Springtimes at Many Springs

Time passes and the rituals of our lives bond us with friends and family members and our communal narrative becomes something timeless and very very special.

Yesterday saw us on our flower walk, this time, missing Carla, Val and the boys.  Our most courageous friend, Wendy, has had some struggles with health this past year and so this spring, her funny and talented husband, Darren, also accompanied us on the trail.  Wendy is witty enough, but get these two together and it’s such a fun time.  Many Springs is always a blessing-time.

I wrote about this ritual in 2011.

I wrote about this ritual in 2012.

I wrote about this ritual in 2014.

In 2011, the water levels were like this.

IMG_8818This year…they were like this.

Kath's Canon June 28, 2015 Flower Walk 073Past springs have seen the water levels change and so the scenery changes.

Copy of On EarthThis year…

Kath's Canon June 28, 2015 Flower Walk 062Our group shots have seen Cameron as an infant and brought us up through his childhood.

And ME!Happiness!At the Bridge

Many Springs 2008 043Westhills Starbucks…our meeting place for car-pooling. Many Springs 2008 012

Cathy’s photo at our bridge…2015.

Many Springs 2015  2RotatedDarren promises me his photos from yesterday, but I DID manage to get a few.  Lilies were the predominate flower…more than we’ve seen on any other hike.  We found only one lady slipper on the entire circle and very few orchids.  The wild columbine was already done.  There were some beautiful wild violets on the far side of the route, but everyone was so focused on managing the chair up and around the incline and the tree roots, that we enjoyed them on the fly.

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O frabjous day!  Callooh! Callay!

For the Birds

I am spending quiet times at the pond, given that Max is injured.  He’s at the end of the umbilical leash, quiet, but cranky about my dawdling at the pond’s edge and making only one circle of the water…stopping frequently to gaze at various species.

I’m learning to use my camera bit by bit, but really have a lot to learn.  Honestly, the most amazing things I’ve seen recently are rarely photographed because I’m either too slow or I really don’t care.  I get wrapped up in the moment.

I’m learning how much light has to do with photography.  I always knew it…light and, more importantly, dark are essential to painting and the establishment of contrast, but to photography, even more so.  I think there needs to be a degree of drama and also narrative in a good photograph.  I dawdle so much because I’m looking for those sorts of stories.

I’ve been watching the American Coots a lot lately, just because of the shear numbers of them at Frank’s Flats.  Here’s Audubon’s version offered up by the Toronto Public Library.

aud-plate-239 Toronto Public Library American Coot Audubon, John James, 1785-1851I haven’t taken a single photograph of the coots, but I’m very caught up in the drama that surrounds these strangely disproportionate birds.  They are constantly picking fights with other water fowl, same species or not.  Wild chases erupt most times when they are around.  Also, they get extremely amorous, sticking their beaks into the water and fanning out their rear feathers, all the while, shaking their butts.  Most amazing, are their young!  Long strings of eight, nine and ten ducklings following mamas and then day after day…fewer and fewer in number; likely good pickings for crows, magpies and other like-spirited birds.  But the most amazing is the physical appearance of the baby coots!

Rob English of Birds Calgary took this photograph in July of 2011. What’s NOT to love about these goofy red headed little guys?

Photo Credit: Rob English Birds Calgary 2011

Photo Credit: Rob English Birds Calgary 2011

I don’t even know what these birds are called…just a sec…I’ll look.  Uh huh…a Savannah Sparrow, or as Audubon would have us know it, a Savannah Finch.

Savanah Finch_090706110723 AudubonMy capture this evening…

©Kathleen Moors  Photo Credit Please

©Kathleen Moors Photo Credit Please

and…more animated, but perhaps less focused (and heck if I know).  These are so petite and so delicate…it makes me wonder about the complexity of my Father-Jesus-Spirit God that these creatures are so ‘wonderfully’ made.

©Kathleen Moors Photo Credit Please

©Kathleen Moors Photo Credit Please

I checked in on Mr. and Mrs. Osprey.  I have no idea how to accomplish a photograph of a bird in flight, but if ever there is one that should be properly captured flying, it is an osprey.  The male has been such a diligent partner and I have seen him feed mama daily.  I’m getting the feeling that she has wee ones because today her behaviour at the nest was very different.  Or, perhaps she just found a fish dropped in front of her.  Not certain.  These photographs are always taken a great distance away and I’m not getting the best quality as a result.  I find that photos early in the morning, while aiming west, are the best.  I’m so grateful that I have had opportunity to watch this nesting from the very first stick that was dragged across the width of all lanes on 22X.

