Exploring Nature One Step At A Time

Archive for July, 2012

I looked up to see…

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When I reached the Carriage Road on Hot Springs Road I felt something hit my head.  Looking down I spotted a nut exposed within its husk.  Tiny little teeth marks artfully etched into the rough surfaces.  Suddenly pulp rained down on me followed by green husks.

I looked up to see beautiful little squirrels hanging, leaping and foraging in the leaves above.  A leafy disc shaped nest to my right seemed to be their home.  Mom must have turned them loose to find a breakfast feast.  It was glorious to see the energy and joy of new life in the Forest.  It was a blessing to bare witness to the the beauty of Nature’s children.  Their joyous abandon was a message to my Heart.

It was the perfect way to begin my wonderful hike across Hot Springs and North Mountains.  G-d opened my Soul to creation and guided me along my path as I moved through the Forest.  Never miss an opportunity to have an adventure :)

Love to ALL!
Lee

PS Please remember the drought is still raging… do not bring fire into the Forest.


Beautiful Juvenile Birds Along the Trails

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Nature wraps me in her gentle embrace as she sings to the first light. ~ Lee Hiller

We have experienced several days that included beautiful life giving rain showers.  Sadly this interlude of moisture did not arrive in time to save many beloved Trees in the Forest.  Joyously I can report the rain has brought out many lovely juvenile Birds and wildflowers.  I was also blessed to see my dear friend Bob a female Squirrel this morning as I headed into the Mountains.

Beautiful blue Asiatic Dayflowers are blooming again on the Carriage Road. It was wonderful to see a juvenile Cardinal, Blue Jay, Carolina Wren and Mourning Dove.  Even Lichen had enough moisture to begin painting the Rocks again.

The rain was a glorious gift this week, the Forest felt alive after so many months of drought. It was a perfect morning in the Forest.

Love to ALL!
Lee


A Beautiful Birthday at Garvan Woodland Gardens

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Life is amazing, on the Fourth of July I kicked my age up a notch to 55 years of life on my favorite planet… Earth.  My wonderful husband Rick asked me what I wanted to do for my Birthday.  I chose a location that I had been sort of avoiding the past two years.  Now I wish I had visited sooner.  Garvan Woodland Gardens is unlike any other botanical garden I have visited… In a really good way.

It is nestled in the Forest on the edge of Lake Hamilton.  They did not clear cut the forest to put in a garden.  They created trails through the Forest and added gardens among the Trees.  It is a delightful mix of groomed and wild terrain.  So much more to explore and I cannot wait to return!!!!  The purple trail is calling out my name :o)

Note to the Peacocks:  I am flattered you were interested in my photography skills and took the time to observe me photographing the American Bullfrogs.  Later however you stalked my husband and me to the parking lot as we returned to my van.  The sexy rumbling noises and rubbing your tail along my legs seemed wholly inappropriate for a first date. :)

==>> Dearest readers if you recognize any of the unidentified plants I photographed I would greatly appreciate a comment on the photograph to let me know the name. <<==

Love to ALL!
Lee


Drought Strains the Forest in Hot Springs National Park

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When Rick and I headed out the door yesterday day dark clouds swirled overhead.  I thought rain would be forthcoming, sadly I was wrong.  As I look out my window this morning the clouds remain, but still refrain from releasing rain.  The drought has reached dangerous levels we really need a good 24 hour down pour.

As we head into the park House Sparrows are playing in puddles created earlier by the park sprinkler system.  Desperate for water they huddle in small groups scooping up the water and splashing their feathers.  A Crow lands in a Tree above sending the juvenile Birds scattering. Further along a Female Cardinal is being pestered by a Juvenile House Sparrow.  She breaks free of the attention and pops up with a seed in her mouth.

Nestled in the Ivy and dried Leaves are glorious scarlet red Trumpet Creepers.  When I look into the bell of one of the Flowers the stamen looks like it sticking its tongue out at me.  Wildflowers are so rare this year that each one seems more spectacular than in previous years.

When we reach the junction of the Peak Trail and Carriage Road I am overwhelmed by the landscape.  It is Jul 02, but the Forest looks as if it is doing a September autumn change.  Rust leaves coat the trails and the trees are painted in a variety of yellowing colors.  I wonder if there will be many leaves left for the normally colorful fall foliage.  Our entire hike has scenes that mimic autumn.  Although beautiful the stress of the drought is slowly sucking the life from the once lush green Forest.

As we make our way home we are rewarded with the sight of lovely baby Squirrels.  Foraging and climbing Trees they are testing their survival skills in the toughest conditions. The wildlife that survives this drought will likely pass on a strong genetic code.

Love to ALL!
Lee


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