Saturday, October 31, 2009

Poll Results - Ghosts

Here we come to the poll results and the post I promised you earlier in the week. I told you this was going to be something special for Halloween, and I didn't lie. But this won't be at all what you expected! I would be willing to bet that most of you expected some kind of ghost story. Well, I gave you that yesterday. Read on and I will explain just what I have in mind.

First we'll deal with the poll results! This was a close one this time. I asked you the question, "Have you ever seen a ghost?" Let's see what you said...

Yes - 12 votes (44%)
Those of you who said Yes were the clear majority this time. You truly believe that you have seen a ghost. I am with you on this one, but I know none of us can be completely sure when dealing with things like this. A ghost or a spirit is logically thought of as nonsense, unless we see it with our own two eyes. Even when we tell the story, many people will never believe us. I guess even when we see something like this ourselves, we have trouble believing. It's just such a shocking experience.

No - 8 votes (29%)
Several of you say that you have never seen a ghost at all. That could be for various reasons. Maybe you believe the stories of others, but you've just never seen one yourself. Maybe you don't believe in things like this at all; I completely understand. Things like this are very hard to believe if you've never seen them for yourself, even a story from someone you trust very much. And maybe you aren't sure what to believe.

Maybe - 7 votes (25%)
This last one is the trickiest of all. A lot of you voted that you are not sure if you've seen a ghost. Or maybe just that you're not sure if you believe in them? Again, on both accounts, I completely understand. These things can be very mysterious, and it's easy to doubt even your own eyes.

Now that we have discussed the results, I'm going to reveal what I promised that makes this post special. Some of you might enjoy it, and some of you might groan in disappointment. Here it comes! The surprise is that I want your input. If you've seen a ghost, or even if you've seen anything strange at all, then share your story! It can be as long or short as you want.

But wait, there's more! I also want your opinions. If you think it's all nonsense, and there are no ghosts, then you can tell us about it. I, for one, love to be told I'm strange, so go ahead and shoot! This is a friendly place with open minds, so there is no reason to be embarrassed about any opinion you might have. Maybe you think there are no ghosts. Maybe you think they do exist. Maybe you're just not sure. What do you think? Go ahead! In the spirit of Halloween give us all a scare, and share your opinion!

And if you missed it the first time, take a closer look at the picture! Boo!!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Fiction Friday - The Night Forest

Fiction Friday

I made this story for Halloween. It is a little bit on the scary side. Read it only if you are prepared to be afraid. If you don't think you can handle it, turn back now! If you think you'll be okay with it, have fun reading!

There is one thing I have never done before, until last night. I've told you about my adventures in the forest from all times of the day. That one thing I had never done though is to go out to the forest in the middle of the night. It was last night that I decided to change that. It became something I will now regret forever.

When I set out I took all of my usual stuff, including a flashlight. I figured I'd only use it if I needed it, because while you could see better with it on, you could also get caught easier when you weren't supposed to be there. These places I go are only open during the day. I didn't want to get into trouble, but my curiosity got the best of me, so off I went.

As I got there, I realized that I wouldn't have to use the flashlight for awhile because it was a clear night and the moon was shining enough for me to see well enough. I tried to take a few pictures but quickly realized that the camera wasn't going to pick up anything at all. It was a shame I wasn't going to be able to share this, but at least I would have the memories.

After walking for awhile, and as I got deep into the forest, it became hard enough to see that I decided to finally take out my flashlight. Besides, I didn't think anyone would see it while I was this deep in the wilderness. What kind of idiot would come out here to catch me? I was extremely proud of my own intelligence at that point.

Just as I was about to turn on the flashlight, I heard something very strange. It was coming from up ahead of me and it sounded like a low moaning. What could it be all the way out here? I decided I had to investigate this strange sound. Who wouldn't want to find out this mystery? As I got closer, it became clear that the moaning sound was human, and it was at least a dozen voices.

By this time I was becoming more than a little concerned. The moaning had become a steady chanting sound, and I didn't like it one bit. I was sure I would be all alone when I came out here, and now I was greeted with this deep scary chorus of voices. For some odd reason I never thought of turning around and leaving. I decided to find out what was happening.

I was now glad I never turned on the flashlight. I slowly crept forward towards a place where I knew there was a large clearing in the forest. That was a good thing, because it was so dark that I could barely see my own hand in front of my face. A little farther on I began to see a light. It was coming from the clearing, and so were the chanting voices.

I moved just to the edge of the forest and peeked through the branches of the bushes in front of me. What I saw too strange for my own eyes to believe. The voices were coming from twelve black robed human shapes. They were each holding hands with the two next to them to form a complete circle. As they moved from side to side, they were all looking to the center of the circle where the light was coming from.

The chanting began to grow louder, but I couldn't tell if they were actually saying any kind of language. It was just then that I noticed another robed figure, but this one was standing in the very center of the circle. I figured I could see it because that one was probably taller than the others. I watched as that one just stood there in one spot. It seemed to be looking at all of the others.

After a few seconds I got another shock. The middle figure seemed to grow even taller than it was before. I thought there was no way this tall thing could be human! It must have been almost twice as tall as any of the others. I was now so scared I couldn't move! Still, I knew I wanted to keep watching what they were doing.

