Saturday, January 31, 2015

It's Snowing

It's snowing around here right now. I wish I would have remembered to use the flash on my camera, then I could have captured the snowflakes falling. I guess I'll have to do it next time.

I always liked this scene from the end of the street after a snowfall. All of the trees lined up there just look right to me for some reason. I think that's why I've taken this picture so  many times before.

It's supposed to keep snowing here so there should be a lot more soon. I probably won't bore you with any more pictures of it though. This much is plenty for now. Besides, I have lots of other stuff to share with you. I'm going to have to do extra posts for a little while to keep up with everything.

Even though my truck is in the shop right at the moment, I've been on a few good nature adventures. I've got lots of stuff to show you from those. The little bird feeder got very active all of a sudden today. I even accidently posted something from that, but I deleted it shortly after.

But this snow scene is enough for today. I'll talk to you later.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Dog And The Bird Feeder

I want to show you what my dog Isabella does all day. This is her above looking out my back door. That's her spot from the time I wake up in the morning to the time it gets dark at night. The only time she leaves that position is when I let her outside.

The back door is like a television set to Isabella, and she's one of the worst couch potatoes I've ever seen. She's completely obsessed. She watches cats walk along that far wall back there that she can never reach on her chain while she's out. They know she can't reach them, so they flaunt themselves as they walk across there.

When a bird flew over to the bird feeder out there she wasn't in her normal position at the door, so she ran over to get a closer look. I wanted to get a few pictures of the bird, but her motion at the door made it fly away. Better luck next time.

And that brings me to the bird feeder. This is it, my new bird feeder. Don't laugh. I know it's not much, and that's the point. I bought the cheapest feeder I could find because I didn't know if any birds were going to show up at it.

Now I know that birds are going to come, so I can get something better when this one begins to run out. Once the birds began to come they peck at it at least once a day. I don't get many, but at least they do come. That makes me happy enough to get something better next time.

I don't even really have a place to hang this feeder, but that's something else I'll change in the future. I'll rig up something so the next one is hanging so the birds will feel more comfortable. I also want it to be centered in the window so I can see it well from my chair. That'll be good.

I'll talk to you later.

Monday, January 26, 2015

A Junco At The Feeder

I got my first bird at my new little bird feeder, this little Junco. Sure I know the bird feeder isn't much, but that's on purpose. I'll explain my reasoning in my next post. The important thing is that I got a bird! I've been waiting several days for this.

The first day when I put the feeder out there I watched it like a hawk. I knew no birds would show up that day, but I just couldn't help myself. After the second and third days rolled by with nothing, I began to get a little impatient, even though I knew it was still too soon.

Then it finally happened! I was so excited. I watched this bird creeping up to the feeder for awhile before I finally ran to get my camera. I purposely kept the camera out of this room so I wouldn't get my hopes up too early. But then this bird was here.

Of course I took these pictures days ago now. The picture on top was posted on the internet before now. I learned to use Twitter as a tool for quick updates, so I posted that picture there just minutes after I took them. It worked out well for a quick update like that.

I'm still guessing that almost nobody looked at the picture. For one, I don't have many Twitter followers. And for another thing, I still think that Twitter is just a place where us normal people can follow more famous people. It works better for them. I haven't been proved wrong yet. I'd like to be.

It didn't take long for the little bird to fly away. I'm sure it didn't appreciate me kneeling there at the door just a few feet away from it. Since then I've learned that I don't have to be quite so close to get my pictures. It also helped that I gave the window a good cleaning.

It's so easy for me to get these pictures. I can stay right in my chair and take the pictures from there. It's the lap of luxury. Of course I won't just do this all the time now. I have many trips planned to go out to several nature type places.

but this is a good thing to have on those days I can't go anywhere or when I get back home. It reawakened the idea in me that there is so much nature right around my house. A few years ago I was doing lots of stuff just right around here. I need to kind of get back to that. I'll talk to you next time.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Let Me Take You On A Hiking Tour

I'm going to take you along on a short hike with me today. I've attempted to do this in years past, but I always seemed to get distracted from my tour guide duties, then I ramble on about several other things. Not this time. I do have a few extra pictures in this post, but nobody has been complaining about the other posts with lots of pictures, so here we are.

