Monday, November 28, 2016

You Gotta Love Nature!

It's been a busy couple of weeks and unfortunately, I didn't have time to blog. 

First of all, I must mention that sadly we had to let our sweet Sedona cross Rainbow Bridge.  She fought the good fight, but after several different attempts to get her well from pancreatitis, we knew we were fighting a losing battle.  She crossed over on October 26th.  She was only 8 years old, but the vet told us we did the right I am at peace with our decision, and I know she is too.  So, I've added a picture and a little bio of Sedona to my second page on this blog called, "Fur Kids, Present, Past and Future".  The tab to that page is at the top of this entry.

I've been mostly busy cleaning the house and preparing for Thanksgiving.  Now that that is behind me, I can take a bit of a breather before I have to get busy for Christmas.

The Christmas decorations are all up, and I think I have all of my gifts ready...they still just need to be wrapped.

Lots of crazy family stuff going on too that has me a bit out of sorts, but I've decided just to move on and let the crazies fend for themselves!  One of these days, they'll see what they have done...hopefully.

Today was a bird counting day for Project FeederWatch.  I've been participating in this program for 6 years, and I get more excited every year to start the season.  The season begins in November and runs through part of April. 

As the years have passed, I can tell that a few new birds are beginning to come more often to my feeders.  Of course, I love to see the hawks come too.  They don't eat from the feeders, but they keep their eyes on the little birds that do.  I certainly, don't want them to catch any of the little birds at my feeders. so I'm happy when they fly off without a kill.  I'm sure they find food elsewhere...which is fine with me!

Here are a few pictures from today of a Cooper's Hawk.  Unfortunately, one is a bit fuzzy.  The other two, it's face is hidden behind some leaves.  Some of the pictures were taken with my phone, some with a camera.  I need to remind myself to change the camera batteries more often.  After lunch I changed the batteries and got much better pictures of a yellow bellied sapsucker.

These two pictures were taken with my phone.

This one, with my camera before I changed batteries.  I'll learn.

 I'm really happy I got some pictures of the yellow bellied sapsucker.  I can prove to myself that I really saw him!

These pictures were taken with my camera, after the batteries were changed.  I love that we can see all of his beautiful colors!

Here is a picture of a yellow bellied sapsucker actually sucking sap!  Haha! I just had to say that, and of course you can see his yellow belly too!
You gotta love nature!!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Miami University Natural Area Hiking Trails

It's always nice to find a new area to go hiking.  My daughter led us to Miami University Natural Area in Oxford, Ohio.  It's not too far from where we live, so Herb and I headed out last Sunday.  We left our dog, Finn at home because we weren't sure how difficult the terrain might be.

This was the first sign we saw!  Cool!  I want to see coyotes!!  We're headed for Kramer Woods!

It was quite a trek for me...lots of ups and downs.  Not that they were unusually difficult, but I'm still careful with my new knee and my old knee.  Some of the terrain was iffy for me, so I was glad I kept Finn at home.  I didn't need him pulling me all over the place.

This is me, heading up hill on one of the many bridges we crossed.
 Lots more downhill pictures.

There is another bridge in the middle of this picture.
Here is Herb, taking a few minutes to look around.
We finally made it to Kramer Woods...we didn't see any coyotes though.  Maybe next time!
This is a deer exclosure.  Designed for a long term scientific study.
We came across this log just covered all over with the fungi...really cool looking,  I think.
We eventually found our way along a creek crossing over to several different trails.
The roots of these trees are definitely on the edge.  I wonder how long before they fall into the creek below.
We were nearing the end when we had this hill to climb.  My knees can take the up hills pretty well.  However, this hill just about had me beat.  The "steps" to one side were so steep, I had a very difficult time pushing myself up from one step to another.  I must work on my quad strength more.  It was difficult to move laterally from the steps to just the hill itself.  I was afraid of slipping downhill.  Once I stopped, I lost my momentum. It was a challenge!  I should have taken my hiking poles along.  Hopefully, I'll remember them next time.
Here is the map of the entire area.  The area encircled is the area we covered on Sunday.  We really did a lot of hiking.  Looks like we have a lot more to do!!!  Looking forward to that challenge soon!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Blue Jay Alert!!!

I haven't been hiking the last week because I've been busy with other things, like getting my bird feeders ready for the Cornell Ornithology, Feeder Watch Program that will start soon. 

Herb, who works at Lowe's always brings home things he sees on special...most of the time, things we don't really need.  However, he brought home a new bird feeder hanging pole, so I can hang even more feeders!  I think it's more for hanging flower pots, but I claimed it as soon as he brought it home!

So I filled up some of the feeders to get the birds interested and coming back again.  I didn't really keep the feeders full over the summer. We also bought a bird bath...we should have had that during the summer, but better late than never.

I love blue jays and I'm always listening for them.  When I hike, I like the way they spread the alarm to all of the other forest creatures that we are coming and to be aware.  While in the house, one day, I heard all of this racket the blue jays were making.  I looked out, and spotted nine of them!!!  At the most, I've seen 2 or 3 at one time.  I don't know where they all came from this time, but it was fun seeing them all and trying to get all of their pictures.

