Yesterday while relaxing on the couch it occurred to me that the tide was up, the heat and humidity were down, and no storms were in the forecast. As if catapulted from my seat with this revelation, I made a dash for my camera, life-jacket and paddle and down to the creek I went. It is rare that I sail out on my own, but sometimes that’s the best way to observe nature and just enjoy the serenity of the creek.
The first unexpected sight I came upon was of a beaver dam. I’ve heard the beavers slap their tail before when entering their territory, but had still yet to see one. Yesterday was my first sighting of any dam, so I was excited to be able to see it up close. I heard the warning slap of the tail when I ventured back for more pictures later, but still never caught a glimpse of the owner of the slapping tail and decided to take his warning seriously, paddling away after a few pictures. I had been hoping to get a picture of the beaver himself, but they are elusive little characters.
Further down the creek I spied a squirrel grabbing a small branch to take away to its nesting spot. He froze when he came up out of his hole and saw me, so I was able to capture some cute pictures of him peeking out.
I watched as ospreys circled the creek looking for their next meal and observed a smaller bird giving chase to a large flying insect, catching up to it eventually and carrying it back to its nest. The butterflies were out flitting about the plant life on the banks, seeming to enjoy the day as much as I was, while numerous dragonflies skimmed the water in every direction in search of insects. Yes, the creek was full of life visually and audibly and I was ever so glad to be out there among it.
On my way back I caught a glimpse of a great blue heron perched atop a large, dead tree in the creek preening its feathers. I’ve never been able to get that close to a heron without them noticing and immediately taking flight…screaming insults at me all the while, of course. This heron broke all the rules and sat there after preening for at least five minutes while I let the boat simply drift around as I took pictures. Finally he or she had enough of modeling and took flight across the creek, but the unexpected photography session was definitely a treat!
After getting back from my rewarding time on the creek, it was still too beautiful to go inside, so I decided to linger by the creek on a bench enjoying a cup of afternoon coffee. My husband joined me, and then we actually spotted him above the water-finally!
My last unexpected treat was getting a close up glimpse of a green heron. In our six years here I have only spotted it once, and that from very far away. The pictures I got are blurry as I had to shoot as soon as I saw him, but I was very happy to finally see him nonetheless.
For a much better visual of him and to read more about this particular heron and others check out this link .
Until next time, wishing you unexpected treats as you explore your own beautiful corner of the world!
Life is full of beautiful gifts, and yesterday morning brought that truth to light in a very special way…
It was the birthday of my neighbor across the street, a neighbor I have become very close to in the last several months. It was also her first birthday since the death of her husband in early April. When we walked the day before yesterday she told me “…it’s just another day…” but to me, a birthday is to be celebrated-new life is always a blessing to be celebrated. Knowing it was the first birthday since her husband’s passing, I wanted to make sure I acknowledged it in a special way before she met with her family later to celebrate with them.
In the morning I texted to see if she wanted to take our neighborhood walk, then quickly stuck some breakfast cookies in the oven to take over with a card. Three minutes before the cookies were due to come out of the oven, I got a text from her: ” A Monarch butterfly has just emerged from its chrysalis, come see!” Funny, just the day before I noticed all the milkweed in her garden and meant to ask if she had ever seen the Monarchs hatch.
The cookies couldn’t come out fast enough, as I was sure the newly emerged butterfly would take flight before I could cross the street! As it was, I arrived in plenty of time to see the newly transformed Monarch since it was at least another hour or so from taking flight. My oldest son was off that day so was also able to come enjoy the scene with us, reminding me of the time we watched a newly emerged butterfly take flight when he was young.
As we talked and marvelled at the beauty of nature, I couldn’t help but think what a beautiful gift of new life she had been given on her birthday. She said she had never witnessed a butterfly emerge till that morning… a touching reminder that life does indeed bring renewed joy after pain.
My neighbor sent me off yesterday with Milkweed seedlings to plant in my own yard, and today while gardening I had a little visitor of my own, keeping me company as I worked…
Until next time, may you experience renewed joy and wonder in your life as well.
…Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning Psalm 30:5
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 came upon this poem while reading some fall poems earlier. It reminded me of a recent picture I took of a frog by our pond surrounded by fallen leaves and acorns. I can only imagine his thoughts may be something close to what the poet penned.
Lo! a ripe sheaf of many golden days
Gleaned by the year in autumn’s harvest ways,
With here and there, blood-tinted as an ember,
Some crimson poppy of a late delight
Atoning in its splendor for the flight
Of summer blooms and joys
This is September.
Ah, beautiful September…how did you pass so quickly?
