Heaven reached down to kiss me yesterday with the convergence of my schedule, my son’s schedule, the tide schedule, and a gorgeous, mild-temperature spring day….all perfect for a mid-afternoon kayak outing.
The sky was a cloudless blue, the perfect backdrop for the emergence of new leaves budding out next to the evergreens, which brave the winter months gracing us with their beauty year round…
My son wanted to head for the nearest little island in the creek, which he and his older brother have enjoyed exploring since we first moved here. It is a perfect nesting spot for geese, and evidence was spotted of that before we even disembarked….
We were fortunate enough to spot the first egg of the clutch, and hopefully not the last. We’ll come back to check the progress next week and maybe catch mama laying on them as we did a few years back. The female goose lays eggs about 36 hours apart, and can lay anywhere from two-ten eggs per breeding season. The incubation period is 28-30 days, so we should certainly get a glimpse of mama at some point during that time.
The little island is carpeted with luscious, emerald moss decorated with newly fallen red maple buds-mama goose certainly has good taste in homes…
On our return trip we were treated to “Harold” or perhaps “Henrietta.” Either way, it is always a surprising delight when he or she appears from nowhere, squawking its displeasure at us for daring to enter its domain.
The houseboat, which appeared at Thanksgiving time two years ago, is still gracing the creek with its presence …
I would love to get a peek inside this home, and can only imagine how peaceful it must be to live literally on the water. I am blessed enough, though, to be able to live next to it and am always thankful to be a witness to the wonders of nature the creek brings in all of its seasons.
Until next time, happy spring to those of you in this hemisphere!
Well, I certainly never thought I would do a part two on a blog post having to do with weeds, but here goes! This post has to do with my statement about my intense dislike of Round-Up, and I have been asked to explain why I hold that opinion by fellow blogger Michelle at one of my favorite blogs, https://rabbitpatchdiary.com. I’ll add some pretty pictures to hopefully charm it up a bit!
The material out there is vast, but I will do my best to sum it up in as brief a post as possible. I will post links at the end of this post so you can do your own follow-up studies and draw your own conclusions. Hopefully for the sake of the environment and ultimately your health and those you love, you will reach the same conculusion as I have come to, and look for alternative methods to control weeds. When I am not pulling, this recipe is a simple one to use and it works!
One of my main sources for health news is Dr. Mercola, and I have read many articles relating to the dangers of Round-Up on his website alone. I will use other sources for this post, however, to give a broader analysis of the topic. According to the Dr. Mercola article, Monsanto is Inside Everything. this so called crop-saver is showing up in urine samples, breast-milk, blood samples, water supplies, and in the very air we breathe.
A study reported by The Detox Project reported that glyphosate, the active main ingredient in Round-Up, was found in women’s breast milk at 760-1600 times higher than the level allowed by the EU in drinking water. So the purest form of food for the tiniest among us is now contaminated by man-made killer chemicals! Further studies showed glyphosate crosses the placental barrier with 15% reaching the fetal compartment.
To quote Angelika Hilbeck, Ph.D., senior scientist at the Institute of Integrative Biology in Zurich:
This is reckless and irresponsible conduct in a democratic society, which still has a living memory of previous reckless chemical contaminations, such as DDT.”
Blood samples and urine samples in Canadian and US women respectively were found to be at maximum levels for urine and levels similar to the concentration found to have endocrine-disrupting effects in vitro in the blood samples.
While on the topic of embryonic health, the inert ingredient, polyethoxylated tallowamine, or POEA, in Round-Up was actually found to be more deadly than the active ingredient, glyphosate, according to the article in the Scientific American Weed-Whacking Herbicide Proves Deadly to Human Cells. In this article, evidence is shown that just because an ingredient is listed as inert-Federal law classifies all pesticide ingredients that don’t harm pests as “inert,”-doesn’t mean they aren’t necessarily biologically or toxicologically harmless. “This clearly confirms that the [inert ingredients] in Roundup formulations are not inert,” wrote the study authors from France’s University of Caen.“Moreover, the proprietary mixtures available on the market could cause cell damage and even death [at the] residual levels” found on Roundup-treated crops, such as soybeans, alfalfa and corn, or lawns and gardens.
