You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘photography’ tag.
I can’t believe this is the last night.
The last night to sit here at this computer and tell you stories about the day’s outdoor adventures.
How quickly a year passes!
One minute you’re dancing around a bonfire mouthing the words “I’m going to go outside every day for 365 days and write a blog every day about what happens!” and the next minute you’re sitting weepy-eyed at your computer thinking back on the entire year.
I don’t even know how to adequately wrap it up into a nice little package. How to end it. How to thank all of you readers enough. I don’t even know how I’m going to get up tomorrow and not have one to three hours of outdoor commitment and blogging. It’s going to be a new doorway, a new chapter in life. And it’s hard…because this chapter has been so precious.
A friend asked: What did you learn this year? How has your outdoor commitment changed you?
This is a hard question to answer. I will try my best to answer it here.
I learned that succeeding in a commitment involves something stronger than one’s thoughts and feelings. Our thoughts and feelings are like weather. One minute we want to do something; the next minute we don’t. If we want to succeed in a commitment, we must follow something deeper and stronger than our surface thoughts and emotions. In my case, I challenged myself to go outside everyday. Since that wasn’t the easiest or more natural path (although during the warm months I already probably went outside as much or more than most people) I linked it to something I loved–blogging. When you want to change a behavior, connect it to something you love. It will help you. Also, for me, publically announcing this intent proved paramount. There was no way I could go back on my commitment after all you folks knew about it!
I learned how to see better this year through the lens of the camera. To capture the miracles of nature, to see deeper, to view wider vistas. The camera has become a second eye, always sweeping the landscape, always searching for new and interesting sights. Before this year, I belittled the camera. (Oh, shame, Kathy!) Belittled folks who would spend hours hidden behind the camera lens instead of experiencing the world directly. (Beware what you scorn! You, too, may be soon be in the same position.) I am wondering what this next week will bring. Will I drop the camera, forget about it, return to pre-photography days? Or will it stay a second eye, a second skin, another way of viewing the world?
The two biggest challenges proved: 1) going outside and staying outside when I didn’t want to be outside and 2) relaxing enough to be confident that there would be something to write about each evening. My husband writes a weekly column for the local newspaper. He struggles to come up with enough inspiration to write something every week; he said he can’t imagine how one could write something every day for a year. It WAS challenging. But, funny thing, something always presented itself. Something always came forth. So often I would empty my mind and sit at the computer and simply watch something larger than myself writing the story. Even on the one day when nothing came to mind (and no photographs presented themselves) a story came forth about not having anything to write. It was amazing!
The most amazing thing, to me, has been the support and love of friends and family. (Darn, crying again…) You readers have enriched my life so very much. I can’t even begin to thank you enough for stopping by, for commenting, for sending emails, for cheerleading. For the family members with whom we have deepened our love and connection, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I have also made friends across the world, special friends who send Christmas cards and books and emails and other gifts. You don’t know how much your simple presence and accompaniment has meant. YOU are all so special and unique and wonderful….thank you from my whole being.
Here’s a quick story (see! I’m having trouble finishing today’s blog) to illustrate something that I’ve learned this year. Today I walked through deep snow down to the bay. On the way back, two choices presented themselves. Either I walk the “easy” way along the established path…or wade down to a little creek, jump across, and view the back of the pond.
Most of me wanted to just continue on the easy path, but it looked like there were new and interesting places to explore on the other side of the creek. So I slid down the snowy hill and leapt across the creek.
That is my wish for all of you: when faced with the easy paths, choose to jump across more creeks. Choose to try something a little difficult, to venture off the beaten path, to risk getting your feet wet. You can do it. And your rewards will be…more than you ever suspected.
If I decide to start another blog, I will link it on this WordPress page. Blessings to all of you as we approach the Winter Solstice tomorrow. May you feel inspired to listen to the Earth’s teachings. Thank you again for everything you have contributed to the outdoor commitment. One person doesn’t make a commitment alone–we are all enriched by the support of our family and friends.
Day 364 of the outdoor commitment.
Question to various relatives: which blogs did you like best?
Various relatives: Oh no! Which ones…? We don’t know. Ummm, let us think. We’ll get back to you.
