Kayaking at Dusk… Carpe Diem!

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The part of the creek I refer to as “Rivendell”… no elf sightings yet though:)

“Why not seize the pleasure at once? — How often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparation!”
― Jane Austen, Emma

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Finding pathways through the lily pads…

It was 7:30 at night, the after-dinner mess was mostly cleaned up, and I was joining my younger son on the porch for conversation and relaxation.  After that, my big plans for the night were pajamas and maybe an HGTV recording.  Then, out of the blue he asks, “Want to go for a kayak ride?”

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My son with his river companion “creekdog”

That was the last thing I expected to come out of his mouth, and truthfully one of the last things I wanted to do.  It had been a busy day, and my pajamas were calling my name!  I could think of other reasons as well….like dusk was smorgasbord time for mosquitos and, well, I had just downed about 10 ounces of vegetable juice, enough said.

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It took me all of about three seconds, though, to dismiss those thoughts and head for the paddles!  Many of my fondest memories have been spur-of-the-moment ideas with those I love…so many memories I would have missed had I reacted “logically” or dismissed because of not wanting to leave my momentary comfort.

With that in mind, I rounded up Princess-who does love a good paddleboard ride-grabbed the camera, fortified the mosquito spray with extra cedarwood and lavender, and off we went!

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Pure Bliss.

As someone once said, “Spontaneity is the best kind of adventure,” and I, for one, wholeheartedly agree!

∼ Jen

Morning Memories…June

“No price is set on the lavish summer;
June may be had by the poorest comer.”
–  James Russell Lowell, The Vision of Sir Launfal

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Early morning drink

Dust from the fireworks has settled, Princess survived yet another year of booms and bangs, sure “they” were after her, and once again, like every year, I wonder how it’s possible that so much of summer has already gone by.

As I enjoyed looking back on my morning pictures from May once June arrived, I have done the same for my morning times in June. I love looking back at photos taken and relive some of the moments and memories of my early, quiet times on the porch and beyond.

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Comfy seating upon a lily pad
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June daylilies greet the morning sun

The turtles were out in full force this month. I like them a little more when they stay in the creek, if they happen to be snapping turtles that is. I have not seen our pond visitor again up close as I did in May, but I spotted it’s relative sunning on this log with a friend….DSC_0595

and another duo with the same idea further out…DSC_0765

I always love the way the early morning sun highlights the ferns and glistens on the waterfall…and the moss on the rocks, well, that’s just the icing on the cake.DSC_0964

The American bullfrog in our pond that we have dubbed “cave-frog” still occupies his cave and was seen peeking out beyond the water grass one morning between croaks.

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“cave-frog”

He is loud, but I had no idea just how loud till my neighbor across the street told me she could hear him! She is a nature enthusiast herself, so it was an appreciation not a complaint:)

As for flying creatures, our little hummingbirds have been enjoying their new feeders……..

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Ruby-throated hummingbird

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And “Harold” was observed on several breakfast hunts…

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Upon arising one morning I was greeted with our first hydrangea bloom of the summer, and by evening the same bush boasted several more blooms.

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Replenishing my morning cup of coffee on another morning, I heard scratching on our porch, screen door. I looked to see a real cutie, who upon seeing me quickly ran off.  I captured him resting his very visibly pounding heart before ascending the tree. The poor guy was beyond shaken.

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Eastern gray squirrel

I have no idea why he was intent on entering the house….I would say he was drawn by the aroma of coffee, but it was more likely that he was running from our cat, “Gladiator Gabby.”

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The large trees in our back yard are a wonderful habitat for birds, especially the woodpeckers, but it was the sunlight streaming through the hole in the above tree that caught my eye on this particular morning.

