Saturday, January 31, 2009

Entrecard Top Dropper Day

The first thing I'd like to mention here is that there are two posts today. My usual nature related post is right below this one.

It's Entrecard's first official Top Dropper Day. Entrecard users, such as myself, were asked to participate by making a post to honor the top droppers on our sites. I volunteered to do it, because I like the way Entrecard helps bring new visitors to blogs, and possible new friends. It's a good system that works well. If you have a blog and you're not part of it yet, you can go here for more information: Entrecard

So, in accordance with Top Dropper Day, I'd like to thank these ten blogs for dropping the most cards on my site. For those of you that don't understand, they visit my site practically every day, and click on that Entrecard thing over on the right.

Another request from Entrecard is to compliment each of these blogs individually. Since I'm a daring rulebreaker, as many of you know, I'm going to be different. Individual compliments in this context are empty compliments. My compliment to them is to ask each and every one of you to visit their sites. They all have great blogs that many of you already recognize and visit now. Give them all a chance, you'll be glad you did.

My Top Entrecard Droppers
You can see a list of these same blogs on the right side of this website, just under the Entrecard widget. It changes according to who visits here and drops their card the most. I always keep them there to show my appreciation. Some of them are my well known blogging friends. Others are possible future friends.

That's it. That's Top Dropper Day for January.

Is It A Cocoon?

Today I'm going to talk about something I've been avoiding for awhile. The subject is what you see in these two photos. The reason I've been avoiding this subject is because I don't know what they are.

Usually I like to write about something I can definitely tell you some good information about. I have tried to do a little research about these things, but I have come up with nothing. Maybe someone who is more experienced about this kind of thing knows what they are, but I don't.

These aren't the only ones I've seen either. These are just the latest. I've been seeing these on tree branches for a little while now, and I've been wondering about them. I have always guessed that they're some sort of cocoon or something, but I don't know enough about cocoons yet.

They also look just like animal droppings, but I don't think that's what they are. If that was the case, it would have to be from birds, and birds don't do that shape, except maybe geese. I think you only find goose droppings on the ground. So I'm going to stick with my guess of cocoons.

Even though I don't know exactly what I'm seeing, they're still something interesting that I found while I was hiking. As you can see, they're not the most attractive thing I've ever posted here, but they are interesting. It's fun to speculate on what these are, and I'm sure some of you probably already know.

This is what being an everyday adventurer is all about; the discovery of new, interesting things. I try not to overlook even the most insignificant things I find. Who knows what might turn out to be a something good? If these are cocoons, what might come out later?

Before I go, I'd just like to mention that I've been seeing weather vanes all over town, now that I've been watching for them. I think I even saw a lightning rod. That means I have some camera work to do. Who knows? When I'm pointing the camera to the sky to take a picture of an elusive weather vane, maybe I'll get a shot of a UFO.

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Long Live The King

Fiction Friday

This is another story from the past. I added a little bit to it, so it's actually an update of sorts. I've always liked it, even though it's kind of short. My next story is running a little late, so I decided this one could stand in until next time, when I finish the other one.

Fiction writing is proving to be quite time consuming. This one is probably more exaggeration than fiction, but there are elements of both. These events actually happened, but I decided to embellish them a bit. I hope you enjoy it. Gary did. Here we go...

Last time, we saw The Everyday Adventurer in a thrilling encounter with a flock of geese. Here is the king of them all, Gary Gander. How do I know his name? Because I named him. If you have a better one, give it to me.

After the others got tired of me (I know, it's hard to believe.), this lone performer stayed right with me to the end. He followed along as if he were my best friend. He even did a little dance for me, so I would keep the camera on him and him alone. I must say, it worked like a charm. King Gary Gander was the star of the show.

Here he is in the middle of his spectacular Dance of the Golden Goose Egg. No, he didn't do a back flip or anything like that, but he did swing his head from side to side. I would tell more, but you had to be there. He stopped in the middle one time, to admire the big rock behind him. Maybe he thought it was a big goose egg. The size and those edges would have hurt the biggest goose.

Take a bow, Gary.

After a great performance, I think Gary realized he was the star of the show. But was he the only one? ...There was another!

It seems Gary has an evil nemesis! This is Larry the Canada Goose. He has an evil plot to take Gary's territory and his kingdom. Just look at the snobbishly evil look on his face. What an arrogant goose.

After Gary's entertaining antics, I wonder what Larry will come up with. I'm not sure it will be good. So far, all I've seen from Larry are a few drunken brawls in my backyard. I don't know. I just don't know. Bad things are coming, unless Gary can conquer this new interloper.

Long Live King Gary Gander!

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Birds In Flight

I am getting better and better! As I was heading back to my hidden river, I found myself in the middle of a huge flock of robins. I actually got several pictures of these birds flying back and forth. Anyone who has read this blog for awhile knows of my problems with getting shots of birds in flight.