Tonight’s entry involves reporting to you all the answers thus far received. We’ll start with my husband, Barry. He voted for every single “action” blog. He liked the outdoor adventures where we did things together, where we explored Baraga County and the surrounding area (he loved Duluth back in July!) This commitment has really been precious because we spent so much time together in the Great Outdoors, visiting places we have ignored in the past 20-30 years since we became so “busy” with everyday life.
His votes: The Slate Quarry blog (also known as The blog has had a big day today), Backwoods Adventure to the “Million Dollar railroad” and all the fishing adventures including Hey I caught a fish! (Please click on any of the links to view the old posts.)
Christopher, our son, voted for the crazed robin blogs, the ones where they pecked incessantly at our windows for months, including Crazed robin and stalking the first wildflower and The danger of philandering husbands. He also liked This blog is going to the dogs where those neighborhood dogs hounded in on my walk. And, finally, his sociologist side really enjoyed Horizon Envy, written in late November.
Kiah, our daughter, liked the very first Solstice blog (because she was there when we lit the bonfire and stated our yearly intentions!) She also voted for all the travel blogs, which included trips to New York City (see 5/19-5/22 including Opening the door, going down 15 floors in the elevator, saying goodbye to the doorman and walking outside, Fort Myers Beach, Florida, Duluth, my hometown of Yale, Georgia and San Diego. Did I remember them all? Another favorite of hers: What is nature anyway? (I liked that, too.)
My parents didn’t want to list any particular blogs but my mom wrote this: ” My favorite blogs were all of them that had you with family members across the nation and the related pictures. A snapshot (pun) look back at your blogs in general is a kaleidoscope of exceptionally beautiful pictures which run through my mind all the time!”
My mother-in-law liked the Duluth series (7/12 – 7/14 including “We go Duluth” and Duluth: Take Two. You may not want to swim there quite yet) She also really liked the Pow Wow blogs If you listen to the Pow Wow drums you will never be the same and Farewell Pow Wow. Until next year. She (and Kiah) also voted for the more recent one about the Santas and Snowmen: Dear Kids, The Santas and Snowmen opened the door and walked outside!
And now, you might be wondering which blogs I liked. Oh, that is a dangerous question. A very dangerous question indeed. How can a mother choose one child over another? How can we choose one blog over another? Each was special in its own way. Some caused laughter, some caused tears. Some proved easy to write; others hard. They were all so unique.
Nonetheless, because this blog has forced me to review many of the 365 days…I will offer you a FEW of my favorite ones. (All you other blogs, please do not pout. I love you, too.)
OK, here’s my secret. I have a special fondness for the philosophical/spiritual blogs. The ones that perhaps questioned a little deeper. The ones which prodded below the surface a little bit. Such as Asking nature for advice and What is beautiful and what is not? However, having stated that, the one that made me laugh for days and days was: Let the Vegetables Speak! I laughed so hard about that one that Barry thought I was perhaps a little loco…
And then there was the blog Three gunshots at dawn which stirred my heart with its simplicity, making me want to write simple blogs from that day forward. (Which probably didn’t happen again.) And then there was Skin which seemed to elicit a visceral sense of connection with tree bark. But I think my all-time favorite may have been the sweat lodge blog: Sweat lodge memories: fire, rock, lodge, medicine.
Phew! This was a LOT of work looking for these old blogs, copying, pasting, hyperlinking. I really could keep adding more and more. But now I’m all weepy-eyed and nostalgic and already missing this most incredible year. And it’s not over until tomorrow… Sniff…
Hello reader! First of all, these photos were taken yesterday. I felt suddenly silently called to visit Lake Superior’s shore, filled with a desire to photograph ice-forming pictures. Imagine my surprise to discover the ice extravaganza which coated benches, gates and poles.
Walking out the boardwalk-pier proved very very challenging. It required tip-toeing. The entire boardwalk lay coated with a covering of ice. One did not want to walk too quickly, slip and enjoy a polar plunge in the bay. I wondered which recent day furiously frosted this lake-side world with thick ice.
Much of the beach looked clean-swept with only dustings of snow. Stones and snow slumbered together, bedmates for the winter.
The ice is forming along the edges of the lake. Many predict an early ice-fishing season. (I actually witnessed a surveyor/architect fellow walking on river ice today. What craziness! Was he nuts? River ice is so fragile, so delicate, so thin. I wanted to leap from the car and photograph his insane behavior. Yet, did not want to embarrass the fellow. My own brand of quiet insanity, you think?)
