Category Archives: Just for Fun

1 Minute Meditation: River Time

Some of you may know that I took a backpacking trip with some friends recently to Great Smoky Mountains National Park to see a special kind of firefly called the synchronous firefly. The trail we hiked hugged a most beautiful river the entire way, making it very challenging for me to keep moving. Every few steps I would see another something interesting that I felt compelled to stop and photograph. I realized very early on that I must return alone so I can spend all the time I want without pressure that I am not making enough (or any!) forward progress, AND, I will bring my tripod…. Special thanks to my trail companions who were super patient with me and never once complained about always having to wait.

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…so the scene is set. It is late spring. Imagine that you are walking beside a rock-filled river, the constant sound of water accompanying your every step. When you stop and look closely, you notice how many of the rocks in the river are covered with thick, green moss. There are lovely reflections in the still pools of water close to the edge and the morning lighting makes the trees and rhododendron lining the river paint the water a glorious golden-green color. When you close your eyes, the music soothes you, chasing away any thoughts but the here and now.

What do you think? Was it easy to imagine you were there? Do you think it is somewhere you’d like to visit?

One Minute Meditation: N.A.’s Largest Rodent: The Beaver

I recently spent some time in Western New York state, outside of Buffalo visiting my Mom. We started nearly everyday with a walk at a park nearby called Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve. This small, 292 acre park has numerous ponds, many of which have evidence of beavers and muskrats in them.

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So now, put yourself in my shoes at this park…. it is getting close to dark. You are listening to lots of birds including Canada Geese and Red-winged Blackbirds. As you are walking down the narrow trail, a huge beaver climbs out of the water on one side of the trail and ambles across to the other side–right in front of you! Wow, what a cool animal. You look out across the water and watch a beaver tooling around, then see another feeding on the aquatic roots of the water lilies. He is chewing loudly! On another visit you watch a beaver feeding in a patch of willows, submerged by the recent rains. Every once in a while he pulls his heavy body out of the water to bend down another stalk, to reach its fresh leaves.

Check it out here:

Have you ever watched a beaver? Where were you? Have you seen evidence of them where you live? To learn more about beavers, check out this post I wrote a while back–ten a things you may not know about beavers  or this one, about how beaver’s use their long, flat tails. (Hint, they don’t use it to pack down mud in their lodges! But what do they use it for? Find out HERE!)

See you again soon! Have a great day!

One Minute Meditation:Falling Water

Imagine you are standing beside a towering waterfall, one that rises above you more than 70 feet. As you look up your face is gently misted by falling water. You can hear nothing over the sound of the water. No one else is around, only you. You close your eyes and listen to the constant sound of liquid hitting the gray rocks and splashing into the shallow pool…

Special Invitation: Blue Ghost & Moth Viewing Party!

Hey all and happy Monday to you. If you live locally in Asheville or western North Carolina, this post’s for you–a special invitation to come out and join me on Friday night to watch a special firefly. (If not, so sorry! I will feature another post after the party with some photos)

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As you’ve likely heard me say a time or two, my husband and I live in the woods in south Asheville. We discovered some years ago that we have BLUE GHOST FIREFLIES on our property. Don’t know what a Blue Ghost is?

Blue Ghost Fireflies are different from other species of firefly in that their light stays lit for 30-60 seconds, 2 to 3 feet off the ground. So watching them is magical–it’s like ghosts are carrying lanterns as they move silently through the trees.

The firefly is only the size of a rice grain but his light is bright enough to light up the night, especially when there are a bunch in one spot. Females also have a light but have no wings so remain stationary.

On THIS Friday, May 26th, at 8pm, my husband and I are hosting a blue ghost and moth viewing party. We will sit outside and have a drink while we wait for it to get dark, then will learn a bit about these fireflies before going on a short walk to see some.

We will also put out a black light and white sheet to see what moths we might attract. I will mix up a special drink for the moths and will put it out near the sheet. After we watch the blue ghosts, we can walk over and check out what’s on the sheet. You never know what we might see! Here are a few of my favorite moths that I’ve seen other years:

Luna mothVirgin tiger mothInside of tiger moth's wingsTulip MothImperial mothTulip moth,maleA luna moth with another smaller mothUnidentified mothMoths Polyphemus mothTiger mothPolyphemus mothMoth on sheetMoth attracted to black lightMothMothFirefly in daytimeOrange patched-smoky mothA beautiful luna mothMultiple luna moths

If you want to attend, great, I can’t wait to meet you! PLEASE wear comfortable shoes for this! And note that we will not be using flashlights for much of the time in order to allow our eyes to adjust to the night. The driveway is wide and mostly level and we will not be off-trail at any time. But to get the address and directions, you must RSVP at my meetup site   or send me an email saying you’d like to go– sharenaturemore@gmail.com. To avoid overcrowding, I am limiting this to 20 people.

If you want to learn how YOU can attract moths to your yard, see this post or if you want to read about one of our more beautiful moths, check out this Tulip Tree moth. Or, here’s a quiz to see what you know about moths.

Lastly, if you are interested in learning more about moths, such as how to identify them, here is a link to a fabulous book–a Peterson Guide to Moths. 

