Big Day for Wildlife

Yesterday (2-25-19) was a big day for wildlife viewing in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, in northern New Mexico. Shucks, it’s only a National Monument, but has populations of wildlife that rival National Parks. And this is especially so in the winter, when a variety of northern ducks and bald eagles arrive at the generally ice-free waters of the Rio Grande to winter.

In less than an hour’s time, I was able to observe and photograph the creatures that follow. This first movie is of a pair of mallards feeding on midges that have been caught up in foam.

Not over two miles upstream, I spotted a group of bighorn ewes and young, part way up the slope on the far side of the river.

After filming this group of sheep, I looked back down at the river, and saw a long cylindrical shape in the water, which was, of course, an otter. I was seated in my van, using it as a blind, and the otter was about 160′ away (measured with Google Earth), so it was not alarmed. It swam leisurely up and down along the shoreline for a few minutes, before climbing out of the river.

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Otter

A few minutes later, I filmed this group of ducks from an elevated pull-out. All but two of the ducks are goldeneyes. The two ducks closest to shore, with more pointy heads, are ring-necks. And a female mallard passes through the group.

Bald eagle on basalt boulder

Bald eagle

My last sighting was this bald eagle, which circled above me and landed on a basalt boulder. I then returned downstream to a pool where, yesterday, I caught a hefty rainbow trout that was rising to midges. But there were no risers there, and I caught nothing. Did I go home disappointed? Not a chance! Catching something would have been only the sprinkles on the icing on the cake. The Rio Grande had again provided precious moments of being with wildlife.

p.s. while the wintering birds arrive on their own, the bighorns and otters have been returned to the Rio Grande via very successful stocking efforts.

 

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Monsoon Season Atmospherics

Monsoon Season Atmospherics. It’s now monsoon season in northern New Mexico (July 15, 2019), with afternoon and early evening thunderstorms and rain showers becoming commonplace. The weather arrives from the west, while the sun sets to the northwest. Yesterday evening, the setting sun side-lit a veil of rain that was positioned between our place and Black Mesa, providing the following sequence of atmospheric effects.

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The volcanic Black Mesa and the dirt saddle that connects it to the mesa to the north

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Looking further to the west (left) than the above photo, the veil of rain interposes between my position and the dirt hill of Barranco Blanco (left) and the tilted lava-topped mesa of Cerro La Junta (right)

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The light turns more golden a moment later. Left to right: Barranco Blanco, Cerro La Junta and Black Mesa

 

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The Donald Chronicles, #51

It justs gets worse and worse. The man is an evil buffoon.

First, the evil. DT and his handlers (with Stephen Miller no doubt leading the charge), are imposing shockingly inhumane treatment on asylum seekers at the southern border, for the purpose of discouraging other refugees from crossing the border. This just makes my blood boil, as it is being done in my name. DT and his minions must be brought up on criminal charges for these acts of deliberate cruelty. Child abuse, crimes against humanity or somewhere in-between.

Second, the buffoonery. In his Fourth of July speech, DT stated that American revolutionary soldiers “took over the airports”.

How can Congress continue to allow this abysmally stupid and evil person to remain as President? It is, of course, the Republican Senate that allows it, and they will be judged and condemned for aiding and abetting this criminal President.

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The Donald Chronicles, #50

The Donald Chronicles, #50. It has now come to this, that DT denies having made a statement that he was recorded making. He characterized Meghan Markle as “nasty”, and now denies that he did so, even though a tape exists of him saying so.

This is not his most outrageous lie to date. What is particularly outrageous about this lie is that the proof of his lying is being played on the media. How crazy do you have to be? Or, did he learn from his reading of Mein Kampf that you must never stop lying, no matter what?

DT is moving rapidly in the direction of taking over the country. He must be stopped!

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Civics Lesson

You know who I’m talking about, when I say that he is giving us a great lesson in civics. Yes, I’m talking about the President of the United States of America. He heads the Executive Branch. Many Americans may think that that is the only branch that matters. But, for those of us who already took civics in high school – and remember it – we know that there are those two other branches, which are understood to be “co-equal” branches. Co-equal means that they possess power equal to that of the Executive Branch and each other. This is known as the “separation of powers”. It is this separation of powers that provides what is known as “checks and balances”. Those other two branches are Congress and the Judiciary.

Congress is, at the moment, attempting to check the power of the President, by issuing subpoenas to individuals and departments of the Executive Branch. A subpoena is the way in which Congress is empowered to force those that they are investigating to take some action, such as deliver the President’s tax returns, testify before Congress and so on. A committee of Congress has issued subpoenas because they have reason to believe that the President has committed crimes. The “reason to believe” was supplied by the still-incompletely delivered Mueller Report, which provides evidence of obstruction of justice by the President … and perhaps other crimes, up to and including treason. This activity is known as “oversight” – that Congress is charged with looking into the activities of the Executive Branch, to ensure the legality of its actions.

But the President has ordered that no one or department in the Executive Branch may respond to the Congressional subpoenas that have and continue to be issued, including one to his former lawyer who is no longer a government employee (!). This is an action without precedent in our history. Resolution of this stand-off now goes to that third branch of government, the Judiciary (aka the Courts). The matter(s) will be decided by a judge (or judges), who determine what the law requires and who issue a court order (s) to obtain compliance.

Yesterday, a judge found in favor of Congress, and ordered the President’s accounting firm to hand over Trump financial records. Will they do it? What if they don’t? They, the accounting firm, would then be liable to penalties. And the President’s former lawyer, Don McGahn, is also (I’m assuming) liable to penalties, since he was acting as a private citizen when, yesterday, he failed to comply with a subpoena to testify.