Today’s outdoor adventure involved an insanity of its own. Heading out into the woods without snowshoes. (You see now how the river-walker and I have something in common…although it still seems his venture might be a little more dangerous.) I followed the ridge behind the house, the snow almost cresting the top of the boots. It was a work-out trudge. Kind of like going to the gym.
I emerged on the road awhile later, nicely sweating, after communing with a woodpecker. I caught a photo of him in flight, which perhaps you shall see on Sunday. He pecked away on a dead tree. I begged him to come closer, closer, just a little closer, but he looked down his long beak at me and said, “You are close enough, madam” and flew away to the next dead tree stump.
Our temperature turned so mild today and crested above the freezing mark. The ice in downtown L’Anse will undoubtedly have melted today. Perhaps folks can amble down the boardwalk toward Lake Superior without slipping.
As we approach the darkest day of the year, let us remember to walk carefully if we live in northern climes. Ice is silently forming, preparing to transform our Great Lakes.
I suppose you’ve all figured out I’m crazy about numbers. Stats. Useful information. It’s kind of an obsession, as I explained to a friend this morning.
We’ve covered the top search engine terms people have used to find this blog. Now let’s look at the top blogs during the 365 day outdoor commitment. (Although, it seems to me that these top blog numbers are not really accurate. If someone logs on to a blog and simply scrolls down the page without clicking on the actual title of the blog or the comments, no “hit” is registered in the statistics of a particular blog.)
#1 is Some Like It Funny and Some Like It Serious (1,247 hits) and #3 is Repeating myself like a broken record, record, record (or CD, CD, CD) (393 hits). Those two don’t really “count” as random top blogs because these were the blogs featured on the home page of WordPress.com. The #2 top blog isn’t really a blog at all. It’s the “About” (612 hits) story which explains what this blog is about.
#4 is Fisher, Pine Marten, Bear and Moose (326 hits) which features photographs by Pam Boppel-Nankervis, a local wildlife biologist. The first photo (up above) was captured by a game camera.
#5 is The gall of that oak tree! That was the exciting day when we discovered that oak trees often grow green balls known as “galls”. Very educational…for all of us. Apparently, many, many folks are interested in oak galls. 309 hits for this one.
I am also delighted to tell you that I discovered one of the dead birds hidden within this blog! At least part of a dead bird. The above raven’s claw was featured in a post called Dead raven, deer hide, river and stones back in March. Perhaps all the people searching for “dead bird” end up on this post. It has had 284 hits.
#7 in the greatest hits series (ha ha, Barry made me use this title!) is A sucker for sucker fishing, written in May. I’m sure many fishermen have visited this post, wanting to know the secret for catching suckers. Bet they left not knowing much more than when they started. Here’s what I remember about that day: throw the fishing pole into the water and wait until the sucker bites. Then jerk the pole up and hope that the hook caught the sucker. End of my knowledge of sucker fishing. 237 hits here.
#8 An all-time favorite of blog visitors has been Let’s have a scavenger hunt! (235 hits). The idea for it popped into this brain on the way to the mailbox one day and we had a few eager participants. The rules: find some pussy willows, sumac or wintergreen, birchbark, animal scat and an animal. Photograph all five and email ’em to me. Some folks opted to put them in their own blogs. We had so much fun that Amy over at Flandrumhill decided to feature a follow-up contest. Hers was really classy and educational.
(Photo credit for above goes to Pam Boppel-Nankervis. And this was NOT from a game camera. She actually got this close to the fisher. Can you imagine?)
I hope that you don’t consider this cheating. Putting in all these old photos and doing wrap ups of the year. The statistics just beg to be included, you understand. Besides, I didn’t think you wanted yet another photo of me in that darn snowmobile suit from 1970 filling the wood room. That’s what we did again today.
Almost forgot to tell you! More excitement. The temperature leaped back up into the 20’s. Once again, we’re living in the banana belt…
…you know what we’ll be doing.
Winter chores. Which usually involves a lot of Snow.
Here’s a synopsis of our outdoor life from November through April or May each year:
Then there is the challenge of scraping the car. Seems like I even wrote a blog about it back last winter. Let’s see if it can be found. Yes, here it is if you would vicariously like to experience the thrill.
This morning proved a very lucky morning. My dear husband offered to open the door and walk outside to take pre-dawn photography shots. Wasn’t he kind? (HE didn’t have to go to work this morning…) He even scraped and brushed the car after the photo shoot. Of course, I do believe I scraped HIS car yesterday morning, so perhaps now we’re even.
