Thursday, December 7, 2017

Back On The Trail

I'm kind of excited to be back out hiking again. Even though I was out on my nature adventures a lot during the summer I didn't do much actual hiking. It wasn't that I didn't want to go hiking. It was that my bad back wouldn't allow it yet.

I've told you in the past of how I've been working to strengthen my back enough to do at least normal activity. It's been hard the whole way. Everything I do seems to not quite work. But now I think I've finally begun to make some progress.

You may think it's the wrong time now that it's coming up on winter time. But I kind of enjoy winter. I know that during winter there will be nobody out there bothering me every few steps of the way. I like the solitude of nature the most. And I know how to bundle up against the cold.

I thought that I was making no progress until I decided to try once again to go hiking at a smaller nature park in the area. The last couple of years I haven't even been able to go as far as a normal person, but this time it was finally different.

I was able to travel through the whole park this time! So many times before I was only able to get to the end of the first trail before my back told me I had to turn around. And those times I was only barely able to get back to my truck completely exhausted. But this time was finally different.

Now I'm excited to get back out there and keep going. I have one problem though. The weather around here has been kind of bad since this big turning point of mine. We started out with rain that has now turned into snow. Hiking all of these hills is not a good thing when the trails are slick with moisture. I'll have to wait until the weather gets better.

The temperatures have taken a downturn with all of this foul weather, but that part is okay by me. It seems winter has arrived here now. I can handle it. I deal with winter much better than with my unreasonable dislike for fall. So I'm hoping to get very busy in the upcoming weeks and months. I can't wait to be out there again! I'll talk to you later.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

My Fun Bison Encounter

I have a herd of bison to share with you today. There are pictures and a video that shows what I found on my newest adventure. These bison are the completely wild ones from Broken Kettle Grasslands that I've shown you before. But I think maybe I have better pictures this time.

The bison have been coming up kind of close recently so I've been able to get pretty good pictures. I feel lucky about this because most people that drive that road never see them at all. Most people don't even know the road is there because it's just an old unremarkable dirt road in the country.

Here's on that was standing off a little by itself. I thought you might like a good close-up of just one.

This picture shows you what I saw while I was standing there looking at them. You can see they weren't very close, but I could see them pretty well. I'm glad I have a good zoom on my camera.

Notice there is a pond separating them from me. That pond might be the reason they've been coming down to this area of the grasslands. There are other ponds in their home, but maybe they just like this one right now.

If you look closely you can see a couple of the bison hiding in the tall grass. There were lots more standing in that grass. It was kind of hard to find them all. Every time I looked again I'd find another one.

The herd is kind of big. You can't really tell that from the pictures. I think the video does a little better job of that.

I did a little better job with this episode of Rat TV than the last one. This video is the second one where I used the Windows 10 Photos app to create it. This time I added a little special effect. Can you spot it?

If you like bison then you'll like this video. As you can see by the pictures, there are plenty of them here.

Since I've been a little slow with my blogging recently my words here are a bit clumsy. I'll be getting back into things now that fall is over. I wish I could solve that fall thing I have. But it's too late to try again this year, so I'm just going to enjoy the winter.

I've been out a bit more lately so I have plenty of material to share with you now. I'll have more on that in my next post. And I now have a good reason to go out to some good places to explore a bit more, so I'll have lots of good stuff in the future. I'll bring that all to you soon. And until then I'll talk to you later.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Wild Turkeys At Broken Kettle Grasslands

Today I'll share with you some genuine wild turkeys in their natural habitat. These aren't city turkeys that I've shown you before or turkeys that lurk by the side of a busy road. These turkeys live inside a place called Broken Kettle Grasslands, which is the largest area of free wild prairie left in America. These turkeys are truly wild and free.

I thought with Thanksgiving coming up tomorrow this would be a perfect time to share these turkeys with you. For those of you who are not American, we celebrate Thanksgiving here every year to show our thanks for what we have. We think of it as part of what being an American is all about.

