Friday, May 31, 2024

Cranberry Compote

Cranberry baubles

Sprinkled with ground cinnamon

Bursting with tartness

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Good Wings

 This is the success story I was hoping for for my kayak dragonfly. This one is also freshly emerged, and resting on its exoskeleton to dry off. I hope the boat wake waves didn't wash it off this twig before it could fly.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Emergent Emergency

Look at what caused a delay in launching my kayak - a dragonfly emerging from its nymph exoskeleton. I decided I'd have to wait until it was finished before launching into the water. It looked like an epic struggle was going on, and I certainly didn't want to stress it even further. (I really liked the shadow of the exoskeleton's legs!)

The wings were compactly folded, making it look like its arms had been amputated, but this feat of origami just needed time and some sun to unravel itself. The uninflated wings were better seen from another angle:

The next time I looked, its wings had unfolded and flattened, but were wet and stuck to the kayak, causing the emerging adult to slide downwards.

We were afraid the fragile wings would tear, so Dale carefully got it to regrip on his finger and held it up for the wings to unwrinkle and dry fully. They still looked curly and compromised at this point.

We placed it on a tree, where it was extremely well camouflaged

I went back to take a final shot before launching my kayak - it had only taken 18 minutes from that first shot to this last one - but I was champing at the bit to get onto the water, and this little emergency was delaying me! Alas, I didn't see the dragonfly anywhere - I can only hope it flew off, and wasn't taken by a hungry bird feeding chicks. I wish I'd got a more conclusive pic to wrap up this story ...

All that remained was this crusty looking exoskeleton with its unzipped back.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Glaring Omission

I've been hanging my head in shame, trying to ignore my recent glaring omission, that of spectacular aurora borealis photos like everyone else has posted, but my Catholic upbringing won't let me stay quiet. I feel as if I have to make a confession - I didn't get out there for the big day! I'm ashamed that I've become so jaded, and am embarrassed to admit it. So, in order to be done with all the self-flagellation I've been indulging in this month, I thought I'd come clean and hopefully, move on. 

There have been countless times since living in Maine that we've been alerted to the possibility of seeing the Northern lights, and many's the time we've believed it and made an effort to be in the right place at the right time. It's ALWAYS been fruitless, so we didn't pay much attention when the alerts came our way this time around. We thought we knew better from past experience ... but how wrong we were this time!

We missed out on something spectacular! Many local people merely stepped outside their homes to see shafts of colored light in the sky, which we didn't even do! After seeing we'd missed out, we made an effort to get out over the following two nights in the hopes of redeeming ourselves, but it was really too late. We drove to a nearby overlook and sat watching and waiting, taking pictures frequently to see if our cameras might pick up on the phenomenon that we weren't sure we were seeing. I captured this at 12:30am, the best of the bunch, but it didn't look this great with the naked eye, so I don't know if this really 'counts' as having seen the Northern lights. 

The moral of this story - always seize the opportunities that are presented, whether you have been successful in the past or not. Regret is a terrible thing!

Monday, May 27, 2024

Simple Things

I love the simplicity of this pic

and the moody beauty of this watery vision

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Whirligig Whirls

On a calm, dry day,

Whirligigs break the surface -

Mimicking raindrops.

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Woolly Mammoth

As I approached this strangely elevated stump, I began to see the outline of a woolly mammoth, or is it an octopus, or perhaps a prop from The Pirates of the Caribbean?

Here's a close up view of its eye socket, tusk and trunk

Friday, May 24, 2024

Floating Leaves

Undulating edge

Of Spatterdock's floating leaves

Disrupts the surface.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Squirrel Babies

Our resident Red squirrel Mom has produced a clutch of babies that she's generously sharing with us - she allows them onto our deck with her when she comes for a free nosh.

They are so perfect and unblemished, while Mom looks distinctly haggard by comparison. Dale got a pic of one baby next to the Mom - she's furthest from the camera, with some undulations in her molting fur.

Their erratic movements make them look very inexperienced; they're not fluid and skilled in their behaviors like an adult.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Hobbling Along

Hobblebush (Viburnum lantanoides) produces a magnificent flower cluster that sits atop the leaves (those larger, outer flowers are sterile). This spectacular native is a larval host for the spring azure butterfly.

The veination of the leaves is quite beautiful - it almost looks like it has its own aurora borealis ribbons, in miniature!

Hobblebush tends to grow droopy branches that loop down to the ground and then root, causing one to get caught and hobbled when walking through the woods.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Moody Clouds


While there is no sun in these photos, the moody depth of color adds a beautiful sense of intensity to the experience.

Monday, May 20, 2024

Fern Curlicues

This is the Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides), an evergreen that is putting out its new shoots for the season. I love how this one reminds me of a seahorse - patterns in nature!

