Tuesday, March 31, 2009

After The Storm

After a day of rain and snow, I went back out to Carpenter Lake to see how much snow was still on the ground. It turned out to be rather uneventful, because there was almost none left. When I got to the nature preserve there was a little bit of snow on the ground, and when I left the snow was already gone. It's too warm for snow now.

I also noticed that the animals had gone into hiding. They all must have gone and found warm places to wait until the weather became a little more pleasant. They didn't have to wait too long, because today was a beautiful day. The animals came back as the snow left.

As I took these pictures of the lake, there were no geese or ducks swimming around. They were all resting at the other end. They have made nests down there in the weeds. I found them later as they were just waking up from their rest. But for now I had the lake all to myself.

After all of the rainfall, the lake water is now a shade of brownish green. It's not polluted. It's just that the rain and snow runoff added mud to the lake, that was already full of algae. It was getting clearer recently, and it will clear up again soon. But for now it looks like this. It's okay because it's a natural thing for this lake.

I want to talk about this blog for a minute. The last few days have been bothersome for this blog. From what I understand, blogger fixed an obscure problem with rss feeds last week. It appears that the fix broke some compatibility with Feedburner, which I also use here. This is speculation by me, but I think that's what happened.

Well, the facts are that my rss feed has been broken since the beginning of the weekend. Mine doesn't appear to be the only one effected. It also effected some automatically updating links to me, like the kind in my sidebar. The problem has been using a combination of the two services in a certain way. It created a loop through Feedburner that couldn't see my new posts.

As far as I can tell, I have the problem fixed for now, but I had to change my settings in a way that I don't like completely. Nobody else will notice a difference. At least the feed is updating now, I think. I'll know for sure if this post goes out through the feed at the right time. Hopefully everything will be fine. This has really been irritating.

That's my post for today. A little bit of nature and a little bit of blog news. Adventures don't always happen out in nature, and they're not always pleasant. Sometimes, as you all know, blogs and the internet can be an adventure; and it's usually good, but sometimes not so much. For now, everything is good.

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Look to my sidebar for some more fun things to see.

Monday, March 30, 2009

It's Back!!!

Just when you thought it was safe to go back outside, the jaws of winter have come back! We all thought we were safe in the calm peaceful currents of spring, and then winter resurfaced to take us back down into the biting cold of it's icy depths. Can anything stop this horrifying beast?

We've had nice pleasant weather for weeks now, but today we just had a winter snowstorm to match any we've had all year. It started out like any other spring day. It was a little colder than others, because the day was one of those rainy spring days that we have once or twice a week.

Then, as the afternoon began to get late, the temperature began to drop a further, and the rain turned into snow! At first it was only a little spring snow. That was no big deal. Then it turned into a good sized snowstorm, which threw us right back into winter's icy grip.

I gotta say, that was fun to write! It was a bit of an exaggeration, but it was technically correct, and we did just have a pretty good sized snowstorm. The reality is that it has been much too warm for the snow to stick around. By tomorrow or the next day, we won't have any evidence that it was here.

Little setbacks like this are bound to happen in the first days spring. This was the first one, and it may not be the last. The good thing is that as the days go by, this will happen less and less. Even now, snowstorms like this one have been reduced to a fun little novelty here. Tomorrow they will be a long forgotten thing of the past.

Winter is dead. Long live the spring!

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spread You Wings

I've been watching ducks and geese lately. They seem to be everywhere I go right now. Anywhere there is water, there are geese or ducks, or even both. There doesn't always have to be water either. I've seen geese wandering around in peoples front yards.

I know, I know. You think I've got geese on the brain. You think I'm going insane. It's not just me that's seeing them though. You're seeing them too! Just look at the pictures. This is my evidence. I'm not insane I tell you!

In reality, there are geese and ducks everywhere around here, and there will be more coming soon. We haven't seen anything yet! In a little while they'll come in full force. When that happens, the geese like to gather outside of my house very early in the morning and have a huge, very loud goose party.

The problem with geese is that they are big enough that they aren't really afraid of anything. Nobody with any brains is going to go out in the middle of a big gaggle of geese, and try to shoo them away. You could get hurt that way.

Geese aren't necessarily shy about fighting back, so you won't read about any war with geese from me! They are actually pretty sociable and friendly as long as you don't get too close. You could get within a few feet of them as long as they aren't acting too crazily.

I wouldn't try feeding any of them when they're in a big group though. You'd probably get mobbed if you tried it. I ought to try feeding a very small group just to see what they do though. It might be interesting, but I don't want to be chased around for more food.

Ducks on the other hand aren't any danger. Most of us know that they are much smaller than geese. You're not going to get very close to any ducks, because they are small enough that they could get hurt. Maybe they would be a little safer to feed.

