Thursday, March 31, 2011

Despite the fact that I shelled out for more
nuts the backyard squirrel continues to
supplement the diet with a few sunflower seeds.

And I see not sign of gratitude either.

"Our wilderness gets wilder every day
And we intend to keep the tamed at bay."

                                                 A Guest
                                                    May Sarton

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

So one day we had a beautiful nuthatch the next day we had growing
doubts about the installion of our new Sears eavesthrough. 
However it made for some interesting ice effects.

"The world begins and ends in memory;
what I remember is what I am."

                        AIDE MEMOIRE
                              Glen Sorestad

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"The value of these wild fruits is not in the mere possession or
eating of them, but in the sight and enjoyment of them."

                                        Wild Fruits
                                                                 Henry David Thoreau

Thoreau's thoughts seem particuarly apt here
as Sea-Buckthorn berries are quite bitter.
It is however used more and more in Calgary
by the city as a hardy landscape plant.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I continued to take pictures of the frost
at lunch and before going home Friday.

Everything was still quite beautiful.

But for some reason all of nature seemed
to be giving me the fish eye.

"The frost lights glitter on every twig and brier
Till we set intruding feet on the jewelled floor
And shatter the cranberry bushes' frozen fire."

Frozen Fire
Floris Clark McLaren

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Last week the gulls came back. 
A birdbander friend once told me that this was a more reliable
sign of spring than the robins, some of whom hang around all winter. 
However spring here is often followed by 6 or more weeks
of cold and snow.

Sure enough Friday we woke to a world of frost. 
Every thing spiked and mace headed and the walk
to work was suffused with an odd bluish light.


"And now that this same trim
of white has won over my hair
with its own wintry reminder

these fragile frost-work mornings
sing a pale and delicate song.
Time pauses on the edge of rime."

 Morning of Hoar Frost
Glen Sorestad



Thursday, March 24, 2011

The last of the Christmas nuts disappears into
the backyard squirrel. I am not sure if I will supply more
while winter lasts, it is looking a bit seedy.

The front yard squirrel has been sailing by the window with
large mouthfuls of grass, is winter on the way out?

"Our rights do not extend to squirrels"

                                            The Man Who Shot The Squirrel
                                                                       Glen Sorestad

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"And I hear magpies kept awake by the moon
The water flows through its
Own fingers without end"

                          December Night
                                      W.S. Merwin

Saturday, March 19, 2011

This week we took turns staying home, with bad colds?
We are on the mend now and of course nurse Wendolene was on duty.

Shaun however found looking after invalids very taxing.
And yes he is heading to the groomer this week.

Sick at home
two small dogs fetching
endless love.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"I always felt like a bird blown through the world.
I never felt like a tree."

                               Stripping and Putting On
                                       May Swenson

Monday, March 14, 2011

When I first started taking photos I wondered a bit about
spending so much time looking at the world through a lens. 
But the longer I used it the more I realized I was seeing either,
a world I had forgotten to stop and look at or a world
I could not process well enough with my naked eye
to actually see. So I thought that would be the theme
of this post.

I have posted this photo before but I love it.

After days of freezing temperatures and cloudy skies we had a
cold but clear blue sky. I saw two crows in the distance
but could not make out anything else. At home I saw one crow
was upside down. The sheer joy and exuberance was clear to see.
I can not believe this serves any purpose but celebration.
If we had wings wouldn't we do the same?

I am not sure what the chickadee is up to,
a friend suggested showing off. However
I know I would only see a blur without
the camera and I love the little spray of snow,
the sense of forward motion.

And for some reason the sight of water droplets flying
is always a big hit with me.


And there is the beauty in small seemly insignificant things.

                                           "We have been here so short a time
       and we pretend we have invented memory"

                               To The Insects
                                                    W.S. Merwin

Saturday, March 12, 2011

" The light flakes, do not weigh
The willows down, but sift
Through the white catkins, loose
As petal-drift."

                   A Storm in April
                     for Ben
                                 Richard Wilbur

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

March 9 we woke up to the warm weather that accompanies a chinook.
Today's combination of sunrise with a chinook arch was one of
the most colourful I can remember.  The warm weather that
accompanies a chinook is welcome although the sudden
change in weather causes headaches in many people.

