A Texas Safari

OK! Grab your hat and camera — we’re going on a safari!

IMG_2425safari van

A few miles down the road from us is Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, a world-renowned, 1,700 acre wildlife preserve dedicated to the conservation and preservation of endangered animals. Like rhinos and cheetahs and the native Attwater’s Prairie Chicken. Now I’ve never actually been to Fossil Rim as they have a very strict NO DOGS ALLOWED policy, so everything I’m going to tell you and show you is hearsay. But it all comes from the mouth of My Mom Person who has been to Fossil Rim a billion times.

To tour Fossil Rim you can either drive your own car through the 9 1/2 miles of road (don’t bring the dog!) or you can reserve a tour on one of Fossil Rim’s Safari Vans with a tour guide. You can purchase cups of feed to feed the animals that you encounter. I have sampled these special pellets and they are quite yummy! They make me feel tall like a giraffe and swift like a deer!

img385There are over 1,000 animals from 50 different species roaming the hills and pastures of Fossil Rim. No dogs! But they do have wolves. Red Wolves, Mexican Grey Wolves and Maned Wolves. There aren’t any wolves at all in Texas any more. Except at some zoos and Fossil Rim.

But these animals are not here just for the fun of it. Most of the animals are part of intensive breeding programs to help preserve their species. Some of them are actually extinct in the wild!

Rather than me trying to give you all the cool facts, I will refer you to the Fossil Rim Website here.

And I’m going to leave you with some pictures from our tour –

I will tell you that Fossil Rim offers overnight accommodations if you are so inclined. They have a very nice Lodge and a really cool Safari Camp. I have included pictures of both in my picture gallery above.

And since I am, after all, a LIBRARY dog, I have a great book for you to get you in the mood for your Fossil Rim visit.

IMG_2447IMG_2448

African Critters by Robert B. Haas is an incredibly beautiful book for young readers about African wildlife. It was published by Sacova Publishing in 2002. It is a photographic journey with text and photos by Mr Haas. This book is particularly special to Fossil Rim because the Haas Family was instrumental in helping the park build a new cheetah facility some years ago. The Robert B. Haas Cheetah Conservancy was created at Fossil Rim by a very generous grant from the Haas Family Foundation.

A little video about the Rhino program at Fossil Rim —

Advertisements

Rhythm in the Glen

I’ve been dreaming of road trips, but alas, My Mom Person claims to have no time for such things right now. So instead, I’ve decided to take y’all on a road trip — to Glen Rose, Texas. My home town!IMG_2436 Glen Rose is in north central Texas about 90 miles southwest of the Dallas/Ft Worth area. It is the county seat of Somervell County, the 3rd smallest county in the state.

IMG_2245

Glen Rose is a smallish kind of town. There aren’t any big tall buildings like I see in Dallas. And we don’t have a lot of traffic. What we do have is an abundance of natural geographical and geological wonders. We get lots of tourists coming out to enjoy all the cool stuff that I live with all the time.  I’ve already told you about our fossils and dinosaurs. Dinosaur Valley State Park is a great place for camping, hiking, swimming, fishing and dinosaur hunting. Fossil hunters and dinosaur enthusiasts come from far and wide.

There are 2 rivers that converge in Glen Rose.

IMG_4518

Paluxy River

IMG_4363

dog party on the Paluxy

The Paluxy River, which is the one that runs past our place and the one that I play in, and the Brazos River, which is a bigger river and probably more well known. There is a famous writer who lives in Glen Rose, Mr John Graves, who wrote a couple of books about the area. He once took a three week canoe trip down the Brazos River before they built some dams on it, and then he wrote a book called Goodbye to a River. This is a most excellent book that I highly recommend! A lot of folks come to this area to enjoy our rivers. They bring canoes and kayaks and tubes to float in. There are some places in town where you can rent these things as well.

We dogs don’t need canoes or tubes. We can have a good time just splashing and swimming! And some people like these activities as well, but some folks like to have some kind of vehicle to propel themselves down the river.

IMG_2438

There are also two lakes in the county for fishing and boating activities. I understand that they provide for some pretty good fishing. I’ve never been on a boat before. I’ve tried some fishing in my river. I hear that it’s supposed to be a relaxing, meditative kind of activity, but those fish are too quick for me and that makes for a stressful, frustrating kind of activity.

