“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity
belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong,
we may begin to use it with love and respect.”
Trash - by Betsy Seeton
I posted more comments and pics on my March 30th blog....
I am happy to report that my pledge to stop using plastic shopping bags is going better than I thought. I'm finally remembering to bring my own cloth bags every time I go! I'm even bringing my own containers for deli items so I don't have to continue wasting throw away plastic containers. AND I'm avoiding as much plastic packaged containers as I can. No more plastic water bottles. No more plastic soda pop or the flavored drinks. No more packaged meats in those thick plastic containers. Even the fruit I buy isn't packaged each time in a new plastic bag. I don't know why I haven't been doing this for years.... Again, huge kudos to those who have been. Each time I avoid a plastic bag, I feel like I've done something to help save the life of a bird or mammal.
"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread,
places to play in and pray in, where
nature may heal and give strength
to body and soul."
It was our warmest day of spring so far. This little fox squirrel was soaking up the rays and getting some shut eye along with the geese!
So many humans on the planet are yelling at one another, entrenched in believing there is only one way -- their way -- to live and act, and too many are killing each other over clashing ideologies and differing religious convictions.
I can't change much of what's going on. I can only do my little part, and in between caring about the health of the planet and the life that inhabits it, I strive to see the magic and wonder that's out there every day in lots of small ways...
I tackle many dark subjects on this website, but I always make time, and take time, to see the light; to feel the good that it's in the world. For me, it's nature's beauty that gets me through each day. I bring you the images of animals and nature that touch me daily, in hopes of spreading some of the good that I know exists.
It was a real treat to run into a Blue Heron. What beautiful birds. I watched him catch a fish!
I was going to comment about all the discord and hate that seems to be going on in the United States, but I don't have the energy to do the topic justice. When people have their minds made up, there's not much reason to talk because no one's listening. I think fear has spread like some kind of plague and when you get an epidemic of fear going on like we're seeing, people stop hearing and start pointing. There's not much that's more destructive than the actions that follow the kind of fear that's infested our country.
I never understood the religions that are/were grounded in making people fearful. What good comes from making people fearful of their god? Was it a man made intimidation tactic to get people to believe? And what kind of god would want His (or Her) children to be fearful of Him? It makes no sense.
Cherokee Prayer Blessing
May the Warm Winds of Heaven
Blow softly upon your house.
May the Great Spirit
Bless all who enter there.
May your Mocassins
Make happy tracks
in many snows,
and may the Rainbow
Always touch your shoulder.
Check out Blog For Change in the drop down box under My Blog for today's posting about Google taking a stand for freedom by moving Internet access in China and Tibet to Hong Kong to avoid China's censorship. Huge kudos to Google!
These are pictures of a fox squirrel that I took yesterday. I don't have the close relationship with this little guy that I do with Chippy and the gang, but I know where he likes to hang out and I visit him when I can.
These adorable creatures are the largest species of tree squirrel native to North America. They are also sometimes referred to as the Stump-eared Squirrel, Raccoon Squirrel, or Monkey-faced Squirrel.
All my photos are for sale as greeting cards, post cards and many as framed prints. Just click on Whiskers to enter my art gallery ...
Okay. I have to update you about my promise to not use plastic bags anymore. To recap, I made the pledge to stop using plastic bags on March 10, 2010 after reading
We're all interconnected on this planet. I believe it's important to understand what that means and how all life matters. I cherish learning about the life that surrounds me in my own 'backyard'.
Since last week, when I discovered that some turtles hang out in a nearby pond, I became curious about them and started researching to find out more about their habits and habitat. Turtles have graced our planet for more than 200 million years. Amazing...
Some turtles can live up to a year without food! Some can swim 20 miles an hour and on land some could out pace most adults in a run. Desert turtles, however, move only 2 feet a minute! Several species, including the American box turtle, can live over 100 years. Wow....
What are the differences between a turtle and tortoise? Turtles spend most of their time in water and have webbed feet for swimming. A tortoise is a land dweller and doesn't have webbed feet. I'm sure there's a lot more .. just thought I'd quickly share those differences.
READ MORE ABOUT TURTLES>>
FOR THOSE LIVING IN COLORADO READ HERE
If you have children, read this short article and pass along the info. On second thought, read it yourself even if you don't have kids. I learned something from it. Here's another article if you're thinking of getting a turtle for a pet... please become educated BEFORE you get a turtle. I have more links at the bottom of today's blog.
