Blogiversary…I’m 1…And A Giveaway

May 18, 2010 at 1:13 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 51 Comments
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One year ago, on May 16, I said,  “Hello world”, clicked the “publish” button and Mangos, Chili and Z entered the world. I was nervous, I was excited and I remember checking in about every 15 minutes to see if anyone out there had read imy initial post.

Finally, my good friend Carol Grape noticed it gasping for its first breath, slapped it on the back with a view and a comment, and that’s all it took to get the madness moving on fast forward. 

I’ve had more fun with this blog. Thanks to all of you for following me, all the comments and all the inspiration from your great blogs. With 150 posts under my belt, I most certainly look forward to year two! 

Post #1   content involved a spring bird watching trip to Northeast Colorado and coincidence has it that we headed out to the Pawnee Grasslands on the same date this year. 

What a grand area the Pawnee National Grasslands are. Covering almost 200,000 acres in Weld County in N.E. Colorado and extending to the Wyoming border, this vast sea of natural grasslands is a destination of bird watchers all over the world due to its unique habitat.

When you’re out in the middle of this desolate grassland prairie, all you can hear is wind whistling through the grass, an occasional call of a raptor overhead and a chorus of sparrows, buntings and longspurs who have arrived to use the grass, rabbit brush, sage and an occasional smattering of trees as their spring nesting grounds. Throw in a bark from a distant prairie dog and  metal squeaking from a turning windmill and you truly feel a kindred spirit with the pioneers who first arrived on these plains some 200 years ago.

One might not take particular notice of the teeming wildlife in this shortgrass prairie when traveling East to West as most vacationers have their sites set on the Rockie Mountains looming in the distance. On a closer look you’ll find the area literally crawling with wildlife.

Filled with history involving buffalo, indians, settlers, cattlemen and farmers, in the 1930’s strong winds stripped the grass then sucked the moisture out of the ground carrying its topsoil aloft, sweeping it across the country and blotting out the sun in cities in the east. We call it the Dust Bowl.  After the winds were gone all that was left was a damaged ecology, towns and pioneer spirits. Beginning in 1934 Federal relief efforts were initiated and in 1960 these lands became the Pawnee National Grassland.  Slowly with patience and careful management the land is healing. A mat of natural grasses once again protects the soil and wildlife and settlers have returned. 

This area, so rich in history even inspired James Michener’s Novel “Centennial”. 

Here’s a few photos I took.

Birding treat of the day was when an American Bittern plopped down right in front of us. Usually a very elusive and secretive bird, they are rarely seen and only sometimes heard.

A better shot of the prairie pot hole habitat.  See it there in the middle?  You can’t believe how still it is.  It moves so slow you can barely tell it’s moving.  I thought my arms would sieze up trying to hold the camera as still to not to alarm it’s activity.  Plus, trying not to breath.  A tense and exciting moment. 

Now take a look at this shot.  As the bird moves towards the reeds he raises his head to imitate the tall stalks of the plant and to camouflage himself into the landscape. Pretty soon he’ll be almost impossible to see. Pretty cool…huh?

To celebrate my 1st anniversary, I’ve prepared the first meal that my mom taught me to make. Fried Chicken, mashed potatoes and creamy chicken gravy. That will be my next post. 

But first, let’s talk about giveaway.  Using a random generator one reader will receive a copy of Denver Junior League’s Creme de Colorado Cookbook. This cookbook contains a selection of recipes that reflect Colorado’s lifestyle and rich history. It  includes nearly 700 recipes which are enhanced with color images by the renowned Colorado naturalist photographer, John Fielder.  Mr. Fielder captures the essence of Colorado with his lens and the results invite you to feel a part of our region. 

But wait, there’s anothe bird hiding in that third bird photo.  To enter, simply leave a comment with a guess of what it is. You don’t have to be right, just guess.  Contest ends at midnight Saturday, May 22, Mountain Standard Time.

Birdwatching on the Pawnee,

It’s an Annual Spring Event



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  1. Lea Ann,

    Congratulations on a great first year! I love reading your blog, even if I don’t always respond. You have done a great job! Didn’t realize I was the first to read it. Cool. Here’s to many many more years.


    • Oh, and that’s a really cool looking bird.

      • Oh yes, you were the first to comment. I probably called you and asked you to. 🙂

  2. Happy bloganniversary! It’s been wonderful to read about your life and the meals that you cook. I’m not familiar with birds at all, is that a stork of some sort?

    • Thank you Christine. The Bittern is actually in the crane family. Storks are tall and statuesque as well. Storks in North America are usually found in Florida. The small bird in that photo still seems to be a mystery to all who have commented.

  3. Happy blogaversary! How about a crescent chested warbler?

    • Chris, Crescent-chested Warblers are rarely found in Texas and Arizona. I’d be on the cover of National Geographic if I actually had a photo of one in Colorado… there I go dreaming Hollywood again. 🙂

  4. Happy bloggiversary babe! I’m so glad you started blogging…here’s to many years to come.

    And as for birds. The only birds we have here in NYC are pigeons. And robins. And I know it’s not a pigeon. Sparrow maybe?

    • Joanne, Central Park is home to so many wonderful species. Much more than pigeons and robins. Take for instance your famous nesting Red-tailed Hawks. Not a sparrow, but good guess…think larger and blacker.

