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1/13/17 @coldsunnyday The ducks aren’t actually green. They’re untrustworthy creatures, and they’re lying about what color they are. Don’t listen to them.

It’s an optical illusion called “structural color.” Their feathers are black. The fluffy side bits of the feathers (barbs) are also black. The little hooks that keep the barbs all lined up (barbules) are also black. There are microscopic little ridges (tubules) on the barbules that are also black. But the tubules are exactly the same size as a wavelength of green light, so instead of absorbing green light the way a black object should, they reflect it and the ducks look green. 

If you put one of the ducks under a good enough microscope, you’d see that no individual part of it was actually green in any way.

Avian biology generally can’t produce blue or green pigments. Birds that look blue or green are lying about it. Don’t trust them.

Except for turacos. They’re actually green, and very pleased with themselves about it. Look at this guy, here’s a bird you can trust:

image
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1/11/17 Good news, everyone! 

You remember how I’m always talking about how I want to get a time machine so I can go back to the 1800s and join that one fencing society where everyone wears a fencing mask with holes over the cheeks so you can get a dashing scar with which to impress romantic prospects?

And also remember how there was a feral cat inside the roof and we didn’t know how to get him down?

Well, there is no longer a cat in the roof and I no longer need a time machine to acquire a dashing facial scar! I am so dashing right now, you would not believe it. So very, very dashing. Dashing smells like bactine!

Since he was forcibly removed from the premises, The Small Grey Lump That Goes Meow has been staaaaaring sadly in the window at us, hoping fortune will smile upon him and he will someday return to the Safe Warm Place With Hot And Cold Running Rodent Supply. (Except they stop running when you bite them.)

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1/10/17 Due to the recent cold snap, some rodents of unknown species have taken up residence in our roof. They have inconsiderately ignored the humane live traps I set up there, baited with a wide array of healthy rodent snacks.

So today we caught one of the feral cats and put him inside the roof. Sadly less humane, but very effective.

And now, a new problem: how do we get the cat out of the roof

Folk music warned me this would happen. 

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1/7/2017-1/9/2017 Soup-Nose The Goat has some swelling under her jaw. We suspect bottlejaw (fluid retention caused by anemia). Anemia in goats is usually a parasite issue, so we wormed her, and I drove to the hippie feed store and bought some of the fancy organic sweetfeed to try and convince her to eat a bunch of delicious nutrition. Even Soup Nose’s Olympic-class food fussiness is no match for sweetfeed.

Sweetfeed is made of corn, molasses, oats, various trace vitamins, and tiny shavings from a shining blue meteor that landed in the Darkhad Valley in Mongolia in 1953. The workers who harvest the meteor cover their ears so they can’t hear it singing to them.

Sweetfeed smells amazing. I have genuinely considered cooking it like oatmeal and eating it myself. My google history is full of searches for cornflake and molasses cookies, gingerbread cornmeal cookies, something, anything. Internet forums are thronged with people wondering how to make moonshine out of it. It smells like molasses and raisins and cornbread and coming home to the family you never knew you had after a long time wandering in the dusty dark between worlds.

We have to keep a brick on top of the bin with sweetfeed in it, because otherwise the feral cats sneak into the barn and eat it. 

The cats try to eat goat food.

(Seriously. I tell a lot of lies on this blog. That is not one of the lies. It’s uncanny stuff.

Also, if you know any recipes that involve molasses and cornflakes, please send them to me, the smell is driving me mad.)

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Tim Chevalier

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