The last dragonfly

Green dragonfly

I cannot say for sure that this is the last dragonfly of the season, but I suspect we won’t see too many more of them.  This is the first one I’ve seen in a couple of weeks.  Dragonflies are cold blooded and probably didn’t care much for the gray, cooler weather we had before this wonderful warm-up.

Read the rest of this entry »


The party went well.  I am fairly certain a good time was had by all.  Everyone looked happy.  That’s usually a good sign.

Read the rest of this entry »

316: Praying with tall ironweed

Today is much like yesterday in terms of the weather.  Hot, humid, clouds floating around in the sky trying to look and keep cool.  The wind is supposed to shift sometime this afternoon, bringing up more heat and humidity from the south.  The dog days are here.

Read the rest of this entry »

270: Fording the stream

It’s nice when the subject of a photo comes with its own title.  I have a dreadful time with titles, and naming things.  That’s especially true when it comes to my photographs.  I know people who are incredibly talented in that regard.  They come up with clever, witty, often succinct titles whereas I frequently want to number mine.  It is doubtful (as the Magic 8 Ball would predict) I’ll ever win any “Caption This” contests.

Read the rest of this entry »

28: The meadow

I know that heron doesn’t look much like a meadow.  That’s because he’s not a meadow.  He’s a great blue heron.  He wasn’t in the meadow, either.  He was here at the pond when I took my walk today.  In fact, he’s been hanging around the pond gobbling up fish and frogs every day since I started my outdoor commitment.  I’m glad someone is fishing the pond.  It seems we have too many fish in our pond and need to be fishing it more or it will get too crowded, a condition that is not good for the fish.

He doesn’t look as dignified when he’s swooping in for lunch.  I’m not sure what he caught but here he is getting ready to gulp it down:

I think he got a mouthful of leaves to go with his frog or fish.  Perhaps it’s similar to sushi.  Raw fish wrapped in leaves, without the rice of course.

(Ruffled feathers.)

I’m not sure why but the Ruffled Feathers photo reminds me of Kel’s Wanna Play? challenge.  Perhaps it is the somewhat mad look in his eye.  I am so glad I didn’t miss it.  (You’ll have to visit the link to get that reference.)

What is remarkable (and amazing!) to me is how close I was able to get to this guy.  (I’m assuming it’s a male given his size but if I’m wrong, please feel free to correct me.  I can’t tell them apart.)  I spotted him from across the pond and slowly made my way closer.  He grumped at me a little (at least that’s what his call sounded like — you can listen to it here) and would take a slow-motion step or two away from me for every three or four steps I took towards him, but he didn’t fly away.  When he went back to hunting and feeding, I figured he decided I was okay.  Why else let me see him in such undignified positions?

Today’s walk was partially about getting a little work done outside, including cleaning the bird bath and refilling it.  I was also on the hunt for a wooly bear, but I’ll tell you more about that tomorrow.  I meandered around the pond and the meadows rather than go back to the woods as I’m craving open areas and sunlight.  My body probably wants to manufacture vitamin D while it can.  Cloudiness and shorter days will be arriving soon.

It’s clear and gusty here today.  That’s what ruffled the heron’s feathers — the wind.  There was some sort of perfume in the air (unless I’m having olfactory hallucinations which is entirely possible).  I couldn’t figure it out.  It was a woodsy, masculine scent.  Whatever it was, it sure smelled good.

The Meadow

This is part three of Sunday’s hike wherein we leave the darkness of the woods and emerge into the light of the meadow.  Granted, the woods were not all darkness, but it sounds more dramatic that way.  (Here is Part One and Part Two if you missed them and desire to go back and look.  Or just scroll down if you’re on the main page.)

The meadow is a large, oval shape, mostly surrounded by trees.  I took a great many photos.  Being fairly certain that no one wants to see fifty of so pictures of a meadow, I’ve narrowed it down to a dozen few.

The clouds were moving along at a pretty brisk pace that afternoon and would cause sunlight and shadow to move across the meadow, highlighting some of the trees at the edges.

(Nature’s special effects.)

(The big gnarly tree.)

(A wide view.)

