Saturday, October 6, 2018

A New Old Kind Of Adventure

There is a lack of big forests around here, but there is no lack of places like you see in my pictures today.

As you scroll through my pictures you'll see that this is a cemetery. This particular cemetery is a little more religious themed than many others. I wasn't raised as a religious person, but I like this idea for the cemetery. It gives me a feeling of peace and security.

There are many more interesting sights of this type in this cemetery, but I really liked these two places the most for this time. Maybe I'll show you some of the other places from here sometime if you like.

Not everybody likes to tour a cemetery like I do. I understand. Maybe I'm strange.

When I grew up in Detroit the only way to experience nature was at the cemetery. The big cemetery near us was the only large place with lots of trees, ponds, and other natural features. There were even ducks and some swans in the ponds most of the time.

That was the place where my uncle, the original Ratty, was buried. He died when I was a little kid.

This cemetery I'm sharing with you today is the location of where another of my uncles was buried. He died before I was born. He was only a kid. My mom thinks I look like him.

I thought this weeping angel was interesting. It seemed oddly out of place in this particular location for some reason. Don't blink if you're a Doctor Who fan.

(I know it may not be a perfect weeping angel, but it's close enough. Right?)

I get obsessed with my new business so much sometimes that I forget everything else. This is why I forgot to have a blog post last week. This new business is doing much better than I thought it would at this point, and it's keeping me very busy.

Even so, my nature adventures and this blog are what I do to stay relaxed. I'll do this as long as I am still me. I have lots to share from recent days so I'm going to try to maybe have a few extra posts here and there. We'll see if I can actually do it. Let's leave it at that, and I'll talk to you later!

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Pelicans!

I've told you many times in the past about the local river flooding every few years here. A flood is usually a very bad thing, especially when it's as bad as this has been. There are corn and soybean fields near the river that are usually devastated. But I haven't revealed a good result of the floods, until now.

Months after the flooding we are left with huge areas of wetlands right in the middle of the cornfields. What looks like lakes, ponds, rivers, and just general wet areas are distributed all through these places. These wetlands, as you have guessed, bring lots of wildlife.
  
I see all of this from the dangerous highway that borders these places, so I can't usually stop and get pictures. This time I had to take the risk of getting killed by a speeding vehicle to get a few pictures. I won't soon do it again just for normal safety reasons. But let's move on with this story.

I've seen many kinds of wildlife in these wetlands over the years. Deer like to go here to get water. You have to be careful when they're crossing the road. There have been small flocks of geese relaxing in this water at times. This hasn't been unusual enough for me to take the chance to stop though.

Then I also see egrets in a few places here and there. There are usually only a few at a time, but the first time I saw them I was tempted to stop. The first time I slowed down though, they decided to all fly away. I think I even shared a few pictures of them once before.

But then this time I saw what looked like flocks of hundreds of these egrets scattered around. I had to go back home and get my camera. I had to take a chance this time. This many birds was unusual. So I came back, and after having to wait for quite some time for traffic to lighten up, I stopped and took lots of pictures.

When I got home later I loaded up the pictures of the egrets onto the computer to see if any of them came out okay, because I had to set the camera to maximum zoom while I took the pictures. As you can see, the colors were a little off, but they were good! But there was one problem with my pictures of the egrets.

When I finally got to see these birds up close, they were not egrets at all. They were pelicans! I've never seen this many pelicans before in my life. And would you expect to see huge flocks of pelicans in an Iowa cornfield?

I took the pictures a few days ago. The pelicans are still hanging around a bit. Yesterday I saw the unmistakable shape of a pelican flying above my truck. I don't know what anyone else around here thinks of them, but pelicans area welcome sight to me. I'll talk to you later.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

I'm Back!

Are you still there? It's been a long time that I've been gone this time, but I'm back and I have some new stuff to share. I finally got my computer situation taken care of. It was really even worse than I have been describing. I keep two computers for personal use. Both of them went down around the same time.

