Monday, September 30, 2019

A course-grained analysis of selected shit that ain't right





I've got 37 drafts in the queue on this blog. Perhaps 10 percent of them have a hope of being published, and perhaps 10 percent of those have a hope of being readable.

In the realm of neat and tidy, that shit ain't right. In the realm of neat and tidy, an adequate blogger would prune those drafts back and let the thing have room to grow and flourish.

Of course, it's a blog. It's not a firetrucking hedge.

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I had 48 hours pain free following steroid injections in the tissue surrounding some angry nerve roots in my lumbar spine area. The lack of pain was wonderful. A bit less than 48 hours after the injections some of the pain and some of the paresthesia (altered sensation -- numbness, tingling, stinging, etc.) began to return. That's a bit disappointing, but not unexpected. Reality is in no way compelled to produce the outcomes I demand. The thing that is going to happen here is that my body is going to do what it can do, not what I demand it do. There are various ways I can support it in that mission, and there are various ways medicine can support and enhance what it does, but those things are limited by the constraints of reality.


Context, scale, perspective. Although some pain has returned, and although pain (particularly nerve pain) is unpleasant, this pain is greatly reduced from what I had before. In some ways I'm kinda being a chickenshit crybaby to even mention it to others, let alone myself.


A reasonable and reasoned reading of the tea leaves reveals that nearly everything augers well for a good outcome. In my selfish world of demands, I desire a return to the ability to walk and run and exercise without pain. Will I have a result that at least coarsely echoes my desire? Only time will tell.


And then there's the important part. How will I respond to the good stuff and bad stuff, not-so-good stuff and not-so-bad stuff, as it develops? Will I behave as I should or as as I can? Will I behave as a principled man or as an egocentric lout?

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As the growing season winds down and the annual cycle of life approaches senescence, those of us who have actually observed the 2019 cycle can't help but conclude that it's been a very good year for growing things.


As you may recall from second grade science, plants take light from the sun and through photosynthesis convert light energy into the power needed to smash carbon from the air and hydrogen from water and micro-nutrients from the soil into growth and reproduction. Plants "breath in" carbon dioxide, and "breathe out" oxygen. Herbivorous animals eat plants, carnivorous animals eat herbivores, and omnivorous animals eat some of both. Animals breathe in the oxygen produced by plants, and breathe out much of the carbon dioxide required by plants. All along the way animals return micro-nutrients to the soil from their metabolic effluent and from the decomposition of their husks when they croak.


Given the fundamental and homeostatic nature of Earth's cycle of life, a thinking plant or animal can step back, observe over time, and develop a sense of the requirements and conditions which bound the cycle. Everywhere it's essentially the same. The sun provides warmth (for liquid water to flow) and energy. The air provides carbon. Water provides hydrogen and oxygen and a vehicular solvent for moving micro-nutrients around as well as a miniature sea where cellular metabolism can take place.


A thinking plant or animal might be somewhat forgiven if they assume that life depends on a razor sharp balance of water, earth, wind and fire. It does not. Abundance of growth, however, does depend on the quantitative abundance of those constituents. And therein lies the key to what some of us call the difference between a good year and a bad year.


The solar flux is for all practical human purposes more or less fixed. Likewise the atmospheric gas mix. These things are variable over time, of course, and the period of variability is far, far greater than the time scales we're used to operating and thinking in.


And then there's water. Compared to earth, wind and fire, water is wildly variable. Here on the land anyway, and over the very tidy human time scales we like to play in. Life can't do without solar energy or atmospheric carbon or the constant turnover of micro-nutrients, but those things are all but hidden to our short-scale observations and desires. Water, though... Water comes from precipitation, and precipitation is very common. Furthermore, while the earth, wind and fire change so little and so slowly that we don't notice, precipitation changes all the time. Annually, seasonally, monthly, weekly, daily, hourly. As dense and shortsighted as we humans are, we really can't miss precipitation. Or the variability of precipitation.


