Monday, August 29, 2011

Damselfly Party

Did I ever tell you that I have more than one favorite place at the nature parks I visit? I probably did, but I'm telling it to you again. For some reason most of them are either on or close to bridges. This latest one I visited is no exception.

I won't show you the bridge this time, but I'm going to show you what I was looking at while I stood on the bridge. It was this little group of damselflies. I had to stop and watch them because I usually only see one at a time, but this time there several.

I guess this is the time of year for all the bugs to get their last business in before it gets too cold for them. These damselflies were just swarming the area around this little river. They moved so fast that it was hard to get any pictures at all. But there were so many that I got as many as I wanted.

Even three damselflies at a time was not out of the question. But they were always on the move. I had to be quick every time I clicked the shutter button on my camera. But there was something interesting about them that I noticed.

Ifa damselfly finds a spot that it likes it will fly away but then quickly come right back to that favored spot. I watched these do that multiple times so I was able to keep my camera pointed to that very same spot and get many pictures of them.

Here are the same three damselflies getting a little too close to each other, so they flew away again to their other leaves. I had many more pictures like these, but you probably only want to see three. I could have stood there all day looking down from the bridge at these dragonflies. But it's time for us to move on.

Nature is so full of interesting things to see, and so is the internet. We have a one of my favorite videos ever over at Nature Center Magazine today. It shows a whole year of a nature park in just a minute or two. So many things go by.

And over at Rat Tales I have the newest episode of A Haunted Soul. This one features a huge change for our lonely ghost. He now has some visitors that have come to the castle grounds, and they have come specifically to see him.

I'll be back next time with an all new everyday adventure. What will I bring you? What will we see? I don't know yet either. I hope it's something good!

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Great Snail Hunt

I've seen some strange little creatures on milkweed plants, and today I'm going to bring you some more. While I was closely examining a few more milkweed plants I found a strange little thing in the shadows of one plant.

At first I thought I had gotten lucky enough to find a cocoon of some sort, but the flash of my camera saw it for what it truly was. It was the shell of a snail! And guess what, people. That shell also had a snail inside. Wonder of wonders!

Seriously, this snail was tucked down on a plant that was in behind several other milkweeds. It was very dark, so I had a lot of trouble seeing just what I was looking at. The camera wasn't having much more success than I was, so I decided to use the flash. All of my previous experiments with that finally gave me this success, a bright clear picture of this snail.

Now I knew from previous experience with milkweed plants that if I found one critter on a milkweed then I would find others. So I began my search for more snails. And very soon I found exactly what I had been looking for.

Right out in the open there were more snails to be examined and studied. I'm not exactly sure anymore if I used the flash on these or not, but the pictures came out just fine.

One thing I've learned with using the camera's flash is that it takes out any motion blur that there might be. So now I've been experimenting with the flash at every opportunity I can get. I guess you never know something until you try.

So now we've come to my final picture of these snails. Three is a magic number so I try to use it as often as I can. Three pictures. Three blogs. Three... You get the idea. Three is a perfect balance. But you have to know how to use it.

So now after that last bit of mysterious strangeness we come to the end of this post. Do a search for the magic of the number three and see what you find. 1... 2... 3... Go!

Nature Center Magazine - The garbage man can!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Milkweed Bug Nymphs

These tiny blood red bugs are called Milkweed Bugs. These are the nymphs, which means they are the babies of the milkweed bug. Go ahead and click the picture for a better look. I'll still be here when you get back.

This is the second time I've seen these bugs. The first time was way back in my first year of blogging. I was just beginning to find my blogging style and I was just beginning to learn about nature. Back then I still almost never got comments here. That part took a very long time.

If you'd like to see that post you can click here. Go ahead, the post is full of information about these little critters. I'll leave the technical stuff for that one.

I was actually looking for any signs I could find of monarch butterflies, or their eggs, or maybe a caterpillar, but what I found was this group of baby bugs. You can see them again in this picture above. They are on the pod of a milkweed plant.

These pods are just about a little longer than the width of an adult man's hand. I love milkweed plants because of these pods. Eventually the outer husk will break open and release a whole bunch of fluff that will fly into the air to distribute their attached seeds all over the area.

But that's not going to happen with this particular plant because these bugs will devour the pods, and especially the seeds. They love the taste of the seeds. That blood red color of these bugs is kind of scary looking up close. Creepy little critters!