My laptop just got old and too slow to be functional. It had become mostly unusable, but I didn't want to part with it so I kept trying. I finally replaced it with a brand new Dell laptop. The new one is a pleasure to use. I don't usually do my blogging with this one, but at least I can do it now if I want to.

I keep my main desktop computer in my bedroom. I built it myself and it's also getting old. The only original part is the case. I replace parts when needed. This time I waited too long and it caused most of my problems.

The last piece I had to replace this time was the main hard drive. I chose a solid state drive (SSD) this time. It makes a huge difference. The way the computer was limping along before, it took about 20 minutes to come back up when I restarted it. So I tried not to do that very often. Now with the new drive, a restart is almost instantaneous. I recommend SSDs to anyone who uses a computer.

I do almost all of my blogging on my bedroom computer. I'm only in that room at night, so I do other things during the day. I limit the things I do to certain times to keep my many individual activities from dominating my time. I need enough time for each thing. I mostly work all day for a long time, so I have to budget my time carefully when I'm done. I spend my days off trying to get more pictures.

I've been out getting a few pictures to share. Some are amazing and some are not so amazing. I only really judge how good they are by the experience and adventure I had while taking them. The pictures are just a record of the experience. A good nature adventure is what's really important.

The pictures today are some of the random scenes I've seen in the past several days. I have pictures from some really fun adventures coming up soon, as soon as I can get the time to write about them for you. I hope to have lots of stuff very soon. I'll talk to you later.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

New Computer Coming

As you have been seeing, I'm not here right now. I ordered a new computer and it's on its way. I thought it should take a few days to arrive, but I'll be waiting for another week. I chose Dell this time instead of just building one. They don't seem to be speedy.

While I'm waiting, I'll visit your sights whenever I can with a combination of my phone and my business computer. The phone is hard and I don't have much time on the business computer for anything other than work.

Maybe I'll get lucky and the new computer will get here sooner than expected. Hopefully, I'll talk to you soon.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

I'll See You At Your Site

I don't have any pictures today. My truck has just recently been fixed all the way, I hope. My computer is still giving me problems. I think I'll have to re-install the whole operating system from scratch this time. I do hope that I'll begin to get some new nature pictures in the upcoming days.

But in the meantime I'm just going to start visiting your blogs again and commenting here and there. I miss the blogs right now, but my computer is still giving me trouble so my comments will be a little scattered. I hope to see your posts on your blogs soon.

And as soon as I can I'll have a new post here. This bit of writing isn't exactly an official post. It's just a small update to let you know I'm still here. I'll talk to you later at your blog.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Trucks Computers And Mushrooms

Are you surprised to see me? It's because I've been gone for so long. My computer has been down and my truck has also been down. So I couldn't go anywhere to get pictures and I couldn't post them here either.

Sure, I could've used my phone to post pictures, but that's too much of a pain. Although, I might do something like that in the future for a gimmick I hinted at a few months ago. And for that, I need my truck, which is still a problem for me. Maybe it'll be back up and running in a week or so.

In the meantime, I took these mushroom pictures right out in front of my house. These huge mushrooms grew there overnight. And I'm not very quick at doing yard work, so I just left them. Besides, they give the fairies something to rest on.

Back to my computer. These Microsoft updates have been a pain. I'm part geek, so I like frequent operating system updates, but I want them to not screw up my computers so much. I have three computers I use for different things, and with every update at least one gets messed up, usually a big problem.

I've had computers for a very long time, and I'm good at fixing just about every problem, but this new problem is the second one in a few months where I have to call Microsoft to fix it. I've never had to get help with a computer before in my entire life. I'm getting really fed up.

I don't like to talk about problems here very much, but I don't have much nature to talk about right now. Maybe you might find this slightly entertaining. If you knew me personally you might find my computer problems funny. But that's enough of that.

Maybe next time I'll have some good nature stuff. I'm still waiting for that bigfoot sighting I've been promising over the years. I'll talk to you later.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

My Flood Adventure

I took these pictures with my phone a few days ago while on a quick trip into Sioux(Soo) City. Most of these pictures show flooded cornfields. But the second one shows the Big Sioux River over its banks.

