Friday, November 28, 2014

Endless Grass

I only recently discovered some of the nature trails at this little nature park down the road from where I live. This park, Dunham Prairie Preserve, was one of the first parks I visited when I moved into my current home. I thought it would end up as my daily park because of the interesting trails, but there became one problem.

Some of the most interesting trails here ceased to be maintained. There is one trail in particular that went down to the Big Sioux River that I really liked a lot. Now it's gone, so there is no more access to the river from here. That took away from much of the attractiveness of this place.

I still like the park, but most of the trails are like the one you see below. They're mowed into the grassy prairie land near the highway. That closeup highway is really a turn off for me. And there's not much else to see except for endless grassland. But it's not all bad.

I just recently discovered that there are more trails of this park on the other side of the highway from the parking lot. Even if it is just grass, it's still a new place to explore. And I live for new places to explore. The other thing is that this is where I discoverd all of that milkweed growing that I wrote about in a previous post.

Seeing that much milkweed gives me something to look forward to other than endless grass. The grass would be fine, but it's not really very exciting to me, and I don't really know what to write about it. But I can come up with all kinds of things while I observe the growth of that milkweed throughout the year.

And who knows? Maybe they'll open up access again to the river one of these days. I don't really know why they closed it. I don't know many people and I'm not very talkative with strangers unless we get into an argument or something. I'm glad not many people in this area of the country are very argumentative.

The sign above says Fire Walk. That's the name of the trail here on the other side of the road. The trail is a loop from where you can still very much hear the sounds of the highway, and most of the time see the cars go by. I'll only come back on occasion, but I will be back to look at the milkweed.

I do like this place because it's the closest nature and hiking park to home. I guess maybe if I came here more often then I'd discover more desirable features. Does anybody know of some good things I might find in this grass that I'm probably not thinking of?

The river trail was really nice because it was isolated from the highway. Now that it's gone I'm looking for other advantages to this park that I've missed. I've seen so many things in nature over the past several years, but in many ways I still understand next to nothing. I learn something new with each new adventure, and I want to learn something here too. I'll talk to you later.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Village

The pictures I have for you today were taken last summer. Right now it looks very different around here. There are no leaves left on the trees and everything is covered in snow. Also the temperature is much too cold for me to do much of anything other than wait till it warms up just a little bit to go out.

My first trip when I do go out will be right back to this very place, but maybe not to this village in the woods. The nature park where this village exists is a big one with many different features to explore, and there are many that I haven't seen yet. But today I want to talk about the village.

This village is one of the features of  Adams Homestead And Nature Preserve. I can't say I know much about it yet because I've only visited it once so far. I do know that this house above was built in the 1880s. That's pretty old for this part of the country. It's called the Shay-Adams House.

There are several buildings in this little village with signs like the ones above out in front of each one. They give a nice little description of each building and maybe go into the history of each one. In a future post I'll maybe give you a better look at what some of them say. I'll be back here many more times.

The cabin above was built in the 1860s and is called The Brusseau House. The door was open, so I went inside and took a few pictures. I'll feature them in a future post, I'm not sure when yet. I'm not sure if the door was meant to be open or if I was supposed to go in, but I did. I'm an outlaw. Fear me.

This red building is a school house. I never went closer to it than this. I don't know why. Onew of these4 next visits I'll have to go up close and examine it better. By the time I got this far I was eager to explore other parts of the nature park, and I was hunting a geocache, which I found.

The only thing we had like this back in Michigan near me was a big place called Greenfield Village which cost quite a bit of money to get in. It was worth it, but this little place gives you a similar but very much smaller experience, without all the flash, for free.

I hope I can keep these more frequent posts up, but the very much colder weather is going to make it difficult. It's been cold and windy around here. The cold is fine, but that wind just about kills me. I'll be making a point of going out on warmer days, and there are a few inside places I'll be visiting as well. I'll talk to you later.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Way To View Mud Lake

I'm finally going to show you the little viewing areas at Mud Lake at Adams Nature Area.  The structure above sits at the edge of the lake, as you can obviously see. That wall in front seems to block your view of the lake, but that is very deceptive.

What you do is sit on the bench in front of the wall and look through those slots. Once you get up close it's obvious why the wall and those slots are there. The wall isn't to hide the lake, it's to hide you from the birds. That way you can watch them and they won't swim away. Good idea, isn't it?

