Sunday 24 May 2015. Canine Encounters in the Way to Homer Lake.

At 5:20 this morning it was 63 (though felt warmer) degrees F and cloudy. The phone weather ap promised no rain till 1 pm so was fearless about that, anyway.

Today’s destination on Discovery II (had not yet repaired the flat on Rhododendron) was to be Homer Lake.

The mood was was a bit dampened by the clouds again, but not so much as last week, and I was determined just to roll with it, so to speak.

So headed east on lushly green Washington Street 20150524-082725.jpg
Stopped at Weaver Park to see what might be blooming around the alleged buffalo-wallow pond.

There were golden Alexanders and one
Little patch of wild quinine, which I was surprised to see so early in the season. 20150524-083820.jpg
Heard the low-pitched double-bass sound of a bullfrog chorus. Wondered what (if anything) John Cage thought of bullfrogs.

Then spotted something blue (spiderwort?) across the pond,
dug out the camera-only and zoomed it up (not shown above): blue flag iris!

Kept going eastward and traversed High Cross Road legally–it finally was open!
Had a smooth ride on E Washington and was about to make the jog to Homer Lake Road when I noticed an animal in the road a way up ahead, too large for a ground hog and slightly reddish. A fox? When it took off into the adjacent field thought it might be a deer. But managed to extract the camera and get a zoom (barely, so no photo here) enough to see that it was a coyote! Common as they are, this was my first certain siting of one.

Rode on, then stopped in a couple places to document where the road was not perfectly straight.

Even these small deviations do help to provide variety and interest when the landscape is otherwise rather uniform.

Farther along Homer Lake Road passed a farm house with a fence around the yard and saw a large nut-brown dog, perhaps a German shepherd, take off running in my direction. But took courage (if that’s what it was), mostly, and trusted the fence. Anyway, kept going and said, “Good dog! Thank you for letting me by!”

Farther along, however, just past the crossing of the first little Salt Fork tributary, could see a large chocolate brown dog that did not seem to be contained by a fence. It barked and I turned back. Wise discretion? Lack of courage? Who knows? I could be wrong, but I think dogs are about as fond of cyclists as they are of mail carriers. Did not feel a need to test that idea just then.

Had wanted to score at least 10 miles one way on the trip odometer, but was ok with just under 9. It would mean more time to write.

Closer to home on East Washington saw a couple of killdeer (birds, sketch below),

which are everywhere out in Illinois farm fields (and sometimes parking lots), but they rarely let me close enough for a photo. Today when I stopped one of them seemed to approach me and do the “broken-wing display.”

What a curious way to protect one’s nest, a curious metaphor of parental devotion.
Saw a nice patch of butterweed near High Cross Road and stopped for a habitat shot

and a decent close-up

of butterweed, which I’ve noticed for many springs, but only in this one have I been stopping to consider it. Just goes to show how much there is to observe, how it can’t be taken in and considered all at once.

And some time before the end of this summer I really want to deal with this fear of dogs (in a cycling context; think they are wonderful otherwise) and consider Homer Lake.


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