Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sunset

Days are short. Winter is approaching. The sun sets on another year.

And after a short break I'll be back with more Hoosier Safaris on January 2nd. Have a great holiday!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Miniature Rainbows of Light

Some misty winter mornings are magical, a twinkling of thousands of points of lights with each step that is made.

Imagine those crystals that formed over night on this one piece of grass being multiplied a million times over. But get up early; just one hour later you would have missed the show.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Snow-Fall


...Up spoke our own little Mabel,
Saying, “Father, who makes it snow?”
And I told of the good All-father
Who cares for us here below.

Again I looked at the snow-fall,
And thought of the leaden sky
That arched o’er our first great sorrow,
When that mound was heaped so high.

I remembered the gradual patience
That fell from that cloud like snow,
Flake by flake, healing and hiding
The scar that renewed our woe.

And again to the child I whispered,
“The snow that husheth all,
Darling, the merciful Father
Alone can make it fall!”

Then, with eyes that saw not, I kissed her;
And she, kissing back, could not know
That my kiss was given to her sister,
Folded close under deepening snow.

The First Snow-Fall by James Russell Lowell

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Baby it's Cold Outside

The birds are up early trying to find enough to eat in the wintry weather. This White Breasted Nuthatch was taking a break, fluffing feathers against the cold.

Nuthatches eat a wide variety of things; seeds and insects. They love to eat at feeders where they enjoy peanut butter if left out.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

First Snow

We've had a few flakes before last night's snow but this was the first real snow of the season. And only the second snow of the year---an unusual condition in the part of Indiana.

The first snow is always so magical and pretty. It won't be so pretty come March, when we're winter weary.  

Monday, December 10, 2012

Opossum

Counting on being camouflaged this young opossum hung on  and watched as I passed with the dogs underneath.

 I see more opossums in the day light hours of winter than other seasons. But, unlike most animals, they never stay in one spot for very long.  

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Sick Trees

I'm still researching what's happening to this tree that has black spots in the bark all over its trunk.

But the research has put a fright in me---apparently there are just as many things, if not more, that threaten our trees as threaten humans. And we humans help spread the pests and disease at an alarming rate; albeit unwittingly. Firewood for fireplaces and campfires should not be moved except under the utmost caution.

It would be nice to have a national alert system where people could go to see what kind of pests and disease are attacking in their area and what they can do to help.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Out like a Lamb

November went out like a lamb---leaving a lake of glass reflecting trees and sky; hardly even a breeze just air scented with a hint of snow.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Reflections

Gnarly, naked branches reflected in the Lake. Do you see the tiny fish?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

November Remnants


Vengeful across the cold November moors,
Loud with ancestral shame there came the bleak
Sad wind that shrieked, and answered with a shriek,
Reverberant through lonely corridors.
The old man heard it; and he heard, perforce,
Words out of lips that were no more to speak
Words of the past that shook the old man’s cheek
Like dead, remembered footsteps on old floors.

And then there were the leaves that plagued him so!
The brown, thin leaves that on the stones outside
Skipped with a freezing whisper. Now and then
They stopped, and stayed there—just to let him know 
How dead they were; but if the old man cried,
They fluttered off like withered souls of men.

The Pity of the Leaves  II
by Edwin Arlington Robinson

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Forest Way

The sun filtering down through the bare trees of November. The view is spectacular; don't you think?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Winter Beauty

A delicate seed looking more like a flower than its flower had. Such art!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Love? Not today....

See him over to the left of center? This little guy was interested in two things---eating and the little lady that soon was to join him at the right.

She, however was not interested in this gentleman for reasons unknown. The couple were soon in a tiny paw fight and each swam off in opposite directions chattering at each other.

After a short while, it was only the gentleman, back, quietly eating the weeds at the side of the pond.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Home Security

When you're a tiny bird building a nest to raise a family sometime the best thing to do is find a patch of brambles and thorns and perch your tiny home directly in the middle.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Heavy, November Sky


My sorrow, when she’s here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She’s glad the birds are gone away,
She’s glad her simple worsted gray
Is silver now with clinging mist.

The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.

Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise. 

My November Guest by Robert Frost

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Top of the Morning Bluebird

A female bluebird hunts a field for seeds and other delicacies this morning.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Full of Holes

Now that the leaves are off the trees I have spotted once again one of the most interesting trees in the Indiana Dunes. It's a tree full of holes in rows.