We stopped for a picnic on a small hill where it was flat and dry.  There was a gully running through parts of the meadow, keeping the ground wet in spots.  Near the place where we sat for our picnic lunch there was a small pond.  We didn’t realize it was there until we got closer.  It was difficult to see it with all the growth (catttails, shrubs, grasses) surrounding it.  Photos of the pond will have to wait until tomorrow since I concentrated on the meadow shots today.

(Curling cloud.)

I like the way the cloud has a little curl to it in the above picture.  The next one has been processed in Photoshop to soften it up and give it a more painting-like feel.

See you tomorrow!

(And don’t forget to stop by on Friday for the surprise.)

Back to the woods (10)

(The glow of the maple leaves.)

I walked to the back of the property this morning.  Back to the woods.  This is the time of year when I can wander around back there for as long as I like.  In the spring the vernal pools keep great sections of the ground in the woods under water and mushy.  In the summer months the swarms of mosquitoes are so thick that no amount of bug repellant can keep them away and you’re likely to leave drained of a good portion of your blood and many itchy bites.

(The path to the woods.)

But in the autumn months the ground dries up, the mosquitoes and deer flies hide from the cooler, windier weather, and I can easily make my way down to the creek.

(The creek today.)

I don’t think I’ve been back to see the creek since last winter or maybe early in the spring.  Winter is another good time to visit the woods, but I have to be sure to wear my winter boots and take great care as it can get icy back there.

(The creek on January 9, 2010.)

It’s a dewy kind of day today.  My feet and the bottom of my jeans were soaked by the time I got back to the woods, having walked through the former hay field (future woods) to have a good look at the trees we planted.

(Dewy red clover.)

(Leaves on one of the linden trees we planted.)

Rain has arrived along with even cooler temperatures.  The clouds darkened and thickened all morning, but there was the occasional thin spot where the sun tried to shine through.

(Looking at the clouds through the trees in the woods.)

The only sounds in the woods were coming from me, walking on and cracking the branches scattered on the ground.  M and I have to get back there soon with the chipper-shredder and start making some mulch while we clean things up a little.  The path through the woods, underused during the summer months, is hard to find.

Coming back along the eastern side of the pond, I spotted a green frog sitting at the edge of the water.  Most of them jump when I approach, but this one just sat and stared at me.  He reminds me a little of the frog on ice:

(November 2008)

I don’t know why I’m posting snow and ice photos from the past.  We’ll be seeing that sort of stuff soon enough.  Hopefully we still have a few more warm days coming to us before the snow starts to fly.

It’s ten days into my commitment and experiment in getting outside every day.  There is still a long way to go but even in this short period of time, I feel as though I’m learning.  And, as I recently replied to one of the comments in my last post, each daily exploration has, so far, brought a gift of some kind for my spirit/soul.

In other news…

Cooking gives you the opportunity to meet the things you eat.  You can touch each carrot or olive and get to know its smell and texture.  You can feel its weight and notice its color and form.  If it is going to become part of you, it seems worthy, at least, of acknowledgment, respect, and than thanks.  ~ Gary Thorp

I decided today was the day.  The day to make Harvest Soup.  The weather is gray and chilly.  A perfect soup day.

I went up to Hilgert’s farm and loaded up on vegetables.  Whatever appealed to me.  I came home with a half peck of tomatoes, a big bulb of garlic, red onions, white onions, red potatoes, white potatoes, yams, butternut squash, yellow squash, zucchini, red peppers, green peppers, yellow Hungarian peppers, Italian green beans, yellow wax beans, corn, cabbage, and carrots.  I may be forgetting a few items.   I had two bags full of the most colorful produce I’ve ever seen.

I’ve spent a good chunk of the afternoon in the kitchen chopping, dicing, cubing, peeling, and putting together a big pot of soup using the vegetables I brought home from Hilgert’s.  I used a homemade vegetable stock although it didn’t need much in the way of liquid as I used most of the half peck of fresh tomatoes and they are nice and juicy.  The big decision I had to make at the point I added the stock was how to spice the soup.  Spicy curry flavors?  Or a spicy Cajun soup?  How about a minestrone?

