Sunday, October 30, 2011

Silent Hike

Somehow, I haven't gotten out for a good walk for a long time. The Naturalists in Training at Bernheim enjoyed a fall retreat this weekend, and I joined them for a while. After Dick's presentation on Aldo Leopold, we all went out for a silent hike. It's easy to be silent when you walk alone, but much more difficult when a group goes out.
The first frost of the season coated every branch and twig along the trail. As the sun rose, the frost became shining pearls of dew strung on a necklace of spider webs. Click any photo for a larger version. One of the NIT's share her favorite poem before we set out. I'd never heard it before and want to share it with all of you.

Lost, by David Wagoner.

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.

The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.

If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.

If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

Of course, moss isn't always a bright moss green. Sometimes it resembles a lichen more than anything else.
Everyone in the group notices something different, which they are allowed to share with motions only. This salamander looks cold to me. How do they spend the winter? I wonder if this temperature drop caught him by surprise.
Be silent and let the light and colors speak to you as you walk through the forest.

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Word to the Wise

You know how life goes. You get busy, taking trips, volunteering, yoga, a new grand baby , and you get distracted. Housecleaning and dusting can be put off until guests are scheduled, but you must go to the grocery store, put gas in the car, fill the bird feeders and BACKUP YOUR COMPUTER FILES regularly.

We've lived in this house for almost 33 years, and have never had any problems until last Friday.  I was out for about 2 and a half hours running errands and when I returned home, a window in the back of the house was standing wide open with the screen raised. You guessed it, big enough for someone to enter the house, which is what happened. We were broken into and robbed. The first thing I noticed missing was my laptop. I called the police, just fuming. How DARE anyone break into my house! OH NO! I hadn't copied all my Galapagos photos from August to the backup drive yet!! In fact, it appears that I hadn't made any backups since about last April, so most of 2011 is gone. Anything I blogged about is on Picasa, but the original photos are gone along with all the slide shows I'd prepared for various organizations. Laptops and software can be replaced (a time consuming activity), but other things are gone forever.

Accompanied by the police officer, I discovered that my entire jewelry box was also taken, but that's all. Have you ever tried to list the contents of your jewelry box from memory?  The one good piece was individually covered on insurance, but everything else will be subject to the deductible. Most things were gifts, or purchased from the artist and one of a kind. I've been browsing the jewelry websites just to be reminded of what I had and try to get a feel for the prices for the insurance company.
So wake up and hear the rooster crow!  Get busy and back up those irreplaceable files NOW!  A removable hard drive is a good start, but what if the house burns? Then you would be in a worse condition than I am after the theft. Back up your back ups and put them someplace else for safekeeping. Write down the serial number of your computer, camera, etc. and put them in your off site location. That's the first thing the police wanted to know about my laptop. And for God's sake, go lock all the windows in your house!  Nothing like locking the barn door after the horse is gone, I know, but maybe someone else can benefit from my negligence.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Galapagos Islands Revisited

One of the fun things we did in the Galapagos Islands last summer was visiting the Post Office on Floreana. During the years when whalers stopped at the islands, they set up a barrel as a Post Office. Since voyages usually lasted several years before the men returned home, it was difficult to communicate with loved ones. So the sailors would leave letters in the barrel as they headed out into the Pacific. Sailors heading home would stop and sort through the letters for one to be delivered to their destination. Modern visitors have an easier time communicating, but it's fun to leave a post card in the barrel for another visitor to deliver later.
I left a post card for my friend Tavia at Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve, not knowing when or if it might be delivered to her. Last week a mystery caller wanted to know when she could come to see Tavia, but wouldn't say why. When she arrived, she wanted to have a camera ready to take a picture of Tavia's expression when she looked at the post card from our trip in August. Judi Petty actually lives in a subdivision very close to the Nature Preserve. I've always said Louisville is the biggest little town in the world. How true! Thanks Judi!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Raptors at ColorFest

Hagatha the Great Horned Owl
When the sun shines warmly, and autumn colors glow red and gold, everyone likes to get outside to enjoy it before winter sets in. Bernheim Forest takes advantage of this every year with ColorFest, and Raptor Rehabilitation of Kentucky brings a variety of raptors. This year the weather was absolutely perfect!
Miki the Missippi Kite
Miki, our Mississippi Kite, has grown his pale grey adult feathers, and looks so much different than he did last year this time. The only person today who knew what kind of bird he is came from Alabama where they are more common.

Miki spread his wings to absorb the warmth of the sun. Leaves blew to the ground all day, crunching underfoot. One leaf blew right in front of Miki who swiftly grabbed it with one foot, thinking it was an insect. You should have seen the look of surprise and disappointment on his face when he started eating it, only to find his snack to be dry and tasteless! 

Scarecrow Jubilee stars whimsical scarecrows built by many people and organizations. Click Here to see all of the entrants and the winners of the competition. This year I found several scarecrows related to birding, and this is my favorite.  Don't you think the birds get tired of being stared at by birders with binoculars? This giant raptor decided to take action, and carries this birder scarecrow away in his talons! I would have voted this one the winner.
Another group of scarecrow birders hide behind a fence of corn stalks, while the birds perch right under their eyes.

This owl scarecrow is pretty spooky, but I think our Great Horned Owl Hagatha is more intimidating, don't you?

Monday, October 03, 2011

Blue October Sunday

After all the excitement of our new grandson, Dick and I needed some quiet time together, and Sunday morning was the perfect opportunity. The temperature was chill, and heavy dew on the rooftops looked like frost. We bundled up and headed for nearby Anchorage Trail, a favorite among local birders.
The people who come up with names for paint colors need to call one October Sky Blue - if they can match this sky at all! I can't think of any other time all year with such a shade of blue.

Enough talk, though. Just enjoy the beauty of our fall walk.

Yes, now we have the peace and serenity for another week.