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Archive for September, 2012

struck

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

This tree stands about a hundred feet east of the cabin. It’s downhill a bit too. It sure looks as though it was struck by lightning very recently. I know that lightning strikes sometimes leave spiral scars running down the truck of the tree, but I guess that’s not always the case.

I’ll watch this tree to see how it does in the coming year. I suppose the growing season is about over, so it’s not going to grow over that scar soon. That may give the invading fungi a chance to get in and do their work.

leafbullet2

Sorry about the downtime yesterday. I couldn’t get into Roundrock Journal, and I’m guessing you couldn’t either. We seem to be back in order now.

leafbullet3

If you really want to be grossed out (and who doesn’t?) you should go back to my gruesome business post of last week. I’ve added a photo at the bottom showing the state of the deer as of Tuesday of this week. Amazing.

falling down blind

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

This was another surprise we encountered on our most recent visit to Roundrock (a week and a half ago!). I’m not sure if this old blind was mine or my neighbor’s. The tree it was in grew on the fence line. (I say “grew” because it died some years ago and began dropping big limbs across my road.)

I think the blind was used as recently as two years ago. Someone had put a “fence” around the blind (up in the tree) made of that orange hazard fencing you sometimes see around road construction. (Where did the hunter get that fencing?) But as I said, the tree was dying, and perhaps the hunter knew the blind was unsafe. There are at least three other blinds around my neighbor’s field to the north. This particular blind overlooked my pond, which I suppose is why it was built there. The deer would come to the pond for a drink and be easy targets.

I think the storms we’ve had in recent weeks might have been enuf to knock the blind out of the dead tree.

In any case, the thing fell on my side of the fence. I think that makes the mess my responsibility. I guess that’s no so bad. I can grab parts of it each time I pass and then burn them in the many campfires I intend to have now that the drought seems to be over.

Run 10 Feed 10

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Did I mention that I was in New York City over the weekend to run a 10K with my daughter? That’s a long way to go to run 6.2 miles, but why not, right? It’s good to get some face time with my daughter and son-in-law that isn’t digital. This race was the Run 10 Feed 10, and it was an inaugural event for a whole series of runs across the country, runs that are expected to be repeated every year. Sponsored by Women’s Health Magazine, the run benefits the charity that provides meals for disadvantaged children around New York. (The New York run alone will provide more than 777,000 meals!)

I arrived in NYC on Friday afternoon and was quickly taken to Spumoni Gardens for a traditional Brooklyn pizza (and a cup of spumoni ice cream). Only then was I taken to my hotel, but I didn’t mind. After that, I joined a going-away party for one of my daughter’s running friends. It was at a bar that featured 600 beers, including one that cost more than $100 a bottle. (Is that even possible?) My taste buds are not that sophisticated, nor was I known by any more than two of the partiers (daughter and son-in-law), so after two pricey beers that I didn’t much like, I made my good-byes and found my way back to my hotel. (It was a nice hotel. I’ve stayed in it before — in the very same room, I think. It’s very modern, so modern that I couldn’t even figure out how to turn on the air conditioning on my first visit.)

On Saturday, we ventured from Brooklyn to Manhattan to pick up our race packets. That’s always an interesting experience for someone from the Midwest. We had a late lunch in Manhattan (burritos — carb loading for the race!) then made our way back to Brooklyn for some gelato and a documentary about the New York Marathon. (The kids will be running it in November. Update: Since the NYC Marathon was cancelled, they’ll be running the Philadelphia Marathon instead.) After that, it was time for early bed since we had to rise early on Sunday and get ourselves down to Pier 84 where the race started.

Because I couldn’t sleep, I was up by 2:30. We were going to hire a car to take us into Manhattan (rather than rely on the subway and the various connections we’d apparently have to make), and since we didn’t know the traffic situation at the time, we decided to be on the road at 5:00 for the 7:00 race.

It’s cold along the Hudson River at 5:30 in the morning. We ran into no traffic at all and got to the race point just as they were beginning to set up. I think we may have been the very first runners to arrive (of the estimated 3,800 who were registered). We sat around in the dark, shivering since we were in our running clothes, waiting for the time to pass. And as it usually does, the time did pass.

