Photohunt: Natural

This week’s Photohunt theme is “Natural”.

It doesn’t seem that the photo below was taken two years ago. We haven’t been back to the Larose Forest, though I planned to do so last summer and this.

And this is the natural shape of this Valentine potato…which also happens to look like ET

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38 degrees

It was 38 (Celsius) degrees today, according to my thermometer. That’s 100.4 F.

Melting Men

Unusual rainbow

On Thursday (Canada Day), Mom and I stopped at our favourite hot dog and ice cream stand, in Kemptville. While we were having our ice cream, we saw this incredible rainbow. It was a complete bow, and really vivid.

I suddenly realized I had my camera and dug it out but the battery was dying. I was trying to find my other battery which I appear to have lost. The OTHER one was charging at home.

I had to keep letting the camera rest because the battery revives once or twice once it dies, if you let it rest.

I finally got a last shot and the battery died completely.

However, this shot shows something I have never seen before. Below the rainbow are several repeated rows of colour. At one point, there was a reverse of the rainbow below but as it was fading out, there were at least three rainbows right under the main bow.

I’ve enhanced the colour so you can see them better in the photos.

Sunday Drive

On Sunday, Mom and I went on another Sunday drive, along a favourite route. Bolton Road, which eventually becomes Kyle Road, runs south from Highway 43, west of Kemptville just east of Merrickville, all the way south to Throoptown on Highway 21. That’s a distance of about 22.56 km (14.02 miles). It is a lovely drive along mostly dirt roads.

We continued after the trip right down Bolton and Kyle Roads by driving back up to where Land O’Nod Road starts at Bolton Road.  Land O’Nod Road ends at Highway 15, south of Merrickville, a distance of 10.19 km (6.33 miles). Like the Bolton/Kyle Road trip, it is mostly dirt road and lovely. Don’tcha just love the name Land O’Nod Road? Makes me sleepy just thinking of it!

THE LAND OF NOD
(Robert Louis Stevenson)

From breakfast on through all the day
At home among my friends I stay;
But every night I go abroad
Afar into the Land of Nod.

All by myself I have to go,
With none to tell me what to do —
All alone beside the streams
And up the mountain-sides of dreams.

The strangest things are there for me,
Both things to eat and things to see,
And many frightening sights abroad
Till morning in the Land of Nod.

Try as I like to find the way,
I never can get back by day,
Nor can remember plain and clear
The curious music that I hear.

The round trip from Highway 43 down Bolton/Kyle, back up to Land O Nod Road, along Land O Nod, and up Highway 43 is about 65.64 km, give or take. If you add the kms for the trip from our house to the point on 43 where we turned to go down Bolton, which is about… 115.22 km so the total evening drive was about 180.86 which is a SHORT evening drive for us.

On the Bolton I stopped to take some photos of wildflowers. There was alfalfa which I had never seen in the wild before… or never seen in a field, either, for that matter. It looks a lot different dried in a bag or compressed into pellets for feeding gerbils. It is really pretty and looks like a sort of unkempt clover. Same family, I guess. The flowers are purple and mauve (pronounced “mowv,” not “mawv.” It’s a French word and you look like an idiot if you pronounce if mawv, no matter how many times you hear the likes of Martha Stewart or Oprah pronounce it [incorrectly]. And, in case you need to know “foyer” is pronounced “foy-ay” not “foy-er”. Again… it’s French and that’s how they pronounce it, so they ought to know).

Alfalfa

Birdfoot Trefoil, Red Clover

Just a short hop down Bolton, I spotted a turtle in the middle of the road. Since it didn’t appear that there was anything resembling turtle habitat either where it was headed or where it had come from, I picked it up off the road and drove along (quite some considerable distance) until I found the bridge over the Rideau River. I released it there.

It wasn’t terribly pleased to have been rescued but I think it would have been less pleased to have been run over by a 4×4… Every so often, it would start scrabbling in my hand (it was too powerful for Mom to hold) and try to get away… then it would pee on me, the steering wheel, the console, Mom…

I took some photos and identified it later as a Blanding’s turtle.

Blanding's Turtle (isn't he cute?!)

Continuing on our way, just about a mile down the road from releasing the first turtle, I spotted a Snapping turtle in the middle of the road…

Snapping Turtle

...not so cute...

It was a smallish one, about a foot wide and about a foot and a half long, not counting the tail and head. Knowing how fast and vicious they can be, I took a few photos and then looked for something to move it off the road with. The last time I encountered a Snapper on the road, it was about 3 times as big and so heavy that all we could do was bulldoze it to the side of the road. Even so, when it reared up, we were in danger of losing a finger!

This one being smaller, I figured if I could find a stick I could try the old Indian trick of getting it to bite on the stick and lifting it up and carrying it hanging from the stick. But since I couldn’t find the appropriate-sized stick (and, indeed, don’t know if this actually works, I resorted to using my car scraper/brush, flipping it on its back, and pushing it across the road. I  flipped it back over on the other side of the road into a field.

