Friday, December 31, 2010

Tracks in the snow

We went for a snowshoe on our property. Lots of animal tracks. So happy to see a bears tracks! At least one that lives near us survived the hunt. Seeing those tracks is a New Years gift for me. There were also coyote and Bobcat tracks. Every time I set foot on that property I fall in love all over again. I'm so looking forward to starting my class and using the land for my projects. Happy New Year!

Christmas Count 2010

I had a wonderful time out birding with two of the most outstanding birders I know. Both have been birding more years then I have been alive. We spent about 8 hours out in the field and tallied more then 40 species, which is excellent for our area in the Winter. Most of the area we were assigned is in the black dirt region of Orange County NY. We are blessed to have Tundra species visit us every Winter. Notables were a Lapland Longspur, Rough-legged hawks, both light and dark phase. Personally I find the Dark phase Rough-legged Hawk to be the most beautiful of all Raptors that inhabit our area. The gorgeous sunset picture was taken while observing 7 Short-ear owls hunting over the fields. What a special end to a fantastic day of birding.

Tomorrow marks a New Year! 1/1/11 what a awesome number to start the year with! For the first time in a long time, I will be putting myself as number ONE, I will be spending the next couple of years educating myself further. I'm excited to finally make some steps forward for my future, with out worrying about taking time from my family. It's time for me to step up my pace, my sons are almost all grown, and my life is ticking away. It's NOW OR NEVER.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Count 2010

Because my hubby is such a complete doll and arranged it so I could do the payroll today, tomorrow I will be participating in the 111th annual Xmas bird count! It was postponed from Monday because of the snowstorm. I am excited to join my friends for a full day of birding. I haven't done much birding since the Hawk Watch ended 6 weeks ago. Beautiful weather is expected, 35 degrees and 4mph winds, sunny skys! We are going to have a good day with record species....I can feel it! Let the birding begin!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bird List Today

We had a Blizzard Sunday night into Monday, we got around 2 feet of snow. Lots of birds visiting the feeders. I can no longer do the Audubon Xmas count as it was postponed to Thursday, and I have to work. I will conduct my own Warwick species count.

At my feeders:
Mourning Doves
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
WB Nuthatch
AM Tree Sparrow
WT Sparrow
Red Bellied Woodpecker
Blue Jay
T Titmouse
Purple Finch
House Finch
Gold Finch
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Carolina Wren

Bucket List for 2011

With the New Year quickly approaching, it is time to work on my bucket list again. I plan on spending the year working on my Nature Education. This coming year I want to go to Cornell for their Master Naturalist Course. I am waiting for the dates. I am starting after the first of the year another Naturalist program online. I am also taking the Rabies Vector Species Class with the NYS Wildlife Rehabilitation Council at their annual conference 11/4-11/6. It is going to be a busy year. I need to stop wasting so much time online doing NOTHING! I see my life slipping away moment by many interesting things to do with it, the time is NOW!

1. Master Naturalist Course
2. Online Naturalist Course (4 units)
3. Rabies Vector Course

12/29 Tonight while doing some reading on simplifying my life....I do need to clean out and organize myself before I add anything else to my first goal for 2011....SIMPLIFY MY LIFE! Get rid of more clutter, organize my possessions, get rid of things I no longer need or use, make more time and space for my new life of studying and begin to move forward to my lifelong goal of becoming a working Naturalist.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


A few years ago I was feeling disconnected from traditional religions, and missing some way to explain and express my own spiriturality I began searching online for a *Nature Religion* I came across this website when it was in it's infancy: And since then...I have personally call myself a Pantheist. I discovered through facebook that the site now has a busy online forum! That pantheists are finding ways to celebrate holidays in simple meaningful ways. I am very excited about the forum. Finding a group of people that I can communicate with who view the world of Nature as I do is going to make the coming year much more meaningful for me. I am so excited to have the forum to learn more about Pantheism.

Yesterday I ordered two sets of 12 candles, for the festival of lights. Hopefully it comes ASAP, as I'd like to still light the candles each day. I also ordered one for next I'm prepared. I ordered 4 sets of candles for the two Solstices and two Equinoxes for 2011.

Twelve consecutive days of the Festival of Lights: these are the Beatitudes.

RELIGION "We vow to uphold the truth of our religion.". Blessed are those who worship for they will be elated.

NATURE "We vow to live in harmony with Nature." Blessed are the lovers of Nature for they have seen the face of God.

ENVIRONMENT "We vow to protect the environment" Blessed are the friends of the earth for they are the hope of the world.

HUMANITY "We vow to realize the human potential for good in our lives, our work and in our relations with all sentient beings." Blessed are we humans, for the abundance of life is ours.

LOVE "We vow to fill our hearts with love, friendship and compassion." Blessed are those who love for they will obtain love.

UNITY "We vow to help diffuse Pantheist beliefs, values and practices throughout the world, and to support our fellow Pantheists in the difficulties they may encounter.” Blessed are the Pantheists for they will inherit the Earth.

FREEDOM "We vow to promote freedom throughout the world." Blessed are the free, for they will lead the way.

VIRTUE "We vow to cultivate virtue in our lives, and to set a good example for others." Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after virtue, for they will receive their reward.

PEACE "We vow to promote a culture of peace." Blessed are the peacemakers, for they are resplendent.

BEAUTY "We vow to celebrate and protect the beauty of Nature and to carry on the Pantheist tradition in the arts." Blessed are the creators of beauty, for they illumine the world.

KNOWLEDGE "We vow to support scientific research and to ensure that our beliefs are compatible with its findings." Blessed are those who seek for they will find.

