Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last day of the year 2011

Took an awesome hike with my hubby and Monty today. Gorgeous 40 degree weather. We tried to get moving a bit quicker and do some steep hills as both of us have committed to getting back in shape this year. We have a 30th wedding anniversary coming and have booked a trip to Costa Rica where we will spend all of our time hiking around the jungle. I want to feel like a million bucks for this trip and enjoy every moment!

I've already set my goals for the year on my birthday. So no need for resolutions.

I want to say that I'm deeply grateful for all the good things in my life. I have an amazing husband, 4 awesome sons, great family, lots of friends, Monty, food on the table, roof over our heads,bills paid and many adventures awaiting us in the coming year. Happy 2012!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Simplifying the Holidays

Brown Paper Wrapping

Simple Holiday Tree

Wild Greens

XMas Eve Tree for the Birds

Goodies for the wild birds

This year I tried to simplify our family holiday traditions. It isn't easy letting go of the past and embracing a newer more peaceful less commercial season. I plan on furthering the simplifying next year. I realized what I love best about this time of year, is the time we have with our family and friends. If I spend every available bit of energy getting things done so that others can have a wonderful time, where does that leave me? Exhausted and unable to enjoy any of it. I'm not going to spend the rest of my life taking care of everyone but me. I am going to further cut back next year.

I did decorate my bird tree with lots of goodies, and I love that tradition just as much as the very first year I started doing it. This year we picked out a smaller Xmas tree and I filled it with all my bird ornaments, it was my dream tree! I loved decorating the tree for the first time ever. I actually enjoyed the process. I am the only one in my home who puts up and takes down tree, so why do it for anyone else? They don't care what I do with it. I decorated the outdoor Window boxes and baskets with wild greens and berries that the birds can eat. Hubby put up his big wreath on the barn, which is his favorite tradition. He also baked a couple kinds of cookies that HE enjoys. I wrapped all the gifts in brown paper that is recyclable, no one said a word about it. We threw a Winter Solstice Bon-Fire party up at our Tipi. I think that was our favorite night. Being out in Nature and grateful for all that we have filled us with so much love. Next year I am going to make a suggestion to our family and friends that no gifts should be exchanged, instead make a commitment to meet everyone at a restaurant or each others homes during the year and enjoy a special meal together. Same cost, just less stress for all of us! I am also not going to do cards again. I feel they are a big waste of paper, and with facebook email and the phone....I keep up with everyone I care about on a daily basis.

My newest tradition was celebrating the Festival of Lights. Each day I would light a candle that focuses on a Pantheist value which corresponds to the value focused on in each month of the year. It is simple, beautiful and reminds me just how blessed I am. The tradition starts with the Solstice and continues until the New Year. Love it.

12/20-The Universe (Jan)
12/21-Nature (Feb)
12/22-The Environment (March)
12/23-Humanity (April)
12/24-Love (May)
12/25-Unity (June)
12/26 Freedom (July)
12/27-Virtue (August)
12/28-Peace (Sept)
12/29-Beauty (Oct)
12/30-Knowledge (Nov)
12/31-Joy (Dec)

Festival of Lights

Despite having the major loss of my beloved Petey and then going through the death of my wonderful step brother with my mother and stepfather, my life is good.

I am feeling extremely blessed and grateful for all of 2011. I am happy to be back to my old self, I missed being full of joy and a sense wonder for each blessed day that I'm given here on this beautiful earth.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Winter Solstice!