Then all of a sudden, as quick as a flash and with a snap of its head, the tall figure whipped its head around in my direction! I knew that it was looking right at me. And it was the eyes! The eyes glowed a horrible blood red! Those eyes seemed to be able to see right into my soul! I thought I was going to die right there! How could I not drop dead from fright?

Noooo!!! It was instinct that drove me! Without any human thought left in my head, I jumped up from my formerly hidden position and turned and ran through the forest towards the front of the park! I had to get out of there! I couldn't see anything in front of me, and I quickly ran right into a tree! Bam!

I hit so hard that I bounced off the tree and fell onto my back. I was so afraid though that I jumped right back to my feet, disregarding the thought of injury. I renewed my flight to safety out of the forest. I had many similar incidents as I stumbled my way out of the forest and to my awaiting truck. I jumped in and sped towards the safety of home!

I began typing all of this almost as soon as I got in the door of my house, so excuse any mistakes or typos. I'm now looking at what I have written, wondering what is going to happen next. That horrible creature saw me, I just know it! Oh God, what am I going to do!

(This was a work of fiction. That means this did not really happen to me. Yes I have visited the forest late at night before, but I have never seen anything like this... yet!)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Strange Blue Berries

My post for today is about some strange blue berries I found deep in the forest near a small river. I don't really know what kind of plant this is, and I didn't try to find out. The plant also appears to be quite dead. The reason I'm showing it to you is because of the bright blue color of the berries.

The blue color is what caught my eye. I was in a new forest and I had kind of lost my way, but I still had time to get a few pictures. I learned a long time ago to be able to determine my direction by the location of the sun. I used this trick to find my way back to my truck this time. One of these days I'll share it with the rest of you, but today I just have these strange blue berries.

I wish I would have thought to get a picture of the whole plant. I thought I did but I don't seem to have it, so these two shots are the ones I have. It doesn't matter because it's the berries that are important anyway, even if they are dead.

I have a couple of special posts coming up in the next two days. They're both Halloween related. Tomorrow will be an all new Fiction Friday, and Saturday will be the results of the poll along with a small surprise. This post has been short because I spent a long time working on those and some other things that are coming up, including a new story for Rat Tales. I hope you'll be as happy with them as I am.

(Only today and tomorrow are left to vote in the poll. The more votes there are, the more enjoyable the poll results will be, so vote now if you haven't already!)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Forest Fun

 ...And breath out.

What you see here today seems to be just a simple picture of the trunk of an ordinary tree. But it's much more than that. Oh so much more! Obviously there is a tree in this picture, so we can't just ignore it though, can we? This tree plays its own big part here, but there is something much more important this time.

The real subject of this post is not the tree, it's what is on the tree. You see, there is a little chipmunk clinging to the right side of this tree, hoping I don't see him and gobble him up. Of course I would never do a thing like that. In the first place, I don't think I would like the taste of chipmunk at all. And also I doubt very much that I could actually catch him anyway.

When I came across this cute little sight I was very surprised because I thought all the chipmunks had already gone underground for the year. Not because of any great knowledge of chipmunks on my part, but because I had not actually seen any for quite a number of weeks now. And a little bit of knowledge.

By the time I took this next picture, the chipmunk had decided it was at least safe enough to run for its life. It's still there; just take a closer look. There is a secret that I'm not telling you though. There are actually two chipmunks here. When I came across them they were happily chasing each other around this tree.

The one you see in the pictures just happened to notice me standing there when it was on my side of the tree. It's partner was a little quicker, so it scurried onto the other side of the tree and out of my view forever. Two chipmunks would have made a great picture, but these things very rarely happen. I'm still happy with this one chipmunk.

When this little guy finally ran behind the tree to find its partner I turned and went along my way. I thought it would be pointless to bother them further. Sometimes chasing an animal for a picture is fun, but other times, such as this one, it's much better to leave the poor little creatures in peace. They have enough problems, and I feel better by leaving them content with their escape.

Talk to you next time.

-Ratty The Kind Forest Explorer

(Hey you! Don't forget to vote in the poll. Have you ever seen a ghost? I have, and it's not always fun. But it will be this time.)

(Oh! One more thing. Sharkbytes over at My Quality Day is having a very fun contest. Find it right here. She's giving away something to the winner. She does this every once in awhile and I've won more than once. I challenge every last one of you to go there and try to beat me! I dare you! Do you have the guts to accept my challenge? Prove it! ...And let her know I sent you.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Strange Trees For You

I thought today I would bring you a few interesting pictures of trees. It's not my usual kind of post. It's actually kind of backwards. Usually I use pictures to illustrate a story I have in mind. This time I thought of the pictures first. I guess you could say this is all about the pictures. Maybe.

I found this first tree in a brand new place. I was looking for interesting things in this forest, and I think I found some. This tree was one f many huge and interesting trees in this place. I think if there ever was a tree that had a tree spirit in it, this one does.

The other tree I have for you is one I think I've shown you before. This one seems to be downright haunted! It seems to be trying to reach out and grab whatever gets too close. Let me tell you, this can be a very startling thing when you're in this forest when it's dark. I know! I've been there then.

