Thursday, March 29, 2012

I'm Taking A Short Break

I'm going to take a break from blogging for a little over a week. There's nothing wrong. I just have to concentrate on getting my stuff here from Michigan right now, and I have little time for anything else for now. Many of you may have noticed that my name hasn't appeared in your comments sections in the last week and I haven't had a recent post. That's because of the reason I just stated. I'll probably be showing up in your comments sections here and there, but I won't post anything here until I'm able to concentrate fully on blogging again.

In the meantime Nature Center Magazine is still going at full strength. My posts there are already scheduled. You may enjoy the new look we have there. I've made it much easier to read, with even more of a nature feel to it. That's only a small sign of the changes to come there. We are about to make a huge change for the better, with better articles and more of a variety. So stay tuned for that. I'm expecting those changes in another month or two.

So anyway, I'll be back here in about a week and a half. I'll finally be moved all the way in at my now not so new place, and I'll hopefully be ready to blog full time again. See you soon!.

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Turtle Lake

Now it's time to show you what I found at Turtle Lake. I have to confess that for this first trip there I only found some geese, but they were a heavenly sight for me. I haven't seen geese since I moved here until now. I've heard them, but seen none.

Turtle Lake is one good substitute for my old favorite Carpenter Lake. I also have another, which I'll show you at another time. This is a nice solitary place. I know I can be alone much of the time here. This time there was one person fishing at the other end of the lake though.
I realized when I saw that other person there was another easier way to get here. I'll search for that other entrance next time I come here. The hike was good, but going up and down that big hill is too much just to get to this little lake. Do the hike for the hike, not for the lake.

I have to tell you that I'm still pretty distracted by my permanent move here and all that's now going into it. I'm falling behind in everything, including my blogging. I'll try to keep up the best I can though until my distraction is over. I need this to give me some fun during all the commotion.

I also have some very big plans for Nature Center Magazine very soon. You may have noticed the beginnings of some of these changes already. These are only a small part of it. If my plans work, Nature Center Magazine is about to become one of the best nature sites on the web.
Rat Tales is the blog that has suffered the most from my distractions. I haven't been able to write any fiction stories for that site for over a month right now. I have some good stories in my head, but I haven't had time to pry them outta there.

Okay, I'll soon be back with something good. Birds, nature parks, a big river. I'll have it all. Just you wait! You'll see!

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Let's Go Down The Hill

Now it's time for me to show you the second part of my trip at Stone park. I would have done this sooner, but I've been a bit distracted with all of the details of getting my things here from Michigan. It might be that way for another couple of weeks while I get everything organized.

Okay, you can see the trail on the left side of the picture above. That's my starting point. I follow that all the way down to the narrow part you may notice in the distance to the right. After that there is a drop off steep enough that they had to put steps in the side of the hill.

Isabella and I eagerly followed these stairs on down to the next level of our hike. I took this second picture halfway down the second set of stairs. It wasn't too bad getting down this far, but it was hard walking back up to this point. We were both exhausted.

And the third picture is what greeted us after some more distance down the side of this hill. We were now far from those long sets of stairs. You may notice that the bottom of the hill is still far out of sight. I told you before that these hills are the size of mountains. I was not exaggerating at all.
And we now finally come to the very bottom of the hills. We were greeted by a hidden surprise. There is a lake down here! We couldn't see it from any point until we got right about where I took this picture from. The lake is called Turtle Lake.

We were both excited to see this when we got down here and we were glad to finally be here. I was hoping we'd find something good, and we did. This was a much different hike than any of my little hikes from before. I'll try to be back with another post some time this weekend showing you some of the sights we saw at the lake.

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

So Far Away

I want to show you something fun before I take you down the side of this huge hill. Standing on top of Stone Park we can see a town off in the distance. That town is a few miles from where we are. You can see it in the top picture. It's on the right side and middle from the top.

The trail in the foreground is where we'll be going next, but first we want to focus on that town. You may have to click the picture to really see it because it's so far away. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Now we'll take a closer view of part of the town. So what's so fun about this? The fun part is that my camera is able to zoom in so far that we get to see this closeup from the top of the hill I was standing on.

Nothing to try to be impressive, but I thought it was just kind of fun to be able to do this. I've never taken any pictures from a place like this before where I could do this.

Here's another view of the town. I pulled the view back just a bit so we could see a little bit more. I guess this is just the edge of town. I think that's a motel right below the white water tower. You'll have to examine the pictures yourself to make out any of the other buildings. Let's move on.

Did you check out our Cool Nature Sites sidebar over at Nature Center Magazine? We'll have some excellent websites moving through there all the time. But when a site is gone, it's gone. So you might want to check it out whenever you can.

