Posted in family, nature, Uncategorized

Saturday is spelled e-r-r-a-n-d-s!

Apple tree laden with ripe fruit

The thought of Saturday errands probably has a familiar ring to anyone who works from 9-5 or even longer on Monday through Friday. That’s not the case for me because I retired from the work-a-day world many years ago; however, habits die hard, and it seems like Bob and I often find ourselves out and about running errands on Saturday mornings. This being Saturday, we were occupied with e-r-r-a-n-d-s.

  • First we went to Wild Birds Unlimited to pick up “no mess seed” for the bird buffet in our back yard.
  • Next stop was Lowes to get supplies for one of Bob’s projects.
  • We went to the Willoughby outdoor market to stock up on produce.
  • Our next stop was Patterson’s Fruit Farm where we picked up pears, apple butter, and apple dumplings. 😋
  • We visited Sage’s Fruit Farm to get peaches because nobody else had them (This was a good year for apples but a bad year for peaches in northeast Ohio).
  • …and our last errand was to our daughter’s house to give the dogs a run in the back yard because Mike and Alison were gone all day.

When we finally pulled into our driveway several hours later, it was past time for lunch, so I warmed up an apple dumpling. Can’t tell you how good that tasted!

Here’s Mabel, sitting in the sun.
So that was Saturday,
and it was a beautiful day everywhere we went!
See you soon! 
Trail Walker
(Although there really wasn’t much trail walking  done today.)
Posted in Holden Arboretum, My trail walks, nature, Northeast Ohio

Do you see it?

This is my favorite from today’s trail walk.

Do you see the end of summer when you look at the pictures I captured in Holden Arboretum yesterday? The autumnal hues of the vegetation, blooming goldenrod, and  drooping rudbeckias are clear-cut clues that summer will soon be a thing of the past. And to tell the truth, I don’t mind because it is ushering in my favorite season: Autumn! Take a look…


Despite my disappointment over the absence of butterflies, my motivation for entering the Butterfly Garden, I couldn’t have been there at a better time. I spent a peaceful half hour wandering the paths, enjoying the scenery, and snapping pictures. Truthfully, I didn’t mind switching to plan B to capture pictures that didn’t involve butterflies and dragonflies.

A variety of bees buzzed from flower to flower, seeking nourishment and, incidentally and even more importantly, pollinating all the plants they visited. They were working so hard, this is the only one that paused long enough for a photo opp.


I’m not the only one attracted by yellow flowers!


I stopped to read a clever sign about the importance of “Pollen-Nation”.


Then at the end of the short trail below the footbridge, I sat down on a bench to capture two pictures, one of the bridge and a second one to include a camera-carrying man who walked across the bridge at just the right moment.

Footbridge in the Butterfly Garden
A walker crossing the foot bridge

I also captured several pictures of the fountain in the butterfly garden, each from a slightly different angle…

Fountain in Butterfly Garden


Purple flowers

So there you have it, friends. We’re reached the end of this blog post, the last one of summer 2016. I’ve heard it said that, in northeast Ohio, this has been one of the hottest summers in many years, and perhaps it is one of the driest too. I still plan to post a “Summer Summary,” to highlight just a few of my favorite trail walks from this long, hot summer, but aside from that, summer is on the way out and autumn is on the way in. I love autumn, so bring it on! I’m ready!

Please join me as we celebrate the start of a new season.
See you soon, friends.
Trail Walker
Posted in Canopy Walk and Emergent Tower, landscapes, My trail walks, nature

Holden Arboretum

Purple flowers for my purple-loving granddaughter

Friday was a beautiful, sunshiny day…a perfect day to visit Holden Arboretum, so I called my neighbor Marti and asked if she was ready to climb the Emergent Tower. She didn’t take any persuading, so off we went, and our first stop was the Tower with its wonderful view of Lake Erie.

