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I'm a woman entering "the third chapter" and fascinated by the journey.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Another view

Another Toledo discovery: the Window on Wildlife at the Wildwood Preserve Metropark.  Several of the Metroparks feature a WOW, and basically, all it is is a window wall looking out onto a collection of birdfeeders and such. (My husband has already been told that we need to upgrade the feeding station outside our much-more-modest picture windows.) Why the excitement, you might ask.  The answer: urban biodiversity.

We probably only spent about fifteen minutes in the windowed room, and I didn't write down the number of feeders, but the area, backed by young woods, featured at least the following: peanut feeders, suet feeders, thistle feeders, high and low tray feeders, flat stones used as ground-level feeders, a pond in which a mallard pair had made themselves quite at home, stands of leafy plants for cover, and at least one fallen log.

What I remember seeing, in a few minutes on an ordinary Saturday afternoon, included the following:
red squirrels
a chipmunk
the aforementioned mallards
blue jays
tufted titmice
two male goldfinches
one of the sparrows with eyebrows
two downy woodpeckers
a red-bellied woodpecker
a nuthatch
and assorted LBBs.

A most satisfactory view.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Where does the time go?

Where does this thing/concept/whatever we call time go?  Thinking this evening,"gee, I haven't updated the blog in a while," I realize it's been over five weeks--weeks of meetings and conferences and drafting work-related documents and grading papers and wondering "will I live long enough to retire?"  (Consensus: maybe.)

It's been a strange fall--early frost, followed by warm weather, followed by rain and mold and a series of days that can't seem to make up their mind what the season actually is. I need, however, to report on a glorious weekend afternoon, though I cannot now remember exactly which weekend it was.  At any rate, the temperature was in the sixties, the sun was shining, and the unraked leaves were crunching underfoot in a most satisfactory way. (And I do remember the day--it was just last Saturday but seems longer ago than that.) The sugar maples had dumped a significant portion of their load on the Adirondack chairs in the back yard, necessitating uncovering the chairs in order to have a place to sit.

Basking in the warmth, too contented to grade the stack of research papers I'd taken outside with me, I started examining leaves, mostly dry by the second week of November.  Visible on a good many of them were tiny dots, quite likely insect eggs.  Biologist Doug Tallmadge of the University of Delaware, author of Bringing Nature Home (one of my favorite non-literary tomes), has noted that our native maples host something like 265 species of lepidoptera.  Those leaves blowing around our back yards are actually the nurseries for next year's butterflies.

Sounds like a good reason to let sleeping leaves (and potential butterflies) lie.