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Hint: This is NOT the Upper Peninsula, I can guarantee it.


This blog is dedicated to the many readers who randomly discovered this blog by utilizing a search engine.  You know who you are.  The reader who types in “close up pictures of puddles” or “never mind what I have posted yesterday” or “cauliflower brocoli salad” and end up on this blog. gives us all sorts of statistics, and search engine statistics are some of the funniest.  You wonder why in the world people would type in “people running in snow filled night”.  You sometimes even make up funny stories about it. 

I am here to tell you the all-time top searches that resulted in finding this outdoor blog during the 365 day commitment.  Are you ready?   (Don’t tell me you already can figure it out, based on the title!) 

The first and third top searches were status quo. and Opening the door, Walking Outside were to be expected.  But who would have thought that 111 hits have resulted from the search “Palm Trees”?? 

Look at that palm tree blow!


(For all you new or itinerant visitors, the palm tree photos came from a trip to Fort Myers Beach, Florida, back in late March.) 

Search Term #4:  wood splitter.  Well, this is a perfect Yooper (Upper Peninsula) search engine term.  And do we know about wood splitters!  We are expert wood splitters.  (I can say this with assurance after a whole year of operating the lever.  We have not split off any fingers or other accessories and hopefully we never will.  Perhaps I should leave out the word “expert”.  Let’s substitute “experienced” wood splitters.) 

My husband with our lovely wood splitter (back in April)


Search engine term #5:  Sand movement on Lake Superior.  I am curious about that one.  Eighty seven hits followed these words.  Were they all the same person?  Is there a group of sand movement analysts?  Did my blog offer them anything concrete for their research?  (metaphorically speaking, of course…) 

Sand movement on Lake Superior. In and out, and out and in...


Then we have the feather-searchers.  Eighty two feather searchers have landed on this blog.  I have posted a few photos of feathers, and we have lots of birds in the Upper Peninsula, that’s for sure.  Here is one of my favorites from late June: 

Bald eagle tail feather in the sand


#7 search engine term:  dead bird.  Hmmm….  Sixty two views on this post from searching for “dead bird”.  Unfortunately, my own search on this blog did not find a photo of a dead bird.  They apparently had more luck.  I have a vague memory of photographing a dead–maybe–robin or chickadee in the yard.  But neither my memory nor the blog search engine could discover it.  It’s hiding somewhere in this year-long blog.  Fifty cents to the avid blog reader who can find it!  Just kidding! 

#8 (and we’ll stop here):  the infamous Vegetable Scraps!  I have told you before that searchers keep landing on this blog seeking Vegetable Scraps.  Maybe they are looking for soup recipes.  Maybe they want to make brocoli-cauliflower salad. Instead they arrive at a photo of scraps we throw out for the deer during the winter time.  I thought this photo back in January looked almost artistic. 

The infamous vegetable scraps


If you have a blog for two or three or more years, the search engine hits can reach into the thousands, so I’m told.  It’s odd to think that years down the road people may still be typing in “palm trees” and arriving at this Upper Peninsula of Michigan 365-day outdoor commitment blog. 

For any of you who are reading this post (having typed in palm trees, wood splitters, sand movement on Lake Superior, feather, dead bird and vegetable scraps) I have a little note for you: 

Sorry I missed you!


P.S.  very cold today for the outdoor adventure.  Eleven freezing degrees.  It took three trips in and out the front door to fulfill the commitment.  In and out…kind of like sand movement on Lake Superior…

Dead bird, still warm to the touch

Dead bird, still warm to the touch

Everywhere you walk in the woods Life and Death greet you.  In the springtime the flowers and the leaves and the grasses and the plants burst into joyful being.  But it’s impossible to walk two steps without being reminded about the inevitability of death.

I found the above bird, not long passed away, lying near the trees.  It probably crashed into one of our windows and died instantly.

A dangling explosion of a tree bud (anyone know what kind?)

A dangling explosion of a tree bud (anyone know what kind?)

Life shines out so new and beautiful at this time of year.  There’s a potency to the energy.  The Native Americans advised us to eat the parts of the plant where the energy is the strongest.  In the spring you eat leaves and buds.  In the summer, you eat the fruit and by autumn you’re nourished by the deepest root in the earth.  That’s how the energy in a plant travels.

Rotting decaying birch tree

Rotting decaying birch tree

The forest is constantly decaying.  There are downed trees everywhere.  Branches askew, losing bark and rotting.  Dried leaves molding and deteriorating.  Scat on the ground.  Plants dying.  Molds and fungus.  Everywhere that which once grew and tingled with new life is returning to the soil, composting the land, enriching the earth, in order to break down and nourish new seeds.

Trout lily

Trout lily

After a long winter of snow and freezing temperatures, our forest plants seem to burst.  They seem to grow faster than in warmer climates, as if attempting to reach the sun before the next snow falls.  The world cascades into green.  And then the glorious paintbrushes of nature paint vibrant colors everywhere.  We live in Paradise, perhaps.

A carpet of red maple buds beneath a tree

A carpet of red maple buds beneath a tree

The buds fall on the earth without a fuss, it seems.  They simply drop onto the earth and begin their next stage, their next transformation.  They simply let go when it’s time.  No rushing life, no prolonging life.  Simple:   now it’s time to burst and bud, now it’s time to let go.

Acorn beneath giant oak

Acorn beneath giant oak

Then there’s the acorn.  Is it alive or dead?  Or is it both?  It released from the oak that nourished it for so long, and now lies on the forest floor.  Will it be planted into the dirt and create a new oak tree?  Will it be simply break down to compost the old oak from which it birthed and died?  Is it about to rot, or create new life?  Or perhaps both?

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