Actually, none of this is what this post was originally intended to be about anyway. I just wanted to show you these photos of geese and ducks with their wings spread out. The last picture was taken on the very last day that I saw ice on the Carpenter Lake. It's been a good gathering place for these birds.

Spread your wings, geese. Spread your wings, ducks. I'll see you again tomorrow.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Mystery Birds

I'd like to focus on something other than evil dragons, mean little squirrels, and greedy greedy rats today. I still like 'em all, especially the rats, but since it's Saturday, the fiction will have to wait until next week.

It seems like lately that this must be the best time of year around here for watching birds. I've been hearing them everywhere I go! When I look for the source of the sound, I seem to find them very easily. I'm not the only one. Check out any blog that talks about nature and you'll probably see a few birds.

I talked all through last year about how I couldn't get a good shot of a bird in flight. If you'd like to read about that, do a quick search in my search section over to the right. Now it seems easy to get these type of pictures. I have so many I'm having trouble keeping up with them. I really like the one in this post.

While I was on one of my usual hiking trips recently, I got these three photos. There are several more, but I liked these the best. I happened to look up at the singing I was hearing from these birds, and I saw some odd things.

I was actually in a bad spot to see anything but shadows. I couldn't go to a better location, because the forest here is a tangled mass of small trees and bushes. There is just no way around this tree to get a better view, but this one is good enough. I still like the pictures.

What I saw was this bird standing almost upside down on this tree. It would stand like that, then fly away, and then return to do it again. It was doing this over and over, even after I left. There were several more of these little birds doing the same thing. There are actually at least two in this second photo.

I'm not really sure what kind of bird these are, but I'm guessing they're sparrows. The pictures are pretty dark, because the sun was right on the other side of the tree. This last one shows a light colored belly on the bird, so maybe that's a clue.

If anybody can tell what they are by looking at these pictures, give me your guess of what they are. I'm still not the best at identifying birds yet, but I'm getting better. These birds were small. About half the size of a robin. Do you think you know what they are?

Please keep reading! I have another post today, just below this one!

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Uber Amazing Award

I'd like to thank my friend Ron Centeno of In My Own Words for this Uber Amazing Award. He's one of my newer friends here, and anyone who's been reading the comments section lately will recognize his name. As I've been reading his blog, I have found that he is an excellent writer. Check out his site and see for yourself. Here's a link to his post about the award: Uber Amazing Award

Uber (synonym to Super) Amazing Blog Award is a blog award given to sites who:

a)inspires you
b) makes you smile and laugh
c)or maybe gives amazing information
d)a great read
e)has an amazing design
f)and any other reasons you can think of that makes them uber amazing

The rules of this award are:

* Copy the badge and put the logo on your blog sidebar or post.
* Nominate at least 5 blogs (can be more) that for you are Uber Amazing!
* Let them know that they have received this Uber Amazing award by commenting on their blog.
* Share the love and link to this post and to the person you received your award from.
* Come back and comment here so that your link could be added to the master list of awardees.

Everyone here knows that I cheat on these things, so how can I cheat this time? I have it! I would like to pass this award to all of the people who commented on yesterday's Florida Dragon post. You all deserve this award very much! Any of you who would like to participate are welcome to do so. Even if you don't, the award is still yours. Do with it what you wish.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Florida Dragon

Before anyone reads my post for today, I'd like to give a little warning. This one is kind of shocking and maybe a little horrifying. If you're unprepared for that sort of thing, you may want to stop reading now. It's still PG rated, but you may not like what you read. I may get chased all the way off the internet for this one. Remember that it's only a story, and the word fiction means it's not real. So, with all that said, READ AT YOUR OWN PERIL!

Fiction Friday

I thought I could get away with it. I really did. I know it was an evil thing to do, but I couldn't resist. The moment when I first saw it, I knew I just had to have it. But how could I get it?

Nothing short of starting a war would wrench it away from it's rightful owner. That's when I began stalking the squirrels. It was a complicated plan, but I was sure it would work. I had no idea things would go so terribly wrong!

My confession will come right after I show you the awful depth of my crime. Before I give you my explanation of just what exactly I'm talking about, let me show you how truly ungrateful I've really been.

A few weeks ago The Retired One went on a vacation trip all the way to Florida. She happily shared her story with us all on her blog. Knowing that I liked dragons so much, she innocently told me that she brought a dragon she found there back to Michigan as a pet.

Little did she know that I was immediately jealous, and I plotted to steal her dragon from her. I didn't know how I was going to get it, and I knew it wouldn't be easy. That's when I began to devise my evil plan.

