Tag Archives: Tennessee

Ballooning Part 2

It has certainly taken me long enough to post this. It has been months since my successful flight in a hot air balloon, but I have been dragging my feet in sorting through the pictures. Anyway, I wanted to give you guys some beautiful shots before I take an internet break (for those of you who talk to me through e-mail, I will still check it. I just may be slow in replying).

Every time I say I am going to take a hiatus, people seem to worry, so in advance, let me assure you that everything is fine. The coming month is going to be a busy one, and I need time to read, write, and do odds and ends around the house and with my family. I will probably be gone a month, maybe two.

When I come back, I promise to post pictures of more masks including the ones I am currently working on.

On to ballooning!

Photo by Jubilare

Photo by Jubilare

For those who missed out on the first failed ballooning attempt, there are details here. We had one more failed attempt (making, I think, three for my dear friend) but finally, luck was with us! The basket was very large, made to hold at least eight normal-sized people.

Photo by Jubilare

Photo by Jubilare

Here is the balloon which was called, if I remember rightly, Spirit of Africa. The first stage of inflation is done with a fan.

Photo by Jubilare

Photo by Jubilare

Once the fan has blown up the balloon enough to where the flames won’t burn it, the spurting fire thing is used.

Photo by Jubilare

Photo by Jubilare

I found the colors quite beautiful.

Photo by Jubilare

Photo by Jubilare

My fear of heights made takeoff a bit nerve-wracking. There was someone on board with a worse fear of heights than I have, though, and that helped calm me down.

Photo by Jubilare

Photo by Jubilare

Once I was over how high we were, I found the flight soothing and I enjoyed the patterns I began to see below. Balloon flight is very smooth.

Photo by Jubilare

Photo by Jubilare

This is some of the countryside relatively near where I live. There are some farms left, though not many, some large estates owned by people whose wealth is beyond my comprehension, some forest, and encroaching subdivisions.

Photo by Jubilare

Photo by Jubilare

On the whole, it is pretty, though it makes me a little sad to see how it is changing.

Photo by Jubilare

Photo by Jubilare

One of the real farms! Those red-ant things are cattle. We flew over horses and deer (who really did not like the roar of the balloon’s blowtorch thingy) and a blue heron in flight, but my shots of them did not come out well.

Photo by Jubilare

Photo by Jubilare

Looking up into the balloon!

Photo by Jubilare

Photo by Jubilare

And my best shot of that lovely flame. It is loud, and close, but really beautiful. I would not recommend a balloon flight in hot weather, though. It was cold when we flew, and that was the only reason I could bear the heat above me.

Photo by Jubilare

Photo by Jubilare

We had some beautiful clouds that day.

Photo by Jubilare

Photo by Jubilare

Every time we went over water, we saw the balloon’s reflection.

Photo by Jubilare

Photo by Jubilare

Even with the blur, I find this shot lovely.

Photo by Jubilare

Photo by Jubilare

Sycamores are as dramatic from above as below.

Photo by Jubilare

Photo by Jubilare

I think the trees below look almost like moss and lichen. Beautiful.

Photo by Jubilare

Photo by Jubilare

Even the horrible subdivisions with their monster houses and boring yards look nice from this height. Great patterns. Notice the interrupted sidewalk.

Photo by Jubilare

Photo by Jubilare

The skyline, of course, was gorgeous. All those tree-covered hills fading in the distance to meet the sky, and echoed from above by the clouds.

Photo by Jubilare

Photo by Jubilare

Mmmmm

Photo by Jubilare

Photo by Jubilare

And so, in failing light, we landed. We landed in enemy territory (people who are hostile to balloons) out of necessity, but fortunately no one was home. The team and our pilot broke down the balloon quickly, and we called it a night.

I am very glad my friend gave me the opportunity to do this. I hope you enjoy the pictures!

Farewell for now. I’ll be back soon.


The Facts

Sometimes, it is good to review the statistics. These numbers come from the American Temperament Test Society, Inc.

Their methods can be found Here. They test a dog’s “ability to interact with humans, human situations and the environment.”

