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Good Planets 1/27/07

It may only be late January, but the bluebirds have Spring on their minds. Mary sent this lovely photo of a bluebird who was thinking about setting up housekeeping on the college campus where she works in North Carolina.
Sarala sent this photo of trees overlooking the Pacific Ocean near Pacific Beach, Washington State.
Lynne at Hasty Brook sent this photo she likes of a quiet lake in the Superior National Forest. She says, “We happened upon this spot while exploring the Gunflint Trail in the Arrowhead region of northeastern Minnesota. The fall colors were just starting.”
Even though Liza calls her blog Egret’s Nest, she has an affinity for the Ravens that frequent her neighborhood; she especially likes the way this one has fanned out its tail.
Carolyn at Roundtop Ruminations writes, “Here’s a photo I took during what is so far this season’s only snow here on Roundtop Mountain in southern Pennsylvania. I took the photo as I was looking back up the lane towards my cabin early in the morning.”
Next month’s Good Planet host Susannah of Wanderin Weeta sent this photo of Spring daffodils, gone wild among the rocks at river’s edge.
John at A DC Birding Blog shares this photo of ice formations at the eastern approach to the Paw Paw Tunnel on the C&O Canal in western Maryland.
From ice to the sunny coast of Spain – KGMom sent this photo overlooking the Mediterranean in Costa del Sol.
Cathy at Left Curve shares this snowy winter scene from her hometown in New England.
Pam at Tortoise Trail sent this photo of a male Gambel’s Quail by special request of the host. Aren’t they just the most handsome of birds?
This image of a bare, wind-gnarled tree on Cadillac Mountain in Acadia, Maine was sent by Ann – aka Bunnygirl- from Diary of a (Slow) Triathlete.
Jayne from Journey Through Grace sent this lovely pic of tulip magnolia blossoms taken at her parent’s last spring. How many weeks left of winter? 😉
For all the starkness of winter, their is delicate beauty also. Ruth at Body, Soul, and Spirit sent this frosted vision that the night had left on her windowpane.
Pam at Tortoise Trail also sent this study in contrasts: desert flora (barrel cactus, prickly pear, palo verde trees and fallen mesquite branches) after Arizona’s rare snowfall of January 21.
Robin from Dharma Bums shares this pic from a walk along Port Townsend Bay just this week. She writes, “Often the skies here are filled with these incredible clouds as they break up over the Olympic Mountains, and then reform as they head east toward Seattle. This was just one of those skies.”
Cathy from Looking Up sent our final pic for this month: a sunset from Sanibel Island. She writes, “A cold front had just passed through. My kid sis is a Floridian and said that this was pretty unusual looking.”

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Hosting these last few weeks has been great fun and an inspiration for me. I hope you might consider giving the Good Planet show a home at your place for a month sometime. Next Saturday, visit Wanderin Weeta for your weekly dose of the Earth’s majesty. Send your photos to susannah AT dccnet DOT com.

Remember that all previous photos are archived at the Good Planets flickr gallery.

Many thanks to all who submitted photos this week and throughout the month. Please continue to be as generous in sharing the beauty you find around you.

Good Planets 1/20/07

“Step out onto the Planet
Draw a circle a hundred feet round.

Inside the circle are
300 things nobody understands, and, maybe
nobody’s ever really seen.

How many can you find?”
–Lew Welch quoted from “Earth Prayers”

