Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Great Battle Of Carpenter Forest

I have an amazing tale to tell you today! This story is about the struggle for life and death. I was witness to one of the great battles of the forest. It happened between several different creatures. This happened to be one of the most amazing things I have ever seen!

I'll start from the very beginning, since that's where all good stories start. I was in the very center of the forest trying out my new camera equipment when I sensed a presence that didn't seem to belong. I looked to my left and I saw something about ten feet off the ground on a branch about thirty feet away. It was very dark in the forest so I had to strain to see just exactly what it was.

As I narrowed my eyes, I realized that the thing I was seeing was a hawk perched up on that branch. I couldn't believe my luck! I never expected to see this kind of bird in the middle of a forest! It was very quietly scanning the area, and when it turned and saw me it flew a short distance away.

The forest had been oddly still up 'til then. But after the hawk moved I saw a lone little squirrel go running across the forest floor. It was right then that I guessed what this hawk was looking for. I just knew that this poor little squirrel was going to be the hawk's next meal, and so did the hawk.

Just as the squirrel was halfway to his destination, the hawk made his move! The hawk quickly and smoothly swooped down towards the poor little squirrel and reached out with his talons to grab him and haul him off. As the hawk was doing this, I saw the squirrel crouch down to try to avoid the attack! It all happened so fast, but as the hawk rose back into the air it didn't have the squirrel.

The hawk landed on another nearby low branch to wait for another chance at his prey. Then I saw another squirrel appear on the floor of the forest. Then another and another, and another still! What was going on? Did they think the hawk was gone? The hawk made another attempt at the nearest squirrel, and came up empty again! As before, it went back to another nearby branch. That's when all hell broke loose!

As one unit, about a half dozen squirrels ran up the side of the branch that the hawk was on, and they attacked! These squirrels had teamed up to fight for their very lives! Just as the squirrels moved in on the hawk, it leaped into the air and flew to another branch! The squirrels quickly followed!

Some ran across tree branches and others took to the ground, but they were as one in their hunt of this hawk. The hawk saw them coming and it made another attack on the nearest squirrel. The squirrel ducked, the hawk missed, and the others were on the hawk again!

It tried to fly away but the squirrels had it trapped! The whole thing erupted into chaos! The hawk lifted off only a few feet off the branch but there were squirrels above and below. They were coming from all directions. The hawk made small jumps, in an attempt to dive bomb any squirrel that tried to stop its retreat!

Finally the hawk was able to break free of this organized mob, and it flew high into the forest. The squirrels seeing that it was fleeing, melted back into the forest. I saw a few of them before they disappeared, and I noticed that there were more than one type of squirrels in the group. I distinctly saw a couple of black squirrels in with the majority of fox squirrels. They had all banded together to save themselves.

I don't know if the battle was ended then, or if it just moved on into the forest. As it was all happening, I tried to get a few pictures of the action, but I just wasn't quick enough. I got a few shots of the hawk whenever it stopped, but since I am still learning some new camera settings, they are not the best they could be. I'm just glad I can tell this story of the great battle of the forest.

(If anyone can tell by the pictures what kind of hawk this is, I would really appreciate the information. I'm thinking it's possibly a Cooper's Hawk.)

(I also have one more post today, just below this one. Take a look at it. It's very short, and there's a surprise waiting for you there.)

Most Inspirational Blog Award

I have received an award called the Most Inspirational Blog Award from Ann of Ann's Snap Edit & Scrap. You'll recognize Ann from the many wonderful comments she leaves on this blog, so she deserves a most inspirational comments award. Here is a link to her post about the award: Sorry, Very Long Winded

I'm not sure why she thinks her post is long winded. I enjoyed reading it very much. In it she tells an interesting but short bit about her history as a blogger. Go and read it for yourself. You'll find a few things in there that you will greatly identify with. It's a good post, so check it out and tell her what you think. And make sure you tell her that Ratty sent you!

Now comes the time where I let everyone know who I'm sending this award on to. This is the part where I usually let you all know what a dastardly rebel I am because I'm about to blow your mind by breaking the rules of the award. And I am! So who am I going to pass it on to?

I indicated above that Ann is an inspiration to me because of her wonderful comments here on my blog. It's all of you wonderful people who comment here that inspire me and keep me going. So this award is for you! You all know that I read your blogs. Yours are all very inspirational to me. So this award goes to all of you. Take good care of it.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Fungus Among Us

It seems I have been issued a challenge! Last Thursday WiseAcre commented on Rainfield's blog, basically saying that since it's a good time of year for this, I should go off the path and examine rotting wood for fungi, like they both do. I want you to visit both of their wonderful blogs! You can find the comment and Rainfield's agreeing answer in Rainfield's very interesting post right here: Cheers

Now actually, I have been purposely staying away from fungus photos, because I don't know much about them, and because I kind of considered this to be their territory. They both know a great deal of these things and I considered anything I could do to be a pale imitation of theirs, but how can I pass up a challenge such as this? So, this challenge is accepted!

Once I decided to do this I knew I was going to have to come up with something good so I wouldn't disappoint either of them. Any old mushroom just wouldn't do. I had to find something fun and different, and I was going to have to do it all right. I think I did just that.

