Today’s walk — North of 9th Avenue (St. Vrain Road), west of County Line Road, south of Mountain View, east of Pace
Jennifer and I went to a funeral in Goodland, Kansas on Friday for Les Frazier. He was a B-24 pilot in WWII, three-time mayor of Goodland, and was as nice of a man as you would want to meet, truly the salt of the earth. He was Jennifer’s grandma Isabelle’s younger brother.
I covered a pretty large area today, since it’s my only walk of the week. One mile by one-half mile… although the eastern fourth was almost empty, and the area also included a large apartment complex, farmland, and a fire station, so there was a lot of area I didn’t need to walk. It was 11 degrees when I started out, and warmed up a little as the morning went on, but it started getting colder again for the last hour or so. I wanted to get back in time for the Bronco game at 2:30. I’m sure I’m not spoiling it for anyone when I say that did not turn out the way I hoped.
My first picture is of a bunch of robins I saw in a tree, which sort of surprised me. But here’s a quote from Birds and Blooms web site:
“You may not be seeing them in your garden, so you think they’ve gone away, but Robins are year-round residents of the lower 48 states. During the winter months Robins gather together into huge flocks, sometimes numbering hundreds or even thousands of birds.”
So I guess maybe spring ISN’T right around the corner.
I re-read several books from my youth this last week. I enjoyed ‘The Enormous Egg’, about a triceratops hatched out of a chicken’s egg, and “Ramona the Brave”, which I read to my girls as a bedtime store. I also read, for the first time, “Mr. Popper’s Penguins”, which I was not as impressed with. It was recently made into a movie with Jim Carrey. I found I cared about the characters in the first two books… not so much for Mr. Popper. Although the Mr. Popper book won awards, it didn’t do much for me. It had too many unrealistic reactions. (but then I’m not complaining about the dinosaur hatching out of a chicken egg, so who am I to speak??!?).
I was surprised to find that “The Enormous Egg’ was set in a real town, Freedom, New Hampshire. It also mentioned Franconia Notch, near the Great Stone Face, a landmark inspiring a story by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It was on the NH state quarter issued in 2000, but, just a few years later, fell down, as Wikipedia notes:
“The notch was home to the Old Man of the Mountain, a rock formation whose profile is a symbol of the state of New Hampshire, until 2003, when the formation collapsed.”
The other book I read was not exactly a children’s book… “Slaughterhouse Five”, by Kurt Vonnegut. I had a higher opinion of it now than the first time I read it. In general, I think Vonnegut is a very enjoyable read. This book was one of the options in my high school English class, which had ‘mini-courses’. I didn’t choose this book, but rather went with T.S. Eliot’s ‘The Wasteland” and the rock opera “Jesus Christ, Superstar”, both of which I enjoy to this day. I’d like to make a shout-out to Linda Clabaugh, who was my English teacher for these classes, who was very good. Another very good Minden High School English teacher was Marian Dennis. I am a little surprised that “Slaughterhouse Five” wasn’t a little controversial at the time, at a conservative south-central Nebraska high school, because of it’s language.
Another quick ‘literary’ aside. You might notice on the signpost photo below that ‘Green Gables’ is one of the destinations. A few years ago I saw a list of the 20 top-selling books of all time, and “Anne of Green Gables” was on it. I had heard of it, but never read it, so I went to the library and checked it out. Even though it is a ‘girl’s book’, I found it to be very good, and can see why it was so popular. And I’ve heard you can still visit Green Gables on Prince Edward Island, Canada.
Walking the Suburbs
Back to my walking of the day. There were several open areas which were like craters. They’re like parks, covered with grass, but I think they’re maintained by the sub-division, rather than the city. It’s actually a pretty good idea. They’re great places for kids to play football or soccer, and are nice back-yard vistas for many homes… but in times of heavy rainfall (a rarity, I know), they serve as a drainage area.
Other distinctive parts of these sub-divisions were the walking trail sidewalks which wind through it. I think I should go back and walk them, even though they don’t technically fall under my ‘Longmont Streetwalker’ area. I went up a few of them, and they curve around a lot, so you can’t always see what’s up ahead, which is very nice. Another distinction is some of the cul-de-sacs here, which are landscaped in the middle of the cul-de-sac, as opposed to being completely paved. I think this is probably an improvement.
The eastern portion of my walk had a lot of avian street names. My favorite was what appears to be a deliberate misspelling — “Morning Dove”. Other nice names were Chukar (a type of partridge), Lark Bunting (the Colorado state bird), Grouse, Goshawk, Prairie Hawk, and Sparrow Hawk. I thought perhaps Harlequin was also a type of bird, but it turns out it’s not… just the checkerboard pattern “joker” found on some decks of cards.
Total for today: 26,030 steps, 4:20 time