Saturday, February 27, 2010

House in Progress!!

Beautiful weather today, and a chance to go out to the farm and check on progress on the house.  I haven't been there since before Christmas, but these are pictures that Mark took back on January 30th.  There was lots of snow, a foundation, and the forms in place to pour the foundation for the garage.  Lots of concrete work goin' on!  Here's what we call the front of the house, the part that is facing the pond.
Here's the forms in place for the foundation for the detached garage.
Basement foundation from inside.
There has been lots of progress when we went out today, and it is starting to look like a house!  Here is the front again.
Here's the basement.  The slab was just poured the day before.
Here's the foundation for the garage.  The builder has been unable to pour the slab for the garage because all the local quarries are out of stone!  It has been such a rough winter that the stone has been bought by the governments to fill in potholes, and the builder has been unable to get any.  The garage isn't nearly as critical as the house, so we aren't too concerned.
 They had a first row of logs in place, and were placing the second row while we were there.  Here's what the corner joints look like.  The logs have to be routed for all electrical wiring as they are put in place, so it is a slow process. 
Here's the rest of the first shipment of logs, all waiting to be properly placed in position on the house.  Just like lincoln logs!
The logs are numbered and are put in place by number.  The logs are actually cut in Maine, and the house is pieced together in Maine, then taken back apart.  Each log is stamped with its appropriate number, placed on the truck and delivered to the home site.  We can't wait to go back next week and see what other progress has been made!  In the meantime, we have an open house tomorrow and next weekend.  Keeping our fingers crossed!

Missouri Botanical Gardens Orchid Show

Last weekend the weather was AWFUL, as it has been for entirely too many days this winter, and we were itching to get outside.  It looked like it was the perfect day to spend some time at the Botanical Gardens' Orchid Show.   The Missouri Botanical Gardens are beautiful, and over 150 years old, with some incredible specimen trees.  But this day we spent inside with hundreds, probably thousands of orchids.  They smelled heavenly, they looked gorgeous, and I could have happily pitched a tent and stayed for days.  Mark patiently waited while I indulged myself, going through the exhibition twice:  once with my regular camera lens, and once with my telephoto lens.  I took over 240 pictures, and no, I don't know what I'll do with them all, but....I am thrilled to have them!  Have I said lately how much I love digital photography in general, and my camera and lenses in particular?!  I am so spoiled! I tried not to include too many in this blog post, but...orchids are amazing!!!

After going through the Orchid Show, we went through the Climatron.  It is a huge geodesic dome greenhouse, with a tropical climate inside.  A great place to be when it is raining and 34 degrees outside!  Here are some of its warm blooded residents, enjoying themselves.

These are the amazing Amazon poison frogs...beautiful, but not to be touched!
After this, we had lunch at Blueberry Hill, played a couple of rounds of darts (I finally beat Mark!), then went home and relaxed.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Eagle Watching 2010

Mark and I decided to spend another Sunday out hunting for eagles....hunting with a camera, that is!  We headed up to the Chain of Rocks bridge, which is supposed to be a great site for eagle watching.  This bridge was originally part of the historic Route 66 highway, although it has been closed to car traffic for many years.  These days it is part of the rails to trails campaign, and a walking bridge across the Mississippi River.  The bridge is also known for having a 22 degree angle in the middle of the bridge, which somehow allowed for boat traffic underneath.  The bridge is fairly picturesque in itself and we enjoyed walking across it, although we only spotted one eagle from the bridge.  This is a shot from near the beginning of the bridge.

These are some sort of river houses?/bridge keepers? that are actually on the Mississippi.  We had no clue of their history, origin or purpose, and couldn't find any information on them.  They are cute though!

This is a picture of the angle in the bridge as best as I could photograph it, while being actually on it.

The state line on the bridge in the middle of the Mississippi.

The eagle that we spotted while on the bridge.
Next we headed up towards Alton and Grafton, Illinois, which are the eagle watching towns to visit on the river.  This guy was on the way into town, just posing for the crowds who were gathering below!

I'm still fascinated by the icicles that form on the rock outcroppings when it gets cold.  I make Mark stop the car so that I could photograph these.

Our best eagle watching of the day came as we were heading back into town.  We spotted these two birds again just hanging out and creating photo ops for the worthy humans below.  They are such beautiful creatures!