Monday, March 9, 2009

The amazing Mississippi
I have been fascinated by the Mississippi River and the Upper Mississippi Valley. I walk along the river almost every time I go walking and it is always changing. When we drive to Keokuk we drive along the river. We have been loving the Eagles. We see them here down by the river and sometimes I see one flying from my kitchen window. We see them when we drive to Keokuk and there are so many of them near the dam in Keokuk. They like fishing there. We sometimes will drive down to the river park and watch them. It's been fun watching the geese. Hundreds of geese huddled on the ice sleeping, swaqucking , walking around, flying. No wonder they use down to keep us warm because it is really cold. They actually get frozen in the ice. We also see lots of ducks.

Watching the ice has been so interesting. The river has been completely frozen at times and at other times is partly frozen. It's so interesting to see the piles of ice and different thicknesses. Places look like waves of ice.  The river is thawed now and I'm thinking the deep freeze is over and it won't freeze again. I'm excited for when the turtles come. It's so fun to watch for turtles on our way to Keokuk. They climb on the logs and driftwood in the river. You might see 5, 6, 8,  9, 14, 15, or more on one log. I have a picture of 22 on one log. We stopped to take a picture and they all jumped off. 

The birds are fun to watch. Friday when I walked down to the river I saw a red winged black bird. We have cardinals here, Blue Jays, Red Headed woodpeckers plus other woodpeckers, robins have now arrived, also we have had a small bird that has been here all winter. There are hundreds of them and they fly in mass from one tree top to the other. They can be very noisey. Yesterday I was out walking and it was so neat to listen to all the birds. Today I saw a bright yellow bird when we coming home from Ft Madison. 

Other animals here besides all the squirrels are deer, muscrats, racoons, rabbits, otters, beavers, frogs and turtles. 

The winter has been very cold but also very interesting. The ice storms are something else but the one we had that left everything coated in 1/4" to 3/8" of ice was beautiful. The trees just glistened. The snow is different here than in Utah and California. It will start settling on the walks, roads and cars as soon as it starts to fall. The thunder and lightening are something else. The thunder is rolling thunder and can go on and on. Of course it is rare to have thunder and lightening in the winter except when we have an ice storm but they are starting now. Saturday night was a light show almost all night. We leave our curtains open so we can see it. And talk about rain. It really rained. Up north they are experiencing some flooding. We are getting into our rainy season. It rains more here in the spring and summer with July and August being our wettest months usually. It's all part of the experience and we are enjoying it.