Mood Enhancer

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Some Pearl Jam

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On Repeat

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Hurt (The Johnny Cash version)

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Apple Harvest Turnover

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We made some turnovers and frozen the rest of the filling for later.

“Wild” Life

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I spent a couple of weeks travelling through the Upper Midwest and I have a few observations. I know you are surprised by that. I was disturbed by few things along the way. Two of these things involved “wildlife”. I visited a bear ranch and a deer ranch. Both were interesting.

I will admit that it was nice to see albino deer and bears up close but the disturbing part was how domesticated they had become. At both sites you could buy food to give the animals. The deer got carrots and celery and apple slices. You weren’t allowed to feed the fawns. The bears got apples and the cubs got froot loops.

The deer seemed to be comingling as buck, doe and fawns. The fawns were in a small shed when I was there. The bears were segregated. The cubs were in a small cage and the males and females were separated in different fenced enclosures.

The deer had a sand and gravel floor and the bears had a more natural enclosure with a waterfall feature and several trees. The bulldozer knocking trees down and clearing areas didn’t even seem to faze them though.

The feeding of the animals was the part that bothered me the most. One I am not sure as to carrots and celery as deer forage. I do know they eat apples and pears from my trees in the yard. The deer were able to poke their noses through the fencing and would run towards you as soon as you appeared on the path around the fence seeking a snack. The bears were inside a double fence and you had to toss your apples over the fence for them to eat but they did come to the fence. One bear had learned to sit on his haunches in front of an observation tower and catch apples in his mouth. This got a lot of people to feed him and watch him perform.

The cubs was a completely sad affair. They were in a double fence and there was PVC pipe running downhill towards their cage. You would place the froot loops in their and the “thumping” sound would attract them to their end of the PVC. As many people discovered, you could tap the PVC and the poor cubs would try to stick their face all the way in it to seek the food that hadn’t fallen yet. I watched as amused adults and children tormented the cubs in this manner.

I also visited several National Wildlife Refuges and Preserves. Many had visitor centers and guided tours or self driving tours as well as hiking paths. I found these more enjoyable for a couple of reasons. One the animals were free and truly wildlife. Second was the joy of hearing and then having to find the frog, bird or mammal. The first trip, I heard a bald eagle calling to its mother and was able to find the nest and view it as she returned to feed them. No tubes or froot loops or carrots involved.

The saddest thing I saw on the trip was an injured hawk that was in a small room at a nature center. HE was perched on a limb staring out at the kids running by and just watching. Sitting and watching. I understand he was injured but it was heartbreaking to think of him watching mice, moles and skinks running by that I never saw and just having to watch.

I realize that some “ranches” have a teaching aspect to them and some are places for rehabilitation or retirement for animals that are too injured for the wild. But even that concerns me. Life has its patterns. Some animals become injured and die slow deaths unable to feed themselves. It may sound harsh but to be strictly an animal lover is to allow this to happen. Some young  lose their parents and must learn to fend or die. It is the way of nature.

The refuges also have a teaching capacity that impacts the animals minimally. They aren’t caged. They are free to roam in their nature environs. They are wildlife.

Facebook Posts I Could Live Without

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You love him/her.

He/She loves you.

You couldn’t live without out each other.

The greatest day ever was the day you met each other.

Look if you have to make public statements of affection to each other that many times a day – someone has doubts.

Day 231: After School Walks

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Life Through a Lens

Today was Bradley’s first day back at school. After picking him up we headed to the shop before taking the scenic route home.

It’s been a while since I headed down this way and some of you may have seen photos of it at different stages throughout the year.

It looks a lot different now. Mostly overgrown still, but the grass was freshly cut and a few leaves were already falling from the trees – Autumn is definitely on its way.

It felt nice to go out for a walk with the camera, it’s something that I’ve not been able to do lately. I also only took the one lens out with me – it felt pretty good to not have to keep switching between lenses constantly.

So yes, a place I’ve photographed a couple of times in the past, but one I haven’t visited in the past couple of…

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Sunset Clouds

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Sunset Clouds by jwill9311
Sunset Clouds, a photo by jwill9311 on Flickr.

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