Tonight we celebrate the Winter Solstice at the Tipi with friends and family. I'm looking forward to celebrating the real meaning of the season, being with those we love out in nature. I have all the goodies ready for my annual bird tree.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Birthday Bucket List

Yesterday was my 52nd Birthday. Not the best of birthdays having to spend it locked in my office doing a payroll down in Spring Valley. I am grateful for having a job, and for my hubby having another successful year. There are many who are suffering greatly right now. Working is good. I did have lots of birds at my feeder all day long, which is always awesome. On Wednesday we had a Peregrine Falcon fly and land on a tower just behind work. Exciting sighting for me, and I'm sure one with a message. Yesterday morning work I took Monty up to our land with an offering for the birds who live near the tipi, lots of seed, corn and a suet cake. I went over to Petey's grave and thought about my wish from last years birthday candles....I wished that Petey would be with me for another birthday. Sadly we all know that didn't happen. I do need to be grateful for everyone else in my life who spent that birthday with me last year, they are all alive and healthy. I am indeed blessed. My life is full of so many people that I love and who love me. It's ok for me to be sad and miss my Petey, but it isn't ok to forget the infinite blessings of this life that I've been more then lucky to have come my way. Souls come and go in our lives, each with the possibility of teaching us new lessons, but only if we are open to the possibility of receiving them. I'm open and ready. Thank you for a wonderful year, I feel full and blessed.

Bucket list for 53rd year:

2. Do my volunteer work at CLP
3. Continue to Simplify my life
4. Get in shape again, sick and tired of feeling so weak and achy
5. Mind my own backyard
6. Be grateful everyday for everything
7. Stop spending so much time online, get up and out there
8. Embrace the paleo eating lifestyle completely. Eat: Meat, Fish, Eggs, Nuts, Veggies & Fruit
9. Trip with hubby to celebrate our 30th anniversary....Costa Rica
10. Be HAPPY!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

Red Girls

I continue to see my baby girls every day. There are at least 3 of them hanging around each with different territories now. Knowing they are out there free and wild makes all the hard work of rehabbing so worth it.

Kimberton visit

Love seeing all the farm animals. I feel like a kid again when I'm around them, and my heart tells me to become a vegetarian again!

This past weekend we visited our oldest son at his Americorp assignment at Camphill Village in Kimberton PA. What an amazing place for him to be spending a year. This is the description of what the village is all about from their website:

Located on 432 acres of farm, gardens and woodlands in Chester County, Pennsylvania, Kimberton Hills is also a local center for culture and a model for sound ecological living.

Founded in 1972, Kimberton Hills is part of the international Camphill Movement. Developed by Karl Koenig, M.D. in 1940, the first Camphill village was started in Scotland. Camphill now includes over 100 independent communities in more than 20 countries on four continents. The communities value service, sharing, spiritual nourishment, and recognition of each individual’s gifts, and offers a model of renewal for the wider society. Camphill communities include children, youth and adults with developmental disabilities, as well as those with societal and personal vulnerabilities.

Rudolf Steiner (1861 to 1925)
Dr. Koenig and the Camphill movement were inspired by Anthroposophy, the work of Rudolf Steiner, Ph.D. (1861-1925), an Austrian scientist, philosopher and educator. Anthroposophy is a contemporary path of self-transformation which enables people to be in the world in a fuller way and to contribute to healthy social and ecological endeavors. Anthroposophy embraces a view of the human being which recognizes the spiritual nature and wholeness of individuals, regardless of handicapping conditions.

OUR MISSION is to create a living and working community environment where everyone, especially those with special needs, can discover and develop their full potential. We value each person, regardless of ability, for his or her unique contribution to the village.

Community members, with and without disabilities, live and work together as expanded families in comfortable homes throughout the village, forming a supportive community based on shared responsibility and caring. This lifestyle helps to foster mutual help and understanding, as people live and work side by side, day by day, each learning from the other.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Long week

Last evening I was finally able to get Monty out for a much needed nice run with a couple of other dogs. The day after my last post my step-brother passed away after a long hard battle with cancer. I wasn't close with him, because I chose not to be. He had already been diagnosed with cancer before he came into our lives. I've lost so many already, I felt my heart couldn't take another hit right now. Well that back fired. Now I regret not having spent more time with him. He was a wonderful kind human being. What can I learn from this? LIVE IN THE DAMN MOMENT! When given the opportunity to go or do something...DO IT! Open your heart and soul to everyone and everything. Do not be afraid to love, because when it's all said and done....LOVE IS ALL THAT REMAINS! It stays in your heart forever. Thank you Jr. for another life lesson that I got too late. For a couple of years, I had the older brother I always dreamed of having, too bad I didn't get to know him better. I think my heart and mind was so wrapped up in Petey's illness and subsequent death that nothing else mattered to me. The heart can share pain and happiness all at the same time....practice what you preach!

