Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Why Did The Trees Fall?

As I walked the nature trails here at Woodland Hills on my everyday adventure, I noticed something a little alarming. There were damaged or dead and fallen trees throughout the park. The further I walked, the more I saw fallen trees across the trails. The park maintenance people cleared most of them away, but there were still some that had probably fallen since they'd been there.

I've been walking on these trails for a few years, but I'm not exactly knowledgeable about this kind of thing yet. Maybe there was some kind of wind storm here. Maybe there is some kind of disease getting to the trees. Maybe a parasite or some kind of animal is killing or hurting the trees. Or maybe these trees are just getting old and dying.

I don't know which of these reasons it could be, if any. There could be more than one reason, or maybe a reason that I haven't thought of yet. Maybe this is something that just happens every year.

The problem didn't look like it was due to the same thing everywhere, but looks can be deceiving. Some trees were broken at the base. Some were completely uprooted. And some were broken anywhere from a foot or more from the ground. I saw some that were broken in places more than six feet up. Some of these trees were clearly rotted, while others still looked fresh.

I would see in most places, that somebody had cut up and moved the fallen trees off the trails, so the maintenance people seemed to be aware of the problem. But sometimes I had to step over one laying across the path. So there must have been more recent events.

There were a few more trees that hadn't fallen yet, but were clearly ready to go. There was this one huge tree, that I decided to walk past quickly so as not to get splatted, that was leaning and waiting for the stress of it's weight to take it down. I also saw a few that had fallen onto other trees, and were being propped up by those other trees.

I've never seen a tree actually fall, but I would bet it's a sight to behold. I'm not sure how quickly it happens, or how much warning a person might have. I do know that I'll keep my eyes and ears open for things like this when I'm out on the nature trails. I don't think it's a big danger, but it is something to be mindful of from now on.

To conclude this story, I have to say that this is an update of an older post from a little over a month ago. The forest now seems a little emptier than it was before, but I think the trees have stopped falling. I still don't understand yet what happened. Can anyone out there give me a solution to this mystery? If I ever get an explanation, I'll post it here.

Since I have no answer yet, It's time to end this one for today. So I'll leave you with one question.

If a tree falls on you in the forest, do you make a sound?

Monday, September 29, 2008

My Close Encounter With A Deer

With all the people in the park, I was sure I wouldn't see any deer today... Or would I?

As I got into the trees in the back of the park, I went around a bend, and there was a huge commotion up ahead. Something huge went crashing through the trees in front of me. I didn't see it, but I heard the loud rustling crash, and I saw the trees shaking. Whatever did this was bigger than me.

I was hoping it wasn't some kind of predator or bigfoot or something. Really I knew it could only be one thing. I knew it was a deer. I couldn't believe it. Right after I just got through talking about them. This was where the two older people had just come from. How was it that a deer would be here now?

Now the only thing I had to do was find it. I wasn't sure I would even see it. The fact was, I had no idea which way it went. I decided to keep going, because it must be long gone. I decided to still look through the trees just in case.

As I was scanning the forest, I saw something strange just to my right. There it was! It was a deer, hiding in the forest, maybe only ten feet away from me. I saw it before it saw me. It thought it was well hidden in the trees, but I was the one hidden from it.

I started taking pictures immediately.That's when it heard me. Well, it was actually the sound of the camera it heard. I think digital cameras only make those sounds, so you know you got a picture. I wonder if mine has a setting to make it silent.

As soon as it heard me, it turned it's head and looked right at me. I thought I wouldn't get any more pictures now that it knew I was so close. But it didn't run away. I think it was trying to decide if it should go. It maybe thought I couldn't get to it very quickly, and it was probably right. Maybe it just wasn't sure what to do.

The more we stared at each other, the more nervous it started to get. It started to tense up as if were getting ready to turn and run, so I slowly lowered myself to my knees, so I would be closer to the ground.

That seemed to do the trick. I thought if I looked smaller, it might ease it's fear. It worked, but as you can see from the picture above, it was still keeping a close eye on me. I decide to keep as still as possible, and I continued to take my pictures.

After a few more seconds it decided I wasn't a threat, and it started to nibble at some food it found there on the ground. It was still alert to my presence, but it figured I wasn't coming for it. It's movements now were more leasurely and relaxed.

I was now able to take as many pictures as I wanted. I got plenty more than you see here, but I only have so much space for pictures here. If you want to see more, maybe you could go find a deer yourself. You'd have a pretty good time. I know I have.

After a little bit, the deer saw something tasty on the side of a tree a little further away, and it wandered over to investigate. It got over there and started munching away. The camera view wasn't as good for me anymore, so I decided to get up and move on my way.

