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oldfatguy

OFG out Wandering About

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Back out to the Nature Trail this afternoon.  Up in the 40's here today, no wind with clouds moving in. Went about 3 miles while finding another 6 geocaches (I needed to fill today on my geocaching calendar.).  A great day to be out - we walked until it got dark.  Rain and snow supposed to be moving in over the next week.

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I was out wandering about again today. This time I visited a fen up near Fairbank.  A brisk day to be out as the wind chill was near zero or below.  Inspiration to keep moving.

 

Does anyone know what a fen is?

 

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Nope and nope.

 

I have actually been to a fen that was up on a hill.

 

It is a type of wetland.

 

"A fen is a kind of wetland bog that collects rich nutrients from peat and is continually saturated by groundwaters. This unusual ground of low acidity is right for some rare plants to grow and the ground itself actually grows over centuries into a spongy elevated land area covered by vegetation and wildflowers. The peat several feet down is 3,000 years old, while that near the top is just a year old. It never floods or is stricken with draught. The most famous former fen is home to a baseball field, Fenway Park in Boston." -http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20130929/LIFE/309290010/

 

This is from the Earthcache description at Becky's Fen (GC1GBXK):

"Fens are wetlands where groundwater flows to the surface creating a habitat that is constantly saturated. Water in fens is slightly alkaline due to the dissolved carbonates in the groundwater. Fens are typically found on hillsides or along streams. The soil in a fen is permanently water-logged and due to slow decomposition rates, mounds of peat often form and are prominent in the landscape of a fen.

 

A typical fen in Iowa may contain 75 species or more. Approximately 1/3 of these species are considered to be threatened or endangered. Fens are a rare ecotype which accounts for so many plant species earning the concerned status."

 

It is really interesting to walk over a fen. When you jump up and down, you bounce. The ground is springy.  You are actually on a layer of plant material 2-3 feet thick that is floating on the water underneath.

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Sent some time this afternoon walking the trails at Hartman Reserve in the snow.

 

(I apologize for some of the last pictures - I dropped my camera in the snow.  I cleaned it off the best I could, but there were still smudges on the lens.  I will call it "artistic interpretation")

 

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The bees are all tucked in for the winter.

 

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They were 20-25 yards away.  The one on the right was just a little Bambi, but the other was an ok sized doe.

I wonder if that would be considered bambi viel.  lol  another group of hunters shot three someplace else and dropped them of at the butcher shop of the guy who owns the property we were hunting on. one of them we pulled out of the truck and hung up we thought was a coyote.  lol

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I wonder if that would be considered bambi viel.  lol  another group of hunters shot three someplace else and dropped them of at the butcher shop of the guy who owns the property we were hunting on. one of them we pulled out of the truck and hung up we thought was a coyote.  lol

Yeah, you learn to not shoot at the little ones.  They are a lot of working cleaning for very little eating.

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Yeah, you learn to not shoot at the little ones.  They are a lot of working cleaning for very little eating.

idk, I walked out with nothing this weekend and a soft tender juicy little bambie would still be better than nothing.  lol  (im joking of course, I couldn't shoot anything like that )

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The little ones are tender, that's for sure.  If they were only bigger.

On the older ones, if you marinade the steaks (make sure you have some citrus juice - lemon, orange, etc) and then slow cook them, they will come out tender.

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oh I couldn't kill bambi so when you shoot a doe how do you know if she doen't have a little one to look after you can't shoot a mama deer

Fawns are born in the spring. Hunting season is in the fall, so the little ones are big enough to survive on their own by then, even if they are still hanging out with mom.

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We have a mother with twins that has hung around here since the twins were born early in baseball season.  (I have pics of them in  my pics thread I think).  They roam back and forth between the woods and cut across the cemetery area and over to the baseball diamond where there are some woods in town (What I call the safe woods).  The last two days I've seen the twins, but haven't seen momma.  :(    They are plenty old enough to fend for themselves, but it's kind of different when you get to watch them grow up.

