Archive for March, 2012


Burdens

The lay down their burdens.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UH9IZrXZ9lI

The time has come. They must let go of what was. They must release the familiar rough shreds of old and walk naked into the sunshine. And so they go rustling into the warmth….the wet. They bear scars of the seasons. They have stories to tell of the cold. So they lay down their burdens, the dried witnesses of winter. They shake softly in the cool breeze knowing, knowing the day will be long. They begin their journey with bare limbs and weak hearts. They are not afraid of her.  They welcome their bright drapings and the trees walk bravely toward Spring.

Go Anywhere!

As adventurous gals, we like to go to new and exciting places. Sometimes, it’s a lake right behind the office, and others, it’s a remote stream after a miles long hike. What we really like to do is encourage others to take time to go outdoors and see something or experience something that gives you that sense of adventure.

Sometimes, it’s just a walk in a local preserve or park. Some of us are trapped in a concrete jungle and a plastic cube and that’s about as adventurous as it gets. Others of us will take it to the limits and climb rocky peaks or dive the deepest rifts. The important thing is, get out there and see what we see.

The wild isn’t all filled with danger and mystery. There’s a beauty in nature that we can’t fake, print, pixellate or 3-D. The only way to know what tar flower smells like when it’s sticky and blooming is to see it and smell it in the air.

So, as Spring is springing – let’s remember to get out the and GO ANYWHERE!

Then, tell us about your adventures…the good, the bad, and the ugly!

Wild Women

Co-Creator Jacqueline Levine expressing her excitement as Chicks go live

Well, they just got even cooler! We tracked down this live feed of a nesting bald eagle pair whose little chicks recently hatched! Yesterday I spied the mommy feeding the chicks turtle! Yes, turtle! Today they are eating fish and some kind of rodent. YUMMY. You can check these magnificent birds out here: http://www.alcoa.com/locations/usa_davenport/en/info_page/eaglecam.asp

So we previously blogged about how to tell the difference between a bald eagle and an osprey. Today we’d like to share the great success story of the American Bald Eagle.. Not too long ago, this species was listed as Endangered. Its population was threatened by habitat loss, DDT (an insecticide used back in the day that caused eggshells to be really thin and crack before chicks were hatched), and hunting. To protect the symbol of our country, the government banned DDT, prohibited the hunting of eagles, and protected their nests. These protections resulted in an amazing recovery, with populations high enough to take the bald eagle off the endangered species list. Yay!

Image from Alcoa eagle cam of mommy and daddy feeding a chick!

 

Osprey update: still no chicks, but you can check in on them here: http://ospreynest.info/ospreycam.php 

Taunting us from outside our window...

Jacque and I were moping around the office the other day, wondering why we were more unmotivated than usual. And then it hit us: we had spring fever, a BAD case of it. Not only had we been stuck working on projects that required us to be in the office rather than in the beloved field, but we had also just pushed our clocks forward giving us an extra hour of daylight. Yet here we were, trapped in the artificial light of the office. So we decided to do something about it. We vowed that the next day we would spend our lunch hour (also known as “Lunchingtons”) actually going OUTSIDE.

Murky waters

What a novel idea. Our office does, afterall, sit right on the shore of Lake Bently, a little lake that we had completely taken for granted as it stared at us through our office windows for YEARS now.  While its water is more green than blue and its shoreline is highly developed with storm water drains jutting out every few hundred feet (it has a high LDI for any limnology nerds out there), it is home to birds, gators, fish, and even otters! So why not call it our home as well, at least for an hour?

Happy Jacque!

The excitement of our looming adventure got us through the morning grind, and at noon on the dot we grabbed our lunch (that Jacque had deliciously prepared) and our craigslist-purchased kayaks and off we slid into the murky waters. Within moments we were in another world. Just yards away stood our office building, staring back at us with its mirrored windows, hiding the sterile lights and jealous faces of our co-workers (actually, they probably just thought we were crazy). We paddled happily towards wood ducks and pelicans and ibises and limpkins and cormorants and ospreys and turtles and cypress trees and butterflies. We soaked up the sun and felt the breeze on our faces.

We returned to our offices 59 minutes later, refreshed and more than a little stinky. But we didn’t care. We had cured spring fever, at least for an hour. Do you have any tricks for curing spring fever? CWT would love to hear about it!

