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Archive for the ‘The Best of Flandrum Hill’ Category

Whether you’re six or sixty, if you don’t already have a secret place where you can be uninterrupted by yourself, perhaps it’s time you found one.  Either in nature or near it, such a place offers you the opportunity to escape from the world for a few minutes and just… enjoy the view.

Your secret window on the natural world allows you to be refreshed and restored with a minimum investment of time.  You needn’t engage with anything except your imagination.

X marks the spot of this secret place in the woods.

Your secret place need not be large or spacious.  You only need room enough to hunker down for a short while to take a moment from the demands of the world.  A woodland setting is ideal, but  less remote places offer good possibilities too:  a spot beneath a special tree or the quiet corner of a deck, balcony, rooftop or beach.

A secret place beyond the sand dunes

Even a secluded park bench or stone can work.  The key ingredient is that it is available to you when the stresses of the day call you to it.

The view from here is especially magical on a foggy day.

As children, many of us had a secret place.  Perhaps we knew something back then about the need for balance that we forgot along the way…

I have a house where I go
When there’s too many people,
I have a house where I go
Where no one can be;
I have a house where I go,
Where nobody ever says “No”;
Where no one says anything –so
There is no one but me.

~ A.A. Milne  ~ Solitude

Text and photographs copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2012

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The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year, but that we should have a new soul.
~ G.K. Chesterton

In the blink of an eye, another year has come and gone.   The Earth is changing.  Could we be too?  Here in Cow Bay, we had our share of the extreme weather that made headline news across Canada in 2010.  Numerous storm surges caused flooding along the coast while high winds brought down tall trees. 

Still, there was much to be thankful for. 

A mild winter and very early spring made hearts light.  The warm summer that followed brought gorgeous blooms and amazing tree growth.  When fall’s leaves finally turned, many welcomed the cool, fresh air on the tails of a wicked September heat wave.  This winter has been very mild with little snowfall to date.  Surely cold and snow are lurking just beyond the corner of the new year.

Though we may not have any control over the weather, we do have control over our response to it.  As weather patterns continue to change in the year ahead, I wonder how we will respond both individually and collectively.  Will we become smarter planners like the ants, or more likely to sing in the sun while it’s shining like the grasshoppers?  Perhaps a little of both.

Natural phenomena and the effect of Nature on the spirit were frequent topics among my posts in 2010.  I especially enjoyed writing about Nature’s potential to teach, comfort and inspire:

A few posts even made it to the front page of WordPress in 2010. 

Deforestation, aggressive coyotes and our vulnerable coastline will continue to be concerns in the year ahead.  However,  regardless of what Nature has in store for us in 2011, we will always have much to be thankful for, including one another.  Happy new year and happy trails to all in 2011!

All are but parts of one stupendous whole, whose body Nature is, and God the soul.
~ Alexander Pope

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According to the Canadian Ice Service, an enormous chunk of ice, 260 sq.km. in size, separated from a glacier in Greenland last week, becoming the most spectacular event to take place in the Arctic in 50 years. The broken piece will eventually fragment and inevitably melt in warmer waters, contributing to rising sea levels worldwide.

The first 6 months of 2010 were the hottest globally on record.  [See Ice Island Breaks Off Glacier at the Weather Network].

It’s dawn and the sandpipers are gathering at low tide along the shoreline in the marsh.  They’re so intent on eating that they take no notice of humans next to them on the trail.  Their gentle piping calls to one another are a fitting accompaniment to the rising sun.

Sandpipers have always seemed to me to be among the most delicate of the shore birds.  Like the endangered plovers, their fleeting movements, whether in flight or along the edge of the water,  never give me a chance to appreciate them for long.  I wonder if they’ll be affected by the oil spill down south when they migrate this fall.  [See BP oil spill could affect Maritime plovers at CBC].

Further along the shore, growing near the strandlines, statice is beginning to bloom.  It seems odd that such a delicate flower chooses to grow here along such a rugged shoreline.   Yet it manages to survive, despite winter’s stormy waters and winds.

When I think of rising sea levels, I wonder how wildlife such as sandpipers and statice will be affected in the years to come.  Will they simply disappear?  Or will they find a way to cling to life beyond the present shoreline?