One thing about Snappers is that they STINK! Whether it’s because of their diet or the fact that they wallow in marshes, I don’t know.

Again, it didn’t appreciate the effort I had gone to but since a 4×4 went roaring by a few minutes after I moved it off the road, I think it was in its best interests to be moved. So there….

Snappers are endangered, here in Ontario, and you can make a report to the Ontario Department of Natural Resources, along with other endangered flora and fauna.

…and no camera….

I took Mom out for supper last night and stupidly didn’t think to bring my camera.

The huge cloud formations were concentrating the light low on the horizon and the light was amazing. There was a field of cows and it was…. breathtaking! And then, further on, a field of not sure what… hay, I think, light green bounded by deep and pale blue-green trees and banked by huge blue to grey to black to white clouds, raking showers in the distance…. and a rainbow….. Stunning. Even if I had my camera, would I have been able to capture it?

And moments later, a huge bolt of lightning blew straight down from the clouds, straight ahead down the road….

More Ospreys, great videos and a rescued Painted Turtle

I took the Parental Unit out for a drive, today.

This time I had the foresight to bring along my REAL video camera, my Sony Handi-Cam. I wanted to see if I could get better video of the Ospreys than I have been getting on my little Canon digital. AND HOW! I can’t get as close up as I would like with the camera before it gets blurry but I am very pleased with the resolution.

I can’t get any closer to the nests without risking a poo shower (you’ll see why from one of the videos!)

The young are getting much bigger and are really stretching their wings. It won’t be long before they start practicing and exercising their wings for the day when they leave the nests for the first time.

We were adding up the nests that we know of and have figured that we know of 8 nests. Each nest has two adults and two young, which means that there are 32 Ospreys that we visit each time. And every time we go out, we discover another nest (or two, even!).

What I can tell you about Ospreys is that:

  • The female is generally larger than the male
  • It is difficult to tell the sex of an adult unless you see them together
  • They eat mostly fish, caught live.
  • The Osprey has four toes, unlike other raptors
  • They both sit on the nest, the female doing most of the sitting and the male taking over when the female wants to go off and feed
  • When the young come along, they take turns on the nest. When the young get bigger, one sits nearby and watches the nest while the other is off feeding or hunting.

I filmed 5(?) of the nests today. One is too far off the road to see much even with binoculars. You can just barely distinguish the young in that nest. In the other nests, the young are very visible and active. The only problem in seeing much is that the poles on which the nests sit are so tall. If you are too close, you can’t see the action and too far way… well, the action is too small to see.





As mentioned, the trip also involved the rescue of a Painted Turtle.

Unlike last week, I managed to avoid killing any wildlife and it more or less made up for killing the woodpecker that we were able to rescue a Painted Turtle from the middle of the highway. He was pretty fortunate because he was right in the middle of the oncoming lane when I spotted him and he narrowly missed getting crushed by one car. I managed to get a (very) short video and a couple of photos of him before I took him down to the swampy area near Nicholson’s Locks to release him.

Painted Turtle

Painted Turtle

Two years ago, we “sort of” rescued a HUGE Snapping Turtle from the middle of another highway. “Sort of” because all we could do was force it off the road by bulldozing it with a large piece of plywood. It was two feet long and about a foot high and by extending it’s neck, it could reach out almost another foot. Snappers have formidable beaks that can sever fingers and even a hand.

Without losing any appendages, we got it into the ditch but there wasn’t any real water about for it to head to on either side of the road. If it went back on the road, it wasn’t as much a danger to itself as any car coming along could have been badly damaged hitting a turtle of that size. It probably wasn’t going to do the turtle any good getting hit but it could also have killed or severely injured an unwary motorist hitting it.

Had I had anyone with me strong enough, I might have tried the old method the Indians used for capturing Snapping Turtles. They would take a sturdy tree branch or axe handle and make it bite it. Once it has it’s jaws clamped shut, it won’t generally let go and they would carry it hanging from the branch. At least that it the theory. It would have been worth a try. Of course, as I say, there wasn’t anyplace nearby to properly release it, I had no one with me to help me carry it, and I had no tree branch or axe handle….

Ospreys

For the last few years, I have been watching the annual nesting activities of a pair (at least I THINK it is the same pair) of Ospreys. The nest is at Nicholson’s Locks, along the historic Rideau Canal system.

The Rideau Canal waterway

The Rideau Canal waterway

There are also a couple of other nests (one outside Merrickville, and one along Donnelly Drive, east of Burritt’s Rapids) the  but this has, so far, been the one that is the easiest to watch.

A couple of weeks ago, however, I located a new nest that I must have passed a number of times and not seen. It is along County Road 19 (River Road), on the east side of the Rideau River, and is about 2/3 of the way between Kemptville and Manotick (closer to Manotick).

The nest is close enough to get a really good look at the male sitting out on a nearby branch and to see the head of the female popping her head up over the edge of the nest. There is also no powerline in the middle of your photos and the view across the river is trees rather than buildings or hydro pylons and things.