About a week ago for the poll results we had a bit of a talk about tree spirits. That actually gave me an idea. I'll reveal part of that idea today, and the next part of it will be told Saturday. The idea of tree spirits lead me to think about odd things in general. Being that Halloween is at the end of the week I think what I have in mind is very appropriate.

I began to think of spirits in general. From there I began to think of ghosts. I do that very frequently, because I see dead people! ...Just kidding! But I do wonder something. Do you see them? I mean, have you ever seen a spirit or a ghost? That's my new poll this week. It's a short one that will end Friday at midnight, my time. The results will be up Saturday, and I have a bit of a Halloween surprise for any of you who are brave enough to look.

I'm going to need your votes as quickly as possible, hopefully there's time for more than a few, and then I'll need a little bit of cooperation from you on Halloween. So, beware! Beware... Beware!!! And remember to never trust a rat. Is this the strangest post from me yet? Maybe not.

Number threeeee is a bonus treeeee. This one's for freeeee. No storyyyyy. Heeeee, heeeee. That's all from meeeee.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Poll Results - Your Favorite Season

Here it is, time for the results to another thrilling poll by your Everyday Adventurer! This one was a question of time. And it was a question of what time you like. Time passes for all of us. We notice this passage of time in to oddest ways. One day is green. One day is white. One day is brown and red. Some days are combinations of all. But what was your favorite?

The question was put to you, "What is your favorite Season?" I have to tell you that I was not surprised by your answer this time. Considering what time of year it is and other factors, I was not one bit surprised. When I first began visiting my nature parks I never expected to see the fall crowd that came to these places just to see the colors.

Okay, enough of this nonsense. On to the results!

Coming in at last place in your favorite seasons were two choices, Rainy and Dry seasons, with 0 votes (0%). Even though they aren't generally recognized as true seasons, I included these two because some of our friends here live in places that only really experience these seasons. Our four seasons never appear outwardly there.

#4 Winter - 3 votes (11%)
Winter is a wonderful time of year, but I don't blame most of you for not voting for this very cold time of year. It still has its good points. Who wouldn't want the experience of getting to build a snowman at least once in their life? Snow is a very special thing. The only problem here is that winter can be unbearably cold at times. That's always a turn off. Plus the fact that the only real color is white and a dull faded brown.

#3 Summer - 4 votes (15%)
 I thought summer would have been a little more popular, but that's before actually remembering the two seasons that beat it. Summer is the time in America when kids don't have to go to school. It's the time when everything is warm and sunny. This may be the time when colder regions of the world become more active. It's also the opposite of winter, and can be very hot at times. Some people like their air conditioners more than the hot summer.

#2 Spring - 7 votes (26%)
 I have to say that spring is my personal choice. It's the end of winter, and this is the time of year when the world renews itself. The weather becomes pleasantly warmer. The plants begin to regain their green, and they start to grow again. The animals also come out of their hiding places, and we begin to see the signs of little ones of every kind. I can't personally think of anything bad to say about spring, so I won't.

#1 Fall - 12 (46%)
 Fall is your overwhelming choice for favorite time of year! Two thing factored into this one. The first, but also the least reason, is that it is fall right now. The second reason is that whenever any of us think of seasons we think of fall. Fall is the time of year when all of the green of spring and summer seems to catch fire! The trees turn to brilliant shades of orange, red, and yellow.

I think this may be the only season where people from all over the world make time to just enjoy looking at the beautiful colors. Other seasons have their own excellent qualities, but most of us enjoy this one most of all. Fall is the only season that is openly talked about for it's great beauty. That is why it's a clear winner. I knew it would be.

The pictures I've brought to you are what fall looks like right now in the forest closest to me. There is still plenty of green there, but it's quickly turning. I'll bring you more when there is more change. The next poll will be a short one, so be ready! I hope to make it very fun. You'll understand when you see it.

(Last thing. Sorry that I haven't been interacting much in a couple of days. I've been intentionally avoiding anything on the internet but writing a few posts for the past few days so I can get some much needed rest. I'll hopefully be back to my normal routine when I'm home later today.)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Look Up

Now for something totally different! I took these pictures on a whim when I was standing in the forest. I just happened to look up and decide to take a few pictures. I had no idea how they would turn out but I think I like the results.

This first picture shows off the fall colors nicely. There are still plenty of leaves on the trees, but the sunlight has changed from the way it was in the summer. It seems strange but more sunlight seems to get down into the forest now on these dimmer fall days than it did on the brighter summer days.

I don't quite understand why it is, but maybe it's because of the angle that the sunlight is coming in. The forest is brighter even on the rainy days now. I showed you a few times in the summer how a rainy day could almost blacken the forest to seem like night. It's still very bright in the middle of this same forest on the darkest days of fall.

I actually took this picture before the other one, but I thought the other one looked a little better because there were more leaves on the trees. What do you think? This is where I first got the idea to do this. Now that I think about it, I did it partially because of that brightness that I talked about.

When I happened to look up I saw how the light came down and still shined on me even though I was in the very center of the forest. I could now see the sky, while all I would have seen here a few short months ago was a dark ceiling of leaves. The forest seemed so big back then.