IMG_2429

Big Rocks Park on the Paluxy

Along with the water enthusiasts and the rock hounds and the camper folks, we get a lot of bikers riding through the area. The motor kind and the pedal kind. There are some really tough hills that challenge the best of them. There is a ranch called the Solavaca Ranch that has created some trails for mountain bikers and they have BIG events several times a year. In the fall we have the Paluxy Pedal for those bikers who prefer riding on the roads. Participants have a choice of distances to ride from 29 mi. without “the Wall”  up to 80 mi. with “the Wall”. I’ve not ever seen that Wall, but by the time those bikers pedal past our house they’re looking pretty tired.

barbarosaThe Wall (2)[1]

The Wall – google image

solavaca ranch

Solavaca Ranch

And then there are the golf courses! We have 2 courses to choose from if you are into golf. I don’t play golf myself, my Mom Person says golf balls are too small for me to play with. So I can’t tell you a lot about our golf courses except that they are very popular. There are LOTS of golfers in Glen Rose!

I think that pretty much covers the local activities available for the energetic folks. But I’ve got a lot more to tell you about! Later —

For your reference if you’re ever out this way – some useful links —

Glen Rose CVB
Visit Glen Rose website

Rhodes Canoe Rental
Low Water Canoe Rental

Squaw Creek Reservoir
Wheeler Branch Reservoir

Squaw Valley Golf Club

And a clip about that book – Goodbye to a River

And another of Mr John Graves himself –

Older Than the Dinosaurs

I recently had a great surprise in the mail! A package to me! Just me!

IMG_2144IMG_2145

I won a raffle from Kid Lit Reviews way back during Children’s Book Week! That lovely Ms Sue Morris sent me this book and I see that it was personally stamped by her cat!

I was particularly excited about winning this book because I kind of have a connection to it. The book is Wisteria’s Show and Tell Spectacular: Older than the Dinosaurs by Susan Grigsby with pictures by Alexandra Miller. It was published by Shenanigan Books in 2012. Ms Grigsby has a great website with teacher guides for this book. Just click her name.

It’s show and tell day at school and the theme is Something Really Old. Wisteria has a history of creating disasters with her show and tells so she is especially intent on a good showing this time. But what can she find that’s really old? Well, she is very lucky to have a neighbor who is a geologist. And she is also lucky to have a backyard full of fossils and cool rocks. She ends up with a great show and tell history lesson and gets an A, but it is not exactly smooth sailing — I won’t tell you what happens, but it involves an old dog!

Now my special connection to this book is that I am also lucky to have a yard full of fossils and cool rocks!

IMG_2407IMG_2406IMG_2405

You see Glen Rose, Texas (where I live) used to be covered by a big ocean millions of years ago. And when that ocean dried up it left behind millions of marine fossils and petrified wood and limestone cliffs.

And — way back when, we had dinosaurs roaming around. In the early 1900s dinosaur tracks were discovered in the bed of the Paluxy River. The river that I play in all the time! Since then scientists have made a big todo about these tracks. Some were dug up and sent to the Smithsonian Institue, several Texas colleges and quite a few museums. We have a great book  that has a lot of information about our dinosaurs.

dino bookDiscover Texas Dinosaurs was written by Charles E. Finsley and illustrated by Doris Tischler. It was published by Gulf Publishing Co. in 1999.

Luckily some of the tracks were left where they were found and you can visit Dinosaur Valley State Park and see them for yourself!

IMG_2413IMG_2415IMG_2410

We happen to live just down the road from this park. It’s a great place to camp and hike and play in the river. It’s a popular place for folks who like that kind of thing. And there seem to be a lot of people who do!!

So, you see why I was excited to win this book about Wisteria and her old rocks?! You should check it out and come visit us in Glen Rose. Dinosaur Capital of Texas!

And here is a fascinating video of Mr R. T. Bird taking away our dinosaur tracks in 1937.

Summertime and the Reading is Easy

Walker and I spend a lot of time at our local library. We go to read with kids (or whoever!) once a week. During the school year we go in the evening – because during the day we all have to be at school!

But during the summer we go in the morning. I like that better. This week we started our new summer hours and had a really nice turnout! The newspaper lady even came and took pictures. We made the front page of the Glen Rose Reporter! Ms Amanda is a nice lady who has put us in her paper a number of times. We appreciate her!