As I began to say, I was walking along the small hiking trail to see the river. About halfway there, I noticed that there was this huge flock of birds in the trees all around me. I looked through the camera to see what kind they were, and noticed that they were more robins. That's what seems to be around here this time of year.

As I was watching them, they began flying back and forth and all around me. I was ready this time. I was armed with some new knowledge of camera work! I lifted the camera towards where the birds kept flying. I pushed the button down only halfway, to the focus position. Then I waited for some of the birds to fly into my view.

As you can see by my photos, it worked splendidly! I got these shots of the birds flying around, and even more that I won't bother showing here. These are the best, so you're not missing anything. I'll always give you the good stuff.

It was really easy this time. As they flew by, I just pressed the button down the rest of the way. That solved the time lag problem that was preventing me from getting the shots in the first place. I know I can get flying bird photos now whenever I want. That part of that quest is now over!

I'm not finished improving yet though. As you can see, these aren't the greatest bird photos that were ever taken. They are kind of dark looking and the birds aren't very clear. They are still a good record of my progress! I know my next step.

Next comes the step where I get clearer photos. My camera isn't necessarily a professional camera, but it is the next best thing. It's actually a very good camera. The only thing holding me back right now is my own shortcomings as a photographer. I have only scratched the surface of what this camera can do.

I would learn to use it faster, but I'm too busy just having my everyday adventures to move very fast with it. That's okay with me. I'll pick up tips along the way, and learn as I go along from every new experience. The best thing about that is you'll get to read along, and see my happy progress, and my miserable failures. See, that makes it fun for all of us!

Another thing that makes getting these shots a challenge is the interruptions from other hikers and nature lovers. As I was taking these photos, I realized that there was a man on the trail behind me. I didn't see him or hear him, it must have been my spider sense tingling that alerted me. Do rats have spider sense?

Well, I turned and looked at him, and saw that he was politely standing there waiting for me, so he wouldn't get in the way. I remember thinking again how people on these trails are so much friendlier than people back in town. That's a happy thought, and another reason to go out to these places.

I told him to please go on, and he apologized the whole way as I kept telling him it wasn't necessary. Everybody is nice and polite out here. Getting back to nature is a great way to civilize people. It's kind of ironic, isn't it?

Thee was only one problem with this little social interaction. The birds didn't seem to be as friendly towards other people as I was. As he walked by, all of my little flying subjects flew away! I waited to see if they would come back, but I soon realized it was time to move on.

That was the end of my flying bird photos for the day, but at least I was left with a few happy little events. These things made a great everyday adventure for me, and I went home happy again. I like that feeling.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Weather Vane Watch

My subject for today is going to be a little different. It's not wildlife, or plants, or trails. It's about Weather Vanes, also known as wind vanes. I'm actually going to start hunting these weather vanes, and do a series of posts called Weather Vane Watch.

I did part of this post before, but now I'm going to update it in a big way. I noticed after doing the first one that weather vanes are harder to find now than I thought they would be, so I thought it would be an interesting quest, and a great everyday adventure. I now have two different weather vanes in my collection, and more on the way.

I was out walking around town, and saw this weather vane on top of one of the public buildings. I never actually thought of anything like this before, but a weather vane is a part of nature, just like anything else. But what does it do? What is it's intended purpose?

The purpose of a weather vane is to tell us which direction the wind is blowing. It is designed so that the wind will push it to the direction of least resistance. Then it will point into the wind, therefore pointing in the direction the wind is coming from. In my picture you can see that the wind is coming from the west.

Let me give you a brief history of weather vanes. The oldest known weather vane was on the Tower Of The Winds in Athens, Greece. It's in the shape of the Greek god Triton. It dates back to around 48 BC. Later as the Roman Empire converted to Christianity, they began to put weather vanes on top of their churches.

These weren't Tritons anymore, they were now in the form of roosters, and called weather cocks. Now you can find them on the top of churches everywhere. Today a weather vane can be in the form of anything the maker wants, and they come in all shapes and sizes.

You can find weather vanes on many different types of official building today. All you have to do is look up. In almost every case, it will be found on the highest point of the building, because that is where it works the best. You can even find them on houses and barns. Look to the rooftops around your area, and I'm sure you'll eventually see one of these.

These last two pictures are from the top of the Nature Center at Heritage Park. There are more things up there with the weather vane, and it is actually a crude one, but it still qualifies. I'll be getting them from anywhere I find them from now on. Some will be very beautiful. Of course, I'll only take pictures, not weather vanes.

I think this is going to be a fun addition to the rest of my stuff. One of these times, the sky will be blue again when I get new shots of these wind vanes. These first few were taken in cold weather, so the sky is very gray. I guess that's kind of appropriate for this though.

