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Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

.           “Time passes too fast. Like a hummingbird flying by, it’s just a blur to my eyes.” – Amanda Leigh

A male Anna's hummingbird. But the one I saw this morning was a less colorful female. Wikimedia photo, Brocken Inaglory

A male Anna’s hummingbird. But the one I saw this morning was a less colorful female. Wikimedia photo, Brocken Inaglory

Life is Good

Female Anna's hummingbird. -- Wikimedia photo

Female Anna’s hummingbird. — Wikimedia photo

Last night, at around 9 o’clock, I sat on my bedroom’s third-floor balcony and watched lightning flash across the sky like fireworks. Sometimes a deep rumbling followed, but mostly it was a silent event, until I moved to the living room balcony where the rumbling was more consistent. The air smelled musty with the rain that never fell, and I was awed by the deep magenta hue of the sky, wondering how that was possible.

The show was long, and so I fixed myself a Jack and Coke and settled into a patio chair to watch in leisure, afterwards falling into a relaxed sleep that held me until a sliver of light seeped through my bedroom shutters.

Broad-billed Hummingbird at the San Diego Zoo. -- Wikimedia photo

Broad-billed Hummingbird at the San Diego Zoo. — Wikimedia photo

The morning was muggy, but still cool enough here in Tucson for me to sit again on my balcony and sky watch, this time with my morning ritual of cream-laced coffee and my journal. As I watched, through my usually handy binoculars, a broad-billed hummingbird landed on a nearby tree and then zoomed straight to my nectar feeder that sat above my head. Seeing me, it zoomed away, but soon returned, and after deciding I was harmless, fed.

Then there were two hummingbirds flitting about in competition for the feeder. The second one was a black-chinned hummingbird, the species I see most often. After they had left, a third hummingbird appeared and drank. It was an Anna’s, although because it was a female, it took me a while to identify. The males, with their spectacular pinkish-purplish heads are an identification no-brainer.

Black-chinned hummingbird -- Wikimedia photo

Black-chinned hummingbird — Wikimedia photo

Seeing these three hummingbird species took me back to the morning I awoke to find three hummingbirds flitting in my ten. It happened in 1991, during a rafting trip on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon – before I became addicted to bird watching. I had no idea what species of hummingbirds they were at that time. I’m not sure I even knew then that hummingbirds came in different races.

While seeing those three hummingbirds flitting above my head in the tent 25 years ago thrilled me, seeing the trio this morning, and being able to identify each of them, was just as thrilling.

Life is good. And I am blessed.

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Photo Challenge

A small patch of bank beside the Gunnison River in Colorado. -- Photo by Pat Bean

A small patch of bank beside the Gunnison River in Colorado. — Photo by Pat Bean

Details

Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another. Ernest Hemingway

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It’s a Raven!

“I believed then – in a deep, easy way that is impossible for me as an adult – that there was more to this world than meets the eye. Trees had spirits; the wind spoke. If you followed a toad or raven deep into the heart of the forest, they were sure to lead you to something magical.” – Jennifer McMahon

            “I’m so sorry Jennifer. I’ve long been an adult – and I still believe.” – Pat Bean

Life outside my window. -- Watercolor by Pat Bean

Life outside my window. — Watercolor by Pat Bean

Or is it a Crow?

            Ravens didn’t live in Dallas, where I grew up. It was only after I moved West that I began seeing them. They looked just like crows to me. But being the curious person that I am, I soon wanted to know how to tell a raven from a crow.

Note the wedge-shaped tail on this raven Also, except for once during breeding season, I've never seen more than one or two ravens together. Crows, on the other hand, most often flock together. -- Wikimedia photo

Note the wedge-shaped tail on this raven Also, except for once during breeding season, I’ve never seen more than one or two ravens together. Crows, on the other hand, most often flock together. — Wikimedia photo

While ravens are larger, unless you see them side by side you can’t really identify them by that clue. But it’s easy to tell them apart if you see them flying. The raven’s tail is wedge-shaped, while the end of the crow’s tail is straight.

I see a pair of ravens almost daily here in Tucson, They land in the trees outside my windows and hop about on the roof opposite my back balcony – and they inspired my latest watercolor.

Bean Pat: Daily Echo http://tinyurl.com/hjeleff This blog so reminds me of the way I traveled and dawdled when I lived in my RV and was exploring North America. U think my wanderlust is getting to me. I need to take a road trip soon.

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The Death of a Friend

            “A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease.” – John Muir

This tree with the split personalty was my favorite tree when I was a campground host at Lake Walcott State Park in Southern Idaho. -- Poto by Pat Bean

This tree with the split personality was my favorite tree when I was a campground host at Lake Walcott State Park in Southern Idaho. — Photo by Pat Bean

Life Happens to us All

            My Tree Fell Down. The huge one in which, over the past three and a half years, I’ve watched great-horned owls and Cooper’s hawks try to claim a nesting site — each succeeding once. They laid their eggs in the very same nest..

            But on Monday evening, when a kind of mini-tornado blew through the complex, the tree toppled. The giant took out the balcony next to mine as it crashed against my 30-residences apartment building. Thankfully no person was injured.

Me being silly and hugging a tree in Custer State Park in South Dakota.

Me being silly and hugging a tree in Custer State Park in South Dakota.