Osprey by Audubon: Toronto Public Library

Osprey by Audubon: Toronto Public Library

©Kathleen Moors

©Kathleen Moors

Dad was a long way off, but always faithful to his duties.  Bare tree branches were filled with crows and magpies.  They frequently hang out with him, as they like to have such a great fisherman as their very best friend.

©Kathleen Moors

©Kathleen Moors

http://columbiawireless.ca/?fb_ref=Default

This guy…some type of hawk and his buddies find lamp posts to perch upon, no matter how busy the neighbouring road or high way.  At a moment’s notice, they dive down and I’ve seen them carrying all sorts of rodents.  He was marching about in the tall grass at one point.  I’m not certain his specific variety, but I wouldn’t be messing with those talons, if I was a mouse.  This character seems to have a thing for numbers. I think this may be a Harlan’s Red-Tailed Hawk, but my Dad will confirm once he checks out this post. (Hmmm…thinking it’s a Swainson’s Hawk…YUPPER!  Forget everything I said about a Red-Tailed Hawk!)  John James Audubon referred to the Swainson’s Hawk as being a Common Buzzard.

Swainson's Hawk (common buzzard)

Audubon: Harlan's Red-Tailed Hawk

Audubon: Harlan’s Red-Tailed Hawk

©Kathleen Moors

©Kathleen Moors

Kath's Canon June 19, 2015 Garden Frank's Flats Birds Super 3s 145

©Kathleen Moors

Hmmm…I was going to bash out tile tonight and it’s already eight in the evening.  The spaghetti squash is done.  It’s time for me to get going. (Nah…one more!)

I met up with this guy at one location and stood quite a distance away.  His antics stepping in and around the water were fabulous, but of course, I was watching and not shooting.  A very fuzzy capture of a Black Crowned Night Heron.

Audubon: Black Crowned Night Heron

Audubon: Black Crowned Night Heron

©Kathleen Moors

©Kathleen Moors

In the meantime, in the neighbourhood, the magpies squawk at the feral cats…the sparrows continue their romance in the vent across from my kitchen window,  the robins go bob bob bob along, tugging long worms out of the grass after every rainfall and one beautiful song bird visits a large back yard tree on the alley every morning. I delight in nature…in what grows.  I am grateful that I am able to enjoy such wonders.

Max Moors Gets Mail!

….EXPEDITED, no less!  Thanks to the Fiset family, and especially my sister-friend, Val, for sending a care package.  It arrived safe and sound on our front door step and Max-Man (as I call him) or Maxfield (as my father calls him) is grateful. Recouping from an injury isn’t easy.  It’s especially difficult keeping an ‘enthusiastic’ breed cloistered in a house all day.  He is offered simple leash walks after a lifetime of exploration and boundless expression of the most agile, speedy and remarkable variety. He looks at me with those big brown eyes, and I imagine him saying, “And it’s come to this???”  Max is delighted with the mail.  And I’m grateful for the generosity of my family.  Thank you!

My readers might take note that my writing has been limited these several months while I’ve served a four month contract, teaching an awesome group of grade threes.  My guess is that as I venture into the summer months, there will be more painting and more writing than I even imagined because Max and I will be limited in regards to our outdoor discoveries.  Close to home, we’ll be venturing into the world of home repairs, studio time and quiet evenings on the back deck.

In the meantime…here is an archive of Max’s reactions.  And then, we’ll be putting on the leash and getting out for a late afternoon stroll.

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And Then There Was One!

The female eaglet, #1, has left the nest.  She’s done a couple of flybys at the Duke Farm’s eagle nest and parents have been diligent about continuing to bring food to the nest, but our little guy, #2, is looking lonely.  I first discovered #1 was going into the realm of fledging on Thursday at lunch.  I had a preparation period and saw this all on my own.  I actually had a tear because of the wonderful memories the grade threes and I have shared, watching the adults birth, hatch and raise their two young ones.

February 2015 Two Eggs

February 2015 Two Eggs

Here they are on April 19th.

Here they are on April 19th.

