Neatest Dragonfly I have seen…. and other photos…

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I was out enjoying the wonderful weather today, should have been working but took the camera out instead.  There were these huge dragonflies all over the place.  I finally saw one resting and they were so colorful.  I have never seen anything as large and colorful as these before.

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Some of them weren’t quite as vibrant as the first one but they started to pose for me all over.  Such a cute face huh?

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I experimented a little with black and white on this one, just having some fun.  I kind of like the effect it has.

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I did the same playing with color and black and white on this one that was resting on the house. 

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And I got up close and personal with this pretty fella.  I love the faces on dragonflies, they are sooo cool looking. All bugs have cool faces though, so much character to such a little face.

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Like on this little bee…. they are different critters. 

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The apples are ripe and good for eating, they have spots but the flavor is wonderful.  The deer come and stand on their hind legs to pick and eat them too.  We have a good crop of them this year so plenty to go around.

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Can’t you just taste them, crisp and juicy. 

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I think we are getting an early taste of fall.  They were saying on the news this morning we are going to have a very colorful leaf change.  With the heavy rains this past spring and the cool, early weather, they say conditions are perfect for leaf changes.

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This is one example I found in my garden this afternoon.  I took several more of various varieties around the yard that I haven’t processed yet.  I love the fall, I can’t wait to get out with the camera for some good color shots.  It means winter is following close behind and I am not sure I am ready for the snow yet.  It took too long for it to leave us last spring.

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My mums are blooming nicely now as well.  Some of them aren’t doing as well with all the rain, they seem to have died back a little from too much water. 

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My pinks and yellows are doing pretty well though.  My dark burgandy are just starting and my orange were nice but are close to done now.

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I played around with black and white on the mums as well, something a little unique.

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I have been noticing these mushrooms in all the yards on my walk every morning.  They seem to be in abundance with all the wet weather we had.  They are huge, some are almost as large as a dinner plate. 

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I don’t know my mushrooms so I don’t have any idea of what variety they are.  I just like to shoot them.

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These little green and red things are growing on all the wood around the yard, a fungus of some type I am sure but I have never seen anything like them before.  Very different looking to me.  

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Played with one more thing, just to see what I could get, this is the fence in my front garden.

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Just a great day to be out shooting. :)

 

 

Strange bug

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Not sure what this guy is, he has been sitting in my entryway window all day today.  That looks like one very long, nasty stinger to get stung by though.  He hasn’t moved at all, very strange, bugs don’t sit still like this.

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Mr. Froggy was sitting next to him on the ledge, had to take a shot of him while I was at it.

Young Woodpecker came to visit…

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I heard a woodpecker pecking away, looked out and saw it on this branch.  It was only after I snuck out with the camera and took a close up of it that I noticed it was a very young one. He/She sat and posed for a little bit for me as I tried to creep closer for a better shot. 

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I wasn’t able to get as close as I wanted before he/she left me though.  Managed a few okay shots.

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Since it was an absolutely perfect day out there today, I stayed out a while longer to see what else I could photograph.  It had rained overnight and the ground was too muddy for any of my other projects.

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I was attempting to get a good shot of these seed pods on one of my bushes when this dragonfly came to pose for me.  Pretty nice of him/her to come along like that.

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Then this grasshopper nicely jumped in front of me as well.  He/she was just too cute to not photograph. :)

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This is a new addition to my gardens this summer, I can’t remember the name of the flower but I buy my flowers based on being resistant to deer and attractive to hummingbirds, bees and butterfly’s.  The name of the flower really doesn’t matter to me.

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I had this orange mum show up in a garden across from my mum garden, it is taking over a  rose bush and another plant so I will have to move it next spring.  I didn’t know mums would do this. There is a cement walkway between this and my other mums, kind of strange. Pretty though so I will keep it.  The little green frog was what made me stop to take a picture.

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I went out to relax and read a book on our new deck and this little wasp came to join me, can’t pass up a photo opportunity like this one. 

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And just to add a cute, fun aspect to my day…. Ares didn’t like the cone the vet gave us for his head to keep him from chewing his stitches.  I tried an old shirt we had around the house and yesterday he looked like Superdog in his blue cape.  However, it was only an extra large and was too small for him, I had to cut it open and by doing that he was able to get to the stitches and it didn’t work very well. I ran to Walmart to see if they might have a dog shirt in his size, Chuck and Don’s was closed for the day.  They only had dog shirts for small dogs so I found a 3x large t-shirt for $5.00, I tried a   2x and it was still too small.  The sleeves are big on him but to fit in the chest it was the best I could find. You can see it is still a little tight but stretching out.  Today he is now Ares Duck Commando….. He actually seems to almost like wearing it, has a calming effect on him.

