Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Scolding Sparrows, Wild Cherry

I always feel so peaceful after Wednesday's Bible Studies. It was still light when I came home tonight so I went up to my rapidly shrinking field to see what was growing in it this year. Should I have it brushwhacked so that the deer have better grazing or leave it alone?

The air was full of the scent of the wild cherry blossoms on the trees that have sprung up everywhere. Blueberry and strawberry are covering the field.

Two types of birds, one type was a pair of sparrows, scolded me for being near their nests. They were in the dark trees in the woods at the edge of the field.

I think I'll keep the field as it is now.


Eastern Meadowlarks (I Think)

UPDATE: These are female redwing blackbirds!

This week I have been trying to catch some redwing blackbirds. When processing today's photos, I found that I accidentally got this pair. I think they are Eastern Meadowlarks. I only saw two lumps in the view finder and never observed them with my eyes. They are heavily speckled. As always, the photo will open full size in a new window.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Monday, May 28, 2007

Cats Tuesday: ASCII Cat

This is an ASCII image made from my photograph of Turnip. I was holding him up to the iSight camera on my MacBook and he wasn't happy about that. (Turnip has the eye that I used for the Blogger Profile photo on this blog). The original photo used for the ASCII art is below:

ASCII drawings are an old art on the computer. I remember making one in the 1960s on a mainframe at the University of Connecticut (all computers then were huge mainframes). ASCII drawings are made simply of text. If you search the Internets for ASCII art you will find a lot of art to look at.

In order to make this I did not have to become an artist. I got an e-mail newsletter from Photojojo about how to convert photos to ASCII (all links open in a new window). I then followed directions and I had my art! However, I did learn that all photos you submit have to be 200 kb or smaller.

The artwork is downloaded to your computer if you request. However, this is ASCII afterall, so it downloads a text file. In order to make this a jpg for Blogger, I printed the web page of my ASCII art to a PDF file. You can do this with one click on a Macintosh and I don't know if it can even be done with a PC. I then cropped the ASCII art inside the PDF file and then saved it as a jpg file. I used ImageWell software to add the frame and background color. Then I uploaded it to Blogger.

ASCII art is often used as an e-mail signature. If I want, I could use this text file of Turnip's photo for that. However, it is too big for a signature. I would have to play with this ASCII converter to get a text file small enough for a sig.

I hope you enjoyed last week's Lolcats that I made. I have found two more websites that you will enjoy:
How To Create LOLCats
I Can Has Cheezeburger?

Have a great week and thank you for visiting! Summer classes begin Tuesday night (summer semester already? Time has disappeared!), but I will visit you all after class.


Flowering Crab


Unknown Wildflowers

UPDATE: My thanks to Patti for identifying this as lily of the valley: "probably naturalized and not wild." This will explain why my two books of wildflowers had no photos of this plant. I suspected they were lily of the valley but if they were not in my books, I figured they weren't what I thought.

Taken in Coventry, Vermont
NEK Audobon Birdathon
Flower is unknown.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Weekend Notes

While I was hanging out the window, smoking, a fat red-headed hummingbird ran into my arm! It was quite a shock because I thought it was a bee and I thought perhaps it would sting me.

At least one otter was playing and feeding in the way-back pond this evening. I haven't seen any beaver yet this season (but I haven't been watching as carefully as usual, either).

American Cribbage Congress:
29 Hand - The best hand in Cribbage and a 216,580 to 1 shot. Consists of holding three 5s and a Jack, with the Jack being of a different suit than any of the three 5s. The starter card turned must then be the fourth 5 and being the same suit as the held Jack, makes the hand count 29.

I need to play more. I'll teach Wingnut this summer and we'll use this ACC site.


NEK Audobon Birdathon

I left this morning at 6:30 AM to go birding with folks from the Northeast Kingdom Audobon Society for the annual Birdathon. The others knew the sounds of all the birds and could tell even by their flight what they were looking at. I wandered around happy as a clam photographing anything I liked. We followed the Barton River in Coventry on the River Road (the Coventry Marshes).

At one point I left the group entirely and followed the railroad tracks. That is where I managed to catch the photo above of a Baltimore Oriole. I only had one shot and it came out rather well for having only a second or two to focus. I was going to e-mail the photo to the group but after I saw the bird photos of one member, I decided not to. After all the walking I decided to sit and rest in the car while they continued to "bird." I shot the photo below of the group from the car.