JOY “We vow to let our joy shine forth in the world.” Blessed are the joyful for they will be called the light of the world.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Pantheist tradition for solstices & equinoxes

SEASONAL PANTHEIST TRADITIONS: For solstices and equinoxes try the seasonal mandala idea illustrated here. The central candle represents the sun, five candles around represent the earth's lithosphere (air, brown), hydrosphere (water, light blue), atmosphere (air, dark blue), biosphere (life, green)and noosphere (humans, light brown). Collected objects represent each one of these.

The twelve days’ period spanning the Winter Solstice and New Year’s Day is celebrated by some Pantheists as the Festival of Light. Pantheists may choose to meditate in turn on each of the key Pantheist values assigned to each month of the year, and pledge to uphold these values in the New Year.

20 December - Cosmos
21 December - Nature
22 December - Environment
23 December - Humanity
24 December - Love
25 December - Unity
26 December - Freedom
27 December - Virtue
28 December - Peace
29 December - Beauty
30 December - Knowledge
31 December - Joy

As the Sun sets, a new candle is lit, so that progressively by 31 December a total of twelve candles will be burning. A Beatitude has been prepared for each of the twelve values, and may be recited at the lighting of each new candle.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Solstice, Eclipse & Full Moon!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010, when we not only experience a powerful Full Moon & Lunar Eclipse, but also the annual Winter Solstice, the official first day of Winter.

A Lunar Eclipse happens only during Full Moons, usually twice/yearly, when Earth is directly in-between the solar sphere & the lunar sphere; therefore Earth’s shadow falls on the Moon. Tonight the Eclipse begins at 1:33am EST. At that time, Earth's shadow will appear as a dark-red bite at the edge of the lunar disk. It takes about an hour for the "bite" to expand and swallow the entire Moon. Totality commences at 02:41 am EST and lasts for 72 minutes. At 3:17am EST the Moon will be in deepest shadow, displaying the most fantastic shades of coppery red. Why red? A quick trip to the Moon provides the answer: Imagine yourself standing on a dusty lunar plain looking up at the sky. Overhead hangs Earth, nightside down, completely hiding the sun behind it. The eclipse is underway.You might expect Earth seen in this way to be utterly dark, but it's not. The rim of the planet is on fire! As you scan your eye around Earth's circumference, you're seeing every sunrise and every sunset in the world, all of them, all at once. This incredible light beams into the heart of Earth's shadow, filling it with a coppery glow and transforming the Moon into a great red orb. This lunar eclipse falls on the date of the northern winter solstice. How rare is that? Total lunar eclipses in northern winter are fairly common. There have been three of them in the past ten years alone. A lunar eclipse smack-dab on the date of the solstice, however, is unusual. Since Year 1, only one previous instance of an eclipse matching the same calendar date as the solstice, and that is December 21, 1638.You won't have to wait 372 years for the next one...that will be on December 21, 2094. (Dr.Tony Phillips)

The Solstice (6:38pm EST) is the darkest time of the year (Northern Hemisphere), the longest night & yet it is also the turning point when we begin to experience a bit more light every day. The Ancients in many cultures celebrated this magical occasion & so do I!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

NJ kicked off its first bear hunt in five years yesterday. 140 Successful hunters (murderers) arrived at the Pequest weigh-in station telling stories of shooting bears that seemed far from skittish, some even used bait to lure their quary in. At least 150 bears were killed statewide on day one, the biggest one-day take in the hunt's seven-year history. This is just unreal....I wonder how many years I will go with out seeing a bear in the wild again. So sick to my stomach right now.

To update...568 bears were murdered during the hunt...I have to wonder just how many sows were killed, and now their cubs left to fend for themselves and how many others were wounded and will eventually die a horrible slow death. SICK.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Black Bears

Today say a prayer and/or send good vibes to all the Black Bears in New Jersey that will lose their lives under the name of *Sport*. These are the very bears that I see on my daily ramblings. I love them so. The thought of them being dragged out of their cozy dens to be shot for no reason, makes me really dislike the people who claim to be doing this to control the population and keep down man/bear problems. The only way to do that is to practice careful waste/food management at your home or business. NJ never gives anyone tickets for breaking their laws about this. It really is simple to keep bears away....don't feed your pets outside,keep your grill clean, feed the birds after the bears are hibernating, clean up fruit around trees and keep your trash locked up until garbage day, in a bear proof container. Bears are opportunistic feeders, they will go for what ever is easy. If there is no food in the suburbs they will stay in the woods where they belong. If cubs don't get conditioned to think of houses/people as a place to feed, then they will stay far away from man. I'm sick to my stomach thinking about the blood shed going on right now and for the next several days. The last hunt was in 2004 and 52% of the bears taken....were less then 1.5 years old, baby truly SICK is that?

Sunday, December 5, 2010


The last couple of days and nights the temperatures have been hovering around the 30s. The hard frost is now in the ground. Gloves, long johns, ear warmers, wool socks and fleece sweaters are now required gear to hike in. Winter is here. I don't dread it like other people seem to. If you dress properly, you are never cold. I enjoy seeing the earth sleep for the next few months. I can see the trees more clearly. Their shapes and bark now exposed, each more beautiful then the next. Because there is less to see, hikes are now spent deep in thought, a wonderful time to meditate.


Driving home from work last Thursday instead of mindlessly driving, I decided to get in the moment and enjoy the ride. With in minutes of driving I came upon this scene while I waited at a stop light. Although the traffic light is on a street that I really dislike because of the traffic, there is always the beauty of nature no matter where you travel. I snapped this photo with my cell phone, and enjoyed a gorgeous sunset that lasted most of my drive. Beauty is just need to open your eyes.