Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ice & Heart-Melting Moments

Last week, we had a couple of very mild days. The snow and ice of the previous weeks were melting quickly and despite the high winds, it was a very lovely day. I would have loved it if you could have accompanied me on this walk. Join me now, won't you?

The thawing pond creates a backdrop of puddled whirls and swirls for this partial tree limb. The piece was lodged in the ice throughout the cold months. I wonder who was gnawing at the bark recently to expose the fresh wood.

Looking up, I see one of my favourite birds - the Northern mockingbird. They generally seem quite bold and curious, and they rarely shy away from the camera. In spite of that, this guy only stuck around long enough for me to get one shot. Thank you, my feathered friend.

melting pond2
The dam at the end of the pond could be heard long before it was visible. The waters were raging as the ice melted. It's difficult to tell that in a still image, I know but that water was moving rapidly. A sure sign of a long-anticipated, approaching spring.

big puppy
Walking along, I heard a half-friendly, half-warning WOOF. This sweetie kept on barking at me from behind the fence, until I spoke to him. Then, up he jumped to get a good look at me. We chatted with one another for a bit, and then I continued on my way. As soon as I turned my back, he resumed barking, just to prove to his people that he really was being a good watchdog.

The day began to cloud over, and all you could see of the blue sky was showing through this small hole in the clouds. The sky, clouds and bare tree limbs reflected nicely in this bubbly puddle which had been biding its time as a patch of ice the previous day.

As always, the squirrels awaited their treats. This guy came and took a peanut right out of my hand. He showed his appreciation by kindly obliging me with a handsome pose before making his way up to a branch to enjoy his snack.

We've since had more snow and some very cold weather come though but I'm grateful for the springlike day, and for the ice-melting and heart-melting scenes I encountered. Thanks for joining me.


Pauline said...

Gorgeous dog, happy squirrel and delighted me as I walked along with you listening and watching for signs of spring. Your walks are always fun :)

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful walk - I'm glad the creatures posed so sweetly so we could enjoy them, too!

CiCi said...

The dog hanging on the fence is a picture to be framed. If the dog were mine I would want that picture. Of course I enjoy the squirrel picture. I watch the squirrels and we even bought two great binoculars to find squirrels and birds in the trees. We have a hawk coming around and eating its lunch in one of our trees.

She Who Carries Camera said...

I think I'm going to start calling you Dr. Doolittle!!

Mental P Mama said...

That squirrel is amazing! Actually, all of these shots usual;)

ellen abbott said...

my neighbor used to hand feed the squirrels in his yard. great photos as usual but I really like the one of the reflection of the sky in the puddle.

Brian Miller said...

aww...pups looks like he wants some love...a nearby dam has some great ice formations that built up over the winter...and the squirrel is too cute...i wanna be a squirrel one day...smiles.

Anonymous said...

That pup looks as though he wanted you to take him along for the walk. What a sweetheart of a face he has.


the Bag Lady said...

That was fun! I am very partial to Golden Retrievers, and that one was a beauty! Loved the squirrel, too (and so did the Princess, but she wanted to chase it!).

Your Millie Mallard post totally cracked me up! Brilliant.

Pat - Arkansas said...

Another wonderful walk and amazing photos - I can almost count the hairs on that cute squirrel. Thanks.

Daryl said...

I think if you bottled this walk it could be sold as an anti anxiety potion ... so relaxing ...

Out on the prairie said...

An enjoyable walk,I have been waiting all week for some sun.The sun in the puddle is really nice.

Anvilcloud said...

I'm not always sure if those early warm days are good for us. They get the hopes up, only to be dashed time and again, That being said, yesterday and today haven't been bad, hovering around freezing. I have to agree with others about the dog photo.

NJ said...

Friday was a beautiful day! I had the day off and was downtown Kingston. It was lovely and alot of the shops had their doors open enjoying the beautiful day. Saturday morning was such a change in the weather...seems to be the trend that is constantly always your pictures are lovely.

messymimi said...

Love the reflection of sky and limbs in the puddle! Amazing contrast.

