Saturday, August 28, 2010

More quadruped video

Here's some video of Jake walking on all four feet on dry land. It's short -- but it takes so long to upload even a short video. Jake is really using his false-jointed right hip.

Jake is a quadruped again

Some video of Joliet Jake on vacation near the Whalehead Club in Corolla NC, walking on all four feet, as he has been for the past week (mostly). Everybody celebrate!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Walking Again, More Than A Month Later

"Tomorrow" was a false promise.

The video I took of the [idyllic] "sludge pond" after it had been back-hoed into mud and clay is too big to upload. I wonder how many singing frogs met their doom under the back-filling of the pond.

I know that the cemetery is not:
  • a wildlife preserve
  • my personal property
  • protected wilderness
I also know that the "sludge pond" is where extra earth is dumped in the course of maintaining the cemetery, and that open water there might be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. It nonetheless bothered me very much to see the frog (and duck, and sometimes heron) pond turned into a featureless flat of brown dirt. I'll post a still picture of its magnificent ugliness.

Life intervened, as it often does, and we haven't walked much (or for very long) since April.

However, Jake was very enthusiastic about his walk today, plunging into the underbrush after (to me) unseen quarry. The foliage was wet, and so was his head when we returned home.

I found another wonderful feather, too.

All in all a good morning.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day

I didn't intend to post today, though everything that Earth Day signifies also resonates deeply with me.

But I heard Terry Tempest Williams speak this evening in Brookens Auditorium at the University of Illinois, Springfield, about the preservation of wilderness and wild lands. About the high percentage (70%? I didn't fact-check this) of Illinois land that is privately owned. Audience members mentioned rampant development on Springfield's west side, turning some of the richest soil in the world into subdivisions (of bland architectural sameness, in my opinion), and questioned the wisdom of a MacArthur Boulevard interchange for Interstate 72.

Converting farmland to commercial strips and opulent housing is still just re-purposing private land, and proves that the owner of land can do with it as s/he pleases, even sell it to someone who will transform it, oblivious to its heritage -- and its natural resources, including other "beings" who reside there.

Williams made a point about sustainability depending upon respect for animals, plants, rocks and rivers. And that is where my recent personal experience overlaps this discussion.

I give you an audio/video recording I made on March 17 in Oak Ridge Cemetery, of frogs calling. Elsewhere on this weblog is a shaky video of more frog calls, and a pair of Mallards browsing the edges of what I've been calling "the sludge pond."

I've seen a Great Blue Heron here twice, and an owl once, and often see and hear Red-Tailed Hawks hunting in this area. On my walks with Jake, I eagerly anticipate reaching this spot (among many others) because of the wildlife I might see or hear there. Just a few minutes' walk from home, instant spiritual enrichment.

Tomorrow I'll record a video showing this same spot as it appears this week. The tree trunk will be a visual reference point.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Jake is Willing but his Flesh is Weak

Why haven't we posted? It's because Jake suddenly isn't able to walk as much as he's been able to before. He has hip dysplasia. 15-20 minutes and he takes a break, as in the picture. An hour walk is really just 20 minutes of walking.

We'll have to see how this goes. I'm willing to walk an hour or more and look for wildlife, but it's not the same without Jake!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Trout Lilies Revisited

They're blooming! This is a photo of the first Trout Lily I found today with a flower. Enjoy them while you can; they are the brief candles of the spring flora.

I thought because I walked alone today, dogless, that I would see all kinds of wildlife, and get great photos to post. Wrong. Too much tourist activity, I suppose. The fauna were laying low.

I was instead reminded of how I became a wildflower fancier in the first place: if they're growing someplace, they usually stay there, and you can see them again and again, until you remember and know them. And wildflowers (sometimes known as "weeds") grow in amazing places. On foot in Chicago in my youth I noticed opportunistic plants in alleys, under elevated train tracks, in pavement cracks. I sometimes thought that if humans just stopped maintaining infrastructure, the plants would take everything back in a season or two. Concrete? No problem for tree roots....

Later on my walk I happened upon a squirrel smooching the road, which it did long enough for me to get this photo. Some strange spring squirrel ritual, perhaps? A car approached and the squirrel wisely left the road.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

No Fooling: Trout Lilies are a-comin' in

On yesterday's walk, we noticed an abundance of mottled leaves in several places. It's the White Dogtooth Violet, a.k.a. the Trout Lily, in all its transitory glory.