Monday, November 30, 2009

OK So One More Pointless Video

We went to Barton for a visit on Columbus Day weekend (October 10th weekend). This is also the peak color weekend here and the leaf peepers were clogging the highways in New Hampshire. Fortunately, the roads were clear in northern Vermont. But I was tense enough to take one more pointless video.

If you click on the links below, you will be taken to the video on, where you can again click the time of the video and then see only that section of the video:

0:00-0:31 I-89 North from New London, NH to rest stop
0:32-0:54 I-89 North Rest stop before Lebanon. Leaf peepers.
0:55 - 1:10 I-91 North in Vermont just north of White River. Red sumac
1:11- 2:45 I-91 North Comerford Dam on Connecticut River, Barnet, VT.
2:46 - 7:23 I-91 North Sheffield Heights, Wheeler/Glover/Barton Vermont in the Northeast Kingdom. Highest elevation on I-91 (nearly 2,000 ft or 610 m). The furthest mountains are in Canada.
4:13 Barton Mountain. The triple hump: tall on right, medium in the middle and small on the left. My house is 800 feet below the medium hump, halfway up.
4:51 on our way downhill from the Heights to Barton Village at 900 feet. You drop 1,000 feet on the highway in a short time. Gets rough in the winter.
7:24 to the end: the road to my Vermont house. The neighbors, the mountain, the horses.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Buddy Takes a Hike Again

Buddy simply loves to hike with us, so we make sure that we take him once in awhile. On this day we hiked around the property at home so that Buddy would be safe. Buddy adores John, as can be seen in these photos. John seems to adore Buddy quite a bit, too! If Buddy seems to be a big chubbier than in the past, it could be because John carries him so much when we are outside!

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My Woolly Bear Winter Prediction

A woolly bear caterpillar, the larval form of
the Isabella tiger moth (Pyrrharctia isabella)

This is my mostly annual winter weather prognostication for 2009-2010: The equal sized bands of the woolly bear caterpillar that we found out in the woods this fall are forecasting a normal winter. Sort of disappointing for me. I wanted to see a good, hard winter for my first New Hampshire winter. The woolly bear became famous because
  • In the fall of 1948, Dr. C. H. Curran, curator of insects at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, took his wife 40 miles north of the city to Bear Mountain State Park to look at woolly bear caterpillars.
  • Dr. Curran collected as many caterpillars as he could in a day, determined the average number of reddish-brown segments, and forecast the coming winter weather through a reporter friend at The New York Herald Tribune.
  • Dr. Curran's experiment, which he continued over the next eight years, attempted to prove scientifically a weather rule of thumb that was as old as the hills around Bear Mountain. The resulting publicity made the woolly bear the most recognizable caterpillar in North America.

A funny thing: I can't remember ever seeing an Isabella tiger moth. You can see them at You can also read more scientific information about them there!

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LOL Cat Bible: Lectionary Readings for the First Sunday of Advent

First Sunday of Advent
Sunday, November 29, 2009

Jeremiah 33:14-16
Psalm 25:1-10
1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
Luke 21:25-36

Jeremiah 33

1 Moarovr, Jeremiah wuz pattd on teh hed by teh paw uv Teh Ceiling Kitty secund tiem when he wuz in da court uv teh prison sayin,
2 So sez Teh Ceiling Kitty hoo made Da Urfs;
3 If U sez "Hey, Ceiling Kitty!", ai wil respond wif cheezburger.
4 Dis iz wut Ceiling Cat saiz bout litter boxes in dis city an fancy litter boxes dat belongz too kingz uv Judah, dat all wuz tore down whilez fightin wif Chaldeans.
5 Dey wil be filled wif dead kittehs dat maked me rilly rilly mad. Srsly. I caint even look at litter boxes cuz kittehs was so bad kittehs.