#2 eaglet Duke Farms June 13

This was the nest yesterday on June 13, 2015.

The student observations have been so beautiful, I’ve taken a selection of photos of some of their illustrations and recorded observations.  These warm my heart…absolutely precious.

Hmmm…as I’ve been downloading the student observations, little lady has been back to the nest to feast on a fish that her mama just brought.  Presently, she and her sibling are cuddling on a branch and clicking their beaks together.  The biologists have indicated that she’s been doing a lot of flying today and might just hang out at the nest for the time being.June 13 dukes reunion June 13 Visit with sister June 13 2015 siblings eaglesNow, for the student observations…read their entries…they are beautiful.

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DSC_4161 DSC_4162 DSC_4163 DSC_4164 DSC_4165 DSC_4166 DSC_4167 DSC_4168 DSC_4169 DSC_4170 DSC_4171 DSC_4172At the Decorah Nest, their #1 of three fledged today!  WHOOT!

Max and His ACL Injury

The last you heard, Max did damage to his knee early Monday morning before I tore out the door for work.  Up until yesterday, he’s been taking a half an anti-inflammatory/pain killer with dinner each night.  Just before supper last evening, Max and I headed for the CARE Center Animal Hospital to meet his  orthopedic surgeon for a consultation,  and to this point, things are looking up.

Max Left Knee BlownDr. Neil Connery knows our wonderful vet, Dr. Marty Lovo of the Horizon Veterinary Group, based at the McKenzie Towne Vet location and because of this connection, I felt an immediate sense of trust.  I can’t say that I’m as happy with ‘The Group’ (sometimes it feels like the Wal-Mart of vets), but my dogs and cats have been well cared for by Dr. Marty and his associates, including wonderful Dr. Jennifer Hewitt.  However, when I realized that Max had had an injury, he couldn’t be seen by any of the folks in McKenzie Towne Animal Clinic, so we’re very grateful that Due South Vet Clinic and Dr. Christina Youé (Bodle) were able to fit Max into their schedule.  Christina took x-rays, did an examination and provided us with a prescription for Max’s obvious distress.  We were delivered bad news and the likely recommendation for surgery to repair Max’s ACL.  Look at the criss crossy thing below and you will see what this means and also it is the Drawer Sign or the placement of the knee bones that provide the indicators for treatment and rest.

Cruciate Ligament InjuryAs Max nervously panted and clung to my leg, we saw a large array of dogs coming and going.  I felt heart broken and held onto the hope that since giving max four days of complete quiet, that perhaps things had settled.

Dr. Connery was very thorough as he gazed upon the x-ray and manipulated all of Max’s joints.  Max closed his mouth and stared straight ahead as things were bent and twisted throughout his hips and knees.

In the end, a far less radical decision…

Yes, Max is showing wear on those bands, but as yet, it seems that he has not had a complete rupture.  This may be the beginning of Max’s road of gradual loss of the ACL, but for now, we have been recommended a rest recovery of six weeks.  Dr. Connery said that he’s pretty certain that this would be the recommended treatment of Dr. Lovo as well.  I asked if Max could go off of his pain medications and I was given an affirmative, with the suggestion that I keep some anti-inflammatory medication in my cupboard at all times for Max.  He is allowed leash walks only, and a restricted level of fitness.

I told Dr. Connery that Max’s Frisbee days are over and he suggested that given the active minds of this breed, I would have to get rid of all of those and replace them with other ‘head’ work if I wanted to have a happy dog.  So…I thought I’d let you dog fans of mine know a little about these injuries in dogs.  It’s just one of those things that happens and Max, now seven years of age, may be seeing more of these sorts of injuries in his adult life.

 

My $5.00 Find…But What Is It?

Solid wood…some sort of press.  Initially, I thought I was buying a flower press, but when I got home I found out that this is a flower press.  And from what I can tell, after looking, while they are very different in appearance, most flower presses accommodate several layers and so include a clamping system of some sort.

Flower PressSo, what is this?

It is made out of hardwood and is definitely crafted by a carpenter.  It is heavy and intended to press something…but what? I’m impressed by the design and the construction of this item!

Help would be appreciated.  And yes…there is a bag full of items sitting in the back of my car waiting to be dropped at the Women In Need shop.  For every curiosity that comes into my house, there’s a rule that three objects have to leave.

