Nature Walk

Minutes away from my home is a conservation center with several paths. Here is the chance to be up close and personal with nature. Since Kim (Learning Tour Writing Stop, see sidebar for link) was visiting, we decided to wander around in the woods (of course we stayed on the path). So enjoy the view from my camera of the bits of nature we encountered.

As we approached the water, my husband pointed to a shape in the distance. A Great Blue Heron stood stock still. I zoomed the lens to grab a shot. Before I could refocus, we watched as it scooped up a fish and swallowed. Darn, I missed that! However it stretched out its wings and I was able to get that shot (unfortunately I didn’t get the head). We walked on and found another Great Blue Heron, but this one was settled into its stance. Its head was tucked under and shoulders up.

Two different Great Blue Herons

Two different Great Blue Herons

Glinting iridescent blue flutterings winked at us as we continued. At first I thought it was a butterfly because of the way it held its wings. But then we saw the body resembled a dragonfly’s. Kim thought perhaps it was a damselfly. (Later we asked at the conservation center and the expert their confirmed her thought.) At one point Kim had one land on her sleeve and it accepted the free ride for a short time. Once again, I was not ready with the camera.

Winged jewels that followed us through their land.

Winged jewels that followed us through their land.

Throughout the entire walk there were vines everywhere. Most of them were of the woody variety (as opposed to the leafy variety). As I looked at the vines, I could imagine they were the origins of roller coasters. The conservation agent told me they were grape vines.

These pictures follow the vine as it disappears into the foliage of the tree.

These pictures follow the vine as it disappears into the foliage of the tree.

Unfortunately we did not see any deer, fortunately we did not see any snakes or bring any ticks home. Here are snippets of other sightings

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Setting off into the unknown to discover reflections, a shy cardinal, interesting fungi, and a bee collecting his pollen for the day.

Nature never disappoints, there is always something there to marvel.

 

Dinner Delight

As I walked into the room, first I noticed the Seymour Simon books stretching out on the table. Each cover so bright and enticing saying “Buy me!” Next I noticed my friends had selected a table for our dinner.

I left the books (only for a moment) to lay claim to a seat at the table with my friends. There were too many of us for one table so now we had two tables. I set my camera down and returned to browsing the books. Book selection completed, I returned to my table.

A lovely blonde woman was chatting with my table mates. She was a new face for me, but the others were deep into conversation. Must be someone from their school district I inferred. I looked over and mouthed to Deb, “Who is Mary Helen talking to?” Her response put a smile on my face and a light in my eye. I sat up a little straighter and paid more attention to the conversation. Truth be told, I was a bit star struck.

She discovered we all had blogs and wrote regularly. She said she had a blog, but didn’t really write on it, yet. She wasn’t quite sure what she’d do with it. She wanted all of our blog addresses. (Picture me going Oh my gosh!)

After the dinner and speaker, we were milling about. Our new friend exclaimed, “How lucky was I to get to sit at the best table in the room!” We were all thinking, how lucky were we that you chose to sit at our table!

I suppose you are wondering who this mystery woman was. The next day I attended several sessions she presented and had my picture taken with her.

Georgia Heard and me at the All-Write conference.

Georgia Heard and me at the All-Write conference.

Whoops!

Dinner is simmering on the stove. My husband is relaxing in the recliner while watching the news when unexpectedly . . . the power goes off. Dimness settles over the room momentarily then . . . the power flickers. On . . . off, oooonnnn . . . off. On, off, off, off. On, is it over? Will the power stay? The sky outside was bright blue, we had no clue as to the cause of the flickering power. We look at each other, shrug, and continue our previous activities.

I move to the refrigerator to begin salad preparation, where I discover the display panel flashing a message in red. E – 33 blinks at me. Apparently this is a result of the previous power outage/surge. I have no clue what message that is a code is trying to tell me. Quickly I scan the options of the control panel but do not see a reset button.

