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Archive for June, 2008

More Bike Trail Wildlife, 20 & 15-Jun-08

Posted by trktos on 20-June-2008

20th June:
We rode about 33 miles today, west on the W&OD, 08:30-14:30, between miles 8 and 23. Trail wasn’t too busy, since it was a Friday … today, we saw:

  • 2-3 chipmunks
  • Red Winged Black Bird
  • Hawk
  • lots of cardinals; few squirrels, including one who tried to run into my front wheel.
  • a bird either working on her nest, or feeding babies, in a nest close by a bench we stopped at; couldn’t tell what kind of bird, though.
  • groundhog, snuffling about, on the side of the trail.
  • some kind of big fish, over a foot long, in a pond we frequently stop beside … it kept surfacing and slowly swimming amoung some really huge lily pads.
  • a vulture, being chased by some kind of brave little bird, who, at one point, landed on the vulture, hitching a short ride, while pecking away at the vulture’s back! Immediately afterward, the vulture had had enough, and flew off.
  • a small, maybe young? woodpecker, who was flying around and pecking every tree he landed on. Maybe it takes woodpeckers a while to learn what types of trees have bugs? This little fella seemed to be using trial and error!
  • 5 deer! The first group was of 3 large does (unless bucks are without antlers at this time of year?) crossing the trail. The second group was a mom and a fawn, probably one of the smallest baby deer I’ve seen (certainly had spots, although I couldn’t see them in the light) … they crossed the trail right by the Vienna Whole Foods.
  • lots of white, yellow and orange butterflies … also, lots of tiger lilies in bloom.


15th June:
Westward on the W&OD between 08:00 and 10:30. Trail was fairly busy and there weren’t as many critters about as last time. We saw a couple of scurrying chipmunks, along with the usuals.

We stopped at Whole Foods and got to watch some sparrows and a gray catbird “dumpster diving” – around the picnic tables, they would perch on the edge of the garbage can and then plunge in, looking for food. The catbird found something (really bright yellow, don’t know what it was but he thought it was worth flying off with). We also got numerous birdy-eyed stares from the sparrows – we were sitting at those tables and, clearly, should have been eating something and dropping lots of crumbs! Really cute, how they’d line up on a near-by bench, waiting to for their turn in the garbage can.

My bike’s in the shop, currently, for a week or so. :(

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Zendo Rules!

Posted by trktos on 7-June-2008

No, this isn’t going to be a note about how great the game of Zendo is, although it is fairly fun. (Don’t know Zendo? Click.) It’s just going to be a list of the past Zendo rules we’ve made up and played with. I’ve been meaning to type them up, somewhere, for a while and this seems as good a place as any.

Zendo reminds me a little of “the clicker game” of positive reinforcement training, but with a much more focused scope. Evin hates “the clicker game”, says it’s too open ended but he likes Zendo … I like them both. Kinda cool to communicate a complex idea to someone else without saying any words.

Undated rules, Evin-Master:

  • Any configuration in which the number of ungrounded pieces is even.
  • Configurations that contain an orange or a small piece.
  • Any configuration with same-oriented maximum and minimum pieces.
  • Configurations that contain at least one orange piece.
  • Configurations that contain an even numbers of orange pieces.

Undated rules, Jill-Master:

  • Configurations that contain an equal number of pieces, for all colors used.

Dated Rules:

