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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Chris's birthday at Bixler

I have to work around boats I'll never be able to afford all day.  Frequent boredom punctuated by several rounds of three disasters back to back to back.  Struggling with tiredness and frustration.  So I demanded (sorta) my birthday off, to go sit by open water and deal with God and relax.  The result of the first part will be on Sunday's message.  The rest is here- me, myself and I at Bixler Lake in Kendallville.

In my favorite sittin' spot, just down from west beach.

There's a log that is perfect sitting height, and there I dealt with the God issues (again, tune in Sunday), accompanied by naught but an occasionally jumping fish, ubiquitous geese, and a handful of tiny flies zooming the water's edge.  Oh, and ants.  The log was evidently a major thruway for at least four species of ants.

Tiny little guy carrying white object twice his size.

Somewhat bigger fellow carrying a deceased winged bug bigger than himself.

After about 45 minutes, I decided to take a bit of a walk.  We had never walked far enough up the road in the campground to find the nature trail before, but I did this time.

View from the observation stand I didn't know they had!

God, what's with this jerk and selfies?

Then I found the trail entrance, and off I went.

Greeted by tons of ferns.

And purple flowers.  BTW, Support the Purple walk for Lupus today!
This is a nice, well-kept trail system.  But, it loops a marsh, so...

There were lots of these little streams crossing the trail.  This was the biggest.

In the background, a pool in the woods...

...that went under the trail...

... and gurgled on down into the marsh.
The trail forked here- I took the upper trail...

It was pretty steep...

And at this point I was glad a) I took stick, and b) not Scrappy...

They did a great job of marking various things.

There was a second observation deck on the far side of the marsh.  I nice couple asked me if I'd taken any neat pictures.  I said mainly background, no wild animals...

...and seconds later, saw a turtle.

Not long after that, I saw two ladies and four swamp-covered dogs.  One of the dogs ran up to say hello.  The ladies asked me if I was hunting mushrooms.  Soon later I did my turnabout (having no desire to be on a road on the other side of the lake) and went back whence I came.  Along the way, I did see a mushroom hunter, dolled up in his camos and waders, and driving a minivan with little white mushrooms painted on it.  Of course, they looked more like little blunt arrows, and I wondered if he had "up and down" issues.  Anyway, he was parked next to a pond with geese and goslings...

 That was apparently fed by underground springs, as you could see two of them bubbling up...

I ate my lunch of champions (Cheddar and sour cream ruffles, ho hos, and cheese sticks) and went back down to the water.

Yes, it was COLD.

Now here came the first of "Chris's experiments with bugs".  The little black object on that bent blade of grass is a beetle.  He was trucking down the log when he hit a blade of grass lying on it.  He walked along this for a while, said, I don't like this, and walked back down to the log.  Turning around and going back, he then hit a second blade which took him to the one you see him on.  He went up and up until he was near the end, at which point his weight flipped him upside down.  This must have been a Coleopteran near-death experience, as he struggled and fought until he was far enough back down the blade to sit upright- and there he stayed.  Until after I left.  I even pushed the blade back down onto the log, he didn't budge.  Soon later a tick climbed up my leg to celebrate with me.  I declined his offer and returned to the beach.

After that, I got treated to an exhibition of Duke's fetching-in-the-water ability.

Oh, darn, missed a picture!  Before I left my sittin' place, a snake swam by...

Okay, back to the beach.  Next came experiment number two.  I watched as an inchworm tried to cross the sand, went up a hill, fell over on his side, kept going.  Not as co-ordinated lot as you might think with all those legs!  So I grabbed a nearby twig to see if he'd get on it.  He did.  And no more did he get started than I stuck his end in the sand and watched him climb up...

So he gets to the top, waves around wondering what to do next, and manages to turn himself around, headed back down.  At which point I reversed the stick and let him go through it all again.

After he got to the top, waved around, and headed back down a second time, I pulled the stick out and laid it on the sand.  He followed it to the other end, got off at last, fell over sideways (again!), and headed on down the line.

At this point, I see the first and only boaters of the day...

