Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Thigh Pyramid

I'm not really sure what happened, but sadly the writing for this post got lost and replaced with Your Best Butt forward. All my genius is just gone forever. *le sigh*



Anyway, The printable workout is still here and that's probably what you came here for anyway. Sooooooooooo... enjoy:



Download the printable version here.



Below is a description of how to do these workout moves. For a full list you can check out my glossary here. You can also find more printable workouts by clicking here.


Squat
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms by sides, bend your knees slowly until your upper legs are parallel with the floor and raise arms straight to shoulder level in front of you. Your chest should be slightly forward and your knees should not extend past your toes. Immediately return to standing with arms by side. 

Lunge
Take a big step forward with your left foot, bend your knees and lower your body until both legs form 90-degree angles. Push off with your left foot and stand back up. Do reps, and then repeat on other leg. 

Toe Touches 
Stretch out your lower back and butt muscles. Stand with feet hip-width distance apart. Stretch up with your hands straight above your head. Bend at the hips touch your right fingers to your left toes and twist so your left arms reaches toward the ceiling. Hold then straight up to standing and switch sides.

Wall Sit
Press your back against a wall. Keep back flat against the wall slide down until knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Hold.

Jumping Jacks
Starting standing with feet together and arms straight by your sides. Jump up and spread your arms and legs wide as you land. Jump up again to return to center.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Green is the New Black: An Info Guide for Fashionistas

About a week ago I read an article about consumerism. Basically the author was suggesting that in order to be sustainable you should stop purchasing. Anything. My response was that this is an unreasonable request. This may work for some people but it isn't practical for the majority. Being green should be an attractive lifestyle to all kinds of people. I think the more important lesson for the green fashionista is to be conscience of WHAT your buying and both the quality and quantity of these items.


In Greening Your Home Part 1 (Big Purchases) and Part 2 (Decorating), I talk about learning your personal style for home decor instead of following every current trend. The same applies to your wardrobe and this an info guide for all you fashionistas because green is the new black (I always love in books or movies when a character says the title).

Make the cuts

The first step to a greener wardrobe is to edit it. I don't mean get rid of everything that isn't made of sustainable materials and replace these things with pieces that are more environmentally-friendly. That would be the opposite of green. What I mean is find the time to look at every article of clothing that you own. Assign a spot on the floor for YES and a spot for NO.

Look at each item carefully; try them on if you need to. Ask yourself:
  • Do I like this item?
  • Does it look good on me?
  • Do I feel good while wearing this?
  • Is it torn or have holes?
  • Can I fix it within a week?
  • Do I dread seeing someone while wearing this?
  • Do I only wear it on laundry day?
If you haven't worn something for a year, you probably don't need it anymore. Some things (a wedding or bridesmaids dress, Halloween costumes, etc.) are exceptions. If you can't think of a good reason to keep something, don't! Put it in the NO pile and get it out of your life.


I don't believe in MAYBE piles. I always end up keeping everything and it's just a waste of time trying to kid yourself. Give yourself clear guidelines about what stays and what goes, and stick to them. Purging your wardrobe is oddly satisfying.

