Whalechaser's Musings

No Matter Where You Go...
There You Are
Make the Best of It

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


On my earlier trip to Costa Rica this year, I was very careful not to discuss the deadly Fir deLance snake. This is one of the world's, most deadly snakes; they attack without provocation. If you are bitten by one, you better get to a hospital very quickly or say goodbye. There is one foe that easily overtakes them...surprisingly. Check this out

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Stuffin' Food Sacks--Razorback Relief

There is a sack stuffing event going on here in Fayetteville for 24 hours. It started last night at 7. There are several organizations combining their efforts to prepare and send 2,000,000 sacks of food to Haiti. Each sack will feed six people. It is a very simple process and the camaraderie of the ten folks working together at each table is fabulous; young, old, fast, slow and everywhere in-between working in some sort of precision to stuff the sacks and keep the passion burnin'.

As I walked from my car at 7 last night, when the event started, I was a little uneasy and apprehensive, but I looked around and there were lots of other folks coming in; some in groups, couples and loners...but all coming, all working for the elimination of suffering, even if only for a little while. It was a wonderful experience.

I entered the building, got my apron and hairnet and waited on the bleachers for the formation of the next group of ten to be taken to the assembly area, I did not wait long! in the background you can see the 75 tables and all the folks already busy.

Everyone was working...even the Razorback Mascots!
This was my table. Four items grain, soy beans, rice and a powder of flavor and vitamins. All go into a sack, then get weighed and passed on to the sealing machines. When the white plastic with 18 boxes outlined on it, gets filled, they go into a box; add another layer and the box gets sealed. Then over again and again!

Hey lady...you sealin' that bag right?

I'm heading back today for another few hours.
I got a couple of more shots
This is the infamous bag that holds enough for six meals. It is amazing how rice and beans expand...if you look at the ingredients and nutrition section it is surprisingly complete.
Here is our master packer on Saturday..the guy was awesome!
We all had a great time!

Oh, we also broke a world record for meal packing. In the 24 hour period that was allotted to this event 1.4 million meals were packed! Hip, Hip, Hooray!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Lake Fayetteville Adventures

I decided to go for a walk around Lake Fayetteville yesterday before having lunch with my friend Sue. We had planned on meeting at Olive Garden at noon but I found myself just arriving at the parking lot at 10:20 and I knew I would not be able to complete the almost 6 miles and meet her on time. I called and asked if we could meet at 12:30. Plenty of time, I thought. I checked the temperature before starting at it was 89, not so bad. I had plenty of water, bug spray and my hat. I was ready for anything.
I decided to go counter clockwise because I wanted to get the most severe hills out of the way first (I did not consider that I was also getting rid of the mostly shady areas first too!) The trail was starting to get a bit overgrown and I was glad I had my jeans on since I was brushing against all kinds of growth. But fortunately not too far into the trip I found this fellow and others with weed whackers and loppers cutting it all back and making it a much better experience.

He was all smiles when I told him he was doing a great job and how much I appreciated it!

It wasn't long before I came upon these pretty flowers, I couldn't resist getting a shot of these lonely reds in the middle of many yellows

This flower made me stop in my tracks and actually get my real camera out! it was just so gorgeous, double click it and see if you don't agree!

As I got about forty percent through the hike, I was out of shade and the temperatures had risen considerably, but I wasn't too concerned, I had plenty of water and my hat AND my bandanna tied loosely around my neck. I was set for anything. But it was very humid and I found myself slowing down.

I took several rests and found I was weaker and weaker. So now I was really sorry I did not take my electrolyte tablets with me, they really do work when I get like this. OK, no problem, I will just walk slower, rest more and get there when I get there.

But it was awful and I was beginning to realize that I probably would not complete the walk and make it to lunch on time. So should I call her and cancel, ask her to pick me up or just melt into the pavement...with thoughts like this I knew I was fading fast.

I took off the bandanna and soaked it with water, put it across my head and put my hat back on, that helped some, but my energy levels were gone and I knew it. I had about 1 mile left while I contemplated what I would do when I saw two young ladies that I passed earlier on the hike approaching with their very over-heated dog. I asked if they were parked anywhere nearby and they were just about a couple of hundred yards away. I swallowed my pride and asked if they could drive me to my car and they did. Even with the ride I hardly made it to lunch on time.

