Posts Tagged ‘outdoors’

I learned a few new things today while reading My Side of the Mountain. I learned that the word “copse” can mean a thicket of shrubs and small trees and the underbrush of a forest. I had never even heard of that word before. The book talked about all the animals wanting to go to their homes every evening, and the copse was where the deer were going to go.

Another word I learned was “yank”. I already knew that yank can mean pull, but the author used it in a way I’ve never heard before. The writer was talking about a nuthatch and she said, “He yanked as he went food hunting through the hemlock grove,” and I didn’t know what “yanked” meant in that sentence. The writer also wrote, “We holed up just as Barometer was yanking his way home”. I looked it up in a dictionary, but none of the definitions seemed to fit the usage of the word in those sentences. I like the way it sounds, though, so I just may take up using it.

The third and final thing I didn’t know about was why owls can fly silently. The author mentioned an owl flying noiselessly and I was wondering how they did that. I mean, it seems like they would make a ton of noise because their wings are pretty big. Even smaller birds like blue jays make a lot of noise while flying. Actually, there are a couple of reasons why owls are able to fly without noise. One reason is that they have broad wings with big surface areas that help them to glide without flapping their wings too much. This makes their flight almost silent.

Also, owls’ main feathers are serrated. The edge of owls’ feathers softens the sound of air going over the wing and changes the direction that the air goes. This, somehow, makes their flying very quiet. One time we saw an owl while walking on a path. As we walked by the tree he was in, he lifted off the branch and flew away. He went very quietly and we barely heard him. Now I know why.

Anyway, I took a long time to read this book and am going to be sad when I finish it, which is in another chapter or two. If you have not read this book, you just might want to since it is so interesting. If you do want to and you don’t have it, you can click here.

by John

Usually when we go camping, we have to bring big clunky mosquito candles that take up a lot of storage space. However, this year, shortly after ordering the stormproof matches, we ordered another camping product called Bite Lite. It’s basically a smaller version of the mosquito candles we used to bring with us. It’s so much smaller you can just throw it in your backpack. There’s one problem, though. The can is made out of cheap tin, and it might fall off if you’re too rough with the can. So if you’re going camping with it, you might want to tie a rubber band around it so that the top won’t fall off if you throw it into your backpack.. It smells just like the other candles, and it probably works as well too (we haven’t used it yet, but since it’s almost exactly the same, we’re assuming it works just as well). Now we should be well equipped for our next camping trip, what with these candles and stormproof matches (and if we’re going to try to make a fire from scratch, then flint striker, magnesium, and Purell).

Here are some pictures from our camping trips two years ago.

by John

About a year ago, while playing football in our backyard, we noticed some things that looked like sticks from a distance, but when we examined them, we realised that they were two deer legs. We stopped the football game and were slightly disturbed for a while because we couldn’t fathom how these two legs got there. Then we figured that a hunter must have shot the deer, then cleaned it and cut off its legs. Then a wild animal probably dragged it into our yard before he became aware that he couldn’t eat them and left them alone. The legs looked pretty cool. They still had fur on them and you could see the bones and the knee-joint and everything. We thought it was weird but sort of funny. Another thing we thought was funny was this smashed rat on the Schuylkill river path. It was on a grate that lets water down and was as thin as paper. It looked like a couple of cars had run over him. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of it but I’ll describe it as good as I can. It was very flat, like I already said, and had very matted dirty gray fur. Its tail was sort of bent and the parts of him that weren’t supported by the grate sagged down so that he resembled a wavy potato chip. We stared at him for a while and then moved on. The next time we came by, we were disappointed. Our friend the rat was gone.

by Dink