Monday, December 28, 2015

A Little Look At The Park

I think it may be good to give you a little peek at my new favorite nature park. I don't know why I let the hills here drive me away before. When I first hiked this park a few years ago I was immediately in love with it. I remember thinking how much it was like my old Michigan parks. Then I began looking for something different for some odd reason.

I found several other parks that I like just fine, but all of them are very different from my old favorites. I've been a little lost without the animal sightings I once had. I just haven't really been sure what to do these past few years without all that so I kind of withdrew a little bit from it all.

Now I feel as if my excitement for nature has returned. I'm actually wanting to go out hiking in the middle of winter again. You don't do that unless you really enjoy it. This park is part of the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center, which is part of Stone State Park in Sioux City.

I decided to focus my first pictures on this one trail because it has this wonderful bridge on it. I've told you time and time again how much I love bridges, especially this kind. This isn't the only trail going into the park, but it does show you that there are lots of trees here.

You can also see the hills in the background of the pictures. You won't be able to see them when the leaves are back on the trees. I've been to the top of some of these hills, but it will take some time and effort for me to get back there.

The last time I was in this park I had my dog with me. She really loved this and all the other parks. But now unfortunately my poor dog has developed a bad case of arthritis. I've noticed her having a little trouble for awhile, but I thought maybe it was just because she had become a bit overweight.

She's not very old, but the vet told me it can be common for her age. I'm giving her medicine to try to help her recover a little bit. I'm hoping she can recover enough to come to the flatter parks with me once in a while. She seems like she's getting a little better already.

It may be kind of difficult to see in the picture above, but it gets kind of steep going up these stairs. Stairs like these cover half the trails here. I'll tell you what, if you want exercise then this is the hiking trail for you. I should be able to get back into good shape in no time if I keep going to this park.

There are flatter trails here too so I won't have too much trouble. I'll probably be sticking to those most of the time at first. Maybe I'll find some good new areas here while I'm exploring. I really haven't been through here enough to know about everything yet. That's a good thing. I'll talk to you later.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

A Visit With Some Deer Friends

Look what I found on my first trip to my new favorite nature park. Well, it's not exactly my first trip, but it is my first trip there in three years. These three deer were right out front. They were actually the first thing I saw when I stepped onto the nature trail.

I didn't exactly see them like this right away. The second picture was what I saw first. This top picture came later after some examination by me and by the deer.

This is the first encounter with deer in a nature park for me the entire time I've been here in Iowa. I used to see them several times a week when I was in Michigan. I've only seen them here on busy highways running in front of my truck. That happens very often.

So this second picture is how I saw the deer first. I wasn't expecting to see any deer at all, but I was hopeful. I included this deer butt picture because these white tails are what they're known for, which is why they're called White-Tailed Deer.

These deer flash these white tails at each other as a sign of danger. This time I was the danger. They saw me first and ran away, which is why I even saw them. I had to fumble with my camera to get the couple of shots I did. I thought they would be gone before I got anything more. But then came the interesting part.

The deer stopped just beyond that bench that you can see in every picture. They stopped and turned around to watch me. But that's not all they did.

They came back toward me a few steps to see what I was doing there. I can't exactly tell you just how happy this behavior made me feel. Maybe I can. I'll explain why I like this so much.

This curious behavior is the same as the way the city deer from back in Michigan behaved. Those deer would get so curious as to my existence there that I could sometimes coax them to come right up to me. I got so good after awhile that I could make them do practically anything I wanted.

I manipulated the wildlife in the nature parks there that I began to think I could do just about anything. I visited the wild animals every day so they were very used to my presence. Some would even seem happy to see me when I arrived at the parks. I was welcome among them. I miss those days very much. The behavior of these deer makes me think I can have some of that back.

I originally stopped going to this park because it's so very full of hills; steep hills. I'll try to show that to you in a future post. Even when I was in good shape the hills just about killed me every time. But this park has trees. It has wildlife. It has all those things I always loved, even a nice bridge. I'm going to conquer the hills. I have to.

This is going to be a great challenge for me because I've let myself get so out of shape now, but I know I can do it. I'll take it all a little bit at a time. And when I get tired I'll go inside the wonderful nature center at the front of the park. I haven't been inside that building in maybe ten years. It was great back then, and I hope it is now still. I can't wait for future visits to this park. I'll talk to you later.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Snowy Pictures From My Phone Camera

I decided to try a little experiment. In my last post I was complaining a little bit about having to adjust the pictures of snow from my good camera. I then decided to try taking some similar pictures with my phone. That's what you see here.