Scott Law said...

That was a wonderful walk. Thanks for taking us along.

Linda at To Behold The Beauty said...

I love mockingbirds, too. When I hear one, I just have to stop and listen to its entire repertoire. I sometimes wonder how they talk to each other. What do they sound like when they're not sounding like other birds?

The reflection image was great. I wouldn't even have known it was a reflection if it weren't for the bubbles in the water.

And I always love your critter pics. That little squirrel is adorable.

Sridharan said...

Wonderful pictures..!

Elizabeth Grimes said...

Squirrels and birds....always my favorite combination! :) Loved the dog too, what sweet eyes. Things are starting to melt here too. Here's hoping they stay that way!

Tabor said...

Glad to be finally finding time to catch up while grandchildren and SIL are away and daughter is watching her taped TV shows. You always capture my heart with your lovely photos of such simple things that you seem to make so lovely!

Bonnie Zieman, M.Ed. said...

Just brilliant photographs AGAIN, Hilary. Since I had a pale golden retreiver that is the one that really grabbed my heart. Bet the owners of that dog would LOVE a print of that pic!

Bossy Betty said...

!) OK, OK, it was me gnawing at the wood. I didn't think anyone would notice. A girl has to have some fiber!

2) I love squirrels. We have very few around here and I hang out with them whenever I can. I think they are beginning to think I am a stalker.

3) That dog should be a super model!!! He has all the right moves (including the barking occasionally.)

Anonymous said...

The Puddle shot is my favorite, and I like reflections of the tree with the hazy sun in the centre..
The dog and the squirrel are cute :)

Teri and her Stylish Cats ~ Coco the Couture Cat, Brighton, Disco NoFurNo and Kely said...

Great wintery turning into Spring soon we hope shots! The last 3 pix are my favorites.

Kristina P. said...

That squirrel picture is awesome! Yay for warmer temperatures!

ds said...

Gorgeous bird, dog, and squirrel. I loved the sky reflection in the puddle (had to do a double-take). And I could feel that water rushing from the dam.

As always, another wonderful walk with you. Thanks for sharing it.

Anyes said...

What a nice walk it was, Hilary. Thank you for sharing your animal friends with us :-)

Indrani said...

Lovely shots again. A treat to be at your blog. :)

Unknown said...

I'm in love with that doggie!

ethelmaepotter! said...

Well, I find I must comment on each photo; they're all just amazing!

"...puddled whirls and swirls..." What a perfect description for that picture, and the soft blues and deep brown are great together.

The Northern mockingbird - "They generally seem quite bold and curious..." Bold and curious? I respectfully disagree. They are downright ornery! We have a family of them that are sooooo very territorial - I have actually seen one of them chase a collie dog all the way down the street! Poor Spooky is scared half to death when she goes outside, because the birds dive bomb her.

The dam picture is wonderful, and I can feel and hear the water rushing!

Your new pal could not have struck a better pose, and his creamy white fur is the perfect complement to the dark tangled backdrop.

The sky reflection in the bubbly puddle is just...I am at a loss for words here. Really. There are no words to describe its beauty.

And the squirrel - he took a peanut from your hand???!!!! And then he stood there and waited for you to take a picture???!!!! You and your camera must be making quite an impression with your wildlife critters - I wouldn't be surprised to see you with an eagle on your shoulder!

Dianne said...

I am in love with the dog and the squirrel
what sweetness
I need to go out and feed my squirrel friends, I call them all Harry since they seem like grumpy old men

I have to tell you that sometimes when I'm feeling low and I go off on my own to take some shots I imagine us on an adventure together :)

thanks for your encouraging words on the last post
I hate complaining but sometimes ...
Oy :)

Anonymous said...

Wow - a thaw! How delicious! And thanks for your wonderful shots too.

Ruth Hiebert said...

Thanks for the walk,it was most enjoyable.Let's do this again sometime.You and your camera captured the moments so well.

Reb said...

