Burrowing Crayfish

During the daytime, crayfish are seldom seen out in the open, but recently after a good rain, I spotted one moving about in the shallow, clear water of a ditch.

In the spring, crayfish dig tunnels down many feet to reach ground water.  As they dig, they use their legs and mouth to bring mud pellets up to the surface and place them around the opening of their burrows.

They continue adding more pellets on top of each layer until a chimney is formed.  The mud dries hard and serves as a defense against predators.

Each crayfish’s chimney is unique.  Occasionally I like to stop and admire the architecture formed by these freshwater crustaceans, and can’t help but wonder if they were perhaps the inspiration for human adobe or mud homes.

As dry, hot weather arrives, the crayfish plug up the entrance to their burrows and move further down the tunnels where the environment is more to their liking.

“Architects cannot teach nature anything.”  ~ Mark Twain

Good for the soul

After spending a lot of time in the house, we got out last night and walked on our country road shortly before sunset.  The beauty of the clouds at sunset, the colorful meadow flowers and the full pink moon were refreshing.   I have to say the walk was good for my soul.

“Walking is good for the soul.”  ~Andy Rooney

Decorate my soul with spring.  Fill its depth with lovely things.”  ~Angie Weiland-Crosby

“Nature’s palette is calming to the soul.”  ~Unknown

“There is a serene and settled majesty to woodland scenery that enters into the soul and delights and elevates it, and fills it with noble inclinations.”  ~Washington Irving

“I was surrounded by life and beauty.  My soul was content, and my life felt full.”  ~Jennifer Pharr Davis

“A little bit of country is good for the soul.”  ~Unknown

“A daily dose of daydreaming heals the heart, soothes the soul, and strengthens the imagination.”  ~Richelle E. Goodrich

“A walk in nature walks the soul back home.”  ~Mary Davis

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God … because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.”  ~Anne Frank

Barred Owl

Several evenings while out walking, I could hear the loud, clear call of a barred owl off in the distance across a field.  This evening, I spotted a large bird soaring along from tree to tree on the road up ahead.  I walked quietly to the last spot where I saw it land, and was excited to see its large eyes looking back at me through the branches.

“But the owls themselves are not hard to find, silent and on the wing, with their ear tufts flat against their heads as they fly and their huge wings alternately gliding and flapping as they maneuver through the trees …”  ~Mary Oliver

Deer among the sunflowers

Because of the hot and humid weather, one of our favorite walking times is around dusk, when the temperature is cooling down.  One of the benefits of walking at this time is that it is an active time for deer, which prefer to feed during low-light hours.  Occasionally, we spot one that has come out of the woods to forage on corn, soybeans, and in this case, sunflowers.

“The real world, in my opinion, exists in the countryside, where Nature goes about her quiet business and brings us greatest pleasure.”  ~Fennel Hudson

Stopping by the cemetery

Because we were close by, my husband and I decided to make an unplanned stop at a little country cemetery that we help maintain.  We were quite surprised when we drove up and saw a red fox standing right in the middle of it.  While we watched, the fox appeared to be foraging for food as it strolled to the back of the cemetery and out of sight.

“Expect the unexpected.  Life is full of wonderful things just waiting to surprise you.”  ~Unknown

Red admirals

There’s a place on our country road where I consistently see red admiral butterflies when I’m out walking in the evening.  They are territorial and tend to patrol the same area, chasing away other males that enter their space, and often returning to the same perch.

Recently I spotted the red admiral pictured below, flitting around, stopping occasionally to perch on a leaf and soak in the last bit of sunlight as the sun was setting in the westward sky.   Its wings were so tattered that I wondered how it could possibly fly, but fly it did, without the least bit of obvious trouble.

“There’s no need to be perfect to inspire others.  Let people get inspired by how you deal with your imperfections.”  ~Unknown

Sunsets

My favorite time to walk on our country road is shortly before the sun goes down.  Each sunset has its own color and design as the light of day fades away.

“God is always seeking you.  Every sunset.  Every clear blue sky.  Each ocean wave.  The starry hosts of night.  He blankets each new day with the invitation, ‘I am here.’”  ~Louie Giglio

Red-winged blackbirds

Flying among the tall grass along the levee were the red-winged blackbirds.  Stopping to perch atop tall stems, the male, with his bright shoulder patches, would occasionally puff up his wings and belt out a loud song.

The female, the less showy of the two with her streaked brown feathers, was quieter and more likely to be overlooked.

“Blackbirds are the cellos of the deep farms.”  ~Anne Stevenson

Trumpet Daffodils

One day earlier this week the sun was shining, the temperature was mild, and it was a perfect occasion for an afternoon stroll.  I spotted a number of wild daffodils in bloom along our country road.  Nothing brightens the disposition like seeing their little yellow heads bobbing in the wind.

“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.”  ~Hal Borland

Stirring up the Snow Geese

While driving the back roads along the Mississippi levee, we came upon a flock of snow geese scavenging waste corn out in a farm field.  What a lovely sight they were when they became agitated and a frenzy of white bodies took to the sky. The whir of their wings as they shot off the ground, followed by a multitude of loud shrill cries, are sounds that will long be remembered.

“Nature was here a series of wonders, and a fund of delight.”  ~Daniel Boone