The race began at a few minutes after 7:00, but because of the crowd of runners (though clearly not the 3,800 spoken of by the organizers) at least two minutes passed before I crossed the starting line. That was okay since we had B-Tags in our bibs (rather than chips on our shoes), so we had exact electronic timing from when we started till when we finished. Immediately, we said good-bye to my son-in-law, who is a much faster runner than my daughter and certainly than I. The course was an out-and-back, so we expected to see him in the on-coming flow of runners at some point, on his way back. My daughter has run marathons, so I really didn’t expect her to stay with me, but she did for the entire race. Granted, she was taking pictures with her phone and sending them to people or posting them on Facebook while we were running. I tried to keep up some bit of conversation as we plodded along, as much to moderate my breathing and stay outside of my head as to be sociable. All the while I was throwing one foot in front of the other and feeling pretty good.

What I didn’t realize at first was that my daughter — did I mention she runs marathons? — had kept me going at a faster pace than my usual. I could feel my lungs, which is weird! She has a fancy wrist device that tells her how far she’s gone as well as her minutes-per-mile pace (and probably can do calculus and tell her the winning lottery numbers). She glanced at it and casually announced how fast we were going. Then I knew why I was already exhausted and not yet a quarter of the way done with the run. I geared down my pace, and she slowed to match me, but soon I could feel that we were speeding up again. It pretty much kept going like that for the rest of the 6.2 miles.

There were several water stations along the way, and at various points volunteers stood by the sidelines shouting encouraging words. I carry a bottle of Gatorade with me, so I didn’t take any of the water extended toward me, but one of the volunteers shouted two words that I quickly grew to hate. The words were “almost” and “halfway.” I felt drained, and here was some cheery person telling me I was almost halfway done with the race. What seemed difficult before suddenly seemed impossible. (Remember, I have run an official 10K, and I’ve run that distance and more on my own. This should not have been a problem for me.) I decided then that I was going to stop at the halfway point and rest. I didn’t want to, but I just didn’t see how I could keep going.

Not long after this, we spotted my son-in-law among the oncoming runners (on a path beside the road we were on). He stopped to take our picture, looking as fresh and rested as he might have after a nice nap. We didn’t stop but plodded on. I was a little disappointed in myself that I was having so much trouble on this run. The route was completely flat, well paved, and I’d done the distance before. At least I was no longer cold!

And then, there we were at the halfway point. The cheery volunteers directed us through the turn around, and there I was, more than halfway done. Okay, I didn’t have to stop there, but I was going to stop soon. I didn’t have it in me to keep on. At the halfway point in my runs, I always transfer my water bottle to my other hand. You wouldn’t think that would make a difference, but the suddenly free hand feels weightless for a while. It was at this point that I decided to eat my GU. This is a kind of gel that comes in a little foil pack, and you eat it to get a boost of energy as well as restore electrolytes that you’ve depleted while running. (So they say.) It’s pretty much like putting a frosting gun in your mouth and taking a big, sugary squirt. Yeah. But I took my medicine and dutifully held onto the empty pack until the next water station where I could throw it away properly. After that mouthful of GU (actually, I downed it in about four squirts rather than all at once) I began cleansing my mouth with Gatorade. And then I waited for the boost of energy.

I didn’t know what to expect, but after about ten minutes I really did feel like I had more stamina. Maybe it was psychological, but it worked. In fact, I’d forgotten by then that I had intended to stop and rest. We passed the last water station, and the words “almost finished” didn’t have the same negative feel to them as those earlier words. I could feel that I reached the point where I knew I was going to finish without stopping.

And I did.

I sprinted across the finish line, still among the last runners to come in, but feeling pretty good about my accomplishment. I heard them announce my name as I tried to slow down (not so easy when you’re exhausted, believe it or not), and then I was greeted by another water station and a woman handing out finisher bracelets. I put mine on proudly as I gasped and sucked Gatorade out of my bottle. Soon my daughter and son-in-law joined me and we all congratulated each other on our runs. Then we stumbled over to the many tents where all of the giveaways were. I snagged a granola bar, a bagel, a banana, and a bottle of coconut water (different). We cheered as the winners of the various age groups were announced, and then we took our gritty, sweaty selves off to a nearby restaurant for a sinfully good breakfast.

The run was sponsored by Women’s Health Magazine. I suppose as a consequence, a lot of young women were participating. In fact, the women outnumbered the men by at least twenty to one. So there I was in the crowd, surrounded by women. Young women. Young, fit women. In short shorts, spandex, and sports bras. Stretching. Where was a gentleman supposed to direct his eyes? There are a lot of perils in this sport.

