January 8 – Last week of break

As you know, I delight in tormenting my daughter.  The other day, we were working outside and for some reason she said, “I think I was a dog in a former life.”  I said, “I think you’re a dog in this life.”

We were watching a NOVA episode on the 1848 Franklin Expedition to the Arctic to find the northwest passage (they didn’t).  At one stop, three of the sailors were buried in the ice.  Recently, researchers exhumed them to determine the cause of death.  Otherwise well preserved, the corpses had blackened noses and foreheads.  Savannah said, “Obviously, they’re freezer burnt.”  Turned out it was tuberculosis.

Thought I’d lead off with a red tailed hawk.

Tuesday I went up to the Stookey’s and finished disassembling their old horse shelter.  It was made of a lot of good treated lumber, which I hauled down and layed under the boat to get the warps out of the boards.  More eagles beckoned.

These came out fairly crisp.

Wednesday night I had a small gathering at the house before the basketball game between QU and Culver.  Lowell and two of my students and their significant others came over.  I barbequed the deer backstraps, which I had marinated overnight.  They were delicious.  We won the game, even while playing somewhat flat footed.

On this night we learned that Stacey was promoted to Second Captain at the fire department.  She gets to wear a red helmet, have her gear near the front of the line, and people actually have to listen to her.  We are very happy.

Thursday was fairly cold.  I went down early to watch eagles and got some good activity.  I spent the rest of the day backing up my computer and watching movies. 

I posted this one at a higher resolution so the details could be seen.  The rest are so compressed you can’t really appreciate them.

They reach far forward with their feet just before they grab the fish.  In this way, they don’t lose flight speed during the capture.

Friday I went out to Lowell’s for some bunny hunting.  We did flush one out of a brush pile, but it ran off and we didn’t see it again.  Under one brush pile we found fairly fresh raccoon skull and vertebral column.  If there’s a bunny living there, it’s the Foul Beast of Caer Bannog.  We didn’t see much else, but the weather was lovely and warm.  We ate out at the little diner in Ewing, which has reopened again.  They did some serious remodeling to it.  More importantly, the food was good.  When Savannah got home from school I went with her down to her school to give blood.  While I was waiting, I picked up a book out of a pile of free ones.  The Great Escape.  I thought my recent trip to Ecuador might take me out of donating, but the places I went are relatively disease free.  Savannah started before me, but she bled so slowly, they had to rearrange the needle in her arm to get her to produce.  I finished in 5 minutes, well before she did.  When we got home, she ran to catch Boots, got light-headed and had to sit down.  She couldn’t hear for a bit and nearly passed out.  It was her first time giving blood.  She only makes the minimum body mass by about 5 pounds, so a pint is a larger proportion of her blood volume than for larger people.  I gave her a big glass of water, which she drank.

Saturday Stacey and I ran errands in the morning.  In the afternoon, Savannah went to Quincy with a friend.  Stacey went to practice driving the fire truck, which went really well.  I stayed home, played Guitar Hero and watched a movie.  In the evening, Savannah, Hannah and I went to the high school basketball games.  As predicted, our girls won and boys lost.

Sunday we all hung around the house.  I worked on my computer measuring parts of wasp genitalia on electron micrographs.  My eyes were fried by the end of the day.  We watched some movies too.  I stayed up late watching Return of the Jedi.  You just have to watch the Emperor die.

Monday I went into the office.  My plants were nearly dead and the aquarium pump was sucking air instead of water.  After getting all the living things in order, I worked on my syllabi, filed all the stuff from last semester, and attended to a million tiny things that have to be done.  It snowed hard, but nothing stuck.  In the evening, Savannah and I went to the High School basketball games.  Our JV team nearly lost by a factor of two.  Missed it by one point.  Our varsity team was actually ahead for nearly the entirety of their game, but lost it at the end after a few bad ref calls.

Tomorrow: first day of class!

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