Mardi Gras

Today is Fat Tuesday.  It refers to events of the Carnival celebrations, beginning on or after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany (Three Kings Day) and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday”, reflecting the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season.

Louisiana is the only state in the United States, where Mardi Gras is officially celebrated as a holiday. Celebrations are concentrated for about two weeks before and through Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. Usually there is one major parade each day (weather permitting); many days have several large parades. The largest and most elaborate parades take place the last five days of the Mardi Gras season. In the final week, many events occur throughout New Orleans and surrounding communities, including parades and balls (some of them masquerade balls).

In Germany, we celebrate it as Carnival/Fasching. It depends on the region. Around Cologne it’s called Karneval. In places like Franconia (northern region of the state Bavaria), they call it Fasching. The celebration on the same day in Germany knows many different terms, such as Schmutziger Donnerstag or Fetter Donnerstag (Fat Thursday), Unsinniger Donnerstag, Weiberfastnacht, Greesentag and others, and are often only one part of the whole carnival events during one or even two weeks before Ash Wednesday. In German, schmutzig means “dirty”, but in the Alemannic dialects schmotzig means “lard” (Schmalz), or “fat”; “Greasy Thursday”, as remaining winter stores of lard and butter used to be consumed at that time, before the fasting began. Fastnacht means “Eve of the Fast”, but all three terms cover the whole carnival season. The traditional start of the carnival season is on November 11 at 11:11 am (11/11 11:11).

Here is the link of wherelse the Carnival is celebrated all over the world.


Bon Mardi Gras! — Happy Fat Tuesday! — Helau! — Alaaf!

North Texas Backyard Wildlife In February (3)

After the thunderstorm last night, the sky looked gray at this morning. But I had a lot of hungry visitors in my yard. Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal were announcing: “It’s Breakfast Time!” And the wildlife began to gather.

“Sandy Cheeks”, the squirrel brought a friend over. I noticed her little friend is walking a little bit funny. When I looked closer, I saw that the squirrel has a big portion of its tail missing. I don’t know if it was born with it, or it lost its tail due to an accident. But they both were happily munching some corn. Mr. Squirrel came over a little bit later. He checked out his places, were he stashed his corn. I’m sure, I have some corn growing in some places where I didn’t plant it, this Summer.

The squirrels moved along, and shortly after Mrs. Rabbit came over for a nibble. If you ask me, she looks pregnant. Soon, we will have cute little cottontails in the yard, again. ❤

While Mrs. Rabbit was having some breakfast. The Blue Jays enjoyed their meal, too. Mr. Blue Jay made a lot of ruckus. I guess, he was asking for some delicious peanuts. That little guy loves his peanuts and acorns. It gives him something to do, cracking open those nut shells.

When I look out the patio door, I sure feel like a “Disney Princess”, with all these little critters and birds surrounding my feeders. And I wouldn’t want to have it any other way. It’s a little Piece of Happiness in my backyard. 🐰👸🐦

The Bradford Pear Tree

Across the street, the Bradford Pear tree always blooms first on our street. It’s a sign, that Spring is near, and my Bradford Pear trees will bloom soon, too. They are usually taking a few days longer, due to them sitting on the north side of our house. I can’t wait to hear the humming of the bees in my trees, again. The sun is out, the bees are pollinating the trees. And I’m beneath the tree branches working on more garden seedlings, while the girls get their own little garden planted in the backyard. 🌸🌱 💗

The Vegetable Raised Beds

This afternoon, I filled in the last of the four raised beds of my vegetable garden. And the walkway is covered with mulch. I’m happy this project is finally done. I planted some more cool season vegetables in the fourth bed. Now, it’s happy growing season. ❤

Long Exposure Photography At High Five Interchange

A couple of weeks ago, I went with our local photography group to shoot long exposure photos at the High Five Interchange in Dallas (Interstate 635/US Highway 75). Opening the shutter for almost half-minute, it will leave a nice car light trail. Using the higher Aperture (ƒ-setting), the street light will show a starburst. And putting the ISO low, won’t over-expose the photo with too much light.

This is something I learned at a carnival over two years ago. I always shot photos in “automatic”. But one night, at the American Heroes Festival in The Colony, a fellow photographer from the group showed me, how to shoot my photos in “manual” with the right Shutter Speed/Aperture/ISO. What an amazing discovery it was for me. From that night forward, I never captured my photos in “automatic”. I always shoot in “manual”. And I love it! ❤

Here are some of the images, I’ve captured at the High Five Interchange in Dallas, Texas on February 7, while having fun photographing with the group further south of the Interchange.


High Five Interchange, Dallas, Texas


The view NW from the Churchill Way Bridge, south of the Interchange


Car Traffic Bokeh


Evening Rush Hour

Warm Spring-like Day

It’s such a beautiful day in the upper 80s, today. I used this beautiful morning to pull some weeds, add more soil around the Vitex/Chaste tree. And I planted some flowers, I purchased from the garden nursery yesterday.

On Saturday, it suppose get much cooler. The forecast reports only mid 50s during the day, with a light freeze into Sunday morning. I might have to cover up the more delicate plants. But by Sunday afternoon, we should be back to Spring-like weather. Yep, that’s Texas for y’all. 😉


Snapdragon (Antirrhinum)

Busy Wednesday

At this morning, I had the exterminator coming to my house for a routine check up on the termite traps. We also have “Sandy Cheeks” living in our attic for a while. And every time, we check upstairs, she’s nowhere to be found. Well, I also make it very easy for her. She lives in paradise in my yard: She has a shelter, fresh bird seeds and peanuts every morning, and her boyfriend shows up at least once or twice a day. If I was a squirrel, I call that “I have it made”.

After Pest Control left, I went to the nursery to get more Spring flowers for my garden. I know, I’m addicted to beautiful plants. What can I say? 😉

In the evening, I helped out one of the ladies with her garden plot to get planted in the Community Garden. Hopefully, we also fixed the problem with fire ants in her own garden.

Here is a photo of a beautiful Creeping Myrtle/Periwinkle, I got from the nursery today:


Creeping Myrtle ~ Periwinkle