As of the last daylight check, it seems like it gets light around here somewhere around 8:15 a.m. Dark around 5:45 p.m. Our daylight hours are a little skewed compared to most folks on Eastern time because we’re so close to the Central Time Zone. (Morning observation: forget the specifics. It’s hard to determine when it gets light. Let’s revise to say anywhere between 7:45-8:15 a.m. in the morning. Or you can click here to get the official time.)
In the afternoon we opted to fill the wood room. You need to get the wood inside for a couple days before you burn it in the woodstove for prime burning. Even though we have our wood pile nicely tarped, it still needs to dry out completely. First, you have to shovel the snow off the tarps. (This is usually not my job.) Then one of us stands inside in the wood room while the other hauls logs to the door. The inside-worker stacks the logs in nice even rows in the woodroom. Because the inside worker has a cushier job (unless they are putting the logs up high) one must trade off. I let Barry stack the higher logs and then jump inside to stack the lower logs while he carries the wood in. Got that convoluted lesson in wood hauling and stacking?
This winter looks extra-challenging for chores because a certain Garage Addition Builder has not yet finished his project. In fact, it looks like February might be the finishing date. You never know. The metal roof is in at the lumber yard. He’ll drive his ’49 Studebaker in to pick up supplies on Friday. Before he begins to work on his daily building project, he must shovel the snow off the rafters. It makes building a garage addition in the summertime look like a piece of cake!
Another very important winter chore involves plowing the driveway with our tractor. I suggested today that he uncover the tractor and re-plow the driveway for a photo shoot. He declined. So you will have to imagine what the tractor and plowing job looks like. Or, if you’re really bored and missing this blog during the winter, re-read all the entries. Somewhere in the archives there is a picture or two of the tractor. I promise you.
My jobs are shoveling the deck and sometimes the front porch. And…oh yes…we mustn’t forget…emptying the ash buckets. After you burn enough wood in the woodstove, it fills up with ash which must then be dumped out in the woods. And now you can visualize this exciting chore:
Yep, that’s our winter chores. I’ve probably forgotten at least ten of them. So you can see, even if I decide to shut the door and stay inside all winter, it’s not going to happen! Those outdoor chores will simply have to be done…
By the way, if I eventually start another blog, I am looking forward to being able to post indoor photographs. For example…looking around furtively…no one is noticing this isn’t an outdoor photograph, are they?…don’t you think this statue of Abraham Lincoln with the cactus growing out of his head looks cool? (Barry just raised his eyes and did not seem to agree…) I did not even position that cactus. Life is amazing, isn’t 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”??
(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.)
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…)
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:
#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.
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:
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…
Julie, Julie, Julie! You decided to do what? Write a blog for 365 days making Julia Child’s recipes? And someone thought this worthy of a million dollar movie?
Julie, please share your secret with us. We truly want to know. Because, my dear, YOU had it easy. All you had to do was read a recipe book and follow directions. How challenging could this be?
The rest of us bloggers (well, some of us bloggers) who chose to blog for all those 365 days DON’T HAVE ANY RECIPE BOOKS TO FOLLOW!! We have to make up the blogs out of thin air. We have to pray to blog-god to help us come up with new entertaining material. We have to figure it out, day in and day out, day out and day in.
And what did you have to do? FOLLOW A RECIPE BOOK! If there was a recipe book to follow, a 365 day blog commitment would be a piece of cake. (Get it? A piece of cake? Well, probably in Julia Child’s case it’s something like a bon-bon.)
Truly, Julie, I have not yet watched your blogging movie. It’s in my Netflix queue, truly it is. People (well, two people anyway) have suggested that I watch this movie, thinking that we have something in common with our year-long commitment. And I will probably love it. You and Meryl Streep are in it, right? Of course it will be a lovely movie. I already have some organic popcorn ready for the occasion. We’ll do that girl-thing together. You, me and Julia. We’ll celebrate year-long blogs together. How does that sound?
Interjection: my daughter just called on her way home from work. I told her I was writing a blog sniffing at Julie’s audacity to FOLLOW RECIPES for a year and blog about it Hmmmph! I said. Can you imagine?
She just happened to have watched the movie last weekend. And guess what she does? DEFENDS Julie. May I quote exactly what she said?
