Sunday, December 20, 2009

Fuel for Skeptics

I just read an article about the recent cold spell that has hit Europe. Is it ironic that these abnormally COLD temperatures would arrive shortly after a summit focused on global WARMING? "Experts" can explain away all they want, but I'm not convinced. The recent exposing of alleged data manipulation doesn't help ease my doubts either. Here's another thought: wasn't it Green Week on NBC recently? I saw Al Gore all over the TV. The article was an online submission from USA Today. What's their slant? You can't pass off sub-zero (F and C) temperatures as normal for France, nor freezing temperatures for Sicily.

Yeah, I know a lot of people trust scientists and their noble pursuits for knowledge. But consider how their research and salaries are funded. Also consider the competition for the spotlight, be it in the public-at-large or smaller intellectual communities.

I'm not going to post any comments in reference to this post. I'm not interested in hosting a debate on this topic. I'm just ornery because the lakes are freezing over. Also, my jeep broke down and I can't get out rabbit hunting.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Musings Pertaining to Algonquin

My mind wandered off in the direction of the Ottawa River, as it is apt to do any time that I have work to do. An interesting thought formed as I remembered images of driving to Algonquin Park, butterflies in my stomach from nervous anticipation.
"Would Algonquin be as special to me if it was only a couple hours' drive, instead of several hours?"
On the one hand, I have met and know of many Canadians who live closer to AP than me, and continue to go back year after year.
On the other hand, I can recall how bored I sometimes became when I lived in a more rural area of Michigan with fewer diversions nearby.
Still, I return to my parents' land to hunt, several times each year, and I still enjoy the thrill of the chase and the beauty of the surroundings.
So perhaps this is a wasted internal debate, or perhaps it is useful to reinforce the reasons why I enjoy certain places so much.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Rabbit Hunt

Today I took my daughters, 5 and 3, to my parents' to look for rabbits. We also brought Chloe, one of our two beagles. It was a beautiful day, much warmer than the previous two days. The sky was clear and the sun shone brightly. We waded through patches of tall grass between the garden and the orchard. A big cottontail jumped up and ran past us, but my shotgun was hanging by the sling on my shoulder. My left hand gripped by my 3-year-old's mitten, all I could do was point and ask, "Girls, did you see that rabbit?"

Chloe found the scent of the rabbit, and followed the trail into the brush. She quickly lost the scent and returned to us, though. It didn't take long before the girls lost interest in rabbit hunting, and wanted to go inside Grandma's house. They were quiet most of the time, so I think they learned a little from the experience.

After helping the girls out of their boots, coats, and bibs, I returned to the field with Chloe. We kicked up a rabbit in the same patch of tall grass, but I missed it by a foot. The bunny decided to run for it just as I was removing my right glove to remove a burr. Chloe was unable to find the rabbit's scent trail, and instead followed the first rabbit's trail again.

We worked the field for about an hour before Chloe found another scent trail. I found a good vantage point and waited for a rabbit to run by. Once again, Chloe returned without a rabbit running ahead of her. We checked one last area, a spot where we had found many a bunny in the past. Chloe picked up a scent, and began baying. I found a spot where I thought the rabbit might run, and waited. After a few minutes, a brown shape emerged from the brush, hopping into the shorter grass. I aimed carefully, and pulled the trigger. The rabbit moved no more, the shot dispatching him effectively.

I brought my prize back to the house, and the girls admired its soft fur. Later, my older daughter watched as I skinned and butchered the rabbit for today's supper. This hunt has softened my heart towards Chloe, with whom I have a love/hate relationship. She pushed the rabbit to the waiting hunter perfectly, which she has done occasionally over the years. It's easy to focus on her vindictive messes when she doesn't get enough attention, or hunts where she seems oblivious to the presence of rabbits. Overall, she's a good dog, even if she is a bit too "alpha" at times.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

When in Algonquin...

The reason I haven't posted recently is this project. It's an idea I've had in my mind for a few months now. It took a while to make the idea a reality. The song, particularly the refrain and second half, fits pretty much how I felt in August while tripping in Algonquin Park. I dedicate this presentation to my hammock-addicted tripping buddies, Brent and Bryan.

Here's to many more wilderness adventures, boys!