Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas 2018

Here's a special Christmas present from me to you. This picture is for all of you who have decided to visit me on Christmas Eve. I share this same picture on most years, but the post is new. I encountered this scene several years ago. I really did take the picture. It was at a place called Carpenter Lake.

Click on the picture to make it bigger for the best effect. Take a close look at Santa's reindeer. There's something very strange about them. Santa is a little different than normal too, but I'll never tell how.

Maybe Santa will think of using turkeys or bison one of these upcoming years, but he still likes the squirrels. I wonder what happened to those reindeer. Maybe these guys are for alternate days. You will probably have trouble seeing it, but the lead squirrel has a red nose.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Saturday, December 8, 2018


Good ol' JDG. I think maybe that's this cow's name. Is it? Is it maybe the name of the owner? Do we really care?

Well, I kind of care. I care because I like to imagine that these are the cow's initials to its real name. Maybe it's a really good name. I won't guess a name. I want you to do it.

Maybe this cow is one of those talking cows I've heard so much about.

What? You haven't heard of any talking cows? You're not from around hear, are you? Neither am I.

Okay, that's enough. I was just trying to have a bit of fun. That's what blogs are for. I sometimes forget that. And I sometimes get busy with everyday life and forget to take care of my blog. At those times I don't have much fun. But today is fun because I'm here and I brought JDG with me.

I will leave this as kind of a short post because I want to ease back into things. I made a ton of money while I was away. It was the reason for my absence.  Was that fun? Maybe a little bit. But the blog is my true fun. It's good to be here. But I needed to brag a little. I won't add to that. I'll talk to you later.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Spy Horse

I went out on an adventure this week with the hopes of changing the whole internet with the sheer force of the spectacular pictures I was going to get. It was a few miles down the road that a tragically unfortunate event happened.

That's right. I got a flat tire. Now, you might think that's just a temporary setback. It's not at all the tragedy that I'm describing. You might think. But to my dramatic brain, it's practically the end of the world. My adventure of all adventures was over!

But then something happened. As I got out of the truck to examine the damage of my ravaged tire, I smelled something horribly bad. Yup, it was the pig farm where I had stopped to fix the tire. But that's not really what happened. I was expecting the horrible smell. It was something else. There were eyes on me!

As I looked up, there across the road was a lone horse staring right at me. It was examining me very closely as if it was gathering information to take back to all the other horses so they could laugh at me, or maybe even to its evil master. It was going to reveal my tire changing secrets to the world. Noooo!

I wasn't going to put up with this intrusive examination from this all too obvious spy horse. So I whipped out my camera in dramatic fashion, and I began taking pictures of this way too interested creature.

Of course, the examiner didn't like being the examined, so it decided to make itself scarce. It quit staring and turned around to make a speedy escape.

I haven't been taking enough nature pictures recently to be able to keep up well with all of this fast movement, so the pictures didn't exactly turn out quite like I wanted. I had lots of chances for great pictures, but my lack of practice blew pretty much all of them.

After this little incident, it took me some time to fix my tire. My all-time greatest adventure was over before it really began, but I did get some pictures of this one lone horse.

As I drove a short way down the road, I found this evil spy horse conversing with another. I just know they were laughing at me because of my recent unfortunate situation. In my humiliation, I took no more pictures. I just slunk on down the road toward the bigger town 20 miles away so I could forget this tragic event ever happened while eating a bunch of tacos. I'll talk to you later.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

A Big Flock Of Wild Turkeys

Today I'm bringing you this flock of turkeys I found at Broken Kettle Grasslands. The pictures aren't the best. And they're certainly not as good as the pictures from my last post. But in my defense, the turkeys were kind of far away.

Also as you can see, these birds really blended in with the background. I saw them only because they were constantly moving. And when I went to take pictures of them they decided I wasn't welcome, so they were always moving away from me.

The flock was much bigger than I'm able to show here. I took pictures showing the size, but the birds were so camouflaged you would have to squint to see them. These closer pictures are hard enough. I took these at various parts of the flock while they tried to escape me.

Turkeys are very common around here. Most that I see are in busier areas where I can't stop to get pictures. These are very far out in the country. There aren't many cars out here to run me over if I stand in the middle of the road. I was probably the only human for miles out here. My favorite kind of place.

It's been difficult for me to get any exploring and blogging in because of work. My business activities have overlapped with my blogging most of the time. I put this post together late last night after too many necessary business tasks. I wasn't sure I'd have time, but I really needed to relax, so I decided to write this one.

