I imagine these grassy lumps are probably what’s left when tall grasses keel over and die for the winter, and their firm grassy root balls remain intact, but I’m not entirely sure. Do you know? Have you seen things like these in your own local swamp?
If you live in the U.S., you’re probably familiar with white-tailed deer. Most of them are, y’know, brown.
Every now and then you’ll find an albino deer, which is all white with pink eyes.
And sometimes, you’ll find a deer that doesn’t quite fit into either category. These spotty brown-and-white deer are PIEBALDS.
Like albinism, piebald is a rare genetic thing: less than 1% of the deer population is piebald. It’s frequently associated with other weird physical stuff, like a bowed (“Roman”) nose, short or deformed legs, a curved spine, short lower mandible (overbite), and internal organ deformities.
This piebald buck— either a young button buck or a buck who’d recently shed his antlers, but I’m not familiar enough with deer to make an educated assertion— seemed pretty physically normal to my inexpert eyes… except that he was out at the wrong time of day, and totally unafraid of people.
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. (2012). “Deer: Frequently asked questions.” http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/deer/faq.asp#piebald-deer.
The Stirling Street Fair (which I touched upon yesterday) is your standard street fair— lots of food, lots of people trying to sell you things. The BBQ stand let me get a shot of cutting their second pig of the day for pulled pork.
“Reunited” sang classy doo-wop…
There were also loads of people who were happy to talk to me even after it was obvious that I wasn’t going to buy anything. I didn’t get pictures of any of them, but they’re worth a mention, I think:
* Victor Davis, freelance writer and hobbyist sunspot-spotter, who brought out his solar telescopes for everyone to look through. I saw sunspots (in the white light wavelength) and feathery prominences (in the Hydrogen-alpha wavelength), neither of which I’d ever seen before.
* Luce’s Gluten-Free Artisan Bread. Mr. Luce, as it turned out, used to teach photography, so we got to discussing cameras. (And if there’s one thing I can blather on about, it’s cameras!)
* Restore, a furniture restoration shop on Main Avenue. The owner had his beautiful mostly-antique furniture in the street for everyone to look at, including a refinished carousel pig. Apparently he used to have *loads* of these carousel critters on hand, but that’s no longer the case, and he’s selling this one for a friend. He’s been running that little old store for 40 years!
All good fun. If you’re in the area, check it out next year! There was a lot more breathing room than there is at a lot of these overcrowded street fairs I’ve been to.
The Stirling Street Fair was today! Locals annually celebrate fall with this festival.
The Long Hill Library had a booth with free books and a bubble machine. And bubbles are awesome. Everyone knows it. Especially kids.
(Tangential note: this is probably the furthest west I’ve ever gone for this blog.)
More festivities tomorrow!
Calling all railroad afficianados! Do you know what the metal cheese-grater plates on the ends of some railroad ties are called? ‘Cos I can’t figure it out.
Apparently “plates” are what you call the thingies on TOP of the ties (aka “sleepers”) that hold the rail in place. Both Wikipedia and Google have been most unhelpful in my quest for the correct terminology.
I’m guessing the grate-plate-iron-things are for reinforcement— so that the wood doesn’t rot and collapse too quickly. But that’s just a guess.
Aaaaaaaanyway. This is a stack of ’em at Gillette Station.
The Gillette Station is, as far as I can tell, one of two stations on the Morris & Essex Gladstone branch that doesn’t actually have any kind of a depot. (Stirling is the other one, according to Wikipedia.) There’s just a tiny little bus shelter, which now has ticket vending machines crammed into it, so it can only protect maybe two or three people from inclement weather.
When I visited the station on Sunday afternoon (Thanksgiving weekend), there were ZERO cars in the parking lot. I watched two trains go by— one going into New York, one coming back out— and nobody boarded or disembarked either one.
It’s a very lonely station.