Here above is a closeup of that sign on the wall. It shows some of the water birds you might see swimming on the lake. A couple of them are just regular birds.Most of these are different kinds of ducks. I've seen many of these kinds of birds before, but there are a few that I've never seen. I hope I get to see all of them at some point.

The picture above is the view of the lake that you can see through those slots. When you're sitting on the bench those slots are the perfect height. You really can see a lot more than you think you might. I was really doubtful until I sat down.

I took several pictures of the lake through those slots, but I'll only share this one this time. I've shown you rivers and lakes a lot recently, so it would just get kind of repetitive if I did it here again. I'll feature this lake better sometime in the future. Maybe then there will be some ducks.

Here's a view of the other building that's down the trail farther on. I wish I had some better pictures than this. I really thought I covered it all at the time, but this was all I got. You can see this one has no slots. There are still benches and you can see a lot better here.

You don't have to use these buildings to see the lake. You can walk right out to the edge if you want, but these are so much more comfortable and convenient. And I still haven't walked all the way along the path that edges this lake. I had to take the dog back to the truck.

I'll be coming back here soon, but it's going to be a lot colder outside. It was a beautiful fall day when I took these pictures, but winter cold has hit here since then with a vengeance. I'm determined to still go out. I never let a little cold stop me when I was in Michigan. I'll talk to you later.

Monday, November 17, 2014

I Love Milkweed

So I promised you a better look at some duck buildings and a lake last time. I'll get to that in a future post, but right now I want to give you something I've seen more recently. It's these milkweed plants! I really love milkweed, one of my favorite plants.

I usually care about watching animals more than plants, but there are a few plants I really like a lot, and this is one of them. I guess I never think about liking plants, but I guess I do in a few cases. I also like cattails, jewelweed, and snapdragons. There are others, but I'll get to them when I see them.

What you are seeing above are some open milkweed pods with their seeds spilling out. All of that white fluff is there to help the seeds fly around before finding a nice home for a new milkweed plant. That fluff can be used for all sorts of stuff that I won't mention today just because it's so easy to find out all over the internet.

Here's another view of a milkweed with more of the fluff exposed. Some of you may find this view a little boring, which is fine, but others understand that it's all fun to see. Did I already mention that I love milkweed? Any view is interesting to me.

What was really good for me was that the whole field I was walking through was full of milkweed plants. I didn't expect to see anything there but grass. I didn't really even expect to see the nature trail I was on. I was in a nature park that I only just now found out is on both sides of the highway.

The parking area for this place is on the other side of the highway. I saw the sign on this side on past trips here, but I never noticed the trails or a way to get here. I finally found the trail while I was out geocaching. I also found the geocache right on the side of the trail a little ways in. That was fun.

Above you can see the milkweed pods before they break open. I always think of them as pod people from outer space in strange movies like Invasion Of The Body Snatchers. I swear I saw them carrying giant versions of these in that movie.

I have a few much older posts about these and the pod people. I did them several years ago. If you're interested in reading these idiotically fun writings just search the blog for milkweed or pod people. You'll be sure to find some strange stuff. They were fun to write.

I'll be back soon with the other pictures I said I'd share. They actually are kind of interesting. I guess it's not like being there though. I sometimes wish I could take you all along on one of my everyday adventures. There's nothing like being there. But these pictures are better than nothing at all. I'll talk to you later.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

I Like The Trees

I've been saying a little bit that there aren't really a lot of trees around here in the nature parks. That's not always true. There are more trees in Michigan, but there are always areas in these parks here with lots of trees. I'm talking about this because I really love a lot of trees.

Because of the time of year now, I also have to worry about deer hunting season. Many of the nature parks near me are open to hunting. I can tell you that I don't really trust all hunters all the way to be safe, and I don't want to get shot, so I avoid these places right now.

So I can say that it's been really good to find this Adams Nature Area. Like I keep saying, it's mostly flat land, which is nice and easy on me. One of these days I'll get back into good enough shape to walk the hills well, and so will my dog. But that isn't today.

And even though there are large areas without trees here, there are large areas with them as well. This little trail above leads down to Mud Lake. Funny name huh? I have to add that you might be able to see a small downhill path. I know I've been badmouthing hills, but this little one is not only just fine, it's welcome. I like a few hills.

