Friday, December 30, 2011

Sunset View

I want to end the week with some recent pictures I took of the evening sky. I had some similar pictures before that I really liked a lot, so when I saw the sky at sunset again I ran over and got some more. This time I decided to do a few different things though. These are even better.

I took these pictures in several different directions and I zoomed the camera in and out to show things in different perspectives. I brought you four of them, but I had many more I wish I could have shared. There's just so much time we all have to read a post though, so I limited this as much as I could.

I took this one above while I was facing directly to the south. it gives a different view of what it looks like at sunset here. The hills in the background are actually much much bigger than the picture shows. I haven't been able to do them justice so far.

I zoomed in the camera just as bit with this one. I wanted to get more red in the picture. I could have just cropped one of the other pictures, but it wouldn't have been quite the same or quite as good that way.

I liked the extra red in the last one so I decided to zoom even closer. They look totally different from each other, and now I have an all red sky in the background. I really love the effects the sky gave me for all of these.

I've had a very busy day, probably unrelated to nature. The town was cutting down a few trees that were in the way, so I followed the workers around and collected the wood that was left over. I need all the wood I can get to heat my house. It was a lot of work, and I did so much that it made me sick. I'm feeling much better now.

I can burn some of the wood while it's still green, and I can store some of the rest for next year. I still don't have enough to last me through the winter because I got here too late and my dad was just too sick to gather any himself. I'm glad I got to be here with him for his final days. I still miss him a lot. He was a remarkable man. He had the knowledge of Crocodile Dundee, but also the temper of Yosemite Sam if you crossed him.

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

It's Open!

Good news, everyone! I did a little bit of research and I found out that Stone Park is not closed for the winter. It is indeed open! It may have been closed on Christmas Day, when I was there. I found out that Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center down the street is closed on most holidays, so that may have been the case for Stone Park too.

There's only one problem with all of that though. that road had obviously been closed for quite a bit longer than just one or two days. Snow was plowed right up to the gate, and it had been there for awhile. That seems to complicate things a bit.

So what I'm going to do when I get time is go over to the nature center and ask someone there why the road is closed. Maybe then I can find the answer to that and many other things I've been wondering about.

Either way, roads closed or open, I'm going to make another trip to the park and see if I can find my way to the top of one of the higher hills. there is plenty of wildlife in this park, and I'm sure I'll see something good, even with the dog along.

Oh, and the picture of the bird's nest at the top of the post? It was one of the interesting things I found right away while I was in Stone Park. It may not seem like much to some people, but it's a sign of life. And that's always a good thing.

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Stone Park Hills

Today I want to show you some of the hills in Stone Park that you can see right as you go in. This whole park is almost all hills, and big ones. Everywhere you go you are surrounded by these hills. These are the same hills that border the town I live in. You just can't see them in my pictures because of all the trees.

This park really is a very beautiful place. Once I'm able to really explore the park, I'll be able to show you the miles and miles of hiking trails. Most of these trails go up and down hills. I remember years ago being slightly afraid to go down one very steep trail. I still went.

Some of the hills in the park are so high up that you might as well be standing on a mountain. There is one place where you can look over a safety fence at the highway below, and you'll see the cars are so far down that they look like toys. From up there you can see all the way to another state.

I want to clarify something I talked about yesterday. The smell in the park wasn't very bad at all. It was a little bit noticeable that day, but that's how nature is sometimes. The really bad smell I talked about was in another place many years ago. But let's get back to today's story.

I had many more pictures like this from Stone Park on Christmas Day, but these aren't the really great sights from this place. And these are enough for now anyway. I have one more interesting feature from the park I'll bring to you tomorrow, and after that I'll show you some better views of the area between here and my home. Those are really good. Until then...

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Inside Stone Park

Even though it was closed, I did it. I parked my truck outside the locked gate. Opened the back and let the dog out. And I walked into the park. That makes me a daring adventurer and a shameless rule breaker! Yeah!