The only way I could get it from her would be to trick her into giving it to me. I announced that I was stalking the squirrels, knowing it would anger them. Then I declared war on them to escalate things to the breaking point. The ill tempered squirrels quickly struck back, taking over my blog, and trapping me in the comments section.

A few of the more skeptical readers sided with the squirrels, and a few other kind souls offered me their sympathy and help. The Retired One was one of the latter. As I was sure she would, she offered to send her new pet dragon to save me. I didn't need any help because they were only little squirrels. I did need that dragon though.

After I easily escaped, I waited for the dragon to show up. When it got there, I convinced it to stay with me by giving it all the squirrels it could eat. My evil plan was a great success. I stole her pet dragon! It was all mine! Little did any of us know what the dragon really wanted.

Dark Jedi SquirrelsEven though Mr. Nutz was now happily distracted by his fine new acorn, there was still the matter of the Dark Jedi Squirrels to contend with. They didn't care about acorns. All they wanted was revenge. I had to stop them from chopping me to bits!

As they began to move towards me, I quickly told the dragon to protect me from them. They tried to fight, but the dragon swallowed them whole. It then turned its attention to the rest of the squirrels.

It was a massacre! The squirrels went running in every direction, with the dragon right behind them! It was scooping up squirrels left and right in its powerful jaws! Only a few of them got away. I've now heard reports that some of them ran all the way to the other side of the world!

As the vicious dragon came back, looking completely satisfied with itself, it glanced up into the tree where Mr. Nutz was still sitting, happily munching on his acorn. The dragon then lunged towards Mr. Nutz! I didn't see what happened, but when the dragon dropped back to the ground, all I found of poor Mr. Nutz was his combat helmet.

After devouring most of the squirrels, including the poor dupe, Mr. Nutz, the dragon told me it was very thirsty. I was happy to oblige because I didn't like the way he was looking at me, so I told it about the frozen lake. Little did I know that the dragon had a plan of it's own.

When we got to the lake, the dragon used it's fire breath to melt the whole sheet of ice covering it, in the process freeing all of the other evil dragons that had been trapped under the ice. I watched horrified as hundreds of them flew into the air. What have I done?

They won't stop with only squirrels. We're all in danger! They're free, and it's all my fault! That's my story. That's my awful confession.

Pink Combat HelmetOh, I almost forgot. I have a message for The Retired One. Uh, since I lost your dragon, here's the pink combat helmet you wanted. I had to paint it that color. I don't think it belongs to anyone anymore, so you can have it.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Close To A Robin

Robin On A BranchToday I've decided to talk about something other than geese. It seems if I follow an animal around too much, it gets angry. I'd rather avoid another war, so I think I'll just switch to something else. Besides, geese aren't the only birds around here right now.

This time I decided to go to a completely different place to do my hike. This place is usually quieter than the others. There aren't many people or animals here. Both will come when it gets warmer. There were birds there though.

There is one particular section of this place where birds like to gather. The trees there must have some attraction to them for some reason. There is either good food there, or that's where they like to nest. Or maybe it could be both.

Robin On A BranchAs I got close to this place, I was keeping a careful eye out for whatever birds I could see. There were birds flying around everywhere here. I thought it should be easy to get a halfway decent photo of a bird here. I didn't know that I would get any this good though.

As I got close, I saw one bird that wanted to fly away from me, but there was something on a tree near me that it wanted. It would fly away and then fly right back. It repeated this several times, until it settled on a branch about halfway between it's two destinations.

I made sure I moved in slowly so I had a chance to get a better shot. I actually got within ten feet of the bird. As I looked at it more, I saw that the bird was a robin. I have other pictures of robins, but I was never this close. I think these are my best shots so far.

Robin On A BranchThis bird was really determined to wait it out until I left. I was able to walk halfway around the tree to get some pictures from a better angle, and it didn't try to fly away. It must have felt reasonably secure where it was.

There were a few small branches between us. I wouldn't have been able to reach the bird if I tried. It obviously understood that. It was watching me the whole time, even though it's back was turned mostly towards me.

This was one of the most amazing experiences I've had so far. To get so close to a robin was a wonderful feeling. This was a rare thing that happened to me. In the end, I got all the photos I wanted, and then I moved on so the robin could get back to the branch it wanted to go.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Honking GeeseIt seems to be goose week so far this week. I'm not going to say as much as usual for this post, because I think the photos speak (Or is that honk?) for themselves. These geese were making a lot of noise when I was watching them.

I tried desperately to get a picture of a goose in mid-honk, but I didn't know if I got any. I had no idea what I had until I got home. What I got was purely by accident. I didn't get the ones I tried for, but I got even better shots than what I was trying for. Take a look. You can even see their tongues sticking out.

