Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

April 10, 2011

My WordPress 5k – or 7mi. as the case may be!

Filed under: Walking the Dogs — Karma @ 8:40 pm
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Today was the big day for the Worldwide WordPress 5k.  My plan was to follow one of the newly marked trails on conservation land here in town.  The land has much history here and lots of memories for me.  If you’d like to know a little more about it, I found a nice website describing the area here.  It holds memories for me of walking the area as a child, usually with my dad, sister and our dog, sometimes with our bff Renae.  Today I made a new memory with a new friend, Becky from Rebecca the Housewrecka.  We began our walk at our town’s middle school and followed Alton’s Way- thoughtfully named for the longtime town resident and farmer, Alton McDonald who owned the lands and passed away in 2004.

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Most of our path meandered along quiet forest and streams like this,
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with occasional clearings into fields.  One of those clearings included Alton’s barn:
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I thought all the snow had finally melted, but we came across small patches in the woods:
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At the end of Alton’s Way (2.4 miles), we came to Lake Trail, and naturally assumed it would bring us to a lake, or really the local pond, so we followed.

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Daphne and Teddy on the Lake Trail.  The dogs were very excited and enthusiastic today, by the way, both for the new smells of an unfamiliar path and for having another 2-legged friend with us.

Lake Trail did indeed come to the water, but we were unable to find a path to let us get closer.  Only driveways like this one seemed to lead directly to the pond:
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After searching around for a path to the water, we decided to start back.  I checked my iPod pedometer and it said we had already gone 3.3 miles, so we stopped for our self-portrait, having completed 5K:

at 5k

Shortly after this picture was taken, the strange little pedometer program started randomly soundly a bizarre alarm! The screen said I had apparently committed some unknown touch-screen sin.  It happened a few more times on our walk back, and I suspect it somehow interfered with keeping good track of our mileage today.  Upon our return to the trailhead, it said we had gone 4.6 miles.  We knew that couldn’t be true having been at 3.3 shortly after our turn back.  When I looked up the trail online and discovered one way on the trail was 2.4, I figured the little app was unfortunately inaccurate.  By my calculations, I walked closer to 7 miles today: 4.8 for the round trip on Alton’s Way, 1.5 for the round trip on Lake Trail plus searching for the path to the water, .2 to the trailhead and back from the school parking lot, and .5 for walking to and from the school.  So I really did two 5K’s today, right?  Pretty cool!  And pretty tired, especially the dogs:

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During our walk today, we heard frogs in the swamp, saw red-winged blackbirds and hawks, and Becky spotted some neat tree fuzzies – although I don’t know what kind of tree it was. Hopefully she will post her pictures from today, which I’m sure are wonderful.  All in all, I had a great walk.  Thanks for coming along with us, and thanks Becky, for joining the poochachos and me!

ETA: Becky did her post about our walk – go check it out!

April 9, 2011

Sights of Early Spring

Hi Everyone!  Sorry I’ve been a bit absent from the blog this week.  I’ve tried to keep up with reading all of you, but I haven’t posted myself since last weekend.  It has been a busy week, especially with waiting for my Red Sox to finally win a game during this first week of the baseball season.  That the win came against the Yankees made the win even sweeter – though I wish I didn’t have to wait through 6 losses to see it!  I did still manage to get outside a bit with my camera, so I wanted to share a few signs of spring I’ve managed to find.

This isn’t really a sign of spring, but I did buy a new bird feeder that seems to be more friendly to a variety of bird sizes:
new feeder

It has easily accessible openings for birds, but it closes down when something heavier than a bird, like a big ol’ gray squirrel, lands on it.  The squirrels eat frustrating amounts of seed, so I’d prefer to not have them emptying this feeder.  I have another feeder in a near-by tree that I’ll maybe put some cereal or other squirrel treat in so they don’t get too upset with me.

The new suet-cake I hung next to the feeder has been attracting some new visitors – this one is sunflower seed, and it seems to be popular.  I’ve never had grackle stop by before now:

male grackle

I guess these birds can be considered to be pests, but I’ve never had any issue with them.  I think the iridescent feathers are pretty.