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Blooming Fuchsia, a hummingbird favorite

Leaving a hotel one morning after a weekend trip, my son pointed out some adorable ducklings enjoying a morning swim.  It was the mother with one of the ducklings near a blooming lily, that, of course, captured my attention the most…

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And lastly, I have  Princess to thank for the following picture taken at the end of June.  Her morning vigil by the front door resulted in a sight I am ever so glad to have seen…

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White-Tailed deer 

and kudos to the deer for allowing me to photograph her in front of such a lovely, blooming backdrop. She seemed to enjoy her morning stroll through the neighborhood, so I may see her again in the future.

Until next time!

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∼ Jen

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love…Psalm 143:8

Morning’s Memories…May

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Blue jay beside fading azalea bush

May and October are without a doubt my two favorite months of the year.  Of course, each month has its share of beauty, but this spring and fall month, in my opinion (and my hemisphere), outshine them all. So, while we are now in the first week of June (already!), looking back on some of my special morning sightings in May helps me hold on to that spectacular month just a little bit longer!

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American Goldfinch taking an early morning sip

I’m not a morning person, by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, when we first married, my husband actually thought I must be ill because of how late I would sleep…no, I’m not divulging the hour!  I don’t sleep anywhere near that late now, but I am quite groggy for a while after rising and really don’t know what I’d do without my morning coffee.

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Mourning Doves getting a morning drink

These coffee times, as I sit and stare, and then stare some more, have proven to be some of the best times to observe much of the first stirrings of nature and the beauty of the sun’s early rays on foliage and flowers.  With my camera ever at my side, it’s rare that I ever get down a cup of coffee before it cools off, but I’m able to capture some special moments, so sometimes warm coffee will just have to do!

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Eastern gray squirrel enjoying fallen sunflower seeds

I never tire of seeing my beautiful cardinals…this was a rare picture of them together in the tree. I have only observed them together when at the feeder or ground-feeding.

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Spring is a very active time for the creek…ducks, eagles, geese, and even spawning fish keep the area very busy and very noisy if you add frogs to the mix!

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Mallard duck couple out for a morning swim

 

I had to chuckle to myself as I watched this male and female goose swim by.  Though not obvious in the picture, the assumed male is much ahead as the female followed slowly behind, seemingly taking in all of the delightful sights as she swam happily along, while hubby up ahead was clearly on a mission.

For whatever reason, all I could think about was how this was a great representation of what my husband and I look like when we go to the mall together!

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Finally able to get a decent picture of “cave frog,” one of our resident American bullfrogs

On the day our pond was emptied and cleaned in early May, I was able to see and count almost forty bullfrog tadpoles. I had never seen a bullfrog tadpole and was thrilled to have the opportunity to see them up close.  The pictures are a little blurry through the water, but back legs and even front stubs are visible.

 

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Koi, goldfish, tadpoles, and snails

Most of the sights I am able to photograph from my porch, but once the coffee kicks in, I sometimes go for a stroll to check out the latest blooms.

 

First blooming roses

I was never able to really grow azaleas out our old house due to lack of shade, here, they are abundant, and I eagerly look forward to their show every spring!

 

Columbines are another flower new to me at this home, a spring beauty for sure.

 

My Uncle Harry gave me my first Coral Bell plant, a favorite in my old garden for hummingbirds.  They transplanted nicely here and I also added a few more.  I have always admired their delicate beauty.

 

My favorite blooms, however, have to be the Bleeding hearts….these were the flowers, more than any other, that my boys liked to pick when young with their chubby little fingers to give to me.  They were as intrigued by their shape as I was and still am…I have more than one pressed from my sweet little boys from too many years ago, sigh. I tried to bring some from our old garden when we moved, but the transplant didn’t take. I quickly bought some at the local nursery and will always have a place for them in my garden.

 

Finally, a few last views of the creek and pond-one a real surprise that I just happened to notice crawling out of the pond as I glanced out the back window:

 

Yeah, he, or she was a shocker for sure!! We’re not certain who will now be sticking their hands in to clean the pond filter, but what an amazing sight! This is my first snapping turtle up close and personal…I was most thankful for a zoom lens!

