Tuesday, August 30, 2011

These are the last photos from our trip to the mountains.
For Shaun and Wendolene this is the longest car trip they
 have been on with us and they were very well behaved.

I always think of the mountains as the home of large animals
but I was surprised by how many plants had insects on them.
Plant identification is based on Plants of Alberta, Royer &
Dickinson, Lone Pine Publishing.

Feel free to disagree.

Mountain Fireweed

Mountain Goldenrod

Below we see a Hoverfly surrounded
by aphids Some Hoverfly larve feed
on aphids the adults feed on nectar
and pollen. Bugs of Alberta

Common Red Paintbrush

Twinflower ~ Linnaea borealis

"I stop in the gravel by the side of the road,
completely ringed by mountains so impressive
they must be fake."

                 Starting Out in the Afternoon
                                           Jill Frayne

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Some more shots of our trip to the mountains last weekend.

Having seen the bears the only other
mammals we saw tended to be on the short side.

Columbian ground squirrels

An outgoing Golden-mantled ground squirrel
posing and begging by the lake.

A series of shots of the beautiful lakes we saw,
the lakes were incredible shades of blue.

"I talk the road that bears leaves in the mountains
I grow hard to see then I vanish entirely
On the peaks it is summer"

             The Dream Again
                      W.S. Merwin

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sunday my wife and I went on a picnic with two friends in
Kananaskis Country a series of parks covering the foothills
and front ranges of the Rocky Mountains. Since Helen and
I have not had a car in the twenty-five years we have been married
it is a treat to leave the city. More on this later. We also
took Shaun and Wendolene our two dogs. I hope to post a series
of pictures from this trip but I wanted to get these pictures
out first to share with our companions.

We had found a lovely spot for lunch by a small creek with a bridge.
We had just finished and had driven a couple hundred years
when we encountered a mother grizzly and her cub eating
berries. They were heading for the picnic area but whether they
bypassing it on the high ground or entered it I have not heard.
A number of the trails were closed due to bears but as far
as I know no one has been hurt recently.

These picture were taken from the car on the other side
of the highway always the best way to photograph
a grizzly. They are a little fuzzy but not wuzzy so here we go.

 "The Grizzly Bear is huge and wild
It has devoured the little child.
The little child is unaware
It has been eaten by the bear".

          The Grizzly Bear
                         Alfred Edward Housman

"Bears are not companions of men, but children of God, and
His charity is broad enough for both... We seek to establish a narrow
line between ourselves and the feathery zeros we dare to call angels,
but ask a partition barrier of infinite width to show the rest of
creation its proper place. Yet bears are made of the same dust as we,
and breathe the same winds and drink of the same waters.
A bears days are warmed by the same sun, his dwellings are
overdomed by the same blue sky, and his life turns and
ebbs with heart-pulsings like ours and was poured from
the same fountain....."

- John Muir

Friday, August 19, 2011

I liked the cheekiness of our back yard sparrow although
I think I might have to get my autofocus checked. I felt
the picture did go well with the Richard Wilbur quote below.

For of course for the many who find joy
or solace or excitement or revelation in nature
relevance or purpose as Wilbur notes is not the point.

"It's hard to tell the purpose of a bird:
for relevance it does not seem to try.
No line can trace no flute exemplify
its traveling: it darts without the word."

                         In a Bird Sanctuary
                            Richard Wilbur

Sunday, August 14, 2011

When walking home from work last week
my wife probably found it slow going as I had
to record nature's attempts to reclaim the LRT
parking lot we had to cross.

This young white tailed jackrabbit gave me the eye.

This young magpie is still growing into it's feathers.

In this quote from by A.R. Ammons he
claims to be a bit overwhelmed by nature on this
particular day although I am not sure I buy it
from the author of Corsons Inlet.

" When leaving the primrose, bayberry, dunes, seaward
I discovered the universe this morning.
I was in no
 for wonder                                               
                                                    the naked mass of so much miracle                                               
already beyond  the vision
of my grasp"

The Constant
          A.R. Ammons

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Harvestman on a Schneezwerg rose.
It looks to be missing a leg.

to paraphrase the Bugs of Alberta by John Acorn & Ian Sheldon
"There is a legend that if your cow goes missing you
pull the leg off a Harvestman and throw it on the
ground, it will point in the direction the cow went."

They also note there are eight species of
Harvestman in Alberta.

"Delight in the small,
those that inhabit
only a corner of the mind,
the ones shaped by wind
and a season: a slip of
grass, the nameless flower
that offers its scent
to a small wind."

                           Delight in the small, the silent
                             Lorna Crozier

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

This summer in Saskatchewan and Alberta I saw more
dragonflies and damselflies than ever before.

Boreal Bluet Damselfly

" I see the sky
Smile on the meanest spot,
Giving to all that creep or walk or fly
A calm and cordial lot."

                   To the Snipe
                                  John Claire

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Last week I was at the pond in the park near work
photographing damselflies. I had been noticing one
or two birds flying above the pond feeding on insects for
weeks and while they did not look like swallows I never got a
 good look. But now there were lots of them, all nesting on
a  small island. A closer look and I realized they were
cedar waxwings, I had never seen this behaviour
but a look at a reference book and the Cornell Lab
of Ornithology site confirmed it. There were eight or more
waxwings taking advantage of the protection offered by the
small island in the pond. I like watching birds but I really
like experiencing behaviours I have never seen before.
And it was another lesson in paying attention to nature and
the wonders of background reading.

"But nothing you ever understand will be sweeter, or more binding,
than this deep affinity between your eyes and the world."

Mary Oliver

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"Senseless forest, special flower, sucking
beast, stay. In our certain fallibility,
be infallibly generous. Wait for us."

That's Why
    Pattiann Rogers

Monday, August 1, 2011

Yesterday we started work on the pond. Actually it started last
fall when I removed the dead Mayday tree, the third tree that
could not live in the same spot in the yard. Looking at the hole Helen
said pond, something we had always wanted.

Small beginnings

The last of the Mayday tree.

While it was sad to see the Mayday go there was
one tool from the set we bought for cabin building
left to try out. Yippee!!


In goes the sand.

Liner and pebbles.

 We begin laying the rocks. Tip the internal shelves
in the pond and the rim around the outside
should be really really level.  Oops!

The pond was finished today.
The water is fairly dirty the sand should settle soon.
We still need to put in a small pump to circulate the water.
There will be no fish but we will have water plants next year.

``There are poems
that are never written,
that simply move across
the mind
like skywriting
on a still day:``

There Are Poems
Linda Pastan