351: Bones in the woods

It has been damp and dark in the woods the past few days.  The grayness of the clouds overhead lets in very little light where the canopy of trees is thickest.  The forest is still verdant and what light there is has taken on the green shades of the foliage on the trees, the mosses, and the lush undergrowth.

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334: I felt the earth move

I was sitting here writing up my blog post for today (not this post, by the way), when I felt the ground, the house, the world, sway.  It was a gentle back and forth motion.  I would have thought I’d imagined it except for the cats who were clearly disturbed by whatever phenomenon had just occurred.  Less than a minute or so later, I felt it again.  I looked outside, thinking perhaps the wind had rocked the house.  However, it didn’t feel like the wind.  Whatever it was had originated from below (and I was in the basement at the time).

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325: Sunday signage

It’s not exactly a sign, but then again, one could take it as a sign.  A positive sign.  I found these (and other words) on the hat of one of the gnomes at the Holden Arboretum.  Want to see the gnome himself?  Of course you do…

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272: Getting freaky in the woods

Summer Solstice in the Woods

Yesterday evening, before the storms hit, I decided to wander back to the woods to get some Summer Solstice shots of the creek (as part of my contribution to Scott’s Assignment:  Four Seasons 2011).  I donned the appropriate clothing, including my ugly hat to keep the deer flies away, and slowly hiked to the back of the pond and down into the woods.  I got stopped along the way by a few things that caught my attention.

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267: Fresh as a daisy

Daisies in the meadow

Well.  That was a wonderful retreat.  It was all of the “re” things.  Relaxing, renewing, recharging, refreshing.  I’m sure there are more, but that’s all I can think of at the moment.  I feel like a new person.  To be honest, I was tempted to tack on another three days, but I don’t have any blog posts ready to go.  Besides, a glance at my email makes it clear that I’ve gotten pretty far behind.  There was a lot of blog posting going on while I was busy being not busy and doing things to take care of myself.

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144: Playing Possum

(Walking on the pond.)

Today we’re having the kind of weather that afflicts us with spring fever.  It’s in the 40s, which feels almost warm enough to break out the summer clothes.  Well, okay, maybe not quite that warm.  There is a brisk wind blowing, keeping things just slightly cooler than it feels like it should be.  The air smells fresh with the slightest scent of false springtime perfuming it.

(Not a sign of spring.)

There is so much melting and thawing going on that it sounds like there is a river running under the snow pack.  The birds sound happier than usual, and we had a most unusual visitor join us for lunch.  It was doubly unusual since this particular creature — the opossum — is nocturnal.  Perhaps the warm up confused the poor thing.

(Heading towards the woods.)

I first saw our visitor while M and I were having lunch.  It waddled up to the kennel/cage we use as a platform for one of the bird feeders.  I think it was trying to get to the suet hanging on the outside of the cage, but it walked into the cage instead and couldn’t figure out how to get to it from there.  After spending about five minutes trying to dig under the cage, it gave up and walked off to one of the bushes near the house.  I thought that was the last I’d see of it.

I went out for my walk shortly after that and guess who I met along the way?  It was our lunch guest, the opossum, strolling in the center of the pond.  It eventually made its way to the woods, but I had plenty of time to watch and take photos.  I don’t think it even noticed me there.

(Moonlit woods?)

I was in the woods shortly before spotting the opossum on the pond, having fun with different settings on my camera.  I mostly played with the white balance.

(Woods at sunset?)

The first photo of the woods was taken with the white balance set to tungsten.  For the second photo I used the open shade setting.  I also fiddled with both in Photoshop because I’m working on a series with an otherworldly feel to it.

Today is day 3 of the 10-day challenge.  I did not want to get up at 6:00am.  Nope.  Not at all.  I hadn’t slept well and wanted nothing more than to try to sleep for a few more hours.  I finally made a deal with myself.  In exchange for getting up and meeting my yoga commitment for the day, I could take a nap later.  Sometimes you have to bribe yourself with something sweet, like a nap.

(Dream sky.)

The yoga was good.  I did a hip opener series, something I badly needed.  All the cross-country skiing is good for building muscle in the lower body, but not so good for flexibility.  I felt much better by the time I finished.

No CD today.  We’re listening to Radio Paradise.

(Sky dreaming.)

27: Leaving the creek

Part Two of the Three Hour Hike.  If you missed part one, you can find it here.

We left the creek after our snack and made our way through the woods where we introduced ourselves to some of the trees…

… some of which were very BIG trees…

The trees were quite impressive.  The Holden Arboretum has over 3500 acres of land, making it one of the largest in the U.S.  Their collection includes 9400 different woody plants and they specialize in plants that can be grown in the northeastern Ohio climate.

The sun made more and more appearances throughout our hike, making a nice display of light and shadows in the woods.

We eventually made our way out of the woods, to the Strong Acres Loop Trail which circles around a large meadow where we hoped to see maple trees in their blaze of fall glory.

(Exiting the woods.)

Alas, we were too late.  The maples had lost their leaves already.  There was still plenty of color to be seen, though, and I’ll share that with you tomorrow.

Today’s walk

Since I’ve been spending so much time in the woods lately, I thought I’d do something different and take a tour of the meadows today.  The meadows are an important part of our little habitat here in the Bogs.  The meadows provide food and shelter for a lot of the little and big critters that hang out in these parts.  For instance, when I got back to the timothy grass meadow I could see where the deer have been bedding down for the night.  (I wonder where they go during the day??)  There is so much grass flattened that there are either a few who move around a lot or it’s a pretty good-sized herd of deer.  (Do deer come in herds or is there another name for a group of deer?  I just checked.  Yep, it’s a herd.)

Sharing the photos from Sunday’s hike is making my posts photo-heavy so I decided to show you some of the highlights of today’s walk in video form.  I’m thinking I may have to learn how to add music to these things now that I know how to turn a group of photos into a video.

Today’s weather report:  It started out foggy but cleared up quickly.  By mid-morning we had some beautiful puffy white clouds move in and it’s been mostly sunny with occasional cloudy spells ever since.  It is cool, brisk, and invigorating.  My cheeks were nice and rosy when I got back from my walk.

I’m going to have a small surprise for you all when I reach day 30.  Be sure to stop by on Friday to see what it is.