My husband begins searching the internet for a manual or a suggestion on how to reset the display panel. I continue with dinner preparations, noting that dinner will take longer since our cooktop is electric.

Husband is not finding anything related to E – 33 online. Quickly I prepare the garlic toast and stick it under the broiler to toast. I grab my iPad to see if I can have any luck online.

Sniff, sniff . . . oh no! I’ve forgotten the bread under the broiler! They are now unrecognizable, charred slices of bread. I snatch up the oven pad to grab the tray and immediately drop them into the disposal. The smoke detector begins its annoying beeping. Disposal is grinding. Beeping stops, then starts, stops, starts. My husband is waving a towel to dissipate the air. Charred bread odor fills the room.

Meanwhile, dinner has finished cooking and I have remade bread. The E – 33 still glares at us as we sit down to eat. I try to avoid looking in that direction during dinner.

After dinner, we resume the search for help with the refrigerator. I try calling the 800 number but the phone shrieks and informs me that number no longer works. I dial it over and over with the same results. How can this be? A major appliance company does not discontinue a toll free number.

My husband calls from his cell. Now the number works. After a bit, we finally learn the key to resetting the display on the refrigerator. This information is written on the front of the appliance manual for future reference.

Now we must figure out what is going on with our phone. I dial my mother’s number. Same disconnected shriek as before. I use my cell phone to call her and it goes right through. I have her to call me to see if we can get calls in. She calls, I answer. It’s working. I call her back, it’s not working. Sigh! It seems that we will need to replace this phone.

The next day, the phone is working just fine. Glad we didn’t replace it, yet.

Hope we don’t have anymore of those power on/off issues!

Friend Celebration

What can you celebrate? Share your celebrations with the world at Ruth Ayres Writes.

What can you celebrate? Share your celebrations with the world at Ruth Ayres Writes.

Heading to the garage our steps are halted by the ring of our house phone. Do we answer it or just let the machine pick it up? We’ve been plagued by lots of dead air when we IMG_0841answer this phone. My husband picks it up. His voice changes from impersonal “hello” to warm “yes, I know who you are.”

It is the voice of a friend who moved to Iowa three years ago. She is in town visiting her children for the weekend. Plans were made to meet for lunch. So glad we stopped and answered the phone! It led to lots of conversation and camaraderie I’ve missed for three years. Friends are a treasure!

Friends from All Write 2014. Wonder who will join this group in 2015?

Friends from All Write 2014. Wonder who will join this group in 2015?

Which leads me to anticipating the friends I will greet at the All Write conference this year. The conference is great, but it is the people who I first met through their writing that makes this conference a highlight of the year. These are friends who I only see in person once a year, but I get tobe aware of the happenings of their life through their words. This is a connection I never dreamed possible three years ago.

Every day I celebrate those who have touched my life through our friendship. Thank you!

 

Views from the Road

After a hiatus of my feet trudging across the pavement, I returned to walking. (Heavy sigh here.) I take my friend Pandora and she sings to me, sometimes I sing along (if there is no one present). She thinks if she sings loud enough, I won’t notice the sweat rolling down my face because of the humidity. I notice. The salt burns my eyes. She does occupy my mind with lyrics which allows me to gaze about my surroundings.

Immediately my attention is drawn to the bright colors intermingling with the grasses in the ditches. Bright pink wild roses are like polka dots laying low in the ditch. The purple spiderwort stands tall on the sides of the ditch. Daisies wave in the breeze. The daisies like to hang out in groups, but occasionally one is standing alone.

Wild rose, spiderwort, and an unknown plant. Anyone know what this plant is? I think it looks a lot like lily of the valley.

Wild rose, spiderwort, and an unknown plant. Anyone know what this plant is? I think it looks a lot like lily of the valley.

Daisies are such a happy flower.

Daisies are such a happy flower.