This is a beautiful planet and not at all fragile.  Earth can withstand significant volcanic eruptions, tectonic cataclysms, and ice ages.  But this canny, intelligent, prolific, and extremely self-centered human creature has proven himself capable of more destruction of life than Mother Nature herself…. We’ve got to be stopped.

~ Michael L. Fischer

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The province of Nova Scotia’s NDP government is set to announce a bounty on coyotes today.  It doesn’t seem like Natural Resources Minister John MacDonnell has been informed about the questionable effect of coyote bounties.  Surprisingly, his own department’s website offers the following in its FAQ section on coyotes:

Why don’t we put a bounty on them, or cull them to reduce the population?
Bounties do not work. Bounties have been tried across North America without success. It is almost impossible to remove all animals or even to keep a population in check. A bounty instituted in Nova Scotia in 1982 was removed in 1986 when it was apparent that there was no impact on coyote populations.

Ref:  http://www.gov.ns.ca/natr/wildlife/nuisance/coyotes-faq.asp#8

Last year, members of the Trappers Association of Nova Scotia caught 1900 coyotes (approx. 25% of the total population) without a bounty.  You’d think they were lurking behind every tree.  Nevertheless, some people have complained of coyotes hanging around playgrounds in neighborhoods bordering woodlands.  But could live traps not be used in such places?

Will traps set for coyotes in the woods mean that pet owners will have to worry about their dogs and cats possibly getting nabbed in them?  Will hunters in the woods keen on acquiring as many bounties as possible prove a hazard to hikers?

Last fall, a woman was killed by coyotes while hiking in Cape Breton.  More recently, a woman fended off a coyote that grabbed her by the leg while hiking in Lunenburg.

For more information, see

Coyote Problems in Nova Scotia

Coyotes and Hiking Sticks

Coyote Bounty Coming  and N.S. Reveals Coyote Cull (The Chronicle-Herald)

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It’s been a wonder-full year for getting outdoors and learning about the natural world around Flandrum Hill.  Keeping a nature journal certainly made me more aware of the seasonal changes that take place throughout the year.  Writing about the plants and wild creatures I saw encouraged me to look deeper into field guides in an effort to learn more.  It’s been quite an adventure in discovery.

I wrote about all kinds of things.  As long as it had to do with nature in my neck of the woods in Nova Scotia, it was game.  Some posts received more views than others.  Two in particular, October’s Complementary Palette and December’s Days of Enchantment topped the list, as they were featured on WordPress.com’s homepage

A few others posts were found over and over again by students doing research for projects and essays, or people wanting to find out more about an odd subject, such as whether or not it’s safe to eat slugs: 

My favorite posts were those that expressed how I feel, more so than what I know about nature…

Or that gave everyone something to smile about…

A Midsummer’s Scavenger Hunt produced a great deal of excitement as readers engaged in finding images in their part of the world that interpreted nature’s shapes and elements.  Posts from the beginning to the end of this hunt can be found here. 

The best part of blogging in 2009 was connecting with others both locally and around the world, and sharing the excitement of discovering something new in nature that I hadn’t seen before. 

With all best wishes for peace and happy trails in 2010 to everyone, and regular readers especially.

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The only words that ever satisfied me as describing Nature are the terms used in fairy books, charm, spell, enchantment. They express the arbitrariness of the fact and its mystery.
~ G.K. Chesterton

Perhaps it’s because skies are so grey and the days are so dark, that late December’s sunrises seem especially precious.


You don’t need to be a child to feel that there is something magical in the air at this time of year.  Who would have thought rose hips from summer’s wild blooms would have transformed so easily into a snowman’s grin?  All you need is a little imagination…

Nature has been waiting all year to share its gifts of the season…

With or without the presence of snow, there is something enchanted in the outdoors… available to everyone and easily bought for the price of opening your eyes and your heart.

Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things…
~ Sara Teasdale

The woods look barer than they did this fall when all the bright leaves covered the trees.  But,  it’s at this time that reflections of the sky can finally reveal themselves in previously hidden forest brooks… You never know what’s waiting to be discovered in the woods.  Even in late December, there are still surprises to be found.

He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.
~Roy L. Smith

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After being listed on the homepage of WordPress.com on December 27th, 28th and 29th, this page has received more views than any other on this site to date.  Thank you to all who stopped by for a visit.

 

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