The mess is still being cleaned up by workmen with shovels, saws and ladders. I figure it will take at least a couple of trucks to haul off all the wood that was once the awesome tree.   I would show you pictures, but Windows 10 ate the driver that I need to import pictures from my camera to my computer.*

The loss of my tree, as I felt it was, makes me sad. My eyes dampened this morning as I sat on my front balcony looking at the empty air where the tree once towered above the three-story apartment building across the way.

I’ve listened as gila woodpeckers rapped on the tree’s trunk, and watched as hawks, owls, ravens and, doves frequently visited its branches — while I leaned back in my chair, as I drank my morning coffee, and observed them with my binoculars.

I feel as if a good friend has died. Actually, that is exactly what happened.

Bean Pat: Deidra Alexandra’s Blog http://tinyurl.com/zr9oh4g A funny story that made me smile – and I needed to smile. Don’t you?

            *By the way, does anybody have any good, inexpensive suggestions on how to fix the import driver on my four-year-old computer, or, as I suspect, am I going to have to get a new computer?

 

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Take a Walk

            “The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone.” —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

This was  a great ;pp[ walk, loop, mostly on a boardwalk, at Point Pelee National Park in Canada

This was a great loop walk, mostly on a boardwalk, at Point Pelee National Park in Canada. — Photo by Pat Bean

            It’s Good for the Soul

While I can no longer do a 20-mile hike, or even a 5-mile one, I do try to get out and walk every day. But while two to three-mile hikes are still on my agenda, I haven’t been taking enough of them lately, especially through amazing landscapes.

And this photo was taken during a recent walk up Ramsey Canyon, an hour and a half away from my Tucson apartment. Nothing gets much better than walking beside a gurgling stream as it ripples its way down a canyon. - Photo by Pat Bean

And this photo was taken during a recent walk up Ramsey Canyon, an hour and a half away from my Tucson apartment. Nothing gets much better than walking beside a gurgling stream as it ripples its way down a canyon. – Photo by Pat Bean

I realized this while looking through my photos of paths I’ve once hiked, which I did after stumbling on the post that gets today’s Bean Pat. The photos inspired me to look for more such paths, especially short ones, that might at least let me work up to 6-mile ones again

Now here’s what a few other people have to say about walking:

“All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking. – Fredrich Nietzsche

            “I understood at a very early age that in nature, I felt everything I should feel in church, but never did. Walking in the woods, I felt in touch with the universe and with the spirit of the universe. — Alice Walker

            “Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.” Thomas Jefferson

            “Walking is Magic… I read that Plato and Aristotle did much of their brilliant thinking together while ambulating. The movement, the meditation, the health of the blood pumping, and the rhythm of footsteps… this is a primal way to connect with one’s deeper self.” – Paula Cole

            “I don’t know what my path is yet. I’m just walking on it.” – Olivia Newton John           

And just for laughs, and because I’m a transplanted Texan: “Some folks look at me see a certain swagger, which in Texas is called Walking.” – George W. Bush

Bean Pat: 28 Magical Paths http://tinyurl.com/j6mwd34 I got this one from a Stumble Upon recommendation. If you hike, you’ll love it.

 

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Mother Nature Does it Best

Looking down at a small pond filled with reeds and stuff at Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Looking down at a small pond filled with reeds and stuff at Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge. — Photo by Pat Bean

 “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but Nature’s sources never fail.” — John Muir, Our National Parks

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: The National Parks: America’s Best Idea  http://www.pbs.org/  Don’t miss this Ken Burns film that begins tonight on PBS

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Jack jump up and kiss me plant. -- Wikimedia photo

Jack jump up and kiss me plant. — Wikimedia photo

                If I  had  my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to  more dances. I would  ride more merry-go-rounds. I would  pick more daisies..” – Nadine Stair

Too Numerous to List

            At one time in my life, I decided to keep a list of the wildflowers I came across on my hikes and walks, the same as I keep a list of the birds I see for the very first time. It was a decision that I quickly gave up as a hopeless task, right after I learned that a daisy comes in over 20,000 species and each, most likely, has dozens of common names.

So I just started enjoying the flowers, and identifying them by the name I liked best.

Butter and eggs. -- Wikimedia photo

Butter and eggs. — Wikimedia photo

One of my favorites is the one I call butter and eggs, a non-native plant considered a weed that is now common across much of North America. It’s also called toadflax, plus such local colloquial names as brideweed,   butter haycocks, bread and butter, bunny haycocks, bunny mouths, calf’s snout, Continental weed, dead men’s bones, devil’s flax, devil’s flower, dragon bushes, eggs and bacon, gallwort, impudent lawyer, Jacob’s ladder,  monkey flower, ramsted, rabbit flower and wild tobacco, just to name a few. .

I can’t help but wonder where the “impudent lawyer” moniker came from, just as I wonder about the name given a small purple wildflower that I’ve often come across. Among other names, it’s known as the Jack-jump-up-and-kiss-me-flower. It also goes by such names as the Johnny jump up, hearts ease, three faces in a hood, tickle-my-fancy, love-in-idleness and wild pansy.

So now do you understand why I don’t keep a flower list?

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

            Bean Pat: Mr. Grumpy Gets a Bath http://tinyurl.com/goay5lg For fans of Ogden Nash and birders interested in grackles and coots.

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