Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sorry We're Late...

There are many signs that Mr. and Mrs. Heron do infact winter in Florida. I haven't actually seen them although I have seen their images and namesake everywhere including an ornate carving on a gated community's gate, as the mascot of a local realestate office and on the sign of a motel. I have caught glimps of their southern cousin the Great White Heron though fishing from the local canals and mangrove swamps.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Frosteen's New Coat

I have been very inspired by Chad Carpenter's comic strip "Tundra" of late. I am especially inspired by his "Snowman" comics. I made this one in the "Tundra" style and sent a link to Chad hoping he will decide to take me on as a protege/student/apprentice and or pay me for the publishing rights; ) BTW the reason I am studying Chad's work is beacause I read somewhere that that is what artists do. My other snowmen are not done in the "Tundra" style (although snowmen do tend to look alike) however the subject matter is inspired by Chad's work. I will post more "Snowman" comics later.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Frosty The Snowfort?

It snowed today in Sydenham, Ontario. Lot's of the white fluffy stuff that so many have been waiting for. I won't have much time to enjoy the snow as I will be heading south to Florida on Friday. I will be back in mid January to enjoy another season of snowshoing and I promised myself last year that I would get out on Sydenham Lake this year for a bit of meandering. Enjoy the snow and I hope you all have fun building your "Frostys".

Saturday, November 28, 2009

What Happens On The Trail...Snow Birds?

Mr. and Mrs. Heron were still around last week but  I have yet to see them this week and wonder if they are packing to head back down south soon. Thinking of them and also recently discovering a great comic website called Tundra Comics inspired this comic. Chad Carpenter's comics are so hilarious and a bit similar to the ones I did for this blog...well we both have bears and other animals and the outdoors. so kinda the same yet not.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Morning's Play

Oh would you go meandering,
Upon this trail beside this lake,
To hold my hand and welcome Day,
And take our role in Morning's play?

Oh would you go meandering,
Meandering, meandering,
Oh would you go meandering,
Meandering with me?

an excerpt from my poem "The Meandering Trail"

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Double Rainbows in Sydenham

There were Double Full Arc Rainbows in Sydenham on Sunday, Aug. 31st. Unfortunately the 2 arcs were so big that I was unable to get a picture of them in one still. The second arc had also faded by the time I got home and retrieved my camera. I was able to get a few pics from my front yard but by the time I reached the lake only one arc remained. I was humbled by the rainbows beauty and by my amateur efforts to capture it on film(memory card). The lower rainbow was very vibrant in color with the second top arc being more muted perhaps by the cloud cover. Below are the results of my efforts. The whole town was talking about the two rainbow's the next day.

Footnote: there were two teenage girls lost in Frontenac Park at the time of the double rainbows. Perhaps somehow the rainbows led their searchers to them although Derrick says he did not see the rainbows.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Children of the Canola

A Canola Field in La Fontaine, Ontario
Children of the Canola
Every few years the farmer's rotate the crops just north of Barrie, Ontario.
This year it was fields of canola everywhere.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Stir Sun To Rise

Oh would you go meandering,
Upon this trail beside this lake,
To hear the sounds stir Sun to rise,
As calling loons share haunting cries?

Oh would you go meandering,
Meandering, meandering,
Oh would you go meandering,
Meandering with me?
an excerpt from my poem "The Meandering Trail"

Saturday, July 25, 2009


I had a fun time visiting with my in-laws Ron and Fran last week at their cottage on Georgian Bay. When I arrived one of the first things I noticed was that Ron had rigged up a make shift scarecrow to keep a few big black birds away from his bird feeder. Determined to keep the bird feeder safe and enjoyable for the pretty local finches Ron had also sprayed the metal post holding the feeder with WD40 as a couple of squirrels had been scurrying up the pole and devouring all the seeds. Ron talked with delight about how the squirrel's attempts to climb the newly greased pole usually ended in a comical thud. I watched as a big black squirrel attempted to raid the feeder only to be humiliated in front of the chipmunks below as he crashed to the ground. Mr. Squirrel then took out his defeat on the chipmunks by chasing them away from where they had been feasting on all of the dropped seeds.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sunsets on The Bay

Every evening was a beautiful sunset on Georgian Bay this past week. It seemed that no matter what the days weather had been like that the skies cleared and the waters stilled just before 9 pm for us to enjoy another sunset on the Bay. We all stopped whatever we were doing for the short time it took for the sun to drop below the horizon. Each sunset was so different from the days before in the way that the suns fading light illuminated the sky and the clouds above.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Silent Stillness

Oh would you go meandering,
Upon this trail beside this lake,
To feel the silent stillness break,
As jumping fish cause rippled wakes?