So what if you don’t use Round-Up… why should you care…doesn’t it simply disappear after it kills the weeds, isn’t it “biodegradable” like we are told in most places that sell it.
In 2009, a French court found Monsanto guilty of lying; falsely advertising its Roundup herbicide as “biodegradable,” “environmentally friendly” and claiming it “left the soil clean.”
So what exactly is Round-up ready and GMO crops? Simply put, they are crops from seeds altered to withstand the effects of Round-up while the weeds around them die. It is argued that GMO crops increase food supply thereby helping to curb world hunger. There is no evidence to prove that this is the case according to the New Soil Association in 2008. In fact not only does it not increase yield, it leads to terminator seeds-seeds that are grown for a second generation that are sterile…leading to just the opposite of increased yield. In addition to less yield, GMO corn is shown to have 18 times the safe level of glyphosate set by the EPA…I would argue there is no safe level, period. About 75 percent of the food available at the grocery store contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs), grown from Roundup Ready crops, in particular alfalfa, corn and soy. (https://draxe.com/monsanto-roundup/)
To help yourself and your family, look for organics and foods labeled non-GM0 whenever possible; shop at local organic farm markets if available and if you eat meat buy only organic, 100% grass-fed or non-gmo food fed animals, ideally from a local farmer you can get to know; on-line sites such as Vita-cost sells organic non-perishables, and they offer great sales from time to time. Shop around, your health is worth it! A list of the top pesticide ridden foods and ones you can get by with not being organic can be found here: http://borntogrow.net/dangerous-pesticide-ridden-foods/ Also, soaking veggies and fruit in baking soda for 15 minutes can remove some of the pesticides, depending on the food, but even that labeled organic should be soaked.
So what are some of the other affects on our health from this ignorantly loved chemical…autism, breast cancer, Parkinson’s, depression, anxiety disorders, gastrointestinal disorders and diseases, inflammatory bowel conditions, obesity, cardiovascular disease, infertility, ALS, multiple sclerosis, infertility, allergies, cancer and much more…
A very interesting chart, one that would be very hard to argue with, shows the instances of autism rates with the rise of glyphosate usage, please use the following link to see the astonishing chart as well as watch a very informative interview with Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), revealing how glyphosate wrecks havoc on human health.
I am going to stop here, but trust me, this only scratches the surface! There is so much more that can be said and explained, but this post is very long as is!! And please note, though this post is about Round-Up, pesticide use in general should be thoroughly looked into. Please see the links below, and especially read ways to avoid consuming this chemical, and many others, even if you are against using as I am. I may add a third post for nutritional ways to combat toxins and another on the beauty and nutrition of certain weeds, inspired by Barry.
I will say in closing, it is a shame that those of us who try to protect the earth we have been entrusted to take care of are sometimes dismissed as hippies, crazies or over-zealous earth-worshippers. I don’t worship the earth, though my “About” picture certainly portrays me as a tree-hugger 😉 I do, however, worship the God who gave me this beautiful place to live and I believe as a Christian I am responsible even more to show gratitude for what He made and gave as a gift…this incredible creation, including ourselves, that we are to treasure and take care of.
Until next time, please let’s all do our part…the adorable subjects in the pictures, and those in the future will be glad you did!
I have long been convinced that of all the animals God created, dogs were especially created to be invaluable friends for mankind…I call them “hairy angels.”
Our sweet Princess was indeed an angel. In fact, our vet remarked that usually dogs named “Princess, Angel, Precious, Sweetie….” were anything but, and that our Princess was a nice exception to that rule!
Indeed, she was! I have owned and loved many dogs over my lifetime, but never have I owned or met a dog with a sweeter disposition than our dear Princess.
