Archive for the ‘woods’ Tag

11-21-2014 Fall in Maine!   Leave a comment

I needed a few hours of peace and quiet and since that’s virtually impossible at home I decided to take my camera and disappear into the woods for a couple of hours.  The temperature was in the low forties which made the woods a little more bearable than normal.  No hordes of black flies and gnats and no sweating through my clothing because of the summer heat.  That’s a win/win anytime for me and motivates me to make more visits during these cooler months.

As I walked onto the trail the first thing I noticed was the absolute quiet. That’s a Winter quiet that takes a little getting used to.  During warm weather the place is nothing but noise from birds, squirrels, and any other wildlife that’s passing through the area.  The leaves have fallen and the fields of milkweed pods have opened up and spilled their seeds everywhere.

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This place is usually teeming with birds but almost all of them have headed south for the Winter.  I saw two cardinals frolicking through the nearby trees filled with red berries.  They should be really happy, there’s enough berries in this area to feed them and all of their friends until next summer.  If you squint just a little you can just see the male cardinal keeping an close eye on me while his mate eats nearby.

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I always try to visit the small ponds and swamps when I’m here and today I found the places dead quiet as well.  It’s been just cold enough over the last few days to begin freezing the ponds.  Even in these conditions I still love spending time here and I’m not sure why, I just do.

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Another thing I like about the late Fall is that the leaves have dropped and now make it possible to see things you normally can’t.  It’s the only time of the year when I can truly appreciate the beauty of the white birch trees scattered throughout these woods.  They almost seem to glow in the bright sunlight and it’s really breathtaking.

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The quarter mile before returning to my car is a walk that takes me through an area diverse with every kind of tree and bush.  It always seems in such perfect balance, something Mother Nature seems to be very good at.

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As I return home I feel refreshed and relaxed, something that always occurs after I’ve spent some time here.  I’ll be returning soon after the first significant snow fall to begin my 2014 Winter collection of photos.

I’m still stalking my friend, the big fat barn owl.  I took this picture a few years ago and have been trying to find him just one more time ever since.  I’ve seen him flying overhead on many occasions but he apparently roosts  in some of the tallest pine trees located along the Scarborough River.  It makes getting any decent photographs very difficult. I hope some day my persistence pays off and he agrees to pose for me again.

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10-11-14 Journal Entry-Miscellaneous Useless Information!   Leave a comment

It’s another cold and gray October day here in Maine.  It was a frigid night and this morning everything was covered with a heavy frost.  Since my better-half refuses to turn on the heat until later in the month I found it necessary last night to jack up my electric blanket to level six.  It keeps the bed nice and toasty but I also seem to wake up every few hours when I feel my face beginning to freeze.  I knew it was really cold in the house when the cat crawled into bed with me at 4 am and refused to leave.  Now that I’m fully awake and have had my first cup of coffee it’s time to mention a variety of items which could possibly bore you to tears.

Yesterday we attended the second birthday party for the better-half’s grandson.  It was a festive occasion for the family and friends who attended and we were surrounded by a gaggle of children who really were enjoying themselves. There were games for the kids, gift bags, and a pumpkin decorating session that was hilarious.  It was a great day for all of the kids and even for some of the adults.  I took over a hundred pictures that will need to be reviewed later today and that should keep me busy for a while.  I’ll only post this one which shows the aftermath.  The bigger the mess the better the party, right?

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After saying our goodbyes to the birthday boy we left the party and decided to take a short drive through the woods to find some decent fall foliage photos. The entire morning had been cloudy and gray but as we pulled out of the driveway the sun came shining through the clouds.  I’ll always wonder whether it would have gotten cloudy and gray once again if we’d have returned to the party.  I hate coincidents like that.  Here are a few of the photo’s from our ride.

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This is a rare picture of the seldom seen “Red Breasted Maine Moron”. That’s anyone who water skis in Maine in October.

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Now that Fall has officially arrived most of our outdoor activities will be curtailed through the Winter months. I’ve been posting journal entries for some months now documenting our Summer activities and it’s been a lot of fun.  Since I’m not a person who enjoys frolicking in the snow my future journal entries may be limited. No snowmobiling, no ice skating, no skiing, no bobsledding, no hunting, and no ice fishing pictures.  I think it’s time to return this blog to discussions of politics and politicians, trivia of all kinds, and the continuing criticisms of all things Hollywood.  The celebrities have gotten a Summer pass from me and I feel the need to lash out at them once again.