I guess as I continue, I should start getting pictures of the buildings that these weather vanes are sitting atop. Hopefully this new quest will be a fun and interesting part of The Everyday Adventurer from now on. I like things like this, and I'll be hunting for new ones whenever I can.

A hunt for a weather vane should give anyone a fun, quick outing, and a great everyday adventure. Go out and try it for yourself. It doesn't take that long and you shouldn't have to go very far. Happy hunting!

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cloudy Day Sun

I'm not going to say much today, because I think it would ruin the effect of the photos. I took this series of pictures of the sun coming from behind the clouds, one shot right after the other. I think this is better than if it was animated. There isn't much writing today, because I hope the pictures speak for themselves.

I hope you liked it. That was what I saw before the sun went back into hiding behind the clouds. This all happened in about thirty seconds, but now it will last forever. I'll talk to you next time, and talk, and talk, and...

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Winter Creek

Today I want to talk about a little winter creek. This little half frozen creek is something I've featured here in the recent past. It didn't used to be a small little creek. It used to be a raging river. That was just a few short weeks ago.

A great benefit of winter is that it has the ability to calm down even the most violent forces of nature. I've shown you a whole lake where the winter ice completely covered and subdued it. It was more of the same with this river.

The last time I was here, I was stopped at every turn by a flood that was caused by melting snow. The snow melt was a result of a sudden warm spell. The warm air released the fury of the water, which must have been angry at being frozen.

Here's what the river looked like last time I was here. The photo at the top shows what it looks like now. In my most recent trip here, I was now able to stand on the log in the bottom right to take my pictures.Last time I didn't dare get that close to the river. This raging river is now a small winter creek.

I still won't move very close to the river in this location, but I can stand right in the middle of it at other places, and other times. I've show what it looks like in the summer before. I'll leave a link to that at the bottom of the post.

Here is another section of this river. This place is hidden to most people. The path leading to it is so small that most people are afraid to travel this far. This place is deep within the park at an area where the trail runs out.

I have only seen one other person here. That person was a man that only gained the confidence to come here because he saw me do it first. He followed me right in, and told me he never knew it was here before.

I didn't mind being his tour guide this time. I don't want my little river to get crowded, but I really don't mind sharing sometimes. I actually like when I can show someone something new, that's why I'm writing this blog right now.

Here's one last shot of this little river. Even this deep freeze can't completely cover moving water forever. It has a way of breaking free of it's confinement. That's good, because it gives the animals around here a good source of fresh water.

The first time I was ever here, I walked right up on three deer getting a drink. They ran immediately after they saw me. I felt bad for interrupting them, and I didn't even get any pictures of them. I'm feeling much better now.

That's it for today, and I'm ready to go. I'll be back tomorrow with more of the show!

Related Posts

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Snow On The Bridge

I wrote a post a short time back called "The Quiet Bridge". It was about a hidden bridge on a very quiet, and less traveled path that I discovered. In that post I looked back at the way the scenery of the bridge looked with each new season. There was a small problem with it though.

Someone in the comments section pointed out to me that my latest photo, of the bridge in the winter, had the view from the bridge going in the opposite direction from the others. I actually already knew that. I'm very observant every once in awhile.

I was glad somebody pointed it out. It gave me the idea to go back and correct my mistake. Well, it wasn't actually a mistake. I just didn't have another photo from the same direction as the others. I can't tell you how much I searched for the thing. I just didn't have one, and it was killing me.

I really don't know how that could have happened. Whenever I cross that bridge I always take a ton of pictures. I can't resist, it's such a nice looking bridge, and I'm usually all alone there. I feel like that whole trail is my own private property.

Anyway, I went and I purposely took another photo from the same angle and direction as the others. I stopped and made sure that all of the conditions were right, and I took the perfect shot. The photo at the top is my finished masterpiece!

What? Is masterpiece too strong of a word? It's my picture, and I can call it anything I want! Seriously, if you want to see the comparison again, I left a link to the older post at the bottom in my Related Posts section of this post.

Something else I wanted to show was that winter wasn't always gloomy around here. It's just that I tend to go out at later hours, so it's usually getting dark outside before I'm done. Ahh, the burden of a working man...

These two photos in the middle here show the last bits of a glorious sunny winter day. It really did start out nice outside. The sunshine and the fresh winter air made me happy to be alive. Now, there is another benefit of the winter.

In the winter the air is colder, but that cold makes it seem so fresh and clean. Those of you who have never experienced this are missing something special. This is what we here in Michigan long for in the hot summer months.

We remember that wonderful fresh winter air when we are breathing in that stifling hot steamy air of summer. It's at those times that we wish for the days of winter, so we can take a long deep breath, and feel refreshed. It's like the refreshment of an ice cold drink, but much better. That's what winter is!