Here's another look at a milkweed plant. Those big leaves all come from the milkweed plants that are in the background of the picture. I won't show you the whole scene because I was on the wrong side of the Sun to get any good pictures with this particular bunch. I have more milkweed coming in a future post though.

I have read that milkweed pods were the inspiration behind the pod people in the movie Invasion Of The Body Snatchers. That would give a whole new perspective to these plants if that's true. I wonder where these nasty looking little bugs come in then.

I'm glad I looked in the folder of my pictures from this day. I forgot about these blood red milkweed bug nymphs. I hope you found them as interesting as I do. See ya next time!

Nature Center Magazine - 10 Tips To Get Close To A Deer!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mother Deer And Child

I'm back again with another thrilling episode of The Everyday Adventurer! The white-tailed deer seem to be on the move right now. It seems like everywhere I go I see them now. this is the third park in a row that I've not only seen them, but had a very close encounter with them.

It all started when I was coming towards the back end of the nature park where the forest ends and the two trails cross. I looked over to the other trail past the trees and I saw some movement. It was a small deer! I noticed that it was looking at me as well, and we seemed to be moving in the same direction.

The trees were blocking my view so I kept on moving to the trail crossing, and so did the deer. I stopped short so I wouldn't scare the animal too much, but I was still close enough to see it. I then noticed that there were two of them. They were both small, but one was an adult and the other a child.

Right at the crossing the trails split again. One direction goes to the meadow, and the other to the lake. The deer were going to the meadow, and until I saw the deer I was going to the lake. But that was all changed now. I followed the deer out to the meadow using my amazing deer stalking skills. Really! I'm not bragging.

The two deer began to run because I got just a bit too close for comfort, but I corrected myself and hid behind a few small trees. It worked perfectly and this time I came out just a bit more slowly. They saw me there, but my slow movement and slouchy demeanor told them I was no threat.

Now I was able to begin taking a few better pictures than the ones I'm not showing you! And yes, I was as close to these deer as the pictures indicate. They were a bit wary of me, but they continued to eat the tops of of all these plants. I was okay to them as long as I didn't come much closer.

You can see in all of the photos that the mother mostly made sure she was closer to me than the little one. It wasn't like that all the time. The young one would sometimes come back towards me to check me out, but not for long.

The one good thing about this small meadow is the tall grass. In most places it's taller than these two deer. You can see that in the first picture. I didn't like the lighting I was getting from where I began, so I went to the other side of the meadow and moved around to the other side of the deer. now the Sun was at my back.

When I got back over to them the two little deer were very surprised to see me. The mother looked straight at me, but the little one isn't quite as skilled yet. They were a little more nervous this time, so I decided just to move on. They were eating, and I wanted them to be at peace for as long as possible.

But wait, there's more! I got video of this encounter! But can you guess where it is? Yup, it's over at Nature Center Magazine serving as Cool Nature Video for this week. It's very much worth a look. Don't worry, it's a short video and you'll really like it. Plus you'll get to see the little deer eating the tops off of these plants. Fun fun fun.

Nature Center Magazine - You make me feel like a millionaire!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Super Deluxe Butterfly Post

I like the picture above because it shows action and movement. It almost looks like the butterfly is about to catch fire. This isn't the best pi8cture in the world, but the effect came out looking nice.

You may have guessed by the title that this is going to be a long post. And you'd be right! I'll try to keep it as short as possible, but there are a lot of pictures and some other weird parts. We'll talk about butterflies. I'll give you another Blogger code tip. And I have a little bit to say about Rob's newest post on Nature Center Magazine.

These are some more butterflies from the place I showed you two posts ago. I liked it so much that I decided I had to go back. It seems that this place is a haven for swallowtail butterflies. The best thing is that you can stand there and watch them right from the hiking trail.

Normally butterflies are always moving and much too quick to get their pictures, but there were so many here that it was easy for me to pick some while they were on these plants. All I had to do was watch for the ones that were landing. They didn't stay there for long.

So now it's time for another little blog tip break. This is another one for you Blogger users out there. this one is for those of you that are using the Label gadget with the Cloud style. I'm going to show you how to style your labels cloud to really look like a series of labels! This one doesn't really work as well in Internet Explorer, but it looks amazing in all other modern browsers.

