Tiny Hippo Goes Hunting

Tiny Hippos are always on the lookout for interesting new types of fauna. We love the excitement of the hunt, plants are the most stealthy of all game, so silent. While I was visiting Governor Dodge State Park, in Wisconsin, I discovered some great specimens.

Tiny Hippo at Govenor Dodge State Park

I started my exploration at Stephens Falls Trail

Stephen Falls

Stephen Falls is a mossy waterfall that is so very peaceful

Tiny Hippo with Ferns

First off, a relaxing nap with some lovely ferns was in order

Tiny Hippo Hunts a Fern

I found this unique Walking Fern that was very difficult to track, I had to don some camouflage so as to not startle it

Fern and Tiny Hippo

Yet, this tiny fern was not afraid of a wee hippo like me

Red Berries and Tiny Hippo

Hmm… These berries look so good, but mom always told me not to eat mystery berries and I am not sure what these are. Does that mean they are mysterious?

Tiny Brown Mushrooms and Tiny Hippo

If you look closely, you will find all sorts of tiny mushroom friends in the forest

Gem Studded Puffball with Tiny Hippo

These little fellas are Gem Studded Puffball mushrooms, must be very valuable

Tiny Hippo with Mushrooms

You must always keep an eye out for wee mushrooms, they are around every turn

Mushrooms Bursting from Tree Bark

While must mushrooms are very shy, this group was just bursting to meet me

Stream at Governor Dodge State Park

Lost Canyon Trail follows a small stream and as all Tiny Hippos know, streams are the best places to find fabulous fauna

Field Horsetail

Like this Field Horsetail, a silly, ancient plant, that thinks it looks like a field of horse tails

Little Stream at Lost Canyon Trail

When dealing with streams, one must be prepared to cross them

Tiny Hippo Crosses the Stream

Easy does it…

Tiny Brown Mushrooms on a Log

Always be careful not to crush the fauna you are seeking

Huge Yellow Shelf Mushroom

There was no way I would accidentally tread on this big boy

Shelf Mushrooms

These mushrooms looked like stairs, but remember, no trampling the fungi

Tiny Hippo and Shelf Mushrooms

Sometimes, the best way to view them is to climb a nearby branch

Turkey Tail Mushrooms

I like these mushrooms, they look like turkey tails

Cliff Rock at Governor Dodge State Park

While on your adventure, don’t forget to look up once and a while, enjoy the view

Stream at Lost Canyon Trail

Small streams always bring me peace

I hope you get a chance to go fauna exploring this fall. I know that I had a wonderful time and I am sure you will too.

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

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.