For some reason without as many leaves the forest seems to become much smaller. It's much harder to imagine myself so far away from civilization when it's like this. It will only shrink further when winter comes. Fall is a beautiful time but I find myself looking back to summer and missing what was.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Dragonfly Of The Past

I happened to be looking through my photo archives and I found this picture of a dragonfly. It was from the fourth day I ever took nature pictures. I never posted it to this website and I don't really know why. I guess I just didn't know any better back then. Now I thought it would be fun to show one of my first photos.

As it turns out, this was actually the second picture of an animal I ever took. The first one was a deer that you can find here. It's odd how the passage of time has gone for me. It seems like I just started doing all of this, but now I barely remember getting this picture. It really took a lot of thinking to remember at all, and I'm still not sure.

I got this picture at a place called Heritage Park, at the trail that leads to a small shelter where almost nobody else ever goes. This may have even been the day I discovered that place, and now it's one of my favorite places to go and relax. One of these days I'll have to feature that place here too. Ahh, memories of days gone by...

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Return Of My Minions

Something funny happened to me today. Let me give you a little history first to explain what's going on here. I wrote the final post awhile ago about some geese that were born in the lake I frequently visit.

I joked about teasing them by throwing things in the water so they would come over and beg for food. I wrote the goofy post saying they were now my evil minions. That must have been kind of a mistake because they left and that was the last time I ever saw them. You can read about that here: Teasing The Geese - Conclusion

Now we come to today, and I went to the lake where those geese liked to gather, and there was a group of geese that was about the same size as my old minions. I thought of my old friends as soon as I saw this new group. Can you guess what happened as soon as I got to the viewing platform?

As soon as the geese saw me they came swimming eagerly in my direction. They wanted something from me! I'm sure they had learned to look for food, just like the old geese. But maybe it was something else. Could it be that my minions had returned?

Maybe these were my old friends and they recognized me. After all, I had been seeing them at least twice a week for their whole lives. Maybe they had come to greet an old friend. This little flock sure did look the same as the others. It was about the same size as the old ones.

I have no other way to tell if this is the same flock of geese I first saw when they were still eggs, but I like to think they were. Maybe they came back for a visit. It gave me a good feeling just to think they might be the same bunch of geese.

After they came swimming over to greet me they swam around in a group right in front of me for a time. Then they all slowly turned and went back to the place where they came from. This was a good day for an everyday adventurer.

(No Fiction Friday this week, but if you really want fiction take a look just under my poll in the sidebar. I've started another blog just for strange stories. You won't find nature there but you'll find plenty of fiction. The Everyday Adventurer is still the place to be for all of you nature lovers, so you only need to take a look if you love fiction.)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Gimme The Prize

Don't you just love when you've worked so hard to get something and then through all that hard work your dream is fulfilled? That feeling of accomplishment is a wonderful thing. You feel like all that hard work was worth every second, and you're so happy. All wrapped up in a nice little bow.

Then there are times when that hard work yields nothing at all. Maybe you get what you feel are a few small tokens, but you never get the triumphant finish you feel you deserve. You feel horribly cheated at these times. Life seems so unfair, but you still try and push forward because you don't know what else to do.

But what about a third scenario. Oh, it happens! It's a combination of both of the first two, and it can almost be a bittersweet moment. You work so hard only to get little or nothing, but then after you've accepted your fate victory seems to fall right in your lap. Sure you feel good, but you feel as if you were robbed of that wonderful feeling of accomplishment because you feel as if this was only luck.

After chasing them around like an idiot for what seemed like ages, the black squirrel in this picture strolled right out onto the trail in front of me and began leisurely eating an acorn. Of course I wasn't going to turn down an easy gift such as this. Being very careful not to make any quick moves, I began taking my pictures.

I expected only a couple of pictures before this black ninja of the forest noticed I was there and ran away screaming. But guess what really happened? The squirrel stayed right as. It was really enjoying that acorn so I guess it just didn't notice anything at all, including a giant strange human standing twenty feet away pointing a box at it.

After awhile, and after the squirrel finished all of its acorn, it looked up as if it just then noticed the existence of the rest of the world. It looked around as if was just shaking off the fog around its head, and then without ever noticing me it turned slowly around and trotted right back into the tightly packed bushes.

At first I felt betrayed as if this was not my skill that gave this opportunity to me, it was only dumb luck. But then I began to realize that maybe it was okay to feel the accomplishment. Maybe this was a gift for all of my hard work. Maybe this was the real result. Some things seem easy when you are good at them. Besides, I can do much better than this.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Sad Part Of Nature

I usually like bringing you different thoughts and ideas, and I have a few things that are different today, but there is a very depressing side to what I am about to bring to you. One of the things I very rarely show is the sad part of nature. That part is the natural event that is death.

This is the beautiful flower filled meadow that I like telling you about, but the flowers are all gone now. Off in the distance of this picture I found something unexpected. I actually walked over toward those trees looking for deer droppings. I thought it might be fun to show you a few of those tasty little morsels, because they're part of nature too. But what I really found was totally unexpected.

The rest of this post deals with the death of one of nature's most well known creatures, so I decided to give you a warning before you read the rest of this post. In addition there are a few mildly graphic pictures that some of you may not want to see, so I'm not going to put that part on the front page. Instead you can click the link below if you want to see the rest of this post.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Squirrel Spirits

After I put yesterday's post together about the poll I realized something. I've been holding out on you! I dug around in my archives for some appropriate pictures to go along with the post, and one of them was a little different than the others. The last picture was more than just a tree. It also had a black squirrel in it.