Develop a Shopping Strategy

If you have a game plan before you leave your house about how you plan to shop you will be more likely to keep on the righteous path toward green (I'm officially a green crusader after that statement). Here are a few tips that might help you on your journey.
  • Always keep at least one reusable shopping bag by your front door or in your car. There is so much information about the evils of both plastic and paper bags but this post has neither the time nor the space so in the meantime you'll have to take my word for it. When asked if you want paper or plastic always respond by saying, "Neither, I care about my planet and have brought my own bag." Or something along those lines.
  • Make a list and stick to it. If you make a list you will (hopefully) only include the things you really need, and you will resist the urge to go shopping out of boredom. Think of all the things you can do with your time now. Also, by sticking to the list you won't be caught off guard by those strategically placed items that stores are so good at setting up in order to encourage you to buy on impulse.
  • Opt for organic or sustainable materials. As I mentioned in Greening Your Home Part 2, conventional cotton  farming practices are the most pesticide-intensive in the world. Organic cotton is more expensive but is also more luxurious and used in better quality clothing, which means you won't have to buy clothes as often. Silk, cashmere, and wool are all sustainable materials, linen and hemp come from plants that even when not grown organically require very little treatment with pesticides.
  • Consider vintage, consignment and thrifting. Now I could go on for pages about how much fun I find thrift stores (and I probably will at some point, so look forward to that). But the main thing you should take away from this post today is that clothes that are used require no additional energy to manufacture, the energy is already used and gone. Also you won't be wearing the same outfit as a hundred other people.
Some e-cards is really helping me tell a story today. They just really understand my life.
  • Don't get suckered by sales. Sales are a clever ploy to get you to buy things you don't need. There is a sale for every occasion: Father's Day, Labor Day, After-Christmas, 4th of July. I know when you look at that label for 75% off it can be tempting, but just because you can get a brand-new shower head that also brews coffee for $19.95 doesn't mean you need it.
  • Treat everyone you come across with respect. No matter where you are shopping or what you are buying, everyone deserves  to be treated with dignity, respect and friendliness. If you are unhappy about a policy or product, the people you come in contact with are not to blame.

Where to Buy

Now is the time I give you a list of the places you should be making purchases from. This list comes from A Better World Handbook and is ranked based on five factors: Human Rights, The Environment, Animal Protection, Community Involvement and Social Justice. They also have a Shopping Guide.

  • A Companies - are social and environmental leaders
  • B Companies - tend to be mainstream companies taking social/environmental responsibility seriously
  • C Companies - have either mixed social and environmental records or insufficient data to rank them
  • D Companies - engage in practices that have significant negative impact on people and the planet
  • F Companies - have the worst social and environmental records


Friday, July 26, 2013

Yak Chili

My parents were vegetarian throughout my childhood and during my teen years they had added white meat (birds) back into their diet. Considering I was dependent on them very much for food my diet mimicked theirs. Therefore, when I started becoming interested in cooking, I watched my mom to learn from her by example. This meant I never really learned how to cook red meat (mammals).


A friend of mine has a yak ranch in Fairplay, CO and I bought a pound of ground meat. I had this meat that I didn't know how to cook but was interested in trying. I scoured Pinterest for yak meat recipes. I found some ideas but in the end I used the recipes to teach me how to cook the meat properly and added it to a chili. Chili is the best.

To start you need to brown the meat. Yak meat needs to be cooked slowly in order to preserve the flavor. You can also use ground beef or turkey. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the bottom of a large pot. Heat up the oil on medium low and add a pound of meat with one chopped onion.


Cook at a consistent, medium heat until meat is cooked through and onions are translucent.
mmmm steamy!
Drain the liquid from the pan to cut the fat, or leave it in to increase flavor. Add a can of diced tomatoes with liquid.

Drain liquid from three cans of beans. Use some combination of chili beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans etc.


Then add the beans to the pot.

Add a can of tomato sauce, a cup of frozen corn,1 teaspoon paprika, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon oregano, 2 teaspoons garlic powder.

Let the liquid cook out for about 20 minutes. Add salt to taste.

Serve topped with cheese with a side of bread or Fritos.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. of ground meat
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 3 cans of beans (kidney, pinto, black etc.)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder

Directions:

Brown the meat in the bottom of a large pot in a tablespoon of oil with chopped onions on medium heat. Add diced tomatoes with liquid. Drain beans of liquid then add beans to pot. Add the can of tomato sauce, corn and spices. Simmer on low for 20 minutes. Add salt to taste after cooking (salt makes beans tough, add it later to prevent this). Enjoy :)


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sun Salutations

It's Workout Wednesday and about time for another post about yoga...

