Equinox eve: A ramble

Rarely anymore do I devote attention to sports, but I still follow the pistol team fielded by The Ohio State University. And yesterday the squad defended its intercollegiate pistol title, earning a third straight national championship.

But the Bucks did more than take the overall team title in dominating fashion over runner-up Army and third-place Navy. (Let that sink in.) They won team championships in Air, Sport and Standard, and OSU shooters earned individual wins in all three disciplines and overall.

Still not impressed? Consider that Ohio State swept all four team titles and, of 12 individual podium positions awarded during the three-day match, a Buckeye shooter occupied ten of those.

Members of the Ohio State team also won a record 18 All-American honors.

That makes it seven national titles for Ohio State Pistol, three in a row and four in the last five seasons. You don’t hear about marksmanship competition because it’s hushed, certainly by sports media and even by many institutions that have pistol or rifle teams. It’s alive and well, however, and once again the Buckeyes rule the collegiate handgunning world.

Now let’s talk about that cool fossil Deb found yesterday. She did some research overnight, trying to figure out exactly what she’d uncovered. By this morning, after reading a lot of articles on Ozarks geology and looking at hundreds of photographs, she was pretty certain that she had the answer.

It’s a prehistoric crinoid, a type of marine animal that once inhabited the shallow sea that once covered the Salem Plateau. Tracing to the Paleozoic era, it’s at least 252 million years old. Maybe even older.

That means that this creature, frozen in a chunk of dolostone-chert conglomerate exposed by our excavation, was bobbing in the water before dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

Fossilized crinoids aren’t uncommon around here, or so we’ve learned. The dig uncovering this one no doubt kicked up other fossils, and you can be sure we’ll be picking through the spoils next time we’re up on the homesite.

(Yes, we’ll mind the snakes.)

My cell phone slips into “do not disturb” mode at 10pm every night. It goes silent, pinging only if a notification involves someone I’ve designated. (Deb, that is.) That explains why I didn’t notice the phone call, voice mail and text message from our contractor around 10:15pm last night.

He and the hammer operator had just finished up work on The Mountain and were loading up the equipment. A photograph he sent me of the excavator’s arm showed a bright green light — it was the receiver end of a laser-transit device, and green indicated that the dig had reached the proper grade at the back of the foundation.

It was his way of telling me that the long day’s work was done.

The reason he pushed late into the night was to avoid having to rent the rock hammer for a third week. It would’ve been the same amount of work, of course, measured in hours, whether it finished yesterday or next Saturday, In short, he did it for us — by returning the rock hammer now (at 1am this morning, actually), he saved us a thousand bucks.

An old-school work ethic. Honor. This is how we know we hired the right guy for the job.

(Incidentally, we got through a low of 19°F last night without incident. The heat pumps chugged along until 2:30am, over six hours longer than we expected, when the outside temp dropped to 24°F. At that point the rear furnace kicked on automatically — apparently we still had a little propane — and did the job until we could switch back to electric heat, right around 10:45am. We feel charmed. I think we’ve made it through the winter.)

You may remember that our 12-year-old girl Scout injured her left hind leg in July, not too long after we came home to Arkansas. A trip to the vet confirmed that she’d torn the ligaments in her knee, rendering her a three-legged dog.

She’s done amazingly well since. Not only has she adapted to her condition, she’s excelled — happily. Never a whimper or a whine. Good dog.

When we returned from The Mountain late yesterday afternoon, we took all the dogs out for their regular business trip. All three were fine. Once back inside the bus, however, Scout exhibited an awful limp — this time it was her right hind leg. It’s pretty clear that somehow — perhaps coming up Ernie’s steps — she suffered the same injury that had all-but-crippled her left.

Obviously we’re concerned. We won’t put her through major orthopedic surgery, but we’ll be damned if we’ll give up on her. We’ll carry her out of the bus and back in as long as she needs us to. Scout is the best critter I’ve ever had in my life, ever, and she’ll get my best.

Today she remains happy. Plus, believe it or not, she’s getting around ok — putting weight on her imperfect left hind leg to take the strain off of her recently injured right. It’s the damnedest thing. I’m tellin’ you, my friends, we can learn a lot from a good dog.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB

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