I'm pretty sure I never showed you these pictures before. After moaning about how I never get any good pictures of these little forest ninjas, there they were in my archives all along. Oh sure, these are good compared to some of the others I have, but I've seen better pictures of black squirrels. Who knows? I might even have some that I haven't told you about.

These are still pretty good though. These dark little creatures are very hard to catch on camera. They are almost nothing but shadow even when I am seeing them with my own eyes. Speaking of eyes, you can see the shine in this squirrels eyes in these pictures. Their fur is so dark that it's like they're shadowy spirits or something.

Hmm, tree spirits was the subject of my post yesterday. These little tree squirrels seem to consider themselves the protectors of trees. They make their homes in trees just like many tree spirits. It was my friend from WillOaks Studio that first compared these black squirrels to tree spirits. It got me thinking.

How do we know that all of these squirrels are really just ordinary squirrels? Maybe some of these little watchers are the tree spirits themselves, disguised as normal everyday squirrels so that us mortal humans would never find out. This isn't just idle speculation I'm making either. I have something very interesting for you to think about.

One favorite food of a squirrel is an acorn. You can see an acorn in this black squirrels mouth. An acorn is actually the nut of an oak tree. That means if you plant an acorn it might grow to become a mighty oak tree. Here's where it gets good now. Oak trees are the clue to all of this strange stuff, so keep reading.

One thing about tree spirits and fairies, especially nymphs and dryads, is that they are thought to come from another place. Where? Elsewhere! Some call it fairy land. There are other names for it, but it is a place not of this earth. In many legends different types of trees have different functions. The function of the oak tree is that it is the portal to that other place!

So either these squirrels are very close friends with the tree spirits, or maybe they are even the tree spirits themselves. Think about all of this. This might give you a whole new perspective on those cute little squirrels, or maybe tree spirits. That little black squirrel in these pictures may just be much more than he seems.

And take a very close look at the trunk of that tree. I think I see a gnarled face looking back at me.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Poll Results - What We Met In The Forest

The results of the latest poll are here! For some odd reason this poll seemed to last kind of long this time. I guess maybe it was because I gave it an extra week. I did it because there were so many choices this time. I provided 8 choices, which was the most in any of my polls so far. After two weeks I guess we have the definite answer to this one. Let's see what it happened.

I asked the question, "Which would you like to meet in the forest?" Let's look at the answers a little differently this time by giving a sort of countdown. I'll start with a look at last place, and then move down the list to first place. Maybe it will build a little suspense this time, even though you can see the results on the sidebar.

#8 Ghost - 0 Votes (0%) - Wow, I guess nobody at all likes a little spooky surprise when they're out all alone in a dark and quiet forest. Just think of one of these floating up behind you when you think you're all alone. I guess that's exactly what you didn't want to think about.

#7 Bigfoot - 1 Vote (2%) - There are many names for this creature. Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti, Skunk Ape, and many others. There are many theories about this creature. Some people believe it's real while others aren't so sure. What exactly is it? Is it an undiscovered kind of ape? A space alien? Nobody really knows. The only thing everyone agrees on is that it's big and hairy. I guess only one of you likes big and hairy things.

#6 - #4 This one was a three way tie. These three had equal results, so I guess they're equally desirable. By the looks of them, they're also pretty much the same all the way around. Let's see what they are.

#4 - Witch - 2 Votes (5%) - This might be my last choice to meet in the forest, but it wasn't yours. Maybe a couple of you had different thoughts on the kind of witch I'm thinking of. Hansel and Gretel found that gingerbread house with a witch that lived in it while they were lost in the forest. She tried to eat them. Not fun.

#4 - Space Alien - 2 Votes (5%) - The first thing I thought of here when I gave you this choice was an episode of the Simpsons. It's a cartoon, for any of you who don't know. The mean old boss, Mr. Burns, (The boss again!) was all drugged up from a visit to the doctor, and he wandered out into the forest. He glowed green and talked in a high pitched eerie voice saying, "I bring you peace..." He was then mistaken for an alien. Any other alien I can think of would capture you and stick things in places you would definitely not like!

#4 - Your Boss - 2 Votes (5%) -  Two of you actually wanted to meet your boss in the forest. I'm not going to ask you why, but why? I hope you didn't have something evil in mind. I guess it's understandable that your boss would compare so favorably with a witch and a space alien.

#3 - Elf - 5 Votes (12%) - Now we're getting close to the reasonable choices. I understand why you would want to meet an elf in the forest. These may be the closest to humans than any of the others. The only problem is that they have a reputation for being untrustworthy. They might welcome you or they might just try to kill you and use you for tree fertilizer. They still are probably a better choice than the others choices so far.

#2 - Fairy - 13 Votes (33%) - Fairies may be the nicest creature on the list. They actually come in many different shapes and sizes, but I would guess that most of you thought of just one kind. That would be the kind of fairy that's only about the size of a butterfly, with wings that are even prettier. These are some of the most popular mythical creatures on earth, so I completely understand why they got so many votes.

