Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lake Ontario, and a Rare Bird

It was off to Lake Ontario again yesterday.  It was a beautiful day, sunny and with little breeze.  I wanted to see how the lake had changed from the last time I was there.  Last time, the waves were wicked, the stench was awful, and the breeze off of the lake was cold.  Yesterday was completely different.  Well, except for the smell.  That's one of the things I love about the big lake, her character changes every day.  You can go to see her every day, and still not know her in all of her moods.
There were seagulls serenely floating on the water, and resting calmly on whatever those things they are on are.

The mallards were up the creek, literally.  Yesterday, the creek was almost dry.  It must have been siesta time, because preening and snoozing seemed to be the order of the day.

But, the biggest surprise was yet to come.  I have seen white swans there, and even, last time, the black swan.  Once I saw a kingfisher, though it dived into the water and out so fast that I wasn't able to get a picture.  Yesterday, however, I saw the most unusual bird of all.  It is one that raises strong emotion.  You either think it is a raucous and noisy thing, or you are awestruck at the complexity of its song.  I was able to get a short video of it.  If you look hard enough, you can just see it, in the shadows by the house.  Enjoy.

video

Monday, August 30, 2010

Look at What Betsy Did!

This is Betsy (the name she came with), one of the daylilies I bought in the Spring.  And, look at her, blooming away when it's almost September.  It will be interesting to see if she blooms this late every year.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Out of My Rear Window 8/29/10


Such a beautiful late summer day.  There is a little bit of a nip in the air, but it will warm up quickly.  A perfect day to get out and do something.


The moon is still shining in the bright summer sky.


And the bright colors of a goldfinch at the feeder tell us that there are sunny, warm and beautiful days still ahead.

A couple of catch up notes.  I heard from the DEC about the black swan.  It is, indeed an escapee.  There are no known colonies of black swans in the wild.  That's a good thing, because we don't need another invasive species around New York State.

And, that lovely chestnut mare that I posted about a couple of days ago has found a home.  She will be going to West Virginia, to make lovely sport horse babies!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Orange Trail, Late Summer

Off we go again, into another season.  Autumn is coming quickly, and the Great Meadow is showing it.  The goldenrod is in full bloom, casting its golden glow over the meadow.
There are autumn flowers in bloom.  This is turtlehead.  It's not a good picture because it was quite a distance off of the trail.  Sometimes I wish I wasn't such a rule follower.  I really, really wanted to walk over and get a better picture of this.  They're a really neat flower.
The Evening Primrose is blooming.

The Bur Cucumber is in glorious flower.

And, thanks to Woodswalker, I knew a Giant Ragweed when I saw it.

Well, OK, it looks like I don't know Giant Ragweed when I see it.  This is just a really big regular ragweed plant.  See, all you people who think I know so much, I really don't.

But, the day really belonged to the fruits of Autumn.  How do you like these little tomatoes?
Actually, they're not tomatoes.  They are the seed pods of Horse Nettle.  Here's the flower, still blooming.

So many other flowers that we saw earlier have now set seed.
Privet
Autumn Olive
Wild Rose Hips
Blackberry
Silky Dogwood.  I didn't start walking here until after the dogwoods bloomed.  It will be something to look forward to next Spring.
Panicled Dogwood.
And, I'll leave you with a fruit of a very different kind.  I don't know what this fungus is, but I though it was very beautiful.

Postponing the Walk Blog Again

No real blog today.  I have been spending my morning trying to find this lovely lady a home quickly.  I have more people to contact and need to get back to it.

Good wishes from you are certainly welcome.  I'll read and respond to all of your blogs later.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Starting the Day Off Right

I took a new route, driving home from my walk yesterday.  (Walk will be up tomorrow, I'm having trouble identifying one flower and want to work on it a bit longer.)  I passed a stand by the side of the road that said "Fresh Raspberries."  You never saw anyone slam on the brakes faster than I did.  It was a good thing that there was nobody behind me.  Yes, I checked first before hitting the brakes.

Raspberries in late August?  Unheard of.  But, true.  I guess there's a kind out now that rebears.  Anyway, they were beautiful, and I bought a pint.  They came home with me, were washed and sprinkled with sugar.  Then they went into the refrigerator over night.

This morning I got them out, ohhhhhh, yum they looked good.  Put some of them in a dish, and added a good dollop of Devon cream that I had found in Wegman's a couple of weeks ago.  The result was beautiful.

And, they tasted every bit as good as they look.  I haven't had Devon cream since I was in England in the mid '80's.  I fell in love with it there, and have craved it ever since.  Thank goodness for Wegman's, though it's so rich I won't be getting it often.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Getting a Little Goosey

The Turkey Ladies may not have any poults to bring to the feeder this year, but, yesterday, the Canada Geese decided to make up for it.  I heard the honking, looked out of the window, and, there they were.  I think it's two families.  I loved the way that the adult geese stood guard while the kids ate.
You never saw such hungry kids.  They ate until I didn't know what they were finding any more.  Then, the kids started to settle down for their after breakfast naps.
And, finally, they all decided to take a snooze.
The geese stayed around the yard for most of the morning.  I have to admit that they are fun to watch.  I enjoyed the way that they all interacted with each other.

