Painting some early signs of fall….

This is such a great time of year to get out and draw or paint and I collect a lot of things, too….

These are some of the things I’ve been painting and drawing lately…

 

Cruising the great marsh of Barnstable…

Over the last weekend I was lucky enough to ride the high tide into the creeks and channels of the great marsh of Barnstable on The Horseshoe Crab, the boat for the Barnstable Harbor Ecotours. I had been asked to fill in as a leader for a trip so was going out with some other leaders to get a lay of a land and to become familiar with the kind of tour they were looking for.

The views of the flooded marsh were simply spectacular…. Continue reading

Kids love to draw and be outside….

I know this is true…

This little girl was jumping up and down, pulling her friend’s hair and screaming really loudly just before she sat down to draw….she sat like this for over half an hour filling page after page with pictures of leaves, flowers, birds and bugs…. Continue reading

Let the kids loose….

This post was originally published in the Cape Codder on August 10, 2012 as my column, Nature’s Ways. It has been a popular column so I am reprinting it here for readers who do not get the Cape Codder (since it is not available online)

Gather any group of folks of a certain age and at some point in the conversation the point will be made that when we were young our parents sent us out for the day and told us to come home when the street lights came on. Some had a bell to listen for, some had a lesson to be home for but mostly, we ran pretty freely through our neighborhoods, the woods, the fields and around the ponds. It doesn’t take long for these same groups to lament the lack of freedom today’s kids have accompanied by a lot of head shaking and making of concerned faces but no solutions are really offered. Everyone just agrees that the world has changed, alas….. Continue reading

A free digital download for you!

I am presently working on a coloring and activity book with a Cape Cod theme and while doing my programs this summer came up with a small, easily downloadable booklet called “My Cape Cod Beach.Book.” It is printed on both sides of one piece of paper, cut in half and either tied together with string or yarn or stapled. It fits easily into a pocketbook or backpack and is great for those times kids have to spend waiting….

Here’s a quick picture tutorial of how to put your booklet together. Ordering information is at the end of this post.  Continue reading

Summer Days, Wood Lilies and Bearberry Hill in Truro

This weekend has been picture perfect here on the Cape and I’ve been lucky enough to be outside enjoying it almost all weekend long. Yesterday we headed down Cape for a long meander and while doing so decided to see if the wood lilies were in bloom in Truro.

They were. It took us a while to find them because first I had to remember how to get to Bearberry Hill in Truro. On the way to finding it we found some other wonderful places and to be honest, it was such a lovely summer day we would have been hard pressed not to find wonderful scenery wherever we ended up.  Continue reading

Ode to a Catbird

This column was published this past week in the Cape Codder and has elicited a huge response from my readers. Since it is not available online I am posting it here.

Nature’s Ways, 6-29-12
By Mary Richmond

Ode to a Catbird

Way back when, in 1964 when I turned 10 to be exact, my grandmother gave me a beautiful hard bound copy of John K. Terres collection called “The Audubon Book of True Nature Stories.” I had read all the Thornton Burgess stories and any other nature stories I could find but this was my first book of “grown up” nature stories and I read it over and over. It was in these pages that I first met Crip, the brown thrasher from “Crip, Come Home!” that revisited Ruth Rowland Thomas’s home each spring and summer. Like her, I fell in love with him. Crip still carries on from my bookcase in spirit though he himself is long gone.
I have been thinking about Crip and the woman who loved him this week for I have my own Crip of sorts. Mine is a gray catbird and to be fair, I have no way to be sure it is the same bird I see each spring but each year for the last seven years a catbird arrives each spring and chases the resident winter mockingbird from its preferred territory and begins to sing. It usually doesn’t take long for him to attract a mate for he has some prime real estate safe in a holly tree, close to a garden and a feeder and a good supply of fresh water. He’s also quite handsome.


There’s something about a catbird that amuses me, perhaps going back to when, as a child, I would hear them “mewing” in the branches just out of reach of our feisty cat. Even as a youngster I knew the bird was taking a risk mocking a cat like that but in most cases the bird prevailed. It would be years before I realized that the catbird was a successful mimic and could sing its own melodic but often confusing song long after dusk began to creep upon the land. Catbirds come by their mimicry honestly, being related to mockingbirds and brown thrashers.  Continue reading

Watching a front move in…

When we arrived at the beach around noon the sun was shining brightly, the sky was blue and there were some big puffy clouds on the horizon…

As we walked along the shore the clouds got thicker and thicker…

They looked very dramatic over the dunes…

and on the backside of the dunes the bright light lit up the sand against the violet and blue clouds…

We began to feel a few drops of rain and began to walk a little faster….

and faster….

and the rain got a little heavier but all the while parts of the sky remained bright blue…

Yep, just another day at the beach….

Photos taken today on Kalmus Beach in Hyannis.

Late May on the beach….

It is only a few days before Memorial Day and the Cape Cod beaches are beautiful…and still pretty quiet so come for a walk with me…

First we’ll take a turn by the sweet smelling rosa rugosa’s which are blooming really early this year…

We will stop to admire the beach peas, also blooming really early….and while we’re at it we’ll look out over Nantucket Sound…

Here’s a close up of those lovely beach peas…

We’ll enjoy the view of the sliver that remains of Egg Island, that only shows up at low tide. That’s Great Island in Yarmouth in the background.

We’ll stop to look across Lewis Bay in the amazing light…

Check out some courting least terns…

and smile at the ones lined up at the edge of the water…

And then we’ll take one last long look at the sand, sea and sky before we head back to work…