Sunday, August 31, 2008
While I float back down to earth, take a look at this good source of information.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
WiseAcre from WiseAcre Gardens pointed out that there are actually two plants there. The plant the Stem Sawfly is on is Wild Clematis. He identified that right away for me. Check out the link for his excellent pictures of more. The plant I thought was Baneberry, I think is actually Gray Dogwood. I'll have a post up about that soon.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
This particular plant is called Common Milkweed. This is the primary food for many different insects, and a major food source for many others. Monarch Butterflies, Milkweed Leaf Beetles, and Milkweed Bugs only eat milkweed, and couldn't survive without it. The green pods are actually the fruit of the milkweed plants. After the pods turn brown, they burst open and let out fluffy seeds. The seeds are caught by the wind to float through the air and spread more plants.
Something I always wondered was, why is it called milkweed? Where is the milk? Well, when the plant is broken open, a milky sap comes out. Don't eat this plant because the sap is poisonous. It's a poison called Cardiac Glycosides. Some animals can eat it but humans can't. When a monarch butterfly caterpillar eats the milkweed leaves, it absorbs the poison into it's body, and it becomes poisonous to predators. Even though it's poisonous to eat the milkweed, the fluffy seeds are sometimes used as stuffing for life jackets.
I am just guessing here, but maybe milkweed pods were the inspiration for the story "Invasion Of The Body Snatchers." If you're not familiar with it; it's about pods that came from seeds that drifted through space for years, and finally landed on earth. Once on earth, the pods grow duplicates of humans inside, in an evil plot to replace the human race. If you haven't seen the movie, give it a try, it's a good story.
So if you ever see a truckload of giant milkweed pods, we're all doomed!
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
A chipmunk is a squirrel-like rodent species of the genus Tamias in the family Sciuridae. You can identify them by the light colored stripes running down their backs. They are sometimes known as "striped squirrels" or "ground squirrels". They are known for storing food in their mouths until their cheeks bulge out. When my sister was very young, her cheeks used to puff out, and people would call her "chipmunk cheeks". It was sometimes an amusing sight to see this tiny little girl with the puffy cheeks. She actually did resemble a chipmunk. I don't remember any stripes though. There was a music group called Alvin and the Chipmunks that had a few hit songs. They eventually became cartoon characters with several popular cartoons. One of the last used to be one I liked to watch.
This is, so far, the best picture I was able to get. I tried to take more, but the little guy ran into the forest in spite of my best efforts to be still and quiet. If he would have just waited a few seconds more!
There were birds here, but the sounds that came from these were strange and unpleasant. The green grass was now gone, and I was left with a dark, damp, dirt path. The warmth in the air was gone here, and I could smell the damp earth and the decay of the dead plants.
Ahead of me was an old rotted tree trunk lying across the path to block the way. It was like an eerie omen of things to come, and a warning not to go on. I thought to myself, "I'm the Everyday Adventurer, why should I turn back now?"
Suddenly, out of the quiet darkness came what sounded like a giant cricket. I stopped to listen, and realized it was just another strange bird high in the trees. After identifying the weird sound, I moved forward and stepped over the fallen tree and began to head down this dark path.
Hey you! Yes you, reading this. If you want to find out what happened next, find this path for yourself. You'll find something on it you've never seen before. It's definitely an interesting experience. But before you go, make a comment about what you've read here. Let me know your thoughts.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Bumblebees are social insects that are characterized by black and yellow body hairs, often in bands. However, some species have orange or red on their bodies, or may be entirely black. Another obvious (but not unique) characteristic is the soft nature of the hair (long, branched setae), called pile, that covers their entire body, making them appear and feel fuzzy. They are best distinguished from similarly large, fuzzy bees by the form of the female hind leg, which is modified to form a corbicula; a shiny concave surface that is bare, but surrounded by a fringe of hairs used to transport pollen (in similar bees, the hind leg is completely hairy, and pollen grains are wedged into the hairs for transport).
