Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Moving day for prairie dogs

Tuesday is normally the day I do volunteer work at the refuge, but they didn't have anything for me to do today. Tomorrow should be an interesting day. At last weeks meeting I volunteered to help relocate prairie dogs. The burrowing rodents are getting close to a sensitive part of the refuge; they can't be killed because this is a refuge for wildlife. We'll start trapping and moving them tomorrow morning.

I went for a walk around Washington Park where I took this picture.

Monday, January 30, 2012

A different approach

I started reading from A History of the American People by Paul Johnson (1997). The book isn't a standard history text book. Johnson is English and takes a different approach to the subject. He does not give a detailed description of every little event, rather he is more interested in who these people were, and the political and social climate of the time. I skipped over part one of the book, and began reading at part two (1750-1815), now that I understand his approach I am interested in reading part one.

This afternoon I filled the bike with gas, checked the tires, and the air presser in the suspension. All were ok. It's not ready for new tires quite yet, but soon.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

No particular place to go

Today was a beautiful day for a ride. A friend and I headed north from Denver with no particular place to go. We traveling a familiar route to Brighton where we stopped for lunch.

We had an excellent meal at the El Jimador Restaurant, 275 S. 4th Ave, Brighton, Colorado. The food was great, the prices reasonable, and the portions generous.

After lunch, we continued north to Fort Lupton where we turned east, through Hudson to Prospect valley, then south to Bennett. The temperature was quite comfortable until we turned west at Bennett, then the air took on a chill. We stopped for coffee at Biscuits Cafe in Watkins.

Over coffee, we discussed which of three routes to take back to Denver. I said I wanted to "turn the screw," meaning—go fast! This ment taking the interstate highway back to Denver. It was good we didn't encounter a highway patrolmen on our way back. It wasn't an airplane that caused that sonic boom!

In Denver, we each went our separate ways. I circled the park before returning to the apartment. It was a fun day.


Photo of decorated chair at El Jimador Mexican Restaurant, Brighton, CO.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Ranger's report

I finished reading Colorado: The Highest State (Noel & Smith, 2011) this morning. In the afternoon I attended a combined potluck / meeting for volunteers at the refuge. I took pasta salad that I bought at the store.

The head ranger spoke near the end of the meeting . He reported there are 50 eagle roosts on the refuge; this is the most they've counted in three years. I was alarmed and saddened when he told us about a new poison that farmers and ranchers are using to kill rodents including prairie dogs. We all understand prairie dogs and other rodents are very destructive and need to be controlled, unfortunately this poison kills a lot of other animals too.

The poison (Rozol) is an anticoagulant that causes the animal to hemorrhage and bleed to death; it can take several days for the animal to die. Prairie dogs leave their burrow before dying. Their carcases attract other animals such as eagles, hawks, and coyotes who feed on the carcases and also die from the poison. Other animals have been killed when the poisoned bait, usually grain, was misapplied. The poison is water soluble and is dangerous to use near lakes and streams.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Some of Colorado's influential people

It started snowing before I finished my second cup off coffee this morning. It was windy further north but it never got windy here. I decided today was a good day to stay home.

I continued reading about Colorado's history; two more chapters and I will have finished the book. I learned about some of the state's more influential people including: Judge Lindsey, Governor Shafroth, Josephine Roche, Emily Griffith, Robert Speer, John Otto, Enos Mills, and Charles Boettcher.

I was very surprised to learn Emily Griffith was shot to death in 1947, and the case was never solved. I was also surprised to learn that "Baby Doe", the 2nd Mrs. Tabor, froze to death in Leadville in 1935; she died a pauper.

By noon it had stopped snowing and the sun was out, so I went for a short walk; It was still a little cold.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hide and seek

Today I put the telephoto onto my camera and drove to South Platte Park to look for eagles. The area south of Mineral and north of C470 is good eagle country. The park has reported many eagle sightings on their Facebook page. I spent 2 hours tramping around Cooley, Redtail, and Eaglewatch lakes with no luck. All I saw were some ducks, a coyote, and some prairie dogs. That telephoto lens gets heavy after awhile.

Last month I counted 5 eagles at the refuge while working on trails, but I didn't have a camera with me then. I spent 2 hours hiking around the arsenal with the camera last week, but didn't see a thing. Maybe they know when I have a camera and are playing hard to get. I'm getting paranoid.

If Ben Franklin had gotten his way, would we still be able to eat turkey or woud the turkey be a protected bird?


The snow covered mountain in the distance is Mt. Evens; you can ride motorcycles to the top of it in the summer.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Selective with my photos

I spent most of the day uploading photographs to Panoramio so they will show up on Google maps and Google earth. Each photo has to be titled and tagged, then located on the map. I was very selective about the photos I uploaded. My photos should be viewable on Google maps/earth in a few weeks; Google has to approve each photo before it is added to the map. Photos and Wiki articles don't show up on Google maps unless the the map user enables those options on the map.

