Posts Tagged ‘getting outside’

People planted baby trees to celebrate Arbor Day. Specialists taught them how to do it properly to ensure the survival of the trees. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2013.


Yesterday I joined my friend Miss Corinne to celebrate Arbor Day with her organization The Thousand Islands Land Trust.  It was a really excellent event held at their Zenda Farm Preserve  just outside of Clayton, NY.  Admission was free and included information about planting and caring for trees, local wildlife, and local conservation efforts.  Volunteers were able to help plant trees throughout the preserve.  Children (and the young at heart) were able to see live animals from the local zoo and organic farm, participate in a community art project, and make seed bombs and peanut butter pinecone bird feeders!  Those last activities were what I volunteered to help with!  It was messy but a lot of fun.  Not many people knew what seed bombs are (Miss Corinne shared some information about that on her blog if you don’t either) so it was really exciting to share that with adults while the little ones played with the clay.  I think it’s a great activity to get children excited about gardening, and it can spiral up into a greater awareness of creating habitats for pollinators, urban renewal, and even permaculture!  Several boy scouts in attendance made as many as they could! Kudos to Miss Corinne for putting together a great activity table!

Seed bomb and pinecone bird feeder station. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2013



Community art project featuring bark from old trees and leaves painted by local children who attended the event. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2013.


Everyone enjoyed the visiting animals, including this wood turtle! He moved surprisingly fast and seemed very excited to see people. Other animals at the event included a kestrel, a python, and a very friendly goat. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2013.

If you live in the North Country, you should definitely bookmark The Thousand Islands Land Trust’s event calendar.  There are hikes, kayak excursions, gardening, and wildlife viewing opportunities for young and old alike.  They’re ways to connect to and even help with local conservation – something that I feel should be very important to Druids.  Many are free to attend which is wonderful for people (like myself) who struggle with money over the summer but still want to have fun along the beautiful St. Lawrence River.  I can’t wait to sign my little one up for some of their exciting kid treks!

While at the Arbor Day event, I saw many signs of spring.  Nature called, as she frequently does to pregnant ladies, but the farm preserve’s toilet was out of order.  I took a little hike into the forest to find a special tree, and along the way I noticed several trout lily leaves and even some trillium leaves!  They’ll be blooming soon!  Those are always a sure sign to me that winter is definitely over.

After returning home, I saw another sign of spring in the form of a stowaway.  That’s right – I had a tick on me!  I discovered it when I itched my expanding belly.  The darn thing was hiding on the underside of my stomach where I can’t easily see!  In all my years of running around forests, I’d never been bit by a tick before, and I naturally freaked out because I don’t want to get Lyme disease – especially while pregnant!  Weretoad carefully removed it with tweezers but, because we were both new to this, he killed and removed it from the house.  I guess it’s recommended you put it in a bag just in case you need to test or identify it.  He thinks it was a dog tick rather than deer, and my father agrees based on the description. It was still flat, thus it hadn’t been on long enough to engorge itself – which, from what I read, is when you’re at risk of catching the disease.  I hope and pray everything is ok!  This pregnant lady doesn’t need that extra worry…

Yet there’s a sign of spring in Northern NY if there ever was one – the ticks are awake.  Just a little reminder that, along with the beauty, there are those who we consider outsiders.  They’re an essential part of creation but boy, they can be a pain!

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It’s Earth Day once more, and many people, Pagan and non, are doing their best to honor the Mother.  Whether it’s Earth Day, Earth Hour, Arbor Day, or what have you, one should definitely take these observances as reminders of what we should be doing every day.  Honoring the Earth Mother, and attempting to live in better harmony with my brother and sister Nature Spirits, is a major part of my Druidic life.  The key, I’ve found, is to take baby steps and do what I can.  It’s so easy to fall into a guilty mindset, and while that can be a little motivating, it’s mostly discouraging.  It’s better, or so it seems, to commit to small goals and set yourself up for success rather than the opposite!

Every Earth Day, I’ve made a point of going into the forest to pick up a bag of litter.  I dedicate the action to the Earth Mother and local spirits.  This year I’m just not feeling up to it.  The bigger I get, the harder it is to bend over and navigate the uneven terrain in the forest.  Rather than feel bad about what I can’t do, I decided to set myself a smaller goal.  Armed with a little bag and garden gloves, I made a small circuit around my home.  I picked up a ton of trash in just a small area.  Was it casually thrown after an outdoor snack?  Did it blow out of the garbage?  Probably a combination.  Shopping bags, old Halloween decor, plastic eggs, disposable utensils, candy wrappers…  Rather than focusing on blame and disgust in my species, I tried to think about the difference one person can make.  Now the land around my apartment is cleaner!  To top it off, I got a little exercise and did something nice for the local spirits.

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A cold and various errands kept me out of the forest this past week.  I decided to get back out today.  I brought a small offering as well as some food scraps.  Some may balk at bringing “garbage” to the woods, but I don’t have an operational compost heap or worm bin at the moment.  I refuse to contribute any more than I must to the garbage dump.  There are creatures out there who would love cranberries that are too squishy for my taste.  I also brought some hair out.  In the spring, some bird will happily use it in a nest.

I spent a few minutes with the birch tree I’ve been working with.  I also followed some tracks for awhile.  Lot of deer tracks.  I’ve noticed they like to rest in areas with a lot of pine.  I like being in those areas, too.  For me, there’s something comforting about the green even when it’s so dreadfully cold and dead seeming.  I wonder if the deer feel that way?  Of course, their chief concern is shelter and food.  It seems that they eat some of the pine.  I noticed small, felled branches which seem to have been nibbled.  I read somewhere that deer mostly survive on fat in the winter and don’t eat all that much.  They are so interesting…

I also found some smaller tracks which I followed to what seemed to be an animal’s den.  They were hard to identify but were spaced differently than a rabbit’s and too large for a squirrel.  I wonder what it was?  I wish I had a camera to leave out there…

I scared some pheasants out of hiding.  I didn’t get the best look at the first one so I don’t know if it was male or female.  The other two were definitely female.  They didn’t stick around and I feel bad for frightening them.  Also saw plenty of chickadees.  They aren’t as easy to scare.  Some come really close to stare at me with tiny, curious eyes.  I laughed at one who was particularly daring.  “You’re not afraid of me!  You know I’m big and clumsy.”  Surely I must make so much noise trudging through the woods.  At some point during my childhood, I listened to a Mohawk storyteller.  He explained how his people walked quietly in the woods to hunt and I sometimes try to do that.  I should more often.  I will probably learn and see more if I slow down.

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