Sunday, September 19, 2021

09/19/2021 Day tripping in Maine

 It is an annual adventure, sometimes two to three times a year. But I do my best to make time for a Maine road trip to a favorite beach or two. It is an easy round trip to the Kennebunkport area - not too far to drive up early in the morning, walk the beaches, visit the town, have lunch, then head home.

This trip started with a visit to Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. It is comprised of 9125 acres along the coast of Wells, Maine, dedicated to the environmentalist Rachel Carson. Its purpose is to protect the salt marches and estuaries for migratory birds. 

Every time I visit I see something new and different. The refuge is along the coast, but no easy beach access. The trail meanders through the woods and along the Little River.  I am still reading her book "Silent Spring", at some point I hope to finish it. She had a lot of insight about the environment and the need for all of us to do our parts to protect it. With the exception of the updated information we have now on chemistry, you would have thought she wrote it just yesterday. Her observations and concerns still exist today. The initiatives to save the planet did not start with the current generation but is a continuum of a lot of work done by many people past and present and hopefully in the future. We all need to be mindful of our role to protect all creatures and the environment.

A nicely positioned bench to allow one to sit and contemplate the meaning of life. Or to contemplate why there are so many mosquitoes here and why are they biting me. Only my face and hands were exposed and I had bites on the palms of my hands as well as face. 

A motorboat anchored off shore. Maybe doing a little fishing?

A nice and peaceful salt river, ebbs and flows with the tide.

My next stop was to one of my favorite beach walks in Kennebunkport. Before dogs I would stay at a little inn along the coast and walk along the promenade at sunrise. The inn has since changed hands and the beach is now zoned for locals or  you pay $25 (very steep price no doubt to discourage nonlocal visitors), but I found one parking spot a bit away and seized the opportunity to walk along the beach for a while.

It was low tide - a wide variation between high and low tide beach access.

Next stop was to the Franciscan Guest House where there is a grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. These are peaceful and pleasant grounds and I enjoyed the quiet time.


It was lunch time and the sign at the White Barn Inn said wanderers welcome. So I stopped there for lunch as I had often thought I would like to try it. Lunch was pleasant and the atmosphere is interesting - an inside of a barn, compete with replicate barnyard animals. Perhaps the best part was reading an old book on agriculture that was used to hold open the windows.

Since there was no parking at my favorite Parsons beach I ventured up the coast to Goose Rocks beach. I walked for four miles along the shore, a very pleasant walk indeed.

 An inviting colorful umbrella. Take note, the woman is on her cell phone. Just cannot leave them turned off, can we?

The last time I was here there were a lot of terns and dunlins and of course sea gulls. Not many shore birds here except a few seagulls. This one was very patient with the photography session!

This fellow was having a great time splashing in the water.

Roses are still in bloom

And the beach was not too crowded. Everyone could find a little space for themselves.

The next stop was an impromptu stop at a new location for me. What a pleasant surprise and a place I will definitely return. It is the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve.  It is an active farm and has many trails, including one down to the beach at Drake Island. So off I followed that trail.

The beach was beautiful and there are signs posted so that we do not settle down on the "private" part of the beach.  But there is room enough, especially when no one else was there! It might be few people want to walk that far (0.6 miles) or it might be that it was at the end of the afternoon and everyone was heading home. But I had the place to myself - lovely!

Beautiful estuary.

Apple trees lined the trail.

A scenic rock in the estuary.

Sunflowers in the garden.

And a mockingbird to sing for your enjoyment. If you look at its left leg,  you will see that it is banded.

There were more coastal roses in all stages of bloom.

A great blue heron - painted along a building wall.

And wild flowers growing along the trails and parking lot.

There were more trails to hike and I definitely will return and enjoy the nature and scenery. Maybe will even pack a lunch next time and spend a bit more time along the beach.

What a lovely day. The weather was perfect, I had my lovely walks along the shore in a few different places, was able to find a new site and was totally refreshed as I returned home. yes, indeed, a great day.