I can stand on this bridge and take those deep breaths in silence and in peace, knowing that I won't be disturbed. If somebody walks by, and thinks I'm hyperventilating, I just act like a crazy person that lives under the bridge, and I chase them away. Just kidding... Maybe.

It was not really as dark as it looks when I took this last picture. I just happened to be looking into the sun. The camera was trying to compensate, so it turned out like this. That's okay because by the time I left the park it actually was beginning to look this dark.

Beyond this bridge is a small path leading to a hidden river where I like to go. I guess it's not so hidden anymore, because I've shown it here several times now. I like this bridge because it seems to separate this small path from the rest of the park. It takes me to a lost world where I can imagine all sorts of wonderful things.

Those trips are always way too short for me. When I get back to civilization, I'm always refreshed and ready to face the world, but my mind is still on my private little bridge, and my hidden path.

Related posts

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Wintertime Lemonade

This will be a two part post. First, I want to show my gratitude for something special, then it's on to my normal stuff in the second half of this post.

Karen of Karen & Gerard Zemek awarded me with the Lemonade Award. You can find a link to her post about it here: Thanks, Angel, For The Lemonade Award!

Thank you very much for this award Karen. The Lemonade Award is for sites that show gratitude and a wonderful attitude. I think that’s a good group to belong to, and I am greatly honored! Sorry Karen that I'm a little late with my post for it, but I didn't want to have it on the same day as my new Fiction Friday posts. I thought it wouldn't be respectful to do on that day. Again, I'd like to thank you, Karen for this award. It's greatly appreciated!

Here are The rules:
  1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
  2. Nominate at least 10 blogs which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude!
  3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
  4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
  5. Share the love and link to this post.

I'm going to say right off the bat that I'm going to break the rules a little bit. My only excuse is, that's what I do, I can't help it, I'm a rebellious rule breaker! I do have great respect for those that follow them though. I'll follow the majority of the rules, but I'm going to throw rule 3 and 4 right out the window!

For the blogs I wish to pass this award to, this is where the daring rebel in me comes flying out. I'm going to do things a little differently. (Feel free to tease me about the rebel cracks in my comments section. I can take it.)

Look over to your right at My Favorite Blogs list, and below that at my Followers list. I wish to pass this award to every last person in those two lists. None of you have to accept or acknowledge it, but if you want to receive the award leave me a comment telling me so. I will then make an updated post with a link to you and your award post in it. I'll only know if you leave the comment.

I'm doing it this way because I know that while some of you like receiving these awards, others don't want to get involved. Both ways of doing things are perfectly okay. So either way your opinion lies, enjoy the award.

The last thing I'd like to say about this is, Karen, I hope this post meets with your approval. I really enjoyed receiving this award from you.

Here Are Some Who Have Accepted The Award and Links To Their Post:
  1. The Retired One
  2. Sharkbytes

Now on to part two of my post.

This part is for those of you that are still reading. For the others, pleeeaase come baaaack! I'm not finished yet! Okay, now that I got that out of the way, let's get started.

I am reenergized! I am rejuvenated! I am ready to go! I am going to show you what my precious nature trails look like right now. If you're thinking they look wintery and snowy, then you are absolutely right!

When I went out there, I wanted to show a bright and sunny day, so you could see that winter isn't all doom and gloom. It didn't happen that way. I did this right after I left work, and it's still a little too late to get to these places before the sun begins to go down.

When I walked out the door at work, it was a nice clear sunny day, but it just takes me a little while to get to any of my favorite parks. The good news is that the days are getting longer. Just a month ago, I wouldn't have even been able to try this. The darkness would have begun to fall on the drive here.

These photos actually look a little darker than it really was out there. That is only the result of my shortcomings as a photographer. I'll say again what I've said many times before. I really need to take the time to read the manual of my camera. Then I might begin to take some actually good shots.

Well, when I got there I saw more kids sledding down the Scenic Overlook at the park. I didn't really get any photos of that, because the other one from the other day was better. So I decided to walk down the hill to the hiking trail.

If you look closely at these photos, you can grooves in the snow on these trails. These grooves were created by people that were cross country skiing. They were going up and down these trails. It was only my odd attitude about taking pictures of people that stopped me from showing you some of them. I'm working on correcting that little oddity.

Part of it is that I always liked the photos of scenery without people in them. The humans always seemed to corrupt the scene for me. As I have been exposed to more photos and new blogs, my attitude about that is changing in certain circumstances. Sometimes a human presence enhances a scene, just as an animal can.

Something else I thought I would mention was how deep this snow is. It was not easy walking through this stuff. I had to walk inside the ski tracks, and I still found myself sinking down. I'm sure there is equipment that can help with this, but that's not what I'm about.