Oh would you go meandering,
Meandering, meandering,
Oh would you go meandering,

Meandering with me?

an excerpt from my poem "The Meandering Trail"

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Nature Can Be Sooo Cruel- Head & Tail

Aren't Bears Cute???
I have a friend who has a deathly fear of snakes. Big snakes, small snakes all snakes. If it slithers then she is afraid of it, jumps 6 ft in the air and runs blindly at record breaking speeds in the opposite direction. Why all the running I ask her, does she really think the snake is in hot pursuit??? I would call her fear of snakes a phobia because for the most part it is irrational. I on the other hand have a completely rational fear of bears. Bears are BIG with BIG TEETH and CLAWS and may decide to claw at you or bite your head if you tick them off enough. With all that said I was sad the other day when a Policeman made the decision to shoot a bear who had followed his nose down the lake and into town for a snack. The snack he was after was garbage and not human or canine or feline or Mr. and Mrs. Heron so why did the Officer need to shoot him with a bullet? It is my best guess that the Officer decided to error on the side of safety as in , "Better Safe then Sorry". However living so close to nature I really think we need to have a better plan then that. I am pretty sure that Officer didn't go home bragging about how he killed a bear today. Perhaps that Officer also had a fear of bears the way I do. Human fears usually result in a "fight or flight" response and can make us do the darndest things. My friend's natural response was "Flight", the Officer's was "Fight". Yes, bears are scary creatures but so are Policemen shooting guns with bullets practically in my front yard. Of course the hunters in my back yard are another story.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Meandering Heron?

Mr. Heron posed for some pictures today. He seems less shy over by the waterfalls where there is much more activity IE. car traffic, kids playing in the park, dogs and cats running around and me sitting quietly on the hill with my camera. BTW, just for the record I rarely bring my camera with me while out meandering. I would say I bring my camera approx. 2 times out of 10. Like the other day, I was out for an easy run after a long day at the computer screen. Always having in mind that The Heron's may be around I looked for them in their usual spots and wouldn't you know it but Mr. Heron walked right up the hill out of the pond. His legs were so thin and knobby and he appeared awkward as he strutted across the trail and down to the lakes edge. Of course the first thing I thought to myself was "Darn, I wish I had my camera with me". However if I did have my camera I would have seen the surreal sight of a heron walking down "The Meandering Trail" through an LCD display. I would have been fumbling with buttons and zoom lenses and missing out on enjoying the moment just so I could have photographic evidence that the unbelievable story about a heron meandering down the trail is true. So I am glad that I did not have my camera that day. Instead what I do have is a lasting memory that may have been lost if I did and I am sure you all believe me without the photo evidence anyways, don't you?

Isn't Mr. Heron a handsome fellow? I never realized how fluffy his brown feathers on the top of his legs are.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Roger Tory Peterson

A few years ago I bought the Peterson Field Guide Birds of Eastern and Central North America. At the time I bought the book because my Grandmother always kept an edition of the Guide on her windowsill. As a child I remember looking through her window at the birds in her garden. I also remember being a bit disappointed that I never saw as many birds through that window as were shown in the book. It was not until recently that I came to appreciated the fact that everyone of those pretty pictures was a detailed work of art. I made this revelation as I was reading the Foreword to the Guide. The Foreword was written by Canadian wildlife artist Robert Bateman. Bateman tells of how he received his first Peterson Bird Guide when he was 12 and how it's author, Roger Tory Peterson greatly influenced his life. Bateman talks about the discipline one must have to render such works when he says, "You cannot get loose and sloppy even once. You must always pay attention, not only to the detail, but to the general shape and form". He then goes on to praise Peterson further, ""Every species has been sweated over, brushstroke by brush stroke". Roger Tory Peterson documented the species he loved through his art, however art was never his goal. I believe he expressed his true goal when he said, "We must reach all mentors of children, their teachers and those who teach teachers. We must give them the tools and instill in them a responsibility for creating in their young charges a knowledge and love of nature". So it turns out that my Grandmother's Field Guide was more then a book with pretty pictures. It was the vessel used by Roger Tory Peterson to instill in us a knowledge and love of nature.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Nature Can Be Sooo Cruel- Wishbones

ALL birds have WISHBONES so Mr. Heron has been caught in a lie...
but then again can we really blame him for trying to save his NECK?