If you'd like to see an example of what I'm talking about then go to Nature Center Magazine. At the bottom of the page you'll see the title "Our Featured Articles". This is my label cloud. The code below will make yours look just like mine.

/*Label Cloud Section*/

.cloud-label-widget-content {
    text-align: center;

.label-size a {
    font-family: Chewy;
    color: #529712;
    text-shadow: 2px 2px 1px #cbcbcb;
    display: inline-block;
    position: relative;
    padding: .7em;
    padding-left: 2em;
    margin: 0 .5em .5em 0;
    background: #98C273;
    text-decoration: none;
    font-weight: bold;

.label-size a:hover {
    background: #9fdf84;

.label-size a:before {
    content: '';
    position: absolute;
    top: 0;
    right: 0;
    bottom: 0;
    left: 0;
    z-index: 1;
    background: -moz-radial-gradient(.6em .6em, circle, #529712 .55em, rgba(255,255,255,0) .6em) -.6em -.6em,
                -moz-radial-gradient(1em 50%, circle, #529712 .35em, rgba(255,255,255,0) .4em),
                -moz-radial-gradient(1em 47%, circle, rgba(0,0,0,.4) .4em, transparent .43em);
    background: -o-radial-gradient(.6em .6em, circle, #529712 .55em, rgba(255,255,255,0) .6em) -.6em -.6em,
                -o-radial-gradient(1em 50%, circle, #529712 .35em, rgba(255,255,255,0) .4em),
                -o-radial-gradient(1em 47%, circle, rgba(0,0,0,.4) .4em, transparent .43em);
    background: -ms-radial-gradient(.6em .6em, circle, #529712 .55em, rgba(255,255,255,0) .6em) -.6em -.6em,
                -ms-radial-gradient(1em 50%, circle, #529712 .35em, rgba(255,255,255,0) .4em),
                -ms-radial-gradient(1em 47%, circle, rgba(0,0,0,.4) .4em, transparent .43em);
    background: -webkit-radial-gradient(.6em .6em, circle, #529712 .55em, rgba(255,255,255,0) .6em) -.6em -.6em,
                -webkit-radial-gradient(1em 50%, circle, #529712 .35em, rgba(255,255,255,0) .4em),
                -webkit-radial-gradient(1em 47%, circle, rgba(0,0,0,.4) .4em, transparent .43em);

.label-size a:after {
    content: '';
    border: 1px rgba(0,0,0,.3) dashed;
    outline: 1px rgba(255,255,255,.5) dashed;

/*End Label Cloud Section*/

Just copy the code above and paste it into your Template Designer's Add CSS section. You will probably have to adjust some of the color codes so it will match your blog. The color codes you'll mainly want to change are  "#529712". Do the changes slowly and watch for the changes in your tag cloud as you do. Experiment a little bit with the color codes until you get what you want. But then if you don't like your results, all you have to do is delete the code.

I want you to let me know if you like this tip. Also, is it too hard? Is it easy enough for you? If you tell me about your experience with this then I'll know how easy or hard to make my tips in the future. I almost gave you a tip that was much harder than this one.

That's it for the tips today.

Now on to my current , uh, favorite subject, Robert Wayne. Rob has a new post up today over at Nature Center Magazine. I'm keeping an eye on him because of his mean spirited demeanor, but I have to confess that it has been successful.

His newest post is more opinionated than his last. This one is apparently about dogs in public. I had to censor some bad language, but otherwise the post is intact from the way he wrote it. I think he puts some of that stuff in there just to irritate me.

Just remember that if you read what he says that it is all his opinion, and his alone.

So now we come to a close with butterfly week. My butterfly pictures are pretty much done, but I still have some good stuff from around that area. I hope you liked this huge post of mine. I know some of you can't use the blog tip I posted so I'll look for a more accessible one when I post the next one.

Notice how these butterflies all seem to be in tatters. They must have had it rough, but they are still flying as if there's nothing wrong at all. I wonder how older humans look to butterflies. Do they appear to be in tatters to them? What do you think about it?

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Red-spotted Purple

I found this butterfly on my way out of Carpenter Lake Nature Park. It landed on the trail right in front of me and began spinning around. I love when they do that. I believe this butterfly is a red-spotted purple, but I might be terribly wrong. I'm no expert but I'm getting better.

Have you ever noticed that when butterflies land on the ground that they start spinning around in a circle? That's what this one did. I've seen many of them do the same thing. I find this to be one of the most fascinating things. I wonder why they do it.

