Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Go Red for February - or Valentine's Day!

The picture below is a photo I took of a tropical hibiscus that we have on our back enclosed porch. In our area of Central/Northern New York this plant would not survive our winters, but it does nicely in a large pot in a bright location indoors. During the spring and summer we locate it outside in a sunny spot. There is another perennial that will survive our winters here and that would be the hardy hibiscus.

Another flowering plant that you see quite frequently indoors this time of year is the Amaryllis. You can pot this bulb up in late fall and usually by Christmas or January you have large blooms to brighten up your living space. This is another plant(bulb) that would not survive our winters. I either pot mine up in late spring or plant them right in the ground when it warms up (but then the bulb has to be dug up in the fall). 

Another variety of Amaryllis
Another variety of Amaryllis. Photo courtesy of Nancy Ethier Carrod. 

The picture below of a Freesia (although not very red) was a surprise to me. I purchased this plant when it was blooming last spring. I planted it directly in the ground because I thought it would rebloom after the initial one, but it never did. I really didn't know much about them, but the flower was very graceful looking and the colors were nice and bright. In late summer the plant died completely back and I thought it just died out. But a few months later when I was cleaning out the garden for fall I noticed that this plant had started sending up new shoots. So after I read up on it a little, I found out that this bulb would not survive our winters either. So I dug these bulbs up and potted them up. I also have a purple one that opened its first bloom today. I think what I might do next fall after they die back, dig them up and not re-pot them, but plant them outside in the spring. Then they should flower later in the summer. The foliage is rather strappy and has to be staked which is not very attractive, but the flowers make up for it.

And is there any other bird that looks more beautiful against a snowy backdrop than the Northern Cardinal? 

Female Northern Cardinal

The picture below is of a male Pileated Woodpecker. It's native to North America and found around the Great Lakes and Canada in deciduous forests. It's male identifying characteristics would be the red moustache from the beak and the red on the top of his head that extends to the beak. The female would have a black moustache and the red on top of the head would not extend that far down the front of the face. They drill large holes with their beak on dead trees in search of ants and bugs.

My husband got the great capture of Robins in our side yard last week. There was a very large flock of Robins that flew in and they were here most of the afternoon drinking from the exposed water areas of the ditches and run-off. We usually don't see Robins in this area until the end of March so we're thinking that maybe the Punxsutawney Phil Groundhog was wrong this year and we'll have an early spring.

Sumac against the winter gray sky.

And what a surprise it was last spring to find out that we had a den of Red Foxes (babies are called kits, cubs, or pups) living under our shed. We thought something was living under there, but we were thinking maybe it was a raccoon or possum. So my husband set up the trail camera in the area to find out what it was and this showed up.


"All you need is love.
 But a little chocolate now 
and then doesn't hurt." 
~ Charles M. Schultz

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Is This "The Winter Of Our Discontent"?

For some reason this title came to mind for this blog post.

 Can you guess Why? I'm sure I don't have to tell you; so many people are dealing with personal emotions of grief and loss after the Presidential Election of 2016 where Donald Trump won enough votes in the Electoral College to be the 45th President of the United States.

This blog post is not about applauding either political party or Donald Trump, but it's just my thoughts on thinking about the decisions we make and how we look at life. It's not meant as a post to argue or share disparaging remarks, but rather to look at the results and outcomes in a different light and try to experience awareness and sensitivity to what others are feeling at this time from either side of the political spectrum.

I've never read the book The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck, but after Googling it, I think I'll have to put that on my reading list. Does this book relate to our election? I can't say because I haven't read the book yet, but the title fits. After I read it I'll let you know what I think. The original lines were William Shakespeare's from his play Richard III. (Haven't read that play either or if I did I forgot it.)

Most of  the pictures I have posted in this blog post are in black and white. There are a few in color, but this time of year, if we have an overcast day here in the northeast, there is not much color in the landscape, especially where there is snow cover. Pretty much black and white, drab landscapes or when there is not much snow in the fields then the brown fields and trees of the landscape take on more of a sepia tone.