Liza from Egret’s Nest sent this photo of redwoods in her backyard — they are examples of why Redwoods are called Sequioa Sempervirens — the last part means everlasting. She writes, “Redwoods are amazing and beautiful trees and when I am in a redwood forest, I feel at peace!”
I found this peaceful scene at Peirce’s Park in Longwood Gardens in Pa. – my husband and I enjoyed a few quiet moments together beneath these towering old trees.
Sarala sent this photo and wrote, “This is a tangle of kelp I saw on Pacific Beach, California. I think of kelp as nature’s floatation device.”
Cathy at Left Curve wonders what this strange-looking plant is that she photographed in Key West. Anyone know?
KGMom sent this photo from her travels to Labadi Beach, Accra, Ghana just before sunset. She writes, “The boat in the foreground is a typical fishing boat, although it doesn’t look like it is in working order. However, Ghanaians are very resourceful; they may very well use this boat.”
Bunnygirl shared this pic of her *own private peninsula* at Chapin Beach on Cape Cod.
She also sent this photo of the Abó Pueblo ruins – one of the Salinas pueblos.
Robin at Dharma Bums writes, “I’ve been trying for weeks to photograph a Golden-crowned or Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Because they are *continuously active* it is very difficult to get a good shot. They hop and flit in the bushes, making focusing very tricky. But persistence paid off, and I did get a fairly reasonable shot of this Ruby-crowned Kinglet just the other day. One of North America’s smallest birds, the Ruby-crowned Kinglet can be recognized by its constant wing-flicking. The male shows its red crown only infrequently.”
Kerrdelune of Beyond the Fields We Know shared this photo of the tattered remains of a milkweed pod.
Laurie from Dont Make Me Get My Flying Monkeys sent this photo taken near the headwaters of the Stillwater River above Nye, Montana.
Dawn shared two beautiful pics; this one of Mt Rainier from White Pass…
and this gentleman who joined her hoping she might have a snack or two to share.
John at A DC Birding Blog sent this photo of the sunset on 1/15/07 at the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. The domed building visible on the horizon is the National Museum of the American Indian. The branch at the top is part of a large willow oak that stands about 30 yards from the Senate wing.
Evan writes, “This is a Tufted Titmouse taken in my backyard in Fairfax Va.”
Sky writes, “Recent snowfalls in Puget Sound, Washington covered our giant sequoia in glittering white crystals where she stood regally dressed for our pleasure for 7 days! This photograph is cast in the blues of the afternoon light joining sky and snow. She is my favorite evergreen here where she overlooks one of our perennial rock gardens filled with spring’s tulips, hyacinths, and iris followed by a summer festival of lilies, fuchsias, dahlias, coreopsis, liatris, and lavenders.”
DivaKitty sent this photo taken while looking down on Carson Valley from Kingbury Grade in Tahoe, Nevada.

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Many thanks to those who submitted photos this week. Is it just me, or are they more spectacular each time?

My hope in hosting Good Planets is that the beauty shared here will cause someone to pause and consider all that we stand to lose if we continue to take this planet and its many wonders for granted. Step out into the world, draw your small circle and see what you can find within it that will bring you joy. Share that joy and do your part, however small, to see that it endures.

Everyone is invited to particpate in the Good Planets Show. Send your photos to me, lc-hardy AT comcast DOT net for inclusion in next Saturday’s edition. If you’re prone to procrastinate, send your pics for February to Wanderin Weeta (susannah AT dccnet DOT com). Maybe you’d like to host Good Planets on your own blog? Think about it and contact Robin at newdharmabums AT yahoo DOT com.

Good Planets 1/13/07

Welcome to this week’s Good Planets show. As usual, our beautiful earth does not disappoint.
Dave from Bird TLC in Alaska shares this photo of a Bald Eagle about to snatch a meal from the snow. The shot was taken by a friend of his, Britt Coon.
Amanda from Old Girl from the North Country took this pic looking east into a Northwest Washington sky on a day when it snowed.
Cindy from Woodsong sent this image of a yellow lady’s slipper orchid that she photographed near her home. She says, “they grow in colonies and self seed- the yellows get quite tall before they’re done, at least a foot 1/2 high.. they grow in a ‘bunch’ and they’re hard to shoot since most of the slipper-petals all face in different directions, so I try to isolate one blossom, which isn’t always easy. And yeah, sometimes I get on my belly for florals.. the trick is getting back up :)”
Lindsay shares this beautiful pic of turkey-tail fungus. I know a few of you who will enjoy that!
Susannah of Wanderin Weeta sent this pic of boats and weathered old buildings. Sarala sent this pic of a juvenille Cooper’s Hawk that posed briefly in a tangle in her garden.
Karen at Rurality shares this pic of hoarfrost on an unknown weed in her yard.
Robin of the Dharma Bums sent this photo of a bushtit.
Whorled Loosestrife (thanks Bev!) and a reflection of the blue sky at Whitesbog in the NJ Pine Barrens, photographed by yours truly.
Kerrdelune of Beyond the Fields We Know shares this breathtaking pic of a maple leaf caught in the wind in eastern Canada.
Liza at Egret’s Nest offers this pic of a lone raven near Boulder Creek.
Maggie from Banter, Bones, and Breath sent this pic taken on vacation in Virginia.
Naturewoman wanted you to see this image from the Adirondacks in upstate NY.
Pam at Tortoise Trail shares this pic of a beautiful male cardinal with the Santa Catalina Mountains in the background, north of Tuscon.
Cathy at Left Curve offers this serene ocean view from Canon Beach in Oregon.
Evan sent this lovely hibiscus flower; this photo was taken in Saba.
Bunnygirl sent this pic of the City of Rocks. The City of Rocks is a grouping of big, smooth rocks on an empty plain near Deming, NM. With nothing of note for miles around, the rocks seem to have grown out of the earth, and by some accounts, that’s exactly what happened. The rocks go on for a long way, and the park has dozens of campsites nestled among them. Camp there on a clear night with a full moon, and see what a mystical experience it can be!
KGMom sent along this colorful pic of shutters in Amsterdam.
The Fat Lady Sings shared this photo of her favorite secret cove in Monterey, California. This is one of my favorite places in all the world. Through these trees, down a narrow little trail is a tiny cove, protected from wind and weather. I’m sure it’s been discovered by now – but 20 years ago, when I took this picture, no one else seems to know of it. I would go there almost every weekend – sitting on the sand, listening to the gulls, tasting the sea air. Trust me when I say the picture doesn’t do it justice.- I’m afraid it’s no secret any longer!