I did not, however, enjoy what I found when I went out later in the day.  I actually had to get out the snow shovel and run it all up and down my driveway, to get rid of all of the messy droppings that the geese had left behind.

So far, no sign of them today.  Cute as they are, I hope they don't make visiting here a daily habit.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Oh! That Tasted Good!

I tend not to drink coffee in the hot weather.  Haven't had a cup since, maybe, May.  But, this morning, it was cool, with just a little nip in the air, and I got the urge.  Mmmmm, it tasted good.  Dark, black, and strong enough to corrode a spoon.  I guess it's just another sign that Fall is coming.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Out of My Rear Window 8/22/10

Ahhhhhh.  Settling in, here, for an all morning rain.  It's coming down steadily, at just the right rate to really soak the ground, and give everything a really good drink.  Maybe, since it's coming on September, we'll have an all green Summer.

I can hear that old couch calling me already.  This will be a great day to take a long afternoon nap.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Thousand Acre Swamp


In Penfield, one of the suburbs of Rochester, the Nature Conservancy owns a parcel that has been known for generations as "The Thousand Acre Swamp."  I had been there once or twice, years ago.  I decided it was time I went again.  After all, who knew what different things I might find?  It was a beautiful day, and I had remembered my bug repellent.

I hadn't gone very far into the preserve when I noticed one thing that was different from my trips into the meadows and woods.  There were frogs everywhere.  Can you see this little leopard frog, blending in with all of the greenery? 

The path leading into the swamp was beautiful, straight and dappled with sun.



But, I didn't have to go very far to find the first sign that I was, indeed, in a swamp.













It didn't take me too long to get to the main part of the swamp, and the boardwalk going through it.











The cattails along the sides, were maturing, sending up their familiar cigar shaped fruit.  This is one from this year.


And, this is one from last year, that has gone to seed.












Along the boardwalk, I also saw this muskrat house.













Literally dozens of these pretty red dragonflies.
And this beautiful little flower.  I know that it's a Skullcap, and, I'm pretty sure that it is the variety known as "Mad Dog."  What an odd name for such a pretty flower.

The boardwalk wound it's way through the swamp for quite a distance.  At one spot, they had even widened it and put in a benched area for people to just sit and admire.  It's very lovely, but it is too bad that so much of the swamp is choked with cattails, because you really can't see too much else.  But, there are places along the way where you see some lovely scenes.








After I left the boardwalk, the way lead through some lovely woods.  It's fairly dry now, but there are still soggy spots in these low woods.  Many of these spots are traversed with boardwalks like this.
There were plenty of orange jewelweeds there, none of them with seedpods ready to pop.
















Oops, didn't even see the bee in this one, until I downloaded the pictures.  Good thing he was so intent on getting nectar.
This lovely white flower was growing in the woods.  It's Wild Snakeroot, and it's deadly poison.  One interesting thing that I found out when I was trying to figure out what it was is that Abraham Lincoln's Mother died from what is called Milk Sickness.  Cows eat the Snakeroot, and the poison gets into the milk.  Better management of milk, and the fact that the milk that we drink is consists of milk from many cows, diluting any poison that might be there, has lead, thankfully, to a great decline in this disease.

The woods are lovely.  I don't know whether they are so light and airy because they are second growth woods, or if the swampy conditions at other times of the year keep the trees from attaining any great size.



 From the woods, you go out into a small meadow.  It is full of lovely goldenrod, and birdhouses.  There is a bench there, dedicated to a man they call "Mr. Bluebird."  I think that I would have liked to have known that man.



 On the path that goes around this meadow I found this beautiful flower.  You can tell by the distinctive shape of the flower that it's a Lobelia.  I'm pretty sure it's a "Great Blue Lobelia."
















These pretty little flowers had me fooled for a minute into thinking that they were Deptford Pinks.  But, when I got home and looked at the picture more closely, I decided that they were a close relative -- Rose Pink.

And, in a wet corner of the meadow, I found a lovely stand of Joe Pye Weed.  These aren't the somewhat disappointing ones that I found on Whiting Road, but are full headed and bright colored.

 I had let myself be lead further and further, always wanting to know what was around the next corner.  And, I found plenty of lovely things around that next corner.  But, I had been poking around for a few hours and I was faced with quite a hike back, so, I decided that it was time to turn around and leave.  I'll be back.

By the way, please excuse the rather random appearance of this post.  I've been trying to get used to the new Blogger for the past week or so, since they say that the old one is going away soon.  Today, it was a monster, sometimes not letting me put my descriptions anywhere near where I wanted them unless I moved the picture to one side or the other, and, sometimes, leaving these huge empty spaces, that I couldn't get corrected, no matter how hard I tried.  I am NOT impressed.