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Sunset Framed by Branches by Beth Sawickie

Sunset Stroll – March 18th, 2015

Just a few days before the “official” start of spring here in the Northern Hemisphere and Mother Nature was again reminding us that it ain’t spring yet!

There were gusty winds throughout the day with a little chill on the breeze.

But – wow – once that sun started setting, brrr.  It dipped to under 40.  Cue the red runny nose and frozen fingers.

Beth and Doug March 18th, 2015 - Whitesbog

We decided to go to Whitesbog Village for sunset (one of our favorite places).

Some of the dirt roads there are beat up!  Ruts galore.  Luckily, since everything was still frozen, it wasn’t a mushy mess.  And, we had our 4×4 Tracker with us.

As we got to the old bog area we saw Tundra Swans.  There were Ring Necked Ducks hanging out in the middle of one of the bogs.  All of ’em were enjoying the open water that was terribly hard to find only a few weeks ago.

We drove a bit further passed the first couple bogs and passed several Mallard Duck couples in the shallow areas.

Then the Red Winged Black Birds – we only started seeing one of ’em here and there a few weeks ago – well, now they’re really returning to the area.

So pretty and their song is nice too!

Here’s a pic that Doug got of one of the Red Winged Black Birds:

You can see his feathers were all ruffled up from the almost constant wind.

They were such a delight to see and here.

We also saw Mourning Doves and some other little birds (I’ll have to check with Doug and let you know what they’re called.)

So we got to the spot where we wanted to photograph sunset from. Soc (the dog) was with us and he was anxious to get out of the truck!

I brought my little video camera with me to capture sunset – but I goofed – it ran out of juice! doh! I’m charging it now and will try again soon.

We also got to see a Beaver swimming along.  He always seems to pop out when there is very low light, so the pics aren’t that great.  Here he is:

Beaver at Whitesbog Village

Here are photos and my interpretations of sunset showing the energy I felt when viewing it:

Sunset Framed by Branches by Beth Sawickie

Sunset Framed by Branches – buy prints, gifts and cards HERE.

(more photos coming soon!  Sign up for my newsletter below and I’ll let you know when they’re posted!)

 

Deep Cut Gardens Greenhouse - Beth Sawickie

Nature Stroll – Deep Cut Gardens Greenhouse – March 11th, 2015

Someone on Facebook mentioned this greenhouse at Deep Cut Gardens in Middletown, NJ several weeks ago – when it was 25 degrees F and below for long stretches of time.

Greenhouse = warmth, plants, green, color… LIFE!

Deep Cut Gardens Greenhouse - Beth Sawickie

I just “had” to get there!  Problem was…. along with that bitter cold weather came snow, ice and treacherous roads.

This green house was over an hours drive on unfamiliar roads.  So I waited.

I was thrilled to finally make it here!

Here is a Nature Stroll video showing the many occupants of the 80 degree F greenhouse 🙂

There are no chairs in there… but let me tell you, next winter when I’m chilled to the bone… you WILL find me in this greenhouse, possibly sitting on a smuggled-in lounge chair with a nice glass of iced tea and a favorite book 🙂

Green Pink Succulent Glow by Beth Sawickie

Green Pink Succulent Glow buy prints, gifts and cards HERE.

Succulent Glow by Beth Sawickie

Succulent Glow buy prints, gifts and cards HERE.

More Photos to come soon!

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More info about Deep Cut Gardens HERE.

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Sunset Glow 7 by Beth Sawickie

Sunset Stroll – Feb. 23rd – Whitesbog Village

It was COLD! Darn COLD!  Mid-20’s with a wind-chill in the mid-teens.

I was planning on heading out to yoga… then Doug sent me a text “some really interesting cloud formations out there”…

That was it… I was going on a Sunset Stroll in this frigid cold – and takin’ the dog with me!

Here’s a video I made for you of the stroll:

And here are my energy enhanced photos from the stroll:

I work with my original photos to bring through them the awesome energy I felt when viewing the sunset.

