Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Do You Smell Something Burning?

I had to take the day off work today to take care of some unpleasant business. By three o'clock when I was done, I needed to get out for some fresh air, and decompress. The dog was all over me, begging for attention and giving me the puppy dog eyes, as a dog is wont to do. Dog care is usually Kelly's domain, but since she was at work, I brought him along with me. It being kind of late, I figured I'd better do something easy and not too time consuming. But I had a hankering for seeing some wildlife....solution: Rail Trail.

We headed north. On the way we passed Peak Performance Bike Shop in Granby. They had their wares out on display, a sure indicator of Spring.

I have mixed emotions about this place. Kelly and I were here not too long ago looking for a bike for her. I have to say the owner was very friendly, knowledgeable and helpful, overall, and eager to aid us in picking out a good bike for her. As Kelly described what she wanted, he would compare the different types of bicycles with cars. For example, he would compare a comfort bike to a minivan: roomy, comfortable, smooth. A racing bike to say, a Ferrari. Then we got to the mountain bikes. Kelly said she didn't plan on doing any kind of serious mountain biking, but might want to wander off the pavement now and again. The owner looked at my vehicle parked nearby, and said "Mountain bikes are like Jeeps. You could take them off road..." He paused for affect and looked right at me..."but you probably don't."

Hey. Wait a minute. What did I do? How did he know whether or not I was a 4x4 poser? I've been known to get pretty muddy. I've crawled over a few rocks. Nothing insane, but I've used the 4x4 capability, thank you. I'm your customer's boyfriend, sir, and can wield a significant amount of influence on her bike-buying decision making. You might want to take that into account...

After he showed us his selection he went back indoors, and we stepped aside to discuss the bikes he showed us. After a few minutes, he came back out. He sniffed the air, like he smelled something odd. "What's that? You smell that? Like something burning?" Me and Kelly looked at each other and shrugged. We didn't smell anything. His nose led him over to where I was parked. "I think it's your Jeep."

My jaw dropped. Wha...? What does this guy have against my vehicle? I assured him nothing was burning on my Jeep, as I got in and got ready to go. Kelly saw that maybe it was time to go, too. We said we'd think about the bikes, and left.

The guy has a good selection of quality bikes, and knows his stuff. I would definitely recommend a bike purchase from him. Just don't drive up in a Jeep...

Bird Dog

Anyway, me and the dog were heading for the Norwottuck Rail Trail, specifically the eastern end where the wetlands are, off Station Rd. I blew past the side road leading there, and had to turn around at Kamel Hassan's furniture, (love that name), where I saw this interesting weather vane:

We finally got to the trail, and got to walking...

The water was still half frozen but that didn't stop the ducks from sitting in it. They came zooming in every now and then, and would gently glide into the water. Beautiful birds, and graceful, fast fliers.

There were a few birds chirping away here and there. This one got my attention though:

That was as close as I could zoom in with my camera. And it was just out of reach to identify clearly with my binoculars. I was waiting for it to stretch it's wings or move or do something so I could better identify it, but it would just cock its head this way and that. After a long while, with the dog leash tugging on my binocular holding hands, I gave up. But I could see it had broad vertical stripes on it's neck. I couldn't tell if they were colored at that distance. I suspect it may have been a Kestrel.

The dog was getting a little over-stimulated with all the other dogs walking past. He has this thing, where no other dog on the planet is allowed to live in peace if he can help it. Or bicyclers, or runners, or motorcycles or, well you get the idea. I'm just glad I'm on his side. So we took a detour and followed a short wooded trail that branches off the rail trail. It leads to a horse ranch on Station Rd. The broad open field had a settling effect on him, he sat there, quite at home and serene. Maybe he's a born ranch dog and doesn't know it.

I noticed this barbed wire fence that must have been put in a long time ago. It goes right through the center of a row of large trees. Surprisingly, the wire hasn't rusted into oblivion after all those years.

The sun was getting low by now. We got back in the trusty Jeep, and headed home.


dominique said...

The more I read your blog, the better I like it. You manage to convey a nice sense of curiousity, gentle humor, and appreciation for the simple beauty that surrounds us. Thanks!

Tony said...

Thank you dominique, how very nice of you to say that!