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Posts Tagged ‘Birds’

This is kind of a part II to my last post, where I was wondering why I do this. And being something I’ve done before on my other blogs, you are excused if you don’t feel like reading it. And if you loathe free-verse, you are excused, also or again, as the case may be.

Inspired by fellow Iowa blogger, Norseman, and a walk along the Volga River this morning.

I Wonder. Then I Don’t.

I sat awhile, on the dewey, grassy banks of the Volga river,
Just sitting. Yet noticing the minnows and white suckers
Kiss the sandy bottom, while smallmouth bass
Lay tight against limestone blocks in deeper currents,
Waiting sustenance to wash over underwater ledges or
Try to dash past, unnoticed. Rock bass rise
To the surface, staring down debris floating on the film,
Hoping for a bug. All of them timelessly, patiently, waiting.

There I sat, letting them be. Wondering.

Can I teach someone to find wonder? How to
Sit in the wind and wonder if the air that brushed their skin
May have brushed the skin of an ancient, being
Photosynthesized millions of years ago but had not yet been used. Or
As they wade a stream, wonder if the water molecules that are
Passing between their toes were created eons ago,
Having never left our atmosphere, and may have also
Touched the skin of an ancient.

I wonder if I can teach just that. Wonder.
How they are walking in beauty.

I don’t have to wonder if I have been shown. I have
Sat in the wind and stood in the currents many times
For the sole purpose of learning this.
I look down stream, and above the elm, ash, maple and
Walnut trees, is a line of branches reaching up. Attached to these are
Flattened leafstalks, bearing shiny leaves that seem to sparkle
Among the greenery, even in the slightest breeze. Cheery, friendly trees
Poplars are, waving to us, and brief in life. An example to share this
Beauty and wonder while we can.

This is what I must do.

– Casey

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A Night Walk and A New Squirrel Pocket.

I don't know why I put my camera through this, but can you make out the deer?

It has been a long week, my friends, and thought that I might get some reprieve from life’s responsibilities by going for a little night walk, letting the light of the nearly full Thunder Moon and the faint luminesce of the Milky Way impart their gifts into me through the pores of my skin – if it could make it past the Deep Woods Off, that is. And I truly hope it did. I really cannot wait for the end of mosquito season, even with the knowledge that the little bloodsuckers need their time to do whatever it is they are supposed to do. They seem very out of control this year.

Critters have been scrathing at the top of this bolete.

But before I was enveloped in darkness, surrounded by the sounds of a summer night – the chirping of various things; crickets, cicadas and tree frogs – a walk under the trees was made along game trails, hoping to find mushrooms I have never found before – chantrelles and king boletes. There was no luck to be had on that front (the mushroom pictured was not a king bolete in my opinion – the stem was not bulbous), yet there is time before late fall sets in. So there is still a chance of finding a specimen or two. That is if I have a mind to concentrate on mushrooms instead of the hunting seasons fast approaching. The soon-to-be Hunting Moon brings with it squirrel season, and an early duck season. Then the deer bow season starts, followed by the rest of the duck season. Then trapping starts. In between all of this, the brown trout will be spawning, giving me a good shot at netting a larger one – my personal best only being 16-17 inches long! One of my favorite critters that Nature has devised.

I guess my pack will be stuffed to capacity real soon!

This wasn't the only clump of shagbark hickories on this hillside.

In the fading daylight, I found a real nice pocket for squirrel hunting, most of the squirrels I saw were greys. This hillside has a generous share of hickory, oak, and locust. Just a ton of mast. And some very playful chickadees! Squeaking and flitting from oak twig to oak twig, raining small acorns down on this intruder. Thank goodness their territory didn’t include the stands of shagbark hickories I found! This hillside is very easy to get to, and should be a great spot to walk my kids into during the darkness just before dawn. This makes five good pockets I can use for putting squirrels in the freezer. I should start stocking up on barbeque sauce.

A critter crossroads.

Also, though it’s too soon to tell, I may have found a decent stand for this late muzzleloader deer season. That is if I can come by a rifle this year like I did last, thanks to a very good friend. It is kind of hard to describe this spot. It seems to be a crossroads of well worn paths that come and go between features that deer visit. A field to the north, a stream to the east, a stand of cedars to bed under to the south, and mast trees all round. Looks good to me anyway, but I’ll have to keep tabs on it as the year progresses. And who’s to say I will make it out come deer season? I cannot make that promise to myself or to you. But I do have the squirrels and ducks and trout covered, so there, at least, is the making of an awesome fall already.