All around the world, many cultures have long viewed light as a symbol of consciousness and self-illumination. In The Origins and Historyof Consciousness, Erich Neumann wrote, “The world begins with the coming of light, opposition between light and darkness has informed the spiritual world of all peoples and molded it into shape.”

The only source of light for most of human history was, of course the sun, and today it remains our primary source of light. The Hindus called the sun Surya and they revered it as both the physical and spiritual heart of our world and the creator of life itself. They called the sun the “eye of the world” (loka chakshus), which was regarded as a pathway to the divine.

One important way many Hindus honored the sun was and is through the asana sequence known as Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutations. Namaska is a Sanskrit word, which can be derived from namas, meaning “to bow to” or “to adore.” The placement of joined-hands touching the heart at the beginning and end of each sequence shows that only the heart can know truth.


Ancient Yogis believed that each person replicates the world around, including “rivers, seas, mountains, fields… stars and planets… the sun and moon” (Shiva Samitha, II. 1-3). Therefore the practice of Sun Salutations allows each person to share their inner sun with the sun which shines down upon them.



There are many variations of Sun Salutations but generally it consists of eight basic postures in a similar order as follows, with alternating inhales and exhales as transitions between poses (Photos courtesy of Yoga Journal dot com):

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute)

Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)



Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)



Monday, July 22, 2013

The Pros and Cons of Wind Power (repost)

I wrote this piece during my internship at the Society for Range Management for the SRM Outreach Blog. It's about the positive and negative aspects of wind power based on an article I read. I thought it would be appropriate for Monday since I usually write about some environmental topic or other on Mondays... Anyway enjoy! :)

CQ Researcher is a periodical that covers some of the most debated social and political topics of today. I recently read a CQ Researcher article titled, “Wind Power: Is Wind Energy Good for the Environment?” written by David Hosansky, which I found to be especially informative.  
Photo by Maggie Haseman,
 National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO
In his article Hosansky outlines the history of how humans have harnessed the power of wind. Between 5,500 B.C.E. and 1,400 A.C.E., wind power was first employed in Southeast Asia to sail boats, and in windmills to pump water and grind grain. In the 18th and early 19th century and during the Industrial Revolution, steam began to replace wind, a well established energy source throughout Europe, as a power source. By the late 19th century, however wind reclaimed its early importance when scientists began developing windmills to bring electricity to rural areas, especially in Scotland, the United States, and Denmark. In the 1900s to 1980s most of the U.S. was reliant on nuclear energy and fossil fuels for electricity, farmers however used small windmills for irrigation pump operation. Between 1990 and present day, interest in alternative energy has increased due to rising oil prices, among other factors. Today, Hosansky cites China as the wind power world leader with a wind-energy capacity of 42 gigawatts, followed closely by the U.S. at 40 gigawatts.

A wind turbine works by capturing energy when the wind blows past the blade, there is a “lift” effect causing the blades to turn. As the blades turn, a shaft that is connected to the generator spins, creating electricity.

Wind Turbine Diagram and Parts

Blades: Every turbine usually has either two or three blades.
Rotor: The blades and the hub together are called the rotor.
Pitch: Blades are turned, or pitched, out of the wind to control the rotor speed.
Brake: A disc brake, which can stop the rotor in emergencies.
Low-speed shaft: The rotor turns the low-speed shaft at about 30 to 60 rotations per minute.
Gear box: Gears connect the low-speed shaft to the high-speed shaft and increase speeds from about 30 to 60 rotations per minute (rpm) to 1,000 to 1,800, rpm, the speed required by most generators to produce electricity.
Generator: Produces 60-cycle AC electricity.
Controller: The controller starts up the machine at wind speeds of about 8 to 16 miles per hour (mph) and shuts off the machine at about 55 mph.
Anemometer: Measures the wind speed and transmits wind speed data to the controller.
Wind vane: Measures wind direction and communicates with the yaw drive to orient the turbine properly with respect to the wind.
Nacelle: Contains the gear box, low- and high-speed shafts, generator, controller, and brake.
High-speed shaft: Drives the generator.
Yaw drive: Keeps the rotor on upwind turbines facing into the wind as the wind direction changes.
Yaw motor: Powers the yaw drive.
Tower: Towers are made from tubular steel, concrete, or steel lattice.
Caption Source:  Department of Energy
Photo Source: Turbine Zone

