Tag Archives: Photos

Texas Rose Festival Queen’s Tea in 2011

Here's a view of the gorgeous train of the 2011 Texas Rose Festival Queen at the Queen's Tea, held the third weekend in October every year at the Tyler Municipal Rose Garden.

Here’s a view of the gorgeous train of the 2011 Texas Rose Festival Queen at the Queen’s Tea, held the third weekend in October every year at the Tyler Municipal Rose Garden.

It’s time for the  2013 Texas Rose Festival, which is October 17th – 20th. This year’s festival, the 80th, features “Raindrops on Roses and Other Favorite Things” as its theme.  The Texas Rose Festival started in 1933 and is held every year on the third weekend in October at the Tyler Municipal Rose Garden.

Here are photographs from the 2011 Queen’s Tea at the Tyler Municipal Rose Garden, as part of the festivities of the 2011 Texas Rose Festival. Click on the thumbnails to see full size-size photos with captions in a slide show.

One of the biggest events in the Texas Rose Festival is the parade, which you can read about by clicking on 2011 Texas Rose Festival Parade.  Lots of photos!
About the Texas Rose Festival.

Official Texas Rose Festival Website.

Tyler Municipal Rose Garden.


Filed under Photography, Travel

All I Want for Christmas is a Home!

Hi, I'm Santy Claws! I'd love to go home with you for Christmas and stay there forever! I've been very, very nice this year.

Santy Claws is a two-month-old kitten available for adoption at Wayside Waifs in Kansas City.  You can read more about animals available for adoption and the work of this wonderful no-kill animal shelter on its website at Wayside Waifs.

Here’s what Wayside Waifs has to say about little Miss Santy Claws.

My name is Santy Claws, but you can call me Santy for short! 🙂 I am a curious kitten who likes to check and see what is behind open doors. At my foster home, I once climbed the lower branches of the tree and perched there, looking like a live ornament, which brought laughter to the household! Mostly, I am a snuggly cat-my favorite thing is to snuggle up in a lap or next to you in bed. I am very comfortable with dogs and often tried to play with the black lab in my foster home, but I also play well with cats. Oh yeah, there was a guitar player in my foster home, and I really enjoyed snuggling up next to him while he played his acoustic guitar (not all the cats were as comfortable with this.)

Here’s one of my previous posts about Wayside Waifs.  I’m Adorable. Take Me Home! You can find more of my posts about Wayside Waifs by entering Wayside Waifs in my blog search box.


Filed under Cats, Kansas City, Life

The Prairie Center


Botantist and Environmentalist Frank Norman displays a sumac shrub on a recent nature walk at The Prairie Center in Olathe, Kansas. Smooth Sumac is a native shrub that is widespread across the country.


October is a favorite time of year in the Midwest.  It’s not too hot, there’s a crisp feel to the air, and a tangy fragrance wafts in the wind.   This smoke-tinged perfume could be just the dying breath of trees as they shed their leaves and hunker down for winter, but it brings back sweet memories of apple harvests, and trick-or-treating and shuffling in the leaves on the walk home from elementary school.  (On the way to school, I trudged rather than shuffled through the leaves.)

I’ve lived in the Kansas City area for most of my life, but I’m still discovering its treasures.  One is the Prairie Center in Olathe, Kansas. On Oct. 10, some friends, family members and I joined two dozen others on a stroll through part of the center’s 300 acres.  Frank Norman of Norman Ecological Consulting led the walk, which focused on native medicinal prairie plants.  Sue Holcomb of Grasslands Heritage Foundation also pointed out many of the native plants in the prairie preserve, which includes 45 acres of virgin prairie. Virgin prairie means that the land was never plowed, which is very rare to find.  Only five percent of the original tallgrass prairie remains today in the United States.



The Downy Gentian (Gentiana puberulenta) is a beautiful, rare find. It's small, but because of its brilliant blue color, it's easy to spot if you're lucky enough to find some.



The partridge pea (Cassia chamecrista) is a bright spot among the browning fall grasses at the Olathe Prairie Center.



In Autumn, sunflowers tower above the asters and other plants at the Prairie Center in Olathe.



Milkweed pods and willow-leaf purple aster at the Prairie Center in Olathe.


Here’s a post I wrote in the summer of 2008 about the Kansas City Symphony’s performance in the Flint Hills: Kansas City Symphony in the Flint Hills.

To learn more, click on these links.

Olathe Prairie Center

Grassland Heritage Foundation.

Dennis Toll has stopped blogging here, but the blog still contains a lot of information about the prairie, as well as useful links.