Honking GeeseCan you guess what the dancing goose from yesterday was really after?

Honking GeeseLook at that! He got a response.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dancing Geese

Dancing GooseI don't know what gets into these geese sometimes. Unlike squirrels, geese seem to like having their picture taken. While other animals run and hide so they won't be captured forever in a photo, a goose will do anything to get on camera.

These Canada geese are wild, but they got up on a submerged log in the water and began to dance just so I would notice them. Honestly, the dancer in the picture actually called me over with a few honks so I would watch. Up until then I was on the far side of the fishing platform.

I hope they weren't expecting me to give them a snack, because I never carry anything with me. I would probably get mobbed by them if I did have anything. Geese can get pretty rowdy sometimes. They stood there dancing and calling to me for a long time while I was there.

Dancing GooseThe one on the left seemed to be the most enthusiastic about the whole thing. It was moving around and doing all sorts of strange things while I was watching. I personally think he was just a trouble maker.

That's why I call him a he. I don't think a female goose would cause such a ruckus as he did. He even began to aggravate the other geese as time went on. He would turn and honk right in the other gooses face. It was pretty funny.

Okay, that's it for today. I have another post from today just below this one, and I'll be back tomorrow with more goofy stuff from the world of nature. Take a look outside and you might just see something like this yourself.

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Two Awards

I received 2 awards recently. One of them from 2 different people. This will be the first of 2 posts today. 2 is the magic number 2day.

The Kreativ Blogger Award

I received this award twice! First I received this award from The Retired One at The Retirement Chronicles. You can find her post about it here.

I also received this award from Sharkbytes at Get Off The Couch News. She did something ver different with it. She has the award post on her sidebar. Great idea!

Look at both of their blogs. Some of you already know how good they are.

The rules from The Retirement Chronicles for the award are to name 7 other bloggers to bestow the award to. In addition, the award winner must list seven things they really like.

The Rules from Get Off The Couch News for the award are to name 6 things that make you happy and pass it along to 6 others.

I will combine the two by listing 7 things that I like and that make me happy in no particular order.
  1. Hiking & Nature (Both go hand in hand)
  2. Baseball (Watching and playing)
  3. Writing this blog (Why else would I create a fake war with squirrels?)
  4. Watching professional wrestling (It's goofy but it's great fun)
  5. Reading (Good long books are best, but even magazines are good)
  6. Computers (Using, fixing, and building them)
  7. Listening to Music (Specifically Queen and a few others)
There you go. That's my things that I like and make me happy. I'll talk about passing this award on at the end of the post.

The Uber Amazing Blog Award
I received this award from The Retired One at The Retirement Chronicles. You can find her post about it here.

Uber (synonym to Super) Amazing Blog Award is a blog award given to sites who:
~ inspire you
~ make you smile and laugh
~ or maybe give amazing information
~ a great read
~ have an amazing design
~ and any other reasons you can think of that makes them uber amazing!

The rules of this award are:
* Copy the badge and put the logo on your blog sidebar or post.
* Nominate at least 5 blogs (can be more) that for you are Uber Amazing!
* Let them know that they have received this Uber Amazing award by commenting on their blog.
* Share the love and link to this this post and to the person you received your award from.

As I usually do, I'm going to cheat a little bit again. There are simply too many people and blogs that I would send these too, so I won't list them here. If you want to see some well deserving blogs, just look at the links on my sidebar. That's why they are there. Also check my followers list. There are some excellent and very deserving blogs there too. That is my list of those who I choose to give these awards to. Any of you who want to collect them, they are definitely yours. Thanks for your great blogs!

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Something Unexpected

On my most recent hiking trip, I had been searching all through the nature preserve for something interesting, and I think I really found it. It was something unexpected because I was looking for something much smaller.

Since you already see the photo, you know that what I found was a deer. But how was that unexpected you ask? It was unexpected partly because I had just seen another black squirrel, and was scanning the forest for another look at it.

As I looked at the trees to my right, I saw what looked like the back end of a big dog. It was standing very still, and I quickly had a feeling it was looking at me. Why was it standing so still though if it was just a dog?

As soon as that thought went into my mind, I began to think it wasn't really a dog. Since I initially thought it was a dog, I began to think it was some sort of canine creature, maybe a coyote. Maybe it was watching me for a very dangerous reason.

That thought quickly left me, because even a coyote shouldn't be a threat to someone as big as me. Then why wasn't the animal moving? As I looked closer, I began to see that the animal was a small deer. The only question I had was why is it's fur so messed up looking?