As you can see in the top left of this turkey photo, there is that mysterious object from my previous post. Before I go on I have to admit that I lied to you again. I do that much more often than you'd think. I'm a terrible liar. I knew what this was all along. I just wanted you to find out for yourself. It's more fun that way, and now you'll remember it longer than you would have otherwise.

But I'm still not going to come right out and tell you. Where would the fun in that be? If you really want to know the answer to what the mystery object is, then go to my last post and read the comments. It's there that you will find the answer. When you're finished you will feel happy and exhilarated because of that fun little quest I sent you on.

My newest episode of Rat TV is an interesting experiment I'm trying. The Windows 10 Photos app has a new feature where you can make your own videos with a few simple clicks of your mouse. I made this with a combination of pictures and a video. Let's see how it turns out.

The app to make the video is pretty cool. It enabled me to do in a few seconds some of what it took me hours to accomplish before. I think I'll still use my main video editing software for special stuff, but this quick app is good enough for most things.

I've been telling you recently how I've been having a bit of trouble with my nature stuff. Some of it came from a bit of fall depression that happens to me every year. But much of it also came from just being too busy for any of this fun stuff.

I think I may have solved this problem now. I have now finally found a time in the day to set aside for my blogging activity. I don't usually do much of anything else during this time so I think I have plenty of time to get my blogging done. So after a short time to organize everything just a bit I think I may be able to get back up and running like I want. And with that, I'll talk to you later.

Friday, November 17, 2017

What Might This Mystery Object Be?

I know. I know. It's another one of these one picture posts. But this one picture is kind of interesting by itself, and necessary for the post. That's because I'm not exactly sure of what we're looking at here. Maybe a more rural person might know. My experience is in more urban outdoor stuff.

I found this object far away from me where the buffalo (bison) roam at Broken Kettle Grasslands. It looked like a giant shield from where I was standing. I took lots of pictures of it, but the camera's focus seemed to slide off of it. I think that's because it has that camouflage look to it. It looks to be maybe a tent or a trailer or maybe a shed. Maybe it's some kind of observation space to watch the bison. I don't know.

On an unrelated note, my fall depression seems to be ending now that fall is coming closer to a close. Hopefully, I can bring myself to begin posting more often again. I do have a few things to post now. Right now the only things slowing me down are some unexpected problems I've been having with some of my things around here, such as extra work and general mechanical problems with some of my property.

Anyway, what do you think? Do you know what the object in my picture might be? Or maybe you have a good wild guess. Even a humorous guess is welcome, and maybe even more welcome than something else. So go ahead and let me know what you think because it'll be really fun. I'll talk to you later.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Glitches And Flowers

It seems like yesterday and it seems like years ago. When it was still warm I found these tiny flowers at the end of a dark nature trail under lots of trees. I always meant to post my best pictures of them but my phone glitched and my best pictures were lost.

I took this picture with my big camera and it came out okay, but not the best. I have found that my phone takes excellent close-ups. My big camera does not. And now because of that, I bring both cameras along while I'm out on one of my everyday adventures.

So now after a little bit of unrelated downtime, I've realized I have to become a bit more organized. So I'm making a plan to take along with me on my next little adventure. My problem has always been finding cool pictures I like in the fall. My task is to find them, and I'm going to look in lots of places. So until then, I'll talk to you later.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Large Milkweed Bug Nymphs

These pictures area few weeks old because I haven't had time to share them and I really haven't felt like it until now. I'm trying to conquer a bit of fall fatigue I get every year about this time. I really planned on making this a nice big complicated post, but let's just see if I can keep it a bit simpler than that.

What you are looking at here are Large Milkweed Bug Nymphs (young ones). I've seen small milkweed bugs before, but this is the first time I've ever seen the large kind. A simple search on this site can find some very interesting, and an even somewhat scientific post about the small ones.