Of course I didn't go very far. I would have just left without ever going in, but poor Isabella had such a pitiful look on her face. We came all this way to go to this giant nature park only to have to turn back around and go home? And poor Isabella rides in a cage when we go on trips. I couldn't disappoint her further.

So we walked past the gate and wandered over to the first fork in the road. Isabella was in heaven, sniffing up all sorts of new smells. When she gets going she sounds like a car with a flat tire, flumpalump flumpalump. I smelled some smells too, but only smells from things that came out of the wrong end of a lot of large wild animals. Uhhhh!

Those bad smells are the kind of thing you have to expect if you like enjoying nature though. It becomes easy to ignore after a few minutes. A few looong minutes! After awhile you begin to associate some of those bad odors with fun adventures, so they're not reqally that bad.

Now, the worst smell I ever smelled came one time when I was over in Nebraska, just across the border from here. Driving past a place with thousands and thousands of cows that were packed very close together. Unfortunately the windows were down at the time, and that smell came right in. I rolled up the windows much too late, but that didn't slow that odor down anyway. I thought I might die that day.

Huh? Oh! Sorry. That was just some sort of bad flashback. Let's finish my story. Even though we didn't stay long enough, the dog got to sniff out several little areas near the parking area. We had a pretty good time, even though it didn't last very long. But after a few more pictures it was going to have to end.

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!

Monday, December 26, 2011

An Interrupted Trip

I have a little story today that I guess can only be described as amusingly disappointing. I'm beginning to think that my timing is just off for everything right now. Even so, I still got some pretty good nature pictures from the little adventure I'm going to tell you about. Okay, let's go!

About the time I wrote my last post I decided that I was finally going to visit one of the big nature parks around here. Many of you know that I already tried that once without being able to find the place.

But I knew another place to go, and I knew how to get into that one. This time I was going to visit Stone Park, which is a very well known place to anyone who lives around here. I had plans to go up to the highest hill there and get some good pictures of the countryside. There are some great views from the higher places in Stone Park.

So I packed up on Christmas Day to go to Stone Park. It would be my special Christmas present to me and Isabella. This place is about 14 miles from where I live, but it's a straight shot down the road, so it doesn't seem very far at all. It's actually one of the closest places from my little town. It's just on the north edge of Sioux City.

When I got there everything looked pretty good. The main gates were open, unlike the ones at Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center. Everything should be just fine because the weather is excellent here right now.

I drove in around a curve in the road right after I got the pictures of the sign out front. What looks like a wall of trees in the picture above is only partially trees. Behind the trees is a huge mountainous hill. This park is almost all hills. These hills represent where I live better than most pictures I've shown you so far.

I live on the edge of these hills. The land is flatter if you go east or west from me, but north and south are all hills. I feel an instinctive feel of being home when I see these hills. I'll be saying that a lot whenever I show them to you because it's just so true deep down inside of me.

Okay, this is where it gets rough.

When I got around the little curve in the road, i was greeted with another gate. This one was very closed! It was now fully apparent to me that they had closed the roads here for the winter. Nooooo!!!!!!!

The snow that is piled up at the gate in the picture above is obviously from our only heavy snowfall since I've been here. Most of that melted a couple of weeks ago. But in some places where it has been piled up, there are still some traces of it. There's also a little bit of snow on the road here in the park.

I was more disappointed that I can even describe here. I had come all this way with such enthusiasm, and the park was closed! Well, I wasn't going to let this stop me completely. I parked and let Isabella out and we walked past that closed sign just a little ways.

I made sure I let Isabella sniff out as many interesting smells as I could, and I took some pictures of the surrounding area. We stayed for as long as we could before I decided we had seen all we could see for this trip. All wasn't lost, because we at least got to take a little trip away from the house.

