Tuesday, March 28, 2023

TV Time

It's that time of year again - the TV's have returned. Turkey Vultures, that is. They are my favorite harbingers of spring. I know the arrival of robins, mergansers and bluebirds are also special, but to me the TVs' obvious sovereignty over the spring skies encapsulates it best.

I love the distinctive way they fly - unique, a tell-tale giveaway. It's described as dihedral flight (they hold their wings in the shape of a V as they teeter in high level winds).

I spotted my first one of this year to mark the Ides of March (3/15) and was so very excited that I had to put it on my blog!

Flirting with thermals

These masterful scavengers

Rock dihedral flight.


Monday, March 27, 2023

Troll Toes

These troll toes need a pedicure, don't you think? Is that an ingrown toenail I see, or just a fungus? Maybe some moisturizing cream is needed?

Or do you see a multi-headed, blind salamander? Wrinkled tortoise skin?

What a lovely creature this piece of ginger is!

Sunday, March 26, 2023

What Does Your Growlery Look Like?

I love the word growlery - it is thought that the concept was coined by Charles Dickens in Bleak House. It is the place to which one retreats to vent one's fury with the world, or to distill a bad temper. A place to go and growl!

What would YOUR growlery look like?

Copied & redrawn from Pinterest

The Collins dictionary noted this noun to be "archaic" to mean, a place to retreat to, alone, when ill-humoured.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Friday, March 24, 2023

Earth Hour

Did you know that our artificial lights impact and disturb many nocturnal activities of the natural world?

Here are a few ways our light pollution affects other species:

- blinds nighttime pollinators
- affects sex hormone release in insects
- misdirects egg-laying - and hatchling- sea turtles
- confuses migratory birds
- upsets the seasonal rhythms of trees

We can learn to reduce artificial lighting at night, and be mindful of its impact on other species. We can turn off non-essential lights, and also re-evaluate our lighting needs (plus, it's wasteful of electricity). The goal is to reduce skyglow to help our fellow planetarians.

Why not take part in Earth Hour tomorrow and commit to an hour without, or with fewer, lights?

Sat, Mar 25, 2023 8:30 PM - 9:30 PM (a World Wild Fund for Nature initiative to encourage us "to turn off non-essential electric lights, for one hour ... as a symbol of commitment to the planet.")

Of note: While studies have shown that LED lights have a smaller carbon footprint, new research is indicating that they suppress the production of melatonin, therefore affecting animal behavior (LEDs are more blue/white than older orange/yellow hued incandescents).

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Passing By

I pass so many beautiful, old buildings and structures when I drive to appointments or stores, that I decided to leave earlier than necessary and take some extra time to stop and showcase some of them. This might be an old water tower.

Not knowing when this house might collapse in on itself, I stopped to photograph it too, while it was still whole. There are many that I have missed in the past that are now just a pile of rubble.


Wednesday, March 22, 2023

World Water Day

We need to keep our water supplies as clean as we are able.

One way to do this is to keep plastics out of our water supply, not only for our own good health, but also for that of other living organisms.

A reminder from the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Reserve on World Water Day:

Plastic "is harmful to wildlife and takes a [...] long time to degrade. When it does break down, it becomes harmful microplastics that wildlife and seafood-consuming people ingest."

Let's not pollute our own "nest" and leave a devastating figurative footprint such as this, as our signature.

(Poster borrowed from the Internet; not mine))

When will we ever learn?

Tuesday, March 21, 2023


What a thrill it is to see our deer visitors from our windows - they feel safe and non-threatened, and we get to see them from the comfort of our home! It's interesting to watch the young ones play and frolic about in between foraging. Sometimes one will run round and round in large frenzied loops like it has a crazy itch it's trying to shake.

We've watched them suddenly sink into the deep snow when they walk slowly, and it makes their traverse look quite ungainly. They will choose already worn paths whenever possible, making sure to step carefully into the depressions made by other footprints, mirroring the exact gait of previous animals. After a new dumping of snow, they have to break trail again. They do sink and stumble less when they run across the snow. 

