Nice day for play…

reed reflections

It was such a perfect day to be out today.  I had hoped to have time to go to a park for photos but didn’t make it.  I did manage to spend a little time relaxing with a book and the camera down by the pond at home.  I am hoping that if I sit out there on a lawn chair in the same spot, the critters will get used to me and come around more.  This shot of the reeds reflecting on the water struck me as kind of cool. 

Ares

My dogs weren’t exactly happy they couldn’t come join me.

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This wood duck kept coming out from around the reeds to pose for me.  I think he wanted to get to where his wife is nesting but he would see me and turn around and go back to his hiding spot. 

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The colors on these guys is so amazingly vibrant. 

wood duck swim

My turtles came out to visit me as well. 

peekaboo turtle

This little feller was playing peek a boo with me.

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turtle nails

Somebody seriously needs to trim these guys toenails, any volunteers? 

turtle dock reflection

turtle dock

I didn’t have a lot of time but I had a lot of visitors and really enjoyed the time I did have with them…. I like turtles… :)

Return of the turtles…

blanding

The Blanding Turtles have reappeared for the warm weather.  So nice to see them back, means spring is here for sure now.

blanding reflection

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I first spotted this one as a floating shell, the head was hiding under water.  I had to watch quite a while before he popped his head up.

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The painted turtles are also making their appearances.  I found one Blanding on the dock surrounded by 4-5 painteds.

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This little guy really wanted to get on the dock too. He came swimming up and gave it a strong attempt. 

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Poor little guy, try as he might he just kept falling back into the pond.

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He was very persistent, I was hoping he would manage but he just couldn’t get there.

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He finally gave up and swam over to some reeds, he doesn’t look very happy either.  Love that expression on his face, grumpy old man turtle… :)

sparrow

Little sparrow came to watch as well.  I think he was cheering the poor little turtle on as well.

Wood Duck in flight

flying wood duck

 

Waiting for laundry to finish, figured I could take a few minutes and wander to the pond.  I startled up this wood duck, he took off, landed and took off again.

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I managed to catch a few shots of him in the process before he disappeared completely.

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The female was no where in site, probably on her nest.  They really are a beautiful bird. 

Wood Ducks return

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Looks like my pair of wood ducks have returned again this year, they nest in our swamp every spring.

male wood duck w goose

They seem to get along fine with the geese.  It is fun watching all my pets return for the spring.

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female wood duck2

goose wood duck

They didn’t stick around long once I appeared, the geese are calm enough to stay but the wood ducks take off immediately.

female wood duck

male wood duck

The male took off on foot into the trees, wonder if this is where they might be starting a nest. 

 

Today

reeds

I took my dogs for their daily walk today and as I was walking past the neighbors pond I saw our beaver friend swimming in the water.  I didn’t have the camera with to do anything at the time.  When I got home again, I grabbed the camera and headed  down to the pond by my house, it loops around from the pond where the beaver was. I had thought maybe he would show himself.

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When I got to pond I saw Mr. Goose very watchful and on guard.  My guess is that maybe Mrs. Goose was on the island behind him laying eggs……. He kept still and kept that head snaking around in the water, very watchful.  I think if the beaver did come to visit, Mr. Goose would let him know real quick that he wasn’t welcome.  Maybe he already had before I got there.  So, needless to say, no more sighting of the beaver.

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Every now and again, Mr. Goose would hear something that would cause his head to rise and watch for a while.  Very slow and stealthy though.

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It is cool that they nest on our island and I get to watch the new babies but as soon as they are old enough to leave the nest, they all flock together at the neighbors pond so he gets all the messy poop in his yard.  I can handle that. haha

While I was watching to see what was going on with the geese, a fat, red robin came down to say good evening.  Had to take a few pictures of her.  Spring is here for sure. 

robin

I played some with the reflections of the birch trees on the pond, just experimenting and having fun. 

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reflections

Storms have now moved in and my dog is in hiding from the thunder.  We need the rain to green things up.  I love the first storms of spring.  Have a good night everyone…..

Spring has arrived…

ice reeds

I finally had a chance to get out with my camera again, it has been a long and hectic winter.  Spring is finally here, the ice is almost out on the pond.  I wandered on down with the camera this afternoon, it is extremely windy out there today.  Noticed that our geese have returned to settle in their nest on our little island.

geese

We had a pretty mild winter in terms of snow fall, the island doesn’t appear to be in any danger of flooding this year.

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It is fun to watch them return each year and start their family in our backyard. 

goose

As I was hanging out watching the geese, hoping they would open their wings and give me some fun shots, I saw some motion on the shoreline.

