Erased by a Birth Certificate

Whether or not there is really a link between the MMR vaccine and autism, the CDC has some explaining to do about manipulating the results of this study. This is one reason why people don’t trust the CDC when it comes to vaccines.

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Another Full Moon

I can only remember one dream from last night. The dreams weren’t as bad as I thought they would be, since the moon is so close to full.

There’s no telling how this particular dream came to insert itself into my subconscious. I’m pretty sure I know where the main character came from. The main character, besides me, of course, was based loosely on somebody I worked with just before moving to Springfield. I understand where the little dog, the goat, and maybe even the jewelry came from. The origin of the woman with the chicken shoes totally baffles me.

I can’t remember the plot of the dream. The first part of it that I can remember is said main character going to jewelry school. He was learning to sell jewelry. They were sending a secret shopper around to test him on his jewelry selling ability, which was odd, because he didn’t work anywhere. We went to his friend’s house. The friend was really in the jewelry business. The friend wasn’t home. We punched in a code next to the garage door on the friends 8×10 storage shed. The door opened, but it only covered another door. We didn’t know the code to that door. So we didn’t go in.

That led us to talk about jewelry security. We eventually discussed dogs. Then a big lady with little legs and improbably small feet walked in with an impossibly small dog on a leash. The woman was talking about her chicken shoes. I guess that was in reference to her chicken legs and very small feet.

There was a goat and a school bus in that dream somewhere, and it all took place on a plateau like the one on which the ludus on “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” is located.

I think I have figured out the origins of most of the imagery of the dream.  The building with the second door requiring a second code is like a computer at work.  The dog imagery is obvious, as well as the woman walking dogs, and her foot problems.  I can go into that one if anyone cares, but nobody will.

Tonight’s dreams will be the most outrageous. I look forward to them, and I am terrified of them at the same time. I will miss the sleep as well.

Do Bears Poop In The Woods?

(Here’s another that I don’t think has been posted. It’s from last year, I think.)

I don’t know for sure if they do or not since I haven’t seen one yet, but I assume they do. What I do know is that – at least on The Gray Homestead – bears do walk on the road.

While walking one of our gravel roads (if they can be called roads), I ran across the track pictured to the right. That’s a quarter in the track for scale. Hey, it’s what I had in my pocket.

I took Jen to show her the tracks. We followed the tracks over a hundred yards down the road, where we found what looks like a slightly smaller track. Same quarter in this picture on the left as well.

Our thought is that it is a bear track. We haven’t lived in the woods that long, so this is an exciting find for us! Arkansas Outdoors (http://www.arkansas.com/outdoors/birding/wildlife/bear/) estimates that approximately 3,000 bears live in Arkansas. With that many bears running around,
I guess one could live here.

Since moving onto our homestead we have seen deer, turkey, squirrels, rabbits, snakes (including rattlesnakes), fish, crawfish, lizards, frogs, tadpoles, salamanders, a Bald Eagle, and various other birds of all feathers. Ok, so the Bald Eagle was a little ways down Hwy 254, not actually on our homestead. We have seen a horse that wanders the valley on his own accord, like he owns the place. We have even seen some wild pig tracks, and we hear coyotes almost every night. One night we even had to go to red alert do to a couple of drunken redneck spotlighters. I heard what could only have been described as a mountain lion in heat one night (I had to do lots of research to find that particular sound, but I found it!) But we haven’t seen any bears. I was told that one neighbor captured images of at least one bear on a trail cam, but I haven’t seen the pictures. One neighbor told me his cabin was broken into by a bear in search of dog food. This track is the first evidence that I have personally seen indicating that we have at least one bear around here.

With a little research, I found that only Black bears live in Arkansas. Black bears are mostly herbivores, meaning they mostly eat plant material, especially berries and acorns. Even though they have large canine teeth, their consumption of animal protein is usually limited to insects. Our bears do not truly hibernate as do some other species. They do den up in the winter, but they do not go into a deep hibernation, allowing them to wake up and get out of the den to forage during milder winter days. A female Black bear gives birth every two years and will not leave her den for 4 months while pregnant. Bears have a keen sense of smell and for that reason are usually able to avoid human contact. It also makes them hard to observe in the wild.

Human population growth and hunting almost reduced Arkansas’ wild bear population to 0. An ambitious effort to reintroduce bears into the wild combined with strict hunting guidelines has brought the bear population of Arkansas back from the brink of extinction. Hunters in The Natural State kill approximately 350-400 Black bears annually. According to state officials, that number seems sustainable.

We like to think that maybe a bear lives here with us, but we realize that maybe she was just passing through. Either way, we love living in an area that is still wild enough to support such a diversity of wildlife, including bears that walk on roads and do their thing in the woods.