First we start out on this very civilized wide trail at the front of the nature park. It's not paved, but it's well graveled and manicured. It's the kind that gives greenhorns a nice warm feeling inside. The thing I like about it is that it stretches on for quite a ways. We don't know what's coming next.

After awhile we see something new on the side of the trail. Cut into the grass is another trail that forks off into two directions. Are we allowed to go off the main trail and onto this strange one cut into the grass? Well there's only one way to find out. Let's take a chance and hit the grass trail. I won't tell anyone.

After taking the fork on the right we come to an even smaller trail. Nobody has come running over and yelled at us yet, so I'm pretty sure we're allowed to go on these new smaller trails.  Besides, they were clearly made for a reason.

You can see at the far end of the trail that there are a few more trees there, and something interesting is happening. Right at the end the trail there's a dip that clearly takes us downhill. That means a new bit of the adventure!

We now get to that end of the trail so we can now see what's beyond. We're standing at the top of a hill looking down into a very woody area. Some of you may not be impressed with the amount of trees, but believe me, this is very woody for around here. You can also see there on the left a hint of a body of water.

Finally we get to the very end of the trail. We're now standing at the edge of this small lake. This is our destination. I usually stand here and look out over the lake for awhile and just enjoy nature at its finest. This is what it's all about. I love being near the water.

At other times there may be several kinds of ducks and other water birds on this lake. It will take a few more trips like this to see them. You can't get that lucky every time. Just reaching our goal and seeing the lake is good enough for me though. I love this place.

And that's our little tour. It kind of gives you a much less fun view of my experiences. There's really nothing like being there, as many of you know. This was just a short hike. The longer ones are even more fun and interesting. There's just so much more to see on those. Maybe one day we'll go on one of those long hikes. I'll talk to you later.

Monday, January 19, 2015

At A New Buffalo Farm

I found these buffalo on a big farm down the road from one of my favorite nature parks. I had to use the zoom on my camera because they stayed at the opposite fence from me, which was actually very far away. I'll keep going back to see if they come closer one time.

As I always do, I took lots of pictures. I got it down to these three I have for you today. But these aren't necessarily the best. I usually pick the best of the bunch, but I really couldn't decide this time, so this is what I have left over.

That square piece on the fence above is a warning sign to keep away from the fence because the buffalo are dangerous. I would have rested the camera on the fence to take the pictures, but I didn't want to take a chance that it might be electrified. Touching an electric fence would have given me something funny to write about though. Bzzzzzzzzzzt!

I did a little bit of redesigning on the blog over the weekend. I moved a few things around and I added a Twitter widget. I moved some stuff that wasn't changing out of the way. I moved the blogroll closer to the top. Other things have moved down and some things have vanished.

I've been trying to give Twitter another little chance so I added the widget for that and I've been active on Twitter for the past few days. I'm trying to use it to give quick updates to things I'm doing related to this blog. Honestly I think Twitter is really only useful for famous people that everyone pays a lot of attention to. I'm going to use it heavily for awhile to see if I can prove myself wrong.

My dog got one of her treats caught in the back of her mouth over the weekend. She was never choking, but she was in some great distress. I tried to help her get it out, but I couldn't do anything for her. She knew I was trying to help her, so she let me do what I could. Luckily she finally got it out and is now doing fine. I thought I was going to lose her for a few minutes. She's had a million of those treats in the past and never had a problem before, but I'm afraid to give her any more of them now.

I was going to go on a bigger trip where I couldn't take the dog, but I've decided to postpone it just to make sure she's okay. I know she is, but I can go another day. It was going to be a good nature trip but there are a few indoor places as well. No dogs allowed.

