Photo by Elizabeth Halt
Photo by Elizabeth Halt

Entries organized under our wild friends

meet cleo

June 7, 2017 | meet cleo

i found her in the lake and took her home and it seems she was not as gone as i initially thought she was.

we’ll see if she recovers from her watery adventure!

postcards from the wild

November 18, 2015 | postcards from the wild : a squirrel named christopher

{an irregular series of postcards from our wild friends. this one is from a squirrel named christopher. previous postcards: viola, fred, constance, sam.}

it’s so fun to be me!

one of my favorite games to play is to run around & around & around & around & around a tree until i can hardly stand up straight and then i scamper up the tree trunk to see how quickly i can reach the top while i’m still dizzy.

i haven’t fallen yet, but i’ve come close a few times.

(you want to play this game too now, right? you can! or you can play the human version of this game which involves rolling down a very grassy hill and then walking in a straight line.)

your friend, christopher

birds of a feather

May 4, 2015

i thought i’d share my latest feather finds with you because they make me so happy.

this feather is from a blue jay. i found it on a trail near great sand bay. (i picked it up from what looked like the scene of a fight or a meal, because there were actually a great number of them.) | blue jay feather

this feather is from a ruffled grouse. i found a handful of them on that same trail, not too far from the blue jay feathers. | ruffled grouse feather

these feathers are from a cooper’s hawk. i think i found them somewhere near the house, either on the side of the road or on a trail. | cooper's hawk feathers

this feather is old but delightful. it’s from a northern flickr. i found it years ago in portland and saved it because i loved the neon orange shaft. when i discovered the feather atlas, i was finally able to look it up. | northern flickr feather

speaking of feathers: wow, is the feather atlas useful! sometimes it takes me a long time to identify a feather – the great horned owl & wild turkey feathers took over an hour each – but without it, i would be completely in the dark.

i love collecting feathers. they’re like little love notes from the natural world. (and the angels.) i keep them in mason jars in my bedroom and choose one to carry with me whenever i need a reminder that i am loved.

now i’m curious. do you collect anything?

atlas joins the frog chorus

June 9, 2014 | atlas joins the frog chorus at bear lake

while on a hike, i stood on a dock for a while to admire this view, bird song and frog song all around me. the frogs croaked in turn, so it was fun to follow their song around the water.

in the midst of this chorus was a croak that was so loud, i thought the frog must be under my feet, or at least right next to me. while i looked for the owner of the croak, i recorded the frog chorus on my phone.

i tried to get a clean sound, but atlas kept inserting himself into the mix in his own peculiar way – apparently he was very very thirsty. in the end, the recording made me giggle, so i thought you might enjoy it too.

(in case you’re wondering, i did find the elusive frog. he was spring green in color and hiding under some grasses to my left & behind me. i was amazed to discover that he was the size of my palm – i have a child-sized hand – so clearly he was an expert at projecting his voice.)

postcards from the wild

June 5, 2014 | postcards from the wild : a yellow warbler named viola

{an irregular series of postcards from our wild friends. this one is from a yellow warbler named viola. previous postcards: fred, constance, sam.}

today has been a busy day. apparently i am nesting, because i have done nothing but work on my nest. this is my very first nest and i want it to be perfect. plus, i like the idea of sitting in comfort.

building a nest is very satisfying work. especially now. i am building my nest at the top of a lilac bush. have you ever smelled lilacs in the springtime? if you have smelled them, perhaps you know why i decided to build my nest here. first, my babies will smell each other and me. then, they will smell the sweetness.

(can you even see me? maybe you can see my yellow feathers among all the green. i saw someone taking this picture but didn’t have time to stand still for them. my eggs are calling me!)

your friend, viola

wishing you could find postcards from the wild in your mailbox?

now you can!

because it’s spring-summer, and your time is precious, i’m going to keep this short & sweet.

here are the specifics.

what: you’ll receive five postcards ~ five members of the animal kingdom, in photo + story.

where: the postcards will arrive in your mailbox.

when: the postcards will arrive randomly, beginning in october. (i have a secret wish to photograph a particular wild animal, and i need some time.)

who: perhaps, you!

why: you love animals. you love mail. you love tiny + delightful stories. you know that the wild is full of wisdom & full of wonder. you want to connect with the wild in & around you.

cost: $29

do join me in this postcard adventure!

i’d be delighted + honored to have you along.