While trying hard to keep my little truck on the ice-covered dirt roads, I stopped to capture this frozen bog with the sliver of blue-blue sky just over the pines.

“Cold Winter Frozen Bog” – buy prints, cards and gifts HERE.

Frozen Bog Feb 23 by Beth Sawickie

I had visited Whitesbog the day prior when the temps were around 15 degrees warmer.  It was a sloppy mess!  Not today – everything was again frozen…

Ice on the dirt road by Beth Sawickie

The sun finally peaked out from behind the clouds…

Sunset Glow 3 by Beth Sawickie

 

Then the sun totally burst from the sky – sending it’s golden rays to dance across every surface.

“Golden Hour Sun Star in Winter” – buy prints, cards and gifts HERE.

Sunset Glow 4 by Beth Sawickie

Being out in nature is something that I do often.

It helps me to connect back to myself and the energy that runs through all things.

Enjoying  nature is something that has helped me move from ‘Blah to Bliss’.

What is something simple that you do to help keep yourself feelin’ good? (share with me in the comments below).

Behind me, the sky glowed pink while the bare trees were aglow in the ‘golden hour’ sun.

“Golden Hour Frozen Reflection”buy prints, cards and gifts HERE.

Sunset Glow 5 by Beth Sawickie

As the sun set, the colors it threw into the sky became more vibrant.  This is the color cast in the Eastern sky, reflected in the frozen bog – enhanced by the energy I felt while viewing it.

“Frozen Sunset Reflections”buy prints, cards and gifts HERE.

Sunset Glow 6 - Beth Sawickie

The Grand Finale of this Live Painting in the Sky was this burst of hot pink shooting through the clouds and reflecting on the bogs below.

“Hot Pink Frozen Sunset”buy prints, cards and gifts HERE.

Sunset Glow 7 by Beth Sawickie

The color was slowly fading from the sky.  Soc and I were FREEZING!  Seriously – the tips of my fingers hurt really bad from being so cold.

Tweet about this Sunset Stroll…

We headed back towards the car and I shot one more photo of the road leading out of the bog system.

The color reflected in the icy tire tracks reminds me of the DeLorean in Back to the Future 🙂

“Winter Sunset Road Glow”buy prints, cards and gifts HERE.

Sunset Glow 8 by Beth Sawickie

I slowly made my way through the icy dirt roads and puddles when Doug showed up!

He had made it to the bogs just in time to catch the sunset.

Here is his BEAUTIFUL photo from the night:

Sunset, Feb 23rd by Doug Venner

Be sure and visit Doug’s website: www.DougVenner.com

and give him a “Like” on Facebook:  www.fb.com/dougvennerphotography

Thanks for joining me on this sunset stroll!

You can find more “strolls” HERE.

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Pygmy Pine Plains 1 - Beth Sawickie

Nature Stroll – Pygmy Pine Forest & Oswego Lake in NJ – Feb. 8th 2015

What a day it was!

2 days ago it was 25 degrees – today, high 50’s!  WOW!

I’d still like more snow, but I can’t say no to a beautiful day full of sunshine and blue skies!

Today we (me, Doug and Soc – the dog) went on a little adventure to the Pygmy Pines in the NJ Pine Barrens and headed to Spring Hill then over to Oswego Lake.

You may have heard that the last time we tried to get to Spring Hill we got stuck in an icy puddle!  This time we went a different way 😉  No stuckage! lol.

Here’s the video I made for you that shows some of the beautiful scenes we saw today:

There’s more info about the location and biology of the Pygmy Pine Planes towards the bottom of this article.

 Photos from the day…

Here we are starting out on our adventure…

Beth Sawickie

The Pygmy Pine Plains…

Looking out over the Pygmy Pine Plains near Spring Hill.

Pygmy Pine Plains 1 - Beth Sawickie

About the Pygmy Pitch Pine Trees:

The Pygmy Pine Plains (or Dwarf Plains) of the Pine Barrens of New Jersey are upland forests that have long intrigued biologists.