The water was expected to come up over the road and block all travel. The bridges going across this river into South Dakota have been blocked off for safety reasons.

Keep reading to find out what happened to me on my trip.

As I said, I took these pictures on my way into Sioux City. The trip was pretty uneventful on my way there, except for me getting these pictures. It was on the way back when it all broke loose.

The first thing that told me things were going to be bad was when a woman, who was also taking pictures, ran across the road too close to very busy traffic on this dangerous road. She was alright, but this road is very dangerous for pedestrians. It's usually deer that you see darting across the road here, and that doesn't end well a lot of times.

Anyway, about halfway home I noticed that the clouds up ahead were kind of dark. Then I began to notice that everything up ahead in the far distance was looking very blurry. It was kind of strange. I realized it must be rain I was seeing, but I've never seen it do that before.

Before long that blurriness got closer and closer. Soon enough I drove right into a wall of heavy rain. As soon as I was in the rain visibility was down to zero. The rain was so heavy that I couldn't see anything in front of me but that rain.

I remembered that before I got into the rain I saw that those black clouds didn't go very far. So the best thing I could do was keep moving, but just a little slower. It was best to get past this storm as soon as I could.

Before long I was able to drive out of the storm. It was still raining up ahead, but it was only a regular shower now. I'm glad I kept moving. I don't know how fast the water would have risen with all that rain, but I didn't want to find out right in the middle of the worst flood area.

So I made it home safe and sound. I did get soaked going from the truck to the house though. I was just grateful to be out of that terrible storm.

I haven't taken any trips to look around since that day. I've heard the flooding got worse. It's been flooding all around me. Even the back way out was flooding this time. I was blocked from every city and even from the bigger town to the north of me.

Today I think the waters have receded some. I can probably travel in most directions. I'm going to attempt a trip to the grocery store a little later today. If there's anything interesting along the way I'll get more pictures.

It's been flooding here every few years since right before I moved here. It floods easily here, but I don't think it was this often in years past. Maybe it will continue like this from now on, but I hope not. I'll talk to you later.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

The Swamp

I thought I'd share some pictures of my local swampy pond this time. You've seen it before but maybe you didn't know it at the time. I find turtles in this pond quite often. This pond is right on the edge of a hidden nature preserve, but I don't think it's actually part of it.

I think the pond is maybe more interesting than the nature preserve. There's more to see in it. The nature preserve used to contain a good sized lake, but the lake has mostly dried up. I don't know when it happened, but I'm sure it was sometime in my lifetime. And I'm not as old as you might think.

Beyond this swampy pond is farmland. It was probably difficult, but they are able to farm on these rolling hills. The hills here are probably similar to what you might find in a place like Ireland. My own house is tucked in right on the edge of some of these hills.

There's actually more to this swamp than you see in my pictures today, but I have what I have. Honestly, I was looking for animals for pictures, not the swamp. What I found was the swamp, not the animals. It seems kind of weird, but you can find wild animals easier in the city than you can out here in the country. Who would have guessed?

Unrelated to this swampy pond, I've been doing lots of work on my property this year. I've been cutting down trees, mowing weeds on a large piece of land without a riding mower, laying gravel with a wheelbarrow and a shovel and rake, and trying to clean out my garage. And I won't be able to get started rebuilding my rotted back deck this year.

I can't keep up, but I'm determined to do all this stuff with only simple tools. I don't know why I don't just hire a crew or get a better way, but I feel like doing it this way. So it's going to be a busy summer. I would show you the results when I'm finished, but I'm not sure it'll be pretty.

I think that's enough for this time. I'll talk to you later.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Ooh, Looky At The Nature!

I'm back with a turtle! I wanted to show you this turtle in my first picture because I specifically searched for turtles and I found this one. It was the only one I found this time, but at least I got what I was looking for.

The swampy area where I found him is home to lots of turtles. I don't share every turtle I find because we don't want so many. There would be turtles all the way down the blog if I did that. If you read the same books I do that last sentence might be amusing. Probably not, but you'd know what I'm talking about.

