The Storm is starting…

2010_1225_Marsh_02

Well, today there is supposed to be a Blizzard here on the East coast. Out on Long Island where we are based they are expecting about a foot and a half of snow! And it is the day AFTER Christmas (would have been great to have this on Christmas eve, but now it will just be a bother as folks are trying to get home and many are supposed to get to work tomorrow!!!)…

Early this morning the yard was full of squirrels and birds foraging for food. The animals could sense that there was a major weather event on the way and were scurrying about trying to eat as much as they could before they would have to take shelter. Skies were already grey and a few stray snowflakes drifted lazily down…

As more snow fell, the squirrels began looking for better shelter than the tree they usually live in. We saw one go up to the roof of the neighbor’s house looking for the way into the attic (which the neighbor had sealed up after the squirrels’ last stay a few years ago). It was the mother squirrel–she must have remembered it from when she was little, as her own mother, our “famed” Snacker Queen, had sheltered in there a few winters ago. Frustrated that the entrance was blocked, she looked to the chimney, which also was screened off, and then she ran on, to try elsewhere (we hope not on our own roof!!!!)…

The snow is falling steadily now, and only one lone squirrel is still stretched out on the squirrola feeder, nibbling away…

Meanwhile, nice and warm inside, we hunker down and wait and watch…

posted by Blue Coyote in Other thoughts and have No Comments

Silly Squirrel aka red prairie dog

Today and yesterday there were some prairie dogs and I made a few pictures of them. As I haven’ t uploaded the pictures I will only be able to put one from the internet.

Actualy my pictures are much better or more realistic but this is an example… My videos too are much much much better.

I love to take pictures of the prairie doggies because they are cute and to take a picture of their private life, you need to establish some kind of confidence with them(that’ s the part I ‘m good at). I had to approach them very slowly  and wait very long before making another step to theme.

I actually had a favorite one that I named Joky he looked like an old man with his enormous bushy black eyebrows

posted by Silly Squirrel in On the Road and have Comments (2)

Route 66: Oklahoma

DAY FOUR: We made it as far as Tulsa last night… the landscape has changed from Missouri’s rolling hills to the flat endless horizon we tend to associate with the great big West… And the animal of the day is the cow!

Lots and lots of cows… and lots and lots of corn… Cornfields and Cows… Cows and Cornfields… occasionally interrupted by the tall stalks of the wind turbines generating clean energy… wind farms and traditional farms all in the same place…

The clean energy windmills dotting the landscape made it seem as if the nation is hedging its bets… still believing that oil is king, but solidly investing in alternatives as well…

And so the windmills stood starkly in the flat fields defining the horizon like so many mechanical scarecrows… the cows paid them no mind!

posted by Blue Coyote in On the Road and have No Comments

Route 66 Missouri…

DAY TWO: We woke early… it had rained overnight and our tent held up! hooray!!!!!

We decided to take the canoe trip on the Meramec River, and went down to get a canoe, but were informed that the river was high… almost too high to go out on at all… and so we would have to take a raft instead. So we took the raft and went down to the muddy waters of the river which seemed quite calm.

After taking an unintended dip in the water, we started making our way down the river through a beautiful morning light… It was calm and apart from a few obstacles and easy lazy river float. Of course the aforementioned obstacles did present the occasional problem… especially when Cactus Killer and I decided to each try to paddle in opposite directions, sending the raft spinning in circles towards the beaver dam!!!! We actually got stuck on an exposed tree limb for a few moments… but after that understood the idea of “team work” better and got a lot better at keeping our boat afloat so to speak!

Rest of the river trip was uneventful in that sense, but the most AMAZING moment was when two eagles flew off right in front of us… maybe just ten feet from where we were… they were above us and they were magnificent! It was a privilege to see them so close up… Later on a beautiful black and white butterfly landed on the raft and kept us company flitting from side to side for a segment of our journey….

After the take out point we got our gear together and got back on the road… taking Route 66 past Rolla to around Lebanon Missouri, where we set up camp at Bennett Spring State Park for the night.

posted by Blue Coyote in On the Road and have No Comments

On the road… Day One…

We finally got on the road early in the morning (though not as early as we would have liked) and the driving started out pretty smooth. The first day was a long long drive day. From New York to Ohio…

We were in PA before 9am, but Pennsylvania is a much bigger state than I imagined… and we hit some construction along the way, as well as some torrential downpours that made it almost impossible to see the vehicle in front of me…

But we made it into Ohio close enough to schedule… There was only one problem… by the time we got to Ohio skies were grey and rain was steady and heavy. Our first thought was that we would have to spend Day 1 in a hotel instead of our campsite! And that wouldn’t really be a great way to start the journey….

About 3 exits before the Cuyahoga Valley, as we were discussing our options, the skies began to clear… we would be able to camp afterall…

Made it to our site by about 6:30pm… very happy to be there! And our great reward was that we actually SAW A REAL BEAVER!!!!

beaverCROPPED

posted by Blue Coyote in On the Road and have No Comments

A Coyote in New York City (for real)…

Check out this story of a real live coyote who found his way into manhattan, and has been outwitting the authorities who are trying to trap him… RUN, COYOTE, RUN!

(fyi, when you click on the video above, there is a 15-second commercial you have to watch first — sorry, it is from a local tv-news site and i can’t keep make it skip the commercial)

posted by Blue Coyote in Other thoughts and have No Comments

A chance encounter in the park…

photo-2So today i was inspired by the incredibly great weather to get out for a long long walk, working towards improving my trail endurance (now that i don’t have Cactus Killer’s hill to train on!)… Was up early, around 730am, and went to the nearby state park here on Long Island.

It was pretty empty so early on a Saturday morning in March, and i set off on a trail i had done before, planning to loop into a slightly longer trail further up. The skies were blue, and the sunlight filtered through the branches of the pine trees in sharp rays. All around were signs of spring. As well as some newly fallen trees — signs of a series of big storms that had effected this area only last week.

And i was just walking along enjoying the fresh air and morning light, when i had the sensation that i was not alone. It’s strange how you sense the presence of someone before you see them.deerInpark

But i heard no one, and looking up ahead on the trail, i saw no one either… i stopped. i listened. then i looked around 360 degrees, and at about my 3 o’clock, across the woods, there were four deer. the deer stopped. they listened. they looked up at me… we stayed for a moment looking at each other, then they continued eating… i went to continue on my way, but my motion must have spooked the leader, and he took off running, and the others soon followed him running along the tree-line of the parallel trail.

deerZoom

photo-3I considered myself quite lucky to see the deer this morning, and smiling I continued my walk. Eventually i hit the intersecting trail, and followed it around. This trail was a bit swampier than the other one, and though the last rain was several days ago, there were still patches of thick mud to cross. I was near the river. There was a small path leading off the trail to the water’s edge, and I decided to go over and watch the ducks… Looking across the water, i saw them swimming in a row… They were awfully BIG ducks… I looked a bit closer, and realized they were not ducks… nor were they swans or geese… I stared at the movement and realized i was just seeing the heads above water… it was the DEER swimming across the river!!!!

I have never seen anything like that before (I didn’t even know deer could swim!!!!)… I waited until they got across, then waded up out of the water — just to be sure i really DID see deer swimming… and then i returned to the trail and finished my 4-mile loop. What an unexpected surprise!

photo-4

posted by Blue Coyote in Shaping up for the Trail and have Comments (2)

Maryland: Deer at Point Lookout

We finally got up early enough to see some wildlife…


posted by Blue Coyote in America the Beautiful and have No Comments

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