The animal didn't seem sick or anything like that. It looked perfectly healthy. I've never known much about deer before, so I don't know what is the problem with this one. For now it remains a mystery to me.

On an unrelated note, I have a post coming up about two awards I've recently been awarded. I was going to do a post about them yesterday, and then today. I'm running late and I have run out of time to do the post correctly today, so it should come tomorrow.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

No More Ice

I returned to Carpenter Lake to check on the icy covering, and couldn't find it at all. The ice is gone! Did somebody steal it? Of course not. Spring is here, and the ice is melted from the lake.

This was a wonderful sight because I had never seen this lake without it being covered with ice. This is a major sign that winter is over. It isn't always warm yet, but it's warmer than it was.

I'm still expecting at least one more snowstorm, and some more cold. But it won't last very long. It's only gong to get warmer as time goes on. Winter is losing it's grip on us now. As a matter of fact, it snowed just a little bit today, and that poor snow looked hot and lonely.

Maybe the dragons of the forest will even begin to wake up from their long deep sleep. Since it's getting so warm, I'm expecting a visit from a dragon from Florida any day now. Don't worry, this will all make sense in a few days.

I'm telling you, Mick. This is a beautiful sight, Mick. This water is a welcome sight after all of that snow and ice, Mick. The winter was cold and it was long, Mick.

Okay, that was just a bad inside joke. I did it just to annoy someone. Whenever you're talking to somebody, say their name after every sentence just to irritate them. When they catch on and tell you to stop, act like you don't know what they're talking about. That's your funny tip of the day from a rat, just because it's on my mind more than the lake right now.

To wrap this post up, I just wanted to show you this now thawed lake. The photos were more important than the words, but the most important thing is that Spring Is Here!

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Squirrel Gone Nuts

I'm Free!!! I don't usually like to stretch my Fiction Friday over to Saturday, but I had a lot of visitors yesterday that might want to know just exactly how I escaped the clutches of Mr. Nutz the angry squirrel overlord. Strangely, today's story is based on a real event that happened yesterday when I met this squirrel you see in the photos. Here we go!

The last time you heard from me, I was trapped by Mr. Nutz in the comments section of my blog, and Mr. Nutz had taken over. Now I'm am completely free, and Mr. Nutz is gone. It turned out to be a simple thing to get free of him.

While I was looking around in the mist, I kept seeing a light in the distance. I mentioned yesterday that I was afraid to go into the light. I guess I've watched too many bad movies, because the light turned out to be the exit! When I finally worked up the courage to look through it, I saw the outside of a tree, and Mr. Nutz was standing guard outside.

I remembered a tip about how much squirrels liked acorns. So I checked my pockets, and sure enough, I had one acorn left! I know it sounds too convenient, but I did have the acorn. I thought about using it to negotiate with him, but I decided that I wasn't going to negotiate with a squirrel, because they're all nuts!

So I decided to distract him instead. Knowing that a squirrel can't resist acorns, I threw the acorn over to Mr. Nutz. He quickly picked it up and put it in his mouth. Stupid squirrel! He started gnawing on that acorn like it was his favorite food. I guess it was.

While I was watching this happen, I knew that I was going to win. Squirrels may have bad tempers. And they may get angry at anyone or anything invading their territory, but they are all very easily distracted. Mr. Nutz quickly forgot I was even there.

He was enjoying that acorn so much that he completely forgot about the war. The acorn was everything to him now. He looked around suspiciously afraid that someone would try to take away his new prize. His acorn. His prize. His precioussss.

Finally, he decided he had to hide his acorn. So he turned around, and ran right up the side of the biggest tree that he could find. He climbed up onto a nice high branch so he could hoard his acorn in peace. He didn't care about anything else anymore. The acorn was safe, and it was his.

Of course, I took that opportunity to escape all the way from the tree. I didn't have to hurry. I was even able to stop and watch him up on that branch. I might as well have been invisible. He didn't care about me anymore, so I walked away and came back home.

After all of that, maybe you're all wondering if I learned my lesson to not start a war with angry squirrels.

Not one bit.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

The Squirrel Strikes Back

Fiction Friday

ForestThat does it!!! I'm taking over this blog! Ratty is going too far, and it's time for some squirrel to put a stop to it. So this website belongs to us squirrels now. Now I'd like to introduce myself. My name is Mr. Nutz, and I represent all the poor defenseless little squirrels.

We didn't mind too much when that big ape man began walking through our forests, but then he started following a few of the more trusting squirrels. They were only trrrying to find a few tasty little trrreats, and then this big jerk started aiming some sort of weapon at them.

They would run and hide, but that wasn't enough for him! He would hunt them and stalk them thrrrough the forest! One of my friends ran up a tree(ahhhhh trees) and then tried to tell him to go away, but he still didn't listen. He's been terrorizing another little squirrel, that became too afraid to move one time.

