Sunday, January 31, 2010

Fire and Ice & dog sleds downtown!

Winter: It may be cold and frigid and rather lacking in snow but the end of January brought great ways to connect with outdoor adventure in Oakland County. And thanks to the efforts of the City of Rochester and Oakland County Parks one such event was the Fire and Ice Fest that brought human warmth, ice carving demonstrations  and sculpture, food, refreshment, horse drawn carriage rides, trolly tours of brightly lit streets, marshmallow roasting, fireworks, tubing on a snow packed Rochester street for the little ones  (on snow trucked in from our county airport) warming fires and my favorite event---Dog sleds!  Mark your date book now for 2011. This event is a winner and great earthy fun for  all.    For more winter events connected to Oakland County Parks check their new website:

Saturday, January 23, 2010

She's back! Fox and The Cat

I've rambled a bit in the past on my neighbor's cat pitter-pattering up to my bird feeder and stalking birds. After her kill she loiters under my porch waiting to pounce again. And I know I am partially to blame for with no feeder there would be no unnatural gathering of easy feathery pickings for Mr. Killer Kitty. And I've mentioned that cat better watch out for fox prints often appear in the snow at night. Times they are a changing! My sleek red vixen now wanders my meadow in the daylight, taking her share of meadow voles -  pouncing into the snow to gulp the mouse like creature - and on occasion a fat rabbit falls prey.  Should Miss Fox meet Mr. Kitty only one is going home---- and you know which one.  (And the picture attached is from my motion and heat sensor trail camera) Stay tuned.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Snowy Weather Hiking & The DNR Cabin

The season for wearing jeans is in the woods is over: actually it should never really start.  The saying "Cotton Kills" holds truth in the backcountry. Cotton  has absolutley no insulating properties once it gets wet. Avoid what my friend Roger is doing here as he explores the trails and pumps water at the  Bald Mountain State Recreation Area (The rustic cabin is availabe for rent from the Michigan DNR) and switch to one of the many excellent synthetics available at stores such as MooseJaw or REI, or online at Railriders - a personal favorite-  offers a great "winter pants" for adults.  Bottom line: when hiking in cold weather always wear a good wicking base layer. Fleece can be another layer - and holds in heat even when wet - but the exterior needs to be wind proof and at the least water resistant.  Keep your head covered to prevent heat loss and don't forget quaility socks such as Smart Wool. Lastly-- nutrious food and plenty of hydration is a must to keep your internal furnace fueled. Go hiking! The snowy trails are waiting.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Jaws of Strife - Run Kitty Run

My neighbor's cat is not my favorite creature. More often than not its pitter pattering through my meadow, sheltering in my old weathered barn and answering its evolutionary call of the wild as a hunter with emphasis on killing. The cat will loiter under my raised porch to take out birds at the feeder and then return to its secluded base of operations - my porch - to wait for another strike and kill.  His  plundering  career is nearing the end if  his feline cranium does not get more wild woods wisdom.  No: I am not about to do him in. But if he knew what I now know he would stay home cozy and curled up for his routine has been detected--by a red fox.   I have an infra red camera that detects wildlife movement near my house and records the time of each event as it takes photos in burst of three.  In most every batch of pictures Mr. Tabby makes  multiple appearances. In the last batch, less than two minutes after tabby plodded casually through the infra red beam on a nightime foray, a sleek red fox snapped her picture:  And the fox had her nose to the ground and was clearly on her own hunting mission. Perhaps her look back at the camera was her way of telling me, "It's Ok, cat cuisine is on the menu."