I stood there and watched, taking pictures the whole time, as this butterfly spun around and around. This enabled me to get all of these good pictures of it. I was surprised at how long it stayed there like that. I was even able to practice my new philosophy of leaving before the creature does.

This week over at Rat Tales I posted the newest episode of my story "A Haunted Soul." This one is titled "Lonely In The Fog." This episode shows one of the worst times for our lonely ghost. Will there be any salvation for this poor soul? You'll have to read and find out. This story gives you maybe the best look anyone could ever have of what it really might be like to be a ghost.

If those of you who read my ghost story would like a few spoilers then take a look at the top toolbar of the site. The table of contents reveals a few things that will be happening in future episodes. It also reveals when those episodes will be coming.

It's still butterfly week here at The Everyday Adventurer. Some of that is even spilling over to Nature Center Magazine. You might want to go over and check that out if you've been enjoying this. And remember, we really appreciate your comments over there too. Yup, I'm being kind of obvious. :)

I'll be back next time with more butterfly related stuff. Don't worry, it won't just become the same old thing. It will get better each time. When butterfly week is over you'll be amazed because I'll show you a butterfly the size of an airplane! ...Not really, but I'll still have some good stuff.

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Butterflies Everywhere

I've decided that it's going to be butterfly week! My last post was successful, so I figured, "Why not?" What really happened is that since seeing that last black swallowtail I stumbled on a field that was completely full of butterflies. I thought I had slipped into some kind of a fairy tale dimension.

It's not every day that you find hundreds of butterflies in such a small place. There may have even been thousands. There were butterflies flitting about and there were butterflies landing on plants. But the best thing of all was that they were stopping long enough for me to get pictures like these.

And while I was taking my pictures a group of kids walked past me on the trail. I heard one of them tell the others to make sure they stayed quiet because I was taking pictures of the butterflies. They were very polite and courteous, especially for children. Take that Rob!

Speaking of our new good friend Rob Wayne; his first article back wasn't quite as abrasive as I expected, but it was still quite angry. He assured me that they'll get worse. I make sure I check his work before it's published though, but just to make sure the language stays clean.

He has indeed increased the comment count over at Nature Center Magazine, and the comments that he got were more passionate and detailed than usual. Thanks to those who left them. Overall I'm happy with the results. So I guess I'll let Rob keep on speaking his mind, no matter how twisted that may be.

Let's just change the subject a bit. I have another little blog tip for you! This one isn't a piece of CSS code or anything like that. What I have for you is a program for all of you Windows users. I mentioned in another tip that our picture size should be about 800px or less.

You also might benefit from watermarking your pictures. Take a look at all of my photos here at The Everyday Adventurer. They all have a link to my blog in the bottom right corner. That's a watermark. I'm going to give you a link to a program that can both resize and watermark your photos. It can do that to as many as you want all at once, and the program is totally free!

The name of the program is FastStone Photo Resizer. This is the program I use to resize all of my photos. They have a few other programs that are very useful. Some of them are free and some are not. Take a look at them all.

Here's the link: FastStone

So now let's get back to nature. Now we're seeing my last butterfly picture of the day. Each one of these butterflies is a type of swallowtail. Over at Nature Center Magazine today we are featuring the video I took of this field of butterflies. Yup, just the same trick as last week. If you want to see these butterflies in action, just pop over there and take a look.

And I'll leave you with these words. Butterfly week! Butterfly week! BUTTERFLY WEEK!

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!

Friday, August 12, 2011


I found a butterfly! I have read that this is an eastern black swallowtail, but I'm a beginner at identifying butterflies, so I could be completely wrong. I do know that it's a swallowtail though because of the little parts that stick out at the back end of its wings.

I was wondering if I would ever get any butterfly pictures this year, but then they started coming one right after the other. So I'll be showing you more butterflies in the coming days. I have some that are even better than these!

When I found this one there were many others zooming around eluding my camera. I thought I had no chance until I found this butterfly sitting there on this plant resting. I was able to get as many pictures as I wanted of this flying flower.

I have to say that I love watching butterflies flying around in a field, especially if there are a lot of them. But it's a lot easier to get pictures of them if they stay still. There were plenty of them because there waren't many other people around.

I actually found a great time of day to go to this park. Right after work time almost nobody is there. When I went in there was only a couple of people in the whole park, and when I left I was the only one there. That's what I call bliss.