To me personally, life and our decisions are not just black or white/right or wrong, but a series of events or situations that lead us to to a somewhat murky view or answer. After we carefully consider and examine where our thoughts and answers are leading us we usually make final decisions based on those thoughts.

My thoughts on this leads me to a chapter in Deepak Chopra's book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success which highlights non-judgmental practises.

A quote from his book is:
"Judgment is the constant evaluation of things as right or wrong, good or bad. When you are constantly evaluating, classifying, labeling, analyzing, you create a lot of turbulence in your internal dialogue. This turbulence constricts the flow of energy between you and the field of pure potentiality. You literally squeeze the "gap" between thoughts. . . Non-judgment quiets the internal dialogue, and this opens once again the doorway to creativity."
So much of our energy can be spent evaluating and judging (and I know I'm guilty of this as well). When we use our energy for judging we cannot be creative. It takes so much of our energy to judge and we really don't know what encompasses other peoples' decisions and why they do or say the things they do. But remember it's not just black or white/right or wrong.

Many people are dealing with several "gray" areas in their lives and in the decisions they make. What's necessarily not right for you might be ok for them after making their own conscientious decisions and evaluations. It's not all cut and dry or black and white. 

Just like in photography in the photos I'm showing you in this post. If everything was black and white we really wouldn't see the nuances or intensity of photographs. As in life, in peoples' actions and decisions we don't know what they are dealing with or why they come to the conclusions they do. So much enters our decision-making that we have to rely on our hearts and minds to make the best decisions that are right for us where we are at any particular time in our life. You all have heard the phrase "Don't judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes". 

Here is link to Deepak Chopra's blog: Intent Blog Deepak Chopra

The photo below illustrates just a black and white picture - no gray areas. You don't see any of the nuances of shadows or warmth from forests, or the intense blues of the sky, or fluffy white clouds....

Same picture as above with more depth by adding shades of gray (not just black & white). . .

And lastly, the same picture. . .

Just like in photos, life's decisions are not all right or wrong/black or white. It's based on all that comes together in peoples' hearts and what's right for them. Their Consciences. Practice non-judgment in your life and you will be a happier person!

Thanks for stopping by ~
Feel free to leave a comment!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

If You Blinked - You Might Have Missed It

Wow! What happened to fall???

Boonville, New York

First I thought it would take forever to get here, and then last week we got hit with lots of rain and wind - and so much for our fall display. There are still some colorful leaves on the trees around here, but most were knocked down from the rain. But there are several other areas around the State that still have a lot of fall color left.

Salmon River Reservoir, Redfield, NY

Fall arrived late in the northeast, and several of us didn't think it would even be as colorful as previous years especially due to the severe drought we received this past summer.

State Route 13 near Williamstown, NY

Ted and I headed up to the Adirondacks the end of September because we thought the leaves up there would certainly be getting close to its peak for autumn color. We were actually somewhat disappointed because the leaves were just starting to change colors there. And the colors that we did see were mostly dull reds.

Moose River, McKeever, NY

So after that brief stay the end of September, we went for another ride up to the Adirondacks the middle of October. That was a more fruitful attempt at photographing the changing seasons.

Thendara, NY

We really had a warm and mild fall so far. In our area of central Oswego County, we have not had a heavy, killing frost yet. That could change here shortly. There is still some colorful leaves hanging on the trees, but not sure how much longer they'll be around.

Tobie Pedestrian & Bike Path, Thendara, NY

Most of the photos in this post are from our second trip to the Adirondacks in the middle of October. Quite often at this time of the year the leaves are past their peak color display in the Adirondacks.

We only took the Tobie Pedestrian-Bike path for a short distance. Being as this was just a day trip for us, we wanted to drive around this area of the Adirondacks to photograph the autumn colors. The bridge pictured above crosses the Moose River in Thendara. It was once the site of a railroad crossing. The path is a 14 mile trek from Thendara through Old Forge and Eagle Bay to Inlet. There is parking at various stops along the trail, but sometimes the parking area were not marked that well.