Early in the 20th Century, Witmer Stone described them as “desolate stretches of white sand barrens … for the most part devoid of trees higher than one’s knees.” The Pine Plains are dominated by dwarfed Pitch Pines and Blackjack Oaks in the low canopy. Pine Barrens Heather is frequent in the understory. Ground cover includes lichens, mosses, and the sub-shrubs Bearberry and Teaberry.
Source: Pinelands Preservation Alliance, http://www.pinelandsalliance.org/ecology/habitats/pygmyplains/

Where to Find the Pygmy Pines:

The “pygmy” pines, a stunted variety (of) the pitch pine, can be seen at their best on Route 72 which runs northwest from Stafford Township through to Burlington County and beyond to the Philadelphia area.   County Route 539, running from Little Egg Harbor north, also has many great views of these mysterious trees in the southern area.

Source: Piney Power!, www.PineyPower.com

 There are a bunch of sandy trails that wind their way through the plains.

Here is Doug and Soc standing in the plains.  Notice how TINY the pines are! Doug is 5’10”.

Pygmy Pine Plains Size by Beth Sawickie

Now here is Doug standing next to a regular NJ Pine Barrens Pitch Pine.

Tall Pitch Pine by Beth Sawickie

What a difference !!

Here’s the view from Spring Hill.  This photo really doesn’t do it justice.

View from Spring Hill in Pine Barrens by Beth Sawickie

Tweet About This Nature Stroll 🙂

 

There are a few Geocaches up there.  We found ’em 🙂

Here’s Doug filling in a log for one.  Notice how tiny the trees are.

Do you Geocache? (tell me about it in the comments).

Geocaching in the Pines - Beth Sawickie

Here’s Doug surveying the scene and pointing towards another trail in the distance.

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There’s a lot of elevation changes in this area of the pines.

Well, a lot for THIS area which is typically rather flat.

I’m looking up a hill here, Doug is all the way up top (at Spring Hill).

Trail to Spring Hill by Beth Sawickie

I find that often the really special things in the Pine Barrens go unnoticed because they are so small.  This definitely goes for the flowers like orchids which aren’t out yet.

Here is this neat mushroom/fungus that doesn’t look like much from a distance.

And notice it is sitting on a bed of sand and rock.  I believe most of those rocks are quartz – I have a bunch in the tumbler now – shining ’em up 🙂

Fungus in the Pines - Beth Sawickie

Fungus in the Pines 2 - Beth Sawickie

We left the Pygmy Pine Plains and headed towards Oswego Lake…

Along the way we ran into this icy puddle.

Icy Puddle in Pines - Beth Sawickie

Would you drive over it?

We did – even though we had gotten stuck in a much smaller icy puddle a few weeks ago!

Luckily, we made it through! Phew!

Here’s  another one of the dirt/sand roads we drove on.

Glowing Pine Barrens Dirt Road by Beth Sawickie

Here is Oswego Lake:

Oswego Lake in NJ by Beth Sawickie

About Oswego Lake:

Oswego Lake is a great “get-away” spot to picnic and experience the remote beauty and serenity of the Pine Barrens. White cedar and pitch pine forest provide a scenic background to the beauty of the lake. The best way to experience the lake is by kayak, but there are also miles of sand roads through Penn State Forest where a beginning or avid naturalist could spend hours exploring white cedar swamp, pitch pine forest, red maple swamp, and other habitats. The lake and surrounding forest offer the chance to encounter a plethora of wildlife, including snakes, lizards, turtles, birds, various insects and rare plants. 2010 marks the 100 year anniversary of Penn State Forest.

Sourde: NJ Wildlife Trails

We have kayaked the Oswego and it is BEAUTIFUL!  If you like to enjoy the serene beauty of nature in peace, I’d suggest not going in the summer.

And here’s a shot of the Oswego River flowing into Oswego Lake.

Oswego River by Beth Sawickie

It was such a treat to see plants coming back to life. Green starting to pop out and buds becoming noticeable!

I LOVE moss!  This guy caught my eye!

