Sunday, May 22, 2016

Oh Deer!! (30 Day Nature Challenge)

Can you see the shapes of deer in the thicket?
No? Let me get closer......
There they are!!
They're keeping their eye on me as they enjoy a delicious lunch of grasses, plants and flowering weeds.
Usually when I spot deer it's only one or two together. This time I hit the jackpot - there were 6!! Moms and babies.
 This one is giving you a good view of its rear end - now you can clearly see why they are called white-tailed deer.

Leaving the thicket.... they don't seem to mind me following...
 I found a leafy spot where I could see them better than they could see me :)
 I am learning how to walk very quietly!  After awhile they moved on to the remains of a corn field. I left my leafy coverage to get more photos - they were remarkably NOT jumpy and tolerated me to my surprise and gratitude! Here they are posing for me :) This is when I need a camera with a better zoom lens!
  Aren't they so beautiful?
 Looks like it's time to go!
 Heading for the trees...
 Don't forget me!!
 Wait!! I have an itch!
Sigh...ok we're waiting...
Last one home is a rotten egg!
These daily experiences have an incredible power - any physical or psychological pains I may be feeling completely disappear. I'm in the moment and think about nothing except what I'm seeing and hearing. Very healing to the soul, heart and mind. I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Nature Challenge

Today was Day 18 out of 30 days spending a minimum of 30 minutes per day in nature. Every day when I head out I wonder if I'm going to find anything new to take photos of and every day I do! Unfortunately there is much I'm not able to photograph, such as the various birds, as they don't sit still long enough for me to find them in my lens and take their picture. If there's a knack to it I don't know what it is.

I've had many encounters with rabbits and deer, chipmunks and racoons and wild turkeys, and now I've had two sightings of Mr. (or Mrs.) Wile E. Coyote! Very exciting!!

These photos are from two days ago - I was wandering through a thicketed area when I saw movement to my left. I stopped to have a look and spied the coyote. He glared at me a couple of times but most of his attention was involved with diving head first into gopher holes. It was quite comical as it would leap up in the air and then it's entire head would disappear in the hole.

Taking a dive!
I'm watching you watching me!

I don't know what he found but he was successful as I noticed him chewing after one of his dives...chipmunk? mouse?
I made so sudden moves (I really didn't move at all!!) just clicked the camera a few times. He made no move toward me or me to him. Duh! I wasn't afraid - he didn't seem very big though of course I'm sure his teeth are very sharp. Believe me when I say I walk quietly and carry a BIG stick!

Eventually he wandered out of view and I made a big detour to stay out of his way. That was Monday.

Today, just minutes after talking to a fellow whose dog was off-leash (the dog was large and the owner said in all of his years walking through the area he'd never seen a coyote so he wasn't worried) I saw a coyote AGAIN!!  He was trotting along a path to my left; he saw me but just kept trotting along at the same pace. Again I took a detour as the last thing I want to do is surprise or startle or frighten him into attacking.

Both times after the coyote moved off I saw/heard deer moving away from the area. Today I saw just the hindquarters of a deer bound away as the coyote got a little too close for comfort.

Needless to say this 30 day challenge has become much more than I thought it would. I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing the daily changes in the forests and meadows. One day I sat and watched a threatened species of bird - "bank swallows" skim just over the surface of the water scooping up their weight in insects. I was in awe of their ability to fly continuously without landing. Their homes are little burrows in the grassy overhang at river's edge carved out by their bills, feet and wings. Amazing creatures. I have since read that they rarely land.

I've been getting lots of great comments on facebook - I'm glad that so many people still appreciate what nature has to offer. It's fascinating as it never stays the same and the inter-connectedness between birds, animals, fish, environment and plants/trees is complex and magical.

Just 12 more days to go!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Money Madness

May is always a tough month on the budget.  It's my birthday month and the government (in its finite wisdom) thought it would be a nice time to stick car owners with an additional annual bill in the form of a car license plate sticker.
not mine

That little sticker with the month and year on it now costs $108.00. (Up from $75.00 two years ago!!) I need to come up with my own money scam!! Canada averages 662 cars per 1000 people for a total of over 23 million cars. Multiply that by $108.00 per sticker and you've got a number too big for my calculator! WOW!

Okay, back to MY budget. There were a few other expenses that I don't usually have. I've spent a fair bit on plants which makes me HAPPY. I had to buy another computer charging cord which makes me UNHAPPY. I bought a fair bit of wine which makes me HAPPY followed the next morning by UNHAPPY. I've exceeded my charitable donation goal for this month which makes me HAPPY. I booked an Airbnb for my trip to Ireland which makes me HAPPY. I made two thrifting trips which made me HAPPY.

So....overall my expenditures made me HAPPY!!

I think I've created a new way to budget!!

And they say money can't buy happiness!! HAH!!