As it turns out, the difference between a good year and a bad year is the difference between abundant plant growth and non-abundant plant growth. There's always far more earth, wind, and fire than needed to produce abundance. The limiting factor is water, or precipitation. This year there has been plenty of precipitation and therefore more than enough water in the soil for the plants to produce like mad. Good year. Through today (September 30) we've received 25.73 inches of liquid precipitation since January 1. The 125 year annual average is 16.77 inches, so we're almost nine inches ahead, or more than 1.5 times the annual average.


Unlike some of the other observations in this post, there ain't nothing wrong with that.

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From the "what are you, some kind of felinophile?" vault...






Wednesday, September 25, 2019

King of Pain, King of Life





Been on a Police kick lately. In my world, that stuff is all still fresh and new. What's forty years across the human musical timescape? Blink of an eye. Maybe you have to be olden to take this perspective, but maybe being olden brings a lot of rich reward. Copeland sure has some interesting interviews up on the interwebs as well.



As I've mentioned before there were aspects of my 2019 summer existence which really sucked. One of the major ones was physical pain. To recap that, I managed to grow a benign tumor deep in my pelvis. It had been growing for some while and eventually began pushing my lumbar spine out of line and smooshing some of the lumbar nerve roots, causing lots of pain.

Sting was writing about a different kind of pain, but his words can be useful for anyone facing pain. Well, in my opinion anyway. This summer I had the pain of loss and the pain of pain. Today, as I write this on September 25, 2019, I find the composition, melody, and lyric quite uplifting. There is no life without pain. But life isn't only pain, and pain has a wonderful way of framing the rest of experiential living. What quality of pleasure and enjoyment can one experience with nothing to scale it against, with nothing to provide scale, context, perspective? How can such visceral, beautiful music arise except from the ashes of suffering?



Don't get me wrong (if I'm looking kind of dazzled -- old people rock, even if like me they're mostly a bunch of dickheads!), pain sucks and isn't enjoyable. But it can be formative and forging, and since none of us can avoid it, my thought is that we're all well advised to make the best use of it. The only other choice is to let it destroy us.

Yesterday a bunch of super people wielded the magical power of modern medicine in my behalf. They injected steroids into the tissue surrounding my smooshed lumbar nerve roots. My pain departed immediately, and as of this morning it's still gone. There's no way to tell the future so I have no idea if this is a one-shot, long term fix. Maybe yes, maybe no. There's some reason for optimism given the way my body's efforts to heal itself were trending, but only time will tell.

At the moment I'm pain free. I can walk without pain, and I've discovered that I've been altering my gait to compensate for the hurting, so now I've got to get my gait back to normal. A mere trifle.

So that's my deal for the day. Here's hoping that all of you kind readers are well and finding ways to revel in and enjoy your mortal existence.


Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Second day of autumn








Yesterday was the first day of autumn. The autumnal equinox occurred at about 0150 local (Mountain Daylight Time). The equinoxes (vernal and autumnal) are the two points in time and location where the sun appears to be at the halfway point in its twice-yearly N-S (autumnal) or S-N (vernal) journeys through the sky. The equinoxes also mark the two days of each year when the temporal division of daylight and darkness are most nearly equal. The "ends" of the sun's annual journey through the sky are the solstices. The farthest south point and shortest day happen with the winter solstice just before Christmas on the first day of winter. When the sun reaches it's most northerly point on or about June 20, the summer solstice is, you guessed it, the first day of summer. In about 180 days, as the sun retraces its route northward, the vernal equinox will mark the first day of spring and another roughly equal distribution of daylight and darkness.

Of course the sun doesn't really move through our sky. The Earth travels around the sun in an elliptical orbit which takes 365 and a quarter days to complete. As Earth zips around the sun it rotates once every not-quite 24 hours, and our planet rotates around a vertical axis which is tilted about 23 degrees from straight "up and down" which is defined as the plane of the ecliptic, or the plane where on average all of the planets orbit the sun.

The combination of our orbit about the sun and the tilt of our rotating planet is what makes the sun appear to move N-S and S-N throughout the year.

