Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Big Kitties

I have had nothing but trouble trying to organize my photos from my spectacularly wonderful African safari.  I won't bore you with my technical issues, but my frustration has reached epic proportions.  I've decided to just give myself a break and instead of giving you the park by park tour that I had planned on posting, I'm just going to do this by themes (or animals) and not worry about chronological order and being precise on location.  Sorry if this frustrates you!  I do understand.  But expedience won out.

If I hadn't changed my plan, it might have been weeks more before I got around to posting anything about Africa!

These lionesses were napping in the tall grass late in the afternoon.  There were about 8 or 9 of them scattered around, mostly totally hidden.  These lions are having their annual hard time of it as the grass is tall, the wildebeest is much father south and the hunting poor.  Antelope and impala prefer shorter grass (where the lions show up clearly!) for grazing, so when the grass is tall because the wildebeest and zebras are elsewhere, the antelope mostly disappear.  Lions go hungry.

What prompted these lazy lions to pop up from their naps was the sound of a land cruiser.  A very specific land cruiser....one that belonged to the local park rangers.  The rangers have been feeding the lions occasionally to help them get through these lean months.  When the lions ascertained that the rangers were not bringing them dinner, they all, one by one, plopped back down into the grass---and became invisible again.  It was eerie to look out over this seemingly empty expanse of grass knowing that 8 or 9 lionesses were just out there.  Right over there.....unseen.

Of course, who knows what else was hidden in the grass???

This very lazy lion was totally bored by all the safari vehicles that were crowding the road just a few yards from him napping place.  The lions just ignore the safari vehicles.  I don't know what they think they are---some kind of lumbering, smelly and noisy "animal" that is not edible, perhaps?---but obviously safari vehicles are not interesting in the least.

This fellow had been sleeping in the shade of a safari vehicle in the middle of the road.  Finally the vehicle moved off, the lion found himself back in the bright sun, so he slowly rose, walked a few yards and collapsed back into a sleepy heap in the grass.  There must have been 10 to 12 vehicles right there, all stuffed with camera toting tourists.  He probably had 500 plus photos of his slumbering form taken in a five minute period!

This pride of hungry ladies had pulled down a young zebra and had devoured most of it before we arrived to watch the very end of the feasting.  You can see how very thin they are.  There were no males in this group at all, nor none nearby.

This little cub, maybe three months old or so, was having a nap in the heat of the day in a stand of trees.  There were three cubs there, one who was happily licking his feet (but behind a tree trunk where I couldn't get a decent shot) and one adult lioness.  She was, I gather, the baby sitter.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Breaking News!!!

I got an email, very early this morning.  The message read: "Rawlings has some news."  And the photo, well, the photo says it all!

We are giddy with gladness!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Technical Problems....

I have had a lot of trouble getting all of my Africa photos to load onto my computer.  I think (fingers crossed) that I've solved the problem.  I am almost done editing them and am nearly ready to start sharing my amazing adventure with you, Dear Reader.  In the mean time, try to find the leopard in the above photo.  It's there.  REALLY.  If you look very closely, at the mid point of the shot and them move your eye up until it's just about 3/4 of the way up from the bottom edge, you'll see a sort of dark spot.  That's an eye.....

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Art House Co-op Exchange

I am taking part in an Art House Co-op 4 x 6 exchange.  I have been following the Art House Co-op activities for a while now, and have thought about taking part in their sketchbook project, but never got around to it.  It's been too long since I did any painting, so on a whim (and before I could chicken out!) I signed up.

My sister-in-law Gwen gave me an Indian carved wooden fabric stamp for Christmas.  I have been eyeing it of late, wondering how to use it.  This challenge seemed the right time, so I added modeling paste over a layer of gesso on heavy 300 pound watercolor paper and stamped away.  I love the texture it adds.

I also used another gift, a small travel pallet that fits inside a CD case and has a little pad of pallet paper cut to fit.  Nonie gave it to me and it's remarkably useful.  This is the first time I've pulled it out, but it will be in heavy rotation now that I know how useful and convenient it is.  Thanks Nonie and Gwen!

I'm working away on those pesky African photos.  A post will be up soon....

Monday, February 13, 2012

Jet Lag Cubed


I am home from Africa.  I had the most amazing time and felt like I had made a left turn somehow into an African animal documentary on The Nature Channel!  Every day there was some new, amazing thing to see and experience.  I loved every minute of my time in Kenya and Tanzania and I feel very blessed to have been able to take such trip.

superb starling
The only downside to my incredible trip is the jet lag.  I have never, ever, had such a hard time adjusting to my own time zone.  I seem to only be able to stay asleep until some dark, cold, lonely time between 2 and 5 AM.  I am walking around in a fog most of the time and not moving very quickly or getting things done in my usual manner.  And, yes, I know I have no right to complain!

All of this is just me trying to explain why it will take a few more days before I have a proper first blog post about  my time in Africa.  I am mostly through editing my photos but I still  need to get my notes and travel journal in order so I can explain where I went and what I did.

hippo pool
I thought that you, Dear Reader, might like a little preview of some of the animals I was so lucky to see and photograph.

I still have to pinch myself to be sure I'm not dreaming all of this...that it really happened and that I really, truly got to see all these species, these places and meet these people.

My tan is fading.  My eyes are droopy.  My head is fuzzy with lack of sleep.....but I am so happy to have been on safari and so happy to be able to share some of my experiences with you.

nutmeg with mace covering
Soon.  I promise.  More is coming.....soon!
vervet monkey