I hope everybody had a relaxing Labor Day weekend.

Almost completed…

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We have a nearly completed deck and it is wonderful compared to the old one.  This deck should last quite a while, very sturdily built.

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The dogs are glad to have their back yard again.  I think they missed being let out to just play and do their own thing.

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Because matching the white siding that was already on the house would be extremely difficult, the old siding has been sun worn and faded, they used cedar on the house where there was no siding.  I think it really helped tie in the deck to the house and looks great.  There is still some finishing work along the roof there which will tie it all in completely.

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If anyone should be in need of a new deck, or a kitchen or bathroom remodel, these guys can do the job for you.  They do really thorough work and take pride in doing the job right the first time.

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They will be back in the next couple days for the final finishing touches like the electrical outlet here.

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You can see the detailing they put into every aspect of the deck.  You can also see how well built and sturdy everything is.

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They put this nice taper on all the deck railing tops for a little extra flair.  I love the care they put into the work they do.

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So, if you live anywhere around the Forest Lake area and are in need of remodeling around your home, these guys are the guys to call.  Just contact me and I can put you in touch with them.  We hope to have them do our kitchen next.

 

Deck Progress and Yard Visitors…….

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This lovely eyesore is the deck/screen porch that came with the house when we bought it.  We wanted to remodel our kitchen first but from the day we looked at the house, before even purchasing it, we felt this deck was built incorrectly and unsafe.

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Not to mention, when I sit on the deck I want to enjoy the outdoors, not be cooped in this dark, gloomy room.  We felt pretty confident there were no concrete footers under this deck at all.  We knew when the snow melted in the spring, it leaked really badly between where the porch roof and the house roof came together. It was carpeted inside so to have the heavy leakage, the floor had to be rotted and moldy under that carpet. 

What we didn’t know, until we hired someone to tear it off, is just how dangerous it really was.  We had been looking for someone we could trust to do the work for us as we just weren’t sure about detaching it from the house and knowing what we were doing, it was more than just building a deck.  We were at the range one day and they were trying to talk us into buying yet another gun…. we said, sorry, at this point we need a deck first.

Sometimes things just work out in conversation like this…. it turns out the owner of Lakes Trading Gun range used to do construction before opening a range.  One of his employees at the range also worked with him in construction.  They still do jobs like remodels or decks on the side for extra income. We felt we could trust them and they are good guys so we asked them for a bid. 

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They came out and started working on the deck a couple Mondays ago, Monday is the only day the range is closed.  It rained all day on them but they worked hard and had it looking like this by the end of day one.  James was home with them for the day because we weren’t sure how Ares would act.  He said when they pulled the first post out, not only was it not set in concrete at all but it was only about 18 inches into the ground.  They just pulled it out for the most part.  One of the posts was completely rotted.  James made the comment to Ben, I told Ann the roof was the only thing holding this deck up anymore.  Ben replied…. about the roof, it was never tied into the house roof correctly.  It was basically just screwed to the roof board.  James was shocked and commented back, so I am lucky to be alive….. Ben replied, with a chuckle… well, it is a short fall. 

Needless to say, this re insured my feeling that the kitchen could wait another year or two, we need to do the deck first……

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We now have 6×6 treated timber posts that are on concrete footings buried 50 inches deep to go below the frost level.

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This is the end of day two for the deck, they have the main frame up and it is sturdy. My husband tried to give me a hard time, he emails me at work what a terrible job they are doing. I get home and he says look at the mess they left, and how can I use this deck, you can’t walk on it without falling through…..

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The frame looks pretty secure to me, even though anything would after the old deck.  They have three support beams on top of the 6×6 posts.  The frame will be all in treated timbers.

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The top of the deck will be all cedar.  It smells wonderful in my garage right now with all the cedar sitting in there.  Hopefully it will help keep the mosquitoes at bay when we sit out there in the summer. 