Oh, the retriever is beautiful! What a lovely walk and the squirrel was very bold.

photowannabe said...

thanks for taking me on the walk with you. You live in such a picturesque area.
the picture of that gorgeous dog is a real prize winner. it makes me go awwww.
Love the sky reflection too, well I guess as always...I like them all.

Bob Bushell said...

The Northern Mockingbird is so lovable, and the Golden Retriever really is a brilliant photography, well taken Hilary.

Dawning Inspiration said...

Oh my - I am in love with that shot of the ka-u-te!

Kelly H-Y said...

No way ... I can't believe that shot you got of the squirrel! Amazing! I do love your walks ... thanks for taking us along!

Stephanie Faris said...

Wow...the picture of the dog is incredible. All the pictures are amazing. Thanks for taking us on your walk. :-)

Steve Gravano said...

Beautiful walk, I could hear the dam from here! (it looks so cold) I agree with techno babe, that's one beautiful pooch and photo.

Dan said...

Are you a professional photographer? You images are fantastic, the subject matter equally great. The composition is superb, and the comments, well it's the icing on the cake.

I enjoyed the walk, but now I'm hungry. Can ya spare a peanut? ;-)


Explore. Dream. Discover.

Merisi said...

Oh yes, I can see where the title comes from! :-)

I would like to nominate Louciao's blog
for Post of the Week. She enchants me again and again, both her art and her blog.

NotaSupermom said...

So nice! I especially like the squirrel. He looks sassy.

Red said...

Great story! But I'm still frozen! We had a nasty cold day here at Red Deer , AB. But even to read about melting snow makes me feel better. Thanks.

Rebecca said...

lovely pictures

Mage said...

Just delightful moments. Thank you.

Hilary said...

• Pauline, thanks so much. I'm glad you joined me. :)

• Barbara, they're very cooperative at times. Thanks for coming along. :)

• TechnoBabe, it sounds like you are surrounded with wonderful creatures to see and enjoy. Although unpleasant to think that the hawk is enjoying one of your feeder birds, they sure do have to eat too. And how nice of them to share this part of nature with you. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Jillsy, have you seen my two-headed llama anywhere? ;)

• Thanks very much, MPM. :)

• Thank you, Ellen. The squirrels in my nearby park are more cautious. They'll come around for their peanut, but will wait until I back off before they retrieve it from the tree. This guy was in a park about a mile from here. It's a more populated area and the squirrels there get fed a lot. I've had them climb my leg to get their due share. I think this guy was wondering if I was going to offer him another one, and would he be able to fit two in his mouth. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Brian, the dog would get agitated when I'd approach him, so I stayed back and enjoyed him through my lens. Thanks for the kind comments but I'd urge you to rethink wanting to be a squirrel.. I understand that they work for peanuts. ;)

• Di, that pup was a tad less friendly than he appears. He really did take his guarding seriously but he sure was a sweetie. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Baggie, thanks. I'm glad there was a monitor (and most of a country) between Princess and that squirrel. I'm glad you got a kick out of Millie and her game. :)

• Thank you kindly, Pat. I'm glad you came along for the walk. Such good company. :)

• Daryl, such a lovely thing to say. Thank you for that. :)

• Thank you, Steve. Yesterday it was sunny but cold here. Today is milder but it's overcast. Hopefully it won't be too long before we get both mild and sunny weather. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Anvilcloud, I look at those days as bonus days. Better to have them knowing that we can't be done with winter yet, than just not have them at all. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks, NJ. I love Kingston and miss being there. My son has graduated from RMC, so I have no real reason to return there for a visit but it is a great city. Days like that are always enjoyable. I'm glad you had that opportunity and that you stopped by to say hello. :)

• Thanks, MessyMimi. It caught my attention and I knew I had to share it. :)

• Scott, thank you. I'm glad you could join me. :)

• Linda, that's a good thought. I have no idea what they might sound like, or if iin fact, it's a Mockingbird that I'm hearing at any given time. It might well be the bird that it's imitating. Thanks always for your very kind words, my friend. They're always so appreciated. :)

• Thank you, Sridharan. :)

• Elizabeth, thanks so much for stopping by. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. :)

• Good to see you, Tabor. You've been so busy. I hope everything turns out well for you and yours. Thanks always for your very kind words. :)

• Bonnie, thank you very kindly. I suppose they would like a pic of their dog. Maybe I'll try to figure out which house that was by wandering on the street side one day. Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

• Betty, had I known that you were hungry, I'd have brought extra peanuts. At least you create your own tooth picks. Your squirrels probably just think you're one of their usual nuts. ;) Thanks so much for the visit and for the laughs. :)

• Thrviewfinder, thanks very much. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. :)

Hilary said...

