wander project losing trees


We planted a small tree on the edge of our lawn near the babbling brook. My goal in planting that tree was to have someday shade to sit and watch the brook and the pond. The Beaver decided that our contribution to his den was more important. So our pretty tree went down. We left the gnawed tree stump there for a while, trying to figure out if we wanted to plant a new tree. I finally dug it out and turned it into mulch. It was a discussion we had. Our neighbors didn’t have small trees on the edge of the pond, so they didn’t have the impact we did. The railroad tracks and the railroad trestle gave the Beavers access to a small wooded area. So they had a lot of small trees to choose from.

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Plus our tree, oh well. It is a lesson learned. It was kind of cool though (teachable moment) to show the kids the beaver marks on the remaining tree stump. There are cats that live on two sides of our house now. We do not often get smaller birds near our house anymore. When we were in Indiana, we had the dogs, and they roamed our backyard. There were few if any cats that dared wander onto our back yard area. So we often had Cardinal, Robins, and other birds when we lived there. Add to that the pond, and we would often see Geese and Ducks. The other bird that visited us was the Blue Heron. It was fun to watch the Heron fish, and I have a lot of pictures of that as well.

We end today with wet twins. We had a large tub in the master bath, and for a long time that was the twin bathing. One time, as the twins were in the tub and my wife was bathing them I decided to have some fun. I brought a container of table salt and dumped some into the water. The Twins wanted to know what I was doing. I told them I was working on Twin Soup. I was kicked out of the bathroom and no longer allowed to visit during bath time. I wonder if I lost on that deal. I didn’t have to be around bath time. There wasn’t a bath time with twins that I didn’t end up soaked with water. After the Twin Soup episode of my life, I never got wet again!

.doc

wander project turtles


First off, when we moved back to Indiana we found a house that was perfect for us. We ended up buying that house that sat on a Cul-du-sac and had a back yard that sloped to the retention pond. When we first moved into the house in October, we were settling into the house as the first trick or treaters arrived that evening. Luckily we had candy to pass out. The house and the pond evolved over the years we lived there (nearly 11). The one thing that was always present was the wildlife and the pond. In the winter, as the ice-covered the pond, we watched the geese. They, the geese left a mess all over the shore of the lawn, but they were beautiful to watch in the water.

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Turtles were another creature. We had at least two types of turtles in the pond. The first type is often called a flat nose, or mud turtle. It lives at the bottom of the pond. The pictures of the turtle are of a mud turtle. They would often climb the exhaust pipe. The exhaust pipe allows air to escape from the neighborhood draining system. We had one storm that was so severe water came out the exhaust pipe. I have a video somewhere of the people that was under the front of our yard shooting water from the neighborhood drainage system 6 feet into the air. It was without a doubt the scariest storm we ever experienced while living in that house — lots of rain and lots of water.

But the turtles were investing. The other type of turtle in the pond is a larger and significantly more dangerous Alligator Snapping turtle. You are best served to avoid those if you don’t understand them. Many are very good at catching them, but if you don’t understand how powerful their jaws are it is best to stay away. They can easily snap a stick that is thicker than the bones in your arm! The mud turtles don’t bite unless pushed way too far. But they also are much slower than the Snapping Turtle. They also seldom come out of the theater. The Alligator Snapping turtles did often come out of the water, mostly in our neighbor’s yard, that had a much more friendly slope than our yard did.

.doc

Wander project Bat 2


Yesterday when we left our intrepid hero (me) I was using a leaf blower to help a bat fly out of our house in Indiana, through the front door and out into the night. Our hero retur4ned to the living room with two other humans cowering under a blanket. “Bats are gross.” I was told. I asked, of note and interest was it ok to force me to take care of the bat? They both, wife and daughter, swore up and down that they would never do that again. The next time, they said (they both later told me that they assumed no bat would ever return to our airspace) we won’t hide. Next time we will help you.  I did some hotel room research (when traveling, working 15 hours a day is a benefit)!