Federal court orders are enforced by federal law enforcement personnel i.e federal marshals. But, since such personnel are employees of the Justice Department, which is a part of the Executive Branch, the President could, conceivably, order federal marshals not to comply with orders from the Judiciary to enforce a court order. What then? Will it come to that?

I am not at all sanguine about the willingness of the President to obey court orders, now or later. His other former lawyer, Michael Cohen, ended his testimony before Congress by stating that he believed that the President would not yield office if he lost the 2020 election. I believe that the evidence shows that the President wishes to take full control of the federal government i.e. that he wishes to become a dictator in the manner of Putin or any of the other autocratic leaders he so admires.

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The Donald Chronicles, #49

The Donald Chronicles, #49

The water is deepening around us. “The Donald”, a derisive term coined to poke fun at the ludicrous figure he once was, may no longer best describe him. No one is laughing now, as his intentions become crystal-clear. He intends to assume total control of the federal government. He intends to become a dictator.

He has refused to allow anyone in his administration (or former members of his administration) and his family to respond to subpoenas from Congress. This is a tactic employed to see what he can get away with, how far he can go. If he succeeds in this effort his ascent to total power may be unstoppable.

If and when this comes to pass there will be no revolution. It will be a repeat, or near repeat, of Nazi Germany, with the masses cheering him on. He will distribute brown shirts,  insignias and automatic weapons to his most ardent supporters, who will then spread out across this country in the hunt for dissenters. That would be me.

This is unthinkable, and, at this pass, I can only hope that there are persons in our government and military that are meeting and coming up with plans to prevent Trump from seizing absolute power.

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The Donald Chronicles, #48

I begin again with “The Donald Chronicles”. I wrote 47 posts on the subject of Donald Trump in the period of time that immediately followed his taking office – January 20 to May 7, 2017. Then I ran out of steam on the topic. But now that this Hitler wannabe says he wants six years in office, I’m steamed up enough to re-enter the blogosphere.

This is it. DT has forbidden everyone now or formerly in his administration from testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, and will not let his stooge, Barr, hand over the complete Mueller Report. Push is about to come to shove. The House Committee will recommend charging Barr with contempt of Congress, and the full House will likely go along. What then?

A couple of nights ago, Rachel Maddow assured her listeners that our country has been through this before, with Nixon. Since Nixon lost the Presidency, her assumption is that the same will hold true for Trump. But I’m not re-assured. I don’t recall Nixon having a Republican Party so committed to enabling the President’s criminality, as is the case with Trump.

Why is this? It’s because they are ALL on the take. They ALL have their pockets stuffed with Russian and other shady money. ALL of our Republican legislators are compromised. A very enlightening essay that appeared in the March edition of The Atlantic magazine goes a long ways towards explaining where much of the money in politics comes from. By staff writer Franklin Foer, it is entitled: “How Kleptocracy Came to America”. Here is the link: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/03/how-kleptocracy-came-to-america/580471/

I am not calling wolf when I say that our democracy now hangs in the balance. I cannot abide a Trump dictatorship. Can you? Trump and his toadies must be stopped!

 

 

 

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Visit to Joel Miller and Family, Vermont and Connecticut. April 4 – 17, 2019

I recently visited my brother Joel, who lives in Middlebury, Vermont, along with his son Peter and family (who live in Middlebury, as well) and another of his sons, Matt, and family, who live in Westport, Connecticut. Here are some scenes from that visit.

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Airport on the way, with two men looking at their phones

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Joel, at coffee shop in Middlebury

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Sign at breakfast place

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Bridge over Lake Champlain, from the New York side

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Joel, at Champlain monument, New York side

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Fred, at dinner at Waybury Inn, Middlebury

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Skylight, at Joel’s house

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Strawberries, at Joel’s house

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Joel, at breakfast

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The Middlebury River, Ripton

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The Middlebury River, Ripton

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Dead birch leaves, Ripton

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MIddlebury College Ski Bowl, the day after it closed for the season

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The Long Trail crosses the MIddlebury Gap

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At the Robert Frost picnic area

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At the Robert Frost picnic area, lichen on a tree that is wet on one side

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Ice flow, on the Appalachian Gap

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Mad River Glen Ski Area, Waitsfield, on the other side of the “App Gap”

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Jane and Peter, at Lawson’s Brewery, in Waitsfield

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At the Worthy Burger, in Waitsfield

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Okemo Ski Area and the Black River

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Okemo Ski Area, Ludlow

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Moss on a tree trunk, along the trail to the Falls of Lana, near Lake Dunmore

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Falls of Lana

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Falls of Lana

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Falls of Lana

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Falls of Lana

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Middlebury Falls, very high water

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Middlebury Falls

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Middlebury Falls

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Foam in an eddy below Middlebury Falls

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Middlebury, from the footbridge below Middlebury Falls

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Joel, on the footbridge below Middlebury Falls

The trip to see the Matt Miller family, in Westport, CT.

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Birdseye Diner, Castleton

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Birdseye Diner, Castleton

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Birdseye Diner, Castleton

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Fog on the beach at Westport, CT

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Fog on the beach at Westport, CT

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Alex and Nicholas Miller, after a volleyball game

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Paige and Nicholas(?)

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Penny and Matt

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All of us

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Pepper still life, at the Miller home

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Shoes, at the Miller home

PhiloFarmMe

The author of “www.believesteve.org”, at the Philo Ridge Farm, by Joel Miller

 

 

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