Thinking of owning a turtle as a pet? Read up on what's involved to make a good home for a turtle. I lean toward allowing turtles to remain in their natural habitat, but please... if you're going to become a turtle owner and you have children read TEACH YOUR CHILDREN & READ THIS article. Turtles can easily live up to 40 years. You're making a lifetime commitment if you choose to own one. They take an inordinate amount of care. They cannot be released into the wild after they've been raised in captivity!
Think about the turtle... think about what you're doing. It's easy to think short term, but to be just and responsible please understand the full picture.
Read more about endangered turtles and what the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) is doing to protect them.
From the WWF website:
Loggerhead turtle is a priority species. WWF treats priority species as one of the most ecologically, economically and/or culturally important species on our planet. And so we are working to ensure such species can live and thrive in their natural habitats. At the WWF website read why the loggerhead turtle is important...
I read an interesting article about Rwanda's history that gives a good background about how the 1994 genocide was set in motion. I was inspired to Google more on Rwanda following an article about Rwanda's current President outlawing hate speech. The article was in the Wall Street Journal written by Sarah Childress called:
Land That Outlawed Hate On Edge as Key Vote Nears
Both articles are well worth reading. Sure beats most of the U.S. "news" on television.
The only TV show I watched today was a March 16th episode of Jon Stewart. His humor and wit help me feel grounded. He takes on the issues that drive me nuts like in the 3/16/10 show. He did a bit on the whole fraudulent financial crisis. It was so funny. He confirms everything I've been feeling about how crazy and ridiculously unjust things really are.
I'm politically aligned with Stewart, so I'm sure I find his brand of humor funnier than the other wing in our country does. I'm still frustrated that the Wall Street crooks aren't behind bars, but it seems white collar corruption has a bipartisan stay out of jail free card in this country for the most part. I won't go into that right now though... I would rather blog about happy, simple, nature stuff!
The rest of my day has been spent working on this website with one outing to my favorite park. Below are my most recent pics.
It snowed nearly a foot the day after I saw this turtle last week. He was back at the same spot today sunning on the same rock. I look forward to getting to know him and seeing more of his buddies. I love his 'smile'!
Here's my brown goose featured in many of my photos. My favorite of him is the one entitled On Being Different. He is usually alone or set apart from the group. He seems to enjoy my attention. He floated back and forth for me to photograph and then came ashore.
Yesterday, the first day of spring, I saw two geese pulling up roots like these (in the pic) to eat. I've never seen them do that before. Now I know what all those holes in the mud are from! I love learning new things and especially new things about birds and animals.
I saw this cute little bird yesterday, but I didn't know what kind it was until a friend emailed with an ID. Thanks Ron! I sure love spring time!
Check out my new section called WOW STORIES! It brings you good news and inspiring, fun stories about people and animals...
Hitchhiking Vietnam is a PBS television special about Karin's travels through Vietnam where she discovers the illegal exotic animal trade. Straight from PBS.ORG's website is Karen's story....
"It is illegal to buy, sell, trade, or own an endangered animal in Vietnam. Nevertheless, the "Exotic Animal Market" is a prominent and permanent structure in the middle of Saigon and even gets listed in the tourist guidebooks."
READ MORE about Hitchhiking Vietnam....
Karin is doing with her life what I would love to be doing. She is a successful filmmaker, photographer and adventure traveler. Read why she chose to travel through Vietnam....
From Wikipedia: Karin Muller (born June 8, 1965) is a Swiss-born author, filmmaker, photographer, and adventurer. Muller set out in the 1990s to travel the world's historic highways. She is an expert lecturer on Japan for the National Geographic Society has been featured on National Public Radio and Minnesota Public Radio's Marketplace, and her writing appears in National Geographic and Traveler magazines. Her first expedition took her to the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Vietnam, which enabled her to produce a PBS television special, Hitchhiking Vietnam, and a companion book by Globe Pequot Press of the same name.
Here are excerpts of letters Karin wrote her mother as she traveled. I'm still laughing ..
Jane Goodall is among a small list of my favorite people. She embodies the qualities I admire most. She understands we are all connected on this planet. Animals are connected to each other, us to them, and all of us to the earth and nature. Goodall's soulful, compassionate and intelligent work with animals over the past five decades has provided hundreds of thousands of people with a glimpse into the the nature and wonder of animals. Animals are vital to the well being of this planet and to our souls. The world needs people to shift from selfish living, away from greed and the me-me-me mentality. Open your eyes and see what really matters.
Speak up and be counted!