I’m also in the process of setting up a Twitter page for this blog and will begin publicizing my postings there as well. I may even consider returning to Facebook sometime soon. I feel completely reenergized after a great Summer and I’m ready for the mid-year elections and all that that entails.

08-24-2014 Journal Entry–Swamp Stomp!   Leave a comment

What does beautiful weather and a lack of humidity mean to you? To me it means a day in the woods and swamps with my camera and a gallon of bug spray.  This summer hasn’t allowed me as much time as I’d like to roam around. We’ve been much too busy to take the time and I’m not at all happy about that. So today I decided to make time for a little of Mother Nature’s healing influences.

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I’ve been attempting this summer to collect as many photo’s as possible of the illusive dragonfly.  I packed up the car and made my way back to my favorite swamp for another attempt.  In years past there were a constant supply of dragonflies beginning in July and lasting until Labor Day.  This year has been quite a bit different possibly due to the higher than normal rainfall.  The number of dragonflies in the skies around our home has steadily increased over the last few weeks and I’m hoping for the best here in the swamp.

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As I arrived at the sanctuary I discovered a few vehicles parked around meaning other visitors in the area. Hopefully they’re here to pick black berries and aren’t stumbling around near the swamp scaring the wildlife away.  I cover myself in bug spray and head into the woods. The milkweed pods are in bloom in really large numbers this year. I’ve also noticed a much large number of thistle plants as well which always makes for interesting photographs.

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The closer I get to the swamp the more dragonflies I’m seeing and as I enter the swamp they’re everywhere.  I also notice that most of the ones I’m seeing are all the same color.  In a normal year I would see at least a dozen brightly colored variations but not today. 

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There are a few mallard ducks flying around but they refuse to sit still long enough for me to get a few photo’s.  They seem a little jumpy which could mean a few visitors had been in the area before my arrival.  I stumbled into an area with a large cluster of dragonflies so I stood perfectly still and waited for them to come around to check me out. This was my best picture of the day. This guy was a rather small specimen who’s actual size was only about an inch and a half long.

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Since the selection was somewhat limited I decided to move on to a secondary swamp located nearby that usually has large numbers of frogs and turtles.  I hope to find a little more activity there.  It’s unusually quiet today which can only mean previous visitors which for me isn’t a good thing. I arrive in the area and there’s no wildlife activity at all except for this stupid frog.  No dragonflies, one frog, and no turtles.  I decided to call it a day and began my trek back to my car.  It seems today was a wasted trip.

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As I made my way along the trail I came upon that group of visitors. They were all clustered around my favorite blackberry patch filling up their containers.  It appears a number of new people have stumbled onto the patch which translates to less berries for me and my better-half.  We’ll need to stop by in a few days and hopefully collect enough berries to make our usual batch of summer jam. 

We shall see.

07-15-2014 Journal Entry – Back to the Woods!   Leave a comment

This has been a week of rain then sunshine then rain and on and on and on. The humidity is constantly high and sleeping is a real challenge. It certainly limits my activities to hanging around the house and driving my better-half over the edge. It must be true because she tells me that at least twice a day. What to do, what to do.  My only solution is to take my camera and go forth to play in the woods.  Maybe it was time for a quick check of my favorite swamps to look in on the dragonfly situation. With this much humidity and heat there should be a large increase in their numbers (I hope).  It’s a reasonably short drive so I loaded up my gear and took off.

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I arrived at the sanctuary, parked the car, and stepped into the world of sweat bees, gnats, and those little mites that congregate around your head by the thousands.  I used half a can of the strongest bug spray I could find and it was of little help.

It’s common practice here in Maine for the horse farmers to cover the eyes of their horses with netting to keep the bugs from driving the horses crazy.  If it works for horses then why can’t it work for me.  I reached into my bag of goodies and found some netting made specifically to be worn over a baseball cap and then tied tightly at the neck.  It’s not a perfect solution but it will keep the gnats in the swamp out of my eyes and ears.  The rest of my body is up for grabs but even those damn mosquitos and ticks have to eat too.  Without a doubt I’ll be their lunch entrée.

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On my way to the swamp I have to pass through a few acres of milkweed plants. They’re just coming into bloom and in a few short weeks will be covered with visiting Monarch butterflies.  They love laying their eggs on the milkweed plants which contain a chemical that keeps predators from eating their eggs.  I’ll be back in a few weeks for their arrival which promises  a gang of excellent macro photographs.