Nature TrailStill, you awful humans do things like that all the time. But then he declared war on us!!! He actually said he was going to hunt us down! I read on the internet that (Yes, we have the internet.) somebody suggested that he should make hats out of us. Nobody does that and gets away with it!!!

We decided to fight back a little bit. A few of us chewed through his cable lines and brrroke his internet access. That was rrreally funny! You humans stole the internet from us anyway. We had it first!

We thought that warning would be enough, but he kept after us! He's been chasing us for a week now, and I'm tired of it! He doesn't mess with me! I'm crrrazy! I'm gonna get him! I'm gonna mess him up! We're all gonna swoop down on him from the trees (ahhhh trees), and attack him all at once. He'll be covered in squirrels.

ForestBut for now, this blog belongs to me. So I guess I should write something about my favorite subject, trees (ahhhh trees). They make a good place to live. We like to climb them, and run around and around them. The leaves are so green. Some of them even have tasty tasty nuts growing from them.

You humans should learn to appreciate trees (ahhhh trees) more. They make an excellent place to live. You can either live up in the brrranches, or burrow down into the base of a tree. Both ways work prrretty good. But what do you do? You chop them down! Duhhh!!!

You can't have our trees (ahhhh trees) anyway, so you'll just have to find something else. Maybe you should just stay in those big square caves of yours, and stay away from our trees (ahhhh trees). In fact, stay out of our forests!!! And quit aiming those one eyed weapons at us!

I have one final message for you Ratty. This blog is mine now. Try and take it away! We're gonna get you. We're gonna get you. We're gonna get you. We're gonna get you. We're gonna get you. We're gonna get you. We're gonna get you. We're gonna get you. We're gonna get you. We're gonna get you.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Squirrel War 1

I've been talking about my squirrel hunt for a little while now. I've been stalking these little squirrels ever since. They try to escape, but I've been getting closer and closer. I've been joking a little bit about chasing these squirrels, but it's only partly a joke. I've really been after them.

On my last hike yesterday I went out just to get pictures of squirrels. I wasn't sure if I'd find any, but I knew where to look. There is a certain area of the nature preserve where I've seen black squirrels several times now. I've even gotten a few blurry photos of them.

As I got to that area again, I began to slow down so I could see any squirrel that was there. I started looking around very carefully, and saw some movement off to my right. I turned to get a better look, and sure enough, there was another black squirrel!

It saw me at the same time, and was moving away from me. I was being careful, so the squirrel didn't move very fast. As soon as I had the chance to get a good shot there was the sound of people coming up behind me loudly. The squirrel heard it and quickly scurried away.

I had to wait for the people to walk past, and I waited quietly near the place I last saw the squirrel. After a few minutes it came creeping out of it's hiding place. The trees blocked any chance of a good picture, but before the squirrel got away I got this one shot of it climbing down a tree.

A little later on I saw this little brown squirrel, called fox squirrels from what I've been reading. I used to think they were the only kind of squirrel that existed. It was the only kind I ever saw while I was growing up. Now I know there are all different kinds all over the world.

Anyway, I saw this squirrel rummaging around on the ground. It appeared to have found a little snack. It was busy eating it's tasty treat, so it didn't see me taking pictures of it. These are some of the best pictures of this kind of squirrel I've gotten so far.

After the squirrel was done eating, it looked up and saw me there, so it ran off into the forest. That was the last time I saw a squirrel while I was out there. I never got very close to it, but I got close enough to get the photos.

I'm quickly getting better at stalking these squirrels. I've been getting very close to them now. I'm also seeing more of them. That's either because of the warmer weather, or they are letting me see them. Maybe they are stalking me. This seems to be a squirrel hunt, but it might be the beginning of Squirrel War 1.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Deer Park

I got to see something that is unusual for me. Instead of being in the middle of a forest, I visited a few open areas. While I was there, I found another place where deer like to go. It seems these particular deer live in this area most of the year.

Usually when I walk by here on the hiking trails, the sides of the trail are covered with bushes that conceal the view here. It's usually difficult to see into this place, even in the winter. I think all of the rain we've had must have helped clear things away a bit.

I think this was my first good look at any deer in an open area like this. Usually there are trees all around me, or the deer are at the edge of the forest. The good thing about this was that there were still bushes beside the trail I was on, so it was very easy for me to hide.

Even though I was hiding behind the bushes and I was very far away, these deer still detected my presence. They knew I was somewhere out there, but they couldn't find me. They were looking all around trying to find me, but they never did.