I'm not here to present this from the view of an experienced hiker. I want to show you that even though it can be difficult at times, anyone can go out and do this, with very little preparation and expense. These places are for all of us.

The good hikers get some extra enjoyment with their fancy equipment, but the rest of us need a good place to get started. We need to build our experience for ourselves sometimes, before we begin to move up to the level of the real outdoors people.

Besides, it's fun to learn these things as we go along. I learn something new every time I go out there. Only the new experience can teach me some of these things. All of this gives me a kind of outdoor innocence that I hope enables the beginners to identify with, and helps them realize that they can do it too.

Good day to you, and see you tomorrow!

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Jack And The Magic Stick

Fiction Friday

Today I'm going to introduce something that is somewhat new to The Everyday Adventurer. It's called Fiction Friday. Other people have done things like Wordless Wednesday, but maybe nobody has done anything like Fiction Friday.

When I started this blog I had the idea to write a little bit of fiction every now and again, but after awhile it fell by the wayside. Not because I didn't want to do it, but because I wasn't sure anyone wanted to read it. I thought maybe this site wasn't about that, so I stopped.

Well, now I have decided that I can't hold it in any longer. I need a release for a few fictional pieces. I'm not going to start another blog for it, because this one takes up all of my time as it is. So I'm going to experiment with Fictional Fridays for the time being.

As any of you that have been reading this site know, I like to exaggerate things a little bit in my posts to get my point across. I never lie about things, and my new Fiction Fridays are here to make sure that I never do.

Every one of these posts will be clearly marked at the top as Fiction Friday. They will be anything that I feel like writing. It might be a little story. I might decide to brag about something, or just outright lie just for fun. But I'll always let you know first.

These posts will still be related mostly to nature or hiking, but they will be fiction. They will be intended as a fun break from my normal stuff. I'll try to make them entertaining, but I'm sure I will stumble along the way. Let me know what you think.

With that, I'd like to bring you the first installment of my Fiction Friday posts. It's kind of a small sequel to Jack And The Beanstalk, called Jack And The Magic Stick. I've posted this one before, but I like it, so I'm going to reintroduce it. If you're still reading after all of this, let's get started...

Jack And The Magic Stick

There was once upon a time a poor widow who had an only son named Jack, and a cow named Milky. And all they had to live on was the milk the cow gave every morning, which they carried to the market and sold. But one morning Milky gave no milk, and they didn't know what to do.

"What shall we do, what shall we do?" said the widow, wringing her hands.

"Cheer up, mother, I'll go and get work somewhere," said Jack.

"We've tried that before, and nobody would take you," said his mother. "We must sell Milky and with the money start a shop, or something."

"All right, mother," says Jack. "It's market day today, and I'll soon sell Milky, and then we'll see what we can do."

So he took the cow's halter in his hand, and off he started. He hadn't gone far when he met a funny-looking old man, who said to him, "Good morning, Jack."

"Good morning to you," said Jack, and wondered how he knew his name.

"Well, Jack, and where are you off to?" said the man.

"I'm going to market to sell our cow there."

"Oh, you look the proper sort of chap to sell cows," said the man. "I wonder if you know how many beans make five."

"Two in each hand and one in your mouth," says Jack, as sharp as a needle.

"Right you are," says the man, "and here they are, the very beans themselves," he went on, pulling out of his pocket a number of strange-looking beans. "As you are so sharp," says he, "I don't mind doing a swap with you -- your cow for these beans."

"Go along," says Jack. "Wouldn't you like it?"

"Ah! You don't know what these beans are," said the man. "If you plant them overnight, by morning they grow right up to the sky."

"Really?" said Jack. "You don't say so."

"Yes, that is so. And if it doesn't turn out to be true you can have your cow back."

"Right," says Jack, and hands him over Milky's halter and pockets the beans.

- Jack And The Beanstalk

This next part is a sequel to this story, written by me.

Jack seemed to have some problems with bad trades. Later he made some wild claims about a beanstalk and an angry giant, to justify trading the cow away, but no one believed him. His mother was pretty angry with him, and ended up having to get another cow. It wasn't easy, but since she was the hard worker in the family, she found one. Why she didn't make the trade herself, in the first place, no one knows.

Still pretty angry with Jack; she put him to work milking the new cow, and declared he was now, Farmer Jack. He didn't like this at all, since work was a dirty word to Jack, so he decided maybe he should make another trade.

So it was off to market again. He took the cow's halter in his hand, and off he started. He hadn't gone far when, this time, he met a funny-looking old woman, who said to him, "Good morning, Jack."

"Good morning to you," said Jack slyly, and this time didn't care how she knew his name.

"Well, Jack, and where are you off to?" said the woman.

"As a matter of fact, I was just coming to see you," said Jack.