Every now and then one will accost another with its forelegs flailing out in front of it. We've seen herds of 3,  7 and 11 so far. 

Monday, March 20, 2023

Sunset Melt


Spring melt at sunset

        Spreads pools of hot pink liquid

                On slushy blue ice

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Power Loss

During our most recent wet, windy, snowy Nor'easter, we lost power and Internet at the same instant that this explosion appeared on our TV screens! (we were watching 'Narcos')

It was like being in the midst of the explosion - instantly, everything went black. What perfect timing!

It was a long, disturbed night. We weren't cold, but the sounds we were hearing in the darkness were unnerving - was that a tree thudding down, or just snow sliding off the roof, sending off vibrations as it hit the deck? Was that ice hitting the windows, or branches and pine needles? Did the howling come from the wind in the trees, or was it a train rolling by?

The outage lasted 20 hours. When I drove out of our community the next day, I passed a convoy of 11 power company trucks at the roadside, collaborating and strategizing. Even after a trip to the grocery store and a Dr. appointment in Biddeford, I still got home before power was restored. But this time around, the timing was quite acceptable, really: we lost power after dinner, and close to bed-time, and it came back on about 6PM when it was time to make dinner the next day. We slept through half of it, and had daylight for the other half. So, all in all, not a bad experience.

Saturday, March 18, 2023


Aren't these delicate curls beautiful? They must inspire jewelry makers ... these two would make a lovely design for a set of drop earrings


This one is like a bejeweled pendant that would look great on a chain around my neck

Friday, March 17, 2023


Coppery leaf bud:
American beech prepares
To open its scales
And reveal its leaves'
Pleated folds and downy hairs;
Green luminescence. 

(Vernation is the arrangement of young leaves in leaf buds before opening)

Thursday, March 16, 2023


Yes, we had a Nor'easter again this week, but I shall regard it as a minor hiccup ... the melt is still progressing overall in the direction I prefer. We have this 

And this

Despite this

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Witch Hazel

Witch hazel capsules

Dry out, split, and curl backwards

Revealing two seeds

Once they have ripened,

They are forcibly discharged,

Up to twenty feet!

(P.S. That's why they're also referred to as the Snapping hazelnut!)

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Spring Buds

My skunk cabbages, Symplocarpus foetidus, are beginning to bloom! This is always a promising first sign of spring, along with the uplifting and incessant bird calls.

The unusual looking buds usually appear before the vernal equinox, and often long before the snow melts. The lush green leaves appear after it has finished flowering.

It's a plant of low-lying, wet, marshy areas, and has become endangered in places that are being drained and cleared for human habitation.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Old Bags

Hannaford tries to promote recycling and thrift with regard to their free produce bags, but it's way too subtle - the signs at the produce department look like part of the wallpaper. It needs to be more in our faces, impactful. We need more nudging, more reminders, perhaps also fewer stations with bag dispensers to make us walk back and forth to reach them? The provision of free bags next to each fruit or vegetable display encourages us to use more of them.

Hannaford's signs suggest re-using their 'free' bags, or using other multi-use bags for produce. How many of us stop to read them? 

If we each slowed down and created a 'system' for keeping once-used produce bags aside, ready for the next visit to the store as we do with other re-usable shopping bags, we'd save a lot. Maybe make some light string bags for use in the store - they work just as well as plastic, and you don't have to fiddle around trying to get the edges to open!

A sole pineapple doesn't NEED to be bagged - it's a self-contained, sturdy fruit. A hand of bananas joined together is just fine unbagged in a shopping cart, so is a bunch of carrots, and vine tomatoes. 

Free bags? We've all heard the adage 'there's no such thing as a free lunch' in economics - it applies to 'free' plastic too. Where is the incentive to reduce, to plan ahead, to take some responsibility? How about we have 5c added to each produce purchase in a store bag? We need to pay for our wasteful ways, to be more accountable to our environment. Sometimes we need a little incentive to stop and think about our excessive conveniences. 