Some of the issues I found interesting in Hosansky’s paper include the problem of wind intermittency, the financial constraints involved with wind power, the effect wind energy can have by displacing some emissions and pollutants, concerns about wildlife protection, and the land requirements for a wind farm.

Photo by Charles Haseman,
Along I-80 near Des Moines, Iowa
 Living in Colorado, a relatively windy state, I don’t notice a lack of wind but this article reminded me that not every place in the U.S. or the world receives gusts as powerful as those throughout the Great Plains and the west coast. The article discusses that wind power seems to be a perfect fit for the U.S., according to Hosansky, If wind turbines had the ability to operate at 100% of their capacity, wind power has the potential to supply 16 times the electricity needs of the United States; however wind turbines only generate 25-40% of their capacity due to wind intermittency. Another challenge is that the locations with the most persistent wind tend to be in sparsely populated areas away from major population centers and not necessarily when the demand for energy peaks.  As a result, a large network of transmission lines is necessary to deliver the wind energy to the consumers, which could be costly.

I find the financial controversy outlined by Hosansky particularly fascinating. In order to reach the current U.S. goal of generating 20% of energy by wind power, the estimated cost is $200 billion, likely to be burdened onto ratepayers. This money would be used for turbines, improved transmission line capability and other infrastructure. Wind farms can also lower property value by up to 40%. On the other hand, turbines can result in local governments receiving “higher real estate tax revenue” and landowners leasing their land to build towers for $3,000 to $5,000 a year. The renewable energy standard President Obama presented will protect consumers from unstable fuel prices, save money, boost the economy and create green jobs. In addition the price of wind power is less than other renewable-energy sources.

Photo by Charles Haseman,
Along I-80 near Des Moines, Iowa
To me, Hosansky’s summary of the effect of carbon dioxide and other pollutants, which are often noted as the culprits for climate change, and the way wind power impacts them is enlightening. “The extraction, transport and combustion of… fossil fuels can affect water and air quality, wildlife habitats and the global climate.” Additionally green energy does not necessarily include all renewable energies; cycling fossil fuel plants up and down in response to the intermittent wind is expensive and “can emit excessive pollution” and reduce the “effectiveness of environmental-control equipment.” In order to reduce emissions it would be more efficient to directly address that problem. Conversely, wind energy is a key energy source to reducing air pollution and carbon dioxide and other emissions from coal and natural gas. Besides hydropower, wind energy generates the most amount of electricity compared to every other renewable energy sources, and it is considered safer than nuclear energy. A combination of diverse mixed fuel sources such as wind, solar and a back-up system of newer and more efficient gas-fired plants that can be quickly ramped up or down can reduce emissions significantly because fossil fuel plants won’t be running as often.

Photo by Charles Haseman,
Along I-80 near Des Moines, Iowa
Possibly the most popular argument against wind power that I have heard is about the detrimental effects it can have on wildlife, particularly birds and bats; Hosansky explains this captivating argument. Thousands of birds, including rare raptors such as golden eagles and burrowing owls have been killed by the blades of wind mills, and others have been electrocuted by wind-farm power lines. Additionally, in one year 2,000 bats may have been killed by a single wind farm. However, others suggest that wind farms can be placed far from migratory paths and “major populations of birds and bats” where such effects are less likely. Experts say that many reports of wildlife death were made prior to technological advances; modern wind mills are taller and kill far fewer animals. One report stated that turbines are low on the list of reasons why birds and bats die; pesticides, attacks by domestic and feral cats and collisions with windows kill much greater number of birds.