I'm not going to bore you with too many details about these bugs here, but you can find plenty of information with a simple web search. You should do it simply because your fingers need the extra exercise. Go on, it's good for you.

This picture above gives you a pretty good view of these bugs. Bugs can look kind of disgusting to the human eye sometimes if you're not prepared for them. Don't you think? Especially when they're all huddled together like these.

Here's one boring its head into a milkweed pod. They're one of the few kinds of creatures that eat these plants. If you look closely you can see that those big black parts on its back aren't all the way attached. Can you guess why? You're smart so I'll let you figure it out.

Even though they are on more than one pod, most of these bugs huddle together with each other.

It's kind of interesting how I found these bugs. You wouldn't guess it, but I was driving along and I spotted them from my truck. The picture above is just about what I saw that made me stop. It's amazing what you can find when you are looking.

I posted this last picture just because I wanted to give you one last look at them. I'm fascinated by these bugs. Bugs can be disgusting, but they are also very interesting. There were ladybugs and boxelder bugs all over my garage this fall, like every year, but I neglected to get any pictures. Now I wish I would have gotten a few.

Most people like ladybugs, but I've noticed in the past several years that we have a new kind that bite. It only hurts a little bit, but it doesn't feel pleasant. I've written about them in the past and they are a new different kind than from long ago years past.

So anyway, I'll try to begin posting more often again soon, but I'm not promising anything just yet. I still need to find some inspiration to shake off this fall depression. It will happen, but I'm not sure when yet. and with that last negative note, I'll talk to you later...

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Just A Little Bit Of Nothing

I'm attempting to get back on the trail of a new adventure. But it's been kind of hard. The fall season brings me down for some reason. I try to overcome it every year, but it never seems to work. Now I'm trying to figure out a way to just work with it. We'll see how this plan goes.

I'm in the process of setting up a new business which is taking up a lot of my time. So now I'm not adapting to the fall as well as I hoped this year. That leaves me with a bit of a problem. I'm looking for a good idea or two for my nature adventures. I need something that might inspire me.

I know I'll come up with something good eventually. I usually do. Maybe I need to get back out to trails like this one. That kind of thing usually helps a lot. I think maybe I'll practice my bird photography. When the leaves are off the trees it will be a little easier.

I also have some trees to cut down once they are ready. Maybe I'll show you my evil destruction of my small forest. It won't be pretty, but it will be interesting. Or maybe I could just get out and have some fun. Hmm, I didn't think of that before. That might be just the thing. I'll talk to you later.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Why I Don't Eat Wild Apples

If you only looked at the picture above so far then what you are seeing is an apple tree by the side of an old country road. You may be able to tell by looking at this picture that the tree is just full of green apples. Normally that would mean that it's full of free snacks and pies for the owner of that tree. But there's a reason that isn't true.

I have to say that I do like free apples, and I do like the green ones, but sometimes there is just a good reason not to eat them. Maybe you know that reason. But if you don't then let's scroll down to the page just a little further to find out.

Here's a closer look at those formerly luscious apples. Now they don't look quite as good, do they? This shows the reason why I rarely eat wild apples. Most of the time they are rotten or full of worms. They might be good to give to the cows though.

I will say that every once-in-a-while you can find good wild apples. I had three good apple trees in my yard when I was a kid. The apples were sour, but they were very good. And they made excellent objects to throw at the other kids. I'll talk to you later.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Peace In The Country

Here's something I don't usually do. I have a couple of nice country scenes I captured while I was out. I was out on a normal everyday nature adventure and both of these scenes made me stop the truck so I could get out and get pictures.

I'm not so sure I was able to duplicate in these pictures the beauty I found here. For some reason, it never seems to work out that easily. Maybe you just have to be there, or maybe I just need to be better at taking the pictures. I'm not sure either one of those will happen anytime soon though, so this is it.

