Saturday, August 22, 2015

O Canada!

I can smell you burning!

The pictures don't really do it justice. The smoke haze has been awful for the last three days, and my world smells like someone left the poutine on the barbie too long.

Didn't keep me from my appointed rounds though.

One of the nice things about my life is that I can take the time, if i like, to pull out a camp chair, kick back, and read. Reading is enjoyable anywhere, anytime, but outside on the prairie is kinda special. The temperature was nearly 100 and I'd been toiling in the sweltering heat, rebuilding washed out five-wire fence. I got tired and faint, and realized I needed a sit-down with a book and a nice jug of lukewarm formerly iced tea. It was a divine hour I spent in the slender shade of juniper, surrounded by grazing cows and calves, reading from Atkinson's Liberation Trilogy. Heaven.

In the morning I took a little hike to check mushrooms.

This is a Giant Puffball, Calvatia gigantea. They're quite common on the shortgrass prairie in mid- to late-summer, particularly following a rain. That said, I've never seen them so large. Of course I've never seen such a wet, rainy year. The puffballs are edible and somewhat prized in certain mushrooming circles. They sure smell like edible mushrooms, midway between the white button and baby bella shrooms we can get at our local (ahem) supermarket. If I were younger and still convinced of my immortality I'd have slaughtered and cooked a batch of these puffballs. But I am not younger and I am no longer convinced, therefore I'll leave these for those who are.

I was reading the other day that the FBI recently warned of isisisil "barry's own" terrorist cells operating in Cheyenne and in Greeley, Colo. Sixty miles away. The local constabulary is "somewhat" aware of this. So that's about five of us. And another reason that I choose to exercise one of my Constitutional rights.

I don't make a big deal about it, and as a CCW holder most of my friends and neighbors have not the faintest idea that I'm one of those crazy insane psychologically emasculated nut jobs. I'm not as spry as I once was and I believe I'll leave the unarmed terrorist hunting to callow utes like those on the Amsterdam-Paris train the other day. Me, I'll rely on Ol' Betsy.

Back by popular Badger demand, the rusty bike.

Which is actually a trike.

It's been there as long as I can remember, and I'd guess since at least WWII. Maybe WWI. I have no idea what the story behind it might be, and there's no one around with more information.

The other day it was cool and foggy. One might even say cold and miserable -- for August. I had a workout hike scheduled and couldn't let the conditions defeat me, so off I went.

I went 5.3 miles or so and was soaked and chilled to the bone when I finished. I got to thinking about one of Sarge's post-horsepistol posts, the one featuring Michael Caine and an image of Shepherd's cottage pie. My mouth watered.

So I went to work.

I'm afraid I was too hungry to take any mouth-watering images of the completed project. Such images would have been disappointing, anyway, because what I made was more properly cottage upside-down pie. In other words, I was to lazy (and hungry) to put the mashed potatoes on top and bake. So I put the mashed potatoes on a plate and covered them with the filling. My stomach seems not to have known the difference.

Finally, here's a confused milkweed bug and a snap of a friendly bullsnake. Note the round pupil.

And last but not least, we return to where we began, more or less, with a tiny annual sunflower blossom set against the backdrop of an evening sky filled with burning poutine.

Hope you're all having a wonderful day.


  1. I'm jealous! Spent my day cooped up in a windowless office creating 3053 student accounts. Yippee!

    We've got similar haze problems down here also. Cept it's coming from the South. But O Mexico doesn't sound as good.

  2. Loved that series by Rick Atkinson. Saw some British twit on Facebook pooh-pooh it because we Yanks are so excitable. Yes, many of us write history so that people will read it. Egad but I despise snobs. Especially faux history snobs.

    Oh, was I ranting? Sorry.

    Still and all, let me know what you think.

    Smoke from Canada? What is the entire west of North America on fire. Saw a pic from my son-in-law's jet the other day. Caption said "California is on fire" - sure looked like it!

    Good stuff.

    1. Snobs is snobs, as they say. I bet this twit really hates Sir Max.

      Atkinson said something about having an obligation to keep the reality of individual sacrifice alive. Couldn't agree more. All the arrows on maps and dry statistics are great and proper, but those were real men and women who had real lives and hopes and dreams and they lost all that. When there's a death every three seconds over six years most of them have to be just numbers. It's too much to viscerally comprehend. But you simply must look as much of that as you can right in the face and learn the proper context, else you'll never be able to grow in understanding. Whoops, I went on a rant too.

      This has been a year of unusual weather patterns. We're getting air movement out of Canada that we usually only see in the depths ow winter and her arctic express. We've had smoke and haze from western fires in previous years, and that's what I assumed it was at first. Overhead imagery says different. Kinda cool. And stinky.

  3. One of the things I loved about being a 2300-0700 deputy, was when I would encounter fog during false dawn, and I would drive past a dairy farm, and see the girls coming in to be milked, as half images moving through the fog, heading for the barn. Your photo brought that back. Moocows in the Mist.

    1. Thanks, Scott, glad you enjoyed. Summer fog is (or was) more or less unheard of around here. Interesting and pretty and quite a bit of fun. I got wet and cold but that was on me. Some people know to come in out of the fog. There used to be dairies all over the place around here but they've been gone since the 70's or so. There is a sheep dairy just up the road but it's not quite the same.