View from the top of the Emergent Tower
Marti on top of the Tower

It’s a rare day that I visit the Arboretum without stopping to say hello to the golden willow tree by Lotus Pond. It is one of my favorite places and one of my most photographed in every season.


Before leaving the Arboretum, we stepped into the Butterfly Garden. I was hoping to capture a few butterfly pictures before the annual migration ended. To my disappointment, I didn’t see any butterflies, not even one, but I did take a couple of photos just to show how beautiful the garden is.

Waterfall in the butterfly garden
A bridge on the trail. No trolls live under that bridge, but I have occasionally seen a snake in the vicinity.

That’s the photo shoot from this trip to the Arboretum. I hope you enjoyed the walk. Soon cooler weather will move into northeast Ohio, and we will begin to notice changes in the landscape. I’m thinking it would be a good idea to take a weekly walk and document the transition from summer through fall to winter. Maybe I’ll give that a try! First though, I think I will make another Arboretum visit and add a few more pictures to my “Summer in Holden Arboretum” gallery. See you soon, friends.

Happy Trails to you!
Trail Walker

Posted in backyard birding, Fall trail walks, nature, Northeast Ohio

Waiting impatiently!

Hello friends. I have been taking a brief blog break to learn more about Photoshop and Lightroom, (and hopefully improving my photography) , as well as  spending more time with my family, and occasionally dusting the furniture. I’m not quite back in full form yet, but hope to be soon. If you are still hanging out along the trail with me, I’m really glad to see you.

Although you would never know it from this weeks’s heat and humidity, September has arrived and the days on the calendar are ticking by pretty quickly. My favorite month will soon be here, and I am looking forward to the autumn colors, crisp temperatures, pumpkin pies, and bright blue skies. This time of year brings to mind a poem by Helen Hunt Jackson that we read in grade school (a long time ago). The last two lines sum up my feelings about October:

O sun and skies and flowers of June,
Count all your boasts together,
Love loveth best of all the year
October’s bright blue weather.

I admit to a growing impatience for the advent of that “bright blue weather,” and the great photo opps that come with it; however, today and for the next few weeks, I’ll have to exercise patience and find pleasure in whatever September brings.

If you too are yearning for real autumn weather, I can safely promise you it won’t be long until we’ll be able to savor the pumpkin pie, apple cider, and all the joys of October.

Meanwhile, let’s make this a good day!
Trail Walker

P.S. Do you have a favorite month? Consider leaving a comment to tell us which of the 12 it is and why that month is special to you.

Posted in Holden Arboretum, My trail walks, My trailwalks, nature

Almost the end of summer

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Last week, when our oldest daughter and son-in-law flew in from Phoenix for a short visit, climbing the Emergent Tower at Holden Arboretum was included on the list of “things to do and places to visit.” Monday was a beautiful day, so off we went to Holden and had a great time. After we all experienced the Canopy Walk, Gretchen and I climbed the Tower, while Bob and Rod kept Gulliver company at ground level. For very good reasons, dogs are not allowed on the Walk or the Tower.

We were the last climbers to leave the Tower and the afternoon was waning, so we paused for a photo opp by the gate into the Rhododendron Garden…2016_08_29_Trailwalks_Holden Arboretum_0013

…and then walked back down the trail. In the little time we had left, we wanted to wander a while in the Butterfly garden before we headed home.

It wasn’t a long visit, but, in my opinion, every visit to Holden Arboretum is special, and this afternoon was no exception.Thanks for coming along. I hope you enjoyed the climb. Maybe the wander through the butterfly garden was more your speed, but whatever your preference, it’s all good! There is something at the Arboretum for everyone.

Note:  The past week has been all about family time, so I have a lot of catching up to do,  pictures to process, and posts to write up, but eventually I will get caught up.  And I’ll be back soon with another post from last week.

Thanks for coming along on this walk.
Trail Walker
Posted in backyard birding, nature

A new back yard visitor


I looked out the kitchen window recently and spotted this visitor at the back yard buffet. It was alone, and it hung around long enough for quite a few photo opps. If you know what it is, I would be glad for an ID. Size-wise, it is about the same as a large blue jay or just a little larger.