I really like working right now, but my blogging and adventuring have always been the best way for me to relax. I think I need to do some more of this again. I'm really glad I got this one in. I feel much better.

I also went and saw the new Queen movie "Bohemian Rhapsody." I recommend it to everyone. There are not many things I like more than Queen's music. The movie wasn't 100% accurate, but it was close enough. And I think everyone should be Queen fans. And with the end of that mini promotion, I'll talk to you later. 

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Bison And Birds And Some Other Things

I visited the bison on my most recent adventure. I wasn't prepared for all of the birds that were swarming around them though. There were so many I was worried that they'd be flying around me like that too.

The birds seemed perfectly comfortable flying around and landing on the bison, but they stayed far away from me while I was out there.

I have no idea why it is, but these pictures seem far more impressive at full size than they do here on the blog. Try clicking on them for some of that. The amount of the birds comes out a little better like that, but they're still not quite right. Even so, I'm glad I finally shared them.

I planned on having these pictures up for you sooner, maybe last week sometime, but my dog died. The poor thing had cancer in her joints. She has been crippled for the past few years. She could walk but it was difficult for her. The cancer finally caught up to her over the weekend and she just couldn't go on anymore.

I didn't realize how much my life revolved around taking care of her these past few years. I love dogs, and she was a good one. But a crippled animal takes a lot of care. She was a big dog so it made things a little harder. Now I'm trying to adjust to life without her.

A pet probably doesn't seem like such a big deal to most people, but I love animals a lot and a person doesn't realize how much the work sneaks up on you to have to take extra care of an animal that was in her situation. Now we'll see how things will be like without all of that.

But let's get back to something more positive. Even though winter is quickly approaching, I'm going to try to go on some far off adventures very soon. Well, maybe not too far off, but farther than I've been going. I've already got a trip planned for next week. We'll see if I can come up with some good stuff to share from that.

It's mainly a trip so I can follow some clues about my family's ancestry, but there are some good nature parks on the way. I recently found out there are English knights in my ancestry. I didn't even know I was English until recently. I'm mostly Irish and Northern European, but I already knew that. That's why I look very good in green.

I didn't mean to get away from talking about these bison this time, but they really weren't the most recent thing for me. But I'm glad to have been able to share them with you. I loved taking the pictures and I also loved the little editing I did to the pictures. Try a good picture editor sometime. You can really help the true look of your pictures come out if you get some experience with it. I use Adobe Lightroom for most of my stuff.

The bison seem like the main thing here, but the birds are something for everyone to watch for. Fall is a good time to watch birds. They'll be in big flocks wherever you go. Take a look for yourself. I'll talk to you later.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

A New Old Kind Of Adventure

There is a lack of big forests around here, but there is no lack of places like you see in my pictures today.

As you scroll through my pictures you'll see that this is a cemetery. This particular cemetery is a little more religious themed than many others. I wasn't raised as a religious person, but I like this idea for the cemetery. It gives me a feeling of peace and security.

There are many more interesting sights of this type in this cemetery, but I really liked these two places the most for this time. Maybe I'll show you some of the other places from here sometime if you like.

Not everybody likes to tour a cemetery like I do. I understand. Maybe I'm strange.

When I grew up in Detroit the only way to experience nature was at the cemetery. The big cemetery near us was the only large place with lots of trees, ponds, and other natural features. There were even ducks and some swans in the ponds most of the time.

That was the place where my uncle, the original Ratty, was buried. He died when I was a little kid.

This cemetery I'm sharing with you today is the location of where another of my uncles was buried. He died before I was born. He was only a kid. My mom thinks I look like him.

I thought this weeping angel was interesting. It seemed oddly out of place in this particular location for some reason. Don't blink if you're a Doctor Who fan.

(I know it may not be a perfect weeping angel, but it's close enough. Right?)

I get obsessed with my new business so much sometimes that I forget everything else. This is why I forgot to have a blog post last week. This new business is doing much better than I thought it would at this point, and it's keeping me very busy.

Even so, my nature adventures and this blog are what I do to stay relaxed. I'll do this as long as I am still me. I have lots to share from recent days so I'm going to try to maybe have a few extra posts here and there. We'll see if I can actually do it. Let's leave it at that, and I'll talk to you later!

Saturday, September 22, 2018


I've told you many times in the past about the local river flooding every few years here. A flood is usually a very bad thing, especially when it's as bad as this has been. There are corn and soybean fields near the river that are usually devastated. But I haven't revealed a good result of the floods, until now.