Flint Hills, Tall Grass



Filed under Biology, Conservation, Education, Environment, History, Kansas, Kansas City, Life, Nature, Photography, Science

Strutt With Your Mutt 2010

One of the fun activities at the Strutt was the Dog and Owner Lookalike contest.

I don’t have my own mutt, but I was tempted to borrow Loki to participate in Wayside Waif’s 20th annual Strutt With Your Mutt on Sept. 25, 2010, in the Brookside area of Kansas City, Missouri.  Loki would have been so excited to strut with so many dogs, as many as I’ve ever seen in one place at one time.  There were dogs practically as large as ponies, and small dogs that could fit in a purse. There were dogs in every size and shape and color.  The dogs were very well-behaved, amazing since there were so many people and dogs in close contact.  They even knew their manners when food was served.

Dachshunds of every color!

More than 1,200 people participated and $100,000 was raised, making this year’s Strutt the most successful ever, according to Wayside Waifs. Wayside Waifs is a no-kill animal shelter in Kansas City, Missouri, and places 6,000 cats and dogs every year into “furr-ever” homes. In addition to the strutters, more than forty volunteers helped out, and four corporations offered their help, too.  Click here to learn more about Wayside Waifs. You can also “friend” Wayside Waifs on Facebook for a lot more information and updates and check out Wayside Waifs on YouTube and Twitter. Check out my previous posts on Wayside Waifs through my blog search engine.

Instead of Loki, I brought a camera to capture the strutters as well contests featuring the dog and owner lookalikes, costumes, tricks and best canine kisser.  There is also an ongoing “hot tails” contest, Wayside Waifs’ second annual virtual fund-raiser. Vote for your favorite “hot tail” by clicking on Wayside Waifs Hot Tails contest. Voting ends on Oct. 21, so don’t just sit there on your tail. Get out your credit card to decide who’s wagging the hottest tail in town!

I’m not playing favorites, but here’s a blog featuring one of the candidates. Banana Abby. (Ok, maybe I have a favorite, although they are all adorable and deserve to win. I voted for a dog whose name rhymes with Not Rockets. Remember, Wayside Waifs gets all of the money to take care of those homeless dogs and cats.) Don’t click on the links until you have looked at the whole blog, because the links don’t open in new windows.

Annie, the Grand Marshal, starts off the Strutt.

Strutters visited the Wayside Waifs mobile adoption van.

Chris Cakes Pancakes attracted a lot of business. Proceeds went to Wayside Waifs.

Owners and candidates for "Hot Tails" line up on stage. How can you not vote for every one of these hot dogs -- and one cat.

This little dog doesn't have his upper paws, but he knows how to do the macarena.

Strutters relaxing in front of the stage.

Best costume candidates.

Breakfast al fresco.

These puppies awaited adoption at the Wayside Waifs mobile adoption van at the Strutt With Your Mutt. At least two puppies found their "furr-ever" homes that morning.

More than 1,200 people participated in the 20th annual Wayside Waifs Strutt With Your Mutt.

Lots of water for dogs and people.

Performing tricks for the crowd.

Strutting in style.

The Kansas City Royals baseball mascot Slugger has a treat for a very attentive dog friend.

Competitors in the owner and dog lookalike contest.

Strutters at the end of a very successful Strutt With Your Mutt event.

A dog hitches a ride for the macarena.

Wayside Waifs president Cynthia L. Smith does the twist with her dog.


Filed under Animals, Cats, Kansas City, Life, Pets, Photography

Hello, Sunshine

Sunning themselves are Stubbs and Fluffy on the lower shelf and Leo on the top in the new sun room in the newly renovated cat palace at Wayside Waifs in Kansas City, Missouri. Many of the cats awaiting adoption at Wayside Waifs get a chance to be free roamers while awaiting their "furr-ever" homes..

The newly renovated cat palace at Wayside Waifs in Kansas City is a great new home for cats and kittens awaiting adoption.  One of the new features is a sun room.  You know how cats love to sun themselves! Just watching the kitties lolling and sprawling in the sunshine makes me smile. I wish I could take them all home.   I have a soft spot for Leo and Fluffy, a cute couple.  Leo reminds me of my sweet old Malcolm.  Leo and Fluffy love to cuddle together, although I saw Fluffy snuggling with Stubbs, too. Fluffy is a darling little cat, with a huge tail.  She’s very friendly with people and other cats! (I might be turning into a crazy cat lady, but I don’t care!)


Wayside Waifs is an independent humane society and no-kill animal welfare organization established in 1944. According to its website, “Wayside Waifs is the largest pet adoption center in Kansas City, placing over 5,000 animals each year in loving forever homes.”