I saw more fun and exciting things that day, but I'll leave them up to your imagination. It's now time to move on to a new everyday adventure. In the meantime, go out and have your own exciting journey. When you come back, leave me a nice comment.

Until next time. I'm The Everyday Adventurer. Up up and away! (Yes, I can fly.)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Voice On The Trail

I left you last time when I was startled by a voice on the nature trail where I thought I was very much alone. I happened to be studying a Gray Dogwood shrub(very beautiful up close), when I was addressed by the voice.

"Taking Pictures, huh?", said the voice.

I whirled around startled to see and older man and woman, and said, "Oh, yeah. I've been studying these plants for a long time. I've been looking at the changes they've gone through during the summer."

The man said, "I wonder what kind of plant it is? There are a lot of them around here."

I told him it was Gray Dogwood, and explained some of what I had learned about it.

As we were talking, they moved over to the bridge, which was right next to us. They looked down into the water, and he asked, "Do you think they stock any fish in here? I know there's no fishing or anything, but I wonder if there's fish in the pond."

I explained, "I was just looking at fish or something swimming around in there.(Soul suckers, mwahahaha. Just kidding.) I've seen turtles and frogs, and even some crayfish. The pond is full of life."

He went on to say, "I heard there were deer in the park, but we haven't seen any. You know if there really are deer?"

I replied, "I haven't seen any here recently, but a few months ago, I was able to get very close to one. Within maybe ten feet."

After hearing that, the woman said, "Oh, I wouldn't want to get too close to a deer. I'd be afraid it might attack."

I understood her feelings, so I explained how to get a deer to do what you want. I told her, "I saw on a TV show a while back, a man who could manipulate horses with only body language and gestures. He said it would work on a lot of animals like them. I tried some of the things on that deer I saw and they worked pretty good. If you walk backwards towards the deer, and keep your hands at your sides, he won't perceive you as a threat, and won't run. If you face him and raise your arms, he'll panic, thinking you're a big cat ready to pounce, and he'll run away. So if you're ever worried, try that and you should be okay."

They both said that made pretty good sense. And after a few more minutes, we ended our conversation and I went on my way, toward where they had just come from. They stayed on the bridge, now looking for life in the water. If they watched long enough, they'd see something. I was sure.

As I walked to the back of the park, I thought to myself that even though my quiet peace was interrupted, I liked talking to people on the nature trails like this. My mind was now thinking of deer and the possibility of seeing one again in this park.

With all the people in the park, I was sure I wouldn't see any deer today... Or would I?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Name Of This Plant Is...

After my run in with the evil soul sucking tadpole fish aliens, I crossed the bridge and decided to do one of the things I came to Woodland Hills to do today. I decided a long time ago to get more pictures of the plants in these pictures. I still had not properly identified this plant, and I wanted to see the changes it went through since last time I was here.

In a post a while back, I completely misidentified this plant. Well, almost completely; that other type of plant looks a lot like this one. I won't link to that post here, but if you look around the site, you should find it in short order. Can you tell I'm being a little evasive about it? Hey, mistakes are hard things to swallow. Even so, I never said I was a plant expert yet.

It took me so long to make a new post about it, because I wanted to be reasonably sure that I was right. I'm reasonably sure now. I think I know what type of plant this is. I checked and checked some more. Now, I'm pretty confident that I know what it is. It is nice looking, isn't it?

...Oh, did you want to know what it is too? Sorry, I get sidetracked sometimes. I'll go off in a different direction and completely forget what I was talking about. Wait a minute, there I go again. Okay, I know; enough messing with you. Here it is.

This plant is Gray Dogwood. The first thing that attracted me to it was the white berries. As I looked closer, I saw the almost blood red stems. There are several plants with these, and several types of Dogwood. If you look closely and compare, you can see that the Gray Dogwood is the one here. You can also see here that the leaves have a reddish tint. They change to this red color in the fall. All throughout the summer, the leaves are green.

The berries are a good food source for birds. I've read that they are edible for humans, but they have a bad taste. Even so, I wouldn't risk eating them, because there are similar looking plants that are poisonous and deadly. When birds eat them, it leaves the red stems bare. This gives the plants an even redder look in the fall. I think the red stems look eerily like blood vessels. These red stems can last well into winter, and maintain their color. The plants are dense shrubs that can sometimes grow as big as trees. Some people use these as a nice natural barrier, instead of a fence, because they grow so easily. So, there you go, Gray Dogwood. It took me some time, but I did figure it out.

