Posts Tagged ‘rabbit’

As usual I’m a bit behind in my river reports.  I calculate I could write at least several more posts about the flooding we have experienced with the Ohio River at the Falls of the Ohio.  As I write, the river is still high, but all the attention has shifted to the Mississippi River which is experiencing an epic flood.  I’m sure some of the same water molecules that flowed past our location are contributing to the woes down along the Mississippi.  For those unfamiliar with our geography, the Ohio River flows directly into the Mississippi River in far western Kentucky.  The confluence of these two great rivers is an awesome sight.

Here at Louisville, the water has been receding and the amount of water-borne junk this flood has brought hasn’t fully hit home yet.  There are signs, however, everywhere I look that this will be a great challenge for any river loving clean-up crew.  I will try to do my part, but even if I were to try to be out here every waking hour…I wouldn’t  begin to scratch the surface.

Gas is over $4.15 cents a gallon for regular unleaded here.  I listened to the great oil company executives trying to explain to Congress today why they need a sweetheart deal from the American taxpayers when they already receive every tax break in the books and are suffering with their record, obscene profits.  When discussion turns to what can be done to reduce the amount of crude oil used the usual answer has something to do with increased engine efficiency resulting in more miles to the gallon.  Looking at the high water line I see another solution that doesn’t get as much play.  Why don’t we try to cut as much plastic out of our way of life as possible?  There would be more oil available for fuel and you wouldn’t have all these various compounds despoiling our water ways from the smallest streams to the largest ocean.  You can throw Styrofoam in this mix too since it is has petroleum pedigree as well.  We could just change the packaging we use and I bet that would make a huge difference.

You can look at the whole Riverblog as one long rant against pollution, but there is also more out here that is sweet and worth noting and enjoying.  I decided to walk along the Woodland Loop Trail and the air was fragrant with the perfume from what we call Honey Locust trees.  Some of these trees also sport large spines growing on the bark.  Their pea-like white flowers have the most wonderful scent.  Here is what a flower cluster looks like.

Along the trail, you can hear a variety of bird species singing.  Vireos, woodland warblers, orioles, chickadees, indigo buntings, various thrushes fill the air with their acoustic signatures.  The birds are here to feast on the many cutworms that plague the forest canopy.  There are also other larvae present…here is a small nest of tent caterpillars that will soon become moths.  Very few birds like these hairy caterpillars, but two that do ( the Yellow-billed cuckoo and the Blue and gray gnatcatcher) can be found in the forest now.

Ah, I also spot my namesake hopping along the trail!  This is a young Cottontail and he better be careful out here because there are so many predators both native and domesticated that would love to catch him!

Walking westward along the trail, you can’t help but notice the large grassy berm that flanks your right side.  It is additional flood control put in place after the disastrous 1937 flood which was our high water event on the Ohio River.  Up a head, I can see a network of large hoses with water gushing out and I decided to investigate.

I can see these large hoses coming down the berm and I wanted to see what’s on the other side of this earthen flood wall.  Here are a series of pictures of what I saw.  First looking up hill…

…now the view looking down towards the river.  What are these hoses for?

I came across a sign at the crest of this large hill that explains it.

On the other side of the berm is the small town of Clarksville, Indiana.  Rain water has pooled up in the lower lying sections of the city and are being pumped out and over the top where the water then flows into the park eventually finding release into the river.

It’s strange how I rarely think about the town that occupies the other side of this large grass and earthen mound.  The Ohio River is really at its front door all the time.  The little bit of woods I like spending time in is just a narrow sliver of ecosystem that exists between Clarksville and the river.

Well, that’s the story for now.  I have much more to present about the dominant environmental event of our Spring.  Already the temperatures are rising and I can feel the transition to Summer won’t be long in coming.  Thanks for hanging with me…until next time…the Rabbit Man.

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