Monday Meander

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In my last post, two days ago, I promised to return with more pictures from the trail walk Lisa and I took in the Arboretum on Friday. Yesterday was so full, I didn’t have time to keep that promise. The weekend flew by, as they usually do, and Monday morning has arrived already, and, finally, here are my favorite pictures from that stroll along the trails in the Arboretum. Because I have a weakness for alliteration, I am taking the liberty of titling this post for the day I am posting it.

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Along the edge of Corning Lake
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Iris closeup
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Corning Lake and the Emergent Tower
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A nesting box, but I don’t know what might have nested there.
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Beautiful flowers everywhere!
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At my request, Lisa knelt next to the little pink rhododendron for a photo opp.
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Trail into the rhododendron garden
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Rhododendron in full bloom
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View across the pond
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So many rich colors
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Rhodie blossom
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One very large rhododendron
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Single blossom, many hues
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Trail out of the rhododendron garden

The long months of winter, from November until well into April, are almost devoid of color, making this trail walk, with so many richly-hued blossoms, a joy to share. Thanks for joining us on this walk. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as Lisa and I did. If you didn’t see the mini-meander I posted on Saturday, check it out to see three more pictures from along the trail (including my favorite golden willow tree).

See you soon.
~Trail Walker

Celebrating spring!

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My friend Lisa and I took at trail walk in Holden Arboretum today. The morning sky was completely overcast, but as I drove down Sperry Road to the arboretum entrance at about 1 pm, the sun came out. Admittedly it was still only about 50 degrees, and winter hasn’t entirely loosened its grip on northeast Ohio, but with the sun shining down on us from a deep blue sky, we couldn’t have had a better day for the first spring trail walk!  Today we’re celebrating spring and hoping it will soon be here to stay.

Thanks for coming by today to say hello. See you soon!
Trail Walker

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

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

 

 

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

 

There’s nothing like a cedar waxwing!

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The cedar waxwing pictured above is demonstrating the fondness these birds have for fruit. According to the iBird app, they are the most specialized fruit-eating bird, but their diet also includes items such as carpenter ants, cicadas, caterpillars, cankerworms, and maple sap. Other strange information is  that they sometimes become intoxicated from eating fermented berries in winter, and they will also readily eat apple slices, currants, and canned peas. The yellow or orange terminal band on their tails are thought to vary in color depending on their diet. The most entertaining fact I read about waxwings is that a group of them could be called an “ear-full” or a “museum” of waxwings. Here are a few more pictures:

My walk today was a chilly one, and I was wishing for a warmer jacket. The temperature was only about 57 degrees with a stiff breeze, but the sun was shining, the waxwings came out to play, and I ran into several friends and caught up with their news, so it was a good day for a walk along the trail!

Thanks for joining me
Trail Walker

A bothered and bedraggled blackbird

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This tidy-looking red-winged blackbird with his sleek feathers is delighted with the new feeding tray that Bob set up yesterday. Although he wasn’t overjoyed with the heavy rain showers that came through this afternoon as he was enjoying his lunch at the back yard buffet, the rain didn’t stop him from feasting on the sunflower seeds and other tasty treats. The pictures in this gallery will show how bothered, bedraggled, and downright dismayed he became as the rain poured down on him, but eventually he resigned himself to the rain and finished his meal.

Joining him at the buffet was an equally bedraggled blue jay whose feathers had been well-saturated by the downpour.

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Here’s hoping “the sun will come out tomorrow!”
See you then!
Trail Walker

Penitentiary Glen

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Penitentiary Glen is another of the Lake County MetroParks. I don’t go there often because it is on the way out to the Arboretum, which is where I usually end up when I head in that direction; however, it has some good trails. I only had enough energy for a short walk, so the trail around the pond behind the headquarters building was perfect. It includes meadows, a bog, and a bridge from which I could focus my lens on water-dwelling critters. In addition to the frog at the top of the post, here are the pictures I captured along that trail:

It was a short, but very satisfying, walk because there was so much to see. I’m glad you came along today to check it out.

See you soon.
Trail Walker

Spring trail walk in Holden Arboretum

Today’s visit to the Murch Canopy Walk and Kalberer Emergent Tower marks my fifth time to experience these special features at the Arboretum. Links to those earlier visits can be seen here and here.

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One of my favorite sights in the rhododendron garden is the gazebo pictured above. Sometimes, when I want to just enjoy the peace of the garden, I will take my lunch and sit in the gazebo.

But today I met my friend Lorna at the visitor’s center where we purchased tickets for the Emergent Tower and Canopy Walk, and we are going to head down the trail to the rhododendron garden. Lunch will wait until after we enjoy the garden, climb the Emergent Tower, and make our way back to the patio at the visitors’ center. If I had special ordered the weather for today’s visit to Holden Arboretum, it would have been for a day exactly like this, so let’s head on down the trail. Click on any of the pictures in the gallery and immerse yourself in the sights of summer in the Arboretum.

I hope you enjoyed your virtual walk in the garden. And I know you didn’t get out of breath like I did when we climbed the Tower! Thankfully they have places you can stop and catch your breath while you enjoy the view on the way up. I needed them! Now it’s time for lunch. Lorna and I brought ours, but you’re on your own! Thanks for joining us for this virtual tour in the Arboretum.

Note: If you want to see my earlier posts about the Canopy Walk and Emergent Tower, click here and go back to last fall’s trail walks with more pictures.

See you in a day or two for another trail walk.
Trail Walker

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