I didn't have to adjust or edit these pictures even a little bit. These pictures even without adjustment represent what it really looked like out there in all that snow. My big camera really is a good one, but my phone also has an excellent camera.

These pictures show that for a lot of your pictures all you need is a smartphone with a good camera. I'd use the phone exclusively for my pictures if I didn't need the zoom feature in my big camera. The basic scenery pictures actually come out better on the phone if I just shoot with automatic mode on both.

I do have another reason for showing you these pictures that are so similar to my last post. These are from a whole different snowstorm. All the snow had melted from the previous one and then it snowed almost as much this second time.

The main reason I'm sharing these pictures is because the snow stuck really beautifully to the trees and bushes this time. I didn't capture the falling snow this time though because I couldn't remember how to trun on the flash with the phone. And I was too lazy to check. I didn't really need it anyway.

Now all of this snow is melted too. We've had several warm days so all the snow has disappeared. Even the snowman that my dog kept barking at is long gone. She really hated that snowman. It wouldn't stop staring at her.

Since there's not much else to say about the snow I'm going to change the subject. As many of you know I've been complaining about the lack of trees at my local nature parks. It's frustrated me for the past few years. As I was thinking about it one night I finally realized the solution that I should have known all along.

There is one park here with lots of trees. I haven't visited it since my first year here because it's almost all hills.As I sat there thinking I realized that I want trees more than I don't want hills, so I'm going back to that park. It's just down the road from me and it has lots of animals just like my old parks back in Michigan.

So my next post will be from that hilly tree-filled nature park. I hope to have that one up soon. Maybe these next few posts will be like my old posts from my Michigan days. I really miss those. I just know I've finally found my solution. I can't wait. I'll talk to you later.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

What a Huge Weather Change

I took these pictures the week before Thanksgiving. Since then all this snow melted and we had another big snowstorm that made things look just like this again. I'm back home and ready to get back to blogging again, but now everything outside is covered about a foot deep in snow. I'm going to have to be kind of creative with my posts.

I've been home again for a couple of weeks but it's been really hard getting back into the internet and blogging. When I'm away for awhile it gets hard to start writing again. Once I get started though I begin to feel like my old self again.

When I stepped outside the day I took these pictures it took me a little bit to remember how to get my camera to capture the snowfall properly. In case you're wondering, you need to turn on your camera's flash to capture falling snow with it. I have to change a few settings to get my camera to use the flash.

Another thing I've always had to do with any of my better cameras is adjust the pictures later on my computer. The camera always tries to adjust for the outside light, but always gets it wrong with snow. I end up having to go back in and brighten up the pictures. I hate that.

I'm not sure even these pictures show how much snow there really was. We ended up with about a foot of snow. It was coming down so much that it was hard to see very far. I hope the rest of the winter is a little easier as far as snowfall is concerned.

My next post, which is coming soon, will also be more snowy pictures. I'm not quite sure what to do after that. I'll try to get out to some nature parks if I can. The snow may prevent some of that. Maybe I'll get out the bird feeder again this year. I don't want to torture you too much with that though.

I wonder if I'll see any animals this winter other than running out in the road in front of me. It seems like that's the only time I see any around here. That happens at least once a day. I also really need to find a nature park here with some trees. I miss the trees. I'll talk to you later.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The End Of The Rainbow

My first post in over a month. I wish I could say that I'm all the way back, but I'm not really sure when my next post will be. All I can say is that I've been busy now so I can have the free time to visit the places that give me the source for all of my posts. So I hope I'm back soon with lots of new stuff for you.

But today's picture is a fun one for me. It was a very stormy day when I took it. I was out riding in the truck when I saw a break in the very dark clouds up ahead. As you can see, the cornfields looked like they were just glowing in the narrow sunlight.

As we got to the middle of the sunshine I looked to my right and saw this huge rainbow forming. There was actually a double rainbow at one point. Luckily I wasn't the one driving this time so I was able to get my phone camera out and take these pictures before it all disappeared. 

When the rainbow was at its most brilliant I could actually see the place where it ended in the cornfield in the top picture. It crossed my mind that if only I had the time I would run out there and search for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that they talk about in all the stories.

