Posted in Community, Lake Erie, My trail walks, nature

Do you know where we are today?

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We’re at the beach, but it’s winter, and we are definitely not at a tropical beach; it is on a large body of water, but it’s not salt water. Do you know where we are? Here’s another clue:
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It doesn’t look like we’re going to get a swim today, nor, unfortunately, any time soon. Erosion has a way of ruining the fun of a day at the beach.

This beach is in a small neighborhood park on a pretty big lake…Lake Erie. We are on the north coast of the United States, just a few miles east of Cleveland Ohio. The last time I visited this beach was in the summertime a couple of years ago. There were families on the beach that day, kids playing in the water, and parents relaxing on the sand. But erosion has taken a toll on this community’s beach. Sad for the families who live in this neighborhood. Hopefully a way will be found to stop the erosion and make it possible for families to have fun on the beach in future summers, but that will take time. The community of Mentor-on-the-Lake has created a great little park on the bluff overlooking the beach. It has a playground and  a deck complete with stairs down to the water’s edge. At this point, the beach is unusable, but the playground is still a great place to bring the kids, and the bluff provides wonderful views of the sunset. Here are a few more pictures:

Let’s hope a solution for the erosion can be found, and I will be able to return to this little park on a sunny day in the not-too-distant future when those signs are gone and the beach is safe to use. Meanwhile I am going to search my archives for a few summertime pictures to share with you of families having fun on this beach.

See you soon!
Trail Walker
Posted in Holden Arboretum, My trail walks, nature photography, Searching for Spring

Do you know where you are?

Searching for Spring series

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Regular visitors to my blog should recognize this as the golden willow tree next to Lotus Pond in Holden Arboretum. Yesterday, although not as warm as last week’s early Spring temperatures, was still a lovely day for a trail walk. As always when at Holden, I made sure to visit one of my favorite trees. And, as today is both colder and wetter than when I took this picture yesterday, I decided it is a good day to share a few more pictures in my Searching for Spring series.

The first, a snowdrop, is similar to one I posted last week.  Although it is not as perky as the one I posted on a sunny, warmer day last week, it is still lovely, and what camera-carrying photographer can walk past a snowdrop in February without snapping its picture?

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The second plant is a pastel perennial I was delighted (and lucky) to spot. The netted iris, native to Russia, the Caucasus, and northern Iran, is cultivated widely in temperate regions like northeast Ohio. Typically flowering in March and April, many little clumps of this plant were already in full bloom on February 28th, their delicate flowers waving in the breeze on top of slender stalks. I resolutely plopped myself on the wet ground, leaning in as close as I could to take a picture of this pretty plant. Thankfully nobody else was around with a camera because, for some photographers,  I would have made a comical photo opp, soaking up water through the seat of my pants and then clumsily clambering back to my feet, camera in hand. The things we do to get the pictures we want!

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Back on my feet, I brushed the wet dirt and debris from my sweat pants and continued my trail walk. I will share more pictures from Holden in a future blog post.

Thanks for joining me today.
See you soon!
Trail Walker
Posted in Cleveland Botanical Garden, flowers, nature photography, Orchid Mania

A few more orchids and unusual animals

Orchid Mania…Part 2

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In my post yesterday, I wrote that there were plenty of colorful sights to see at Orchid Mania. The wonderful display of orchids was probably the most colorful, but there were also some exotic animals. My favorite orchid was the one I posted yesterday and the deep purple one at the top of this page was a close second. Here are several others:

And the colorful, exotic animals? Butterflies for one, but I wasn’t able to get any butterfly pictures. The butterflies were released at 2 pm, but they dispersed so quickly throughout the garden that I never had a chance for a photo opp. A few animals were willing to pose however. How’s this one for exotic? Check out the tail, the tongue (I think it is) and the little hands gripping the stem of the plant.

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A woman with a spray bottle was squirting water onto the leaves of the plant, and the thirsty critter was licking it up.

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The lizard was stretched out behind a glass window in his own little habitat.

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Finally,  there were several large tortoises. Unfortunately they weren’t so good about posing either, but were still interesting to watch. I caught this one when it was taking a nap, but because he was pretty big, I could only get a picture of his face and front legs.

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If you would like to experience Orchid Mania, there is still time. It’s well worth a visit, and it doesn’t close until Sunday, March 5th. Don’t forget to take your camera for some challenging, colorful, and unique photo opps.