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I found that the bats of Indiana were experiencing a blight that was causing them to do things differently. I told my wife when I got home from the week away. Well four days away, I got home Thursday night late.  Sitting in the living room of our house in Indiana after the long week my eyes, as darkness fell, were drawn again to motion in the air me. Yes, it was the 2nd bat. I was flying high in the open space above our TV. I didn’t say anything for a second. I wanted to see what the reaction of the two would be. I knew their post debacle bravado was just that. Post, without bat bravado. That once the reality appeared in front of them again there would be charming.

I was wrong. There wasn’t screaming. My daughter ran quietly up the stairs and slammed the twin’s door. They (her and the twins) crammed towels under the door. My wife, cowered under the blanket again, waving at me frantically from under the blanket. I didn’t understand the very complex signals my wife was sending me, so sitting quietly on the couch I said:

“I am sorry but what does that gesture mean?” I repeated my wife’s gesture for her without the blanket.

“It means get that bat out of my house.”

“What about the two of you helping?” I asked.

“I am helping,” my wife replied, “I am telling you to do it.”

That last line made me laugh. We had bats two more times. I got three out of the house and had my brother in laws help the last time. After the last time I did finally find the fireplace vent that was open and sealed it. We never had a bat in the house again. But I am sure, now, my wife and daughter would hop right up to take care of it!

.doc

wander project chasing bats


When we lived in Indiana, now almost 9 years ago, we lived at the edge of the neighborhood. Outside of our yard was the Railroad Track, the pond, the street, and then two neighbors yards. Most people had three or more neighbors yards connecting them as it was a large nine. If you scroll through the pictures you will see a picture that includes the front of our house. But this is a story inspired by RasmaSandra’s post today. She posted an article with the title Black as a Bat. This is a funny story. Well it is funny in my opinion. Behind the outhouse, we had bushes and a bunch of other landscaping around the pool area. There were, however at the base of the house bushes.

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We had afire place, and there was an inset for a second fireplace in the basement. That is critical to this story. We turned the basement fireplace into a home theater area. But, there was one small thing that the previous owner had not told us. There was a gas fireplace in the main room of the house. And below that as I said was the cut out for a second fireplace. When the gas fireplace was installed, they did not plug the exhaust pipe for the lower fireplace in the basement. This, one small error is what would later cause a massive tizzy.  Fast forward six years after we had moved in. We had survived the great fake (Y2K) and were settled in for an evening of television viewing.

The twins were upstairs. My wife and daughter were on the couch watching TV with me. I think we were watching a movie. I noticed something moving in the upper part of the room. The house had a huge open living room (it is my wife’s signature)! What happened next is why I was inspired this morning. Again I saw motion. I watched and saw motion again. I realized that what was flying around inside the house was a bat. A common North American fox bat to be specific. Very harmless other than they are often rabies carriers, so don’t get bitten. My wife and daughter noticed I was looking up. They looked up, and both screamed. They pulled blankets over their heads and screamed for me to remove the bat.

I got up and went out to the garage. I got the left flower. I was going to help the bat leave the house via the front door using the leaf blower to help guide him or her to the door.

The screaming continued.

It took me 15 minutes to get the bat out of the house.

The screaming continued after the bat was gone.

They wouldn’t come out from under the blankets!

I realize now I shouldn’t have stood there laughing.

.doc

wander project wander to us…


Yesterday I talked about the wander within the wander, in particular, my journey. I have a strong affiliation with sports teams around the Chicago and Bloomington Indiana areas. I did root for the Indianapolis Colts while I lived in Greenwood, but not when they played the Bears. I don’t now root for the Washington US Football team for a lot of reasons, part of which is that their name is somewhat offensive. But also I just don’t like the team.

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But wandering is more than sports. It is trips, it is places and it is family. For many years (10) I traveled all the time. In traveling, I used to tell my wife that the reason I took pictures is that where I had been wasn’t real until I showed her the pictures. But it was also the family vacations we took. I have shared those pictures over the years of the many places we have taken the kids. There are and were a few trips that we took, just my wife and I.

