Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Squirrel Sitting!

Saturday afternoon I received a call from a homeowner who's husband had come across a squirrel nest in their attic. They chased the female out and blocked her from getting back in. The three babies were put in a Spackle bucket. I called a fellow rehabber who is only taking baby squirrels. She went and picked them up, but only on the condition that I could take them for her while she went on vacation. She found them in horrible condition, they had no bedding, and were soaked in urine. They immediately took to the formula she provided and each had a bath and all are very healthy. Today she brought the babies to my house. They are adorable, what a blessing to have them for the week. I am really loving doing rehab work. I have finally found my calling for volunteer work.

Yesterday at 180 I found another Vernal Pool it is full of Spotted Salamander eggs. So many surprises on the property...enjoying every moment.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


The virgin goddess of Night and Magic,
protector of all wild creatures.
She is the goddess of childbirth
and the labor-easing herb, artemesia, is named for her.

She is the protector of women.

Artemis is a Moon goddess.

The daughter of Leto and Zeus, and twin sister of Apollo. Artemis is the goddess of the wilderness, the hunt and wild animals, and fertility (she became a goddess of fertility and childbirth mainly in cities). She was often depicted with the crescent of the moon above her forehead and was sometimes identified with Selene (goddess of the moon). Artemis was one of the Olympians and a virgin goddess. Her main vocation was to roam mountain forests and uncultivated land with her nymphs in attendance hunting for lions, panthers, hinds and stags. Contradictory to the later, she helped in protecting and seeing to their well-being, also their safety and reproduction. She was armed with a bow and arrows which were made by Hephaestus and the Cyclopes.

In one legend, Artemis was born one day before her brother Apollo. Her mother gave birth to her on the island of Ortygia, then, almost immediately after her birth, she helped her mother to cross the straits over to Delos, where she then delivered Apollo. This was the beginning of her role as guardian of young children and matron of women in childbirth. Being a goddess of contradictions, she was the protectress of women in labor, but it was said that the arrows of Artemis brought them sudden death while giving birth. As was her brother, Apollo, Artemis was a divinity of healing, but also brought and spread diseases such as leprosy, rabies and even gout.

Being associated with chastity, Artemis at an early age (in one legend she was three years old) asked her father, the great god Zeus, to grant her eternal virginity. Also, all her companions were virgins. Artemis was very protective of her purity, and gave grave punishment to any man who attempted to dishonor her in any form. Actaeon, while out hunting, accidentally came upon Artemis and her nymphs, who bathing naked in a secluded pool. Seeing them in all their naked beauty, the stunned Actaeon stopped and gazed at them, but when Artemis saw him ogling them, she transformed him into a stag. Then, incensed with disgust, she set his own hounds upon him. They chased and killed what they thought was another stag, but it was their master. As with Orion, a giant and a great hunter, there are several legends which tell of his death, one involving Artemis. It is said that he tried to rape the virgin goddess, so killed him with her bow and arrows. Another says she conjured up a scorpion which killed Orion and his dog. Orion became a constellation in the night sky, and his dog became Sirius, the dog star. Yet another version says it was the scorpion which stung him and was transformed into the constellation with Orion, the later being Scorpio. Artemis was enraged when one of her nymphs, Callisto, allowed Zeus to seduce her, but the great god approached her in one of his guises; he came in the form of Artemis. The young nymph was unwittingly tricked, and she gave birth to Arcas, the ancestor of the Arcadians, but Artemis showed no mercy and changed her into a bear. She then shot and killed her. As Orion, she was sent up to the heavens, and became the constellation of the Great Bear (which is also known as the Plough).

Artemis was very possessive. She would show her wrath on anyone who disobeyed her wishes, especially against her sacred animals. Even the great hero Agamemnon came upon the wrath of Artemis, when he killed a stag in her sacred grove. His punishment came when his ships were becalmed, while he made his way to besiege Troy. With no winds to sail his ships he was told by the seer Calchas that the only way Artemis would bring back the winds was for him to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia. Some versions say he did sacrifice Iphigenia, others that Artemis exchanged a deer in her place, and took Iphigenia to the land of the Tauri (the Crimea) as a priestess, to prepare strangers for sacrifice to Artemis.

Artemis with her twin brother, Apollo, put to death the children of Niobe. The reason being that Niobe, a mere mortal, had boasted to Leto, the mother of the divine twins, that she had bore more children, which must make her superior to Leto. Apollo being outraged at such an insult on his mother, informed Artemis. The twin gods hunted them down and shot them with their bows and arrows; Apollo killed the male children and Artemis the girls.

Artemis was worshiped in most Greek cities but only as a secondary deity. However, to the Greeks in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) she was a prominent deity. In Ephesus, a principal city of Asia Minor, a great temple was built in her honor, which became one of the "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World". But at Ephesus she was worshiped mainly as a fertility goddess, and was identified with Cybele the mother goddess of eastern lands. The cult statues of the Ephesian Artemis differ greatly from those of mainland Greece, whereas she is depicted as a huntress with her bow and arrows. Those found at Ephesus show her in the eastern style, standing erect with numerous nodes on her chest. There have been many theories as to what they represent. Some say they are breasts, others that they are bulls testes which were sacrificed to her. Which is the true interpretation remains uncertain, but each represent fertility.