Up above is the farmyard where Old 79 lives. I saw this scene before I saw her. The buildings out there all alone among the trees just seemed so nice. This is what I like about the country. It's so quiet and peaceful. And if you look in the right direction you can see for miles and miles.

When I lived in the city I used to say that everyone can do this. But country living isn't for everyone. But you can visit the country from time to time. A good relaxing drive along some old country roads might be fun. You won't know that it's true until you try it. I'll talk to you later.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Old 79

I've been a little distracted recently because I'm building a new business. So I haven't been able to do quite as much here. Even so, I was still able to get out and take some pictures of these lovely bovine creatures.

I wasn't quite sure what to do with these pictures until I saw Old 79 staring back at me as my camera clicked away. So I focused my camera right on her. I had to do it because she was the one who wanted to be a worldwide star.

Here's the whole little herd of cows that she belongs to. Most of them seem disinterested for the most part. They are just enjoying the trees on this wonderful sunny day. If I was a cow I would be doing the exact same thing.

That's strange. I don't think I've ever imagined what it would be like to be a cow before. It must be kind of boring, just standing around and eating grass all day. I'd go kind of crazy. What would I do without access to the internet? I'm glad I'm not a cow. How about you? I'll talk to you later.

Monday, October 9, 2017


I'm back after a week off. I got a little sidetracked there for a few days. It's been raining non-stop here and it almost flooded again. So I've had no nature pictures to post. So after a week I finally got out and got some new pictures to share with you. Let's see what I got.

Okay, look at the center of this top picture. Does that look like a fish there on the end of that log to you? It did to me. So I took a few pictures to get a closer look and to see what I had there. But what was this thing really?

I think it still looks kind of like a fish, but it's really just part of another log sticking up out of the water. This is the kind of strange and goofy thing that I like posting about. It seems like a normal stupid mistake look-a-like of a fish, and that's what makes it fun. This is exactly the kind of thing that makes an everyday adventure.

And this last picture shows you the view I had of this fake fish when I took the picture. Look towards the middle left of the picture. You can see a small red circle if you really squint your eyes. That's where I saw this fishy. Now you know why I didn't know what it was when I saw it.

This gives you an idea of what can happen with nature watching. Sometimes you think you have a fish, but then you only have a piece of wood. That kind of thing happens a lot to me. I'll talk to you later.

Monday, October 2, 2017

This Is My World

It's been hard for me here. I love this place where I live, but there is always something missing. It's the trees. Where I live there are endless grasslands and cornfields. But there aren't many trees. What made me love nature are the forests. But they are mostly missing here.

So, what could I do? Well, the first thing I did was I spent the first few years here in a confused and frustrated state. I didn't know what to do or where to go. Nature was so different. I liked it, but I loved my forests. And I had none here.

Then this year I finally accepted things the way they are. I love it here too much to go somewhere else so I decided to learn more about nature here and learn to love it too. So that's what I set out to do, and it has worked excellently. But I do still miss my forests. So I decided to do something about that too.

There are places I have found where I can go to be in the forest. This place in my pictures is one of them. It is here that I can breathe deeply and feel the complete joy of nature. Places like this inspired me to start this blog.

I often fantasize about building a shack in the middle of one of these forests and just living there forever. Maybe I should buy a big place with a small forest in it and do that at least part of the time. I don't have the means for that quite yet, but I am getting closer. One of these days I'll be ready.

But then I look down at my smartphone and realize that I need to get back home. Walking these trails was relaxing and refreshing, but it's time to get back to work so I can come back out here again.

And I love my computer too. Oh, and money. I love money. I can't make money on a nature trail. But I can come back out to the nature trail more often if I have more money. And one day I can just buy my own nature trails if I have enough money. So the practical world calls me to work. Then I can come back out here as often as I want. I'll talk to you later.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Can Turkeys Fly?