Suddenly the rest were excitedly motioning me to leave the car and join them. They had found another oriole and were watching her build her nest. The clouds had thickened and the available light was very poor for my camera. But somehow I got this very poor shot of her weaving her nest:

The oriole flew away and I was able to get many photos of the nest-in-progress with different magnifications. I have posted only one here but the rest are in a Flickr set I made today.

I left the group and returned home at 9 AM because I was soaked from lying in wet grass to photograph wild flowers. I will post the wildflowers later today or tomorrow. I changed, went to church, and now will read and rest the rest of the day.

This has been another wonderful day.
I absolutely need a Canon Rebel XTi.


Saturday, May 26, 2007

Painted Trillium

Moose Bog
Ferdinand, Vermont


What Bird Is This?

UPDATE: It is a female wood duck. 
If you know what this goose or duck is, would you please leave a comment? The photo was taken from a long distance at 10x digital magnification. If you click the photo it will open full size in a new window.
It dives underwater, very noisily.
It lands in the water very heavily after flight.
It makes a song that sounds as if it is always in distress.

Thank you!

Whedonesque : Comments on 13271 : Let's Watch A Girl Get Beaten To Death.

Whedonesque : Comments on 13271 : Let's Watch A Girl Get Beaten To Death.

Please read this essay.


Photo Hunters: Colorful

Apple Blossoms
The colors of apple blossoms are pale but these blooms are important to me. They indicate that the trees survived the late snow storms we had. The trees grow wild in the woods and are food to many animals. They grow in an area of springs where water bubbles up out of the ground. I seldom go there because I have to put on barn boots and slog through dense brush. This tree grows near the driveway so it is easy to reach. Amy will go into this wild orchard in the fall and pick enough apples to freeze for her and me.

The trees are also a symbol of my new rich life in Vermont. I never thought I would be caretaker to one apple tree, let alone nearly 20. I am very thankful for my blessings here.

Thank you for visiting and I hope your holiday weekend is safe and fun!


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Black Flies and Desktop Photos

Adamant had their Black Fly Festival last weekend but I did not go. I should. I mention it because with today's warm weather, the black flies came out today (again: they had come out in the last heat wave earlier in the month but disappeared with the rain and cold). Go to Adamant's Festival site that I have linked in the first sentence. There you will find everything you want to know about the critters. This picture of a black fly is way larger than real life (they are about the size of no-see-ums or a bit larger). The pic is from the Adamant site.

Popular wisdom has it that they are thick from Mother's Day (or Father's Day) to the Fourth of July. I have found this to be generally true. The deerflies come after the black flies. Deer flies are easier for me to deal with. They are bigger and slower, thus easier to evade. Funny thing: cats don't seem to be harassed by black flies. Lucky them.
I am beginning to collect some desktop photos that I have made of flowers I have photographed. Please use them freely if you wish. The sizes are marked in the titles. I know I have a lot to learn about this, so please advise me if needed. I am only using photos that are still clearly focused and crisp when enlarged. They can be seen at my Desktop Photos Set on Flickr.

Here are two examples:

Snow Drops


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Overheard and Overeaten

The reason there were so many state troopers and sheriffs in town yesterday was because they caught some nefarious drug dealers in the area of the yarn store (which is exactly where I was pulled over yesterday). I also heard that there were drug-sniffing dogs working around there.

The old Jennie Bean's restaurant is now The Parson's Corner (because it used to be the parsonage) and is opening tomorrow morning at 5 AM. That's good. Now I can eat in town again and not in Coventry. Martha's Diner is wonderful but is too far away. And the Busy Bee in Glover has new owners and is closed for renovations. I just hope this new place in Barton is as good as Jennie's. I wonder who they will hire and I hope it is the women who used to work there. I heard that the owners are most likely from New York because of the amount of money they are spending trying to make the place look "New Englandy." The sign says "Hearty New England Dining" or "Food" or something. I'll go this weekend (they close on Tuesdays of all days) and let you know how they are.

These things were overheard and discussed thoroughly at the Mother-Daughter Banquet in Barton tonight. Amy made a devil's food cake with a white frosting. She bakes from scratch and her cakes always go first. But tonight I snuck out with her cake while it still had three pieces left. Catherine was pretty upset about that, I heard. Amy told Catherine to come to the house and wrestle me for a piece. Entertainment tonight was a lady magician from Littleton. She was very good and I sat close enough to see how a couple of her tricks worked.