This is stuff we all know, but it's worth thinking about periodically. Many people will stridently tell you otherwise, but it's easy to observe and provides a proof against pseudoscience that we can all enjoy and use to help keep us grounded in a world that sometimes seems to have gone mad.

One of the delights of the day was observing the hawk pictured above. The experten over at iNaturalist have identified it as a Cooper's Hawk, and it may well be, but it doesn't look like one to me. A smallish Accipiter surely, but is it a Cooper's? I'm skeptical but given the fact that I'm no Ornithologist James Simpson, I'm willing to be convinced. Gorgeous bird regardless. And given the perch it took almost certainly a chickenhawk!

Couple of rough autumnal bideos...





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This morning I'm going over to the big city (Scottsbluff, Nebraska -- population 15,000) hospital for to have some steroids injected into the areas near some ailing nerve roots. I'm hoping for a significant reduction in pain and a speedy return to normal health and mobility. I will, of course, take what I get.

I hope you're all enjoying the season and blessed with continuing good fortune amid the normal turmoil of life.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Workin' on a thang





It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood! I'm so blessed that I can slip away from my humanly artificial environment each day and spend some quality hours soaking up and dealing with nature's reality.

As I'm checking cattle I want to dash over into the next pasture to the north and shut off a couple of windmills. It'll only take 10 minutes or so, and as a lazy bastard I only want to open and close the gate once. Unfortunately for me in the moment, the cattle are near the gate I want to use and I don't want them to get out. What to do? Time to apply some problem solving!



Squeezing 'lectrical pennies. One of the dirty little secrets of ranching.



White-tailed jackrabbit out for a morning gallop.



##########

I'm working on a post which will provide everyone who reads it with a solution to all the problems vexing the modern world inhabited by humanarians. But it ain't done yet. So let me do this instead as a temporary measure.

Before I *** let me just say that the steroids are making me quite cranky today.

***



How clever me is!

Am I just using pain as an excuse to behave in a cranky fashion, rather than in the fashion which I know to be principled, correct, and in all ways better?

Hmmm. It was a lot easier sitting in the trees eating bananas. There's a downside to adopting colorful shoes.

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It was somewhere between zero-one and zero-two. Something makes me think it was a weeknight. I feel like I have a memory of noting to myself, at the time, "Shit, it's a firetrucking weeknight!"

Could be wrong on that and it's probably not important anyway. The fact that I've mentioned "weeknight" should be a clue that I'm not writing about the boat this time. No weekdays or weekends on the boat!

Weeknight or not, it was the wee hours. In the Emergency Room at NAS Oceana's Medical Clinic, I was leaning on the patient side of the counter of the check in desk. Over my right shoulder was the doorway leading to the treatment room. To my right was the ER entrance, a pair of double sliding doors leading outside to the ambulance parking area. This was the north or back side of the clinic, and the ER entrance was the only way in or out of the clinic after hours. Across the counter from me, sitting comfortably in a cushioned chair, was a First Class Hospital corpsman, or HM1. She was the Chief of the Day, and I can't remember her name. I'm pretty sure I was an E-4 or HM3 at the time, but this might also have been the period when I'd been invited to revert to my previous E-3 rank for various self-inflicted reasons.

The HM1 and I were shooting the shit. I was bitching about having my affections played with by a certain woman.

"How was I supposed to know she was married?"

"Gee, I dunno. Wedding ring maybe?"

"She wears a wedding ring?"

Eye roll, head shake, face palm.

This HM1 was physically tiny. I don't think she touched the five-foot mark. But the way she carried her authority and responsibility made her presence considerably larger. As I climbed the rank structure she was one of the people I tried to model my leadership style on.

The room strobed with flashing lights. We both looked through the sliding doors and saw a Virginia Beach police cruiser. A pair of cops eased a wobbly, bloody sailor out of the back seat. One of the officers solicitously held a bloody bandage (actually a big wad of paper towels) to the sailor's head.

Ruh-roh. I glanced at my G-Shock. "Shit, it's a firetrucking weeknight!"