When we first got Princess, I told myself I would somehow not get attached to her. She would be the kids’ dog and I would take care of her and love on her, but remain unattached to avoid future heartache…yeah, right.
For thirteen plus years she was our sweet little companion, and up until the last 7 years of her life she shared us with our two other dogs, and, unfortunately, she was at the bottom of the “pecking order.”
After our oldest dog, Noah, and then her father, Smokey, died, she was our sole dog and the recipient of all of our human love, which she gladly returned a thousand times over.
As for me, not getting attached just didn’t happen.
We had to say goodby to our sweet girl, my empty-nest dog, in April, much earlier that I had hoped, and I still miss her more than I can say. I wrote about Princess’ back-story in a previous post, but if any pet deserved a special goodbye post, it is her.
Two days before she went on, we had our first and only kayak ride together. She normally rode with one of the boys on their paddle board, but this day it was just she and I, and she left me with sweet memories of a morning together on the creek, searching out an eagle’s nest.
And so, this dog that I somehow would remain “unattached” to has left me with many precious memories, and a longing for many more morning walks together with my sweet little buddy.
Thank you, Sweet Princess…you wiggled into our hearts and left your mark on us that will never be erased. We miss you, the creek will never be the same without you, and we will always love you and remember you with smiles…
“When the Man waked up he said, ‘What is Wild Dog doing here?’ And the Woman said, ‘His name is not Wild Dog any more, but the First Friend, because he will be our friend for always and always and always.’” —Rudyard Kipling (author, The Jungle Book)
Someone sent me the following video…and though many will find it unbelievable, it brought me a lot of joy and comfort… 🙂
It is a quiet Sunday morning as I write this. The air is cool enough to leave the door cracked just slightly, allowing the sounds of nature to flow inside. The birds are singing their morning songs as they flit around in their busy springtime activities. A tufted titmouse pair are continuing their gathering of nest-building material for the box just outside my window, while a hummingbird stops to sip at the nectar feeder just below the future titmouse abode.
Gabby cat is enjoying an early morning walk around, simultaneously keeping a lookout for possible adventure with one eye and the approach of our neighbor’s dogs with the other…
A squirrel enjoyed an early breakfast of sunflower seeds scattered beneath the feeders before attacking the feeders directly. In due time he was joined by two other squirrels that soon gave him chase before they all raced up a tree, resembling a reverse playing of firemen sliding down a pole.
The male cardinal is visiting another feeder closer to our pond, and the sounds of the waterfall flowing fills the air with its soothing sounds, in perfect harmony to the music of the wildlife surrounding it.
The creek is at high-tide and is still and deceptively quiet under a misty haze and overcast sky. In the surrounding trees, the birds and squirrels make up for its silence aided by honking geese in the distance, while cinnamon ferns, jewel-weed, and iris decorate its banks as they continue to spring more to life with each passing day. Somewhere nearby a wood duck couple are certain to be enjoying its serenity, while playful otters and busy beavers are certain to be disturbing it.
At any given moment an eagle is likely to do a fly-by low along the creek, or perch in one of the nearby trees watching for fish and other small creatures to fill its stomach and feed its young.
Harold, our resident blue heron, has yet to my knowledge made his daily appearance, but that too could happen at any given moment and may even include a sighting of Henrietta, seen accompanying him of late…tis the season!
Peaches, the cat of unknown origins, who has unfortunately decided to adopt us, draws my eye away from the creek again as he takes up one of his favorite spots beside the pond…much to the dismay of Gabby, and Bitty as well, who is perched beside me now glaring at him from her window seat.
The cardinal seen earlier is now perched closer to my window, almost hidden in the lush leaves, until roused by a blue-jay who was earlier hopping up and down on a branch above him and making a general ruckus. For whatever reason, Mr. Jay felt the need to antagonize the cardinal until deciding to fly off towards the creek with the cardinal giving chase.
