Highlighted Blog #16 – The Humane Gardener

Nature is something I appreciate, but I have to admit that I don’t particularly study it. I just love it. One of the reasons I love the Humane Gardener is that it opens my eyes to the contributors to the natural art I appreciate. And shows how general human thoughtlessness might out the simple joys in jeopardy.

Human physiological responses to what Blomberg calls the “audible trash” of planes, trains, automobiles and machinery include hearing loss, elevated heart rates and blood pressure, sleeplessness and decreased mental focus. Not surprisingly, evidence of similar effects on wildlife is mounting, too. A recent study in New Mexico linked manmade noise to reduced egg hatching in western bluebirds.

 – http://www.humanegardener.com/lets-go-make-quiet/

For the month of November (the month of Thanksgiving in the United States), I’m sharing some of the blogs I’m thankful for. If you want thankful posts from my own personal day-to-day stuff, check out my Inspired By and Thankful For blog.

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Highlighted Blog #8 – aussiebirder.com

I don’t know a whole lot about birds. I think they are beautiful, and I love listening to them early on a summer morning. But if one flies by me, I’m more likely to describe it as yellow or blue than to actually know something about it. In fact, I have no idea what bird I just added in my Featured Image, and I’m thinking it might not be one from Australia. Apologies for that misrepresentation if so. I’m starting to learn more, however. Blogs such as aussiebirder.com are changing that.

It’s true, I don’t live in Australia, but maybe someday I will visit. Actually, I should look for a similar site here n North America. Any suggestions?

I love how this man writes in an engaging manner, but also throws in scientific details and fun facts. I had no idea birds could get drunk on sugar content from a tree or even group up to protect the source of their Bacchus-inspired activities. Very interesting. And the images on the site are an art of its own, in addition to the writing. Hope you enjoy the site as much as I do.

Last weekend my wife and I drove to Wollongong Botanic Gardens on the tip off that a single Regent Honeyeater had been visiting a bright red flowering bush known as the ‘Drunk Parrot Tree’ (Schotia brachypetala). To our great delight we were blessed with many sightings of the bird as it came briefly to feed […]

via The Return of the Rare Regent – Wollongong Botanic Gardens — aussiebirder

* For the month of November (the month of Thanksgiving in the United States), I’m sharing  writing from some of the blogs I’m thankful for. If you want thankful posts from my own personal day-to-day stuff, check out my Inspired By and Thankful For blog.

Preparing for Winter

Posts at the beach placed in preparation for winter.
Posts at the beach placed in preparation for winter.

This post is for my friends who live in warmer environments. The image featured is of something we see a lot here in the north. It’s usually metal rods along highways, but this particular picture is a bunch of wood posts at our local beach. Know what it is?

It’s a row of markers along a road so the snowplows know where to drive. I’m kind of super excited to see that the markers are now lining a path to the main parking lot at our beach instead of just to the ticket booth. That’s quite a bit further when one is hiking in deep snow and will make walking to the water a whole lot easier this winter.

To put things in perspective, I’m 5 foot 2 inches tall. Think they are getting ready for a lot of snow? 😉

One can only hope…

Of Wind and Water

Wind at Southwick State Park Beach

Disclaimer: You might want to mute the video before you start it — or perhaps, like me, you love the sound of wind (even if it’s slightly magnified by an iPhone microphone).

The wind was so loud that day, Chris and I couldn’t hear each other talk as we walked into the wind. That was some tough walking, haha.

Walking back to the car, I think I could have flown. So fun.

Wind at Southwick

A wonderful poem by Amy Lowell.

The Wind

He shouts in the sails of the ships at sea,
He steals the down from the honeybee,
He makes the forest trees rustle and sing,
He twirls my kite till it breaks its string.
Laughing, dancing, sunny wind,
Whistling, howling, rainy wind,
North, South, East and West,
Each is the wind I like the best.
He calls up the fog and hides the hills,
He whirls the wings of the great windmills,
The weathercocks love him and turn to discover
His whereabouts — but he’s gone, the rover!
Laughing, dancing, sunny wind,
Whistling, howling, rainy wind,
North, South, East and West,
Each is the wind I like the best.

The pine trees toss him their cones with glee,
The flowers bend low in courtesy,
Each wave flings up a shower of pearls,
The flag in front of the school unfurls.
Laughing, dancing, sunny wind,
Whistling, howling, rainy wind,
North, South, East and West,
Each is the wind I like the best.

More of Amy Lowell’s poetry can be found in Google Books.

A Tale of a Turtle

This post is for those who want to take a step back from the chaos of life to view a slow-moving beautiful story. Of course, calling it a story at all is a bit grandiose of me. It’s how my mind perceived it. But here is the simple tale I saw.

Once upon a time there was a turtle. This turtle was on a quest. All its life it wanted to be a rock, and on this particular day, it was determined to find the best place to become a rock. Legend told that it would have to navigate under the bridge of the great unknown before it could become the perfect rock. So it set off toward the bridge.

After making it past the bridge the turtle had a few choices. It could follow its dream to become a rock, make friends with little fish around it, eat said fish, or meet other turtle buddies. For a few minutes, it hesitated. Then it continued on its quest.

When it found the perfect spot, the turtle ducked its head under and let its shell rise in a true rock formation — the epitome of its dream of rock stardom. But all was not simple. In the same arena there was another turtle determined to find a friend with whom to play.

There was Another Turtle Looking for a Friend

But our turtle was a determined sort of soul. It could camouflage and camouflage well, and by golly, it was meant to be a rock. So a rock it was.