Psalm 25
Here be of Davidz

1 ::hands ceiling cat a cookie::
2 I puts my stuff wiff u, k Ceiling Cat? don let me be pwned, an don let my enemies pwn me.
3 No an whos hope iz in u will evah be pwned, but dey will be put to shamez who are haterz wid no excuse.
4 Shows mz how toodoo it CEILING CAT lern me da wayz ofz duncle.
5 guide mz in da WURD and lern me, for you iz da CEILING CAT wha safeda me, caz aim contzin on ya from mornen to twelve.
6 dont fo get CEILING CAT, yourz groovay honey and suga, for tha ar fom of zda golden oldeez.
7 dont look atz my bads, o myz cars, butz at da bath tub we i am rinsdz dza badz outz da home indza wall de be for for yuo da man o CEILING CAT.
8 Guud is Ceiling Cat, he sall instruct teh sinnors.
9 He gide teh meek wif justis and wif da meek he shall teech in his waiyz.
10 All teh paths o' Ceiling Cat r teh uber-ness an trooth unto Ceiling Cat's prasies, for u teh man, dood. Srsly.
11 For Jebus' sake, o Ceiling Cat, pardon mah iniquity, for it pwns.
12 is he teh cat who feareth Ceiling Cat? U shall instruct him fo u ar 1337.
13 He'z innercat shall dwell AT ees, an shall inherit t3h landz. srsly.
14 CEILING CAT confidez in themz who phe4r him; ee shewz them his harbls
15 My eyez ar evah on teh CEILING CAT, for only ee noz when I fwap.
16 Turn thee un2 meh, and have teh murcy upon meh for i am tempted by teh Basement Cat, who's path to invisibl error is paved with many katnip pleytings.
17 Teh troubliz ob mah hart r troubld, bring meh out of mah troublnizz.
18 Considar mah invisibl errors an forgiv mah sinz. pleez, for i DO NOT WANT teh Basement Cat in mah closit no moar.
19 Pwn mah manee eminees.
20 Dewiver meh without shame for I take refug in u, o Ceiling Cat, for u pwn lots. Srsly.
21 Let integrity an Happycat-ness perserv meh, for i wate for u.
22 O snap, Israel, Ceiling Cat, reedem meh o mah troublz.

funny pictures of cats with captions

1 Thessalonians 3:9-13

9 Lol I dunno hou us can gib Ceiling Cat enuff cheezburgerz fur awl the lulz him gibs.
10 Eben whn its drk (but iz okayz cuz i can has vizion eben at nights) ai aks Ceiling Cat if is cul fur us tu hang outs agan.
11 Teh ceelin cat hemslf can giv us map markrs to yur twenty.
12 Mai teh ceelin cat maek ur luvs biggar an' maek it ovrflow just liek teh bathrum afta hoomins.
13 Mai he be in ur hart upgradin ur strength so yull be wifout errors in teh persence of ceelin cat an daddy wehn Jebus comes wif teh holie ones.

Luke 21

1 Jebus watched teh church fridg an he sawz fat kittehs throwed in bigg cookiez.
2 Den a poar skinneh kitteh throwed in rly tinie cookie.
3 Jebus wuz liek "Dis tinie cookie iz moar tasti den bigg cookiez. srsly." Teh fat kittehs wuz liek "No wai!"
4 But Jebus wuz all "Wai! Yuz hav lotz for eated. But she haz only tinie cookie an she no eated it!!!"
5 Jebus eated all teh cookiez an waz liek
6 "Dere will be daiz wif NO cookiez!!"
7 An deh fat kittehs wuz all "Oh noes! When will dis happenz? Liek rite now?"
8 But Jebus wuz liek "Nah. Not yetz. But dere will be peeps dat sez 'We can haz apocatlypse?' an yuz shud no followz dem. Cuz deys r jus impersoninatin meh."
9 Wen u haer of liek kitteh fite an stufz, dont be scardy kitteh, for dis stufz must happen 1st an it wont be de end fur de kitteh."
10 Den he sayd to dem " kitteh will fite against kitteh, kitteh house against kitteh house, kitteh bruva aginst kitteh bruva. will be no gud, buh dun be scardeh kitteh."
11 Den Jebus teh Happy Cat sed "dere will be bad tiemz wen der is no cookyz, naut even tiny wunz, and no cheezburgaz."
12 Jebus sayed "buh befoh dis happins, sum bad peeps will come and traiz to eatchoo, fur dey finks dat teh followerkittehz of happycat is gud fur nomz. dey bring u 2 graet houses of teh kingz, and dey will sai 'dese kittehs r fail cuz deys is bff wiv Jebus'"
13 "dis meenz dat dey want to maek joo An Witness to teh uber win that iz meh, Jebus, Teh Happy Cat."
14 "buh dun wurrieez."
15 "cuz i will tell yuu wordz of pwn and epik, and joo shall pwn tehm."
19 Jebus said "If you can has payshuns, you can has teh moar tinie, tastyer cookies!"