Weekly Photo Challenge #6

Did you capture any images that depicted Water Art ? Did you enjoy searching for examples of this theme? Thanks to those who sent in some pictures! It is always fun to see what people will come up with!

Here is your Wednesday slideshow featuring Water Art:

At Reinstein Woods Preserve in western NYSiesta Key, Florida by ArdenBy JockShelby Botanical Garden in Florida, by ArdenPetalsShelby Botanical Garden in Florida, by Arden Western New York StateBrush strokesPortugal by ArdenWaterCaught!Jumping SpiderNature's jewelry Red budsPearlsLiquid MirrorsPerfection in a dropBalancedSilkMorning SecretReflectionsWinterPerfection!At Biltmore EstatePinkNew leaves

Our next photo theme challenge is: SUNLIGHT

What image can you create that depicts this theme? If you have ideas or what to participate, just send me your images in an email and I will include them in next Wednesday’s slide show! Have a great week…I will see you again soon.

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It’s Spring…Have You Done This Yet?

feeder2-3360Guess who’s headed north? It’s that time of year again when the ruby-throated hummingbirds are heading back from their long migrations to their northern homes to breed and raise babies. You can check out their progress here to see if they are in your area yet.

Are your feeders out yet? If not, it’s time to put them out! The sooner the better as birds finding feeders on their way might be tempted to stay and nest if they find suitable food sources nearby.

My hummingbird feeders. I have 5!

My hummingbird feeders. I have 5!

Here’s a recommendation I have for a couple of great hummingbird feeders:

  1. My very favorite feeder is a suction cup feeder *that has a built in ant moat. I own two of these and love them! The moat keeps the ants out and the suction cups allow me to have it mounted on my second story office window where I can watch the birds feeding all day long. It is less than 6 feet from my chair so I am at eye level when the birds visit. They don’t usually seemed phased at all by my presence if I sit still. I never tire of watching them, and getting this close-up look is fabulous. If you have young kids, they will love this… or if YOU are a kid yourself, you will love it! (You can see this feeder in action here if you want)
  2. This hanging feeder works great in the garden or on a hook on your deck and you can add an ant moat that sits above the feeder. What I most love about this one is that it comes completely apart for easy cleaning. When it comes to feeders, this is SO IMPORTANT as many do not open and so it is impossible to clean them, which means mold grows and can harm the birds. Another plus of this feeder is that it has no yellow on it. Know why this is good? Because bees, yellow jackets and other insects are attracted to yellow. There is no reason to use yellow when the red parts attract the birds.

So you probably know you can make your own nectar–saving some money and NOT supporting the red dye products that may be harmful to the little birds. Just mix up four parts of water to one part of regular white granulated sugar. You do not need red dye!

Here are some previous posts I wrote about feeding hummingbirds:  If you’re not doing THIS, you may be causing hummingbird deaths: 8 things you need to know, or why you should NOT use red dye, and one more about attracting hummingbirds, including some plants to offer, and the recipe for making nectar. And then, just in case you want to be amazed, read this one about 10 things you may not know about hummingbirds. Or check out this 1 minute video of a male hummingbird–what a brilliant red gorget!

Don’t you just love these amazing birds??

*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you buy something using one of the links, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. All of the opinions about these products are mine. I only feature products I own, or would own.

Hello Again!

peacockkale-Greetings friends!!

Thanks for being here with me again after my three month break. I am happy to be back and anxious to fill you in on some decisions I’ve made during my absence. Are you having a great day? Excited that spring has arrived?

Since my last post I have been busy! I spent 3 weeks in Costa Rica. I participated in a flash mob dance with an organization called One Billion Rising.  I read some amazing books, some of which I will tell you about soon. My husband and I made plans to sponsor a bat conservation project in southern Florida and Panama with renowned photographer and bat biologist, Merlin Tuttle. I created a Meetup for Asheville folks called Share Nature More.  I scheduled some inspirational and educational programs at a local community space. (If you are local, I hope to see you there!) I am working on getting an Etsy Shop up and running and am excited about finally having a venue to sell my work. (I will let you know when this gets ready!)  I brainstormed some ways to make my blog more interactive and came up with some regular categories that I will be adding in the coming weeks.

So wow, I am super excited about all of these things.

Have you seen the Geico commercial with the guys in the office asking what day is it and the camel walking in saying in a deep voice “It’s hump day!” Well I thought I would start a new challenge to give everyone here something to look forward to about Hump Day.

The addition to my blog that I am most excited about is one I’ll call the Weekly Photo Challenge. As you know I am always talking about getting outside and looking for spots of beauty. I frequently post pictures that I’ve taken, especially during the summer when I regularly add collections of photos into slideshows that you, my readers, can enjoy. But I was thinking about this recently and wondering why I am the one who gets to have all of the fun. I am certain there are many of you out there who enjoy taking pictures.

I intentionally chose to call this site Nature For My Soul because I wanted my readers to think of it in that way–Nature for MY soul.

In the months leading up to my hiatus I questioned this title and pondered how I could make my posts more fitting–Nature for MY soul. The Weekly Photo Challenge is one addition  I came up with. I will feature a new one every Wednesday, starting tomorrow…so stay tuned to learn more!

I will see you tomorrow! Until then, have a fabulous day!