I have been thinking about dead animals lately mostly due to my personal experience of running over a beautiful 5 ft. black snake sunning himself on the road the other day. I thought he was a patched crack in the road and at the last second realized that I was running over a snake with my mammoth vehicle. Oucccccccchhhhhh! Oh the misery of meeting your end while blissfully sunning yourself. I thought about stopping, but then what? Rush him to the vet? Is there a place to take these poor suffering snakes? I thought about perhaps just moving him off the road but was afraid that he would bite me if still alive. I screamed and cried all the way to my Core Class which is where I was headed in the first place. I hoped there was a chance that I had missed his vital organs and that after some rest he would be fine. But I am sure animals don't recover from these things and he probably slinked off into the grass to die. Wow, nature can be so cruel!
The next time I went to Core Class I drove very observantly and with my music a bit less blaring. Being AWARE I decided would be the best way I could make it up to that poor snake. Then as I was driving home after class wouldn't you know it but there walking lazily down the middle of the road was a big old snapping turtle. She was huge and dirty and really had no clue of the impending danger she was in. Here was my chance to make up for hitting Mr. Snakey, but how? I had no idea about the dexterity of snapping turtles and whether they were capable of whipping around and snapping you. So at that point I was not sure if my desire to help her was greater then my fear of her. There was also the chance that I would end up as "Road Kill" myself if I didn't do something quick being that it was late and we were on a very curvy country road. I tried to nudge her with my foot, but she would not budge. I yelled at her to move but she just looked at me. I lifted her tail end with my foot which made her really mad and her head began to jut in and out of her shell furiously, each jut ending with a snapping sound. After hearing those SNAPS I determined that I would try to move her without picking her up. I returned to my truck to retrieve something, anything that I could move her with. At this point I really did not want to touch her. I could just picture myself in Emergency holding my detached finger with all the hospital staff berating me that everyone knows you don't pick-up a snapping turtle, especially one big enough to bite your finger off. So as I returned to my vehicle I suppose I was hoping to find a "Snapping Turtle Removal Kit" in the trunk. I did find a cardboard box there but determined I would have to lift her into it which defeated the no touch option. I searched the back and front seats and all I found was my daughters sweater. Alas that would have to do. As I returned to Mrs. Snapper I could not believe what I was about to do. Somehow I thought screaming may help so I began screaming at the top of my lungs as I picked her up with my daughter's sweater wrapped around my hands. Now what? I was in the middle of the road sceaming and holding a big old snapping turtle with her head jutting in and out violently snapping at me and I could not decide which side to put her on? The lake was on one side but I believe she was heading away from the lake to lay her eggs so I put here down there in the brush. I drove away hoping I hadn't done more harm then good. It truely is amazing how all these wild creatures survive and thrive year after year despite us humans. Nature can be cruel but it can also be quite amazing.
BTW, I never did tell my daughter that I used her sweater to lift a big, old stinky snapping turtle...and I probably never will.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Nature Can Be Sooo Cruel- Get Off My Log!

One day as I was out meandering on the trail I spied Mr. Heron on a log(I now call it his log) along the shoreline. There were trees and brush between the trail and the water so I tried to get closer to him and perhaps get a picture. I found a little trail leading to the lake through the brush and as I got closer I realized that Mr. Heron was sharing the log with a loon. I wondered how that came about and who was there first. Was this some sort of stand-off I had come upon? So now I really wanted to get a shot of the two of them. I was almost crawling now below the brush line hoping I would not be detected. However, Mr. Heron being the shy sort spotted me in no time and flew away with a few flaps of his powerful wings. Disappointed, I then turned to the log in hopes of getting a pic of Mr. Loon but alas he was gone also. I left without any pictures however thinking back I really should have taken a picture of that log. Darn!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dawn's Blushing Skies

Oh would you go meandering,
Upon this trail beside this lake,
That I may gaze into your eyes,
As you behold Dawn's blushing skies?

Oh would you go meandering,
Meandering, meandering,
Oh would you go meandering,
Meandering with me?
Excerpt from my poem "The Meandering Trail"

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Trail Tales #1- Fish On Her Bones

The water can be mirror like in the early morning. The reflections of the sun, clouds, treeline and houses in the water got me wondering about what the birds flying overhead might think about when seeing their image below. Do you think they are checking themselves out?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Audubon Society Field Guides