Months after the flooding we are left with huge areas of wetlands right in the middle of the cornfields. What looks like lakes, ponds, rivers, and just general wet areas are distributed all through these places. These wetlands, as you have guessed, bring lots of wildlife.
I see all of this from the dangerous highway that borders these places, so I can't usually stop and get pictures. This time I had to take the risk of getting killed by a speeding vehicle to get a few pictures. I won't soon do it again just for normal safety reasons. But let's move on with this story.

I've seen many kinds of wildlife in these wetlands over the years. Deer like to go here to get water. You have to be careful when they're crossing the road. There have been small flocks of geese relaxing in this water at times. This hasn't been unusual enough for me to take the chance to stop though.

Then I also see egrets in a few places here and there. There are usually only a few at a time, but the first time I saw them I was tempted to stop. The first time I slowed down though, they decided to all fly away. I think I even shared a few pictures of them once before.

But then this time I saw what looked like flocks of hundreds of these egrets scattered around. I had to go back home and get my camera. I had to take a chance this time. This many birds was unusual. So I came back, and after having to wait for quite some time for traffic to lighten up, I stopped and took lots of pictures.

When I got home later I loaded up the pictures of the egrets onto the computer to see if any of them came out okay, because I had to set the camera to maximum zoom while I took the pictures. As you can see, the colors were a little off, but they were good! But there was one problem with my pictures of the egrets.

When I finally got to see these birds up close, they were not egrets at all. They were pelicans! I've never seen this many pelicans before in my life. And would you expect to see huge flocks of pelicans in an Iowa cornfield?

I took the pictures a few days ago. The pelicans are still hanging around a bit. Yesterday I saw the unmistakable shape of a pelican flying above my truck. I don't know what anyone else around here thinks of them, but pelicans area welcome sight to me. I'll talk to you later.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

I'm Back!

Are you still there? It's been a long time that I've been gone this time, but I'm back and I have some new stuff to share. I finally got my computer situation taken care of. It was really even worse than I have been describing. I keep two computers for personal use. Both of them went down around the same time.

My laptop just got old and too slow to be functional. It had become mostly unusable, but I didn't want to part with it so I kept trying. I finally replaced it with a brand new Dell laptop. The new one is a pleasure to use. I don't usually do my blogging with this one, but at least I can do it now if I want to.

I keep my main desktop computer in my bedroom. I built it myself and it's also getting old. The only original part is the case. I replace parts when needed. This time I waited too long and it caused most of my problems.

The last piece I had to replace this time was the main hard drive. I chose a solid state drive (SSD) this time. It makes a huge difference. The way the computer was limping along before, it took about 20 minutes to come back up when I restarted it. So I tried not to do that very often. Now with the new drive, a restart is almost instantaneous. I recommend SSDs to anyone who uses a computer.

I do almost all of my blogging on my bedroom computer. I'm only in that room at night, so I do other things during the day. I limit the things I do to certain times to keep my many individual activities from dominating my time. I need enough time for each thing. I mostly work all day for a long time, so I have to budget my time carefully when I'm done. I spend my days off trying to get more pictures.

I've been out getting a few pictures to share. Some are amazing and some are not so amazing. I only really judge how good they are by the experience and adventure I had while taking them. The pictures are just a record of the experience. A good nature adventure is what's really important.

The pictures today are some of the random scenes I've seen in the past several days. I have pictures from some really fun adventures coming up soon, as soon as I can get the time to write about them for you. I hope to have lots of stuff very soon. I'll talk to you later.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

New Computer Coming

As you have been seeing, I'm not here right now. I ordered a new computer and it's on its way. I thought it should take a few days to arrive, but I'll be waiting for another week. I chose Dell this time instead of just building one. They don't seem to be speedy.

While I'm waiting, I'll visit your sights whenever I can with a combination of my phone and my business computer. The phone is hard and I don't have much time on the business computer for anything other than work.

Maybe I'll get lucky and the new computer will get here sooner than expected. Hopefully, I'll talk to you soon.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

I'll See You At Your Site

I don't have any pictures today. My truck has just recently been fixed all the way, I hope. My computer is still giving me problems. I think I'll have to re-install the whole operating system from scratch this time. I do hope that I'll begin to get some new nature pictures in the upcoming days.

But in the meantime I'm just going to start visiting your blogs again and commenting here and there. I miss the blogs right now, but my computer is still giving me trouble so my comments will be a little scattered. I hope to see your posts on your blogs soon.

And as soon as I can I'll have a new post here. This bit of writing isn't exactly an official post. It's just a small update to let you know I'm still here. I'll talk to you later at your blog.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Trucks Computers And Mushrooms

Are you surprised to see me? It's because I've been gone for so long. My computer has been down and my truck has also been down. So I couldn't go anywhere to get pictures and I couldn't post them here either.

