Thursday, December 30, 2010

Red Meat

Monday, December 27, 2010

Foul Shot

In a 0.75-hearted effort to learn a better hunting method, I've been shooting a recurve bow in my extra-deep garage this winter. My target is a birdseed sack stuffed with an old pillow and discarded rags. Been shooting at those little birds: cardinal, chickadee, goldfinch. Not very good yet, but until tonight, even the worst shots had not missed the feed sack. And the picture below isn't really a "miss" but more of a foul. The angle of the bow wasn't enough it seems, and just as I let loose, the arrow fell off the rest. The result was a wild shot to the left. Anyway: what is cool about this is the apparent power of the device. The arrow (practice tipped) hit a hard plastic post, near the outside edge of the cylinder. You'd think it would have deflected... But it drove clean through. I stared at this scene for a good minute or so.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Winter Friday Night, Rochester MN

Mirror Pond Pale Ale, courtesy of Bend, Oregon
and the great Deschutes River
I can taste those trout
#14 hooks
x-small black coneheads
wiggle dub, courtesy John Montana
3x tippet for rib
cut plastic bag for back
and there you have it

A Haven in the Drifts

Been reading and talking for a long time now on winter care for chickens. It's notable how many different takes there are out there regarding lighting (to extend days, which affects laying) and heating the evening quarters. Short of going into all that, I'll just say that as normal, we fell back on trial and error. I've got a light fixture out there, but it's not in use. Even on the -15 F nights I left it off. And I haven't messed with extending days. So that's the trial. And thus far the hennies are turning out eggs fairly regularly. Not quite at the rate of summer production, but close. As we approach the winter solstice I'm starting to figure that these birds are going to troop on through winter with the only ill effect being relative boredom.

Backyard. Deep drifts. Man, deep drifts. I tacked up some old stormwindows over the chicken wire to prevent snow blowing into the chicken run. So nighttime quarters are fully insulated, and daytime run is somewhat sheltered.

Found this morning at 0630 hours. Brown beauties.

"A box without hinges, key or lid
Yet golden treasure inside is hid"

-Bilbo Baggins

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Potamilus alatus: Pink Heelsplitter

Found this dead specimen a year or two ago while installing some equipment in a Cannon River tributary. I set it in my garage. Now doing a little looking at mussels here and there, and I got to thinking about this pink shell resting on a wooden shelf out there in the dark. So I cleaned it up a bit and brought it in to work so I could stare at something good now and then.

99% sure I have the specie right. Check the literature on it - some excerpts below from MN DNR's Mike Davis (public info). Dependent on the freshwater drum for reproduction (Google: mussel reproduction to check the cycle).

Winter Waiting Post I:
Nebraskan Ted Kooser notes that the following poem is one of his favorites. He was influenced by it as a young writer. I like the mystery of it and the kind of hackle-raising read it gives.

The Listeners

"Is there anybody there?" said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed the grass
Of the forest's ferny floor;
And a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the Traveller's head:
And he smote upon the door again a second time;
"Is there anybody there?" he said.
But no one descended to the Traveller;
No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,
Where he stood perplexed and still.
But only a host of phantom listeners
That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
To that voice from the world of men:
Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,
That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
By the lonely Traveller's call.
And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
Their stillness answering his cry,
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
'Neath the starred and leafy sky;
For he suddenly smote on the door, even
Louder, and lifted his head:--
"Tell them I came, and no one answered,
That I kept my word," he said.
Never the least stir made the listeners,
Though every word he spake
Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
From the one man left awake:
Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
And the sound of iron on stone,
And how the silence surged softly backward,
When the plunging hoofs were gone.

- Walter de la Mare