Tuesday, July 19, 2016

San Antonio's King William Cultural Arts District

In the late 1800s, many wealthy German merchants built elegant and lavish homes along the San Antonio River, south of downtown San Antonio.  Known as the King William District, the neighborhood is known as one of the most beautiful residential areas in Texas.  King William Street, named after King Wilhelm I, King of Prussia, is lined with many of the most famous homes.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Mission Concepcion, San Antonio, Texas

Mission Concepcion is one the oldest stone Catholic churches in the U.S.  The chapel was completed in 1755.

Some of the colorful frescos were restored on the walls and ceilings in 1988.  The marvelous frescos show a blending of Christian, Spanish, and Native art styles.

Friday, May 6, 2016

San Antonio's San Fernando Cathedral

One of the outstanding retablos in the main chapel of San Fernando is Our Lady of Candelaria, Patroness of the Canary Islands.  This may seem surprising, but San Fernando was actually founded by fifty-six Canary Islanders in 1731.  A lovely French Gothic nave was added in 1868, replacing the front of the original church.  Just inside the east entrance is the sarcophagus of the Defenders of the Alamo.  The remains were found buried under the sanctuary in 1936.  Pope John Paul II visited San Fernando Cathedral in 1987.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

What a Foxy Fox!

I have been lucky to spot and photograph a red fox in our backyard this year.  Red foxes tend to be very shy and nocturnal, but I saw this particular fox several times in the early morning and evening. 

Red foxes are more common throughout the U.S.  Most are thought to be the descendants of red foxes imported from England in the mid-eighteenth century for sport and released on the east coast. 

A red fox can run 30 mph and leap a greater distance in a single bound than a kangaroo - 15 feet.  My fox was eagerly waiting for a squirrel to come down from the deck.  Too bad for the fox, the squirrel did get away!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Help for Wildlife in Minnesota

I can't say enough about the tremendous work the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota (WRC) is doing to care for sick, injured, and orphaned wild birds and animals.  It is one of the largest wildlife rehabilitation clinics in the U.S., treating more than 8,600 animals each year.

For the first time, I attended the WRC Open House on Feb. 7, 2016.  I picked out a stuffed toy robin to go through a mock exam.  My robin needed to be taped up because he had a broken wing.  We went to radiology and along the way, volunteers and veterinary students explained how and why certain procedures are done and what type of cage my poor robin would be in during his recovery of about 3 weeks.  Everything was so interesting!  For one thing, I did not know birds have nucleated red blood cells!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

A Wonderful Surprise in Boston: The New England Aquarium

I was pleasantly surprised by the large collection of penguins at the New England Aquarium.  I spent quite a while watching the African, rockhoppers, and little blue penguins in the various pools along with a number of people in the pools cleaning the displays.  I would guess this is a constant battle.  The giant ocean aquarium also has a nice display of sharks, sea turtles, barracudas, and moray eels along with divers who were again cleaning the display.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

An Inspiring Vist to the Massachusetts State House

Since the legislature was not in session, I was able to visit both the House of Representatives with its wooden Sacred Cod hanging over the gallery and the Senate Chambers at the Massachusetts State House.  To think I was walking the same halls where John F. Kennedy once walked!  Boston is truly a unique city!