But we had to keep moving to our next destination. As the truck moved on the rainbow began to fade away. The sky looks much brighter in the second picture, but it was really darker all around because the dark clouds were back.

And that ended my brief little vacation from the work I had to do. I love rainbows a lot. I never got to see one until I was well into my twenties. I always wanted to see a rainbow when I was a kid, but I never did. I see one every few months now. I hope you see them sometimes too. I'll talk to you again as soon as I can.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

I Hope To Be Back Soon

Just  a quick note. I'm not gone. I've just been very busy this past month. I haven't had any time to do any blog stuff at all. I'll be back just as soon as I can. I'll talk to you later.

Monday, September 21, 2015

What I Found In The Hills

So here I am showing you a picture of what looks like random hills. Why would I do that without there being something there? I probably wouldn't, but just wait till I get bored one of these times. That's not what this is. I actually found something in these pictures.

You have to look really closely in the back of the top picture, just in front of the hills. You'll see some black dots there if you look hard enough. There are only black dots because I took the picture with my phone. My phone camera is great but it just doesn't zoom as well as my big camera. The second picture is the one that we want.

This second picture is a crop of the first one. They're still hard to see, but you can now see that I have a picture of wild bison (buffalo). Sure I've had closer pictures of buffalo before, but those aren't the wild ones. These animals are roaming free in the biggest preserved area of prairie in America, Broken Kettle Grasslands.

These are the closest buffalo I've seen here yet. I wish I would have had my good camera with me. Then I would have been able to show you some excellent pictures. Still, this was a good event for me. And I've seen evidence of them being even closer at times. They leave biiig droppings.

This spot is quite a ways from where I saw them before. Most of the places they go aren't places I can see. But I'll look for them here from now on, and I'll bring my good camera. At least I got to see them at all. That made it a very good day. I'll talk to you later.

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Hidden Lake

I decided to go for a drive around the countryside the other day. I do it quite frequently. This time I took a few of the smaller dirt roads that I've never been on before. I thought I've been everywhere until I drove through some of these roads.

Along the last road I traveled I noticed a few signs to a nature area. This place is really close to my home. After a few miles I found the place and took another long dirt road into it. At the end of the road I found this lake. It's called Deer Creek Lake. Strange name.

I didn't intend it this way but I'm showing these pictures exactly backwards of how you see things as you go in. I wanted to show the lake first and I wanted to show you the best picture first. That first picture is kind of nice when you click to look at it full size.

I had to go all the way down the path to see these two sides of the lake. The first picture shows the right side and the second shows the left side. I had to lift my camera above my head to get a shot of the lake above the tall weeds.

The lake seems as if it has dried out from years past or something like that. The structure above looked like an old dock when I was there. I walked down what looked like an old boat ramp to get here.

The boat ramp ends in these tall weeds instead of the water. It all seems like the water should be maybe about twenty feet higher than it is now. I wonder if that's the case or if I just don't know what I was looking at.

 Above you can see the beginning of the boat ramp. I know it's a boat ramp because of the horizontal ridges along the ramp that are the same as I've seen on other boat ramps. I guess I should have taken a picture of that part.

Here's the sign you see at the beginning of the road that leads in to the place. I probably won't be back anytime soon because the road is in really bad shape from rain water washing deep gouges into it. My truck is four wheel drive but I still worried about getting stuck.

Even though it was a shame this place has fallen into such disrepair, it was still a fun little adventure into a place I've never seen before. And just across the main road there is another creek where I saw an egret resting there. It flew away before I could get a picture.

This post was a little later than I intended because I was installing Windows 10 on a third computer. I've had it on my main computers for about a month and I really like it. I always go for the new stuff. It combines the best of Windows 8, and there was good stuff there, with the best of Windows 7. But enough about that. I'll talk to you later.

Monday, August 31, 2015


I found these small Sumac trees by the side of the road where I usually go to look for buffalo. I believe these are the non-poisonous variety, but then again I know very little about them except the few things I've read around the blogging world.

The last time I saw sumac was back in Michigan at one of my favorite nature parks. There was a small shelter there on a big hill where I used to look down to see the tops of acres and acres of these sumac trees. All of those red spots within the green of the leaves looked really nice. I loved going there.