funny pictures of cats with captions

Weekend Cat Events

Get ready now cuz the wild weekend is coming!
Board the Friday Ark at The Modulator (submit your post here)

Weekend Cat Blogging
(see the week’s& host to enter your WCB post in the comments for the weekend roundup)

Bad Kitty Cats Festival of Chaos
Optional Theme
(submit your post here)

The Carnival of the Cats
(submit your post here)

Visit the Pet Prayer & Praise Blog

Kitty Limericks

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Sights Behind the Dump — Animals

This is the last of my posts about the hike we took behind the dump. This post is about the animals that we either saw or found evidence of. These aren't all the animals — I posted the wood frog photos here, the geometer moths here, and of course, the sad porcupine was posted here and here. I have previously posted the caterpillar, pigeon horntail and salamander photos. I'm posting different photos of each here. If you want to see any of these photos full size, just click on the image.

The first photo, above, is of a green frog. It is well camouflaged with the green and black markings. I like photographing these little things.

Above is a leopard slug. Apparently it is not native but is now very common here. I saw my first leopard slug while it was slugging down an amanita mushroom. The one above was eating the fungi on the bark of a tree. The photograph of the leopard slug below illustrates their defensive reaction when you hold one. They curl up small.

The photograph below is, yes, dung. Moose dung. With fungi growing in it. Next time you eat a wild mushroom, remember what it ate before you ate it!

Below is a pigeon horntail. John saw it on a tree. I would've walked right by it. There are 22 species of this bug in the world. But only one in North America! I'm glad he saw it!

One of my favorite bugs is the catepillar below. It is the caterpillar of the American Dagger Moth (click the link to see what this moth looks like). I have here two macros of this caterpillar that I usually save for my Photo A Day blog. If you like macros, visit me there!

We finally figured out where our turkeys may have gone! We found this beautiful turkey feather in the woods behind the dump:

And finally, this is a Northern Two-lined Salamander. In order to find these small creatures, we spend a lot of time on our hands and knees in the mud. It is well worth the effort and the laundry!

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Sights Behind the Dump — Flora

I have already posted many photos of the plants, mushrooms and fungi from this hike (here, here, here, and here). But the photos in this post have stories to tell.

Above is young hobblebush (Viburnum lantanoides) that is frequently covering the forest floor. John and I have been wondering for months what this is. We see it everywhere. While researching another plant that we had found, John fell upon the identification of this foliage. It has died back significantly here in October and is usually waist high. The colors of the leaves vary whether the brush is in sun or shade. The blooms in spring are magnificent (go look at them in my hobblebush set). It is as if there are two different flowers on one bush. I am very familiar with the flowers so I am very pleased to now be acquainted with the foliage of hobblebush.

I was thrilled when we came across the fungi above. I had seen pictures of the hericium fungus in books. John had said he had seen it here but I hadn't seen it until this hike. In the pictures, and in real life, the fungus reminds me of ice falls on cliffs in the winter. It is delicate and beautiful. We found a couple of growths of hericium on this hike.

There were, literally, hundreds of this mushroom in the woods on the day we hiked behind the dump. This is American Pine Mushroom (Armillaria ponderosa). I didn't recognize it because it looked, here, so different from when when I saw it before. Mushroom identification is tricky. The same species can look totally different depending on whether it just sprouted, is mature, or is fading away. It can even look different if is a wet week or a dry week or if slugs have eaten it. The first American Pine mushroom I ever saw was green with algae from a solid ten days of rain.

This mushroom above is a wood hedgehog mushroom (Hydnum repandum). Great name! It doesn't have gills underneath. It has "spines," as you can see below:

We prefer to hike on cool, cloudy days. I find clouds better for my photographs and the clouds keep us cool. This hike was like the others and began on a cloudy day. Suddenly, halfway through the hike, the sun broke out. As I looked up to see the sun, I saw this brilliant foliage and took photos of it.

This photo above is of a club moss — Treelike Club Moss (Lycopodium dendroideum). Our forests are thick with various club mosses on the floor. Club mosses are so important that when I lived in Vermont, and when we had a teacher's inservice day, we were taught and quizzed orally on our ability to identify club mosses. It was not the subject of the mathematics inservice, but it was important. We have to preserve our club mosses. Why? I'm not sure yet. Sorry. I have so much to learn! I'll let you know when I look it up!