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The end of day three, they have made some pretty good progress, they had the holes to dig for the staircase which took some time.  They built this platform for partway down the stairs.  We have this dog that gets a little too excited to play ball in the yard so he runs down the first 5 or 6 steps and then jumps the rest of the way.  He keeps hurting his leg and having to rest for several days.  We thought if we had them put this platform with a railing and a 45 degree turn, put the final 2 steps after he has to stop and turn, he would no longer jump and hurt himself.  I hope it works…. cost extra and slowed things down but saves on vet bills down the line if he seriously hurts himself.

They will be back tomorrow and hopefully finish or come close to finishing.  It is getting tiring walking the dogs at 4:00am in the dark because we can’t just let them out the back door to the fenced area right now.  We knew it would take longer higher these guys on a side job but I would rather wait and deal with this than chance someone coming in and doing it wrong again. You don’t always know who you are getting when you hire someone.

I am excited to have it finished for my photography as well, will be nice to be able to sit out there and catch my many pets and visitors to the yard.  It is tough trying to sneak outside after they are already there.

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This group of deer come several times a day to pick and eat the apples on our tree.  It would have been easier to sneak out on the deck through the back and get some photos of them.  I tried to sneak out the front but she saw me and stopped eating and headed to the neighbors.  She was up on her hind legs picking the apples and I would have loved to catch her doing that on camera.

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She had the babies with again too, they were playing some but this time when I came out they left right away. They are cute little buggers to watch.

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You can see the apples on the tree, plenty of apples for them to pick and eat.  They are pretty tart, I tried one when I was out there earlier this morning. If you click on a photo in this blog, it will enlarge and you can see these details better.

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This is the second baby, he/she realized the others were leaving and ran to catch up.

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There are two adults and two babies, this is the final deer to leave the apples.

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This is the first one that left when I initially walked out the door and she spotted me.

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Yes, that deck will be nice, I can sit out there in the evening and see all kinds of friendly critters and hopefully they get used to seeing me there and not running away. 

 

 

 

Play Time for the Fawns

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Since it was a gloomy, rainy day today we were relaxing watching an afternoon movie.  The dog went and looked out the window and started barking.  I pulled aside the curtains to see what he was looking at and found these little fawns at play. 

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They would stop to graze a bit and one of them would sneak up on the one grazing and pounce, just like my dogs do when they play.  I never expected or thought of deer playing like this.  It was really fun to watch.

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I went and grabbed the camera and quietly snuck out the front door to see if I could get some photos.  My camera wasn’t set perfectly for the cloudy weather and the action so some of the shots are blurry but still show the fun the babies were having.  Besides,  blurry can be neat in action at times too….. :)

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I was just excited to have caught this moment, seems like this would be a rare thing to witness.  They played for a good 5 minutes or more while I watched and clicked.

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You can see how they literally bend down and pounce, at one point one pounced a little too hard and fell on his butt….. was funny to see his stunned expression.  That photo was too blurry to post but I still laugh when I look at it. :)

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Two adult deer were hanging out nearby grazing peacefully and completely ignoring me and letting the babies have their fun. 

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I stopped to adjust the settings on my camera again, kept changing them trying to get the ideal setting for the dark day, when I heard a loud crashing sound.  A very large branch came down off a tree on the other side of the yard…. that was all it took.  The babies turned tail and ran with the adults close behind them.  No more photos for me and no more fun for them for the time being.  It was too bad as it was really a special moment and a lot of fun.

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Dinner time…. at least not my roses this time…

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I took the day off to get some work done around the yard, it has been a hectic summer so far and the yard work just hasn’t had the time it needs.  Before starting in on the yard, I took my dogs for a walk.  As I was walking up my driveway with my 100 pound white shepherd at my side, I spotted this deer grazing in the yard.  She looked up at us and she and the dog stared each other down for a bit.  I really thought she would run away but I took my chances.  I brought the dog in the house, got my camera and went quietly back out to the yard.  She was grazing peacefully as though we had never encountered her.

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Oops, I started taking my pictures and I think she heard the camera, we have been spotted.  She still didn’t run, she was alert and watchful but she went right back to her grazing. Must have been hungry….. :)

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She did keep a very close eye on my every action, you can see she dropped her food here while checking on me.

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Didn’t stop her from going back for another bite though.  She finally had enough of me and decided to wander on her way.

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At least she is finally leaving my roses alone, they are coming along pretty well out there.  I bet I have a good 30-40 roses on the bushes and plenty of buds to open.  Early in the spring the deer ate all the roses off and their saliva killed back some of the bushes.  It was just too rainy to keep the Milorganite working for long.  Once we lost all the rain, they made a wonderful comeback.