This week for our 1st summer morning, Ellie came to visit. Ellie will soon be turning 2 and she mostly likes to walk us around and show us all the books. Ethan came as well and Ethan is a READER! He just finished kindergarten and will be moving on up to 1st grade! He chose several books to read with us.

IMG_2349I Feel a Foot is an odd little book by Maranke Rinck, illustrated by Martijn van der Linden. It was published by Lemniscaat in 2008. Ms Rinck and Mr van der Linden are Dutch and this book was originally in Dutch. When I tried to find something about them, everything is in Dutch. I don’t read Dutch but I will give you a link to Ms Rinck’s website here in case you do! And Mr van der Linden’s website is here.

This is a nighttime story so all the pages are black. And the characters are all bright colors. They are really eye catching against the black background — even for me!  The story is a mystery that must be solved! It begins with 5 friends asleep in a hammock. Turtle, Bat, Octopus, Bird and Goat. Ethan thought it was very strange for an octopus to be in a hammock in a tree! Suddenly they hear a noise and in the pitch black night, they go to investigate.

IMG_2342IMG_2346

On each of  the following pages one part of the noise maker is encountered and revealed, but each animal has a different idea as to what it is. Turtle first feels a foot! A great big foot. And he thinks it must be a great big turtle. Ethan knew what it was from the beginning, but those animals sure didn’t! The story makes for quite a guessing game! I thought this book was great fun!

IMG_2355

Next we read The Red Lemon by Bob Staake. This book was published by Dragonfly Books in 2006. Another quirky book. Bold, geometric illustrations. Lots of circles. Rhyming verse. Farmer McPhee grows lemons. He LOVES lemons! “Bright yellow lemons for miles and miles! Bright yellow lemons give farmers big smiles!”

IMG_2351IMG_2353

But one day, he spies up in a tree — a RED lemon! It can’t be! He is struck by the horror of a world with red lemons! So – he throws the offending red lemon over the sea where it lands on an island. Then 200 years pass and Farmer McPhee’s lemon orchard has become nothing but weeds. Over on the island the red lemon seeds have sprouted and red lemon trees are everywhere! And the red lemons are loved by everyone. People come from all over the world to eat the sweet fruit of the red lemons. The End. A story about evolution. About not judging a book by its cover, so to speak. You never know what might be on the inside. About the benefits of thinking “outside the box”, about being creative. As this book is creative! Ethan and I both loved this book. It made me drool on Ethan’s knee.

And I’ll leave you with a little trip through Europe with a lemon!

Free Coloring Pages

My far away friend Ms Laura Miller has created a fun coloring book and I would like to share it with you! Enjoy!!

Laura Miller (a.k.a. Grandmamiller)

Hi!  I’m Laura Miller (AKA Grandma Miller)

I am so blessed that you stopped by today.

I’m a children’s author and illustrator, and I would love to keep in touch.

In my writing/illustrating groups we are advised to do some self-promotion.   I thought I would also offer you some coloring pages for your children, grandchildren, summer camp, Vacation Bible School….or just for relaxation for yourself.   So if you’d like to subscribe to my blog, you’ll have opportunity to download some coloring pages.

Subscribe Via E-mail To Get Free Updates  

And a Free Mini Coloring Book 

 Click Here To Sign Up!

wave

If you enjoy the coloring pages it would bless me if  you took a moment to share this post with your friends on social media.

Blessings on your day and your creativity,

Laura (Grandmamiller)

View original post

Unspoken

I recently did a post about an alphabet book called ABC USA. I mentioned in the post that we had a discussion about the underground railroad. Macy and I both were not familiar with the underground railroad and had to look it up. Well, Mrs Gruener from Corner on Character recommended a book about that underground railroad that she thought I might like.

We came across this book at our favorite book stop – Half Price Books – and decided that we needed to check it out. The book is Unspoken by Henry Cole. (Click his name for a link to his awesome website!) It is a stunning book. It was published by Scholastic Press in 2012. There are no words here – only beautiful charcoal drawings to tell the story.

IMG_2337My best girl Brenna was home to “read” it to me.

It’s a bit of a spooky book. All the illustrations are lovely but dark. Dark skies, dark rooms, trees with no leaves, and eyes peering through corn stalks and doors.