I've seen plenty of mushrooms without going far off my hiking trails, and I didn't have to go very far to find this one either. The log in this picture was most likely cut by park officials because the tree had fallen across the path. Then the log was moved away from the trail a short distance. Nothing is ever completely removed from these parks.

There's an old remnant of what once was a fence post at the bottom of the photo, giving us all a clue to what this land had once been used for. The landscape was obviously very different here at one time, but that must have been a very long time ago. Maybe almost a century. But that's not what we're here for. It's this strange mushroom!

I couldn't do a post about a fungus without at least trying to find out what it was, now could I? Well I'm not exactly sure I found its exact identity, but I do know that I have come very close, and I can give you the information to decide for yourself. First of all, I can reasonably tell you that I believe this mushroom belongs to the genus Hericium. Now let's dig down for some more detailed information.

Hericium are easily identifiable by their drooping spines, that hang down much like icicles. I thought they looked like icicles the very first time I saw them. These mushrooms don't have caps like a lot of other mushrooms. There are many species of hericium, and their spines either hang from groups or from one large clump. The kind I have here look to be the kind that form in groups.

There are four species of hericium in North America. The immature hericium starts out as one unbranched structure. With the exception of one of the four, not this one, as it matures it will form the clumps like you see here, and it will begin to darken somewhat at the top. The black spots you see on this one also appear to be part of the mushroom. I thought it was debris at first.

I am guessing that this particular mushroom species is Hericium Americanum. There has been some odd name switching between a few of these species, but this is the current name. If any of you fungus lovers want to check for yourselves then here's a handy link, so after your own examination you can come back and tell me how wrong I am. I honestly would appreciate it. The link has all of the cool technical information any mushroom geek would love.

I decided that you might want a closeup look at this mushroom. I didn't use my new macro lense on it yet, but you still get a good idea of what it looks like. There's just something about mushrooms that makes me not want to touch them. Maybe it's because they are a fungus and they obviously look like it. Whatever it is, I only look. Very beautiful, but... Yuck!

Finally, this has been a long article and I think I'm about finished. I'm sure I left out some information on this mushroom, but I also gave you so much. There's also that link to check out if you're still hungry for mushrooms. I wouldn't eat them though. I hope this adequately satisfies that challenge. Thanks guys!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Poll Results - The Name Of The Chipmunk Is...

The name that you, the great and powerful voters, have chosen for this cute little chipmunk is, get ready for it...   Bob!

There is something I must explain to you. I had a hidden agenda with the poll this time. I've been seeing a lone little chipmunk at the back of this one Nature Preserve for the last few months. I find her in the same little area every time I go. She's a very shy and quiet little girl, so I just didn't know what to call her.

I really thought long and hard about this question, and I just wasn't sure what would be the most appropriate name for this pretty little chipmunk. The only solution was to search far and wide and gather the most intelligent people from the four corners of the earth to help me, and I found you. And the name you decided upon for this little lady was Bob.

Let's break down the voting numbers to see just how it all happened. You were asked, "Which is the best chipmunk name?" You gave your answers, and this one was very close this time. We ended up with 29 votes overall. "Bob" won with 9 votes (31%), and that name led the whole way. "Alvin" came in at 2nd with 8 votes (27%). 3rd place was a tie between "Chica" and "Chip". Each had 5 votes (17%). And coming in at dead last with just 2 votes (6%) was "Cheech".

And now the people have spoken, and this little girl's new name is Bob. Bob Chipmunk. I think she was very excited by this vote, and she really wanted to find out what we would be calling her from now on, because she shyly came out of her hiding place to hear her new name for the very first time, and she heard the name "Bob".

I am very delighted to say that she must have been very pleased with your choice, because as soon as she heard the pronouncement of "Bob" she let out a small squeak and quickly disappeared back into her hiding place. Yes, she must really like that name. You should be proud.

Wait! What did you say? You didn't know that she was a female? Silly humans! You should have taken a closer look before you made your choice. Talk about informed voters...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My Camera Add-ons

Today I am going to bring you three posts! I don't know how to do it any other way. You can comment or read any of the three that interest you. I'll start with the one that deals with nature, because I'm the most comfortable with this subject. This one is about my new camera equipment. I wanted to show you some of what I've been up to lately while I'm in the forest.

The first thing you might think is that I bought a new camera. Well, not exactly. I bought two add-ons to my camera. You can see some info on the camera if you go to this post. My camera has become quite popular, and sells for more used than it did when it was new. It's a top of the line point and shoot, but it was made so it can be much more. I can purchase addons to make this camera do great things.

The first add-on is a semi fisheye 0.35x HD macro lense. This lense comes apart to make two lenses in one, a wide angle and a macro lense. The fisheye part can take wide angle pictures. The picture at the top of this post was taken with this lense attachment. It made the scenes I take at Carpenter Lake much wider. The day was very overcast. I haven't actually used the macro part yet because I'm still learning how to juggle all of this equipment.