Have you ever wondered if turkeys could fly? Many people think they can't. I remember years ago on a comedy TV show called "WKRP In Cincinnati" the radio station on the show did a promotion where they dropped turkeys from a helicopter. The turkeys inevitably thudded to the ground. It was a huge disaster. The last line on the show was the station manager saying, "As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly." So, is that the verdict? Is it settled then?

No. The turkeys in my top picture seem to be flying just fine. But wait! They don't seem to be very high off the ground, do they?

That was going to be my proof. I guess I'll have to go even further. Let's go to the next picture then.

This turkey above is flying just fine, isn't it? Maybe. It doesn't seem to be very high off the ground, does it? Maybe it's just hopping. Sometimes pictures can be deceptive. So maybe that's not proof then. Let's move to the next picture and see if I can finally show you flying turkeys.

You looked ahead, didn't you? I knew you would. So you already saw this picture above of these two turkeys in mid-flight. They are indeed flying. I'm not sure there can be any mistake about it now.

But they don't seem very high. Maybe they can only fly a little bit. And the first one doesn't look very graceful, does it? That second one looks like a regular old bird though. It's flying just fine. But maybe we can do a little better here. Let's move to the next picture.

Now this turkey here is up there pretty far. And you can see that it is indeed a turkey. Turkeys aren't the best flyers, but they can indeed fly. They like to sleep in the tops of trees around here. They have to get up there somehow, and they don't climb. Now you can call all your friends right away to inform them that turkeys can fly. Go on. Do it right now. I'll wait.

You're back from your call? Let me quickly tell you how I got these pictures. I stopped on this dirt road because I saw one lone turkey wander into the ditch at the side. I wandered over there to get a couple of pictures when all hell broke loose!

It wasn't just one turkey. It was an entire flock. As soon as I got near, turkeys kind of erupted everywhere. The flock went flying in every direction. I would have gotten video, but I was too surprised to do much of anything except get these pictures I have here. I hope you like them.

So that's my story. Turkeys can fly. And I am a close-up witness to this ability. This was another everyday adventure that I will never forget. This was a good one. I've wandered into some doozies in the past. I wish I could have described it a little better, but this will have to do. I'll talk to you later.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Ducks On The Pond

There seem to be many creatures in the pond I like to watch. I've seen turtles and many types of birds. Oddly enough, I've never seen any alligators. I guess I would be the first one to see an alligator in an Iowa pond. But I have ducks instead. They're just as fun. They really are.

I followed these two to their destination on the other side of the pond. They wanted to be over there because I was over here. Ducks always seem to swim away from me. Not like my old friends, the geese.

These ducks in the last two pictures were very difficult to see because of the bad lighting. I edited the pictures as much as I felt was reasonable so I could share them properly without them looking too obnoxious.

You can see both ducks if you look at the pictures very closely. They really are there. I mean it.

Why do I share these pictures that are so hard to see? Why not just share the good ones? Because that wouldn't be real life. These shady pictures are real life. This is how I really saw the ducks. This is a real experience. What I really like to share is my experience, not some old fancy pictures.

So this was a view of another everyday adventure by the guy stuck in an old smelly rat costume. I rented this suit nine years ago as a joke. I wonder if they're still waiting for me to return it. I probably never will, even if I somehow get this zipper unstuck, because I probably owe them a great deal of money for it by this time. I'll talk to you later.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Stalking The Bison

Do you see them? Do you see the bison in the picture above? No? Look closer. Those dots in the middle of the picture are the herd of bison that I've been tracking.

Maybe this picture just isn't good enough. Maybe you actually want to see some wild bison. Okay then. Move on to the next picture.

Here's the zoomed in super camera version of that same herd of bison. I couldn't really see them well with my own eyes, but the camera could see them just fine. Admittedly I saw them well enough to guess what they were down there. I just wasn't sure if it was bison that I was seeing. All I knew before I lifted my camera was that they were moving. That was good enough for me.