Finally, Cathy at Looking Up sent this image of fall-colored aspens.

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Good Planets will be appearing here for the last two Saturdays in January and will then move to Wanderin Weeta for the month of February (mail to susannah AT dccnet DOT com). Until then, please continue to send your beautiful pics to me at lc-hardy AT comcast DOT net. Many thanks to those submitting photos this week. Also to the Dharma Bums and Tortoise Trail for continuing support (technical or otherwise). All photos (past and present) are archived at the Good Planets Flickr gallery.

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*Note to photographers: Please leave a few details about your pic in the comments here to better describe them. I wasn’t able to access the descriptions each of you sent me by email and had to describe each pic from my memory of how you described them. My email account is acting up tonight. Hopefully I didn’t invent any details or otherwise make too many mistakes.


My head still being elsewhere tonight, I offer you a borrowed painting from a wonderful artist named Alastair Proud and a borrowed poem by Mary Oliver.

Lonely, White Fields

“Every night
the owl
with his wild monkey-face
calls through the black branches,
and the mice freeze
and the rabbits shiver
in the snowy fields-
and then there is the long, deep trough of silence
when he stops singing, and steps
into the air.
I don’t know
what death’s ultimate
purpose is, but I think
this: whoever dreams of holding his
life in his fist
year after year into the hundreds of years
has never considered the owl-
how he comes, exhausted,
through the snow,
through the icy trees,
past snags and vines, wheeling
out of barns and church steeples,
turning this way and that way
through the mesh of every obstacle-
undeterred by anything-
filling himself time and time again
with a red and digestible joy
sickled up from the lonely, white fields-
and how at daybreak,
as though everything had been done
that must be done, the fields
swell with a rosy light,
the owl fades
back into the branches,
the snow goes on falling
flake after perfect flake.”

I’ve just recently started reading Mary Oliver’s poetry after seeing it referred to on various nature blogs. I like the way she so often relates to something in nature and surprises me with the images she creates from words. I like the feel of this poem, but I’m not sure that I understand what she is telling me here.

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In other news, we had our first snow of the season today – a few snowflakes for about 30 seconds! I think they said on the news that this is the latest date on record for snow in NJ.

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If you haven’t already, please consider submitting a photo for this Saturday’s Good Planets to me at lc-hardy AT comcast DOT net. Thanks!

First Good Planets of 2007

Welcome to this first 2007 edition of Good Planets celebrating the majesty of our natural world. We’ll start with the sunrise over SW Ontario submitted by Ruth of Body, Soul, and Spirit. A beautiful new day is dawning.

