MLK Quote

MLK Quote

Nature's Inspiration Movie -- Nature's Inspiration Movie: The photographs in this short video are from award-winning photographer, Ken Jenkins, and they are breathtaking. However, this video is much more than beautiful photographs! Peggy Anderson has compiled beautiful quotations from the likes of Emerson, Thoreau, and many others that truly capture the beauty of nature and solitude. Absolute must watch for nature lovers.

Monday, June 16, 2014

This post has nothing to do with gardening and has everything to do with nature. I am so busy this year (stupid me for taking up all those course loads), that I am losing interest in gardening. The garden just lies there, neglected, growing whatever I have put in the ground -- pepper, eggplants, potato, sweet potato, cucumber, onion, garlic, tomato, squashes, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry and flowers. I do not even have the time to go out there, and if I have I am so tired that I do not bother to go. This proves that I am losing my gardening streaks as a gardener always finds the time to go to her garden. Being a post on nature, I am linking this post to Rambling Wood's Nature Note.

On Saturday (June 14), we went to the Lakota Wolf Preserve in NJ. They offer educational wolf tours every day. It was an amazing experience to see raw wilderness face to face. There are many species of wolves like Arctic wolf, Eastern Timber wolf, Gray wolf, etc, in the preserve. Read about the various types of wolves HERE. Each species of wolves were enclosed in huge areas so that they can run, play, chase each other, and if possible, even hunt smaller animals, like their wilder cousins. However, they are hand-raised by humans since puppy-hood and thus they each have a name, recognize their names, and come to the call of the two handlers. A narrow path winds around each of the enclosure; the handler calls out, gives some treats and you get to meet and see each of the wolf packs (of course standing outside the enclosed fence), and even get to hear all of them howling together. The preserve also has foxes and bobcats along with a huge wilderness/woods/lakes/forests for people to hike and camp around.

I took more than two hundred photos. So, here I am presenting few of them.
In all the pictures, I tried to capture their eyes. Their eyes were so haunting; they look right through our souls, piercing and searching it. They are full of life and intelligence, understanding and consciousness. I do not understand how humans advocate killing/hunting of such animals or any such animals, for matter of fact.
What lovely teeth you have :-)!. Just imagine these creatures in the dark with glowing eyes and white teeth. That's what our ancestors experienced around camp-fires eons ago. How did they feel? Were they scared of these animals or revered them?
These white ones are the arctic wolves. During winter, other wolves sought out shelters. But arctic wolves are so comfortable in ice, snow and cold winters that they do not use shelters. They sleep out on cold, harden frozen rocks, grounds, meadows and water bodies throughout the night even during the harshest winter. They can do so because they have special winter coats which they shed out during spring and summer. The coats are so thick that the wolves seem to have gained lots of weight during the winter. Once they shed the coat and people see them in summer, people mistake it as the wolves starving to death.
These blackish species of wolves are what once used to roam New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania. But they got wiped out from New Jersey around 125 years ago. Without the wolves, the deer population rose. The huge deer population then destroyed the natural meadows, forests and woods of New Jersey by feeding on them. So many of the wild and native flowers and plants of New Jersey have vanished; some of the flora are now in endangered species list. Today New Jersey is trying to revive those native plants, trees and flowers by growing them in deer-proof enclosures.
These are common knowledge but still thought of sharing. Wolves can apparently smell a foreign object more than a mile away. They can hear any sound that's five to six miles away. They are complex pack animals with strict hierarchy within the pack. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, nieces&nephews, siblings all live together. The younger ones are strictly disciplined. If the parents are not around to boss them, then they are under the strict disciplinarian supervision of aunts/uncles/grandparents. The alpha female and the alpha male rule together (we humans need to learn from them; that within such complex structure, they have cooperation, peace, happiness, balance and live-together with equality of sexes. They do not claim that women are head of households or men are head of households like WE STUPID humans do).
Call of the wild. Apparently, it's a myth that wolves howl during full-moon. The guide told us some of the reasons why wolves howl but I forgot. Have you experienced your dogs howling when an emergency siren goes off? They do so because they perceive the sirens as the howling of other wolves. Thus they reply back protecting their territory and warning the pack. Wolves are very territorial and they will attack foreign intruding packs. Out of ten hunts, wolves are successful in only two hunts, on average. They can gulp down couple of kilos of meat within few minutes and then go without food for at least fourteen days. Their body structures, as you can see from the pictures above, are entirely different from those of dogs -- they have extremely long legs and lean bodies. Those long legs allow them to run at a speed of 40 miles an hour or more through any kind of terrain. They can perceive rough weather days ahead. During hurricane Sandy (those from outside the US, hurricane Sandy was a ferocious storm that North-East America experienced in the winter of 2012. There were huge flooding and destruction of homes with many places without electricity or water for weeks to come) they slept constantly for two days before the storm came. On the night of the storm, they paced around. That's how, apparently, wolves protect themselves in wilderness during rough weather. They sleep before-hand and gather all the energy. Then during rough weather they move around so that they are always ready to run away from any impending danger. The last picture is that of a wild daisy that we found in the vicinity of the area.

