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Posts Tagged ‘Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center’

DSCN7733Something white caught my eye.  There they were, a generous mass of springtime, clustered on the ground as we were leaving Brookfield Zoo on Wednesday; snowdrops – and not the cold, wet, flakey kind!

The trees are starting to bud. The grass is greening. My daffodils are inching forward and many are showing plump, yellow tips. Best of all, there is a full chorus of spring peepers down the road in the little pond.

A walk in the Little Red Schoolhouse Woods had this little miss swinging her coat like a kite and her shadow skipping along the path,

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and this young lad hugged his Papa for a long, long while and then he explored the nature center.

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Today we will color Easter eggs and perhaps watch trains go by, as our Ezra really loves trains, and we will have some quiet moments as we reflect upon the gift of Easter.

Peace and  blessings to each of you.

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We waited quietly along the shore of the pond, then I saw it. Can you? You might have to click on the picture once or twice to see, but there it is. A frog. Silent and still in the shallow rim of the pond. Waiting. It was one of many Tom and I saw as we took a walk on a warm and sunny afternoon in the Little Red Schoolhouse Woods.

When Tom asked if I’d like a walk on one of the rare days it didn’t rain, I said yes. A gal working on getting her bounce back can always use a walk in a 100 acre woods, can she not?

The paths were muddy through the White Oak Trail, but the Trillium, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, and May apple were abundant on the forest floor and worth the trudge just to see them.

We swatted away at the filaments of spiders’ webs that seemed to be everywhere we walked, and a banded water snake slithered in front of Tom. Penelope Pitstop saw it, and didn’t panic, saving the Antler Man’s, or maybe the snake’s, life. A gals gotta do what a gals gotta do, I always say.

Ponds are always full of life and fascinate me. Even in winter, there is activity teeming just under the surface. Spring, ah,  springtime finds ponds full of drama, especially in this neck of the woods, and it was so on this walk about.

Several children were watching the schools of fish along the pond’s edge and folks out for a bit of sunshine and fresh air passed by. I noticed something in the center of a patch of lily pads. Still and camouflaged, it must have been standing there the whole tim. We never saw it swoop in. We watched as it perched upon a twig. It looked rather squat and small – until it’s neck slowly telescoped out and it quickly dipped into the murky water for a snack. Finally, this green heron swooped up and across the pond to a branch, sharing it with a turtle, which you can see to the right and down with a click or two on the picture.

We walked along the pond’s edge and wondered what else we could find.

Do click on the picture above. There are at least three frogs here. A regular Froggy Convention.

Isn’t it amazing what flourishes right under our noses?

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” . . . In almost all climes the tortoise and the frog are among the precursors and heralds of this season, and birds fly with song and glancing plumage, and plants spring and bloom, and winds blow, to correct this slight oscillation of the poles and preserve the equilibrium of nature.” Henry David Thoreau, Walden:Or, Life in the Woods, Spring


We wandered the Little Red Schoolhouse woods on Saturday, soaking in the warm rays of sunshine as we walked around the slough. Birds were chittering and a squirrel darted out then into the brush again upon seeing us in his path. We could barely hear the primal honking of geese so far overhead that they could barely be seen. Unlike their messy cousins, who now choose to winter over in our neck of the woods, these Canadian geese were headed further north.

Walking in the woods on a mid-March afternoon is not always easy as the paths are often muddy, especially after all the snow this winter. The slough was close to the path at some points and will host herons and cranes soon enough.

We stopped for a spell on a bench not as muddy as the one above and the glee club performed; first one, then another, then the entire ensemble of spring peepers, warming up and serenading after the long winter’s sleep. Click here and then click on the voice link on the right to hear these little fellows.

The woods are so interesting this time of year; not yet ready for spring and no longer in winter. Everywhere we looked, we could the swelling of buds, the moss on the trees, and the promise of cattails. I love to see the changes already in place and the things we don’t see, like the fallen trees and the interesting shapes of rotting logs.

Such wanderings always bring me back to Thoreau and his life in the woods alongside Walden Pond.

Next time we walk here, I hope I will find Jack-in-the Pulpit, which surprised me last year. Who knows what flora and fauna lurks in these woods and what surprises will greet us next time.

How about you? Where are you walking about these days and what have you seen?

I loved all the fungi growing on this dead tree which was where the peepers were singing.

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I won’t complain about the rain today. We need it, and we have had several delightfully sunny, breezy, here-comes-Autumn type of days. Thursday was one such day. Tom and I decided to take advantage of the break in weather with a break of our own. Off we went to the Little Red School House woods. We were looking for a quick walk-about and ended up spending several hours strolling several miles, stopping to take pictures, to marvel at nature, and to just enjoy the beauty that surrounded us.

Although the parking lot was full, the woods were not. There were long stretches of time and trees and I felt very much at one with nature; the cawing of crows, the swallowtail flitting about, the rustle of squirrels and others we couldn’t see but heard, and the stillness and solitude that held us close.

Would you mind if I shared a bit of our walk with you?

Each bend in the wood brought new delights.

The prairie was teeming with bees and butterflies and prairie sunflowers reaching for the sun and over ten feet tall.

The path meandered at a slow, steady pace.

So did we.

A grandma and her darling little granddaughter crossed our path a few times and showed us where a snake was resting. He wasn’t sleeping, as you can see if you click on the picture, and he didn’t seem to mind the paparazzi, so, I caught him in his coiled repose.

Some bright red flowers caught my eye. There were resting in amongst the green.

Indian paintbrush?

Nearby, a moth was sunning.

This old log reminded me of my trip to the dentist the day before.

Open wide!

Earlier, in the prairie, we saw a large bird coming in for landing at the slough, which we could not yet see but knew it was there.

There he was once we arrived at the slough.

He was hard to find at first as he gazed about in among the lily pads.

Where to next? or, perhaps looking for lunch.

Nature’s knots . . .

. . . and dreams of brighter days ahead.

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