Photo by Maggie Haseman,
 National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO
Another interesting argument discussed by Hosansky concerns land requirements. “Wind farms require far more land… than traditional forms of electricity generation”; estimates say “45 times more than nuclear power and several times more than coal and natural gas plants”. Furthermore, the location of wind farms can damage sensitive ecosystems and destroy beautiful landscapes. Alternatively, ”the turbines take up relatively little space and [the] land around” them can still be utilized for other purposes such as farming, ranching and recreation, thus taking up less space than fossil fuel plants overall. Additionally, improvements in technology continue to allow for larger turbines, meaning fewer are necessary to generate the same amount of electricity. Moreover, between smog and a windmill, one person stated they’d take the windmill.

This article was eye-opening to me and really gave some insight into benefits of and current issues with wind power. I now believe I have formed an educated opinion around wind energy and based on the issues discussed above I personally support wind power. It seems that the issues with it can be solved and, in my opinion, the issues, when they are compared to the benefits, are minor. I enjoyed reading the story-like writing and the political perspective on wind energy. If you would like to read this article too, here is the citation:

Hosansky, D. (2011, April 1). Wind Power: Is wind power good for the environment?. CQ Researcher, 21, 289-312.

Friday, July 19, 2013

How to Make Butter, Buttermilk and Buttermilk Cake

 My mom had some leftover buttermilk from another recipe, which I find is often the case considering it comes from the store in large quantities, so we searched for a way to use it. We hoped that what we found would be a cake, because we love cake.

I found a recipe for a cake, which I altered a little to suit our needs. Mostly this means subbing softened butter for shortening, reducing the sugar content and number of eggs and increasing the buttermilk content. It also means adding dried cherries and miniature chocolate chips because, let's face it, nothing can taste bad when it has cherries and chocolate in it.

Ingredients:


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • *add-ins to your desired concentration optional*


Directions: 

Beat sugar, butter, vanilla and eggs together with spoon or mixer.  Mix flour, salt and baking soda with a wire whisk in a separate bowl. Add to creamed mixture. Add buttermilk and continue mixing until smooth. Add in cherries, chocolate chips or other mix-ins. Pour into greased, 9x13 cake pan and bake in preheated 325 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes until centers tests done.  Let cool and serve from pan.
Yum... Buttermilk cake.

Interestingly, I recently learned how to make butter and buttermilk at home. You can learn this (and many other things, like how-to make soap, shingles and cooking in a wood oven) if you come to the free Summer Heritage Event tomorrow evening at 5:30-7pm at Walker Ranch, just west of Boulder. But I'll enlighten you here in case you can't attend this event.

It's so unbelievably easy, and delicious you will be surprised you haven't been doing it yourself for ages. Take a pint of whipping cream, pour it in a mason jar (you can do it in batches if your jar isn't large enough). Be sure the lid is on tightly, then shake the jar up and down to the beat of "Stayin' Alive" by Bee Gees.

Photo from I'd Eat It
Side note: This is also an excellent arm workout, probably where the shake-a-weight idea came from.

The whipping cream will start getting really thick and you won't feel it moving around much. If you opened the jar now, you would have whipped cream, but keep shaking with that steady beat. Eventually (between ten and 30 minutes) the side of the jar, which were coated, will become clear. The butter will form a solid mass in the center of the jar and the liquid you see is buttermilk.

Add two ice cube to the jar to solidify the butter and separate the liquid from it. You can then pour off the buttermilk, collect and store it in a airtight container.

You are now a certified 19th century prairie wife (Not meant to be sexist but that's the way it was in those days).

How do you use up leftover ingredients?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Your Best Butt Forward


Everyone should include a butt exercise in their routine and here's why: strong glutes can enhance athletic performance, prevent injury, improve posture and result in a nice shape.


