Monday, March 23, 2020

Snapshots of a day

Sometimes in the real world nature serves you up a real shit sandwich just when you're not expecting it.

This morning as I was offloading straw bales from a small trailer I discovered a nest of baby bunny rabbits.

In disturbing the nest I inadvertently and unintentionally delivered a death sentence to the baby bunnies. When their nests are disturbed, female cottontails just start over. It's too dangerous to return to a disturbed nest -- the doe (female bunny) might get predated. She'll go somewhere more secure and have more babies in 2-3 weeks. They have a dozen or more litters each year anyway, and most of their babies die of disease or predation before they can themselves breed. It's all part of nature's balance.

Which is fine. But what am I to do? I don't want to kill the babies, even though a quick death would be better than a lingering one. But I don't want to just toss them aside and let them die, either.

So what do I do?

What I did was make an artificial warren in the newly re-stacked straw bales, complete with a small entrance tunnel. I placed the babies along with their nest material deep inside the new warren. In theory, the doe will be able to find them and nurture them. She won't, it's not what cottontails do. But she might. You never know. Miracles happen.

So I didn't have to kill them or leave them to die in the open. I hid them away from view and from the elements and from easy predation. They are now out of sight and (mostly) out of mind. They'll almost certainly die of thirst or hypothermia or a combination.

Nature's reality doesn't care what people think. Just as nature's reality doesn't care what bacteria or slime molds think.

I tried to help fix what I'd torn asunder, but it won't work and I know it. As long as I don't bullshit myself about the silly, futile, and emotional attempt making me a good and kind person I'll be okay.


On the way out to do chores this morning I spied a couple of hay-hauling trucks in my rear view mirror. They were travelling much too fast and quickly overtaking me, and I was nudging 60 mph, 10 mph over the speed limit in that place, which was the I-80 interchange area. I was heading south on Highway 71, and the trucks were right behind me.

Highway 71 is a two-lane south of Kimball. It opens up into a four-lane divided highway  through the interchange area, then bottlenecks back into two lanes. The interstate runs east-west and is in a small valley between two hills south of town. The hilltops are one and two miles south of Kimball with the interstate in between, so whether you're going north or south on 71 you go downhill toward the interchange and uphill away from it.

I knew what was going on with these hay trucks. The drivers were in a hurry, and had chosen to pick up speed and inertia going downhill so that they could carry as much smack as possible up the next hill.

It pissed me off that they were driving recklessly. If I continued as I was the lead truck would likely try to pass me going up the hill, and at the top of the hill the road bottlenecks back into two lanes. Or else he would have to slow down at the last minute. Either possibility represented a danger. Passing on the hill could kill oncoming traffic, and shutting down a speeding load of hay could wreck the truck and maybe kill me. Fuckers.

So I pulled over, which was the responsible thing to do. They went by my at the speed of stink and no oncoming traffic appeared.
North is left in this image. Red circle is where I first saw the trucks, yellow circle where I first saw them from, yellow rectangle where I pulled over. Hope the asshole drivers catch the herpes simplex 10.


Got out and did a pretty good hike today. Just over 6 miles in 90 minutes. I was fighting a lot of nerve pain so didn't take much video. I did note that the "slippery-slippery fall-down ice" on the north side of one of the windbreaks has now gone. Cool!

The big glaciers from the Thanksgiving storm are much diminished but not yet gone.


Out of bed early this morning and into writing dialog for the blog (I'm a poet and I don't even know it), specifically for the next installment of the Super RBOC saga, which is an offshoot of the Corpsman Chronicles thing.

In some sense it's not really an offshoot, it's more a cluster (or clusterfiretruck?) of events that kind of hang together. Viewed another way it's definitely an offshoot, because I'm delving a bit more into the realm of "what were you thinking and why were you thinking it?" I haven't done that before, or at least not this way. I'm also working with a collaborator, someone who was present and played a key role in many of the events I'm writing about. We're both having a fun time looking back and getting our memories suitcased, and to be fair and do the thing properly my collaborator needs to have an opportunity to exercise veto power on stuff that I get wrong or remember incorrectly.

Writing the dialog is tricky because it's hard to crawl back into our twenty-something minds. It's also hard to get the ebb and flow of the dialog right -- to make it feel right to us and to also be readable. This approach is probably the hardest way I could have done it, but it feels like the right way and hopefully the finished product will be a fair representation of what happened and be something worth reading as well.

So it's taking time, and I'm not able to devote a lot of time to it just now. We're making progress though.


I stopped by the hospital this morning to drop off a prescription refill request for the health clinic, which is collocated in the same building. They have the entrances all blocked off in order to funnel everyone through their covid-19 screening process. I'll share a couple of thoughts and observations on that.

First of all, it's a good idea to do the screening. Small town rural hospitals serve lots of folks who just happen to be at very high risk for significant morbidity/mortality if exposed to the virus. So you really don't want the infected rampaging through the building slinging snot and sputum everywhere.

This kind of screening is far from foolproof, however, for a lot of reasons. In a practical sense, it's more theater than anything else. There is a very tiny but still non-zero chance that they might catch a carrier and be able to divert them away from high risk patients, so it's more or less a valuable and appropriate effort.

