Pademelons

Greetings from Queensland, Australia. I am enjoying a week with my friends Craig and Daryl before heading to Sydney for a conference on medical cannabis. Yesterday we visited Mary Cairncross Reserve, a lovely place to walk and view native flora and fauna. We had the good luck to see a Pademelon. Not familiar with the creature? Well, no worries mate!  As usual our good friends at Wikipedia can help.

Pademelons are small marsupials of the genus Thylogale. They are usually found in forests. Pademelons are some of the smallest of the macropods. The name is a corruption of badimaliyan, from the Dharuk Aboriginal language of Port Jackson(Sydney region).

Pademelons, wallabies, and kangaroos are very alike in body structure, and the three names refer to the three different size groups. Besides their smaller size, pademelons can be distinguished from wallabies by their shorter, thicker, and sparsely haired tails. Like wallabies, they ambulate by hopping.

And here is a picture, although not one that I took.   Cute, right?  Well, I don’t travel with the kind of camera gear anymore that could help me capture that kind of picture. These days I travel with my iPhone XS, a phenomenal computer/camera.  And inspired by social media I am trying my hand at more videos.  So, I am proud to debut my first WordPress video post.  Not the best but my little Pademelon does have a cute butt.  😀

 

 

 

 

Buddy

Meet my new friend, Buddy. I’ve written about another Buddy, the Fawn Hill Buddy who belongs to my friend Bonnie and lives just above me here on Fawn Hill. He barks to scare the thunder away … it doesn’t work.

This is a new Buddy and he lives on Potts Branch Rd. which runs just below Fawn Hill. That’s him on the left. I’ve seen him before, running free with two or three of his buddies. Many dogs run free up here in Franklin. They become street and woods savvy. Usually they will steer clear of humans that aren’t their own. Generally speaking they are no bother and I have to admit I have stood on my porch and watched Buddy with his buddies running or walking along Potts Branch, occasionally veering into my yard where they pick up Tango’s scent and pee to let him know they are around. They look very happy.

So today I was doing some yard work. Tango had chosen to stay inside (the heat is tough on Aussies) and I found Buddy’s collar on my lawn. He’s current with his rabies and registration plus he had a nice name tag with his address and phone number. I called the number and asked if their dog was missing, explaining I found the collar. Buddy’s owner said that he had come home last night with no collar but he was fine. Since the address was just up Potts Branch Rd.  I told her I would just place the collar on my mailbox and she could collect it when she went by. She said that was fine.

I walked to the mailbox and placed it on top, as promised. Then I turned back towards the driveway and there was this handsome, reddish/brown dog looking at me, about 20 feet away.  He had started to turn away — as I said, they tend to avoid humans who aren’t theirs. But something told me I knew this dog.  “Buddy?” I said. Ears perked up, tail wagged, and Buddy walked right over.

He is well named because he is a Buddy. He was up for some petting, especially belly rubs. I turned back and collected his collar. “Is this yours?” I asked. The dang dog walked right up to me, sat down and let me put on the collar–which was a perfect fit. I couldn’t help but laugh. Buddy looked very pleased with himself and asked nicely for another belly rub.

I called his owner again who, at this point, was a bit confused but we both laughed when we ascertained this was indeed Buddy. I told her to expect him to come tonight with his collar. He followed me up the drive but reached a point where Tango’s scent was too strong and he turned around, running down the hill through the apple orchard. Off to another adventure.  ❧

 

Trump got you down? Buy a Roomba.

 

My Roomba, hard at work.

With the New Year I made a significant investment in a robot…yes, a robot. The Roomba vacuum cleaner, which can be seen to the right with more at irobot.com, is about as cute as R2D2, moves in a similar fashion and is just as much fun to watch. In these troubled times it is comforting to encounter something that simply does what it is says it will do.

And the joy of having a device that vacuums while I do other things…well, that is priceless.  Even now, as I type, Roomba is working her magic, clipping along at a fairly good pace, gently tapping against various obstacles and moving on, finding dirt and dog hair all over my tiny Florida home. In the spring it will travel to North Carolina with me and work its wonder on the 80 foot modular home on Fawn Hill. That will be a real workout for it and I have no doubt she will shine.

Regardless of where I hang my hat, living with a cat and an Australian Shepherd  (or, as I sometimes call him, my Australian Shedder) has its problems. Tango, my Aussie, has  “blowouts” at seasonal points in the year creating a different form of a “bomb cyclone.” Huge welts of discarded fur will join together and waft across the floor, collecting under beds and tables. In these times it becomes necessary to vacuum every day.  So boring but so necessary. Now I can just turn on Roomba (I can even do so via my iPhone!) and away she goes…no complaints, no heavy sighs, just a dedication to get the job done.  Now that’s Making America Great Again!