Well, it was a nice break I was having on the nature trail. I keep saying that one of the good thing's in this place is the quiet solitude. I was getting some fantastic pictures, and I also had the seeds of this story in my head. I'd say it was a good part of another excellent everyday adventure.

But as I was taking pictures of these Gray Dogwood shrubs, I was startled by a voice...

Friday, September 26, 2008

What's Swimming In The Pond?

I was at Woodland Hills the other day, and I was at the pond, looking down at the water, from the bridge. The bridge crosses the pond at a narrow spot. The narrow area separates a large side of the pond from a small side. I happened to be looking at the small side, and I saw something swimming around in the water. Well, it was actually dozens of things. Take a close look at the picture. You can see them there in the middle. All those little dark spots.

At first, I thought it was tadpoles, but I keep reading that tadpoles are only around in the spring. That's also the last time I remember seeing tadpoles, so that matches up. It still doesn't totally rule them out. They look like tadpoles.

The only other alternative is a school of fish. Of course, that is also likely, because I know there are fish in this pond. To tell you the truth, I can't tell the difference between tadpoles and fish from that viewpoint, so that's as much as I know.

I guess there could be a third alternative. Maybe they're evil space aliens, come to suck out our souls. Nah, that would be crazy. ...Wouldn't it? You tell me.

Whatever they were, It was interesting watching them. They seemed to like swimming around one particular plant in the water. As you can see by the picture, they were staying together pretty well.

The really interesting thing is that they seemed to be able to see me, or at least detect my presence. Every time I would get close enough for my shadow to be cast over the area they were in, they would break their pattern and swim away from me. If I would move away for a minute, they would come back. I repeated this a few times to make sure I was right. It worked every time.

So the next time you're out looking at a pond, look for things swimming around in the water. Maybe they're tadpoles or maybe fish. Or they're evil space aliens, and they've come for you!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My Staredown With A Squirrel

I was walking through Woodland Hills on another everyday adventure, and I was experimenting a little bit with my camera. I talked some about that yesterday. Anyway, the leaves have started to fall, and you can see them all over the trail. I noticed that the colors are just beginning to go from green to shades of orange and red. The forest was alive with the sounds of animal activity.

Something I haven't mentioned here yet is the smells of the forest. When you pass by certain trees, you can smell something very pleasant coming from them. Each kind of tree has it's own unique smell. Those smells can do so many things for you. For me, the smell on this day brought back thoughts of my childhood, and the fun I had exploring the forests where I lived then. Those times were and are some of my fondest memories, and maybe the best times of my entire life. Just another benefit of being an everyday adventurer.

As I was hearing all the animals, I was thinking I should be ready to get pictures of as many of them as I could. That's partly what I was there for, wasn't it? I heard the animals and saw some of the trees shaking with their activity, but I wasn't seeing much of anything. They were evading me as good as they usually do.

Then, off to the left, I saw a squirrel. I got my camera pointed in the right direction and took the pictures, but it was just too far away, and there were too many trees in the way. You can see in the pictures that there is something there, but it's unidentifiable unless I point it out. It was a good effort and I started off again, hoping my luck would get better. You would think a little squirrel would be easy. I mean, they're everywhere in our neighborhoods, but when I get out my camera they are at least as camera shy as some people I know.

As I got a ways further down the trail I saw an even better chance. There was a squirrel playing around at the base of a big tree. This time I had my camera ready. It saw me, even though I wasn't that close, but it was too late. I raised the camera and got the pictures, as it scampered up the tree. Only then did I realize that my camera's settings were wrong because of my experimenting. So I missed some great pictures of the squirrel running up the side of the tree.

I quickly set the camera right as I thought I lost the little guy. But there he was, perched about thirty or forty feet up, on a small branch in the tree.

He thought he got away, but I was slowly moving in closer, and I started taking pictures with the camera zoomed in to where I could see him. He of course looked a little agitated by my presence, but that wasn't going to stop me. I came to get a picture of him, and that's just what I was going to do. Why does it have to be so hard to get simple little pictures of a squirrel? Besides, even if I was a threat to him, he was safe on his perch, high up off the ground.

As I was taking the pictures, I noticed his tail wasn't bushy like I expected. Was there something wrong with him? It was a squirrel wasn't it? Later that day, I showed the pictures to my mother, and she implied that it was a normal thing. She is pretty intelligent, and knows a lot of general information, so I respected what she thought. She mentioned something about a bushy tail on a squirrel means the winter will be hard.