I'll have to find out what the rules are for walking around in the park for the winter. If I can do that then I'll go back again halfway soon. Otherwise, it looks like I'll have to wait until spring. In the meantime, there's still plenty of nature to be seen around here outside of the parks. And I still have plenty of good things from this little trip to share in my upcoming posts.

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Starlings And Stuff

This European Starling was up in the top of this tree singing his little heart out. I was out looking for birds to photograph, so this presented a perfect opportunity for me. The starlings seem to like these trees around here right now, so I can easily find a few of them every day right now.

These birds are sometimes considered to be invasive pests, but they don't bother me at all. I guess I'm not the one they're invading. Anyway, they are good subjects for my posts, so I won't go too much into the pest thing.

I think this will be one of those rambling posts where I talk about different things though. Let's see... I've been able to stick halfway close to my old posting schedule for the last two weeks now. It feels good to get on here and write whatever strange thing I'm thinking.

And I really do try to make what I write at least a little bit on the strange side, otherwise what fun would this really be? The internet is the best place to write or say any old crazy thing you want. If you aren't already blogging and writing down some of the things that pop into your head, then maybe you should give it a try.

I've been able to really expand the things I write since I started this. One thing I always wanted to do was to write fiction stories. At first I had trouble writing the stories I thought up, but now over at Rat Tales I have some pretty good short stories for anyone to read.

In fact, I just finished writing a story that I consider to be one of my very best. It will be published in about a month, after the end of my current serial and one short bit of oddness that I wrote.

This nature stuff is pretty good too though. Above is that starling in the tree. This picture shows everything a little more like I saw it with my own eyes. It's great to be able to zoom in with the caera to get close up shots of something so far away.

I'm considering going down the road soon to one of the nature parks so I can show you a few good views from the top of the hills around here. I hope I can get myself to do that. It's hard to make myself go too far right now because there's so much to do around here and there's so much nature right outside my door.

I'm going to take the weekend off from posting, but I'm sure I'll be visiting other blogs. I'll be back hopefully by Monday with pictures of a UFO or a Sasquatch or some other strange thing, but I'll most likely have pictures of hills or more starlings or a squirrel or something. Come on Bigfoot, I know you're out there waiting for me!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Little Red Squirrel

The pictures you see here were taken by me about three years ago. I enhanced them a little bit last night to bring the color out a little bit. When I was writing yesterday's post about the fox squirrel in one of my backyard trees, I began thinking of this little red squirrel that I encountered a few times in 2008.

The pictures were so similar to each other, so I began wondering what ever became of this little red squirrel. I know I'll never find out, but I hope it is still alive and healthy. the odds of that aren't great, but I still hope.

This was the first red squirrel I ever saw. It looked so different from any other squirrel I ever encountered that I wondered if it was even a tree squirrel at all. I was still kind of new to many things in nature, so I wondered if this squirrel might be some kind of chipmunk.

This squirrel seemed so much more feisty than even other supposed normal squirrels. It ran up and scolded me as I walked towards it, and then it ran away to hide in this small pine tree. It stayed there hoping I wouldn't find it in there, but after a bit of a search I found its hiding place.

I dedicated three posts to this one little incident. I even made a game of finding this little guy in the tree. Many of you might remember it. The beautiful thing about taking all of these nature pictures is that we can go back and look at them over and over as much as we want. This is such a good memory for me.

My little red squirrel, wherever you are, I hope you are well.

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Pros of Using an Interpreting Agency

This is a guest post done for advertisement purposes. The service offered might be of some interest to you. My usual post for today is just below this one.

The Pros of Using an Interpreting Agency.

Travelling abroad although fun, can be a hassle. Especially if you are in a foreign country and are unable to understand the language they are speaking. Whilst a handy phrase book may get you by for a few days or a week, if you are looking for a more long term solution you might want to try an interpreting agency.

Translation companies offer a whole host of services from translating Chinese to English, German to French etc and offer wider options for legal, medical, and technical translation. This is especially useful if you have decided to live and work abroad and need to check visas, permits, employer details or even your mobile phone bill!