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First one bluejay arrived and then a second one followed. 

bluejays

They would fly down to the water and bathe for a while before settling in the trees again.  It was fun to watch them.

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blue jay bathing

Bluejays are a very pretty bird but I am not a big fan of them.  They are a very mean bird.

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They will eat young out of other animals nests, I remember them digging up a bunny nest once when I was younger. 

cattail

Took a few other photos while I was out there, this is an old cattail gone to seed from last fall. 

pinecone

I thought this pine cone was interesting, dead on the tree but hanging on yet. 

birch

It did feel good to get out for a little bit, it has been too long since I had some new photos to work with.  I haven’t written on this blog since October, far too long of a time to go. 

Happy Halloween…

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Happy Halloween everybody.  Yesterday at work we had a pumpkin decorating contest.  There were some really creative and fun pumpkins.  I really liked this cookie monster in his trash can pumpkin.

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A lot of them were just creative and fun, your normal Halloween spooks and critters.

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Others were made to represent our products within our company.

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This one for instance, this is our Vest device.  This Vest attaches to a device and it shakes your body in just the right places to help you bring up your sputum.  It is very helpful for people with diseases such as ALS (Lou Gehrig’s), Cystic Fibrosis, quadriplegics, etc.  People who have trouble coughing up the sputum from the lower lungs so they get a lot of infections/pneumonia’s.  It helps them to live a longer life and a better quality of life. 

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A couple other examples of our devices.  They are all geared toward helping people clear the lungs and airways and breathe better.  Very beneficial for those who just can’t cough things up themselves. 

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Today is Halloween, we didn’t get a single trick or treater at our door this year.  Usually there is one little gal that comes around with her parents in a golf cart.  I saw a wagon down the road with a tractor attached and lawn chairs set up on it, thought maybe they would bring some kids around this year so I bought more candy than normal.  Nobody. :( I like seeing the kids in their costumes, I think I buy candy getting my hopes up that this will be the year.  Part of the price of living in the country, I love it most of the time but you miss out on things like this.

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The oaks seem to be hanging on to their leaves some but the majority of the leaves are now on the ground.  We took the day off work today as there won’t be many more of these nice fall days before winter.  It was the coldest day we have had, supposed to warm up again for the weekend and next week. 

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Convenient of us to choose the coldest to take off and spend outdoors.  We had a great time though.  Took a class in a different type of shooting, pistol instead of camera.  We got to class and he informed us he felt it time to learn to shoot weak hand and strong hand, one handed only.  I was nervous, could I control it with my left hand only.  I actually managed with frozen fingers to pull from a holster on my right hand side, switch it to my left hand, shoot three different targets at three different heights, moving between targets and on my first sweep I hit all three within the center circle.  Pretty proud of myself.  I didn’t shoot all my sweeps that well but for the first time with my left hand only, I was pretty happy.  What amazed me too, after half an hour of shooting in 30 degree weather with no gloves and just a windbreaker, you warm up really quick.  It doesn’t seem that physical but after two hours my hands were fairly warm and so was I.  A lot of fun.

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I did manage to get to a few fall leaves photos, as I said, they are now all the ground.  Still very pretty though. 

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Some ferns I found that I thought were cool looking, brown and fragile and still hanging on to the stem.

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The fall leaves were falling and landing on the fern for some nice contrasting effects.

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Fall is really my favorite time of the year, I like the seasons and changes but fall will always be my favorite.  The bugs are mostly gone, the temperatures are near perfect, the colors are vibrant and invigorating…. just a great time to be out and about enjoying the day.

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fall leaves

They are talking at least another week of 50′s for highs and sunshine, I will gladly accept it.

Happy Halloween and fall to all…

 

Beautiful Fall Day…

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It has been a beautiful week of fall weather, 60′s most of the week and near 70 today.  I managed to get out to the park on Sunday.  Most of the fall leaves are now on the ground however, I did manage to find some fall colors on the trees yet.  This is a view from the pier at Linwood Lake. The yellows seem to be what is left on the trees at this time.  The reds and oranges seem to have started off our fall and are on the ground. The yellows are very pretty yet though.

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The skies were a perfect blue with the big, puffy white clouds.  Just a perfect day to be out with a camera and enjoy.

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The trails were gorgeous with the leaf cover on the bottom and the color left in the trees.  I could have stayed out there all day.

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This particular park had these majestic oak trees, I love the oak tree.  They just towered above me to the skies.  Still some pretty good color on the oaks yet as well.

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These were taken standing right against the bottom of the tree trunk with a wide angle lens, it really gives the perspective of how majestic and tall these mighty oaks stood.