That’s all for today. Thanks for visiting!
Trail Walker
Posted in Cleveland Botanical Garden, flowers, Orchid Mania

Orchid Mania

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First of two posts about Orchid Mania

Yesterday we took a little field trip to see the Orchid Mania exhibit at Cleveland Botanical Gardens. To sum it up briefly:

  • Marvelous experience
  • Plenty of color
  • A taste of spring both inside and out (High temperature of 78 degrees)
  • Good company
  • Orchids-orchids-orchids
  • And a few exotic animals too!
  • Plenty of challenging photo opps

I will share more pictures in my next blog post. I’ve run out of time!

Thanks for stopping by tonight.
See you soon. ~Trail Walker
Posted in dogs, Dogs and their people, My trail walks

Another day, another dog🌞

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Meet Pebbles who was walking in the park the other day with his human George. Because of the beautiful weather we’ve enjoyed in the past week, there have been even more dogs than usual in the park. Pebbles is one of the regulars. Here he is last May, showing off his sleek, shiny coat.

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Pebbles is not the first greyhound adopted by George. Back in 2013, I took the picture below. Unfortunately I can’t remember the name of that dog, so I’m hoping George will remind me the next time I run into him in the park.

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Obviously George loves greyhounds and provides them with a very good home near a great park where they can exercise. That’s one of the wonderful things about dogs. Adopt one, and you are guaranteed a faithful companion and regular walks at least once or maybe two or even three times each day…in all kinds of weather. Rocco and his person Erika  (below) were taking their daily walk when I saw them along the trail in Chagrin River Park. It was February, and the ground was covered with snow, but Rocco was still a happy dog trotting along the trail with Erika.

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Rocco is a real fashion-plate, “dressed to the nines,” as the saying goes, and isn’t he cute? In the weather we’ve been having this week, Rocco didn’t need a coat, and neither did anyone else. For over a week, our temperatures have hovered in the 60-70+ degree range…every single day. Today’s high was 79degrees. Unbelievable! Truly! Now the weather prognosticators are telling us that it’s all going to change—tomorrow. Sigh! But it’s been great, having “May weather” in February, so I won’t complain…at least not too much. Let’s just hope, when May rolls around, we don’t have February weather!

Thanks for joining me on the trail today.
See you soon.
Trail Walker
Posted in Chagrin River Park, Dogs and their people, My trail walks

Two dog day ☀️

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On this surprisingly sunny afternoon, when rain had been predicted, I joined the crowd in Chagrin River Park intent on trying out the new lens Bob gave me for my birthday. It was a beautiful day for a trail walk, and I learned some things about my lens. One of its best features is capturing impromptu portraits of people and dogs, something I truly enjoy doing. I first ran into Gabby, an adorable golden doodle, when I was watching the ducks on the bog. Gabby, short for Gabriella I believe, was walking with her person. She waited patiently while Jack and I had a long conversation about the weather, the ducks, and Gabby of course. I learned that as long as I scratched her head, she would stand patiently, leaning against my leg.  As I said, she is adorable!

In a very short time, I met up with Scampy and his person, Ellen.

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Ellen adopted Scampy, a havanese, from an Amish farm in Ohio. She told me that when she went to meet her new companion, a little girl ran out of the house followed by this sweet, nearly three-year-old, puppy. The little girl had named him Scampy. Ellen liked the name, so Scampy he is. It suits him very well, and I am sure the little girl was delighted. I googled “havanese” because I wasn’t sure how to spell it, and read that they are companionable, intelligent, and affectionate. It’s hard to believe that Ellen could have found a better friend. She lives alone, and her day is complete when Scampy meets her at the door. I couldn’t decide which picture of the pair I preferred, so here they are again.

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I captured other pictures on today’s trail walk, but I will share them in a future blog post. Today belongs to Gabby, Scampy, and their human companions.

Thanks for joining me along the trail today.
See you soon. ~Trail Walker

 

Posted in My trail walks, Searching for Spring

Still searching for Spring!

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As I wrote two days ago, our beautiful faux-Spring weather has sent me out on the trail, searching for signs of Spring. In northeast Ohio, the signs aren’t usually abundant, or even noticeable, until well into March. That makes the search a bit of a challenge, but interesting nevertheless! The most obvious sign this week has been the temperature, which has reached upwards of sixty and even seventy degrees in the past five days. This inbreaking of Spring has changed February from a churlish month into a season to be enjoyed rather than dreaded.