Green Moss by Beth Sawickie

And it inspired this image:

Green Moss Glow by Beth Sawickie

I have no idea what this plant is – do you? (let me know in the comments below!)

red green plant

And I don’t know what this one is either (young Swamp Maple ???)

tree-buds-02-09-2015-beth-sawickie-72wm (1 of 1)

Swamp Maple Tree Buds

Swamp Maple Tree Buds by Beth Sawickie

Blackjack Oak Tree Buds:

Blackjack Oak Tree Buds

And this one would be a Pitch Pine 🙂

Pitch Pine Glow by Beth Sawickie

Well, that’s all I have for you today 🙂

I hope you enjoyed the video and photos!

Please let me know what you think in the comments below.

And, hey, pass this “Nature Stroll” along to a friend using the buttons below 🙂

Wishing you many warm, sunny days!

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P.S. For me, being in nature is a MUST!  It fills my heart and soul with peace and joy.  Even though this is something that makes me happy, I spent a long time not doing it very often.  This was during many years when I was being challenged by depression.  It’s been a long journey but I’ve turned from “blah” towards “BLISS!” and I’d like to share my journey and tips with you.  Go check out my Blah to Bliss Toolkit where you can get a free copy of my book that shares my story and actionable steps to move from Blah to Bliss!

 

Sunset Stroll – February 7th, 2015

Today was very warm – at least 45 degrees! That’s a 20 degree difference from yesterday!

Earlier in the day I noticed one of the first signs of spring – a Hyacinth pushing up through the ground 🙂

I took advantage of this warm weather and took Soc (the dog) for a nice walk near Whitesbog Village in NJ where we captured the sunset….  Enjoy!

I caught some of the sunset on video – take a look…

 

This was when we first got there…. hoping those clouds light up with color in a bit!
Sunset Stroll February 7 2015 with Beth Sawickie

sunset-feb-7-2015-02-beth-sawickie-72wm (1 of 1)

 

Here’s some close-up’s of the clouds.  Can you tell me what kind of clouds these are?  (let me know in the comments down below).sunset-feb-7-2015-04-beth-sawickie-72wm (1 of 1) sunset-feb-7-2015-03-beth-sawickie-72wm (1 of 1)

 

While waiting for the color show, we walked around.

Most of the bogs still had a layer of ice on them.

There were some neat ice formations at the edges – looked like the moving water froze as it was lapping at the edge of the bog.

And another area on the sand/dirt road where a puddle was melting.

sunset-feb-7-2015-05-beth-sawickie-72wm (1 of 1)sunset-feb-7-2015-06-beth-sawickie-72wm (1 of 1)

 

Then I turned around and looked at the opposite side (East)… it looked pretty neat over there too!

That’s a whole bunch o’ Pitch Pine growin’ there.

(Original photo edited to reflect the energy I felt while viewing it.)

sunset-feb-7-2015-08-beth-sawickie-72wm (1 of 1)

 

Here’s the sky at the height of the color!

sunset-feb-7-2015-12-beth-sawickie-72wm (1 of 1)

 

These next 2 show the energy I felt when viewing the sunset:

sunset-feb-7-2015-13-beth-sawickie-72wm (1 of 1)sunset-feb-7-2015-14-beth-sawickie-72wm (1 of 1)

 

And then it faded…

sunset-feb-7-2015-15-beth-sawickie-72wm (1 of 1)

Soc and I continued to walk for a bit – it still wasn’t too cold.

That itty bitty touch of pink/purple left in the sky did seem to rise up a bit again – too dark at that point for me to get a shot without a tripod.

I hope you enjoyed tonight’s Sunset Stroll 🙂  Let me know you enjoyed it by sharing it with others (use the buttons below) 🙂

And if you know what any of those clouds are, please let me know in the comments below.

Wishing you MANY more sunsets!

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P.S. My love of nature and photography really blossomed as I moved from “Blah” (depression) towards “Bliss”.  Read more about my journey in “Get Back on the Feel Good Train” that you can get for Free HERE.