Today is it...this isn't a practice run. Heading down to PA to visit my oldest son, really looking forward to seeing him and sharing his new life.

My little Red girls continue to come to the feeders, it warms my heart to see them looking so healthy. I squirrel sat over TG for Oscar the horror, WOW is he nasty. Amazing how different they are when raised without siblings.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Gorgeous warm weather. Had a nice hike with Monty. Not much bird life about, a single Pilated, pair of Mallards on the pond, some chickadees, nuthatch and titmouse.

Monday, November 21, 2011

I had five American Pipit up in the Co. Park this afternoon.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Found my calling

Yesterday I took an amazing Intensive Turtle Rehabilitation class, taught by the states top turtle rehabber. She is a total inspiration. I learned so much from her, and her methods are so simple and straight forward that I feel so much more confident to try and save turtles who have been hit by cars or chewed up by dogs.

As of late I've been spreading myself out a bit too much with what I want to do with the next chapter of my life. It's been great fun to take classes and connect with like minded people, to finally have the opportunity do what I've dreamed about since I was a young girl. I love all aspects of nature, but was confused as to what I should focus on to make a life contribution that has a lasting effect in the world. Turtles have always been my first love. Saving just one native turtle is an incredible contribution to the species. They are so long lived and in such danger of extinction, due to development, traffic and poaching. It takes a female wood turtle sixteen years to reach sexual maturity. Because her egg clutches are so small, she needs to live twenty years to reproduce herself just one time. Taking just one turtle out of her habitat has devastating future consequences for an entire population. I am going to do everything I can to help preserve the local populations of turtles here in my town. I have finally found my calling just a month before my 52nd birthday. How beautiful of a birthday gift is that? So grateful.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Animal signs...the last couple of days I've seen a skunk, fox and a bear. How lucky am I to live in an area where wildlife is so prevalent? It absolutely makes my day to see a wild animal. Last nights bear was a different one, I hope it hibernates now, as hunting season starts on Saturday.

Native American animal sign meanings:

Skunk: Just think what a remarkable defense mechanism: Nonviolent, passive, effective. The skunk sends a message to would-be predators: "Nothing personal, just back off and nobody gets hurt."

This unique method of self-protection and the way a skunk handles its predators is symbolic of:

* Defense
* Prudence
* Protection
* Confidence
* Awareness
* Pacification
* Effectiveness
* Good judgment

We would all do well to take this animal symbolism from the skunk: Do no harm. Indeed, as a totem animal, the skunk asks us to defend ourselves effectively, without causing further conflict.

Interestingly, the skunk would prefer to be even less assertive. You see, it takes over a week to reproduce its stinky juices after using them (their glands are only good for about 4 sprays). Ergo, the skunk is 100% sure it must spray before doing so as this defense tool is a commodity in the wild - not to be wasted on false alarms.

In recognizing this, we see the skunk is the ultimate pacifist, and by adopting its peace-loving ways we may obtain the carefree lifestyle this creature enjoys.

Carefree indeed, the skunk has very few predators because most of the animal kingdom recognize its tell-tale markings and know from wildlife scuttlebutt the skunk is not to be fooled with. As such, the skunk goes about its business with aplomb, and has an innocent quality that few wild creatures have the luxury of exhibiting.

Fox: Native American lore, fox animal symbolism deals with two interpretations. One perspective (Northern tribes) observes the fox as a wise and noble messenger. The other (Plains tribes) views the fox as a trickster playing pranks, or worse - luring one to demise.