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They lined the road the whole way into the park.  This road was of the finest, silkiest sand I have ever touched.  It pulled the car in and was difficult to drive in, almost like driving on an icy road. Was very pretty and good for walking though.

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I really liked how the sunlight came through the trees onto the leaves below. 

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I headed on down to the lake where the skies were amazing.  This is a rock path that led out into the lake a ways. 

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Along the rocky path I found these birds, I am not sure yet what they are.  They were in large flocks and stayed right along the waters edge.  They had the most vivid white belly when they took to flight. 

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I was able to get fairly close to them if I moved slowly.

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I will have to do some more research and figure out exactly what they are. They are larger than an average sparrow but not quite as large as a robin. Very pretty little birds.

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The flowers were done on the water lilies but there were still all these lily pads along the shores of the lake. 

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They were starting to turn yellow with the fall weather as well.

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Just a few shots I took of the dock and the landing area for the boats.  The skies were so perfect that day I had to capture them from different areas. 

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I only explored one of the many trails that this park seems to have. I am looking forward to more trips to explore the other trails and see what else there is to discover.  It looks like the trails join up with other parks through other cities and I should have plenty of exploring ahead of me.  This is just a small portion of the photos I took on my trip Sunday. 

Hair Raiser

ares frisbee

So, last night we are in the house watching TV, this fun loving frisbee chaser was sleeping at our feet.  All of a sudden he growls and the hackles on his back stand straight on end.  Not just on the neck, all the way down to the tail they were on end.  He and my other dog ran to the door barking and growling.  No car had pulled in or anything, what is out there…..

Thankfully, since we didn’t want them barking and waking the neighborhood, we didn’t let them out.  5 minutes later we knew what was out there when the lovely aroma of skunk permeated the whole house. I can only imagine how they would have smelled had we set them lose.  A few nights earlier we had let them out and they took off barking, we smelled skunk when we brought them in but we were lucky, they hadn’t been sprayed. 

All I could think is, we will have to be very careful letting them out at night if this guy is around.  It reminded me of the day I was walking my dog, while we lived in Wisconsin.  A skunk popped out of the weeds directly in front of me and the dog.  She, of course, wanted to go after it.  I grabbed her and we ran the other direction, at least I ran, I was dragging her.  The little skunk ran after us, this little black and white critter with the tail straight up in the air, chasing us down the road. It must have been a comical site.  All I could think the whole run was, I am so going to stink, he is going to get me, I am so going to stink…. Thankfully we were blessed with NOT being sprayed, the little critter must have realized we weren’t a threat. Either that or it had used up its supply, a skunk can only spray 5-6 times before they use up the supply they have.  It can take up to 10 days for them to build up a new supply.  They are reluctant to spray because of this.

This afternoon, I headed out for my walk, going down the road I smelled….. you guessed it, skunk.  I started looking around, you can smell them if they are just in the area so I was hoping it wasn’t close.  Up on the side of the road I see…..

skunk

The source of the smell.  Great…… it wasn’t moving, we hurried on by, hopefully it won’t see us.  On the way home, still  there…. my dog found a bloody patch on the road and started sniffing it out.  Apparently it was hit by a car and crawled up here to die.  Poor guy, didn’t die instantly, hopefully it didn’t suffer long.  I hate to think of an animal suffering like this but at the same time…. YAY, no more skunk for me to worry about with my dogs.  At least for now.

On a different note, it has been an interesting month.  I went to a wedding in a park, thought I would get some good fall colors while I was there too.  Never made it that far.  The wedding was to start at 2:00, by 2:30 all were there but the minister.  She finally showed up, drunk, fell flat on her face.  It annoys me to no end that a minister could do this to a couple on such an important day.  Her husband was tracked down and she was sent on her way without performing the ceremony.  Luckily for this particular wedding, it was a small family group, no reservations and time lines that were critical to keep.  They were able to save the day, track down someone last minute to come and do the ceremony and everything worked out.

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I passed the time taking some fun photos of people enjoying the day while we found a justice of the peace to come out.  This gal was too cute…..

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Entertaining the kids with throwing leaves in the air, looked like fun. 

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Even the dog came to the wedding.  What really bothered me, this minister was headed to another wedding after this one.  If this next wedding is a large wedding with reservations, relatives from out of town…. she could be ruining a day that can’t be saved as easily, costing a couple a lot of time, money and happiness.  I hope she sobered enough by then to not ruin it for them.  If she continued to drink, she may have not even shown up.  Pretty sad.  How many weddings, how many people has this woman let down…. Sad.

