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.

Pileated Woodpecker

Sitting drinking coffee on this gorgeous Sunday morning, an extra hour in my back pocket as it's daylight savings time. Suddenly I spy a large bird over on the side yard. A Pileated Woodpecker! I watched him for a good 15 minutes pecking holes in a dead tree and feeding on grubs. At one point one of the baby red squirrels saw him in her tree and tried to chase him! Round and round the tree they went, the Pileated didn't give up his prime grub hole, lil Red left. It's going to be a great day, nice mild temperature, sunny skies and a whole day in front of me to get out there and explore.

If you can do one thing to help nature at home, it would be to leave dead trees in your yard stand. At the very least have them cut to a manageable size if you fear them falling. So many species of birds and mammals are dependent on dead trees to feed and nest. Not only would you help some birds and mammals survive, you would open up an opportunity to observe them and add a little nature joy to your life.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Hawk Watch

I've had a great Hawk Watch season. I've enjoyed the birds and the company of my fellow Hawk Watchers. Hawk Watchers are a great group of people who are for the most part very different then regular birders. Identifying and counting Hawks at a long distance is a specialized skill that you can't learn from a field guide. You have to get out there and just do it. It takes a lot of time out in the field to learn how to ID the birds in all wind and light conditions. You end of spending a ton of time with people from all walks of life. I'm never sorry for the time I put into the watch each year. We are only 2 dozen birds away from our goal of 10,000.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Gorgeous November 1st hike. What a contrast the white snow and the colorful leaves made against a brilliant blue sky. I felt blessed to be alive. I hadn't been out for a week and this hike was so needed after my oldest son leaving the nest on the 31st. I felt like a completely new person after-wards.

Large flocks of Cowbirds in the yard. Ruby and Golden Crowned-kinglets continue in my yard and the woods. Bears still hanging around. Both Gray Squirrels and two Reds also continue at the bird feeder at least once per day. Wildlife call for a Brant. Wrens have taken up residence in the Paper wasp nest.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Oct 29th Snow Storm

What is a true friend? One that comes out in a snow storm to bring you a Paper wasp nest so that your resident Carolina Wrens have a warm place to sleep at night! The other night with a threat of frost I brought in the two ferns that hang on the front porch. I put them in the family room. Monty didn't see me move them, so when he went to go in the family room, he got a bit upset as to what was on the floor. I walked him over to the plants and suddenly a bird flies out of the fern! OH NO....I knew immediately it was one of the wrens. As we were trying to catch this poor bird, my son comes in the room and asks why there is a bird flying around the FR? We were in the LR....YIKES now there was two in the house. I managed to catch them, put the ferns and birds in the breezeway. Early in the morning I opened the door and they both flew out, none worse the wear for their experience. My friend had offered me a big beautiful nest a few weeks back, we were waiting for a killing freeze. I texted him to see if he still had the nest for me, told him the story, yes he had already cut it down. I never made it over his house to pick it up. During the early hours of the crazy snowstorm, he shows up at my house with the nest. I hung it on the front porch and almost immediately the wrens were there checking it out. I know were there are two more big nests this year, both are too high and hanging over ponds for me to collect. Grateful to my friend!