The first time we noticed the nest, the pair were actively mating. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me so wasn’t able to get photos. Now, they are actively nest-sitting.

I went down last Sunday and tooks some great photos of the nest against the sunset. Unfortunately, my littl digital camera doesn’t have a telephoto lens so I can’t take any real close-ups. I took a couple of sharp but very shaky videos using my binoculars as a make-shift telephoto but it didn’t work at all well for the still shots.

This weekend we found 4 active nests, including this one.

So here are the shots from last weekend.

The nest at sunset with the male in the tree to the right.

The nest at sunset with the male in the tree to the right.

The male in the tree. The "moon" is just from using the binoculars.

The male in the tree. The "moon" is just from using the binoculars as a telephoto.

The male taking over nesting duties.

The male taking over nesting duties.

Sunset

Sunset

PhotoHunter: “Walking”

Because of an injury I got about 20 years ago when I fell off my bike, I can’t do a lot of walking. I get spasms in my back if I walk further than a block… and even less, sometimes.

I started to at the end of the winter but have been sidetracked, working to make up the hours I took off to leave early and come back late from London (Ontario) in order to see my friend Carol before she died.

I have to start up again.

When I walk, I spend a lot of time looking down. People have said that I need to “look up and see the world”. Hell, NO! Looking down helps me find money and odds and ends to use in my sculptures and artwork. Looking down allows me to see flowers and fauna I would have missed otherwise.

I decided to put in a few photos of things I have found while walking… and looking down.

"Three Little Angels"

"Three Little Angels"

photohunter7iq1

The little angels were found one by one in different locations, each one shortly after each of my miscarriages. The first, I found while walking along a street in New York City. I had just been looking at one in a store but decided they were too expensive. Later that day, I found one on the street. Like the others that were to follow, they had been trodden on and mangled and, in a way, that seemed appropriate.

Serendipity….

"Blood Root"

"Blood Root"

Almost hidden in the leaf litter on a late Spring day.

Found the same day….

Sharp-lobed Hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba)

Sharp-lobed Hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba)

and…

Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides)

Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides)

Of course, in times gone by, walking was the only way of getting around, on land at least. Located on the edge of Pinecrest Cemetery, in Nepean (where my father is buried), are the last remnants of an Indian trail which led from a long-used stopping point down the Ottawa River, on Britannia Bay (Lake Deschaines), to Black Rapids. There is a cairn to mark one end of it but you can easily see the trail up from what is now a busy city road, through the stand of trees and up the rise into what is now the cemetery. The few people who might wander up the well-worn trail, don’t even know that they are following a trail perhaps 200 or more years old.

"Indian Trail between Lake Deschaines and Black Rapids"

"Indian Trail between Lake Deschaines and Black Rapids"

Part of the trail

Part of the trail

Looking down one end of the trail to Baseline Road

Looking down one end of the trail to Baseline Road

Went for a walk.

I have to start getting more exercise to lower my blood pressure. So, today, I decided to go for a walk on one of the many, many trails, nearby. I decided on the Pinhey Forest Trail (the one off Slack Road), here in Nepean, which is fairly close to home. I was hoping to see some Chickadees so brought along some seed.

I brought Mom along because she is going stir-crazy, now that she has had her license suspended.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much in the way of wildlife out and about. We saw a squirrel and a fair number of squirrel tracks. What we DID see was what you see in the photo below. Probably the work of a a Pileated Woodpecker.

Woodpecked tree, Pinhey Forest Trail

Woodpecked tree, Pinhey Forest Trail

Unfortunately, as well, Mom’s hip began to hurt towards the end of our walk. It was just too long for her and she had to rest a number of times, including sitting in the snow in the middle of the trail. She enjoyed it but it was just too long for her. It is so sad for her because not too many years ago, she used to cross country ski along the same trails.

My friend Krys suggested the trails behind the Nepean Sportsplex. They are part of the same trails but north-west of the Slack Road trails. There are lots of Chickadees there, she says.

More about the Pinhey Forest: This forest is named after Mr. Pinhey, who donated the land in 1948 so that it could be used to demonstrate conservation practices.

Pinhey Trails

Pinhey Trails

In regards my blood pressure. I went and had my tests done today.

One thing I have noticed is that I am having hot flashes almost constantly. I can feel the blood rushing up from my chest and to my face and I get a panicked feeling… sort of the kind when you would get when you realize you did something really awful and are going to be in real trouble…. Think of sending a really important document off and realizing that you sent the wrong draft with all the wrong information on it… Multiply that by 3 or 4 hundred times a day. And then I start to sweat.

From Baghdad to Peace Country by Sherry LePage, – NFB

From Baghdad to Peace Country, is a film about Canadian artist Deryk Houston who, in 1999, traveled to Baghdad to witness first-hand the impact of international sanctions on the Iraqi people, and his unique nature art project designed to call attention to the situation of the children of Iraq.

These are some of Deryk’s landscape paintings.

Kechikahigh

Muskwa Kechika

 

Cows Near Home

Continents

Continents

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