There were festivals in honor of Artemis, such as the Brauronia, which was held in Brauron; and the festival of Artemis Orthia, held at Sparta, when young Spartan boys would try to steal cheeses from the altar. As they tried they would be whipped, the meaning of Orthia and the nature of the ritual whipping has been lost and there is no logical explanation or translation. Among the epithets given to Artemis are: Potnia Theron (mistress of wild animals) this title was mentioned by the great poet Homer; Kourotrophos (nurse of youth's); Locheia (helper in childbirth); Agrotera (huntress); and Cynthia (taken from her birthplace on Mount Cynthus on Delos). When young girls reached puberty they were initiated into her cult, but when they decided to marry, which Artemis was not against, they were asked to lay in front of the altar all the paraphernalia of their virginity, toys, dolls and locks of their hair, they then left the domain of the virgin goddess.

Our Land

Yesterday we invited friends and family up to our new home site to drink a toast and share our happiness. A beautiful black bear graced us with his presence just as we were all toasting. Our guests were able to watch him for about 20 minutes out in nature, searching for food down by the river. During that time I realized just how lucky we are to have found this beautiful piece of property that in a couple of years we will call home. I already feel as though I was meant to live there, that everything from the past was leading us to this incredible piece of property. If we had done any one thing different during the years we would not have gotten the chance to buy the lot. There is no other piece of property anywhere in my town that I would rather own and live on. How magical is Life? I am now truly a believer that everything happens for a reason and if you go along for the ride, things happen that change your life. No need to worry or over think, you are where you are suppose to be right now. We are tipi shopping...we are going to put one up this Summer, I am so excited, it is something I've secretly wanted and now is our chance.

Deep in slumber, dreams unending,
Wise old bear, patient, strong,
Send me dreams of transformation.
Grant me intuition along
With introspection of my life,
Inner listening, no more strife.

Caution, Healing, Leadership

The power of the Bear totem
is the power of introspection.
The answers to all our questions
lie within us.
Each of us has the capacity to quiet the mind,
enter the silence and know.

Just as the bear hibernates during the winter,
people with a Bear totem will be quieter
during the winter months. But they
must awaken in the spring and seek
whatever opportunities are around them.

When you have a Bear totem,
you are being guided to a leadership role.
You must be fearless in defending your beliefs.

The Bear also encourages you to exercise
your abilities as a natural healer.

Bears are associated with trees which are natural antennas, linking the heavens and the Earth.
Bear also has links to the seven color rays of the Universal Light
as well as Lunar ties, linking the subconscious and the unconscious mind.
It is associated with the Goddess Artemis.

Weather is cool again. Spotted Salamander eggs in the vernal pool at the property. Huge flocks of Blackbirds. Redwings, Grackles and Cowbirds.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bear, snapping turtle and egg masses

Last night I had my first Black Bear sighting, he was in the backyard trying to get at an empty feeder. He ran soon as I opened the window to get a picture of him. People always ask if I'm afraid of them, and honestly I tell them no. I don't have an ounce of fear when I see one. I love Black bears and cherish every single moment I get to spend with one. I'm still watching the Lily and Hope cam. http://www.bear.org/website/lily-a-hope/live-den-cam.html I hope next Summer to take Dr. Lynn Rogers Bear class.

Today Petey and I went up to the Co. Park at 7am. Immediately after getting out of the car, I saw a male Pilated Woodpecker. It was 37 degrees out. We hiked up the trail and I checked each Vernal Pool along the way for female salamanders, it had rained during the night, and there were none...but there were newly laid egg masses, I missed it again. Next year I try again.

New Rehab today, blind snapping turtle missing part of his front leg. Animal shelter got him in this afternoon, he was in a sewer. A runner found him. He must have come out of hibernation and not made it back to his pond. He is very healthy. I will keep him for a few days and release him in a pond that he will be able to find lots to eat. It is amazing how well snapping turtles are able to survive, despite disabilities, . Years ago when I was a runner, early in the morning I came across a female Snapping Turtle laying eggs on the side of the road, she had no eyes. I saw her again the following year, again laying her eggs. Snapping Turtles are amazing creatures. At this past years wildlife rehab conference I took a class on saving snapping turtles that have what would appear to be fatal injuries including head trauma. Most can make it,we were encouraged to try and save them, give them lots of time, maybe a couple of years. I need more large Rubbermaid containers, better start watching the sales. Right now I have 5 turtles, 1 pet, 2 rehabs and 2 fosters. It's raining turtles and Spring has just sprung!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Should have, could have, would have.....

If only I wasn't so tired last night! The male Spotted Salamanders did their thing last night. Not one remained in any of the vernal pools Petey and I visited this morning in both parks, Cascade Lake and Warwick Town Park. I missed it again! Hard to get up and go out on a rainy night when you are exhausted, but how much fun would it have been to see all the activity? Ok...tonight I'm going out!

Highlights this morning were a Barred Owl and a Red Fox in the Co. Park. A large flock of turkeys on the property that we close on today!