I met the two women who were there when I was about halfway through. They stopped and told me they saw an owl, but of course it was gone already. An owl would have been exciting to get on camera. I'll have to see if I can learn where to watch for them.

I've got one last subject before I go today.

Over at Nature center Magazine we have the return of an old friend. Rob Wayne, who I have known most of my life, has come back to write a few articles for us. Some of you may remember him from the early days of the magazine as the person who wrote the Free Wallpaper articles. Well, he didn't really enjoy that, so I took over in his name after awhile.

What Rob really wanted to do was to give his opinion on some nature related things. The problem was that his opinions can get rather strong. At the time I didn't want such abrasive articles on the website. Rob is a good guy, but I wanted the site to be a little more gentle than some of the things he was proposing.

But now things have changed just a bit. I still don't necessarily agree with the things he says, but we need to make progress. Nature Center Magazine has grown its number of readers greatly since it started, with some of our articles getting over 1000 page views. But the comment count hasn't really grown equivalently. Many people may get upset by the things Rob writes, but I also think they might want to return their own opinions after reading.

What would you do in my situation? I think Rob Wayne might be a necessary evil. Like I said though, any of you who know him also know that he's really a good person. Anyway, you'll have to judge for yourselves when you read some of the articles he writes. People will either love him or they'll hate him, but I don't think he'll be ignored.

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Deer Caught Drinkin'

It seems the deer are on the move this time of year. I found this one standing next to a small creek not to far from the pond I featured here last week. The pond actually empties into this creek. The deer was obviously trying to get a drink of water when I happened by.

As soon as we saw each other we both froze in our respective spots. I, of course, pointed my camera at this wary beast. But I didn't take any pictures. ...Wait! How can that be? Aren't these things that you see in this post indeed pictures? Well, yes and no.

What I took was a video of this deer, and these are screen shots from the video. This time I remembered to get the video, but I forgot to get the pictures. And by the time I remembered them it was time for me to move on.

So now we have another episode of Rat TV, and you don't even have to go to Nature Center Magazine to watch it. You'll notice that there's some noise in the background of the video. That is the sound of the distant freeway. There are plenty of nature sounds when you're there, but on the video the freeway sounds seem to dominate all.

As I said in a previous post, I left this place before the deer did. I left the poor creature in peace so he could get his drink of water without worrying that I might be a predator ready to tear out his throat. In fact, I might shoot him, but only with my camera.

While I write this, Blogger has been doing some work on the draft version of the dashboard and all its parts. I'm hoping they're improving things, because they took away one feature I really liked, and there are a few new bugs that have been introduced. I'll be checking things out as soon as I'm done here. Let's hope things are more good than bad.

See ya next time.

Nature Center Magazine - Come over and give us a big nature hug! The Green Man has a strange look on his face.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Chipmunk Flash

I've been experimenting with the flash on my camera. I don't usually use it, but it gets dark in the forest, and I'm getting tired of my pictures coming out rotten. The only problem is that the flash makes the pictures look dark. I always thought it would light them up.

I came upon this chipmunk in a place I've seen them before, but I had already had a good day of finding animals, and I wasn't expecting anything more. As soon as I pointed the camera at this little critter it ran away. I thought it was gone forever, but I soon realized that it had not gone far.

I began taking pictures, but the darkness made them all come out as a bad motion blur. I hoped I'd get maybe one or two good ones. But as the chipmunk seemed to be going nowhere, I decided to try my flash. I was sure that would chase it away. But then, Flash! the chipmunk stayed petrified in that very same spot.

I eventually left this little fella where he was. I've been trying to do that more often, leave them before they leave me. I used to stand there and take pictures until the animal would finally flee in terror or boredom. But now I try to move away first. I find it to be more polite.

But I'm always happy to see a chipmunk. They're such curious little creatures. when they run away, they always come right back for a look at their assailant. And when they're startled, they can let out a piercing scream that can scare you out of your boots! And those stripes they have are especially fun for some reason or another.

And that's what I think of chipmunks, camera flashes, and not much else this time. I would have included a blog tip this time, but I'm still trying to think of a good one that everyone can use. I'll have one soon, and you'll all gasp in wonderment at its simple genius. But for now it's just time to think about chipmunks.