In a break from nest-building duties, Mr. Titmouse flies over to give his wife a morsel on a nearby branch, and the lone squirrel is back posing for a picture.
Our door is now shut and the fireplace is lit to chase off the chill-enticing kitty with its warmth-as my husband and I enjoy the quiet of early morning. The wood ducks paddle into view, and all seems right with the world.
I purposefully laid aside my camera for the most part this morning-deciding to add in older pictures later-and purposed instead to just sit still and enjoy all the sights and sounds outside the lens…
…because sometimes in our single “focused-ness’ of life we miss the peripheral beauty going on around us, and that is a lesson in and of itself.
My favorite spring month has finally dawned…and its opening show is as breathtaking as always!
Yesterday opened up the beauty with sunshine and wonderfully mild temperatures. I had much to do-a shared vegetable garden to be planted at my sisters- so I was not planning to linger long over coffee and nature-gazing. Then my eyes spotted this sun bather (below) in the creek…
that ended any coffee time abruptly as I grabbed my camera and spent a sunny morning outside enjoying the peace of nature while gathering the following pictures…
Last of the spring daffodils, pansies, and tulips…
Beginning of the azaleas that we eagerly await each spring…
Unfurling of my favorite foliage plant, the lovely fern…
Bleeding hearts blending with azaleas…
A favorite bird garden…
Fading lenten rose…
Beauty of new life in the form of a tiny pine tree, with kayaks in the background holding the promise of future adventures on the creek and more nature to be explored …
Warm wishes for a beautiful month of May in your corner of the world.
“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”
– William Wordsworth, Daffodils
It seems that March this year decided to try a hostile take-over of April…but, despite its many snowy, blustery attempts, April has at long last landed, bringing all its promises of future beauty along with it. March, of course, had its own beauty despite its stormy attitude, so here’s my look back on this very temperamental month:
Above, the very loud and large pileated woodpecker, and below, one of our backyard monkeys, doing what they do best.
A morning walk with my fellow nature-loving neighbor provided the following photos…
A glimpse in her backyard, where the infamous white cats reside, but I was zeroing in on one of the upside down dead trees she repurposes for bird feeders…
Another peek in her yard shows some of the many daffodils she decorates our street with…
I took my buddy, Princess, along for our walk. I wouldn’t dream of leaving her home, the neighbors love her and sadly our walks are soon coming to an end. 😦 Watching her health deteriorate has been the hardest thing this month, I hope she will be with me for some warm spring days, but she is getting tired so I will enjoy the days we have left and treasure her companionship while I can.
My dear friend Lesley and I along with her daughter and precious granddaughter attended the Philadelphia flower show. I don’t have many pictures due to the very large crowds, but this one turned out ok and was a nice sneak peek at spring…
Of course there were the lingering snow days I posted of earlier thanks to our many Nor’easters…
The sure promise of warmer days here on the creek are the first wood duck sightings, usually blurred by the distance, but they still make my heart sing!
Things will only get more beautiful with the blooming of Azaleas right around the corner, but I was treated to an early show of their charm in our recent southern excursion. For now, I will enjoy the warming days in our area, thankful for the beauty each new day brings.
Until next time,
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love…Psalm 143:8
With three Nor’easters in the last several weeks, March has certainly come in like a lion. It still remains to be seen if this transitional month will exit like a lamb-one can only hope! As I look out my widow, spring is literally budding forth…time for one last look back at this year’s winter memories.
American robin, below, enjoying morning sunlight on rocks before getting drink from waterfall…
Geese oblivious to the icy waters…
A variety of birds decorate the bare branches like natural ornaments…
Tufted titmouse enjoying a sunny morning at the feeder…
Sparrows breakfasting together…
Grey squirrel gone rogue… enjoying an acorn instead of raiding my bird feeders…
Male cardinal enjoying what’s left of beauty berries…
…and posing beautifully on dried hydragenea blooms….
Downed holly tree, one of a handful that fell in creek in past few months…lots of spring clean up awaits, but on the bright side, our main creek view has greatly increased….