Now for some happy news! My beautiful baby boy Petey has been accepted in to the Stem Cell Study at the University of Florida Veterinary School in Gainesville Florida. He is going to have a procedure done where they implant stem cells in the damaged part of his heart to hopefully either slow down the progress of his heart disease or a dream come true maybe even stop it. Petey and I are going on a road trip at the end of April!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Waiting, watching.....Spring Update

Spring has started to trickle in here in lower NY. Went out for a hike yesterday up to Cascade Lake Park and almost all the snow has finally melted. So far no signs of any wood frogs or Spring Peepers, I'm heading out today with Petey to check and see if they are already filling the vernal pools up in the County Park. Rain is due sometime today, so tonight looks very promising for the *BIG NIGHT* we so look forward to every year. Spotted Salamanders come out in the hundreds to mate and lay eggs. The last two nights there has been a bear at the house,thankfully I took in all my good feeders. This is the earliest I can remember them coming out of hibernation. Most of the Winter birds have gone, I saw a couple of Juncos yesterday, and a few W.T. Sparrows are lingering at the feeder. Lots more turtles out yesterday up at Cascade Lake Park. Also saw first Mourning Cloak of the year.

Morning hike, County Park, heard Spring Peeper on the pond and Wood frogs in all the vernal pools. No Salamander activity at all yet.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring is here!

Yesterday I got out for a nice little hike with my oldest son and Petey. After being in Florida for the past week I was surprised to find the trails up at Cascade Lake still under snow. While we were away there were torrential rains that caused major flooding and road closures. Florida also had up to seven inches of rain, the end of their storm occurring while we were en-route, making for a very rough plane ride. Petey hadn't had a run in over a week and had the time of his life running, trailing and leaving pee mail. He also took his first swim, which he needed very badly! He is very happy his mommy is back home and lets me know every chance he gets with lots of kisses. On the walk we saw our first Painted Turtle and heard a Phoebe. No Spring Peepers nor Wood Frogs chorusing as of yet. I heard a Woodcock calling last Friday at Steward Airport when we arrived for our flight to Florida. A couple of Turkeys continue at my bird feeders. Most of the W.T.Sparrows and Juncos are gone.

Happy Birthday to my youngest son who turns 16 today. Incredible how quickly time has passed.

My beautiful Petey remains happy and healthy. I cherish each moment I spend with him. Every moment is turned into Quality time, as it should be for everyone in your life. Today is all you have so make it a good one!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Red Ear Slidder Fosters

Today I picked up two new babies, Red Ear Slidders. I am fostering them for the Warwick Valley Humane Society until they are big enough for their adopters pond.

Flocks of Black birds grow each day. Snow is still very deep not great for hiking, hopefully this 50 degree weather will help melt it soon, I'm ready to get back out there with my Petey.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

When I awoke this morning I looked out the window and found this poor little girl sleeping under our bird feeder. She appeared exhausted and stayed close to the house for several hours. As the sounds in the house increased she moved to the back of our yard and laid down under the bamboo. I can only imagine what she must be going through. Our snow is still so deep and there are so many coyote packs around. Maybe she sort refuge here from them. On our property last weekend we came upon a coyote kill, a young deer. It had only happened the night before. There were a dozen Turkey vultures all over the carcass. Some have to die in order for others to live another day. It is the way of nature.

Read a really disturbing article in Audubon this month. It was about wildlife photos. I was not aware that there are game farms that keep wildlife just for the sole purpose of renting them for photo shoots. All those gorgeous wildlife photos in calenders and such can be fakes. Pictures of animals who basically spend their lives in cages just so we can have beautiful pictures of them to look at. What the game farms do is bring the animal to a fenced in area for photos shoots. How sick has our world become? I for one don't support this, and will be looking for labeling that tells where a photo came from. Wildlife belongs wild and free.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Harbinger of Spring is here!!!!

Today the first Red Wing Blackbirds came to my feeders, Spring can't be far behind. It immediately reminds me of all the wonderful nature experiences are coming soon. The Spring Peepers will be singing their little hearts out, Woodcock doing their spectacular aerial dance in the moonlight, Giant Mole Salamanders out in the rain heading to their breeding Vernal pools and so much more. The advent of Spring blooming is the most wonderful time of life.

Spent the last couple of days up in Vermont on our annual work trip, always a great time. Good food, people, wine and laughs! The scenery isn't too bad either.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Spring Birds....

We had two snowstorms last week totally about 40 inches. After wards I had two good birds at the feeders, a Brown Thrasher and a Rusty Blackbird. Today there was a couple dozen Robins. Today there as also a Grackle, but so far no Red Wing Blackbirds. Turkeys continue, they come several times a day in different groups. Fox Sparrow!

Sunday we went out snowshoeing on the property. Across the river we could see a lot of Turkey Vultures on the ground and in the pine trees, as we got closer we knew there was something dead. Coyotes had killed a deer the night before. It was like being in a nature documentary. The property is so beautiful, can't believe it is almost ours.

Heading up to Vermont today for our annual trip. Looking forward to being with our friends and seeing the beautiful forests of Vermont!