Susan’s cousin Cathy at Left Curve sent in some tulips photographed last spring at the Boston Public Garden.
Robin from Dharma Bums caught this Red-Tailed Hawk soaring over the Larry Scott Memorial Trail along Port Townsend Bay on the winter solstice.
Susannah of Wanderin’ Weeta sent this view (reflected in a plate-glass window) of stern-wheelers and the “Sky Train” on the Fraser River, New Westminster, BC. Old and new, both in operation.
Evan aka *whisker* sent along this beauty. He writes, “I just got back from Saba in the Netherlands Antilles.” He sent many beautiful photos; I chose this one to post simply because it looks the least like any view I’ve ever seen!
Bunny blog that this is, there’s the requisite beautiful bunny pic shared by Sharon. This is their story, written by Sharon: “Not sure if this is too domestic a small wonder, but this nest of bunlings was (and remains) quite a breathtaking wonder for me upon their arrival 07/25/03, 2.5 days (yes, 2 point 5, not 25) days after I adopted their dear mamabun from our local SPCA. A complicated gestation of a remarkable 43 days (30 the mean norm) led to complications that resulted in two dark lops failing to thrive, but here are the five plucky survivors, a week later. As initial shock resolved, Dick and I determined to set the babes on their course, have them neutered, socialized, and foster them for placement in loving homes. Two weeks later we were hopelessly smitten, unable to part with any of the wee terrors who continue to dominate our home today. “
The Fat Lady Sings sent this image of migratory birds and writes, “There were literally thousands of them, filling tree after tree. The sound of their chattering was deafening.”
Maggie from Banter, Bones and Breath sent this from her favorite park: Sawgrass Lake in St. Pete Florida.
Pam at Tortoise Trail writes, “… one of my goals for this year is to learn how to take closeups. I’m always fascinated by the detail the camera can show me that I had no inkling of before. … I photographed [this] in the Tucson Botanical Gardens last February. I had no idea what the flower was until I noticed today that the centre pattern looked similar to that of the red poppies I photographed in my friend’s garden in Canada. I took a wild guess and googled “white poppy” and came up with Icelandic Poppy.”
Sarala sent this from Bryce National Park in Utah. She considers it one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Recently relocated to Florida, Vicki writes, “Up until a couple years ago I couldn’t envision myself spending any time in Florida. Now that we have a little aging bungalow right by the bay I am enjoying the respite from Northern winters. One of the very best parts is the birding. This place is rife with stunning water birds. I hadn’t seen a yellow crowned night heron before yesterday. This handsome fellow was making the most of a very low tide.”
Jimmy from Details of Nature sent this photo of a Showy Lady’s Slipper growing in the woods nearby to his home.
Naturewoman sent this view from Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument in Arizona.
Yankee Transplant writes, “Here is a picture I took at the playground just up from my house, where I would take my now-grown kids when they were little, in Boston. We had a beautiful ice storm in February of 1990. This close up of a bush, its branches laden with ice, brings back great memories of the wonder on my daughter’s face when she saw the playground transformed into a winter extravaganza. “
My own submission of a captive Barred Owl, cared for by the Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge and used for educational purposes, photographed at the Tuckerton Seaport in NJ.
Carolyn from Roundtop Ruminations took this photo of the sunset near her cabin at Ski Roundtop near Lewisberry PA.
Gary sent this gorgeous view of the last sunset of 2006 over the island of Niihau from Polihale beach on the west side of Kauai.

And finally, the first pic I received for this week’s submissions from SB Gypsy of the moonrise on 12/3/06 in central Connecticut.

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Can you believe that this is just over half of the photos that were submitted to Good Planets this week? I’m delighted with the examples of beauty and wonder found by those sending photos. Kudos and thanks to you all for taking the effort to submit them. Please note that many photographers submitted more than one photo, but I’ve only posted one by each. Getting these photos up tonight has been something of a comedy of errors. The first 8 photos were uploaded quickly by Blogger, but then it went downhill when Blogger refused any more pics. The rest were uploaded via my Photobucket page, so if you click on them you will be directed there. I apologize for that. For the first time in more than a year, I then lost my internet connection – three times! – causing me to have to redo this post multiple times. If there are any errors, please understand that it’s late and I’ve been at this for over 6 hours now. Let me know of the problem and I’ll fix it first thing.

New thinking

A few of the nice things I received for Christmas are pictured in the fuzzy photo at left; two were gifts from coworkers and one was a gift to myself. The magnetic poetry kit and haiku handbook were gifts from Kathy and Debbie after I expressed an interest in both. The 2007 magnetic poetry calendar I bought for myself because it includes a magnetic board that I can use at work where my fabric-covered cubicle doesn’t allow for easy magnetic poetry writing. The magnetic poetry kits are a fun toy – I had one years ago, but it’s lost in the attic – so I was looking for another to replace that one and to play with at work.

