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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. 

WordPress.com 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.  Centria.wordpress.com 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…

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Let's pass the basket around first.

Dear Friends,  Black Friday has come and (almost) gone.  We’ve all decided to give natural items for the holiday this year, haven’t we?  Especially for our virtual friends.  Because most of us only know each other in cyber-realms, we shall have to exchange cyber-gifts.  This avoids the prohibitive cost of mailing. Please sit down at your computer and prepare to open your gift.  I suppose you can have more than one.  You don’t even have to wait for the holidays. Please be considerate of the other cyber-recipients, though. 

I shopped for gifts for all of you today.  Oh my, there are too many of you to name with insulting at least dozens of you.  But I am going to throw out some names at the top of my head.  (All of the names not mentioned are at the bottom of my head, which doesn’t mean I love you less, it just means that for some reason you were waiting patiently at the bottom of the head and didn’t funnel out first.)

So here are gifts for the Susans, Cindy, Gerry, the Amys, Joanne, Dale, Kiah, Christopher, Craig, the many Jessicas, fountainpen, Gigi, Sybil, Emma, Julia, Pamela, Sandy, Christine, Carla, the Dawns, Deborah, Jen, Karen, Melinda, Catherine, Yellow Bells, Christie, Scot, Tim, Mom, Dad, Georgia Mom, Patty, Sonya, Kim, Janet, Laurie, Raven, H. Forward, Mrs. Uhdd, Reggie, Maunderer, Kath, Bree, Nature Loving Super Mama, Iris, Tina, Doris, Margo, Nancy…AND IF I’VE MISSED ANYONE ELSE WHO WANTS A PRESENT PLEASE GIVE A HOLLER AND YOU CAN CLAIM YOUR VIRTUAL GIFT TOO!  (oh and all you unknown blog readers…please…take a gift.  I am so thankful for all of you for stopping to read, even though we might never even have “officially” met in this virtual or earthly world.)

A sweet little white feather for all of you who like feathers

Of course this was all Sahlah’s idea.  As I posted yesterday, she got the brilliant idea that we should shop for rocks and feathers and twigs and such on Black Friday for all our blog readers. 

If we meet face-to-face on the street I will give you a real rock.  I swear it.  I will carry around that basket of stones in my car until the Solstice.  However, I’m afraid that there’s only a handful of you within shouting distance.  So the rest of you must be satisfied with virtual gifts.  As we’ve only had virtual acquaintance, I’m sure you won’t be dismayed or disappointed.

A special antler for anyone who will treasure it.

These are some of my prized possessions and gifts from the woods.  But I’m willing to give them away to you in spirit, because I know you will honor them.  You readers, I can tell, share a deep love for the earth, for the blessings of the land, for the abundance which surrounds us everywhere.

This is one of the most precious gifts I could give you. Do you know why?

Rocks, feathers, pieces of woods, antlers, sticks.

As precious as Nintendos, computers (hmmm?), cell phones, iPods?

Stone on stone

In the above virtual stone gift you could have one rock or both.  It’s up to you.  It’s kind of hard to separate them in the virtual world, though.

Your final choice: a twig that really is a magic wand. (shhhhh....)

OK, tomorrow I really do have to hit a few stores for a few small gifts.  I’m not a big shopper.  (Can you tell?  Maybe I could just shop virtually from now on.  Tell the relatives, “Just log in on-line and you can see a picture of my gift for you.”  Hmmm, wonder how far that one would go?)

Hope all of the rest of you had fun on your Black Friday shopping.  Enjoy your gifts! 🙂

The mystery of an eggshell

The mystery of an eggshell

Yes, dear reader, it’s been 100 days now.  One hundred days of opening the door, walking outside.  Through blizzard, through frigid thirteen below zero days, through a tropical vacation down in southern Florida.  It’s been everything.  It’s been fun, it’s been not-so-fun, it’s been a learning experience, it’s been the best year of my life so far!!  (OK, I’ve said that before.  But this year is hands-down one of the best, so far.)

Should I list all 100 activities enjoyed outside?  A solstice party, walking on snow, sitting under a spruce tree, dogsled races, meditating outdoors, dozens and dozens of walks, winter camping, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, ice fishing, filling the wood room, winter festivals, roof shoveling (scary!),  outdoor art shows, after-dark explorations, reading outside at 10 degrees (brrr…),  learning how to photograph all sorts of wild creatures & natural phenomenon, boating….OK!  That’s enough. 

Mostly I’ve simply walked outside and listened to the stories that nature wants to share and then just…elaborated on them a tiny bit.   Way fun!  (Much more fun since the shivering during below zero days has abated.  We hope it’s abated for this year anyway.)

Looks like a field of acorns to rake up, doesn't it?

Looks like a field of spruce cones to rake up, doesn't it?

We shall add raking to the list, as of today.  I surveyed the extensive litter of spruce cones beneath the pine tree with a sigh.  You’d think one might feel more enthusiasm for a little spring spruce-up (no pun intended!) but the yard-cleaning-up energy seemed slow to start.  Instead I peered down at the oddest thing.  An egg shell!  Where had it come from?  I looked up and down and attempted to solve the mystery. 

Here are two probable answers:  1)  from a nest up high there in the spruce or 2) it’s a broken shell from our compost heap that somehow migrated beneath the spruce. 

Before beginning the raking, I meandered out to check the mail.  Guess what’s lying beneath a pine tree near the mailbox?  Another nearly identical egg shell!  If it wasn’t the 100th day of this blog, the title would be:  The Day of the Egg Shells.  Are they falling from the sky?

Time to rake.

Tinest perfect feather hidden among the spruce cones

Tiniest perfect feather hidden among the spruce cones

The first ten minutes of raking I was a bit unenthusiastic, but after discovering the above feather my spirits lifted.  I needed the wheelbarrow to load up the spruce cones, but it’s buried behind lawn tractor and snowmobile in the shed.  What to do?  I found two large white buckets and snow-scooped the cones into the buckets.  Carried them across the lawn and dumped them.  Maybe ten to twelve trips.  By then, I was enjoying the rhythm of outdoor spring cleaning.

Getting reaquainted with our rake

Getting reacquainted with our rake

No need to worry; I’m sure there will be plenty more outdoor chores this spring…

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