You ever hear those pitchmen on TV spouting "It costs 30% less!" But they never specify "less than what?" Maybe Dave and I are too nit-picky, but those vague claims drive us nuts. So maybe I should have questioned further when Dave suggested that, since it was a bright, sunny 52 degrees here this afternoon, I take my walk outside instead of on the treadmill. "Walk in the field, it's not as muddy." Didn't dawn on me to question, "Not as muddy as what? Mt. Ararat two days after the flood?"
So Gabby, the Big Red Idiot Dog, and I went blithely on our way, tromping through a little snow left in the ditch to get to the alfalfa field. The first few steps should have made me question this choice, but "maybe it will be better a bit further from the ditch." And sure enough, we got to where there was adequate ground cover and it wasn't bad, so off we went at a light jog. Well, I was doing a light jog, Gab was running full tilt. We alternated jogging and walking to the corner half a mile west of the house and turned south. Footing remained "not as muddy" (as what? The Red Sea a moment after Moses put his arm down?) and chugged on for another half-mile. By then the "bright, sunny 52 degree" air was causing my ears to ache and my nose to run (Why do I never think to take a Kleenex on a walk?) so I opted for the most direct route home, which would be across the open field.
Two issues with that plan. #1 -Terraces. More specifically, the valleys between terraces, which were still filled with snow, and/or the downhill side of terraces. This route took us through some corn stalks. Who knew you could skate down a muddy terrace on corn husks? Well, you can. And issue #2 - the mystery creatures.
This is where I was walking - flat (except terraces), brown, boring this time of year. Closest trees are 1/4 mile or more away, closest water is about 1/2 mile. So what animal digs a large burrow - 15-18" across, large enough for a Springer Spaniel to crawl in unless her owner goes balistic and screams in pitches even the dogs can't hear . . . I'm guessing -- in the middle of this open, relatively flat alfalfa field? Whatever animal it is, I'm a little wigged out about the possibility of meeting him a half-mile from home with no protection but an unpredictable Big Red Idiot Dog.
In spite of the Okefenokee Swamp and hairy-toothed mystery monsters (name that movie), we returned safely, if somewhat soggily, from our walk - much to the detriment of my newly mopped kitchen floor.
If you have a clue what animal lives in that habitat, let me know. The only thing we can come up with that matches the size would be badger. But would they burrow out in the open like that? And if so, am I or the dogs in danger of getting badger nipped? Is there a badger specialist reading this blog?
And for the math enthusiasts among you, by walking 1/2 mile west and 1/2 mile south, then traveling diagonally across the field to form a right triangle, Pythagoras and his therorem tell us that Gab and I walked a total of 1.7071067811865476 miles. Cause that's just the type of randomness I think you want to know. And yes, I was attempting to do that math in my head while I walked. *nerd alert*