We see a young girl out doing her farm chores. Looking pretty happy with her chickens and her sweet cow and kitty. But when she goes to collect vegetables from the vegetable barn she sees a big eye staring at her from the corn. This vegetable barn was a new thing for me. I guess they didn’t have a refrigerator, but instead had a whole barn for all their food stuff. Anyway, the girl worries about whoever is in her corn but starts taking food to them. She doesn’t tell any adults about it. Who is it and should she tell?

IMG_2338I didn’t know the answer to either of those questions until we read the author’s note at the end. Mr Cole explains the whole story. It’s about the Civil War and runaway slaves and kind folks who kept those slaves hidden. I guess the eye in the corn was a slave. And that kind little girl took care of him/her.

Unspoken is a good title for the book. Everything is unspoken. No words in the story. The girl doesn’t speak of her secret. The eye in the corn doesn’t talk. The soldiers riding through the farm don’t say anything to anyone. Mealtimes are quiet, prayerful events. The slave hunters seem to be very outspoken. But they’re the only ones.

This is a powerful book. It’s nice to have the story at the end, but the pictures themselves are quite incredible. This would be an excellent book for a class studying slavery and the underground railroad. I now know what that underground railroad was. It was all about secrecy — good deeds unspoken, deeds of bravery unspoken.

National Geographic has a cool interactive webpage about the underground railroad here.

There is a National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio if you happen to be in that area.

Here’s an interesting video all about the railroad —

And Richie Havens singing a railroad song –

Going Traveling

I’ve been in a traveling mood. We do some traveling most every day. Going to the Big City. But I know all those routes and I’m ready for some adventure.

We have a couple of books in our home library that are about animals on adventures. I’ve been pawing through these books and daydreaming. Wondering why my Mom Person isn’t more adventurous.

Copy of IMG950653

buns travels

Buns Travels Across America is about a rabbit who travels to a whole bunch of fun places all across America. A rabbit! The book was done by David Love and his rabbit, Cottonpaw. It was published by Cotton Tale Press in 1992. It’s got some great pictures of Buns the rabbit at the Statue of Liberty and Niagra Falls and the Grand Canyon and the Alamo and the beach! Even in Hollywood! (I’ve been to Hollywood!  – in Glen Rose, Tx) —IMG_2253  But I haven’t been to the REAL Hollywood! That Buns is one lucky rabbit! And this is a pretty good book. Besides all the nice pictures of a cute rabbit, each picture is accompanied by a little history lesson. A fun way to learn some good stuff! And Buns has a website the you might want to visit here to learn more about him and his travels.

joe and sallyJoe and Sally : A Long Way From Home is a book about penguins who travel all over the world! But these aren’t real penguins. They’re like great big toy penguins. Now isn’t that funny! This book is the creation of Willy Puchner. It was published by Penguin Books (where else?!) in 1993.

Mr Puchner found Joe and Sally in a craft shop in Vienna. For 3 years they traveled together all over the world. Joe and Sally sometimes traveled in a box with lots of padding. They sometimes traveled by car or in a backpack. They always had 2 people to carry them around. This is a really comical book because Joe and Sally really look like 2 tourists admiring the sights. Joe even has a camera around his neck! A word of warning though, there are a couple of pages of rather risque photos from their visit to Paris, so I don’t think the book is appropriate for kids. There are pictures of the penguins at various beaches around the world. They visit Thailand and Egypt, where they are pictured with the pyramids and the Sphinx. They visit London, and Paris, and New York, Italy and Germany, but not Hollywood. It is a fun travelogue and I can imagine that the people who helped Joe and Sally enjoy their travels had a very good time with it all.

IMG_2259

So, Walker and I are wondering where we would like to go on our travels. To foreign lands? Or somewhere closer to home? Big City or hiking in some woods? Or lounging on the beach? Maybe you could tell us of anything interesting where you live?

And maybe we’ll go to the library and find more books that fill the imagination.

And here is a really cool traveling music video from Josh Ritter

Party Time!

We had a big party here today. A dog party! The 7 Acre Wood has become a destination for the semi-local Southeastern guide dog pups to get some exposure to country stuff. Like goats and ponies and chickens and lizards and tall grass to run in and rivers to play in and mud to splash in. Six crazy pups showed up all ready for their special day. Peg, and Ace, and Leisl, and Mercy, and Aubie, and Pearl.