Some of these pictures are not that great, but wanted to include all of the birds I could see.

Love this little trio:

And where did that Cardinal come from?  Such pretty colors, both blue and red!
This is my favorite picture.  I didn't realize there were 3 blue jays in this picture until I enlarged it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Slow Down, Look Around and Enjoy

I've been hiking pretty regularly over the last two weeks, and have seen the progress of how things change day by day.  I've posted some pictures of fungi and didn't realize they were the same plant, just different after a few days growth.

I took this picture on a Sunday:

Monday, the following day I came across the same fungi.  Only now it looked like this:

This is not the exact same plant, but this is what it looks like after a little more growth.  So pretty in all 3 stages.
Here is another, "do you see what I see?" picture.
Joggers/runners and those just not paying attention miss so much.  Sometimes being the fastest isn't the best.  Stop, listen and look around.Can you see them now?  There are two.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Second Looks From the Forest

All was good with my visit to the doctor.  Blood pressure was good and all of the results of the blood tests were good too.  The only bad thing was my doctor informed me that he is retiring from private practice next month.  He will continue to practice but will be part of a large company in Indiana.  I am sure it is difficult to be in private practice these days with all of the government stuff involved.  I will miss my doctor, he genuinely cared about his patients.  He even asked for a hug.  I am bummed, but made my next sixth month checkup appointment with the nurse practitioner who I've seen in the past when my doctor was not available.

I think the hiking has really helped me get the blood pressure back to where it belongs.  While I was waiting for my knee replacement surgery and afterwards while I was recuperating, my blood pressure was a bit on the high side...probably from no exercise.

So, Finn and I are determined to keep that blood pressure in check.  Here are a few shots from a recent hike.

Do you see what I see?

Can't quite see it?  Here is a closer view.
I love seeing the Great Blue Heron.  They always look so out of place here in Ohio.  I think of these types of birds only in costal areas.

I took this next picture because of the fungi growing on the tree.  After a second look, I liked the way you can see by the leaves the going of summer and the coming of fall.  Green leaves mixed with the brown fallen leaves.

Here is a closer look of the fungi.  What a magnificent specimen!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Road Less Traveled

I've been trying to hike as much as I can and get in the best shape possible for tomorrow is my 6th month checkup at the doctor.  I know you can't cram exercise and good eating habits into a week and hope for fantastic results, but it's a good excuse to get moving again.  I hate going to the doctor.

Yesterday, Finn and I did our usual two times around on Kingfisher Trail.  The weather here has turned into very nice cool fall days which brings out all of the part time hikers.  Part timers you never see in the heat of summer or in the cold of winter, so they will be gone soon.

On our hike yesterday, Finn and I passed two young mothers walking 3 children around the 3 to 4 year age range, and carrying an infant.  Though I'm always happy to see children getting out and enjoying nature, they were very noisy. Lots of squealing.

They were walking so slow, when Finn and I turned around to walk the trail in reverse, we caught up to them again.   That's really slow walking...because Finn and I are pretty slow.  There is a path that runs between the lower and upper portion of the trail, so Finn and I decided to take the path to avoid the squeals of the children...and I'm glad we did!

Finn is on alert...he spotted something!

Don't know if you can see it, but there is a deer up ahead!  There were actually two, but one had already walked into the cover of trees.  Finn and I stood there for a long time until the deer moved away on his own.  I'm sure they moved up higher on the trail to get away from the squealing kids as well.  Thanks kids!  It was a treat seeing the deer!

Here is a cropped picture, so you can see the deer better.

We also saw some pretty fungi.  I like the ring that runs around the outside, so pretty!

In this one, you can see a tiny strawberry on the left too.

Sometimes, the road less traveled is the best!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Catching up...all things outdoors.

I'm still catching up on my outdoor pictures.  Here are a few shots of my last hike on a nature trail...about a week ago.  Pretty little odds and ends. In some ways, I like these better than flowers.  I have taken a few more hikes since then, but mostly on paved trails due to wet weather.

 This one looks like a heart to me.

And lastly, from yesterday, our kids always go to one of our state parks for a Halloween Campout.  It's always a lot of fun, and I usually drive up to spend some time on Saturday with them.  I didn't get a chance to take a lot of pictures, so here are two.

This one is my youngest granddaughter, Emmi.  She is nine, and I am lucky to spend pretty much time with her every week.  She's always such a delight to be around...always in a good mood and has so much energy.
The young lady on the right (dressed as Grumpy favorite Care Bear) is my granddaughter Inez.  She is my oldest granddaughter and is in college.  Now that she's all grown up I don't see her as often, but I used to watch her pretty often when she was little.  She is still very sweet, quiet, and very smart.  Normally, I would post my grandkids pictures on facebook, but I'm not sure if she'd be OK with me posting this picture.  I think it's cute, but maybe she wouldn't.  The young lady next to her is Inez's good friend Janee (or Pokeman)!