Somewhat surprisingly, the sailor, who belonged to one of the CVW-6 Fighter Squadrons, wasn't under arrest or in any legal trouble. And he was only mildly (by sailor standards) intoxicated. He did have a spectacular scalp laceration though. He'd been larking about in a parking garage and jumped a cinder block half-wall. He'd let his head stick up too high and peeled back a big layer of scalp. The flap was easily 10 centimeters on a side but still attached at the back, near the crown of his skull. Other than the laceration the fellow was in good shape. He hadn't even drawn a concussion. That laceration though! It was kind of like this, only larger and higher/farther back on the head.


It looked nasty, and in some ways it was nasty, but it could have been much worse, and it was something I could fix. I was young and relatively junior but I'd had a lot of training and full deployment's worth of experience. This wasn't my first rodeo. My training and experience told me that these kind of lacerations are complex and have to be closed in layers. The tissue on the top of the head is stretched pretty tight over a convex chunk of bone and consists of skin, a subcutaneous layer, and a layer of galea aponeurotica overlaying the skull. Fortunately for Skippy the Superhero Sailor, his galea was completely intact. Had the galea been peeled back with the skin and fascia he'd have bought a ticket to a surgical repair done by an honest-to-god surgeon rather than a complex but locally done stitch job by a jumped up chancre mechanic.

The HM1 rolled one of the watchstanders out of the rack to hold down the desk while I checked Skippy in and waded through the preliminary paperwork and physical exam. As I was wrapping up my preparations to close the wound and explaining the procedure to the patient, HM1 invited Rosco the Refrigerator in to bless the procedure. Rosco was the Duty Doc, a Flight Surgeon assigned to CVW-6. He gave me a thumbs up and I tucked into the job, competently assisted by the elfin HM1.

It took about an hour to close the wound. I hadn't realized it before, but HM1 had never been formally certified and had therefore never sutured. It was kind of nice being able to talk and teach my way through the job.

With Skippy's head held together by Frankenstein stitching, it was time to send him to the barracks. Rosco had called the squadron's ready room and the Squadron Duty Officer sent both the duty driver and the Squadron Corpsman to fetch him. The corpsman would babysit Skippy overnight and return him in the morning for a follow up.

I didn't give it a thought at the time, but I was working within a very good health care system. I only rarely worked with Rosco and the CVW-6 medical team; we were on nearly opposing deployment cycles. Likewise, I only rarely worked with HM1, and by the time I returned from my next deployment she was long gone to another duty assignment. I'm pretty sure I never saw any of those guys again. One of the cool things is that we were all able to work together so smoothly and also be comrades and friends. This was all based on training and experience, an understanding of mission and our individual places in mission accomplishment, and a shared sense of respect. From the outside it probably looked like we were simple plug-and-play components, but we weren't that at all. We could function like that because of the ethos and convictions we shared and because we chose to. It wasn't always like that, but most of the time it was, and the experience could be a very satisfying one indeed.

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Back to the ranch...





Always something...



Winter's coming...








Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Dogs and dogtown





They're always up for a post-walk treat. Or an anytime treat for that matter.

##########

Health/Medical.

The mass in my belly has responded remarkably well to treatment. It's essentially gone now. The treatment has been a bit of a rough ride but most of that is behind me, at least for the moment and hopefully for some time to come.

The remaining problem and all of the pain comes from the fact that the mass was pressing against some lumbar spine nerves, mashing them against other tissues.
Tight fit and plenty of opportunity for "mashing."
Nerves don't like being mashed. They tend to get into an inflammation feedback loop and it takes time, patience, and steroids to settle them down and chase away the pain. On that front there's been good progress too, but it looks like I'll be having a round of steroid injections directly into the affected areas. Hopefully that will interrupt the vicious circle of inflammation and pain and allow me to get back to where I was before all this crap started. I seem to be trending in that direction already and I'm having a lot less pain over the last week or so. Mind you, it comes back with a vengeance from time to time and there are moments when it feels a lot like agony.