October is my favorite fall month, but September begins the beauty of it all. Now that it is behind us I feel like I somehow missed it…like I blinked and it was over. I have spent many hours inside with my nose buried in math and Spanish curriculum, but on the bright side, I’m sure it’s a wonderful Alzheimer’s preventative.
I have given myself permission to take the day off from curriculum and enjoyed a walk with my dog Princess earlier this morning. I have missed writing so much I decided I would also take the time to enjoy doing just that when I returned from the walk.
Already six days into October, it was past time to pull up my September morning-time pictures.
Like other bloggers I enjoy the creativity having a blog allows and the connections formed with other bloggers along the way. The latter was something I was told would happen by a friend of mine, whose blog I have admired for years, but I really had no idea what she meant until I started blogging myself.
I find myself thinking of the people whose writing I have connected with….the elderly widow who writes of her granddaughter and grown sons and her transition to a smaller home, leaving the place where memories were made as she raised them; the writer who has written her first book and has found a purpose to enjoy in her newfound retirement as she plans another book; the man who so artfully writes of the beauty of childhood memories and an almost forgotten time of past societal innocence; the teacher who brings nature into the lives of his young students, reminding me of my own former joy of teaching little ones; the many gifted artists in photography and drawing, who bring beauty to my world and others by sharing their talents…all these people and many more have enriched my life in many ways.
Though I will most likely never meet any of them, I am grateful for their presence…
They have enlightened me, inspired me, entertained me, and like the nature I am surrounded by, have added beauty to my life.
For that, I am grateful.
Until next time,
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love…Psalm 143:8
August has passed, and yet summer continues by force to grow days. They sprout secretly between the chapters of the year, covertly included between its pages.
Jonathan Safran Foer
August seems very much to me like March in that it “comes in like a lion and out like a lamb.” The hot, humid days slowly turn to cooler mornings and evenings, and time to linger outside is welcoming once again. I have collected some of my morning time pictures to share from this last month of summer, sad to see the blooms prepare to leave but excited for the glorious season of fall that will soon be upon us.
As soon as the humidity that slapped me like a wet blanket disappeared, I once again ventured out for mornings on the porch and saw some old friends…
I enjoyed the flowering hostas, liriope, and marigolds as they put on their final show…
I also noticed this little guy come out of the shadows when he lunged for some creeping insect passing by-picture was taken while he was enjoying his meal…
My feathered friends were more visible after I refilled the bird feeders. I leave them empty for June and July so they can help control the insects and teach the young how to feed from nature, but… I hate doing it. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore and was ever so glad to give in and fill them. Also, the migrating birds will need to have food stations along their travels, at least that’s what I tell myself.
The first to arrive were the chickadees and tufted titmice, with the cardinals and finches following soon after, the latter two still donning their bright courting colors…someone needs to break the news to them.
I also cleaned and refilled the hummingbird feeders one last time before they take off on their long migratory flight south, some travelling as far as 900 miles. One morning I was treated to observe this juvenile male sitting on a hydrangea branch preening himself outside my bedroom window. The red dot visible on his neck in the picture on the left is the indicator that it is a male juvenile ruby-throated hummer.
red dot on neck indicates juvenile male
This summer’s group has been a rather feisty and mischievous bunch….I actually noticed one chase a peacefully munching titmouse off of the bird feeder and into a nearby tree! Of course, they are constantly giving each other chase through the yard, and their aeronautical feats never cease to amaze me.
The squirrels have yet to notice the feeders have been filled or they are simply off hiding their store of winter nuts. I’m convinced the nut-hiding is just for show as they eat their fill of bird food each winter (and spring, summer, fall) instead. Either way, they are still entertaining me during my coffee time.
The bird pictured above in the grass is, I believe, a summer tanager. I just happened to notice his head pop up but was not able to get any good pictures of it when it flew off to a nearby tree.
I also noticed the head pop up of a chickadee having a good splash in the bird bath on the same morning…
With the cooler days, I have once again enjoyed my daily walks…crepe myrtles, wild daisies, and even tasseled grass make the walk that much more beautiful…
I even happened upon some “silver dollars” on one of my morning strolls…
My son shared the below picture he took one morning…a picture of days and morning memories long gone by…
Opening the blinds on another morning gave view to this unexpected and delightful sight….
These Beautyberry are my favorite fall bushes and I look so forward to them blooming each year. Besides being gorgeous, they are a wonderful feast for some species of birds.
I will end with the first glimpses of fall color I observed peeking through a sunlit tree by the creek…
and a tiny damselfly on a favorite hanging plant, the fiery orange begonia…
It’s been a summer filled with many kinds of beauty-now, onto my much longed for season…fall!
Until next time!
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love…Psalm 143:8