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Ramble with Storm: Back home, bushwhacking & barreling down I-80

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stormtight.jpg Mulling things on my morning ramble

with Storm, the family's mixed Lab.

On Thursday, the temperatures pushed 80 degrees in Indiana and Ohio as I barreled down I-80 toward a few days of getaway in the Pennsylvania mountains. The kind of warmth where it was perfect to roll the windows down and blast the radio.

And just let the miles roll.

So I made it back yesterday afternoon. And this morning I see patches of frost on my neighbor's lawn and the windshield of another neighbor's car.

And tomorrow, I see the National Weather Service is suggesting we might approach the all-time record for degree difference in a one-day warm-up.

The mark for Chicago is 58 degrees, set both times in winter: 0-58 in February, 1887 and again in March of 1972 when it went from 15 one day to 73 the next.

Somehow, going from 0 to 58 seems less extreme than potentially going from 35 degrees this morning to potentially the upper 80s or low 90s tomorrow.

Frost or no frost, the usual robins worked the lawns and mourning doves cooed on all sides.

I think the meathead relished the return of the morning ramble to the town pond. There was much to sniff.

I made a quick check of my one morel spot near the town pond. Nothing. Last evening, I did a quick check of my best morel spot and found two big ones.

Red-winged blackbirds did their usual excessive trilling around the north old clay pit. A grebe or muskrat dived on the north pit. I didn't wait for it to pop up for a positive ID. Guessing grebe.

Three mallards were so intent on some sort of family squabble on the east side of the south pit, that Storm and I walked up on them.

Even with my being gone and no ramble for four days, the families of goslings hung on the west side of the south pit. The goslings grew significantly in those four days.

Coming back yesterday, I noticed in only four days, many redbuds and lilacs had popped along I-80.

Hard not to notice how much the honeysuckle grew in the four days I was gone. It took some bushwhacking or trailblazing to walk the old rail bed, now a trail, above the south end of the south pit.

I love the word bushwhack. According to merriam-webster.com, bushwhack was first used in 1866. The word seems older than that..

Storm chased a gray squirrel up a red maple the block before the house.

It is good to be home.


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Speaking of a mallard squabble - Last week my daughter came running past me screaming "They're trying to kill her!!...". Startled, I followed her out the back door onto the deck. There, on our pool cover were 8 drake mallards and one hen. My daughter yelled they are trying to drown her. Sure enough, it looked like they were trying to hold her underwater while ripping the feathers out of her. At first I couldn't even see the hen under all the drakes. I guess they were fighting to mate her. Looked like a violent gang rape. My meathead, a black lab, lunged at the group. All but one of the drakes flushed up and took off. The other drake stayed with the hen, but still pecked at her tail feathers. Finally she had enough and fled the scene of the crime. What a sight. My daughter was visibly upset at what she saw, and I'd have to say I was as well. I've been a waterfowl hunter and casual bird watcher for over 30 years, and never have witnessed anything that brutal before. -Kevin

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on May 13, 2013 7:12 AM.

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