Click here for the Wayside Waifs website.

Wow, look at Fluffy's tail.


Filed under Animals, Cats, Kansas City, Life, Pets, Photography

Butterflies and Caterpillars — Oh, My!

Giant Swallowtail Butterfly on Purple Statice Postcards
Giant Swallowtail Butterfly on Purple Statice

This year in my garden, I added more host and nectar plants to the caterpillar and butterfly menu, but I haven’t seen many butterflies.  Maybe I should get outside more — and weed!  I know they visit, because I’ve found plenty of caterpillars on my plants, particularly the bronze fennel.  Sometimes there are dozens of Black Swallowtail (BST) caterpillars on my many fennel plants.

If you click on the photo you can see a tiny black swallowtail caterpillar on the far fennel stem in the front pot. It kind of looks like bird shit. That’s what the two large caterpillars looked like a week earlier when I gave the potted fennel to J and V. The baby was just an egg. My brother emailed me this photo to show me how voracious these critters are. Hopefully, they can supplement the menu with parsley.

I gave several potted bronze fennel plants to my brother “J” and his wife “V”.  The fennel plants I gave them were hosting some tiny BST caterpillars.  But BST caterpillars don’t stay tiny for long.   My brother emailed me a week later, saying they had “caterpillar overload” and wanted to know what else to feed the ravenous, voracious caterpillars.  He and V were afraid the caterpillars would starve.  The caterpillars had almost eaten the potted fennel to the dirt.  I suggested they buy parsley at the store, put it in water and hope the caterpillars don’t mind the change in menu.  V, a special education teacher for preschoolers, said her students are enthralled every year when they raise Monarch caterpillars, which require milkweed to eat.

A Monarch Butterfly caterpillar eats a swamp milkweed leaf in my garden.

BST caterpillars must eat members of the dill family, such as dill, parsley and fennel. (It’s amazing that’s all they need to eat.  Imagine just living and thriving on garnish!)  This fall, I’ll pot more fennel to give to friends to plant to attract more BST butterflies.  As development spreads,  there are fewer wild areas for butterflies and caterpillars to flourish, so we need to help them along by providing food and habitat.  Bronze fennel will seed itself and is a perennial, so it’s a great caterpillar host plant.  It does get tall and wide, though, so you need a large sunny spot for it in the back of your flower bed.

This summer, I saw many butterflies at Pendleton’s Country Market, which I visited with my daughter and her fiance to choose flowers for their September wedding.  The top photograph is from our visit to the fields.   The Pendletons grow plants for butterflies and their caterpillars in addition to flowers for cutting.  They also have a butterfly house you can visit.

Black Swallowtail Butterfly on Coneflower Postcard

From Jim Lovett of Monarch Watch: Greetings Monarch Watchers!

Here’s brief update to kick off the 2010 Monarch Migration/Tagging Season…

Status of the Population
The 2009-2010 overwintering monarch population in Mexico covered a forest area of only 1.92 hectares. This figure represents an all time low for overwintering monarchs and is well below the long-term average of 7.44 hectares (1994-2010). We worried about these low numbers because of the possibility that a devastating storm could drive the population even lower. And then it happened — a storm of the worst possible dimensions hit the overwintering area starting on February 2. Accounts of the flooding and landslides can be found on the Monarch Watch Blog at


Attempts to find out how the monarchs fared following these winter storms were unsatisfactory. We estimated that at least 50% of the monarchs died during the winter months, recognizing that this value could have been low.

Fortunately, the conditions encountered by the monarchs that reached Texas were favorable. The result, in spite of the low number of returning monarchs, was a substantial first generation. These butterflies colonized much of the northern breeding area from late April to mid-June.

It appears thmonarchs are making a modest recovery and we expect the overwintering population will measure close to 3 hectares.

For a more detailed status and updates throughout the season please visit the Monarch Watch Blog at http://monarchwatch.org/blog/ at the

Monarch Tagging Kits
We have begun shipping out tagging kits for the 2010 monarch butterfly tagging season – all of those ordered from January-June this year are on their way and those ordered last month should go out this week. New orders should be turned around within a week so if you haven’t ordered tags yet there is still time. 🙂

You can find all of the information about ordering tags, downloading additional data sheets, and our tagging program in general at


Chip in For Monarch Watch
Last year was our first “Chip in for Monarch Watch” fundraising campaign – a chance for Monarch Watchers, colleagues, friends, and family across the planet to show their support of Monarch Watch and its director Chip Taylor who brought the program to life nearly two decades ago.

By the end of the campaign, more than $23,000 was contributed by nearly 500 donors – wow! These funds put us in the best financial position we have ever been in heading into the winter season.