What’s especially nice about the calendar is that it includes a monthly quote and writing prompt. The prompt for January is called *New Thinking* and talks about how often the challenge of moving forward isn’t just seeing the path ahead, but being able to take the first step. It suggests that the wanna-be poet choose a favorite word for the month and use that word in the first line of a poem, using it as differently as possible each day: as a noun, a verb, an adjective, as something good, as something bad, etc. to see where this one word can take you.

There are a little more than 200 magnetic word tiles included with the calendar and the word I selected for this first day of the first month of the new year was *promise* and I composed this haiku:

promise of morning
murmur of rain melts the dark
dreams of another

As if writing haiku isn’t challenging enough by itself, I limited myself to the 200 words that are included with the calendar. I think I ended up with a haiku that’s a bit darker than I would have liked for a New Year’s Day poem, but today was a dark and dreary day. I like that I was able to express some of the hope and promise that dawns with a new day and a new year.

For more New Year poetry visit One Deep Breath.

*Good Planets* here in January

I’ll be hosting Good Planets on Saturdays during the month of January. Anyone is welcome to submit photos depicting the beauty of our earth to me at lc-hardy AT comcast DOT net for inclusion in the carnival.

If you’re not familiar with it, Good Planets was started back in August by Robin Andrea and Roger of Dharma Bums as a way to showcase and share the beauty and wonder of the natural world. Their call for photos has grown into a weekly carnival and now has its own Flickr gallery maintained by Pam from Tortoise Trail.

Be sure to check out this week’s photos at Journeys with Jood and please consider submitting a photo or two during the month.

Year in review meme

From Patrick at The Hawk Owl’s Nest. The idea is to post the first sentence of the first post of each month.

It occured to me today that I hadn’t yet posted a photo of my first bunny, Miss Buns. More

Here comes February, a little girl with her first valentine, a red bow in her wind-blown hair, a kiss waiting on her lips, a tantrum just back of her laughter. More from Borland

March is a tomboy with tousled hair, a mischievious smile, mud on her shoes and a laugh in her voice. More from Borland

April Fool’s Day is usually when we resume feeding the goldfish, using cheerios at first, because they’re easily digested. More

When I was a newly-minted master gardener I went out and bought two great reference books so that I would sound smart when answering questions on the helpline or during community events where we volunteer. More

June is the year at the altar, a bride with a bouquet of roses and forget-me-nots, veiled with morning mist and jeweled with dew, gowned with sunrise and romantic as a full moon. More from Borland

My friend Michelle sent this along to me tonight – can you imagine watering all these pots? More

August is the year at early harvest, a farm wife with a baby napping in the crib, a preserving kettle on the stove, fryers in the freezer, new potatoes in the pot, and a husband in the hayfield baling the second cutting. More from Borland

Can I rant a little about work? More ranting

This month’s edition of The Festival of the Trees, celebrating trees and tree-ish things, is up at Hoarded Ordinaries. More

November is the aging year, a woman whose Springtime children have grown and gone their way but whose hair is often spangled, whose gray eyes are often alight, and whose dress of grays and browns is neither dour nor dowdy. More from Borland

December is the year in age and wisdom, a woman with starlight in her frosted hair and a snowflake on her cheek and a sprig of holly on her coat. More from Borland

A new year of blogging will soon be upon us and with it the challenge of 365 days worth of posts. Some days it’s so easy; on others I’m glad to have the regular weekly or monthly fixtures like the Borland posts or the bunny fixes that don’t require very much thought. I haven’t decided yet what I’ll do instead next year, but will have to come up with something besides Borland’s monthly musings, as much as I enjoy them.

I’d rather be…

I gave my final exam last night and am desperate now to get them marked and final grades done. I’d much rather be doing anything else. I’m trying so hard to concentrate, but keep getting distracted by the lights on the tree, the funny stories you all share on your blogs, the bunnies scampering about, you name it!

I’m glad to see this semester coming to an end and will be glad for the break from students until mid-January when I’ll start all over again. This semester has been the least enjoyable and least rewarding in the 5 years I’ve been teaching at the college, mostly due to the change in curriculum that was implemented by my department. It’s not working for my students and their final exams make that fact all too obvious.

Anyway… don’t mean for this to turn into a rant… back to that stack of papers. Have a great night!