Tweaked

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Through the trees and their branches, I spied The Ordway Shelter. A lovely picnic shelter located on The U of M Arboretum grounds. So nice to sit and eat your lunch, sheltered from the hot sun on a summer day. The shelter has many picnic tables to choose from, all perfect for enjoying a PB&J while gazing out at the beautiful bog. Nice to sit and view it from afar, it’s quite picturesque all on its own. I added a couple shots, sans shelter. Lovely all on its own, even without the piece of architecture. Again….straight out of camera and then tweaked.

Squirrels

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Caught these two characters while perusing the Arboretum last week. Thought you might enjoy some fun facts about these fun loving squirrels.

There are over 265 species of squirrel worldwide. The smallest is the African pygmy squirrel which is tiny at around 10 cm long, whereas the largest, the Indian giant squirrel is a massive three feet long.
When a squirrel is scared and feels that it is in danger, it will at first remain motionless. If it is on the ground, it will run to a nearby tree and climb to safety, and if it is already in a tree it will circle the trunk and press up against the bark tightly with its body.
Squirrels are very trusting animals, and are of the very few wild animal species which will eat out of a person’s hand.
In colder regions such as the UK, squirrels plan ahead in order to survive the challenging winter months. They store nuts and seeds at various locations and return to them throughout the winter to maintain their energy levels when food is scarce.
Squirrels tend to run in erratic paths. This is intended to deceive potential predators as to its chosen direction so that it may escape.
Squirrels are extremely intelligent creatures. They are known to put on elaborate bogus food burying displays to deceive onlookers. The fake burials are to trick potential thieves, such as other squirrels or birds, into thinking that they have stored their food stock there. Any observers planning on taking the stash will then focus on the bogus burial site, allowing the squirrel to bury the real stash elsewhere safely.
Tree-dwelling squirrels such as the grey squirrel build dreys (similar to bird’s nests) made of twigs high in trees. They are about the size of a football and are lined with grass, bark, moss and feathers for added comfort and insulation.
Squirrels communicate with each other through various vocalisations and scent marking. They also use their tails as a signalling device, twitching it when uneasy to alert other squirrels of potential danger.
There are 44 species of ‘flying squirrel’. Rather than actually flying, these species glide using a membrane which stretches from their wrists to their ankles. It allows squirrels to glide naturally like humans do with the aid of a parachute.
The squirrel is the Native American symbol for preparation, trust and thriftiness.
(Facts courtesy of OneKind.com)

Mrs. Cardinal

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She perched there on those bare branches, perfectly posed. Sitting quietly with her perfect profile.

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It was such a great moment. It’s like she knew I had been waiting for her. She realized that I had captured her hubby with all his boyish charms(cue his little head tilt).

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Awwww, that didn’t last long! Do you think she was offended when I mentioned her hubby’s boyish charms?

Minneapolis City Hall and Hennepin County Courthouse

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Growing up in the suburbs of the Twin Cities, there were many occasions where we would drive to and from the city of Minneapolis and pass this beautiful clock tower. I seem to remember it quite well, late at night, while I was falling asleep in the back of my parent’s car. A nice little nightlight to lead us home to the suburbs. I’m curious as to how many of you have recollections such as mine? As youngsters, we tend not to pay attention to to these massive city buildings, but do remember how beautiful they were all lit up. Well, to me, it is a comfort. Just knowing they are still there, guiding us home.

There are a couple things I find very interesting about this clock tower. For one, when it was built, it claimed to have the world’s largest clock. The tower reaches 23 feet and 4 inches and the faces on the clock are four inches wider than those of the great clock in London(Big Ben). Now I’ve lived here my whole life and never knew this. I Guess you truly do learn something new everyday.

Another interesting tidbit about this structure is what it’s made out of. To me, it’s quite unique. These brown stones, which are not present on many of the buildings that surround me, stand out and add interest to this structure. The stones are Ortonville Granite and were only suppose to be used as the foundation for the building. However, the public liked the appearance so much, they lobbied for the whole building to be made up of the granite. Beautiful indeed, but it ultimately hiked the cost up from 1.15 million to 3.5 million. A hefty bill for the city of Minneapolis, but one I’m glad they agreed to pay out.

If you’re ever in Minneapolis, come listen to the bells of the tower. A 15 bell chime plays regularly, with noontime concerts on holidays, Fridays, and Sundays during the warmer months.