• Teri, thank you. I'm pleased that you enjoyed the post. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks, Kristina. Let's hope! :)

• Thanks very much for your kind words, DS. I'm always happy to have you along for a walk. :)

• Anyes, thanks for joining me. I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

• Indrani, thank you. I'm always glad to see you stop by. :)

• Susan, he sure was a cutie, eh? :)

• EthelMae, thank you so much for your always lovely comments. I'm so glad that you enjoyed each of the images. I don't see mockingbirds here very often, and it's usually a lone bird which perches on a branch and watches me as I watch him... often making bright eye contact, so I'm quite smitten with them. The behaviour you describe doesn't fully surprise me and I've seen it in blue jays in the long ago. The squirrels at a nearish-by park are very comfy with people. They'll climb my leg in search of peanuts in my pocket during the autumn months. His pose might have been more along the lines of "Do you have any more of those peanuts? Could I possibly fit another one of them into my mouth?" As for an eagle on my shoulder.. ;) I think that might hurt a tad but I hope to keep seeing lovely creatures from time to time, and when I do, I'll be happy to share them with you. Thanks always for the visit. :)

• Dianne, such sweet words. Thank you, my friend. I think it would be a hoot to head out together with our respective cameras. If you're ever north of the border, I sure hope you'd plan on it. Thanks always for stopping by, and I sure hope you're feeling much better soon. :)

• Thanks very much, LadyFi. :)

• Ruth, thank you for joining me. It was a pleasure to have you along. :)

• Reb, he's a charmer, isn't he? Thanks for joining me. :)

• Sue, I'm glad you came along. I'm lucky to be surrounded by a number of parks, two of which have ponds. Thanks so much for your always kind words. They're very much appreciated. :)

• Bob, thank you kindly. I agree about the mockingbird - such an endearing face. Thanks very much for your kind words. They always bring a smile to my face. :)

• SD, I'm glad you enjoyed the puppy pic. He sure was an enjoyable sight for me at the time too. :)

• Kelly, thank you kindly. That squirrel, had a quite a bit of personality as so many of them do when you watch closely enough. They're also not too shy at this particular park where they get a lot of handouts. I got lucky that way. :)

• Stephanie, thanks very kindly. I'm glad you joined me and that you enjoyed the sights. :)

• Steve, thanks for joining me. I'm so pleased that you enjoyed our walk. :)

• Daniel, you're much too kind. Thank you so much for such complimentary words. They mean a lot to me. I'm glad you enjoyed the post, and the walk. Help yourself to the peanuts. :)

• Merisi, sure thing. Just get me a link to a specific post (not just the blog address) that you'd like me to feature and I'll include it next Wednesday as your recommendation. :)

• Nota, I suppose he was, in a nutty sort of way. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, Red and I'm glad I could oblige. We've had a deep freeze and some more snow since those photos were taken but it can't be too much longer until the good weather is here to stay. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thank you, Becca. :)

• Thanks kindly, Maggie. :)

Lori said...

Thank you for taking me on this walk...I enjoyed it but I think my grandson who is sitting with me might have enjoyed it even more as he smiled, petted the bird, dog and squirrel and kept saying, "I love it Grandma." We had a few nice days as well...but then got about 16 inches of snow...and now it's cold was nice to escape through a walk in your world. Thank you Hilary. XX

SandyCarlson said...

I love these shots. And the critters have stolen my heart. I love the pup. But the peanut-smoking squirrel--he da man!