“Mom, this was hard stuff. You would have to de-bone a turkey or a duck! She made 524 recipes during that year. You couldn’t even DO the recipes where you live–you couldn’t even get half the ingredients!”
Hmmmpphh! (I am thinking de-boning a turkey would be a cinch! As for finding the ingredients, yep, she’s probably right…)
So, OK, maybe the recipe-following blog adventure was a little teeny-weeny bit challenging. Maybe we’ll give her that. Maybe her souffles fell. Maybe she burned her roast duck. Maybe the Beef Bourguigon didn’t simmer long enough.
I guess I’ll have to wait to see the movie and find out.
But, anyway, if any of the producers happen to Google Julie/Julia and find this blog…I’m open for a movie deal. Just sayin’. Give me a call.
**P.S. oh yes, back to the “real” commitment. Today I walked in the snow and took snow pictures. It’s really all Gerry’s fault over at Torch Lake Views. Gerry wrote a blog called “Imagine” in which we were suppose to spot iguanas, a dancer, bells, cats and ghosts in her snow photos. I couldn’t spot anything (It was probably attention deficit disorder because it was time to go outside, or maybe because I was talking to Julie/Julia in my head.) However, immediately upon entering Snow Country at least ten different snow-shapes presented themselves.
If we were simply following recipes, would we have seen snow creatures? I think not.
So which Christmas song would you use to describe today? I’m voting for “Baby It’s Cold Outside”. That is, if we even consider that song a Christmas song. Seems like they have been putting it on Christmas CDs lately, so it probably applies, even though some might think it really doesn’t have much to do with the holidays…but it DOES have lots to do about the cold.
It seems to be freezing all around the United States. I’ve heard complaints from New York City and Nebraska and Georgia and even California (although that western complaint came last week, so they’re probably back to mild and sunny already…)
I didn’t didn’t didn’t want to go outside this afternoon. And, once outside, didn’t didn’t didn’t want to stay outside. It felt too cold at 10 degrees. Even though I was dressed very warmly. I counted the remaining days of the outdoor adventure on both hands. After today, only nine more days to go.
Today’s outdoor adventure involved a) taking pics of apple trees, b) taking lots and lots of snow pics which you’ll have to see later, c) walking around L’Anse and photographing decorated Christmas trees (I know you’ll be holding your breath waiting to see those!), d) walking down and up the road for maybe ten minutes and e) shoveling more snow off the back deck.
A slight emergency ensued during the snowy-tree photography session. OH NO! The edges of camera suddenly seemed to go…black…and I got quite confused. What was happening? The camera wouldn’t dare break now would it? Please, Camera, I need you to work for ten more days, I begged. Do not die now. You’re too new to die. What in the heck is wrong with you?
Fortunately, upon arrival home, with some closer inspection, I discovered that the shutter had somehow become stuck. Ahhh… a simple matter to gently touch it and the shutter quietly closed its gaping mouth. That was what created the black side walls of the photos. Phew… Now let’s just hope it was a random event and not a precursor of anything more serious. (Barry’s assessment after reading this blog: the camera was frozen!)
On the way to town, I saw something really cool. Two really cool things. Here is your “Where’s Waldo” question of the Day. Or rather your “What’s Waldo” question. Can you spot two interesting things in the above photo? And what might they be?
Now, if you would like to listen to It’s Beginning to Look a LOT like Christmas with our dear Bing Crosby, here’s your link. If you prefer Baby It’s Cold Outside with Willie Nelson and Norah Jones click here. I guarantee you will sing this second song all day. Once you’ve heard it, it never goes away…
I’ve been fascinated by the patterns of the freezing rivers lately. The rivers have been donning their winter garb of ice and snow, settling in for the long freezing days and nights.
Yesterday I photographed the Silver River as it passed under Townline Road, but today drove a little distance up Skanee Road to wander along the river through the woods. How it meanders! How the river dances around this bend and those rapids, never stopping, always moving. Until ice renders it deceptively silent and still. Don’t walk on it yet! In fact, I have never walked on river ice. The currents still run beneath the silent frozen surface.
Years ago I dreamed of falling through the ice on the Silver River, sucked down beneath the hard glass surface, unable to find a way to the hole, unable to find a way back up. It was not a happy dream.
