Weekly Photo Challenge: Treat

While out walking, seeing a wild animal unexpectedly is really a treat.

White Tailed Deer
Ran into a white-tailed deer while walking in Staten Island’s Greenbelt area near Rockland Avenue.


Turtle I unexpectedly came upon in Central Park.
Even more of a treat when a person comes upon a wild animal in the middle of New York City.  Turtle I unexpectedly came upon in Central Park.  Is he looking back at me?  Probably not.


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Treat.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Habit

I started thinking about habits of nature and nature’s most salient habit, seems to me, to be the four seasons. From the “Big Bang” there has been winter, spring, summer, autumn.  Although global warming may be threatening to toy with it, nature still has its most unbreakable habit.

Winter on the FDR Boardwalk in Staten Island
Winter on the FDR Boardwalk in Staten Island
Spring in Staten Island.
Spring in Staten Island.
Summer in Staten Island, NY
Summer in Staten Island, NY
Staten Island's Greenbelt Autumn 2013
Staten Island’s Greenbelt Autumn 2013

Weekly Photo Challenge: A Day in my Life

Actually, this is a typical morning in my life.  My day begins at around 5:30 a.m. when I rise and go downstairs to the backyard of my building where I feed 3 hungry cats, and put peanuts/nuts/seeds out for the squirrels who visit just after daybreak.

Little grey cat of the night.
Little grey cat of the night.

Although homeless, the cats are well fed. I provide them breakfast, but another woman in my building gives them dinner. I also think they have

Bobbi, my own cat who lives  with me.  Where I live we are only allowed on pet.
Bobbi, my own cat who lives with me. Where I live we are only allowed one pet, but I compensate by feeding strays.

other places where they get food, because they don’t act as though they are starving, and don’t look it. I was worried about them being outside during the cold winter, but I don’t think they were as worried about themselves as I was. Cats can survive the cold as long as they have good food, because their bodies use their food to heat themselves from within.

Amongst the cats, it is easy to see their group status. The smallest cat is also the weakest. He is so full of fear. Even though I’ve been feeding him for months and months, he still won’t let me near him. The middle cat is also grey, but much prettier than the smallest cat and has much less fear. He has just started to let me touch him. He slightly intimidates the small grey cat, but one can see how the small cat struggles to not let him inimidate him.  They mainly just ignore the other. Then the last cat to join the group is a

I feed this guy every morning.  I think he knows me.
I feed this guy every morning. I think he knows me.

larger black cat who is the most dominating and aggressive of the 3 cats.  I put their food out in three separate piles, otherwise the black cat will chase the other two away. These cats really show how strength is based on amount of fear.  Besides all these cats, I also have a cat of my own in my apartment, whom I feed first.

The Greenbelt, March 2013
The reason the Greenbelt looks so bare is because of Hurricane Sandy. All the old and dead trees fell down, which I think is a good thing, because now there is room for new growth, but all the fallen trees and brush need to be cleared out.

After my morning backyard- wildlife-breakfast duties, I’m awake enough to hop on the #57 bus (between 7-9 a.m) on Port Richmond Avenue going to the Recreation Center in Staten Island’s Greenbelt area, where I workout in their gym for about 45 minutes. This further wakes me up, but sometimes, if I’m really having a hard time getting started, I stop off for coffee at a Starbucks on Victory Avenue and Bradley Ave. It’s about a 30-minute ride on the bus to the gym only if I don’t stop for coffee.  After deboarding the bus, I have about a ten-minute walk through the Greenbelt area to the recreation center.

After my morning workout at the Greenbelt Recreation Center, I walk down Rockland Avenue to Forest Hill Road. This winding, narrow strip of Rockland Avenue has no sidewalks and has the Greenbelt on both sides of the street.  The cars whiz by me.  Off to the side of the street, I visit a particular tree log where I put out peanuts and back-yard seeds/nuts for the squirrels and birds.  After I bus home, a group of pigeons are waiting for me for their breakfast.  (I spend a lot of money on all this animal food.) By this time, I’m fully awake, Thank God.

I also have my camera with me every morning to take photos. I’ve seen deer lately on my morning walk to the recreation center, but haven’t been able to get a photo of them yet, because they run away so fast. I can’t wait to get their picture.  [The Greenbelt in March 2013–Hurricane Sandy thinned out the trees and brush considerably.  Spring has not yet arrived to Staten Island’s Greenbelt.]
Encounter with groundhog on my walk to the Greenbelt Recreation Center.
The Greenbelt Recreation Center, Staten Island, NY
The Greenbelt Recreation Center, Staten Island, NY

Staten Island’s Greenbelt, Post Hurricane Sandy

The Staten Island Greenbelt is a system of contiguous public park land and natural areas in the central hills of the New York City borough of Staten Island, where I live.

One Week Before Hurricane Sandy

The Greenbelt in Staten Island is the second largest component of the parks owned by the City of New York and is maintained by the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation.  It’s also a place where I love to walk which I often do after I go for a workout at the Greenbelt Recreation Center, which is surrounded by the forests of the Greenbelt.

Photo I took in the Greenbelt on October 26, 2012 — three days before Hurricane Sandy

After Sandy (10/29/12), the Recreation Center closed down because of damage, loss of power, and so many trees down blocking the path for people, like myself, without cars, who walk to it.  Therefore,   I couldn’t go work out, but I started in again today after missing the entire month of November.  For seniors, like myself, the Greenbelt Recreation Center only costs $25/year, and besides the fully equipped gym (one room for cardio and another room for strength building) (open 7 days a week), they also have a computer room, tennis courts, ping-pong, chess, and all kinds of classes (computer, yoga, Zumba, crafts), most of them free.  What a bargain!

[you might like to visit my previous post from March, 2011,  entitled “The Greenbelt Recreation Center, Staten Island, New York” Also I have another post from last year called Staten Island’s Great Nature Trails.]

After Sandy Photos:

Before Sandy there were still brightly colored leaves on the trees (see above).  After Sandy, all the leaves covered the ground.
The Greenbelt on December 31, 2012

Autumn of 2012 in Staten Island

Website Translation Widget

The Greenbelt in Staten Island, Fall 2012. The greenbelt in Staten Island is land that has never been developed. Staten Island’s Greenbelt provides birders with some of the finest woodland environment in the five boroughs. The diversity of bird species found in these second growth forests is amazing.
Each year thousands of birds travel through our Greenbelt as they make the round-trip journey from the northern woodlands of New England to all points south. And each year those thousands of birds find our Greenbelt a safe respite, a fruitful woodland along the Atlantic flyway to rest and refuel.

Romney and the Environment

Novelist Jonathan Franzen: Franzen: “Romney, if he’s elected, will nullify sound decisions by the EPA; he will continue to pretend that the science of climate change is uncertain; he will open up all federal lands (except, presumably, national parks) to the ravages of drilling and mining; he will roll back sensible regulation of pollution and habitat destruction; and he has shown, with his choice of Paul Ryan as a running mate, that he is serious about slashing funding for every federal program except the military.”  (source:  Pinterest)
The Greenbelt has over 35 miles of marked hiking trails.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth

Thinking about how to illustrate growth, what came to my mind first was  Staten Island’s greenbelt area, which is land in Staten Island that has been left in its pristine state and will be forever wild.  I started hiking in the Greenbelt last March when it was all dead-looking trees and sticks and just starting to get green.  Only about six weeks later it was deep green with vines and full trees everywhere.

The Greenbelt in March 2012
the Greenbelt in June 2012.  The green ferns on the floor come in the late spring and disappears in the fall.