Back to the forest. The squirrel was on his perch, and I was happily taking pictures of him. This was only a matter of seconds. As he got settled, he noticed I was still there. He turned and stared directly at me. He must have been thinking I was the scariest monster he had ever seen. I have several pictures of him staring at me like this! He was not a happy creature. I don't understand the big problem. As I said before, he was up there pretty far, and perfectly safe from me. Maybe he didn't want his picture taken.

Well, he looked at me like that for what must have been over a minute, maybe two. Come on little guy. I only want to steal your soul with my evil clicking, soul taking device. Maybe he actually thought something just like that. Whatever he thought, he was not happy with me. I was beginning to think, if he were brave enough, he might just jump down on me in an attempt to fight back.

Just as I thought maybe I should move away and look for other things, he decided the same thing for himself. He turned and moved up his little branch in an attempt to distract me. He did it wrong, because he didn't have very far to go.

This time he was perched at the very end of the branch. He was still very aware of my presence, and wasn't shy about showing it. I still didn't understand his fear, and besides, I didn't have anywhere to go myself. Nothing I could have done would have relieved his fear, so I kept taking pictures. I actually was as far from the tree as he was high. I would have moved closer if he hadn't been so clearly and visibly frightened.

Finally, he came to his senses and turned around, and scampered down and around the tree, and out of my sight forever. I had my pictures, and he regained his sense of freedom. Maybe he continued to watch me from a now hidden place, but I'll never know.

The encounter with the squirrel now over, I happily resumed my journey, and wondered what was next for The Everyday Adventurer.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Before And After Pictures

In an effort to improve my photography skills, I've been experimenting and practicing a little bit with my camera settings. I like the pictures I've been taking, but I have felt the need to improve them. This is my first camera, and I think I've done pretty well with the basic stuff up 'til now. But I want the pictures to come out a little better.

If you look at the top picture, you can see that it's a good representation of what I saw on the nature trail. The problem for me, and the problem I've had from the beginning, is that the colors just aren't as vivid and the lighting is too bright. When I am deep in the forest, like I was here, it's pretty dark, even on a sunny day. And while you can see the green in the top picture, it's a little washed out. The reality is much greener.

I went through several different suggested settings on the camera, and settled on the one I used for the picture below for now. It works good for pictures like this, but not others. I'm still obviously in the learning process, but I think I'm on the right track.

This picture represents what I actually saw, much better than the top one. You can see that the scene looks a little darker, the greens of the plants looks much richer, and you can now see that the dirt on the trail has a lot more brown in it. The older pictures only showed a light gray for the dirt. For me, the new setting that brings out the brown is a huge improvement, but of course there is still more improvement to be had. I had a lot of clunkers on this trip, but some encouraging pictures too.

I have also been working on my pictures of plants and animals, with settings that will make what you see much better, and more representative of what I saw with my own eyes. Again, I think I'm headed in the right direction.

From now and into the future, I will be experimenting with more and more changes, and I think it will improve things greatly. The good thing is that there is always room for improvement, and I will always constantly be trying to get better with everything I do. This blog is of course about everyday adventures and pictures like these, but it is more about improving myself. Let me know what you think of this new improvement, when you look at these two pictures.

...Oh, I almost forgot. If anyone is interested in giving me a few photography tips, I'd really appreciate it. I look forward to your suggestions and even critiques. Just go to the comments link below, it's really easy.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Breathtaking Scene

I thought I would show a couple of the beautiful sights I saw of Newburgh Lake from Sumac Pointe. I have to say, I'm not sure there are too many places that are more splendid to see. I've been to others that I never wanted to leave, and what I saw here matches up favorably.

I think I like everything here, from the flooding water, to the floating algae, to the trees, and to the sky. Even the muddy land on the edge of the shore that I was standing on. I think it was all wonderful.
I just can't help but love this with the green all around. I've said before that a place looked like it was made in heaven. This is another little section. How can anyone not want to sit down and cry in sheer joy when they see something like this for themselves. This picture has a quality of peace in it, right down to the ducks swimming across the water. For me this was truly a breathtaking scene.

I've seen other pictures just as good as these all over the internet, but think what it's like when you've actually seen some of these places for yourself. Don't you want to go back every day? Don't you want to find even more? An afternoon indoors can't compare.

After you're done here, shut off your computer, and go out and find your own heavenly place. When you're finally able to tear yourself away from it, come back here and tell me about it. There are others who do it. Just check my comments section, and see for yourself. You can do it too.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Woodland Hills

Woodland Hills Nature Park is the first park with nature trails I ever visited, and it might still be my favorite. This park is all nature, all the time. It has 74 acres of quiet nature trails. You can go here and be at total peace. You can see all sorts of plants and animals here, including a few deer.