According to 20th century folklore, the laws of aerodynamics prove that the bumblebee should be incapable of flight, as it does not have the capacity (in terms of wing size or beat per second) to achieve flight with the degree of wing loading necessary. Not being aware of scientists 'proving' it cannot fly, the bumblebee succeeds under "the power of its own ignorance". The origin of this myth has been difficult to pin down with any certainty. John McMasters recounted an anecdote about an unnamed Swiss aerodynamicist at a dinner party who performed some rough calculations and concluded, presumably in jest, that according to the equations, bumblebees cannot fly. In later years McMasters has backed away from this origin, suggesting that there could be multiple sources, and that the earliest he has found was a reference in the 1934 French book Le vol des insectes by M. Magnan. Magnan is reported to have written that he and a M. Saint-Lague had applied the equations of air resistance to insects and found that their flight was impossible, but that "One shouldn't be surprised that the results of the calculations don't square with reality".
It is believed that the calculations which purported to show that bumblebees cannot fly are based upon a simplified linear treatment of oscillating aerofoils. The method assumes small amplitude oscillations without flow separation. This ignores the effect of dynamic stall, an airflow separation inducing a large vortex above the wing, which briefly produces several times the lift of the aerofoil in regular flight. More sophisticated aerodynamic analysis shows that the bumblebee can fly because its wings encounter dynamic stall in every oscillation cycle. 
I always heard this bumblebee myth and thought it was generally accepted reality. I learn something new with every new everyday adventure.
Monday, August 25, 2008
So, make a suggestion in the comments section below. I'm confident somebody must have something fun they'd like to share.
A dragonfly is a type of insect belonging to the order Odonata, the suborder Epiprocta or, in the strict sense, the infraorder Anisoptera. It is characterized by large multifaceted eyes, two pairs of strong, transparent wings, and an elongated body. Dragonflies are similar to damselflies, but the adults can be differentiated by the fact that the wings of most dragonflies are held away from, and perpendicular to, the body when at rest.
Dragonflies typically eat mosquitoes, and other small insects like flies, bees, ants and butterflies. They are therefore valued as predators, since they help control populations of harmful insects. Dragonflies are usually found around lakes, ponds, streams and wetlands because their larvae, known as "nymphs", are aquatic. Adult dragonflies do not bite or sting humans, though nymphs are capable of delivering a painful (though otherwise harmless) bite.
When I see something like this I know I'm having a great everyday adventure. Don't you wish you could too?
Sunday, August 24, 2008
From here it's a pretty nice view. I'm walking through a long transparent tunnel. I can see every direction from here. If you were to walk up here, you'd have an amazing adventure just looking around. I can look down and see a truck pass right under me from here. In every direction you can see something different and interesting. Just think, I'm showing this all to you for free. If you were to go here yourself you'd have to pay...nothing. Hmm, still free. I must be doing it wrong.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention, I like bridges.
One thing I noticed though was another tree that didn't seem to be there before. Wow, an apple tree full of small golden apples. It seemed to glow in the sunlight, making it feel like a nice presence here today, considering all the flowers in the meadow were gone.
I've never seen apples quite like these before. And while most wild apple trees are just ravaged by worms, this one seems virtually untouched. I felt drawn to it, so I took these pictures and a few more.
I know that we're not supposed to eat any wild plants or fruit. I said so myself. But these apples just looked so appetizing. Maybe just a little bite...
Uh, I think I have to go. Something urging me out of the nature park. Maybe this wasn't a good idea. Everybody knows you don't eat strange fruit! Don't they?
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Look closer at it. I would swear that some of the protrusions on this tree look like awful hideously frozen humanoid faces. In the light of day the tree looks like it's made of bone. When it's in shadows it looks downright scary.
This was the capper to the feeling that something just wasn't right in the nature park today. I saw one other person in here earlier who passed quickly by with his head down, which just added to the same feeling.
This tree is one of the creepiest looking things I've ever seen on these trails. I've been here many times and I never saw this before. If you like the spooky or the strange, which I do, you would have had an exciting everyday adventure here today!