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Here are a few more poses I snapped as it moved from feeder to feeder:

I am sure I could find it in one of my bird books, but there hasn’t been enough time this sticky-hot and very busy week to do the research, so I am turning to my blog friends for help.

Thanks for visiting the back yard buffet today.

See you soon!
Trail Walker
Posted in backyard birding, bird photography, nature

Hummingbirds lead perilous lives!

It’s easy to be charmed by the antics of these tiny birds, especially when they put on a show, and that’s what this one was doing in my back yard today. Let’s sit for a bit on the patio bench and watch.
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Uh-oh! Watch out, Hummer. You’re not the only one that likes the sugar water. You’ve got competition!

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Lots of competition!

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August is not my favorite month because that’s when the yellow-jackets and wasps discover the back yard buffet, and they love sugar water. It doesn’t seem really fair to me. The hummers will soon begin their fall migration. They will head south…very far south, to their warm winter home somewhere in Central America. It’s a long and difficult journey from the south shore of Lake Erie over the Gulf of Mexico, and our tiny friends, the hummers, need plenty of nourishment to prepare for the rigors of migration.

Unfortunately, in the middle of August, hundreds of “bees” (yellow jackets, wasps, etc.) try to take over the sugar water feeders, but hummingbirds are feisty little critters, and I’ve watched them chase off the hungry hordes like this one eventually did today! Hummingbirds may be small, but they are not easily intimidated.

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I can’t help feeling sorry for the hummingbirds at this time of year, but I also feel a little sorry for myself. After mixing up the sugar water and filling the feeders, a day or two later I have to spill out the water, and clean and refill the feeders that are clogged up with the bodies of bees! What a waste! I don’t like bees any more than the hummingbirds do, but I definitely enjoy watching the hummers.

That’s all for today. See you soon.
Trail Watcher
Posted in backyard birding, nature

To share or not to share?

That is the question!

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As you can see from the picture above, the downy woodpecker and black-capped chickadee don’t have a problem sharing the bark butter at the suet feeder. They are peaceably pecking away, each on her own side of the feeder.

However, these two goldfinches aren’t getting along so well on their perch.

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And the hummingbird and bee? How do they feel about sharing?

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I’m not so sure about the bee, but the expression on the face of the hummingbird makes his feelings very clear. If he could talk, he would be screaming,”Scram! Scat! Skedaddle! I was here first!!!”

…And I wouldn’t blame him one bit!

Would you want to share your beverage with a bee?

 See you soon.
Trail Walker
Posted in animal photography, backyard birding, nature

A little rain and a lotta lazy!

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Rain was threatening, and I was feeling lazy, so I hung around the house for some back yard birding instead of heading to the park for a trail walk. As it turned out, lazy wasn’t a bad choice, and I ended up having loads of fun just sitting on the bench in my back yard. A lady hummer came for a visit, and she was joined by a downy woodpecker, a finch (I think), and a little bird with a punk hairdo.

I don’t know if you can tell from these pictures, but we have a new feeder for the hummingbirds. Today the hummer was taking turns sipping from them.First one, then the other! The new feeder is different. It’s shallow with a ring around it for her is rest on while she drinks, and, best of all, it is much easier to clean and refill. That’s especially important when it is hot like it has been recently because the wasps and ants are also attracted to the sugar water feeder, which must be emptied and refilled every two or three days.

As an extra treat, the birds and I were joined at the back yard buffet by Samantha Squirrel. Sammy and her extended family love the bark butter suet cakes as much as the birds do, and I love to watch their antics as they climb the poles, hang onto the feeders, and help themselves to the bark butter. Fortunately the birds are willing to share!

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That’s it from the back yard buffet today. Nothing earthshaking. Nothing political. No name-calling, no violence. Just food, fun, and congeniality. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Thanks for joining me today. See you soon.
Trail Walker