In my next post I'll show you what I saw when I walked down the trail from the top of the hills. I went all the way to the bottom. I found something I really liked down there. I'll be here waiting next time!

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Atop Stone Park

Good news, everyone! My adventures to the nature parks have finally resumed! And now they may become better than ever before! The nature parks I'm now visiting are bigger and wilder than the ones I used to visit. Some of them are also on top of huge mountain-sized hills.

My pictures today are from high atop Stone park, the highest part of the entire park. You can see for miles from this spot. The buildings in the far background are actually in another state. I'll show more of them in the future.

I'll tell you, it's been so long that I've been to a good nature park that I was beginning to think I'd never get back to my old habits again. But I was actually able to visit two nature parks in the past two days. First Stone Park, and then Five Ridge Prairie State Preserve. The second one I only went to the front gate so far though.

I'm so relieved to be going back to a few nature trails though. I was beginning to think that I was so unlikely to be going to these places that it would be as likely for me to go to Greece or something. Now I'm so excited that I think maybe even that could be in the realm of possibility. If I wanted to do it I would try holidays to Greece or something. I can do anything I want.

You may not be able to tell in the pictures, but I am very high up on a very big hill. They are only considered hills here because they are made out of dirt instead of mountainous rocks. These hills are every bit the size of mountains. And I went down this one from the absolute top to the absolute bottom and back.

Those bushes you see in these pictures are actually tree tops. There is a steep drop off in some places, including immediately in front of this observation area I took these pictures from. This was an exciting hike because it has been so long, but it was also a tired one for the same reason.

Tomorrow I'll show you some of my journey down the hill. Isabella was also along, and this trek wore her out as well. We were both exhausted when it was over, and she eagerly got back into the car.

Oh yes, I almost forgot. We have a major new feature over at Nature Center Magazine. Go on over and take a look after you're done here. I guarantee that you'll like it. I'll talk to you next time.

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bugs Bugging Me

I told you that spring has come here just a bit early this year. With the spring comes bugs of all kinds. This ladybug is the best of the bunch, but even they aren't exactly welcome around here because of their large numbers. And they get into everything.

Moths, houseflies, spiders, and boxelder bugs are some of the other pests I've seen already in large numbers. A few are interesting and good photo opportunities. Too many are pests. Pick up your glass of water and find a ladybug in it. Not fun!

It's enough to make me wish for a vacation or holiday to another place, but I'll have to find cheaper holidays to make it worth my while. I wonder where I could go to get away from these bugs? They're the only negative thing about being here.

So the only thing for me is to try to live with all these bugs. I'm sure I'll think of a solution before they really get bad. In the meantime I'll be bringing you some good pictures of all the bugs I've been seeing. We should have some fun with that.

I know this post sounds negative up til now, but I feel anything but negative. I'm actually very happy right now. My only real problem is that I'm so distracted with bringing all of my things from Michigan. That's why I haven't been posting quite so often. My mind is just a bit elsewhere. It'll be back soon though.

With all the warm weather there are birds everywhere here. Soon I'll be bringing some cool pictures of them, even though they seem to hate my feeder. I guess year old cereal isn't their first choice.

I'll also finally be getting back to visiting a few of the nature parks around here. And there will be new everyday adventures of my old kind once again. I'm happy.

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Exciting News On The Eagle

One of the two bald eagles came back, and it was actually sitting in a tree in my yard! I watched it fly away when I went out to let the dog out. It was only about twenty feet off the ground. Isabella thought it was a monster, and she was frightened back inside the house.

I didn't really get any pictures of it though because it was late evening and the light was fading fast. The pictures I have for you today show what I believe is the female bald eagle. It was the other bird flying around up there the first time.

This one came in closer than the male so I got these better pictures. This is why I doubted that they were bald eagles. I didn't stop to think that the females might not have that white head. This also may be a juvenile bald eagle. They also are missing the white until they get older.

I wish I could fly like that. I'd go to places I'd never been to before, like New York or somewhere. I can't do that, so I guess I'll have to check for New York flights in my area if I'm ever able to make the trip. It might be fun going on a trip like that. I'd be higher up than these eagles.

But since I'm down here looking up, I might as well enjoy the eagles, and admire them in all their glory. I'm having so much of a good time at my new home right now. Spring has come early here, and the weather is just glorious.

It's also been a busy week for me. I'm just now beginning to arrange to bring all of my things from Michigan. It looks like I've decided to stay here. It's been hard being without all of my things, but I love it here so much that I don't want to leave.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Isabella's Argument With A Squirrel

I have something fun for you today. I got my best pictures yet since being here in my new home, and I also have the return of Rat TV! "So what's fun about that," you say. Well, Rat TV features the tail end of an argument between my dog Isabella and the squirrel you see in these pictures.

