Monday, October 11, 2010

Winner of China's Got Talent Lui Wei

A few weeks ago I was introduced through the Internet to a very talented young Chinese man who had lost his arms in an electrocution accident.

The dream of becoming a concert pianist remained in spite of his physical challenge. There were individuals along his path that didn't believe he would be able to reach his goal and discouraged Lui Wei from reaching for his star.

I am so happy that Lui Wei wouldn't take the naysayers seriously, that he continued to believe in himself, working hard to move forward. He has become an inspiration to many.

Following is the video of Mr. Wei's final performance in winning the overall competition for China's Got Talent...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Reptile and Amphibians at Timber Life

Blue Speckled Salamander
The past season  provided some good weather for our reptile and amphibian populations at Timber Life.

While working outside Sunday, our dog Sadie alerted us to a presence in the pit surrounding our soon to be earth bermed home. The soil has been slow to dry after the huge amounts of rain received throughout the summer.

This little fellow was one of two sightings these past couple weeks that don't happen on a regular basis. I heard that our oldest Granddaughter did happen to find one in their small town yard six miles to the west of us yesterday as well. I can only think that the recent temperature cool down has them looking for spaces to get prepared for hibernation. Our sandy soiled location here in the country is a great place for burrowing.

It appears these salamanders are at the southwestern edge of their normal range here in central Iowa. Some concern about their future has been expressed due to enviromental issues.
Western Painted Turtle

Two teeth like projections
Brightly colored carapace characteristic of  Western Painted Turtles
A reptile species that is common in a wide range throughout the United States stopped to visit; moving from one moisture laden vicinity to another. It too found it's way into the shaded pit surrounding our construction...When I first saw it, it was between our current home, and the corner of the drop off. I came back to find it to snap some pictures of the underside, to verify which species of Painted Turtle I had crawling through the yard. The turtle had made good progress, making it to the mud before I found it again .

Cope's Gray Tree Frog
The  Cope's Gray Tree Frog seems to enjoy adhering to house surfaces from dusk into the night looking for an evening meal. There are two color variations for the frog, true gray and green over gray.

Hubby even found one clinging to the  roofing felt as we were preparing to apply our metal roofing one morning.

The frog not wanting to share the space leaped to the ground. Being on the ground I placed it into the tall
 grass for it to catch it's breath and move to a better situation.
At the moment the interior of our wood foundation home is perfect for toad habitation with river rock and damp conditions where the ground hasn't been totally covered.

Throughout the summer we have  gathered up various sized American toads and placed them outside to find another natural setting to become home .

We saw an increase in little green snakes and the Leopard Frogs. The frogs seemed to be wherever you would walk in the yard, in the garden, or puddles in the drive. I was almost afraid to step anywhere in case I might accidentally squash an innocent in hiding.

I am confident there were other reptiles and amphibians at TimberLife,
but these are the ones that crossed our path this year.The snakes,frogs and toads were hard to avoid becoming noticeable by their numbers.

The weather has become dryer and Fall has arrived - time to bid our summertime visitors farewell, and look forward to their return next Spring...

Happy Magic Marker Art

Artist - 6 year old Granddaughter Alexa

What a sweet way to make a Grandma smile when she goes to get the mail today and finds a colorful piece of artwork.

Thank you Alexa...I love it! ;)