Great for businesses that operate overseas, the language barrier can often pose as a threat to acquiring new stakeholders or investments and therefore a translation company is used more often than not. This can also be great in interpreting data between colleagues that are based overseas and will ensure all documents are precise and in correct form.

I know that as an individual, I have never considered using a translation agency before as I am aware of the costs associated with this type of service, however just a brief encounter with somebody that has done so already has left me looking into this further. If I was to ever migrate to another country, I would want everything done properly and so I think that’s really where using a professional to help me with everything would really come in handy.

Hiding Squirrel

One picture today, yes, just one picture! But it's one that I like. This is the little squirrel that lives in my backyard. I came upon it as it was out visiting some of the other trees and I was out walking Isabella. I must have surprised the poor little thing because I was at a different place than I usually am.

I saw the little squirrel scurrying through the trees, but when he saw me he quickly ran behind these branches and wouldn't come back out. I waited for quite some time, but the little squirrel stayed in this one spot the whole time.

I stood there taking picture after picture hoping to get a clearer view, but I ended up with this same picture about twenty times. Eventually I gave up and went away, probably to this poor little guy's great gratitude. The dog wanted some excitement, so we found her a good place to pee, her favorite thing to do. A short but good adventure.

Rat Tales - Fast food for the mind! All the grease might give you indigestion, but it tastes too good to resist.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

In The Evening

I had much bigger computer problems than I thought. I expected to have a post up yesterday, but it seems like everything fell apart at once for me. I already knew my computer was messed up a bit, and it still is. If I disappear unexpectedly, that means my computer died before I could get parts.

The other problem I had was that my internet went down for the second time in a week Friday afternoon. I had to wait until Monday to get it fixed. They finally found the problem for the internet was at the main telephone box down the street.

And so now that I'm back, the real subject is my pictures for today. I had no idea what I was going to see when I went to the front of my house and down to the creek to get these. The sun was going down and I was out in the back putting wood in my stove when I saw something peculiar in the still daytime sky.

You can see in these pictures that while the Sun was going down, there was still some daylight out there. It was much brighter to my eyes than to the lens of the camera. But what was it that I was seeing then? It wasn't this red glow. No, not yet. The house was blocking that from sight at the moment. So what was it?

Take a look at the red circle that I've drawn towards the right of the picture. In the center you should see a white spot. I was seeing that in the sky as it was still daylight! I ran out to the front of the house with my camera hoping to get a better view, only to find it obscured behind the trees. And I also found that brilliant evening sunset glow.

So after getting those other pictures and trying in vain to find a good angle for that spot in the sky, I finally went out back as it got a little darker. I took this picture as I looked out over my garage. I'm guessing that the glowing object in the sky is the planet Venus, but I'm not 100% sure. At first I thought it must be an airplane because it was still so light outside.

But then as the light faded, other stars began to appear in the sky. I've only ever seen an effect like this once before, and I'll only mention that over at Rat Tales some day. The stars actually came out before it got dark! That is a little bit scary to me for reasons I can't explain here. But it is also very fascinating.

That night I saw my third shooting star since I've been living here these past few months. They're the only ones I've ever seen now. Seeing each of these things was a magical experience. Seeing them all on the same day/night was something even better. I wonder what it all means.

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Driving In The Rain

I took these photos you see today while driving home in the rain on Wednesday. Most of our snow has melted away for now, and it is much warmer than it was just a week before. I wanted some spectacular views of the hills to show you, but the weather just isn't cooperating right now.

I had these grand plans to show you some of the sights I saw when I came this way a couple of weeks ago, but the rain and the dark clouds obscured everything in sight. I still am determined to share these pictures with you. I took them while I was driving because I didn't want to stop and get out of the truck in the rain.