I'm not sure where they would have run to if I went after them, because this is usually their hiding place. There is a small park road just on the other side of the hill in the back of this picture. I'm sure they have some escape route though.

I stayed out here for a long time because I was enjoying myself, and I really had nothing important to do at home. I got to see a lot of animals getting ready for warmer weather, and I'm beginning to feel a deeper warmth outside that feels like spring.

One of my biggest adventures the last few days was trying to get on the internet. My connection has been in and out. I have no idea what my internet provider has been doing, but it's been frustrating. Maybe squirrels have been chewing on the lines or something. I did manage to get on for a little while though, so I was at least able to get this post up. I think everything is fine now.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ice Quake

Carpenter LakeThere are times when I go out to enjoy nature and something completely unexpected happens. I recently had a time like that. Nature sometimes has a way of giving us pleasant surprises. I'm going to explain this in the best way I can.

While I was out hiking at Carpenter Lake, the squirrels were still skillfully evading me, so I decided to stop and see how much ice was left covering the lake. It has been warming up here very much lately, but the the lake is still covered with ice. It is melting fast, but there is so much of it that it's going to take some time to melt all the way.

While I was standing there, I heard a strange sound. The sound was coming from the direction of the lake. It was a rumbling crash. It sounded almost like a tree trunk slowly being torn in half. Or maybe like a wooden building being violently crushed. This was very strange, and I couldn't figure out what it was.

Fishing PlatformI then thought maybe the sound was coming from the direction of the fishing platform. The platform looked unharmed, but the sound was very loud. I would hear it, then it would stop and then repeat at random times. I needed to get closer so I could solve this mystery.

I quickly walked down to the platform and stood there quietly waiting. I was looking out at the lake when it happened again! The sound rumbled like thunder! This time it wasn't only a sound. As I stood on the wooden fishing platform, I could feel that rumbling under my feet!

It was like being in an earthquake! The only difference was that I knew I was safe. I was close enough now to understand what was happening. I guess it was very similar to an earthquake that I was experiencing. What was causing it? I'll tell you.

Carpenter LakeThis was the sound of the ice sheet on the lake cracking. The whole thing! As I stood there, I heard and felt the cracking rumble start from the far right on the lake to the distant left. It traveled right past me all the way down to the end of the lake.

While I stood there feeling and hearing this amazing event, I actually saw the ice moving with the sound. I don't know how else to better describe this but maybe an ice quake. Anyone who has ever felt the tremor of an earthquake might understand what I experienced.

I must have stood there for half an hour while it happened over and over again at random times. This was something that I wanted to be there for as long as I could. This was maybe an event that I'll never experience again. I don't know anyone else who has ever experienced something like this. This was simply amazing!

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Monday, March 16, 2009

The Floods Are Back

After all the rain we had a week ago, I wasn't surprised to find that the river at Heritage Park had overflowed again. Still, I was a little disappointed that I couldn't walk over to the bridge. It was on the other side of this new section of the river.

This new river section used to be the hiking trail. It was now blocked by deep, quickly flowing water from the river. It was so wide that I couldn't even see the bridge from this side. The bridge was up around a corner, but I couldn't even get close.

I couldn't even attempt to get closer because when I say deep, I really mean it. Only a few feet from the edge of this new shore, the water is at least two feet deep. Looking out further, this ice cold water would come up to my waist. Even I wouldn't try to cross that.

I had a good idea though. Just up to the right is another trail coming in from the other side of the park. I could walk all the way around and try to get in from that side. These trails crisscross through each other all over the park. Even if I can't get through over there, I can at least maybe see the flood from a different, and maybe better direction.

It took me awhile to get there, because I saw very many things along the way. When I finally arrived back to the same area but on the other trail, I found the same thing. The trail over here was blocked as well.

I could see the place where I was before, but I still couldn't see the bridge. I wasn't disappointed though because seeing this flooding was actually very interesting. I wish I could show it all to you. There are times when the river itself is only a foot deep, and you can easily wade across it. Now you would drown trying to get near it.

I spotted something else interesting while I was here. As soon as I arrived I saw about six ducks swimming around on the flooded trail. It was the same exact spot I saw ducks on the trail last fall. Back then it was completely dry here, and I thought the ducks were out of place here deep in the woods.

While I was watching the ducks swimming around, I saw something funny. A duck swam from the left side of the trail faster than I've ever seen before. There was another duck right behind it. The second one was chasing it!

The second duck must have been angry with the first, because they were swimming so fast I could hear it. It made a big swooshing sound. It was kind of hard to see the whole thing, because they were blocked by the trees. I got one picture of it that was slightly blurry.