Amazing photography, as always.

The Retired One said...

Such a cute dog and squirrel..loved this set of photos!

Unknown said...

The dog is gorgeous!!

I can't even tell you how much I'm looking forward to first buds, the unfurling, the chatter of life .

It's almost March and I'm giddy.

Cloudia said...

you never fail to blow my mind.
That reflected tree and it's tell-tale bubbles!!!!!!

Aloha from Honolulu,

Comfort Spiral


Regina said...

Pretty amazing!
Love the GR.
Have a great weekend ahead.

Glo said...

Another wonderful walk! The expression on puppy's face (little crinkled forehead) looks like a plea to join you! He wants out! OMG, that squirrel photo takes the... peanut. Another priceless one. I agree that the reflection with the bubbles is a double-take eye-catcher. Really inspiring photos.

Maggie May said...

Loved that munching squirrel picture and the dog!
Good to have a bit of a thaw!
Maggie X

Nuts in May

June said...

The reflection of the sky stopped me in my tracks. Moody. A little bit Halloweeny.
The dog . . . aw, what a sweet face. I think he wanted you to come back and keep him company some more.
And the squirrel! Those tufty bristly ears, and his little toes! I suppose without the fluff they would look like rats, as people say, but with it, they're just plain cute.

Leah J. Utas said...

It's so soothing to walk with you.

Kat said...

I just love your walks. The dog and the squirrel photos are just awesome! I love them! Both beauties!

I am so excited for spring. I feel like I already have spring fever and we just got hit with a foot of snow this week. More snow expected this weekend. Boo.
Hurry, spring!

Dawn said...

Absolutely lovely walk! That dam looks amazing. Spring is definitely springing (there):)

Incredible peanut shot...and I really like that "watchdog".
Have a wonderful weekend Hilary!

Rosaria Williams said...

I swear you have magic pellets to charm your furry friends and hypnotize them long enough for your gorgeous photo ops.

Stunning views.

Naqvee said...

Your pictures are like ... looking at things.. like holding them in hands.. really beautiful blog.. I love photography and the thoughts attached with them makes them precious

Kerri Farley said...

You capture some "sweeties" in this one! LOVE the pup and the squirrel :)

Anita said...

I always know I can come to your blog and find my smile. :)

EnJoy your weekend!

ADRIAN said...

Stunning images.......glad I found your posts.

Frank Baron said...

Great-looking pooch, very nice mockingbird shot, good depth of field at the dam and finished with a superb squirrel pic. Pretty good eye-fest. Take a bow. :)

Cheryl Kohan said...

Yep, take a bow! I'm feeling quite "springy", now, thanks to you and your camera.

Friko said...

magnificent photos again. I do wish the creatures would pose for me as they do for you.
After a wonderful day's gardening the weather is turning cold again here too. Drat!

tattytiara said...

Oh thank you - our melt's still a ways off, I enjoyed sharing a bit of yours! Love the doggy.

Barb said...

A wonderful walk with you, and the photos made me feel as though I was actually there!

Dave said...

Thanks for our enjoyable 'walk' together Hilary. Like you I admired the little creatures and scenery. I specially liked the northern mockingbird. - Dave

abb said...

Love that squirrel, but the photo right before that is the prize.

Don said...

A wonderful collection...especially the squirrel.

sage said...

Beautiful dog and what a great squirrel shot. If I remember right, your Jewish, but I think you must have some Francis of Assisi's blood in you, with the way you relate to the animals. That's a gift and you're blessed to be so close to nature.

Shammickite said...

Great pictures as always Hilary. But don't you feel, as I do, that this winter is stretching out far too long. I'm yearning for spring, I've just about had enough of the cold and wind and snow and it's only the end of Feb.... another month to go! AAARRRGGGHHH!!!

Cricket said...

I love your squirrels and peanuts. Lovely photos, as always. I have some to share myself. I'm always a bit disappointed, though. Yours just burst with light and clarity and mine, alas, do not.

If I can think of the right question to ask, perhaps I may ask someday.

