Saturday, June 13, 2015

Pavlov's Dogs

More sketches from Yellowstone.
I've been chuckling to myself ever since my last post, "Where's Elva?"  In it I admitted to eating peanut butter on toast virtually every morning.  I probably ate peanut butter on toast 28 out of 30 days while we were in Yellowstone.  There were a couple of bad weather mornings where we stayed in and cooked a hot breakfast, but day after day it was the same meal:  peanut butter on toast, hard boiled egg, a little cold sausage, banana and coffee.  Twenty years ago if someone had told me I would happily eat that breakfast day after day I probably would have done one of two things:  laughed until I turned into jelly on the floor, or maybe I would have just said, "Yetch." 

My brother used to come home from school, smear four slices of bread with peanut butter, place them along the top of the couch and eat his way through them while he read something.  Not me.  My taste was much more refined.  I tended towards Miracle Whip on my bread, preferably with sliced tomato but too often they weren't in season.  I never, ever ate peanut butter by choice.

So what changed?  To be honest I'm a good example of Plavov's dogs.  For those of you who never heard of those dogs it refers to a famous example of classical conditioning.  Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov was studying salivation in dogs in response to being fed.  He realized the dogs started salivating before the food even came out, just knowing the food was coming was enough.  Well, I'm a little like those doggies.  I started eating peanut better on toast occasionally just so we could get a quick start in the morning, not because I'd really changed my mind about peanut butter, but because it was quick and traveled easily. 

As time went on I think subconsciously my mind made the connection between peanut butter on toast and good things happening:  red-winged blackbirds singing their hearts out, bison calves running ahead of their Mamas, even catching a glimpse of a spider hunting wasp, etc.   Peanut butter started tasting better and better. 

I still don't eat it at home, but I can eat it every day for a month straight when we are in Yellowstone.  There is always a sense of anticipation when I'm getting our breakfast tray ready.  What will we find today? 
.... and while on the subject of Yellowstone, I realized I'd forgotten sketches in another sketchbook when I posted my last blog.  I've got lots of longer blogs waiting to get written, but right now I'm eating too much of that peanut butter to find the time.  So here are more Yellowstone sketches. 

Finding a bison skull is unusual.  Usually the ranger pick them up, but this one was visible when we first arrived in Yellowstone.  
All birds drawn at Floating Island Lake.  The pied-billed grebe was calling; a yellow-headed blackbird; a raven with food in its bill.

A big black bear grazing on grass.  Bears eat a lot of grass.  

An old Douglas fir snag, some branches still alive.  


  1. I got a chuckle over peanut butter and Pavlov's dog reference. :) I love peanut butter on anything. Mayo not so much. :) there are lots of great sketches here. Always fun to see your new posts.

    1. I just checked. I've got three jars of peanut butter on the shelf, so I'm well stocked for the days ahead. LOL

  2. Let me get this straight....if I eat peanut butter, I will anticipate more wolves, foxes, Pintails and Bluets and etc......and the anticipation will automatically be fulfilled?
    Skippys here I come!

    1. No ... if you only eat peanut butter on really good days in your life, pretty soon it'll taste like something really wonderful. It doesn't guarantee good results ... good results guarantee the peanut butter tasting better.

  3. Gotta love peanut butter if it's a precursor to your wonderful sketches.