Take a close look at the above picture. Do you see the birds? The one on the left seems to be keeping guard for the one on the right. The right one is lying down for some reason. I'm guessing they are mates, but I don't know that. They left when I got a little closer.

I wouldn't have moved in closer to them but they were right on the side of the road. You might think the one was injured or something, but it flew away just as easy as the other. It's not a busy road, but it's also not a very good place for a possible nest.

I threw this picture above in to show you non-photographers how difficult it is to take these pictures. I tried and tried to focus the camera on this bird, but the camera just wouldn't do it before the bird flew away. So I lost another one. It's a common occurrence with nature photography.

The secret is to just take as many pictures as you can and to use the good ones. If you're like me, you also use some of the bad ones. That's why I get to wear a rat costume.

If you want to be a little safer with your photography, then you can take lots of pictures of things like these. They don't run away when you point your camera at them. They do move a bit when there's a gentle breeze though, so nothing is foolproof.

I used the flowers last because I thought it would be good to end with a pleasant photo after that one with the bird. I'm also trying to not be so distracted so I will post a little more often again. I have to keep trying to remind myself to have some fun because I've been getting too wrapped up in business. I'm still trying to organize my time a little better for everything. Hopefully I'll get it right when I talk to you later.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

A Little Story Of A Normal Sized Pheasant

I'm gonna tell you a story, about a bird I know. He was a ring-necked boy, standing in the road.

Okay, I stole those lines from an Alice Cooper song called Disgraceland. The words aren't exactly the same, but they're close enough. Of course, his song wasn't about a pheasant. My little story is though. At least some of it is.

I've seen pheasants around here kind of infrequently up until this year. I've been seeing lots of them since the weather warmed up this spring. The one in these pictures gave me a golden opportunity to get a few pictures.

It was standing there in the middle of the road when I came driving along. I had to stop a ways back so it wouldn't fly away or I wouldn't run it over. Luckily I have a good zoom on my camera. It was good enough anyway.

No animal just sits there waiting to get its picture taken. Just like humans, they don't really like it when they see a camera pointing at them. Eventually, they get nervous and decide to make a break for it.

And that's just what this pheasant did.

The middle of the road is a fine place to just stand there and contemplate the world when there isn't either a truck or a camera coming for you. But when one of those two things appear, or both, you just have to move on to a more safe and invisible area.

I don't blame him a bit. I would have probably done the same thing.

And right after this last picture, the pheasant was gone as if he had never been there. I searched for him up close and never was able to see him again. That's a good talent. I've tried it myself. And while I'm also pretty good at hiding, maybe I'm not quite as good as this bird.

So now we come to the end of my little tale. It was fun for me, and I hope you liked it too. I'll have more coming soon if I can fight off the mighty distractions of the outside world that have been fighting me like a monster lately. I'd like to get back to the same schedule I had last year at this time. We'll see what I can do. And until then, I'll talk to you later.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Getting Back Into It

Okay, I'm having a little bit of trouble getting back into things after my time off, so I'm mostly going to just give you some nice pictures of my latest tour of the countryside for this post. I do have lots more, but there is so much I'm just not sure what to say yet.

So let's just look at these pictures today while I get my thoughts together for my upcoming posts.





I would have gotten this second post back to you much sooner, but my new business is taking a lot of my time and it's a great distraction from this. I have to give it extra attention because everything is just starting to ramp up. That's all I'll say about that so you don't get too bored. Nature is more fun.

After this little bit of writing, I'm starting to get back into things already so my next post will be more like me. And maybe I'll come back with a few animals here and there. I like when I have animals to share. I hope you liked the landscape pictures this time, and I'll talk to you later.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

I'm Back

This is just a quick post to let you know that I'm back. I've had a rough month. I'll let you know a tiny bit in my next post when I can properly write something. We'll see. I'd rather always keep this about nature. I'll have that next post up when I can get some good material together. I hope that will be very soon. Maybe a couple of days. In the meantime. I'll talk to you soon.