Green algae (singular: green alga) are the large group of algae from which the embryophytes (higher plants) emerged. As such, they form a paraphyletic group, although the group including both green algae and embryophytes is monophyletic (and often just known as kingdom Plantae). The green algae include unicellular and colonial flagellates, usually but not always with two flagella per cell, as well as various colonial, coccoid, and filamentous forms. In the Charales, the closest relatives of higher plants, full differentiation of tissues occurs. There are about 6000 species of green algae.  Many species live most of their lives as single-cells, other species form colonies or long filaments.
Hey, are you still here? Go look at some of my other stuff! Really. It's pretty good.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Here's a little about them from Wikipedia:
The family Gerridae contains insects commonly known as water striders, water bugs, magic bugs, pond skaters, skaters, skimmers, water scooters, water skaters, water skeeters, water skimmers or water skippers. These are predatory insects which rely on surface tension to walk on top of water. They live on the surface of ponds, slow streams, marshes, and other quiet waters. They can move very quickly, up to 1.5 m/s.
Cool. Follow the link up there for more information.
I don't know which of these reasons it could be if any. There could be more than one reason. Maybe this is something that just happens every year. It didn't look like the same thing everywhere. Some trees were broken at the base. Some were completely uprooted. And some were broken anywhere from a foot or more from the ground. I would see in most places the fallen trees were cut up and moved off the trails, but sometimes I had to step over one laying across the path.
There were a few more trees that hadn't fallen yet, but were clearly ready to go. There was this one huge tree, that I walked past quickly, that was leaning and waiting for the stress of it's weight to take it down. I also saw few that were being propped up by other trees. I've never seen a tree actually fall, but I'd bet it's a sight to behold. I'm not sure how quickly it happens, or how much warning a person might have. I do know that I'll keep my eyes and ears open for things like this when I'm out on the nature trails. I don't think it's a big danger, but it is something to be mindful of from now on.
If a tree falls on you in the forest, do you make a sound?
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Everything is created and conducted by the same Master-the root, the branch, the fruits-the principles, the consequences.
This plaque is on the side of the chimney of the Chalet at the Orchard Lake Nature Sanctuary.
- Steve's Blog
- Another Sunrise
- GARYSWORLD 'APPALACHIA' Live your dreams
- How A Pinay Makes Money Online
- Nature With Me
- Neighborhood Nature
- Exotic Pets
- Inconsequential Logic
- Tree Clowns
- The Ad Master
- Slightly Sarcastic
- Taking It Outside
Any of you on this list that want your link on the main page just show me your support. If you leave frequent comments on my posts and you have a link to me, I'll add you to my sidebar. If I still fail to move your link to the sidebar, please give me a gentle reminder and I'll take care of it for you. And I like to comment back, so you'll get plenty of feedback from me also. I have to do things this way because of the limited space.
Monday, August 18, 2008
This is the best view of Upper Straits Lake from here. I wouldn't want to interfere with the growth of the trees here either, but you can't really see anything from the overlook. I did get some better pictures, but only because the camera's zoom feature can see better than me. This represents the actual view the best. As you can see, maybe if the trees weren't in the way, this would be a great view. Part good adventure, part not so good adventure here. This park is bordered on two sides by these big beautiful lakes, but it seems there is really no public way to see them. That's unfortunate. The trails themselves are what's really important here anyway. If you come here to see these lakes you'll be disappointed, but if you come for the trails you'll have a great everyday adventure.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
When I got out on the dock, I saw that Upper Straits Lake had a lot of activity today, and a lot of people. It's a huge lake, and has quite a bit to see. I would have liked to stay here a little longer. So many boats up close made it hard to get a good picture of the lake. I like this one though.
