Sandhill Cranes 2017.

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The sandhill cranes have returned. We saw the first few birds a couple of weeks ago, but now they are there in flocks. When we drove through today, they were a tad more spread out than usual. These ones (above) were hunting the early wood frogs. I could hear the frogs while I took the pictures.
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These were across the street from the others. During the summer this hill is a cotton field, so I’m not sure what critters there are now.
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However, there must be something because the flocks were spread out over several fields. These were the closest to the road where there was a convenient place to pull over and take pictures. I used a 600mm sigma lens. I’m not thoroughly happy about the sharpness.

crane_map This map shows where to look if you’re interested in seeing them yourselves. Remember they are protected birds. If you continue to Centre there are some half-decent places to eat and the petrol is about 30 cents cheaper than in Atlanta.

Curious Wild Turkeys (video)

A flock walked by recently. Not quite as cuddly as cats, but neat nonetheless.

(sorry about the repost, but wordpress would not let me fix the image. ****** ***** **** ****).

University of Scouting

Nothing literary today. I’ve been an adult volunteer with scouting for a long time (started as a Tiger den leader and I’m now an assistant scoutmaster – not to mention being involved with training.)

The Atlanta Area Council held its University of Scouting. I helped the new Dean of Boy Scouts, but returned from the dark side of academia to the blessed ranks of instructors.

The featured image shows the Iron Chef class – how to use a Dutch oven to cook. I’ve posted the occasional dutch oven recipe on this site as well.

I taught plant identification. You can get a decent guide to native trees of Georgia from the forestry commission. The highlight was an immature red-tailed hawk that watched us from a tree.

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After filling in as a substitute for a dear friend on teaching about scoutmaster’s conferences and boards of review, I helped with the advanced pioneering.

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Raising a tower may replace the venerable golden ax as a camporee game. Because of leave-no-trace we don’t emphasize ax use any longer. Lashing can be done in a manner fully consistent with LNT.

Waiting for the Snowpocalypse

A humongous storm is supposedly coming. I feel more than a little like I’m waiting for Godot.

a country road
a country road
a tree
a tree

Nothing to be done.

We’re supposed to get 3-5 inches of the fluffy stuff. One can only hope. I was about to practice on my bike, but the sleet started.

First day of winter in Alabama.

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The first day of winter was warm and foggy this year. It lent itself to great atmospheric pictures, if you like that sort of thing. It’s the sort of weather where even mundane dirt roads take on a Tolkienesque touch of mystery.

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The lake is still out for the winter, but with the rain, back up to a normal pool. There’s a mudbank out there, but most of it is underwater.

dsc_0086The racoons still enjoyed it.

Fall Fruit.

The unseasonably warm fall, and the extreme drought haven’t dampened this year’s persimmon crop. Next year?

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The squirrels, deer, and raccoons love them, but they ripen slowly enough that you can get more than enough for yourself.

The easiest way to prepare pulp is to mash cleaned persimmons with about a cup of sugar. Then add about a cup of milk and stir. Filter the mix through a strainer and voila you have persimmon pulp already dissolved for baking.

I use it much the way I’d use banana’s to make banana bread.

Persimmon pulp as prepared above.

  1. 2 cups flour
  2. 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  3. dash of salt
  4. a pinch of cinnamon  (You don’t want to overpower the flavour).
  5. 2 eggs.

Mix together. Add some flour if it’s too soupy and bake in a greased pan and a moderate (350 F 200C) oven until done. I usually make muffins. It’s also good with walnuts added to the mixture.

Cretaceous and Tertiary Trails

Another trail map from a visit to Golden Colorado. This is a short walk that was suitable for the morning while we waited for our flight home.

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This stroll starts from a somewhat tricky to find parking lot off of South Golden Street near route 70 (Hint Kilmer Street is the entrance to the Colorado State Police school – which makes it a very safe place to park.) It’s also near the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

It proceeds up South Table Mesa, and crosses the K-T boundary several times.  We took a digression (must remember to take the map with us next time) that would have led to the top of the mesa seen below:

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We saw people on top the day before, but it appears they weren’t rock climbers.

The top is rather barren and desolate. A basalt layer with
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Yucca

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Telegraph/telephone wires. dsc_0138Surprisingly wild views. CSM is this way, hidden by the edge of the mesa (you can also see Lookout Mountain in the distance).

It was, on a Monday morning, mostly deserted. Most of the runners and bikers appeared to be connected with NREL.