Kath's Canon June 9, 2015 Women In Need Press 004 Kath's Canon June 9, 2015 Women In Need Press 003 Kath's Canon June 9, 2015 Women In Need Press 002 Kath's Canon June 9, 2015 Women In Need Press 001Thanks to my friends…I’ve learned that this is a vintage tortilla press.  Whoot!  Very cool!

Tortilla Press

Mr. Found a New Mrs.

Let’s face it.  Spring has held its heart ache and challenge.  For the second time in two weeks, I’ll be spending time saying good-bye with a Mrs. who lost her Mr. and I’ve been left with a heavy heart.  Loss is tricky, but sometimes we just lose.  My daughter and I have had a couple of really good conversations about the overwhelming feelings that come with those around us suffering or experiencing loss.  She has helped me to search for my limits as a way of focusing my energy and helping me to gain back some control over those things that I can control. She has reminded me that every person has their super close circle and we need to each allow those super close circles to function for the support and love that is so required when the dark chasm of emptiness needs to be filled up with that precise support and love.

Some items for you to read and think about, if you like…  I think we can all agree that females are the most apt to ‘be’ empaths and if the label fits, be this for their families, their friends and even the world.  Do you want to heal up absolutely everything? Do you want to sew up the gaping bleeding wounds of the planet and the environment; to save animal species, to end all human atrocities and even manipulate the horrific results of decisions made in history?  Do you want to give babies to the childless, take babies from the monsters, find partners, and good ones, for the widowed, the divorced and the aged? Do you want to end the addictions you see in others. Are you feeling unfocused? overwhelmed?  Do you feel like you are shrinking? Do you feel like you are an empty shell? Do your words come out all wrong?  Are you an empath?

Empaths are highly sensitive, finely tuned instruments when it comes to emotions. They feel everything, sometimes to an extreme, and are less apt to intellectualize feelings. Intuition is the filter through which they experience the world.

After these deliberations and after I saw my guests off yesterday morning…after my school buddies set me up with the tools to write my 23 report cards this weekend…and as I had one night’s solid sleep AND as things were beginning to come into perspective, this happened to Max.

Max Left Knee BlownIt’s interesting how one blown knee in my beloved dog slowed me down to an abrupt stop. Red Light!  And I won’t be going far, physically speaking, for the next twelve weeks.  I guess I feel like that kid in hockey who is facing playoffs and gets an injury, making participation in the game, impossible.  I’m very sad for Max.

This morning I’m wondering what this is going to teach me. For one, I know that my world has shrunk, again.  I know that I’m not going to be able to stop the poaching of elephants.  I know I’m not going to be able to be away from the house very much.  Instead of spending time enjoying the pond at Frank’s Flats and all of its summer magic, I will be making observations of nature in my small back yard.

And speaking of this…

Mr. has found a new Mrs.!  At the very last snow fall of winter/spring, Mr. lost his mate.  Whether widowed or divorced, the determined male sparrow at the nest across from my kitchen window, no longer had his female companion. He has cried incessantly on my eaves ever since, flitting about, tidying up his little piece of real estate…a vent opening that I have patched with copious amounts of duct tape during previous nesting seasons.

Kath Canon May 24,  2015 033Kath Canon May 24,  2015 028For a while, there were a few young lady-friends who visited…checked out the spot and then left, not to return. I hope that the bones of last spring’s baby sparrow, (fallen to the hard ground below, but alive and struggling for life, curled into the palm of my hand and returned up a very tall ladder, to the nest), do not remain in the little vented home.  Something about the nest made the ladies very uncomfortable for the longest time.

This morning, however, Mr. & a new little Mrs. are both busily readying the space for new life, showing up at intervals, with fresh nesting material.  I’m happy for him.  Perhaps now he will stop crying.

Another thing…a back yard thing….have you ever seen sparrows dust bathing?  Amazing.  I look out the window that edges on my back gardens and each afternoon, I see the sparrows, like whirling dervishes, spinning in the raised beds where the carrots and tomatoes are usually growing.  They leave behind little pots when they leave.  Something I had never observed before.

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So…looking up close is an amazing thing.  Sometimes pulling back into a smaller and cozy world is alright.  Home is the best place to be when a person needs to take some time to gain perspective.  Words from a friend or two… “Take care of you.” And…a song I haven’t heard for a while.  And it’s true.  You’re beautiful.

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