Friday, July 24, 2009

Take a Hike!

all, Dianne here. This blog will be mostly photos of a relaxing hike I took about 7:30 this morning behind our camp site at Prophetstown State Park outside Battleground, Indiana. Roger will do a separate blog describing Prophetstown SP later.


#1 starts right behind our site, and is a grassy trail leading through TALL grass prairie and prairie wildflowers.

The prairie grass was actually over my head.

I tried to imagine what it must have been like for the pioneers who settled this area, when there were vast expanses of this tall, tall prairie grass.

I took my bird book, binoculars, and camera and set out while the heavy dew

was still on the foliage. I knew it was going to be a good hike when I saw a cedar waxwing before I even got onto the trail. I will list all the birds I saw and/or heard at the bottom of this blog, in case you couldn't care less about birds, so you don't have to read through that unless you want to. My new birding CDs have really helped me, and it was fun to identify several of the bird songs I've already learned from the CDs.

There were lots of deer trails and trampled grasses, but I didn't see a deer. The only animal I spotted was a young rabbit

who let me get pretty close before it jumped into the weeds.

There is a wooden bench a short distance down the trail, and I took advantage of the vantage point to lay down on the bench and look up into the tree

branches above my head.

There were also wild black raspberry

bushes along the trail, and I cheated the birds out of a handful of ripe berries for my morning oatmeal. In case you think I'm weird for eating oatmeal in the summer, this is "summer oatmeal" that I make the night before. Here's the recipe:

1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 small container of unsweetened applesauce*
1 applesauce container of milk
1/8+ teaspoon salt

*The reason I spend more money to buy the individual cups of applesauce is for storage purposes. It's much easier to store those in the cupboard than to have a large glass applesauce container jammed into the refrigerator.

I usually mix this up and add some frozen blueberries the night before. Sometimes I substitute plain nonfat yogurt for some or all of the milk. I mix this into the bowl I plan to eat from the next morning, cover it, and put it in the fridge. In the morning I sprinkle Splenda on it and eat it cold. (It could be warmed in the microwave if you want, but I like it cold in the summer)

After my hike it was a real treat to add my handful of blackberries and have my oatmeal with another cup of coffee.

Before my hike, I asked Roger if he thought I'd see anybody. I was anxious to get going and didn't want to take time to change clothes or for makeup. We decided chances were slim to none that I'd see anybody, since it was only 7:30 in the morning and the campground was practically deserted. After my oatmeal I sat down with Roger to finish my coffee and watch the birds in the meadow behind our site. Of course, who should walk up but a newspaper reporter from the Lafayette Courier Journal and a photographer, doing a story on the state park!! Luckily Roger did the interview, and the only photo they took of me was the back of my head, looking through my binoculars at the meadow. That's what I get for being lazy in the morning!

Today I am driving a short distance to Frankfort, Indiana, my home town. I am meeting some girlfriends from high school there to attend the annual "Hot Dog Festival." Yes, it's true, our high school mascot was called the Frankfort Hot Dogs!!

Stay tuned for Roger's blog about this great campground at Prophetstown State Park outside Lafayette, Indiana.

Here are the birds I both saw and heard this morning: catbird, cedar waxwing, field sparrow, rufous-sided towhee, robin(s), barn swallows, tree swallows, chickadee, gold finch, house finch, northern cardinal, chipping sparrow, and I THINK a common yellowthroat. I heard a whip-por-will, but couldn't get a look at him, and I heard red-winged blackbirds but didn't see them, either. The catbirds were especially loud and raucous. This campground is near both the Tippecanoe and Wabash Rivers, and there are pine and deciduous trees, broad expanse of meadows, and even some wetlands. A great habitat for lots and lots of birds.

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