Slow walking a 5k on a spectacular Sunday

A spectator watching my 5k.

Happy Sunday!  I know that by the time this post goes out some of you may be finished or just about finished with Sunday.  I hope it was a good one.  Did you participate in Automattic’s Worldwide WP 5k?  I did, and with probably one of the slowest times on record.

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What’s happening around the pond

The pond reflects

Wherever you are, you are one with the clouds and one with the sun and the stars you see.  You are one with everything.  That is more true than I can say, and more true than you can hear.

~ Shunryu Suzuki

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200: The rest of the story

(Waddling away.)

If you missed part one of this epic saga, you can find it here.

When I left off yesterday, M and I had just finished taking a break at the beach, having accomplished what we set out to do:  hike a 5k (we were participating in Automattic’s Worldwide WP 5k).  Our duck companions went back to swimming around in the lake while we made our way across the beach where we encountered one goose bullying another.

Showing off

The goose being bullied and chased away had this going on:

It looks terribly uncomfortable to me, as if the band might be choking him.  I realize neck bands are used for research purposes, but I think they might want to rethink the design of the neck band for the Canada Goose.  I know there are plenty of them and I probably shouldn’t worry too much about them, but I don’t like seeing any creature uncomfortable or in pain.  Whatever happened to leg banding?

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199: An interesting 5k

(Near the starting point.)

Well, I have to say…  that was a rather interesting (and sometimes strange) 5k.  M and I, in our quest to better know the area in which we live (filed under “local tourists”), decided to take a 5.1 mile hike at Portage Lakes State Park.  We have driven past it on the highway numerous times, always with one of us remarking, “We ought to go hiking there sometime.”

I guess we can check that one off of our list.

(Note:  We were hiking a 5k as participants in Automattic’s Worldwide WP 5k.)

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197: Wandering with clouds and light

Look at your feet.  You are standing in the sky.  When we think of the sky, we tend to look up, but the sky actually begins at the earth.

~ Diane Ackerman

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188: Who wants to partcipate in a 5k?

(My feet wearing my newest pair of Vibrams and basking in the morning sun.)

I bet you think I get tons of exercise on my daily walks outside.  Some days, that’s true.  Most days, it’s not.  Slow walking is exercise, but it doesn’t get the heart rate up and I doubt the calorie burn is terribly high.  Better than sitting in front of the computer, sure.  But not as good as I need to be doing.

Yesterday I received a gift from WordPress in my email.  I bet some of you did, too.  It was an announcement about the WWWP5k.  I have been looking for an excuse to train for a 5k, and here it is.  Synchronicity.  Gotta love it.

You can find the details at the link I provided.  In a nutshell, you can walk, run, skip, hop, swim, cycle, or crawl.  It doesn’t matter how you do it as long as it’s under your own steam in some way, shape, or form.  You can do it on a treadmill, on a track, inside, outside, or upside down.  The event takes place on April 10th, but if you can’t do it that day, you can do it anytime during the week of April 4th-10th.

There is obviously not enough time for me to go from the Couch to 5k.  I will start the training for running a 5k, but plan to do a walk/run.  Or, if I can get M to join me, maybe we’ll hike it.  The weather will be a factor, too.

So.  Who wants to join me?  Anyone??

Mapping My Walks

Joanne recently suggested that a map showing some of the main features of my posts would be helpful so you all can get your bearings.  I think it’s a splendid idea!  But I’m not terribly good at drawing maps so I thought I’d give it a go by labeling a few photos.  Later in the season, when it’s looking a little more green and lush, I’ll see what I can do about taking you on a walking tour.

You might want to click on the photo above to enlarge it a little.  It will be easier to read that way.  For our purposes today (and in the future), the front of the pond is the area at the bottom of the photo (nearest the house, not pictured) and the back is the area where you see the trees (labeled “Woods”).  The W (for West) and the S (for South) are approximate, and there just to give you a general idea of where things are in terms of direction.

Joanne also asked if the trees at the back of the pond were showing any signs of new life yet.  Yes, indeed they are.  The photo above shows the “aura” (as I think of it) created when the trees move from their dormant winter stage into the budding stage.  The yellow is from the blossoms or seeds that are starting to appear on some of the trees.  The trees in this photo are in the back, right hand corner of the above photo.

We have 8 acres of property here at Breezy Acres.  1.5 acres of that is the pond.  It’s about a half mile around the periphery of the property.  Some days I walk down the sledding hill which is to the right (outside of the photo) of the pond.  That brings me approximately to where the willows are shown.  The area just before the willows dips down into a kind of trench.  This is the emergency spillway for the pond.  It comes in handy when the drain at the back of the pond can’t work quickly enough (or becomes clogged, as it was when we first bought the property).  It’s important to have good drainage given all the rain and snow we usually get.  If the pond level were to get too high, it could breach the dam.  The dam is the area built up all along the back and to the right in the above photo.  It holds in the water.  The ground slopes down from both of those areas.

On the right hand side, behind the trees and shrubs lining the dam, it slopes down to a creek which moves the excess water from the spillway to the creek in the woods.  This is usually a dry creek during the summer months, where more trees and shrubs are growing.  The creek in the woods, however, is never a dry creek although I have seen it at fairly low levels during a drought.  The other area at the back of the pond slopes down into the woods.  There is an opening in the trees (just under the letter k in the word “creek” in the photo), and a path that goes down to a small clearing where there is an old apple tree.  If you were to turn right from there, you would eventually end up at the creek and the edge of our property (which runs about 100 feet or so back into the woods).

During the winter months you have probably noticed a house back there in the woods (to the left).  It almost looks like it’s near the pond, but it is set back a ways beyond our property line.  It wasn’t there when we first moved here.  The property back there is boggy and swampy, and it was said that nobody would be able to build there because they wouldn’t get approval for a septic system.  That turned out to be wrong, but only because the county official who wouldn’t approve the septic system was on vacation and they got the substitute guy to say okay.

We planted evergreen trees back in that corner (the left) in the hopes that eventually they will grow tall enough to block our view of the house in the woods.  It might even help with sound, as the couple who live back there are known around here as the Loud Family.  Everything is said at high volume and we can hear their conversations way up here at the house.  It should be said, however, that water carries sound well so their words tend to drift across the pond, up the hill, and through the windows at the back of the house.  Mr. Loud (not his real name, obviously) manufactures steel drums and, every now and then, he plays them.  I especially enjoy that during the summer months while I’m out on the pond in one of the boats.

Rowboat, waiting for summer

Hopefully I have not made things even more confusing.  Just in case that is the case, I’ll stop here and resume the tour another day, when I’m fairly certain we all know where I’m going.  Heh.

And snow it goes…

The day dawned bright and sunny and clear.  By noon we had a heavy cloud cover, and by 2:00pm it was snowing.  Yes, snowing.  It was a weird kind of snow, falling in clumps of tiny balls that look almost like styrofoam.  It is light like styrofoam too.

I did not take the camera with me during my outdoor time today.  I did, however, take a few shots of the snow falling before I went out and about.

Snow falling on ducks

I don’t think the snow will stick.  The ground is probably too warm for that right now.  As of this writing, the snow continues to fall in a flurry-like way, and the prediction by the weather folks is “no significant accumulation.” It will be changing over to rain tomorrow, then snow again tomorrow night.  Messy, methinks, if things start to freeze up a little.


Snow falling on pond