the second walk

Praise to the Lord,
Who oʼer all things so wondrously reigneth
Shieldeth thee under his wings,
Yea so gently sustaineth
Hast thou not seen, How thy desires have been
Granted in what he ordaineth

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Sarah wanted to go on another walk the next day so I agreed.

I also want to mention that on both days I had expressed longing to her that I wanted to find a feather.  I wished to find one.  I was looking.

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We admired an algae filled little stream in the woods, filled with the reflection of trees and sky.

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And saw frog eggs left clinging along an underwater (the clearest of water) branch that had fallen from the trees above.

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exploring

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We started to head home and to be different we left the trail to go through the woods and across the stream to home.

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Scattered among dry leaves we found a whole entire pile of yellow feathers!!

Not a brown feather, not a gray feather, not just one single feather, but many many bright YELLOW ones.

My first thought was “goodness, poor bird!” and my second thought was, “Well, I found feathers!” and my third thought was “Thank you, God, for the little things……for answering these tiny almost meaningless wishes we have, just to make us smile.”

If You care enough to answer in the little things, You must care enough to answer in the big things.

For Your good and glory.

Sarah said, “Check the bird application on your phone and see what kind of bird it was!”

And since you don’t necessarily need the bird to make a search (just the feathers), we stood there next to the pile and looked it up.

We decided it was a Northern Flicker, as they have yellow tails and wings, which obviously proved indigestible and were left behind.  We gathered them up.

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See the itty bitty red feather between my thumb and pointer finger?  Red as my nails!

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We took them home and let them soak in a bowl of warm soapy water.

Hours later, after Seth’s first little league scrimmage, and after I put the children to bed, I stood in the kitchen and carefully took each feather out of the water and arranged them to dry on paper towels.

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feather art!

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After they dried they fluffed right out again like proper feathers.  I’m saving some for my flying pig (stay tuned), sending a couple to Joanna, and putting a couple in my journal.  Some of them belong to Sarah.

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Something else made me smile this week.

I had given away a book here through the blog to Dawn R and mailed it out to her.  After she received it she asked for my address (I had ordered and sent the book through amazon) and so I gave it to her.  I was expecting a thank you card but she sent a package with a sweet little bird, a book, a note, and a lotion (my FAVORITE KIND!!).  It made my day.  Well, at the same time I was ransacking the house trying to find my Birth Certificate and to my absolute astonishment in the midst of my papers I FOUND AN OLD CARD FROM THE SAME BLOG FRIEND FROM 8 YEARS AGO!!!!  ( I save ev.er.y.thing.) So, thank you dear Dawn R, you’ve really been an encouragment to me!!!

“We have shared together the blessings of God.”  Philippians 1:7

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Last but certainly not ever least, 2019’s very first spring violet.

For Thia.

You are loved.

 

 

you come too

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“I’m going out to clean the pasture spring;
I’ll only stop to rake the leaves away
(And wait to watch the water clear, I may):
I sha’n’t be gone long.—You come too…………”  Robert Frost

 

Before I went on my long walk I stopped at the chicken coop to open the doors and check for eggs.  I found three in the barrel, along with a chicken.  I took all three eggs and put them in my pocket but one of them must have had a thin shell because it promptly broke as I did so.  I’m not disgusted by much, but a warm gooey egg popping in my pocket is one of them.  I threw the shell out in disdain, along with an egg covered tissue.  I bent down and rubbed my hand off in the snow and went on my walk with a soggy pocket leaving egg residue on my jeans with each step.

I was glad I had decided to put on boots as I walked through hard snow, slushy snow, mud, running water, puddles, and regular ol’ dry forest ground, too.  My feet stayed dry.  It was 50 degrees and I wore a sweatshirt and a jacket and was nice and warm.

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I thought this was fun, doesn’t it look like a mushroom?

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Soon my eyes were opeed and I was seeing alive things, mainly birds…….

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Birds have such elegant lines.

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This one was flying SO SO FAST!!!

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Like a rocket going across the sky.

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I sat down on the hill and looked at my phone, lost in my own little world and resting in the fresh air and quiet.  Then, I looked up to see a brown animal walking straight toward me out of the woods.

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We looked right into each other’s eyes and gazed.  Then, as I picked up my camera, he turned around to run away.  Thankfully he stopped to look back a couple of times.

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He lifted his upper lip and showed me his smile.

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Then he ran off like a little bear.

Never in all my days!!!

I figured out it was a fisher, the second largest member of the weasel family in our area, the first being a river otter.  I read online that fishers are useful in eating porcupines, however they are also known to eat housecats.  This one better not eat any of my housecats!  Or chickens!