Also, I set a new personal record for my 10K running. I blame my speedy daughter for pushing me on the run.

Queequeg and the turtle

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

During the brief respite from the rain on our trip to Roundrock last weekend, we took a hike up the road to check on the carcass of the other dead deer we found in our woods recently.

On our way, Queequeg, who tends to run ahead of us, came across something moving in the road and was startled by it. Then he crept close to it, trying to make out what he was seeing and smelling. The turtle wouldn’t oblige him though, staying mostly retreated in its shell. Later, when we walked back down the road (and contemplated trying to build a fire with very wet wood), Queequeg had forgotten all about the turtle, who had wandered off into the forest somewhere.

You might want to avert you gaze again. Here is a photo of the remains of that first deer we hiked up to see. The scavengers have done a pretty good job of cleaning it. The dead deer had been right beside the road, but when I returned to it two weeks later, something had dragged it about thirty feet into the forest. I’m guessing only a bobcat or coyote could have done that. And my further guess is that deep among the trees, the carcass wouldn’t be devoured by the turkey vultures that were swarming all over it back by the road when we first encountered it. I think such big birds would not want to venture too far into the trees where they couldn’t make a hasty escape.

The toll of the dry, hot summer

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

A nice, open meadow, you’re saying to yourself. Level and cushiony with all of that soft grass growing on it. Well, never mind that. It’s supposed to be covered with about four feet of water.

And anyway, that’s not what I intended to show you with this photo. Instead, I wanted to point out the two brown trees there on the “shoreline.” (Three actually, and maybe four, but they’re harder to distinguish.) These are mature trees (as mature as my second growth forest gets at this point anyway). And they’re probably dead. My forest is dotted with brown trees like these right now. The recent rains seem to have brought the yellow-ish trees back to life. I have a dark green forest again, but there are many, many brown trees scattered about.

Trees die in the forest all of the time. And in death they provide simply a new habitat for the wild things until they fall to the ground and give all of their collected solar energy to the soil. It’s not something to lament. But it is a little saddening when they died and didn’t “have to.”

See also those bunches of willows that have sprouted up in the lake bed. Why couldn’t the drought and heat have turned them brown? It ain’t fair, I tell ya!

how is this even possible?

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

You see that block leaning toward the coals of the fire ring? That should be on the left end of that grill as a counterweight to suspend the grill over the coals. Yet when I got to Roundrock last Friday, this was what I found. The block had been moved to the other end of the grill. How is this even possible?

I assume some critter did this. (The wild things in my forest are critters, though they can become varmints if they begin to cause serious damage. I don’t consider this serious damage however.) Aside from a bear, which I hope isn’t wandering my woods, I don’t think there is a critter that could move the block the way it’s been moved. I suppose some human interloper could have come by, moved the block, and then left without doing anything else (aside from mow the road — someone was by recently and mowed the grass in the road).

Libby calmly explained what likely happened. Some critter was probably licking grease off of the grill. We cook burgers and brats and hot dogs on this grill — when it isn’t raining incessantly. And the critter climbed onto the grill. Its weight caused the grill to lean into the coals, which thus caused the block to slide or tumble down the sloping grill.

That makes sense.

We haven’t had a fire here in months. I was hoping to have one last weekend, and the rain did let up on Friday afternoon/evening long enuf for me to have built a fire and sat around it for several contemplative hours. But the whole forest was dripping, and though I had enuf dry tinder to get a fire going, it would have been a constant battle to keep the fire going since all of the cut would was wet.

So the fire ring remains in this state. Perhaps on my next visit I’ll have reason to fix it.

a gruesome business

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Generally, when we go out to Roundrock, we have at least one task on our agenda, one job or chore to get done. Sometimes, Roundrock provides us with a different agenda. That’s what happened last Friday.

Because of the prolonged drought of the summer, the lake in our woods is miserably low. The recent rains have begun to recharge it, but I think the parched soil has been soaking up all of the rainfall, letting very little of it flow into the lake. I’m hoping the ground has had its thirst sated now and any future rain will start adding itself to the lake volume.

With the lake level low, many of the boulders that are set here and there on the bottom are showing themselves. You can see one of them in that otherwise pretty poor photo above. A nice, smooth, rounded boulder that would normally be about six feet below the surface.