A personal note: I don’t dread February as much as I do March. February is my month, the month I was born, and therefore mine to celebrate, which I was delighted to do just a few days ago. I had plenty of help from my family and friends in the celebrating, and Bob bought me a new lens for my camera that is going to be a lot of fun, as well as producing sharper pictures…as soon as I learn how to use it, of course. But then, the learning is part of the fun.

Back to searching for Spring. Here is another early sign of Spring that helps to demonstrate the potential of my new lens:

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If you’ve been reading my blog this week, you have already seen these little snowdrops. I’m cheating by posting them again, but I’m delighted with them. They make me smile, so I hope you will understand and indulge my cheating.

My friend, Lisa, who was walking with me, pointed out the colorful flowers below. Do they count as a sign of spring? Maybe, but then maybe not.  Many people think robins (the American robins) are one of the first signs of Spring, and we did see robins, but I have been seeing them all winter long in Northeast Ohio. It’s not really true that they are a sign of spring, at least not in this area. (Redwing blackbirds are much more accurate in predicting the arrival of spring, but I saw some redwings a few weeks ago, so maybe they aren’t all that accurate either).

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One more flower, and then a little Springtime anecdote. This next flower  doesn’t really belong here in a post about Spring, because it is an evergreen that blooms throughout the winter, but the color is what caught my eye. (After a winter of mostly overcast skies and drab landscapes, any color is bound to provide a diversion). One gardener referred to this varigated greenery as a cold-weather friend that puts out cheerful chartreuse blossoms throughout the winter. It goes by the unfortunate name of stinking hellebore, but it is deer resistant, and apparently has other redeeming qualities too.

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So, NOT a harbinger of Spring, but the cheerful color does brighten the winter garden, according to what I read.

A side note: I’m reminded of a trip I took with my parents many (very many) years ago. We left our home in southeastern Pennsylvania to drive to Florida on a cold Saturday morning in February. Heading south, we drove for most of the day until we reached Summerville, South Carolina. We had rooms for the night in a B and B, and after getting something to eat, we settled in for the night. (I know it probably seems as if I’m rambling and have totally lost the thread of this blog, but stick with me. I want to share another special memory of Spring that has lingered in my mind for many years.

Saturday morning, when we left Pennsylvania, it was winter. On Sunday morning, when we woke up in Summerville SC, winter was gone, and Spring had sprung. Church bells were ringing. Birds were chirping outside the bedroom window, the sun was shining, and the air was warm. It was magical! I have never forgotten that impression of Spring as something magical. Maybe that’s why the S-L-O-W arrival of Spring in northeast Ohio and the tediousness of most of February and March make the search for Spring a challenge. I’m waiting for the magic I experienced on that long ago Sunday morning. Don’t get me wrong. I like northeast Ohio, and I love living here…for ten months of the year. But when Spring rolls around, I’m eager for the magic that is so slow in coming.

The last picture from today’s trail walk is a scene I will reprise each time I visit the Arboretum in my search for Spring in the coming months. Just as I revisited the sugar maple in Autumn to capture the changing hues of that season (seen here), I plan to snap a series of pictures of Lotus pond over the coming months to capture the changing colors as winter advances to Spring and eventually to Summer.

 

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Lotus Pond

That’s all for today’s blog post, but there will be future posts in this searching for Spring series. Watch for them. We can enjoy the changing season together.

Thanks for walking with me today.
Trail Walker

 

 

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

Faux-Spring 🌤

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Anyone who has lived here, on the south shore of Lake Erie, is aware that the sunny warm weather I have written about in my last two posts is far from the norm, and is, in fact, a false spring. Nevertheless, that knowledge shouldn’t keep us from enjoying the warm weather. Instead, we should see this for what it is, an inbreaking of spring during one of the coldest and bleakest months of our year. A gift, one we should enjoy. For that reason, I intend to squeeze  as many trailwalking opportunities as I can into however many hours this “false spring” will provide for us.

And I am not alone in my intentions. On Saturday, when the temperature reached 72 degrees, the Arboretum was crowded with families who had shed their warm winter garb and headed outdoors to enjoy the sunshine. I had just started my walk on this sunny Saturday when I ran into one of those families. Two young boys were climbing into the tree house, and were setting out to enjoy what the older boy termed “investigations.” From my observations, the older family members were enjoying it as much as the kids. And what could be more fun than climbing into a real tree house?

