Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Rise, shine, smash
When I were a young sailor I could be out of the rack, into uniform, and working in a minute or two. Throw in shaving and brushing teeth and only another minute or two were added. Depending on various factors and my location, of course. On the boat, easy. On the beach, travel added minutes to the endeavour.
This morning I was up, dressed, and out the door in 12 minutes. Including brush, shave, and filled coffee mug.
That's not too bad.
If I understand what appears to be the best science/study of coyotes, they are so closely genetically related to European wolves that they are hardly distinct at all. The current best theory is that they are the descendants of the wolves which stayed behind in North America after the various land bridges became submerged by rising sea levels some 15,000 years ago.
They don't look or behave like European wolves. They are smaller and they don't pack up. They are mostly solitary and mostly live alone. Or perhaps it's more proper to say that their packing behavior is completely different than that of European wolves. Because they are in constant communication with their fellow coyotes. They do come together and occasionally hunt together. When one calls for help others respond. Maybe it's just that their packs are geographically so much larger that we hesitate to call it a pack.
Nevertheless, coyotes appear to be mini-wolves. They don't look much like dogs. They have none of the ape-lizard induced genetic baggage of dogs. They are pure hunter/scavenger. They are very cool.
Because they are cool and because I try to walk a holistic path as best I can, I do not generally predate coyotes. Sometimes, however, If I sense they are pushing a bit hard during calving season, I'll shoot one or two. This generally relieves the pressure immediately as they debark (get it?) for less lethal pastures.
Now in truth the pressure coyotes apply to our ranch during calving is 99.9 percent about scavenging placenta or afterbirth. Which isn't a problem. But very rarely they will take a live calf if it's sick or weak from a difficult birth. So when I sense the conditions are right, pow. Pour encourager les autres.
I was up and out quickly this morning because I had to journey to Cheyenne for x-rays and an MRI. Getting these studies done and in the system seems to be the first step on the way forward to getting my nerve pain actually treated, rather than bandaided.
Because road construction, I first headed west on county road 28. My initial plan was to take the gravel to Bushnell, 12 miles away, and jump on I-80 there. I'd forgotten that 28 dead ends before Bushnell and navigating that route would add 5 miles. When I remembered I jogged north near Oliver Reservoir, took Highway 30 (Lincoln Highway) to Bushnell. Here's a way too long driving/stream of consciousness video...
At Bushnell I jumped on the interstate. It all worked out somehow. En route to Cheyenne I got a call from my friend Dennis Ferraro. Dennis is a University of Nebraska professor and is also the Nebraska State Herpetologist. Which is pretty cool. He comes out to the ranch every year to collect specimens and genetic material, and as it turns out he'll be here tomorrow. So I'll get to spend some time hunting snakes and lizards and learning good stuff from the pros.
I shot another long, silly video as I neared Cheyenne. I'd recommend skipping the whole thing with the exception of the bit beginning about 10:50, just as I was turning off of Highway 30 and onto East Pershing Boulevard. I had to stop as a pair of thirteen lined ground squirrels crossed Pershing (in the crosswalk!) right in front of me. And I got it on video! The guy behind me was pissed and gave me the honking bird but I didn't care. The antics of the ground squirrels was fun and interesting and the honking birder was a wyoturd anyway. He passed me at 11:30 on the video, still acting like a fool. Must be all oppressed and shit. Looking for a riot to join or something.
The x-rays and MRI went well. In x-ray one of the clerks at the check in desk was wearing a black polo shirt with the red Nebraska N logo, so I asked, "Does that N stand for knowledge or are you a Husker fan?" His partner thought that was the funniest thing he'd ever heard this week. It is a pretty good line. I defused the situation with the now-affronted Husker fan by admitting that I too am afflicted with the disease. "Well," he opined, "you can say that. He (pointing at his partner) can't!"
The MRI was the best MRI experience I've ever had. Big, well-lighted tube. I opted for ear plugs rather than music and promptly fell asleep. Like Grandpa used to say, "never stand when you can sit, never sit when you can lay down, and never lay down without going to sleep!"
The clicking sound when I walk is caused by dropfoot on the left side. I can't hold my toes up on the left side due to the neuro deficit; they slap down with every stride. It's quite annoying...
Yet more stream of consciousness driving as I depart the VA...
Back in God's country, canada thistle! Yikes!
I worked on fence for a bit then received a call from a roofer I asked for an estimate. He'd meet me at 3 p.m. It was 2:20 p.m. so I decided to do a quick hike/run. I could easily do a mile and still have time to drive to the home place for the meeting.
One thing I discovered, not having run hills in several weeks, is that my left leg is markedly weaker than it was, my proprioception and gait are off, and this nerve thing is getting somewhat worse.
But I sure enjoyed the workout, brief though it was.
Check it out, a green jumping spider.
Good bid from the roofer. Might actually get this thing done!
Big full day, now I tired.
Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.