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.....

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Railroad Trestle Evening Hike

Today, I changed up my routine a bit and took off for a hike and photo expedition late in the afternoon. My normal routine gets me out there early, usually before others are there.

This abandoned railroad trestle is located northeast of Collison, Illinois (a very small village in Vemilion County); over the Middlefork River. This section of the river is fun to wade with light spinning tackle and is a good place to catch Smallmouth Bass. We have also caught Rock Bass in the weed beds along the sandbars.

The Sumac really shows up well now, with their bright color. I noticed that there are very few fruit clusters on the Sumac...probably a result of our summer drought. A drink can be made from the fruit clusters; that can be consumed either hot or cold.

Some of the Poison Ivy shows up very well right now. The type that grows taller is bright red, while the plants lower to the ground have a more subdued color.

Once again, I came across a deer carcass. This one was not far from a road, and I believe it must have died as the result of a collision with a vehicle. It appeared to have been a healthy 10 point buck.

With the sun getting low, it was time to head home.

Thanks for stopping by.

Lost Walking Stick Search

When I take off for an outing; an essential piece of equipment for me is my walking stick. I prefer a nice sturdy stick, about waist high and comfortable in the hand. I know some people prefer a longer staff or some of those high tech new walking sticks....but not for me. In my area, the landscape would be thought of as flat farmland, but when you get out along the rivers and their tributaries; there can be some quite rugged terrain with very steep hills. My style walking stick is a great aid when climing a steep hill, providing a means to pull yourself up; or also helps when descending the hills, by providing a means to dig in and control your descent. That length is also very useful for knocking brush and weeds out of the way....and is also sturdy enough that it could be a defensive weapon, if for some extreme circumstance that need arose.

My walking sticks all become more and more comfortable in the hand the more I carry them and they become fitted to my hand...and I have certainly had my favorites over the years; which brings me to my sad story. Earlier this year I lost one of my very favorite sticks. I had made it from a walnut sapling that I cut out from along the driveway. When taking pictures and changing the camera lens; I laid it down and did not miss it till about 100 yards away. I searched quite a long time without finding it. Yesterday morning I went to the same area...a very interesting site with Native American ceremonial mounds about 1,000 years old....oriented for the summer and winter solstices....but to continue; once again I searched and have finally given up. (I believe I have pictures of some of the mounds mentioned above in an earlier post.)

The walking stick I carry now, is made from the same sapling which comes back big enough about every 2 years about the right size to cut and trim.

To continue.....It is a great time to get outdoors. Fall colors are showing up here. The experts say that the colors will be more subdued this year because of the drought, perhaps so, but still showing some nice color in my opinion.

The date is wrong on this as well as a couple of others..but I am not going to change them now.

My dog Emma was in the river, just outside the picture to the left and provided those nice ripples.

Emma was in a hunting mood. Something of great interest to her had been on these logs. She investigated quite some time.

I had about a 3/4 mile hike back to the car yesterday. Along the way, I saw three groups of people riding horses on the other side of the river. I was glad they were over there, as Emma might not have given them the best welcome. About halfway back, I came upon two young guys sitting on a log fishing and stopped for a brief visit.

I came upon this nice clump of mushrooms. With a bit of research, I could probably identify these. My guess is that they are edible, but not certain.

I got back home a bit later than planned, but it was a good they all are....

Thanks for stopping by...

Good Morning!

The moon in the western sky about 6:00 A.M.

.....and that concludes this post.....stay tuned for more...Thanks!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sunday hike Sept. 23, 2012

I was able to get out both days this weekend for a nice hike. Sunday's hike was much shorter and easier, hardly any steep hills.

I mostly stayed in the near vicinity of the upper end of a small local lake. It is quite low from our drought, so I was able to walk the bank without too much trouble, but some of the mud was pretty soft.
As always Emma spent lots of time in the water.

There were hundreds of small frogs on the shore.

I entered one area that had a large number of Hummingbirds; and I assume they may have been in the process of migrating through our area.

