Walking Around the Augusta Arboretum

We had a bunch of errands to do today, so we decided to start everything off by going for a walk at the Augusta Arboretum or as it has been mostly renamed the Elsie Viles … – a generous donor to Arboretum.  Nice woman, but seeing someone’s name around the Arboretum was and is a little strange to me – it will take some getting used – I know it has been that way for a while now…oh well.

When we started out there was a fox on the next hill over (about 50 yards away)

Look to the right of the tree, my little camera wasn’t up to getting a good shot and poor Bennie knew the “enemy” was around, but couldn’t quite place where and we kept him moving away.  He was standing on his hind legs trying to see where the fox was, bouncing all over the place, barking like mad.

However the fox didn’t run off, it just went in the tall grass and laid back down to see what we would do next.  This is what Bennie was bred to do chase foxes (he is a long-legged Jack Russell Terrier) and he wanted that fox.  Good thing we had him on a leash, otherwise nothing this side of hell would have stopped him from starting his own “Fox Hunt”.

They are letting the old hay fields grow back naturally with only paths mown through them.  Lots and lots of milkweed out there.

Can’t tell that this was a farm at one time, the old tote road made into a walking trail is a dead giveaway ;).

My pictures of the pines didn’t turn out, but I think that the plaque says it best.

My favorite picture of the day.

Yes it grows that way, there were several more mushrooms around like this 😉

The boardwalk out.

I love going to the Augusta Arboretum, it is an easy walk, you get to see many different plants and how quickly nature takes back land, the differences that have occurred in the 10 years we have been going there is astonishing.  Also, I get to see identified plants and trees, so that I will know them better when I am on my own.

Yes it was a great way to spend an hour and a half – you could easily spend most the day exploring all the little side trails, we are saving that for snowshoeing this winter, gives places a different look and perspective.

The iPhone Went Away July 1st

Originally on Simple is Working – 9/12/11

Back on July 1st, I did something that in today’s world is a heresy – I cancelled my smart phone plan with AT&T a year early and didn’t get another one.

Why did I do this? My reasons were that I didn’t use my iPhone very much and it was too expensive to keep on a reduced salary. When I was first getting ready to cancel the service, I was more concerned about not having my iPhone than I wanted to admit. I believed it was going to be difficult to not have my phone, GPS, iTunes, address book, camera, mini-computer and all those other tools that are part of a smart phone’s capabilities.

It has now been over two months since the fateful day that my iPhone stopped working as a phone and was unable to use the 3G network. The first week was a more difficult than I thought it would be and I carried my iPhone around and used it as an iTouch to which helped me through the transition.

However, over the course of the next couple of weeks, I found myself carrying the iPhone/now iTouch around less and less. Finally, one day I realized that I hadn’t been carrying my old iPhone around at all for the previous week and hadn’t charged it, during that period either.

That was when I knew that I no longer missed or needed the iPhone/iTouch.

I believe that having a smart phone is a power icon or status symbol, that people flash to others to show how “powerful or stylish” they are.

Do some people watching and take notice of how many of those with a smart phone flash it around or how they purposely use it at odd times. You will be surprised, I was and I recognized some of those same traits, as some of the things that I did when I had my iPhone.  Sad but honest.

Hell the only  time re-charged the iPhone recently was because of Hurricane Irene and I used it as an emergency flashlight to go to the bathroom.  Without 3G in a power-outage and no wireless Internet, it is a very limited device.
The reality is that I don’t miss not having a smart phone and do not plan on getting another one.  I guess I am not important enough or a digital native, to have to have one in my pocket and then pull it out to check my texts, email or something on the Internet, instead of actually interacting with the people around me.  My smart phone was a good way to avoid talking to others, because people tend to leave someone alone if they are “on their phone”.

I still have access to a cell phone, my wife has one and we do share it, so I am not completely wireless.  However, most of the time I do not remember to take it if I go somewhere or when I am walking Bennie.  In many ways it is kind of nice being out of contact with others and having the time to just think without electronic interruptions, while I am out of the house instead of taking a call or responding to a text message.

I have to ask unless you have a job where you need to be contacted at odd hours, traveling a lot or some other specific reason for having one, what is the real reason that you have a smart phone?

  • How much do you really use your smart phone?
  • Is it a status symbol that you need to “keep up with the Jones”?
  • Is having a smart phone worth the $1,000 or so  per year it costs you for that status symbol (plus the cost of the phone)?

It wasn’t for me anymore, because now I know that was the real reason that I got my iPhone and it wasn’t for a real need.

No – I don’t miss my smart phone, getting rid of it helped me simplify my life a lot more than I ever thought it might – in this case it was addition by subtraction.