"No, no, you're supposed to say 'I'm going to market to sell our cow there,' " said the woman.

Jack looked her square in the eye and said, "Look, I know you want this cow, and you know you want this cow, so let's cut to the chase. Now, what do you got for me? More magic beans, a sow's ear, a monkey's paw? Well, c'mon, what is it?"

The woman said, "Huh? Oh yeah, I have this here magic stick..."

"That's all! A magic stick? What, do I look like a fool?" said Jack, clearly annoyed.

"Do you want to get rid of that cow or not?" the woman said, herself a little agitated.

Finally, Jack said, "Oh, just give it to me!"

So they made the trade, and the woman walked away with cow number two.

Jack looked at the stick and figured it wasn't quite time to go home yet. How was he going to explain this one? Last time, the magic bean thing was a disaster. He had to come up with something with this stick.

So he stood there in the road and started waving the stick around, trying to think up ideas. He was trying everything. Pretty soon, he started doing some of the most vulgar things with the stick. People going past started to gawk and stare. Jack was clueless, he had no idea how strange he was being.

It got worse! As he continued, travelers began to stop and watch. One guy threw a shiny penny on the ground in front of Jack. Finally, he had his idea!

Jack loudly declared, "I will continue this entertaining exhibition, if you people continue to throw money!"

Later that evening, Jack went home with a pocket full of cash. His mother saw the money, and happily concluded that the hard work from before must have reformed Farmer Jack.

Maybe they lived happily ever after, and maybe they didn't.

- Jack And The Magic Stick

This story was inspired by a few true events, and the Jack in my part of the story was inspired by a real boy. That's all I'll say.

An interesting fact is that the name of the author of "Jack and the Beanstalk" has been lost to time. No one can say who the original author is, although the story has been rewritten many times.

On the other hand, I am the exclusive author of it's sequel "Jack and the Magic Stick."

Related Strangeness

Thursday, January 22, 2009

How Tall Are The Trees?

Today I want to do a little experiment. I'm not sure how this is going to work, but I'm going to do it anyway. I'm experimenting with taking photos at different angles, and I want to show you one of them.

That's not the whole experiment. I have also never posted an oddly sized photo here before, so this will be the first time. I just want to see what it will look like when it's done. And I also want to know your reactions to it.

This photo isn't really very good, but I wanted to show how tall a few of the trees were when I was out there. I still didn't quite get it, because I was to close to them. I was too close wherever I stood, there were trees all around me.

I can't remember what it was anymore, but when I was out there I saw something interesting about the length of these trees. It wasn't anything major, it was just a vague feeling that I had at the time. That's the wonderful thing about being there. So many peaceful little thoughts and ideas flit through my mind.

I was walking out of this section of trail when I took these pictures. I took the one at the top first. When I looked at my camera's viewer, I wasn't satisfied. I then took a picture up higher in the trees, but that didn't do it for me either. How was I going to get all of the scene in my shot, so I might be satisfied?

I decided it might be interesting to try just simply holding the camera sideways to take the picture. I wondered about this different angle for a photo. I've done this kind of thing before, but not for a good reason. Now I just wanted to show a few things that I couldn't show normally.

I usually don't do this because I like to keep these photos the right size for background wallpaper, just in case anyone wants one. They're free as long as nobody tries to make money from them. They're not really worth more than a good feeling anyway.

This little experiment was basically to try to show the full height of these trees. I hope it worked just a little bit. Looking up at the trees is one of the things I like to do when I'm out there. I've never been able to show it before. I hope this helps show you maybe a little bit of what I see.

I'll be back tomorrow with something all new and different, and I hope very fun for all of us. After that, it's back to my usual everyday adventures.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009


It was a nice clear day yesterday when I took this photo. There is only one in this post. Only one? Yes, this time there is only one. I was driving by the place here, and I didn't have time to stop, so I could only get this one shot. I wasn't sure it would come out good, but I got lucky.

Very many of you know exactly what you see in this winter scene, but for some of my friends in warmer areas it may be something new. No matter where you are, this one should be interesting. This picture shows one of the main things that makes winter and snow very fun.

If you look closely, you can see that these are kids all bundled up from the cold, but having a wonderful time. There is a hill behind them that is the reason for the fun. You can see that most of the children have a board or something similar with them. These kids are doing what we call sledding.

Sledding, for those of you who don't know, is when you go to the top of a hill, lay down on that board, or sled, and send yourself hurtling down the hill as fast as you can go. When you get to the bottom, you walk back up and do it again. The burst of speed you get when sliding down that hill is fun for anybody, but especially a kid. The bigger and steeper the hill, the more fun and excitement you will have.

I haven't been sledding since I was a kid, but I used to go all the time when it was snowy. I was lucky for a while back then, because we had a big hill right behind our house. I've mentioned before that I grew up right in the middle of the city of Detroit. Most of you know Detroit. It's famous as the Motor capital of the world.

