Thursday, May 28, 2015

Lawn freckles...

Lawn freckles...  For some time now, I've been trying to figure out why we have clumps of darker green, faster growing grass in our lawn.  I called them “lawn freckles”, and the grass in them is what I'd like the whole lawn to have.  You can see one of these freckles in the photo at right.

At first I thought these freckles were actually a different kind of grass that somehow was getting established in our lawn.  Then I noticed that the freckles would come and go.  The final clue was that the freckles never appeared where I didn't walk the dogs.  That's when the lamp of understanding was illuminated: lawn freckles are where the dogs pooped and we failed to pick it up (with three dogs, it's sometimes hard to keep track of who's doing what at any given moment). 

After doing a little reading (and multiple sources agree), I've discovered that the reason we have these islands of goodness instead of islands of burned spots is simply that its been raining all the time!  When the rain stops – and it may have done so now – we're going to have little brown burned spots all over, instead of these freckles.

But I think the real message is that my lawn desperately needs some nitrogen.  I think I'll be visiting the fertilizer store sometime soon now...

The “Coyote Principle”...

The “Coyote Principle”...  Via my lovely bride:
The Governor of California is jogging with his dog along a nature trail. A coyote jumps out and attacks the Governor's dog, then bites the Governor.
  • The Governor starts to intervene, but reflects upon the movie "Bambi" and then realizes he should stop because the coyote is only doing what is natural.
  • He calls animal control. Animal Control captures the coyote and bills the state $200 testing it for diseases and $500 for relocating it.
  • He calls a veterinarian. The vet collects the dead dog and bills the State $200 testing it for diseases.
  • The Governor goes to hospital and spends $3,500 getting checked for diseases from the coyote and on getting his bite wound bandaged.
  • The running trail gets shut down for 6 months while Fish & Game conducts a $100,000 survey to make sure the area is now free of dangerous animals.
  • The Governor spends $50,000 in state funds implementing a "coyote awareness program" for residents of the area.
  • The State Legislature spends $2 million to study how to better treat rabies and how to permanently eradicate the disease throughout the world.
  • The Governor's security agent is fired for not stopping the attack. The state spends $150,000 to hire and train a new agent with additional special training re the nature of coyotes.
  • PETA protests the coyote's relocation and files a $5 million suit against the state.
The Governor of Texas is jogging with his dog along a nature trail. A coyote jumps out and attacks his dog.
  • The Governor shoots the coyote with his state-issued pistol and keeps jogging. The Governor has spent $.50 on a .45 ACP hollow point cartridge.
  • The buzzards eat the dead coyote.
And that, my friends, is why California is broke and Texas is not.
Here in Utah, I think the solution would be even cheaper than in Texas. Our governor would most likely grab a nearby rock and bonk the coyote over the head, costing the taxpayers nothing...

Adventures in Paradise...

Adventures in Paradise...  Just before we headed for bed last night, Debbie happened to glance out the window (it was still light), and noticed that our neighbor's horses were all excited about something.  That's unusual behavior for them at that hour, so she looked around a bit for the source of the excitement – and noticed that another neighbor's cow and sheep had escaped their paddock.

That cow (which is named Anabelle) is about a year old, and is a Dexter.  The photo at right is not of Anabelle, but it looks a lot like her.  Those are small cows, bred to be useful for both milk and beef.  They're also notoriously ornery.  When we spotted Anabelle, she was practically dancing around the neighbor's parcel – she looked like she was about as joyful as a cow could possibly be.  The sheep just followed Anabelle all over the place.

Well, we watched for a minute to see if our neighbors (Nick and Maria S., plus five kids) saw what was happening.  We called them, but got their answering machine.  Figuring they must not be home, we ran out – I dashed over on my ATV, and Debbie drove over.

By the time we got there, a couple minutes later, two of the kids (the only two who were home) had seen the commotion and were out trying to herd them back in.  Another couple of neighbors also came over to help, and after just a couple minutes more, Nick and Maria came home with the rest of the kids.  We had quite a crowd out there trying to corral the miscreants!

Nick quickly found the escape point: Anabelle had pushed the bottom of one stretch of fence up and out.  He fixed that, and the rest of us ran around like mad men trying to convince Anabelle that she should go back in the paddock.  Anabelle did not want to go back – she was really enjoying her freedom.  Maria, we discovered, was already quite fed up with this ornery cow.  We all sense hamburger (or possibly a sale) in Anabelle's future.

Debbie and I came home laughing about the experience.  The animals' escape had turned into a very enjoyable social outing for us and several neighbors :)