Monthly Archives: June 2012

Day 6/30 – June 29

Day 5 was a birthday party and a new bike for Lucas so he can keep up with us on our next biking to nature adventure. No nature on Day 5. On to Day 6. We headed to Toronto and decided to stop at the Guild. The view from a top the glacier carved bluffs is fantastic. It’s a view too many of us South Eastern Ontarians have trouble appreciating because of the polluted lake we mourn each time we gaze. I often think about how amazing it would be if Lake Ontario were clean. But we can still enjoy it. I’ve kayaked on it 5 times this spring/summer and it’s always crystal clear. I’ve seen huge fish spawning in a marsh and swimming along. Catfish cleaning the bottom and crayfish moving swiftly on the lake floor also.

Back to the Guild. A nice peaceful walk once the boys got engaged. Nature takes the edge off. It was only 20 minutes ago they got a tongue lashing for fighting on the way there. But once I was engaged, I had more patience for them. Maybe it wasn’t themin the first place – who knows. I see so many families, mine included, that get so tensed up taking care of the kids, watching out for them, making sure they don’t annoy the neighbors, that they obey, that they are kind, polite and friendly…we need more nature. It brings calm. Chaos after nature is more bearable; I believe this. Nature is not really that far off. Big mountains, streams, cotage lakes, they’re far, but we have natural areas in proximity to our homes and communities. These natural areas can also be therapeutic. See Mr. Chucky – Day 1 & 2.

We took a few neat shots. I’ll leave you to consider your own stories as you view.

 

Day 4/30 – June 27

We didn’t have much time to plan or make our way to tonight’s nature destination so we headed to the other storm-water pond in our neighborhood. I think this is a good lesson for me in that even when you don’t have much time or your tired, nature is still possible. 30-40 minutes in the midst of birds, cattails, tall grass, and frog croaks is relaxing. I’t’s therapeutic, not just while you’re there but when you kids say afterwards, “that was better than watching television all night”. The rewards aren’t always immediate or what you’d think, but they are plentiful. Our nightly adventures have become a great point of leverage in our house – parents, take note!!

So, first up, we walked to a bit of a peninsula and Lucas noticed four goose eggs. They looked abandoned, not sure what that means but we kept a few feet away so as not to disturb them.

Christian insisted we take a photo of the flower (weed!) below. Wow, beautiful.

Cyrus tagged along through the prickly weeds without any complaining, tough little dude. Cyrus claims to have seen a fox, a big fish (in a little pond), and many frogs. I’m expecting him to see Sasquatch next week! He so wants to spot something for his claim to fame. Here’s one of the frogs we did find in the weeds. Might be tough to see, not a very focused shot either. Bridget, you need to teach me the right settings for this type of shot.

 

Our best shot of the night was this baby frog Christian spotted and held. All life is beautiful, we’re certainly learning that.

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Day 3/30 – June 26

Again, all three boys and I headed out, this time by car to Enniskillen Conservation Area off Holt Road just north of Concession 7. About 8-10 minutes from our home. It’s a great area for hiking with younger ones because it has well maintained trails. Before we even got there a car in front of us braked and we quickly noticed what I think was a baby vulture. We turned the van around and as I started clicking pictures we noticed a large vulture up in the tree. My brother Josh (aka Birdman) will confirm via comment if I am guessing right.

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We began our walk through a dense coniferous forest with the sun shining through, very pretty although I’m not a good enough photographer to have properly captured.

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Even though Lucas and Cyrus were at it, don’t presume nature is peaceful with three young boys, there was light at the end of the tunnel as nature took over and they quieted.

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Lucas asked to take over the camera for a bit. His eye quickly caught the roots of an old tree trunk. Below is the photo he took. I took most of the color out – not a bad shot for a 6 yr old. Very cool that he noticed that it was an opportunity for a great shot.

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Christian took over the camera and shot a nearby pile of wood. I guess someone else was enjoying nature – perhaps making a home for a critter.