The next lense, which is actually the first one that showed up in the mail, is a 3.2x HD telephoto lense. I have used this one the most so far, and I'm still learning how to use it correctly. It's a much different experience than without it. I took the pictures of the Furious Squirrel with this lense. I'm having a few problems, but I'm learning what to do with it.

The above picture of the ducks was taken with the telephoto lense. The log they are sitting on is on the other side ofthe lake and down about halfway to the dam. It's very far away, and much farther than the camera could see without this lense on it. My pictures aren't great with it yet, but they are getting better. I just have to learn the right settings to use.

My post on the KISS concert is just below. I wrote it for those of you who are interested. If it's not your type of thing, skip past it to my Awards post. And vote in my poll! This is the last day for this one!

KISS Alive 35

Now on to my second of three posts of the day. This one doesn't contain any pictures, because my camera wasn't with me. I went to see a KISS concert Friday night. Some of you aren't interested in this part, but some of you asked about it, so I'm going to tell a little bit about it. I think just about everybody has heard of KISS by now, they're the rock band with the painted faces. They've been around since the early 1970s. They have never left, and now they have a new album and a tour.

This was actually a very historical event Friday. Our Cobo Arena is going to be torn down in the near future, and when the guys in KISS heard about it, they made sure they got here in time to be the last group to have a concert there. You see, Cobo is very important to them. Even though they are not from Detroit, it was our where they first became a hit. And they actually recorded their first album "KISS Alive" right there in Cobo. There is a picture of the crowd from there on theback of that album.

Okay, so how was the concert? It was fantastic! A Kiss concert is more than just a rock concert. It's music and rock theater at the same time! This is a very complete show, and you come away from one of their concerts feeling completely satisfied every time. They put everything they have into one of their shows.

But what happened at the show? What made it great? Well, the tour is called KISS Alive 35. It's been 35 years since they made their KISS Alive album, and they have devoted a whole tour to it. That means that this Cobo concert has been even more important. They are celebrating this huge hit album by playing a show consisting of exactly the same songs as the ones on that album.

In the middle of all of this, Gene Simmons proceeds to breath a big fireball into the air. After the set of songs from that old album, they come back for the longest encore you've ever seen. Then to start off another of his songs,Gene flies into the air and up to the top of the arena to sing one of his most famous songs.

He's not the only one with a few tricks. Paul Stanley rides a cable to the back of the arena to sing one of his songs from the middle of the crowd. The guitar player, Tommy Thayer, shoots fireworks from his guitar during his solo. The drums move in all different directions, while drummer Eric Singer is still drumming away, and even singing a few songs himself.

Then to end the show, they play a song that's near and dear to the hearts of this Detroit crowd. Actually this song was inspired by the city of Detroit itself. They end the show with the song "Detroit Rock City". Everyone goes home happy. It was the very first show of their American tour, and we all got to say goodbye to Cobo with KISS!

Now check out the third post so you can see who gave awards to The Everyday Adventurer!

I'm Honored With Two Awards

This is my third post of the day, and I hope you all read this one. I received two awards one each from two very good bloggers, who run excellent sites. Read further to find out the details of what I was given!

The first award I was given is from Chuck at Secondary Roads. He's also from Michigan, like me! He has given me the J'Adore tien Blog award. Here's a link to his post about it: Awards ~ Received, Acknowledged and Sent On
Visit Chuck's blog! It's another excellent place, and he does cool games from time to time too.

Just like most of my awards, and because I like to cheat any rules that might be tossed my way, I pass this award to all of you, my readers. Accept it if you like, you all deserve it, every one of you.

The second award I was given is from Jackie at The Painted Veil. She's not from Michigan, but she also has an excellent blog. She has given me the Most Inspirational Blog Award. Here is a link to her post about this one: Golden
And visit Jackie's blog too! Even another excellent blog, and there's a butterfly there that needs finding.

Can you guess how I'm going to do this one? That's right! I'm giving it to all of you who comment on my blog, because you inspire me every day. Again, accept it if you like, you deserve it!

Okay, that's the end of my three posts today! That was the most I've done in a day since last year! Have fun! And vote in the pole!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Lonely Little Deer

I found something in the forest that I thought was very sad. Before I tell you what it is, let me give you a little back story so you'll understand what I'm talking about. As you can see by the title, this is about a lonely deer. Now let me tell you what happened.

A few weeks a go told you a story of a small herd of deer I found in the meadow of the nature park. There were two adult females and three little fawns. It was a nice thing to see that they had formed their own little family. At the time, I thought the three fawns belonged to one of the females, but then I saw something that led me to believe I was mistaken.

Just this last week I told you another story of my adventure through this same nature park. This time I was surprised by three more deer, a doe (an adult female) and two fawns. I believed these to be three of those same five deer I saw those few weeks ago. One of the fawns was not with them, so I thought maybe I was mistaken before and one of those three fawns must have belonged to the other doe.

Well, yesterday is when things took a sad turn. While I was in the forest walking towards the meadow, as I was watching some other animal activity, I saw another deer behind all of this action. It was another fawn! It appeared to be all alone. As I began taking a few pictures of this beautiful little creature, a very sad thought seeped into my mind.