The hammock became a convenient platform feeder during the deep snows..
And many other seeds were enjoyed under the protection of a sleeping vine…
Blue jays continually beautified our landscape….
The below adorable site I happened to catch one morning made me really glad I have not gotten around to fixing this bird home….
I was so glad my husband came to get me one morning to watch a flock of robins enjoying the holly tree berries…
Our bench sat vacant as a silent watcher over the frozen creek and snowy landscape…
And so, another winter is almost past in our part of the world, and the beauty of spring now begins to bud forth, replacing one natural beauty with another. Whichever natural tapestry God is weaving in your part of the world, I hope you enjoy the daily show!
Until next time!
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love…Psalm 143:8
Christmas decorations have been put away and the New Year has cheerfully been rung in around the world…now to mentally adjust to the new date of 2018. I can still remember back in high school when we had an assignment on what we thought the year 2000 would be like….back then, that was like trying to imagine living in outer space. Eighteen years into this millennium and it still sometimes feels surreal to me.
We had our first snowstorm of the season in early December which gave me some beautiful pictures to look back on. As I sit writing this, we are in the midst of our first blizzard, dubbed a “bomb cyclone.” Thankfully, we have not lost power, and I have been baking off and on for two days. Something about snowstorms puts me in the baking mood, which my family always appreciates.
I was out early the day after the December snowfall taking pictures before I even had my morning coffee….for me that’s saying a lot. I wanted to get some pics before Princess and the neighbor’s dogs started leaving their tracks.
Something about the morning after a freshly fallen snow is just magical.
The snow was the kind that clung to the branches, and the snow-laden limbs overhanging the creek were indeed picturesque.
I had plenty of bird food, with one area in particular resembling a southern smorgasbord, minus the grits, of course. Between the sunflower seed, peanuts, a variety of suet cakes and mealworms I was a shoo-in for birder of the neighborhood.
Unfortunately, it has also become a natural hunting ground for the neighbor’s cats and at least one hawk. I try to keep everything in as safe an area as possible for them, which can be a challenge… a place with no hiding spots for the furry intruders but with a covered brush area for the ground feeders, to hopefully hide from dastardly Mr. Hawk.
Whenever I see the little dark-eyed junco around the feeders, I know a snow is in the near future-he certainly lives up to his nick-name “snowbird.”
He was caught below doing his happy little “snow victory dance.”
This is a good article about how to welcome the little guy and other wintering birds that may come to your area.
The snow only lasted a few days before the weather warmed up, only to plunge us into a bitter cold streak a week later. The birds kept me entertained as the cold brought them to the feeders early each day.
The secret to keeping blue jays happy and continually coming back is found in the power of the peanut!
Though the male cardinal is known for his beauty, I find the female equally beautiful…
The little group of finches gathered together at the feeder one morning reminded me of little old men meeting up at a country store to gab over breakfast…
The wood thrush is a rarely seen visitor, but he makes his presence known by his hopping about and flinging through the leaves so violently with its beak it’s a wonder he doesn’t give himself whiplash.
Besides birds, the squirrels are always good for a show, and I really don’t mind them raiding the bird feeders or grabbing the jay’s peanuts.
He was not the only wild mammal to visit our yard…before I had barely opened my eyes one morning I spied a fox trotting off with something in its mouth. I was relieved to see it wasn’t my cat but a little sad to think one of my squirrels had just become his breakfast.
The geese didn’t seem to mind the frigid water temperatures and they delight me each morning as they honk their goodbyes when leaving the peninsula. They don’t wander into our section of the creek often, so I enjoy it when they do.
I end with a morning view from our anniversary getaway. The deck was obviously too cold to enjoy, but the scenery was well worth waking up to.
I hope my dear blogging friends going through the blizzard with me are staying warm and cozy and enjoying the beauty of the snow and the wildlife it highlights.
Until next time,
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love…Psalm 143:8