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August 14th, 2019

My tweets

  • Tue, 20:16: RT @AstronomyMag: A Moon rock plucked from the lunar surface by Apollo 14 astronauts likely originated on Earth. The odd rock, nicknamed "B…
  • Wed, 10:21: NOBLE COUNTY WILL BE TESTING TORNADO SIRENS IN THE NEXT 5-10 MINUTES https://t.co/7LLI5wvCrl
  • Wed, 11:58: RT @AstronomyMag: An ancient Mars tsunami may have swept across the Red Planet some 3 billion years ago, following an asteroid impact. http…

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Animal stories

TURTLE, TURTLE

Earlier this summer, as I entered Pokagon State Park, I spotted a turtle making it's slow way across the road.

There was a car coming the other way, but the turtle was about to the center line and looked safe from it. I shifted into park, got out, and ran up to the turtle since, as you know, it takes them about ten days to cross two lanes.

When I reached down, the turtle scampered away like a rabbit with its tail on fire.

Not this one, although it was also at Pokagon.

I had no idea they could move that fast. All I had to do was keep stepping behind it, and it made its way to the far side in a matter of seconds. On the way back to the car, I noticed the guy driving the other way looked just as surprised as I was.

A few days later Emily encountered a snapping turtle, and had a similar experience in that it whirled around so fast she couldn't get it off the highway, for fear of losing fingers. Some neighbors who apparently had been there before brought down a broom and trash can, and successfully moved it out of harm's way.

Not this one either, but they were both plenty annoyed with me.

DON'T BE CATTY

We have a compost pile in our back yard, held together by some old wooden pallets. It's a good way to take scraps of food and other suitable garbage, mix it with grass clipping and leaves, and end up with some nice, usable soil. Granted that I haven't had time to plant a garden in some years, but if nothing else maybe I can use it as a base to try and grow some grass in the front yard, assuming I trim those thick shade trees first.

There's always something.

Cats, on the other hand, know how to relax. In fact, when I went out back to mow the lawn I saw a small black bundle on top of the compost, which I at first took to be a dead cat. I got within a few feet of it before realizing it was just sleeping.

It was a cool morning, and the decomposing products in compost, along with a layer of leaves over top, apparently gave the little feline a warm and comfy place for a nap. I was trying to quietly turn on my camera's phone when it stretched, turned its sleepy face around, and splotted me.

The only thing I saw after that was a black streak, for the space of maybe half a second, before it disappeared around the corner.

It's probably for the best that I saw it, instead of it being discovered by our dog, who has a faster reaction time and doesn't bother taking pictures.

This is not a cat. But I photographed it before running for my life, and I had to use the picture for something.

FLYING HIGH--I MEAN, LOW--AND PROUD

A few weeks ago Emily and I drove down to Missouri. Part of that trip is down the length of southern Illinois, on the four lane interstate 57. Toward the south it gets hilly and picturesque, just as Indiana does, but closer to the center of the state it can be a bit of a bland drive. Picture I-70 west of Indianapolis, only with less corn.

So when a large bird flew down low over the highway, it caught my attention. It was being chased by a much smaller bird, something I've seen often that's (I assume) related to nest stealing. Usually the larger bird is a hawk, or buzzard.

In this case it came down extra low, and took a turn just over the highway, in the same direction we were traveling. For just a moment, it was almost still in relation to our car, just thirty feet or so away.

It was a bald eagle.

This is what Ben Franklin wanted as our national symbol.  Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same, fighting over an eagle leg.

They're more common now than they used to be, but still not very common; when I was a kid they were practically unheard of. But there it was, right in front of us (no, I didn't take a picture--I was driving). Emily and I squeed and maybe I peed a little, and had something to talk about until we got further down and started seeing the Mississippi River area flooding.

It was a bald eagle, people. Right in front of us. And I don't want to make it sound like I'm just a fanboy, and maybe it was a small thing, but it was really neat.

I think sometimes we don't take the time to realize just how neat the little things can be. We get to thinking something's not worth seeing unless its had a few million dollars worth of CGI work put into it. We don't even bother looking up from our phones anymore. We're bringing up a whole generation of people who don't get how truly cool it is to see those first blooming flowers of spring, bringing color back to the world.

Check out those rainbows, people. Study the stars. Our universe is a miracle.

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