All women gain muscle differently, but all women can benefit from strengthening their butt. This is a workout that will help you put your best butt forward. Have a happy Workout Wednesday and as always, drink plenty of water and rest whenever you feel you need to.


You can download the printable pdf of this workout here.



Below is a description of how to do these workout moves. For a full list you can check out my glossary here. You can also find more printable workouts by clicking here.

Jumping Jacks
 Starting standing with feet together and arms straight by your sides. Jump up and spread your arms and legs wide as you land. Jump up again to return to center.

Lunge
Take a big step forward with your left foot, bend your knees and lower your body until both legs form 90-degree angles. Push off with your left foot and stand back up. Do reps, and then repeat on other leg. 

Squat
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms by sides, bend your knees slowly until your upper legs are parallel with the floor and raise arms straight to shoulder level in front of you. Your chest should be slightly forward and your knees should not extend past your toes. Immediately return to standing with arms by side. 

Plie Squat
With hand on your hips, stand with feet facing toward opposite walls in a wide stance. bend you knees to a 90 degree angle keeping your back straight and your entire body in a single plane. Don't let your knees extend over your toes; if they do, make your stance wider. Straighten your legs to the starting position and repeat.

Side Lunge
Stand with feet together and hands on hips. Take one large step to the right and keeping the left leg straight bend the right leg, lowering yourself toward the ground. Stand back up and bring your right foot back to touch the left. Then repeat on the left side.

Butt Kickers
Start in a standing position. Start jogging in place kicking your foot as close to your butt as you can with each step.

Short Bridge
Lay on your back with arms by your side and feet flat against the floor, hip-width distance apart. Lift your hips from the mat until your body forms a straight line from shoulder to knee.

Side Leg Circles
Lie down on your side, hip on the floor, and prop yourself up on your forearm. Lift your top leg in a circle toward the front, up, back then down. Do the required number of reps then switch to your other side.

Monday, July 15, 2013

I'm Back! (and hopefully for good this time)


Every website I've ever read about blogging says to never tell your readers that you took a break from writing because they either didn't notice and now realize or they did notice and don't need you to tell them. But it felt weird for me to return to the blog-osphere without at least addressing the multitude of changes that have occurred in my life. First, I graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Rangeland Ecology concentrating on Restoration Ecology in December.

Here's me standing next to the portrait of the founder of Warner College of Natural Resources
I moved back to my hometown and I got a job as a hostess and expeditor at FATE Brewing Company in January. They opened in February in Boulder, CO and I have loved working here and making new friends.

This photo is from their website

In April, I visited Portland, OR...


...with my mom, Debbie...
This is at a lovely breakfast place called Cheryl's.
...and my best friend, Alyssa, and her mom, Wendy.
This photo of Alyssa and I is taken outside our hotel, Hotel D'Luxe
We sampled some local cuisine and toured and fell in love with the city.
Voodoo Doughnut
Also in April I started my second job with Boulder County Parks and Open Space. I am working in Education and Outreach, which means I get to go hiking in Boulder County at least twice a week talking to people about nature and the like. And they pay me to do that.
This is me in my uniform.
I also get to eat lunch with adorable critters like this Eastern Fence Lizard...
...enjoy the beautiful wildflowers like this Rocky Mountain Columbine...

...and churn butter, do laundry by hand, play games while dressed up like a 19th century prairie woman (Summer Heritage Event next Saturday 07/20 at 5:30pm at Walker Ranch).

On June 6th, I turned 23 years old, and was lucky enough to celebrate with my family and friends.

In June, I pet sit for the two most entertaining hounds I've ever met.
The black on is Stella and Hank is the brown one

 And just last week at the beginning of July I visited my best friend Kristen in L.A., CA (Hermosa Beach)
This is Kristen and I at the only winery we made it to (we meant to go to more but you forget things like that when you share a bottle of wine).
In Venice Beach we tried to match the cover of the Jack's Mannequin album Everything in Transit
The fish market at Redondo Beach
So far it's been a fabulous year. Except for the part when I got attacked by a wild turkey. That was one of those times when I wish I were on a reality television show because I bet it would be hilarious to watch now that the trauma has (sort of) worn off.