You may also have noticed that I've been posting much more often recently. That's because I've discovered a new motivation for blogging. Well, not exactly a new motivation, but I think I may have recaptured some of that same feeling I had when I first began blogging.

I'm not even sure I understand it, but my enthusiasm that was lost at the time of my car accident has somehow returned to some of its old self, at least for now. I still haven't fully recovered from the accident, but maybe I can get back to blogging on most days again.

I've even been able to find the time to answer all the comments here individually for the last several posts. I've always been a fan of answering comments. I make sure I go back and check all the blogs where people answer their comments. It really makes things much more fun, even though it can become time consuming for a blogger to do it. I wish I would have never stopped answering my comments before.

But I have a serious problem that might just ruin my plans of returning to my old blogging self. There is something seriously wrong with my computer! The monitor keeps blinking on and off into sleep mode, and I can't usually get it to come out of it. My keyboard that I've had for years has stopped working, so I'm having a difficult time typing anything right now.

My internet connection even died on me the other day, so I had to have a guy from my internet company come out and replace my modem yesterday. It was really good service, so I didn't miss a beat there. But it seems that everything is falling apart all at once on me. I have plenty of computer parts, but they're all still in Michigan. So right now I don't know what I'll do if I can't get this machine working right again.

So what I'm going to do is take the weekend off from posting in an attempt to get this computer working right again. I'll still be around to answer comments when I can and to visit some of your blogs as well.

Before I go this time, I'd like to point you over to Rat Tales where I have a story of five episodes currently ongoing. It's called "Fair", and I'm very proud of it. I think it may be my best yet. The fourth episode will come out Monday morning. I compare this dark tale to something you might see on the old Twilight Zone TV show.

I'll be back here Monday with something that's still a mystery to me, but I hope it will be new and interesting. I guess we'll find out then.

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Strange Little Raccoon

Hey you! I've got a little story to tell you. Don't worry, it won't take long. This story is about a strange encounter I had with a little raccoon the other day.

Many of you know about the wood stove I have behind my house. I was out there at the stove talking to my neighbor. We were chatting about the glories of wood burning. My dad taught both of us how to burn wood to keep our houses warm. It was in the middle of this discussion that I saw what I thought must be a cat wandering around in the distance.

As I began to focus my eyes on that supposed cat though, I began to realize that it was no cat at all. It was a raccoon! That's when I said to my neighbor, "Hey! There's a raccoon over there!" Right about at that time the raccoon turned and came ambling over in our direction.

My neighbor still didn't see the creature coming over, but he said they've been here before. The raccoon then began to head straight for his front porch, which is completely open underneath. It rooted around there for a few minutes and then to my amazement the raccoon came wandering over a few feet away from us and began digging around in a pile of old leaves on the ground.

The raccoon was completely at ease around us. By this time, as we discussed the raccoon's activities, I was telling my neighbor about this blog and how I take pictures of animals like this raccoon. I then dcided I couldn't take it any longer, so I excused myself for a few seconds to run in and grab my camera. I had to get pictures of this excitement!

I was so excited that I was going to get some more great pictures of a raccoon! I had the camera all prepared by the time I got back out the door. But then when I lifted the camera up and pointed it at the raccoon, the creature quickly scampered away to the safety of the underside of my neighbor's porch!

We both figured that the poor scrawny little raccoon must have had guns pointed at it before, and it must have thought bullets were going to shoot out of my camera. I felt kind of sorry for the poor little raccoon, but I felt even more sorry for myself because I didn't get any pictures.

Once we realized that the raccoon wasn't going to come back, we went back to discussing our firewood situation. We both needed more firewood for this winter, and we were already making plans for the next one. The little raccoon sighting was exciting and fun, but it was now time to get back to business.

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Southern View

I'm sure that many of you have noticed that my posting schedule has increased lately. Up until my car accident I was posting every day here at The Everyday Adventurer. Ever since then my posting has been erratic at best, but my goal has always been to get back to my old posting schedule of every single day. So this is an attempt to get a little closer to that.