Sadly, it's only when it hits our wallets that we begin to care ... plastics are NOT free.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Rosy Thoughts

As we spring forward and manipulate our time-keeping, my thoughts leap towards spring and our vigorous, bee-supporting native roses. I'm lucky enough to have two of them in my yard - Rosa palustris and R. virginiana.

Native roses aren't anywhere near as picky and nurturing-needy as artificially cultivated varieties, so they're perfect for my style of gardening. Low maintenance, check! And, they're drought tolerant. 

According to this Indigenous Landscapes Blog, native roses support "at least 135 different species of native moths/butterflies as host plants" as well as sustaining bee populations. Also, if you "match the native rose species to the proper condition," you’ll never have to water them as they are well adapted.  
So why not add some native roses to your collection?

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Floor Art

Let's have more light! 

Ooh, doesn't this look special? A little bit of abstract art to appreciate this weekend.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

From Clouds to Concrete

 We've had all manner of snow types this year. 

Sometimes it was so cold that I couldn't believe there was enough moisture in the air to snow. But it did, and the crystals were well-formed and distinct: large, air-filled flakes that floated wispily back and forth on their way to the ground in a frivolous dance. They were like pieces of tissue floating back and forth (like the little bits your Dad would tear off to staunch the nicks made whilst shaving). Clearing this snow away is like shoveling feathers of down, or maybe it's simply a matter of shoveling clouds! 

Other times the snow was heavy enough to fall in straight vertical sheets. It looked like a shower curtain, but visibly white, not transparent rain. It was as if it couldn't make up its mind whether it was rain or snow. This kind is laden with moisture, compacting as it lands and sticking to itself, laying on the roof as a compressed sheet. Shoveling this kind is like lifting concrete.

And then there are the 50 shades in between these types! I like the chinkling kind that we hear hitting windows and other surfaces as it falls - I call it snow hail, just for fun.

It's no wonder the Eskimo-Aleut have so many descriptions of snow - they were astutely noting the different conditions leading to a variety in snow types. Their traditional knowledge is rooted in experience and interaction with the environment, of recognizing patterns and cycles through the ages. So valuable.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Monday, March 6, 2023

Vertumnal Relief?

I've cleaned my windows from the inside.

I've baked. I've vacuumed. I've read books, crocheted shawls and cat toys.

I've mended tears, hems and loose threads on our clothes.

I've submitted last season's lake adventures to a nature journal.

I've taken 365 snow photos this year so far

I've been P  A  T  I  E  N  T ...

... but now it's time for the god of seasons, change and plant growth, Vertumnus, to bestow mercy. The buds and I await ...

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Reliving a Wonderful Day

30 years ago we were living in Munich ... delivering a baby. I remember the joy and thrill of anticipation as I traveled to the hospital on the U-bahn. I was wearing an enormous red wool coat with a protrusion that pointed its way forwards as we walked the last few blocks from the train station, leading me on. Ahh, sweet memories, indeed.

And now the original wearer of this cherished baby bracelet in the corner of this picture is 30! It never occurred to me at the time that a baby could also one day be 30. 

My cheesecake-loving daughter made us wait 10 extra days before making her appearance. Maybe it was karma that sometimes we had to postpone her birthday parties because of a snowstorm. We always planned a theme (oceans, artists, high tea, a play production, a secret hijacking of her friends, and an African safari). The high excitement would turn to deep disappointment when we were forced to re-schedule. That's how it was for me whilst waiting for her to arrive! 

This was a mask we made for the safari party - it just "shouts" Lucy.

I remember how it felt when I turned 30 - it seemed significant somehow, like a landmark event. (I hosted a family dinner in our dining room in South Africa; my grandmother was one of the guests, as well as both sets of parents and our siblings and partners. We put together an enormous 'make-shift' table so we could all sit together - we knew it would be our last birthday with family in South Africa.)

But today it is HER milestone, and she gets to celebrate 3 decades!

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Welcome Light

We had some brutally cold days at the end of February, but the sunshine at least made things look better - and now, it's March! We're making progress.

Look at this lovely light at 4:45 PM - light is staying longer!