And, Now, For Her Next Trick —
Header Image: Roosting Cedar Waxwings
Zucchini. Taste a slice. The word you are trying to avoid saying is “bland“. That’s why it is served with other stuff. Breading, cheese, onions, disguised in a salad with other bland ingredients to which a tasty dressing is added.
Gini is a true magician. She took zucchini, mixed a few secret powders and potions, poured the resulting mixture into a loaf pan and placed it in a hot oven. The ensuing aroma which spread into every nook and cranny of the house caused one to inhale deeply and saliva involuntarily tried to escape from hungry mouths.
Yesterday morning, sitting next to each other in the cool air of a March morning, overlooking a lake where a Great Blue Heron blinked at the rising sun, a slice of Zucchini bread and a sip of hot tea formed my personal definition of perfection. She took a dull green vegetable and transformed it into an irresistible substance. Magical.
Nature is a true magician. A few weeks ago, bare tree limbs and brown weeds greeted us on our outdoor excursions. Now, as we step into the forest or swamp, we are slapped in the face with splashes of the bright green of newly sprouted tree leaves, the indescribable hues of blooming wildflowers and the bustling of animals, birds and insects rushing to do what it takes to ensure the survival of their species.
Cardinals appear more red, bluebirds more blue, a yellow butterfly looks like – well – butter, dragonflies seem to be flying jewels. Spring. Renewal. Magical.
As the sun’s rays streak over the tree line, a Great Blue Heron scans the water for her first meal of the day.
Small and handsome, a male Rambur’s Forktail (Ischnura ramburii) has emerged after a few years living as a nymph under water.
American White Pelicans are fairly common in our area even though we are over an hour away from the coast.
Dozens of Eastern Pondhawks (Erythemis simplicicollis) seemed to be everywhere as they pursued food and each other. Powder blue body and green face identify this one as a male.
Also numerous today were Blue Dashers (Pachydiplax longipennis). This female gave us the eye(s) as she waited from her perch for breakfast to fly into view.
The rattling call of the Belted Kingfisher let us know we were encroaching on his fishing spot. We respectfully retreated.
A shiny black abdomen helps separate this Eastern Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa virginica) from its Bumblebee cousin.
Gilded in gold, when the sunlight strikes at the right angle, the Halloween Pennant (Celithemis eponina) really can resemble a precious jewel in flight.
In our area, we have three “broadsaddle” saddlebag dragonflies: Black, Carolina and Red. As expected, the Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata) shows a lot of black as opposed to mostly red in the other two.
Normally seen zipping back and forth near the shore of a lake, we got lucky and found both male and female Prince Baskettail (Epitheca princeps) perched. They’re pretty unmistakable with that unique wing pattern.
We weren’t the only observers interested in all the Spring insect activity. An Eastern Phoebe needs to consume a lot of bugs to provide enough energy for the trip to her more northerly breeding grounds.
Looking like some piece of artistic embroidery, a White Peacock (Anartia jatrophae) rested a moment in the weeds while we marveled at its beauty.
After a dry winter, the water level in some of the bogs is low enough to allow a slog in the mud which pretty soon won’t be possible. (Well, not for me, as I have an extreme allergy to Cottonmouth Moccasins and nesting Alligators.) Along the bog’s edge, a dense growth of Savanna Iris (Iris savannarum) certainly put an exclamation point on our already colorful day!
Gini’s wizardry amazes me on a daily basis. She transforms the ordinary into something quite special. In all seasons, but especially Spring, Nature offers us glimpses of fantasy which can be hard to believe are real. Human nature tends to dwell on the negative while longing for something positive. That longing is called “Hope“. It exists in every sunrise, every butterfly, every flower.
Embrace the magic.
We hope you enjoy your search for a natural place and come back for a visit.