Jellies Invasion Exhibit at National Aquarium Baltimore

I started my visit to the National Aquarium in Baltimore with a visit to the Jellies Invasion exhibit!

These little guys are Aurelia aurita better known as Moon Jellyfish. Fun fact: When deprived of food, they can shrink to 1/10th of their size to save energy.

These little guys are Aurelia aurita better known as Moon Jellyfish. Fun fact: When deprived of food, they can shrink to 1/10th of their size to save energy.

This cluster of Moon Jellies seemed to pose for a family portrait as I was admiring them

This cluster of Moon Jellies seemed to pose for a family portrait as I was admiring them

Here are some more Moon Jellyfish that were illuminated with blue light

Here are some more Moon Jellyfish that were illuminated with blue light

Blue Moon Jellyfish

I just love how soft and feathery they look

 Northern Sea Nettle or  Chrysaora melanaster  is a delicate looking jellyfish

Northern Sea Nettle or Chrysaora melanaster is a delicate looking jellyfish

Here you can see all of his great tentacles, they can reach a length of 10 feet!

Here you can see all of its great tentacles, they can reach a length of 10 feet!

This Sea Nettle almost looks like a mushroom

This Sea Nettle almost looks like a mushroom

Pacific Sea Nettle or Chrysaora fuscescens was one of the more showy jellyfish

Pacific Sea Nettle or Chrysaora fuscescens was one of the more showy jellyfish

This Pacific Sea Nettle tucked its self nicely into its cap while it floated downward on its back

This Pacific Sea Nettle tucked its self nicely into its cap while it floated downward on its back

Blue Blubber Jellyfish

The Blue Blubber Jellyfish (Catostylus mosaicus) was my favorite of all the jellies

blue Blubber Jellyfish

The Blue Blubbers would flit through their tanks, when an obstacle would present itself, the Blubbers would just bounce off in a new direction, so cute!

This gentleman is perhaps a Lion's Mane Jelly?

This gentleman is, perhaps, a Lion’s Mane Jelly?

The Jellyfish were a delight that I recommend you visit while in Baltimore.

 

Tiny Hippo Goes to the Railroad Garden

I recently took a trip to the Chicago Botanic Garden where I had an immensely good time exploring the Model Railroad Garden: Landmarks of America. These miniature gardens are filled with all things tiny, I felt right at home. The great thing about this garden, other than the fact that it is full of small things, is that it depicts great American landmarks using many natural materials.

Let me welcome you to the Chicago Botanic Garden's

Let me welcome you to the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Model Railroad Garden: Landmarks of America

Everything is to scale in this garden, the little bridge is perfect for the Sata Fe train

Everything is to scale in this garden, the little bridge is perfect for the Santa Fe train

The Seattle Space Needle looks better than ever made from branches and a large mushroom

The Seattle Space Needle looks better than ever made from branches and a large mushroom

I was lucky enough to survive one of the eruptions of Mount Saint Helens. I fear that the poor  house at the base of the mountain may be a dire choice.

I was lucky enough to survive one of the eruptions of Mount Saint Helens. I fear that the placement of the house at the base of the mountain may have been a poor choice.

This small Mack Engine delivers open passenger cars to a station.

This small Mack Engine delivers open-air passenger cars to a station.

The hilly landscape of San Francisco is looked down from by a trolly car.

The hilly landscape of San Francisco can be viewed by a trolley car.

I was able to get a

In the background, notice the stunning riverboat, the Belle of St. Louis

This wee hiker was traversing the wildernes

This wee hiker was traversing the wilderness

Trains chug along tracks high above the ground, they must get dizzy, right?

Trains chug along tracks high above the ground, they must get dizzy, right?

I just loved the miniature Napa vinyards filled with the smallest grape vines (of the ivy variety)

I just loved the miniature Napa vineyards filled with the smallest grape vines (of the ivy variety)

At the center of the train garden was a small depot housing trains not currently in use

At the center of the train garden was a small depot housing trains not currently in use

The sign says everything you need to know about the wonderful care takers of the garden. All of the wise gentlemen volunteering at the garden were kind and thrilled that a Tiny Hippo had entered their territory

The sign says everything you need to know about the wonderful caretakers of the garden. All of the wise gentlemen volunteering at the garden were very kind and thrilled that a Tiny Hippo had entered their domain.

While admiring Mark Twain's boyhood home I noticed a colorful tent in the distance...

While admiring Mark Twain’s boyhood home I noticed a colorful tent in the distance…

It was none other than the Ringling Brothers Circus. Their famous train can be seen in the background

It was none other than the Ringling Brothers Circus, their famous train can be seen in the background

After seeing the circus I was not surprised when I encountered a train with a face

After seeing the circus I was not surprised when I encountered this train with a face and moving eyes

No tour of the landmarks of America would be complete without a glimpse of the White House, and my was it impresive, with its large green lawn and organic vegetable garden

No tour of the landmarks of America would be complete without a glimpse of the White House

I highly recommend that you take a stroll through the Model Railroad Garden: Landmarks of America the next time that you visit Chicago Botanic Garden. You will find it more than charming and should you have any questions, just ask one of the wonderful engineers who will be more than thrilled to help you.

Tulip Time

Tulip Time is an annual festival that occurs in Pella, Iowa on the first Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in May.

Everything is very clearly labeled in this fine town

Everything is very clearly labeled in this fine town

I had never been, so I thought this would be the year to make the journey. Unfortunately, the weather did not agree with my decision so I waited out the rain and went to visit the tulips the day after the festival ended. Thus, I missed out on the many fun attractions that I am told Tulip Time has to offer, such as parades,  the Tulip Queen and Court, and the quilt show. This did not dampen my spirits, while I do love a good parade and a cuddle with a fine handmade quilt, my true passion is for tulips!