Here is one of the foxes that we saw. It's a red-fox, and apparently one of the smartest animals in the world. Do you know how they get rid off fleas? They get rid of them by exhibiting one of the complex weapons use. If they are attacked by fleas, they search for a tree branch. They carry it in their mouth and balance it perfectly in both the directions. Then, they walk down into water and slowly submerge into the water. As they get deeper into the water, the fleas start rising up. Slowly, as their whole body is under water, the fleas come out of their furs and hop into the dry stick which they hold out of their water. As soon as that happens, the fox submerge the stick in the water, killing the fleas in the process and quickly get out of the water. They hunt ducks and geese in similar fashion. They carry leaves and twigs in their mouth, get into the water and swim underneath it in such a way that if geese look at it, they will think that only some leaves and twigs are floating on the water. Thus, the foxes are able to get closer to the ducks/geese and jump on them to hunt.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

This is just a quick update. Bees are Gone :-(...

I look up as I sit down to write this post and peer outside. It looks like a forest out there with green everywhere. Spring is back with full force. Who would say that just little over a month back, on April 15, we had a freak snow-storm, and I wrote down in my diary: I am dreaming of a white little Christmas...well, I do celebrate the festival of Christmas with everybody else in December. But, I think historians are in dispute over the actual birth-time of Christ. Some say that He was indeed born in December. Some say the story of the wise sages following the stars mean that He might have been born in April or May. If that's true, then I don't have to dream of a white Christmas but actually can see it, feel it and thus start celebrating the White Christmas of those historians who think He was born now :-) in April. So, here is the picture of the outside on May 15 (on April 15, there were not a single leaf on any of these trees; everything was covered in snow):

Snow indeed came on April 15. The weekend before, temperature rose to about 85 degree F(29 degree C). The morning of April 14, the temperature was about 75. Then, it started dropping as gusty wind and rain blew in. By nightfall it was a freezing 19 degree F (-7 degree C). We woke up on April 15 with thin layer of dusty-snow on everything, everywhere. The sun was up and so the snow melted fast, but the freezing temperature continued for two more days and then rose again. But freezing temperature, especially in evening and night, continued until about the last week of April. Then, within a short span of time of about two weeks, everything become green and started growing crazily. This was the first time in my life, though my life is not that long but still, that I saw snow in April with daffodils, hyacinths, primulas, crocuses and other bulbs blooming.

Spring has been trying to come here since March 20. On the first day of Spring, the weather was so warm and sunny that we worked a lot in our garden. Lots of work going on there with installation of new trellis, arches, dog-run fence, newer beds, bird-baths, digging, pruning, cleaning...and the list continues as you know. When we first got this house five years back, our backyard was just a green lawn with three evergreens at the end, some evergreens on the side, and two rose-bushes in the corner. Since then, we are trying to turn it into a our little paradise-oasis. But, it's a bad-breaking, time-taking and money-spending affair and thus going slowly.

But a lot has been done and still need to be done. Lots of new flowering plants, trees and rose-bushes got planted. I will write about them slowly throughout the summer. In the meantime, I end this post with the worry that I don't see any bees around here except one or two in a week; butterflies are also hardly coming. With spring like temperature, on and off, since March 20, I expected more buzzing but alas.....So, here are the flowers that are now blooming in my garden. With so much flowers around, bees were busy buzzing everywhere in the previous years. Did this harsh winter affect them? What's everybody experiencing about bees, especially those who faces a bitter winter last year?
These are just some of the flowers that are blooming. I now have some amazing perennials and natives in the garden about which I will write later. As you see, there are so many flowers in the garden; flowers of all sorts of color, but there are no bees to be seen :-(. I am linking this post to Rambling Wood's Nature Notes.