Cheep & Croak to You From the Astonishing Azores~

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It was worth crossing the Atlantic to reach the amazing Azores. Just ask this little cheeper!
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The islands are like a fantastic jungle garden of Eden.
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Check out the trees,
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and grottos!
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The islands are volcanic and verdant.

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Definitely worth croaking about!
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It is especially nice visiting paradise when people are happy to see you!
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There are vibrant towns with arts & culture just waiting for you to explore~
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These historic islands are part of Portugal and have old European charm.
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Cheers to you from the amazing Azores~
(Please excuse my being out of touch. Wifi is still hard to come by.)

On the Road, Again……

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We are in Florida preparing to cross the Atlantic enroute to Europe and then on to a self driving safari in South Africa.
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I thought you’d like to see some amazing flora & fauna we saw in Florida!
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Pretty amazing critters!
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We will be subject to intermittent and dicey internet for the next two weeks while at sea,
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so it will be impossible to follow your blogs.
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I will check in when I can and try to fire off a pic or two of events enroute.
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Uploading and editing are impossible,

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so posts go “as is!”
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Will touch base when I can.
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Be well and,

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cheers to you from the beautiful flora and fauna in Ft. Lauderdale and The Butterfly World!

Blumen Blühen (Flowers Blooming)~

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Poppies tell us,
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spring has come.
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Sweet peas climb,
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and scent the air.
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Soon the blooms outshine the sun!
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Cheers to you & Happy Spring~

‘Faster Than Fairies, Faster Than Witches’~

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“All through the meadows the horses and cattle”
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“bridges and houses, hedges and ditches”
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“all of the sights of the hill and the plain,” (From a Railway Carriage, RL Stevenson)
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The Old Town Model Railroad Depot is a 2500 square foot O gauge model railroad located in San Diego, California.
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It has both steam and diesel trains from the 1920’s to the modern era.
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It is a miniature world brim full of towns, mountains, lakes, farms,
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and errr…..quite realistic businesses!
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I think I may have met these attorneys…….
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and these accountants!
Cheers to you from the fabulous miniature world at The Old Town Model Railroad Depot~

Queen Califia’s Magic Circle~

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This giant outdoor glass, rock and tile, mosaic sculpture garden, located in Kit Carson park in Escondido California, is the last major international project of French artist Niki de Saint Phalle (1930-2002).
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The sculpture garden is surrounded by a 400 foot long wall of slithering snakes above a maze constructed of black and white tile and mirrors.
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The center of the garden depicts the 11 foot tall Queen Califia, standing atop a five legged, thirteen foot eagle.
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Eight giant totems, each 11-12 feet tall, reflecting symbols from Native American, Pre-Columbian and Mexican art, and the artists imagination, surround the central figure of the Queen.
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Queen Califia is a fictional warrior queen of the mythical Island of California.
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The sculpture garden was donated to the city of Escondido in California by the artist and is open a scant 4 hours per month! This is the first time we were able to gain entrance. As you can see it was quite worth the effort.
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For more on this talented and remarkable artist check out:
http://hyperallergic.com/177324/the-darkness-behind-niki-de-saint-phalles-colorful-beauties/
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Cheers to you from Queen Califia at The Sankey Arboretum in Kit Carson Park in Escondido California~

Dioramas & Retablos of Puerto Rico~

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(Please click to enlarge to see details). I am fascinated by miniatures, dioramas and retablos depicting historical and cultural life found throughout Mexico, Central and South America, and Puerto Rico. San Juan has an extensive collection of dioramas depicting the island’s history of colonial occupation located in the Museo de las Americas.
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These Puerto Rican miniatures fascinate me because they bring life under colonial rule alive in a multi-dimensional manner.
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Check them out and see for yourself.
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Do you get a sense of servitude in paradise in these miniatures?
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The artistry is detailed and life-like.
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Art can speak so much more eloquently than words.
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The art of miniature making continues today throughout Latin American in the form of retablos, or folk art. This is an example of a retablo of a building in the Old City of San Juan that was on display in the museum.
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And this is one I bought from a street vendor and brought home to The Holler. I collect retablos when I travel because I love their artistic expression of everyday life!
Cheers to you from the beautiful folk art, and artists, of Puerto Rico~

Lethal Enforcers~

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Four quarts of nectar were being consumed by The Holler Hummers in 48 hours. But now, each two quart bottle of nectar, has it’s own lethal enforcer, who will attack any hummer who tries to feed. So one hummingbird controls 2 quarts of nectar!
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The most lethal enforcer is the guy above. You can see he has a malformed beak that he may have gotten in one of his many battles. He is like a capitalist robber barron, hoarding riches he will never be able to consume.
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Here is enforcer number two. Both enforcers have visble differences from the other hummers, the beak malformation in number one, and number two is the only black chinned hummingbird at The Holler.
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The other hummers snatch nectar when they can, but most have given up and go feed on the flowers. I think they are the smarter ones. Who wants to waste all this energy fighting?
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All the hummers who do attempt the feeders are intensely leery of attack from above.
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They are constantly ready to self defend!
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I understand that hummingbirds need to feed constantly because of their hyper-drive metabolisms, but I don’t understand how all this relentless attacking is adaptive for them as a species.
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They remind me of human governments that hoard resources and launch vicious attacks for control. I wonder why they, and we, can’t all just share and get along?
Cheers to you from The Holler’s sometimes too “human-like” hummers~