Overwhelmingly, cultural consensus on fox animal symbolism deals with:

* cunning
* strategy
* quick-thinking
* adaptability
* cleverness
* wisdom

It is noteworthy to observe the fox while it is on the hunt. We see its entire body is pointed like an arrow - straight and tightly aimed. This is a symbolic message for us to set a determined, and powerfully focused mindset in order to "hit the target" of our desires.

* Peace
* Resurrection
* Powerful
* Benevolence
* Sovereignty
* Motherhood
* Duality

And after we consider these beary obtuse keywords, we might think bear symbolism may hold many contradictions.

We can justify that juxtaposition when observing the bear in nature. Although omnivore, the bear prefers a banal diet filled with sweet snacks like berries. Further, the bear seems heartily content to languish in sunny spots where it can stretch and snooze in leisure. We observe an amicable, mellow, easy-going energy with the bear when all conditions are favorable.

While looking for the meanings of each of these special animals I found a Native American horoscope page, I am a Owl. I like this idea so much better then our traditional horoscopes.

Owl Animal Symbolism:

The owl is sacred to the Greek goddess of learning, Athena and is even depicted on some Greco-Roman currency as a symbol of status, intelligence and of course, wealth.

In ancient Egyptian, Celtic, and Hindu cultures the symbolic meaning of owl revolved around guardianship of the underworlds, and a protection of the dead.

In this light the owl was ruler of the night and seer of souls. A misunderstanding of this necessary relationship gave the owl some negative associations with death.

It should be clear that the owl was honored as the keeper of spirits who had passed from one plane to another. Often myth indicates the owl accompanying a spirit to the underworld - winging it's newly freed soul from the physical world into the realm of spirit.

A quick-list of owl symbolic meanings:

* Wisdom
* Mystery
* Transition
* Messages
* Intelligence
* Mysticism
* Protection
* Secrets

Native Americans associated the meaning of owl with wisdom, foresight, and keeper of sacred knowledge. This may largely be due to the fact that the owl is a great foreteller of weather conditions. Also its ability to see at night is legend among the Native Americans, and this attribute would be invoked during ceremonies when an oracle of secret knowledge was required.

Similarly, West African and Aboriginal Australian cultures viewed the owl as a messenger of secrets, kin to sorcerers, as well as companions to seers, mystics and medicine people.

During medieval times in western and central Europe it was fabled that owls were actually priestesses (witches) and wizards in disguise. To this day the owl is considered a witch's familiar (an animal soul-spirit linked to a spiritual person via a unique, communicative bond).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I spent the better part of yesterday as well as some of the middle of the night wrapped in complete utter sadness. I could not stop thinking about my Petey and how much I miss him, how my soul is screaming for him to come back to me. It's been three months since his death. I still have been unable to move on with my life. I have a few good days and then many bad ones. I've been treating myself very badly with food choices,too much alcohol and allowing myself to sit in depression. I woke up thinking I've got to get moving forward, get back to living in the moment, cherishing each precious day given to me.

This morning while dressing I looked out my window and there were 5 Canada geese with 1 lone Snow goose flying by. I was happy to have caught that moment in time to see the snow goose, also thinking how sad it was that he has somehow been separated from his own kind. I decided to get Monty out for a early hike before the rain we are expecting started. We headed up to the Co. Park. Hoping that today's hike was much better then yesterdays. We had a horrible time yesterday, one of the worst I've ever had with him. He took off on me for a good 20 minutes. I wanted to kill him, to just leave and be done with trying to get him to bond enough to me, that he would never take off like that again. This isn't the first time he's run off, but it was the longest. My other dogs had never done that to me, they would take chase but return with in a minute or 2. I came to the realization that it's not Monty that's keeping us from having a better relationship, it's me. I'm still holding onto Petey. Poor Monty doesn't have a shot at my heart as long as Petey is still between us. He doesn't have the sort of attachment to me that would keep him from running off. I can't blame him, I've held him at arms length for 17 months now.

