The way a turtle is put together is pretty much the reverse of ours. I mean look at it: we have soft body parts protecting a hard-inner skeleton. Turtles have a hard-outer skeleton protecting inner soft body parts. The most common turtle you'll run into around here (and one you probably aggravated when you were a kid) is the eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina).
When you run across a snake, their normal reaction is to get away. But if they feel threatened enough all snakes will bite defensibly. If you are bitten, here are some recommended first aide treatments.
Try to determine if it’s venomous or not. If you’re confident it’s not you can treat the bite like you would a puncture wound. Check with your doctor to see if you might need a tetanus shot booster.
From past biology classes you know that all animals require the right habitat that provides all that they need to survive. Habitat needs can be broken down into three basic components: reliable water, food, and cover. While water and food needs are easy to understand, cover is more dynamic, and its use varies from day to day and season to season.
Water is the world’s most healthy and inexpensive beverage. It can increase energy and endurance, prevent kidney stones, aid digestion, and regulate body temperature. Yet few of us consume as much as we should.
It is surprising how much water your body loses in a day. About two cups are lost just breathing, and another two cups are lost through perspiration just sitting around. Another six cups are lost through kidney and intestinal function. That’s 10 cups you lose just doing office work.
As an amateur naturalist I have a curiosity to know how things work. In college I once saw the chemical reactions involved in photosynthesis laid out on a large poster. This all-important method plants use to make food for themselves (and ultimately us) was incredibly long and complex. It is so complex that it’s tempting to simply say that plants bring in carbon dioxide and water, add sun energy, then a miracle happens and out comes oxygen and food. While there is truth there, let me elaborate on the miracle part.
When it comes to appreciating the natural world, getting out and seeing it is how it’s most often done. We go on vacations or road trips to see beautiful things like forests, mountains, rivers, oceans, and canyons. This makes sense, as we are wired to perceive the world mostly through the sense of sight. 30% of the neurons in our brain’s cortex is devoted to vision. For comparison, 8% is used for smell, and only 2% is used for hearing. One could conclude that sounds in our surroundings are not important, but I beg to differ.
Elm trees have been appreciated by humans for many generations, primarily as a stoic large urban tree lining streets and shading landscapes. During the 18th and 19th centuries it was one of the most popular landscape trees in Europe and America. Native Americans also revered the tree for its medicinal qualities. We have several native species.
Since I enjoy an occasional fishing trip and dabble with a garden, I thought I knew a fair bit about worms. Little did I realize what amazingly beneficial little guys they are. The two most common worms we have in our area are the nightcrawler and the redworm. The nightcrawler is the larger of the two and can be 11 inches long and thick as a pencil.
With living “green” becoming a thing these days, you’ve probably heard the benefits of composting yard and kitchen waste. It’s good fertilizer, adds organic matter, improves soil moisture, and the environmental upshot is you’re sending less stuff to landfills and septic systems. But despite the positives, few people compost for various perceived negatives: no room, maintenance hassles, too complicated, bad smell, etc. As a composter I would be considered a passive one, bordering on lazy. I don’t worry about any of the above and my waste still rots down without smelling.
Mountains seem to be a universal attraction to people no matter where they come from. To we who were born and raised in them, they are especially endearing because they were the constant backdrop of our lives: their beauty, their challenges, and their molding of the culture of our ancestors that was passed on to us. Mountains are special, but what is it about them that everybody falls in love with? This will sound over-simplistic, but the answer is their 3-dimensional terrain. Let me explain.
My fun and my work have for many decades involved walking over rough terrain, so finding practical but comfortable shoes or boots has been critical. They’re so important to me that I end up emotional attached to them and mourn when they finally wear out and I must let them go to shoe heaven. I’m teary eyed right now just thinking about it. So, today's article is advice on choosing footwear that will be your friend.
If you’ve ever had the urge to “get away from it all, a literal way to pull that off is to try backpacking. Think of it as extended hiking where you stay overnight or several days and carry in what you need. Being out in the wild for a few days clears the mind and it’s good for the soul to rough it and be away from the clamor of modern life. The trick to backpacking is to carry only what you really need to be reasonably comfortable and safe. Carry too much and you become a pack mule, which is not fun. What follows is a list of equipment and items usually used on a backpacking venture.