Now the photograph above is interesting. It is a Japanese maple tree, an invasive species, eaten up by a moose. There were so many signs of moose about us on this hike that I got the creeps. I was always looking for a place to hide if a moose showed up. (Yes, I am irrationally afraid of them because all I know is that they trample people. I have seen many moose but I have always been in my house or in my car, not out in the open forest.) Anyhow, John explained why this invasive tree has not taken over our northern forest. It is a combination of moose predation and climate. The moose actually spread the tree through their dung. But they love the tree so much as food that they eat it before it can grow too much. A few do grow and reproduce, but not enough to take over the forest. And then the winter stunts the growth and kills off unsuccessful saplings. So it seems to be a great combination of circumstance for our mooses.

The tree above is a dead spruce. We can't even tell whether it is red, blue or black spruce. It was very dramatic in person and I don't think I captured the drama of this huge ancient tree standing dead in the forest.

We have no idea what this beautiful plant is above. John sees it often. The leaves are striped just like a trout lily but it's not trout lily. It is very small and grows on rotting leaf litter in the darkest glades of the forest. We actually dug one up and have planted it at home inside tupperware with a huge amount of leaf litter that we brought with it. It is doing very well.

Here, above, we saw a wonderful, stately, ancient yellow birch tree (Betula alleghaniensis). It was near the stone wall pasture. It was so old that we knew it had seen the wall being built and had given the cows shade on hot days and protection during storms. It has been struck by lightning at least once during the past centuries. It has the normal insect and fungal damage. Yet it stands tremendously tall and strong and proud. We were grateful to see that the old farmer long ago never cut this birch down.

Finally we have one of my favorite forest plants: Indian cucumber (Medeola virginiana). I have eaten many of the roots of this plant. It tastes sweet and cool. It is very small, but in a pinch, if you are starving to death in the woods, you can eat this root. You can see the root and foliage of this plant in the Indian cucumber photo set. Click on this photo to view the large image. The coloring of the leaves around the berry is beautiful to look at. By the way, the berries are different colors during different stages of growth. But the plant remains the same: six leaves in a circle below the three leaves on a tall stem.

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Spot the Green Frog

This is a bit easier, perhaps, than the Spot the Wood Frog post. If you click on the photo a full size image will open in a new window. You are looking for a green frog (Rana clamitans melanota).
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Sights Behind the Dump — Geography

We see so much on our hikes. There are too many photos to post. But I have chosen a selection of photographs that highlight what I learned on the hike, whether it be about the plants, animals or geography of the area we hiked in. You can click on any photo to see it full size in a new window. If you click on a text link you will be taken to my Flickr set for the photograph. All of my hike photos are in my Photowalks & Hikes Collection. I call this hike the Behind the Dump Hike because we walked to the dump and then left it behind as we entered the Mt. Kearsarge State Forest.

Above is a quartz flecked granite boulder on John's property. You can't see it well here but it is studded with garnets. The boulder is in an old abandoned garnet mine here. These small mines stud the country side in New England. Granite, quartz, mica, garnets, feldspar and other minerals were mined by local people.

The photos above and below are of the unnamed brook in the forest that we followed up the hill and back on this hike. There were beautiful falls such as these and quiet flats where the brook quietly burbled.

Above is a stone wall that we suddenly came across near the crest of the hill. There was an old pasture here a couple of hundred years ago. It amazes me how the old people withstood the hardships of life in the hills and mountains long ago. It must have been extremely difficult to pasture your dairy herd up here. Nowadays, these ancient walls create wonderful habitat for all sorts of plants and animals.

In the photo above, if you are familiar with deer roads, you may just see a deer trail going from the left side of the brook, across it to the right side, and then forward towards the camera on the right. This is a well-used trail the deer use for water and fording.

Above is another deer ford across the brook. Another watering spot for them.

Last we see above, the "idyllic" spot where the sad porcupine lives. The brook falls on the left. To the right of the brook you see a whitish boulder with a small pool in front of it. That boulder (white looking because of the sun) is where the porcupine lives. She has a large den underneath with several entrances all around it. In my Sad Porcupine post you will see the up-close photos of the quills, the pool, and of course, the sad porcupine.

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