The answer may be in another blog I follow or then again, it may not. The mystery continues but whether bird or insect or both are to blame, you would have to agree that this tree surely is a conversation piece?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Misty Prism

A misty morning air created a prism for the rising sun, sprinkling the air with rainbows.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thundering Thanks to the Mayflower!


Thunder our thanks to her guns, hearts, and lips!
Cheer from the ranks to her,
Shout from the banks to her—
Mayflower! Foremost and best of our ships.

Mayflower! Twice in the national story
Thy dear name in letters of gold—
Woven in texture that never grows old—
Winning a home and winning glory!
Sailing the years to us, welcomed for aye;
Cherished for centuries, dearest to-day.
Every heart throbs for her, every flag dips—
Mayflower! First and last, best of our ships.

White as a seagull, she swept the long passage.
True as the homing-bird flies with its message.
Love her? O, richer than silk every sail of her.
Trust her? More precious than gold every nail of her.
Write we down faithfully every man’s part in her;
Greet we all gratefully every true heart in her.
More than a name to us, sailing the fleetest,
Symbol of that which is purest and sweetest:
More than a keel to us, steering the straightest,
Emblem of that which is freest and greatest:
More than a dove-bosomed sail to the windward,
Flame passing on while the night-clouds fly hindward.
Kiss every plank of her! None shall take rank of her;
Frontward or weatherward, none can eclipse.
Thunder our thanks to her! Cheer from the banks to her!
Mayflower! Foremost and best of our ships!

Mayflower by John Boyle O'Reilly

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Wounds of the Tree

Many trees lost limbs during a recent wind storm. This pine tree is oozing with sap. I made the mistake of touching the sticky stuff. Two hours later my fingers were still sticking together---maybe there's a stronger kind of Sticky Note there somewhere.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Lone November Butterfly

Flitting along the trail Saturday was this lone butterfly---like a flying slice of butter, so out of the ordinary for November.

It isn't likely that it will find a friend this late in the season. It was healthy and could fly, so perhaps it will migrate to a warmer clime.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Milkweed Giving Seeds to the Wind

It was a windy day and it was if the milkweed plants all had the same idea---open up the seed pods. And to the wind they gave the next generation of plants.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Time to Fly

The geese silently watched as I took pictures and then decided they'd had enough. It was time to go.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Buck at Dusk

The days are getting so short that my walks sometimes happen at dusk. This buck was tremendously beautiful and adamant that he was not going to give up the trail to anything---especially not to a human with two little dogs.

Normally deer will run off. Sometimes you get one that will only wander off. This guy stood in the middle of the trail and hissed.

He wasn't moving. Every time I moved, he would stand tall and hiss. Sometimes he would move towards me as if to challenge.

I turned around and went back the way I had come. He was bigger and more obstinate than I.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Before the Storm


Storm,
Wild one,
Take me in your whirl,
In your giddy reel,
In your shot-like leaps and flights.
Hear me call—stop and hear.
I know you, blusterer; I know you, wild one—
I know your mysterious call.

Storm by Max Michelson

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Not Sleeping Yet

Mid trail and not much bigger around than a blade of grass, this snake sat looking at me. In fact the first indication that I had that he was there was that I felt his eyes upon me.

It was a warm November Day and he was a baby fighting his winter nap---putting it off for another day.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Stormy Weather

Saturday's forecast---sunny and warm; a wonderful November day. After hiking into the Dunes a couple of hours I heard thunder. Once I got to Lake Michigan there was spectacular lightning show coming from the Chicago, Illinois area. The lake was a color that was bluer than blue.

The rain caught up with me on my hike out; a day full of this amazing earth and a reminder that the troubles of man are really so small after all.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Star Fossils

In an Indiana stream I found a remnant of another epoch.

This rock, full of fossils, some with middles in the shape of perfect tiny stars; I left right where it was for others to treasure.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Autumns Bounty

The song birds are busy filling up on these seeds---Cardinals, Blue Jays, and Chickadees are all hanging out and fattening up on the bounty.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Gray Shore


A lone gray bird,
Dim-dipping, far-flying,
Alone in the shadows and grandeurs and tumults
Of night and the sea
And the stars and storms.

Out over the darkness it wavers and hovers,
Out into the gloom it swings and batters,
Out into the wind and the rain and the vast,
Out into the pit of a great black world,
Where fogs are at battle, sky-driven, sea-blown,
Love of mist and rapture of flight,
Glories of chance and hazards of death
On its eager and palpitant wings.

