

 

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I mean really liked a good chin scratch. This guy followed me the entire length of the fence.

 

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We met a young man chopping firewood…

 

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Who when asked what was in his flask, replied “Beer, of course. The water will make you sick.”

 

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We discovered beer was quite popular in those days.

 

 

 

And if I had to cook all my meals in that contraption behind the women?

 

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I’d drink beer everyday as well.

 

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Colonists popped out at you everywhere…

 

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Some friendly…

 

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Some not.

 

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This woman was the Governor’s wife and therefor had a slightly better home. With wood floors and a proper chimney.

 

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Although the quality of workmanship seemed about the same.

Finished with the colony, we moved on to the museum with it’s eel pot…

 

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It’s sea suit.

 

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And because I knew you’d ask…

 

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And it’s Mayflower provision list.

 

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250 lbs of bacon and 280 lbs of butter… That will hold me for 8 weeks, but what will the rest of you eat?

 

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Though I do have to say, that list seems a little suspect. Considering margarine was invented in 1868 and Rice Krispies in 1927…I highly doubt they were aboard the original ship in 1620.

WTH?

But the museum did have the Mooflower….

 

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And an anatomically correct, trouser wearing, sea going cow vessel?

 

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Makes up for a lot of historical inaccuracies.

 

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Last up was the petting barn where we found…

 

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Yes.

One rabbit…

Apparently the pilgrims ate everyone else before we got there.

 

 

But then we saw…

 

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So we met Hyacinth.

 

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And may I just say?

 

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She was a bitch.

I tried to pet her and almost lost a finger. She tried to head butt a few children and looked ready to go 12 rounds with a service dog that walked by.

 

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If you’re approaching that age when you yell at the kids to get off your lawn? Don’t get a shotgun…

Get a Hyacinth.

Cape Cod Day 3, Plimoth Plantation English colony.

 

Done with the Indian village, we walked through an exhibition hall full of 17th century replica pottery.

 

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It was a bit odd. But there was a still…

 

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And an 8 handed mug…

 

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So that probably explains it. That, and the fact water was often polluted so they drank mostly beer and/or alcohol.

Onward to the colonist’s settlement….

 

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First, the fort which commanded the high ground.

 

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With it’s wonderful old cannons.

 

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Then down into the settlement.

 

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It was explained to us that all the employees would be playing the parts of characters based on the original inhabitants, wearing authentic clothing and speaking in the language of the period. We were encouraged to interact with them as such.

 

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Before visiting here I was under the impression that the Pilgrims came to the new world to escape religious persecution. And while that’s true to an extent, it’s not the whole story. They actually fled to the Netherlands first, which explains all the windmills you see in this part of the country.

Read about it here.

 

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The settlers in Plymouth were actually sponsored by England to colonize America. They were given ship’s passage and supplies and were expected to send back goods (mostly furs and pelts) to repay the investment. After 7 years of this, they were granted land… something working class people had no hope of obtaining back home.

 

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Of course nothing went as planned. They were supposed to land in New York, but they landed in Massachusetts. They were supposed to land in September, but they landed in December.

 

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They were supposed to fish for food, but there were no fisherman. They were supposed to build a town, but there were no trained carpenters.

Piss poor planning if you ask me.

Hell, a large percentage of them didn’t even live through the first winter.

 

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But they’d brought some livestock…

 

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And as we know, managed to survive if not yet thrive.

 

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This fellow was trying to frame a window.

 

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On the exterior of this house.

 

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And if you think the Indians had it bad, imagine 15 people living and sleeping in here at a time.

 

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Check out the slight list of the house on the far right. If I didn’t know better, I’d say the husband had a hand in it’s construction.

Personally, I loved the roofs…

 

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Fashioned from rolled reeds, they begged to be petted.

 

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In the next house we found this fellow, and the husband initiated a conversation.

 

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I’m guessing the man had stage experience, because he was seriously deep in character.

 

 

Working there must be an interesting job.