The description below is from the Chinook Wind
entry in Wikipedia

"One of the most striking features of the chinook is the chinook arch,
which is a band of stationary stratus clouds caused by air rippling over
the mountains due to orographic lifting. To those unfamiliar with
the chinook, the chinook arch may look like a threatening storm
cloud at times. However, they rarely produce rain or snow.
They can also create stunning sunrises and sunsets."

Today while taking these photos I felt a bit like an insect that
had been covered by an inverted bowl that was slowly lifting.

"My boat adrift on a vast river, heaving
water spreading into the far shores of sky,

sky's deep swells break suddenly open
and a city's ten thousand homes appear"

                 Crossing the Yellow River to
                 Clear-River District

                              Wang Wei

"The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever."

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Dylan Thomas

Monday, March 7, 2011

"Fellow travellers, though apart, we rest
Surrounded by recurrent thaw and snow
Here in time's tree, clinging to space's bough."

                                    A Grey World Lightened by Snow
                                                            Fred Cogswell

                                                                                                   (for Linda)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Why I started this blog.

I thought I would provide a brief explanation
as to why I started this blog.  Some time ago
my wife and I purchased 80 acres of aspen
parkland and slough that was part of her family's
farm. It is our plan to construct a cabin there this
summer.  So I purchased a better camera and
started a blog to record this process for family.
However since I had the blog and camera
I decided to start blogging now.

The cabin will go on a natural clearing overlooking
a series of sloughs.

We have some farm land but mostly it is aspen parkland.
There should be abundant wildlife there including coyotes,
wolves, black bears, beavers, porcupines, deer, moose,
bald eagles, turkey vultures, etc.  We are really looking 
forward to getting the cabin built this year so we can spend
time there in the future. Hopefully I can get some
wildlife photos that are not magpies and jackrabbits
for a change.

"It’s all I have to bring to-day,
This, and my heart beside,
This, and my heart, and all the fields,
And all the meadows wide."

                                        Emily Dickinson


Friday, March 4, 2011

My photo of the dioramas at the American Museum of Natural History

This year we were planning a trip to New York in Sept of 2010. The American Museum of Natural History was definitely on our list however I cannot say the dioramas were as big an attraction for me as the dinosaurs and early mammals. However my wife bought me a book Darwin's Universe Evolution from A to Z by Ricahrd Milner a wonderful reference book with entries on many topics in biology and evolution. It was there I read about Carl Akeley who was instrumental in the creation of the dioramas. He lead five expeditions to Africa to collect specimens for the hall. In separate incidents he was attacked and almost killed by an elephant and leopard.  He shot among other animals, the five gorillas for the Mountain Gorilla dioramas. However Aleley was not just remembered for these dioramas.  Concerned for the fate of the African animals he loved especially the gorillas he worked  hard to encourage conservation efforts and he prevailed upon King Alberta the 1 of Belgium to create Virunga National Park in the Congo. Akeley died of dysentery on his fifth expedition and was buried in the gorilla homeland. He did not live to see the Akeley Hall of African Mammals that bears his name completed.

After reading this I was determined to at least stick my head in.  We looked at everything we could, Africa, North America etc.  Going from dioramas to dioramas, was like running thru the pages of the Animals of the World book I used to lose myself in at the library as a child. I was delighted to get a copy of Windows of Nature in the gift shop. It was great to read about the tremendous lengths museum staff went to collecting animals and plants and painting the backgrounds on site that were later recreated in the dioramas.  Sadly not only are many of the animals now endangered but some of the actual ecosystems have been destroyed. The dinosaurs, early mammals, early man exhibits the minerals, gems were all wonderful as well. We spent most of the day in the museum and it was not nearly enough. The museum has the best displays I have every seen

The shot below is a detail of the holographic postcard I bought. It was
interesting photographing a post card that actually has three different images.

A few weeks ago I received a email listing an number of collectible books on Africa.

How could I resist.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

"The wind is gusting, the dog runs full speed
towards nothing but happiness,"

                                             Waiting to wave
                                                                 Jonathan Carroll

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

"Winter came early this year,
that's why, under my duvet,
I'm wondering about feathers,
the way some things so insubstantial
so hardly there, can make all the difference."

Full Moon That Strikes The Earth Cold
                                       Plains Cree