Monday, November 30, 2015

Duck, Duck.....Grapes?

An old family friend brought home a couple of ducks to paddle around in the turtle pond in his yard this summer.  

One of the ducks decided the yard next door (where a famous chicken used to live) was a more interesting place to hang out.  

It liked to nibble on lilies of the valley.

My brother said that the duck mostly ate, slept and pooped.  He didn't think it was nearly as much fun to have around as a chicken.   

It did do the occasional graceful arabesque, though.  

I thought these grapes looked absolutely luscious.  

There may have been a shortage of grapes this year, but the few I've seen are certainly beautiful.  

Friday, November 27, 2015

A Brown Study

Kermit thought it was a challenge being green, but brown might be even more of a stretch for us to appreciate.  Since most of the autumn colors have flown from the trees, Baloo and I went in search of more subtle beauty today.  

The crisp, curling brown leaves on this field plant were a nice contrast to the light tan seed fluff.  

This group of puff balls has matured and blown spores out into the world for next year's crop.  

Brown on brown, this pine cone looked like it nested comfortably on a soft bed of fallen oak leaves.

Another field plant - could it be the seed stage of the dreaded goldenrod?  It sort of looks like that shape, doesn't it? 

These mushroom caps peeked out of an old nesting cavity in a fallen tree.

So, okay, Baloo is sort of black on brown, but he was having such a lot of fun I had to include him.  

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Friends at the Feeders

My sister, brother and I were raised by bird lovers, so we all inherited the bird feeding and watching habits our parents shared with us as we were growing up.  This chickadee is on a peanut feeder out my sister's front window.  

Suet is a favorite food of lots of birds and this little downy woodpecker is taking full advantage of the feeder in my sister's front yard.  

This nest was revealed when all the leaves fell off the small crab apple tree outside my dining room window.  I wish I had known it was there while it was inhabited!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Fruits and a Fire

These beautiful berries, service berries, if my neighbor is correct, hang on a beautiful little tree in my back yard.  The color is so vibrant, I just love them.  Oddly, the birds don't seem to favor them (although Baloo partakes).  Maybe they're waiting until January for a little frozen berry dessert and a dose of vitamin C.

The crab apple tree just a little way off the path of one of Baloo's favorite walks has no leaves, but Baloo loves to take me off the beaten path to stop and have me pick an apple or two for him to munch along the trail.  

Baloo points out all the apple trees for me.  He loves fruit.  He also points out the cherry trees, the berry bushes, the peach and plum trees and, well, you get the idea.  He also eats acorns.  

And sometimes, we go to my sister's house and snuggle in front of the fire after a brisk autumn walk.  Life doesn't get a lot better.  

Friday, November 20, 2015

An Enchanted Afternoon Walk

Just a couple trees still have leaves on them.  These stand along yet another one of the walks Baloo and I often indulge in taking.  It's a wonderful trail that has several different sections, from deciduous forest to high meadow to coniferous forest.  

This section of the trail winds through an old hemlock forest.  Obviously, the wee folk live among the tree roots - it is definitely an enchanted spot.  

One of the tree trunks sported these layers of fungus.  I'm not sure exactly who they are, but they are striking against the dark bark.  

I couldn't get a very good photo of the hawk amidst the tangle of branches, but it was certainly fun to see. 

After a long walk, it's time for Baloo to climb on the couch and watch the action in the back yard through the window.  You never know when a bunny might hop by.  

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Little More Color

The vineyard in the foreground is covered with nets to keep the birds from stealing all the grapes.

This is a charming historical church in Old Mission.  It's on my 'things to carve' list.  

On our way back from a nice, long walk in the woods, Baloo and I were captivated by the clouds.  Well, at least I was.  Baloo was probably napping in the back seat already.  

This awesome maple is bare now, but it lives in my front yard.  

This dapper crow is searching for goodies among some of those fallen maple leaves in the front yard.  Baloo thinks the crows are very interesting -- not quite as riveting as ground squirrels, perhaps, but interesting nonetheless.    

