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Friday, October 31, 2008

An Early Morning Gift

I stopped at the intersection before stepping out onto the road and looked to the left for traffic, then to the ...wait a minute...what's that? My head swiveled back to the left and there it was! Coyote number 6 was trotting up the hill about a block from my apartment. Given the location, it's likely the same animal as Coyote number 4, and the one who leaves scat on the sidewalks around the wooded area where a dry stream bed wonders down the hill toward Highway 203.

I reached for my camera, but before I could get it out of the bag and turned on, the coyote had disappeared into the blackberry bramble. It stopped to look at me first, and without any apparent fear or distress, it vanished. Cool!

I crossed the street and started to trail it...and found a bit of fresh animal skin that looked a lot like what was left of someone's black cat. Then I realized I'd be late for work if I didn't turn around.

Now, Wilderness Awareness School is one of the few workplaces where you can get away with being late because you were trailing an animal. However, I knew I had payroll and taxes to deal with, so I went on to work. But now that I've seen it I'll be out early with camera ready, and I'll get a picture of it yet.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Our Tax Dollars at Work, or As Close to a Political Rant as You'll Get From Me

I had to laugh at a political advertisement I saw on TV the other day. The message was that I should vote for the candidate because her opponent had not managed to pass a bill during his time in office. That's the guy I means that he didn't raise my taxes or make any new laws that will complicate my life. Let me explain...
Some years back I was late to work because the power went out for a while, and my alarm clock failed. I bought a new clock...a fancy one that re-sets it's self when the power goes out. It also corrects for Daylight Savings Time...or at least it did. Then Congress changed the dates of the changes, and my new clock now causes more problems than it solved. Instead of having to deal with the "Spring forward, Fall back" stuff twice a year, I now have to do it four times. Here's what happens...

My clock is still on the 'before Congress complicated things' time. I can't just change the time to make it right...I have to change my time zone. And then remeber to set it back - or is it forward?

I've never understood the whole Daylight Savings Time switcheroo anyway. I've never been able to explain it to a dog, either. It just doesn't make any sense to change the clocks twice a year - or 4 times if you have a fancy clock. The only reason we do it is because Congress tried to fix something that wasn't really broken in the first place. Why can't we all just re-learn to live with nature's time? We could throw away the clocks all together if we did that.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

October Tracking Intensive Class

My stupid, contrary, dumb, un-cooperative, and annoying computer rebelled, and I could not open the disk that contained my Tracking Intensive photos...I kept getting the message that "the administrator has blocked access to the CD/ROM ". I'm the administrator for my computer! Stupid computer!
We had a wonderful, sunny, and productive weekend at the Potholes and along the Columbia River near Vantage. It's so strange to cross the Cascades and suddenly be in high desert with sagebrush and sand. I love the contrast to our side of the mountains. And being able to see for miles is fun! This picture is near the river just outside of Vantage, with the high basalt rock walls opposite. Truly, I took both pictures from the same spot, just turning my body to get the shots.
Dave's group found a terrific sandy beach along the river with raccoon, coyote, beaver, and Canada goose tracks in the damp sand! We made plaster casts, and I found it really tough to decide what to cast. The coyote tracks sometimes paralleled the raccoon or beaver tracks. It would have been possible to get both critters in a large cast. I chose a nice set of beaver tracks, as my Dad made his winter money by trapping when I was a kid.
I'll be putting more Tracking Intensive pics up on my WebShots page, so go check them out!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tracking we will go...

It's 5:26 am, and I'm here at the office waiting for the rest of my Tracking Intensive classmates to arrive. We are off to the Potholes today!
The weather is supposed to be lovely, and there's no telling what we will find to track. Stories later...

My Favorite Fiction Authors and Books

  • Suzanne Arruda- the Jade del Cameron mysteries: "The Mark of the Lion" "Stalking Ivory", "The Serpent's Daughter", "The Leopard's Prey" and "The Golden Cheetah"
  • Ken Goddard - "Balefire" and others
  • Stephen White - the Dr. Alan Gregory books are all great. "Kill Me" is my favorite.
  • Harlan Coben - anything he writes is great
  • Elizabeth Peters - Amelia Peabody mysteries

My Favorite Nonfiction Authors and Books

  • "Coyote's Guide to Connecting With Nature" by Jon Young, Ellen Haas and Evan McGown- 2nd edition coming soon!
  • Gavin De Becker - "The Gift of Fear"
  • "Deep Survival" by Laurence Gonzales- the best survival book I've ever read! Not a how-to, its more of a who does,and why.
  • Candice Millard - "The River of Doubt -Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey"
  • Anything that starts with "Peterson's Field Guide To..."
  • Tom Brown, Jr. - "The Tracker" and others
  • Mark Elbroch - "Mammal Tracks and Sign" and "Animal Skulls"