I remember when I was a silly young thing and the world was full of new adventures around every corner. It was fun watching these kids throw themselves into my world with such joyful abandon. As long as they left me and my river toy alone.

No books today. Just summer JOY!!

Road Trip

Well, school’s out and I guess that means summer is here. And summer means travel for lots of folks. The virtual world is all about travel these days. The book bloggers are putting up lists of their favorite travel books. The kid bloggers are talking about keeping kids happy in the car. Ads for Disney World are everywhere! Summer means road trips and camping and family reunions and FUN!

Last week we visited Ms Julie’s 2nd grade class. We read a book called Road Trip. And we talked all about road trips. Most of the kids had been on them before and were hoping to go again this summer. Some of them took their dogs along! Nobody took their cat.

IMG_2134IMG_2135

The book Road Trip is by Roger Eschbacher with illustrations by Thor Wickstrom. ( I really like that name – Thor Wickstrom!) And I really like his artwork. These were some fun, happy travelers. Road Trip was published by Dial Books for Young Readers in 2006. It tells the tale of a family going on a road trip to Grandma’s house for a family reunion. A two day trip. It’s told in rhyme which is always fun to me. They start early in the morning and the kids soon get to arguing until Mom starts singing The Ants Go Marching. When they get tired of those ants they do the Hokey Pokey! Have you ever done the Hokey Pokey in the car? Crazy! They play lots of games in the car and even stop at a Truck Stop!! Just like the book Truck Stop! They stay at a motel and visit roadside attractions like Bunyan’s Hive. The class really liked Bunyan’s Hive! The reunion at Grandma’s is lots of fun — but then they have to drive back again. And it sure is nice to get home!!

The class really liked this book and gave it all thumbs up.

Now I’ve got a book list for you! If you’re going on a road trip with kids, they need entertainment. Trust me! I know! I’ve been there and done that. So this is a list of books that we have in our library at home that have some great stuff for entertainment.

fun on the runFun on the Run is by Joanna Cole (as in Magic School Bus) and Stephanie Calmenson. It’s illustrated by Alan Tiegreen. (That’s a good name – Tiegreen!) The book was published by Morrow Junior Books in 1999. It’s FULL of great games from word games to memory games to license plate games to geography games. It has jokes and riddles and songs! Like The Ants Go Marching and Oh Susanna and The Wheels on the Bus. Great stuff!

car songbookThe Family Car Songbook was researched and edited by Tam Mossman and has illustrations by Jim Wilson and Verlin Miller and Suzanne Clee. It was published by Running Press in 1983. It has 63 pages of song lyrics. It does not have The Ants or The Wheels on the Bus. It does have Oh Susanna and She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain and The Yellow Rose of Texas!! What more could you ask for?! (an interesting aside to this book. I couldn’t find much info on its creators. There is a Suzanne Clee who decorates fine china for Lenox. There are all kinds of Verlin Millers, but no artists that I found. But there is a website devoted to Jim Wilson. Not just one Jim Wilson but 100!) Check it out!

travel gamesThe Usborne Book of Car Travel Games is a little book by Tony Potter. It was edited by Jenny Tyler and has illustrations by Iain Ashman and Chris Lyon and Guy Smith. The book has no publishing info in it, but according to Amazon, it was published by E.D.C. Publishing in 1988. This book has games in it, but it also has car trip instructions. Like what things to take, how to read a map, how to keep a travel log. It has your usual car games, but also has some kind of board games in the book. It’s pretty cool for a little book.

cars and trucksAnd MY Favorite — Richard Scarry‘s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go. This book was published by Harper Collins in 1974. It’s been entertaining kids for a VERY LONG TIME!! And doing a good job of it. This book can keep a kid happy and engrossed for a VERY LONG TIME! This is a must have on a long road trip.

So now I’m ready to pack up and head out!!

IMG_2157Walker and I have packed our suitcase. We have our tennis balls, our favorite toys, brush, toothbrush, banana chips, my best pink blanket and Walker’s chewed up best raccoon. And our favorite books! Now we just need a place to go! Preferably some place with water. Maybe a good hiking trail. Walker wants a forest with lots of bark to chew on.

And here’s a little music to get you in the mood for the road —

and –