Sunday, July 31, 2011

Oscar’s New Pastime

Oscar's New Fascination.jpg

And below the little rascal is sleeping in an actual cat bed
with actual cat toys (which are under him) (see those toes!):

Oscar Takes a Nap-2.jpg


Find the Hidden Possum

Possum Takes a Hike-4.jpg

Can you find the hidden cat in this photograph (above)? If not, I will slowly reveal her presence to you . . . but don't cheat! Only peek if you have to!

Possum Takes a Hike.jpg
Have you found her yet?

Possum Takes a Hike-3.jpg
Maybe you can see her in this photo!

Possum Takes a Hike-2.jpg
I hope you can see her now!



Saturday, July 30, 2011

Possum The Irritating Cat

Possum Takes a Hike.jpg
Camouflage Cat

Possum now comes on the daily morning bird walks with Buddy, Oscar and me. She is so irritating that I try to leave the house when she is napping. That doesn't work so well. She always manages to catch up to us.

Possum Takes a Hike-3.jpg
Log Walking Cat

Possum doesn't interact well with the other cats, and seldom pays attention to their behaviors outdoors. That means that she doesn't know what dangers are around and doesn't follow us so well. If she loses sight of us, she begins yowling and we have to wait while she locates my voice and catches up.

Possum Takes a Hike-5.jpg
Tree Sniffing Cat

Sometimes Possum is courageous and as I call her to come towards me, she will stop, look at me, and deliberately turn and go in the other direction. I used to wait for her to return, or I would go lead her back. Now I just let her go. If she is going to be like that, then I let her be like that.

Possum Takes a Hike-7.jpg
Trail Blazing Cat

Possum doesn't play well with the others. If Oscar ambushes her from behind (or up) a tree, she gets all prissy and leaves us by going deeper in the woods. Possum has no experience in the woods, so she gets lost again and yowls.

Possum Takes a Hike-9.jpg
Nature Observing Cat

Occasionally, like in the photos above and below, Possum pays attention and follows the trail I make in tall grasses. Oscar hates tall grasses and cries for me to carry him. Possum glumly trudges close behind me until the grasses clear and she can high tail it for the house.

Possum Takes a Hike-11.jpg
Grumpy Cat

Possum gets grumpy when we go through the grasses, but at least she may follow us out to the back road. But she will ignore everything I say and play deaf. She is the most irritating child on hikes.

Possum Takes a Hike-14.jpg
Playing Deaf Cat

Photos from our July 4, 2011 morning bird/cat walk.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Holiday Traffic

Traffic on Rt 16 (July 4th, 2011).jpg
It was a long wait, but I got traffic on Route 16 past the house on the Fourth of July.

Manual setting using bulb for shutter speed
10 sec exposure, 250mm, ISO 200, f/10
Looking west down towards the Village of Barton.
This was the night I began using my remote shutter control.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Visiting a Friend

Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)-1.jpg
Black-capped Chickadee

A friend asked John over to estimate a small home repair. I went along with the camera to see what I could find. It was a part of the village I hadn't explored before. I ended up not actually exploring it on this day, either, because the birds were plentiful and the time was short. So I stayed on the property and shot there.

The chickadees were all atwitter about something, and I caught this upset one. I was happy to see the goldfinches at a neighbor's feeder, but not happy to see the goldfinches at a feeder. I got poor shots but I have few of these birds.  There are pigeons in the village (not up here at home), and they were pleased to pose for me. The lighting and colors of the pigeons prevented great photos. So these are the three birds I caught. Not great, but lots of fun.

American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)-1.jpg
American Goldfinch

Contortionist Pigeon


Monday, July 25, 2011

Tree Climbers

Buddy in the ancient apple tree.




Oscar raced up, and now down, the elm tree.

Oscar sticks his tongue out in the ancient apple tree.




Sunday, July 24, 2011

Just Indulge Me

On our morning walk of July 3, 2011

Every photo shows a small nuance of emotion on this best kitten in the world.








Running to catch up to me.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Buddy & Oscar Go on a Hike

Buddy & Oscar Take a Hike-1.jpg
Oscar follows Buddy into the woods.

Buddy & Oscar Take a Hike-2.jpg
Buddy is Oscar's role model.

Buddy & Oscar Take a Hike-3.jpg

And as his doting mother, I have more Oscar photos and offer you these:

Oscar rests on a log with John.