Hope you all are well and have been able to enjoy some quiet time for yourself.

Until next time...... And yes, the boys are doing well!

Sunday, September 5, 2021

09.05.2021 Wolf Hollow Ipswich Massachusetts

 A couple of years ago an acquaintance told me about a sanctuary for wolves near Boston. That did come as a surprise as we tend to think of them in a much more rural setting. The facility was essentially close during the covid pandemic and has recently reopened for public tours. As luck would have it, there was one ticket left and I snatched it!

A gray wolf.

They are truly beautiful animals. However, we must keep in mind that these wolves at the sanctuary have acclimated to humans and do seem more like pet dogs in this enclosure than wild animals. 

The visitors are protected by two chain link fences which enclose the habitat of the wolves.. There is a pathway in between the fences for the workers but not for visitors. This double enclosure did make it a bit challenging for photographs, but I managed a good photograph  or two. 

We are greeted by a gentleman who is inside the enclosures and directly interacts with the wolves and one wolf-dog hybrid.  He was very conformable with them and as important, they were very playful with him.

The hybrid dog-wolf arrived from New York where the shelter there quickly noticed he was more than a dog on the basis of his demeanor.

They like tummy rubs, too!

Look at those yellow eyes!

They also play like puppies! They seemed to like the attention of the visitors and when we turned our attention to another enclosure they started chasing each other - a true attention getting ploy.

Look at those teeth!

This following information is adapted from the web page of the Wolf Hollow, Ipswich, MA:

The North American Wolf Foundation (NAWF) was founded by Paul C. Soffron in 1988. To this day, Paul’s original mission is to preserve the wolf in the wild, through education and exposure and remains the cornerstone of the work they do everyday. Within a year from being established, NAWF broke ground in Ipswich, Massachusetts and during this time our current directors, Joni and Zee Soffron, acquired behavioral and animal husbandry training from leading wolf experts at Wolf Park, a world renown wolf research facility in Battle Ground, Indiana.

By 1995 Wolf Hollow had become an established member of the community of educational conservation organizations for wild canids in the U.S and, in November that year, Wolf Hollow hosted the Northeast Wolf Recovery conference with representatives from 16 organizations. Their  achievements coincided with our nation’s milestone project of the recovery of the gray wolf in the lower 48 states centered around Yellowstone National Park.

As early as 2002, we began to see the start of a political tug of war that has the North American wolf, yet again, caught in the crosshairs. In May 2011, Senator Jon Tester (D) - Montana, inserted controversial language into a standard federal budget bill. Slipped in as a rider, mostly unnoticed by the general public, federal protections for the gray wolf, granted by the Endangered Species Act of 1973, were removed in 6 states (ID, MT, WY, MN, WI, and MI). Further language inserted into the rider attempts to ban citizens, as well as court systems, from challenging the wolf delisting decision while simultaneously preserving anti-wolf litigation.

 Over the last few decades we, as a community, have made great strides championing for the protection of the wolves in the wild. Though we may have won many battles... the war is far from over! Now, more than ever, Wolf Hollow is committed to our mission to protect the gray wolf and it’s habitat.

Chicory - one of my absolutely favorite wild flowers.

If you wonder about Shorty and Fionnegan and Gunnarr - they are still really good boys. But unbeknownst to any of us, we have a leopard in the tree. According to Fionn, there is a leopard in our tree. May not be as far fetched as it seems, there is a mountain lion in our town - someone photographed it in their yard. So why not a leopard!!!!!! To read about this fun story about Fionn and his view of the world, go to Shorty's blog:


Until next time.....Stay well.

