Lines in the sand

The few hundred acres of scrub bushes and pine trees we where we walk dogs has little in the way of stunning beauty, and sometimes glaring examples of human ugliness, but it does not have thousands of people like the beach.

And it almost always has fascinating little discoveries, like these lines in the sand.

grass, sand

They must have been caused by wind and the grass, but how exactly they managed to make those outward curves was not at all clear.


The amazing rabbit chase

It was over in seconds.

We were walking in an area of shrubs, dogs lingering behind. Suddenly a YIP! from Jordie, and I swing around to see him flushing a rabbit to the right across the path behind us. But there’s Kiya, and the rabbit abruptly turns right, on the path, toward us, Kiya barely a length behind. Not good. I instinctively place my feet wide on the path, to force the dog to detour, if only for a split second.

BAM! The rabbit bounces off the inside of my right leg. I spin my head around. Syd has turned halfway around to the right and BAM! it bounces off the outside of his right leg. This carom serves to change its course 90 degrees, and instantly it’s gone into the brush.

And then even more amazing — the five “chaser” dogs completely miss it, and go charging up the path ahead. Only Leah, the princess who prefers watching chases to participating in them, spots the rabbit’s real path, and takes off into the bushes after it. Seconds  later it’s obvious the rabbit has escaped, which comes (happily) as no surprise.

And then the other dogs, who had chased ahead on the path, reappear from behind. Go figure.

 Running Hare Drawing by Malcolm Tait, Saatchi Art
Running Hare Drawing by Malcolm Tait, Saatchi Art (click for source)


Syd has recounted several times the occasion when a flushed rabbit ran out of the bushes and through his legs, but never before contact, much less such a perfectly set up carom that the rabbit-hunting dogs completely missed.

During our time walking dogs together, there have been two kills, bring the total over all the years Syd has walked there to maybe seven. The first occurred at the end of the walk. A young rabbit bolted when five dogs were within a few meters, and didn’t stand a chance. Benji proudly came away with fresh blood on his back, having rolled on it. The second, recently, involved a longer chase, from which all of the dogs returned except Benji. Finally he emerged from the bushes with a dead rabbit in his mouth (no way of knowing who actually caught it). My immediate feeling was that I was looking at a classical painting.

I don’t recall having seen one, so I set out to look, and found this.

Sir Edwin Landseer: The Champion painting
Sir Edwin Landseer — interesting guy: click for story

But that dog, except for its size, looks surprisingly like Leah, the non-rabbit-hunter. Go figure.



The bug

Walking dogs yesterday, we got into a discussion of bugs, as in garden variety. Syd and Gundy had a bunch of green spiders, and he wondered what they were, and whether they would hurt his tomato plants. He also mentioned a long green beetle with long antennae with balls on them. They were all over the blackberries, but apparently not harming anything.

Returning 45 minutes later, within a few meters of his front gate, returning, one landed on his arm, as if to say, “Welcome home!”

strange little beetle, Uruguay

Kind of cute. I guess.



Expo Cannabis 2017

Uruguay “sort of” legalized marijuana at the end of 2013. Being a place where free-market is generally considered a bad thing, and government somehow a creator of wealth, the experiment has proceeded with predictable ham-fisted bureaucracy. The government controls all production, licenses growers and buyers, limits the amount they can buy in a month, etc. At present there are maybe 16 pharmacies (all in Montevideo AFAIK) where one can buy marijuana, and they have had their bank accounts closed because of the ham-fisted and arrogant United States federal government. This echoes the contradiction between state and federal laws in the U.S.: marijuana is legal in California and Nevada, but if you transport it across the border you’re committing a federal offense.

However, there is good news: Hemp Planting to Triple in Uruguay. And the Expo Cannabis has gone from rinky-dink three years ago (according to Syd) to quite impressive.

Expo Cannabis 2017 display map

As you might guess, most of the crowd was younger than yours truly.

Expo Cannabis 2017

The first display inside the door showed a variety of products including hemp oil, and dog care products that Syd really wanted to buy. Not for sale? It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize the display was for the Museo del Cannabis Montevideo.

Flyer for Montevideo, Uruguay Cannabis Museum

Nearby, a display of plants.

Examining marijuana plants, Expo Cannabis in Montevideo, Uruguay

We quickly noticed a number of booths had hydraulic presses. We were a bit mystified, then watched a demonstration of extracting cannabis oil with heat and pressure — far safer than using toxic solvents, which then have to be boiled off.

Extracting cannabis oil

Many booths were selling seeds and growing apparatus, and the government was there with a booth where you could register with the authorities. Several booths centered on medicine and healing, as did a number of the presentations/panel discussions.

Uruguay marijuana sign up

I started asking questions about seeds when I saw “AUTO“ in some of their names (autofloreciente). Fascinating stuff.

handouts from Uruguay Expo Cannabis 2017

My only regret is that I didn’t ask more questions, because in the car on the way back, discussing what we had seen, we had plenty more.