 ...and just then the sun came out!  I had seen it only twice for about 5 minutes all day (And yet chief meterologist cheap urologist Curtis Smith insists it was a "partly sunny" day.)

That was at my back.  At my front, though...

(Regarding the rain possibility, It rained on me from the moment I dropped Laurie off at work till I was about 3 miles out, and that last couple minutes it really came down.  After that, nary a drop till I was about 3 miles out of picking Laurie up, and that was so light it might have been confused for bug pee.)

Anyway, one last hike into the campground...

 ...where I went into the woods (had to pee yet again, after twice on the first hike and once upon returning), and ran into three or four deer.  Too much brush between us to get a pic...

...but on emerging I met up with this iridescent green bug and his buddy.

That pretty much concluded my stay... it was getting warm, and REALLY muggy, and I wanted to find the back way into town I missed on the way up.  As I motored down 1000E, I looked to my right at a field, where I saw a wild turkey so big, my first two thoughts were a) I wish this dumbass in the pickup wasn't behind me so I could stop and take a picture, and b) I wonder if there's a plate of mashed potatoes and dressing following him!  I had to content myself with filing the memory next to thatof the pheasant I saw in roughly the same place a few years back.


  1. Beautiful walk!! I too take my birthday off every year. Although this last one was not as intended. :)

    I have spent plenty of time down by the beach lately. I need to remember the camera next time. The storm damage this winter was wicked.

    1. Okay, you may laugh. Then again, from what you know of me, you may just think, "Well, that figures."
      Cause I think it's kind of funny (I think I may have mental issues), I've scheduled my physical the last few birthdays. Physicals which include a specific check for men of my age. Yep, a warped sense of humor to be sure.
      But, I prefer to call it giving myself the "gift of health."
      And two donuts and a coffee and a coffee at Wawa as a treat when it's done.

    2. Juli- you haven't posted beach pics in a while. What's up with that? Don't you know I survive vicariously on beach pics? Bouncing Barb has kept me alive for a while now...

      Al- if you really just want to celebrate your birthday that way.... please, DON'T call me.

  2. Happy Birthday!
    Sounds like a really nice way to spend your day.
    Great pics too

  3. That snake looks super creepy.
    It is muggy here too.

    1. He just glided by without a care in the world... just what I was doing.

  4. Everyone's entitled to take some selfies on their birthday. Outside of that date, I'm likely to call you a teenage girl.

    Happy birthday!

    1. I'll keep that in mind... does it help if I don't flash a cheesy smile?

  5. Chris:
    I can;t help wondering about those bugs and the "challenges" they went through on the log...and the stick.
    (a hidden message someplace?)
    That's what I got from it, anyway.
    Love that "meal" you feasted

    Seem like an enjoyable day AWAY from the headaches and daily drudgery. You needed it.

    Happy Birthday, brother.

    Stay safe up there
    (and have a slice of cake for me)

    1. No hidden message to me... I just saw it as an intelligence test that they failed miserably. Or a courage test that the inchworm passed, while the beetle passed out.

  6. Happy birthday, Chris - that looks like a day well spent.

    Thirteen turkeys walked through my backyard and one was white! I figured he was an escapee, but they ALL were huge. Must be a good year for them (or a bad year for hunters).

  7. A little non-Biblical wisdom....

    I have been told that the two happiest days in a boat owner's life are the day he (she) buys it and the day he (she) sells it.

    1. That's why my boating experience is limited to the rent-a-paddle boats at Pokagon...

  8. Happy happy belated birthday! I had a total unplugged weekend except the few here and there on my phone.
    Loved all the pics except the snake. What kind was it? Poisonous? I love that you see the deer. So cool.

    1. Believe he was an ordinary Garter... If the deer were just as calm as he was...

  9. Happy belated! Those are really nice photos, I especially like the one of the snake. They swim so fast, I can never take the photo fast enough.

    You're braver than I am--once inchworms start raining from the sky I tend to stay indoors....

    1. You should have seen me trying to turn on the darn camera in time!

      I think "raining" is how my worm made it into the sand. He'd have liked it had I laid sticks end to end to get him back to the grass...