the very interesting outdoors

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During all these years there existed within me a tendency to follow Nature in her walks.
John James Audubon

Several days ago, after Aunt Colleen and Uncle Roger visited me, I meandered back to the interesting patch of violets we had discovered.  We liked them because of their pale and dainty purple faces.  I took a photo while flat on my tummy and, unsurprisingly, it proved to be a quite comfortable spot for a short rest.  I could hear my two youngest children playing together on the trampoline.  They called to me, “Mom!  Hi, MOM!” and I waved to them and smiled.  I soon heard a beautiful bird song in the trees.  Often I hear bewitching birdsongs but alas, cannot see the bird.  But this time, as I sat and folded my legs up Indian-style, I peered into the trees with my chin high and saw a startling spot of red.  As Colleen and I visited, we had talked of birds and flowers.  I asked her if she ever saw Scarlet Tanagers at her house.  I told her how a few years back I had seen one and would like very much to see another, never expecting that after her visit one would come close enough for me to hear its singing, and see it’s bright red feathered coat.

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I watched the Scarlet Tanager until it flew away.  Then I saw a small red thing in the grass next to me.  I picked it very carefully up, expecting it to be a mushroomy fungus type of thing.

But it had legs.

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It was so all over red!  Quite fascinating indeed.

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dandelions and apple blossoms

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planted peas and radishes in the garden

took care of the hens

checked on my toad babies

sat on the front porch to chat with a friend

watched as two turkey vultures landed in the trees by the stream down at the edge where our property meets state land

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There is a sense of glorious freedom in the air this week.  In the beginning of the month, for dreary days on end, there was nothing but gray skies and cold rain.  But now, once again, the sun is shining and every plant, bird, animal, and human can’t help but be a little more active, a little more cheerful.

I sat against a pine tree by the pond to watch the vultures.  At first I wondered if I was watching a courtship, since there were only two and they were staying close to each other.  At one point they were both on the same branch, side by side.

But then I saw a rustling in the bushes underneath them.  Jacob and I walked over and looked, but we didn’t see a dying animal.  However, we did not search thoroughly because I, for one, had a very creepy crawly feeling and he kept saying “I have to leave in 10 minutes for school, Mom.”

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They are a rather gothic-looking bird, wrapped in long black feathered cloaks.  Red bald heads and a white beak complete the deathly attire.  They are useful but chilling birds, as they are attracted to the scent of dying animals and dumpsters.

They flew away as they sensed that Jacob and I were observing them but they came back at the end of the day while Rich and I were away at a little league game.  Sarah told me later that she saw one up close while she was on the play set.

I feel like there might be more to this story.  I will investigate later on and see if they return today.

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I always look for this turtle, as I can usually find it out sunning himself as I walk along the edge of our lawn.  We have a stream that goes along the far side of our property, and the water is always a good location to see a variety of different flowers, birds, and other creatures.

I loved how the turtle had its funny legs hanging loosely out of his shell, soaking up all the warmth of the sun.  His neck was stretched out as far as it could go, to keep an eye on me (his enemy, he thinks, but I would never hurt him).  Soon he slipped back into the dark water.  It was fun to imagine his sweet and simple life.

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I want to try to draw these curly, swirly vines with green leaves just popping out.  Wouldn’t they make a nice border for a picture?

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Watching fish swim this way and that way is mesmerizing.  Meditation is quite natural while watching them.  There are fish of all sizes in the pond, which I like to think of as our own giant fish tank.  The smallest minnows stayed closer to me and I was able to watch them for a long time.  The way they swim is a marvel.  Smoothly they swim along and then *STOP*– with no hesitation or slowing down, before swimming along again.

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Every black speck is a toad tadpole.  Sometimes a bunch of them get stranded on dry land from living too dangerously on the edge of the water.  They die, but if I happen to be walking by I do some life-saving and scrape them back into the pond again.  Their little tails wriggle.  I ring Jacob on my cellphone to tell him to call the dog up to the house.  If Parker the dog is outside he does whatever I do, and a dog watching tadpoles is never a good thing.

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rather elegant, wouldn’t you agree?

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bits of purple in the woods

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what a wonderful way to clear the mind

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and dazzle the eyes

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with shades of pink

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and blossom time

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I sat by the stream in the open meadow at the dam and saw a tiny speck of orange.  A Baltimore Oriole!

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This sweet little bird wanted me to leave.

It had a nest nearby.

But my seat was soft.  It was moss.

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I saw a Solitary Sandpiper next!  Oh what a day for birds.

This bird bobbed up and down as it walked, so very charmingly!  It made me want to hum a song.  A bouncy song.

I love the refection it made of its solitary self as it edged along the calm water of the open stream.

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I wanted to get a little closer to it, so I took my seat off the soft moss and climbed up on the rocks.

But then……….

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I froze (and so did he).  I considered.  The rocks I was upon were the very best apartment complex for the snake population I ever did see.  Surrounded by water, open sunshine, and many small meals.  But while I admired the wise choices of this snake, I decided not to take another step on those rocks……good bye snake, good bye birds.  I’m going home now.

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In my hands I carried a stick covered in ridges and indentations from a bug?or worm?  The bark was off so it was smooth other than the hollow tracking marks.  It looked like a secret message written in another language, if only I could decipher it.  I had a sprig of apple blossoms, two sweet white violets, a marsh marigold (which promptly wilted in the vase at home) and another yellow wild flower.

I revelled in my alone-ness.  It felt so good (nature’s spa treatments) to walk in my flip-flops through marshy cool waters.  I had been prowling about for an hour or so and felt quiet, dirty, rested, and as deliciously solitary as the Sandpiper I had met.  I came out of the woods at the end of the long pond to see that I had company.  The lawn men had arrived, and one of them was busily cursing his weed eater as he worked along the side bank by the pond.

It was very tempting to turn around and go right back in the woods.

5 thoughts on “the very interesting outdoors

    1. Thank you! I googled images for the red tick and discovered that it was a red velvet mite. They typically appear after a rain and sometimes in great numbers (but I only saw one).

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