My Weight Loss Progress

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Another Day, Another Park

We've enjoyed walking outdoors lately. Today we went back to a park we first discovered three years ago. It has a one-mile path, which is just about what I felt up to after going to the dentist for three fillings.

It rained during the night, so much that the creek through the park had overflowed.  The weather sites say it was only an inch or two of rain, but I think it came down all at once. The grass was all matted down for several feet on each side of the creek. The gravel path was dotted with puddles, occasionally wide enough to cover the whole path.

We saw a lady out walking her dog, and warned her about the wet spots. She said she knew, and wasn't going to walk very far. We chuckled when we were leaving to see her pick up her little dog and carry him over a puddle.  I guess that's easier than giving  him a bath, or dealing with  muddy dog in the car.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bird, Bird, Goose?

Yesterday the sky poured buckets, so we walked at the mall. It was too muddy today for our forest walk, so we went on one of our favorite paved trails, a 1.8 mile walk around a fishing hatchery pond.  We backtracked part of it, bringing it up to two miles.  

Though surrounded by forest, there is also the pond, where we saw geese, saw a few people fishing, and heard a splash which we think might have been a fish jumping.  My husband saw a turtle slip off a log into the water, but I missed that one. 

I saw a bird no bigger than a monarch butterfly (I think it might have been a juvenile tree swallow.)

We saw some redwing blackbirds.

Best of all, I saw a large white goose herding a clutch of half-grown wild geese.  Or maybe they were half-wild geese.  I wonder how they will fare when they try to mingle in a larger gaggle. Will they be accepted?  Is the white goose accepted and does it fly south with the others?  There is so much I don't know about nature. 

I think the ones I saw had a longer neck than this one. 
The geese I saw seemed darker than the one  below, more like the colors of Canada Geese, but not the black heads of Canada geese, but I don't know for sure. I only got a quick glimpse and didn't have my camera with me.

Geese mate for life, so if the white one isn't accepted, will its wild mate stay behind with it?  If so, will it survive?  Is the white one an albino or a domesticated goose gone wild?  So many questions are raised by one simple walk around the pond.  I found a great website that tells a lot about the behavior of geese. I hope they won't mind if I borrow a few quotes from them.

It is the female who chooses her mate based on his displays of behaviors and how well he demonstrates he can protect her.

Well, this raises a few questions. If the white one was female, how did the brown male feel about being chosen?  Was he thrilled that this exotic larger goose chose him, or was he feeling angst, knowing he would be ostracized?  If the white one was male, how did it demonstrate to the wild female that it could protect her?  How did her parents feel about her mating outside the gaggle?  Or do they even care?  

There seems to be mixed opinions about the viability of hybrid geese. One site I found shows a hybrid Canada/Greylag Goose--With feet that look like ducks!  

The eggs hatch at about the same time, and usually hatch early morning. The young goslings are brooded (kept warm and protected from predators) by the female for several hours following birth and at night for several days. Their parents are highly protective of them and the female will often lift her wing slightly and let them gather under her wing for warmth and security. They go under her wings to seek shelter from the storm, and they rest there at night. She covers them to keep them safe for predators. With a gentle sound from her, the goslings know they are being called to safety, and all scurry under her wings where it is safe. The gander, the father of the goslings, stands watch over the little ones and his mate, very proudly, his strong neck raised high and looking about in all directions, guarding and protecting them all.

I want my mama and daddy!  Sometimes it's just exhausting being all grown up, you know?  I want someone to call me to safety and give me a place to rest. 

Well, there's a possibility my "hybrid" goose is just a snow goose, as they do come in different colors.  If that's the case though, these geese should be in Northern Canada about now, according to National Geographic.

Snow geese are known for their white plumage, but many of them are actually darker, gray-brown birds known as blue geese. These birds were once though to be two separate species, but they have recently been found to be merely two different color morphs of the same bird. A single gene controls the color difference.

On the day after they hatch, both the goose (female) and gander (male) take the goslings to the brood rearing area. Both parents share the responsibility of actively protecting and caring for the young; Canada geese need both parents to raise the goslings. Several family groups rear broods in the same locality. The brood flocks consisting of several families are called crèches. Young geese have flight feathers at about 16 weeks old. All groups of geese families teach the young geese to fly, and they all work together to do this. The parents and young geese start at the top of a hill, run down into the water many times with their wings stretched out. Parents also have the young geese to “run” back and forth in the water with wings stretched out, to practice flying skills. 