I am indeed a Hippo who is smitten over spring tulips

I am indeed a Hippo who is smitten over spring tulips

The Tulips may have still been wet from the rain but they still made for a great place to frolic gleefully, as only Tiny Hippo's are known to do

The Tulips may have been wet from the rain but they still made for a great place to frolic gleefully, as only Tiny Hippo’s are known to do

The variety of flowers was just amazing

The variety of flowers was just amazing, from delicate whites..

to playful pinks and greens

to playful pinks and greens…

There was even this one lone yellow tulip in a sea of red

there was even this one lone yellow tulip in a sea of red

I was able to take some time to look at the other attractions that Pella has to offer, including this gorgeous Vermeer Windmill

I was able to take some time to look at the other attractions that Pella has to offer, including this gorgeous Vermeer Windmill

This fountain adds charm to the center of the city

This fountain adds charm to the center of the city, though they don’t seem to want anyone to play in it

The large sundial seemed to be out of order while I was visiting

The large sundial seemed to be out-of-order while I was visiting

This lovely man was able to offer me a lift in his bicycle, I am not sure how he managed to peddle it in those large shoes, but we did arrive safely

A lovely man was able to offer me a lift on his bicycle, I am not sure how he managed to peddle it in those large shoes, but we did arrive safely

Giving gifts of tulips seemed to be a well honored tradition that I was pleased to take part in

Giving gifts of tulips seemed to be a well honored tradition that I was pleased to take part in

There was a huge grandstand which I believe is used during the many parades that Tulip Time has to offer

There was a huge grandstand which I believe is used during the many parades that Tulip Time has to offer

But most importantly, were the tulips!

But most importantly, were the tulips!

The tulips of Pella are very exciting, you will be all tuckered out at the end of your visit

The tulips of Pella were very exciting, I was all tuckered out at the end of my visit

Of Burrowers and Butterflies

I went to Reiman Gardens this weekend and enjoyed a lovely tour of the grounds. My favorite part was the Christina Reiman Butterfly Wing, it was full of delicious flowers and many winged creatures who seemed to like flowers as much as I do.

Look at how this delicate creature enjoys the flower

Look at how this delicate creature enjoys the flower

Bright Green and Black Butterfly

This handsome devil flashed neon green in the sunlight

Orange and Black Butterfly

This butterfly reminded me of the mighty tiger, eek

This little guy was not as brightly colored as the rest, but he was still charming

While not as brightly colored as the rest, this little guy was still very charming

I kept startling the butterflies as approached to make friends, they seem to be very timid

I kept startling the butterflies as I approached to make friends, they seemed to be very timid

However, once I explained that I would not steal their flowers they warmed up to me

However, once I explained that I would not steal their flowers they warmed up to me

This kind lady shared her secrets of finding the best flowers with me; sadly, I am sworn to secrecy

This kind lady shared her secrets of finding the best flowers with me; sadly, I am sworn to secrecy

To end my visit, I sat quietly with this fellow, he seemed rather tired, I was not sure why, the butterflies seemed to think that was normal for his kind, whatever, that means

To end my visit, I sat quietly with this fellow, he seemed rather tired; I was not sure why, but the butterflies seemed to think that was normal for his kind, he must be a special kind of butterfly?

Tiny Hippo at the Apple Orchard

September is the perfect time to visit the local apple orchard. The air is crisp and clear putting one in the mood for long walks and tart apples!

So off I went to Wilson’s Apple Orchard, to partake of deliciously fresh apples. Of course, there are many distractions at the orchard, other than apples.

There are several pumpkin patches that are ripe for exploration

While I am not a huge fan of actual pumpkins…

I do love a good pumpkin flower!

Enough with delightfully tasty flowers, at the orchard, apples are my ultimate objective

Getting the best apples is always a bit of a challenge

First, develop a battle plan, you don’t want to get half way to your dream apple only to be foiled at the last-minute by poor planning

I like to use a sturdy rope with knots in it to reach the apples

Now then, once I secure my climbing rope in the tree it is time to climb!

Tiny hippo tree climbing, some would say an extreme sport, is certainly not for the weak of heart

Ah, at last I reach my lovely apple, how crisp it looks!

My apple picked, I put it in my red wagon, it is the perfect size for such things

My hard work has paid off, I can go home with my prize, after I show it to a few friends, of course

A trip to the apple orchard is a great way to spend the afternoon, and there are so many things that you can make with your freshly picked treasures. Check out my spicy apple chutney recipe, or my red rice salad with apricots, and try substituting apples in place of the apricots.

Grackles in the Garden

The grackles in our garden are very mischievous, making themselves the jesters of our tiny backyard jungle.

This grackle enjoys throwing maple seeds into the air while hunting for tasty treats

The less active grackles prefer to stroll through the grass looking for easy snacks.

This leisurely technique may not seem as exciting as the seed tossing method…

However, searching through the grass does yield nom noms such as stale cereal

To freshen up stale cereal, this grackle decides that it would be much better after being dipped in the bird bath

The grackles discover that the bird bath is great for other uses, not just softening up old cereal.

The bird bath is also a great place to take a bath, but be warned, others will want to join in…

One must be very fast about enjoying the bird bath

As soon as this grackle became distracted with his bath another bird decides to sneak into the picture

Still unaware of his rival, this water baby splashes about in pure joy

Splish splash, splish splash

Wait for it…

Then the intruding grackle makes his presence known!

What will the bathing beauty do, will he flee in fear or stand up for his right to enjoy his bath in peace?

While the rival grackle is intimidating is his puffed up stance, our water lover is not trembling in fear

He uses his large wingspan to out puff the interloper

In the end, our water-loving grackle was able to hold on to his prize position at the bird bath!