Friday, December 30, 2011

The World's Longest Cadillac Parade


On August 17, 2011, Barton hosted the world's largest Cadillac Parade, which kicked off the Orleans County Fair at Roaring Brook Fairgrounds in Barton. The parade was over an hour long and lots of fun as the entire town turned out to view it. Lori Seadale organized the parade, and I don't know how she did it and did it so beautifully. The library and stores in the village closed as the cars rolled by. My camera battery died, but young friends of mine saved the day and ran into the library to get my other battery for me. I was going to post only my favorite Cadillacs in this post, but there were too many to show, so I give you the slideshow of all of the cars that I photographed (I shot over 250 of the 298 cars in the parade). 

The Cadillac Parade was the world's longest parade of Cadillacs. The Guinness Book of World Records was on hand to count and certify the achievement. The record was easily broken, but the count of 298 would have been bigger except some cars overheated in the parade and never finished the route. I heard that other Cadillacs were late, and there would have been almost 350 cars but for these problems. But the day was a wonderful success and I am amazed by Lori's efforts and achievement! Congratulations!

You can read more about the parade here:
Guinness Book of World Records
New York Times
General Motors Cadillac Press Release

You can view individual photographs here.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Bent Wood

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This is what happens when a tree falls on you.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Grumpy Buddy, Stomping Oscar

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Buddy wants to go thataway . . . 
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. . . but grumpily follows Oscar. . .
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. . . as Oscar shows off his two-legged Godzilla stomp.

Two More New Flowers

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Clingweed (Galium aparine)
When I was out I liked the looks of this slender, tiny flower. I didn't think to identify it at the time, but this week John saw the photo and knew exactly what it was: clingweed. He says that when it goes to seed, there are small burrs that will scratch you and adhere to you. It is also called also called Cleavers , Clivers, Goose Grass, Catchweed, Sweet Woodruff, Goosegrass, Stickywilly, Stickyjack, Stickyweed, Stickyleaf,  Robin-run-the-hedge and Coachweed. Whew!

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Indian-tobacco (Lobelia inflata)
Indian-tobacco is another very small flower. Again, I never thought to identify it (and it has been in the back of my mind to look for it for years). If I had found that it was a new species for my portfolio, I would have returned for a better photograph. Don't smoke this — it causes hallucinations and stuff. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Common Yellowthroat

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Geothlypis trichas
This little bird has occupied my life the last few days. My sister-in-law, Marcia, told me it was a Common Yellowthroat warbler. Unconvinced, because the web photos I saw showed a little fluff of feathers with a black mask, I posted this bird to Google+ and got a mess of responses. But I now agree with Marcia because of this photographer and comments by other birders. This is an immature Common Yellowthroat. These photos were taken on a beautiful August morning when the cats and I were taking our daily walk.
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The little bird followed and watched us closely.
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I caught it flying to another perch.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Oscar’s Bugs

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Leaping Oscar

Oscar became our best mouser after a summer of bug hunting. His stalking and leaping skills were finely honed. He won't touch ladybugs and continues to enjoy cluster flies. These are three of his favorites from the summer.

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Carolina Grasshopper (Dissosteira carolina)

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I ended up spending the summer stalking Oscar as he lept after bugs.

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Two-Striped Grasshopper (Melanoplus bivittatus)

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Skidding to a dusty stop.

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Female Shadow Darner (Aeshna umbrosa)

I managed to rescue the dragonfly above and release it outside. But unfortunately, Oscar often brought in other dragonflies. He ate all but the wings. I never saw which species he would catch.

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Oscar, 4 months, relaxing after hopper hunting.


Thursday, December 08, 2011

An Abandoned Penstock and Turbine

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I wanted to find the flumes that everybody talks about in the summer. They are in Westmore on Mill Brook on the Long Pond Road. I am trying to learn how to photograph water scenes better (because I don't like landscape photography). On the way down to the brook, we found the relics of a large penstock and turbine. We don't know what they powered — a sawmill? village water? But it's all there in the woods and it looks nice and historic.

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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Oscar the Hopper Chopper

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Yup, that's Oscar, our little yet great grasshopper chomper. Here he is after leaping through the air and catching, in flight, a Carolina Grasshopper (Dissosteira carolina). Those are the big grasshoppers you see during the last half of summer flying with the black wings. We probably all think at one time or another that they are huge butterflies, but they are big, prehistoric grasshoppers. You can view the original photo size here for more detail. After spending the summer learning how to expertly catch these hoppers, Oscar is now the champion mouser of the family!


Monday, December 05, 2011

Monkshood (Don’t Touch This)

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Aconitum napellus

We finally did it — we found a rare plant. And wouldn't you know it, it's deadly poisonous. I'm glad we didn't pick it for identification later. We frequently do that but we were on our way to photographing Common Wood Nymph butterflies on Telfer Hill Road when we found it. We pulled by the side of the road just to give me time for quick shots for an ID and we pulled out.

Aconitum Napellus commonly named 'Monkshood' is one of the most toxic plants known to man. In Europe the poison, that was collected from this plant was used to kill Wolves and mad dogs hence its other name Wolfsbane or Dogsbane. Monkshood is a genus of over 250 species of Aconitum that belong to the Buttercup - Ranunculaceæ family of plants.

All parts of the Monkshood plant are poisonous and it must be handled with care. You should wear gloves and wash your hands after touching it as even a mild dose of its poison can cause a serious allergic reaction that can render the 'victim' in need of medical treatment.

You don't have to take in the poison by mouth, it can be absorbed through the skin. Be it the stem, the sap, the petals or the roots, this plant is a killer if not given all due care and respect. Many people through the ages have been killed either accidentally or even on purpose by this plant...the assassins (sic) plant of choice !

Source: Killer Plant: Monkshood

So be careful out there next summer! Monkshood sort of looks like vetch (it did to me), but close up I knew it wasn’t. The leaves are lobed (vetch isn’t) and the color, height and stems are different.


Sunday, December 04, 2011

I Want Some Elecampane

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Inula helenium

I found a field of elecampane up on Telfer Hill Road this summer and I want some. John and I returned to to the field to chase butterflies that afternoon. I don't know why I didn't dig up some of these wildflowers then, but I will next summer. The field was alive with the buzzing of insects. We think the bug in the photo above is a bee mimic fly of some sort but aren't sure. It could be a type of hover fly. In the days to come, you'll see the photos of the other bugs we captured there.

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Elecampane looks like a tall, frilly sunflower. It is actually an aster, though. In France they use elecampane to make absinthe. The scientific name helenium is because legend says that where Helen of Troy's tears fell, elecampane sprung up. It is also, I learned on that marvelous afternoon, a butterfly magnet.

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