Creek Jots: January Leaves Like a Lamb

☐  Unheard of: A january morning and we don’t need a fire in the stove. Last I heard, we will pay in February for our month-long January thaw. And we will pay wide and deep for warmer winters, hot summer nights, and turbulent and chaotic climate in the decades to come. We have made our bed.

☐  Buck, the movie about the “real” horse whisperer, is coming to Floyd February 11.  Read more at

☐  I got an “alert” from my mapophilic blogging buddy Gary, pointing out the revised imagery of our area in Google Earth. Dang. You can see the logging from last spring, the garden shed, lots of stuff not shown in overflights from a couple of years ago. These images are from Nov 2011, and zoom down to a much finer level of detail, even in our very rural part of the world.

☐  Speaking of views, I have two for you. One is of size, the other, of landscape. Both are highly worth your time. Or at least they were worth mine.

â–¶ Scale of Universe – Interactive Scale of the Universe Tool

▶ Remind Yourself How Beautiful Nature Is By Watching This Stunning Yosemite Timelapse 

☐  Why do blog visits fall off so precipitously on Fridays? Last week I had the lowest visitor count I’ve had maybe since the first year of the blog. And so I feel a bit foolish even bothering to post anything on Fridays. Most folks read from work. Is Friday the day they finally hunker down and get stuff done they deem even MORE important that blog reading?

☐  The “task manager and general informational-organization” realm is one that for me is in constant flux. I don’t seem to be able to find any one online or desktop application that does it all. It MUST be out there. And so I have come back (probably temporarily) to SpringPad, which admittedly has come a very long way since I was a beta user several years ago. It is, like most, the kind of app that is hard to “get” until you invest enough time to pour enough stuff into it that make useful. I’ve also installed the Mac version of Producteev, and flirt with Asana, WorkFlowy, Checkvist, and Things. And I still long for the long-abandoned EccoPro that did it all. Imagine, the Mac version. Sigh.

☐  Gandy is being incredibly good today, in SHARP contrast to the past few days–as if she finally GETS it. Frankly, I wondered if we were going to be able to come to terms. For the first time today, I caught her doing something she knew was wrong, and rather than be defiant she was repentant. Rather than biting, today she’s licking. Oh let it last!

☐  I love it when the depth of language leaps out at you unexpectedly. Of all places, I learned a very OLD meaning to a familiar word from an episode of the TV series (LOST on NetFlix.) Some of the characters were building a medieval-looking seige-engine giant slingshot of a thing which one them called a trebuchet. Say what? I thought that was a font type. It is, and here’s the story of how it got that name in 1996.

Trebuchet MS is a humanist sans-serif typeface designed by Vincent Connare for the Microsoft Corporation in 1996. It is named after the trebuchet, a medieval catapult. The name was inspired by a puzzle question that Connare heard at Microsoft headquarters: “Can you make a trebuchet that could launch a person from main campus to the new consumer campus about a mile away? Mathematically, is it possible and how?” Connare “thought that would be a great name for a font that launches words across the Internet”.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. January is leaving like a lamb because it has been launched into February via a southern jetstream trebuchet .
    Sorry to burst your bubble of hope but I can guarantee you that Gandy does not get it … Yet.
    I don’t know why, but this latest post feels something akin to watching a great episode of The Big Bang Theory TV sitcom, which I enjoyed watching three of only this morning.

  2. Clarence, I’m afraid you’re right about Gandy’s aberrant good behavior. But it sure was LUV while it lasted.

    Big Bang? Never saw it (of course, without TV now since 2004) but probably on NetFlix, yes?

  3. Big Bang Theory is, alas, not on Netflix yet. (I weep for it.)(But I refuse to pay for cable for it.) Maybe Hulu?
    Friday is the day we office-workers realize we’ve been slacking and reading blogs all week, and damn, we’d better get some work done before the weekend hits…
    I knew about Trebuchet, but I must admit, that’s a stretch of thinking to get from catapult to font. (We used to call it tree-bucket, and wrote haikus about it, in my last job. We had an eclectic mix.)

  4. Have faith that more and more of the time Gandy will learn to choose the right behavior, the one that pleases you, even if she really wants to do otherwise. It may come with an expression on her face that seems to say “Oh, alright, if it means that much to you I’ll chew on this piece of rawhide instead of your shoe.” It’s not her fault that the aroma of your shoe is soooo much more appealing than the thing designed for her to nosh.

  5. Thanks for the Yosemite time lapse. I have been blessed with many visits to Yosemite. I have even been there with snow and skated on frozen ponds. I have won a lottery (with 13 frineds) to backpack to the back country camps, which is the opportunity of a lifetime. I went on my very first adult camping trip there, in 1969, with nothing but sleeping bags, no tent. I haen’t been into Yosemite valley in a long time, because it is too crowded, but I hope to go this fall, when the worst of the crowds will be gone. Gotta see it one more time!

  6. Our dog was a puppy long ago and since she was a rescue dog, we have no idea about her puppydom. She is, however, very tolerant of the big puppy who comes into her settled world every weekday. You see, since we cannot offer babysitting services to our grandchildren who live across the country, we are dogsitting for the 85-pound Niles. He’s a big sweety but very rambunctious and blissfully unaware of his own strength. Woe to anything and anyone in his path!

  7. Ha! No one does a trebuchet like Monty Python.
    Fred, I’m not sure what my bookmark capacity is, but I sure am collecting an awful lot here. 😉