Sure, I could've used my phone to post pictures, but that's too much of a pain. Although, I might do something like that in the future for a gimmick I hinted at a few months ago. And for that, I need my truck, which is still a problem for me. Maybe it'll be back up and running in a week or so.

In the meantime, I took these mushroom pictures right out in front of my house. These huge mushrooms grew there overnight. And I'm not very quick at doing yard work, so I just left them. Besides, they give the fairies something to rest on.

Back to my computer. These Microsoft updates have been a pain. I'm part geek, so I like frequent operating system updates, but I want them to not screw up my computers so much. I have three computers I use for different things, and with every update at least one gets messed up, usually a big problem.

I've had computers for a very long time, and I'm good at fixing just about every problem, but this new problem is the second one in a few months where I have to call Microsoft to fix it. I've never had to get help with a computer before in my entire life. I'm getting really fed up.

I don't like to talk about problems here very much, but I don't have much nature to talk about right now. Maybe you might find this slightly entertaining. If you knew me personally you might find my computer problems funny. But that's enough of that.

Maybe next time I'll have some good nature stuff. I'm still waiting for that bigfoot sighting I've been promising over the years. I'll talk to you later.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

My Flood Adventure

I took these pictures with my phone a few days ago while on a quick trip into Sioux(Soo) City. Most of these pictures show flooded cornfields. But the second one shows the Big Sioux River over its banks.

The water was expected to come up over the road and block all travel. The bridges going across this river into South Dakota have been blocked off for safety reasons.

Keep reading to find out what happened to me on my trip.

As I said, I took these pictures on my way into Sioux City. The trip was pretty uneventful on my way there, except for me getting these pictures. It was on the way back when it all broke loose.

The first thing that told me things were going to be bad was when a woman, who was also taking pictures, ran across the road too close to very busy traffic on this dangerous road. She was alright, but this road is very dangerous for pedestrians. It's usually deer that you see darting across the road here, and that doesn't end well a lot of times.

Anyway, about halfway home I noticed that the clouds up ahead were kind of dark. Then I began to notice that everything up ahead in the far distance was looking very blurry. It was kind of strange. I realized it must be rain I was seeing, but I've never seen it do that before.

Before long that blurriness got closer and closer. Soon enough I drove right into a wall of heavy rain. As soon as I was in the rain visibility was down to zero. The rain was so heavy that I couldn't see anything in front of me but that rain.

I remembered that before I got into the rain I saw that those black clouds didn't go very far. So the best thing I could do was keep moving, but just a little slower. It was best to get past this storm as soon as I could.

Before long I was able to drive out of the storm. It was still raining up ahead, but it was only a regular shower now. I'm glad I kept moving. I don't know how fast the water would have risen with all that rain, but I didn't want to find out right in the middle of the worst flood area.

So I made it home safe and sound. I did get soaked going from the truck to the house though. I was just grateful to be out of that terrible storm.

I haven't taken any trips to look around since that day. I've heard the flooding got worse. It's been flooding all around me. Even the back way out was flooding this time. I was blocked from every city and even from the bigger town to the north of me.

Today I think the waters have receded some. I can probably travel in most directions. I'm going to attempt a trip to the grocery store a little later today. If there's anything interesting along the way I'll get more pictures.

It's been flooding here every few years since right before I moved here. It floods easily here, but I don't think it was this often in years past. Maybe it will continue like this from now on, but I hope not. I'll talk to you later.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

The Swamp

I thought I'd share some pictures of my local swampy pond this time. You've seen it before but maybe you didn't know it at the time. I find turtles in this pond quite often. This pond is right on the edge of a hidden nature preserve, but I don't think it's actually part of it.

I think the pond is maybe more interesting than the nature preserve. There's more to see in it. The nature preserve used to contain a good sized lake, but the lake has mostly dried up. I don't know when it happened, but I'm sure it was sometime in my lifetime. And I'm not as old as you might think.

Beyond this swampy pond is farmland. It was probably difficult, but they are able to farm on these rolling hills. The hills here are probably similar to what you might find in a place like Ireland. My own house is tucked in right on the edge of some of these hills.

There's actually more to this swamp than you see in my pictures today, but I have what I have. Honestly, I was looking for animals for pictures, not the swamp. What I found was the swamp, not the animals. It seems kind of weird, but you can find wild animals easier in the city than you can out here in the country. Who would have guessed?

