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10/21/2014

Mohican State Park in September

We've finally come to the last of the camping posts.  After we deflated our air mattresses, tore down our tents, and packed up our cars we said our goodbyes and left the campground.  Before heading home Antoine and I decided to do a bit of hiking in Mohican State Park with Cheese.  We went to the same covered bridge and trail that I had visited before with my sister, but we also checked out the gorge overlook.
View from the covered bridge.

Now to the overlook, which was pretty deserted in comparison to the covered bridge.
Cheese, surveying the gorge.  We put his front paws up there just so I could snap a picture really quick, figuring he'd jump right back down, but he actually seemed to enjoy the view and really took it in!
The area surrounding the overlook.
One of the two overlook spots.

Mohican is a nice little place to spend a morning or an afternoon.  Though it's not my favorite park in Ohio, it's definitely worth checking out if you're in the area and want a breath of fresh air!

10/17/2014

Cheesy gifs

I thought I'd share a couple cute, pointless Cheese gifs with you today since posting gifs on Friday has unintentionally become a thing with me.  Perhaps I should include a whole series called "Friday gifs" or "Friday Fun with gifs"?  If so, this will be number 7 in the series...enjoy!
Love that face!

Happy Friday everyone!  Any exciting plans this weekend?!  We're doing one of my most favorite things ever...picking pumpkins!  I can't wait!  I hope you all have a super fantastic weekend.

10/16/2014

Ohio Bird Sanctuary

After our apple picking fun we had every intention to return to the campground and then go hiking, but as we were driving back my sister spotted a sign for the Ohio Bird Sanctuary, just down the road from Apple Hill, so we decided to check it out.  Antoine and I are always pretty cautious when we have Cheese with us, wanting to make sure he's allowed to be the places we're going.  We had already called Apple Hill ahead of time and double-checked that dogs were allowed.  But when we got to the bird sanctuary we were happy to see that dogs were allowed, on leash, except in the bird enclosure.

I had never heard of the Ohio Bird Sanctuary before, but it turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the whole trip!
The only other bird sanctuary I had ever been to was the raptor center in Yellow Springs (which I love), but this is much larger and much more interactive.

The sanctuary even had an enclosure that you could walk into and there were a variety of birds like blue jays, doves, pheasants, killdeers, etc.
Blue jays are so obnoxious (as this guy was), but so pretty!
Since the enclosure was one of the two places (the visitor's center was the other) that Cheese wasn't allowed in, my sister was kind enough to look after him while Antoine and I went inside.  Aunt Michelle was also nice enough to offer up some scratches and some lovin'...which Cheese obviously did not turn down!

The sanctuary also had a wide variety of flowers and plants in gardens surrounding the bird enclosures.  And there were a plethora of bees investigating the flowers; I simply couldn't resist...
I'm not sure what these orange bugs are but they were all over this particular plant!

Next up we took turns checking out the small but nice visitor's center...
Lazarus and Milo, two of the Eastern Screech Owls that live in the visitor's center.
A cute fluffy bunny that calls the visitor's center home.
As we were getting ready to leave one of the staff members started training with Diesel, a Red-shouldered Hawk.  After she was done she noticed we were admiring the bird and was kind enough to come closer and answer some questions about Diesel, who is a falconer's bird currently being trained as a program bird.

Then, shortly after meeting Diesel, another staff member brought Lazarus, one of the Screech Owls in the visitor's center.  Laz was actually hit by a car and thought to be dead, but made a miraculous recovery.  He has eye and brain damage which makes it hard for him to focus on objects, thus making hunting for food impossible.
This picture was taken right after Laz noticed Cheese, who was sitting about six feet away and started whining (probably because we were paying attention to an owl instead of him).  Laz proceeded to focus on Cheese, not taking his eyes off him, for several minutes.  The staff member said that was a big deal for Lazarus since he usually couldn't focus on something that far away for that amount of time!
It was so cool to see this little guy up close!  And I think he enjoyed being out in the warm sun for a while.

If you're ever in the area I highly suggest you check out the Ohio Bird Sanctuary!  It's a great place to spend a couple hours, plus it is free and very informational!

10/14/2014

Apple Picking in Mansfield, OH

We didn't really have any tentative plans of what we wanted to do during the day when we went camping.  We figured we'd probably go hiking and maybe check out Mansfield or the carousel again.  But then a couple of days before we left for camping I stumbled across Apple Hill Orchards online.  After our lack-luster experience last year at Irons' Fruit Farm, I was anxious to try out another pick-your-own apple orchard.  And my sister had surprisingly never been apple picking before, so we decided it was a definitely must...
Apple Hill is about 15 minutes from Mansfield and they apparently have another orchard in Fredericktown, OH.
Unlikely Irons' Fruit Farm where they've only really had a couple apple varieties to pick at a given time, Apple Hill had about six or seven varieties and they were all pretty plentiful! 
I can't really remember all the varieties, but I remember what was everyone's favorite...the ginger gold!
Cheese posing with the half bushel we picked, notice all the ginger gold on top!
All the trees were pretty low so the apples were pretty accessible for everyone and you didn't really need apple picking baskets, like I've used before. There were a lot of families there with young children and it was nice that the kids could pick some themselves without much effort.
More pictures of Cheese, because he's just too adorable!
What a ham!
They had a nice little market inside the barn where you could buy pumpkins, gourds, fresh apple donuts, apple cider and a variety of other delicious treats!
It's like Glamour Shots but with a tipi and a basset hound!
Ha!

We had a really great time at Apple Hill and I would really like to go back next year!  This time around I made a couple apple baked goods (apple cake and pie) but we mostly just ate the apples straight-up.  I took one almost everyday for lunch and they were delicious.  That's all for now, I'll share more from our camping trip this week.