Maybe this was why there was only two fawns with the mother the last time. Maybe this little fawn had somehow gotten separated from its family. I couldn't bear to think of this poor little baby all alone in the woods. As I watched this little deer, it looked back at me a few times. It seemed calm and not afraid. It even turned and began eating the leaves off of a bush in front of it. I finally had to go on my way, but with the sad thoughts still in my head I paused and said, "Goodbye Bambi." I then moved on through the forest.

Later on I finally made my way back around the park and to the meadow. I wasn't surprised to see the little deer there, still all alone. It was grazing by the edge of the forest. I moved in a little closer to get a few more pictures of it out here in the meadow. I still felt very sad for it. But then I saw something else.

It was another deer! Another little fawn came walking up behind it! The lonely little deer wasn't alone after all! My sadness suddenly turned to joy! My previous assumption was all wrong. These deer hadn't become separated at all. I now guessed that the rest of the family must be nearby somewhere. I could now go home secure in the knowledge that this lonely little deer wasn't alone after all.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Furious Squirrel

Today I have something for those of you that think squirrels are so cute and cuddly. Make no mistake, sometimes I agree that squirrels are some of the most charming and adorable little critters I've ever seen, but sometimes they can be the meanest orneriest little monsters you never want to meet.

I walked into the forest today with the intention of trying out some new camera equipment I recently received. I was mostly trying to get the settings correct so that I could get some decent pictures. I got mixed results from the camera this time. I'll give you more details about that in a later post. Needless to say, my experimenting will continue.

One of the first things that greeted me, if you want to be polite about it, was this little squirrel in my pictures. It began as just another little squirrel that was running around near the walking path. But then this little monster ran up a small tree, stopped about ten feet up, and started chittering away at me!

As it turned towards me I noticed the furious look on its face. This mean little fox squirrel then began actually growling at me, like a dog would do! It would growl for a few seconds, and then it would start to loudly chitter as if it were yelling at me. What it did next was what worried me a little bit!

It began bobbing and moving forward as if it were getting ready to jump right at me! I think it was actually considering an attack! I was only maybe twenty feet away, and I know a squirrel can easily jump that distance. Even so, I can usually judge what an animal is about to do, so I decided to hold my ground for the moment.

I was well prepared to try to quickly move out of the way if this evil little monster made it's flying leap in my direction. I was beginning to suspect it might just try! As with any animal though, turning to get away when you just aren't fast enough isn't necessarily a good idea. I think if I would have made a move, this furious squirrel would have been on me in a flash! So what did I do?

Well I stood there and took as many pictures as I could of this mean and angry little beast for you, my wonderful audience. That's right, I did it all for you. I put myself in the path of imminent danger just to get a few pictures and write a goofy little story, and I loved every second of it, even when I thought I would end up running screaming through the forest with a squirrel on my head.

You'll be glad to know that this story did not after all turn into tragedy. Knowing how to react in a situation like this is half the battle. You just have to know when to run and when to hold your ground. In this case I held my ground and it paid off. The squirrel finally realized I wasn't going to bother it, so it angrily stalked back down the tree and ran back into the forest. I wonder what will happen next in my adventure through the forest...

(On a side note. I'm behind on comments and things like that again. I'll have to catch up on everything tomorrow, because tonight I'm going to see KISS in concert! I've seen them more than any other, and I hope this isn't the last. I'll try to be very active here on my blog and yours tomorrow!)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Swamp Milkweed Pods

I have a special kind of plant for you today. This plant is called Swamp Milkweed. I have actually been showing this plant to you for awhile now without knowing exactly what it was. Make no mistake, I knew it was a milkweed plant, but I didn't know what kind it was, and I didn't know it grew pods.

I really thought this plant was destroyed after some of the storms we have had. I walked past and saw it growing but I just didn't recognize the leaves. Common Milkweed has fatter leaves than this Swamp Milkweed. And the pods also look different. These new pods look smoother than the spiny common variety. I really thought the pods were just more leaves.

These two photos above are from a few of my past posts. You can click on the pictures to see the posts. The first one shows a bumblebee on the blooms of the plant. I knew it was a different kind of milkweed than the Common Milkweed, but back then I didn't know what kind it was. I was just so proud at the time of the pictures of the bee.

The second picture gave me my first clue. When I first saw what I thought was a gigantic mutated ladybug, it turned out to be a bug called a Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle. That gave me my first clue of the name of this plant. I didn't bother to investigate further because, like I said before, I thought the storms wiped out this plant. But now I know that's not true at all.

This is what first showed me that there were indeed pods on this plant, and that it was actually the same milkweed plant I had been watching before. The pods have begun breaking open so the seeds could escape. As far as I remember, the seeds on the different types look similar, but I could be wrong.

A few things that differentiate the Swamp Milkweed from other types of milkweed are it's narrow lance shaped leaves. The common milkweed leaves are much fatter. The swamp milkweed also has striking pink blooms that are much more colorful than common milkweed. And like I said before, these have slender, smooth pods and stems, while the others are different.

