Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Being As Charming as I Can While Enjoying the Outdoors

Everyone seems busy these days, although that may just be a misimpression that I have.  I, the normal hermit who has not felt housebound at all during the Pandemic, still have projects that I must work on and complete.  While I do my little volunteer activities remotely, they seem to take up so much time.  As an elder my short-term memory and cloudy attention to detail makes me work much longer than in the old days.  Thank God for auto-correct!

When I am done at the computer in the mornings, I return to house duties and finally grab some time for photos.  Evenings are filled with TV escapes.

We have signed up with a local environmental group to promote their land trust by agreeing to do 12 hikes, one each month, in 2021.  They can be a mile or 10 miles depending on the trails that one uses.  We must post a photo or two that the organization can use to promote even more their acres of woodlands on their Facebook page.

You have to respect the ghosts of past owners of the land.

While this sounds like a wonderful idea, it seems in the time of COVID where there is little to do outside, hundreds of families want to participate in the contest and pound the trails.  We did a 6 miler up and down some hills and while that was pretty challenging for me, even more challenging was the muddy slopes where leaves had been ground into mushy clay by hiking boots.  Hubby fell only once and managed to not smear mud anywhere!  I did not fall but clearly looked like a jazz dancer on ice.  Fortunately, we were hiking weekday and mid-day and thus only met a handful of hikers.  So I avoided the embarrassment of old-lady-mud-sledding.  On the return trip, Hubby was smart enough to find two good branches to use as hiking sticks and that made things easier.

It is so much more photogenic and charming when a 4-year-old slides on their butt down a hillside or runs with rapid steps across the leaves and twigs off the trail as they almost crash land to the bottom of the ravine.  Elders, for some reason, are not so appealing in appearance.

We did see some wonderful bits of nature which I have sprinkled throughout this post.  Therefore, you get to see the right-side-up version of our adventure.

Saturday, January 09, 2021

More Photos Take Flight

All Mage had to do was compliment those birds and I feel I must share even more of my visitors.  Come shelter in my woods for the next week or so...

First this brightly colored fellow, the Cardinal.

Next. below the Blue Jay.  He is the trickster that makes the call of the hawk while he sits high in the tree.  Maybe he is trying to scare away others from the feeder?  He is the size of a robin and can be intimidating to the smaller seed-eating birds.  He also has a big neck pouch where he stores his food for later hiding.

And, last but not least for this post, is the Carolina wren.  There are at least four making routine visits to my hanging suit feeder.  This is a tiny bird but his song can be heard a long way and in the spring this is the one that wakes me up in the mornings. I used to think one hid under the cover of our barbeque.  But now I realize he was just eating the fat that drips into the tin pan below!

Saturday, January 02, 2021

A Feathered Friend is Better Than No Friend

Come stroll in my back yard and my woods and meet some of my feathered friends.  I have taken a "bunch" of photos over the fall season as I do love these visitors, but I will provide only four.

The Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) has used the dormant osprey nest for a lookout post most of the fall and winter seasons.  We have seen two flying over the river, so there is a pair.  They are extremely adaptable birds in terms of habitat.  They also eat a wide variety of water life.  The first year we lived here my husband was sitting on the dock as the sun set and a heron tried to land on his head!  I do not know who was more surprised.

The Mourning Doves, at least four, come in when I put the seed feeders and winter bird bath out. Otherwise, I may only hear a call in the evening during the summer months.  They are such a gentle looking bird.

Our Northern Mockingbird ( Mimus polyglottos) is far warier than those that have adapted to city life and so they may be common in your yard and more fearless.  This image I caught through a front window.  Yes, they are mimics and I love that "polyglottos" name. They can be found perched on high somewhere singing their heart out.

The above  Eastern Towhee (male) which has the colors of the robin is also a very wary bird.  They are seen only a few times over the winter picking at the seeds that fall from the feeders.  I saw two together for the first time this year.

They are the perfect distraction for a retired old lady who wants to learn more about the earth.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Just 24 Hours

I am usually trying to capture a sunset each evening because we have such great views down the end of the water. I captured this one last night.
Very cold but no wind so I could hold the camera steady. Then this morning I was up early and got this sunrise toward the other end of the river.

I am truly blessed.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

They Came in January Last Year

Their lights are bright  and bold
While the season is bitter cold
Yet even the colors can warm
And they are there but do no harm

Keep your eyes on the prize
Which is there in another's eyes
If you are a robin early
You can catch the holly berry

This year they came in December and I stood outside in the bitter wind to get photos of what I could when the gusts died down.  ( I know the poem makes no sense but I just finished reading The Cruelest Month and that poet was worse.)

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Two Different Views in 20 Minutes

When I got up this morning, after my first cup of coffee and as the sun was just peeking through the treetops,  I put on my slippers and headed out to the deck to replenish my birdseed dish. I was surrounded by lovely air in the high fifties. No cold breezes.  It was very odd.  The sky was just turning pink and I got my camera and took the photo below.

I was not able to capture the true blush.  I went inside and finished my second cup of coffee and then went back out to the deck and dock to take the photo below.  In just twenty minutes the entire atmosphere had changed.

The fog held for about 20-30 minutes and then the sun burned everything off.

What a lovely morning! If you look closely at the bottom photo you can see the tiny dark dots in the sky. (Click on the photo for a better view.) Those were the geese squawking as they got their act together and courage to descend to the empty corn field at the end of the peninsula. Hunting season is sporadic these days.

Tuesday, December 08, 2020