Word Cloud – Pets

I found a free site that makes word clouds out of the words you choose.  You can pick the colours and sizes  of the words and the shape of the cloud.  There are some limitations on the free clouds and you can choose to pay to remove the limitations – I like this free one just fine. You can find it at Tagul to try it yourself.

Of course, my first cloud has to be some of the many pets I have had over my lifetime.


Most of these pets have been mentioned at some point in my years of blogging here, so some of them might find their way into the related links below.

Posted in animals, birds, cat, critters, dog, dogs, pets | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Blue Jay Returns

I think the Blue Jay must have seen the pictures I took of him a couple of weeks ago and he came back to pose for some better ones. 🙂

I looked out my window and he was right on my balcony, checking out the bird feeder.  I moved slowly towards my camera in the hopes that he would stay but he flew into the tree.  Luckily, he was still close and not behind any branches, so I managed a few pictures.


I am sure he knew I was there and hope he will be back to see me again soon. 🙂

Posted in birds, Nature, pictures, Wildlife, Winnipeg | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

South Africa Trip – Falling into Place

Next on the list is my trip to Kruger National Park in South Africa next year.  This trip has to be planned months in advance and then the wait begins.  I am happy to say that it is completely planned and it is paid for – except for the car rental (but it is reserved) and the one night stay at a hotel in Johannesburg (but that is also reserved).

The hotel is required this year because my plane lands at Johannesburg in the evening and it is too late to fly into Kruger – so my last and shortest flight in will be the next morning.  It will be nice to refresh and sleep in a bed after 3 flights over 2 days, just leaving a 50 minute flight for the morning.

Many of the camps I will be staying at are the same as my last trip, but there are some new ones.  I will also be staying 3 nights at each one instead of 2, which gives me more time to explore and possibly book more walking trips with the rangers.  I love the walks more than the drives, but may take a drive or two with the rangers also.  I will be driving myself most of the time, so the car and I will be very well acquainted by the time I have to leave.

I will not be going to Sabi Sands this year.  That was an amazing experience last time, but the price is over my budget by too much to consider it again.  My list of camps this time is Crocodile Bridge, Lower Sabi, Satara, Olifants, Letaba, Tamboti, Talamati, Orpen, Skukuza and Berg-en-dal.   The ones I have not stayed at before are Talamati, Orpen and Skukuza, so I am excited to return to the camps from before and to try out these new (to me) ones.

The only things that do not excite me are the flights there and back.  Again – there are 4 planes – this time I am flying from Winnipeg to Minneapolis to Amsterdam to Johannesburg to Skukuza.  I am thrilled to be able to land right in Kruger this time.

Last time I flew from Winnipeg to Toronto to Frankfurt to Johannesburg to Nelspruit.  The main thing I wanted to avoid this year was the long day I spent at Frankfurt.  We flew overnight from Toronto, landing at Frankfurt in the morning – but the flight to Johannesburg did not leave until evening.  That was an extremely long day.

My coach and advisor for this trip has again been my friend Penny, who I have known online for many years.  I will be staying with her and her husband Jurek for a couple of days to acclimatize before they turn me loose in the park on my own. I really appreciated all their help and support the last time I was there too.  They will meet me when I land, show me some of their favourite spots, and will bring me back to Skukuza to pick up my car on the day I move into Kruger on my own.  They will also be in Kruger while I am there and I just might run into them again too. 🙂

At some point I will meet up with another friend – Janine, who I met last time I was there – but have also known for many years online.   Janine advised me on the hotel to stay at in Johannesburg for this trip.  She lives in South Africa and is a wealth of information.

Here are the first and last pictures I took in Africa in 2012.

First African Sunrise

First African Sunrise – but I don’t know where this was in Africa.

The first African sunrise in 2017 may be taken from my hotel room.

View from Last Flight In

View from last flight in – You can see South Africa through the clouds.

The flight into the park in 2017 will be similar to my flight to Nelspruit in 2012.

First Real Life African Critter Sighting

First African Critter Sighting in real life (not from Africam). Impala

 The big question is what critter will be my first sighting of 2017.  It might be something     I see from the air, or in Skukuza camp, or . . .


Last critter sighting in Kruger as I was heading to Sabi Sands out the gate at Orpen in 2012. Giraffe


First critter sighting in Sabi Sands in 2012 as I was driving to Nkorho. Wildebeest


Last Critter sighting in Sabi Sands and  South Africa after I left Nkorho and headed to Hoedspruit Airport. Duiker

I am very excited about this trip – can you tell?  :)        More to come!