The view in the pictures today is what I see at the southern end of my property. The background is blocked by trees. The trees are actually growing on the edge of a ravine with a creek at the bottom. If you look through the trees, you can see some hills in the background. These are the northern end of the Loess Hills which cover the west part of the state of Iowa from north to south.

Just beyond the view in my pictures the hills become so high that it seems like you are in mountains. As far as I know, the rest of the state and the surrounding states are mostly flat. I love these hills, and I always have. This is the place that my family comes from, and there is even a section of these hills that are named after us.

I found out only recently that my dad went to school right here in the small town I live in. The town may be small, but its borders are actually large. The whole countryside around us is technically part of our town. Inside our borders are two huge and well known nature parks, Broken Kettle Grasslands and Five Ridge Prairie State Preserve.

Both of those places are only a few miles down the road from me. I've told you of my quest to find the entrance to them. I finally did find the way to get there, but I think I'm going to wait until spring time now. I'm not yet prepared to drive through these high hills in the snow.

Okay, I think that'll do it for today. I'll try to bring you another post tomorrow, but if it takes me longer then it takes me longer. I won't put too much pressure on myself. Blogging is fun, and it will be that way for me for a long time.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

For The Birds

I've been watching birds around my house a lot because my schedule doesn't give me much time to go anywhere right now. And the weather hasn't been too kind in the last week or so either. It's been pretty cold around here. One day it was as low as -2° F/-19° C.

Because of the weather I'm not used to yet and since I'm still getting used to my surroundings, I'm doing my best to experience nature right here at home, and there is plenty of it. Many of the birds I've shown you have been in my own trees on my property.

Some days though they don't come very close so I have to rely on my camera's zoom lens. The birds in my pictures today were almost too far away for me to see, but the camera picked them up easily. I guess I've told you that one many times before.

So, did I find out what kind of birds I was taking these pictures of? I think I did. I'm pretty sure these birds are red-winged blackbirds. Many of them are females, so you won't see that red and cream colored bar on the sides of their wings that gives them their name.

I stood there and watched these birds between taking pictures, and I wondered what it might be like to be as free as a bird in flight. Having the ability to just fly to any destination I'd like would be so much fun. But maybe we humans don't have wings for a reason.

Even if you can't fly as free as a bird, flight checker can help give you the next best thing. You can find flight deals to the destination of your choice. The only way to know that you're getting a good deal on your flight is to check it out. You may get such a good deal that you'll feel as free as bird.

The freedom of flight like a bird has must be wonderful. That speck in the picture above is one I was lucky enough to catch on camera. Just think of looking down on the ground from the height of that bird, knowing that you can soar up there for as long as you like.

But like I said, maybe there is a reason we don't have wings. It gives us something to dream about. Our dreams are so important to us. Maybe even more important than having our own wings. Our dreams and aspirations give us inspiration to do things we thought we never could do. I'm glad we have that.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Do Woodpeckers Hide?

I noticed something strange while I was taking these pictures of this downy woodpecker the other day. These woodpeckers are constantly around my house, so I've been trying to get a few good pictures of them, but this is the best I've done so far. Why?

It seems that right at the moment I line up a good shot of one of these woodpeckers, they choose that exact moment to move around to the other side of the tree that they're on. I've cursed my bad luck every single time, but then I began to wonder with this one if it has really been just bad luck. I'm beginning to think these woodpeckers know I'm there and they're hiding from me.

I've seen squirrels hide on the opposite side of trees before, but it hadn't occurred to me that a bird might be doing it too. Now I think I'll be watching these woodpeckers for this behavior. I guess sometimes we never realize that an animal so small and far away might be so very conscious of our existence while we're watching them.