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Two Fawns Walked Up To Me

I just had a major encounter with two baby deer and I got the best part of it on video! I'll tell you the story from the beginning, and then tell you about the video.

I haven't been going very far this year because of last year's car accident. It just has made things a little bit harder for me. Because of this, I got to thinking that I hadn't been to Heritage Park, one of my old favorites, this year. It's not very far, so I decided to get into my truck and go.

There are usually a lot of people at Heritage Park, so I am always of a mind that there are no animals at this place. But I usually see quite a bit every time I go there. Even so, I wasn't expecting much except to walk this place I have liked so much.

I was on the main trail when I found myself free of any people. But when I looked into the distance in front of me, I saw something odd. It was hard to see, but it appeared to be a deer looking back at me. It seemed strange that it wasn't running away, but I've seen deer on this trail many times before.

I zoomed my camera in to get a better look, and, sure enough, it was not only a deer, it was a little fawn. I noticed that it was eating the leaves off the trees, so I didn't want to disturb it, But I had to walk that way, so I took pictures as I moved forward.

I fully expected this baby to run as I got closer, but nothing of the sort happened. In fact, this little fawn was now joined by a second, and they were looking right at me. Then as I moved towards them they began to come towards me too!

This development began to remind me of an encounter with raccoons I hada few years ago. Many of you might remember that one, but I'll give links for you newer readers who would like to read a hilarious story about how I was chased at high speed by raccoons for about a third of a mile.

Here are links to this three part raccoon story:
  1. Raccoons
  2. Surrounded By Raccoons
  3. Chased By Raccoons
Well anyway, when these two little deer began to come forward I stopped in my tracks. I wanted to get as many pictures of this as I could. You're looking at the best right here. The two deer would come forward, then they would stop for a nibble on the leaves. Then they would come forward some more.

I was wondering why they weren't frightened of me. I knew these two were wild, but they were also babies. I also wondered where the mother was. I didn't want her angry with me if she found out how close her babies had gotten to me.

This is a big park, so I'm guessing that she just gave them a little freedom, and they were pushing that freedom a little too much. Humans are mostly safe for them here, but it's not wise for them to become too tame. I also didn't want to disturb these cute little creatures too much, but my destination was past the spot where they stood.

So now we get to this last picture. These babies were now very close to me. I had zoomed my camera out al the way, so they were actually even closer than the picture shows. This very scene is the exact spot where the video starts. And what happens in the video?

Well, as one of them walked right over to me, I watched them for a few seconds and then decided I just had to get past them. I kept the camera pointed at them the whole time. Finally, the closest fawn got spooked by my sudden movement, and decided to run. The video makes it look as if I moved closer, but I was just moving around the poor little thing. The second fawn saw its sibling running, so it decided it was time to follow, but at a more leisurely pace.

And now you want to see the video, right? Here's the trick. The video is over at Nature Center Magazine, featured as the Cool Nature Video for this week. The video is the best part of this whole story. It shows you just how very close I got to these two little deer, so I urge you to go over and watch it.

Nature Center Magazine - We need your comments. We're starving! (Our new slogan)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Mating Butterflies

I've been chasing butterflies for the past few days. My results weren't looking good at first, but later I began to get some excellent pictures. And then I discovered that I wasn't the only one chasing the butterflies. They were chasing each other.

Look very closely at my pictures today. You'll see not just one, but two butterflies in the pictures. Judging by their behavior, it must be their mating season. I'm pretty sure that's why I was so easily able to get these pictures. They were not paying one bit of attention to me.

These two butterflies were some of the very few creatures I found out at my pond that I showed you yesterday. Even though I usually like to bring you animals, it's okay because there were many animals in my adventures in other places. And I like my pond.

I brought you four pictures today even though I intended to make this post a short one. I just couldn't decide which pictures to share with you. None of them are spectacular, but each one gives you a unique view that we don't get to see very often.

Okay, now it's time to take a break from the butterflies and give you another little blogging tip. This one can be used by anyone. There is a Firefox add-on I use called Firebug. Firebug is a tool that helps you easily examine the underlying HTML and CSS code of any website you're currently viewing. I use this tool heavily. It helps me learn how some of the things on a website work.

Before I tell you where you can get it, I'll say that Internet Explorer and Google Chrome have similar tools built in. To access them, all you have to do is hit F12 on your keyboard. Firebug works best though.

