The challenges and rewards are greatest where two systems meet.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Barrel of Fun ... the Edge of Aquatic

I saw this female gray tree frog on a raspberry branch hanging over my rain barrel.  It was early June and I hadn't heard any "chirping", so never thought to cover the rain barrels ... yet. 

I never saw a single cluster of the many groups of 12 eggs.  But by June 20th, we had hundreds of tadpoles swimming in the barrel.

It was fascinating to watch their development. The transparent spots are fairy shrimp and I learned they are NOT a food for the tads.

The hind legs were visible within two weeks, but the forelegs took forever.  This individual looked ready for the fourth leg to "pop" on Oct. 13th.  It finally broke the filmy skin late the next day. 

One of the real surprises for me, while waiting for my eye to heal, was:  I discovered frogs shed their aquatic skin. You can see the ghost of the skin over the fingers on his right forearm.

I very carefully checked each morning. I had 12 larvae in an aquarium in the house and (thankfully) they seemed to climb early in the morning once they became terrestrial.

I released this fellow just before the remaining 10 took a trip to the Bridgewater / Hebron 3rd grade.
It was a GREAT couple of visits with Mrs. Shedd and her students.  They had "Super Observations" and they told me they learned a lot of new facts about frogs.

It is so important to be aware of our relationships with our surroundings and the responsibilities we have to all organisms.  We all -- frogs and humans -- hold a piece to the puzzle.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Survival, Earthquake...... The Edge of Grieving

The World has changed since my last post. Nepal and the Kathmandu Valley was hit with a 7.8 earthquake on Saturday, April 25.  This has shaken me to the core. A month earlier, we were enjoying an amazing trip that connected us with kind and peaceful people in this same area.  Now, we fear for them and for their losses.

Tomorrow, we share our spectacular journey and experiences with friends and neighbors at the Gordon-Nash Library in our home town of New Hampton, New Hampshire.

The Good News is we have heard from almost all our new Nepalese friends, and they are safe. Many have lost their homes and work, but they have survived.

One school we visited is no longer standing, yet all 50 children and founder, Pushpa Basnet, and her staff are safe. They are living under a tarp over a greenhouse frame.  They need immediate supplies such as food, water and shelter for the upcoming monsoon season.  They have long-term needs for rebuilding a permanent home on their own land.
You can donate to the ECDC/ Butterfly House through the Utopia Foundation.  100% of your donation goes to Pushpa and the children.  Here's the link:

I will post again soon with a continuation of our adventures and an update on the people we know there.
Value each day ........   Namaste ... Barry

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day... The edge of responsibility.

Happy Earth Day to all. These "special"days have such a Hallmark greeting card feel to them. Once a year we acknowledge "we" are part of the environment and hopefully do something responsible to make the Earth a better place.

Last night I was finishing a book by the Dalai Lama, "Ethics for the New Millennium.  He states:  an individual's "lack of contentment is the source of damage to our natural environment and, thereby, of harm to others. Which others? In particular, the poor and the weak. Within their own community, though the rich may be able to move to avoid, for example, high levels of pollution, the poor have no choice"...... "If we choose not to modify our behavior out of respect for others' equal right to happiness and not to suffer, it will not be long before we notice the negative consequences."

Just back from Kathmandu, Nepal his words are so right. The poor are already feeling the ills of our greed. The amazing gift of this trip for me was the attitude of the Nepali people. These wonderful people were so giving and peaceful. Their wealth was inner, and they shared openly.

This is yet another Earth Day with major political powers arguing over the question of Climate Change. The truth is the only thing we can change is how "We" fit into this beautiful planet.  Do we continue to be the ONLY species on Earth ruining its own habitat?  Or, do we change and assume our personal responsibility.   Do we learn and act on living our own lives sustainably.

Namaste ... Barry

Monday, April 20, 2015

Namobuddha Organics on the Edge of the Himalayas.

On arrival at the Namobuddha Eco Resort, we met Ingrid. She and her husband built this super guest house using local builders and materials. Their goal has been to be a model of sustainable farming and responsible tourism. She reminded me of Helen Nearing.

Night life at the night light: 
the brown guy looks like an Asian Gypsy Moth

What a spectacular sunrise!  It is our first view of the Himalaya Mountains.

Sunrise ladies Helena, Allie, and Cassandra

Common Mynah bird, they are great mimickers .

On the way to the Namu Buddha Stupa.  This small town has the same name.  It's one of the great Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Nepal.  This smaller shrine is at the base of the steep path and many steps to the main temple and monastery.  No one ever said it would be easy...

Ladies digging up compost from a huge "communal" pile

Happy campers + monks

Had a great time with "The Matts" taking photos and spotting birds.
White Cheeked Bulbul

     Blue Fronted Red Start .....what a beauty!

Next up: Monks, Prayer flags, and on to Nagarkort.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Bhaktapur pottery and people, then the amazing drive to Namobuddha

At every turn there was a photo and a smile.

                                                      We did eat very well.

Bhaktapur is known for its Pottery.  There are great clay deposits and super talent with a stick for spinning the potting wheel. Then the pots are fired in a sort of wheat fueled kiln and sun dried.

These special bowls are made with seven metals for the seven Chakras. Gretchen sure looks like there were "Good Vibrations". 

Then it was time for Mike to add to his elephant herd.

We left the city and drove by many brick works, each with its own insignia stamped in the mold.
Any guess for the number of bricks in this one stack?

The sights on the road are even photo worthy with a max speed in the 40 mph range.

Nepalese believe in "beautifying" everything and their trucks are works of art.

In a short time the switchbacks increased and we were really climbing to the "Hills" (over 5,000')

Here's the 143' tall Shiva, Kailashnath, not sure if it beats the Buddha in Taiwan for height.

Almost at the Namobuddha Guest house -- the views are great.

Wait until you see the Himalayas in the morning...

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The outer Edge of Earth..... Nepal

We have done it again -- yet another "Life changing trip". This time we traveled to Nepal with an amazing group of students and faculty from the University of Rhode Island. The main purpose of the trip was a 3 Day Seminar on Peace and Nonviolence training based on Martin Luther King's philosophy and being.  The seminar combined students and teachers from Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu, members of the Nepali military, NGO representatives and us.

   We met up at JFK New York and boarded the largest passenger plane built (the one on the right).

After +/-15 hrs on the flying hotel we landed at the Dubai Airport. This is what it REALLY looked like through my eyes.

We then boarded the plane on the left and flew over the City
those buildings in the foreground are 50 stories tall.

We landed exhausted in Kathmandu and crashed at the Airport Hotel and woke to the SPECTACLE .

First photo with Buddha 

And did I mention 15 super students and 3 other staff.. ready to Rock&Roll to Bhaktapur

On the walk Gret really was taken with another Tractor.

So many GREAT faces

Want to buy an Elephant?

Stay tuned for Mike's second Elephant.