As the name indicates, swamp milkweed grows near swamps, wet meadows, ditches, edges of streams, and shorelines of ponds and lakes. I found the plant in my pictures growing near the dam of the lake at one of my nature parks. So I guess it would fit the description pretty well.

I've had a good time following the progress of this particular plant, and I didn't even know that's what I was doing. The plant just happened to be in a place I like to visit very often. But  that's what happens when you're an Everyday Adventurer, so many good things like this happen without you even having to search for them.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Solution - Guess The Critter

I have the solution for yesterday's Guess The Critter game! Take a look in the picture above and you'll see that I have drawn a red shape around the critter that was such a mystery to us all. But what kind of critter is in this picture? The critter in this picture is a small Butler's Garter Snake. Check out that link for some good information about it.

A lot of you guessed this one correctly. I didn't expect that! There were even a few of you who were very accurate. If any of you want to know who they were, look at the comments section of yesterday's post. Now I'm going to list the winners right here in the order of their comments:

Congratulations to the winners. You saw the snake maybe easier than I did. I listed your names and links. I only listed one link for those of you who have more than one blog. I tried to make the most appropriate choice. If any more of you slide in before this post goes live I'll add you to the list. Please everyone, go and take a look at these blogs on this list. They are all very good.

Here in this picture is a little better look at this little snake. This little snake is only about 15 in. / 38 cm. That's kind of short for a garter snake. I've seen a few that were about twice that long. These are the most common snakes where I live, and they are mostly harmless.

At the same time, I discovered this snake right beside the hiking trail. I heard it a long time before I ever saw it. The only reason I knew what I was hearing is because I have learned through experience what a snake sounds like when it moves through the weeds. You might say I have learned to speak snake.

So any of you who have decided to go hiking or to a small nature park, if you are inexperienced, just remember that these little snakes might be lurking in the weeds, or even right on the trails. I have almost stepped on a few that way. So stay on the trail and watch where you step. Just so you don't get too afraid, garter snakes are probably less dangerous than an ordinary squirrel.

Here's a better look at a Butler's Garter Snake for you. I took this photo last spring when the grass was just beginning to grow, the green was finally coming back to the forest, and the animals were coming back out for the warmer weather. The nature park I was hiking was just full of these snakes. I heard them slithering through the old leaves every few minutes.

I do have to admit snakes give me the creeps, maybe that's why I'm so fascinated with them. And I know these little garter snakes won't bother me. They're the same as any other animal of the forest, like a squirrel or a chipmunk. Finally, I have to say that it's one of the most exciting things for me when I get to see a garter snake on my everyday adventures.

(One last thing. This post took me a very long time to write. I missed reading some of your blogs because of this. I'll try to catch up with all of you later today. I hope I didn't miss anything good. Vote in the poll!)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Game - Guess The Critter

I have a new game for you today! I hope you like it. As always, my games are just easy little diversions of the day. They are just for fun. There are no real prizes, except that I usually announce the winners in my post on the next day. And if they have a website I will include a link to that too. But what about this game? What is is about?

Well, in the picture above there is a friendly little critter. It's very difficult to see this little animal, so you might have to click on the picture so it will become bigger. The goal of the game is for you to try to find out what kind of animal is in the picture, and then tell us all your guess in the comments section below. That should be pretty simple. Even if you never see the little guy, you can at least make a guess.

I'll give you one clue. I have featured this type of animal in posts here on my blog before. With the hundreds of stories I've written that might not seem like a good clue, but there are only a limited amount of animals here. I'm not Noah with his ark full of every kind of animal, I'm just the very kind and humble Everyday Adventurer.

Okay, that's the game. Remember, as always, even if somebody else guessed the same critter you think might be there, you can still make the same guess. See, everybody has a chance to win. Now go on and tell us your guess so we can make this game fun!

(After you play the game, vote in my poll on the sidebar. The more votes we get, the better I can make my results post next week!)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Poll Results - Talking Squirrels

Well, the most recent poll is now over and you, the mighty voters, have spoken! The question to the poll was, "What would you do if a squirrel talked to you?" One of the choices has come out as the clear winner. Actually, it was a landslide! The other choices weren't even close. So without further ado, I will announce the winner!

The 1st place winner of this poll was, "Talk Back." With a whopping 27 votes, it captured an astonishing 67% of the votes! Most of you must be very social people! It's also the vote I would have chosen myself. In fact, it was exactly what I did when I was faced with this exact question myself. The only problem was that it didn't turn out as well as you might think.

That doesn't mean that you wouldn't become instant friends with a cute furry little squirrel if you were to talk back to it, it just means that it didn't work out so well for me. If you would like to find out the terrible results I had of talking back to a squirrel, go right here to this post to find out the horribly fascinating details!

Now for the runner up! The battle for 2nd place was a fight to the finish, and it ended neck and neck! But finally the choice that took 2nd place was "Give It A Hug", with 15% of the votes, which was 5 votes. Right behind that, in 3rd place, was "Attack It", only down by one vote! It had 4 votes, for 12% of the final votes. Talk about duality!

