Saturday, June 12, 2021

A New Scent Lure for the Game Cameras

The use of catfish stink bait was accidental; I was going fishing and took the cameras along on a lark. I found the old (and sealed!) bait bag in an angling box after I had already placed the cameras, and I went back to dump the bait at the cameras rather than carry it with me and have it stink up my kit. The paste-like dough smelled like it would be very attractive to fox, raccoon, and possum, and it was easy to smear up trunks higher than it could be easily licked off.  We'll see it if works sometime next week.

A Supportive Conversation

Friday, June 11, 2021

The Story of Strongheart

The first canine film star came to the Silver Screen in 1921, 100 years ago.

Wanted: Canon Fodder and Workers

This poster is from 1941, when the nation needed blood and sweat.

Wanted: workers and canon fodder.                           

Not Wanted: people with actual equal rights.

The government propaganda was always bullshit; the armed forces remained segregated until after World War II, and even today the fight against discrimination and overt racism is fought at the polls, at the bank, in our schools, and at our job sites. Monuments to slavery still stand and the filibuster — embraced to preserve racism and discrimination — is hugged as if was law or in the Constitution, rather than a convention hung on to by white men who seek to keep white men in power and minorities powerless. America: let’s start calling out the bullshit and start teaching our ACTUAL history.

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

SKYR is Icelandic Yogurt

New food discovery: 0 fat Icelandic Yogurt with blueberries.

Tastes GREAT, and is pretty low-cal and high in protein.

So far, I've lost 45 pounds, and my goal is to lose 50 while permanently changing my diet.

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Baby Barred Owls

These two fledging Barred Owls near Riley’s Lock on the Potomac were pointed out to me by a fellow birder this morning. The mother owl was bringing them food, but they were flying on their own from tree to tree. No pictures of the owl mom, as she was in and out very fast. 

Great Blue Heron Fishing the Canal

 Lots of big carp seen today. Must be mating time.

Monday, June 07, 2021

Dale Ann Bradley of Pineville Kentucky

Dale Ann Bradley hails from Pineville, Bell County Kentucky, where my father was born and raised until he ran away from home (for the last time) at age 14. My father never graduated from High School, got his GED  the Air Force, went to Princeton, met my mother, joined the U.S. foreign service, taught himself two languages and three instruments, drove a Bentley, and gave a square mile of land to help protect Bell County's Blanton Forest.  A remarkable man.

Not much comes out of Pineville, which competes as the poorest town in the poorest part of America. 

Harlan is where the rich people lived, if you know what I mean.

And so, image my delight to discover Dale Ann Bradley of Pineville Kentucky.  Yes!

In Run Rufus Run, Dale Ann Bradley sings of the hard choices of desperate people back in my father's day. 

The mountains were a prison for their family of nine
No where to go no place to work unless you crawled down in the mines
And his momma knew the sound of a man's lungs turnin' black
So when daddy found another way to make a livin' it was easy to turn her back
Now Rufus was the oldest and he knew Bell County well
He could hunt and fish like any grown man and take care of his self
So his daddy put him to runnin' shine when he was just 12 years old
Said it might not be the right thing, but it sure beats minin' coal.

Ms. Bradley has a wonderful voice (two Grammy nominations, and five International Bluegrass Music Association awards for Best Female Vocalist), but the slightly deeper timber that has come with age is truly perfect.

Sunday, June 06, 2021

One Protein Determines Dog Size

Dogs are unique in that no other mammal expresses a 100-fold size differential within its genetic base (from 2-pound Chihuahuas to 200-pound Newfoundlands).

Scientists say the causal agent is a single protein in a gene fragment that controls the size of dogs.

Genetically, the yapper arguing with your ankle is almost identical to the drooling behemoth bred to hunt bears, except for a tiny bit of DNA that suppresses the ‘insulin-like growth factor 1’ gene.

Dog breeders have unwittingly been selecting for it since the last Ice Age. Dogs emerged from the wolf about 15,000 years ago, and as far back as 10,000 years ago, domesticated dogs as big as mastiffs and as small as Jack Russell terriers were trotting the earth.

So where does the gene for “small” come from? It appears to have originated with Middle Eastern wolves, and to have appeared early on in the speciation of wolves to dogs.