I round out this beautiful month in pictures with my favorite creek-dweller. He got in right under the wire, the last day of May, which also happens to be my birthday. I hadn’t seen him for at least a month, so I’m sure he and his lovely lady were just swimming by to give me a friendly birthday greeting!  They started my day off in a special way for sure!

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Male Wood Duck

                            I hope that you have enjoyed this trip down memory lane for May.  June is only four mornings old, and already is showing off its splendor, so I look forward to sharing some of my moments for this month and every month to come!

           Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love…Psalm 143:8

 

∼ Jen

Harold’s Nemesis

Who is Harold? Well, if you haven’t yet met him,  you can be properly introduced to him here .  This post, however, will be devoted mostly to his archenemy, and no, it’s not my husband!

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Harold’s rival is a sweet, 91 year-old, blonde beauty, a social butterfly, champion paddle-boarder, creek swimmer, island-explorer (maybe blondes really do have more fun), and self-appointed greeter of all who happen to pass by while she’s out and about in the neighborhood.

She loves to take walks, then cool off in the creek on especially hot days-she has even been known to mud-bathe when the tide is out. She bears the title of royalty, though she’s quite down to earth…she is, none other than, Princess-our lovable, happy, Harold-hating shepherd.

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We got Princess from my sister, who very sweetly took on a male shepherd, his mate, and eleven puppies to find homes for.  We already had a dog, Noah, but he was getting up there in years. The kids were young, so I thought it was a good time to get a puppy they could grow up with and I would have as company when the “empty nest” years hit.

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“Creek Dog”

Princess was the runt of the bunch.  The original owners of the shepherd family said she had to be resuscitated after she was born, so I think she became a favorite, and it is they who gave her the name, Princess.  When we first brought her home as a pup, I remember her being afraid of the dark, and especially a full moon.  However, after her dad came to join us, which is another story, he became her idol and she soon braved-up facing the dark and the moon like a champ!

 I’ve loved many dogs over my life, each special in their own way, but never a dog with a sweeter disposition than our dear Princess.

So why her intense hatred of Harold? We really don’t know. Why he hates her, is quite obvious! He is a grouchy loner after all, but more than that, he loves to hunt in our “backyard.” He will occasionally stroll through on his way to his next hunting spot or stand just off-shore at low tide.

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Upon spotting him, Princess goes into an exceptionally venomous barking rant and runs down to give this foe a piece of her mind.  At this point, anything Harold had been eyeing for breakfast, lunch, or diner has just swum off, and off goes Harold as well, screaming angrily as he does.

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I’ve often thought it’s a really good thing we can’t understand Harold’s language!

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“Cover your ears, mom!”

Princess trots back, happily satisfied that she has once again laid down the law to Harold and, once again, is ruler of all she surveys.

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Job well-done…her father, Smokey, would be so proud:)

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Time for a rest, until the next Harold intrusion.

So now you know all about Princess, our faithful friend and Harold’s faithful nemesis!

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“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)

….Oh, and by the way, yes, swum is a word 😉

∼ Jen

Meet Harold!

Do any of you have one of those neighbors, you know, the silent, grouchy, unkempt-looking, loner-type? We do. Our first meeting of him was quite unnerving to say the least, especially to my unsuspecting husband.

Our first introduction took place the week we moved into our new neighborhood.  It was a beautiful, August day and the tide was just right for a kayak ride.  My husband and I pushed off quietly from the shore, excited to discover our new backyard. I was paddling in the rear, enjoying the beauty and solitude, when all of a sudden I heard a shrill scream from the banks.  I happened to be facing this extremely, unhappy-to-be -discovered stalker, but my husband, unfortunately, was not! He jumped, really as anyone would, if only hearing the pterodactyl-like scream without having any visual of the culprit!

As for me, after I got over laughing at my husband, it was love at first sight!!

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Great Blue Heron

And now, you have been properly introduced to our neighbor, whom I have affectionately called Harold for close to four years!

♥ Jen

http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/great-blue-heron