I really wasn't enthralled with the idea of having a trail cam in the woods behind my house. After all, I didn't often see animals there.
But things changed when a camera went on sale for about fifty dollars. One surprise was that there's more conflict in my world than I expected.
Even if you don't have a lot of woods around, you can still enjoy a trail cam. You can learn exactly what is destroying bird feeders, and end up placing the feeder on a sturdier base.
.Two tips. Remember to place the camera low if you're taking photos of wildlife in the woods. And make sure you have no grass blades in front of the lens. The wind will move the grass blade and you can have 400 pictures of one very boring bit of foliage. That number is not an exaggeration.
You can't let the bad pictures discourage you. You can have thousands of them if you have a lot of animals around. It's part of the process.
And the critters might enjoy watching your camera
You truly don't know what you'll see.
Again, bird feeders are a great place to start. Or in some cases, like with the quail, under the bird feeders.
It's not so irritating to have your bird feeders raided countess times if you get to watch the culprits and you see how pleased they are.
But there's a bad side too. One picture of an injured deer was so graphic that it almost turned my stomach. I can't post it. But, it did have a happier ending than I expected. The deer recovered, and that was a surprise.
Nature is beautiful one moment, but also deadly.
Even the little ones have to fend off prey. They do quite well sometimes. I strongly suspect these marks are claws. And one fawn had slight puncture marks at the neck.
Bear in mind, you'll really have many, many bad pictures.
Again, it can't be stressed too much. You will have many bad pictures.
Things almost never work out as planned
It's recommended to place your camera facing North or South. The sun rising or setting can reflect on the camera lens and wash out the photos.
Some cameras send the images right to you. But my set-up is the cheapest one and works well for me, particularly because of the freedom it gives me to place the camera at any distance from my house.
I have two camera cards to alternate, so it's easy to take a walk and switch out the cards. You can buy a viewer to take with you, but I found that cumbersome. And I also discovered that different brands have different qualities of pictures. But one works better in one lighting and another in a different lighting so it's hard to recommend a particular brand. On the low-end cameras, cost doesn't seem to matter as much. In other words, when I did spend more on a camera—the quality didn't increase as I'd hoped.
Remember the cameras are small and built to blend in with nature. So when you strap one to a tree in a forest and return three days later, you might find yourself looking around for a moment.
Deer have scrapes (from bucks pawing the ground) or rubs (from thrashing antlers against the trees) in the fall. And if you're in the woods enough to find one of these, and you don't disturb it, you'll have a good location to place the camera near. But never expect perfection. You'll lose interest fast.
I personally stay away from the video mode because it uses so many batteries but I'm re-considering that. The videos are fascinating.
For me, this isn't just about looking at pictures, it's about enjoying nature.
There is a whole community outside my door that I didn't know existed.
Note: Most of these photos are from my husband's trail cam but a few are from my personal trail cam, and the bird on the trail cam is a regular snapshot.
You don't have to know the names of the butterflies to enjoy them. This one is petite, and fairly plentiful in my area of Oklahoma. I find them in clearings near woods. They're hard for me to photograph sometimes because they tend to stay lower than I am and move quickly when I get near.
In any historical event, true facts are hard to distinguish. The victor does get more press, memory is subjective, and even two people looking at the exact same photo can interpret it differently.
So this is my un-documented view of Crazy Horse, the Sioux warrior, who lived in the South Dakota area in the mid 1800's. As a child, he was called Curly, but as an adult, he was given the new name, probably passed down from his father.
He was either a criminal or a hero, depending on how you view a man who defends his country, and the country his ancestors have lived in for centuries. And I believe even his enemies respected him.
He wasn't a big man. But he was willing to be used as a decoy, and in doing so, caused a great victory.
Imagine how little he could truly research his enemy and their tactics. He had no library to turn to. Yet he did learn as much about the opposing side and their methods as he could.
He may have been an introvert, and rode into battle with only a single feather in his hair. His warriors didn't dress similarly as the opposing side did. They expressed their individuality in their war paint.
But even the toughest person can't hold out forever when the odds are stacked against him. Crazy Horse surrendered, expecting the promised chance to live out his life peacefully. Rumors he was planning an escape were probably just more weapons against him. He was stabbed.