#1 - Tree Spirit - 14 Votes (35%) - I was honestly a little surprised when tree spirit got the most votes. But then as I began to do a little bit of research on them I started to understand. I should have known this answer all along. Unlike all the rest of these choices, tree spirits exist in some form in just about every culture all around the world.

Most of these stories say that a tree spirit either appears as a wise old man or as a beautiful woman. There have been whole religions that have had tree spirits as main figures. Some cultures believe that the spirits of their ancestors either reside in trees or are the trees themselves. Therefore it would be a very bad idea to harm a tree. You wouldn't want to insult or harm your ancestors, would you?

The Green Man is one of the most well known tree spirits. There are stories of the Green Man all over the world. He is usually depicted as a bearded face of a man with greenery all around. A lot of times this would be a tree with the face of a man. The Green Man is usually even more than a normal spirit. He is considered a deity in very many cultures.

And lastly we have dryads or nymphs. These are female tree spirits that represent nature in its purest form. These spirits are often thought of as seductive but possibly dangerous. There are stories of them luring men to either doing very foolish things, or even to their deaths. As long as you respect them and their trees you should be okay.

I know I've only given you a taste of the stories of all of these creatures, but you can find out much more just by doing a search on the web. The research I did this time took me a very long time. I hoped to bring you even more information, but you would be reading this for days if I were to do that. I hope you enjoyed the poll results this time. Now I need to come up with another one.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The View

I want to talk about something that I'm not sure I ever have before. Oh sure, I've skirted around the edges of it. But what I have here is something that maybe gets to the heart of why The Everyday Adventurer exists in the first place. How could I have missed it before?

I'm sure it's pretty obvious by now that I collect most of my stories and pictures from my short hiking trips that I go on as often as I can. Well, why would I want to go walking in the woods or any other place like that almost every day? It's because of what you see in the two pictures I have for you today!

Places like this are what I have never presented to you before. I have talked about how I find peace and comfort from being alone in nature, but I've never really shown you an example of what I see that makes that happen. You know, somewhere off the hiking trail, and without even the animals.

In these two pictures are two different views of the same log. You've seen it before if you've been reading my stories for awhile. If you look beyond the log you might barely see the big body of water in the background. That water is Carpenter Lake. You might also be able to see that the water is much lower than the land in front of the log.

This old log is laying right on the edge of a huge drop off. It's possible to climb down there, but it's steep enough that nobody ever does it. Even though it's too difficult to get a good look at the lake from here, I still find myself drawn to this place. It's because of the log, the drop off, and the hint of the lake. This is the heart of nature.

This is one of the places I look at while I'm in the forest. This is why I go. Not for the animals. Not for the hiking. Not even so I can tell anybody about it. These other things are only an added benefit. I go so I can see places like this. I wish I had time to explain this further, but now I'm just going to look at the pictures.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Chasing A Robin

The last few days here on The Everyday Adventurer have been sort of odd, haven't they? Actually if you look back in my archives you'll see that this has been closer to normal for me than anything else. This is why I mention sometimes that you should never take a guy that pretends to be a giant rat too seriously. Still, there is a serious side here too.

I have a couple of pictures for you today that I've been trying to bring to you for a very long time. All summer long I have watched while robins have hopped along my hiking trails in front of me. For some odd reason, whenever I tried to get a picture of any of them my results were less than spectacular.

Sometimes I would get ready to try for the shot and the bird would fly away as soon as I lifted my camera to get it to the right position. Other times I would get the pictures, but every last one of them would come out as nothing but a blur. You would think this would be an easy task, but it has always eluded me.

I'm finding it slightly easier lately to get things like this because of my new zoom lense. I don't have to get quite as close to any of the animals, so I can take a little more time to set myself for the shots. I did love the challenge of sneaking up on the animals, and it is still mostly there, but I am getting better results now.

Another improvement is that it used to be very difficult to find my targets in the camera's view screen when I had to zoom closer to them. One tiny movement of the camera could point it very far away from where I started. With the zoom lense on I seem to be having an easier time of finding my targets. I thought it would be the other way around.

The main thing is that now I'm able to bring you things like these two photos of this American Robin. Incidentally, American robins are not closely related to the European robins. The American version of this bird is only related by name. American robins were named after the original European robins because of their similar bright red breast.

There you are, a nice normal post today. Let's see how long it takes before I slip back into raging insanity again. The countdown has begun!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fiction Friday - Tribes

Today I am introducing the triumphant return of Fiction Friday. I haven't written a completely fictitious story in quite some time, but now I finally feel the time has come. I will make no commitment to write a fiction story every week this time, but I will write a new one whenever it comes to me. I'll now introduce you to the tribes. Let me know what you think.


The tribes have lived in relative peace since we arrived here thousands of years ago. Our origins have been lost to the ages. Only a few of our ancient writings have survived to give us any clue at all. From those writings we know that we came from elsewhere through the Acweorna to discover new places, but something went terribly wrong and we were stranded in this place.

The ancient records say we tried for many years to get back home, but after several generations most of us finally gave up. As time passed our population grew, and we slowly began branching off to form different tribes. We also slowly lost most of our technology over time as we tried to survive in this primitive place. Too many hardships and disasters left us with virtually none of our former advantages. The only thing we had left was our superior intelligence.