Posted in Activities, critters, Nature, pictures, south africa, sunrise, travel, vacation, walking, Wildlife, Winnipeg | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Falling into Place

Things are lining up nicely and falling into place lately 🙂

I have been having discussion with my ISP (Shaw) for  a couple of months about virus protection.  Shaw provides McAfee free of charge to all their internet subscribers.  Each subscriber gets 6 licenses  and over the several years I have been with them, I have had computers die and apparently take the license with them.  When I got my laptop this year, I was unable to load McAfee because I had no more licenses.  Each time I talked to, chatted with or emailed Shaw (over several weeks), I was told they could fix it, but it would take a few days. While waiting, I renamed one of the inactive ones to show it was my laptop and re-downloaded McAfee, but although it seemed to be fine, it was always turned off when I turned the laptop on and it still showed as inactive on the site – so it wasn’t working right.  I kept trying and finally yesterday – it worked!  I still have the same inactive ones but I now have 7 listed and the laptop has been added to the active ones.  Someone must have finally figured out that they could push a button to make it work!  :)  I guess I am fine now until one of my current computers dies. 

You may have seen me mention that I am taking a 1 day trip to Churchill next week.  This has been planned for a very long time –  before I even decided to sell the house.  The only problem I have been having with this trip is trying to figure out how to get to and from the airport.  I live much further away from it than I used to and we have to be there at 6:00 am.  I decided to take the option to spend the night before the trip in a hotel that is close and to take the shuttle that they provide in the morning.  That partially solved the problem – but do I drive to the hotel and if I do, where to I park the car during the day?  I had pretty much decided to take a bus to the hotel in the afternoon and to take a cab home the next night.  That seemed reasonable until I checked into the possible cost of a cab, which ranged from $38. – $62. just for the ride home.  I didn’t want to take a bus home that late at night and looking at the schedule, it would have taken 2 hours plus a 20 minute walk anyway.   Yesterday I decided to phone the hotel to see if they would allow me to leave the car in their lot during the day and to my surprise, she told me that would be fine.  She also told me that when my flight returned, their shuttle could pick me up and bring me back there, even though I don’t have a room booked for that night (just the night before). 


I took this picture at the Journey to Churchill at Assiniboine Park Zoo earlier this year, but I hope to bring home many pictures of Polar Bears living wild and free while I am at Churchill, Manitoba.  With luck, I could also see Arctic Foxes, Snowy Owls, Beluga Whales, Wolves, Ptarmigan, Caribou, and more.  It is also possible that I will see absolutely no wildlife at all.

Two down – One to go.  Next up is my planned trip to Kruger National Park in South Africa.  That one needs a post to itself – coming soon.

Posted in Activities, animals, assiniboine park zoo, Nature, pictures, travel, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fort Whyte Alive – October

It was a beautiful day at Fort Whyte Alive!  I was so happy that I decided to be dropped off there while they worked on my car.  It was a little chilly in the morning, but by afternoon it was very pleasant.

I normally spend about 2 1/2 to 3 hours there, but today I was there for about 5 1/2 hours.  I did think the car would have been ready earlier – but there are worse places to spend time.

I took a lot of pictures – it is such a beautiful time of year and with the extra time, I took even more than usual.

As usual, you can click on the pictures and scroll through them at a larger size.

Canada Geese, Mallard Ducks and the sun rising in the forest.

Some beautiful Autumn Colours.

Red Squirrel, Magpie, Bison, Stilt and a bird nest in a tree.

Autumn Colours

Canada Geese, Burrowing Owl and Autumn Colours

Autumn Colours, Mallard Ducks, young Wood Duck

Canada Geese, Mallard Duck, Hornet or Wasp nest, Catbird.   This Mallard Duck came right up to me to pose for these pictures.

Autumn colours and Black-tailed Prairie Dog.

This was only a small fraction of the pictures I took – but I narrowed them down quite a bit before posting here. 🙂

Posted in animals, birds, critters, flight, Fort Whyte Alive, Nature, pictures, trees, walking, Wildlife, Winnipeg | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Full Moon

It was still dark when I got up this morning (which is how it will be for the next several months here now that we are heading into winter).  I had an appointment to get the car in to have winter tires put on and the summer ones stored until spring.  There were also a couple more things they wanted to get done, so I was going to have to leave the car there for awhile.

