February 2018

POTD: Crossing Paths

Crossing Paths
Bozeman, Montana

On my walk the other day I came across a vole and a magpie having it out in the snow around the base of an ash tree. The magpie looked intent on having that vole for lunch. The vole was of course doing its best to prevent that from happening, not by running as I though would be the normal response but by standing its ground.

Even when the magpie flew up into the tree to regroup the vole did not seek cover, but continued to snoop around at the base of the tree, probably looking for food. Consequently it ended up suffering several more attacks from that magpie as well as two other bad boys who were also lounging in the branches of the tree. They did not attack the vole as a group, taking turns instead.

The magpies finally gave up and went on their way. When I walked past the tree the vole had a few drops of blood around its nose but otherwise looked fine. It was still snooping around but stopped long enough to bare its teeth at me as I went by. That was one aggressive vole.

I found the footprints in the photo above yesterday on our back patio. I’m not positive but they could well be mole and magpie tracks. It did not appear that these two creatures met up anywhere at the same time, but it reminded me of the event from the other day.

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POTD: Blasted Art

Blasted Art
Victoria, British Columbia

When blasting rock for a new building foundation in a densely packed urban area, some means of containing the blast’s shrapnel is necessary. In this case in downtown Victoria they used these large woven mats of recycled rubber (tires perhaps). They were quite effective. Watching them work from our fifth floor hotel window across the street, I never saw any stray material flying anywhere. Too bad they were not effective at all at containing the blast noise or the more constant machinery noise as the rubble was being cleared away. The unpleasantly noisy environment did yield this quite pleasing abstract composition–another case of suffering for my art I guess. 🙂

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