Sunday, July 9, 2017

Blast From the Past

There are lots of blog topics I've neglected to post about, so since I strained my back yesterday moving boxes and cant do much of anything interesting today, I might as well dredge up some retroactive content.

Remember Trail Cam Tuesday?  well think of this as "I'm So Sorry Sunday." 
As I was sifting through my folder of trail cam footage, I found this magnificent 7 point buck from last December, and my breath caught again just as it was when i recovered the memory card from the camera last year.

This photo was not taken in some pristine bit of forest or a wildlife refuge.  This photo was taken in a small suburban woodlot next to the interstate.  I see deer often in this area, but seldom do I see a buck as large and healthy as him.
I live in an area with a healthy hunting population.  I forget the exact numbers but I remember reading once that something like 15 people per square mile hold hunting permits.  Now, I am far from anti-hunting and very much pro-hunting, as much as I am pro-wildlife and pro-conservation.  you may think it odd, but as well-intentioned as the anti-hunting crowd may be, sound wildlife management is necessary for conservation, especially in a state where large predators like wolves, lynx and cougars have largely been extirpated.  It's oft been said that deer are their own worst enemy, and in the absence of natural predators, they will overbreed and eat every last scrap of food in the landscape, starving themselves and many of the other animals. 

Venison is dang tasty, and as I type, my thought is drawn to the haunches of succulent meat that sit in my freezer, but my eating habits aside, it always warms my heart to see the ones that got away.  deer don't grow to this size by accident, only the clever ones can avoid the cars and the hunters for this long.  A whitetail buck has a home range of about 1 square mile which means by odds there are at least 15 people within his territory who would like to make a meal of him.  His antlers are a testament to his wariness and his wisdom.  If I'm lucky maybe I'll stumble upon his sheds in the woods.  and since old deer tend to be tougher and less tasty, I hope he avoids the cook pot and the car bumper for a long time to come. 

As always, thanks for reading :)

Friday, July 7, 2017

Profitable Potatoes

Remember back in February when i found a bag of potatoes while dumpster diving?

No?  Allow me to refresh your memory

I've been having mixed results with the garden this year.  some things are doing really well, other things seem to have barely gotten off the ground.

you may also recall that i had big huge plans to grow a lot of food this year; way more than i've ever grown before.  unfortunately, that didn't happen. partly due to weather, partly due to not being able to source all of the supplies i needed to make it happen.

we had a record rainy spring and simply put, a lot of the seeds i planted got flooded!  oh well.  as much as Id like to grow  my own food, it is nice to live in a time and place where i can zip down to the store and pick up groceries at my convenience.

anyway, back to our topic.  the potatoes have been growing by leaps and bounds in some old laundry baskets i also happened to find in the trash.  unfortunately i didn't have enough soil to fill the potato baskets so they are growing in just compost.  if we abide by the law of "as above so below" it would be resonable to assume that the tuber growth is just as prolific, except i havent seen much root development (growing in baskets is handy for keeping an eye on that, or at least one would think)

i want to dig up one of the plants and see if its setting tubers at all or if its just leafing out and this is all for show, but im nervous about uprooting the plants prematurely.  also its possible the plant simply hasnt had time to develop new tubers, but this is my first time growing potatoes so i have absolutely no idea what im doing, and quite literally making things up as i go along.

anyway, potatoes are a very fast growing plant and its fun to watch them thrive

Oh!  and please follow me on Instagram if you are interested in this sort of thing! I'm @Lazarusratt

as always, thank you for reading :)

Hooty Booty Beach

My favorite beach is soon to be no more
Thumper Joe at the beach in 2012

last night on the news there was a report about the plans to rebuild the seawall and construct a huge splash apron that would prevent storm waves from washing up on the road and freezing during the winter.  the road that goes by this beach is a major thoroughfare, and so any dangerous road conditions are an understandable concern, but who is really at fault?  the wild and stormy Lake Erie? or the people who were foolish enough to build a major road next to the wild and stormy Lake Erie. 

The plans disclosed in the article detail how they will be dredging up the sand along the beach so that they can do the construction on the bedrock.  The plans also include a pedestrian walkway along the new construction.  Here is the latest article from the Buffalo News if you are so inclined to read it. 

I suppose I'm being selfish, but it was (and still is for the time being!) one of my favorite places to exist.  an excellent treasure beach, i often find rare colors of beach glass as well as interesting rocks, fossils, bones and shells.  it was a difficult beach to get to since parts of it were often washed out and only accessible by wading, or by climbing down the wall.  I could be completely alone, and have a whole beach to myself and i am less than thrilled about the idea that it could become a crowded meeting place.

The Alhambra Club in its Heyday

 not only was it a great place to gather freshwater flotsam, but the beach was littered with the ruins of former buildings.  The Alhambra, an old supper club sat there from the 1920's until it burned down in the 1940's.  The wave-chewed foundation can still be found as a testament to the power of water and to the Lake's temper.  Although the plans in the article say nothing of what will happen to   the ruins of the establishment, i imagine it will either be buried under the rock, or more likely completely demolished to facilitate the construction.

Thumper sitting among the ruins in 2013
I'm also concerned for some of the interesting graffiti along the wall, most notably, this

giant portrait of Bettie Page.  As much as i will miss this work of art, my photo of it also demonstrates exactly why these repairs are being done: a huge tumbled portion of the wall can be seen in the right of the photo.
Rock in peace, Beach Bettie

In other news, there was a small earthquake in Lake Erie this morning.  it was nothing special impressive, just a 2.1 but its always special when it happens.  we get weak earthquakes like this every so often in this region and its the result of crustal rebound in the wake of the last ice age.  if that doesn't make sense the weight of a continental ice sheet a mile thick can actually locally depress the earth's crust into the mantle and now that the glacier is gone, the crust has been slowly rising back up over the last 10,000 or so years and every once in a while it rebounds a little faster which causes our earthquakes, which never cause any serious damage.  one time when i was 9 years old I experienced such a tremor after school.  a 5.0 quake made the whole house shake for a few while.  at the time i thought it was fun.  but i don't live in a very geologically active area so there is little cause for concern or alarm when it happens (no real tectonic dangers such as the pacific rim endures). Here is a link with a list compiling earthquakes centered or felt locally, although it doesn't give the  scale for all of them which is unfortunate.

so in conclusion, I will be spending as much of my summer as i can documenting and collecting memories of my favorite beach while i still can.  please enjoy some photos taken in years past

frozen drainage holes and the wall is half buried in the ice dunes
Thumper following me along the wall in 2014
Interesting mildew growth on drainage holes

 and lastly, here is a video of me and my dogs splashing and playing among the ruins on the beach.  the crumbling wall, again, is very visible in the background

As always, Thank you for reading :)