Camo turtle
Camo turtle


Meanwhile the social turtle finds our rock star and tries to engage in some play.


It’s not meant to be, however. Sometimes a turtle just needs a bit of its own space. After a minute of “hey, just so you know…I’m here for ya, buddy…” the other turtle goes on its way. Surrounded by fish friends.

Social Turtle Leaves to Find New Adventures

I see two endings for this. Take your pick depending on your mood:

  1. And they all lived happily ever after.
  2. A Simon and Garfunkel connection:

I am a rock, I am an island. I am shielded in my armor, Hiding in my room, safe within my womb. I touch no one and no one touches me. I am a rock, I am an island. And a rock feels no pain; And an island never cries.

https://www.lyricsfreak.com/p/paul+simon/i+am+a+rock_20262017.html

 

Contrast

We live a bit more than 10 minutes from the beach (Lake Ontario). When Lauren and CJ were visiting, it was cloudy, but we told them it didn’t necessarily mean it was cloudy at the beach. Although it’s only 10 minutes away, the weather is often quite different. We shared this story with them:

There was one day a couple of years ago where I thought Chris would be joining me at the beach. I waited and waited, and I managed to get a nasty sunburn while waiting (unusual for me–I usually tan). When I got home, I found out Chris had been thinking I’d show up any minute all day since it was so rainy 🙂

Anyway. Coming home from the beach we had a decent illustration of this, which I find so fascinating. It’s in the featured image for this post (at the top). Check out the grey skies as we face home, then look at the image in the rear-view mirror. That’s the beach.

Sunset at the beach

Bonus image that has nothing to do with the post — except that it’s a pretty shot from my favorite beach. Couldn’t resist adding it 🙂

Perception

When visiting museums, I appreciate the art. This is true. But even more so I appreciate the creativity spawned by the living art around me.

On a visit to The Clark  I looked at the works of some of the old masters, and I totally appreciated the talent while I was there. Then I moved on.

When the day was over Chris and I realized we missed a really cool part of an exhibit (Jennifer Steinkamp: Blind Eye) and decided to go back to the museum the next day ( a great perk of this museum deal we signed up for) . Since we were in art-mode we watched a movie entitled Renoir, and suddenly, I was seeing things in a different light.

When we went back the next day, we visited the Renoir paintings we had seen the day prior, and suddenly I found myself analyzing the brush strokes, color choices, and I related to the passion of an artist who wouldn’t let go of his gift even if his hands were in excruciating pain. The paintings took me to a completely different realm of appreciating than the day prior, thanks to some time and the film — another beautiful form of art. I think his son would have approved 🙂



The exhibit we missed was a computer rendering exhibit in which the artist used programs like Maya to create magnificent art. I was intrigued by the actual images, while Chris was absorbed by the display itself.



How did the cameras work and show the full canvas? I never would have thought of that if he were not in the room. But it certainly added to my experience. Thanks, Chris 🙂

A few days later we were talking with some of our kiddos, and I was rhapsodizing on the museum experience, expounding on how it was so much more than the art itself. It was about how people reacted to the art, and the history behind it, and all that jazz. Even the walk through the woods between buildings was beautiful.

We saw a tree that had fallen, and I thought it was pretty cool. My imagination kicked in, and I wondered how and when it fell, and I imagined the new animal homes the fall created. A children’s book was niggling in my brain as Chris commented on the amazing support system that naturally occurred under the tree in the fall. At least until rot kicks in. It made a natural bridge with support. Without his eyes and comments, I don’t think I would have seen it, but it made the experience all that much more magical.



CJ pointed out that it’s like that for him on the slopes when he is with friends and students he teaches. He observed that is was really interesting to see the lines they chose to navigate down the mountain. Apparently one friend has a really unique eye, and the lines he chooses bring all sorts of unexpected adventures ranging from new trails on new hills one didn’t previously notice to complete drop-offs (ack!).

My eyes have been opened to the importance of perception and seeing what others’ see. It’s so interesting!As you might have noticed in past posts, I’m kind of into quotes. So I’m going to leave off with this one that I love:

No two people see the external world in exactly the same way. To every separate person a thing is what he thinks it is — in other words, not a thing, but a think.Penelope Fitzgerald

Summer?

Goldenrod in the Berkshires
tiny school GIF
Back to School

Are you finding your social network feeds filled with kids going back to school and off to college? I am, and I’m loving it. Recently, a friend asked how my summer was wrapping up. Laughing, I responded that life is going so fast recently I hadn’t realized it was summer.  🙂

But I see it’s true. The leaves are changing color, and the Goldenrod heralds the incoming of autumn. 

Goldenrod in the Berkshires
Goldenrod in the Berkshires

It reminds me of a time when the kids were small (although that was my perception of summer in reverse), and we basically lived on the beach one summer while visiting with my in-laws. That year felt like an endless summer. I didn’t realize things were changing until they told me I had limited flavor selection at the commissary where I get ice cream.

Leaves changing color
Summer slips into Autumn in northern NY

Now that the kids are older, we don’t have to tuck our travels into certain months and weeks. Perhaps that’s how I missed summer this year (although I thoroughly enjoyed each day of it). And we had such a nice spring, beach time came in April/May so there were lots of opportunities to swim and enjoy the sand.

Yet now that the leaves are starting to change, and the calendar tells us it’s time to prepare for winter, we’re slogging around in 31-32 C/ 88-90 F temps.

No wonder I’m confused.