Trunk slide for squirrels

I’ve been seeing interesting trees this month. The variety of trees is endless, so it makes sense that there would be an array of trunk shapes. But I didn’t know the extent of how tree trunks can bend, stretch, and create new shapes like they do.

What seems simple and obvious doesn’t register until you start to wonder. Then, seeing it multiple times and wondering why it is the way it is, it begins to make sense. Ohhhhhhhhh.

When I’m in nature, I cannot not marvel at God’s creations. The colors, shapes, textures, sights, and its variety are spectacular. Its beauty is unmatched.

God has made them to bless and teach us.

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” Job 12:7-10

Wouldn’t this be an exciting tube slide for squirrels or any small animal? Weeeeeeeeee

I hope you get a chance to wonder at some strange or common things you see in nature. It could be flowers or weeds cheering you on your walk to the parking lot or the little patch of garden outside your house. It’s all around us! This COVID-19 staying home thing is making me rethink how to fill my day and what I need most.

Snail’s breathing pore, aka pneumostome

When we found our snail house guests out in the rain last month, it became an observation lesson for us. I initially thought snails only had 2 tentacles on top its head. In reality, they have 2 sets of antennae: top for vision (almost double the length of the lower one); lower tentacle for feeling and sensing.

Snails move quickly and constantly explore new nooks and crannies in their habitat. Two of our snails ate through half a blueberry, chomped up the top layer of a cut carrot, and ate through leaves. Another interesting fact: We discovered a round opening on the side that we never noticed with our aquatic snails. It’s only visible when the snail is stretching. I thought it was a poop hole since the poop exits from its side into a long, ropey string.

Temporary house guests: this pic was shown in my previous post about snails

The one you see below is its breathing pore. Its body is small, but all of its parts are intricately designed.

Both were released at the end of the week with disposable chopsticks and are back in their natural habitat.

Breathing pore
Snail yoga
Tried a fancy silhouette picture
Top antenna

Frontal view of all 4 antennae

Flower of the Day: April 7, 2020. Robert Frost’s poem

A few weeks ago, I drove by these interesting cone-shaped flowers. This building always has bright blooms that bring color to this busy intersection, but it’s location is not ideal to take pictures unless you park around the corner and walk over to the front.

Not feasible with 2 kids in the car who may give you that funny look when you tell them what you’re up to. “What? You mean I have to unbuckle my seat belt and get out of the car for 5 minutes, and buckle up again. No, mommy. Just no.”

However, traffic has diminished dramatically in the past few weeks. It’s almost surreal to see the empty streets and roads. At a stop light, I rolled down the window and took these pictures. Don’t worry: I didn’t stop traffic. It was during a light stop.

Moments when I pass by pretty flowers on the road they remind me of Robert Frost’s poem of that lost moment when you drive by (or in his case riding a train) flowers you’d like to examine. I think it’s a common experience for us flower enthusiasts!

“A Passing Glimpse” by Robert Frost

To Ridgely Torrence
On Last Looking into His ‘Hesperides’

I often see flowers from a passing car
That are gone before I can tell what they are.

I want to get out of the train and go back
To see what they were beside the track.

I name all the flowers I am sure they weren’t;
Not fireweed loving where woods have burnt–

Not bluebells gracing a tunnel mouth–
Not lupine living on sand and drouth.

Was something brushed across my mind
That no one on earth will ever find?

Heaven gives it glimpses only to those
Not in position to look too close.

Love this color scheme. If the awnings were brighter teal, that would be so awesome. What? Now I’m giving exterior color advice.
Yellow flower cones

Thanks Cee for hosting this challenge! Great to share my bloom finds with others.

Snails for pals, temporarily

It’s been cold and rainy in San Jose for the past week. During a brief dry phase, our family went searching for snails or any interesting critters that crawl out on damp days.

I realized that I’ve been looking in the wrong spots for snails this whole time. I looked down when I had to look around me. I presumed they were swimming in muddy puddles or crawling on the sidewalk. Guess I’ve been watching too much kid-animation stuff. What the heck was I thinking?! Of course these snails’ instinctual reaction would be to stay inconspicuous.

Chris found little communities of snails on tree trunks. Perfect place for camouflage. Kids and I got wide at this discovery while he looked skeptical of the whole thing. I returned the look hoping he’d read my mind: We’ve got a great science study here. You can’t say ‘no’ to that!

Chilling out on tree trunk

He reluctantly helped but couldn’t help himself from airing his skeptical comment, “How long will these guys last.”

Update: These two snails have been comfortably adjusting to their new habitat with fresh veggies and fruits each night. We are on day 3. On day 5, we’ll release them in the mulch.

Coming home with us

And tonight, we got a little surprise from our catfish. The fun part was seeing a sudden appearance of eggs after she made quick wiggling movements on the side of the aquarium. Kids went wild distracting the bigger fish from dining on fresh eggs: we lost a few but most have been moved to a small bowl.

Here we go again with the life cycle lesson. This happened in early January but the eggs never hatched. That weekend we visited a friend’s house where they had newborn guppies. OMG, we couldn’t believe how small and cute little fish are. (I can’t find pictures of those baby guppies on my phone.)

I’m glad we saved the “first bites” pellets for newborn fish. Hoping this time will be a more productive experience.

January surprise: Close-up view of eggs. These eggs, ultimately, did not hatch.
New fish eggs
In homemade habitat

A short entry from Thoreau’s journal

I am and have been a huge fan of Henry Thoreau since college. His journals are a fascinating read of his meticulous observations of nature in Concord, Massachusetts. When I miss nature and its quietness, I always revisit his writings.

I imagine meandering the grounds of Walden Pond and peeking into the simple cabin that Thoreau built himself and called home for just over two years, alone and apart from the general public. I would stroll though the forest, feeling the warm sun’s rays on my back, and hearing branches crunch on dried berries with each step. Perhaps we’d have coffee together sitting on a log outside his abode and talk endlessly about living counter cultural and ehat it means to march to the beat of our own drummers.

I have too many favorite quotes from his writings about nature, the creative mind, and how to live a simple life. But the one below is the most recent one I discovered: It’s simple but abstruse. I hope you can play with its meaning.

“The art of life, of a poet’s life, is, not having anything to do, to do something.”

April 29, 1852

Image result for where is walden pond
Walden Pond State Reservation
Photo by Snapwire on