Minestrone it is!  The Italian peppers and green beans leaned me in that direction.  I also considered the fact that I’ve been preparing a lot of spicy foods lately.  It was time for something a little calmer.

I added kidney beans and garbanzo beans to the soup to give us some protein.  I’ll put in barley and pasta for the grains when the vegetables are almost finished cooking.  At the very end I’ll add a few spoonfuls of homemade pesto just for fun and flavor.

In addition to the vegetables, beans, and grains, I infused the soup with my love and gratitude.  I am thankful to the earth for providing, to all the workers at the farm who labored hard to bring us these lovely vegetables, and to the folks who work in the farm market for their work (and friendliness) in making sure we get the freshest vegetables and fruits.

I am really looking forward to dinner tonight.  It is going to be delicious, nutritious, and nourishing.

When you prepare a bowl of vegetable soup, you are preparing the soup ‘of a thousand households.’  You are united with the farmers who grew the vegetables and the workers who built the roads to deliver them.  You are assisted by those manufactured the utensils and those who constructed the stove.  The list is endless.  And the soup, itself, will nourish not only you and your friends but all those you are yet to meet.  ~ Gary Thorp

It’s raining frogs (3)

(September 1, 2010)

Do you remember this guy?  I posted about him way back on September 1st in my post wrongly titled The Toad.  I’m pretty sure it should have been titled The Frog.

(September 19, 2010)

You see, I don’t think toads can do what this little guy (or gal) is doing in the above photo.  It’s clinging to the side of the house after having climbed up the side of the house.  Way up.

This little guy (or gal) has also taken the injunction to be fruitful and multiply to heart.  There are now several of the cute little guys and gals hanging out on the deck.  And on top of the back door.  Hanging out on the back door seems to be a popular spot with the frogs.  It’s not so popular with me as I really don’t care for having frogs fall on my head when I open and step out the back door.  In fact, stepping outdoors via the back door is no longer appealing to me at all so I take other routes out of the house for my outdoor excursions.

(September 24, 2010)

I have noticed that these guys and gals have put on their fall outfits.  As you can see from the photo I took yesterday, there is very little of the light green left.  He (or she) is beginning to resemble the flagstone it is sitting upon.  The one which lives under the umbrella stand (that would be the guy/gal in the first picture) was the same color as the wheels on the stand along with stripes the color of the granite stand.  I haven’t lifted the stand lately to have a good look at him/her to see if there have been any changes.

I think our new guests are  Gray Treefrogs.  They might also be  Cope’s Gray Treefrogs.  Apparently the two are indistinguishable in the field.  They do have different calls, though, so I may have to sit out there some evening and listen for a while.

I’m not sure why they prefer our deck, house, and top of the back door over all the trees in this area.  I would think, especially in the case of the one that keeps raining down off the top of the back door, that a tree would seem a much more hospitable hangout.

(Yesterday’s sunset.)

Last night M and I took the peddle boat out for an almost-full moon ride around the pond.  It was lovely and still quite warm when we went out around 10:00pm.  The gusty wind, which kept changing direction as the cold front approached, moved us around the pond while we sat back, relaxed, and enjoyed the moonlight on the water.  In the woods the Great Horned Owl whoo-hoo-hoo-hoo’d.

(This morning’s view of the pond.)

Today we spent pretty much the entire day outdoors.  I would love to tell you all about it but I need to upload the pictures, sort through them, and then write something up to go with them so I’m going to leave it until tomorrow.  It was a very full day of walking, bicycle riding, train watching, and pumpkin picking.

I’m thoroughly exhausted in that relaxed way you get after a full autumn day of sunshine and fresh air.  I’m glad I wrote up this frog post this morning.  Otherwise I’d be rushing to put something together before this day is through in order to meet the blogging part of my commitment.

Oh, and before I forget again…  I posted a static page (look up near the header for 365 Life in the Bogs Outdoors Challenge).  On the page I’ve included a slide show of some of the photos from my outdoor adventures.  I’ll be adding and taking away as time goes on.  Sometimes I put in a few photos that didn’t make it into the main post for the day so you might want to check it out once in a while.