Unrelated to this swampy pond, I've been doing lots of work on my property this year. I've been cutting down trees, mowing weeds on a large piece of land without a riding mower, laying gravel with a wheelbarrow and a shovel and rake, and trying to clean out my garage. And I won't be able to get started rebuilding my rotted back deck this year.

I can't keep up, but I'm determined to do all this stuff with only simple tools. I don't know why I don't just hire a crew or get a better way, but I feel like doing it this way. So it's going to be a busy summer. I would show you the results when I'm finished, but I'm not sure it'll be pretty.

I think that's enough for this time. I'll talk to you later.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Ooh, Looky At The Nature!

I'm back with a turtle! I wanted to show you this turtle in my first picture because I specifically searched for turtles and I found this one. It was the only one I found this time, but at least I got what I was looking for.

The swampy area where I found him is home to lots of turtles. I don't share every turtle I find because we don't want so many. There would be turtles all the way down the blog if I did that. If you read the same books I do that last sentence might be amusing. Probably not, but you'd know what I'm talking about.

Take a close look at the above picture. Do you see the birds? The one on the left seems to be keeping guard for the one on the right. The right one is lying down for some reason. I'm guessing they are mates, but I don't know that. They left when I got a little closer.

I wouldn't have moved in closer to them but they were right on the side of the road. You might think the one was injured or something, but it flew away just as easy as the other. It's not a busy road, but it's also not a very good place for a possible nest.

I threw this picture above in to show you non-photographers how difficult it is to take these pictures. I tried and tried to focus the camera on this bird, but the camera just wouldn't do it before the bird flew away. So I lost another one. It's a common occurrence with nature photography.

The secret is to just take as many pictures as you can and to use the good ones. If you're like me, you also use some of the bad ones. That's why I get to wear a rat costume.

If you want to be a little safer with your photography, then you can take lots of pictures of things like these. They don't run away when you point your camera at them. They do move a bit when there's a gentle breeze though, so nothing is foolproof.

I used the flowers last because I thought it would be good to end with a pleasant photo after that one with the bird. I'm also trying to not be so distracted so I will post a little more often again. I have to keep trying to remind myself to have some fun because I've been getting too wrapped up in business. I'm still trying to organize my time a little better for everything. Hopefully I'll get it right when I talk to you later.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

A Little Story Of A Normal Sized Pheasant

I'm gonna tell you a story, about a bird I know. He was a ring-necked boy, standing in the road.

Okay, I stole those lines from an Alice Cooper song called Disgraceland. The words aren't exactly the same, but they're close enough. Of course, his song wasn't about a pheasant. My little story is though. At least some of it is.

I've seen pheasants around here kind of infrequently up until this year. I've been seeing lots of them since the weather warmed up this spring. The one in these pictures gave me a golden opportunity to get a few pictures.

It was standing there in the middle of the road when I came driving along. I had to stop a ways back so it wouldn't fly away or I wouldn't run it over. Luckily I have a good zoom on my camera. It was good enough anyway.

No animal just sits there waiting to get its picture taken. Just like humans, they don't really like it when they see a camera pointing at them. Eventually, they get nervous and decide to make a break for it.

And that's just what this pheasant did.

The middle of the road is a fine place to just stand there and contemplate the world when there isn't either a truck or a camera coming for you. But when one of those two things appear, or both, you just have to move on to a more safe and invisible area.

I don't blame him a bit. I would have probably done the same thing.

And right after this last picture, the pheasant was gone as if he had never been there. I searched for him up close and never was able to see him again. That's a good talent. I've tried it myself. And while I'm also pretty good at hiding, maybe I'm not quite as good as this bird.

So now we come to the end of my little tale. It was fun for me, and I hope you liked it too. I'll have more coming soon if I can fight off the mighty distractions of the outside world that have been fighting me like a monster lately. I'd like to get back to the same schedule I had last year at this time. We'll see what I can do. And until then, I'll talk to you later.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Getting Back Into It

Okay, I'm having a little bit of trouble getting back into things after my time off, so I'm mostly going to just give you some nice pictures of my latest tour of the countryside for this post. I do have lots more, but there is so much I'm just not sure what to say yet.

So let's just look at these pictures today while I get my thoughts together for my upcoming posts.

I would have gotten this second post back to you much sooner, but my new business is taking a lot of my time and it's a great distraction from this. I have to give it extra attention because everything is just starting to ramp up. That's all I'll say about that so you don't get too bored. Nature is more fun.

After this little bit of writing, I'm starting to get back into things already so my next post will be more like me. And maybe I'll come back with a few animals here and there. I like when I have animals to share. I hope you liked the landscape pictures this time, and I'll talk to you later.