Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Biking and buffalo

The view down our road from our mailbox - and basically what we see first as we bike to work.

I'm very happy to be able to report that I biked in to work today. I had planned on biking home last night and then in again today, but that didn't work out. I left work last night all dressed in my biking gear and discovered that my rear tire was very flat. I could have sat in the parking lot and changed it (I always carry a spare tube), but I was fearful that whatever caused it would keep causing it as this was my second one in less than 2 weeks. I just got in the car and drove home.

Turns out, riding would have been a mistake. The flat was caused by a hole in my rim tape that I'd already tried to patch with electrical tape once before. Had I put in a new tube and tried to ride home, I would have likely flatted and been stranded on the side of the road somewhere! The other problem was that without new rim tape, I had no way of fixing it so that I could ride any other day this week, either. I was not pleased. Luckily, my generous husband offered me one of his wheels (he has a spare pair). It happened to be the same size as mine, so I accepted his offer. I changed out the tire and got the bike all set up to ride the next morning. Fast foward to this morning, and WOW, riding that bike with a MUCH nicer and lighter wheel made a ton of difference in how it felt. It was so much easier and less tiring! Now I'm shopping for new, lighter wheels for that bike. It's currently got heavy duty touring wheels (they are basically bullet-proof) and I really don't need that for my commute. Anyway, the ride in was good and I'm sitting here feeling way more relaxed for having gotten some good cardio in!

When I was out milking Sass in the dark this morning, I kept hearing this wooshing sound coming from the neighboring field. I couldn't see anything (it was still very dark) and when I listened quietly, the best I could guess was that it was the wind blowing in the grasses. It just seemed odd that it only appeared to be coming from that field. Anyway, I ignored it and went about my business as usual. Not long after H got up, both dogs tore out the back door at a full run...barking like mad. H yelled 'buffalo' from his position at the bathroom window and told me to get my camera. I pulled the dogs inside, grabbed my camera, threw on my shoes and went out back. Sass was getting nervous while the dogs were barking, but once I'd shut them inside, she calmed down again. But man...the buffalo were amazing!

There were about 10 or 15 of them. They were right near our fence, so I approached and snapped a few photos. It was still quite dark, so only the ones where I was really close (so that the flash illuminated them) actually worked. They were really cool to see so close. H was feeding them apples and they loved them. They wouldn't take them from his hand or anything, but when he threw them out there, they gobbled them up.

H tossing apples to the buffalo - he's in the middle holding a big plastic bin in his hands (sorry it's so dark!).

We had to cut our visit short so that we could get ready to leave, but it was a neat way to start the day. By the time we were ready to leave, I noticed that they have moved on, so I let the dogs out again.

As we biked up the road on our way to work, we passed the same buffalo one more time. I guess they make the rounds of the perimeter of their enclosure. I'm now thinking that the wooshing sound I thought was wind was likely them, moving slowly along the far side of that same field. Based on the speed at which they seem to would put them at our fence right about when we saw them. It's a little odd to think that I was out there in the dark with 15 buffalo. It just seems so primitive and yet definitely very cool!

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