Of Birds And The Art of a Backhoe

On my walk this morning I saw a bird that looked a lot like this picture of a baby Blue Heron. I don’t know for sure if that is what it was, but this is what it looked like. Of course I didn’t have my camera with me to take a picture.

I was surprised to see this bird on the outskirts of the City of Sherman. I’d seen many egrets and herons and cranes around the pond in the hay meadow across the road from me out in the country, but I never expected to see one here. It was drinking out of a puddle at the side of the road, and only fluttered a little ways away when Dusty and I walked by on the other side. Then it went back to the puddle to finish drinking.

In doing a search on the Internet to find a picture of the bird, I read some interesting facts about the Blue Heron. One that surprised me was how long they can live – up to 15 years and sometimes longer. In the summer, they live throughout most of the United States, as far north as Alaska and into the southern Canadian provinces, going south in the winter to Florida, Mexico and South America.

I was also surprised to learn that unlike many other birds that mate for life, the Blue Heron does not. Pairs remain monogamous throughout one season, but choose new mates each year.

Reading more online, I learned that herons and egrets are in the same family, but cranes are not. Cranes are part of an ancient bird family – Gruidae – and if I’ve peaked your interest, you can read all about them on The Cranes website.

Now, since it it Wednesday, here is a guest post from Slim Randles. Enjoy…

When Jim Kennedy uses his big backhoe, a crowd usually gathers. He’s an artist, you see.

At Bud McFarland’s place the other day, he was there to install Bud’s new septic tank. This was to be a massive septic tank. Now and then Jim would just do something to show off his skill. At one point, when Jim’s backhoe cut through a buried tree root, there was about a foot-long section of root lying alone at the bottom of the hole.
“Hey Jim,” Bud yelled at Jim, good-naturedly, “firewood!”

Jim grinned and reached his long steel arm down into the hole, gently picking up just the one piece of wood, lifting it out of the hole, and delivering it to Bud’s outstretched hand as though it were the crown jewels.

As we watched, Jim lifted the massive concrete vault of the septic tank and placed it gently in the hole. Then his helper hooked a chain to the septic tank lid and Jim lifted this into the air and swung it over the hole. But instead of lowering it, Jim stopped the machine in mid stride and hollered at the new septic tank owner.

“Hey Bud!” he yelled, “Got any bodies you want to hide?”

The perfect place for a murder victim. Agatha Christie didn’t even come up with that one.

You have to admire professionalism wherever you may find it.

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Listen to Slim Randles on Home Country with Slim Randles on your local country music station.

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Slim Randles writes a nationally syndicated column, “Home Country” and is the author of a number of books including  Saddle Up: A Cowboy Guide to Writing. That title, and others, are published by  LPD Press.  If you enjoy his columns here, you might want to check out the book Home Country. It has some of the best of his offerings through the years he has been w


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