Maybe the bird's need to escape any threat is so strong that even a human standing so very far away down on the ground seems to them to be a threat to their well being. I guess it's easier to hide on the other side of a branch than to take a chance at being discovered or captured, or they just don't want to be bothered at all.

I'm glad we as humans don't feel such threats. The only things we feel like escaping are maybe cold weather or our tedious jobs. When we feel this way we have the options of taking vacations. If you ever feel like escaping your day to day tedium, then a good option would be to try Mauritius holidays. A tropical haven cooled by the gentle breezes of the Indian Ocean might be the right escape for you. If you're a woodpecker then maybe you could just move to the other side of a tree. 

It's pretty easy to guess that this woodpecker form of defense is very effective. I only got these two obstructed photos of this woodpecker. I guess I'll have to keep trying and be a little bit quicker than them next time. Maybe my quest for better pictures will turn ridiculous like the old Woody Woodpecker cartoons. You'll find out in a future post.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Squirrel's Destination

Yesterday I promised you that I'd come back today to show you the home of my little squirrel friend. Of course I'll get to that, but we'll have to go through the details along the  way. I'm sure you'll all want to know how the squirrel made it from that small outer branch all the way to his home in the tree.

While I was down there on the ground watching the squirrel gnaw on some of the branches as he slowly made his way back home, the squirrel was keeping his eye on me and Isabella along the way. We happened to be a lot closer to his home than he was at the time, so he was a little concerned.

He was trying to move slowly, checking out every little thing along the way, but then he finally decided that he had to make a break for it. All of a sudden the squirrel turned from his spot and ran across the branch that he was on! That was really off-putting because he was now moving toward us.

He was able to run right through groups of smaller branches with ease on his quest for the safety of home. He then leaped from one smaller branch to the trunk of the tree. Around to the back of the tree he went, where he thought we wouldn't be able to see him. He was right.

The thing I did see was the area of the tree where he disappeared. I knew right where to look for his place of disappearance. So I walked over to the other side of the tree with a pretty good idea of what I might see. There was no squirrel there, and there was only one place he could have gone.

And here is the home of this little squirrel. I know what you're thinking, so go ahead and laugh. I know what this crack in the tree might resemble, but the friendly little squirrel calls it home. I'd bet that it's warm and cozy inside and meets the squirrel's needs very well.

A crack in a tree might be just fine for a little squirrel who is in a hurry, but we humans need something much better than that when we're traveling. The one thing we all agree on is that it has to be inexpensive, so you might just want to click on the link to find cheap hotels. I'm sure you'll find that quite a bit more appropriate than something so squirrely as a hole in a tree.

The squirrel's tree house must be pretty deep because I couldn't see the little guy at all when I looked up there. Of course I didn't get too close because I didn't want that little brown thug popping out right at me. Besides, it was kind of cold out there, so I decided to go back to my own home. And that's exactly what I did.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Hungry Little Squirrel?

Now I get to do something I never thought I'd really be able to do very much. I can now watch one single individual wild animal and know that it's the same one I saw before. The squirrel in my pictures lives right out behind my house.

I've seen several animals before, and been reasonably sure that they were animals that I'd seen on previous occasions, but I was never really quite as sure as this one. I've tracked this little guy right to his home in this tree.

I have to go out there several times a day to refill the wood stove that heats the house, so I have plenty of chances to look over at the tree where my little friend lives. Isabella the dog also keeps a close eye on this tree, and especially the squirrel.

I've now learned to keep my camera close to the door so I can get pictures whenever I go out there. I can't always take it out there with me when I'm busy, but I can keep it close enough to run and get it. So this last time the squirrel was out there Isabella made sure to alert me to its presence.

I quickly ran in and got the camera and came back out to get my pictures. The squirrel had actually come from several trees over on its way back home. I watched as it hopped from the branches of another tree to get to this one.

It became very clear to me that the squirrel was searching for food. It must have been searching in several of the other trees too. I guess food isn't always easy to find, but this hungry little squirrel seemed to be able to find what it wanted in its own tree.