These ducks were entertaining me very much, which is more than I can say for the sneaky squirrels I keep seeing. The squirrels run across the path with no warning, only to disappear soon after. My squirrel war is still ongoing. Ducks swim away from me, but they're still more friendly than squirrels.

Okay, I think I'll stop now before I go off into another crazy squirrel rant. I have to get them!

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Great Squirrel Hunt

My squirrely quest has begun! I'm going on a Great Squirrel Hunt. I now officially declare war on these crazy little squirrels! They are driving me insane, so I'm going to make them pay! I am determined to take at least a few good pictures of a squirrel.

When I started this blog I thought I would get a few photos of squirrels right away. I assumed it would be an easy thing to do. There were squirrels everywhere I looked. They used to even come up and beg for food at times.

Now, when I want a few little pictures from them, all they do is run and hide! I took this picture at the top yesterday. I stalked that squirrel deep into the forest. It ran up a tree to get away from me. It thought I couldn't see it, but I was able to get this shot of him.

There is a squirrel in this picture. It is doing a very good job of hiding. Can you see it? If you are having trouble, click on the picture to make it bigger. When you find it, tell me where you think it is. Even though this rotten little squirrel thought it was hidden, I was able to find it.

These black squirrels seem to be the hardest to get on camera. I never even knew that black squirrels existed until a few years ago. There weren't any of these in my old neighborhood. When I came to where I live now, all I saw was these little black squirrels.

There were so many of them that I thought it would be a simple thing to take a picture of one of them. They obviously hate cameras very much. I have seen other kinds of squirrels here, but not as many as this kind.

I have a few pictures of the others, but even they wanted to hide. In the two good pictures I did get, the squirrels seemed angry because I was there. A few days ago, one squirrel even waited for me to leave the park, then stood there and watched me drive away.

I saw all of the squirrels in these photos recently. Two of them are from the last two days, but at different places. Their reactions are always the same. They see me from far away, then they show themselves, and then they run and hide. They seem to be teasing me.

I think I'm going to have to start thinking as squirrely as a squirrel. Maybe I'll be able to get close to one of them then. Or maybe some idiot will decide to chase me through the forest. It doesn't matter. I'm going on a Great Squirrel Hunt.

I don't understand why these squirrels insist on driving me crraaaazzzeeeeeee! All I ever did to them was stalk them through the forest. They should know that I am friendly! I would never dream of stealing their tales or anything like that.

Come on little squirrel. Come closer and be my friend! I only want to take your picture. I won't hurt you at all. I will even be nice and pet you. I will hug you, and squeeze you, and name you George.

Okay then. If this post didn't frighten you away permanently, come back tomorrow for something a little more sane... Maybe!

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sneaky Black Squirrel

Black SquirrelSince I kept mentioning squirrels yesterday, I thought I would show you something I really saw in the forest recently. I'm sure you've already guessed that I'm showing you a squirrel. This one is a black squirrel. They have become common around here.

Even though they are very common now, I'm having a lot of trouble trying to get any good photos of a black squirrel. It seems like if they see me coming with my camera, they run into the trees, and I never see them again. I need to remember to lure one out with some food or something.

The squirrel in these pictures is actually the second one I have pictures of, and neither squirrel let me get any good ones. Even so, I still wanted to show you what it was that I saw. I guess this is a demonstration about how hard it is to get some of these photos sometimes.

Black SquirrelI don't have a professional type of camera, so I can't take nice clear pictures from a far off distance. I have to rely on my wits to get as close as I can to these animals. I've learned a lot of good, sneaky techniques because of that.

Sometimes getting very close can get me into trouble if the animal is bigger than me. Other times I have even irritated smaller animals. It's happened with squirrels a few times. For some reason, squirrels seem to be the grumpiest animals I've seen so far.

I've even taken closeup pictures of a few snakes. One of them was a dangerous rattlesnake. Actually the rattlesnake was in a glass case in a nature center, and I was completely safe. But it was caught in that same area, and I was hiking on those trails. I've actually almost stepped on a few of the safer type of snakes a few times.

Black SquirrelI don't think I have ever come close to stepping on any squirrels though. These pictures are from a week ago, but I saw four more black squirrels only yesterday. I have one picture to show for it. These are better than that one.

I have figured out how to get better shots of most other animals I've encountered so far, but these black squirrels still elude me. Now that we are seeing hints of spring around here, I'll be seeing more of these little critters. I'm determined to get at least a few nice clear photos of these animals.

They are so sneaky that it looks like it's going to be my most difficult adventure yet. I'm going to have to convince them that I'm their friend somehow. I know it can be done. When I was a kid, some squirrels used to come up and beg for food. Maybe I should lay out some banana slices by my neighbor's house. Yeah, that might work.

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