Sunday, June 05, 2011

Hummingbirds, Music and Flooded River Bike Rides


We're finally seeing hummingbirds at one of our feeders in the back yard. We put it out last Saturday. We saw our first hummingbird on Thursday evening. A week later (yesterday) we had four hummingbird sightings in one day. Because of the light and the skittishness of the birds, we're not sure what kind they were. 

On Friday afternoon we went for a bike ride along the Audubon portion of the Grand Junction Colorado River Trail. We saw the flooding that is happening around the bridge on Broadway. From where we were on the road, it looked as if the homeless camp that had been set up in the trees in that area must have been completely immersed. We also rode along the river and saw the huge log of a fallen tree traveling at high speed, carried by the swift currents. We went as far as we could, until the point where the trail was closed due to flooding. 

There were several small rabbits visible along the trail at that time of the evening, and we also saw a great blue heron flying across one section of the river. Other than that, we didn't see anything particularly noteworthy, except the constantly changing colors of the plants along the river, which continue to grow and present a whole spectrum of green hues.

Last night Rachael and I practiced our guitar / flute duet (unnamed for the moment) and we even worked on a new piano / flute arrangement. We also started experimenting with Abigail Washburn's version of the song "A Single Drop of Honey." It is sung a-capella and is a beautiful piece.  She had a glass of wine, I had a Scrumpy Cider (my favorite). I can't think of a more pleasant way to spend the evening.

A few links over the last few days caught my eye:

The first is one that is exciting because it is close to home for me.  This article in the Denver Post describes the latest discoveries at Ziegler Reservoir near Snowmass Village in Colorado, where researchers have been digging up all kinds of prehistoric bones. Bones of mastodons, mammoths, ice age bison, and a Jefferson's ground sloth.

One of the strangest stories I read this past week was this one about Chinese prisoners forced to play World of Warcraft after a full day of hard labor. They were forced into this "gold farming" by the guards in order to earn between $700-$900 a day in real-world money for their real-life prison bosses, who were earning more money from this enterprise than from their prison salaries. The prisoners never saw any of the real-world profits of course.

Then there was this sad story of a boy that sold his kidney to be able to afford an iPad2. As Rachael said, "He won't be doing that again."

Perhaps the most enlightening and open-minded article that I've seen over the last few days was this one by 1984 Nobel Peace Prize Winner Desmond Tutu entitled, "God is Not a Christian."

The most motivating piece by far was this article about Ernestine Shepherd, the world's oldest bodybuilder. She will be included in the 2012 Guinness Book of World Records. At age 74, she is a regular on the Musclemania circuit.

This article about how US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials were trying to set up an operation in which ICE agents would monitor prison visitors to try to identify illegal aliens seemed ominous. According to the article, the proposal involved allowing ICE agents to "sit alongside Bexar County (Texas) staff and keep an eye on the logbook, picking out and running immigration checks as deemed necessary. 'Once reasonable suspicion has been substantiated, we can attempt to interview further in the back of the Visitor area discretely,' . . . agents could issue visitors a notice to appear in immigration court or, if necessary, detain them on the spot."

Did you hear about the guys that got into a fight on a plane over a reclined seat this week? Their tussle resulted in the pilot turning the plane around and an escort from a couple of F-16's. 

Are you interested in bees? Did you know that native bee populations are in decline in many areas, and you can help. Native bees don't have gigantic hives with thousands of members. Most native bees are solitary. You can create a "Native Bee House" to help your native population thrive and contribute to the pollination of our plants. Here is a blog post that will teach you how to build your own bee house. Follow the simple instructions and let the bees do the rest.