As much as I tend to focus on my own immediate problems, I never have to look far to see that many others have much worse problems. It seems clear to me that I've been blessed with the ability to see that I'm not the center of the universe and that I've somehow gained enough discipline over time to recognize that fact and appreciate the suffering and courage of those who are more severely afflicted than I. The siren song of self pity and egocentrism leads only toward splintering rocks and disaster. It's always a choice, and the song can sound really good at times.

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Traveled to Cheyenne (dogtown) today. There's a new Qdoba restaurant. "Mexican Cats." Whoops, that's "Mexican Eats." Sorry, old eyes.


Interestingly, this new restaurant is located on the site/lot where Carl Corey's house used to stand.

Carl Corey? Yes. Prince Corwin of Amber used that alias in Roger Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber. In fact Carl Corey is the first character you meet in that tale. Carl had been banished to our particular "shadow" of the true earth, suffering from amnesia. At one point in the tale he returns to this shadow and his now dusty and boarded up residence. Where Qdoba stands today, there once stood an abandoned and boarded up house, and just like the liquor store below, I drove right past it many times over the years. Unlike the liquor store, I noticed the house, and for whatever reason was always strongly reminded of the Amber tales and Carl Corey's house. How's that for goofy? I first read those stories in High School and have always enjoyed them.

Here's DT's Liquor Mart, an annex of the Tusker Bar. I've been driving past this place for years also but never really noticed it before. Ah the irony.


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Filling my pickup was an event that recently featured in a video I shared with a farmer friend from Herefordshire. He was curious how much money it took to fill the pickup, which is usually circa $75-$80 depending on tank depletion and gas price. Seem's like that's pretty cheap compared to over there.


There are just over four liters in a quart (1.05 liters per quart, or 4.2 per gallon), so 4.90-ish British Pounds Sterling per gallon. (Man, I gashed that math before returning to fix it). Firetruck me. Crazy George III must still be running the show. Or the national democratic eurocommunist union of unicornia, which many merkins seem to want to emulate. Butt I digress.

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This Day in Chicken History (actually September 10, 1945, in Fruita Colorado.
source





Sunday, September 15, 2019

Sunday the... Yeah, not that amusing





How's that for a BFE? Considerably larger than a store-bought jumbo.
Aaaand -- that's enough chicken stuff for this post.

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With everything going on this year I never got around to giving the dogs their summer shave. By the time September loomed Nona was a real mess. Her penchant for rolling in every fresh cow pie followed by a roll in stinky organics-clotted mud followed by a roll in grass and dirt had he coat so matted that it was like a coat of mail (maille?). It was really a drag for her -- pun intended -- and she smelled like a gut wagon crashed into Burger King next to a swamp full of decomposing pigs. With a hint of baby shampoo.

So I gave her a very rudimentary haircut. The point was to get rid of the matted mail, and I did so, albeit in a rather second grade-ish fashion. I simply couldn't do the finish work as I'm only good for about 15 minutes at the grooming stand before the hurting gets to be too much.
"You did the best you could, Boss. For certain values of 'best'"


Anyway, Nona felt immediately better and so did I. Ever since then I've been chipping away at making it look better and evicting the last few snarls. Nona helps by multiple daily rolls in fresh cow pies, stinky organics-clotted mud, and grass and dirt.

Part of the daily grooming regimen is throwing her in a stock tank and scrubbing. Bit by bit she's getting clean. Or at least ruining the water in the tank.

The other dog at the ranch, Red, also ended up with a heavily matted coat, though as a slightly saner and more fastidious dog her coat wasn't the disaster Nona's was. Nevertheless, Mom wants Red to be an indoor-outdoor companion going forward, so Red needed a serious grooming, which she got at the vets place. That was all good. Part of the reason Red is to spend more time in the house is that the pack alpha male, Jeter, disappeared a couple of days after Dad died. We don't know what happened. I suspect he may have crawled off in tall grass and died. He was nine years old and lived a hard physical life. It's possible that someone captured him and took him home, and that's perhaps a nicer thought, but I don't think that's what happened. Anyway, I digress.

