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...
Yesterday was 20 below and today 26 below. That's below as in below zero! Skies are cloudless blue and there's not more than ten inches of the white stuff on the ground. In areas with a lot of southern exposure, there's not even any snow. But one big snow storm will change that!
The day before yesterday, I got Clark to feed from my hand! I'd been training him the past couple of days. He's been knocking incessantly on my windows wanting me to come out and feed him. So, instead of putting the nuts on the windowsill, I showed him the only way I'd feed him is if he trusted me enough to land on me the way the gray jays do. He finally had the nerve to do it ONCE. He was prompted by sheer frustration because he'd watch the gray jays filling up and he finally was so frustrated he just came to me. He stayed until he picked up all the nuts. I've only had gray jays feed from my hand - never a different breed. It was exciting to have a Clark's Nutcracker sit in my hand! His name sake comes from the Lewis & Clark Expedition. He was one of the birds they discovered.
He's bigger than the gray jays. His beak is much longer and he has black and white wings versus gray. He had a very gentle way as he sat in my hand. He picked up the nuts very softly. It was awesome to connect with him like that!
My birds happily greeted me this morning and seemed glad I was back after a three week hiatus. I was sure glad to see them. The stellar jays are around and so are Lois and Clark (my Clark's Nutcrackers) and all my gray jays. They've been feasting on some pecan chips and dried cranberries.
I walked down to the frozen pond near my cabin and whistled for them. Four of the gray jays and one of the stellar jays came. I took over a hundred pictures and downloaded them using a new photo program. I switched from view photos to import and lost all but one photo! Sigh... live and learn, huh? Sure won't do that again! I went back out and clicked a few more but the light was changing... I'll try again tomorrow..
I've been "blogging" through my page called CHIPPY. The following is part of what you'll find if you click on that page. I'm now going to continue my blogging here. Enjoy the pictures of chipmunks, ground squirrels, a porcupine, birds and a few squirrels.
It's July 4th. Each summer, I live in a remote area in the mountains where the elevation is 10,000 feet. (For a picture of my cabin click on the ARTIST link.) The roads aren't paved and the closest commercial enterprise (a small cafe) is three miles away while the nearest grocery store is an hour's drive. Undeveloped Forest Service land surrounds my property on three sides and an undeveloped privately owned piece of land borders me on the east. There's not a neighbor in sight. In the winter, roads aren't plowed and the average amount of snow on the ground is easily four to six feet with temps dipping to 30 and 40 below zero for long periods of time. It's a tough environment, but equally beautiful and serene. It's quiet in a way that takes you back in time.
I've become part of the eco system around me with the animals and birds that live here year round. Pictured are some baby golden mantel ground squirrels -- they're the ones without stripes running up their head. Chippy is their mom. This is my 4th summer with her. You might notice a small 'chip' out of her left ear that she got a couple of years ago from a scuffle defending her territory. She also has half a tail from that little rumble.
Chippy comes to her name and lets me pet her while I feed her nuts. She climbs all over me with ease.I first met Chippy's babies yesterday (July 4th) and I was able to pet them and feed them within minutes of approaching them. I've never experienced that with a wild baby animal! I don't know if Chippy has communicated with them and given me the thumbs up or what! I gave one baby a dandelion and played a gentle game of tug of war like you would with a puppy.
The chipmunks have stripes all the way up their face to their little pointed noses. They also feed from my hand and come when I call. There are three of them and this is my first summer where they've come to me so freely. They are such gentle, sweet creatures. They'll climb all over me waiting for a nut. I've taught one to come to my second story window in the evenings. They stay up later than the ground squirrels and the rise earlier in the morning. They can climb right up the side of the cabin like they have a little bit of magic. One of the baby ground squirrels tried (unsuccessfully) to emulate the way they climb. It was comical!
The baby ground squirrels are about the size of a chipmunk right now. When full grown they'll be twice their size. Also pictured above are a few shots of Punky, Chippy's year-old daughter. A couple of photos show Chippy and Punky together. Punky gave birth recently, but I haven't seen her babies yet. Both she and Chippy appear to still be nursing.
July 5th - The changes in the babies in just one day are remarkable. They are exploring everything and trying to figure out what's edible. They chew on anything they come into contact with from bark, rocks, sticks, dirt, to left over stuff in the outdoor fire pit, which they are playing in like children in a sandbox. I gave one baby a pecan and another one a peanut for their first time. Yesterday they weren't interested in the nuts at all.
I LOVE the quiet and the slower pace I take with life here in the mountains. There is no cell service. No texting. No having the TV on in the background. No traffic sounds. It is also my temporary salvation away from all things crazy and unjust. I often listen to the natural world: the stream flowing, the trees creaking, all kinds of birds whistling, the wind blowing and take notice of the insect world (did you know there are an estimated 10 quintillion insects?) and how all life around me from the plants, animals, insects, and birds is interwoven and connected with one another.
It's all about perspective. When a fly is buzzing around inside my home or landing on me I want to shoo it away. When it's in its own habitat minding its own business, it's quite interesting.
When my granddaughter visits, I make an extra batch of pancakes so we have plenty left over for the birds..
Click on CHIPPY to continue with the story and see more pictures... it will take you through July and up to August 25th...
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...