A small tree stands just beyond my back-facing window. As it grows steadily, taller every year, I’ve come to realize that this lanky specimen brought proudly home from school by my fourth-grader over 15 years ago, is much like the long-legged, hungry puppy, whose large feet hint at its future size while it waits, wagging--innocently asking for a home. It’s an Ohio Buckeye—our state tree. And although the woods edging our property contain an assortment of others—pin and shingle oaks, shagbark and pignut hickories, sycamore, honey locust, sugar, red and silver maples, black cherry, white pine and spruce—the buckeye wasn’t here. The small tree with the broad palmate leaves and the beautifully doe-eyed fruit was missing from the woods of our new Ohio home. So I planted it where all could see—the short, spindly stem with four huge, 9-inch leaves, just beyond my back-facing window.
Northern Cardinal, male and female in Ohio Buckeye
Now, approaching 15 feet in height, I wish I had planted it further than the 8 feet it stands from our house at the woods’ edge. But its closeness brings the birds to our backdoor. In the spring, its sweet, tubular flowers in tall pyramids of pale yellow attract hummingbirds to sip its nectar. And, with leaves fallen through the winter months, its slender horizontal branches fill with feeder birds, dashing in to snag a sunflower seed or darting down beneath it, foraging from the snow-covered ground. These are my Buckeye Birds.
Winning image for the Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp competition!
The 2012 OWLStamp will be available for sale March 1, 2012 through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website and nature organizations across the state. Proceeds of the OWLStamp benefit wildlife conservation, research & education projects within the state of Ohio! I'm thrilled to have provided the winning image for such a wonderful program!
The Adventures of Red Canoe
Come along in Red Canoe as she explores the quiet backwater of Ohio's State Parks and the scenic streams and rivers of the Midwest. Discover the beauty hidden beyond the water's edge, quietly waiting, past access points, often only inches deep!
Grabbing every minute I can find to be outside--walking in it, sleeping in it ... breathing it in. The natural world has so much beauty to uncover.
It is my hope that by capturing my experiences with nature and by sharing the richness it adds to an ordinary life, others may discover the greatest gift waiting just outside their door.
A regularly appearing feature, "Have you seen..." takes a closer, more patient look at things usually not seen in a flattering light.Take a look!
The Sweetness of Spring
Each spring, as winter lessens its grip and days warm with the first fragrant breezes of a new season, we collect sap from our Sugar Maples and produce just enough syrup for ourselves for the coming year. The progress of this year's backyard endeavor is illustrated here.
A Bird's Life
Summer 2008, the tiny jewel of the avian world, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, nested just feet from my front door. Pictures of her nest and the changing lives within are collected in thisjournal.From life the size of a pea....