I got the motorcycle out when I went to lunch, then took a short walk after lunch.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Plan for a day trip

I am reading Colorado: The Highest State by Noel & Smith (2011). It's a history of Colorado. I didn't know the book was for 8-12 year olds until I started reading it. Oh well, that makes it easier for me to read. I learned about Bent's Fort near La Junta, while reading about trappers and fur traders. Bent's Fort, on the Santa Fe Trail, was the largest trading post in Colorado from 1833 until 1849, when it was burned after a cholera epidemic.

A visit to Bent's Fort will make a nice day trip on the motorcycle. A stop at the Koshare Indian Museum in La Junta will make a full day.

Did you know San Luis, in the San Luis Valley, is the oldest town in Colorado? It was founded in 1851.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Comma Conundrum

A bear walks into a bar, eats lunch, shoots the waiter, and leaves. When asked why, the bear replied, "It's all about commas."

Spelling and punctuation have been life long problems for me. Computers have helped to ease the spelling problem. Now most of my spelling problems are with homonyms—right spelling, wrong word. Punctuation, particularly commas, continues to be a problem.

I rely on intuition as my punctuation guide; it gets it right most of the time. When intuition fails, it is usually the result of impatience—being in a hurry to get it finished, posted, emailed, or printed. I made corrections to yesterday's blog post several times after publishing it. I wouldn't have needed to make so many corrections had I waited a day, and proof read it again before posting it.


The picture doesn't have anything to do with the price of tea in Nantucket. I ate lunch at Qdoba's this afternoon; the umbrella was outside the restaurant.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Just write one sentence

I am challenging myself to take at least one photograph, and write something in my blog every day. It doesn't need to be anything important, informative, or profound. What's important is to write something, and photograph something every day. I know of someone who does that very thing. I got started today by writing posts, with photos, for the past 4 days.

I don't know why this building makes me think of Hercule Poirot.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

An early pour

I've gained back the weight I lost over the summer - I'm back up to 220 Lb. I falter occasionally with my daily exercise and walking routine. I've set a daily alarm on my iPhone to remind me to take a walk and do my exercises.

On my walk this afternoon I became aware of the stamps embedded in some of the concrete sidewalks. I see these everyday but have never looked closely at them. All of the stamps have the name of the contracter that did the work and most have the year the sidewalk was poured. Most of the sidewalks in the neighborhood were laid down in the late sixties and early seventies. I was startled when I turned the corner and found this stamp:




Good golly! This sidewalk is older than I am.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Deceptive weather

The weather was nice today, or so it seemed. I got the camera, telephoto, and motorcycle out and rode to the wildlife refuge. It wasn't windy when I left the apartment, but darn it was cold and windy when I got to the refuge. I was hoping to photograph some eagles, but all I found was this sign.

I stopped at the visitors center to say hello. The ranger said someone reported seeing a Bobcat earlier in the week. She wanted to get a picture of it but wasn't sure where it was, and no one else had seen it. It's not imposible for a Bobcat to be on the refuge, but it is doubtful. The arsenal isn't the kind of habitat Bobcats like, and it's too close to people, and there are a lot of coyotes on the refuge.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I'm twenty feet tall

I feel like I'm twenty feet tall! It could be a side effect of the Wellbutrin and Zoloft, but I mustn't discount the affect spending more time outdoors and getting more sun has had. I'm looking forward to summer weather. I'm already planning trips on the motorcycle for the summer.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Things have changed

I've never needed a passport. I've never been outside of the lower 48 states. Things have changed. I want to tour around the U.S. and Canada on the motorcycle, and twice I've been invited to motorcycle into Mexico but declined both times.

This week I took the plunge and applied for a passport and wallet card. You only need a wallet card to travel to/from Canada and Mexico by land. There isn't any reason why I should be declined so I should receive them in 4 or 5 weeks.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What a difference a day makes

I was going to do volunteer work at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge this morning. I help maintain the hiking trails and staff the Information Desk. I spend about 8 hours a week out there.


Lake Ladora, Rocky Mountain Wildlife Refuge, Commerce City Colorado.

I did trail maintenance yesterday under clear blue skies and 55F degree temperatures (12C). I spotted a Mink (possibly a river otter) scouting the edge of the frozen lake while I was bussy sweeping off the floating foot bridge on Ladora lake. I saw a wide variety of wildlife in the afternoon including: mule deer, white tail deer, american kestrel, bald eagles, red-tail hawks, magpies, coyotes, bison, prairie dogs, rabbets, and a mink.

It was a very different story today. I woke early to discover 2 inches of fresh snow on the ground. I left the apartment 40 minutes early. After 30 minutes in trafic on icy slick streets I wasn't even half way there. I don't use the cell phone in the car, but this time I answered it when it rang. It was the refuge calling to tell me not to come out today. I carefully maneuvered my way over to 8th Ave and started back. It took me another 45 minutes to get back to the apartment.

What a difference a day makes. That's typical Colorado weather.