Here's a more closeup look at the sumac. I don't want to go much closer because I took these pictures with my phone. You get a good look with this picture though.

Somebody told me that you can make tea with the red stuff. I'm guessing that there are probably plenty of uses for sumac. I won't go into that too now, but I'm sure you can find out more with a simple web search. I just did. I guess it makes a good spice too.

This is a plant that I never thought I'd see again. I've been to that area many times and I haven't seen sumac there until now.I thought maybe it didn't grow in this part of the country. I'm really glad it does. I kind of missed it. I'll talk to you later.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Wildflowers On The Prairie Trail

I have lots of pictures of wildflowers for you today. I don't know that they are very good though. The bright Sun kind of made it hard to get the focus on my camera right. You still get a good look at what I was seeing as long as you examine the pictures a bit though.

 Here's a closer look at that plant's flowers from the first picture. I did the best I could, but the Sun was probably just a little too bright.

Here's the other kind of wildflower I found there. I said I had lots of pictures, I didn't say I had lots of different kinds of flowers. The many pictures are here to help give you an idea of what I was seeing. These were all each different plants I encountered along the trail. It was kind of fun struggling to get decent pictures with each one.

As you can see, each picture got a little better, and I guess a little closer. Now you can finally get an okay look at what these flowers look like. I like them. They have an interesting shape.

By the end of the trail the dog and I found a crude old bench made of two by fours. I decided to take a little rest for my back and because my poor out of shape dog was huffing and puffing. She really should be in better shape. It's not as if she isn't constantly outside chasing anything that moves.

This grass is what I saw while I was resting on that bench. I just thought it looked nice because of the way it turned white at the ends. You can see it well in the picture, but pictures never really compare to the real thing.

One last thing I want to say. As you know I started a new blog Strange Dreams Of The Rat. I don't get many comments there yet, but I'm getting lots more readers than I anticipated. The great thing is that it really writes itself, so it doesn't interfere with this blog. I just wanted to mention it because it's been really fun so far writing about that insane stuff. I'll talk to you later.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Prairie Trail

My little nature park has two main trails.This time I decided to visit the one I usually avoid, the prairie trail. I don't usually go on this trail because there aren't any trees along it. It cuts through the grass. There's usually not much here except that grass and a long walk, but I found a little bit to share this time.

This trail used to go in a circle back into the woods and join up to the other trail, but a fallen tree across the path at the edge of the woods stopped them from maintaining the trail in that area for some reason. These trails have really deteriorated since that first year I visited this place. It's a shame. I just have to assume they had no choice in the matter.

The first things I saw were lots of rabbits relaxing in the shade of some of the few trees on this side of the park. These pictures were cropped heavily because the rabbits weren't nearly as close as they look here. I had to do something so you could see them as more than dots. The rabbits ran as soon as I got anywhere close to them.

here's another rabbit that wasn't far from the first one. I have to say that the rabbits weren't limited to this area. You can find them all over the park. This just happened to be where I was this time. Many of these rabbits are juveniles. The rabbit parents were apparently very busy last spring.

This gnarled old tree is probably the main attraction on this trail. It makes kind of a nice looking picture, but there isn't much more on the trail. Now maybe you understand why I usually go the other direction. This trail is nice to hike everyonce in a while though.

This last picture shows the same tree from the other side. From here I am standing near the woods at the end of the trail. I really hoped I could get through there to the other trail, but the path is blocked too well to make it.

I even tried to go a little farther in the woods to maybe find the trail on the other side. My poor nonathletic dog protested greatly when I made her climb over that really big fallen tree. She hated it even more when only a few minutes later she had to climb back again.

Maybe this post sounds kind of bleak, but I really did see more on this trail. I'll show some of it in my next post. It really was worth the hike. I think I'll be going the other direction for awhile though. I keep hoping I'll see a deer or something one of these times. I'll talk to you later.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Sunflowers By The Side Of The Road

Even though it was a rainy day I decided to take a little drive around the countryside. I found lots of things to take pictures of, but my favorites were these roadside sunflowers. I took all of these pictures with my phone, but I cropped the wide edges off of three of them so the flowers showed up a little bigger.

I thought about bragging how I had to walk for miles over rivers, hills, and valleys to find these flowers, but at the last minute I just decided to tell you the truth of how I got these pictures. I didn't even get out of my truck. I just leaned out the window with my phone and got the closest flowers at the side of the road.