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A couple of notable experiences for the kids today. We used numerous senses on our adventure this evening. Sight obviously for looking for plants, animals and sunsets. Hearing to identify a woodpecker in the distance and a squirrel overhead who fell from a massive tree almost 100 ft before landing in a bush and gathering himself. We also used our sense of smell. As Lucas and Christian were taking pictures we noticed a foul smell. Being a Dad I naturally checked the bottom of everyone’s shoes, asked if someone “let a ripper” then without any proud claim I decided to look around. Didn’t take too long to spot a rotting Raccoon carcus, nice. No pictures to share, don’t worry.

We pushed on and found a few nice flowers, a stream and a couple of cute boys searching for frogs. Enniskillen is a great place for a picnic also. Perhaps this weekend if anyone is up for it. There’s lots of tables, shade, grass, a pond full of fish, toilets and nature – in no particular order.

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Day 2/30 – June 25

We couldn’t help but go back to find Chucky this evening. Too many people were asking, “where’s the proof”, I mean, “where’s the photos?” We’re Lowe boys and we aim to please. Tonight, we brought along Cyrus, the youngest. If you ask him what we saw, it was a “chipmunk beaver”, “he had a black tail”, with “big eyes”. Lucas noticed Chucky’s tail was smooth and wide, and that he was misbehaving by cutting down so many trees. We’re not really sure if Chucky is a boy or a girl – perhaps we should have named it “Pat”, no offense Pats. Lucas was wondering how much harm having the trees knocked down and killed would affect other creatures such as insects and birds, and their families. Christian was thinking that the beavers were creating new habitats that might help some other species such as fish and birds who eat the fish. Christian noticed that a  large Heron who was fishing along the shore when we got there. I was first amazed at watching the diligence and significant amount of building this beaver, and presumably others, have been able to build – it’s quite incredible to see just how thorough they are. Below are pictures that tell the story. Enjoy!

Trees cut by beaver

Chucky’s amazing tail.

Chucky giving us the eye!

Chucky’s home in the stormwater pond. He lives here while making his new habitat on the other side of the pond. Smart dude.

The troubling part – Chucky is destroying the trees, and I mean a lot of trees, large ones too.

Detail on beaver’s tail is beautiful.

Another great evening in nature. Next.

Oh, and don’t forget to answer our poll below, Christian’s love stats!!! (he asked for three exclamation marks here just to be sure you get it)

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Day 1/30, June 24th, 2012

It was a bit of a dreary evening but we decided not to let the rain spoil our first adventure. We headed out on our bikes to the “natural area” near our home (aka “the storm-water pond”). Other than the sound of cars, it’s actually quite a natural area; lots of birds, a real brook over the hill and dense foliage throughout. Christian was leading with Lucas and I close behind. We hadn’t gotten more than 100 yards down the path when Christian spotted a large (bigger than your average Raccoon) brown animal coming up from the pond through the dense brush. By the time Lucas and I stopped, it was clear this was a gift from having set out on this adventure – a beaver! With amazement showing on all three of our faces, we waited to see what Chucky (as Christian named him) would do – he did nothing. We dared to go a little closer and he didn’t move which made me think, “why isn’t he scared?” I decided to back off and when we got as far as 10 feet away, he recommenced his journey up the hill. His tail was magnificent. Christian remembers the smooth look; I was surprised that it wasn’t wider – it was about 18 inches long. His teeth were hard to see but there was definitely an overbite. Lucas was timid but he closely followed behind me as we headed 20 feet down the path then up the hill to see if we could follow the Chucky on his way to work. Sure enough, he stopped briefly to gnaw on a small tree.

As we proceeded to get a better look, Chucky disappeared from sight. Not more than 1 minute passed when an odd looking creature was swimming in a large pool of water which I don’t recall being there. As the creature swam closer we noticed it was Chucky and he had a grocery bag over his head and was swimming along still determined to find branches on the pond. If you know the area you’re probably confused about the suggestion that there is a pond over the hill. Well, the beaver it would appear have capped off the previous stream and made their own pond. At first I thought it must have been a bulldozer that had done the work. It was fairly intricate; a row of bushes filled in with a bank of mud all the way around. As I got close I noticed the massive branches (and unfortunately, garbage) that was holding back most of the water.  Chucky has been hard at work I’d say for many months.

We were soaked with rain and joy. Once home, the boys were really excited to tell mommy.

Well, that was our first day out. It may be hard to duplicate but we’ll do our best. Stay tuned or join us.

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