Statcounter told me that somebody at my mortgage company was on my recipe blog last week. I got totally paranoid thinking they had searched me out. But then I looked at where they came from: Google: a search for "chocolate lava cake." They looked at the King Arthur recipe I have there!

Phone message: the soup/bread class at King Arthur's on Saturday was cancelled because only two signed up. That's pretty disappointing. But at least now I will get my $80 back and I need it badly!

Cats Tuesday: My 2nd LOLCat

Possum on 9/14/01
Made with Gordon's LolCat Builder

Newport, VT and Lake Memphremagog

A view of the Newport marina.

We had our portfolio scoring meeting in the Hebard State Office Building in Newport. This is the same building that my CCV classes are held in. We look at these views during mathematics and algebra classes all year long. On some nights it is very difficult to remain in class. The lake spans the border between the United States and Canada. Newport is at the southern end. Magog, Quebec is at the northern end.

The lake front as seen from CCV. The bike path is visible. The mountains are in Canada.

You can see the causeway in the background that connects Newport.
This is the lake side view of the State Office Building.

There is a peaceful, tiny park on the side of the State Office Building. You can sit and watch the lake.

In grateful recognition of the men and women from Orleans County who have given their time, body and spirit to make their community and world a better place to live.


Monday, May 21, 2007

I've Been Tagged: For Real!

I was doing 47 MPH in the village 30 MPH zone. The trooper was so young and adorable. I told him I had no excuse when he asked me why I would do such a dangerous thing as speed through a school zone in the morning.

He asked for my license, registration and insurance card. I pulled out a registration and he said no, it was no longer valid. I asked if I could throw it out and he said yes. Then I gave him another, then another, and finally remembered the one I had put behind the passenger sun visor. It has the registration tags on it that I was supposed to put on my license plates last summer. I found an insurance card that I had had faxed to me last autumn for the last school field trip so that I could carry students, but that was now expired also. I have never bothered to have another one faxed to me. I pulled my license out of my wallet and then I became concerned. I have used black permanent marker to blacken out parts of the information on my driver's license that I feel are too personal to be on a driver's license.

Despite the speeding, no proof of insurance, no registration tags on my license plates, and my disfigured license, the trooper gave me a only a warning.

How can you give a woman that is the age of your mom a speeding ticket?

My record is still secure: I have never gotten a speeding ticket yet. My young and beautiful daughters can't even make that claim. A ticket today would have been 3 points on my insurance.

But there were three state troopers and two sheriffs in the town of Barton today: 1 each in each village of Orleans and Barton and 1 cruising around the town. I wonder what caused all this? It took me forever to get to my meeting in Newport this morning. When I returned to Barton at 2 PM it was a surreal drive through town as everyone was driving as if there were troopers behind every tree.

And yes, the plates on my car read MEEYAUW.


I AM Rebel-Worthy

Which famous photographer are you?

Ansel Adams: Known for large scale silver gelatin landscapes especially of Yosemite National Park

"Sometimes I do get to places just when God's ready to have somebody click the shutter."

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
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Sunday, May 20, 2007

I've Been Tagged: Eight Random Facts Meme

Dorothy tagged me for this meme. This meme will be a bit difficult because it's hard to think of eight new things about me. Also, it is hard to find eight new people!
So here we go . . .

8 Random Things About Me
The Rules
  1. Each player states 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
  2. People who are tagged write a blog post about their own 8 random things and post these rules.
  3. At the end of your post you need to tag 8 people and include their names.
  4. Don't forget to leave them a comment and tell them they're tagged. Ask them to read your blog.
My Random Facts:
  1. I play classical piano.
  2. I want a Canon Rebel XTi camera (I feel I am Rebel-worthy now).
  3. I am going to a Circus Smirkus performance on July 1 with Wingnut.
  4. I want to go to a Red Sox game at Fenway Park in July with Wingnut.
  5. My son Andrew is coming for a long visit over Labor Day!
  6. I am a contributor to an algebra book (not a text)! Not as good as an author but my name is in print!
  7. I can't wait to go birding again.
  8. I only use Macintosh computers.
I Tag:
  1. DaisyMae Maus
  2. Lazy Daisy
  3. Daisy the Curly Cat
  4. Dragonheart
  5. Biker Betty
  6. jcfloresinc
  7. Indiana Jane
  8. Amy

The Goldfinch and The Fly

Female goldfinch.
Rutland, Vermont
May 20, 2007

Blue Jay

Rutland, Vermont
May 20, 2007