Once again, I came across the carcass of a large deer. This was a 12 point buck, that appeared to have been a healthy animal. From posting about the deer on Facebook and also on Paleoplanet, I have come to conclude what I suspected, that these deer were diseased. Everyone seems in agreement that they had a virus from gnat bites; that was more severe this year because of the very dry conditions and low water levels. This deer was within about 20 feet of the lake's edge.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

First Day of Autumn; Sept. 22, 2012

After too long a period of time, I am happy to be back and adding a new post to my blog; and have just discovered that it is now easier to add will be quicker to update from this point forward.

Today began the first day of Autumn. What a beautiful day it was. Emma and I (my dog for any that have not been following my blog) headed out for a morning outing.

The view looking toward the woods from my parking spot...and by chance my last official picture taken during the Summer of 2012, as Autumn began a few minutes later.

I headed northeast, in the direction of the distant trees in the picture above. I had a first destination in mind that I wanted to photograph, but as so often happens, the day sometimes sets it's own pace or schedule, and I never did get to that spot.

Looking overhead, there were numerous Turkey Vultures don't get me today buddy!
Keep moving along......

I encountered several large puffballs along the way. I have never eaten these, but have read and been told they are edible and tasty when properly prepared. It must have been hat day for them......a bit odd....but proper protection from the elements I suppose......

As I was moving along through the woods at the edge of a clearing, I detected a very distinctive odor....decaying flesh. I started looking about and came across this Whitetail Buck. If I had found him, and those in the following pictures, a few weeks from now; I would have assumed they were casualties of the hunting season, that a hunter could not find. These all must have passed on from old age/natural causes.

This doe was laying near the river, and again I found her from the smell.

As I looked down the river bank, I saw what appeared to be antlers, and found the carcass of a nice buck at the water's edge. You always hear that a deer will head to water when they are dying. I would say that this big guy was sipping water with his last bit of strength.

Of course, as typical of many of my must see pictures of the Middlefork River

Emma absolutely loves her time on our do I of course. She spends lots of time roaming about, and when near water, a great deal of time in it.

Along the way, I came across some Autumn Olives and stopped for a snack. I do not know why they have that name. There is no resemblance in appearance or tast to olives. They are quite sweet. I enjoy eating them, but would like to seem them all cleaned out and destroyed. They are an invasive species that spreads very rapidly, forcing out the native bushes.

What was on the menu for Box Turtles today? Well fall mushrooms of course! I came across this guy..possibly gal....munching on a mushroom. In the close up you can see that it had it's face buried into the mushroom....must be yummy.

Another Box Turtle I came across.

A nice Ginseng plant with berries. This plant is mature; could be dug; and the berries planted, but I left it to continue growing.

I was quite surprised to find a patch of Goldenseal as I passed through the woods. This is the first I have found in years. My grandfather always kept some dried roots on hand. He chewed them when he had a cold or sore throat. I could not pass up the opportunity to dig a few to have the roots for my own medicinal use.

The Goldenseal roots.....

To get one of the river pictures, I sat precariously perched on the edge of a high bank, with one foot braced against a small sapling growing out of the bank. I had taken a few pictures, when my phone rang...and of course I took the call. It was a guy that I used to buy screw and drag conveyors from when I worked at a former company...and who was also a friend after all those years. I had not heard from him for a while, so had a nice conversation perched above the river. As we were talking I commented to him that I saw something moving in the river, upstream in the distance. It turned out to be a River Otter. After getting off the phone, I experienced the high point of my hike...watching and photographing the Otter as it swam below me and kept moving closer. It appeared to be gathering food from the bottom of the river. I watched it till it disappeared downstream. What elegant creatures they are.....

With the Otter experience behind me, it was time to head back to the car, which was a mile or so away. As I got near the car, there were numerous Monarch butterflies. They will probably be migrating to warmer climates before too long.

Thus concluded a very nice hike. Emma and I headed home for a nap...........

As always...thanks for stopping by....get out there and enjoy the natural beauty in your area.