May 14, 2015

Nature Walk : Birds in High Places

I have finally visited a heron rookery.
Even though my parents have lived near this amazing piece of nature for over half my life, I have never been to it until last month.  I  hiked the area with my nature lovin' brother and niece and when we got to the edge of the CT river we saw an amazing sight. 

There were many many more of these huge nests high up in the trees; this is just one little portion. Soon enough the herons got busy and were flying back and forth tending to their nests when they flew in.

I felt as if I have been transported into a scene from Jurassic Park! I couldn't get the greatest shots as the nests were far away and my zoom lens is mediocre at best.

What a sight.

Then later in the month, I saw another bird in a high place:

These are the baseball field lights at one of my son's away games in CT.  The osprey are sort of famous in this area for building nests in the most unlikely places.  They are protected here, so where they nest, they must stay.

This is a pretty high stadium light!

And tomorrow I hope to share a bird in a low place.  A visitor put on a show in our yard today. But more on that tomorrow.

Mar 22, 2015

Nature Walk : Witch Hazel

After another 5 inches of snow Friday into Saturday, any signs of spring were quickly covered.   A bright sun today has melted a lot of it allowing us to open the gate and finally venture into the secret garden.

The snow drops that were peeking through on Thursday are covered again, but the witch hazel stands out like yellow and orange stars against the snow and blue sky.

I always had an affinity for witch hazel since its blooms are present in the northeast in the winter when very little other blooms exist.  And being a pharmacist, any natural medicinal holds a special place in my heart.

Some interesting witch hazel facts:

 The original manufacture of the bark of the witch hazel plant as an astringent was born in Essex CT.
The astringent is manufactured from plants in CT, RI, MA, and southern Appalachians.
Witch hazel seed pods burst open, shooting out their seeds onto the forest floor.
Divining rods were often made from witch hazel.

Label source: Professional Pharmacy Stamford, CT archives

This is my nature walk post for this still snowy and cold, but very pretty day.
Have a wonderful day!

Mar 18, 2015

WOYWW 302 - Calvinball

Another edition of What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday - see the creator of the amazing weekly event (Julia) here.

I'm still playing Calvinball with my friends over at and one of my own rules for the game was to make a layout where the embellishment is the focal point.  And so the adventure began.  I've truly obsessed over this task: from choosing just the right story to tell, to hand making the embellishment myself. 

Yes, I've made this embellishment right down to the tomato label on top of the rosette - created in photoshop:

And THIS is why I rarely get things done quickly and why I'll never win a Calvinball competition! But this is a ton of fun - and I think I'll treasure this layout when it's done!