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Fruits, Feathers, Fungus and Flowers!

I'm trying hard to do better with the blog after a long, long hiatus.  It's fun to share some of the pictures I've been taking.  I hope you enjoy seeing them, too.   

The cold weather of January and February took a toll on the grapes this year.  There is not nearly as much fruit as last year, but we walk past a couple vineyards nearly every day and it's fun to watch them ripen.  

This mockingbird wanted to help with the harvest.

Clumps of scarlet tipped cladonia nestle among mosses on logs and forest duff.  I've always thought they were pretty.  

The shaggy mane or coprinus comatus has been one of my favorite mushrooms since childhood. Sauteed up in a little butter and mixed with a batch of scrambled eggs in the morning, they make a superb breakfast.

The last little tea roses of the year are just slightly frost burned, but still brave and beautiful.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Flights of Fancy

Migrating birds are coming through and they gather along the beaches, resting and looking for food.  

It's hard to get close enough to the herons to get a decent picture. They're really shy - and they blend in so well with the beach grasses that they can be difficult to see.  Sometimes one will take flight before we've noticed it and there's suddenly a very large and beautiful surprise winging through the air.  

Then, there are flights of things that don't migrate quite so far.  This is a nest Baloo and I discovered on one of our forest rambles.  It was so pretty that it looked sort of like a large ornament hanging in the tree.  I think it has been abandoned for warmer quarters in the ground at this point, because some of the carefully worked architecture is beginning to unravel.  We had a swarm of yellow jackets completely take over a wren house in the yard.  I should have gotten pictures of that before the rain and wind took a toll.  It looks far too ragged to bother with at this stage.   

This picture was taken last year, but went unposted during my complete lapse in blogging activity.  Moving will do that to a person.  Anyway, my sister had a lost homing pigeon hanging out at their house for quite a while.  We think it may have been blown off course by a big storm we had.  She dubbed him Walter...  

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Thanks and Colors and Crows

First of all and most importantly, let me thank all veterans for their service and sacrifice on this Veterans' Day.  You are awesome - and much appreciated!  Thank you for protecting the land that I love and that I love to explore every day.  

This lovely maple stands in the middle of the park where Baloo and I walk nearly every morning.  I thought the contrast of the reds, yellows and greens all together was quite delightful.  

The wonderful deep green of the pines make a beautiful contrast with the bright deciduous trees.   

The crows make their flight to and from the peninsula from their island rookery on a daily basis.  They start to gather for the trip home just before the sun goes down and try to find the easiest route, given their careful calculation of prevailing winds and distance.  

Finally, Baloo waits (not so) patiently for his supper after our afternoon walk.  The poor puppy is starving, of course.

Monday, November 9, 2015

More Autumnal Adventures

As promised, here are a few more of the (many) pictures I have taken of the fall colors.  These come from several of Baloo's (and my) favorite walking areas.  Sometimes we walk through the woods, all golden with the falling maple and poplar leaves, and feel like we're in a Robert Frost poem looking for diverging roads.  Also, I just loved the way the sun came out and turned the trees on the other side of the bay into an awesome blaze of glory.  It's important to enjoy this time of year, because the world here will be gray and white soon and colorful memories will have to keep us until the green of springtime.  

Of course, we have to snuggle a bit when we get home - Baloo has adopted my sister's old couch as his favorite napping spot.  First he claimed it at her house and now it has been moved to mine, so he can enjoy it all the time.  Not a spoiled puppy at all.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Autumn Walks with Baloo

Baloo and I have been taking advantage of the unseasonably warm weather by spending lots of time out enjoying the beautiful colors while we wander through the woods and along the bay.   Poor us!  

I was going to say something about each of the photos, but they speak eloquently enough for themselves, don't they??   I don't think I can add a thing -- except maybe a few more pictures tomorrow....