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I arrived in the swamp covered with swarms of bugs and discovered to my delight a reasonable number of dragonflies flitting around.  I’ve found if you stand still in one place for a few minutes they tend to approach to check you out. These pictures were of a few that seemed to be purposely posing for me.

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I lasted almost an hour but the bugs made staying any longer impossible. I’ll be better prepared on my next visit and hope to obtain more photos of dragonflies and damselflies.  The variety of colors is absolutely amazing.

***WILDLIFE ALERT ***

(Sarcasm On) This Wildlife Alert arrived on my desk today from my better-half and I promised her I’d put out A BOTA (Be On the Lookout) alert for a herd of those terribly dangerous and ruthless gourd eating deer.  She plans on hanging some sort of crazy noise-maker in the garden to scare them off. Truthfully we’ve had deer eat almost everything in the garden at one time or another but not a single one has ever munched on a gourd.  She has a strange attraction for gourds which I still don’t understand.  Maybe I’ll build a blind for her to sit in near the garden and she can jump out in the middle of the night to scare the crap out of them. I promise to get lots of pictures if she actually does it. (Sarcasm Off)

06-29-2014 Journal Entry – Hiding in the Woods!   Leave a comment

Do you ever feel the need to get away, to hide from the world, or to avoid the people you care most about?   It happens to me periodically for no apparent reason and at odd times.  I normally just disappear from the house proper and take refuge in my man-cave but that doesn’t work as well as it once did. It seems that other people, including a rather inquisitive grandson have figured out my secret hide-away. When  that happens my last resort is to take my camera and head for the woods.

Yesterday was one of those days when the better-half was working and I was tired of gardens, gardening, household fix-it jobs, and the occasional unexpected telephone call.  I told no one where I was going, packed up my gear, turned off my cell and hit the road.   It was hot and humid and I didn’t care at all if anyone knew where I was going.  After arriving at my destination I parked my car, sprayed myself from head to foot with bug repellent, grabbed my camera and disappeared into the woods.  It’s one of the reasons I love living in Maine.  There are more woods here than I could ever visit in my lifetime.

I’ll give you a short walk-along as I made my way through a number of trails, two swamps, and my favorite blackberry patch. The bugs were out in large numbers but the repellent kept most of them at bay.  Since this Spring has been a wet one the woods are lush and green.  I didn’t walk twenty feet before I discovered these wild daisies.

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I found a patch of these smaller yellow flowers as well and I have no idea what they are or where they came from. I do know they’re very delicate and love being photographed.

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The trails are over grown in places and it was dead quiet. I visit this spot every so often because there are so few people who even know it exists.  It’s just me, the bugs, and the occasional wildlife visitor. 

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I was especially interested in visiting the swamps.  It’s a little early for the dragonfly population to be booming but I thought I’d check it out anyway. I’m fascinated by them and have hundreds of photos in my files.   Unfortunately the swamps today had almost no dragonflies at all. I found that a little unusual but I’ll try again later in July when it gets a little warmer.  As I neared the first swamp I saw this wild Iris just sticking up out the water all by lonesome.

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A  few steps further on and I almost stepped on this bull frog who was hiding in the weeds near my feet.  He refused to move so I took immediate advantage.

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I made my way a short distance to the edge of the Scarborough River and Marsh.  It’s a thousand acres of a fresh water marsh with a water connection to the open ocean.  Beautiful scenery as far as the eye can see.

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I followed anther trail that took me along the river and then inland to a second swampy area.  Again no dragonflies just another big fat bull frog who refused to look my way.  He sat quietly and gave me the cold shoulder until I left the area.

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I decided to make my way back to my vehicle and along the way check out my favorite blackberry patch.  Over the years this patch has supplied my better-half and I with dozens of jars of delicious jam that is to die for.  It’s a huge patch as you can see and it is loaded with berries that should  begin ripening in big numbers in a month or so.

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That was a photo of the patch but here’s one of the berries I intend to pick and eat in a few weeks.  I can’t wait to make more jam and freeze a few quarts of those big fat berries for use on my morning cereal.  There’s nothing better.

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I headed home with a few dozen photo’s and a better outlook on life. Being in the woods has always supplied me with that clarity of thinking that’s so important.