Yesterday and today again we've had a great view of the fog rising from the valley. I'm so in awe of the continued beauty and natural surprises each day unfolds for us. Noah has been able to watch rainbows in the afternoon over the valley the past few days. Dragonflies dart around the yard (yesterday brought white tails and a halloween pennant!).
We share our home with a wide variety of spiders as well. This morning I had two different types of jumping spiders join me as I sit outside drinking my coffee. As soon as I got my camera they disappeared. In the outdoor basement stairwell a different kind of spider has made an incredible web - it started as a chaos web, logng webs in no obvious order, spanning across the entire opening. The spider at that time was around 1/4 inch big (including legs). Now, roughly a week later, it has added a beautifully symmetrical round web a layer above the chaos web, sitting right in the center. It's grown to roughly 3/4 inch now, neon green with yellow and black likes & spots. Large round abdomen, sharp pointy legs. I've not been able to properly ID it but it reminds me of the garden spider family - I'll keep watching to see.
Before the heat of the day set in I got ready and headed out to the farm (family farm where I help out when I can, also where my big veg garden has been the past few years). The route from our new house to the farm takes me through a back-road section of the marshes, one of my favorite drives. I crossed the train tracks and turn the corner and I can hardly believe my eyes. There, on top of the bright yellow railroad crossing sign, sat a barred owl!! I stop right there in the middle of the road not believing my eyes. The owl, no qualms or concerns about me, sat on the sign watching as some small rodent made its way underneath. After a minute it took off in a flash down to the ground where it quickly gobbled up its prey (always keeping one eye on me) then up to the tree (photo one) to look for another tasty treat. Amazing, I thought, what an incredible experience. I thank the owl for letting me take its picture and continue down the road. I go about 1/8th of a mile then slam on my brakes again (my poor car). A second barred owl (photo 2)! I can not believe my luck. This one was a little more shy, looking back to where the first owl was from time to time. I sit with it for a while, chatting and photographing, till I thanked it and went on my way.
Seeing these two relit something in me, reminded me there's so much yet to see, it's time to get back to those things you love - why I get up early to photograph the dawn. We're pretty well settled in the house now, I can get away without much concern. I've needed a sign, who knew that sign would be sitting on top of a bright yellow sign!
At the farm I found one great subject after another (see additional photos).
You can preach all day to slow down, look closer, take your time, that's all very easy to say, and while it's all true and so fulfilling in action, it's hard. Sometimes a lucky spark has to come along and reignite the fire inside.
I hope you all find your spark, just when you need it.
I try not to get too personal on this blog, while I love sharing our explorations in nature, we are quiet private people. This spring has brought some big changes for us, we bought our first home! I share this only because I have a feeling it'll be relevant in future posts. It's incredible having land where we can finally put our knowledge to use. We now have over half an acre of lawn that we will be transforming bit-by-bit into an ecologically diverse land of native plantings, and will be monitoring closely the changes to biodiversity as they arise. Some of this journey will absolutely spill over into this blog but I will also continue writing about our great natural areas and seasonal highlights.
Let's catch up!
Today's skies dance, the sun then the clouds, back and forth each taking their turn.
A squirrel has spent most of the morning hanging by its back legs, gorging on the sweet buds of the walnut tree. At least I think it's the walnut, just now emerging, long after the maples have leafed out.
Yesterday a cold snap came through, temperatures in the 50s and cloudy.
Today is still crisp but the sunshine makes all the difference. We're finally in the new house after a month of cleaning and renovating.
The yard bird list begins:
Cardinal, blue jay, goldfinch, mourning dove, robin, crow, common grackle, red-winged blackbird, house wren, tufted titmouse, white-breasted nuthatch, black-capped chickadee, catbird, brown-headed cowbird, Eastern bluebird, barn swallow, northern mockingbird, rose-breasted grosbeak, downy woodpecker, red-bellied woodpecker, pileated woodpecker, northern flicker, great blue heron, green heron, barred owl, turkey vulture, bald eagle, red-tailed hawk, red-shouldered hawk, Cooper's hawk, sandhill crane, wild turkey, rose breasted grosbeak.
It's incredible, I can't wait to see what else comes around!
June 2 (rainy 65*)
A walk at Wooster Memorial Park - a friend and I have been watching a patch of jack-in-the-pulpits that are in bloom. They seem much smaller this years, perhaps due to the extreme hot/cold temperature fluctuations earlier in the season. Every week we check in to see if they get any bigger, so far still small.
In the prairie we startled an indigo bunting who rushed off into the trees. The blooms are just beginning, the foxglove beard tongue has a few blossoms, but the fleabane, black medic, purple clover, white clover, blackberries, and elderberry are all in full bloom.
June 6 (sunny upper 70s)
"Cheer, cheer, woohoo" the cardinals sing. There's a lot of chitter chatter in the canopy this morning. By song I can only identify the common birds - today there's a commotion I can't seem to identify, almost scratchy like the grosbeaks but without any melody, perhaps baby cardinals?
It's another clear sunny day, already very hot. The barn pigeons are flying back and forth overhead. In the trees the tree frog is singing, (calling for rain?). A whitetail dragonfly skimmed by. White clovers are filling out the yard, dotted with the occasional dandelion. Grasses are starting to bloom - yellow tassels hanging off the long stalks.
It's only 9am and already too hot to be outside. The living room is dark and cool in the morning.
It's been just over a week since we've moved out to the country. Change always takes an adjustment period. For so long we've dreamt about this. At night we've had the windows open, fresh air, cool breeze, distant calls of geese from the wetlands. There's so much I'd like to do here, set up compost bins, plant a wildflower meadow, plant trees, have veg and flower gardens... I have to keep reminding myself we have plenty of time.
This morning I awoke early, the sun filling the bedroom with a hopeful glow for the day. Cool rains came through overnight, a heavy fog in the morning. As I look out the window I caught a fleeting moment, the fog caught in the valley behind the near tree-line with just a faint impression of the hills in the distance.
I fell back asleep, rising to my alarm an hour later, the sun warmed the fog releasing it from its bed in the valley.
The ephemeral moment was gone and now I start my day.
Since 2015 we have been exploring and sharing all the amazing things we’ve found in nature.
Emily is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist who is most often found out in the woods.