Tuesday, February 28, 2017

More Assateague Island (Maryland) Photos

Young seal

Kite flying in February

The old ferry landing

Trail along a gut...

and the maker of the trail

Allison Turner explains the wear of teeth on a horse skull to an
author who was visiting to gather information

Adult harbor seal

Bits and Pieces

A fourth dead humpback whale has washed up on the Virginia shore today - this time on the beach of Assateague Island, on the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.  A necropsy team is on the way.  It seems really odd to me that we're having this spate of humpback bodies in a period of less than 35 days.  I hope the scientists can figure out what is causing the deaths of these magnificent creatures.
   Tonight, Cheeto Voldemort will address a joint session of Congress.  I've decided not to watch this live - his almost constant use of incomplete sentences drives me crazy.  But MSNBC is holding a special late-night Hardball episode at midnight on the east coast - 10 pm here - and I'll be watching that.  The comments of Chris Matthews, Rob Reiner, and Bill Maher will be killers, I'm sure.
   Let's see - after the 8 inches of snow last week, some of which is still on the ground, we're expecting more snow this afternoon or evening.  The cats really wanted out on the balcony yesterday - it was bright and sunny - but the lady who lives above us doesn't clear her balcony of snowfall, so there was a constant shower of snow melt out there.  Both Lovey and Nedi went out, but they didn't stay long when they realized their was a cold shower from above.
   I had the weirdest dream the other night:  I was in a large bedroom, and I heard a big thump from the next room.  I looked out into the hall way, and my friend Beatrice came running out of door and into the hall, yelling, "Flitch back board and split green beans!"  I woke up because it was so weird, and the words made no sense.  I actually wrote the words down so I could ask Beatrice about them when we got up.  Of course, they were nonsense to her, also.
   A pigeon just flew past my window with a bunch of dried grasses in its beak.  I guess it's time to start nest-building around here.  There are three eggs in the bald eagles' nest on Assateague Island.  I'm looking forward to watching them hatch and then fledge. (They're on an eagle-cam feed.) Usually two of the three hatchlings will survive, so we will hopefully continue to help regenerate the species.
   I finally had my hair chopped off Sunday.  I had let it grow out for 3 years, since my sister's cancer diagnosis, but my hair is very fine and it seems to tangle instantaneously.  I'd spend 45 minutes getting all the knots out before I went to bed, and then have to do the same thing in the morning when I got up.  I tried putting my hair in one large loose braid, and in two braids, to sleep in, but I couldn't get comfortable enough to sleep.  So I donated 15 inches of grey hair to make wigs  for folks with cancer.  And now, my hair is standing up like a cockscomb across the crown of my head...  I just laugh.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Assateague Island in Winter - Photos

Most of these photos were taken by Alan Sklar...
An American Woodcock

Storm wrack - airplane portion with coral and shells attached

Sunset, 29 January 2017

One of the Maryland foals born last summer (possibly Chama's)

Bayberries (wax myrtle) grow wild on Assateague - the waxy coating on
the berries is extremely nourishing, but very few creatures can digest 
it.  They include the yellow-rumped warbler...

the tree swallow, which flocks here in large numbers,

and the "Sika deer", which are Japanese elk.

I'm So Lazy...