The one technology we were able to maintain was a remnant of the Acweorna. We have never been able to rebuild it to be able to travel again, but we have been able to use some of its technology to build many other things. It has been the basis of all of our technology then and now, and we use it for almost everything from food to shelter. We continue to experiment with it, and make new advancements in science. We hope that one day we'll be able to unlock some of the old secrets.

In the early times we were alone in this place, but after many centuries animals from this place began to appear, and with them there came the giants. The giants are creatures that resembled a few of the hairier others that seemed able to use their hands almost as efficiently as we do. We soon discovered that the giants were very different.

The giants seemed to quickly gain an advantage over the other animals. They appeared to be smarter than the others and we thought at one time that their intelligence even rivaled our own. We quickly lost that notion when some of us tried to communicate with them. The giants attacked and killed many of us, just like many of the other animals always tried to do. We learned then that they would always be an enemy to be feared.

Knowing that it's impossible to hide from them, we pretend to be just like any other animal when the giants come near. We have superior intelligence and technology, but the giants have vastly superior numbers. As it stands right now, we would be wiped out if we really decided to claim our rightful place here. But we are coming ever closer to the day when we will be ready to take over and rule this place.

Recently though, we have noticed that some of the giants have been watching us a little too closely. We cannot take the chance of them discovering our secret. We still maintain our animalistic behavior when these giants approach, but we also watch them very closely. They seem to have devices that scan us in some way. We don't like this so we yell at them to go away. Most of them take the hint, but some keep at it. Those are the ones we watch.

This brings me to an incident that happened not very long ago. There was a leader of one of the nearby tribes that had a problem with a particularly bothersome giant. The tribe leader was known for being rather impulsive with a bad temper to top it off. After several unpleasant encounters with this giant, The tribe leader took action and locked the giant up intending to do away with it.

Well, he underestimated the numbers of the giants that would be called to its defense. The others soon freed this giant, and it proceeded to send a beast to wipe out several members of that tribe. The tribe leader went insane with rage and went on a rampage of revenge throughout the world. Because of his insanity, it was completely ineffective. That leader's actions almost cost us everything, and as a result he is now considered a renegade. His whereabouts are at this time unknown.

His initial actions must have stirred the curiosity of that particular giant though, because it now continues its investigation of us with an almost feverish passion. We tried ignoring it at first with the hopes that it would give up and go away, but it still gets closer all the time. We have now decided that we have to protect our secret at any cost, so we have begun watching the giant very closely.

The only problem is that the giant has noticed our observations of it, and it seems to make it even more curious. We now have no choice but to take further action against it. We have several plans in place, and extermination is one of our many options. Our actions will be determined by the behavior of this giant. We fear the worst, but we must keep our secrets.

- The log of Scitana Sciuridae 01.34.47

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Squirrels Are My Friends

When I woke up this morning I remembered the crazy things I said in my post from yesterday. I thought it had to be a dream or something. Squirrels spying on me? It has to be a ridiculous notion, right? Then I checked my blog just to make sure everything was normal there. There must be a polite little post about a cool looking tree or something...

Noooo!  There it was, right there on the front page! That insane post about evil alien squirrels from another place. Where? Another place. Only a crazy person could have written those strange things. I mean, I like squirrels, I really do. They're just innocent little forest creatures that mean us no harm. No harm at all.

I must admit that I haven't been really feeling all that well lately, so that must be what's behind that moment of total insanity. Sure, I remember writing the post, and I remember thinking all of those crazy things, but who in their right mind would really believe anything as strange as what I wrote?

Take this cute little squirrel in these pictures for instance. Just because he stood there watching me for what seemed like an eternity doesn't mean he was spying on me. I know the real reason he was watching me like that. It was because... Um, well, if you don't know by now, I'm certainly not gonna tell you!

It's just... They're not watching me, I tell you! It's all just a coincidence! I know they never paid too much attention to me before. The fact that so many of them seem to study me as if I were some sort of bug just doesn't matter. What really matters is that I got cool pictures of some of the most amusing little forest creatures you've ever seen!

After reading all of the comments from yesterday's post, my mind was soothed even further. All of your kind comments calmed me down considerably and helped me think logically again. The one that helped the most was the comment by SquirrelQueen. She assured me that the squirrels meant no harm. No harm at all. And she should know, she is their queen after all.

There's only one problem I have with all of this. I mean, I know it was just some kind of crazy fever dream or something that made me write those twisted things. But when I decided to go out for awhile, I went to put on my coat and I found something odd.

There were acorns in my pockets! Aahhhhhhh!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Watching Me

I knew it! I knew I was being spied upon! I knew they were watching me! It's the squirrels! They're not at all what they seem! Oh, they pretend to be sweet little innocent forest creatures, but that's not what they are at all. I think they're really invaders from elsewhere. Where? Elsewhere!

I told you a few days ago about how when I finally got a peek through the leaves of the trees I saw something terrible and sinister looking back at me. Maybe they were surprised that I saw them, and maybe I saw their true faces of evil. Now after I wrote that post they've changed their tactics altogether.

They know I can see them, so they have put on a different face. Now instead of their true face they try to fool all of us with the cutest face anyone has ever seen! How can you look at that face in the first photo and not think these are the sweetest little creatures ever born? It's so cute that it almost looks like a cartoon character or something.