Isabella was outside happily playing when this squirrel high up in a tree started angrily chattering down at her. It had some kind of nut in its mouth and decided it had to protect its new-found meal from all comers, and Isabella happened to end up right in the squirrel's line of fire.

The squirrel vented its anger on this poor big half Great Dane, and she had no choice but to retaliate. The squirrel chattered at her and she barked back at the squirrel. And Ratty ran to get his camera!

I got back out just in time to catch the tail end of this battle of wills. I don't think there was really a winner. The fight just kind of died out after they realized there would be no actual violence involved.

This all happened a few days ago. And the very next day after that I had Isabella out in the front of the house on her chain when she saw this same angry little squirrel crossing the street. She tore off after him as if that squirrel's life depended on it, and it did!

Lucky for the squirrel, he made it up that same tree and out of sight. Isabella was not through though. She sat under that tree and waited. Ever since then she goes over to that tree and waits for the squirrel now. She is now obsessed with catching her little aggressor. He better hope she never does.

That little squirrel better stay pretty far away to keep Isabella from getting him. If you'd like to travel somewhere far away and maybe exotic, you might want to consider flights to New Zealand. I don't know if they have squirrels there, but hopefully their animals are smart enough not to start an argument with a dingo. 

Isabella is kind of a big one for a squirrel to take on, and I think she's a little too good at catching little critters. I'd hate to go out one day and find her playing with the squirrel. I'll have to keep an eye on her for awhile I guess.

And now we come to the end. See, I told you it would be fun. You got an argument, some great pictures, Rat TV, and even a little ad. Fun, fun, fun! Humor me! I'll be back next time with something I hope you'll really like! No moose and squirrel though.They were in this post.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

First Bald Eagle?

It was an absolutely beautiful day yesterday. Temperatures reached 70F/21C here! That's pretty good for winter. I was sitting on my back porch looking for interesting nature to take some pictures and I happened to glance up to the sky at just the right moment.

There above me were two big birds drifting high in the sky. I assumed they were a couple of hawks because I see hawks a lot of the time around here. I just usually don't have my camera at those times. This time I obviously did.

I took as many pictures as I could before the birds flew out of view. I actually got a couple better than the two I have today, but these two are more important right now. Look at that top picture. I think it may be a bald eagle up there in the sky! It's also possible that it's just a trick of light though.
This next picture is a smaller copy of the original that I cropped that first one from. The eagle is toward the right center just under those branches. I thought I'd show it to you to give a little perspective on how I saw the birds.

I'm pretty excited about this because this would be the first bald eagle I've ever seen. Even if it's not actually an eagle I'm still pretty excited because it was a good day and a few eventful pictures for me. Nature comes right up to my house now!

I'll be back soon with some of the best pictures I've had since I moved here. I hope yesterday was a true beginning of spring because it really put everyone around here in the mood for it.

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!

Monday, March 5, 2012

It Won't Be Long Now

What you see in my pictures here is an American Goldfinch. Not very good pictures, I know. But it was very far away, the closest birds have been coming. I'll be changing that part soon. I don't like to lure them in with food, and I definitely don't like to spend money on any of this. But I've done something.

I made a bird feeder out of an old two liter bottle, and I'll give these birds some old breakfast cereal that I have. So I still don't have to spend any money, but I'll hopefully get a few better pictures until I begin going to nature parks regularly again.

The great thing right now is that winter is almost over. I usually like winter, but I'm glad it was a mild one this time. I wasn't ready for a harsh winter at my new home yet. I started out burning wood for my heat, a task that I probably shouldn't have thrown myself into so much with my lingering injuries. I'm finishing by using my new infrared space heater. And it works best if you have another heat source to use with it side by side, which I do.

I'm sure winter is not fully over, but I'll be getting some very warm weather in the next couple of weeks. Oddly, similar temperatures seem warmer here than they do in Michigan. I'm guessing that the water from the lakes somehow makes things feel colder.

So these next few weeks are going to be spent on early spring cleaning here for me. This place is going to see a lot of changes in the transition from my dad to me. Just today I finally reopened the big bedroom in the back of the house. It's been closed all winter to conserve heat. Now I'll be moving all of my things in there.

Hopefully with the warm weather will come more animals around here. Then I'll post more often again. My computer trouble came when I didn't have much to post anyway. The birds avoid me right now, but they'll soon love me. One of these next posts I'll show you my junky little bird feeder.

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature!