Say Hello to my Little Friend – Part Two

I wrote a while back about riding my bike in the colder winter temps without my dog and feeding the squirrels  in her absence. The little guys don’t have as much to eat with the cold temps and thinned ranks of tourists on the lakefront.

I learned something new the other day. I stopped for a rest around Buckingham Fountain and was tossing nuts to a squirrel when I wondered if he would take one out of my fingers. I know they are wild animals (tiny, but still wild), but I thought if I held a long peanut, there wasn’t much chance of getting bit.

sqrl
I tried that andhe took it out of my fingers and scampered away to eat it. What I didn’t realize is that this apparently removed a barrier between us. He no longer considered my a possible predator, just a source of food. We had become buddies. The next time I was holding a peanut he ran up my leg to get it. As you can see below, I had my iPhone videocamera ready.

As you can see from the video, I was able to catch him in the act.

You can see my previous squirrely encounter here.

Tony

… In the Eye of the Beholder

When I started writing this blog I said that I would be writing about and showing you things I consider to be beautiful. Yesterday when I was riding my bike, I thought about how beautiful the path I was rolling across was to me, then I laughed. You see, yesterday it was blowing snow here in Chicago and there was a lot of snow and ice on the places where I normally ride. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I want to show you a couple of photos. The first is the lovely Riverwalk along the Chicago River. Tourists come here and enjoy the view every day.

This is the riverwalk where I ride every day. Obviously there is no bike riding across this very pretty landscape.

This is the riverwalk where I ride every day. Obviously there is no bike riding across this very pretty landscape.

For a bike ride, however, this is treacherous terrain and not to be trifled with. Below is a photo of Lower Wacker Drive. It happens to be adjacent to the lovely Riverwalk, but as you can see it appears rather unseemly. It looks dark because it is ‘underground.’ The street lights are necessary during the day, too. Not very appealing compared with the pristine beauty of the Riverwalk. To this bike rider, however, Lower Wacker Drive is a thing of beauty. I can ride my bike there in any kind of weather and feel protected from snow and ice on the ground, falling rain and wind gusts that could blow me off my bike.

This is Lower Wacker Drive, not very pretty, but very protected from the elements

This is Lower Wacker Drive, not very pretty, but very protected from the elements. Absolutely beautiful!

If you use your imagination, you can see how beautiful Lower Wacker Drive is to this bike rider.

This is Lower Wacker adjacent to the Chicago Auto Pound, the fence on the right.

This is Lower Wacker adjacent to the Chicago Auto Pound, the fence on the right.

Tony

Frigid February Morning

This is what sub-zero looks like. It was just below zero Fahrenheit this morning when I shot these.

The sun was just beginning to creep over the horizon at this point

The sun was just beginning to creep over the horizon at this point

Up over the horizon, but blocked by clouds…

Over the horizon, but not quite visible...

Over the horizon, but not quite visible…

Peeking through the clouds …

Brightening, but still chill ...

Brightening, but still chill …

Here the sun has risen and illuminates the ‘steam’ coming up from the surface waters which is really ice crystals.

Lovely reflection off Lake Michigan's surface ...

Lovely reflection off Lake Michigan’s surface …

This is just a clearer shot of the lake’s surface.

Last, but not least more surface detail.

Last, but not least more surface detail.

One of the things worth mentioning is that these were shot looking almost exactly due east, so you can see how much the sun has returned from its wintry trip down south. It is almost dead even on the horizon as it moves back north through spring and summer.

These photos were shot today, February first. Since the first of the year, we have added 13 minutes of daylight in the morning and 35 minutes in the afternoon, so we have a total of 48 more minutes of sunlight now than we did when the year started. Things are looking up.

Tony

Another January Morning

Here is another January morning sunrise. I wondered if the weather had anything to do with it.

Chicago has been suffering from the arrival of winter. “Chicago’s coldest blast of air in 2 years is easing—but slowly. By midnight Tuesday, the area moved into a 55th consecutive hour of sub-20-degree thermometer readings and 46 hours with wind chills below zero. Tuesday’s 11-degree high and 1-below morning low put the day into the record books as the city’s coldest of the past two years,” according to the blog of Tom Skilling, the awesome local meteorologist.

tues

In this frigid weather, what looks like steam coming up off the surface of the lake is actually ice crystals.

Tony

January Morning

I don’t know what it is about January, but it seems to generate some of the more dramatic sunrises of the year. This was earlier in the current week.

IMG_1808

This reminds me of paintings I have seen and loved, dramatic, powerful, enlightening, uplifting.

Ice Mosaic

The normal high temperature in Chicago in January is around 32 F. Last week we had several days where temps ranged up into the 50’s. As a result the usually frozen solid surface of Lake Michigan yielded.

I think the resulting ice mosaic is kind of cool.

ice mosaic

The sun  had risen an hour or so earlier, but was hiding in the clouds. I saw this on my morning bike ride.

January Sunrise

After a series of unpicturesque mornings, January fifth offered a dramatic contrast.

 

Just before cracking the horizon

Just before cracking the horizon

This was several minutes later:
sun

Good morning, sun.

Worth the wait

Worth the wait

I wonder what it is about January that brings about such dramatic displays.

Tony

Say Hello to My Little Friend

With apologies to Tony Montana for using his famous line from Scarface, I wanted you to meet my little friend the squirrel. Now that winter is here, the temperatures are too cold to bring along my dog, so I ride without her. I miss her company, but the good news is that when I stop for a rest break, the neighborhood squirrels aren’t afraid to come by for a bite. Also, the colder temps have cut down the amount of tourists around so the squirrels need help.

I met this little guy at the Buckingham Fountain plaza while I was taking a rest break from a ride. Lucky for him, I carry a baggie of peanuts for just such occasions. Maybe he knew that. The peanuts are not salted as I don’t want to contribute to hypertension in the squirrel population.

The squirrels around here are amazingly bold. One of them crawled right up my back fender one afternoon as I was standing chatting with a friend. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my iPhone out fast enough to shoot a picture of his little face looking at me while clutching my fender.

This little guy sat right in front of me and dined. Usually they take the nuts  run away  to eat them.

Cute, isn’t he?

Tony

Oldies but Goodies

I was just doing some year end housecleaning and ran across these two photos that I had previously sent to friends. Thought they looked good enough to share with you.

The first was a spectucular December morning.

Awesome array of colors

Awesome array of colors

The second was a photo I took one morning walking the dog. The sun hadn’t quite risen yet and there was one of those magical morning lights going on.

This is in Lakeshore East Park looking west

This is in Lakeshore East Park looking west around sunrise. The sun is coming up behind me.

Happy holidays, all!

Tony

Sausage Clouds

Funny how this view of Navy Pier yields such interesting photos. I have taken a number of them, one just a few posts back. I thought the clouds reminded me of sausages, or possibly intestines although that isn’t as pleasant an image.

Don't those clouds remind you of sausages?

Don’t those clouds remind you of sausages?

I definitely is a dark December sky.

What do you think?

Tony