There's one thing I can't resist mentioning. There was an incident, with the woman from this closest boat, that Alice wouldn't really like told here, so I won't give more details. I have to say though, it was pretty funny. I thought before that Alice was going to be small for the rest of the time on these trails, but this made her grow to the size of a giant. I bet she could fit that arrowhead in her pocket now.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
It's another woodchuck! This is the closest I could get before it ran off into the trees to the left. I've seen other animals back here before. Behind the trees is a creek and the forest goes on for quite a ways. I see deer sometimes, but not in a while. I mentioned the geese before. A few days before I saw the woodchuck for the first time, I saw something potentially dangerous. I looked back there one day, and right at the edge of the trees there was a dog like animal, but it was no dog. It was wild, and I suspect it was a coyote. It was moving around back there, and when it saw me it bolted into the trees. Then I saw it peering out of the edge of the trees at me. I gotta say, It made me a little afraid. Gladly, I haven't seen it since. If I do, I'll try to get a picture. Even so, I'm finding out I can find adventure every day in my own backyard.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Last spring several flocks of geese would come around and make so much noise it would wake me up every morning. They'd be carrying on playing and fighting right outside my window. I would usually just stay inside until they left. I wasn't quite brave or stupid enough to try and take my chances out there. Even so, I was hoping to get a few pictures of the geese since then.
The Canada Goose was one of the many species described by Linnaeus in his 18th-century work Systema Naturae.It belongs to the Branta genus of geese, which contains species with largely black plumage, distinguishing them from the grey species of the Anser genus. The specific epithet canadensis is a New Latin word meaning "of Canada".
The black head and neck with white "chinstrap" distinguish the Canada Goose from all except the Barnacle Goose, but the latter has a black breast, and grey, rather than brownish, body plumage. There are seven subspecies of this bird, of varying sizes and plumage details, but all are recognizable as Canada Geese. Some of the smaller races can be hard to distinguish from the newly-separated Cackling Goose.
This species is native to North America. It breeds in Canada and the northern United States in a variety of habitats. Its nest is usually located in an elevated area near water, sometimes on a beaver lodge. Its eggs are laid in a shallow depression lined with plant material and down. The Great Lakes region maintains a very large population of Canada Geese.
In recent years, Canada Geese populations in some areas have grown substantially, so much so that many consider them pests (for their droppings, the bacteria in their droppings, noise and confrontational behavior). This problem is partially due to the removal of natural predators and an abundance of safe, man-made bodies of water (such as on golf courses, public parks and beaches, and in planned communities).
When threatened, geese stand erect and hiss.
What Wikipedia may not mention is that geese sometimes have bad tempers, and will attack a full grown human if they feel threatened enough. They use their wings to beat on you, and they can win. They've been known to kill dogs in a fight. As long as you give them a little space, you should have nothing to worry about, and you'll have a fun everyday adventure and an interesting experience.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
This is the trail that I walked for a little ways. I turned back around when it branched, up ahead. I didn't explore this park further yet, because this was only a scouting mission. I had more parks to see, so this was only the beginning of my adventure today. An everyday adventure isn't always short, but it's almost always fun!
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
1. "As much wood as a woodchuck would if a woodchuck could chuck wood."
2. "A woodchuck would chuck as much wood as a woodchuck could chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood."
3. "A woodchuck would chuck all the wood, if a woodchuck only could."
Monday, August 11, 2008
Is that an alligator in the water? What? Are you sure? It couldn't be... this is Michigan.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
There was nothing so very remarkable in that, nor did Alice think it so very much out of the way to hear the Rabbit say to itself, "Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!" But when the Rabbit actually took a watch out of its waistcoat-pocket and looked at it and then hurried on, Alice started to her feet, for it flashed across her mind that she had never before seen a rabbit with either a waistcoat-pocket, or a watch to take out of it, and, burning with curiosity, she ran across the field after it and was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole, under the hedge. In another moment, down went Alice after it!
- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
She said, "I can get really close to it. I've done this before with rabbits." I asked her where she saw a rabbit before. She said, "In my back yard. I know how to get right up next to them." Then she proceeded to try to sneak up on it. There it went, with Alice right behind.
Well, I got half of a picture. The rabbit then ran into the forest. Alice went to plunge right in after it, when I told her more firmly now, to stop. She finally stopped and said, "I can still see it. If I go in there, I can chase it back out so we can get more pictures." I told her not to do it, because we don't want to scare it anymore. She eventually reluctantly agreed, and I said, "Let's sit down and rest, this is a nice place."
You know, when I started this Everyday Adventurer thing, I never thought I'd find myself in Wonderland.