Tag Archives: Nature photography

The Babes of Fangorn Forest – Treebeard’s Pin Up Calendar



Treebeard here.  The other Ents and I, at our last Entmoot, decided to share our photos of the sexiest trees in Fangorn Forest.  Since we lost the Entwives a terrible long count of years ago, we have become a bit lonely, and sometimes, over a couple of pints at the Entpub, we have quite spirited discussions about our trees.  Who has the most supple branches, the softest leaves, the most graceful trunk, or the healthiest bark.  These  debates, which are quite lengthy since it takes a very long time to say anything in Entish, culminated in a series of 12 images we plan to use in our first ever “Babes of Fangorn Forest” pin up wall calendar.  Many of these trees are my friends, creatures I have known from nut or acorn.  And some of them have grown up to be, well, to use the vernacular, total hotties.  Please take the time to examine the images with care.  Do not be hasty.  Think of roofs of sleeping leaves, the dreams of trees untold, when woodland halls are green and cool and the wind is in the west.  Ahem.  I hope you enjoyed that, it is one of my own compositions.  But enough of me and my words, look, look at the trees, the beautiful, beautiful trees…

1. January

2. February

3. March

4. April

5. May

6. June

7. July

8. August

9. September

10. October

11. November

12. December


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Filed under Arts/Crafts/Photography, Gardens/Plants/Nature

Tadpoles in the Water, Animal Tracks in the Mud

Mission Trails header(Click on photos to get a better look)

On a hot July day I took my son Sam and his friend JD out to Mission Trails Regional Park.  The Visitor’s Center (on the right in picture above), is a 10 minute drive from our house.  We stopped in to ask about the recent fire (you can see the burn area midway between the Visitor’s Center and the break in the hills), that began here and went up over the hills to the right, and to look around.  The canyon behind where we live is on the western edge of the park, and living so near such a beautiful natural resource is one of the things we love best about our house.

It was a bit hot for hiking, but we did see some great stuff as we poked around the park. We saw live animals like tadpoles, and evidence of many animals like raccoons in tracks in the mud.  We also saw the effect of the drought on the park, as the large pond and running stream near the dam has dried up into a few small ponds.  Check out our photos and read about our adventures below…

Sam and JD on the deck at the Visitor's Center, the beautiful view behind them.

Sam and JD on the deck at the Visitor’s Center, the beautiful view behind them.  On the upper left you can see the area that burned in the recent fire.

Sam and JD in the amphitheater by the Visitor's Center, hanging out with a mountain lion and a wood rat.

The boys in the amphitheater next to the Visitor’s Center.  They are making friends with a mountain lion and a cute little wood rat.

Sam and JD in the amphitheater by the Visitor's Center, hanging out with a mountain lion and a wood rat.

A close up of the area of the burn. We happened to see the arson investigation team working at the site when we arrived.

We are in the middle of a drought in San Diego, the effects of which were very apparent.  I found pictures from 2010, when Sam was on a school field trip.  Back then the dam actually had water flowing over it.  Sam is standing in that area in the middle photo.  There were several small ponds, one a very attractive orange color.

We are in the middle of a drought in San Diego, the effects of which were very apparent. I found pictures from 2010, when Sam was on a school field trip. Back then the dam actually had water flowing over it. Sam is standing in that area in the middle photo. There were only several small pools of water left, one a very attractive orange color.


One really fascinating thing about the receding water is that there were loads of tracks in the mud.  The upper tracks are raccoon hands.  They look like little fairy hand prints.


I think the print on the upper left is a big cat.  Cats keep their claws retracted, so you don’t see claw prints in their tracks.  Or else it just a dog with fat paw pads and small claws!  Lots of bird prints too…


The little pools were full of life.  You can see snail and fish in the green pond, and the little black blobs in the orange pond are tadpoles.  They will probably turn out out to be radioactive, flesh-eating killer frogs, after having grown up in that orange water, so take care in a few months if you are down by the dam!  On the lower left is a wood rat nest, and a lizard on a rock is on the lower right.