This herd was spread out a little ways from each other. These two were to the far left of the others. The top one is an adult and the bottom is a juvenile bison. I took several pictures of these two, mainly because I was able to find them with the camera. It wasn't easy to direct my camera specifically on any of them because they were so far away. One little shift and I would lose my subject.

Here's that same two, but a little closer. I was amazed that I was able to zoom in this close. I think this was as far as my camera could go. Remember, with my own eyes, these were just dots in the grass below.

You probably can't tell, but I took these pictures from a very high hill looking down into a valley where the bison were staying for the moment. The hills make some things a little easier to find.

In years past I would not have found these bison. I wasn't out enough. Now that I go out several times a week I see many things. I get to see the bison routinely. I try not to write about them too much so they won't get boring for you. I hope this time was fun. I'll talk to you later.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Ratty's Nature Video

I'm going to try something different today. Have you noticed it yet? I have no pictures. Just a video. I wouldn't have been interested in the pictures anyway this time. I only really care about the video right now, so I cut out all the other stuff to get right to the point.

This video features some of the things that I've seen around here in the past month. There are some butterflies, bison, and sunflowers. I also have a few other things in here. My videos aren't masterpieces, but I still think you'll be entertained. So give this one a try because I think you'll like it. I'll talk to you later.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Mushroom Village

Alice took a small bite of a small mushroom and shrunk down to a size even smaller than them.

"Come live with us as the Smurfs do," said one of the now huge mushrooms.

Alice wasn't sure that was such a good idea, so she took another bite out of one of these mushroom houses.

After she grew big, Alice looked down at the tiny mushroom village and thought she would like to be very far away.

The mushrooms said, "Where will you go? Who will you visit?"

Maybe she should visit the other side of the world. The mushrooms whispered their farewell to the wind. Soon it was down, down, down the rabbit hole.

I'll talk to you later.

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Last Sunflowers

Before I had lots of sunflowers. Now I have close-ups of sunflowers for you. After all, I did promise to bring you some close-ups. I must admit though, these pictures are a few days older than the other sunflower pictures. It's because the sunflowers are now gone. The season is over for them.

But it's not over for me. I'll be bringing you many many things new and old. I still have some older things I want to share, and I'm still going out there for more. I'd love to share it all, but I'm sure some good things will fall by the wayside. It's always a shame when that happens.

I recently saw some of those huge sunflowers that are the size of kitchen clocks, but I was too busy that day to stop and get pictures. Unfortunately, when I went back those big sunflowers were already wilting away. I guess there's just no way to get absolutely everything. Maybe they'll be back next year.

The temperature has cooled down a bit here after a hot spell. Maybe it won't get that warm again this year. I'm going to miss the warm weather. Let's see if I have a better feeling about fall this year than I have every other year. I'm going to try very hard, even though I always moan to myself how much I dread fall.

But I've been having so much fun up until this point. It just can't stop now! Can it? Not if I can help it. I'm going to continue my everyday adventures, and soon it will be a new spring and time to start all over again. I'm determined to make it all fun. I'll talk to you later.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Rolling Around

Why is this horse lying down? The answer is that it's not. It's rolling around in the grass. Just having fun. They all do it from time to time. I guess that's what you do when you're a horse. I think I'd do it too if I was a horse. Looks like fun.

I should have taken a video of the horse rolling around, but in my excitement, it never occurred to me to do it. So what did I do? I just took as many pictures as I could as fast as I could. That's what I always did before.

The worst part about not getting the video was that I missed it all happen twice. After the horse was done rolling on the ground, it got up, shook itself off, and then did it again. It must have felt pretty good the first time.

I've had these pictures for a week and a half. They were ready to post almost right away. I didn't do it because I just can't find the right words to go along with the pictures. So this is what I have. I guess sometimes the pictures are mostly good by themselves. But I really do like saying at least something.

I'll have a little more to say in my next post. And of course, it will be something you'll love. I'll talk to you later.