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Well, nothing could top that but I kept trudging along nice and slow.  I stood here in the woods for a while listening to a woodpecker, the thing about them being they sound so close but you peer and peer and can’t see them.  Finally I stopped being stealthy and moved in confidence and sure enough it flew and I saw it but then of course I coudn’t take a photo. But I did see another small and sweet bird busy buzzing up and down tree bark looking for insects to eat.

See if you can spy it.

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Doesn’t it look soft?

And such a small sharp beak, too.

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A charming trail.

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It’s amazing to me that the moss stays so brilliantly emerald throughout the winter months.

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It was eating.  But how did the food get there?  Did he put it there?  Did it fall in from the trees above?  Was it a bug?

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And then I came out of the woods and saw what I had been searching for all along.

A bluebird!

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And another!

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And another.

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A spot of blue, and then………. a spot of red.

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I ended my walk the same way I began it, in the chicken coop.  There were two more eggs, for a total of five this morning.

PS, Mom this post was for you.

amazing

It had been a long while since I had gone to the woods by myself so I practically ran.

I spent so much time over the holidays inside malls, inside the house, inside the car, doing, doing, doing.  It was time to just “be”.

I took all of these photos on Friday.

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First stop was the chicken coop where I found some eggs.  Walter begged and begged to go on the walk with me but I said “no” right away because I knew (from what Grace had told me) that all he would do is feel lost and scared and meow a lot.  Therefore,  I put the eggs and the cat in the house.

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I’m so thankful to live close to running water.  In fact, I was outside again yesterday in the cold sun, laying back on the frozen ground with my eyes shut, listening to the sound of it.

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The tree I hugged.

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self-portrait

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funny icicles hanging down from a fallen pine tree

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Looks like snow or styrafoam, but it’s really some kind of fungus.

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more pretty pretty fungus on a fallen tree

The sunshine was really lovely to see on this walk, after several gloomy days.

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I am an admirer of ice.

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In fact, I ate a bite of it.  It tasted good, like pine, but later on when I gave some to Sarah she spit it out and said it “tasted like the stench of the forest.”

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As I made my way around to the stream again (the same stream from near our house, only deeper in the woods)  I found that it had flooded the day before, well beyond its banks.  Then, it froze overnight and the next morning when the water started to recede, it left its coat of ice spreading across the ground.

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I stood up on a bank to take this photo, looking down across the ice.  I closed my eyes and could hear it falling and cracking.  It almost sounded like someone else walking throught it in the distance, but I was alone.

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I got as close as I could to the water and sat on a frozen moss covered boulder for a while.

(A good thinking spot.)

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I didn’t see any birds but the closer I got to the field the more I could hear them.

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The trees had sheets of ice hanging off their lower branches.  Sometimes a wind would blow gently through and shake the ice enough to make a sound like soothing wind chimes.

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It was all such a delight and my face was pleasantly cold.  It felt good to BREATHE.

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say over and over again.  Everytime I go outside for a walk I get surprised (and smile a lot) over something in God’s big beautiful world.  Which is why I always take my camera along.

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My heart, mind, and soul go back home refreshed.

“If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love you very much.”

~Mary Oliver

 

 

 

lovely things

Jeremiah 32:17   Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm!  Nothing is too hard for you.

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Lovely things are silent…
Rosebuds waxing bloom,
Shadows stealing softly
In a darkened room;
Dragonfiles on rushes,
Stars in dark blue skies;
Hatching, fuzzy birdlets,
Love in sweethearts’ eyes.

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Lovely things are silent…
Rainbows in the sky,
Violets shedding fragrance,
A soft breeze waltzing by;
An apple tree in blossom,
Sunsets all aglow;
Moonlight on the water,
Falling soft white snow.

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Lovely things are silent…
Foam clouds in the sky,
Hummingbirds at flowers,
Butterflies gliding by.
A spider’s dainty spinning,
Wild flowers on a hill.
I bow my head in silence
And in my heart I’m still.
~Betty Fox Solberg

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The cobwebs look blue in this light.  I’m down on my stomach in the woods to take a picture of a mushroom and I ask God to show me one more thing and I turn my head and see another tiny mushroom pushing up the leaves that I wouldn’t have noticed if I was walking…….

I like this feeling of walking without being in a hurry.  The woods around me are so still.  And I’m becoming still as well……..

I stand in one spot and don’t move anything but my eyes.  

Shanda, July 13, 2018 6:26pm

 

sarah & mom blog post

“Set me a task in which I can put something of my very self,
and it is a task no longer;
it is joy; it is art.”
 Bliss Carman

We went for a walk together in the woods–all her idea–and then I found a paper in her backpack from the field trip she took to a local wildlife sanctuary.