Their statistics are Here. The test is pass-fail, with the percentage being the number that pass. Pay close attention to the number  of animals tested in comparison with their score. Anything over 90% usually indicates a small testing pool. Exceptions to this are the Labrador Retriever, and two of the “pitbull” breeds: Staffordshire Bull Terrier and and the Bull Terrier.

Let’s take a quick look at some popular breeds and their attendant scores as compared to the popularly maligned “pit-bull” breeds. Not many people read this blog, and maybe the ones who do already know the mantra “punish the deed, not the breed.” Then again, I’ve been surprised before at how many educated and intelligent friends of mine have simply never been exposed to the truth about “pitbulls.”

“Non-pitbull” breeds:

Australian Shepard:  82.2%
Beagle: 80.0%
Border Collie: 81.5%
Boxer: 83.5%
Chihuahua: 69.8%
Cocker Spaniel: 82.1%
Collie: 80.3%
Dachsund (Standard Smooth): 68.8%
Dalmatian: 82.7%
German Shepherd: 84.8%
Golden Retriever: 85.2%
Jack Russell Terrier: 84.1%
Labrador Retriever: 92.0%
Mixed Breed: 86.6%
Rhodesian Ridgeback: 84.3%
Rottweiler: 84.1%
Saint Bernard: 84.6%
Siberian Husky: 87%
Standard Poodle: 86.6%
Weimeraner: 80.7%

Common “Pitbull” breeds:

American Pit Bull Terrier: 86.8%
American Staffordshire Terrier: 84.5%
Bull Terrier: 90.1%
Staffordshire Bull Terrier: 90.7%

Now, I’m not here to condemn any breed. Dogs are dogs, and every time humans are in contact with an animal, there are risks. For that matter, any time we interact with each-other there are risks. Personally, I’ve been bitten by one dog, a Dachshund, and almost attacked (a chain was all that saved me) by a Rhodesian Ridgeback. The first was a case of small child and small dog not mixing well. The second was a case of a dog that had been chained up all her life, which would make me crazy angry too.

I’ve been around pitbulls all my life, including one that was half-lab and very protective of his family. I have never felt threatened by any of them. Not once.

I hear stories from people I know, people I trust, about how dangerous pitbulls are. What seems to escape most people is the fact that there are extenuating circumstances. First off, even the experts cannot seem to identify a “pitbull” by sight. What makes us think we can? Any stocky, broad-headed, short-haired dog is assumed to be a “pit” and the media has been known to ignore little details like the fact that a dog involved in an attack is, say, a golden retriever, in favor of the more dramatic lie that it is a “pitbull.”

If you are curious, try your hand at “pit identification.”

pitident

Then there is the self-perpetuating problem. Pits are thought to be vicious. They are, therefore, sought out by people who want vicious dogs. People who want vicious dogs, make their dogs vicious, either intentionally or through neglect.

That Rhodesian Ridgeback who attacked me? If she had not been chained up alone outside for years, the chances of her charging me would have been slim.

I am ranting on this because some legislators in my state are trying to pass an amendment to an otherwise acceptable bill, to push through breed-specific legislation against pitbulls (by which they mean any dog someone thinks looks like a pitbull). Legislation of this sort has been proven, time and again, to be as ineffectual as it is blind. Most of my readers aren’t, I think, from Tennessee, but if you are, please make yourself heard: http://www.capwiz.com/bestfriends/issues/alert/?alertid=62506026#.UUMnGhSzRhM.twitter

No dog is 100% safe, but as the facts go, the maligned “pitbull” breeds are no more dangerous than any other dog their size. In fact, I would trust all the “pits” I know over my own dear Jack-Rat.

Manni post-surgery. Don't let the cuteness fool you!

Manni post-surgery. Don’t let the cuteness fool you!

The website linked in my sidebar, A Boy and His Dog, is very biased, but raises a lot of good points, like the fact that for most of U.S. history, “pitbulls” were our darlings, known for their loving nature and loyalty. If you are curious, please check it out.

/rant


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