Wednesday, June 07, 2023

Moving More Mulch

I think this will make 80 cubic yards
of mulch I’ve pitchforked and barrowed at the new house. This is 15 yards of wood chips. Wood chips are much cheaper (1/3 the price) of the shredded hardwood mulch I previously had delivered.

I got about half of this load moved this morning before I took a break to visit a bike shop.

Monday, June 05, 2023

We Need a Win

CANCER SURGERY TOMORROW for Marley, the now 13-year old Italian Greyhound cross we pulled from a rescue almost 10 years ago. 

He’s slowed down a bit, as will happen with age, and a few weeks ago we discovered a fatty tumor inside his back leg.  

Lipoma?  Nope.  A biopsy said it was mast cell cancer, so surgery is scheduled for tomorrow to get it removed. Hopefully they’ll get it all and/or it will be Grade I.  It’s out of my hands now.

If one is looking for small signs, however, it turned out the lady scheduling us for surgery at the vet was the same person from whom my son acquired Lucy, his Pit Bull, some 13+ years ago.  

How random is that?  The MSA of this area has a population of over 6 million. What are the odds?  Better than one in 6 million, but surely less than one in a million. 

For whatever reason, the coincidence felt good. Then I remembered that bladder cancer got Lucy just a few months after her very expensive surgery at this same vet.

Sigh.  We’ve been here before.

After Lucy died, my wife gifted her love-sponge dog — Marley — to my son.  It was the ultimate sacrifice. Marley has been my son’s “daily dog” ever since, going with him on every job, and with him every second of the day, same as Lucy.  

Marley adores Austin, same as Lucy did.

God damn it.  

I’m not ready for bad news. A

We need a win on this one.  

Another year or two is all we’re asking for.

Poison for Profit

I came across this rather amazing tin of unopened roach killer in a local antique store.

That’s some label!

Though the can is itself cryptic, this was produced by B. Heller & Company, doing business as the Chicago Insecticide Laboratory, located at S. Calumet Ave. and E. 40th St., Chicago, IL.

Though the can offered a $1000 guarantee, it listed no ingredients, suggesting it was made before, or just shortly after, the Caustic Poison Act of 1927 forced companies to list dangerous chemicals on their labels, as well as antidotes and treatments.

The “$1,000.00 Guarantee” was slapped on a large swath of Chicago Insecticide Laboratory products, but no detail as to what it meant.  Afterall, I am pretty sure if you slammed this can down on a roach, it would kill it — guaranteed!

One of the Heller company’s products was the “Freezine,” milk and cream additive which guaranteed that “the Milk and Cream will remain perfectly sweet and fresh regardless of the temperature of the room they are kept in.”  

Not said: Freezine was actually a 7 percent solution of embalming fluid (formaldehyde) which resulted in the poisoning death of over 1,000 Chicago infants. Freezine and its analog competitors were banned by the U. S. Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906.

Saturday, June 03, 2023

Ghost in the Forest

Buck with the nubs of his antlers just coming in.  

This deer disappeared like a ghost.  I didn’t startle him — he just vanished like a magic trick.

Finding Needles in Haystacks

The Wee Wolves went with me looking for baby owls and fledgling hawks.  Success, thanks to two tips from a fellow birder who patrols the same stretch of river.  Will post pictures tomorrow, but very pleased that a verbal description of where to look in two miles of verge was enough.

No Justice for Women?

It’s weird that a female from an “all woman tribe of Amazonians” doesn’t mention gender or sexual orientation in this context, especially since the main creators were a man living in relationship with his two women co-creators, all three of whom helped create and develop the lie-detector (i.e., the “lariat of truth”).

Not An Owl

Scanning holes 80 feet up, I saw a small movement.  I zero’d in with my lens and saw what looked like maybe a beak… and then a puff ball.  Baby owl?  Nope.  Mommy raccoon.

Power Concedes Nothing Without Fear

Most Christians Have Not Read the Bible

Teach Your Children Well

Friday, June 02, 2023

Today Is National Greyhound Day

The Craig's List ad in Topeka, Kansas for this trailer read: 
“Trailer, Stainless Steel, Generator - $14,500
This trailer was used in the greyhound industry. It will hold 100 dogs at a time. The rear of trailer has a 30kw generator to power (2) 5 tons a/c units. The generator makes power,  but the a/c units need work. The outer skin is stainless steel sheets. It is insulated and has been sprayed with a bedliner coating. I am willing to sell as is or part out. This original trailer was a livestock trailer.”
NOT SAID…. is that this trailer was most likely a one way bus for most of the dogs.

Beginning in the late 1940s, greyhounds were bred in Kansas and Nebraska at big puppy mills, and were then trucked to tracks in Florida where, if they dogs did not win at least one race in their first half dozen starts, they were sold to research labs or got a bullet to the brain.