Things have been going on in the world, and I've just been so lazy that I didn't care...  I just returned from having Mercedes cut my hair - and I do mean cut.  It had grown out, over the past three years to almost reach my waist.  It's now about three inches long on top, and about an inch long on the back...  Looks pretty much like it used to look.  Short.
    I went into the market the other day to pick up a few items, and I was trying to decide between ham steak and chicken breast.  I saw a tray of sausage that had been shaped into a laughing pig's head and body.  I laughed and made a comment to the meat manager that it was very cute - and if it wasn't made with peppers, I'd purchase some.  The manager assured me that the peppers were very mild, and actually gave me a half-pound at no charge.  I made half of the amount into seven small patties and cooked them this morning.  I ate one-quarter of one patty, and it took an hour for the fire in my mouth to die down...  Very mild, my mucking boots!  Beatrice ate a whole one, and said it was more than enough.  The uncooked portion, and the other 5 and 3/4 patties are wrapped separately and in the refrigerator.  Maybe my sister or nephew would like them...
   Well, I'm still frightened by the power that "45" has.  At least Flynn has stepped down, and Pudzer had the sense to excuse himself.  I'm still amazed (and dismayed) that the other Cabinet appointees have been confirmed, so far.  DeVos is still astounding me with her idiocy as the Secretary of Education.  Pruitt frankly scares the hell out of me as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.  With Rex Tillerson as the Secretary of State, Mnuchin as Secretary of the Treasury, and Jeff Sessions at Attorney General, it seems as if almost all the evil genies are out of the bottle.  I have to say that I do think that Linda McMahon is a good choice for the Small Business Administration - if she keeps politics out of her office.  The others are all just as scary, just as racist as can be possibly imagined.
   I'm also laughing at the Town Hall meetings being held (or not held) across the country.  In Melfa, Virginia (on the Eastern Shore, in my old home area), a ten-year-old girl asked her State Representative, "Why isn't the President honest?"   She prefaced this by saying she had been taught to be honest by her parents, and that she really liked honest people.  Then she asked her question...  The Representative had to say that he didn't know why the President isn't honest, but that he would always be honest with his constituents.  It was a great moment.
    I'm still recovering from my swollen lips episode - taking an antihistamine every night before bed, and my lips sometimes tingle and burn.  Rosie seems to be doing well...  Her hindquarters are getting weaker - she'll be 15 next month, which is pretty incredible for an Irish Setter - but last night she got up six times without assistance while I was with her.  Of course, at her age, she has good days and bad days.
  Surfer Princess, my Chincoteague filly, has migrated with her best buddy, Badabing, from the north end of Assateague down to the south end.  Workers have not found any broken fences, so the two girls have either jumped everything, or gone around the ends, out into the waters...  Hopefully she'll stay put on the north end after the Spring Round-up.  She was born and raised on the southern end, and keeps going back there - but  her her full brother, Riptide, is the main stallion in the south, and that's the herd she's attached to.  Can't let her stay with her brother!   Her dam, meanwhile, seems very happy with Hoppy, the big bay stallion on the north end...

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Cat Fantasy Art


Wednesday, the high temperature in Boulder was 64 degrees (F); Tuesday, the high was 75 degrees.  It's now 30 degrees and snowing, and today's and tomorrow's high temperatures might be 34 degrees.  The most important thing, however, is the falling snow.  The forecasters have said that we might end up with two inches of snow on the ground.  We need much, much more.  Since the temperatures have been so warm, the snow melted when it first started to fall around 5 o'clock this morning.  The parking lot for my apartment complex is just beginning to show an accumulation of snow, and it has already blanketed roofs and grassy areas.  My morning walk with Rosie has been cancelled, but I'll probably be over at her house for a couple of hours this afternoon.  (The afternoon schedule is a wait-and-see item from her owners.)
   The last few weeks, when I have walked from Rosie care to the bus stop, I've crossed the Peace Lutheran Church's field that is also a playground.  It's been strange to watch the ground shrink and dry up, leaving little plaques of dirt among the dried grasses, and to notice the cracked areas around the plaques getting wider and wider, for lack of moisture.  Then, too, I can see my previous footprints, and watch them settle more deeply into the parched ground.  With the area this dry, I am glad that we have snow coming down.  If it had been rain (which I prefer, being from the South), the ground would have been too dry to be able to absorb the water, and there would have been an over-abundance of run-off, taking the top layer of soil with it.  I know very well that it's silly, but, in a way, I'd love a huge snow storm that would keep everyone at home for a week so that we could replenish the earth's moisture.
    Nedi ran out into the early snow, decided that it was better under the coffee table, and then, when a swirl of snow covered him (even there), he decided to come back in.  I haven't seen our local squirrels, but the smaller birds have been visiting our bird feeder, and the local raven family has just appeared to visit the Vietnamese dumpster.  I think I'll work on family genealogy today....