I'm not sure which group is weirder, those of you who would run up and talk to a strange talking squirrel, or that violent section of you who would try to beat a poor little innocent squirrel to a pulp just because it said hello! Do the voices in your heads tell you to do this? I'm talking to both groups here! What exactly were you thinking? Okay, that's enough of that! I'm obviously just kidding! The duality of these two is very interesting though, don't you think?

Now for 4th place we have the choice of "Run Away". The 2 of you, 5%, who voted to run away were maybe the most sensible of the bunch. Or perhaps they were just the most cowardly? You who voted this way can decide. You only have to answer to yourselves, not to me or anyone else. You shameless cowards you! I'll never think of you the same way again! You're lucky this is an anonymous vote. :D

Now finally there is the choice that came in dead last. Every Presidential race has that one crazy guy who everybody wishes would just go away, and this poll had a similar candidate. Last place goes to "Eat A Bug".  This incoherent choice received absolutely 0% of the votes. That's 0 votes for those of you who were wondering. Did it ever occur to you that eating a bug might help make friends with the squirrel? I didn't think so.

Okay, that's enough of making fun of squirrels for today. And it's certainly enough of making fun of you, the voters. I hope you took it all in good humor. Otherwise I can look forward to a serious drop in visitors to my blog. What shall we choose for the next poll? Maybe it could be one where I ask if you are angry at me for this post about this last poll? Let me know your poll ideas.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Ones That Got Away

There's something I like to do when I write my stories here on The Everyday Adventurer. Most of you regular readers know what this is. Whenever I'm describing what I've seen on one of my adventures I like to show you what I saw. If I saw a squirrel glaring at me, that's exactly what I try to show you. If I tell you about a deer that walked up to me, I show you a closeup shot of that deer. I'm not quite going to do that this time, and I'll tell you why.

I have seen some amazing creatures lately, but I had absolutely no chance to get them on camera. I'm going to tell you about a few of them, but I unfortunately can't show you the ones that got away. I'm not going to disappoint you completely though. What I will show you is some of the places I saw them. Don't worry, these are some good photos. I think they'll do fine.

A few weeks ago I was at the back of Woodland Hills Nature Park, where my favorite pond can be found. There is a small wooden bridge that crosses a narrow section of this pond. I like to stop there to look out at the pond and sort out all the things that float through my mind. I usually expect to see either ducks or geese near that bridge. When I got there it was something completely different that I saw!

Just as I stepped on the bridge I saw at the edge of the water a white-tailed deer getting a drink of water! She was only ten feet away from me, right at the spot where the narrow part widens into the main part of the pond! The deer saw me at the same time, and it bolted into the trees behind it! I ran to try to catch up with it, but it had already crashed loudly into the forest, and it was gone. I've seen plenty of deer, but that was an unusually exciting encounter!

I went home very excited, but I had no pictures to show you. How could I even mention it if I had nothing to show? So I kept my mouth shut and told you of other adventures and other journeys. I thought that would be the end of the whole thing, but I decided to go back to the same park only a few days later. After all, it is my favorite nature park. That's when something even more odd happened!

I was standing on the very same bridge, but this time I was coming back towards the front of the park. That's when I saw it! No, not the deer again. This creature was in the water! It was swimming from under the bridge! I quickly realized I was seeing a beaver, and it was quickly swimming away from me into the tall weeds. I tried my best to get even one picture, but all I got were several pictures of the weeds. Nothing again!

Now just yesterday on my latest adventure I saw something again! Can you guess where I was? No, you're wrong, it wasn't back on that same bridge. But it was at that very same pond! This time I decided to turn left and go to the forbidden section of the pond. There is no official path to that end of the pond, and the park officials constantly block the small worn area with old branches to block the way. I like going there anyway.

When I got over to that end of the pond, which is another split off section of this large pond, I could sense there was something there. The only thing I ever saw there before were ducks and geese, and one large heron. This time as I just got past the tall weeds I looked into the water at a fallen log. There on that old log were about six large turtles sunning themselves!

I still didn't have a clear view past the tall weeds, but I lifted my camera to try for a few photos anyway. It's amazing, but turtles seem to move faster than black squirrels. One by one these six turtles dropped off the log and into the water! This all happened from the time I moved my arm from my side to my face to take a picture! I moved over to get a clearer view of the log, just in time to see one more turtle drop into the water. Noooo!!!

It was the only time I ever had a chance to get a picture of turtles while on my adventures, and I got absolutely nothing. First a deer, then a beaver, and now half a dozen turtles. These are the ones that got away. I have no pictures of them, but that doesn't make the encounters with these creatures any less exciting. I am The Everyday Adventurer, and that's my story.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

So Many Black Squirrels

What do you do when you see a forest full of black squirrels but you only get one clear picture? Then you realize that you already showed that picture in the post you wrote yesterday. What do you do? The clear answer is that you dig up a collage of black squirrels that you made awhile ago.

I got the idea for this collage from Ginnymo of Photography By Ginny, who has the best animal collages I've ever seen. Mine is a pale imitation of hers. You should really take a look at her site if you haven't already. Anyway, this is my try at an animal collage. I wanted to inundate you with black squirrels, since they bombarded me with acorns yesterday.

