May 8th, 2008



Babe -- In Real Life

Driving along the highways of West Michigan are all sorts of landmarks and things to see. There's a farm near the border of Kent and Allegan counties right along the road with a real mixed bag of quadrupeds -- including some longhorn cattle. Impressive beasts. Watched one the other day scratching the side of its face and one horn along the wooden post of a billboard -- and wondering how much damage the post was taking. (grin)

There's another farm set into the crook of the curving ramp from M-6 West to I-196 East in Ottawa County. Different livestock are sometimes seen in the different fields. On Monday I was startled to see a "square of sheep", along with two men and I thought a small black dog. It looked very much like the scenes from Babe of shepherding the sheep to gather up and walk around together. But was that what was going on? On Tuesday I saw them in another part of the same field and this time I saw the dog run away from the one person and the "square of sheep" trotting along the fence line and then making a left turn as the dog did its job.

Huh. They really were practicing sheep herding with a dog. Neat!

Bugs -- In Real Life

Also on Tuesday, which was a particularly fine day with blue skies and nearly 80degF temperatures around West Michigan, as I rode along US-131 at 70mph with the windows down I "ran" into one of the usual spring hazards of highway driving. Something smacked into the door frame behind me and then bounced and fell down along my arm.

The evil yellow jackets are out and about and especially in the spring they fly into my windows. I had to pull over to find the sucker -- usually they are dead, but occasionally they are just stunned and I really don't want to have cranky insects with nasty stingers hanging around inside my vehicle. This time it was dead and had caught on my sweater. Sure it was hot, but I'm not crazy and the sweater is nice in the wind and keeps my pale skin from getting sun- and windburn.

Sigh. Rolled up the windows some before getting back on the road. Nasty bugs. And yes, I know my differences between my wasps and hornets and honeybees, saving my venom for the non-bees. (grin)

The Birds -- In Real Life

Then on Wednesday, my day off this session so naturally it was wet, cold and overcast, as I was driving down the Warner Street Raceway I saw a wild turkey off in the distance, ahead of the car in front of me, casually strutting from the north side of the road to the south side. We both slowed down to a creep as this turkey had no intention of speeding up. If I hunted wild turkeys around here I'd never see one. But since I don't, I do see them from time to time. Interesting birds. And big, too.

Speaking of big birds, today on the drive into K-zoo, I saw something huge fly down onto the shoulder of US-131 South out in the country. My, crows and ravens and the like are big birds and when they spread out their wings to stall and glide to a landing, it it pretty impressive. And they're just cheeky enough to know you aren't likely to move onto the shoulder, so they can pick at their roadkill with impunity.

Dr. Phil

PS - The higher grades of gasoline are hitting and crossing the $4/gallon barrier here, dammit.
  • Current Mood
    amused amused

Sometimes Life Isn't Fair

I Made It

Just had a lovely light supper at the Alpine Avenue Schuler's Books and Music. In half an hour, fantasy writer jimhines Jim C. Hines will be doing a reading and a signing for his third Goblin novel, Goblin War.

Fortunately I was heading north on US-131 through Grand Rapids, because there an accident nearly at 28th Street and southbound traffic was jammed solid all the miles back through the downtown S-curve and not moving. I had hoped to make it here by 6pm and made it three minutes early. I fear those stuck in the traffic are still there. Sorry -- not my fault.

Dr. Phil
  • Current Mood
    guilty guilty