Nona and Red always accompany Mom on her prairie walks, and Nona always returns adorned with cowshit, mud, grass and dirt. Despite the fact that she's less inclined to massively overdo the rolling thing, Red is nevertheless a dog and she also partakes a bit. Which runs counter to Mom's plan of having a non-stinky dog spend time in the house.

So, short story long, after Nona had her stock tank Jacuzzi yesterday I decided to fling Red in there as well and wash off the post-grooming accumulation of unspeakable (Red leans more to dead things than poop).

Now while Nona is hyperactive and obsessive-compulsive, Red is extremely laid back except when it comes to herding cattle. When not busting bovines she reverts to Hee-Haw porch hound emulation. She also eats, and she's been a handy one to have around for dealing with food scraps. But with a low-revving motor and accumulating years, over-nutrition has made her, frankly, fat.
Fat but well groomed.


So when I'd finished washing her off in the stock tank yesterday she began to scramble out. But she's no longer the svelte pup who used to scramble in and out of stock tanks. She misjudged her ability to get her mass moving where she wanted it to go and overbalanced backwards in a very undignified splash. You had to be there to appreciate the humor of the situation. Well, you had to be there and not be Red. Wish I'd have been taking a video.

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It was nice to see the Huskers get a second win last evening. They started with a bit of a sophomore slump in Coach Frost's second year, but they seem to be making progress. Hope they don't get blown out by the fighting lioneyes next week.

Sometime in the second quarter we got this.


Hard to worry overmuch about football when this is just outside the window.

Great Horned Owl was out and about after the sun had gone.

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It isn't always easy to be a cow. This crossbred cow has a good bit of Simmental in her genetics. The shape of the head and big ears are a giveaway.


Big ears aren't always the best thing to have. They're a nice radiator when it gets hot but they also tend toward cold injury when the mercury plummets. This one has cropped ears and tail from frostbite.


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Some of the prettiest autumn flowers are the tiniest.


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Autumn bugs are colorful too, like this goldenrod soldier beetle.



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The weather guessers are predicting 87 degrees today. It's 83 just now (noon) and it did warm up pretty quick this morning. Might be the last hot(ish) day of the year. Or not. We'll find out soon enough. Started growing my winter beard a couple of days ago.

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Don't know why I get such a kick out of this...


##########

Be well and enjoy the blessings of liberty.




Saturday, September 14, 2019

Corpsman Chronicles XX: Saturday the 14th





Late 1981, after the big fire. The boat with embarked airwing are smashing Orange Air down Puerto Rico way. We're all working very hard, and in the occasional down hours we all appreciate the entertainment provided by AFRTS, including a brand new film which at the time and in many a sailor's opinion was one of the greatest movies ever made.



You might wonder how sailors could possibly assess a low budget horror spoof as one of the greatest films of all time. Wonder no more.



Hey, Sailors.

Good memories come dressed (or undressed) in interesting clothes.

This particular good memory came hard on the heels of a bad memory. Fourteen dead and more than 50 injured and medevaced to J-ville and San Antonio.



For the living, life goes on. Once the trauma begins to recede and the shock eases into the realm of past experience, appreciation and zest and enjoyment bounce back. Hard work and long hours feel good and suck mightily in a profoundly satisfying dichotomy.

Cobalt blue of Caribbean waters, huge blue sky overhead choked with budding thunderheads. Sultry warm and humid air. Smoking hot, rough and scarred nonskid. Clouds of catapult steam and the shimmering heat of jet exhaust. The roar and visceral wham as Grumman Iron is dashed into the air. The smash-rumble-scream as jets are snatched back aboard. The eye-stinging, snot-producing stench of freshly incinerated kerosene. Ahh, these things are achingly beautiful and soul cleansing. These things killed and maimed some of us before, and they can do so again, but now we rebuild a powerful shield of operational excellence. We were gravely wounded, now we are healed. The flying fish that sail into the hangar bay are a reminder that we are living a unique and important experience that most people will never know or even care about. There's an enormous burden in long hours and hard physical work, but purpose and responsibility and dedication make it bearable and, in a way, ennobling.