Happy National Greyhound Day.  

The US tracks are all but closed, but coursing plastic bags and jack rabbits (American hares) will always be with us.  Progress!

Color in the Forest

We have phenomenal numbers of American Goldfinches at the new house.  Not complaining.  Also Bluejays, Cardinals, woodpeckers, and owls.

Deer Pericoping in the Wheat Fields

The Last of Her Family to Leave the Nest

I actually watched this fledgling Red-shouldered Hawk take flight for the first time. Her two other siblings could be heard, hidden among the leaves, high up. I could see this one doing the math in her head and *knew* she was going to go for it, and she did. A good strong flight for her first time. Thrilled to have seen it.

Religion Is a Mental Illness

Fragile White Men And Their Biggest Fear

Stupid As a Bag of Hammers

Thursday, June 01, 2023

World War Homing Pigeon Carrier

These are French troops releasing messenger pigeons.

My own, recently acquired WWII French messenger pigeon carrier is shown below.

Farms In Full-tilt Production

On local farms, the first cut of hay is off and bailed, corn is in the ground and a few inches high, wheat is quickly ripening to gold, and some soy has been planted.

Doe in the Forest

Why do I say doe?  Young male deer will generally have small antler buds starting out by now.

Whitetail deer have the largest global population among large wild mammals, and antler growth by the males can be an astounding 200 inches of bone grown in just 120 days. The biological investment here is incredible — it’s like growing a separate skeleton out of their head.

Deer Periscope

Deer sticking his head up out of a ripening wheat field.

The Billerica Fighting Dog


THIS IS A DEFORMED COYOTE WITH MANGE, seen in Billerica, Massachusetts last fall.  

Mother Nature turns out a very small number of such mutants, from time to time, but these deformed, diseased, and dysfunctional animals are normally pruned out of the breeding pool in short order.

In the Kennel Club, however, such animals are elevated, bred in a closed registry, and bestowed with fanciful histories.

“The Billerica Fighting Dog is descended from dogs brought to the New World by Hernán Cortés, (aka Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro Altamirano, 1st Marquess of the Valley of Oaxaca) in 1534.   The dogs are descended from Spanish Alaunts used to fight the native people.  Ironically, the breed was later adopted by the Navajo who used them to course rabbits and herd sheep. The breed was improved and brought into a formal registry between 1966 and 1978, with a breed description written by Lowell George, president of the Billerica Fighting Dog Club of America, founded in 1972.  Still a rare breed, the Billerica Fighting Dog is now scheduled to enter the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service in 2025.”

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

A Fatality in the Dog Yard

A Ringneck Snake was killed by the dogs in their fenced enclosure.  Ringnecks are very small, common, non-venomous snake of the woodlands.  It's dull-dark with the exception of an orange ring around the base of the head.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Getting Things Done

Today was a Big Day in the "getting things moving forward: department.  The jet tub’s “start” button got actuated (it was broken when we moved in); a new backup generator was delivered and installation of the transfer switch was scheduled, and; Electro Bike World delivered a new Bafung motor, 35 amp controller, and color interface for the Radwagon4. I am still trying to figure out if I am going to install that last one myself.

Monday, May 29, 2023

Kayaking Again


Kayaking with my son again today. Short run of 5.5 miles. Wildlife count: Seven blue heron, five osprey, five hooded merganser, a rabbit, two groundhogs, a deer sticking his head out of a wheat field, a third-year bald eagle, two adult bald eagles, four deer drinking from the river, three large carp, lots of smallmouth bass.

Three Red-Shouldered Hawk Chicks

Sunday, May 28, 2023

A Couple of Hours Kayaking

Kayaks loaded for a couple hours out with my son.

It’s great to have total privacy, a 2.5-car garage with an 11 foot ceiling, and lots of driveway space.  I can load kayaks and bikes and just leave them without any concern about theft or a neighbor’s aesthetic concerns.  I can also store bikes and kayaks inside without impinging on work or car space.  Loving the new house.

Son paddling on the water today.  Saw two mature bald eagles, one immature bald eagle, two kingfishers, three blue herons, a wood duck, a dozen carp size 2-4 feet, many small mouth bass.

The Le Gore Bridge. It was built between 1898 and 1900 by Le Gore limestone company.  It’s got five arches, is 340 feet long, and is 64 feet over the water.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Stream-side Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk in the forest over a creek today. Passed him, heard birds making irritant calls, walked back and spotted him (or her).

Trail Friend

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Rationalizing the Predation

What you think often depends on where you are in the chain of fear, exploitation, and predation.

We can go a week without a meal, a day without a drink of water, but we rarely go an hour without a rationalization.