My Mom recently gave my daughter a couple of Audubon Society Field Guides(Wild Flowers Eastern Region and North American Trees). She was quickly drawn to the wildflowers book as it is full of colourful photos of flowers of every colour including pink which is her favorite. There are so many flowers on the trail and it is amazing how this one little book holds the key to unlocking the mystery to each one of them. The field guide has arranged the flower photos according to colour and then has a corresponding description, habitat and comments page. We decided that we would pick one flower each during our walk and then go home to learn more about the flowers in her guide. My daughter picked what looked like a common daisy and I chose a bulb like flower that is very abundant along the side of the trail these days. As we were flipping though the Audubon Field Guide we came across many similar looking flowers and really needed to check the shape of the leaf and read the description before settling on what we hoped was the correct identity for each or our wildflowers. We then set out to draw the flowers we had picked learning even more about each flower as we attempted to put it's likeness on the paper. For instance the Oxeye Daisy's petals are almost blunt at the end and not rounded. The flower of the Bladder Campion is emerging from within the bulb which will eventually reveal the entire flower leaving the bulb shape in tact. It was a fun and educational way to spend an hour or so after school. Thanks for the books Mom.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Portrait of Mr. Heron

I tried my hand at a little sketching today. I have not sketched in 25 years. I have doodled mind you(note my other blog) but sitting down to attempt to draw Mr. Heron is another thing. I was intrigued by Mr. Heron's neck, the way he curves it and tucks it just so as a resting place for his proud plumed head. I wanted to colour him in but with out the proper supplies I scanned my sketch into a paint program and coloured him on my computer adding the moon and title as well.
I recently found the quote below. It speaks about adventure in a gentler way then most quotes on the subject. No need to risk life and limb it seems as adventure is all around us. We just need to go looking for it once and a while. It may even be as close as that pencil and paper sitting unused in your drawer.
"A man practices the art of adventure when he breaks the chain of routine and renews his life through reading new books, traveling to new places, making new friends, taking up new hobbies and adopting new veiw points"- Wilfred Peterson

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Monet Heron

These are my first and favorite photos of Mr. Heron. I had just spent my early morning taking pictures of the sunrise and was meandering home at 6:00 am when I realized I was about to pass the pond where Mr. Heron sometimes fishes. I decided to turn my camera back on just in case I lucked into seeing him. With that thought Mr. Heron flew up from the cattails along the edge of the pond where I was walking. I had obviously startled him as he had me and I began to furiously snap away without thought or time to focus or even aim. The blurring action of my unsteady hand together with the early days light and the lilly pond setting all brought to mind a painting Monet may have painted if by chance he had happened upon this pond that day instead of me.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Heron Mates

This was the first time in a month that I had seen Mr. and Mrs. Heron together. Lately I had only seen Mr. Heron fishing alone in his various favorite spots(wading in the pond, balanced on a log in the lake, at the foot of the waterfalls and on a dock). Truth is I was beginning to get worried about Mrs. Heron so I was excited and relieved when the mates flew passed me and circled the lower end of the lake near the Point where this picture was taken. They then flew back towards the middle of the lake and separated with each of them landing on docks directly across the lake from one another. Their amazing wing span carried them this entire distance in what seemed to be less then a minutes time.
Oh would you go meandering...
Upon this trail beside this lake
To awe at the inspiring sight
Of Heron mates in boundless flight?

Oh would you go meandering...
Oh would you go meandering...
Meandering with me?
Excerpt from my poem "The Meandering Trail"

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Twilight Hours

Oh would you go meandering...
Upon this trail beside this lake
To share the Twilight Hours wonder
As Day awakens from it's slumber?

Oh would you go meandering...
Oh would you go meandering...
Meandering with me?
Excerpt from my poem "The Meandering Trail"

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Meandering Trail

Rules and Regulations-
x No Rushing is Permitted
(Rushers may be sentenced to time sitting along the waters edge
practicing deep belly breathing until the urge to rush has subsided)
x No watches or time keeping devices permitted
(all such devices will be confiscated and used as fishing lures)

Permitted Modes of Transportation By Foot -
sauntering, wandering aimlessly,
kicking up dirt, dragging your feet,
crawling, walking on all fours,
walking on your hands, walking while holding hands,
walking backwards, walking in circles,
bounding joyfully, running with glee,
skipping, cartwheeling, piggybacking.

Permitted Modes of Transportation Other -
horseback, wheelchair, stroller,
bicycle, tricycle, wheel barrow,
crosscountry skis, snowshoes, stilts,
child's sled, dog sled, one horse open sleigh.

Suggested Mode of Transportation -
wandering aimlessly kicking up dirt and holding hands while piggybacking in circles.

Suggested Activities -
picking flowers, taking time to smell the flowers,
skipping stones, skipping work,
chasing butterflies, chasing your kids,
bird watching, bird calling,
catching bullfrogs, leap frogging,
emptying your mind, contemplative thought.

Keep on Meandering...meandering.....meandering......meandering.....
Now say it again but slowwww-errrrrrrrrrr
(Like this meeeeee-aaaaaan-derrrrrr-inggggg)
You may now enter The Meandering Trail,

Excerpt from my poem "The Meandering Trail"