Mud Lake in September

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september-2016-068 september-2016-119 september-2016-145A random, mid-week visit to Mud Lake. We all needed it. It is a great place to go for a walk, with many different trails to take. Some are heavily wooded and others take you along open (and often muddy!) water. The wildlife we often see include a variety of ducks (Wood Ducks are my favourite), geese, herons, chickadees, turtles, and squirrels. It is so wonderful to have places like this right here in town. On this particular day we drove with my mom, but we noticed that there are a few city buses that come pretty close. Click HERE for a map and description of the area.

While out in the woods, we actually ran into someone we know. My friend Amanda Sage, who shares my love of photography, was out bird-watching. She is also a talented writer, who has just published a children’s book to raise funds for CHEO.

Handmade Christmas Ornaments

Every year I try to expand my collection of decorations for the tree. This year I didn’t have the energy to make any myself, so I wrote “handmade Christmas ornaments” on my Christmas list and knew I was bound to receive some new beauties as gifts. I love that they are pretty much all nature-related. 

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Both the felt bird and butterfly are from a local shop called Ravensara. The bird is from my Mum. I fell in love with the butterfly while doing some last-minute Christmas Eve shopping, and my husband went back to get it for me.

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These two birds were made by a family friend, Sophie. This year she made folk-art inspired papier-maché birds, in just about every colour combination. I picked out this pink and red one. The penguin was one of many she made a couple of years ago.

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SQ grumpy owl

I bought these two ceramic ornaments at the Old Fire Hall holiday craft sale. The woman selling them made mostly bowls and dishes but she was dabbling in some little ornaments this year. I wish that I had taken down her name, but hopefully she will return next year with more. I love the rosy cheeks on the hedgehog, and I just realized while taking these pictures that the owl looks a lot like Grumpy Cat.

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I had a really hard time picking out a favourite owl at Flock (another local shop). So many fabric and colour variations that remind me of the toys my grandmother used to make. They come in a few larger sizes, as well. I might have to buy one for baby.

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My step-mother made these moon and star ornaments, as well as many heart-shaped ones that she gave me last year. She loves anything sparkly!

And this little owl is also from my Mum. I believe these wooden decorations are hand-cut in Germany, and they are also sold at Ravensara.

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So there you have it, the latest adornments on our Christmas tree.
It’ll probably be time to take it down soon.

Ultra Violet Light

It’s funny how much purple I find on our walks- it follows me everywhere and draws me in.

I am loving these midsummer days, spending them down by the water as much as possible. Life is so peaceful down there, and we love watching and listening to the rhythms of nature. At the right time of day, the light cascades through the woods and bounces so perfectly off of Nature’s greatest works of art.

Mallard Feather

Loosestrife

Flowers

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Vervain

Spider Graffiti

Blue

Our holiday Monday was so hot, all we wanted to do was sit in the shade somewhere. We picked up some sandwiches and drove out to the Arboretum with my mum. We found a shady spot by the water under a weeping willow, and before we could sit down, this is what we saw on the other side, about 50 feet away:

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Never having seen a Great Blue Heron so close, I couldn’t look away. He stayed put for a long time, having found a safe spot on a log that stretched out from edge of the water. Every once and awhile, a passerby would get a little too close to his tree and he would perch right at the end, ready to take off if need be:

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He was the centre of attention and conversation. We all watched him through my camera lens to see what he was doing. At one point he fanned his wings out, which was quite spectacular, and I just missed it with my camera. But then he sat for a few moments with his wings shrugged by his sides:

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Finally someone walking by prompted him to take off, and it was just our luck that he landed across the water, just 15 feet away from us. Here is spotting a fish in the water and stretching his long neck out to catch it:

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By the time he came around this close, a few other people had spotted him and came by to watch him as he quietly waded through the tall grass and shallow water.

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Click HERE to learn more about this majestic wading bird, the Great Blue Heron.