Back in the Bogs

(A Monarch visits.)

M and I arrived home late last night.  The train ride was longer than expected having been delayed twice.  We started on time in Philadelphia and arrived in Harrisburg early only to be told that the engineer who was to take over the next leg of the trip hadn’t shown up for work.  So we sat and waited while they called in someone else.  I think we were close to 90 minutes behind schedule when the call-in guy showed up.  The second delay occurred in Johnstown due to “police action.”  As we sat on the tracks waiting and waiting, an announcement was finally made telling us that they were coming through to do a luggage inspection and we were advised to keep our luggage nearby as any unclaimed luggage would be removed from the train immediately.  I don’t know what happened but once the train was moving our conductor came through and told us that a bad man was doing bad things and the police came and took him off the train.  I have no idea what that means in grown-up talk and have had no luck finding anything about it online.

(Breakfasting at the pond.)

We woke up this morning to find that the trees had acquired quite a bit of color in the short time we were away.  A great blue heron was at the pond, making himself comfortable and relaxing on one leg.

(This morning’s view of the pond.)

This is day 19 of my Great Outdoor Commitment.  I’ve spent most of the day outside soaking in the warmth and sunshine of this beautiful fall day.  We had friends from out of town stop by for lunch on their way home from visiting family.  We set up a table on the deck and enjoyed their company, the day, and the food outdoors.

(Leaving home.)

When our friends left I meandered over to one of my favorite spots on the property.  It’s a little alcove-like area where the peonies come up every spring, where the day lilies bloom every summer, and where we planted a few rhododendrons that have had some blooms on them this year.  There is a half circle of trees surrounding the alcove and the grass is soft and lush in that area.  Most of the trees are small oaks.  They are peaking in color right now, each leaf carrying a variety of yellows, oranges, reds, greens, and browns.

While standing out there enjoying the view and listening to the sounds around me, a Monarch butterfly stopped by to visit.  I was surprised by how close it landed and its willingness to just sit there with me.

Butterflies bring color and joy with them.  When butterflies come into your life look at how much or how little joy is within your life.  Lighten up.  Look for change.  Don’t forget that all change is good.  Butterfly medicine reminds us to make changes when the opportunities present themselves.  Transformation is inevitable, but butterfly will teach you that growth and change does not have to be traumatic.  It will teach you that it can occur as gently, as sweetly, and as joyfully as we wish.

~ Ted Andrews, Animal Speak

There is a field of wildflowers behind the alcove-like area and our main wildflower field is in front of it.  The flowers are abuzz with honey bees.  I videoed one of the bees in an attempt to capture the sound of them buzzing.  You should be able to hear them if you turn up the sound a little.

It is still early days where this commitment is concerned but I already feel as though it has changed me.  Being outdoors is, of course, a mood lifter but I think it’s more than that.  I look forward to my jaunts outside and I think it will soon become a habit, a good habit.  When I first told my husband about my new commitment he laughed and said if he wanted to make a change like that he would have to commit to coming indoors.  He spends hours outside every day, no matter what the weather is like.  There is so much work that has to be done on the property on a daily basis and he considers those chores part of his daily exercise.  I used to be like that when we first moved here.  Then I started making excuses (it’s too hot, too cold, too rainy, the mosquitoes and deer flies are biting, etc., etc., etc.).  I might still make excuses as this year goes along but now I have to honor my commitment rather than my excuses.

And that, my friends, is a very good change indeed.

For those who would like to see a little of our train ride home, I bring you Scenes From the Train:


Bee-U-tiful

(176:  Honey bee on bok choy flowers.)

The weather here in the Bogs has been amazing.  I’ve probably already said that a few times over the past week.  And it’s true.  Amazing.  Simply amazing.  This has not been November weather at all.  No snow.  Very little rain.  Mostly sunny, mostly clear, most of the time.  M and I both said a thank you to the sun for hanging around over the past four days.

While working in the garden yesterday I noticed some yellow flowers.  They turned out to be bok choy plants that I was too lazy busy to pull once they bolted.  There was a honey bee hanging out on one of the plants, enjoying the flowers.

It’s going to be unseasonably warm again today, but with a cloud cover.  There is a weak cold front moving through, bringing mostly clouds and little rain.  We could probably use a bit of rain although it would be good to see the pond levels continue to go down.  We have decided not to try a drawdown (first mentioned here).  We would have to run a pump constantly for 6-8 days to bring the pond down enough to kill the weeds at the edges.  That doesn’t take into account the inevitable clogging of the pump which would set us back at least a few hours each time it happened.  So, if the pond should naturally do a drawdown due to evaporation and a lack of rain, that would be a good thing.