The International Fund for Animal Welfare is a great organization to support. Check out the many petition drives they sponsor to help animals around the world. Stand up and be counted! Petitions really do work. I've seen good changes come from people taking the time to speak out. READ MORE
Except for swimming with the giant turtles in Maui, I haven't seen a turtle in the wild since I was a kid. So when I came upon this Yellow Mud turtle today, I was very surprised and very excited. I didn't know wild turtles were in the city. I thought they'd be in rural swamps and small creeks. (Click here to read 3-23-10 blog on TURTLE FACTS.)
I read where these turtles don't normally come out of hibernation until April. Today might even be his first day awake in months! If I'm mistaken about the identity of this breed, feel free to correct me. Wikipedia has this on Yellow Mud Turtles.
It may sound cliche to say that balance is key, but in my experience, the importance of finding balance in my life is central to establishing inner peace. I make time for meditation on a daily basis. I also make sure that as I wake each morning I don't allow my thoughts to land on anything negative. It's getting easier now that I've been practicing positive thinking for six or more months.
I don't look too far ahead and I don't do a lot of "what if" thinking. I stay more in the moment and try to take each day as it comes without dwelling on a theoretical future. Starting a new day free of worry and dread gives me a fresh start and the needed energy to face the things in life that demand strength and positive thinking.
Understanding that the human race is strange and on many levels "not get-able" is helpful. Letting go is something I do every single day....
I also make time for my creative outlet (photography & art) and the non profit work that feeds me, such as writing and researching for this website. It keeps my mind healthily busy and moving forward with a sense of purpose and value. It also helps me restore balance if I'm off kilter.
Life is full of things that don't make sense; things that are unfair and unjust. I can't control much, but I can, to a large extent, control how I react and how I respond to what I can't change. I do a lot of letting go to achieve that.
There's a very mean spirited person in my life who seems to feed on creating drama and pain for some of the people I love in my life. Her husband claims she's not ill intended, but rather that she's dumb and that she's simply a ... bitch. (Those are his words - not mine.) I see her as manipulative and redefining what it means to be controlling in a destructive way. She must be a very tortured, unhappy soul to need to lie and feed on the misery she causes others. She's a puppet master of the worst kind. She has some people fooled, but I'm certain many people see through her. I suspect a lot of people have someone like her in their lives.
Dealing with this person takes immense letting go. She's not worth engaging. She can't be trusted. I believe karma will come her way one day. She has woven quite a deceptive and dishonorable life. One day maybe I'll have the choice to not have her in my life, but that day is not here yet. So I let go of her evil doing and her mean ways. Or I try to. I try to let go of how unjust she has been. I focus on maintaining good thoughts, healing thoughts and pray that the universe will do what is right.
All of these techniques and thought patterns help me restore balance. I find time for nature, for laughing, for being in the company of good hearted people and staying in touch with those I love.
Last summer, for my granddaughter's 4th birthday, I bought her a digital camera and we went birding and "camera hunting" around my cabin in the woods. I think children have a natural affinity for taking pictures. It's a wonderful thing to introduce them to and a great tool to help nurture their creative side. She loved it.
Seeing life through the lens of a camera helped her fall in love with the outdoors. She began asking me often if we could go birding. It was really just hiking while exploring nature.
I introduced her to bugs and tried to inspire her to be curious about them versus being afraid. I didn't want her to stomp on them. I want her to appreciate all life with a live and let live attitude. I taught her how to trek up and down hills and to find deer paths to negotiate easier through the thick forest.
I've posted new information about blood diamonds.
According to Commodity on Line, " ..diamonds from Zimbabwe, Africa continue to fund murders, forced labor, rape, and political oppression." The monitoring organization called the Kimberly Process (KP), intended to prevent blood diamonds continues to certify diamonds from Zimbabwe.
So when KP fails to do its job, then diamonds marked with "conflict free" certification hit the market even though they originated from diamond mining where unspeakable human suffering has resulted.
My advice? Don't rest easy when you buy your next diamond. Better yet... buy some other stone that doesn't have such a bloody, greedy and corrupt association. Personally, I don't buy or wear diamonds. I'd rather wear something without such a tainted history. The whole marketing of diamonds turns me away... but that's a story for another day.
I read at prlog.org today that approximately 50% of the $57.8 billion American jewelry market comes from diamonds. What percentage are 'blood diamonds' has not been determined, but what is known is that the diamond business is still bloody and still corrupt. People are still losing their lives because of greed in the diamond industry.