Suppression of the IGF-1 gene appears to be associated with a longer life span. Conversely, animals across a wide variety of species have been shown to have an increased risk of death from age-related diseases such as cancer and heart disease if higher levels of IGF-1 are present.

Wee Wolf Waits for Me to Shove Off


Misto had fun running the length of this big log on the Potomac River below Dam #4. The The sound in the background is a billion cicadas shouting their desperate sexual frustration. 17 years underground for this one moment!

Saturday, June 05, 2021

Dead People's Collections

I went to a local auction today at the Fair Grounds. It's always an interesting scene; lots of stuff from dead people, colloquially known as an “estate sale”.

The picture, above, is someone’s late-Victorian era milk glass Easter egg collection. | I’d never heard of these, but apparently the practice of giving artificial Easter eggs as gifts was started in Europe in the 18th century. Those eggs were paper-maché. When the practice came to America in the 19th Century, we made our gift Easter eggs out of white glass (aka “milk glass”). Some eggs were blown into a mold, others were blown free hand. Women (yes) would hand paint and decorate the eggs using water-based paint that has usually not stood up well over time.
Also on this table: 9 ostrich eggs and two emu eggs.

Dead people's collections, plastic horses edition.

Dead people's collections, big glass marbles edition.

Dead people's collections, German soldiers, WWII edition.

Dead people's collections, British toy soldiers, WWI edition.

Full package and empty bottle of patent medicine with chloroform. 

The Atwater Kent radio in plexiglass box in the picture, above went for $850, the 14” paper-maché Old King Cole RCA Nipper and framed Nipper picture went for $475 (combined), and the small cylinder gramophone (without head or key) went for $850. A less-than cherry Nipper on Ebay (same model, but badly repaired) is for sale for $944 “or best offer”. For those interested, the story of Nipper is here.

Bald Eagle With Quite a Catch

I saw this Bald Eagle on the bank of the upper Potomac yesterday. I only had a cell phone camera, and the eagle flew off when I got closer to see what she was eating. She’ll be back — she nailed a big carp and it’s quite fresh. Sushi for lunch.

Friday, June 04, 2021

Put in *After* the Dam

I went kayaking solo
with one of the wee wolves at a new location -- putting in at Dam#4 on the upper Potomac, and pulling out at Snyder's Landing.

The “useful tip of the day” was the admonition to be sure to put in BELOW the dam, rather than at the very convenient boat ramp, with parking lot, just ABOVE the dam. There’s no water signage in front of the dam — you either know OR you meet Darwin and Jesus all at once.

To kayak downstream, you have to park on the road shoulder, portage the kayak across a canal and through a small patch of woods, and launch from the mud. No problem — just an interesting set of choices that someone made. 

This is a nice calm and easy stretch of river -- about 8.5 miles long with a couple of deep horseshoe bends.
I biked on the C & O Towpath from Snyder's Landing back to the car at Dam #4. It all worked perfectly!


Putting In.

Pulling Out

American Women: Tougher Than Woodpecker Lips

Note: This lady was lucky
that this bear was in a very precarious position. If you wrestle with bears, you are more likely to end up like this local lady (picture below, story at link).

Thursday, June 03, 2021

A Children's War on Squirrels

In 1918, California’s horticultural commissioners launched a week-long campaign enlisting school children to poison ground squirrels with laced grain.

The rational: ground squirrels were eating crops needed to feed the troops in Europe.

Bounties and contest prizes were advertised on 34,000 posters and 500,000 leaflets — some of which featured squirrels wearing German helmets and sporting Kaiser-reminiscent mustaches.

When “Squirrel Week” ended on May 4, children had turned in 104,509 tails, but this was probably a fraction of the total casualties.

Black Rat Snake

The wife and I went kayaking today, and this Black Rat Snake was swimming across the river. We had a bit of a standoff in the water, but while I fooled with a selfie-stick to take a picture close up at water height, he zipped around the boat and made for the bank, where I caught up with him.
Seen today: four mature Bald Eagles, two hawks, four Great Blue Herons, four Mallards, a Merganser, a few Kingfishers, Tree Swallows, and a Whitetail Deer swimming across the Monocacy.

Wednesday, June 02, 2021