Friday, April 27, 2018

The Flood Of 2018

I told you a few posts ago, which is a few weeks ago I guess, that I would share an update when it begins to flood around here. Annnnd here it is!

It has now begun to flood here. It's not as bad as the flood from a few years ago so far. It could get worse though. So far the flooding is just limited to the area mostly near the river.

Last time the roads were closed in most directions due to the flooding. So far this time there are no closed roads. As a matter of fact, I took these pictures from the road that travels across the river over to South Dakota. You can see the sides of the bridge in some of the pictures.

Most of this water I'm showing you is not in the river itself. The picture above is a cornfield that has been turned into a small lake.

In the picture above, you can see some of the buildings of a small farm. It sits perilously close to the river. If you look closely, you can see that they've built up the land all around to protect from flooding. Everything surrounding the farm is under water. But the farm is still okay, for now.

Trees all around are now under water.

This one above shows the river up over its banks and going into the trees. I took this one from the bridge.

This last one is another cornfield. They won't be planting here this year. There will probably be lots of birds in the water here pretty soon. I'll have to lurk around here often if the flooding doesn't get too bad. I might get some very good wildlife photos.

So that's that. I've been extra busy around here now that spring has arrived. Lots of good stuff and lots of bad stuff. I might go into some of it next time. The flood was more interesting for this one. I'll keep you updated on that too. And until then, I'll talk to you later.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Scream of The Birds

Yesterday I was sonically assaulted by blackbirds. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before, so I wasn't exactly prepared for it. I had to move fast. That's the only way I can say it in so few words, but there's more to the story, so let me tell you exactly what happened.

I was sitting there watching something terrible on TV when suddenly I heard a horribly loud high pitched screaming coming from outside. It could have been some kind of machine ready to explode or maybe a gigantic tea kettle going off, but I knew immediately that it was not either of those. It was birds, thousands of them.

It was the sound of very many birds singing, but I don't think I have ever heard so many of them at the same time. I looked out the window and I saw that every tree in town was covered with them. There must have been hundreds of thousands of them out there. I've never seen or heard so many birds in my life. My very first instinct was to run and grab my camera, which I did.

After I got back I began taking pictures. I didn't take many because I knew they'd all be too similar. And I also remembered to get some video, which interrupted my picture taking. I'm really glad I got the video because my pictures are terrible and they don't come anywhere close to showing the sheer number of birds.

But what kind of birds were these? After reviewing my pictures and video, I saw that they were blackbirds. I always thought that there would only be one kind of bird in a flock, but there were at least two different kinds of blackbird here.

Most of these birds were the standard Red-Winged Blackbirds that I've seen many times before. But as you can see in the circled area in the picture above, some had yellow heads. These are called, predictably, Yellow-Headed Blackbirds. I've never seen this kind before this. Pretty cool!

And now here's my video. I have to warn you before you watch this video that you will hear the loud scream of the birds when you click that button. So if you're in a place that needs quiet, then maybe you should wait until later to watch it. Even so, watch it now anyway, because it'll be more fun that way. So this is my newest episode of Rat TV. Let's see if you can watch the whole thing without turning the sound down.

I included these last two pictures just to try to give you the best view I can. This one above has some of the birds in flight. I think that's cool in pictures. I'm not sure any of the pictures are what I was hoping for.

Maybe I should have processed the pictures a bit to give them a bit of zing. I could have brightened them up a bit or done something even cooler. But I was in kind of a hurry to share this post with you. So you get the raw version this time. Maybe I'll make a special post with one fixed up picture just to see what it might look like. Maybe.

The darkness in the pictures is because it was a dark and wet day. We just had another blizzard the night before, and the temperatures were now too high for the snow to remain. It was still snowing while all the snow on the ground was melting away. I think spring may be finally here. (I keep saying that!)

This has been a longer post than I intended. I hope you were interested enough to be able to read it all. Even if you couldn't I'm glad you stopped by. And with that, I'll talk to you later!