Saturday, May 14, 2016


My walk in the forest today wasn't too bad considering....considering that it feels like 1c and the wind is howling! Nothing like a 20 degree change in temperature from one day to the next! Once I got in amongst the trees I could hear the wind in the tops of the trees but it couldn't reach me thankfully. I said a little prayer though as I listened to the branches creaking away - please don't let a branch fall on my head...please don't let a branch fall on my head...please don't...

I didn't see so much as a turkey today - everyone was taking shelter I guess. Yesterday I saw three deer running in the distance on the edge of a corn field where it meets the forest. I scurried over as quickly as I could hoping to catch another glimpse of them but saw these guys instead...
 ...gobble gobble!
Tonight the forecast is calling for the temperature to go down to -4c!!! That will be a new record low. Perhaps I was a bit too cocky buying so many potted plants but who figured we'd be getting March weather in May!! I'll be covering up my plants or bringing them inside for the cats to eat. One or the other. 
I found this in regard to keeping plants from getting frost damage:
"A fabric covering will allow moisture to escape but will still protect plants from frost by preventing the freezing air from coming into direct contact with the moisture. Bed sheets work well for covering large plants and shrubs, as well as young sprouts. Newspaper can be used on low-growing foliage, but won’t stay on top of larger plants well." Source:  
I'm glad I checked as I would have used plastic! 
Well, I'm off to Greece in a couple of hours!!!!!!!!!!
Just kidding, I'm going to a Greek restaurant - does that count? Better go find my toga! Happy weekend everyone!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Foto Friday

Woo hoooooooo! I'm finally doing Foto Friday on a Friday!  Let me go back in time (one year exactly) to see what the heck was going on!

Kitty Kuteness!
Lily on the stairs.

Luna cuddled up between my feet. I have my Icelandic socks on to it must have been cold - I only pull them out for extreme coldness!

I added to my art collection with a painting created by my brother called "Rath" ...

...which means "a circular enclosure surrounded by an earthen wall used as a dwelling or stronghold" in olden times in Ireland... this...

I spent time on the trail a year ago...

 A year ago as I waited in traffic for the light to turn green I took a photo of this alley from my truck. I was in the exact spot a couple of days ago and again this alley caught my attention. I went to grab my camera but remembered I had previously captured it - I'm not sure what attracts me to this place but I like the juxtaposition between the old and new architecture.

 I think last year flowering trees and bushes were ahead of where we're at this year.

This particular fungus (another thing I like to take pictures of) reminds me of...

....The Venus of Willendorf!! Can you see it? :) Suddenly I feel much slimmer !!

And that's it for another Foto Friday! Life doesn't seem to have changed too much. Hmmm, is that good or bad?

Thursday, May 12, 2016

New (to me) Summer Wardrobe

Finally I got around to taking photos of my recent thrift shop purchases. My sister and I went to Talize while she was visiting and last week a friend and I went to a Goodwill Store. I ALWAYS find some that I need - hee hee!

Considering I've gotten rid of at least 2/3rds of my clothing since I retired I do have closet space. And looking ahead to a summer of hiking/biking and wandering around Ireland I tailored my purchases to my needs. For the most part. Bathing suits are a nightmare!! is a great yoga top - I love the elastic at the bottom so my top doesn't fall into my face during downward dog!

This is a top for running in - I can report today that during yesterday's run I ran much more smoothly and didn't get so winded. And I gave myself only about a minute break halfway through instead of 3-4 minutes. Go me!

A loose fitting T-shirt - multipurpose.

To wear with my jean shorts. Yes, I still wear jean cutoffs! And I likely always will :) You just cannot take the hippy out of the boomers!

I have conceded, however, to NOT wearing tops/dresses with spaghetti straps. Unless I have a tanktop or T-shirt underneath. Here's a really cute tank top I found.

And another, by Roots. I thought it was cute and it fits well.

This is a two-piecer attached at the shoulders. This will be worn with tights.

This will be worn with tights also on somewhat more fancy occasions.
 It has a nice crochet overlay.

I should have done a close up of the one below too as it has a nice lace piece added to the bottom.

I LOVE this next one with a blue shell pattern - the back overlaps creating a drape-y effect!

Shorts were on for half price so I got 3 pairs in basic neutral colours.

BOYFRIEND jeans!! Always wanted a pair :)
 Another great pair of jeans in a dark blue wash - don't tell anyone but these have a stretchy waistband with faux buttons and zipper :)

I think I have forgotten a couple of things - such as, I found a blue short-sleeve Columbia hiking shirt which fits well, that'll go to Ireland with me. And I bought a NEW (on sale) pair of stretchy capris for yoga and biking. I think I have all the bases covered! As for NEW stuff I would like to magically find a lovely bathing suit that hides all of my flaws (HAH!!), some new undies and socks and maybe another pair of hiking pants if I can find my favourite kind.

Have you found any good deals lately??