After getting in the car I realized how really close to heat exhaustion I was and it was then and there that I decided I would have to come up with a list of rules...something like Gibbs on NCIS.
Rule Number 1...NEVER go out without electrolyte tablets, some food, lots of water, bandanna and phone.

I am sure there will be more once I start giving this list some serious thought, but this is a good beginning.

Rule Number 2...NEVER sit on grass in a wooded area.

How do chiggers get under your shirt and up your back?

Rule Number 3...If the temperature is predicted to be above 90 DO NOT go out for an extended period of time.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bird Antics

I certainly hope my little cockatiel never does this to me...what a shocker!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Lincoln Lake Hiking/Bicycle Trail

There is a pretty good show being broadcast by our local PBS station called Exploring Arkansas; it features three segments describing locations of interest here n the state. Recently, they were discussing a place for mountain biking called Lincoln Lake. I checked it out on a map and found it was relatively close to where I live and decided to go "explore" it.
Surprisingly, I found it with almost no effort at all. I had already decided to hike it before trying to bike it. The hills here can be quite daunting. Sure enough, the hills were a bit more than I would like to handle on a bike. I was willing to hike it

But then, I thought better of it.

Don't know what the crime was, nor when, but I decided that this wasn't the place I wanted to be wandering by myself.

Is there a law about removing the crime scene tapes when the investigation is completed?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Volunteer Work Day for TCIA

I belong to a local Buddhist group here in Northwest Arkansas. They were fortunate enough to receive a gift of roughly five acres of land in the Ozarks. It was determined that they would use the land for holding future meditation retreats and general spiritual growth.

Emails have been flying all week as reminders that Saturday would be our first day to go to the remote location and begin the clearing of the land in anticipation of erecting a 22 foot teepee, creating a parking area and eventually building a garden and individual cabins for people to use while on retreat here. Oh, and in our spare time, build several trails for walking the beautiful perimeter of the property. I met with several other meditators and we car-pooled to the site.

Here is Karen getting her all terrain vehicle off the trailer. That in itself was a pretty neat gizmo. There was a latch, so when a vehicle is being driven off the trailer, it would automatically tilt backward eliminating the need for a ramp or any treads; it works the same for loading. Cool!
We were not the first ones to the site. Several others had arrived early enough to build two very healthy fires with the trees that were already down. There were huge logs everywhere and lots of full trees down in the woods. Our job was to clear away as much of the downed trees and remove those that were dying, as possible. As you can see, the lot is moderately wooded and there was some concern about copperheads. They love to hang out around dead downed trees. I shook each log and tree with a rake before I got near enough to touch it. The good news is that no one saw any snakes! Pretty amazing since I usually see at least one a week when I am out riding my bike around the streets of Fayetteville!

Everyone who showed up, worked...including Geshe Dorjee. I had never seen him in anything other than his magenta robes; yesterday he wore a yellow polo shirt and was swinging a mean axe.
Just before lunch we chanted and Geshe consecrated the land and then hung the Buddhist Prayer Flags as part of the ceremony

Here is a shot I took after lunch...we did make some progress but this will obviously need several visits before it begins to look like our visions of it.

This is the section that I was working on. I was surprised that we cleared as much as we did. It is always nice to leave on a positive note

This is Chris, we all took turns riding the ATV when the work was done. What fun it is to ride these things!This fellow brought his own heavy equipment. It was fabulous for moving those big logs to the fire and clearing the really heavy downed trees. You drive one of these babies around for a day and you can really get some work done. Here, he is taking the daughter of one of the volunteers for a ride. She was having a ball! There is no place like the country for a little kid!

Well, it can't be all work! After lunch some of us made watermelon teeth and showed them off. Some looked better than others!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Where oh Where has My Little Bird Gone...

After a rather busy day I thought I would sit down and catch the latest Dr Oz DVR'd show and munch on a couple of corn chips. Gee, when you put it like that, it doesn't sound very healthy nor does it sound like I am taking Dr Oz's advice seriously.

Oh Well, we all need a little salt once in a while!

Anyway, I'm watching the show, and munching then I hear a whoosh. My bird has decided to fly from his cage and land on the back of my chair. He does that sometimes; usually when he is looking for a little attention. I keep munching.

Then I notice that he is not on the chair anymore, nor on my shoulder, nor on my foot. Actually, I don't know where he is...

As I reach for another chip, it becomes obvious. This guy is beyond curious!