In my big story yesterday I explained how there were squirrels all through the forest. They were mostly black squirrels, those little ninjas of the forest. They were all going crazy, collecting nuts and preparing for winter. Summer isn't even quite over, but the black squirrels were all nuts.

So what can you do when you can't catch these little pranksters? You show so many of them in one picture that maybe it will make them lose their shyness, and bring them out in the open. This is them. The black squirrels.

(There's a small joke in this post. Can you find it? I'll never tell what it is.)

Friday, September 18, 2009

An Early Morning Adventure

Today I'm going to bring you a genuine old style Everyday Adventurer post. You know, from back when things were a little more crazy and fun around here. I'm going to tell you what happened on my latest journey through the magical forest I call Carpenter Lake Nature Preserve. Strap yourselves in; you're in for a good ride!

I got there very early in the morning this time, and I immediately knew that this day was going to be special. This was the first day I had to wear my jacket again, and I could see my breath in the air because it was so cold. The many birds in the park were all chirping loudly; every one of them! The sun was already up, but the light was still kind of dim. And there was a nice early morning mist that permeated everything.

As I rounded the first corner, that concealed the parking lot, I heard crashing noises coming from the trees. It was the squirrels! They were very actively gathering nuts and acorns for the upcoming cold months. They were chewing off the shells and dropping them to the forest floor. Like I said, this created a tremendous amount of racket.

When I made my way into the forest I was greeted by my first black squirrel of the day. The light was still too dim to get many decent pictures, but I did get at least one ofthis little forest ninja. As I walked deeper into the forest I found out that the black squirrels were running around practically everywhere. They're still very difficult to capture on camera though. Oh well!

After awhile I began to get used to the various loud and continuous forest noises around me. It was an obviously very busy morning for the little critters of the forest. The thing I did begin to notice was that my hands were becoming cold, and I had to switch my camera from hand to hand to keep myself warm.

I also noticed that the trees are beginning to become weaker. They are also making the transition to their winter selves. Several of the trees have been falling lately more than they have since last winter ended. Their warm weather strength is leaving them. Even a few of the smaller trees have succumbed to weakness. What a shame.

As I made my way to the back of the park I continued to hear the continuous crashing of the crazily scurrying squirrels dropping their nut castoffs everywhere. But then as I was entering the back of the park towards the end of the forest the crashing got very much louder and more urgent sounding. Very quickly it began to sound different and much more violent than any squirrel!

I wasn't at all expecting what I saw next. You see, I had been joking recently with Sharkbytes about seeing a Sasquatch in the forest, and then later on I watched a TV show about those creatures. So can you imagine what I saw crashing through the forest right towards me?

That's right! I saw at least three big brown animalish shapes running through the trees right in my direction! How afraid would you be in that situation right then? I was every bit as frightened as you think I might have been!

It was then, after only milliseconds, that I realized what I was seeing! It was no murderous group of Sasquatches at all! It was a small herd of three deer that had come from getting a drink of water at the lake. As soon as they saw me they turned to the left and ran into the forest.

I followed them for a little way, and they typically tried to warn me off. I have long ago figured out that most deer are all talk and no action. They're full of empty threats, so I wasn't deterred from following closer. The thing that did stop me though was my sense of sympathy. I felt sorry for them so I turned and left them in peace.

Now since this story is running a little long, I want to jump forward past a few other notable events. Don't worry, I'll make sure you'll get to read about them in the near future. But there was one event that happened as I was leaving the park, and I want you to know about it.

I was about to leave the forest when the squirrels seemed to become even more agitated! I looked off to my left through the trees and I saw an animal with an unusual amount of white fur. It was about the size of a large dog. When I got a little closer look I thought maybe it was a juvenile deer, but it was just a little too small for that.

Then I thought maybe it was a skunk. Ginnymo shows some incredible pictures and videos of skunks with a lot of white fur on her blog. But this animal was a little bit too big to be a skunk. Then I thought maybe I was seeing some sort of canine critter such as a dog or even a fox. I'm not afraid of any animal so I went through the brambles to take a look.

When I got there the animal was completely gone! That made me sure it wasn't a dog. A dog would not have disappeared so thoroughly. Was it a fox? Did I see some sort of spirit creature or something? Do any of you have a solution to this strange mystery? Give me your comments, your theories, or anything in the comments section of this post. I really am confused by this very very strange sighting I had. This has been one of the strangest adventures I've had so far!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

American Goldfinch In Flight

Today just to make this thing complete, I'm going to give you one more look at the American Goldfinch. This time, as the title states, I want to show you this little bird in mid-flight! Now obviously the pictures aren't the best quality, but the important thing is that I caught some of these amazing birds in flight!

These posts may seem like I got them all on the same day of seeing these birds, but this all happened over a period of about a month. On this particular day,when I saw the birds in these pictures, I got several nice shots of them, but these were obviously the most unique.

I happened to be coming back to the front of the nature park, about to turn the corner to where the parking lot would become visible to me. This was the first time I noticed these goldfinches towards the front of the park. I saw them to my right in the mini meadow area that separates the parking lot from the forest.