On a lighter, more fun note.  I was  wandering the backyard, since I had the camera out for the walk I continued to seek out shots.  It was just too nice of a fall day to stay inside.  I ran across this little guy….

red squirrel

He was running from tree to tree and stopped here when he heard me coming.  I thought the colors, his orange against the yellow leaves and the white bark were pretty cool for a fall shot.

red squirrel run

He started to run away, I kept taking shots as he/she ran and jumped.  I caught one in mid flight but the head was cut off, nice shot of a body and tail flying through the trees though. :) I won’t post that one….

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One large, mouse with a bushy red tail….

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Still, something playful and fun to photograph.  Look at the size of those feet, the long toes…… I suppose that helps grasp those tree branches. 

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Grasping for take off, he/she pulled itself by the front feet, launched into the air and disappeared into a tree where I was no longer able to photograph it.  Cute little buggers huh?

They are saying another perfect fall weather day for tomorrow, I may have to take the camera to the park and see if I can get some more fall shots.  The leaves are falling rapidly, not a lot left on the trees but there are still some areas that are colorful to shoot.

 

 

The Leaves They are a Changing…..

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Fall is in the air…. it was a perfect day for yard work and I sure had plenty of it to do.  However, it was too tempting to get out with the camera for the day.  I took a nice long drive in quest of fall colors. 

fall oranges

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For the most part it is the Maples and Oaks that are changing here.  The other species are starting but the Maples are by far the most vibrant right now.

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It was 60 degrees and sunshine, the perfect day.  I could have done more without the strong winds we had though.  I love the fall, my favorite season.  The colors on the trees, the perfect temperatures, the lack of pesky summer bugs…. who could ask for a better season.

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The only downfall to fall is that it means the snow will be here soon.  And though I do really like the snow, driving to work in it is less desirable.

fall color trail

Well I was out on my journey in search of fall color, I found a lake that I didn’t know was there.  It had a beautiful park with walking trails.  It is only 10 minutes from my house and I spent a good hour or more here.  Have to go back to this park a lot more as I didn’t explore it much at all today.  Stayed mostly at the lake for my photos.

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The skies were such a pretty blue with the big white fluffy clouds.  You couldn’t ask for a better day.

dock at linwood lake

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Linwood Lake

I think I could have stayed here all day, very relaxing.

river under bridge

This was a little river spot I found before arriving at the park with the lake. 

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It was an odd place as there was a sign stating parking and a little lot but no trails.  Maybe people come to fish down by the bridge???  There was really no place else I could go, maybe 50 feet up the river and I came to a fence with no trespassing signs.  Took a couple shots as long as I was there.

mushroom

Just a mushroom on a tree that I found.

gone to seed

As I said, it was a very windy day, these seed pods were blowing apart before my eyes.

Do you ever, while out walking and exploring, see things that make you wonder…. hmmmm… how did that happen.   I found this goose hanging in a tree dead…. how did it get there? Hit by a car and thrown there?  Strange phenomenon….

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dead goose

I felt really sorry for him/her and whatever happened here.  Poor thing.  And just across from it, there was this other critter that I couldn’t identify.

dead something

Other than the term road kill…. poor feller…..

And this poor frog, did someone need frog legs for dinner?  Or kids torturing an innocent critter, how can anyone be so cruel.  Just very odd to see it on a rock rotting, I really hope it was dead before it lost its legs. So sad….

dead frog

And this bird I couldn’t identify but, since I was taking shots of death on this beautiful day, might as well include them all. 

dead bird

Morbid, I know…. such a gorgeous day and I take shots of death to share.  I just get fascinated by all aspects of life and death and circumstances behind everything.

Here is a shot of life again to make things better, I cannot identify this little guy.  He was much smaller than a normal duck, has a much shorter bill, but he dove under water while swimming away from me just like a duck would.  I did a DNR search on MN waterfowl and the only thing I see that looks close is a baby loon.  We don’t usually see loons down here though. Shouldn’t a baby be more grown up by fall if that is what this is?  And where is momma and poppa if this is a baby…. such mysteries…. I will keep looking to discover what this little fella is for certain.

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This next duck I do believe is a female wood duck. Very skittish duck but pretty.

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This is a very small portion of the photos I took today, it will take me a while to go through all of these. Life has been so busy and hectic the last months that it just really felt good to get out in the wilderness with my camera again….

I had asked my brother from the north woods of Minnesota if he had seen the bird above, while I was doing my blog he replied to my email.  It appears the little fella pictured above is probably a Grebe…. he mentioned that was his thought and an internet search shows it to be  a pretty good thought.