• Dale Bowman

Umbrella robins & unnatural obsessions: Ramble with the Lady

OK, maybe as an outdoorsman I should not be talking about anybody else's obsession, but I can't help myself.

Last night, we went out for pizza (let somebody else heat up their place with the oven). As we crossed the rail tracks heading out of town, we spotted three guys with cameras.

They were train photographers.

Apparently, that is quite the thing. Who knew how big a deal is photographing trains or railroads is. There is even a National Railway Photography Club.

The best suggestions for taking better railroad or train photos came from Ritchie Roesch at his Roesch Photography blog.

Maybe the guys knew something. About three miles along, we passed a train headed south, which had a very distinctive red locomotive pulling a short line of freight cars.

Then there are natural obsessions taken to unnatural lengths.

Twice in the last week what I would consider an umbrella robin nearly attacked Lady, our family's mutt, and me as we rambled down the east side of the south old clay pit.

I am pretty sure it was trying to distract us from a fledgling having a hard time flying. Neither time did I spot the fledgling.

One day, the robin raised such a racket that at least 10 robins came around. (Hello, Alfred Hitchcock.)

Oh come now, you knew I was going to go there.

Speaking of unnatural obsessions, I think Hitchcock may have had a few.

Few doves this morning. Not sure why. Maybe the heat of the past few days even wore them down.

Lady wanted to have a go at free-ranging black cat, one of those slaughtering machines, as we neared the ball field on the edge of town and I was tempted to let her have a go on general principles, but restrained myself in the end.

Once again, as they have for the past week, Canada geese were finishing grazing and crapping all over the ball field and crossed the road.

The lone gray squirrel of the morning hopped off the side rail separating town from the wildness of the town pond as we crossed over into the wild.

A few fish dimpled the surface of both pits. And bullfrogs croaked on both pits. I think it might be time to try some frog fishing.

Back in town, the bank thermometer read 77 degrees. It still felt thick enough to be about right.

Dueling blue jays squacked back and forth a block south of the garage downtown.

Back home, it hit me how summer has finally arrived.

It is not just the heat, but that my wife's flowers have grown into a riot of summer yellows and oranges.

The sunflowers, mostly volunteers are already 10 feet high. In the best year, they made maybe 14 or 15 feet and reached our bedroom window.

The tiger lilies are more than six feet tall.

There are bloomers that I do not even know the name of.

Ah, summer.


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