Others are mindlessly enjoying the fruits of liberty. We are honing our skills for war. We are very, very good. Ashore there are Marines and Soldiers on the wall. Our walls of steel can and will venture anywhere across the broad seventy percent of the globe covered with water. We carry with us a terrible skill set that gives our enemies pause and makes it hard for them to sleep at night. We are hard. We actively seek and willingly embrace our burden.

And we enjoy Saturday the 14th in a way that no one else can. I can state the fact, but to understand what enjoying that film on the boat meant to us, well, you just had to be there.

Now that I've made us all out to be the noblest of the noble, let me repeat again -- Sailors.

Few if any of us were too noble to get up to remarkably ignoble activities. We drank and screwed and tore up bars, hazed the noobs mercilessly and plotted to dismay and discomfort the Chiefs and division officers. We skated right up to (and sometimes over) the line between legal and illegal, respectful and disrespectful, honorable and dishonorable.

We were walking, talking, drinking, screwing, mobile disaster areas. The heavies put their lives and careers at risk every time they let us slip the chain and go on liberty.

When it came to doing our actual Sailor jobs, though, we were the best in the world. That reality gave us a lot of latitude, and we used up every bit of it. We were neither as great as we could have been nor as bad (quite) as we could have been.

We were Sailors in a golden age, and without having experienced it, no one can lay hands on the reality of sailing those seas at that time and place.

Perhaps you can take my word for it -- it was a formative experience.

Now as it turns out, this is not the blog post I set out to write. All of those words above are true, and all (or nearly all) of them surprised the hell out of me the way they magically appeared on the screen.

It's a goofy and puzzling and delightful Saturday the 14th. I can't wreck this post any more, so I'll just put it up let it live in infamy for the eternity of the interwebs.

May all of you kind readers be as blessed as I am on this lovely and delightful near-autumn day.


Friday, September 13, 2019

The glorious 13th







Well, it's Friday the 13th. Earlier today I wrote a check numbered 4666. Am I scared? I'll let you know tomorrow. No sense in taking on unnecessary risk. That said, cute kid video, no?

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Back in the spring a flock of fuzzy baby chicks -- and one fuzzy baby duck -- showed up at the ranch. The backstory on that is mildly amusing and I'll try to share it in the reasonably near future. Butt I digress.




They seem to like pigweed.


Perhaps surprisingly, they make eggs.


Believe it or not, when I gathered those eggs this morning I missed the last brown one in the nesting box. Didn't see it. I claim old eyes. When I saw it on the video I went back and collected it. What a great tool video is!

I guess Red is going to make sure I'm checking cattle correctly from now on. When I open the gate to go check, she jumps in the pickup.





Sunflowers are interesting. Trust me. Most of the things we call "field sunflowers" really aren't sunflowers, but we tend to lump all the tallish plants with big-petaled yellow flowers sunflowers. Like this one.




But here's an actual sunflower.




See the difference?

Nature is just a little on the cool side.




Fun to have the Harvest Moon on Friday the 13th.




Another great day in the books. Hurting quite a bit from time to time, but that's life, and nature gives me a wonderland to visit. Things are far from bad.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Out and about, a bit





Lots of pain today. Some days are like that. I know whats causing the pain -- smooshed nerve roots. I don't know why some days hurt more than others. I suppose I could come up with a solid hypothesis but for some reason it seems like too much work. Ah, well. If the past is any indicator of the future, tomorrow will likely be better.

Red wanted to go for a ride this morning and look at some cows. I think she misses Dad.



A while back this Muley doe was cropping green grass along a fence line.



The next morning she was sticking to the trees with her fawn.




Swainson's Hawk, the King of all he surveys.



Another kind of hawk



Couple more pics of my friend the four-foot snattlerake.




Obligatory flowers.





Cows and calves playing hide and seek.




Pheasant hens. You have to look close to see them all, they blend in so well.






My tank runneth over.



Cows going to water.



What you lookin' at?



Nona's favorite spa.



Sunset.



Moon over airport.


Moon over tractor.



Just Luna.



Tractor and drill.



Despite not having a great day I had a great day. Nature always lends scale, context and perspective. I am so blessed.