You might have to hop from store to store like this squirrel did to find the best deals on food, but you'll never have to go through all of that to find cheap holidays. All you have to do is click on this link. A holiday in a nice warm place is much better than crawling around through tree branches in the cold.

I guess that's alright if you're a squirrel though. My little squirrel friend gnawed on a few of the branches for a short time and then turned to run on home. It looked like he was looking for food, but maybe he was just sharpening his gnawing teeth or something.

You know, the one thing I forgot was to show you my little squirrel's home in this tree. Four pictures is quite a lot to see in one post, so I think I'll have to show you his home in my next post. Maybe I'll bring you a special extra post tomorrow. that's two in two days! Maybe I'm finally getting the motivation to get back to my normal schedule!

I'll be back tomorrow with the secret home of this hungry little squirrel.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Wild Hunt

I'm going to tell you a little tale about three animals that decided to go hunting. There of course will be a few distractions during the telling of my tale, but I hope you can stay and read all the way through to the end and then leave me a lovely little comment to bring joy to my heart. Here we go!

When I began taking my dog Isabella outside for her almost hourly walks I made a deal with her. I told her to point out any animals she might see so I could take so many lovely little pictures of them. If she could do that, then I would keep taking her outside with me. (I would anyway, but never tell her that.)

I had kind of forgotten about making our little deal. But then the other day I happened to look over at her and she was standing there very still with a strange look on her face. She was concentrating intently on something several yards down the road toward the creek.

I looked in the direction Isabella was looking, and there was a little mourning dove pecking around on the plowed road, in its feeble hunt for food. I didn't really have any food that this cold little bird might accept, but I did have my camera with me.

So after thanking Isabella for pointing out this little prize, I began speedily taking picture after picture of this hungry and cold little dove. This poor little thing was just like us, stuck here in the cold and snow wishing for a warm weather holiday of some sort.

If you would like to get out of the cold weather you can do something about it. I know of a place you can go to get away on Last Minute Holidays. You can go to a place that is warm and fun on the beach, without all of this snow. And without the same problem this bird will have next!

It was at that moment when I was coming out of my daydream of warm weather and beaches that both Isabella and I saw another creature come from between the two little buildings on the right. It was one of the several wild house cats that roam around the town, and it was on a hunt of its own!

That's right, it had our little picturesque subject in its sights as well, and this big old cat didn't have a camera. The cat began smoothly stalking the unaware little bird, moving closer and closer to its prey. Isabella went quiet with shock at witnessing what looked to be an inevitable attack.

But then at the last second before the hungry cat was about to pounce on its prey, Isabella charged forward and let out the deepest, loudest barks a big dog like her could muster. As she got to the end of her chain, she jerked to a halt. She wouldn't be able to get to the cat this time.

But in spite of Isabella's confinement to the chain that kept her safely on her own property, we had a happy ending for the little mourning dove after all! As the little bird heard Isabella's barking, it turned and saw the cat sneaking after it. It launched itself into the air and flew away to freedom.

Meanwhile, the poor little wild cat turned and looked at Isabella with disappointment in her eyes. The cat wouldn't get to eat today, all because of that mean old over-sized dog barking at her with that monstrously deep voice of hers.

It was a disappointment, but the cat quickly realized she would have another mealtime very soon. There are many people in town that feed the innocent little wild cat and her friends just about everyday. It feels like the best of both worlds for the cat, because she didn't have to suck up to the humans and be their house pet, but they still feed her anyway. It's not always comfortable out here for the cat when winter comes, but this is her life and she likes it that way.

And so we come to the end of the tale of the wild hunt. The bird hunted for food in the dirt. The cat hunted the bird. And the dog hunted the cat. And me? I hunted them all with my camera. The poor animals got nothing in their little quests, but I got everything I was hoping for. Hooray for me, the Great King Rat!