The robins have been back around in fairly large flocks, but I haven’t gotten a nice picture just yet.  They are one of the first signs of spring around here (they seem to return in early March) so I wanted to include at least one picture in this post.  I didn’t get the nice red breast, but I thought this one looking like it was looking back at me was kind of cute:
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In addition to having my eyes out for bird visitors, I’ve been scouring the yard looking for signs of growth.  Some of my favorite perennials are just beginning to reach for the light of day:

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Bleeding Heart

peony sprout

Peony

lupin sprout

Lupin

daffodils to be

Daffodils… many daffodils are actually blooming right now, but it will be a couple weeks still before I see mine.  Mine are planted on the north side of my house, so it is generally late April before I have blooms.

I was experimenting with fill-flash trying to get a picture of rhododendron buds, possibly to be used for my photo hunt.  I wasn’t overly impressed with the shots I took, and wasn’t sure my flash actually fired. According to the EXIF data on this one, it didn’t:

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I’ll keep trying; maybe these buds just aren’t too photogenic?  Maybe it’s me?  Anyway, for the heck of it, I took this picture to see if my flash was firing:

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It fired there!  That got me thinking about this week’s Picture Inspiration prompt, which was: “The Shape of Surprise….As you continue your reflection seeking, this week study shape. You don’t need to show context or the object reflected, just pay attention to the shape, color, light of the reflection itself. Share your own shape of surprise this week in this reflection from your world.”

I can’t decide if I want to use this shot for my prompt submission or not.  Any thoughts about it?  I’ll keep looking for other shots too.

Tomorrow is the big Worldwide WordPress 5kBecky and I are planning to walk together; it should be fun to see our different blog posts about the day.  Today is actually looking like the nicer day of the weekend – I hope the weather holds out for our walk!

April 3, 2011

Getting Ready for the WordPress 5K

Did you get that email from WordPress about a week ago inviting you to participate in their World Wide 5k walk/run?  I’m planning to participate next Sunday, so Daphne, Teddy and I went exploring for our possible 5K route.  I noticed on a recent walk that my town had kindly added a map of trails in the woods near the powerlines where I walk.  I’d been pretty much following the same route since I discovered it last summer, so the map was of interest to me.  Studying it made my head spin, just a bit, as I tried to get my bearings.  These routes ending in the places the map claimed didn’t seem possible to me, so I had to see for myself.  Since I was exploring today and not sure what I would run into, Andre did not come along today (he’s still pouting over there refusing to look at me), but I had my cell phone and iPod (with newly downloaded pedometer!) in my pocket, so I have a few not-wonderful pics to share from our explorations.

I followed part of my usual trail as I began today, and had my eyes open for paint splotches marking the other trails.  One of the branches I took today was the “Cedar Swamp” trail.  Sprinkled all along the edges of this trail were these:
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Anyone recognize it?

As I continued on my path, I had an encounter with a bird of prey that took my breath away in appreciation.  I have no picture to share, but I have reason to believe what I might have seen was a golden eagle.  It took off from a low branch of a tree about 20 feet in front of me, had a brown belly and brown wings, and appeared large enough that I’d have to hold it like a basketball.  I stood in full appreciation of the moment.

As I tried to see where the magnificent bird might have landed, a bit of an obstacle literally lay in our path:
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Poor Teddy bonked his head on the branch pointing downward, but we all managed to scoot under the fallen tree and continue on our way.  I had unfortunately no more siting of the wonderful bird.  I took this picture of the direction I saw it fly in to try to help me remember our encounter:

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The dogs and I continued our walk, they taking in all the new fresh smells, my appreciating a fine spring afternoon.  They got a little muddy and wet as several parts of our walk looked like this:
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..but I in my boots, and they being dogs, we were unbothered by it.  Daphne and I tried a balancing act along that log while Teddy happily slogged through the middle.

As I came over a familiar hill near the last leg of my walk, a wonderful sound filled my ears.  A sound that really says springtime to me:

Turn the speakers up loud on your computer to hear them: peepers!!  How I love that sound.

According to the iPod pedometer, we walked 3.829 miles or 8,631 steps in a leisurely 91 minutes today.  A wonderful walk full of moments to appreciate – I’m looking forward to next Sunday very much.  Let’s hope weather and the moments are equally wonderful.

ETA: Clarification: WordPress didn’t send out an email about their 5K, I just realized!  I subscribe to the Daily Post blog just to keep ideas for my blog flowing and the news of the 5K was shared there.  My bad!  All the information you need to participate, if you are interested, is in that link.  Our friend Gerry and her duo are planning to participate and she has also made a couple posts about planning her route.