I'll give you two links to get Firebug. Firebug is their website. You can download it from there, and you can learn how to use it from there. Go there and do some reading. It won't hurt a bit. Here's the Firefox Add-ons site for Firebug. You can get it there too.

While using Firebug or one of its alternatives, do some experimenting. You can use these tools to temporarily edit websites; any websites. Refreshing the page brings them back to normal. Firebug is what I use to find out how to do many of the little tricks I've learned. I used it to find out how to make the Blogger toolbar disappear.

So try it out if you have time. You won't learn everything all at once, but you can get a good beginning. If you love fiddling around with your blog template, you'll love Firebug. Let me know if you decide to try it.

Back to the butterflies. This last picture was the one I almost dumped because it is so blurry, but it offers an angle to this little peep show that the others don't. Now you can get a better look at both butterflies. I actually left them there like that because I felt I had quite enough pictures.

Because I've had a lot of good encounters over the past few days I'm going to be posting a little more often for the time being. My next post will be tomorrow. Tomorrow's post will feature one of the most amazing encounters I've ever had. And I caught it on video! I can't wait to show you!

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!

Friday, August 5, 2011

My Favorite Pond

I've been here many times before. As a matter of fact, this pond is in one of the very first nature parks I ever traveled as The Everyday Adventurer. I fell in love with this place because of its solitude. And to this very day I can come to this pond and be all alone, the only person in the whole park.

When I came to the park this time I went in behind a woman and her children. I waited for them to get far ahead of me so they wouldn't be afraid. It's not fun having a stranger walking closely behind you. About a third of the way through the park I greeted them as we passed each other on the trail. They were already leaving. I don't blame them because it's a long walk. But I was finally all alone.

Now that I had this park all to myself I could walk around at my leisure, examining everything around me. I could go on and off the trail. The presence of other people doesn't really matter that much, but I sometimes like my alone time, and I don't like to reveal my secret places.

Okay, I'm going to change the subject for a few short seconds. I've been giving Blogger tips here in the middle of my posts, and I'm going to give you another. This is an easy one.

Do you see the picture of my Ratty mouse face in the title bar at the top of your browser? It's called a "favicon". Usually there is an orange and white Blogger "B" there. Would you like to know how I changed that? Blogger has finally decided to make that a very simple thing for all of us.

To change that B to a picture of your own go to the Layout section in your Blogger dashboard. There you will see right at the top of your Page Elements section an extra block called Favicon. Click the Edit link and it will bring you to a window from where you can upload a good picture from your own computer that you can use as your very own favicon.

A little update: It sometimes takes about a day before your favicon appears in the top of your browser. I had forgotten about this last important part.

Here's a link to Blogger's post with more details about it: Latest Updates, August 1st
And here's another post about it from Icy BC: How To Install a Favicon On Your Blog

Let's get back to nature.

You know, I went to this park thinking that I would only see animals clear at the back where the pond sits always waiting for me. It turned out that the pond was one of the few places where I saw no animals.

Actually that's not totally true. I saw a small family of ducks that quickly hid in the weeds as soon as I emerged from the forest. I also found some butterflies flitting around. Butterflies are usually much too fast to catch on camera, so I only try when they are obviously very slow.

I still stayed back there at that pond for quite awhile looking out at the landscape. I enjoyed my alone time, and I enjoyed being at the pod, one of my favorite places.

Nature Center Magazine - A twisted tale! A thousand eyes! Trapped forever! Epa! Eeppaah!!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Damselfly As Bait

I like damselflies. They are often mistaken for dragonflies, but there is a difference. Damselflies fold their wings up, like the one in my pictures, while dragonflies do not.  Their heads are also very different. Take a close look some time.

The damselfly I have for you today just happens to have a relation to my previous post about the frogs. This little critter was flying around and stopping and staring at me while I was taking the pictures of those frogs. Because of that, I had to take the time to get some pictures of the damselfly too.

The first frog actually tried to eat this little green damselfly while I was taking my last few pictures. That event was actually the reason I stopped taking pictures. That frog was gone, and the event pulled my mind away from the frogs, and onto thoughts of my next adventure.

Since a few of you have given positive feedback to my little blog tips, I decided to bring you another. I have a Blogger tip today that you won't find anywhere else. I discovered it myself. Many people don't like that Blogger navigation bar that sits at the top of all Blogger blogs. Personally, I think it's just fine up there, but I wish we could style it a little more.