Until I can write again (which will be soon – I have most of next week off and plan on going trout fishing at least once) –

Take care –

Casey

P.S. The pics I have been taking lately have not turned out well, but I did get a good BEER shot this past Monday. And it is highly recommended by this beer drinker. Also, Oktoberfest will be here soon, and Sam Adams made a high quality one last year. So I’m recommending that already, too.

A guzzler, I assure you.

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You can click this to enlarge it. Hope the writing is legible enough.

I made a small exploration in the Countryside Round this past Sunday afternoon, which served two purposes really. One, to provide inexpensive yet thoroughly engaging entertainment (that being the feeling you get when you discover new-to-you things), and the second, to provide in the future another chance at some more involved recreation. That future recreation being a day or two spent outdoors during the coming Hunting Moon (September), when squirrels will be legally hunt-able, the crawdads will be large enough to fill a nice portion of my plate after being boiled and dipped in melted butter, and if I time it right, maybe a shot at a duck or two during the early season for them.

Home to many things. Hopefully a home for me for a couple of days this coming Hunting Moon.

I may have found a spot that can do all that, if given some patience. It is at an intersection of three environmental features. An old trail that is no longer maintained dead-ends at a point where a river meets the side of a hill. Where the river and the hill meet is a fairly nice hole that may hold a smallmouth bass or two in the fall. Just upstream the water is smoother and seems slower, where a wood duck may try to take refuge. At the spot marked “1” on the map are two shallow riffles and rock bars whose rocks hold crayfish, and the river can be crossed here fairly easy late in the year, I’m sure. And northeast up the hill, a maple and hackberry tree dominated hillside. But a look up into the canopy revealed oak and walnut branches, which led me to the trees and some mast laying on the forest floor. This area looked good enough even if I had not seen two fox squirrels hopping up the hill away from me! I hope they multiplied well this spring. If anything, the scenery is going to be fantastic!

Here are more photos I took during this short outing. I hope you enjoy them.

Horsemint (Bee Balm)

The riffles.

Under the hillside canopy.

The overgrown trail, with Queen Anne's Lace, Yarrow, Pale Coneflower, and Bee Balm.

Pale Coneflower

Hummingbird. I almost got a photo of it as it was sipping nectar, but a gnat flew under my glasses and then under an eyelid! Damn!

Strange name for this butterfly. This species is called Question Mark.

So until the next time I have an explore in the Countryside Round – Slainte! – Tight lines! – Bring a towel and extra socks! – And I hope your scouting pays off this fall.

Peace – Casey

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Shedding Skin. Pace.

Rainbow Trout

Yep. I may be hopeless. It hasn’t been a week and already I want to jump back into the writing game and then, worst of all, I want to share it. This isn’t such a bad thing, I suppose, but I WILL NOT get caught up in the pace I was trying to run when I was Wandering Owl. The guy who was trying to accomplish things that are far beyond his reach. Back to being me – Casey. The simpleton who has no desire to sell himself to the masses and needs to spend more time walking paths, discovering mushrooms, watching kit beavers and muskrats swim down slow moving streams, stand in awe of the patterns a flock of ducks create while flying, and spending time behind his fishing pole. That is quite enough without writing about it, but those things are art and go hand-in-hand, do they not?

Barn Swallow chicks

I do quite a bit of observing nature, and I wonder if I had been caught up in it’s frantic pace just through that observation. In the countryside around me, spring and early summer are unbelievably hectic, and all with a real purpose compared to what we modern humans consider “real” purpose. The nesting, birthing, and growing happens so fast it seems a miracle. And all the mowing and weeding doesn’t help, not to mention one of modern man’s “real” purposes – work – has been insane. The order calendar is full and getting fuller by the day. Something I’ll have to cope with if I wish to enjoy those times spent with a plate of goat cheese and crackers, or a tin of smoked clams and crackers, along with a cold mug of ale, English preferably.

So the skin is shed – which to the observant has been awhile in coming, eh? –  and a new set of rules – which are really tied to an ancient set of rules – have taken effect. I am sure I’ll flesh those out for you, but not just yet. Pace, you see. That’s how I have to walk now.

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