Thoreau's Cabin at Walden

It seemed like a good idea, reading Thoreau’s Selections from Walden. Probably one of my more poorly thought out ventures. I don’t know that I will ever be the same.

Sitting at the window of my office, watching Spring shake the dried leaves from her hair and don the pinkest maple bud and green slippers, I feel an ache. Deep within I long to drop my keyboard, remove my clothing, and walk into the lake or woods and join her.

We have so many chances to do what he did. There are so many place it can be done. No one will stop us. At least no one that matters. No one that really knows us – the Wild Ones.

I challenge myself this time. I will find my Walden. Oh, I may not live there for years writing of the passing seasons and mice underfoot. I will write of my days there instead. My hours, minutes, seconds there. I know I will find it – my Walden.

Sometimes I wonder if I have already been there? Is it Myakka? Where the alligators smile from the muddy shores off the river? Is it Grasshopper Slough? The deep pools and sandy bottoms hosting parties of crayfish. Or is it some unknown wood I have passed through on my way to my supposed destination? Have I forsaken it more than once?

Have I forsaken my Walden for some other destination?

I must know the answer – I must find it. Will you?

We work in some crazy ass places. Some of you will say, “Tut tut – we do that all the time”. Super! Then you will understand when I say that there are some things that happen that just plain HURT! The things that can hurt you come in many shapes and sizes. I thought it would be helpful to list some of the things THAT CAN HURT YOU.

Smilax or Catbriar - This one hurts pretty badly and is tough

Thorns – So many plants have thorns. You don’t realize how many until you sweat in the places they have gotten you.

Insects – Giant water bugs, carpenter ants, caterpillars, wasps, and other creepies

Logs – under water, unseen, these are not your friend – snake boots help protect your shins!

Bark – rougher than it looks! Inside of the thigh is my least favorite spot for bark to scrape.

Tree limbs – when you have on a baseball cap or hard hat and duck – wham!!

Violated by a Cypress Knee? Call 1-800-SIT-ONIT

Sunscreen – RIGHT! You are thinking “How can sunscreen hurt?” Just sweat your balls off and wipe it in your eyes…then call me.

Unknown pokey things – yep – pokey things – reaching into aquatic plans you grab all sorts of weird pokey things.

Fish – Especially catfish. Teeth, barbs, fins and all other sharp edges.

Cypress Knees – I recently had a nasty surprise when I accidentally landed on my rear ON A SMALL KNEE….needless to say – I will never be the same.

Seeds – Mostly sweet gum seeds but there are a few others that hurt under bent knees.

Cogan grass – had to list this one on its own – SHARP – I once got seven slices before I knew what happened.

Yes – there is a lot out there. This year alone – we have had a lot of run-ins with caterpillars but I will leave that for another day.

white-caterpillar -- no ID

The duct tape would have helped!!

Lots of things can hurt – be safe, look before you leap, use the stick – stick it in first duh! Have fun and get out there and GO ANYWHERE!!

 

Bird cams can be cool!

Today I discovered the coolest web cam ever (at least to a CWT) – a live feed of a nesting osprey pair! An osprey is an impressive bird of prey that hunts for fish, thus earning itself the nickname of “fish hawk.” Ospreys can often be seen in Florida (and around the world) soaring through the sky clutching fish in their talons or perching atop manmade structures.

You MUST check out Dunedin, Florida’s awesome Osprey Cam: http://ospreynest.info/ospreycam.php where you can watch live footage of an osprey pair tending to their nest. Right now they are sitting on three eggs, which they will incubate for just over a month. Once the eggs hatch, the chicks will spend nine to ten weeks in the nest before they fledge (aka fly off on their own). This osprey pair laid their first egg in mid February, which means we are just a couple of weeks away from babies! CWT will be keeping an eye out, and will of course let you know when they arrive.

Just a little more about ospreys because untrained eyes often confuse them with bald eagles. The biggest difference between them is size. Ospreys are much smaller, especially their tiny bird heads! Their coloration also differs, but this difference is more subtle since both species are brown and white — ospreys have completely white necks and bellies and sport a distinctive dark eye mask, while bald eagles do not have white necks or bellies and their head is completely white. Bald eagles also have bright yellow bills and feet, while ospreys have a dark beak and white feet.

Have you ever seen an osprey? Or a bald eagle? Or now realize what you thought you saw was something totally different?!

Raging River

Raging River.

With spring fast approaching, I thought to let you all re-absorb this one!

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