This is a well populated city, but my dad used to find all of the out of the way places for us to live. We needed them for our farm animals. And because my parents weren't from such an urban area, they didn't like the closeness of the city very much. So we lived in the most open spaces we could find.

Because of that, I think I got to do some things that most city kids never dreamed of doing, like living in front of a fun hill for sledding. I really had forgotten about that place until now. I'm glad that memory is back. It was a fun time in my life.

Things like sledding are something you just can't really do without snow. Winter has a lot of disadvantages, like the cold weather, but there are very many fun things that can only be done if you have snow. I'll be looking around for some of the other things.

I think I'm going to have to gather up Alice, and some of the other kids, and take them sledding this year. Maybe I can even ride down a hill a few times. That would bring back some fun for me. It seems like only yesterday that it was me hurtling down a hill like the one in the photo. I'm ready to go again!

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hidden Horses

After yesterday's Horses post, I went back and looked at some of my older photos from Sumac Pointe, and I found some interesting things that I never saw before. I already had some pictures of horses.

I had these photos all this time and I never knew the horses were there. They were hidden horses. This is one of the good things about winter. I said this yesterday, but winter reveals the things that you never saw before.

If it weren't for my new winter photos of the horses, I would have never found the older ones. It's not easy to see the horses unless you click on the pictures, but they are in there. They were just hiding from us.

It's amazing that a creature so big could do such a good job of hiding right out in the open. I guess it can be done. A deer already did it to me too. That one was a good hider, but I already saw it before it hid. The horses hid from me without even trying.

Then, like I said before, winter came and revealed the horses. It has revealed so many things to me. After letting winter depress me a little bit this year, it has begun to reveal it's beauty to me now. These horses are just the beginning.

Here's another photo of those hidden horses. I was actually taking these particular pictures, because I liked the way the dock looked over across the water. It seemed like such a beautiful scene to me at the time. Now I realize that there was a hidden bonus behind the trees.

This is why I always say to take a closer look at the things around you. You never know what wonderful things you might find. You'll never see everything, and sometimes you'll notice them later. That's what happened to me.

I wonder what other things I've missed since I started really looking. It's going to be fun looking around for those missing things. The winter is now my friendly companion, and it will help me find the things I never found before. I can't wait to see the things my new friend is going to show me.

I had some older photos of horses, but they were the wrong end. I guess this is better than nothing. After realizing that I was letting the winter depress me, I feel like the wrong end of a horse. I'll be changing that feeling in a hurry, now that winter is my friend.

There are already new adventures waiting for me. I have some new ones waiting for you tomorrow too. I was just out again today, and I hope I have some great new stuff for you coming up. I'll be back here with some of it tomorrow.

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Monday, January 19, 2009


I've been looking for horses for a long time now. Since I live so close to the city, I almost never see horses. I get to see so many wild animals, because I live near a few nature parks. And there are so many wooded areas around me.

When I was a kid the police used to ride horses in downtown Detroit. There was always a crowd around the officer with the horse. It was such a fun thing to see for everyone. Those days are long gone now, and sadly missed.

The last time I was at my grandparents farm, my uncle found a horse to ride for everyone. We looked at them the day before, and they were kind of grumpy, so we left them to graze. The horses weren't used to being ridden, so my uncle told us to be careful around them.

I mentioned once before that my dad grew up on a farm, and he used to bring us farm animals to keep right in the city. I had a strange childhood sometimes. After I was grown, my dad had a horse, and it got loose.

One of my brothers saw on the news that there was a horse loose on the freeway. My dad lived very close to that freeway, so my brother called him and told him his horse was loose. There couldn't be any other horses around there. My dad ended up having to go and get it. Everything turned out okay, but he got rid of the horse.

From some of those memories, I always liked seeing horses and other farm animals. I don't want to own them. I just like seeing them, and only where they belong, like on a farm or other appropriate place.

Well, after going to Sumac Pointe a few times last summer, I noticed that there was a place nearby that had horses. It was right across the lake from some of the areas of the park. I thought I should go over and see if I could get a few photos of the horses.

I would drive by there sometimes and see that there were at least three horses out there. I was surprised to see them in a place like that. I wondered if my dad knew those people. They actually have proper stables there, so the horses are very comfortable.

This last time I was at the park, I went to an area that was close to the horses. I didn't know I would be able to see them from the park. I guess you can imagine my surprise when I looked across the frozen lake and saw them there.

The lack of leaves on the trees always reveals some wondrous things, like these horses. The other times I came here, I never saw the horses. I only knew they were there, because I saw them as I drove by their place on my way home.

This is a great example of why I tell people to stop and look at the things you never considered before. Maybe you see something interesting, but you think you don't have time to stop. Plan a time to do it one day. You might see something fun like these horses.