Except I didn’t remember there being any boulder on that side of the lake.

As I got closer, I realized what I was seeing. It wasn’t a rock. It was a dead deer. And as I got closer, my nose confirmed what I was seeing.

I don’t know how or why the deer died, much less how it wound up floating in the lake. (About a month ago we’d found another newly dead deer beside the road at the top of the hill, far from the lake. It did have a puncture hole in its chest, though I’m not qualified to say whether that might have been from a bullet.) Given the state of the deer floating in the lake, bloated and foul smelling, I wasn’t going to examine it too closely for any signs of death. All I wanted to do was get it out of the water and up above the high water line. The scavengers could take care of it from there.

As I got closer, I could see that the deer still had its antlers; it was a ten-point buck. That’s a trophy for hunters in my part of the woods, and if a hunter had shot it (out of season, by the way), I don’t think it would have been abandoned. By the time Libby and I got to it, though, no one would have been interested in claiming it.

So we had the gruesome chore of getting it out of the lake with only muscle power. (We had Flike and Queequeg with us, but we shut them in the cabin. Flike would have probably been terrified by it. Queequeg would have rubbed his little self against it as much as he could. Neither would have been particularly helpful.) I retrieved a long rope and my new leather gloves from my truck while Libby snagged Seth’s beat up old sneakers from the cabin. I would wear those as I waded into the lake to tie the rope around the buck’s neck. (Note, it was not on my agenda to go in the lake this trip, but plans change.) And so I did. The buck was floating at this point, no doubt mostly a big bag of gas, and I sure didn’t want to release any of that.

Once I had the rope affixed, I tried pulling with all of my super powers and managed to hoist the thing onto the shore. There, however, it revealed its true weight to me. A thousand pounds? Two thousand? More? The high water line was about thirty feet uphill from me. With each almighty tug, I gained an inch or two. Fantastic!

Libby suggested that if she pulled the rope and I pulled the buck’s antlers, we might make more progress. Here’s what I envisioned:┬áThe antlers would snap off in my gloved hands and pierce my face. Or, perhaps worse, the damned deer’s head would yank off and land on my face, all bloody and putrid. Fantastic!

But we enacted her plan. Did I mention it was raining? Those sneakers I was wearing weren’t giving me much traction on the wet grass, and I was stumbling backward as I tried to drag the ten thousand pound deer along.

Combining our powers, though, proved effective. We’d gain a foot or two with each coordinated pull. (It took us a few minutes to realize that if we coordinated our efforts, we’d have more success.) Because we had no choice, we simply kept at it until we had the bloated, awful-smelling, ten thousand pound carcass up the hill and behind a cedar (so we couldn’t see it from the cabin across the lake.) Then we took stock of ourselves. My new gloves, I’m sure, must be burned. The velvet on the antlers all came off on the gloves. When I had tried pulling the buck by its legs, all of the fur came off too. That was pleasant. The rope had rubbed off all of the fur along the buck’s neck and was cutting into its flesh. At least that part of the rope must be burned. The awful smell that seems to be permanently in the very hairs of my nose may fade some day before I die. The scavengers at Roundrock will find a feast waiting for them. Life will go on.

I don’t normally post such photos as the one below, so avert your gaze if you want:

 

Update September 26, 2012 – I went back to Roundrock and week and a half after the visit above, and of course I had to check on the progress of the deer. See the photo below if you’re interested. I’m impressed with how efficiently the scavengers have worked it over.

puddles on the pavement

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

This odd image is of one of the three sandstone steps leading up to the cabin porch. I took it two Fridays ago when I was last out to Roundrock. I thought the wet stone had a lot of interesting textures to it, and it caught my eye immediately. Also, the three little puddles of water on it were relatively new in my experience this summer. It had been so dry for so long that I’d forgotten what puddles looked like.

All of that gravel you see in the puddle on the right should not be there. It should be part of the gravel that is scattered about the cabin and fire ring. I suppose I carry it up there on the soles of my boots, but should I ever be barefoot on those steps (generally in the middle of the night when I can’t see well where I’m stepping anyway but in a hurry to do so), I won’t appreciate putting a foot down on that gravel.

At the end of each visit, I always sweep the porch. Often I’ll sweep these steps as well. I need to remember to do that. Maybe this weekend.