My eyes are always looking ahead on the ground. Spiders scurry, worms wiggle, snakes slither, and countless other creatures traverse the same roads I do. I do not want to step on anyone. Is that a butterfly wing laying on the road? My pace slows to allow me more time to observe this bit of color. More and more appear. Where have they all come from? I look up to discover a blossom in the tree. This flower has blended in and gone unnoticed until it began shedding petals. Petals that could be wings of butterflies.

This is the blossom of a poplar tree.

This is the blossom of a poplar tree. I never noticed how many of these trees lined the road until the petals appeared.

Sometimes my eyes are on the sky. Can I get this walk in before the clouds shed all the precipitation they have been collecting? Sometimes the answer to that question is no. My husband knows the route and he has instructions to find me if it starts raining. Yesterday, a bolt of lightening and clap of thunder sent him sprinting to the car. Gratefully, I climbed into the vehicle before I was completely drenched. It’s always good to have a back up plan in case of rain.

More views from the road will be reported as nature continues on the cycle of growth.

Two Views, Inside/Outside

Happenings from the Inside:

“Oh my gosh!” my husband exclaimed as he was passing through our living room while looking out onto the patio. There was a tone to that exclamation that made me aware something was seriously amiss on the patio.

Quickly I put aside the iPad to arrive at the patio door the same time as my husband. Looking out the door, I could not see an issue. The furniture was in place, there was no wildlife lounging on our cushions.

Step outside on the stoop, there was a different story.

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A quick scan of the yard did not reveal the culprit. The birds were chattering extra loudly. I think they were trying to tell us who had been digging in our flower pot. We suspect it was a squirrel who has discovered our backyard. We will be watching!

Happenings from the Outside

Oh, what a gorgeous morning! Last night’s rain has made the world sparkly. It’s time for me to head out and explore. I need to check my latest find. There is a yard that is a veritable playground. So many trees to scamper up and down. I could spend all day exploring, but I don’t have that kind of time for play.

I have serious work ahead of me. I need to dig some holes and bury my nuts. I can’t wait until fall to do this work. A squirrel’s work is never done. There are always more nuts to bury for future meals.

I must admit, this new yard is a wonderful playground, but they have recently filled all their beds with rock instead of mulch. Do you know how hard it is to dig a hole in gravel? Mulch is much easier on my paws. Check out my work below.

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Pretty good hole right? Don’t judge, it’s not really a hole, but more of an indentation. I’m just getting started here. I just need a little more time and I will hit dirt, but it’s a start.

Now that I’ve arrived in the yard, I noticed there are a couple of pots with flowers. Hmmm, I don’t remember seeing them on my last visit. Surely they didn’t fill those with gravel. Yes! Soft sweet dirt! Perfect for my next nut! I’ll just dig my hole, it will be ready for the next nut I find. Oh how I love digging in dirt! I just love it when I find people who set planters out for me. Maybe next time I come, there will be even more planters. I’ll be watching!

Additional Note:

Recently on a walk around the neighborhood, my husband and I spotted a squirrel had been hit by a car on the road. I’m wondering if this was our squirrel. There may be no future squirrel tales. No one had disturbed the planter or created any more holes in the landscape rock.

 

 

Mystery Solved

Standing at the open refrigerator, I am sliding containers left, then right. I take containers out, I put them back in. I search the drawers. My husband inquires, “What are you looking for?”

“I have a container of chopped onions from the spinach salad the other night. I want to use them up before we leave.” I tell him. “But I’m not having any luck finding them. I wonder what happened  to them. I could swear I put them in here.”

No onions to be found. I shrug, but still wonder where they could be.  A mystery, but not worth worrying over a missing container of onions.

Four weeks later

We have just finished dinner. My husband looks over to the refrigerator. “What’s on top of the fridge?” he asks me.

“I have no idea,” I reply, glancing over to the fridge, but seeing nothing.

He reaches up and finds a small Gladware container. Something chopped is inside. Quickly I realize this is the container of missing onions. Immediately they are dumped into the garbage disposal.

As the remnants are ground away, we are left wondering how did they end up on top of the refrigerator?