Recognition should be given to all those who have gone before; family members, friends, and others that may have influenced me in their own quiet way.

Special recogition should go to my father Kenneth (Kenny to all who knew him) and my grandfathers Selby and Chester (Jake), both born in the 1890s. All of these gentlemen influenced me in their own way...with time fishing, hunting, trapping, or just time spent togeher.....

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Some Miscellaneous Fun Pictures

Below is a collection of pictures spanning several years. Nothing special...just a few fun pictures from various times of the year.

The first two were taken January 1, 2010. For several years I have taken a hike on January 1. I considered not going for the Jan. 1, 2010 hike, because the temperature was in the single digits with wind, but went ahead with a shorter hike and stayed within about 1/4 mile of my truck.

          Frozen sand ripples from when the river was higher.

Great Blue Heron tracks frozen into the sand along the river bank.

May 5, 2007 - An old iron bridge across the Middlefork River. This was located near the power plant. The last time I was there, it had been removed.

March 20, 2007 - Initials carved into a tree from 1962

March 10, 2007 - Large chunks of ice from the river.

From Jan. 18, 2009 - Two pictures taken at the edge of the ice. I layed down on the ice to get the first picture.

 Jan. 20, 2007 - A neat piece of ice that was hanging from a tree branch.
 Jan. 20, 2007 - Self Portrait!

 Jan. 20, 2007 - Globules of hanging ice

March 25, 2007 - Early spring flowers in the woods......I do not know the species..if you do...please let me know.

March 1, 2009 - The Aches acros the Big Vermilion River, just west of Danville, Illinois

August 2007 - An approaching storm coming toward me from the north.

February 2007 - My heavy duty winter mittens and one of my favorite knives.

The suspension bridge across the Salt Fork River. This is located at Camp Drake Boy Scout Camp, near Catlin, Illinois. The boys love to get someone in the middle of the bridge at starit it swinging and swaying!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

We Got Snow!

We received our first significant snowfall overnight December 3 and into the day December 4. I always try to get out and take a hike when we have snow cover. It just transforms things. If you are moving through the woods and surrounding areas; there is a quietness, not normally there.

I did get out for just a short walk in the snow Saturday. The location was the property behind Schuler's Flower Shop in Hoopeston.........a great place for all of your floral requirements by the way.......with their accompanying garden center for all of those needs in the spring........(just a short commercial break..)

Following of course are some pictures.....

          Snowy landscape........notice the old Coke sure stands out in the snow....

Snowy trees inside a small wood lot area.

Looking toward the flower shop (center of pictures) with garden center to far right.

    A lone snow covered tree......

Winter berries.....I should know what these are, but do not.....if you do, please educate me... They certainly make a nice contrast with the snow, don't they?

These snow covered thistles, really caught my attention. The area was full of them. They would normally be just the same brown color as the surrounding plants at this time of the year. This plant is Teasel and is a plant native to Europe and Northern Africa, so is an invasive species to North America. It is an attractive plant earlier in the year when it has puple blossoms.

I like snow. Many people do not. If you  get an opportunity, just get out there and take a close look and try to see it as you might have when just a kid......

Monday, November 29, 2010

Nature's Life Cycle

If you spend much time in the woods and surrounding grass land areas; you will sooner or later encounter the remains of animals. This is normally in the form of scattered bones; left from the predators and scavengers. As most know, the deer population is very large; and as would therefore be expected, it is quite common to find deer bones and remains. Below are a few of the pictures I have collected over the last several years.

Because they are so common; I will begin with photos of White Tail Deer remains.

                                     A nice buck's skull.....this was a nice find!

                                   This is very typical of what you find...the bones scattered from scavengers.

           And this one is unusual, in that it is mostly intact....a doe or buck after the antler shed

                                        A nice little spike buck skull

                                 Again............typical scattered remains.

This may be a bit graphic for some.....a doe carcass.This was in the winter and it was pretty well frozen, but you can see that scavengers were consuming it.

The remains of a hen pheasant...probably a meal for a predator...possibly coyote or hawk.

Raccoon skeleton...I may not have known for sure what it was if not for the tail still there.

What little is left of a cardinal after being eaten by a predator... a hawk? fox? owl?...

 And even the predators fall prey to something...injury? age? sickness? This is a Redtail Hawk.

Another skeleton of sorts....a quite old Red Cedar. Note the nice condition of the wood inside from where I cut back the surface.

A shed snake skin; with my walking stick for length comparison (the walking stick is about waist high)...not sure the species of snake

The beginning of the life cycle...a Killdeer nest...these are interesting....usually just a few sticks in a rocky area.

Young Robert Pearson..age just 12 years old...who died back in 1837......I would love to know more of both his and his family's life in the early years of settlement in our area....This stone is in the Workheiser Cemetery on a bluff in the woods overlooking the Middlefork River valley.

Until next week....or whenever I get to another update..............

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fried Green Tomatoes

Have you ever eaten fried green tomatoes? It seems we had them somewhat regularly when growing up.

A couple of weeks ago, I picked most of our tomatoes, including the green ones. I sliced and fried the green tomatoes and was disappointed in the results and taste. A day or two later, I was on the phone with my cousin Ronnie. He stated that he was frying tomatoes as we spoke, He suggested dipping them heavily in flour. Later I tried again with a heavy coating of flour......and they were much better.....but still did not seem as good as the ones Mom used to fry for me.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Busy as a Beaver

Beavers are fascinating animals. I seldom see them; but very often see evidence of their presence. I have come across their dams in marshes, small streams, and even now and then across a narrow area of the Middlefork River. I do not know if they have a particular species of tree that they prefer over others; but it is common to see Hackberry trees that they have cut down and also Cottonwood. It could be that both just grow close to the streams. Following are a few pictures I have taken over the last several years.

                                       A group of downed Cottonwoods

                                          Hackberry tree

Another Hackberry with fresh Spring growth

Dam across Middlefork River

                                          Dam in a marsh

Beaver house at marsh edge
                                            Beaver swimming in marsh

Cottonwood with my glove to show the size of the tree

                                              Just another downed Hackberry

If you get a chance, take a walk along the streams in your area. There might be beaver work there for you to see first hand. If not, you still get a great chance to enjoy a day outdoors.
Until next time.......