Friday, March 30, 2007

There's roadkill . . .

. . . and then there's trailkill, which is what I may be after a 30-mile trail race this Sunday at Clinton Lake. I hope they have stretcher bearers to carry off my carcass.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Easter Has Been Cancelled

Buffalo buddy Cuzzin Don sent me this. I'm crushed.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Trail Chief

Good chance that I'll bring Red Chief to the Mahomet trail on April 12 to meet the buffaloes on their regular Thursday evening run. The Mother Princess has "plans," so I have the little bison that evening. I hope to have him run with us for at least a short span, then he can have (root) beer. There is a Dairy Queen in Mahomet , so I could entice him with that. Anyway, it will be his inaugural run with the herd. Bought the little guy a guitar for his birthday, so nowadays we jam. Lately, he has been cheating in our arm wrestling contests. When I almost have him pinned he grips with two hands to save himself. No fair. He's five now and should be able to whip me.

Monday, March 26, 2007

I'll Drink to That

"You are young only once, but you can be immature for a lifetime."
- John P. Grier

Friday, March 23, 2007

Grazing Under the Lightning

Every Thursday evening from now until November will be Holy Thursday, a time for running and grazing at the Buffalo Trace Trail at Mahomet. Last night's festivities got a little hairy when four of us (Cuzzin Don, Lard Ass, Devil Dawg, and me), while consuming buffalo bait (beer to the uninitiated), stayed on long after the run and "shot the buffalo bull" while lightning lit the darkening sky. When a particular bolt got a little too close, we finally had to leave the trail area. As usual we had stayed too long, but illuminated by lightning and swapping stories, it was all good. It was tough leaving my brother bulls. I even missed most of my beloved "Grey's Anatomy" show, but it was worth it. Long live the herd.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Testimony: Buffalo Treatment "Inhumane and Unacceptable"

An example of a buffalo holding facility

From some of the written testimony today before a congressional committee investigating the treatment of buffalo at Yellowstone, unique among U.S. herds because they are members of the country's only continuous wild herd:

From statement of U.S. Representative Nick Rahall - "Like the monuments on our National Mall or the dome on the Capitol building, the bison [buffalo] is an American icon . . . Why is the Department of the Interior murdering its beloved mascot? We are told it is due to the threat of disease. Once they leave the park they can come into contact with cattle grazing on public and private land and some of the bison may carry a disease which can be dangerous to cows. But here is the critical point: the transfer of this disease from bison to cattle has never happened in the wild. Never . . . Slaughter is not management . . . it is an approach from a bygone era."

U.S. Humane Society President and CEO Wayne Pacelle: "There is ample documentation that the treatment of bison in and around Yellowstone National Park in inhumane and unacceptable . . . animals being run to exhaustion, corralling that does not guard against bison goring each other in a panic, animals driven onto frozen lakes that results in their falling through the ice and into frigid waters, mishandling that results in injury and death, overstocking transport trailers, and shooting bison at a slaughter plant because the animals were allowed to inadvertently escape their holding areas.
"This deplorable set of circumstances reveals the clumsy and unprofessional handling of the animals by the state and the federal government. In short, these animals are handled like livestock rather than extremely powerful wild animals."

Monday, March 19, 2007

Congress to Investigate Slaughter

Fallen buffalo at Yellowstone National Park.

It's been a long time coming: Just received an e-mail from the Buffalo Field Campaign announcing that a congressional hearing on the slaughter of Yellowstone buffalo will take place tomorrow (Tuesday) and can be viewed here.

From a news release: "The Yellowstone buffalo are national treasures, symbols of America's wild and untamed spirit," said Stephany Seay of the Buffalo Field Campaign. "Rather than spending time and resources slaughtering them, the government should be safeguarding habitat and protecting the buffalo under their care."

With the Herd

Spent much time with the herd this weekend, Saturday running 10 miles of the Clinton Lake trail and Sunday hiking Forest Glen Nature Preserve near Danville. Will run/walk a 30-mile trail race on the Clinton Lake trail in less than two weeks. Ugh. That 's the toughest trail in the area.

Ready to get out on the bike. Swimming has been pathetic. I'm hoping it will all come together at a triathlon May 20 in Effingham, my first of the season.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Discovering Alfred

While doing research on Alfred Gross (here's Al doing taxidermy in the field on a bird in 1907), I have become obsessed with his experiences at the Illinois Natural History Survey. As an undergrad at the U of I he walked the entire state of Illinois collecting information about birds. His photos and letters from the early 1900s are fascinating, a great historical record, and I can't wait to see more of his writings and photos. Problem is, they're in Maine. Road trip? Maybe. I still have a Yellowstone trip to think about. Gotta get organized. More later.

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Little Buffalo Turns 5

Grandson Ethan (aka Red Chief) celebrates his 5th birthday today. Got my little arm wrestling partner a gift certificate for a tattoo. And not a temporary one. Barbed wire around the bicep would be good.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Faces from Long Ago

Who are these guys? I'm determined to find out. While doing research for an article I'm writing about an ornithologist (that's a bird person), I accidentally came across a box of forgotten old photos in our library here at work. This photo was taken in 1907 in southern Illinois. These are probably University of Illinois students who were doing fieldwork for the Illinois Natural History Survey, but it's going to take some digging on my own time to find out their names. I can probably consult old university yearbooks and match photos there to these faces. Then I can determine names, ages, their field of study, fraternities, and even if they were on U of I sports teams. It will take some detective work, but it will be fun. (Check out the dead possums hanging on the tent.)

Monday, March 05, 2007

Running Herd

Check out this video clip from a commercial featuring a buffalo herd at full speed. Turn up the sound. Love the shaking earth.

Friday, March 02, 2007