I also finally bought a bird feeder for in back of the house. It's a very simple cheap one because I still don't know if the birds will come. They never did before with the stuff out front. I only have it sitting on the rail of the porch because there is nowhere to hang it yet. If it's successful I'll build something better next summer.

I think that's it for now. I'll be back with another post just as soon as I can get some more pictures. I'll talk to you later.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Lewis And Clark Interpretive Center Statues

I have another one of those posts with lots of pictures. I never used to like doing this but I've discovered that sometimes you just need lots of pictures. I really couldn't have spread this out into two or more posts because these pictures really belong together. So here they are.

I took these pictures of all the statues outside the Lewis And Clark Interpretive Center in Sioux City. This is a very nice place to visit. You won't find many more nature type statues in one place. All of these statues are of animals except the one of Lewis and Clark, along with Meriwether Lewis's dog Seaman.

These statues are all life sized. This buffalo is huge. I guess the one of Lewis and Clark is a little on the big side, but the rest are the right size.

A nice deer. Actually I think it's an elk.

A standing bear. I don't know what kind it is. There may have been signs at the base of these statues describing them. I guess I should have looked. I guess I was a little distracted by what you can see in the next picture.

I know this one is a white-tailed deer.

Look on the right side in the far background to the right of the big tree. There are people standing there. I should have taken a better picture of them but I didn't want to invade their privacy too much. People don't like that.

What's odd about these particular people is that they were all wearing dark robes with big hoods on them. They were either a coven of witches or a group of devil worshipers. I decided not to go over and ask.

A fox. I'd love to see a real fox. I don't know if there are any around here. The statue says maybe.

Is this a groundhog? Or maybe something else? I'll have to go back and see if I can find out.

Either another fox or a coyote. There are plenty of coyotes around here. I haven't seen any yet, but I've heard them howling at night.

The Sioux City Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center and the Betty Strong Encounter Center has a building behind all of these statues where you can explore the history of the land around here, especially related to the Lewis & Clark expedition. Lewis & Clark are very important figures around here. So many places are named after them or others in their group.

Here's a link to the website in case you want to take a look:
The Sioux City Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center and the Betty Strong Encounter Center

I think that's enough for me in this post. I'll talk to you later.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Dark-Eyed Junco

These aren't the best pictures of a junco I've ever gotten, but I have an excuse. I took them through the window of my back door. That seems to have taken the quality way down for some reason. It's a shame because the bird was so very close, just at the edge of my back porch.

Seeing this bird back there inspired me to try getting another bird feeder. Many of my blogger friends have been telling me to do it, but I haven't because it hasn't worked for me at all in the past. But my feeders have always been in the front of the house. Maybe it's time to try one near the back porch now.

My back door has a full length window on it. I open it every day so my dog can look outside. She watches out that back door like a couch potato watches television. My dad used to do the same thing for his dogs too, so I knew it would be a good idea. The only thing is I have to wash the nose prints off the window.

I've been noticing a lot of activity out my back door recently. A couple of posts ago I took pictures of that rabbit from the same position. I'm going to have to pay more attention back there. maybe when I get a good bird feeder set up I'll have lots of good pictures. Maybe if I keep the window a little cleaner they'll come out better too.

When I first saw this bird there were two of them. I sat and just watched them because my camera and my phone were both in the other room. After the other bird flew away I kept watching this one. It didn't seem to want to leave so I finally decided to take a chance and go get my camera. The bird was still there when I came back.

I crouched down at the window and began taking picture after picture, expecting the bird to fly away. It didn't seem to want to go anywhere. I got more pictures of this little Junco than anything else I've ever done. The only problem is that these were the best. I finally got tired and went and sat back down. The bird lasted another good minute before it finally flew away.

Whenever I see a junco I forget what kind of bird it is. It always looks familiar, so I know I should know the name, but I never do. The good thing is that I have my handy bird guide app iBird. I'm still not perfect using it so it took me awhile to find out what I had here, but I eventually found it.