The park has a beautiful pond in the back, where ducks and geese love to hang out. I've seen turtles, frogs, fish, and crayfish swimming around in the pond. There is a creek, and a river, where you can look at from the nice little bridges that cross them both.

You will see wildflowers of all sorts, and different types of fruit trees. This is the place for you, if you want to see nature in action. There is so much to see here, that anyone interested in an everyday adventure of their very own has to go look around. What a great place. I can't describe it here as well as your mind can, when you see it for yourself. Take a look; it truly is a wonderful place.

It's located in Farmington Hills, Michigan on Farmington Road just south of I-696. Go here for directions and more info.

Flood Rains

Here's what I originally intended to talk about after I got back from Sumac Pointe. Everything else from that day seemed to sidetrack me. The results of the flooding we had from the rain over that weekend interested me, and I wanted to say something about it and show these pictures.

The rain kept me indoors for much of the weekend, and I wanted desperately to go out. If only my camera was waterproof. I even went over to Heritage Park to get a picture of the pond with the rain falling on it, but unfortunately the place was closed up tight. I guess they didn't want some lunatic out there wandering around in the rain. That's exactly what I probably would have done. As I remember, I complained all the way home.

When the rain was over, I wanted to document the flooding at least a little. That's when I remembered the existence of Sumac Pointe and the Lake.

After I got past most of the geese, I started taking pictures of the water. You can see where this picnic table now rested. I'm not sure whether it washed into the lake, or the lake got big enough to halfway swallow it up. There were scenes like this all along the shoreline. All the picnic tables in the park were now half sunk in the lake.

Come to think about it, the whole waterway this lake belongs to, floods a lot in places, even after a small rain. Usually they have to close the road down for miles. It's all part of a bigger network of parks out here known as Hines Drive. There are signs posted around that let people know this is a natural flood plain. So it's never unexpected. It's part of the beauty of the area.

Like I said, it's never unexpected. But what was unexpected by me, was that the rain and flooding would bring out so many animals. I couldn't help but show them here. The best part is that I'm not finished!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

What Happens When A Goose Gets Old?

Did you ever see an old goose? Well here it is, take a good look at it. You can tell it's old, because of the rumpled feathers and the gray head.

I never before thought about what a goose would look like if it was old. I found a few other pictures of old geese on the web. I wanted to make sure I knew what I was seeing. Maybe it wasn't old; maybe it was just prematurely gray.

Did you ever stop to think that other animals, besides humans, would go gray? Honestly I never even considered it, but it is an interesting sight. Do the other geese think of the old ones as wise? Do they have a greater respect for them? Or do the old ones just get pushed off to the side?

Hail To The King, Baby

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

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

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

Take a bow, Gary.

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

Saturday, September 20, 2008

What Met Me At Sumac Pointe

What do you think the first thing I saw was, when I got to Sumac Pointe? That's right, it was these Geese! They saw me as soon as I saw them. I figured I should walk slowly so as not to alarm them. No need.

As I walked towards the opening in the fence, they came running towards me like I was an old friend. I never expected that. I thought I would be lucky to get a few good pictures. Ha, wrong again.

As I went through the gateway in the fence, the geese came to meet me. They stopped and posed for as many pictures as I wanted. I guess they wanted a treat or something, but I didn't have anything to eat. It didn't matter, they still hung around me. They probably liked me so much, because I'm such a wonderful person. Yeah, that's why.

This is how close you can get to a goose if you're an everyday adventurer. I could have reached out and touched the one in the front. He would've only bitten me twice. Actually, they all were acting pretty friendly. They seemed more used to this than I was.

What happened next? Tune in next time, for more of this thrilling adventure!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sumac Pointe Recreation Area

Sumac Pointe Recreation Area is a little smaller than the hiking trail parks I've previously talked about. It's main purpose is for viewing Newburgh Lake. There is also a play area for kids, a shelter, and you can fish here. I like to park here or look at the lake. It's a nice place to stop for a little while. Sumac Pointe is a small part of Hines Drive, which is a larger park area that stretches on for miles.

I never knew that the water there was a lake. I always thought it was just a section of the Rouge River. When I went there this last time, and had a good look, I thought it looked a little bigger than the river. I read that it was formed by a dam, which I am now looking forward to seeing.

Sumac Pointe Recreation Area is located in Livonia, Michigan on Hines Drive just west of Newburgh Rd Between Plymouth Rd and Ann Arbor Trail. I haven't found a website for this park yet; but when I do, I will update this post.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Why The Deer's Tails Were White

Yesterday I left you with a promise of an explanation of what scared the deer(Deer In My Backyard). Here's the story.