Sunday, August 8, 2021

08.08.2021 A garden bouquet for you

 The gardens have been beautiful with all of our rain and hot weather. We have had many day lilies, tiger lilies and oriental lilies along with bee balm, daisies, black-eyed Susan, purple cone flowers, bachelor buttons and a few Sweet Williams, snap dragons, butterfly weed and some purple strife. Not all are in bloom at once and the colorful addition allowed to grow is our wild goldenrod. It does look pretty even though it is a weed. One marigold is also in bloom from seed! Many early morning hours and late afternoons are spent weeding, but some weeds just seem to flourish. It is a jungle out there.

We had some time today to relax on the porch this morning. I have a chair hammock not frequently used this summer because it was rainy, too hot or too buggy. But this morning was perfect so I used the opportunity to sit there and edit an article while the boys chased squirrels, chipmunks, froggies, each other and whatever else they could sniff. When I was done Gunnarr wanted to sit on my lap, wet paws and all. So both he and Fionnegan got a bit of a swing in the hammock as we enjoyed some really nice peace and quiet. Shorty just sits nearby on the deck and smiles and watches. He is probably thinking there is no way she is getting me up there on her lap!

This is a great chair. It is on the deck surrounded by gardens and flower pots. I adjusted it so I can rest my legs on a chair.  And yes, three of us can fit. We watched the birds - in particular a very noisy ivory billed woodpecker. When he flew over the yard, you could hear the wind whistling through his feathers. Magic.


Here are a few garden flowers gathered to share with you. Some of the flowers have little critters - froggies, grasshoppers and bees. See if you can sot them.

This is near the end of the season for day lilies. As the name indicates, each bloom lasts one day. There are 6 to 10 blooms per stem so we can enjoy them for a while. The garden has early blloing to late blooming lilies, so we have color for the entire season.

See anyone inside the flower?

The cone flowers have been in bloom for most of the summer. We are lucky that hte deer did not snack on them as Bucky does jump the fence to visit!

We had more tiger lilies this year than ever in the past. They grew threw the fence and propagated into two separate gardens. They are showy and gorgeous.

This lily is not only beautiful but very fragrant. They greet us at the front entrance with their appealing presence. Many flowers bloom per stalk and they last for a couple of weeks.

A flower garden needs a bird feeder or two!

Shasta daisy.

The golden rod adds nice color to the garden as the day lilies are waning.

Another pink oriental lily that is very fragrant. I have to grow them in post since the gophers and moles like to eat the tubers. Eventually we learn!

Geraniums are still in bloom.

Do you see the little froggie? Am afraid the dogs found him.

Planting for bees and hummingbirds has been successful. We need to do a little more work to get the butterflies here on a regular basis. We had a couple but can try to plant for more. There is an invasive plant that deters them from the gardens in the area and I try each year to pull out as much as I can. The bees don't bother the dogs and vice versa. 

Lovely purple lily. Deep and rich in color.

Queen Anne's lace - a wild flower that adds character to the gardens.

We have several different white varieties. They add their own special beauty to a colorful garden.

There also are a few different yellow and orange and purple varieties. There was once a large day lily farm near my house and each year I would purchase a couple more to add to the show. The owners drove by my house every day and would comment on how nice and colorful the gardens were. 

See the twins?

One of my all time favorites - wild black-eyed Susans. They grow in a few different places and I try to encourage their return each year. Here they are growing under the rhododendron. A nice safe place I guess.

Another all time favorite - a very fragrant orange lily. Beautiful.

Froggie on a lily.

Two stalks of oriental lilies. What a magical treat at the front door.

Purple bee balm complements the magenta bee balm. Both attract the hummingbirds and bees.

And let's not forget the hostas now in bloom. Try to hide them from the deer!

Rain drops on the petals. 

Another one of my favorites - a very beautiful delicate purple flower.

My big helpers, never far from my side, unless they are digging holes and chasing chippies!

At some point I should move that broom! It is in more pictures that I care to imagine.

I do hope you enjoyed the garden flowers that bloomed over the last few weeks. And I hope the pictures of the boys do make you smile! They are the sweetest!

And may you do something every day that makes someone else smile, too.

Until next time......