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Egyptian Fantasy Art

Lips and Fires

I looked really weird yesterday...  The inside of my lips and cheeks were swollen.  Very swollen.  so swollen that my lips were curled up, out, and back.  My upper lip was brushing the bottom of my nose, almost blocking the nostrils; my bottom lip was on my chin.  The interior of my lips were the size of a bratwurst sausage, and the color of fresh liver.  It was unbelievable...  And very ugly, too.  I finally went to an urgent care office. After six hours of icing and ten antihistamine shots, my lips were pretty much back to normal.  Neither I, nor the doctors or nurses, have any idea what started it off.  I have not eaten or drunk anything that I normally don't.  (I do have food allergies, and I'm very picky about what I eat, and whether or not I'll try something, just because I do have alarming reactions at times.)  Today, my lips are almost back to normal, but they are still producing a tingling feeling.
   We've had several more wildfires take off this morning - plus one on Rabbit Mountain near Lyons last night.  At last count, four buildings were lost.  The winds are horrendous today.  They started up around 2 this morning - pretty constant between 20 and 35 mph, with gusts expected up to 75 mph - and we've already had an 89 mph gust in Boulder this morning.  I had to take our welcome wreath off the front door at 3 this morning, and we saw our balcony foot mat out in the middle of the parking lot when we got up.  I haven't yet felt the building sway - that takes a gust of 90+ - but it will probably happen.  The winds are Chinook winds, and they dry everything out; the high temperature expected today is 73 degrees.  I really hope that we don't have any more fires break out!
Rabbit Mountain last night

Weld County yesterday afternoon

Monday, February 20, 2017

Fantasy Squirrels

Wildfires in Our Area

At almost 3 in the afternoon, there are currently three wildfires burning within 30 miles of Boulder.  The temperature is now 61 degrees, the humidity is at 19%, and the wind is from the west-southwest, blowing at 19 mph with gusts up to 45 mph.  Other than overnight frost, we have not had rain or snow in 35 days.  We are dry and dessicated at the moment, and are under a "Red Flag Watch" which means extreme fire danger.  No wonder there are three fires burning...
   One is a grass fire between Denver and Golden; one is a grass fire on a farm's pasture; and one is a grass-brush fire near Longmont that has made some house evacuations necessary.  It is thought that the first two fires were caused by cigarettes flung from car windows.  The one near Longmont hasn't had a cause determined yet...   According to the long-range forecast, after highs in the 70s tomorrow and mid 60s Wednesday (with high winds, of course), we're supposed to have some snow on Thursday, and possibly Friday morning...  I won't hold my breath, though.
    With the weather being so warm, the plants and animals are thinking that it's spring...  Birds are beginning to nest; squirrels are providing acrobatic displays in their search for mates; skunks are having their orgies and spraying everywhere during their breeding.  There's an area, almost one and a half miles wide, near the Denver International Airport, that reeks to high heaven of skunk scent...  It's incredible!
   I'll also ask that you send a few warm thoughts to my "adopted nephew" Connor Evans today, as he has to appear before a Judge at Standing Rock, North Dakota.  Connor is facing charges of "inciting a riot" at the Dakota Pipeline building site on the Standing Rock Reservation.  Connor, who is friendly with the Lakota, had wandered up to the front line of the protest, and was standing next to Chase Iron Eyes.  Connor had wanted to get a first-person eyes-on perspective of what the oil company's men, and the law officers, were doing.  Connor, Chase, and 74 other people, who were standing silently, and watching, were arrested for "inciting a riot."  That is not Connor in any way, shape or form.  If he is found guilty at this hearing, I'm sure he can handle the 10 days in jail sentence.  But I also know that he won't willingly leave Standing Rock - and, the state is changing their laws - if he gets arrested a second time, he can be charged with a felony - and that has me worried.   (Thanks for reading/listening, by the way.) The following photo is Connor at Standing Rock...

Saturday, February 18, 2017