Many of you asked if we would be making this an annual fundraising campaign and we think that is a great idea! Although we accept donations at any time (http://monarchwatch.org/donate/), this formal effort will be a yearly reminder to renew your support and give you the opportunity to share your monarch stories or other comments with us. If you haven’t viewed the comments and photos submitted last year, we encourage you to do so – the connections facilitated by monarchs and Monarch Watch are truly extraordinary.

The 2010 “Chip in for Monarch Watch” campaign will run through the entire month of August – if you enjoy and/or appreciate all that Monarch Watch offers throughout the year, please consider making a donation today…it’s quick, easy, secure, and fully tax-deductible. As you may know, we rely on these contributions to allow us to continue to offer educational, conservation, and research programs and resources.

Donations to Monarch Watch are managed via the KU Endowment Association (KUEA) here at the University of Kansas and 100% of your donation will go to Monarch Watch – none of it will be used for KUEA operating expenses. Donations may be made by phone, online, or by mail and you can easily set up a monthly or annual gift. Also, many employers offer matching programs, effectively doubling your gift.

Please take some time to visit our “Chip in for Monarch Watch” page and pledge your support before the end of the month. If you have any questions about this campaign please feel free to drop us a line anytime!

Chip in for Monarch Watch 2010: http://monarchwatch.org/chip


Filed under Butterflies, Education, Entomology, Environment, Family, Gardening, Insects, Kansas, Life, Natural History, Nature, Photography, University of Kansas

I’m Adorable! Take Me Home!

Charmaine, a tortoiseshell glamorpuss, is one beautiful cat! She's one of many cats at Wayside Waifs looking for a home

Luna is an 11-year-old tortoiseshell sweetheart. Her bio says "This senior tortie cat came into Wayside when her owner was leaving for basic training and couldn't take her along. Luna is hoping her next family is out there waiting to give her the happy ending she deserves!"

I’ve been taking photographs once a week at Wayside Waifs, a Kansas City, Missouri, animal shelter,  for a month now.  I’m amazed at the huge variety of beautiful cats available for adoption in many colors, patterns and fur length. (See more of my photos below.)

I don’t even see them all, because, fortunately, many cats and kittens are quickly adopted.  But many more homeless cats and kittens (as well as dogs and puppies) come in the door as strays or surrendered pets just as quickly.  That’s why we need lots of families for these fuzzy balls of love. Wayside Waifs cares for about 400 cats and dogs and some small mammals every day.

Selena's beauty is undeniable from any angle.

Here’s from a July 22, 2010, email from Wayside Waifs:  “As Kansas City’s largest no-kill animal shelter, Wayside Waifs is committed to doing everything in our power to help animals in need.  Within the last week, Wayside Waifs has opened its doors to nearly 200 animals in need.  We’ve taken in homeless animals from overcrowded shelters in Missouri, Kansas and as far away as Montana.  We did not hesitate to answer a plea for help again yesterday, when a shelter in the Kansas City community was left in the dark following a powerful thunderstorm. 

Each of the rescued animals is now receiving loving care and a well-deserved second chance at Wayside Waifs.  Some have already found their forever homes, the rest are in good hands until the right family comes along.” 

Nearly all tortioiseshell cats are female. Find out why and more about these lovely cats by clicking on About Tortoiseshell cats.

To learn more about Wayside Waifs, see some of the animals available for adoption  and to donate, click on Wayside Waifs.

To see my first post on Wayside Waifs, which was featured on the WordPress home page for a day or two , click on  Wayside Waifs.  Be sure to check it out. Lots more beautiful cats and kittens! Most have been adopted, although as of this writing, Ike still needed a home. More cat photographs below.

Orion. Yes, he's got more than star power, he's requires the name of an awesome constellation to capture his magnificence.

Josie is always ready for her close-up, because she's nonstop gorgeous.

Joan shows off her sleek, fabulous looks. She's long, dark and beautiful.

Pedro has tuxedo markings, but don't let the formal attire fool you. He's a cat with a fun-loving personality and he really knows how to play!

On the left is Riff Raff, who's really an aristocrat with lovely manners and a charming and loving personality.

I confess, I don't know Jersey from Shore, but these two almost identical cats (one serves as a pillow for his littermate) are both sweet, beautiful kittens.

Ms. Pufferfish (sitting patiently on the left) and her kittens were not quite ready for adoption, but you can see that they will be in great demand.

Here's a preview of some of Ms. Pufferfish's kittens.

Who could resist Globo?


Filed under Animals, Cats, Humor, Kansas City, Life, Pets, Photography