Thursday, June 17, 2021

Country Views: The Living And The Dead

More traditional style hay baling observed just off Shaulis Road.
 These days are stringing together again like they had early in Spring- Warm, very dry, and very clear. A bit of a Southerly breeze this time. temperatures in the 80's. 

I grabbed the pink MCD and embarked from Prairie Grove Park again. I had envisioned a bigger ride in a remote location, but time got away from me and I wanted to spend the morning with my two kids again. Once lunch was over and I had let my digestive system do its thang, I was out the door and rolling on. 

Once again, I observed the 'traditional' hay baling going on right near by Prairie Grove Park. Makes sense here because that farm on the Northwest corner of 4th and Shaulis has draft horses. Gotta feed them horsies! I decided just to head South on Aker and see how I felt. Turns out I felt pretty good, despite the winds, but after reaching the corner of Quarry Road and Aker I stopped and decided I just didn't have time for an almost 40 mile ride. That's what I really wanted to do, but practicality and the road layout dictated that I do a shorter route instead. 

Big blue skies and green carpets of vegetation underneath.
These are not 'traditional 'square bales'. These are about the size of a Smart Car.

The Red Winged Blackbirds are getting aggressive now. They were having a bit of an issue with the winds, so it depended upon which direction I was going to whether or not they could possibly harass me. A couple got pretty close. Once a bird found my 'draft' it had a chance to come up from behind me. That's their favorite way to 'attack' you. 

I learned this and have tried various tricks to avoid or dissuade them from pestering me. I landed upon an unusual observation with these birds. They do not attack if they can see your eyes. Cowardly little bastards, they are! So, I devised a plan where I thought that I would paint on some eyes on the backside of my helmet. I kept pushing that idea off and then forgetting it, so I thought of something else.

I have an 'eye' with me all the time anyway. A camera! That big, glassy lens looks like an eye, close enough, so I decided to just grab it when I heard a bird get close- Red Winged Blackbirds cluck incessantly while on the attack- and I would point the lens at the offending bird. It seems to be working, but I'll have to verify this on future rides. 

 I found this deceased Dickcissel on my ride.

Decision stop

Of course, live birds are one thing to expect on any ride around here in the Summer, but dead ones? I was a bit amazed and dismayed to find a dead dickcissel right in the middle of the road. It looked undamaged, so I wonder if it was struck by a passing vehicle. I don't know, but it was a beautiful little creature. 

At any rate, that was extremely unusual. I certainly have not seen anything quite like that in many a year. Despite the numerous Red Winged Blackbirds flitting about, none of them appeared to have suffered a similar fate, nor have I noted that they have in years past. You''d think you'd come across at least a few, seeing as how there must be thousands of these little trouble makers about Black Hawk County alone. 

A field of soybeans looking a little tepid. 

It'd be nice if those clouds would produce some rain. We could use it.

The word of the ride was 'dry'. Dry roads turning to powder. Dry fields making things look a little weak. The air was even drier than you'd like to see it in June. At least for Iowa. We're due for rain here, and it looks like today, (Thursday as this gets posted), is the day. Hopefully we don't get the severe with the good wet stuff. 

I felt great during this ride. I'm trying to decide now what tires to run at Gravel Worlds. The Pirelli Cinturato tires which I used on this ride are on the list, but I have a set of Teravail Rutlands too, and they are nice. I have to A/B these wheels/tires and decide what to use soon. 

Once I am settled on that, I have a few details to attend to and then I will start training rides with the full set up so I can get acquainted with the weight and handling traits. Then it'll be longer rides, (hopefully), and good times,(again- hopefully), until mid-August comes around. That'll be soon enough......


Tomcat said...

There’s a red winged blackbirds just a quarter mile south of Acker and Washburn that’s particularly aggressive. I’m sure you’ve run into it! Thing gets stupid close to your head, and has been for a few years now!

Skidmark said... winged blackbirds, in the wild, usually only live to be about two years old. Sounds like this one is putting up a good fight.