Spring – plant seeds, save bees!

Spring wild flowersThere is a whole world of living, thriving life that is so easily missed unless we pause and pay attention.  These snow drops were peaking up among last Fall’s discarded and dying leaves.  It was only when I got closer to take a photo that I noticed the bees on the petals of the tiny flower.

Did you know that our bee population  is declining? According to an article in the Globe and Mail  and information shared from the David Suzuki Foundation, almost one-third of the food we eat is pollinated exclusively by bees including apples, peaches, cucumbers and coffee.  If the bee population continues to decline, this will have a significant impact on agriculture and ultimately, world food production.  Scientists remain unclear as to the reason for the decline although there are some theories that pesticide use is a contributing factor.

Canadian Gardening  described some strategies that scientist and environmentalists are adopting to address this issue including filling our gardens with pollinator friendly plants.  Personally, I like the guerrilla gardening strategy that a friend recently shared with me – she and her partner plan to, under the cover of night, secretly scatter pollinator friendly wildflower seeds throughout the city.  (You go girls!!!).  So folks, save the bees, take up seeds and scatter.

Inspired by WP Daily Post Photo Challenge, Spring and Where’s my Backpack travel theme, Close up.

 

 

Inside a small nest

Over the summer, we visited MOO’s cousins J & J for a family BBQ.   J & J have a lovely ten-acre property in the Niagara Peninsula. Actually, we really went to see J’s new family members, Rusty and Scooter, two donkeys that J bought after they were retired from a local horse racer.

DonkeysWhile we were visiting with the donkeys in the stable, J pointed out the bird’s nest in the rafter’s of the small stable, just above the window opening.  I stood on a stool to see if I could catch a glimpse inside the nest.  I couldn’t get high enough to make out what was inside but all of a sudden the tiniest head popped up, mouth open expecting its mama to come with food.  There were three birds in the nest and each time I made a clucking sound, their little heads popped up expectantly, their beaks wide open.

baby birds baby birdIt was an incredible sight and I couldn’t believe that I was able to witness such fragile life so closely.

I wanted to stay and watch these little babies but I kept expecting mama bird and papa bird to swoop in à la Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds and do a number on my head so I stepped off my stool and quietly left the stable to rejoin the cousins and Rusty and Scooter in the fields.

Anyone have any idea what kind of birds these are?

For more interpretations of this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge theme, Inside – visit WP Daily Post.

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea

NewfoundlandCape Spear LighthouseDuring a recent trip to Newfoundland, we visited Cape Spear – a hauntingly beautiful spot on the most easterly point of North America. Eastern tip of Canada

As I stood high up on the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, I was in awe of the power and beauty. It was a cold summer afternoon, the sun hidden by large grey clouds. The brisk ocean breeze carried just a hint of wetness. And as I stood at the base of the lonely lighthouse, lulled by the rhythmic sound of the waves moving across the rocks and the seagulls in the distance calling out to each other, I experienced a sense of peace and stillness. It was only when I walked along the cliff edge footpaths, closer to the ocean and watched the thunderous waves crash against the rocks that I felt the power and danger of the sea. It was both mesmerizing and terrifying.

When we finally made our way back to the car, I saw the signs warning of the danger that I had felt standing near the raging sea. Warning Dangerous coastline

 

For more examples of this week’s theme, visit WP’s Weekly Photo Challenge.

Fleeting moments

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The large Black Walnut that stands tall in the back garden is home to a mama raccoon and her three cubs.  I caught this peaceful moment between the mama and one of her cubs just before dusk. 

Visit WP Weekly Photo Challenge for more photos capturing fleeting moments and Ailsa at Where’s my backpack for more peaceful moments.

Contrasts

Siberian squill flowerThe new spring growth of blue flowers contrasts with the old dried growth from last summer.  Although the early spring flowers are blooming, Mother Nature is having a hard time letting go of winter temperatures here in Southern Ontario. 

For more contrasts and flower photos, visit Where’s my backpack?