Anyway – back to the darkness when I got up.  I looked out and saw the beautiful full moon.  I have tried to take pictures of the moon before, but they usually are just bright round circles.  This one really looked like the moon though.  The moon must have been at the right spot at the right time that I could zoom in so much to get this shot.


I know people get good and even better pictures than this one – but this is the best shot I’ve ever had of the moon.

After dropping the car off, I decided to take the shuttle to Fort Whyte Alive instead of just coming home.  So – I spent the day there, taking lots of pictures.  When the car was ready, they came back to pick me up and I came home after paying for the work they did. 🙂

I’ll be going through those pictures and will get them posted soon – maybe even tomorrow.

My FitBit was very happy with me today.


Posted in FitBit, Fort Whyte Alive, Moon, Nature, pictures, Winnipeg | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Assinibone Park Zoo & More Updates

It was a beautiful day yesterday and it has been awhile since I’ve taken a trip to the Assiniboine Park Zoo – so away I went.  I just brought my little camera with me, since it it always in my purse, and I wasn’t planning on taking many pictures – but I did take a few.

The little camera doesn’t zoom enough to make bars disappear on the cages – so not many pictures of critters behind bars.  I don’t like the bars on cages anyway – it is time to open them up for better viewing.  I am sure the animals don’t enjoy looking through bars any more than we enjoy looking past the bars to see them.  Most of the Journey to Churchill is viewed without bars, but the new large Tiger exhibit can only be viewed through bars.  The tigers were up and moving and it would have been nice to get decent pictures of them.

Anyway, these are the pictures that I took with my little camera – including a couple of critters that were far enough away from the fence that I could zoom in to get at least some of their head showing through the small openings.

The Arctic Foxes were hard to find during the summer (& sometimes impossible), so it was nice to see these 2 out and visible yesterday.  No bars for them.

Just a couple of long-distance and cropped pics of the Wolves.

Polar Bears

This adorable Harbour Seal was watching us as much as we were watching him. These guys don’t usually stop moving, but this one sure did. 🙂

A couple of the Percheron horses in action and the Kangaroos.

As usual, you can click on the pictures to see them larger.

Update #1 – my previous rant problems with Manitoba Hydro were settled with just one phone call after the weekend.  I got lucky and the phone was answered by someone who could see the problem and was able to fix it immediately.  I now have a credit on my new account and that is enough to cover the next 4 months of payments.

Update #2 – and I know many of you have been waiting for the final decision about my plant placement. 😉

The little plants have been moved to the living room window sill.


A few of my little ornaments managed to get on the window sill with my 3 African Violets, my Orchid and my Aloe.

The Spider Plant moved up to the level with the outdoor plants, leaving lots of room for the last 2 smaller plant pots (Jade,  Polka-dot Plant, and Arrowhead Plant) with the Ficus and the Norfolk Island Pine beside them and the Orange Tree beside my computer desk.  One of the African Violet plants had been in the same pot with the Polka-dot and Arrowhead, but it started taking over the whole container, so it got it’s own pot on the window sill. I have a little ornament in its place while the other 2 grow to take over the space.



In the bedroom, the Split-leaf Philodendron (whose leaves do not split because it gets too much light) sits in between my ceramic dog and wooden parrot.

Have a great day!  Get out and enjoy it if you can. 🙂














Posted in animals, assiniboine park zoo, blog, critters, houseplants, pictures, tree, Winnipeg, zoo | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Blue Jays & a Couple of Updates

This morning I heard the unmistakable sound of Blue Jays outside my window.  This is the first time I’ve heard (or seen) any Blue Jays since I moved here.  I grabbed my camera and shot some pictures through the balcony windows.  Guess I’ll have to clean these windows one day.

Actually, the windows didn’t mess my pictures up anywhere near as much as the trees did.  I have no idea what kind of trees are growing off my balcony, but the leaves are still green and I haven’t seen any sign of leaves dropping.

Thanks to Midwestern Plant Girl, I know know that the trees are River Birch.  Thanks

So – my pictures aren’t good, but I’m going to post them anyway.


Caught You Looking


See the Blue!