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After the stop at the tree house, I took the trail around Lotus Pond. In this picture, you can see the pond with the golden willow tree and, on the opposite side of the pond, the tree house.

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There is a bench under the willow, a favorite stopping off point for people as they walk the grounds of the Arboretum. I have captured many pictures of people relaxing under the willow, and today was no exception.

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Look closely and you will see a little ice on the surface of Lotus Pond, but it won’t be there for long, not with the temperature at 72 degrees! Continuing my walk, I took a short detour to see what might be happening on Corning Lake.  If you’re not tuckered out yet, let’s keep moving.

On our way to check out the situation at Corning Lake, I walked past Margaretta and her person Kevin, enjoying the beautiful day. For her part, Margaretta, who had been for a swim, was most interested in the other dogs that were passing by. She didn’t really want to pose for a photo opp, but with Kevin’s permission, I snapped a couple of quick shots before continuing on to Corning Lake.

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Margaretta sees something more interesting than my camera.
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Isn’t she a beauty?

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As you can see, there wasn’t much action on or around the Lake. A little flock of Canada geese was enjoying a swim, and two of them were nice enough to float in reach of my lens. Another (human) family group had the same idea I did apparently,  and they were walking beside the lake, and then there was this woman who had found a perfect place to relax in the sun.

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Looking at the distant side of the lake, you can see there isn’t even a hint of green on the trees. Because at this point we are only a few miles south of Lake Erie, the arrival of spring is delayed until much later than I would like; however, when it does arrive, it is just that much sweeter!

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If you’re still with me, we’ll end our Saturday afternoon walk by heading back around around Lotus Pond. That’s it on the right side of the trail, and as we follow the trail, you can see the parking lot in the distance. Right in front of you is another of my favorite trees, the gingko. It’s not an attention-getter right now, but just wait until next November when its delightful little fan-shaped leaves turn a vibrant yellow, clearly announcing the end of autumn. Then it is absolutely gorgeous, but I’m in no hurry to see that. Right now I am eagerly anticipating spring, and apparently our faux-Spring hasn’t ended yet, so there will be more pictures coming soon. Watch for them!

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Thanks for coming along on my “faux-Spring” trail walk.
I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! ~Trail Walker

 

Posted in Holden Arboretum, memories, My trail walks

Searching for Spring

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February is a little early to search for signs of spring in northeast Ohio; however, we’ve had unusually warm temperatures in recent days, so I set out to look for some color in the Arboretum that would hint that spring is in the wings. My most exciting find was these beautiful snowdrops.

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I was walking with my friend Lisa, not really expecting to see anything blooming, when she said, “Look, there’s snowdrops!” Sure enough, several little clumps of snowdrops were blooming beside the trail. I sat right down on the ground to capture their beauty and when Lisa gently lifted the face of the flower, I took another picture.

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That was an exciting moment…the first flower of spring. It reminds me of when I was just a young girl and still living at home. At the first sign of spring, we would go for a walk in the woods, searching for arbutus, another early bloomer. We would trudge across fields, climb stiles to get over fences in the farmers’ fields, and carefully search among the leaf litter for the low-growing, aromatic arbutus. Those days are long gone, part of another era, but the sight of those snowdrops today was reminiscent of the sweet-scented arbutus flower. Good memories! It was a special moment, and I’m smiling as I think about it.

That was just the beginning of our trail walk today. I’ll share a few more pictures now, and save the others for tomorrow. Sooner or later, February is going to return to its usual cold and probably snowy self, but for now, I’m loving this break from winter.

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Footbridge into the Wildflower Garden
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Tree roots
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Can you see the turtles on the log in this bog?
Thanks for coming along on today’s trail walk.
I’ll post a few more “spring walk” pictures tomorrow.
See you then! ~Trail Walker
Posted in Holden Arboretum, My trail walks, nature photography

Spring arrived in Northeast Ohio today!

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Not that we expect it to stay. Real spring doesn’t arrive here along the north coast (the south shore of Lake Erie)until around the end of April, but we were loving it today. Hopefully it will linger for a few days at least. Today’s high temperature reached 72 degrees. That’s practically unheard of, but you can be certain we’re not complaining. I think all of Northeast Ohio turned out to celebrate the event, and some of them were even wearing shorts! In February! Here’s one more picture from today’s visit to Holden Arboretum. I’ll be back tomorrow to share more.

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Thanks for joining me today!
Trail Walker