Monday, April 30, 2012

And the Day Begins

"Mama", Little Owl whispered, "tell me again how night ends."
"The moon and the stars fade to ghosts," Mama said.  "Spiderwebs turn to silver threads.  Dewdrops sparkle on leaves and grass like tiny stars come down.
"Moonflowers close and morning glories open.  The sky brightens form black to blue,

blue to red,

red to gold.

"The rooster crows.  The crows caw.  And the days begins," said Mama.

from: Little Owl's Night by Divya Srinivasan 

I was up early this morning and watched the sun rise with a coffee in hand and a peaceful house.  It was fantastic. The day is a fresh blank page just waiting for me to make a mark.

I was able to get some progressive shots of the morning sky as the sun rose and the sky changed. It put me in mind of a book we read to Henry, Little Owl's Night, by Divya Srinivasan.

Friday, April 27, 2012

From the Weather Book

April 19
- trees greening - looks like a light green mist

April 21
- cold north wind

April 22
- cold north wind
- sunny

April 23
- north wind
- snow flakes!

April 24
- snow overnight
- snow most of the day, then RAIN
- melted by evening
- a bit of sun

April 26
- clouds breaking up by late afternoon, a bit of sun

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Late afternoon on Monday, as the wind howled and the rain snow mix came down, I hiked out to what we call the second beaver pond.  I've already detailed finding the first beaver pond.  You can see on this satellite image the two ponds.  The second is much larger than the first right now.  It resembles a river, really.  At the south end, there's a huge rocky outcrop and a small waterfall. 

It's much more vast than I had imagined, and again, I feel so lucky to be able to visit these places whenever I wish.

Next up?  Following the creek farther south to see what's around the next bend.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Ski Hill

We took a hike Sunday afternoon accross the field and up the "mountain".  For my husband it was another walk down memory lane.

Twenty some years ago, they had a very small scale ski hill here, complete with a tow rope and a "lodge".

The tow rope worked with pulleys and was run with the help of a running van wheel.  The van also served as the "lodge" where they could warm up in between runs.  The van is easy to spot, and we found the old tow rope, mossed over and partially hidden among the leaves.

Eventually Rick found the place on the hill where the run was, given away by a swath of younger trees.

From the top of the hill, you can see Maple Lake.

There is so much to explore and see up there, and I can't wait to go back.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Be Here Now

Be here now, no other place to be
Or just sit there dreaming of how life would be
If we were somewhere better
Somewhere far away from all worries
Well, here we are
Lyrics from "Be Here Now",  Mason Jennings 

Those lyrics pretty much sum up my thought process right now.  I am pushing myself to live in the moment.  Adopting this philosphy is somewhat out of my comfort zone.  I'm a planner and a list maker.  That's not to say that I've totally abandoned all my crazy type-A, organizing ways, but I'm trying to soak up the good things that are around me when they are happenening.

What's happening right now?  Spring woodland flowers.

In the spring, the forest canopies are wide open as the new leaves start to emerge.  This illuminates the forest floor in a way that it never is any other time of the year.  New growth emerges in the form of delicate woodland flowers.  Pockets of green on the dusky brown of last fall's leaves give them away.  These plants take advantage of the light and bloom in April and May.  By later May, the canopy is closed, and the flowers are finished until next year. 

Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum)

Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica)

White Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum)

Trilliums usually bloom later - they are typically in full force come mid-May.  Our woods are blanketed in them.

I hope you are out there enjoying all the moments of your life.

Hear "Be Here Now" by Mason Jennings here.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Looking Out

This morning I was out running, ruminating on all the worries in my life.  I was too much in my own head.  Dwelling on things that I can't change, or things that really don't matter.

So, there I was, nunning along with a head full of generally negative thoughts.  I wasn't even particularly enjoying the run.   It was bitter cold and I was struggling with the brisk wind.  And then -  a rustle in the shrubs on the side of the road.  A flash of rusty orange in the corner of my eye. 

A fox!  And then I spotted a roly ball of fur a bit farther down the hillside. My immediate thought was that I'd interuppted this fox in a hunting session and the bit of fur was her prey. But no, it was a baby! And then two more kits ambled into view! A mama fox and her three kits.

All of my previous thoughts fled my mind and were replaced with being in the moment and enjoying this encounter. 

She quickly retreated into the low shrubs and immature white pines, and called for her babies.  They started rolling and ambling in her general direction in the unconcerned way that baby wildlife does.

I went up the road a ways, thinking that maybe she would come back into view.  She didn't, staying hidden and continuing to call her kits.  It didn't matter, this brief encounter buoyed me and I continued on my way feeling joyful.

Upon my return to the spot where the foxes had been, I slowed to a walk on my approach to the ridge, just in case I could spy this little family again.  I thought that they would have retreated to the fields and forest edge, away from my prying eyes.  But, no, there she was!  Lying on the hillside nursing two of her kits while the third rolled around in the dry grasses.  She blended almost seamlessly into the hillside, only her flicking black ear tips giving her away.  She gazed at me, on guard, and I made no motion to move in her direction.  Just a mama and her babies.

I finished my run with my eyes looking out.  I saw pockets of vibrant green on the forest floor, a pair of mallard ducks in the creek, a bird of prey soaring high in the sky over the fields. 

Looking in is important.  But looking out sustains me.  I miss so much when I fixate on the little things. 

So, keep looking out.  Make time to take in the big picture every day and you will see the things you need to see.

Friday, April 20, 2012


We haven't been going outside much these days.  There are these terrible swarming insects floating near the house in clouds.  They are infuriating.  Every time I inhale I seem to find one in my teeth.

As prolific as they are, these bugs aren't biting - just swarming.  I don't know what they are, though.  I don't remember them from last year.  They're small - but bigger than a blackfly.  Smaller than a mosquito.  A mosquito baby?  Who knows. 

I don't like bugs. They irritate and they frustrate. They needle and annoy and itch.

Deerflies top my list for plain awfulness when it comes to biting insects.  One can almost imagine that they have a thought process from the way they stalk a person.  Last summer, out running, I was chased by a literal cloud of deerflies when I dared to jaunt down a more heavily forested road.  Mistake.  I haven't run that fast since.

Blackflies are pretty terrible, but are generally short lived.  After a few hot, sunny days, they are typically gone.

Mosquitoes I find tolerable.  I do know, however, that in more heavily forested areas they can be unbelievably thick.  I remember a camping trip I took in Algonquin park many years ago.  The mosquitoes made a grey haze in the forest.  I cold swipe my open fist through the air and grab them.  It was unreal. 

I often think of pioneers or voyagers and explorers when I complain about bugs.  I can't imagine navigating the Canadian wilderness in the spring and summer in the thick woods with their onslaught of biting insects.  It must have been enough to drive a person mad.

I think we need the biting insects, though.  I'm not talking about in the ecological sense (although that's true as well).  Bugs keep us real.  If there wasn't the worry of bugs, the threat of being bothered or bitten or getting itchy, we might be lulled into thinking we live in some sort of paradise.  Last summer I was enjoying lunch on the deck overlooking the lake.  The sun as shining; the lake sparkling.  It was a perfect day.  And then it got me.  Something bit my ankle and my foot and lower leg swelled and throbbed for the rest of the day.

Nothing is ever perfect.  The bugs just want us to remember that.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

From the Weather Book

April 9
- cold, flat, grey morning
- ducks on swimming rocks

April 14
- warm, sunny

April 15
- misty
- mild
- humid
- light rain

April 16
- rain, humid
- mild
- thunderstrom
- swarming bugs
- peepers peeping!

April 17
- snow
- brutal wind

April 18
- sunny, mild