Update 1 – For those of you who were following my recent road trip to British Columbia, I found a video on my camera that for some reason did not get into one of my posts.  I have now added it to Port Coquitlam to Fanny Bay.  The video is the Sea Lions that we watched and the sound is so much fun to listen to – as well as watching these beautiful creatures.

The 2nd update isn’t really an update, but the beginning of a rant.  Hopefully this will be solved quickly and properly, but I am dealing with a crown corporation.  Manitoba Hydro supplies hydro electricity and natural gas to Manitoba.  I currently have 2 accounts with them – the old one from my house (now sold) and my new one at the apartment.  Possession of my house went to the new owners on  August 1st and all was paid to Manitoba Hydro up to the end of July. The last bill I received from them was in September, where it indicated that I had a credit of approximately $60.00.  I asked to have that transferred to my new account, but I left for my vacation to British Columbia a couple of days later and did not follow up on that.  Yesterday I received a bill for hydro/gas at the house.  In this bill they used my credit and are asking for approximately $100.00 more.  Looking a little closer at the September bill now, I see that my credit was actually quite a bit more than $60.00 and they used that to pay the August charges of $160.00 when I did not own the house.  I was thinking at the time that the credit should be higher.  I always paid more than the bill, so I would have a free month or 2 in the fall – although I normally kept the credit until December and January, when other expenses were high.  So – they owe me a very nice refund (plus interest) and they can go after the new owner for August and September.  I will keep you updated on this.

Posted in birds, Nature, pictures, rant, Wildlife, Winnipeg | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Chicken & Mushrooms in Creamy Dill Sauce

If you have seen any of my food posts before, you will probably remember that I seldom follow recipes much – but just use the recipe as a general guideline.

Well, I found this recipe for Chicken & Mushrooms in Creamy Dill  Sauce the other day and it looked and sounded absolutely wonderful.  I couldn’t think of anything to change in it – but I was missing one ingredient – so I did make a very slight modification.

I didn’t take any pictures of mine either – but it looked pretty much exactly like the picture on the site, so will just use that as a link to the site where I found it.


Chicken & Mushrooms in Creamy Dill Sauce

Just click on the picture and it will take you to Jo Cooks, where she gives the full recipe.

The only change I made was that I didn’t have any white wine (or any wine at all) in my house (believe it or not), so I just used the full tin of chicken broth and added a bit more water.  There isn’t much wine in the recipe anyway, so I can’t see that making much of a difference, but I just might make sure I have some on hand the next time I make it – just to be sure.  And – of course, I didn’t actually measure anything.

It is absolutely delicious.  I cooked some rice to go with it, but next time I might try pasta. 🙂

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Moving Plants Around

Vacations are wonderful and I could see myself doing much more traveling, if only I could afford it.  I remember way back when I was a teen that my desire was to be a beach bum. 🙂

Anyway now I am home again and it is time to move a couple of things around in my home.  It is getting cold and my outdoor plants had to come inside yesterday.

My first plan was to just put them in front of the balcony door, since it is unlikely I will be going out on the balcony during the winter.  It just looked too crowded there with the little plants on the small table on one side and the larger plants on the other side and the 2 large planters right in the middle.

The bedroom and livingroom windows are too high to put plants in front, but I could possibly move some of the smaller plants onto the window sills.  That won’t solve where these 2 large plants (my rose and my geraniums) will go.

I have a matching table to the one where the small plants are, and decided that I could maybe stack the tables and put them against the wall at the balcony door.  I didn’t want to stack them where the one table already was because  they would be more stable against a wall.  That meant moving 2 of the larger plants (Norfolk Island Pine and Fiscus),  but the Fiscus went in the spot that the table of small plants had been and the Pine went beside the Orange Tree.  The Pine isn’t doing great anyway – so it may not last long.


So, this is what I had after stacking the tables.  Everything is here, but it is so crowded on the little plant table.  The window view is much better than when I had the outdoor plants in front of it though.


I decided to move the 3 African Violets up to the higher table, which opened things up on the lower level.


I got a good bargain on those tables when my neighbours at the house had a yard sale. 🙂

I might swap the Orange Tree with the Fiscus in front of the window and I may look for something to cover the window sill in the livingroom to put the smaller plants on since it is still a little crowded on the lower shelf.

I received a suggestion on FaceBook to use the floor as one of the levels and this suggestion makes things look better.  Thanks Kathy.


Posted in apartment, Flowers, houseplants, pictures, weather, Winnpeg | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments