Nature Photography Day

I have always been the odd one. Now, that I am older I wear that badge proudly. One of my favorite pastimes is watching and photographing wildlife. Today, June 15, 2017, is Nature Photography day. I cannot be happier that an entire day focuses on the love of nature photography.

In my younger years, I would conceal my interests to be part of the group. Now, well, you may see me lying flat on the ground in front of a bug, turtle or sitting in the middle of the field to capture the perfect photo. I always love to watch people’s faces when I show them some of my photo work. Their expressions vary from amazement to you are definitely “off your rocker”.

When I am taking photos, I focus on my subject. The world simply disappears. Do not worry; I am too cautious to put myself in harm’s way. The invention of the long lens helps me capture specific scenes.

Turtles are my recent focus. During this time of year, turtles come out the swampy areas to lay eggs. I find the process amazing. Walking past my sliding glass doors, I noticed a creature slowly moving across my yard. The beautiful Snapping Turtle reminds me of a prehistoric beast. I can just imagine her large ancestors roaming the Earth. I also let my creative imagination work overtime. I recently intertwined a Turtle’s tale in my new children’s book. Time will tell if the story works well.

Until next time…peace

Save the Frogs Day

Today, April 29, 2017, is Save the Frogs Day.

I personally have always loved frogs. As a child, I use to watch them jump in the ponds and creeks. I would imagine their worlds. I still incorporate frogs into my stories. I imagine them interacting with fairies and other woodland creatures.

As an adult, I still think about the frogs’ life. At the same time, I consider the frogs’ environment. Throughout the years, the push for modernization comes at a price. I would hate to see the frog population continue to decrease. The disappearance of frogs is just sad.

Just floating along….

Even though I do not know the facts, I am sure the impact of the ecological system would be significant. In my area, the decrease in frogs would mean an increase in mosquitoes and other pesky insects.

Tadpole

My request? Take the time to learn about the frogs in your area. Find out how to help with your local environment. You do not need to join large groups to help the environment, plant flowers, pick up litter, small gestures by a large number of individuals will have a large impact.

Until next time…..peace

 

Vintage Photo: Man with Pet Woodchucks

As a child, my grandfather always told me, “It takes all kinds to make the world go ’round.” I never fully understood the significance of the statement until later in life. I love meeting the good-natured oddballs. Offering a unique perspective, I find their stories and journey through life extremely interesting.

This particular series of vintage photos is the perfect example.  Over the years, I have come across numerous individuals who care for injured animals. Or have befriended wild animals. For example, my uncle would sit on the bank of the old muddy, Maple River for hours. After a while, the raccoons would come right up to him to receive “treats”. He actually would allow the wild racoons eat right out of his hands. (Note: I do not advocate this…animals bite).

Little woodchucks eating.

Woodchucks are not my idea of friendly creatures. They are destructive, burrowing mammals. And, they bite. Living in a wooded area, I see woodchucks often in rock piles, under my shed and in my barn. Witnessing them fight with each other over territory, I know they can be a bit nasty. If I could talk to this gentleman, I would ask, “How did you get pet woodchucks?”

The man proudly feeding his woodchucks.

I am assuming he found the woodchucks as babies. From my understanding from old farmer’s tales, a wild animal that does not open his/her eyes will be easy to handle. (Once again: I do not advocate this…I am a strong believer that all wild animals belong in their natural surroundings).

In my opinion, the old farmer appears proud of his little friends. I would love to sit next to him for an hour and just listen to his story.

Until next time…..peace

 

My Barred Owl Story

Over the holiday season, I was able to photograph a beautiful Barred Owl. The sighting in the natural habitat was absolutely remarkable. I was on my way to pick up some stuff at my nephew’s school. The roads were snowy from the recent accumulation. Of course, I was in rush. As I drove by the wooded area, I spotted the Barred Owl just sitting there on a lower branch. Obviously, the beautiful creature was searching for his next meal.

When I first drove by, I did not have a camera with me. Not even my pocket camera which I had just taken out of my purse. Since I was close to home, I immediately turned around to go get a camera. The whole time, I was thinking, “there was no way the owl would still be there”. As I was rushing out of my drive, I proceeded to get my car stuck. After some time, I managed to get my car back on the road. By this time, I was absolutely convinced the Barred Owl would be gone.

But, sitting on the lower branch right off the side of the road by the Maple River was the beautiful creature. If I would not have been in such a hurry, I could have watched the Barred Owl all day long. The owl was not skittish of me. I managed to snap a lot of pictures. We just seemed to stare at each other. His black eyes were mesmerizing.

After all the years of living in the countryside, I had only witnessed an owl once before in the wild. The last time, I was a child. And, no, I will not tell you how many years ago that occurred. At that time, the owl was flying down to retrieve a dead carcass out of the road. I cannot tell you the type of owl we saw the night. But I can tell you, the initial sighting all those years ago was one of the reasons why I enjoy nature and wildlife.

I find owls completely fascinating. Well, of course, the Harry Potter series confirmed my love for the stunning creatures.

Until next time….peace

 

 

Lazy Summer Days

In mid-Michigan, the last couple of days has been warm. I mean, the state is being declared a moderate drought zone. Now normally, I don’t mind the heat. But, the added humidity just seems to drain all my energy. So, I have been rather….lazy. Well, lazy for me.

Spending most of my days indoors with the comfort of the fans. I don’t have air conditioning which is an investment I may have to make at some point. I have managed to catch up on some social media networking and writing. And, I even picked up a book for some afternoon reading. So, I guess the warmer days have some benefits. I don’t really want to complain. Because I know in a few months, we will have snow.

But toward the evening hours, I tend to wander outdoors. The one aspect I have noticed, the wildlife seem to be having lazy summer days too. The bullfrogs float in the shallow water along the creek bed’s edge.

I have spotted turtles just lazily floating along. Diving down for a quick cool off and coming back up to the surface to float again.

 

 

Little turtle floating along the river's edge.
Little turtle floating along the river’s edge.

The forecast is calling for continuous warm days with a chance for a rain shower at some point. I am absolutely convinced if a rain shower occurs, I will be outdoors standing in the middle of the downpour.

Until next time…..peace

Nature’s Wonder

I find nature both amazing and intimidating at times. I cannot enter into a wildlife area without seeing something new. During this time of year, I tend to spot first-time blooms. The wild Iris flowers offer a beautiful site among the greenery.

Wild Iris Blooms

The hatching of a new batch of dragonflies. Every time I see dragonflies flying just above the tall weeds in the field, I imagine fairies lurking about watching me photograph the natural scenes.

Dragonflies

Two days ago, I came across a new site in the deeper part of the woods. Usually, the area is still under water this time of year. The Maple River cuts off and runs into the back creek. The warm weather caused the water to dry up faster. Certain areas are still damp and mushy. Yes, mushy is my new word of the day. In any event, the water snails had nowhere to go for water. They attempted to “climb” the trees which were still very moist from being underwater. Unfortunately, without the correct amount of water the snails died. Leaving only their shells behind on the trees. Yes, I know they are not technically called water snails. I am not certain of their correct name. I just found the site of the snails interesting and sad. They were just searching for water.

The snails still attached.
The snails still attached. I am not certain how long they will stay there. I was actually quite surprised that nothing came along and ate them. 
Snails on the trunk of the tress.
Snails on the trunk of the tree. The first time, I had every seen this type of phenomenon. 

 

I hope everyone finds nature as intriguing as I do.

Until next time, peace…..

A Raccoon Story

With the news of a loved one passing away, family members and friends always share memories. The stories help celebrate the life of the person who has left us. After 47 years of marriage, my aunt laid the love her life, my uncle to rest. The stories of his life came from a variety of sources, family, friends, and co-workers. Laughing at the funny stories, the grief of his passing left for an instant.

My uncle was a U.S. Army veteran who received the Purple Heart. And, yes, the playing of Taps at the funeral left no one with a dry eye. I believed my uncle to be a simple man. He worked all of his life in a small factory to support his family. He enjoyed fishing, collecting golf balls (50,000) and vintage record players.

Now, what does his passing have to do with a raccoon? Well, my uncle would sit down on the river flats. While spending hours fishing, he would feed the raccoons. According to the stories, the little pesky creatures would come right up to him and take the food from his hands.

Now, I know logically the raccoon that visited me has no connection with my uncle’s passing. Where I live raccoons are a common sighting, they have been in my bird feeders and frequently play on my porch. (Generally in the middle of the night when I am trying to sleep, I convinced they are having a gathering right under my bedroom window).

The night before my uncle’s funeral, I went to let one my cats in the front door. I was not paying attention which is often my own undoing. My old Siamese cat moves at a slower pace. I got a glimpse of a second animal trailing behind him. Assuming the animal was another one of my cats I held the door open. At that moment, my little dog let out a growl. Glancing back down, the second animal about to enter my door way was a raccoon. Of course, I quickly shut the door. I can just imagine the chaos the little raccoon would create upon entering my house.

Staring up at me, the little raccoon just sat in front of the closed door. Locating some old bread, I threw out the pieces to him (or her I really don’t have the knowledge to tell). I am not brave enough to get closer to the raccoon. The pesky little raccoon may look cute, however; the animal is still a wild creature. Anyways, the entire incident made me think of my uncle.

Now, I have shared my story.

Until next time….peace….

Lovely Warm Days

“Each moment of the year

has its own beauty”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Even though, I have no way of knowing what Ralph Waldo Emerson was doing when he penned this quote. I would like to think he was observing nature. Knowing that each individual moment was a chance to be inspired by the natural environment.

I cannot write any type of poetry. But I do love to observe nature. Despite the newest mosquito invasion, I could actually get lost for hours watching the birds, Cranes and Egrets down on the river flats. Witnessing wildlife interact in a natural setting is a gift.

I hope everyone has a chance to enjoy nature in the purest form.

Until next time….peace

From Today’s Wanderings

Originally, my plan for today was to mow the lawn. After I reached half way around my yard, I soon realized, I could not finish. The yard had standing water from the other night’s rain. So, I decided to do some wandering.

Being in nature and unplugging for a short time helps me stay creative.

This little frog was attempting to get warm by sunning himself on a branch.
This little frog was attempting to get warm by sunning himself on a branch.

Frogs and more frogs, and tadpoles….

Just floating along....
Just floating along….
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On the pond’s edge
Tadpole
Tadpoles of all sizes were visible.

Some wildlife was harder to spot than others.

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Hidden bunny

Who is watching who?

One of the does watching me.
One of the does watching me.