  5. Hi LA – I can’t believe it’s a year! I am so proud of you! I had not known writing was a talent of yours before you started this and it’s fun to read…your humor shines on this blog 🙂 And the food – always presented so nicely and is so inviting.
    As for the bird – I’m making an educated guess of Yellow-headed Blackbird. Right? 🙂 Nice pic of the Bittern…a “good bird” 🙂
    Love, HW

    • It’s an OK shot of the Bittern…but I think I’ll stick to food photography. Thanks for the kind words and for taking a stab at the ident. 😉

      • What I liked about the picture is you could really see how he blended in with the reeds. Very nice. 🙂

      • Thanks Nancy! I still think I’ll stick to photographing food. I can get closer. 🙂

  6. Happy Aniversary Lea Ann and keep up the good work. No clue on the bird.

    • Thanks Larry…and .not even a guess??? Actually, this bird is a Western Species. You wouldn’t see them in your neck of the woods anyway.

  7. Happy Birthday to your blog!

  8. Congrats on your blogoversary!

    Is it a quail?

  9. Lea Ann, congratulations on a great first year! The small bird in that photo… a Yellow-rumped Warbler?
    Thank you for the giveaway!

    • Thanks Barb! As many as there are in the world, I’m surprised it’s not a Yellow-rumped Warber. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Congrats Lea Ann! I’m very much looking forward to reading your musing for a whole ‘nother year!

    • Well heck thanks Karen! I’m sure missing your “musing” Hope all is well with you and that you’re just busy busy.

  11. Congrats on your first year blogiversary! Wow, it seems like yesterday I was reading your first post! Your blog has been such a fun read and I’ve been so impressed with the constant stream of delicious dishes you share. My favorite (and first) foodie blog by far!

    I loved this post – how exciting to nab a rare photo. I don’t know what the little guy is, but I’ll take a stab and guess a Western Meadowlark. (harks back to our Kansas days!)

    • Thanks Vickie! Western Meadowlark is a good guess, and as we know from our Kansas days, they do loved those barbed wire fences. However, this bird’s pitiful song doesn’t even compare to the melody that comes from those Meadowlarks.

      • Hm – that was my first guess. Love those meadowlarks.

  12. Congratulations on your milestone! Shall I expect your first year to be summarized in another cook book? 🙂
    I was going to guess the bird was a Yellow Breasted Bittern Sidekick….but I did a quick, non-thorough, google and decided to guess Yellow Breasted Chat instead.
    (The cardinals in my Blue Spruce are multiplying much to my delight, I’ll try to get a good picture to share with you.)

    • Thanks Pam. I don’t think I see another cookbook on the horizon, but I do plan on posting more recipes from that book on my blog. It’s stupid that I’ve not done that. Not a Yellow-breasted Bittern Sidekick…but good guess. tee hee. Unfortunately we don’t have Cardinals here. Can you believe that?????

  13. Bittern and finch of some sort..I cook birds, I don’t watch them! Congrats on your milestone!

    • Thanks BD, always appreciate your visit and comments. Not a finch. 🙂

  14. Happy Blog Anniversary! Your pictures make me miss Colorado, the sunshine, mountains, and the great outdoors. Lived there for several years before moving to MN. Hope to move back someday.

    • Colorado is indeed an absolutely beautiful place. Thanks for stopping by and the comment.

  15. Oooh, congratulations on your anniversary! I love your blog, you always inspire me to try cooking new things.

    I’m guessing your little bird on the wire is a yellow throated warbler… although I’m really not up on my field and stream notes.

    • Thanks so much Liz! Good guess, and I wish it were a yellow-throated warbler. That would be a good bird here. But I can safely say that no self respecting yellow-throated warbler would be caught dead on a barbed wire fence…let alone in Colorado.

  16. Congrats on one year!! My brother-in-law might be moving to Colorado soon. I hope he does so I can visit and see all the great scenery!

    The other bird looks like a yellow-headed blackbird – could be something completely different though! We have a bird feeder in our back yard for the cats to bird watch. I know the basic birds, but have to look up any new birds that might visit.

    • Thank you so much Stephanie. I hope your brother-in-law does move to Colorado. I’d insist you stop by for a meal. I’d love to cook for you and mr. chicken legs.

      I can safely say that a Yellow-headed Blackbird would indeed be caught dead on a barbed-wire fence above a pool of water. 🙂

  17. Happy Blogiversary! I’ve enjoyed your blog so much and I’m lifting my glass of wine to you in a toast for many more years! On the other bird – is that an Egret?

    • Thanks Debbye – I appreciate your comment. It is not an Egret.

  18. Happy 1st year! Love reading your blog. Here’s to many more posts.

  19. Great job on the year… It’s been fun for us as well!

    I guess a pigeon… they are everywhere

  20. Keep up the good work. I love visiting here. No idea on the bird. I am not good with birds and plants, but want to be. Happy first blogivesary!

  21. year…how exciting..I see the bird but am horrible at identifying them…good luck in your next year of blogging


    • Girlie Chef and Sweetlife, thanks so much for stopping in and the comments!

  22. Happy Blogoversary…looking forward to many more years ;)!!!

  23. A year is quite a milestone. Congratulations to you!

  24. Yay for you! I have really enjoyed reading your blog and having you at Souper Sundays! Congrats on year 1 and here is to many more.

    Sadly, I am bad at bird identity. We have a white bird here that is crane-like like your Bittern that I love and I don’t even know what that is. Is it some kind of magpie? 😉

  25. Congrats on your blogiversary! Your recipes are fab and that fried chicken looks great! Thanks for stopping by and for your nice comment! Cheers! It looks like a Magpie.

  26. Congratulations on your first year! I always enjoy reading your posts. It looks like the bird might be a goldfinch? The grasslands look absolutely beautiful.

  27. Congrats on your anniversary! Job well done!

  28. […] by the renowned Colorado naturalist photographer, John Fielder. Lea Ann recently celebrated her Blogiversary…I’m 1…And A Giveaway and chose this beautiful cookbook for the giveaway. I am so excited and can’t wait to try […]

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