Birthday Surprise

Birthday Surprise

Black bear. Photo © Anthony Burkholder. One warm summer evening in September, my family was outside eating my little brother’s birthday cake. Suddenly my mother shaded her eyes and exclaimed, “What is that?”We all looked and then stared. Right across the road at our...
The Tachinid Fly Disaster

The Tachinid Fly Disaster

Photo © JjGouin/Dreamstime.com. I guess it started when a lady said she had a monarch caterpillar for us along with some milkweed to feed it. Although we didn’t know if it would turn out to be a he or she, my mom, a namer of things, named her Carrie Brook. If she...
Snow Day

Snow Day

One day last winter, it snowed and covered the yard. Daddy scooped it into a big pile with the backhoe. In the afternoon, our family went out to play. It was a squishy snow, soft and not good for climbing on the snow pile. We slid down anyway with our sleds. It made...
My “Star”

My “Star”

Meteor. Photo © Dreamstime.com. It was late in the day when I remembered. Weeks before, I had checked our November Nature Friend. The Geminid meteor shower was tonight.I had never seen a “shooting star,” and I didn’t really expect to see one at all. But I stepped...
In Search of Monarchs

In Search of Monarchs

They say ignorance is bliss. In some ways, I wish I had never taken that summer evening walk.“Mom, could I head out and look for monarchs again?”I’d waited long enough, I thought, for the milkweed-loving monarchs to populate the hay fields. I set off across two...
Nighttime Raider

Nighttime Raider

One summer day when we had some visitors, we spied a little squirrel up in the treetops right next to our house. It was not much bigger than a chipmunk. Someone ran to get the field guide, and we decided it was a southern flying squirrel. That was a surprise, for most...
Cool Night, Cozy Blankets, Hot Cocoa, &…

Cool Night, Cozy Blankets, Hot Cocoa, &…

Once upon a cool August evening, our family happened to be camping in a dark, open area near Jasper, Alberta, Canada, where we had an amazing view of the sky.One evening, something caught our dad’s eye. He looked up to see a shooting star streak through the sky....
Summertime Search

Summertime Search

One warm summer day, my cousin and I had a contest to see who could find the most kinds of birds, animals, trees, plants, or leaves. We met at the trail that led into the woods. Our backpacks were full of field guides, binoculars, and lunch. Our plan was to stay in...