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What did I hear?

“I could hear water, the crunching leaves, and birds chirping.”

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What did I see?

“I saw, trees, and a squirl, and deer poop, and pine cones, and birds, and vernal pools.

fullsizeoutput_5484We found a bone so we slipped it on her “adventure stick.”

What did I smell?

“I could smell skunk cabbage, and a fresh nature smell.”

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How did I feel?

“I felt rain, and the cool air, and the cruching leaves under my feet.”

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beavers near my house

 

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The woods have been extra interesting lately with revived beaver activity near our place.  Did you know that beavers are huge rodents?  Yes indeedy, and they are on my list of “favorite animals”.  How could anyone be afraid of a beaver or upset by a beaver? They are practically harmless.  They’re too busy working to be a bother to anyone.   After you see a photo of a baby beaver you’ll never be the same again.  Those tails!

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Anyone walking on our street could see the new beaver dam that I first noticed last week.  It’s where the stream goes under the road, so obvious.  It must be a favored spot because I remember years ago they made one in the same location, and the town dug it out.  Consequently, if I hear a loud truck these days, I run to the window and look to see if the town is digging the dam out of the stream like they did last time, with my heart filled with fears and woe.  I imagine all the work that the beavers put into their dam, all the gatherings of twigs, branches, grasses, stones, and mud.  Everything gathered and collected by a large rodent!  Imagine!

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Here is the most precious sight; of a lone stone on top of the dam, placed oh so carefully by a beaver.

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Well, and then I discovered ANOTHER ONE, this one is deeper into the woods in a place where no heavy truck or digging equipment can go.  My heart is lighter as I ponder the beavers that live near my house.

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This morning I was cleaning the kitchen and there was a pot of burnt peas in the sink.  They were burnt because Sarah and I were sewing pants for her doll and forgot about the peas.  (True story) So I left them in the sink until this morning, and then I walked them to the chicken coop.  Chickens are partial to burnt peas.  Then I continued on my way, looking at how the ponds were filled up nicely after two days of rain.  When I got to the stream I could hear the beaver again.  Oh joy!  It was about 8 am in the morning.  I rushed to the house to get my camera, a towel to sit upon, a breakfast in a sandwich bag consisting of cheese, raw mushrooms, and trail mix, and I also put on a pair of jeans because I was still in my pajamas.  Then I went down and sat.  Very soon I heard a loud splash and then another one.  Dang, I thought.  There are at least two and they know I’m here.  I sat and sat.  Then, finally my dreams (beaver dreams) came true.  I saw the first one.  I saw the second one.  And then, one more.

The third one allowed me to take its photo.

It was very hard, as it was behind branches and leaves, but I did the best I could.

It was silent the entire time.  Silkily silent.

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“A beaver’s forepaws are quite dexterous.  They can fold individual leaves into their mouths.”  Backyard and Beyond by Edward Duensing

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gliding through the water….see the glimpse of the famous tail?

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I encourage each and every one of you to visit your local library, go to the children’s section, and find every book you can about the beaver and check them out.  Read them this weekend, look at photos that are actually clear and nice, and be amazed by this animal.

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Oh I forgot to mention that this morning I also found their lodge.  It’s by the stream under the old dead pine tree on our property.  The first two beavers I scared ended up swimming toward the lodge and then they dived under the water to “go home and hide”, from me, presumably.

I found the perfect place to sit and stalk them, so conveniently at the bottom of our lawn, on a bank in the briars near the pond.  No one can see me.  I just have to remember to shut the dog in the house or he will stand and bark and scare everything away.

In fact, as I write this, I am filled with longing to throw the computer aside and run back down there.  Typing as fast as I can…….

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After many photo attempts, this one also eventually vanished under the water to the lodge.  “Goodbye for now” I said.  I sat for a little while longer and then got up as I was freezing in certain areas, namely my behind, hands, and nose.  I ended up walking down the edge of the stream, through the woods to the bird forest, through the dam field, into the woods again, across the rushing stream (very exciting) back across the field, down the little dirt road to the main road, and up it to home again.

I finished cleaning my kitchen and then had time to blog.

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I saw this sweet bird and several more just like it.  Autumn is nice because everything is going to seed, there are berries, too, and the bird activity increases as they fly about looking for food.

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See the spot of yellow?

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I discovered a crab apple tree.  They were at the end of their peak but maybe next year I can harvest some and make jelly.  I did eat one. . . . .it was nice and tart.

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reflections in the water

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One last beaver quote:

“When alarmed, a beaver dives under water, its tail slapping the surface as a warning to other beavers.  But in sum, beavers live unhurried lives.”

Ah, we can learn from the beaver, can’t we?