With the Bobcat and the tractor both roaring away a few yards away, this porcupine was sound asleep in a tree.
When I crashed around the base of her tree, she barely lifted her eyelids. I imagine she's a teenager, probably lazing her way through yet another sunny day to the despair of her folks.
As we were closing up Base Camp later in the summer, Jeff spotted something at the other end of the field. Instead of reaching for the field glasses, we just hustled off to investigate.
It was a windy day, which meant a lot of leaves rustling and a strong breeze carrying our scent away from the slow-moving blob on the horizon.
Of course it turned out to be a porcupine. Who else in our animal kingdom is going to be ambling along in broad daylight in the middle of an open field? Only a few predators –– at their hungriest and most desperate –– will take this rodent.
No, they DON'T shoot their quills when threatened. And though I did really really want to pet his furry little snout, I kept my hands to myself.
But 11 is also pretty cool. It's a prime number (divisible only by itself and 1). But it's simply two ones standing together (it should be two, right? But it's not), which gives me the exact internal frisson of confusion that I feel while arriving at the airport and heading toward "Departures."
Anyway, cognitive dissonance aside, eleven elevens make 121, which seems mystical. Twenty-two of them is 242, while thirty-three of them is 363. Et cetera.
The possibility of deep nerdishness exists around any topic.
All this by way of introduction, really, to a couple of my favorite enthusiasts who dive into human perception of numbers (is 2 a masculine number or a feminine one?). Give yourself an hour of cool information and entertainment with Jad and Robert on this link to the...Radiolab podcast.
I like a good mystery. An overactive imagination is kind of my stock in trade. People-watching is an exercise in making up fictional histories for strangers.
This sign, however, stymies my every fictional effort.
I find nothing to add to this text to make a more vivid, surprising, or funny bit of narrative. It's already there: the stereotype and the inverted stereotype, the frustration and the showmanship, the transgression and the possibility of forgiveness.
I mean, dam, it's a zen koan of a story. Plus two mungrel dogs.
The game camera gives us a nice peep into life on the Would-Be Farm when we are not there to see it.
This summer may have brought a few sad changes, as it looks as if the beavers may have moved on.
Their lodge is overgrown with weeds and the slide (shown in these photos) has become overgrown.
We can hope it's just a bit of summer vacation, but according to the National Geographic special we watched with great interest, these large rodents stay in residence only for a dozen years or so. They eventually gobble up all the available food and are forced to move along. Probably just as soon as they finally got that living room set up just the way they like.
These sweet, personable young pigs swim right up to any passing tourist. We encountered them in the Abacos, in the Bahamas, a few years ago.
What an unsettling surprise to see them in the trailer for the Angry Birds II movie.
Shoehorning a bit of boat-work into the summer, my favorite skipper continues the construction and refinement of Spawn the adventure boat.
Despite the onslaught of mosquitoes and biting gnats, and undaunted by what he describes as 1000% humidity, he's made improvements and tweaks in preparation for the next adventure*.
There's some cleverly thought-out modifications to block placement and chafe-plates on the rudder control system. Plus a new metal rowing seat that will be semi-permanently bolted in place. Thanks, Derek Dudinsky at JTR!
Modifying where the oarlocks will be placed and some height adjustments (hello Sir Hacksaw!) to the rowing seat follow after an afternoon of on-the-water testing.
And then we are off again on more travels. Spawn will be waiting when we get back...
* Which next adventure race? Well, there's the Black Beard Challenge, possibly. It's 300 miles that include active gunnery ranges (avoid!), unlit fish traps (avoid!), unavoidable low bridges, black bears and skeeters, all on a challenging loop past Pamlico Sound and Beaufort (Bo-furt!).
Shore duty is looking sweet on that one.
In a blithe hunter-provider mood, my favorite skipper once yanked a yard-foot-long shark right onto the 24-foot-long sailboat we were cruising.
Three muscular feet of dove-gray anger thrashing about, in what turns out to be a –– maybe –– six-foot long cockpit.
At every thrash, those blank yellow cat-eyes not blinking and that grabby mouth with the stadium-seating rows of triangular serrated teeth snap snap snapping...
We weren't wearing shoes, and we had neglected to arm ourselves with a winch handle or any other species of bludgeon.
Forced to retreat to the cabin top, we were obliged to wait for the fish to, as the captain put it, "simmer down."
Oh, we ate shark nuggets that evening, of course we did.
As my hunter-provider often remarks about the swimmer vs. Jaws issue: he's eaten a lot more of them than they have of him.
(*"Alert! Sharks have no bones!" is the most awesome Archie McPhee catalog headline of all time.)
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