It is amazing but is it a harbinger of darker forces? Will the Roomba that is so dedicated to cleaning floors someday rise up against its master and make demands? More rest periods? Better attention paid to its need for periodic cleanings? Less space to clean?  Of course not. But the role of robots and artificial intelligence (AI) in our society is raising concerns. Just as my Roomba may put some maid services out of business so too, on a far grander scale,  AI may contribute to the loss of many, many jobs in the future. Robots are already performing tasks that once employed people. Robots can build cars, perform surgical operations, drive cars, sort items, and appear as true-to-life models of American presidents at Walt Disney World.

Politico Magazine has recently written about the coming change in an article entitled “How Robots Will Break Politics.” (https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/01/05/robots-politics-automation-technology-216220)  It’s a good read and helps explain these extraordinary times in which we live.  Ryan Avent writes, “Long before we find ourselves dealing with malevolent AIs or genetically engineered superhumans, and perhaps just 10 to 20 years from now, we will have to deal with the threat technology poses to our social order—and to our politics.”

That seems inevitable and given the dismal state of our political affairs I know there are many people who will cry, “Bring it on!”  The next decade will be tumultuous with many changes to social institutions as well as political.  I don’t know how I feel about all that but I sure love my Roomba. Watching her work is almost mesmerizing. It can, for a few minutes, make you forget the chaos and clamor that is all around. Watching Roomba…a 21st Century meditation exercise. It’s getting weird folks. ❖

 

On the Road Again ….

Cue the Willie Nelson music…Tango and I are on the road again.  We are headed out on our second transcontinental trip, from East Coast to West with a few stops along the way.

Today we finally made it out of Florida after driving for close to eight hours.  Florida is a long state, we all know that. But it is also a wide state when you turn west on I-10 and head towards Alabama.  We arrived in Daphne, a bit east of Mobile and are settled in for the night.

For the next few days we will continue west with a few stops on the way.  We need to be in Pueblo, Colorado by Friday…plenty of time before then for some fun and a few pictures with my new Selfie Stick. Stay tuned. 

Image #286 – Family Portrait

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This mother cow and two calves were willing posers this morning as Tango and I took our morning walk around Wilderness Lane.  It was a bright, clear morning and the sun was warming as we took time to consider each other.  When I was growing up in Sarasota there were many, many cows but now it has become a city and there are fewer of these bucolic scenes.  More’s the pity. ❧

Side-tracked in Florida

Hello faithful readers,

I’ve been away. My last entry, September 3rd,  is almost two months old. I’ve been in Florida campaigning for Amendment 2, the medical cannabis initiative. In the past five weeks I’ve made about 15 appearances, written articles that appeared in The Sarasota Herald-Tribune and The Orlando Sentinel, and talked to a few reporters. Today I attended a previewing of a new documentary, Pot Luck.  I have been immersed again in medical cannabis and it has been a good experience. For those who are unfamiliar with my medical cannabis activism I invite you to visit www.medicalmarijuanapioneer.com.

But I have missed my Alice’s WanderLand blog and today, after viewing the movie, I took some time to return to my cameras and visit the world around me. I’ve been so fortunate in my life and that good fortune has continued. I have a wonderful garret apartment over a garage and at my doorstep is 5+ acres of old Florida land. It is owned by my friend Mary and I am so grateful that she has extended our friendship into hospitality. I’ve always wanted to live in a garret. 🙂

Mary bought some bromeliads a couple weeks back and she recently noticed that some small frogs were inhabiting them. It was easy enough to find them and they were posers.

AOL_1144

 

 

 

 

I think this one may actually be looking at an even smaller frog or perhaps a spider that it plans to eat for dinner.

 

I counted at least six frogs but there may have been more.AOL_1169

 

It is good to be back.  ❧

Image #249 – The Badlands

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One of the first pieces of art that I bought was a woodwork-reduction painting of the Badlands by Gordon Mortenson  entitled “Cattle Country.”  I have loved that piece of art and yearned to visit that exotic part of the world. Today I got my wish. It was a spectacularly beautiful day and the Badlands were all I had hoped for. The area has received a lot of rain this year and the grasslands that surround these unusual geological formations were lush and verdant. Wildflowers were everywhere and, just for fun, prairie dogs and buffalos.  All in all one of the best days ever.  ❧