Loess Hills

While visiting the kids in Omaha we took a short trip to the Loess Hills in  Western Iowa.  It was a short trip from Omaha, NE.  Council Bluffs, IA, is actually located in the Loess Hills.

The Loess Hills is a geographical area of porous, gritty, lightweight material and minerals covered by grasses, trees and plants.  Loess (pronounced “luss”) is not unusual, but what makes this area in Iowa so important, is because of the depth of the loess material.  The only other area that has loess of this depth and more can be found in China. 

On this trip, we visited the Hitchcock Nature Center in the Loess Hills.  The nature center is a wonderful place to learn about raptors and other birds of the area. There are many hiking trails around the center and an observation tower makes a good place to watch for the birds, too.

Loess Hills

bird watchers!

** click for a larger image.


Even though it was November, there was a lot to see. Grasses glowed with golden hues,  bare-branched trees reached toward the sky,  hills showed off their rounded or angular shapes, and the occasional bird soared by.

We did see an eagle on our hike, but I missed it with my camera!

To learn more about the Loess Hills, click here.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Thanks for visiting!

Judy

All text and images are copyright © 2002-2012 and are the exclusive property of Judy Johnson (unless otherwise indicated). All Rights Reserved. All Images are protected under United States and International copyright laws. None of the images on this site are in the Public Domain.

Frederik Meijer Gardens, Grand Rapids, MI.

The glass portion of the building at Frederik Meijer Gardens.

Last week, with our summer-like weather, we decided to visit Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, MI.   It’s not far from us and offers many different kinds of activities for all ages.  Among other things, there is a wonderful indoor Butterfly Garden.  If you live close, the butterfly exhibit will be open until April 30.  They have boardwalks that extend around the perimeter of the property, which is bordered by a wetland.  There is a beautiful children’s area, with brightly colored sculptures.  There are trails specifically for shade plants, deciduous trees and more.  Indoors they have a large area for art/sculpture exhibits.  We saw Chihuly there many years ago, which was a treat.

Frederik (Fred) Meijer is most known for his connection with Meijer Food Stores, which began when he and his father, Henrik Meijer, started the first store outside of Grand Rapids in 1934.  Meijer has grown over the years and expanded outside of Michigan, to include  Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Illinois.  In all these years, the philosophy that Henrik Meijer began his business with has never changed: “meeting the needs of our customers, team members and the communities we serve.” **

Now on with our tour of Frederik Meijer Gardens!

Morpho Peleides, the beautiful deep blue butterfly, opened his wings for me. That doesn't happen often, so I was very excited to get a photo!

I have such a feeling of peace and serenity whenever I am among the butterflies. They flutter softly around, sometimes landing on people. They are so colorful, gentle and silent. I could observe them all day!

LOOK what I found! A Pale Blue miniature Snow Iris! What a delicate color! I'll have to plant these!

Several ponds dot the acreage. This one borders the building.

Red berries border the wetland area on a section of the perimeter boardwalk.

The wetland area where I observed a Mallard Duck cruising along. Then two Canada Geese made a splash-landing right in front of me!

Thanks for traveling with me to Grand Rapids, MI !
For more information about Frederik Meijer Gardens, click HERE.
To learn more about Meijer Grocery Stores, click HERE.

Judy
All text and images are copyright © 2002-2012 and are the exclusive property of Judy Johnson (unless otherwise indicated). All Rights Reserved. All Images are protected under United States and International copyright laws. None of the images on this site are in the Public Domain.