The big pond on the other side of the dam wall.  It looked almost like a planned Zen garden.  A nice note to end on.  If you get a chance, take a trip to Mission Trails and check it out.  Just maybe not at noon on a hot July day.  We had to head to Dairy Queen afterward for ice cream cones to recover!


Filed under Family, Gardens/Plants/Nature

Monarch Butterfly A – B – C

1. Monarch header

We live on a canyon in Southern California, which is incredibly awesome, except for the few weeks of the year when the dry Santa Ana winds blow and everyone worries (not unreasonably) about wildfire.  I love the up close view I get of nature.  Hawks, quail, crows, owls, and many other types of birds, rattlesnakes (!), lizards, racoons, opossums, coyotes, bobcats (we found entrails deposited by our front door just after moving in), rats (my cat killed one and tried to bring it in the house) and all kinds of insects.  Little did I know what I was missing though, until I got a milkweed plant a few years ago.

Monarch caterpillars are like koalas and pandas, in that they eat only one thing.  And for monarchs that one thing is milkweed.  There used to be fields and fields of milkweed, but because of herbicide use and habitat loss, the number of plants across the nation has dwindled.  If you love monarchs and want a show that lasts for months (at least in Southern CA), put some milkweed plants in your yard or in a big pot on your patio!

I was amazed at how many butterflies visited.  They came in and out over hours as I worked in my yard.  Hundreds of small, white eggs were laid, and hatched into loads of caterpillars.  At one point I had so many caterpillars that they ate my plant down to sticks and stems (not one leaf was left), and I had to load caterpillars up in a box and drive around Tierrasanta looking for other milkweed plants to transfer them onto so they could have food to eat.

Needless to say, all this action was a photographer’s bonanza.  I have nearly 700 photos I have taken over the past 2 years.  I know that this is excessive, possibly crossing the line into obsessive.  There, I admitted my problem, which is one of those 12 steps.  Because of all those photos, I have been putting off writing this because how was I supposed to winnow them down to fit in a blog post?  Ah Ha!! (I thought to myself), the ALPHABET.  Only 26 letters!!  That’s how!

Well, sort of.  I put in two or three photos for some letters, because I couldn’t control myself.  So my alphabet has 52 entries instead of 26.  I know it is a lot (actually 2 times what I planned), but I guarantee that each and every one of them is super cool.  Check them out, be amazed at the beauty of nature, the cycle of life, and one woman’s inability to stop taking photos, no matter how many pics of these little fellas she already had.  And be grateful that she did.

(Click on the images for a better view)


A - Adult


B - Babies


B - Blur


C - Chrysalis


C - Count

Curled Up

C- Curled up


D- Dracula


E - Eat


E - Eggs


E - Elevated


F - Feet

Finger Dancer

F - Finger dancer

Going In

G - Going in

Goin’ My Way?

G - Going my way?

Green Leaf

G - Green


G- Generations

Hanging Out

H - Hanging out

Holey Leaf Batman!

H - Holey leaf Batman!


H -Hatching


I - Incandescent

Just J

J - Just J


K - Kaleidoscope


K - Karaoke


L - Ladder

Laying An Egg

L - Laying eggs

Most Interesting Caterpillar in the World

M - Most interesting caterpillar in the world

Num Num Num…

N - Num num num

Operation Relocation

O- Operation Relocation

Pair o’ Pillars

P - Pair

Planting Milkweed Seeds

P - Planting


P - Platform


P- Prayer

Que Pasa?

Q - Que pasa?

Ring Finger

R - Ring finger


S - Seed

Sharp Little Pointy Feet

S - Sharp and pointy


S - Stripey

Swinging on a Leaf

S- Sawing off the wrong end

Transferring to a New Location

T - Transfer

Teeny Tiny

T- Teeny tiny

Triple Play

T- Triple play

Ugly Duckling

U - Ugly duckling

Upside Down

U - Upside down


U -Under

Very Long

V - Very long


W - Wings

Whole Mess a Monarchs

W- Whole mess a monarchs

X-Wing Fighter

X -X wing fighter

Yellow is Yummy

Y- Yellow is yummy

Zoom In

Z - Zoom in


Filed under Arts/Crafts/Photography, Gardens/Plants/Nature, Science