Monday, July 14, 2008

Lots and lots of miles

I didn't realize how long it had been since I posted until I logged in today. No, I have not died -- that is not the reason for my silence. Rather, I had a realization a couple weeks ago that my 300+ mile bike ride is the second weekend in August and I had not gone above 25 miles in a day all season. So I have been spending a lot of time riding my bike since then. The first 60-mile ride was really good until mile 40, after which I just wanted to curl up and take a nap. It was on a Saturday, and it took me almost the whole week to recover, by which I mean make my commute in the usual amount of time. (It is usually about 40 minutes of active pedaling, but last Tuesday it took me almost 55 minutes of active pedaling to get to work.) The ride this past Saturday was much more agreeable and I felt like normal on my way to work today. Oh yes, and if you want to know why I am riding so much, go to this page.

Here are the things I saw on Saturday's ride:
-a wild mother turkey and about five of her babies, who were smaller than chickens but still had adult feathers and flew -- flew, I tell you!
-A sandhill crane couple and their one offspring grazing in a field (they generally hatch two eggs each year, together, but usually only one chick survives)
-A sandhill crane flying

But the nature odyssey next to the ditch that runs parallel to the railroad tracks on Madison's east side was more stunning. A bazillion toadlings -- I do not exaggerate, it was at least a bazillion -- smaller than crickets were hopping all over the sidewalks and grass borders. I really annoyed N by gasping and yanking him back every time I saw a toad on his side of the sidewalk, my automatic reaction to prevent a tiny toad from being flattened.

But the crown discovery was a four-inch long snapping turtle that was ambling down the sidewalk near his house. It was heading toward the road, so N picked it up and moved it to the big field of grass next to the ditch from whence it must have come. The snapping turtle was of course not very pleased with being picked up, but having only tiny jaws instead of the big threatening ones usually associated with its species, it could do nothing but withdraw into its shell and pee profusely.

1 comment:

Dekalb said...

Glad to read you saw your own pair of sandhill crane parents. I spotted a crane flying along whilst I was delivering in Middleton today. There's still enough wetland along a creek they favor for me to make frequent sightings. They seem prehistoric when they're gliding in for a landing.