Summer Evening Paddling Trip

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A call of a loon;

Quiet splashing, rhythmic sounds,

Kayak glides along.

 

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Yesterday’s warm temperatures and sunshine beckoned.

So, following the family supper, some of us embarked on an evening’s paddle.  Well, as many as could fit into two canoes and a single-person kayak.  😀

We launched our craft onto Taylor Lake and eventually made it to the channel leading to adjacent Clayton Lake….and ultimately the village of Clayton where we finished just as it was getting dark.

It’s a lovely paddling excursion….usually taking about two hours.

There are quite a few cottages along the shores of Taylor Lake, with avid boaters and fishing enthusiasts sharing the water….and everyone respecting the speeds near other boaters.  By contrast, Clayton Lake is quieter.

We were lucky and were treated to multiple loon calls, the sighting of a loon family of three, and a pretty sunset.

Here are some more photos…

 

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A juvenile loon…

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Sunset on Taylor Lake

From the time the sun was just touching the top of the trees to my extracting my iPhone from the protective plastic box tucked inside my life vest and then going for a photo, as you can see the sun went into hiding – moved so fast! Anyway….still looks pretty over the water like that.

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Kayaking is a lot of fun!

(Good time to add in a selfie….)  😀

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On Clayton Lake

I took a photo of the view behind me with the pretty clouds and the pinks and purples…..getting darker fast.

 

 

 

 

 

Last night’s little visitors

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Lightly effortless,

Suspended in calm stillness,

Nocturnal visit.

 

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There were a few tiny cute visitors congregated outside the front door and along the window yesterday evening.

What a wonderful surprise greeting us!

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These three were gathered higher up at the entrance, while one frog remained independently alone near the bottom….also attached to the window glass.

 

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About 2 centimetres in length….and I enjoy marveling at their amazingly strong legs and their well-adapted tiny fingers and toes.

 

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Upside-down…..and

 

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…..right side up.

 

 

Three Days Later…

 

Look how it’s grown!

 

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My mother and I replaced older milkweed leaves with newer ones today and had a closer look at all THREE caterpillars.

The one in the top photo is the largest and measures at 3.5 centimetres this morning.

 

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For some perspective to show the leaf size and the caterpillar, I am standing a bit further back.

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This is the next largest one, at 2 centimetres long.

Totally engrossed in munching on its milkweed leaf…

 

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The second one…from a different angle…..

 

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In this last photo I wanted to show the second largest caterpillar as it’s eating, and you can see the third one below it….it’s quite small….only just 0.8 centimetres.

 

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Note:  If you missed the first post highlighting these caterpillars, have a look here.

 

 

 

 

 

A Future Monarch

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Starting out so small,

Eating its way through milkweed

To grow and transform.

 

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I’m visiting at my parents’ place, and my mother excitedly showed me her little “friends.” Each one in a separate glass loosely filled with a couple of freshly picked milkweed leaves.

Her two friends are still quite small and not easily seen.

My mother is once again fostering a couple of monarch caterpillars in comfy protectiveness with fresh milkweed leaves, until they grow into their full size and make their chrysalis for their metamorphosis stage.

This one of the two is the larger and is about the length of my index fingernail right now. About 1 cm.

See the cool eating pattern it has made in this milkweed leaf. 🙂

 

My mother is all excited at these two new ones, as she has successfully nurtured monarch caterpillars in previous years and set them free as butterflies. 

 

Third one’s the charm

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Quiet and watchful,

Curious, cautious, patient;

A brief encounter.

 

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As I was driving along the back roads yesterday, I was thrilled to see a couple of wild turkeys on the road shoulder and three deer at three other different spots.

As I spied the first two deer, and they me, it was they who decided to leave the scene abruptly.

However, the third deer – the one in the photo – was not as skittish and even let me back up the car, stop, and catch a better glimpse.  We looked at each other for what seemed a few moments.  And then the deer, satisfied, turned away and leaped further into the woods.

Such an encounter always has me feeling so lucky and happy.  

 

 

 

 

Promise of Things to Come!

 

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Hint of pink inside,

Buds holding tight and slowly

Unfolding the show.

 

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Exploring in my garden again today and was caught up in the buds’ progress of this peony plant.

And to think the flowers will eventually be quadruple the size of the buds…..and I wonder how do the buds manage to keep all of that floral splendour inside?

 

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And all those busy ants!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pine Tree Pollen

 

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Rays of green needles,

With squirming pink pollen worms,

And new needle growth.

 

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When I arrived home in the early afternoon today, the sun was shining brightly – perhaps to make up for the last three days of clouds and rain?

I glanced around the yard to see what was different, and my gaze landed upon a large pine tree.  Its growth pattern has intrigued me ever since we first transplanted it as a two-foot tall sapling many years ago.

I noticed some colour dotted in and among its needle-filled branches and went up closer to see.  And it was generously laden with clutches of these pollen “worms.”  And with new light green needle growth visible as well.

It seemed a bit puzzling to me, as in previous years I HAD noticed the new needle growth spurting outwards but never with the pollen in all of its splendour.

Somehow I must have just missed that part?

 

 

Silent Bells

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Dark green leafy folds

Reveal tiny white flowers;

Scent the air sweetly.

 

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Three days ago, when I was returning home in the early evening, the sky was overcast still.  It had rained.

As I walked along the path to the front door, the sweet scent of the Lilies of the Valley welcomed me.  And the tiny white bell flowers seemed to “jump out” more with the dark green foliage around them.

I took some time to stop and soak in their beauty.

 

 

“Will you share with me?”

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Completely at ease;

Perched on my purse; treat in hand,

You don’t mind, do you?

 

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Hahaha!

I can only be filled with admiration at the audacity, charm, and cuteness of this little furry friend I saw a couple of days ago.

I was almost done my work at the cottage I was cleaning and had already brought supplies onto the porch, along with my water bottle and purse.  The last thing to do was finish mopping the floor.

It wasn’t long before I heard the distinctive sounds of my chipmunk friend coming to check me out.

I learned something new that day.  And I shouldn’t be surprised….really.  My chipmunk friend has a tremendously keen nose. After coming up the stairs and investigating a bit, it crawled up on my purse which I had left open by about four inches, leaned in, tore off some pieces from my apple inside, sat on top of my purse, and munched quite happily on it. Did this a few times.

 

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It could smell the tempting scent of my fresh apple – which was intended to be my after-work snack – from a good distance away.

Funny thing was,  I’d forgotten that I had put an apple into my purse when I left for work, and the way the chipmunk was holding its hands together while eating, it looked more like it was eating nuts. Which puzzled me, because I definitely remembered not having any nuts in my purse!

It wasn’t until after the chipmunk continued on its purposeful way, that I looked inside my purse and found the food source!

Feels good to have shared with my little furry friend.  And yes, I DID finish eating the apple.  Haha!

Hmm….I’m thinking claw scrape marks?  As the munching was done while sitting on its haunches outside and on my purse, keeping a steady eye on me.

 

 

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And a few more photos….of its arrival and just hanging out…..

 

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And then on its merry way again….

 

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Until next time, Chippy!  ❤

 

 

 

 

 

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!