Oh sure! You think I'm wrong about this, do you? Then why would this sweet little squirrel be so interested in me then? I was actually very far away from it when I took these pictures. It's not like I posed a threat to it, the way I stood there watching and taking pictures. Just because I like watching them doesn't give them any excuse to watch me right back! Does it?

Oh, it tried to hide when I first saw it, but I was much too stealthy for it. I stayed very still and only moved enough to get a better angle for my camera. I could see it back there with its face hidden. It looked like it was fiddling around with something. Other more naive people would tell you that it was just eating an acorn, but I know it was just putting on its cute mask!

When it was looking at me it even tucked its arms up close to its body in the cutest way possible as if to show that it meant no harm whatsoever. I know what it was really doing though. It was concealing its evil alien disintegration gun. If I would have made the wrong move it would have been zzzaaapp, no more Ratty!

After about five minutes of this stare down between giant fake rat and deceptive scout from the alien tribe of squirrels, the squirrel seemed to become bored with the rat. I know that wasn't the truth at all. It was really going back to report this little incident to its superiors!

When it was gone I stood there in a confused state for another minute and a half. Then as my brain began to slowly churn again I began to wonder just what these squirrels were plotting. Maybe they were building a mind control device out of acorns, or maybe the acorns are the fuel for their weapons! They're planning something. Something big!

After getting home and thinking about this incident I wondered just what the world would think when I revealed the awful truth. Would anybody believe me? Would they just think this is the ramblings of a crazy person, or would they just think this is the ramblings of a crazy person? Well, I'm not crazy I tell you! Haha ha hahahahaha haha ha ha hahaha, uh, ha!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Depraved Ducks

I'm going to tell you a little story about some mallard ducks I saw. You'll see by the pictures that this is a true story. Or at least crazy imaginative speculation by an Everyday Adventurer who likes to pretend he's a rat. When it's all over I guess it's up to you to decide what's real and what's just nonsense from the mind of a quiet explorer.

You see, when I got to the lake I noticed that, unlike the summer months, most of the ducks that were swimming here were males. You can tell the males by their brighter gray bodies and their dark green heads. Female mallards are pretty much all shades of brown. That's the female in front of the three males in the back.

As you can see, the female is swimming past the three males. She seems to be moving past at a nice pace, unlike the males who are just lazily floating there in one spot. One of those guys is obviously showing off, by flipping his wings back a little, to anyone willing to watch. That's when this pretty little female came into view.

As soon as those two on the left saw her they quickly lifted their heads up and took notice! The one in the back suddenly appears to be much bigger than he was before. He also has his mouth hanging open. I don't know what happened here, but that poor little girl duck seemed to suddenly become so frightened that she took off like a shot.

One of those two jerks must have said something very rude to her. The third male, the one on the right, seemed oblivious to the whole thing. He was obviously not with those other two, who were clearly up to no good. As those two villains watched, the little female duck sped past as if her tail was on fire!

Of course, once the two bad guys saw that the sweet little female duck was too fast for them, they clearly lost interest. The big one in the back turned to see to other matters as if he had done nothing wrong at all. The guy in front still stared at the retreating female, probably snickering to himself. And just like that, it was all over.

This all reminded me of the old stereotype of the group of lazy construction workers who liked to stand at the edge of the sidewalk while eating their lunch, yelling insults and catcalls, and generally harassing every female that passed by. After seeing this scene I began to wonder if other animals do things like this too. What do you think? Do jerk ducks like this exist?

(Some of you may have noticed that I haven't been very active in the comments section here or at your blog. I've just been recharging my batteries a bit so I can come back with more energy and enthusiasm. I'll be back to making obnoxious comments all over the internet very soon.)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Robin Of The Fall

They've come back, even though they never really left. American Robins were the very first bird I was ever able to get a good picture of. I have had many pictures of them since then, and they are now one of the first I was able to capture with my zoom lense.

There had been a time for awhile last summer when I would find hundreds of these birds foraging the forest floor. Many times when I thought I heard a squirrel playing around under some old leaves it turned out to be a robin or several of them. I would turn to get a picture of them in the dark forest, and they would either fly away or the picture would come out blurry.

I was having that problem with them for quite some time. It was just that they were in the forest and the lighting was too dark for the camera to get a good shot of any moving things. If I had a still shot the camera would focus easily, but if anything at all was moving the camera would only get a blur because the movement in the dark was confusing it. I'm still trying to work that problem out.

Now with the coming of fall the lighting is again changing, and so are the habits of all of the animals, especially the birds. Some of the summer birds have gone south to warmer climates. And some are eating as much food as they can so they can fatten up in preparation for a long winter. These last will stay here through the winter.

Robins are of the latter group. I'll be seeing them here all winter long, and I hope to get even better pictures of them than ever before. These that I have for you today are maybe the best so far. They are at least the closest shots I have, and with the zoom lense I didn't have to work so hard to move in closer. This is exactly what I bought it for.

I found these robins in the meadow where I see many of the other birds I find. I'm hoping to be able to identify many more birds now, and it's only a matter of time and patience. Maybe there will be more robins around, but there will be others. Today it's robins, tomorrow it's the world!