From what I saw they are not in any way set up to do a solid screening and don't appear to have any isolation/diversion mechanism in place, and those doing the screening don't appear to have -- imo, mind you -- comprehensive or even appropriate training. I don't want to get into detail here because I'm not privy to the plan and I might be missing or misinterpreting things, but it doesn't look like an efficacious approach to me. So I think it's mostly theater.

That said, the staff is in there swinging and working hard and they are all dedicated and very good at what they do. So please don't take my personal observations as anything but some bullshit you read on a blog.


And the same caution should be operative in this next section, because it's just some bullshit you've read on a blog.

I don't know all the details of the stimulus bill the senate reportedly shot down. From what I've read the bill was defeated largely along partisan political lines. I don't particularly care about that, I just think it's wonderful that a bill to "print" and distribute money was defeated. This isn't an emergency, no one who wasn't starving before is starving now, and nearly all of the previously starving were either doing so by choice or in circumstances where new phantom dollars will neither reach nor help them. There are exactly zero good reasons to print new money on top of a monumental pile of debt. It's long past time for the nation to begin reversing fiscal insanity. In fact, this is an easy hurdle for Americans -- who live in America by the way -- to successfully surmount. And what a boon to the nation if Americans discover that they don't need to be dependent on federal crumbs, that they can leverage their birthright of sovereign liberty into standing on their own two feet, charting their own course, and winning out.

The furor over federal handouts is political capital in an election year. The R's and the D's and the presidential administration see it only in terms of their own political/power aspirations. None of them are looking at and seeing clearly the citizens of the land as sovereign human beings. They are seeing Americans as a means to a political end.


Snowgirl sent me a picture today; something she spied lurking in her front yard last night.

Not many possums in this neck of the woods!


Chickens had a good day today.


Word from Herefordshire is that Blighty is now on super-strict lockdown. My farmer friend tells me that people have been fleeing the cities for rural campgrounds and caravan parks, then descending on the local food stores like a swarm of locusts. So they've got eight hours to go the firetruck back home or they'll be given a serious talking to.

I'm taking precautions here. If the cities empty out there'll be feral humans trying to kill us and take our stuff. It's extremely unlikely, but prepared and prepared to is better than being killed. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.


  1. In the three years I drove Highway 71, I often saw a Nebraska Trooper directly across from where you pulled over, usually facing North. If not there, in a little dip across from the end of the airport runway. Those truckers weren't smart. From I-80 to the Colorado line is 12 miles. In three years I saw a CSP car once, and a Weld County deputy four times between the state line and Highway 14.

    1. The state troopers are thicker than fleas on coon hound around here. They love parking by the wild doughnut patch over by the airport. A lot of ag haulers, bullracks (cattle trucks) and hay haulers, drive like eastern europeans. I guess it's what it is, and they don't appear to have as many major wrecks as their driving speed would suggest.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting WSF!

  2. The bunny story hit a chord, Shaun. Decades ago I was out walking my Dachshund in the open fields across the street from my house. He was rooting along like he usually did, and then got real excited and started digging away. He'd found a nest, and before I could drag him out he'd chomped down on the bunnies. I felt kind of bad, but this was farmland, and both the bunnies and the dog were doing what they do, and I was just an observer.

    Our clan up in the canyons here just had a calf drop yesterday, proof that Mother Nature has her own plans and I'm just an observer, again. You Ranchers and Farmers keep this country fed, and are much closer to Mother Nature than I, just an observer again at this point in life.

    It's been calm here. The wife tells me the people in the stores aren't pushy or anything, and she hasn't mentioned anything about people being 'on edge' or nervous, so maybe we'll skate through this. I'm wary, too, about the "Big City" types fleeing up this way, and we're in Condition Yellow here, even in the house.

    1. The observer part of my brain finds my reaction to the demise of baby animals interesting. I understand nature's way but I still feel bad. Being an ape-lizard is always interesting. Lots of baby calves around this part of the country and I've seen Pronghorns and Muleys laying up with babies already. Springtime is wonderful!

      It's quite calm here as well, hopefully the big government hammer doesn't smash too many people trying to help.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting drjim!

  3. We live in interesting times.

    Let's go back to boring, I like boring.

    1. Lot's of upside in boring! ;-)

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Sarge!

  4. Yeah, up heah, we are seeing a lot more of the summer folk becoming spring folk and opening up their "camps" early, then heading down to the local supermarket and attempting to buy all of their goods at once for the next 2-3 months i.e. clearing the shelves. Grocers are buckling down on the bulk buyers, but the new influx from the cities bring with them the cities viruses at times as well. Oh well, we will go on and we will survive this outbreak as best as we all can and then see what the future holds.

    1. That's an important message Harold, we will survive and then see what the future holds.

      I'll bet the future looks nothing like today's Predictions!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  5. We see hay haulers, mostly alfalfa, on the freeway all of the time.
    They pretty much behave themselves.
    Can't say as much for some of the other ag haulers.

    1. Like everything else, it's down to individuals. I often see hay and cattle trucks going like crazy, but more often see them just being normal.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Skip!