Broadway Bridge 10K run

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Sunday morning I went way downtown to the River Market area to run the Broadway Bridge 10K run. That’s right, TEN K. (That’s 6.2 miles for those of you on the old system.) That’s twice my normal distance for these official runs.

I’ve run that distance before on my own. My run to and from the dog park on the weekends is longer than that. The difference is, however, that when I get to the dog park, I stop and take a rest. That always makes the return run more manageable. I didn’t know if I could do the whole 10K of this run without stopping and resting at some point, and that was one of the things I wanted to find out by doing this run. Could I complete it without taking a break?

We were on the road before dawn and got to the staging area while it was still dark outside. As usual, I was nervous, though I tried to remind myself that I have run this distance before and that there is no shame in walking or even stopping if necessary. We were chip timed, which meant that the exact times when I crossed the start and finish lines would be recorded so I would know my pace for that distance. For this run, which included a half marathon, a 5K run/walk, and a kids run, they made sure that the half marathon and 10K runners were the first to start. That way we wouldn’t have to be running around the walkers (as was the case with my last run, which was a little annoying).

The run started just a few minutes after the scheduled time of 7:00 a.m., and it took us through the River Market area, which is old and quaint and has one very unpleasant hill. Of course everyone was passing me. Everyone! Even the old woman with the limp. I didn’t really mind. I wanted to keep a pace that I could sustain over the distance; I run these things for myself (and to raise funds for the Special Olympics, which was the charity connected to this one). Not long after the start (and that unpleasant hill) we were crossing the Missouri River on the Broadway Bridge. Here’s a photo of my return on the bridge:

Not a soul in sight. Yes, I was among the last runners to complete the 10K, BUT I WAS NOT THE LAST. (Okay, I was the last in my age group, but there were some men who were 10 and 15 years younger than I who came in behind me.) The course crossed the river and then circled the downtown airport. Somewhere out there was the mile marker that would tell me I was nearly half way; that would be the point at which I would suspect I needed to take a break, and I dreaded getting closer to it because I was afraid of what I would find out.

Running around the downtown airport is pretty boring. The kids at the first water station were encouraging and upbeat. I didn’t take any water since I was carrying my bottle filled with Gatorade. It’s that yellow container with the black strap in the top photo. (I tell myself that I don’t really need any liquids when I run, but I probably do. And I’m trying to get myself comfortable with carrying the thing since I hope my runs will get longer as my stamina builds. I’ll certainly need hydration then.) I also carried my camera, obviously, which I won’t do again. It wasn’t really too heavy, but taking it out of my pocket and then fussing with it to take a shot or two was a nuisance. Then dropping it back into my pocket made it feel like it weighed twenty pounds.

Here’s an interesting photo:

That’s part of the Kansas City skyline, and those silver arches on the right make up the Broadway Bridge. I had come across that, and I was heading for it again. This was the farthest point from the start/finish, and it was also, coincidentally, about the halfway point where I feared I would need to stop.

But I had found my pace long before then, and I found I really had no need to stop at all. I just kept throwing one foot in front of the other. I wasn’t passing anyone, but neither was anyone passing me. I feared that I was the last runner on the 10K, but when I looked behind me, there were several way back there who had pooped out and were walking. (The trouble with learning I didn’t need to stop is that now I pretty much have no excuse for stopping on my longer runs, at least if they’re no longer than a normal 10K distance.)

Something unfortunate happened soon after this. Note the emblem on my running jersey in the top photo: the University of Missouri – Kansas City Kangaroos. Some of the finest people I know have graduated from this university. Well, I was approaching the second water station, which was staffed by a big pack of students from a certain local high school that has a corresponding college here in town with the same name. While most of these youngsters were cheering as I plodded past, a few took the opportunity to say some negative things about my school. Yes, they were kids, and sometimes kids can do stupid things, but that was disheartening.

But I kept on. As I ran across the southern part of the airport, a private corporate jet came in for a landing and flew directly over me. I waved, and I’m sure the passengers waved back, wishing they could be pounding the pavement right beside me.

Not long after this I was mounting the bridge again, about to head back into the River Market area and the last few blocks to the finish line. Most of those last few blocks were uphill, but I didn’t have any real trouble with that. I guess knowing I was nearly finished encouraged me. Plus, I had maintained a consistent pace through most of the run. Again, at the start when I was surrounded by faster runners, I think I probably pushed myself faster than I normally would.