There were at least a half dozen of them flying from the tall weeds to the trees and back. This is kind of a small area so I thought it might be my best chance yet to capture a few good photos of these little wonders. At the time, I was completely right! I've gotten the pictures in my other posts since then.

I began wildly pointing the camera towards the general direction that I saw the birds flitting around, hoping to catch one or two in the middle of their flight. As you can see, I got exactly what I was hoping for! I also got a few good pictures of the bird from the first picture as he was perched on a tree branch, but I'll only show that on request.

Even though the pictures are both slightly on the blurry side, I hope you enjoyed this look at American Goldfinches in flight. These flashes of yellow that zoom past are what attracted me to them in the first place, so I felt that I just had to share that with you. That's my story!

I have one more post today, so scroll down and take a look at something special I have for you!

Zombie Chickens Are After Me

I have a little bit of business today that's long overdue! There have been some Zombie Chickens after me, and there is only one way to stop their evil rampage. I have to pass on the curse to somebody else. My friend John from English Wilderness and Make Nothing Online was their last victim, and he got rid of them by passing this evil curse on to me.

As you may have guessed, this is actually an award, but with a very cool concept, zombie chickens! Here's John's post about it: The Zombie Chicken Award: Origin And Nominations

Check out John's post. Not only does he have his own cool and unique take on the award, he has also done something nobody in the history of blog awards has ever done before. John actually turned into Sherlock Holmes, and hunted down the origins of this award! It's a fun read where you get to find out just a little bit about how these things get started. Go see for yourself, and leave him a comment telling him that I sent you.

Now for what the Zombie Chicken Award is all about:

The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all...

I don't want to incur the wrath of the zombie chickens, but I've been chased by more frightening things than zombies in the past, so I give this award(curse) to any of you brave souls who would like to accept the challenge of the Zombie Chickens, and relieve me of this burden. If you want it, say so in the comments of this post. You can also comment on anything else about it too without incurring their diabolical wrath. Go ahead and accept this challenge! Or are you a chicken too?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Back Online

Today's post doesn't deal with nature. I'm going to write about my computer experiences of the past few days. If you don't like reading about that stuff, I completely understand. I made sure I have some nice pictures here for you so you won't feel completely betrayed though. Let me know what you think about either thing. Here's my story...

I'm sure nobody really noticed my absence, but I was offline for about a day. I do keep a spare computer, so I was able to get a few things done. The reason for my absence was that I completely reinstalled everything on my computer. I gave it a total revamp!

I had to do it because it had gotten to the point that the computer was running like it was 20 years old. My computer is supposed to be a souped up hot rod, and it was running like an old clunker. I couldn't even leave comments on any of the blogs without it freezing up after every few seconds. It was awful!

After giving my backup computer a similar lobotomy, and seeing the great results, I decided enough was enough. I had to do something about my main machine too. It gets really frustrating when I have trouble doing things my old computer does with great ease. So that's when I started.

This wasn't going to be exactly that easy though. I had a great many things to backup first. My main hard drive was just packed with junk. A lot of my programs were there, and all of my blogging tools were on that drive, even my pictures that I post every day! This was a big project.

I backed it all up the best I could, and I jettisoned the junk that I didn't need. It was now time to go ahead and format the hard drive and install everything again, beginning with the operating system. I always hate to do this because there is always something valuable that I forget and leave behind. It ends up gone into oblivion.

I am happy to say that the reinstall went more smoothly than it ever has before. I actually had the computer back up and running in only a matter of hours. Of course, this was only running basic stuff still. I still had to reinstall all of my old programs. And that's when I discovered what I had lost!

It was actually two things. First was a little file I used as a start page for the internet. I kept it as a local file that contained valuable links that I visited regularly. I had forgotten to back it up, and it was now gone forever. I'm going to miss it terribly.

The second thing I lost was a very old program that I have had since the Windows 3.1 days. It was a very valuable little program called Cardfile. I used it to store all sorts of things, such as addresses and certain websites and settings. I was lucky enough not to lose those! The thing is that I knew I would have to let the old program go eventually because it was so old. I just couldn't find a replacement for it.

That is, until now! I found a new and better Cardfile, called Azz Cardfile, and it does much more than the old one. The best thing is that it can read my old files from the old program, and convert them to the new one. If you're interested, you can download it here. It's free to download, but you pay to keep it after the trial period. They even have a website that has collections of useful cardfiles! Personally, I'm really glad I found the program. That's why I'm eagerly advertising it for them.

Anyway, back to my reinstall. Asyou can see, I have my computer up and running, and I'm back on the internet, but still in a limited fashion. I'll be reinstalling more programs as I need them, so things will still go rather slowly for me. I don't even have all of my photo editing software loaded up yet. So I'll be trying to do my blogging and reinstalling all at the same time now. This is heaven for a geek like me!

Oh, and I'm sure you've noticed my forest pictures in the post. They obviously have nothing to do with what I'm writing about, but don't they look nice? I'll be back tomorrow with something a little more normal for me. Until then, happy blogging! (I always wanted to say that!)

(This post is a little early, so you might want to take a look at my previous post for a more natury subject.)