I've been regularly posting information under Featured Blogs. Lately, I posted a petition to demand justice in San Salvador for women sexually assaulted by police officers. Petitions are powerful tools for the activist. I've witnessed many good changes this last year as a result of people speaking out. There's also an interesting posting on the Ethical Clothing Pledge. It's amazing what some people are doing to make a difference!
I've updated information about Uzbekistan regarding child slavery in their cotton fields. Anyone truly interested in buying slave free clothing should be aware of what atrocities continue to go on in that country.
I've also updated Saving America's Mustangs. It's a must read for any horse lover. It has a youtube interview about the debate between activists and the BLM.
This was a HUGE wake up call for me this morning when I read a statement by the Surfrider Foundation: "...more than a million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals die every year from ingestion of or entanglement in plastics." It inspired me to take the pledge to make changes in my own life. I've long known about the problems with plastic and I've tried to reduce my use, but I wasn't very vigilant. I will be now. I was remiss to not be more proactive before now. Read More..
I posted this under BLOG FOR CHANGE today, but I want to make sure it gets maximum exposure so I'm reposting on today's blog. People often ask me about fair trade and wonder exactly what it is. Click on the label or the links below to get your questions answered.
My mother is a great example of one who embraces and appreciates the differences in the human race. It's a message and concept that parents should be passing along to their children every day. So much strife in the world can be attributed to denying the right to be different.
I read an article this morning about Shiloh, the 3-year old daughter of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. The toddler purportedly had been at the hairdresser's and upon her exit she was photographed by the paparazzi and later judged by various tabloids as looking like a tom boy and even criticized for wearing 'boy clothes'. The Hollywood and stardom obsession is a whole other issue, but for my purposes here, I use this as an illustration of how there's a side to our culture that is so narrowly obsessed with conformity. How absurd, arrogant and self righteous to be judging the way a toddler looks! I won't go on and on because this is one of those stories that could branch off into so many ways our culture is dangerously self-absorbed, myopic, judgmental .... and the list goes on.
As for my goose picture above, there’s only one goose like this one at the pond I regularly visit. I’m told it’s a mixed breed of some sort. A fellow bird photographer told me he’s been around for several years. The white around his face is from white feathers and not from dipping his head into something! I find him quite adorable.
PLEASE CHECK OUT BLOG FOR CHANGE TODAY AND SIGN THE PETITION TO PAY GARMENT WORKERS A LIVING WAGE!
I read that the Mallard is the most recognizable duck of all ducks. What I find interesting is how I never tire of seeing them. Their beauty is ever present. I photographed this one a few days ago.
I think we are drawn to reflection not only in images but in our hearts. The older I get, the more I appreciate and value time spent meditating and reflecting. I find it’s a healing thing to let our thoughts “float” and flow like water.
Below are photos I took today ...
Below is a Belted Kingfisher. It's another first sighting for me! My thanks goes out to Phillip, another photographer in the area today, for identifying it for me. "Firsts" make life exhilarating. I think it's one of the best parts of life.
Sometimes I am left feeling a bit cynical about the human race. I spend many early mornings reading through my activist newsletters./newspapers and signing various petitions to bring the change I think is needed. But it gets heavy sometimes. I see a very dark side of humanity by not turning a blind eye. It's hard at times to digest all the chaos, killing, abuse, corruption and injustice going on around the planet.
I simply don't understand all the hate in the world. I especially don't understand all the hate between religions and races. Why is it so hard to live and let live? Why do so many seem incapable of allowing others to live their lives according to beliefs that are different than their own? Why do so many use their religion to sanction intolerance? Why are women and children ( more than half the world's population) still so poorly regarded and terribly treated around the world? My questions are seemingly unending while my answers are few.
So I turn to nature and wildlife and bathe in its beauty and soulful energy. It heals and soothes ...
Late this afternoon I got out with my camera on one of my nature walks. What a privilege to experience my first sighting of Hooded Mergansers! I had to Google 'ducks' to find out what I was looking at!
This deliciously warm weather has brought out so many birds that I've not seen before, but spring may be going on break since snow is predicted sometime in the next couple of days. I know weather-talk is boring, but it has such an affect on our moods. It does mine anyway. Interestingly, I've noticed how it also affects wildlife. The birds have seemed happier this week.
I brought a little food to both of my injured geese today. It's the first time I've ever fed them. Both ate right out of my hand. One was more gentle than the other. It's always so interesting to experience the different personalities of wildlife. One of the geese (not the injured ones) was being mean and I had to wave him away following a scolding. I detest bullying of any kind -- human or animal. (BTW -- I always refer to the wild animals and birds that I interact with on a regular basis as "my" or "mine".)