As I said, I was among the last of the 10K runners to come in, but there were still throngs of people at the finish line, shouting encouragement to random people. That was nice.

I did not sprint for the finish this time. I had the energy in me — in fact, I really didn’t feel the need to stop running after 6.2 miles, but there was no point in continuing after that. As usual, I didn’t check the display clock for my time, knowing (believing) that my chip time would soon be posted. That’s the more accurate time anyway.

But it seems that the organizers were already starting to pack up by the time stragglers like me got in. They had stopped printing the times perhaps fifteen minutes before and had no plans to print any more. They were even taking down some of their displays. (That must have annoyed the half marathoners, who were still way out in other parts of the city, doing their 13 mile runs.) So between the rude comments from a couple of high school kids and the fact that the organizers didn’t seem to have much respect for us slower runners, I was pretty much disgusted by the time we were ready to go.

Sure, I stopped twice at the booth extolling the virtues of butter because they were handing out cartons of chocolate milk. And I did snag a banana and a roll. And then we walked around the farmers market that operates there year round. And we each had a feta and spinach pastry of some delicious sort. But after that, we decided just to leave. Getting out of the area was not easy. Many of the roads in the area were still blocked off because of the half marathoners, so we had to bob and weave our way through the tiny streets until we got to a highway on the east side of the city. Then we could sprint down to the art fair that happened to be taking place in another part of town. After that, lunch at a noodle place. Then a weird jaunt into North Kansas City, which doesn’t merit discussion.

Now I’m home. I feel fine. I’m not sure I will run again until Tuesday at the soonest, and I am sure I’ll get over my frustration with how this 10K was operated. I have another 10K coming up in two weeks, and for the first time I’ll have a running partner. Then I have a couple of 5K runs after that. Easy.

(My chip time was posted late in the day at a local running webpage. I maintained about my usual pace, and since it listed all of the runners’ times, I could see that I wasn’t the last.)

Rock Flipping Day – 2012

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

I begin with apologies. iPhoto is still giving me fits, and though I spent a good part of yesterday at the Apple store trying to get iPhoto to behave, whatever fix they did will (may) solve the problem going forward. Any photos I took prior to yesterday are subject to the random feistiness or cooperation of iPhoto. Of course all of the photos I took for International Rock Flipping Day were taken before yesterday, so I had to use a work around that they showed me. At least, apparently, I haven’t lost any photos, though sizing them is a challenge. But you go to the blog with the photos you have.

The cricket you see above was hiding under a rock in the gravel near the cabin. It was the only live thing I found in all of my flipping. Immediately below it in the photo you can see some brown rocks. Those are stained with rust. Somewhere among them is a bit of iron pyrite. The last load of gravel the men put on the parking pad behind the cabin contained many iron pyrite pebbles, and as they’ve gotten wet over the years, they’ve rusted.

I found this old cache of acorns that some critter had hidden beneath a large rock across the lake. The rock sits at the base of a very large black oak, and there is a hole in the trunk near the rock. I suspect the critter — perhaps a red squirrel — lives in that hole and keeps a larder under the rock. These acorns looked ragged, so it may be that no one has visited the supply recently.

Above is a little experiment I’ve been conducting at Roundrock. In past years, I acquired the orange spoon and white fork you see here. I was told that they were biodegradable, and I wanted to see that in action. So I placed them under a paving stone before the cabin. This was several years ago. In fact, I think it was before I even had the cabin, so that would have to be at least three years. Before this I had screwed a similar spoon to the trunk of a tree where it would be exposed to the elements. Aside from a critter gnawing on it, the spoon showed no sign of degrading. Someone then said that it would have worked better had the spoon been buried. Hence the experiment above. Nothing seems to have happened to the spoon and the fork. Maybe I’m thinking in too short a term.

As I roamed my woods that rainy Saturday in search of likely rocks to flip, I saw another fellow out there, also flipping the occasional rock, though rooting among them seemed to be its preferred approach. The armadillo let me get quite close. It regarded me and then went about its business, nonplussed by my presences. It was small, so I guess it was too young to understand the “danger” of humans. Plus it was busy rooting out something that it devoured with haste. I think the wet weather put a lot of food within its reach that hadn’t been available through much of the summer drought.

To see these photos as well as photos by many other people who actually know what they’re doing, head over to the Flickr page devoted to flipped rocks.


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