Those early morning drives…

Yes, there are perks in having to wake up really early on a Saturday morning!

While the rest of the world slumbers for a few more hours, I find myself driving along quiet country back roads to go to my summer part-time work up at White Lake.

I always love this stretch of road…so dense with towering trees…and I am the momentary intruder.  In a few spots the tree tops seem to actually reach across and create an arch effect.  So pretty!

 

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The potential bonus is that at that early hour – with almost no other vehicles around – there is a good probability of glimpsing wildlife.  Whether it’s a red fox that quickly dives into the underbrush.  Or a scurrying chipmunk.  Sometimes a swooping crow.  Each drive is never the same, as it’s a whole new ensemble of wildlife appearances – and THAT’s the fun part!  I often wonder…so who will surprise me this time?

Last Saturday I did actually get to see a red fox, but oh boy, it slipped away SO fast.  However, luck was still on my side, when I came onto a stretch of road and saw three young deer crossing from my right side over to the left side.

Two of them stayed on the road – one already disappearing among the trees ahead of this one…

 

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And there was a third deer – much closer to the main part of the road – that was quite  intent on chowing down on some greenery and had no intention of taking off, even when I stopped and sat there watching for a few minutes.

It climbed up the wee hill and stretched its neck to get some choice leafy morsels.

I just waited until it looked in my direction.

 

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Whispering good-bye and thank-you to the curious deer, I took some photos from the other angle as well…this last one (below) feels to me almost like a painting.

 

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I bet you can imagine how incredibly joyful I felt for the rest of that day!  🙂

 

 

 

 

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“Getting From Here to There”

 

The theme for this week’s photography assignment was called “Getting From Here to There.”  A great subject that allows for diverse perspectives.

The following four photos are my submissions for the assignment.

 

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Getting From Here to There #1 – (Archived; January 2018)
My family and I went for our first visit to an outdoor skating place located at the northern tip of Gatineau Park, Québec (north of Ottawa). It’s a privately owned outdoor skating rink. The couple who started it last winter keep it groomed and maintained on a daily basis – including the use of a zamboni! 🙂 It is called “Patinage en Forêt,” which means “Skating in the Forest.” The length of the skating loop is about 3 km with two spots built in for shorter loops.  There are resting stops along the way, as well as wooden birdfeeders here and there, filled with seeds for the local birds.

 

 

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Getting From Here to There #2 – (Archived; November 2017)
At the National Kiwi Centre in Hokitika, New Zealand, it was great fun to observe kiwi birds, feed the eels, and check out all kinds of fascinating native fish and animals. A wonderful little gem for me was this green tunnel that leads the visitor from the animal viewing area back to the main welcoming room at the entrance.

 

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Getting From Here to There #3 – (Archived; November 2017)
The morning that my husband and I arrived in Auckland last November, we decided to head out from the hotel and go for a walkabout near the Auckland Harbour. I just fell in love with the deep red fencing on the seaward side of this sidewalk, as we made our way towards the harbour and went for a short ferry ride over to the picturesque little town of Devonport.

 

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Getting From Here to There #4 – (Archived; August 2017)
Finishing my set with a photo from beautiful Ontario, Canada.  A couple of my kids, their friends, and I went for a two-hour canoeing excursion in the late afternoon – a route we have done a number of times in the past – from nearby Taylor Lake through to Clayton Lake, arriving in the village of Clayton. While the other four paddled the canoes, I chose to go by kayak….as I so love to switch it up sometimes. A kayak feels just different enough from a canoe; I feel closer to the water level. Also means I can end up in the lake more easily…..haha! ^_^

 

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A Forest Encounter

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Mottled appearance;

Complement to rocks and wood,

The silent runner.

 

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The common lizard.  Or so my research tells me.

My uncle first said it’s a salamander, as salamanders are native to Germany.

We also bandied about gecko and lizard.

Either way, a sleek-looking and fascinating creature!

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We – my uncle, my husband, and I – spied this little lizard on our extensive hike up towards Schloß Staufenberg in the Black Forest during our recent visit.  The first part of the hike was on a good-sized trail through a forested area, followed by a road along hilly fields, covered in rows upon rows of wine grape plants.

This lizard had been coming along the edge of the trail and then decided we were such big creatures and it was better to hide away in among the sticks and old wood.

Scrambled away quickly!

So cute!

In Praise of the Tamarack

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Green in the summer,

Its needles turn bright yellow,

Then drop completely.

 

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Do you know the tamarack?

It’s a coniferous tree that grows abundantly in Canada.

Tamaracks are among my favourite trees!

Once the many deciduous trees have impressed us with their spectacular fall dresses and then shed them, these modest trees – known as deciduous conifers, also called Tamarack (from Algonquian) and larch, suddenly explode into vibrant yellow colour!

They are the only conifers in Canada whose needles change colour and also get dropped!  I have been enthralled with these trees ever since I first learned of their unique quality years ago, when one of our older neighbours, Ross, told me about them.

I love seeing these yellow lovelies along all the country roads I drive these days, when everything else begins to look more brown and grey and bare, before winter sets in.

 

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Note:  The word tamarack is the Algonquian name for the species and means “wood used for snowshoes.”