I thought this picture above looked kind of artsy. That's why I included it. Maybe I'm wrong and it's just a lonely little sunflower in the wind.

I liked this one because of the branches of the flowers sticking up. That's why I didn't crop it like I did the others.

These sunflowers grow in small groups at the side of the roads around here. Sometimes the small groups can actually get gigantic, but I just saw small groups today. The group in the picture was bigger than I show, but these flowers were the closest together.

Maybe I should have cropped this last picture to center the flower a little better or something. But I didn't. I don't remember why. I liked all the yellow seeds, or whatever they are, in the flower.

I'm not usually a big fan of flowers, but I have come to really like sunflowers. Maybe it's because they grow so well around here. It's partly because they get so big. I like other flowers just fine I guess, especially when I am looking right at them, but I quickly forget most of them when they're gone. I remember sunflowers.

These sunflowers brightened up otherwise gloomy pictures. Sometimes being out in the rain is good.

I'm going to stop this post right here. I am watching a very strange movie while I write this. Maybe a little bit of that got into my writing in the post. That'll work. I'll talk to you later.

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Look At The Park

I'll try to give you a look at my little nature park this time. There's more grass than anything else here. That's really what everywhere looks like in my area, grass. There are scattered clumps of trees, and if you get in a good place you can pretend you're in a regular old forest sometimes.

I haven't seen much in the park on my last few visits, but something will come. Right now I'm just trying to get used to walking nature trails again. Ever since that old car accident I can't walk very far before my back starts acting up, but I hope with repetition I'll get better.

My back has been getting worse and worse over the last few years until now I can only walk partway in this little park before I have to give up. I used to go for miles and miles. Once I get back to traveling this whole park I'll be much happier.

 The picture above shows the main entrance to the trails in the park.

You can see above how the trails are cut into the grass by a riding mower. All the trails in all the parks in the area are done this way because of all the grass. There aren't many dirt trails.

I hear lots of birds in these trees but I almost never see them. I'm watching very closely for them so I can get a few pictures, but so far they've eluded me easily.

I think that's really all I have to say today about this. Nothing rewally eventful has been happening at the nature park. One of these times I'm sure I'll walk right up on a deer or something.

One other thing. I've started a new little blog. It's just a little thing I'm doing for fun. I've had very strange dreams ever since I can remember. I've decided to start writing down what I can remember of them when they happen. I thought it might be an interesting look into a person's subconscious mind. Just in case you want to take a look you can find it here at this link: Strange Dreams Of The Rat

You don't have to visit it. Like I said, I'm just doing it for a little fun. I don't really care if I never get any visitors there, but that would be fun too and comments are free. I'll talk to you later.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Things I Found On The Nature Trail

I'm a little later than I intended with this post because of multiple doctor visits, but I have lots of enjoyable pictures for you. My new policy is that sometimes extra pictures are fine as long as I don't talk to much if I can help it. So I'm going to show you some things I found on the trail at my little nature park.

I found lots of wildflowers, which were kind of unexpected for me because I haven't really seen any before this. I guess you start to really see things when you actually take the time to visit a place more than once, or even multiple times.

There are small patches of  wildflowers scattered all over the park. I was going to do a post with just the flowers, but I decided to expand it a little.

Here's that expansion I mentioned. I would have made a full post about this little bird if I had actually gotten a good picture, but this is the best I could do. I'm extremely out of practice getting pictures of moving animals. At one time I would have been able to brag about the excellent pictures I got and how hard it was to get them. Now I got this one, and it's at least a start to getting the good ones again.

I used to know the name of this flower, but just like the other flowers in my post I have unfortunately forgotten names of flowers over the past several years of seeing nothing. With the proper motivation I may regain at least some of my knowledge eventually.

Helicopter plant! Of course that's not its real name, which I don't know. I just like finding these seed pods on the ground and throwing them up into the air and watching them twirl down around me.

And now we come to the end of the pictures. See, I didn't talk too much, I think. I did get what I needed to say out of the way though. I'll try to keep the number of pictures down a little next time, but who knows what might happen.

I haven't been getting to my little nature park quite as often as I've been hoping. Things like doctor visits, other trips to town, and bad weather seem to be conspiring against me. But I'm still getting my fair share of nature visits. I'm becoming somewhat familiar with the park, which has been my goal. I'll talk to you later.