Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Don't fly!

It was late at night. The household was asleep, except the hamster and I was awake typing. On the floor above me suddenly dad starts stomping around. This is most unusual. "Are you awake?" dad asks, "there is a bat in the house."
Oh boy, what great fun!
Fortunately it flew into the bathroom instead of the living room with clearstory windows. It could dodge with far more skill than a bug! I chased it in circles with a waste basket and towel, but only caught it when it got tired and landed on the towel.
I put it in a makeshift cage (a bug zapper screen) to photograph it. The bat kept opening its mouth to echolocate. It was kinda cute.
Recently I was hiking across some pasture we bought, just to see what was there. It was close to our house but I had never actually walked through it before. While watching chipmunks on some rocks that looked like grave stones I heard a buzzing sound coming from a hole in the ground. Perhaps its a bumble bee I thought, they live in holes like that. So I waited and waited, and this is what came out!

I had never seen a hornet so big. If it flew at me I would have ran screaming across the countryside, but it wasn't disturbed by me photographing it. The hornet instead was digging in the loose debris scooping and pushing a load into its hole. Then it continued to buzz, probably making egg chambers.

It was an inch and a half long I estimate. Not all wasps are carnivorous but this one sure looked like it.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hello readers. In my life I have developed a habit of saying 'no' to worldly choices, but just as often I was saying 'no' to the work of the Lord as well. The result was an empty, dissatisfied existence. So I write this message only because I saw it, found myself able to articulate it, and thanks to technology of this age, can to display it for you.

2 Tim 1:7 “For God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self control.”

Think of what this means fellow Christian, God gave us a spirit of power, love, and self control.
The spirit of power – to do and speak; the power to move our own self and to move others.
The spirit of Love – to care and sacrifice in imitation of Christ.
The spirit of Self Control – to refuse the body what would hurt it or harm the soul; to refuse the mind the pleasure of evil thoughts and bad advice. And also Self Control to choose the narrow way when the broad has every indication of superiority. It would be wrong to anthropomorphize these divinely gifted spirits as three 'angels' given to us, invisibly floating around working these virtues into our lives. We have no trustworthy explanation of how spirits, and the empowering of God, operates. But it does happen, though the method is beyond our knowing. An unattainable question of 'How?' distracts from the vital point of this verse, our living, loving God has given us what we need so that we can successfully do what is good and right. Our focus should be on what actions we have before us today that require power, love, and self control. This is following God. These are the 'all things' I can do through Christ who strengthens me.
Lord, help us, your servants, to remember and use these great gifts you have given, and to give you praise for the good that results.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Found this weasel on the side of the hiway. Don't get to see them too often. The only other time I saw a weasel was many years ago. I was combineing wheat and the weasel was running through the stubble. I then saw it again the same way the day after that, in another part of the field. In a couple months this dead one should leave an interesting skeleton behind.

Yesterday and the day before I've driven tractors and while doing so, photographed these hawks. This one flew from one pole to the next as I was passing by.

I spent the day mowing weeds. There are few mowers more serious than a tractor pulled mower with three rotors, each having four 50lb blades. Four foot tall patches of thistles too dense to walk through are turned into a layer of pulp that smells like the definition of green. As I was hunting down thistles among the grass, two hawks followed me, dropping down on fleeing mice.
I also saw a little owl, various mice themselves running away, and a female pheasant with some chicks, but didn't get photos of them.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sleeping in the Woods: Day 3

The storm blew the tents rain fly askew and made a nice puddle. I thought I could sleep on the cot with just the wool blanket (wool is supposed to be warm even when wet right?). Well, I woke up after a couple hours and just couldn't fall back asleep when cold and damp. I suppose I could have done it, but not when I had a modern insulated bedroom just a short walk away. So I started walking back. It was about midnight, and despite a low 3/4 moon and lots of stars I could not see well enough to walk over rocks without breaking something. Also, a damp t-shirt is very cold when its 50 degrees. In the dark the very remote possibility of being chomped by a cougar is no longer remote, it is right next to you. So I stumbled back to the tent and set out once more equipped with a dangley LED lantern, a .22 pistol that got in the puddle and would only be good for one shot until I could clean the rust out of the magazine, and wrapped in the wet army blanket. In all reality, to any hypothetical cougar, I would be the monster in the dark, a dark flopping shape casting shadows in all directions, clomping over the rocks.

But the next evening I returned with to find the blankets I had propped up with branches had dried and it was very nice.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Instead of sleeping in the woods, I stayed home, we had this great storm. It would have been cool to experience out in the tent, but at any rate, I got pictures. We also got a useful amount of rain out of it.
What is harder to capture than pictures of lightning is the feeling of the storm, enjoying the warm dusty wind that blew before it, the early raindrops, the thunder that shook the house, yet I was unconcerned throughout.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sleeping in the Woods: Day 2

Chipmunk from yesterday.
There is lots of cool lichens out on the exposed basalt. This one was strikingly round.
Closeup detail.
I'm working on getting a better picture of this hawk/eagle, but so far this is the best.

Camping spot: Didn't get any great shots this evening, did see a Great Heron though. Read Jonah and Psalm 104.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sleeping in the woods: Day 1

I figured if I sleep out in the woods I'll be able to get some cool wildlife shots and become familiar with where and when the animals travel.

Moved out to woods. Tent full of mosquitoes. So I smashed them all. Mosquitoes all over outside of tent, they are making their noise in surround sound. Coyotes calling close. Forgot a flashlight, can't read. Road noise louder than inside insulated house. Moths thump against tent. Its quite cold. Must bring more bedding next time. Unexplained noises are far more surprising in the dark, but there isn't much chance of danger in these woods.

In the morning, woke up late. (7am) Saw doe and fawn out the tent door. It was a pretty good start.

Thursday, July 09, 2009