When I noticed them out there, I ran into the house to get my camera. It only took me a few minutes and I was back out there. As I said yesterday, they were wary of me, but they calmed down as they saw I might not be a threat. It was really bright and sunny out there, so I had trouble seeing the view screen of the camera, and it took a little bit to get any pictures.

As soon as I got this picture at the top, a girl from another house came running out. She said something like, "Here we are!". She shot past me and said "Sorry!", and kept right on going straight for the deer. I told her it was okay and to go ahead, because I knew there was nothing I could say to stop her. I don't think she even heard me anyway.

The first thing I thought was, why do girls always have to chase the animals? Then she started throwing bread at them, trying to lure them to her. Of course they ran for the trees. If you look closely at the deer that's looking back, you can tell the direction she was coming from.

I got some of the pictures I wanted anyway. I wanted to see a tail sticking up, and for that she helped out really well. I showed you a picture and explained that yesterday. When I was finished I turned to go back in the house, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw the girl walking back with a disappointed look on her face. Maybe next time she'll hold back a little, and the deer won't think she's an insane attacker. Maybe not.

Something I learned a long time ago, was how to get close to a deer. Animals like this instinctively have a fear of predators. You have to look unlike an attacker. If you keep your arms at your sides and walk slowly, mostly backwards towards them, they will drop their guard. If you raise your arms, they see your hands as claws, and panic.

I tried this all myself, and it works very well. When you get a chance to try it, come back here and tell me about it. I mean it, Slick. Gimme some comments, I'm hungry!

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Queen + Paul Rodgers

Here's something a little different than I usually put here, and I don't care. There are not very many things I like as much as this, so here it is.

The new Queen + Paul Rodgers album came out in the UK Monday, and in the USA in a little over a month! Queen has always been my favorite, and I can't wait to buy this album. This is the album I'll be listening to in my car, while searching for all my next everyday adventures. I have The Cosmos Rocks widget at the bottom of the page so anyone can hear samples of it for themselves. Here's some of the email they sent me about the release with more details.

The Cosmos Rocks - Out Today!
The brand new Queen + Paul Rodgers studio album is released today in the UK and the Rest Of The World.

Order 'The Cosmos Rocks' and new single 'C-lebrity' now through Queen Online (UK/ROW) and pre-order through Skyroo (North America).

"Our teachers were The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, blues & soul..."

The album is released in three physical formats: standard CD, deluxe package which includes additional DVD featuring 15 highlight performances by Queen + Paul Rodgers from the band's Super Live in Japan concert recorded live at Saitama Super Arena, Tokyo on 27th October 2005, along with double gate-fold vinyl release. The album will also have a special digital release including bonus tracks.

Coinciding with the release of The Cosmos Rocks, Queen + Paul Rodgers embark on a 33-date Europe and Northern Eurasia tour beginning mid-September. The tour reaches the UK on October 10 with 11 dates including two at London 02 and the tour's final date at Wembley Arena on November 8.

1. Cosmos Rockin'
2. Time To Shine
3. Still Burnin'
4. Small
5. Warboys
6. We Believe
7. Call Me
8. Voodoo
9. Some Things That Glitter
10. C-lebrity
11. Through The Night
12. Say It's Not True
13. Surf's Up . . . School's Out !
14. (small reprise)

Click here to listen to clips and enter a competition to win the Queen back catalogue through the Queen + Paul Rodgers 'Cosmos Rocks' widget

Produced and performed by Brian May, Paul Rodgers and Roger Taylor

This album is dedicated to Freddie Mercury

The Cosmos Rocks is released in the US/Canada on October 28th 2008.

We Will Rock You Tour Tickets - on sale now! Click here for more details

Deer In My Backyard

Monday there were White Tailed Deer in my backyard. This was going to be a nice finale to the day's everyday adventure. It was all of a sudden, really sunny out here, and hard for me to see from the camera. These pictures could have been better, but I had to hurry for reasons I'll explain in another post with more pictures. I just wanted to get the first few pictures of these for anyone to see.

Look closely at the small deer in the middle. I like the way it was looking right at me. It just appeared kind of wobbly. This was from when I first came out, and they were a little worried about my presence here.

Here's a good example of why they are called white tailed deer. When they believe they're in danger, they will lift their tails up to show this white underside to each other as a warning signal. It wasn't me they were worried about here. I'll explain tomorrow, same Rat time, same Rat channel. I like saying that!

Related Posts

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Idle Silence

"As we must account for every idle word, so we must for every idle silence."