They have some amazingly delicate curls and coils on display


Sunday, May 19, 2024

Stunning Rhodora

 This pink-budded beauty is our native azalea, Rhododendron canadense, sometimes referred to as Rhodora canadensis

It's a scrawny wetland plant, standing amidst the starkness of not yet leafed out shrubs.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Living Simply - Lessons from Moss

In a 2022 edition of Emergence Magazine (Ancient Green), Robin Wall Kimmerer wrote about Moss, Climate and Deep Time. Her wisdom and insight really moves me. Here are some excerpts from that article - I hope you, too will find inspiration and meaning in her words:

"If success is measured by widespread distribution, [mosses] occupy every continent, from the tropics to Antarctica, and live in nearly every habitat, from desert to rainforest. If success is measured by expanse, consider the vast peatlands of the north, blanketed by sphagnum moss. If success is colonization of new places, mosses are the first to occupy new places after an eruption or a forest fire or a nuclear meltdown. If creativity and adaptation are the metrics, mosses have diversified to fill every niche, generating more than eleven thousand uniquely adapted species, an outpouring of biodiversity. If success lies in beauty—well—just look."

"We humans pride ourselves on living by the rule of law, but the laws we choose to obey are only those of our own making. We ignore ecological laws as if the fiction of human exceptionalism meant that thermodynamics did not apply to us. Whether we choose to heed them or not, natural laws will prevail. Arrogance has brought us to the brink. The laws of nature will bring us to our knees. And then perhaps we will see the mosses."

"We’d do well to remember that the dinosaurs were big too. Living small is not a sign of weakness or complacency. Rather, it is the surpassing strength of self-restraint, to live simply so that others might simply live."

What an amazingly simple outlook this is, yet to adopt it is to transform our entire way of being in the world.

Friday, May 17, 2024

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Wetlands Tranquility


Red-winged blackbirds call
From their surrounding perches
Serenading me.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Fern Appreciation

I was trying to capture the otherworldliness of our unfurled ferns, when I noticed this beautiful crane fly enjoying them too! I suspect it's the common Tipula species, found throughout the world.  This fern looks as if it's covered in vernix.

The fern fronds look so ... convoluted, and hairy, very unlike what they turn out to be.

The tight coils are fascinating!

Tuesday, May 14, 2024


What an exquisitely delicate flower this is! Coptis trifolia (goldthread: because it has bold, yellow, threadlike roots) is tiny, and one mostly has to kneel down to appreciate them - the flowers are only ⅜" to ½" across, and the plant stands between 3 and 6" tall.

This stunning beauty looked even more spectacular with raindrops on its papery white sections.

Those golden yellow 'baubles' are actually the petals of this flower! The showy white bits that look petal-like are actually sepals, the part that contains the petals. The green and white stalks are the reproductive parts of the plant.

I hope you get to see and enjoy some soon - they don't bloom for long.

Monday, May 13, 2024

Spring's Release

Ferns are bursting forth

From their capsules and fronds,

Wrinkled and hairy

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Muskrat Sign

I've been noticing dark and wet mud on the edge of our land at the lake interface that stands out from the dry brown leaves that are the norm. I knew I hadn't been lifting mud and leaves out of the lake, and leaving them along the edge ... so I knew we had an interloper in our midst ...

I've also been noticing a LOT of bare twigs and branches, stripped of bark, accumulating at the water's edge, so have deduced that both these signs must indicate muskrat activity in our cove. We spotted muskrats visiting way back at the beginning of March, but haven't seen much in the way of definitive activity since then. We've seen suspicious looking ripples, but haven't positively tied them to muskrat presence. 

I believe the muskrats must be excavating under the banks of our cove and are leaving the removed material along the banks. At the same time, they're leaving the remains of their meals to wash up on shore.

I'm so happy to welcome them back, and will continue keeping my eyes peeled for a positive ID.

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Trillium Triad

It's spring, so here's an obligatory homage to this magnificent spring native in the lily family. Trilliums are well-named (literally meaning “three-parted lily), having a set of 3 leaves, 3 sepals and 3 petals on the flower.

The red trillium (Trillium erectum) is a little bashful about showing off its reproductive parts (they tend to face down towards the forest floor, hopefully not in shame!), so a little help was needed to show them off.

Its beautiful triad of green leaves also caught my eye in the dappled shade.

Friday, May 10, 2024

Emerald Emergence

I absolutely love the way new beech leaves emerge as emerald jewels in the moody wet skies of spring ... the leaves droop downwards from their bronze sheaths, like half-opened parasols. Every year I rave about them!

Shiny bronze leaf capsules sit atop the small new leaves, giving the appearance of tiny yellowish flowers amongst the green.

They are magnificent!