Out of dislike for that navigation bar, there have been many template hacking tips to show people how to hide it. Well, I have a tip to hide it, or even to style it a little bit without going into your blog template. I'm going to show you how to manipulate that navigation bar with just a simple piece of CSS code. First, here's the code:
#navbar-iframe {
  opacity: 0.4;
  height: 30px;

Try plopping that bit of CSS code down in the "Add CSS" section of your Blogger Template Designer. You'll immediately see results. If you lower the opacity number to 0, the navigation bar will become invisible. That part doesn't work in Internet Explorer though. If you lower the height to 0, the navigation bar will shrink down to nothing. That should work in all modern web browsers. Now your Blogger navigation bar is gone!

You may notice that I've put a background in my nav bar above. I'll share that technique if anyone wants it. It doesn't work great, but you can see the background. Unfortunately, there's not much more styling that can be done with the nav bar. The styling I've done is basically only on the frame that it sits in, but it works well. You won't find this information anywhere else, so let me know how you like my little tip.

Now that my tip is done, it's back to nature for us. This last picture shows a rare look at a damselfly with its wings spread. The picture isn't great, but it does the job. I kept trying to get this one, but my camera wasn't cooperating well in the shade of the forest.

Before I go I'd like to tell you that I've done a massive redesign of Nature Center Magazine. I have always believed that a blog or a website should look good, and I want mine to be impressive. The site was okay before, but I am really very proud of how it looks now. So go take a look if you haven't seen it.

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!

Monday, August 1, 2011

I Found Frogs!

Just like it says in the title, I found frogs! I'm really excited about this because these are the first frog pictures I've ever had. As a matter of fact, these are the first frogs I've really even seen on my everyday adventures.

I've had plenty of toads before, but no frogs. I know toads are really a kind of frog but a little different, but finding real frogs has been a goal of mine. I never thought I'd be able to see any frogs because they are almost always in the water. Let me tell you how I found these.

I was walking across a small footbridge, and I was looking down into the water when I saw little bubbles in the water. I was expecting to find a crayfish, but when I looked closer I found this frog above. He looked to be about as long as one of my fingers.

I did the second picture with the flash on because it was dark. It makes the frog look very different. I don't normally use a flash, and I was experimenting with it a bit. I found two frogs near each other, and I took pictures of each one with the flash off and then on.

While I was taking the pictures, a dragonfly kept flying near the frogs, and the first one jumped at it and tried to catch it. But I didn't get any pictures of that. Such a shame. Now I'm doomed to a life of utter misery.

Let's pause from the frog talk for a minute so I can share a couple of blogging tips, as I promised. Most of these will be more closely related to Blogger because that's what I use, but some, like today's are useful to everyone.

The first little tip I want to share is a Blogger related thing. Many of you may have noticed problems with Blogger and the comment system. I'm guessing that you are using Internet Explorer. If you switch to either Firefox or Google Chrome your problems will go away. Don't worry, you can use all of these browsers at the same time if you like. I use five different ones. This problem is Blogger's fault, but that is the solution.

I also recently found out some information about Picasa, the service where all of our Blogger pictures are stored. As many of you know, we have a total of 1 GB to store our photos. After that, we're either out of luck or we have to purchase more. But Picasa has given us a workaround.

They say if your pictures are 800 pixels or less, then they don't count towards your total 1 GB storage limit. So I am now making my pictures 800x600 or less. I may be wrong, so I'm going to monitor my amount used to see if I'm right. Here's a link to their post about this info. See what you think.

Back to the frogs! I can remember hearing frogs croaking at the edge of most ponds I've been to, but I never see them. Now I'll know to look for those bubbles. That's one more little nature thing I've learned now. Now I can find frogs easier. Maybe I can even learn to con them into liking me, like I do with deer.

I'd show you a picture of the bridge I was on, but it's only a couple of pieces of plywood nailed to some four by fours. Really not much of a bridge at all, but it does the job. Otherwise I'd have to walk into the creek and get eaten by alligators. Well, maybe only imaginary-gators. But those kind are sometimes just as dangerous if you walk around the woods in a giant rat suit.

You don't believe me about the rat suit? I'll leave you with one last picture then.

It's only because the zipper's stuck and I can't get out.

Nature Center Magazine - I've done a total redesign of Nature Center Magazine. Come over and take a look at the new Nature Center Magazine!