  • 29-FEB-08, Jill:M; Any configuration that does not contain exactly two translucent pieces.
  • 01-MAR-08, Evin:M; Configurations that contain at least one small piece xor at least one large piece.
  • 01-MAR-08, Jill:M; Any configuration where all stacks have an equal number of pieces.
  • 01-MAR-08, Evin:M; Any configuration that has a vertical line of symmetry, including color. (I remember this one, and, amazingly, figured it out rather quickly.)
  • 01-MAR-08, Jill:M; Configurations with no two pieces of the same color.
  • 01-MAR-08, Evin:M; Any configuration in which at least one of the highest pieces is purple.
  • 01-MAR-08, Jill:M; Any configuration of either all the same sized pieces or there is more of one size than another size.
  • 01-MAR-08, Evin:M; Configurations with an even pip count.
  • 02-MAR-08, Jill:M; All configurations that do not contain stacks with two same-colored pieces stacked directly on top of each other.
  • 02-MAR-08, Evin:M; Any configuration that contains more white than orange pieces.
  • 03-MAR-08, Jill:M; Any configuration with a biggest piece and a smallest piece of different colors. (Evin adds that I misjudged a stack of a large clear, medium orange and small clear.)
  • 03-MAR-08, Evin:M; Configurations that contain exactly one large, orange, upright piece.
  • 05-MAR-08, Evin:M; Any configuration with exactly one unique piece.
  • 05-MAR-08, Jill:M; All configurations with x translucent pieces and 2x opaque pieces.
  • 06-MAR-08, Jill:M; Any configuration with no duplicate pieces; i.e., no two pieces are the same size and same color.
  • 06-MAR-08, Evin:M; Jill gave up and Evin didn’t remember his rule later.
  • 15-MAR-08, Evin:M; Any configuration where there are at least as many medium pieces as large pieces and there are at least as many medium pieces as small pieces.
  • 15-MAR-08, Jill:M; All configurations that contain at least two pieces of the same size.
  • ??-MAY-08, Evin:M; Configurations that do not have an orange piece and a larger yellow piece.
  • ??-MAY-08, Jill:M; Any configuration that has a red xor a purple piece.
  • 28-MAY-08, Evin:M; Configurations in which at least half the pieces are small.
  • 06-JUN-08, Jill:M; Any configuration with exactly one largest opaque and exactly one smallest translucent piece.
  • 21-JUN-08, Evin:M; Configurations that contain an even number of each sized piece used.
  • 21-JUN-08, Jill:M, Any configuration that does not contain exactly three grounded pieces.
  • 21-JUN-08, Evin:M; Configurations where the number of red pieces is equal to the number of groups of duplicate pieces.
  • 18-OCT-08, Evin:M; Any configuration where the number of ungrounded pieces is greater than the number of grounded pieces.
  • 25-OCT-08, Jill:M; Configurations with equal number of sizes and colors.
  • 25-OCT-08, Evin:M; Any configuration in which the pip count of the non-clear pieces is equal to 4.
  • 23-DEC-08, Evin:M; Any configuration in which all non-small pieces point at a piece of a different color.
  • 11-JAN-09, Evin:M; Any configuration with more large pieces than translucent pieces.
  • 12-AUG-09; Evin:M; Configurations with exactly three colors and at least two different sized pieces.
  • 14-AUG-09; Jill:M; Any configuration with at least two sizes and an odd number of smallest pieces, even number of largest pieces.
  • 14-AUG-09,Evin:M; Configurations where all the bottoms of same-colored pieces are equi-distant from the table. (Crappy rule, btw!)
  • 07-AUG-2010; Jill:M; Any configuration with at least one red piece xor at least one grey piece.
  • 07-AUG-2010; Evin:M; Any configuration with no medium piece and large piece of the same color.
  • 7-AUG-2010; Jill:M; Any configuration with an even number of opaque pieces and zero or an odd number of translucent pieces.
  • 08-AUG-2010; Evin:M; Any configuration where every stack has the non-monochrome pieces in increasing wavelength as the pieces get further from the table. (ROY G BIV)

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Bike Trail Wildlife, 06-JUN-08

Posted by trktos on 6-June-2008

We headed westward on the W&OD, miles 8 through 17.5, between 08:30 and 12:00 and saw:

  • Six or seven chipmunks, very cute, with tails straight up; one jumped the grassy area beside the trail to get to the brush.
  • Two young/small cottontail rabbits, Evin spotted the first one and it remained frozen in the brush until Evin glanced at me – then it took off and I only saw its fast-moving rear end. The second one, we heard about 10 minutes later and further westward, scampering along the bike trail until it darted back through an opening in the brush.
  • One snapping turtle, crossing the trail, by a stream/bridge … he had a very long neck and was very green, mossy and scaly. Evin wishes to add that he was dirty, too!
  • One mama or papa groundhog with a young groundhog. I saw a big, bushy tail lumbering slowly into the brush when we stopped for a rest by a stream. The tail was too bushy and slow for a squirrel, so I went to check it out … the groundhog spotted me first and I called Evin over. He noticed more branches moving and that’s how I saw a smaller groundhog rump and tail, a little further away. After we all stared at each other a while, the adult groundhog went on about its groundhoggy business.
  • One Red Winged Blackbird, possibly with his mate and they were possibly watching a squirrel raid their nest. It was hard to tell.
  • One Indigo Bunting, on a branch, close to the trail, who let us both get a good look before flying away.
  • One American Goldfinch in breeding plumage.
  • Lots of male Cardinals, perched close to the trail, lots of rather bold American Robins.
  • One dove I got to see a little too closely – I thought she was going to fly into my face!
  • One medium sized, dark greyish bird with a dark blue rump and one small sparrow sized bird with an orangish rump, still trying to figure out what kinds of birds they are.
  • Lots of cute grey squirrels, who looked absolutely huge, after seeing all those tiny chipmunks!

We’re hoping to keep up with what we spot from now on but last real trip out, we saw a pair of Canada geese, with three fuzzy babies. They were grazing when we first saw them and then, the parents went out on the pound … the babies were hesitant to follow but eventually got too nervous to stay on the shore with the parents paddling away, so in they plunged.

This year, we’ve also seen a box-type turtle, Goldfinches, Red Winged Blackbirds, Blue Jays, two rabbits (one really big fella and a smaller one – both on an eastern bike trip), some fish in a stream in Arlington where we took a break amoung the rocks, a bunch of hawks, circling over the trail and some black squirrels, in two parks. We’ve also seen a small doe, running scared along the trail, in Alexandria.

We watched a solitary grackle, hunting for food in a little clearing, by a bench. Finally, it found a worm and began tearing at it, while holding the worm down by stepping on it with a foot. The grackle finally decided he should take his prize elsewhere to finish eating it, and flew away.

And I forgot to add – we saw two bikers today with lots of packs on their bikes and a laminated sign that read “Argentina to Canada”.

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