On our daily morning walk, Oscar runs to catch up to me on the back road.
This is his serious expression.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Model T Axle

Model T Axle and Tire from the Brook-4.jpg
Rear axle for 1923 Model T Ford

We have found many things here during the house and stream restoration, but this was big. Upstream of the brook that runs through the back yard, during the continuing clearing and restoration of the stream bed, John found this rear axle to a 1923 Model T Ford. A tire remained draped around it, and a tire rim was also in the brook. I know folks back then dumped most everything in the woods, but this axle surprised me. In all the years I have lived and explored here, I never saw evidence of this axle in the brook. It was buried under blowdowns and leaf litter. (Photo from

I know nothing about cars, but I found this interesting description of the design and construction of the Model T rear axle at The Frontenac Motor Company site:

The rear axle uses a "3-point drive" system, unique to Ford. This type of construction necessitates the use of only a single universal joint and permits of the housing of the entire driving mechanism in a dust proof, oil tight case. If plenty of oil is supplied to these parts there should be no trouble during the natural life of the gears, made as they are of the best special alloy steel obtainable, carefully cut and case hardened. The rear axle runs on Hyatt roller bearings. End thrust tendencies of the large bevel gear are taken by fiber discs between hardened and ground steel discs—the best possible construction for this service. The propeller shaft runs in babbitt bearings at both ends. The entire axle is lubricated by a copper tube which leads from the oiler and enters at the ball joint. The oil flows down through the tubular torsion tube to the gears and finally to the Hyatt roller axle-bearings. These bearings are spiral rollers and each alternate spiral is reversed so that they distribute the oilautomatically over all parts of the bearing surface. Dope cups are installed on each drive shaft bearing and the four rear axle bearings to assist lubrication, as dope will be retained longer and therefore gives better results than oil. Note: The rear hub brakes are intended to perform the function of emergency brakes as their name implies and consequently they take hold severely. Used only in emergency they should outlive the rest of the car. Many theories to the contrary notwithstanding, the transmission brake is not injurious to the driving gears if used judiciously, as every other part of the car should be used. And inasmuch as this brake equalizes the forces between the two rear wheels uniformly, is more easily lubricated, inspected and adjusted, it is better practice to use it for service than the hub brakes.

Model T Axle and Tire from the Brook-2.jpg
Rim from the Model T

I’m wondering what else we will discover around here.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The A. K. Ballard Company

A. K. Ballard 2 gallon preserves jar from Burlington, VT, 1867-1874-2.jpg
A broken Ballard jug excavated from the back dooryard.

With just a bit of searching, we learned that if this jug had been whole, it would be worth at least $500. But it was broken and only small pieces of the rest of the jug were unearthed when John was excavating the back dooryard. The University of Vermont has a collection of pottery from the A. K. Ballard Company of Burlington, which made this jug. UVM writes:

About the year 1830, E.L. Farrar built a pottery company on the south side of Pearl Street between St. Paul and Church Streets. In 1850 the Ballard Brothers, Orin L., Alfred K., and Haria bought the company. They enlarged the establishment, but in 1867 the company was dissolved. Alfred Ballard ( - 1874) founded a new company which he held until 1874. After his death, the company was sold to Franklin Woodworth. Woodworth continued in the pottery business until 1896. When he sold the company, the pottery became a dye manufactory. At present (December, 1979) the building houses a restaurant.

We found one other source of information: Ballard Family Potteries at the Internet Antique Gazette:

A. K. Ballard operated a pottery alone in Burlington, Vermont making stoneware until 1872. He used an incised mark reading A.K. BALLARD/BURLINGTON, VT.

The three Ballard brothers, Orrin L, Alfred K, and Hiram N. worked briefly in Burlington before taking over the old Thompson & Co. pottery in Gardiner, Maine in 1854. In Burlington they used the incised mark BALLARD & BROTHERS/BURLINGTON, VT. They operated the Gardiner facility for about a year and produced wares with the incised mark BALLARD & BROTHERS/GARDINER ME. Following this experience the two brothers moved to Portland, Maine, where in 1855 they established a pottery at 100 Green Street. The 1856 Portland directory lists them at that address and describes the as “Manufacturers and Wholesaler Dealers of Stone Ware of every description, which they offer to the trade on the most reasonable terms.”

Orrin and Alfred moved back to Burlington and made pottery together from 1859 to 1867. Their mark was O.L. & A.K. BALLARD/BURLINGTON, VT.

From this information, we estimate that this jug was made between 1867 and 1874. The history of this house continues to be uncovered . . .