- Benjamin Franklin

An Eventful Monday

I never expected to have such an eventful everyday adventure Monday! I wasn't even sure what I was going to do. I had a new park I was thinking about looking at, and boy did I! I found some unexpected things there, like this duck.

I wasn't even sure I wanted to go. It was intended to be just a trip to take some pictures of the river, and document the flooding from the rain we've had the past few days. Instead, I also found ducks and geese and more.

On my way home later, there were some deer in my backyard, and I finally got pictures. I never expected to see any more deer this year, but there they were.

I'll tell you, when events like this happen, it becomes a little overwhelming. I'm kind of at a loss for words. I wasn't sure now what to write today. I had plenty of other things to put here from before, but in the next few days I'll have to fit in the things from my eventful Monday.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Complaints And Historical Figures

For a while now I've been having to listen to some disturbing things about some historical people. I like reading about history and the great accomplishments of people. But it seems like every time I see something about a persons achievements, someone starts complaining.

While learning the positive thing a person did, I don't want to focus on their personal problems. I don't want to hear about how this person's positive achievement is nullified, because someone thinks they were evil or wrong in some way. If that historical figure did something bad, I agree, it shoudn't be ignored. But the act is not the person. Whether true or untrue, I don't need to be preached to.

Recently, I was reading a post on a Michigan blog about the invention of the Model T. I always loved that story. It was another great accomplishment, and one of the many things that made America great. It was a nice innocent post that made me feel good, so I commented and told the blogger how much I liked it.

Later I was looking around the same site, and happened to see the next comment. It was a huge lecture on how Henry Ford was a Nazi and friends with Hitler. Who cares. This was not a post about Nazis or wars or anything bad. It was about invention. I politely answered as much. I didn't say more, because it wasn't my blog. But now, here I am.

Sometimes it's okay to only think of the good things. The bad things should be remembered too, but in an appropriate place and time. Ease up a bit. What would it hurt?

Signs Signs, Everywhere The Signs

Don't you just hate it when you find a sign like this? The trail goes right on past the fence, and it looks so inviting. Don't you wonder what's there? Nothing interesting, really. It's only somebody's house, blah, that's pretty boring. I've never had the urge to see somebody else's boring, generic house. I can see my own house. That's a lot more fun, because I have all my stuff there.

I'll tell you though, standing on this side of a keep out sign is, for some reason, never any fun. But if you get to be the person standing on the other side, it's loads of fun watching the one with the camera standing there drooling at nothing. I want a sign like this! I'll paint a picture of clouds on the other side, and stand there and smile at it. I know it's weird, but it's what I want.

Seriously, make sure if you see a sign like this, do what it says. There really is no fun reason to see the blank side of the sign. If you turn to the right here, instead of going straight, you can be back out in nature and seeing something wonderful. A pond, ducks, and more!

I included this picture just because I sometimes like to use it as my desktop wallpaper. It's pretty boring though, unless somebody else is looking at it. Then the fun can start!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Contact Me Privately

This is where you can send me a private message.

Please be sure that your message is honest and legitimate.

I will not respond to most offers of advertisement on my site unless you can reasonably prove it is worth it to me and it is not a scam.

Requests for link exchanges are rarely answered unless I already know you. If you want to link to me you have my permission. I generally try to link only to my regular visitors who have linked to me.

Now write your message. I am happy to hear from a new friend like you.

Bear Management

I was looking on the Michigan DNR site and came across a story about Bear Management. I thought it was funny because the title reminded me of Yogi Bear. Here's some of it:

Michigan Black Bear Management Plan
The plan will provide strategic guidance for the management of bears in Michigan. The plan will be developed to help:

  • Maintain a viable bear population that is compatible with habitat, land use, recreational opportunities, and public acceptance;
  • Conduct science-based bear management with socially acceptable methods;
  • Provide additional recreation opportunities; and
  • Educate public about black bear management.

The plan will:

  • Address regional population management;
  • Address social concerns; and
  • Reduce conflict between user groups
Here's a link: Michigan Bear Management Plan

Hey, Boo Boo! If you follow the link, make sure you hide your pic-a-nic baskets. Yogi might get 'em anyway, after all he is smarter than the average bear.

Farmer Jack And The Magic Stick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Jack And The Beanstalk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Farmer Jack And The Magic Stick

This was inspired by a few true events. That's all I'll say.