Migrating Robins stopping for berries on their trip south.

Probably the most photographed boat house in Old Forge, NY

Blue Mountain Lake (taken Sept 27, 2016) - see photo below for same view two weeks later.

Blue Mountain Lake - taken October 14, 2016 - quite a big difference from the above photo taken a few weeks earlier.

Seventh Lake, Inlet NY

Sea plane rides leaving Long Lake for fall views over the Adirondack Mountains.
We stopped for a late lunch at the Adirondack Hotel which was across the road from the sea plane docks.

Hunter's Moon, Harrisville, NY October 14, 2016

Hope you get a chance to go for a drive in your area to see the fall colors before the leaves are windswept away. It won't be long now before the next season arrives.  Actually we got some snow this morning, but I was not ready to go out and photograph the first snowfall. Maybe the second snowfall - 

Tobie Pedestrian and Bike Path 

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Monday, September 19, 2016

That Golden Time Of Year

A few days ago as my husband and I were driving up Route 3 in northern Oswego County into Jefferson County, I was really inspired by the glow of the country landscape. It's not quite fall yet - still summer actually, but only for a few  more days.

The countryside was all a-glow. Washed in a golden hue. Not bright yellow, but a warm golden color. A nice end-of-summer day. This is the time of year when the leaves are still holding on to the trees, but the color is fading from the bright luster greens to the yellow-greens before the trees change into their full autumn color and glory.

Great Blue Heron
Lots of yellow and amber colored flowers in the fields scattered around. Many fields are flooded with goldenrod, wild sunflowers, Black-eyed Susans, dried corn stalks, soy beans ripening and turning yellow, and a variety of fall grasses.

Maple Ridge Wind Farm, Lowville, NY (Lewis County)
This time of year is so quiet to me. No birds singing in the early morning. A few hanging around scavenging for seeds to hide for winter, like the chickadees and nuthatches. There are a few tree frogs chirping in the areas, and some crickets, too.
Red-breasted Nuthatch
We've seen quite a few butterflies this year. There were lots of swallowtails visiting our gardens throughout summer, but very few monarchs. I did notice there are several milkweed plants (which the monarch lays their eggs on) around our place, but with the drought we had this summer I'm not sure all the plants survived. I hope this doesn't contribute to the loss of habitat for the Monarchs.

I'm not sure what kind of butterfly this is. I think it might be a Silver-border fritillary.
Giant Swallowtail Butterfly
When I was thinking of a title for this blog post the movie "On Golden Pond" (1981) came to mind. It must have been because I was using "Golden" in the title of this blog post. What a great classic movie that was. Not only was it filmed on a beautiful lake with gorgeous scenery, but the characters and story were certainly something that everyone could relate to at one time or another in their life. It's a story about family relationships, including conflicts, love, caring and understanding, presented in a way that will bring a smile to your face. The movie won three Academy awards. Best Actor (Henry Fonda), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Katharine Hepburn), and Best Adapted Screen Play (Ernest Thompson). One of our favorite lines from the show was: "So, how fast does this old tub go, anyway?" If you have an old boat you'll know what I mean.

It's also that time of year when the salmon are heading upstream in the local rivers. Pulaski and Oswego are popular fishing spots for salmon.

The above two photos were taken a few years ago by my friend, Karen Liscum, of the Salmon River in Pulaski. You can see the fish in the river heading upstream to spawn.

These salmon were caught in Lake Ontario
off of Henderson Harbor in early September.

So as we say good bye to summer, 
let us welcome the new season of Autumn!

"Don't cry because it's over, 
smile because it happened."
~ Dr. Seuss

This is a great time of year to get out and enjoy the beautiful end of summer. Go for a ride and pick some apples at a local farm stand or go for a hike in the woods!

Thanks for stopping by; 
feel free to leave a comment!