Funny, we never had a honeymoon. During the time leading up to our wedding, we moved from Bloomington Indiana to Cincinnati. We haven’t lived in Bloomington in more than 28 years. Our last day in B-Town was 15 days before our marriage. We moved out of the house we were sharing on May 31. Packing a moving truck and driving all night to Fairfield a suburb of Cincinnati. We slept on the floor of the basement of the townhouse we had rented. Then, we unpacked the truck.  The next next we had a mattress but our first night in Cincinnati was spent on the floor.

Cincinnati also brought the three kids and our first family dog, Gwen. I would be hard-pressed to tell you what of our family other than the kids, was impacted by Cincinnati. I am sure there are many things that were.

.doc

wander project wander towards US…


I traveled every week for ten years. But, my traveling life started long before my professional career. I was born near Chicago Illinois. My father went to Bloomington Indiana to finish his Doctoral Degree (and was later hired by the University). We started out moving from our house near Chicago to Graduate Student housing and then a house on the south side of Bloomington. From there, we left Bloomington for Bangkok Thailand. My parents lived in Bloomington until my father passed; my mother lives there now. But today, it is not the story of how many times moving vans came for my stuff. Or pickup trucks with a canvas cover moving my stuff to a new place.

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It the piece of you, of me, of anyone that is created by being somewhere and stays with us forever. That piece of us that is created by a location. As a sports fan my teams are all in Chicago (except for my love of one college team, Indiana University). I am a life long Bulls fan, A life long Bears fan, A life long Blackhawks fan, and I bleed Cubbie Blue! I have seen games for all of the teams in person many times. There is a piece of me that is and always will be Chicago sports. There is a piece of me that rejoices each time Indiana University wins. That is a piece of me created in the cities I have lived in.  Certainly, the people we meet also have an impact on what and who we are as well.

People become part of reality. Funny, my wife will watch sports on occasion. None of my children will ever watch sports now. I am alone in my fandom. But they as well have pieces of other places. My wife has lived in Phoenix AZ, Bloomington Indiana and then the two of us together have lived in and around Cincinnati Ohio, Indianapolis Indiana and Washington DC. There are pieces of us, from each of those places. Pieces that change and modify who and what we are. Those memories around us and leaving us reflecting. The reason for this is someone asked me after living in Indiana all those years if I was a Hoosier. I am a Hoosier fan. But I am not a Hoosier I told them. I was born in Chicago.

The pieces of us that are formed by places is interesting.

What pieces do you have?

(all images Bangkok Thailand)

.doc

wander project Maine


It has taken me ten days of blogs to cover 3 days of Maine. In part, because there were many activities, and each one got their three top billing, their own space, and blog. But also because of the stories we tell, the memories we share are what make the connection between us and the world we live in. The connection is, after all the goal of the wander project, although sadly not always the impact!

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The last day in Maine was the Saturday. Our last official activity was walking around downtown Portland. We also found a metal shop and picked up two metal labs for the house. We were looking for a wireframe Moose but the only ones we; in were either very expensive or very big. I couldn’t see moving our couch just to have a moose in the living room. Neither could my wife. So the wireframe moose’s stayed in Maine.

The first is the reality of Alamo. Not the Alamo in Texas, rather the rental car company. I have not often used Alamo, in the past when I traveled, and I always used Avis.

We had an activated GPS in our car.

We had SiriusXM radio in the car.

Overall we were really happy with both of those, although it did take some time for us to learn how to use the Nissan GPS. When we were first dating my wife owned a Datsun (now Nissan) but it did not then have a GPS. So it took us a day to learn how to use the GPS. Only to realize that we could have used Apple Car Play the whole time (which we did ½ of day two and all of day 3).

It was an amazing three days in ME that I managed to cover in 11 days of blogs! I guess when it comes to blogs, time isn’t relative.

.doc