You can see that little sign post on the right side of the trail there. That's a picture of binoculars. That's there because the lake is supposed to be a good place to watch for water birds. I hope that's true because I plan on visiting here often. On my first trip I didn't see any yet.

You may notice that there's a little more writing in my posts again. That's because I have things to write about now. Walking nature trails has always been the main thing I like doing for this blog. The only thing I'm missing now is a little more frequent encounters with a few critters here and there.

That's something I've been missing here in Iowa is all of the animals I used to see. I have to be honest, I didn't expect to see so few when I moved here. I figured there would be more out here in the country, but I guess they just have more places to hide here.

I still see egrets by the side of the highway in the flooded cornfields, but I can't stop there and get any pictures. They fly away when I try. I also see deer darting out in the road, but it's kind of the same situation. And then there's the turkeys, but they're more city type birds around here. I'll have those pictures one of these times.

Oh, I guess I got a bit sidetracked there. In this last picture you can see a small building in the background. It's there so you can sit inside and watch the ducks. I'll give you a closer look in an upcoming post. Trust me, there's a reason for the closeup. I guess I'll talk to you in that post soon.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Adams Homestead And Nature Preserve

I found a nature park that reminds me of my favorite little nature parks back in Michigan that I used to visit almost every day. I actually found it several months ago but I haven't really had time to explore it or post about it until now.

In this post I can only really give an introduction to the place because I like to limit each post to only a few pictures at a time. That way you don't have to spend too much time here in any one post. It's just the way I like doing things.

Because of this I'll probably be writing posts quite a bit more often, at least for a little while. I really want to be able to take you through this park all the way. There are quite a few things here to share, and I'm not quite sure where to begin yet.

One thing I like about this place is that it's flat. Most of the other parks around here are so full of hills. Walking up and down all of those hills just about kills me. I still like them, but it's really hard sometimes. This flat land is so much easier to hike through right now.

The thing I loved about my Michigan parks was all of the trees. Unfortunately there aren't as many here. That's just thew way things are around here, so I'll just have to live with that. But there are areas here that are just fime for tree lovers like me, so I like that just fine.

Let me give you at least an idea of what there is here. The first trail splits in two directions. If you go to the left you really get trees, but that's not all. Back within all of the trees is an old village. It's like being able to explore an outdoor museum.

If you go to the trail on the right then you go past a lake with special viewing areas where you can observe several different types of ducks and other similar birds. You'll have to see them to really understand what I'm talking about.

The trail goes on quite a bit farther but I had to turn around to give my dog a bit of a break. She has become incredibly out of shape because I don't walk the hills much. Now that I have some flatter land to hike I hope to fix her. You wouldn't believe how glad she was to see my truck when the hike was over.

Maybe now I can do some of my older style posts where I explore the trails instead of showing pictures I took from my truck. I'm always excited when I find a place like this. The good thing is that it's not the only one. I hope I get to see some of those ducks one of these next times I visit this place. I'll talk to you later.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Towers Of Sunset

I took these pictures with my phone. I may take most of them with the phone from now on. It's so much easier to carry than the big camera. I'll still bring the camera along if I'm going on a bigger trip with some good potential to use the zoom, but the phone does pretty well for everything else.

I featured these Towers In Time in  a post about 6 months ago, but I had to share these pictures because they came out so well. Even though I still like these, the picture quality has lost something after shrinking them down for blog use. The high resolution versions look stunning.

I went to this place looking for Halloween decorations but they took them down a week before Halloween. I would have expected that to happen maybe a day or two after. I guess I'll remember that one next year. I'm guessing most of the decorations would have been the same as I shared here before anyway. Oh well.

I love the way this second picture looks. It looks like an ancient archaeological site. It's like something that you'd find on the other side of the world from here; never in Nebraska. I think there is supposed to be water flowing through those rocks, but I haven't been here yet when it's turned on.

I guess maybe the fall season kind of enhances the cool barren quality of the picture. Now I wonder if the place would look so good in the summer time. Maybe it would look completely different. I hope it still looks as fascinating. I'm going to have to find out.

Fall hasn't seemed quite so bad to me this year as it has in years past. Some of you know I don't enjoy fall like I guess I should. I'm getting through it this year by not noticing it's there. I'm just doing the things I usually do, and that means going out on my average everyday adventures. In fact, I have something fun planned for tomorrow. I hope to have pictures from that here soon. Talk to you later.