The app has vast information on just about any bird in North America. It even has comments from people who have recently seen a particular bird. I haven't really had time to look at most of the information about these Dark-Eyed Juncos. Maybe when I read a little bit I'll finally start remembering the name of this bird when I see one.

I used to see so many different types of birds. I haven't in a couple of years now. Maybe if I can finally set up a successful feeder that can change back for the positive. But I don't want to get my hopes up too much. I think I'll try though. I'll pick up some stuff on my next trip to town. So one of these times you'll find out if it worked or not. I'll talk to you later.

Friday, January 9, 2015


It snowed here, a lot. In the past week we've now had more snow here than any time since I've lived here. I'm glad my truck has four wheel drive. It makes it so much easier to ride down the roads around here right now with so much snow covering them.

It's also very cold here right now, so I'm not going on any significant adventures. I'll have to wait until it warms up just a little bit. The other day on a trip into town the temperature in the truck said it was -3 degrees Fahrenheit. That's -19 Celsius.

I did my best with these pictures, but I don't think you can really see how much snow we have. I took them at the end of the street in front of my house. I've done several pictures from here in the past. The problem is that the road was plowed, and I took these pictures with my phone. The phone takes excellent pictures, but it makes everything seem kind of small.

I usually like taking pictures at the back of the property, but this year there are several huge wood piles there blocking any good view of a natural setting. You can see one of the smaller piles on the left side of the pictures. My neighbor uses more wood than I do because that's his only means of heating. I'm glad I got my propane furnace fixed.

I keep thinking I need to post a little more often again. I've got several good things lined up, but I've slowed down a bit because I don't know when I'll be back outside because of the deep freeze. I've still been able to get some good stuff from around here. I'm glad I can run back inside when I get too cold.

I'm not sure what I'll have coming up next. I have a couple of good things I did right before it got cold and snowed. I also have some stuff from just today. After all my complaining of seeing no animals, I've actually been seeing just a few lately. We'll see what I feel like writing about next. I'll talk to you later.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Geese Geese Geese

I recently came across some of my favorite little pests, these geese. Geese have been some of my favorite subjects over the years. I wish I could see them more often now. I used to see geese just about every time I went out, which was almost every day. Now I very rarely see any.

I have come to realize that geese are city animals. I don't see them because I live in the country now. I do have to add that I sometimes see them flying overhead, but they never stop anywhere near me. There's just not enough civilization for them here.

I'm not completely sure what they like about civilization more than the country. Maybe it's the mowed grass and neat little ponds that they like. I find them in areas like that very often. Maybe it's that they like to scavenge the garbage that people leave behind. That's not why I call them pests, but it's part of the reason.

The reason I call these funny birds pests is because they do like cities and they come in large flocks, and they leave lots of droppings everywhere they stay for even a little time. Many people get very upset about this when this happens in their yards. It really can get awful.

But those yards have never been mine, so my experience is a little bit different. I still see it though. The geese I loved so much were in a nice little nature park where the flock wasn't quite so huge. These geese stayed near the lake and away from people's property. They also stayed mostly away from people.

I watched one mother goose lay her eggs. And then I watched her and the father protecting them every day. Then I saw the parents and babies swimming around the lake. Those geese seemed to know me when I came near. I'll always remember those geese above all others.

The geese in today's pictures were hanging out around a very nice looking neighborhood with lots of fancy little man made ponds. They seem to like those. The houses around here look very expensive, and all the yards look manicured to perfection, so I'm guessing they don't much appreciate the geese.

I didn't try to interact with these geese. I never do. My belief is to always leave the animals alone. I have interacted a little with a few deer in the past. I've experimented to see how close I could get to them. I've even had some curious deer walk right up to me. But then I ended it by shooing them away. I don't want them to be comfortable around just anybody.Wild animals should stay wild.

Geese aren't the nicest animals when you get close. They'll hiss at you and threaten you. They may not look like it, but they could potentially kill a dog. They're wild animals. I still like them. I just keep my distance. They're sometimes some of the goofiest birds I've ever seen. Some of my favorite animals. I'll talk to you later.