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

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

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Top Nature Parks List - 9/13/08

I decided to make a list of my favorite nature parks. I've been to a few more than these, but these are the ones I like. This list may change and expand in the future; so it's not set in stone.
  1. Woodland Hills Nature Park
  2. Heritage Park
  3. Kensington Metropark
  4. Orchard Lake Nature Sanctuary
  5. West Bloomfield Woods Nature Preserve

There it is. It's in the order of most favorite to least favorite. I left the ones that I didn't like off the list. Maybe the list will change as my experiences change. There are still a lot more parks to explore, and I haven't seen everything in these yet. Onward to the future!

Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake

Ooh, look what I found! It looks so cute and friendly. I think it's wagging it's tail at me! What's that rattling sound? Should I pet it?

Warning! The Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake is a venomous snake. This rattler is very dangerous to people and their pets. If you think one of these snakes has bitten someone, seek medical help immediately.

Its venom is very toxic, but healthy adult humans rarely die from a bite because its teeth are too small to inject enough for great harm. However, a bite should still be considered very dangerous. If you are bitten, remain calm and try to keep still. Don't cut or place ice on the wound, and don't try to suck out the poison. Get medical attention as soon as possible.

Michigan is probably the last stronghold for the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake (Sisturus Catenatus). The word "massasauga" comes from the Chippewa language meaning "great river mouth." This is because of its habitat of swamps, which are often found around the mouths of rivers. It's also called the "Swamp Rattler", "Black Snapper", and "Michigan Rattler." I just found out, even though they are becoming endangered, they have one of their larger populations right in my area. During spring, Massasaugas use open shallow wetlands or shrub swamps. During summer, they move upland to drier areas. Look for them sunning themselves in open fields or grassy meadows.

That's pretty scary. These are some of the type of places I've been going. The good thing is, if you encounter this snake, it will try to get away before it tries to bite. It will only bite if you corner it or try to catch it. They are normally shy and non-aggressive.

They actually are beneficial to the environment. They eat small insects, mammals like mice, reptiles, and amphibians. They are eaten by eagles, herons, and some mammals.

As you may be able to see in this last picture, both snakes are in glass cases, so I was well protected. I took the pictures in the nature center at Kensington Metropark. That's the closest I ever want to be to an Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Back Out On The Water

Last post I was perilously stranded on a deserted island with a bad back, but I made a narrow escape. It turned out to be pretty easy. I heroically whined and complained until my brother decided to captain the boat. See, no problem. After all, I am The Everyday Adventurer!

Now that we were back on the water, I felt pretty good. I could sit back while someone else did all the work. The new skipper of the ship says he likes rowing the boat. It does look like fun. Hey, I wanna row a boat.

Eh, he can have it. My back still hurts. This is a great view though. Go the other way! You're rowing wrong! Hey kid, no standing in the boat! Ahh, what a view. You can see everything from here.

Look, there's a water slide out there. There are all sorts of things you can do here. There's a beach where you can go swimming, somewhere around here. No swimming for me.

This was a fun two hours. Seems more like three days for some reason. As I stepped onto the dock, I was glad to be back on dry land to end this watery journey.



It was time to go back to the boat. As I stood here on this island with a sore back, I wondered how I was going to row that boat again. I imagined what it would be like to be stranded here on this deserted island. What if I ended up like Gilligan, stranded on this island for years? And I couldn't swim even if my back was fine. I would swear I saw the Skipper back there. That would be an everyday adventure to talk about.

Wow, I was letting my imagination get away from me. But what if I went back to the other side of the island, and the boats were gone. Stranded here all alone. Oh no! Wait a minute. Snap out of it! I knew that wouldn't happen. I needed to get back to a bigger piece of land.

Finally I turned and made my way back to the boat. There they were where I left them. Ahh, sweet relief. Let's get off this island! Everybody back in the boats. Here we go!

But wait. What about my back? How will I row the boat? Can we make it with me in this condition? What will we do? How many more questions can I come up with?

Tune in next post. Same Rat time; same Rat channel!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

More Scenes From The Island

Being a very small island, the best pictures were of the surrounding lake. I stood at the shore taking as many as I could before it was time to go. My back still hurt, and I was attempting to stretch to make it better. So far it wasn't working. I'm not really one to complain about a strained back. What kind of everyday adventurer would I be if I did that?

As you can see, Kent Lake is pretty big. These pictures will make great wallpaper. They're from the north shore of the island, away from the boats. I came over here to get away from everyone and the noise they were making. It made it much easier to get my pictures without being crowded.

I decided to take a picture of the water at the shore. I've tried this before without good results, but the water here was very clear, and the day was perfect. It makes you want to stick your feet right in.

Here's another one. I'm looking off to the right this time. You can see that it's a pretty long distance that way. My brother told me the lake goes on for miles.

Well, even though my back wasn't much better, it was time to get back to the boat.