So I guess that's the end of this post, you're all caught up now and you can look forward to a post with a new workout on Workout Wednesday and a post about buttermilk cake on Food Fun Friday.

What's that you say? You want to hear the story about the turkeys? Well okay if you insist.

It all started back when I was about 5 years old. A goose at the Denver Zoo bit me and ever since I have had an irrational fear of large birds in particular, but birds in general as well. They fly by, near your face and eyeballs, with those sharp beaks and gouging claws. Let's not forget how closely they are related to dinosaurs like T-Rex. And then I saw that Alfred Hitchcock movie The Birds and it was all over.

But recently, due to my job with BCPOS most likely, I have had to make peace with this fear. I have started observing birds in the wild (instead of avoiding eye contact) and found humor in some of their actions. I was even was able to see the cuteness of a goose when I saw these goslings at Walden Ponds, east of Boulder.






One fine day I was patrolling at Heil Valley Ranch, just west of Longmont, CO. I was on the Lichen Loop enjoying the slight breeze and the gentle sunshine. I came across a group of wild turkeys. They were nesting in this area so I'd heard them in the distance on prior trips and had even seen them from a distance but this group was just off the trail.


They are the strangest looking birds, with the wrinkled, sagging skin around their heads and necks and they make sounds that I can only describe as a gurgling metallic bleat (whatever that means). I observed them, and took a few pictures as they walked away from me. Then I set off to continue my hike. The end.

Just kidding...

I was barely past the larger group of turkeys when I saw and heard a patch of western wheatgrass near the trail rustle. It startled me but I figured it must have been the wind. Regardless, I turned to look more closely and saw the feathers of another turkey. She had flattened herself to the ground probably out of fear of the strange creature that had approached her with quick, noisy footsteps. I turned to leave her alone but she decided it was time to protect herself (and her chicks).

In one swift movement she had made herself as large as she could by throwing her wings out and over her back and was merping (another turkey sound) her head off. I yelled in a frightened sort of way, which might not have helped the situation. Then in what I can only assume was an effort to make herself more aerodynamic she put down her wings down close to her body, lowered her head and charged toward me. I circled around a rock because I didn't know what else to do (probably smart as since I've heard that turkeys have been know to puncture car tires so there's no telling how my bare legs would hold up).

She reversed her charge and came back around the rock from the other side, still in the same head-down, wings-in position. My memory is a little fuzzy but I remember being chased around this rock multiple times before I began my mad sprint down the mountain, (away from the trail in the direction I wanted to go, toward the bit of trail I had come in on) backpack bouncing up and down.

She chased me about 20 yards in a herding matter and all the while I am hollering and yelping. I don't know if she exactly intended to chase me right toward where her chicks were cheeping around on a bare patch in the grass, but I was forced to leap over them. I counted about three, possible four, adorable balls of fluff and feathers as I careened by/over them. My radio, clipped to my backpack belt, broke and fell, lost in the tall grasses. My ponytail fell out of its fasten as my hat blew off my head. I snatched the hat out of the air before it was carried away on the wind.

She stopped on a boulder, like a sentinel, ensuring I was gone for good. Then in a panicky way she scurried around collecting the oblivious chicks. I made it back to the trail with adrenaline, fear and sadness pulsing through my veins, tears splashing down my cheeks. I knew it was no good to go forward so I turned around and went back, defeated by a turkey.

And that is the end. Except I did end up finding the radio. I know that was concerning all of you very much; a poor radio left out in the rain with mad, wild turkeys on the loose.

Tell me about your experience with wildlife, domestic animals, children in the comments below.