 

 

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Hopefully momma is out being chased by a buck. More then likely.

 

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

By Robert Frost 1874–1963 Robert Frost

 

Whose woods these are I think I know. 

His house is in the village though; 

He will not see me stopping here 

To watch his woods fill up with snow. 

 

My little horse must think it queer 

To stop without a farmhouse near 

Between the woods and frozen lake 

The darkest evening of the year. 

 

He gives his harness bells a shake 

To ask if there is some mistake. 

The only other sound’s the sweep 

Of easy wind and downy flake. 

 

The woods are lovely, dark and deep. 

But I have promises to keep, 

And miles to go before I sleep, 

And miles to go before I sleep.

 

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I was out geocaching on Saturday, January 4, 2014, as the weather was changing and ended up hiking through a little wooded area.  I had been there before, but only a couple of times and have not hiked through the area extensively. I walked in from the road and easily found the first cache I was looking for; the next one was only .1 mile away, so I continued on to it, finding it quickly, then headed to the next cache. It was overcast and windy, but I was sheltered from the wind in the trees.

I spent quite a bit of time looking for the third cache, circling the area, checking lots of possible hiding places (made even more of a challenge by the foot or so of powdery snow covering everything).  The compass on my GPSr was jumping around a lot more than normal, probably due to the heavy tree cover and overcast sky. Recalibrating the compass seemed to settle it down a bit.  I finally had to call this one a DNF and proceeded on to the last one in the area, finding it relatively quickly. 

 

I have always had a very good sense of direction, so when it came time to head back to the truck, I knew exactly where to go.  As I headed out, I checked the GPSr a couple of times, and it indicated I was heading in the wrong direction.  Trees again.  I found the stand of pine trees that I passed on the way in and followed them to then end to the driveway leading in....only to find no driveway.  8| I was confused.

 

I plugged the first geocache (where I came in) into the GPSr again, and it was pointing almost exactly the opposite direction I was heading.  I backed out and checked the map, which showed I had gone deeper into the woods.  Ok...what was going on and where was the driveway? 

 

I could easily backtrack my trail in the snow, but was curious as to what was going on.  I followed the GPSr back toward  the first cache, knowing I was now going the wrong direction.  I went back through the stand of pine trees, going the wrong way, through a little open area and hey...there was another stand of pine trees, just like the other.  GPSr indicated I was getting closer to the cache.  I continued through the pine trees and came out on the driveway and could see my truck.

 

This was a rather small stand of timber – 15-20 acres, along a river, bordered by farm fields.  I also knew the river was to the south of me.  It was overcast, so although light out, I could not see the location of the sun. Apparently, in my search for the third geocache, I had become disoriented.  When I was walking out, I should have been going to the north east.  In actuality, I was going to the south west when I thought I was heading out. 

 

As I mentioned before, I was really surprised by this, as I have always have a very good sense of direction.  It scared me a little as well, as this was winter, lots of snow on the ground and very cold weather was moving into the area.  I was in no real danger, as I was well dressed for the weather, had my cell phone, a pocket survival kit, knives,  etc with me, I  had also seen a number of paper birch trees (great tinder) and other useful stuff and the area was not that large.  I could easily get to the outside and find my way around or follow my trail back through the snow.  I think this is the first time I have ever had this happen when out in the woods and it illustrates how easily someone can get disoriented in an unfamiliar area without the usual cues (the sun) to keep you pointed in the right direction.  I will pull the track from my GPSr and post it later to show where I was, when I was “lost” and how I found my way out.

 

The next time I am out on the woods, I will make it a point to pay closer attention to where I am and where I am going.

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That just shows how easy something like that can happen and why you should always be prepared for it especially in weather like this.

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Exactly, Greene.  A valuable lesson learned for me.

 

FYI - I did tell my wife where I was going and my truck was parked along the road, so the search and rescue team would have been able to locate my body rather quickly.

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