Tarmac ribbons criss-crossing the landscape, dusty back roads twisting between the cool shadows of ancient pines, and less traveled pathways connecting present to past, all I wander, seeking, seeing, with my keyboard and camera capturing scenes and stories to share with you.

Now in its seventh year, this venue has become an important part of my life, a place where I can express my thoughts and feelings about the things I see and do, hoping the process brings me a bit closer to friends and family who enjoy sharing my sometimes chaotic and often nonlinear observations and ideas. A journal, I suppose, but one with which I find pleasure in thinking others are alongside me on my journey.

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March 27, 2013

2013 WANDER-ABOUT: PRAIRIE DOGS

NIKON D200-SIGMA 100-300@300mm-F9-1/2000th-ISO640
... several great days, with a drastic route change which resulted in us having to wing it a bit in terms of seein' and doin' ... result is that we just made it to our iowa stop, late-late ... here's a tease from yesterday, when i get time there'll be more to come on all the other cool stuff we saw ...

NIKON D200-SIGMA 100-300@300mm-F9-1/15000th-ISO640
... me, of course, i've always enjoyed the antics of the varies species of prairie dogs, but it was clear that adrien could spend entire days watching these little critters ... she lit up every time we passed one of their extensive "towns," and her reactions always brought me to pulling the car over to the side of the road ...

NIKON D200-SIGMA 100-300@300mm-F7.1-1/25000th-ISO400
... this is a shot adrien took using my nikon and sigma zoom propped on the windowsill of the car ...

NIKON D200-SIGMA 100-300@300mm-F9-1/2000th-ISO400
... it appears that this little fellow has been quite successful in his efforts at rounding up a meal of grass and seed (with an occasional insect as a treat, i'm sure) ...

NIKON D200-SIGMA 100-300@300mm-F7.1-1/2000th-ISO400
... "Constantine Slobodchikoff and others assert that prairie dogs use a sophisticated system of vocal cummunication to describe specific predators ... [that] prairie dog calls contain specific information as to what the predator is, how big it is and how fast it is approaching ... [that there is] a form of grammar ... with individuality in response ... [implying] that prairie dogs have highly developed cognitive abilities"* ... ha, if wikipedia had been around in 1963 i could have told them all this ... my friend and i used to spend entire weekends observing and "plinking" prairie dogs ... for those of you unaware of this term, it means using a single-shot 22 caliber rifle to—as the farmers who paid us with bullets phrased it—"exterminate varmints" ... (many years later, in basic training, the drill instructors were to be astonished at the skills i demonstrated when i first handled an m-16 automatic rifle) ...

NIKON D200-SIGMA 100-300@300mm-F7.1-1/2500th-ISO400
... another picture adrien took from the car ...

... while nowadays i feel no guilt or regret that at my hands there was probably populated up in heaven an entire section of of chattering sciuridae marmotina cynomys, the nebraska brand of  "black tailed prairie dog," i also had absolutely no reticence in acceding to adrien's very stern demand that at each and every visit we made to a prairie dog town i must scream across the myriad of burrow openings, "i'm sorry ... i apologize for murdering your ancestors ... i didn't know better" ...