We parked down below the parking lot and started up the trail. I marveled at the beautiful carpet of leaves that now covers the forest floor. Winters nourishment for trees, how perfect nature is to have no waste. When we arrived at the vernal pool where I spread Uno's ashes, I became over whelmed with emotion, tears filled my eyes and I began to cry. A light breeze started to blow and suddenly I felt my heart expand, the world suddenly got brighter, more in focus, I felt totally alive, and then I saw them Khan, Bigelow, Uno, Mason and Petey all there with me! I truly felt their spirits! They were all happy tails wagging having the time of their lives hiking with me. I was so overwhelmed that I had to sit down. I looked at Monty....and he suddenly runs towards me with a complete look of joy on his beautiful puppy face, he starts licking my face and tears.....I could hear him saying....welcome back, I've missed you! I started to laugh and continued to feel the presence of those 5 dogs that I loved so dearly. I felt overwhelmed with gratitude that I got to have each of them in my life even if they didn't get to live long lives.

Monty and I continued on our hike, it was as if I could see all my boyz running with us. Monty was completely attuned to me, watching for direction, and constantly looking at me. He even stayed close. Towards the end of the hike a large buck ran right in front of him. I yelled STAY. Guess what....he stayed! He didn't even move a muscle. I walked up to him, leashed him and away we went. No pulling either! I was felt shear joy. So proud of my boy. As I began the drive home I looked at my was about to change to 46,000 miles.....I took that as another sign....time to build my relationship with heart dog number 6. I am going to try and get someone to make a painting for me of my five boyz and myself hiking in the woods.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Hawk watch final day 11/11/11

Today was my final shift at the Mt. Peter Hawk Watch. It was brutally cold and windy. We were hoping for a good Red-tail flight with strong N NW winds but it never happened. I did get a total of 5 Bald Eagles, 3 countable, 3 gorgeous Harriers, 2 females and a stunning silver male,1 Red Shoulder, 11 Red-tails, 14 Sharpies, a very late Osprey, and a couple of T.V.s. I had wonderful company and as always...feel blessed that I have the time to volunteer at the watch.

I am sad that the Fall is over, it went lightening quick for me. I think Petey's death 3 months ago altered my perception of time. I miss my big brown boy. Now it's already time to get ready for the holidays. I hope that I can pause long enough EACH DAY to breath, get out in nature and enjoy each precious moment of the coming season. Tomorrow I begin getting ready for the onslaught of company that is expected to begin coming and going one week from today. I want everyone to have a wonderful time filled with laughter, love and good food. I aim to do my best. House will be done completely by Sunday, grocery shop will be done on Monday and possibly Tuesday if I forget anything.

Hubby and I have begun to plan a 30th wedding anniversary trip for April, we are going back to Costa Rica, but this time to a remote part. I am beyond excited at the prospect of birding and animal watching in Costa Rica again...a dream come true for me.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Frogs out

Its still so warm out that the frogs remain active in my pond. This morning I found them all around the pound again. 55 degrees today @ 7am. Few feeder birds around. It is the full moon today. I lit my Pantheist candles.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Last night under the bird feeder we had a very large skunk who's upper body was completely white. He was s stunning fellow. I am very glad that I scanned the yard and saw him before I let Monty out.

Wood ducks up at the Lake. Not too much else around, typical Winter birds. Chickadee, T.Titmouse, Nuthatch, Kinglets, assorted sparrows. There were a few Robins. Thrush, Warblers and Phoebes seem to be gone now for the Winter.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Witch Hazel

The witch hazel is in bloom. Beautiful day, sunny clear and 60. They broke 10,000 at the Hawk watch despite the cloudless sky. Bears continue to hang around. Gray Squirrels and a few Reds are all still coming around. Really warms my heart to see them doing so well.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Gift of Nature....

This picture of my oldest son makes me smile and it also makes me realize I did what I set out to do as a mother. I gifted my four sons with a great love of the natural world. I don't think there is anything I could have done with my life that was more important then raising my boys. They are my pride and joy.