Nature Photo Challenge Number 6

I’ve noticed this fat little bird lately.  Every afternoon she sits on the same branch of the holly bush near my front door.  She turned shyly away when I came close with my camera this afternoon.

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Nature Photo Challenge Number 5

Rich and I were walking in the Croatan National Forest last month when I watched this beautiful bird fishing in the meadow hay.  It waded in the grass amazingly slowly, but when a minnow came near, the bird struck with lighting speed and perfect accuracy.  During the half hour I watched the quest for food, I don’t think one strike missed it’s mark!  The Croatan National Forest boasts being the only truly coastal forest in the entire United States.  It is a gorgeous place!

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Nature Photo Challenge Number 4

This toad has chosen to make his home in my garden under the shade of my garlic plants.  Here he is peeking out of his little hole.

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I took this picture, but credit goes to T for helping learn how to use the camera on my phone to get this shot.

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Sister Campout

One of the great advantages of our move to the Northeast is being close enough to meet up with family.  My two sisters and I decided to have a campout and bring our daughters on a pretty significant hike.

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I picked out Sam’s Point at Minnewaska .  They have ice caves there!  How cool is that?  The trail has ladders and suspension bridges and cool rock formations.  I wanted to go.  I wanted to hang with my sisters and my niece in that beautiful place.

Alas!  Just days before our planned event, a forest fire burned two thousand acres and the park closed.  Part of the park did reopen, but not the ice caves and fun ladders, and who wants to hike through burnt out landscape?

Not to be defeated by a measly forest fire, we relocated our sister campout to  Phoenicia, the most centrally located place among the three sisters.  Phoenicia also happens to be where we grew up and where my Dad still lives.  It is a beautiful place – a kind of paradise.

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We made reservations at Devil’s Tombstone.  My parents were excited we were doing this.  Dad contributed local firewood to our cause.  We roasted s’mores, laughed in the dark and listened to barred owls calling one another that first night.  Mom sent each girl a travel journal with visions of sketches and poetry by the side of the trail.

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The next day, we headed out early under threat of rain.  We hiked the Indian Head Mountain/Twin Mountain trail – nearly nine miles of serious hiking fun with three summits.  This review of the trail says it is not for kids unless your kids are actual, literal mountain goats.  Bah!  Take your girls I say!!  Our girls had a blast.

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At lower elevations the subtle woodland wildflowers delighted us.  There were red trilliums and painted trilliums, bobble bush and trout lilies, violets and dutchmen’s britches.

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At higher elevations the views thrilled us.  We stood on rock ledges and gazed out.  We looked down on soaring birds.

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One sister announced we could call her “Queena” while reclining on this rock throne.  We all burst into laughter at her inside childhood joke.

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Our daughters skipped along this rock path …

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and wedged themselves into this tight space.

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Look at the leaves on this lovely bobble bush.  You see how they come out in pairs?  That’s how I want to explore the world – with a friend, or a sister, or a pair of sisters.

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Have you been out investigating God’s big beautiful world with a sister recently?

 

 

 

 

 

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Nature Photo Challenge Number 3

There’s been so much rain, you could almost never imagine I walked past this dried up pond in the field by my house a couple of weeks ago.  Among the cracks in the mud, I saw a variety of animal tracks.  One of the hundred million deer that live near us left these prints here.

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As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for you, O God. – Psalm 42:1

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Nature Photo Challenge Number 2

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A couple of months ago geese were everywhere – in the cornfields and on every little pond.  There were literally thousands of them.  We apparently live in their migration path.  Most of them have moved on now, but a few stragglers remain.  I captured a photo of this fine fellow swimming in the water at Longwood Gardens.

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Nature Photo Challenge Number 1

My friend Debbie encouraged me to put up seven days of nature photographs.  I don’t know if I’ll do seven, but here’s one!

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For as long as I can remember, this forget-me-not plant has lived at the place where the side stream runs into the main stream, just a piece up from where the big rock used to be.  If you are one of my brothers or sisters, that sentence has meaning for you, and you know exactly where I took this picture.  If not, you can just know this photo was taken in a place I often played as a girl.

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