Rainbow

 

MOO called my attention to the pink glow of the fading day outside.  As I stepped into the back yard and looked up into the sky, an incredibly beautiful rainbow greeted me.  As I watched, the colours slowly faded into the  soft rose and aquamarine sky and moments later the rainbow was gone.  I walked away feeling as though I had just received a gift, a reminder of the beauty that surrounds me always if I just pause a moment to look around.  It was a perfect reminder, on this Thanksgiving weekend of all the riches and joys I have in my life.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Costa Rican Foliage

palm frondsleaf

I seem to notice my surroundings differently when I look through the lens of a camera. Our hotel/condo in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica was surrounded by lush gardens and vegetation.  I walked by these gardens every day but only really noticed the texture and deep greens and yellows of the leaves when I took these photos. Often times, monkeys and lizards were hidden in the foliage.

Thanks to Ailsa at Where’s My Backpack? for this week’s travel theme.

foliage

A cabin in the woods – the embarrassing truth.

Morning mist on the riverFive days in a fairly isolated cabin in the woods, on the Magnetawan River is exactly what you might expect. A peaceful retreat that gave me the opportunity to sleep, re-energize and reconnect with myself and My One and Only (MOO).  I also learned some embarrassing truths about myself and MOO that I sort of knew but became glaringly apparent during this get away.Magnetawan River

  1.  We love being near water – but not so much in the water.  It was lovely sitting on the edge of the river, enjoying the sunshine reflected on the water, the gentle movement of the dock when the wind picked up, the early morning mist and the afternoon sun.  Deep cold water with things (pike, bass, turtles etc.) moving in the water however freaks us out so we did not swim in the river because neither one of us wanted one of the water creatures to nibble our toes or get caught in our hair.  Oh, and neither one of us really likes cold water.  We did take a ride in the paddle boat, once we figured out how to steer it, but paddling against the gentle strong current was more energy than we wanted to exert and so we returned to our chairs on the dock after a quick paddle to the island and back. We did see one of the water creatures (aka a large turtle) swimming beneath the boat.  I think it was a snapping turtle and I was sure that it would somehow jump out of the water and go for my jugular.  MOO tried to briefly follow her but after losing sight of it, we turned around and headed for shore.Sitting on the dock
  2. We are the manicured outdoor nature lovers and not the wilderness type nature lovers because the woods are a little bit  very scary. We spent a lot of time looking over our shoulders especially when we were sitting on the dock with our back to the trees. MOO was sure that a black bear was in the vicinity itching to come for a visit. I was secretly hoping we might see one but no such luck.  We did see a Blue Heron standing on the shore watching us for a while but he eventually lost interest at our lack of activity and he flew to the opposite shore.  Little dogs especially are not safe in the woods.  We saw an Osprey circling overhead near the cabin when Abbey was trying to do her business.  Even though Osprey primarily hunt fish, MOO was sure that this particular one was a carnivore and thought a little Shih Tzu might make a nice dinner.  We subsequently scouted the skies for bird of prey each time Abbey had to visit the loo.
  3.  I read way too many mystery novels because my first thought driving down the one lane, gravel road to the cabin was that this would be a perfect spot to kill someone and dispose of the body.  During the five days we were at the cabin, we didn’t see another soul except for the occasional canoeist on the river, one motor boat and a couple of Sea Doos from across the river.  Who would know? I definitely need to stop with the mysteries.
  4. Flashing red lights on dimmer switches do not signify that an electrical fire is imminent.  At about 4 a.m., on her way to the washroom, MOO noticed that the light switch was intermittently flashing red.  After feeling the switch box for heat, smelling the area and inspecting the switch plate, she was relatively sure that a fire was not slowing brewing but she searched the cabin for a fire extinguisher anyways. When she couldn’t find one, she placed a set of clothes for each of us, keys, wallets and phones near the door for a quick get away and then spent the next couple of hours watching the flashing light.  I was more worried about the storm raging outside that was going to wash away the road to the cabin.

I think we might return to the cabin in the woods but next year MOO will have her pepper spray in case of bear sightings and Abbey will have an orange vest for her trips to the loo and I won’t pack my bathing suit because I will not be swimming.  I may still bring a couple of mystery novels with me though because they would make good projectiles in case of an attack from a snapping turtle.

Magnetawan River, Ontario