There was a fierce southwest wind blowing accompanying the snowfall we had. Our yard was filled with geese, grounded because they would be flying into a head wind on their migration route. None of the geese were standing, but rather sitting and rooting through the snow to find the vestiges of grasses. That’s how I knew it was not just a little cold, but really cold. A biting wind flying through one’s legs feels no more pleasant to a goose than it does you or me.
The eagles have returned to our area, probably because one neighbor attracts so many ducks with his always-filled bird feeders and another runs a pump to keep the ice from forming attracting even more waterfowl. When they fly overhead, the ducks rush under the docks. The eagles stay though, standing on the ice, staking out their next move.
Seeing an eagle stand on the ice, you get a real impression of just how big a bird one is. They can weigh up to 15 pounds, with an 8 foot wingspan. They are a massive bird in flight, easily recognized by their wings laid out flat in the sky. The birds at our bay are mature birds, with the telltale white head and tail. Eagles don’t get this distinctive coloration until they are 4-5 years old, so we’re seeing some veterans here. They are long-lived too, living up to 40 years in the wild. Not too far from us, there is a pair of nesting bald eagles. It’s their nest that you first spot driving down the road. These nests can be up to 10 foot wide, assuming the tree or other structure can support it.
It’s a real treat for us to see these birds. It’s one of the benefits of living on a large body of water. Somehow having them here is also reassurance of the natural order of things. I see it as a privilege to have them here, to watch them hunt and roost and even frighten the ducks. It’s a great success story as well, having them here and knowing they were saved from the threat of extinction. They must be tough birds too, to handle this blustery winter day.
I made a commitment to start walking. Happily, I can say that after 6 weeks, I’m still at it. Though weight loss has been a motivation, I’ve been looking for more tips/tricks to keep me motivated and also to track my progress. That left brain is demanding some activity. I discovered several great websites that motivated me, and which have also proven enlightening. The USDA has a website highlighting the use of the food pyramid. It was very helpful to learn just how healthy or not I was eating. I used this faithfully for about 10 days to get a pattern of my eating and nutrition intake. This awareness will help me make better choices. It’s all about making the good choices, afterall.
A good walking site I found is the About.com walking site. I’m not normally a fan of About.com sites. They tend to be too aggressive with advertising and pop-up, IMHO. This site is very useful, with some great tools like the target heart rate calculator. It can be a bit tough to navigate, but there is a lot of useful information there.
Through browsing the About.com site, I came across this other site, America On the Move. This is a site to track your steps, the goal being 10,000 steps or approximately 5 miles a day. It sounds like a lot, but is actual quite obtainable. After buying a pedometer, I used this site to track my steps. One nice feature is the route map. You can choose to “walk” the Lewis and Clark Trail, the Applachian Trail, among others. Your steps are divided by 100 and converted to miles to speed things along, as it were. However, a pedometer isn’t essential. You can enter the time you engage in different activities and the time will be converted to steps. The only down side I found with that though is that when it comes to averaging and establishing your baseline each individual entry is totaled and averaged rather than a total for the day, making your baseline pretty low.
The site I’m using the most right now is Fitness Journal.. Unlike the others, this one does cost. I was very skeptical at first, but after using it on a free trial, I’m liking it. One feature that is a lot of fun with it is the map across America. I track my steps each day on the site. This site uses actual miles to track my trek across the country. Here is my map.
Okay, I’m not too far yet, but I did just start. Come back in a month and hopefully I may have made my way out of California by then!