I found the goose with the broken wing (from yesterday's blog) very nearly in the same spot I left him in yesterday. He seemed grateful for the bread though I thought he was going to choke on the dryness. He had difficulty getting it down his throat. He looked like someone having a terrible time swallowing and even had a panic in his eyes until he hopped in the pond and gulped down, and I mean gulped down, some water. I quickly learned to dunk the bread in water first and then give it to him!
I'd like to to figure out what would be a better food source for him. I didn't feed the other geese since the rules forbid it, but it was hard not to. About a half dozen approached me even though I thought I was doing a good job of being discreet. Feeding an injured bird seems compassionate, but I know that feeding the others could disturb the eco-system. I sure wanted to but I had to put their best interest first...
Every artist dips his brush in his own soul,
and paints his own nature into his pictures.
~Henry Ward Beecher
This is one of my favorite greeting cards. I took this picture last summer.
While I love photographing just about everything, I am presently and intently focused on creating a line of greeting cards with images of animals and birds where the personality is captured and matched with words. Images of geese can be seen in “yoga” positions. Ground squirrels talk. All are meant to inspire. I also try capturing nature shots in combination with inspiring quotes.
Here's a happy birthday dedication to my own mother in case you haven't read it. She is one of the most remarkable people I've ever known. I just felt like honoring mothers today....
I also posted a new BLOG FOR CHANGE, a new page called Straight From The Horse's Heart (partly about saving wild horses) and entered a FEATURED BLOG website to check out.
Life is presenting some large challenges these days. I was glad to feel the warmth of another gorgeous spring-like day. Birds were singing at sunrise. The ducks were enjoying new ponds created from the ice melt. I visited my injured goose twice; once in the morning and once in the late afternoon. I sadly discovered another injured goose and this time it looks bad.
The right wing appears broken and the poor dear was too exhausted to be bothered with me being inches away. When he did get up it was with great effort and his waddle-walk was made with a painful limp.
I have been unsuccessful so far at finding a bird rescue place to see if anything can be done. If it would be in the bird's best interest, I'd like to see if someone would want to "adopt" him. I'm guessing the goose would need to have ready access to a pond and an easy food source. But I don't want him removed if he's in a social structure and/or would feel isolated. I don't know what to do... Do I just let the cycle of life take its course?
For more nature photos and inspiring quotes visit
A DAY IN COLOR AND QUOTES
THE BEAUTY OF BEES AND BUGS
I woke to a spring-like day this morning and made time to visit my favorite pond in the city where my injured goose calls home. If she's out on the ice she'll come ashore to greet me. I visit her often. Today she sat down near me and enjoyed the warmth. Usually her mate is nearby but the last couple of times he hasn't been around. I'm a little concerned....
INSIDE THE CARD READS:
"Life's been a little rough on me ..."
The most meditative thing I do for myself is to commune with nature. Being around birds and animals restores a certain amount of balance that tends to get lost during trying times.
While I try figuring out what direction to take this website, I still find stories to post. Check out the youtube video on my new page called MILK. It came from Shirley's Wellness Cafe. What an interesting website! Let me know what you think. I've been only buying organic milk since I became aware of the bovine growth hormone and how certain dairy operations compromise the health of milk and cows. Entire websites are devoted to this issue. If you're new to BGH, I strongly suggest reading up on this ....
I've never photographed prairie dogs until yesterday. It was my first experience around these adorable little creatures. They resemble miniature polar bears. This little guy let me get within about three feet of him. I learned quickly how they move when they are feeling threatened. Several of them would "bark" until I moved on. It was like being in the middle of a nature show. I can't wait to go back!
The birds are really starting to come out with the recent warm weather. I love the idea of spring in the air....
I'm an artist, writer, photographer, private investigator and an activist in small ways.
"Turning indifference into making a difference."
A labor of love website devoted to animal and human rights, and better living. A place to be inspired ...
My LADYBUG book is filled with beautiful images & inspiring quotes. Click here for more info.
I visited the Tiger Temple in Thailand & later found out it is under investigation for tiger trafficking and animal abuse. Read full story. In 2015 it was raided. More than 100 tigers and protected bird species in Wat Pa Luang Ta Bua, popularly known as the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi province were impounded by authorities following complaints that the temple was alleged to engage in illegal wildlife trading.
"The moment one gives close attention to anything,
even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious,
awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself."
~ Henry Miller
DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS helps people worldwide where the need is greatest, delivering emergency medical aid to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters or exclusion from healthcare.
Read about life in the woods with Chippy & the crew...