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Now I just need more time to get out there and photograph them.

 

The Twins are growing up….

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Last night I was doing my coding at home when my husband called me to the kitchen to show me we had some visitors.  Momma was in the front yard so I wasn’t able to get out and take photos of her but the twins were in the back yard. I snuck out quietly onto the back deck to take some photos.  They are growing up so fast, hard to believe they are the little spotted fawns I was photographing so recently. 

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It appears we have a buck and a doe baby.  He is going to be a big feller in time too. :)   You can see they were watching me pretty close, just look at the eye I am being given….

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They come right into the yard where we have been working to put in more fencing for the dogs to run.  I am guessing they won’t be so happy once the fence is done.

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It is really neat to watch them grow, they come to visit almost every night now. I think they are eating the branches we cut out and put through the wood chipper as they weren’t coming in this close before this pile of chips/branches was in the yard. 

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They look so skinny and gangly yet….

 

Just having fun..

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Just having a little fun.  Took the camera around the yard to see what I could find to shoot that was different.  This is a oar in the fishing boat we have.

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The remains from a brake job and an old sofa, waiting to be taking for recycling.  Played with the colors for a little special interest effects.

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Our faucet and garden hose, I turned it all to black and white and turned the handle blue.  It is fun experimenting with the colors to see what effects one can come up with and how you can change the tone/mood of simple objects.

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Again with the color play, I turned just the one leaf green and part of the red rose I turned more purple.

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I found a few critters posing nicely for me so I tossed them into my mix for the day.

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I had a beautiful deer posing perfectly in my yard last night, she was eating the brush and chips we had left after working all day.  By the time I had gone for the camera, the dog had scared her into the trees a little way.  I wish I had seen her before the going to put the dogs out. I still did manage this shot of her though.deer  She was this close too, I didn’t zoom/crop this photo at all.  We are expanding the fence area for the dogs to have room to run and we cleaning out brush, she was eating the freshly chipped trees/branches I had put through the wood chipper just hours before this photo. Better she eat this then my roses, she has been eating the roses far too much lately.

 

Memories of a fun day with a fun gal…..

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Thinking back to a day JoVonna and I spent at a place called Fawn Doe Rosa in Wisconsin.  JoVonna started as my Kinship friend when she was a young gal of 10.  She is now an adult but we are still friends. 

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Fawn Doe Rosa is a petting zoo we went to for the day and had a lot of fun.  I think she was enjoying feeding the deer even though there was one special deer that had a bad cold.  He had snot all over his face and gave a nice sneeze all over JoVonna while she was feeding him.  I laughed pretty hard, I am not so sure she enjoyed it as much though.  It was pretty gross…..

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These deer really wanted that corn she had and couldn’t get pretty pesky for it.  Sometimes they would literally corner her and take it from her… 

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It is pretty cool to be able to get that close to a wild animal like this, they are free to roam and come and go from the farm at will.  I think I liked that the best, that they weren’t caged up at all.

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This little guy was in a pen but it was a very large pen.  I believe he/she was an orphan they were taking care of though.

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Then there was this really goofy looking duck, I swear someone made a little old fashioned bonnet for it to wear…. it sure looks like it is wearing a hat of some sort. 

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Doesn’t she remind you of old Aunt Hilda from the 50′s???? :)

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They had some neat old buildings around the property that I enjoyed shooting.  I wish I had the camera I have now back then, this day was all shot with my old Rebel XT.  It was a really good camera for starting out but nothing like my current camera. 

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This is the one disturbing photo I took at the park that day.  I didn’t like that they caged up this poor bear and a cage to small for him to possibly be happy.  Not sure what the story was behind the bear but all the other animals had a pretty good home with room to roam.  Just not this poor guy, maybe he had been hurt and needed to be there but he paced and paced and didn’t look happy to me.  I wished I could let him go.

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JoVonna made another friend this day, this llama took a real liking to her.

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I love the expression on her face here, she looks at this llama like “watch it there mister”….

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JoVonna thought she was going to sit and relax a bit….. Mr. Llama had a different thought here. 

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It was pretty funny when she noticed him….

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All Right, enough is enough, I am out of here……

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This guy wanted some of the food too…. I think he was trying to escape…

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One really cute pig that came to say hi…

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Some other cute critters that came to visit, this was a little Shetland Pony baby.

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And a little calf wanted in on the eats as well.  All in all I think we had a fun day.