How about a little Miles Davis? Springsville.

Hilary said...

• Lori, it always thrills me to know that your wee ones are enjoying my posts alongside you. It's such an honour to be a part of your day's interactions with them. Please give all of your Littles a big hug for me. Thanks for letting me know. :)

• Sandy, thank you. "Peanut-smoking squirrel" made me laugh. I hadn't seen it quite that way but I sure do now. Thanks for that new and humourous perspective and for the always-kind words. :)

• TRO, thanks very kindly. Much appreciated. :)

• Deb, I'm so looking forward to that too. I hope we'll get a chance to wander around together again - cameras in hand. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Cloudia, thank you so much. :)

• Welcome, Regina and thanks for the kind words. :)

• Glo, don't let that puppy face fool you. He was bent on making sure I didn't come any closer. I see him often and he really does do a decent job of guarding his people. "Takes the.. peanut" cracked me up. I guess peanuts are like cake to squirrels. Thanks so much for your kind comments. They're very much appreciated. :)

• Maggie May, it was a lovely couple of days which have since been frozen and snowed over. But spring is on its way. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• June, thank you so much for such kind words. I can't say that I mind rats too much, though I'd like them a lot more if they had a squirrel's tail. That's the only part that gives me pause. I'm glad you noticed the squirrel's toes - I thought those were adorable too. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thank you, Leah. I'm so glad you joined me. :)

• Kat, thanks very much. I know what you mean about longing for spring. I am, as well. It can't be too much longer, can it? Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you could join me on my walk. :)

• Dawn, thanks so much for your kind comments. I'm glad you enjoyed our walk. :)

• Rosaria, what a lovely thing to say. Thank you so much for that. It made my day. :)

• Welcome, Naqvee. Thank you so much for your very kind words. That means a lot to me. :)

• Kerri, thanks very much. I'm glad you enjoyed them. :)

• Anita, good to see you. I'm so glad you came by to collect a smile, and left me one in return. :)

• Adrian, thank you kindly. I'm glad you did too, and I, yours. :)

• Frank, thank you. I'm glad you like them. I thought you might. I'll take that bow when you move on ahead of me. ;)

• Thanks very much, Cheryl. I'm glad you enjoyed. :)

• Friko, you just need to be still long enough to blend in with the scenery - then they'll do a bit of posing. ;) Spring will come - not to worry. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, TattyTiara. I'm glad you enjoyed the early thaw. We went back into a deep freeze shortly afterward, too. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks very much, Barb. I'm glad you joined me. Always nice to have you along. :)

• Dave, thanks for joining me. I'm happy to share my creatures with you. I know how you appreciate them. :)

• Thanks, TSannie. I'm glad you enjoyed them. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thank you, Don. Much appreciated. :)

• Sage, that's such a lovely compliment. Thank you. I do know someone who feels a strong kinship with St. Francis (and who shares his given name) from whom I learned a lot about noticing, enjoying and photographing my surroundings, including some wonderful creatures. It pleases me that you made this connection for me. :)

• Thank you, Shammie. Yes, the winter has gone on long enough. But I feel that way every year.. by November. ;) Spring will happen soon enough and then.. summer.. ahhh! Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Cricket, thank you. Please do share your photos. Much like you've expressed self-disappointment with your photos - that's how I feel about my words compared to yours. And yet, I still post them. I'm open to whatever questions you'd like to ask - pretty much. Springville is apropos. Thanks for your always-kind words. :)

Nancy said...

I love taking walks with you, and I think that beautiful dog didn't want you to leave, he wanted to go with you on your walk. The squirrel is soooo cute!

Hilary said...

Thanks very much, Nancy. I'm glad you you enjoyed the walk and the subsequent photos. :)

Zuzana said...

Wow, these are truly stunning early spring images! It is coming Hilary, finally, spring is almost here, we just have to be patient a little bit longer. Our weather is similar to yours.;)

Hilary said...

Thanks, Zuzana. I'm glad you enjoyed the pics. I await spring as anxiously as you do. Thanks for stopping by. :)