Herbert W. McBride was a Captain in the Indiana National Guard when WWI broke out. He volunteered to a Canadian rifle company because he wanted to see action. He was commissioned, but broken to private soldier after a number of alcohol-fueled escapades. He shipped to England and then the Continent with the Twenty-first Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, where he quickly regained his rank and the command of a machine gun unit. Later in the war he was a sniper. He wrote a pair of books about his wartime experiences; one about sniping and one about machine guns. The first is $0.99 and the second is free on kindle. Just sayin'.
In the forward to the second book McBride explains the birth of the modern military phonetic alphabet, (B-Beer, P-Pip, T-Tock, etc.) which led to machine gun sections being called the Emma Gees.
Now all of this has been a bit of background to explain why, when I walked outside into the dawn this morning, I exclaimed, "Oh Emma Gee!"
Followed immediately by, "Oh, $#!+!"
The first was because it was such a gloriously beautiful morning. The temperature was 54 degrees, which was delightful, the air was still and filled with the smell of high summer, and the sun, which had painted the dawn with an infinite palate of warm colors, began to peek above eastern horizon, sending bright streamers of white-orange light shooting across the landscape.
Exactly the kind of morning that makes me say, "Oh my god, what a gorgeous morning."
The second was because of the flatness of the left front tire of my pickup. I couldn't get myself too worked up about the flat tire though, because the morning was just too beautiful.
With air in the tire I headed out to check cattle. I drove into the pasture via the southwest gate on county road 24. The sunflowers I posted images of yesterday are gone, munched down by cattle! The Scotch thistle flowers I showcased are also gone, having been viciously eradicated by yours truly.
The fenceline where the sunflowers stood also shows off the difference between grassland that's been grazed since spring greenup and grassland that's not yet been grazed.
A bit further along I came across a group of shrikes dining on grasshoppers and crickets.
|Not sure if they're Loggerhead or Northern Shrikes.|
|Br'er Rabbit hoping he doesn't look like a cricket.|
Whoa! Wait a minute, dude, that ain't no cricket!
Could be a Lark Bunting or a sparrow. Maybe a Horned Lark? Or something else?
Shrikes are interesting birds. They are predatory songbirds, and they do have a lovely song. They've got a reputation for being vicious murderers in some circles (the professional and semi-professional victim classes), because they impale their prey on sharp, pokey things like cactus spines, tree thorns, and barbed wire. It seems likely that shrikes evolved this behavior to stockpile food in locations that are hard for potential scavengers to access. I think it's very interesting behavior, and it makes me wonder at the shrike's level of intelligence. Did they learn to store food because they are smart, or was it just an evolutionary accident? Of course, not being an SJW, I'm blind to the fact that it's just the behavior of the corporate patriarchy, man!
Maybe the SJW classes (professional and semi-professional) hate the shrike because it it lent its name to Kurt Tank's FW-190, often called, like its namesake, the Butcher Bird. Rather unlikely that even a single SJW has read enough history to be aware of the existence of the Würger though.
Cows and calves were enjoying the morning.
Bulls were comparing notes.
I headed back to the home place to work on some fencing. I had to wait a bit while combines hogged the road. It is wheat harvest, after all.
And then it was back to work on a lovely summer day.