No verified pictures of him exist. It doesn't matter, although I'd really like to see a true portrait of him. But even more, I would have liked it if he'd been able to live out his last days peacefully in the land he loved.
Click to view the Crazy Horse Memorial.
The male cardinals get fussy. They can hiss. They can be a little curious, but are more likely to take flight at the smallest strange movement. A flash going off is definitely a deal breaker. But sometimes I wonder if maybe they have a tiny bit of a sense of humor.
Mary Wollstonecraft became Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley in 1816, although she'd probably considered herself Shelley's wife before that time. It was, perhaps, a tumultuous relationship.
Shelley's first wife was alive when he met Mary, but the marriage had fizzled out long before. His wife drowned while she was alone, and it was considered a possible suicide. No one knows for certain if it was a suicide or accident. As someone who has walked alone in the woods and recently almost stepped backwards off a small cliff I would hesitate to make the call. That almost-accident was caused in part by a cat. I'm sure my cat wouldn't have stepped forward and admitted any responsibility for the accident.
But none-the-less, Percy was free to marry and said his vows with Mary.
Mary wrote Frankenstein as her part of a challenge that she, Percy, and his friend George created. George is mostly known simply as Byron today.
In 1817, Jane died. Jane had never married although she'd had a short engagement. Her engagement came about because she'd accepted a young man's marriage proposal at a party. By morning, the wedding was off and Jane was very upset. Sources say she didn't want to marry him because she didn't love him. She contacted her brother and he skipped church—he was the rector—so he could take her home.
Jane died in July of 1817. Pride and Prejudice had already been published. Persuasion and Northanger Abbey were published in 1818.
Mary and Jane lived different lifestyles. Mary's mother had died after childbirth, and Mary probably idealized the mother she never knew. Her mother had been a firm believer in following your own path regardless of societal norms and wrote about it.
Jane, on the other hand, grew up in a rectory, with seven siblings, and followed the path of society's culture.
Jane died at age 41. Mary died at 53.
Almost two hundred years after their books were published, both women's stories are known. Both have had biographies written about them. Movies were based on their books. Each woman so different. Each story so different.
The numbers on the calendar have changed, but people haven't that much. No two are alike and each has a different story inside them.
I doubt I'll ever tire of taking photos of the woodpeckers. But, my favorite will probably always be the ruffled feather.
An artist could draw a picture of a rat... Next, double or triple or quadruple it in size, and increase the length of the most prominent two front teeth. Perhaps lengthen the front claws and flatten the tail so it could slap—and you'd have a North American beaver.
At one time, fur-traders trapped them for their pelts. But times have changed and the animals have been left to their own devices in many places.
The beaver is the second largest rodent, and the tree photos taken are from my acreage. Whole trees have disappeared in a week's time, leaving only the stump.
One of the cutest sights I've even seen was a baby beaver cuddled against his mother at aquarium. He had a sliver of wood held in his hands like a pacifier, and was fast asleep as he took little gnaws from the wood. But, that was someone else's responsibility.
They never stop with one tree. And sometimes their trees don't fall straight, but tip over, teetering in the branches of other trees. Creating a hazard.
And they also change the landscape in other ways.
They created this ditch in the field. The trail is between the pond and the creek. Even the sides of the creek have been burrowed into. When walking in the area, I have to be careful not to step in one of the smaller holes that grass has grown over or drifting leaves have concealed.
So what are the advantages these giant rodents bring? Well, I'm sure Native Americans appreciated them at one time for their pelts or as a food source. But, seriously, they can be a pest today.
The Greeks believed in nine Muses. Nine. And each muse had her own specialty. These nine sisters didn't only give creativity to poets and storytellers but also to mathmaticians and scientists. If an area needed thought, one of the sisters was considered to hold sway over that area.
The great library of Alexandria, Egypt, was said to be dedicated to the muses. Imagine a single institution built for the purpose of increasing mankind's learning in all areas, and you have an idea of what the Alexandria library was like.
Approximately 300 years B.C., the library flourished, and is pointed to as being the first place where scientists accurately understood the size of the earth. People were dedicated to discovering as much as possible about the world we live in.
Even though they were able to understand the concept of creating a steam engine, they didn't make enough advances in printing. All books had to be created by hand on scrolls.
Their muses were just as fleeting as ours are today.
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