I guess it takes a village to raise a gosling!

Friday, June 21, 2013

New Shoes! Happy feet?

My podiatrist recommended a particular brand of shoes to help with my plantar fasciitis.  He also formed insoles for me, but they are not working out too well. I still ache a lot!

My husband called around for me today until he found a store that had the shoes in my size.  I put them on and they have enough arch support and I don't have to wear the insoles.  They are super cushy inside, which gives me happy feet.

She also told me some good toe stretches to do before I get out of bed in the morning, and sold me on a special compression sock that is supposed to help.  For $25 for one sock, it better!  So far tonight my foot hurts less than it has, but we'll see how it all works out.  The foot without the special sock is hurting almost as much as the other one does, so I think I might need one for each foot. Maybe my feet are just tired, though, as we did another 3 mile walk today, and then did laundry and shoe shopping.

The shoes recommended are Brooks Ariel.  Kind of pricey, but if they help my foot heal, they'll be well worth it.  The sock is made by Feetures!  

I was happy with this shoe store, because the shoes were the same price as on or Brooks' own site.  Often shoes cost more locally.  The owner seemed very knowledgeable, which made it worth the extra cost of the sales tax I ended up paying, and the drive down there.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Long Road Home

Have I mentioned that we have a lovely little wooded area just about a quarter mile from our apartment?  Hardly anyone ever goes in there except bicycles on weekends.  The trails are build with interesting curves and jumps for bikes, along with markers about how difficult each trail is. That's helpful for walking.

A bicycle waits near the trail.  If you look ahead you can see that the center of
the trail is a long skinny "balance beam" made of railroad ties.  
Yesterday, we ended up on the "road"  through the outskirts of the forest.  It has two ruts instead of one!  Someone mows the trails, or we would be walking through chest-high prairie grass in the hilly areas.

This entire experience makes me think of the pioneers who crossed through the Midwest on their way to Oregon, California, Utah and Wyoming.  I wondered how a child could get lost on flat land, which is recorded as happening.  First let me say that the plains are not flat land.  They are full of rolling hills and shallow valleys.  When the grass is chest-high on adults, it would be over the heads of children.  This is not a nicely mowed lawn.Yet still there is no shade for adults--and, for the pioneers, no one to mow the trail.

I think the mothers must have looked forward to the occasional shaded area near a river or creek, while at the same time dreading the increasing dangers for their children.  Creeks and rivers and trees to wander in, shadows to hide them, wild animals...all must have been scary for those who came from cities to try to make a new life for themselves.

We find areas where deer have lain; the grass is temporarily matted down in large areas, yet there is very little sign of entry.  A child could easily wander through grass and be lost.

On the bright side, there are many beautiful grasses, trees, wildflowers, moss, ferns, mushrooms...birds singing, signs of other small animals but I probably talk too much and scare them away.  We saw actual deer once, though.

Anyway, back to yesterday...we found ourselves at the end of this forest road, and it came out on a paved road, so we decided to walk a little way and figure out where we were and where it went.  Next time I'll just come home and use the internet maps!  We had walked 1.3 miles, according to my pedometer, and by the time we were done, we had walked 3.2 miles!  That means we walked 1.9 miles along a paved road.

A close-up view of part of the woods. Courtesy 
I walked enough later to make up 4.75 miles for the whole day!  That's only 600 steps short of the 10,000 steps recommended by whomever recommends those things.  How do people really walk that far on an average day?

The nice thing is that I can do it!  I was tired, and we did a 10-minute yoga session to stretch out after our little hike, but I did it!  And I only hurt a little bit today.

We took it easy today, though, only a quick 1.2 miles around in the mall.  If that sounds to you like it's not easy--because don't you hate it when someone walks an "easy" walk and it sounds like it would kill you--don't chastise yourself.  You can only start where you are.  When we moved here a year ago it was hard for me to walk the quarter mile to work.  And look at me now!  Climbing around on bike trails and taking the long road home!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

We shouldn't base our opinion of ourselves on others' opinions, but....

When you get two compliments in a couple of weeks, you know you're making progress. One of my TOPS ladies commented that I am getting a nice waistline.

Today a friend of mine complimented me on a new outfit and then said "You're getting slimmer."  I laughed and said I really like this outfit now!