Weekly Photo Challenge: Extra, extra

There were big two extras in this photo: the size of the cinnamon roll and Aunt Betty’s delighted expression at seeing the giant pastry (and the gentle teasing from everyone else at the table.)

Giant cinnamon roll.
That’s a cinnamon roll? What you get when you order one at Jensen’s in Burnsville, Minnesota.

And an earlier extra. Was trying to photo the ducks and found the accidental bald eagle in the image. The white tail feathers and head are backlight to the left side of the image in the trees.


A cast of extras with starring roles:

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Close

Better late than never!

CLOSE — The squirrel on the right spent a good half hour chasing the squirrel on the left, round and round the yard and up a tree. The squirrel on the left finally laid down for a nap on a limb. The one on the right halted its head-butting chase only reluctantly.

And a repost from 2010’s visit to St. Paul’s Como Park Zoo.

BUT FOR THE GLASS — Closeness between children, water and polar bears.

And others to check out from this week’s challenge:

http://mostlymonochrome.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/weekly-photo-challenge-close/
http://windagainstcurrent.com/2012/06/15/weekly-photo-challenge-close-take-two/
http://sanvarfotofun.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/admiring-the-seagull/
http://tostir.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/weekly-photo-challenge-close/
http://jjcolourmehappy.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/weekly-photo-challenge-close/

And more …

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/weekly-photo-challenge-close/#more-9050

ZZzzz is for zoo

What to do on a hot, bright June day in the Land of 10,000 Lakes? Go to the Minnesota Zoo! What better idea than to see exotic animals in a natural setting while enjoying a beautiful day away from the blue glow of the computer screen and the hubbub of the office. It was vacation, after all.

The zoo was all excitement. Dozens of school buses and minvans were wedged into the parking lot. Families with strollers and adults with “chaperone” tags were clamoring for tickets. Once inside, one could hear see the boundless energy of thousands of elementary school children in their last week of school unleashed in the zoo’s broad walkways.

Weaving our way through the maze of youthful zoologists, we were privileged to hear some of their observations, including: “It smells like poop here” and, after glancing at the tortoises,  “Are those real?”

This brought back youthful memories of school visits to the Bronx Zoo and watching  many and sundry creatures doing what came naturally: grazing, grooming, walking, swinging, flitting, et cetera.

Well, on a hot, bright June day, what we saw at the Minnesota Zoo was a lot of ZZZzzzzzzzz-ing.

AHEM — Can you keep it down? I’m trying to nap here.
WARNING: Exposure to sun can induce sleepiness. Do not operate heavy equipment, including self, while exposed.
TIRED TIGER — A refreshing swim calls for a nap on a bed of grass in the shade.
CARIBOU — After scanning the great expanse of the caribou exhibit for some time, we finally caught these two. Napping. This may be one of my favorite zoo photos ever.

Shadows of former lives.

Despite being home for a week, our thoughts are still on the road somewhere along the vast flatness that is the prairie land of the Dakotas, the vibrance of “The Cities,” and the cornfields of Iowa.

View of road with headlights.
Evening lit by headlights heading south on I-29 in South Dakota.
Windshield splotches cast shadows on dashboard
Shadows of former insects fall across the dash.
Concrete tepee at a rest stop in southern South Dakota.
Looking up through the top of a concrete tepee at an interstate rest stop in southern South Dakota. Someone's now-deflated football joins a bird's nest as addenda to the structure.
Big white booty
Polar bear at the Como Park zoo in St. Paul cools his booty on a hot summer day.
Shadows on stone
Shadows sweep the stone at Minnehaha Falls, Minnesota.
abandoned farmhouse
Abandoned house sits alone near Stack Slough WMA in North Dakota.
Lone tree in Iowa
Lone tree breaks up the horizon, along with wind turbines, in northern Iowa.

Como Park Zoo

Half of the population of the Twin Cities was at St. Paul’s Como Park Zoo the day we visited.  Gorgeous late summer day that was bright, clear and dry with a high only in the 80s. (in contrast to our triple-digit temps in Arkansas.)

Tortoise slogs uphill
Mother to child: "Honey, look at the big turtle!" Child to mother (with eye roll): "It's a tortoise, mom."
Zoo visitors see polar bear swimming
Visitors crowd around the glass to see one of the Como Park Zoo's two polar bears take a dip.
Zoo patrons viewing gorillas
Only glass separates fellow primates at the Como Park Zoo.
Sleeping lioness
In the jungle -- the urban jungle -- the lion(ess) sleeps today.
Como giraffe
High and mighty in St. Paul.