Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"Intuition is a spiritual faculty and does not explain, but simply points the way."~Florence Scovel Shinn~

A walk around last week....I looked for wildflowers, and I found several new ones! 

Downy Rattlesnake Plantain

Adder's Tongue Orchid and Mountain Mint

                                            Unidentified Yellow Orchid

The summer has been brutally hot and humid..and stormy!  Earlier this summer, we lost about 30 trees from a storm.  Straight line winds, I'm guessing.  It wasn't a large area, but it did some damage.  A friend cut the trees to clear the roadway to the barn, and the others will wait for cooler weather.  The "dry" then "wet" seasons have weakened the trees, and many old friends are falling.

Nature seems to endure all hardships...and go on to be stronger.  Change is continuous, sometimes cruel, but miracles prevail!

Earlier this spring, I watched for the Pileated Woodpeckers to nest in their usual spot. The tall dead Pine has been home to several generations of these large, majestic birds.  I often took my morning coffee up to watch them feed and care for their babies.  The "first flights" were magical..the low clucking of the proud parents would eventually give the babies enough confidence to venture outside the hole, and the flapping of their tiny wings while clinging to the tree was almost comical.  Lessons were learned quickly, and they all would loop through the woods hunting for bugs and practicing life skills.

This spring, they did not nest in that old Pine tree.  I wondered if the parents were gone. I had heard their calls, but yet I wondered if they were all right.  I had noticed new holes in a Pine tree behind the dam.  The oval shaped opening led me to believe that it was indeed a Pileated's home, but I missed my mornings with them. Perhaps this was the younger generation, and they wanted a change!

My walk around last week took me took me to the woods in front of the house.  As I walked by the old, abandoned Pine tree, I paused to take a picture of it...in fact, I had walked past it and returned to inspect it more closely. Something seemed to make me go back and take this picture. It was still empty, but it stood tall and stark against the green of the woods. As I paused, I had feeling of sadness, but I did not understand.

Another storm over the weekend.  A limb crashed through my back windshield as I was returning from feeding the horses. A scary sound, but nothing that can't be repaired. Something earlier in the day had told me to park in a different spot, (and I did) but I had been rushing to beat the next approaching storm, and I pulled down to be closer to turn off the pump to the barn. Still, that voice had warned me earlier. Intuition.... that small voice that I ignored.

Another walk around yesterday...and back to the front woods.  As I rounded the curve, something was not the same.  As I got closer to the tall, white monument Pine that had been home to many generations of Pileated Woodpeckers, I realized that it had fallen in the storm over the weekend.  Was this the reason that it was not used for the spring babies?  If so, how did they know? And was that the reason for my quiet reflection and the photo from last week?

Animals seem to be blessed with a keen sense of intuition. I have read about animals that sense earthquakes, tsunamis, and other natural disasters.  There are service dogs that are used to predict seizures in people, and I even notice that our horses can predict storms and severe weather changes. The birds and deer intuitively know when strangers are in the woods, and I think most of us have heard those "voices" from time to time.  Is it that we are often too busy to listen, or is it that we don't want to listen? Is it an acquired gift, or a random

Perhaps that is why I love The Cabin Path.  Its quietness and beauty is a blessing that I do not take lightly, and as years go by, I am realizing the true miracles in this life.  Within each of us are gifts that are waiting to be discovered and explored.  We all have these voices, and too many times, they are ignored.

  Albert Einstein once said,
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

May I always be grateful for life's gifts...great and small.


Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Another morning at the barn....feeding critters and enjoying the peace and semi-coolness of the day.  The heat this summer has been severe. Many, many days of 90 + temps..and heat advisories.  We have been skipped by most of the afternoon showers with the exception of some damaging storms. I have not spent the time outdoors that I normally do, and perhaps that is why I have missed this addition to the landscape for as long as I have. While sitting on the cabin porch, I noticed a bump on the roof of the hay shed. At first, I thought it to be the old fat possum that visits from time to time. I thought he had climbed the pole to escape some predator, and he was now trapped by the light of day.  As I neared the "critter"... I soon realized that it was a nest of hornets! How had I missed seeing it?? How many times had I put hay in the shed and walked right under it..and NOT seen it or at least the hornets?!

I thought back to some morning back in late spring when there would be several hornets on the porch of the cabin. They were attempting to build from the rafters of the cabin porch. I had resorted to using some spray on them, and then I repeatedly tore down the paper stub they had made to start their nest. This was a morning ritual for over a week until one day, they gave up.
In reading more about these insects, I found many interesting facts. They are not true "hornets" and they are in the wasp family and closely related to the yellow jacket.  They will attack if provoked, and they can sting multiple times.

I plan to leave the nest undisturbed until winter. These nests are rarely reused, and the queen will hide away in tree stumps and protected places until spring...and not in the nest.  I have recovered several nests over the years at The Cabin Path.  The paper nests are beautifully designed pieces of art, and we have used the paper in many projects (fairy wings, dragonfly wings, nature journal pages, etc)

I am not thrilled that these Bald - Faced Hornets have built so closely to the horses and the cabin, but they have not bothered anyone.  Now that I am aware of the nest, I will be careful not to disturb them, and I am willing to share the space.  They are interesting to watch, and they play an important part in our eco-system.

As I sit on the cabin porch with the cabin cats, I'll just watch them from a safe distance...so much can be seen from that old cabin porch!!