In some places the river looks muddy and brown. If you walk around the curve, it suddenly struts its beauty in stark white. Fascinating patterns swirl everywhere. Rivers of ice exist within rivers of sparkling water.
The camera uploaded more than fifty photos by the time it finished shooting the patterns and swirls. It seemed impossible to pick eight photos to show you. Each one looks so unique, so different. In the end, I just closed my eyes and picked. (Well, not really! But you get the idea…)
We are surrounded by such beauty that we do not notice. I have never before thought of wandering by the riverside documenting the freezing of river ice. Why don’t we think to do such things?
There are rumors that a big snow storm is headed for the Upper Peninsula. Maybe tomorrow? Maybe the next day? Some areas may get ten to fifteen inches. Baraga County is part of that warning. You can read about it here if you like. Sigh…winter seems to be starting awfully early this year.
It’s lovely to sit inside when the snow falls. You feel so cozy and peaceful and snug. It’s even fun to put on your warm winter clothes and go outside. What is challenging is when loved ones (or one’s self) need to be on the road. Driving in a snowstorm is no fun. The snow loses its appeal very rapidly.
Back to our discussion of freezing rivers. It’s interesting to get right up close to the edge of the ice. Not too close! You don’t want to fall in. But close enough to linger at the edge of something brand new. Something beautiful. Something we’re going to get to know very intimately during the next four or five months…
Just think how many things we don’t know about nature.
For example, I just had to Google the Question “Do beavers hibernate?”
You would think someone who lives in the North Woods would know the answer to this question. I thought I knew; maybe, perhaps, yes they do, no they don’t, let’s just get it over with and Google.
Google pointed its wise finger to several websites which provided the definitive answer: You Silly Questioner. Of course beavers do not hibernate. Don’t you know they eat the inner bark of trees during the winter? Don’t you know that because the surface of their ponds may freeze solid, making it difficult to get trees, the beaver will chew down extra ones for an underwater food cache located near the den or lodge? Don’t you know that?
So now you’re wondering about otter, I suppose. You want to know if otter hibernate. I am here to tell you “Facts you Otter Know“. They are definitively active all year-round. Cold weather does not inhibit their behavior. In fact the author of the hyperlinked article insists that the otter loves ice and snow. You otter know that.
Bears hibernate. You knew that, right? Well, I am going to rock your world view, because some scientists disagree that bears actually hibernate in the same way as other animals. That’s because they wake up frequently and their metabolism does not slow to nearly the same degree as, say, a possum or badger. Why some mama bears even give birth during the winter, requiring a degree of alertness to care for the new cubs. These scientists prefer to call this behavior denning rather than hibernating. (It IS amazing what a Google search will teach you.)
Another source just revealed that bears and raccoons torpor during the winter. This source said that the raccoons sometimes go out to hunt before returning to their torpor-like state. My husband can verify that. He caught a big lake trout ice fishing and was saving the carcass in the snow and the raccoons stole it in the winter.
Here is a partial list of animals hibernating around here this very minute according to wisegeek: chipmunks, ground squirrels (I beg to differ. A red squirrel climbed the exterior wall, sat on the window and peered inside while I ‘denned’ at the computer this afternoon), hamsters (not any hamsters in these woods unless they escaped from someone’s house), skunks, bats, and badgers.
Let us not forget our non-mammal friends, either. The snakes that scared you last summer are sound asleep in a coma-like hibernation. When we bring in our wood from the wood pile to wood room, we find shedded snake skins everywhere. Sometimes we hang them up for decorations in the wood room. I kid you not. Back to our hibernation discussion. Here are some more non-mammals: lizards, frogs, toads, turtles and bees are all hibernating.
One bird, the Western Poor Will, is considered a hibernating bird. I can tell you what birds do NOT hibernate. The chickadees, nuthatches, finches, blue jays, woodpeckers and juncos have all been seen near the bird feeder already this winter. They are hard to photograph. They flutter and swoop and dive so quickly all you can capture is a blurry whirr of wings.
The chickadees at Catherine’s house yesterday were more relaxed. You can see the non-hibernating bird here:
Oh yes. I would also like to add that I did not hibernate today. Barry had to go to the Trading Post, so I hitched a ride. Then he dropped me off about a mile or more from our house and I walked home. It was cold, but not freezing cold. Snowy, but not too snowy. The only non-hibernating animals spotted were ravens lunching on a deer carcass. (I decided to spare you the deer carcass photo.)