–>this offering is no longer available. maybe next year!

p.s. postcards from the wild might make just the right gift.

for a wild heart in the city, a child who loves animals, or a house-bound elderly relative.

the call of the sandhill crane

May 22, 2014

if you want to sink into the part of you that is wild, maybe this will help. i captured a tiny audio of the call of the sandhill crane for you.

to me, their call sounds ancient, almost prehistoric, as it echoes far and wide.

(i was wondering if they were mating when i captured this; their call was near-constant for a day and a night and a day. every time i went outside, or opened a window, there it was.)

postcards from the wild

May 18, 2014 | postcards from the wild : a deer named sam

{an irregular series of postcards from our wild friends. this one is from a deer named sam. previous postcards: fred, constance.}

i shed my other antler today. (i shed the first one last week.) i bumped a tree branch on my way through the forest and it fell right off.

i will confess that the falling antler startled me at first. i leaped away out of instinct. but when i came back and sniffed it cautiously, it smelled like me, so i knew it was all right.

my head feels so light now!

(have you ever had antlers? i don’t know if i would recommend them. they really do stick out to the side.)

your friend, sam

where the wild things are

May 5, 2014 | where the wild things are

sometimes i think i am a totally wrong person to tell you about life near the wild, because i am not at home in the wild.

i like my creature comforts and have gone on exactly one backpacking trip. i once spent an interminably long night in a tent absolutely convinced that a raccoon was outside, about to claw its way into the tent and kill atlas, only to discover in the morning that it was a bird. i have no sense of direction; i can be trusted to go exactly the wrong way when following a map; and compasses confuse me. my dad has a degree in forestry and i have a phenomenal memory and yet i can never remember any of his wisdom about plants + trees. i know very little about animals. i am not quiet on my feet in the woods; i can probably be heard for miles. i tried my hand at wildcrafting last fall, gathering clover to make a steeped tea, only to discover that if i had made + drunk it, i probably would have gotten sick because apparently you can’t use wet clover. i do not like to pee in the woods. i have no interest in hunting. i caught one tiny fish in my life and it wriggled so much that it freaked me out and i had to run upstream, dipping the fish in the water every few steps, to find my brother so he could take the poor fish off the hook for me.

and yet, here i am, where the wild things are.

i love it here. i always have.

last week, i watched fox cubs pounce on one another like puppies.
the week before, i heard wolves howling in the early evening.
today, i watched the white tail of a deer as it bounded away from us.

i want to tell you about the wild because it is full of wisdom and full of wonder. when you’re surrounded by traffic & buildings & busyness & noise, sometimes it’s easy to forget this.

but the wild is our ancestral home, and we all have a wildness within us.

adventures in fairyland

April 13, 2014 | adventures in fairyland : a chickadee named constance

{this adventure comes to you by way of a chickadee named constance. previous adventurers: fred.}

i was having a snack in the lilac bush today when another bird joined me. this bird was black and white too, but it had a distinctive red stripe on its head.

a new friend, i thought. i took one last bite and flew to another branch so my new friend could take a turn at the feeder.

you won’t believe what happened. instead of flying up and nibbling at the seeds, like we chickadees do, this bird began to peck at one of the thickest branches of the lilac bush.

rap-rap-rap. rap-rap-rap. rap-rap-rap.

what was that bird doing?

was it writing a secret message? was it playing music? was it knocking birdseed to the ground?

i watched for a bit, but the bird was so absorbed in its task that i didn’t want to interrupt. i finally flew away, still wondering. i’ve been asking my friends and family, but they don’t know what it was doing either.

maybe one day i will see the bird again and solve this mystery.

(don’t tell anyone, but i tried pecking at a branch myself. i got a tiny dent in my beak and a not-so-tiny headache. maybe you could try and let me know what happens?)

your friend, constance

adventures in fairyland

January 18, 2014

{this adventure comes to you by way of a blue jay named fred.}

today, i tried to land on a cloud.

my mother told me about clouds, but the world is so white and i was flying so fast that i really thought the cloud was a snowbank.

fortunately, i caught myself as i tumbled through the white mist.

right now, i am sitting in a lilac bush. i am going to have a snack and collect myself before i go home and tell my mother about my adventure.

(as i was tumbling through the cloud, i found myself wishing that i was tumbling down a snowbank. doesn’t that sound fun? let’s try it sometime.)

your friend, fred