They may be only horses, but they are highly unusual where I saw them. My adventures are for every day. They're not meant to be the greatest event of your life. They're meant to make your day a little bit happier.

If you stop just once a day, it won't take that much time, and you'll feel better for it. If you become an Everyday Adventurer, you might just stay a little happier all the time. Wouldn't that be a great thing if everyone was a little happier?

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

John's Find The Creature Game

John of English Wilderness has a fun new game, similar to Find The Squirrel. You can find it here. Read some of my interesting posts, then go to his site and play his new game to see if you can find the creature. When you come back, check out some of the cool links to other sites in my sidebar. You'll be loved and appreciated for it.

My Honest Scrap Award

The Retired One, from The Retirement Chronicles informed me that I have won the "Honest Scrap Award". I'd like to thank her, because it's a great honor that she thought of me for this award. Visit her site. Here is a link to her post: My First!!!!!

Here are the rules for the Honest Scrap award:

The honorees are to:

A) List 10 honest things about yourself - and make it interesting, even if you have to dig deep!

B) Pass the award on to 7 bloggers that you feel embody the spirit of the Honest Scrap.

Ten Honest things about Me:
  1. Dogs are my favorite animals.
  2. I am left handed.
  3. I love Mexican food.
  4. I had one of the very first home computers.
  5. I love practical jokes.
  6. I have built over two dozen computers, for fun.
  7. Music is one of my favorite things.
  8. Of course, I am a nature lover.
  9. I watch pro wrestling on TV, and you should too.
  10. I read constantly, and I love books.

That's my ten honest things about me. They're short but I have revealed a lot about myself in the last two weeks, and it's so hard for me to do it that I'm shaking as I write this. I've been stretched to my limit. I may go run and hide if this keeps up. What did you expect, I'm a mouse!

Now for the next part. I played a game called "Tag" less than a week ago. The people I tagged all took it well and did their best, even the ones who chose not to play. I thank them all. It was really my excuse to put a link to each of them up anyway, and that's what I'm going to do here.

I'm not going to ask anyone to participate this time, but if you want to participate I'll be honored if you do. If you do it, let me know in my comments section so I won't forget to comment on yours. Whatever you do, this award is for all of you on this next list. Every single one of you deserve it. I'm greatly honored to know all of you. There are a few more of you that I'm getting to know, and I'm sure you'll be on the next list.

My Seven Award Winners (This one goes to eleven):
  1. WiseAcre
  2. Rose
  3. A.J.
  4. Rainfield
  5. Kruel
  6. Jodapoet
  7. Sharkbytes
  8. Betchai
  9. Steve
  10. Scott
  11. John
Well, I broke the rules a bit, and added a few more. But how do I choose between them? I couldn't, and I won't try. There are some great sites on this list, as well as great people. You'd do well to add any one of them to your list of friends. Start by visiting some of their sites and leaving a good comment.

That's the end of my Honest Scrap Awards section of this post. Since I don't have another post ready for today, I'm going to give you all some more photos from last summer just below this. Let's continue with our winter break for just one more day.

Enough of the words, on to the pictures.

Boarded Walkway
Peaceful River

That's it for the summer dreaming for a little while. And I managed to stay silent throughout the photos. I'll be back tomorrow, and this time I'll make winter look cool.

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Summer Quackers

Today I'm going to give everyone a little break from winter. I should have done this before, but I wanted to stay current. I have some new winter things to post. But like I said, it's break time.

Winter can get kind of gloomy after a while, even while we're only looking at winter photos. I wanted to bring back a little bit of summer life. I want this to inspire and energize me again. It's been a cold winter lately, and I'm ready for this break.

Even though the days are now getting longer here again, my daylight time seems to be dominated by trivial things lately. I see plenty of great things to stop and look at, but there aren't enough hours in the day right now. My answer to that is to look back, and find where I lost my extra time. I hope it's somewhere in these photos.

You may have noticed that all of these animals here today are ducks and geese. I like ducks, and I like geese. I can't remember if any of these pictures have appeared here before or not, but here they are now.

It's strange, but I remember taking every one of these photos. I don't remember my thoughts at the time, but I remember the birds.

When I took this one, there were dozens of geese and ducks swimming in the pond that day. It was an amazing sight. I hope to see more things like this when it gets warmer again.

This last one was taken in my backyard. Next spring I'm expecting dozens of geese to come back right here to my house. It seems to be a favorite stop of theirs. They like to fight and play, and cause a ruckus right outside my window. Up until now, I've been a little afraid to go out there. But I'll investigate them when they come back.

That's it for this short post. I needed a break from winter, and I think a few of you might have needed one too. Now I'm off to find a way to make my winter adventures a little more fun and exciting.

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