Sunday, January 29, 2017

January 25, 2017...A Walk Down to the Brukner Nature Center Swamp

Since we have had a warm January, I have been wanting to make a trip to the Brukner swamp to see if the skunk cabbage was poking its way up out of the muck.

Wednesday was drizzly in the morning but cleared off after lunch.  The temperature was in the low fifties Fahrenheit, a very pleasant temperature for a January walk.  

I started my walk at the top of Shortstep Hill where a number of native animals live because, for a variety of reasons, they cannot be released into the wild.  This is the American Eagle.

There are a pair of crows, one which, if it is in the mood, will say, "American Crow."  The other crow replies..."Aaaww."  Great mimics of the visitors they see.

I was surprised the Red Fox stayed outside and watched me instead of disappearing into his home.

Onward down the hill I walked, carefully.  It is a bit steep.

I saw green leaves here and there.  Just after I turned off toward the swamp I came across these glistening Hepatica leaves.  The flowers won't bloom until the leaves are fading to reds and browns.

A bit further along, I saw this attractive fungi.  Learning more about fungi is on my list of things to do this year.

Off I walked across the floodplain on the boardwalk.  I was pleased to find that it was all in place.  When the floodplain floods in the spring, sometimes sections of the boardwalk float out of place.

It has been quite a few years since an ice storm in late October brought down this Cottonwood.  The trees still had leaves which made the ice a heavy load to bear, too heavy.

Onward and I was rewarded.  Lots of skunk cabbage are breaking through the wet ground.

I continued on beyond the swamp to the platform where trail guides teach school children about plants and animals and the natural environment.

I found a few waterleaf leaves.

And these little pretty leaves...I'll return when the flowers bloom.  I'm not sure what the plants are.  People have suggested false rue anemone, rue anemone, columbine, or tall meadow rue.

Along the walk, many rotting logs and twigs had beautiful fungi attached to them.

This is the fallen cottonwood again, seen from the other side as I began my return trip.

From this point on, more than anything else, I noticed the wide variety of fungi.

I did see one surprise, a puttyroot leaf.  The puttyroot is one of Ohio's orchids.  The leaves are noticeable this time of year.  They look very different from any other leaf.  I didn't know that this plant was in the Brukner woods.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

First Great Bird Sighting of 2017

Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens)...we checked in Tom's Birding Field Guide and later, in The Sibley Guide to Birds, Second Edition.

There was a second Snow Goose with another flock of Canada Geese in another pond.

We have seen huge flocks of Snow Geese in October at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware but these were the first two we have seen at the fish hatchery at St. Mary's.  The geese only pass through Ohio during migration.

We also saw one American Coot (Gallinula galeata).  In a few weeks, we will be seeing big flocks of them.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Changes Around the House

I decided this was the morning to begin rehanging the family photos in the hall.  In late summer, I took down all the photos and spackled the holes in the walls.  However, when I brushed on the primer and paint, all the repaired spots showed.  Tom decided the paint I used had been damaged since we had done the original painting a few years ago.

Eventually, we bought new paint, same color, same brand.  However, we had a problem.  One of the walls extended beyond the hall, and became the living room wall.  Our piano sits in front of that wall and Tom and I don't  have the strength any more to move it.

Eric stepped up and said he'd help us.  Bless his heart.  Not only did he move the piano...he painted the walls a few weeks before Thanksgiving.

 But I still couldn't replace the photos because...I didn't have the new style damage-free hanging strips I wanted to use to rehang the photos.

I got around to buying the hangers shortly before Christmas.  They have been sitting in a bag until this morning.

I still don't have all the photos up but I expect to have them up before spring.

It's a good thing we are retired.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Charleston Falls, January 13, 2017

I was surprised when I arrived at the falls yesterday.  I thought there would be more ice left even though we have had temperatures in the fifties and sixties for two days.  Today we won't see anything above the mid thirties.  Many activities have been cancelled because of the danger of black ice.

As I walked through Octagon Prairie, I noticed the park staff has planted Red Cedars on a path circling the prairie between the Octagon and the woods.  I wonder why.

Red cedars are the only native evergreen in southwestern Ohio .  The staff could have dug them up from elsewhere on the prairie.  However I still have the question...Why?

Thursday, January 12, 2017

No Rain for a Few Hours, Time Enough to Walk

Our weather is continuing to be odd for January.  We've had enough cold weather so the falls are frozen but it was fifty degrees Fahrenheit today, a pleasant day for a walk.  And there was only a light breeze not strong gusty winds like we have had for the past two days.  I met a pleasant woman who visits the same places I do (Aullwood Nature Center and Brukner) who took this photo.

One of these days, that evergreen on the edge of the falls is going to topple.

I took a photo of it from the trail behind the falls, too.

The trail behind the falls was littered with fallen twigs and branches brought down by the gusty winds of the past couple days.

This morning we are up to sixty degrees but Tom said he can see the next cold storm front making a streak across the sky.  By afternoon, it will be considerably colder.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Backyard story, January 7, 2017

It was cold this morning...5 degrees Fahrenheit on our thermometer.  Tom and I have been holed up for a few days.  Both of us are sick though I think today we are feeling better.

The platform feeder has been mostly empty for three days although the Darkeyed Juncos are still showing up and finding a seed here and there.  I decided to refill the feeder this morning while I had the energy to do it.

I heard a Blue Jay calling his warning call from a Black Hills Spruce along the lot line.  I looked up but couldn't find him.  But I did find the reason for his shrill warning.

In the tangle of branches of the walnut tree sat the Cooper's Hawk.  I hadn't intended to but I was giving him a chance for a meal.  The Blue Jay was doing his best to warn the little birds that flock to the feeder.

I didn't see the end of the story.  I love the small birds but the predators are part of the cycle, too.  Nature's balance works fine as long as we humans remember that it exists and respect it.

Sunday, January 1, 2017


This was Charleston Falls yesterday morning.  There is probably less snow today since the temperatures are in the 40s and the sun is shining.

Tom and I are spending today reading and watching TV.  We both have some kind of winter ailment.  Tom says his is in his lungs.  Mine is mostly a sinus irritation.

I did fairly well at keeping up with my diary entries this past year.  I only have three entries I would like to add a bit to.  I will do that tomorrow morning when my mind is less foggy.

This morning I started the 2017 diary...The first one I wrote was in 1997 so I have a sizable collection.

I have two New Year's Resolutions.  The first is to write something on this blog at least twice a week.  The second is to dump a lot of the basement collection.

This morning I dumped folders from two file cabinet drawers  The folders were collections of ideas for teaching Children's Drawing.  I, with regret, gave up teaching for Community Services two years ago.  I love teaching but my body told me it had had enough teaching.

This past summer the art student who came to me when he was in first grade and said he planned to come to art classes with me for five years, reached his goal.  We've had a good five years and his new teachers are getting a talented student.  Good luck to you, J. W.

Now, on to 2017.  Let's see what joys and challenges it holds.