Out into the deep of the great dark world,
Beyond the long borders where foam and drift
Of the sundering waves are lost and gone
On the tides that plunge and rear and crumble.

From the Shore by Carl Sandburg

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Mushroom Pretty as a Flower

Beautiful mushroom poking up through the forest floor---a flower of the fall.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Carving out a New Beach

On grey days Lake Michigan reflects the grey sky so well that it's difficult to tell where the lake ends and the sky begins.

Hurricane Sandy's foot print was so large that she reached as far inland as the southern shores of Lake Michigan where she moved so much of the dune sand that a different beach is here for us to explore.  

Monday, November 5, 2012

Re-engineering the Bog

Keeping Cowles Bog a bog is a task that requires constant maintenance and diligence against invasive plants. Here's one of the trails the park staff uses to get to the center of the bog to pull invasives and plant native species.

Visitors to the park can help with the effort by following the park signs that state which trails are for park staff only. A pair of hiking shoes can contain thousands of tiny seeds that can bring invasives back into the bog cycle.

A giant dune, a mountain of movable sand, can be seen in the distance of this picture.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Year Passes

The winds blowing in from the East Coast Hurricane stripped the leaves from all the trees as far inland as the Indiana forests. Few  leaves pictured here are still waiting to fall and we are preparing for winter as another year passes.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hidden Heart

A missed focus of this picture created an unexpected view of the leaf underneath. Don't you love it?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Forest Trail


As one dark morn I trod a forest glade,
A sunbeam enter’d at the further end,
And ran to meet me thro’ the yielding shade
As one, who in the distance sees a friend,
And, smiling, hurries to him; but mine eyes,
Bewilder’d by the change from dark to bright,
Receiv’d the greeting with a quick surprise
At first, and then with tears of pure delight;
For sad my thoughts had been—the tempest’s wrath
Had gloom’d the night, and made the morrow gray;
That heavenly guidance humble sorrow hath,
Had turn’d my feet into that forest-way,
Just when His morning light came down the path,
Among the lonely woods at early day.

Charles Tennyson Turner---The Forest Glade

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Seeking Shelter

This guy decided to share my coat the other day as it started to rain. He refused to move, forcing me to find him a suitable shelter to survive the rain.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Lake Michigan Blue

There is no sound except the swish of the grass and the sound of the lake---sometimes a gentle whisper, more likely a loud demanding roar and everything else disappears.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Grabbing the Shore

Don't you love the reflections of fall colors in water? Like a double dose of beauty. Admiring the reflections on a rainy afternoon, I spotted this tree, whose roots were grabbing the shore in seeming desperation.  

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The World is New Through a Child's Eyes


The child's wonder
At the old moon
Comes back nightly.
She points her finger
To the far silent yellow thing
Shining through the branches
Filtering on the leaves a golden sand,
Crying with her little tongue, “See the moon!”
And in her bed fading to sleep
With babblings of the moon on her little mouth.
Carl Sandburg---Child's Moon

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Bundle of Burgundy

This time of year you can almost watch the leaves turn colors---gold, purple, red, burgundy...beautiful. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Monday, October 15, 2012

Rainy Autumn Day

Walking through an Indiana forest on a rainy autumn day is true magic. Happy birds were singing everywhere. The light was beautiful. The trail was mine alone, making me feel sorry for everyone who was afraid of a few raindrops.  

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Magic Hour

Every day there comes a time right before the sun sinks below the horizon when the light turns gold. Whether you are in the forest or somewhere outside of it everything turns to magic.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Light meets Night

The days are getting noticeably shorter and yesterday's sunset was slipping into a cloud bank making the day go even faster.

There was a hole in heaven to offer us a spectacular view as the sun set.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Babbling

Recent rains have put the babble back in to Potato Creek. This is one of my favorite spots in Indiana; just to sit and listen to the water sing.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Painting with Many Colored Brooms


She sweeps with many-colored brooms,
And leaves the shreds behind;
Oh, housewife in the evening west,
Come back, and dust the pond!

You dropped a purple ravelling in,
You dropped an amber thread;
And now you ’ve littered all the East
With duds of emerald!

And still she plies her spotted brooms,
And still the aprons fly,
Till brooms fade softly into stars—
And then I come away.

Emily Dickinson from Part Two: Nature