Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday at lunch I walked down to the pond in the Research Park.
Lots of fall colour, ducks and some dogs out for a walk. A man
was walking three dogs a Rottweiler, a Border Collie mix and a rather
chubby older dog While the other two moved along at a good pace the
older dog followed slowly, no leash required, it's man did touch
it regularly. Its attention seemed totally focused on keeping up.
Finally when the other two stopped to sniff and watch ducks it
forged ahead. On finding itself in the lead it stopped and waited.

I thought it had a sweet face.

"Well, there is time left -
fields everywhere invite you into them
And who will care, who will chide you if you wander away
from wherever you are, to look for your soul?"

Quickly then, get up, put on your coat, leave your desk!

Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches
                                               Mary Oliver

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I found this beetle last week in the parking lot
at work. I am always surprised to find aquatic
beetles in areas some distance from water. Twice
I have found Giant Water Bugs, a creature I first
encountered in the pages of Annie Dillard's
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek a couple of blocks from
my office. I assume they mistake the dark asphalt
for water. This was considerably smaller than the
Giant Water Bug Lethocerus americanus.

I have identified it as a Mid-Sized Diving Beetle
Colymbetes sculptilis

If I am mistaken please let me know.

" Our life is a faint tracing on the surface of mystery,
like the idle, curved tunnels of leaf miners on the face
of a leaf. We must somehow take a wider view,
look at the whole landscape, really see it... "

 Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
                         Annie Dillard

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Fall Wind

Pods of summer crowd around the door;
I take them in the autumn of my hands.

Last night I heard the first cold wind outside:
the wind blew soft, and yet I shiver twice:

Once for thin walls, once for the sound of time.

                                   William Stafford

Friday, September 23, 2011

This morning we had impressive clouds
the colour seems a bit more dramatic
than I remember but I did not do much
editing. They did not signify extreme
weather, we had a cloudy morning and
a warm mild afternoon.

I am working on cloud identification
I think these are cumulus but I would
welcome a correction if you disagree.

Kathie from
has suggested these are mammatus clouds
and they certainly look like them. Thanks Kathie 

"Never alone
While over unending sky
Clouds move for ever.
Calling them beautiful
Humanity is in love with creatures of mist."

                                              Kathleen Raine

Monday, September 19, 2011

I had not be filling my birdbaths as much since
we filled the pond which is very popular with the
small birds. However within a few minutes of
cleaning it out a magpie had bathed and was
primping in the tree.


" Whose voices carry on the wind: they send
their rambling dactyls through the morning air
with the dark fret-and-flutter of wings,
a cry feathered between syllables,"

                    David Solway

"Sometimes I have the feeling that words lead a
private existence of their own, apart from us,
and that when we speak or write,
especially in moments of strong emotion,
we do little more than hitch a ride on some
obliging syllable or accommodating phrase. "

Poetry as Isotope:
The Hidden Life of Words

           Eric Ormsby

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Last weekend it was time to check out the
garden. Fall is here but a few plants are holding
on. The Hollyhock is in it's glory.

There was a lone Geranium.

But the Coral Bells were beautiful. I am always
fascinated at how an insect's colours so often seems
to compliment the flower it appears on no matter
where I see it.

"Fair Quiet, have I found thee here,
And Innocence, thy sister dear!
Mistaken long, I sought you then
In busy companies of men
Your sacred plants, if here below,
Only among the plants will grow ;
Society is all but rude,
To this delicious solitude."

The Garden
Andrew Marvell

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I posted earlier about how happy I was to have
attracted a Blue Jay to my backyard feeders.
I thought it only fair to show the cast of
characters who have had the even tenor of their
days shattered by a noisy blue jerk.

"This is the treacherous month when autumn days
With summer's voice come bearing summer's gifts.
Beguiled, the pale down-trodden aster lifts
Her head and blooms again. The soft, warm haze
Makes moist once more the sere and dusty ways,
And, creeping through where dead leaves lie in drifts, "

Autumn Sonnet
Helen Hunt Jackson

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In my youth in Ontario I really enjoyed two of the
common feeder birds Blue Jays and Northern Cardinals.
Okay I liked flashy. We do not get Northern Cardinals
here and while we normally have Blue Jays in the
neighbourhood they are not as obvious as they are in
Ontario. I suspect the large numbers of Magpies and
possibly the Crows push the them down in the pecking
order. To see if I could attract them I put out a peanut
feeder with a home made squirrel shield. The squirrels
still get some nuts but it prevents them from actually
chewing the feeders apart as they do with other plastic
feeders.  The sparrows, finches, nuthatches and squirrels
enjoy the peanuts but while I saw a jay check it out a week
ago they did not come. I filled the feeder and went out of
town for a couple of days. When I got back the feeder
 was empty and yesterday I saw why, success. I also
noticed the jay seemed to be able to to take four or five
peanuts at once. So our yard is a more colourful and  much
noisy place.

This also gives me a chance to revisit a poem
I enjoy and one that influenced several quotes
etc. used in my blogs.

" Forked sticks upon the air,
Half-dead trees, where two
Blue jays shriek the summer sky
To a deaf world, their blue
The only water here.

The sun is axeman among dry
Slashing: he would clear
Kindling from these rocky hills:
The logos as belated pioneer,
One cry with the fanatic jay. ..,"

                          Blue Jay in Haliburton
                               D.G. Jones

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I believe this is Canadian Buffaloberry ~ Shepherdia canadensis

" Plains tribes believed that when the berries were ripe,
the buffalo were fat enough to hunt "

Plants of Alberta

" Our berries picked,
the mushrooms gathered,
each of us hides
in his heart a small piece
of this summer,
as mice store their roots
in a place
known only to them. "

                   John Haines

Monday, September 5, 2011

Again these photos were taken a couple of weeks ago in the
Research Park. As I have mentioned before, this has been a
real dragonfly summer for me I have seen them everywhere
in huge numbers.

Feel free to correct id's.

Variable Darner ~ Aeshna interrupta

Darners are apparently an important
food source for young Merlins.

Bugs of Alberta

Cherry-Faced Meadowhawk ~ Sympetrum internum

 " Flecked with heraldic gold,
what winged thing has landed
on my drying foot?"

If I Knew the Names of Everything
Brian Bartlett

Sunday, September 4, 2011

In visting my favorite blogs today I was reminded of
these lines from one of my favorite poems, that is one of the
joys of blogs. While I may no longer be green and carefree,
I hope to remain open to the beauty of these words.

"Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
     About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
       The night above the dingle starry,
         Time let me hail and climb
       Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
     And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
     And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
         Trail with daisies and barley
       Down the rivers of the windfall light.

     And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
     About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
       In the sun that is young once only,
         Time let me play and be
       Golden in the mercy of his means,
     And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
     Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,
         And the sabbath rang slowly
       In the pebbles of the holy streams."

                                   Fern Hill
                                                    Dylan Thomas