Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bugs on plants and one good fence…

I was looking around at the photos I’ve taken in the last couple of weeks and found that I have been taking a lot of shots of bugs.  There’s a bear and a bobcat roaming around our neighborhood, but I am only getting bugs.  Oh, well…guess I’m hanging around in the wrong places.  But since that’s what I’ve got, I will post a few bugs today. 

One problem with bugs is that they refuse to be fenced in.  Still I want to participate in Good Fences on Theresa’s Run*A*Round Ranch Report so I am also posting one good fence.  This fence is there to keep people from driving into Quaboag Pond in Brookfield, Massachusetts.  It seems to be working for that, but it would do nothing to keep the bugs out or in.

Friday, July 25, 2014

My two-sided self ...

1.  I love nature, flowers, bugs, birds and all stuff like that, but I am not a gardener and never will be.  I just don’t have an interest in making things grow.  It seems like a real shame, because we have a large yard that would definitely benefit from some tender loving care…just not from me.  Whatever grows in our yard is a remnant from the former owner or transplanted there by some other being.  I am actually looking forward to the day when I have a small patch that requires nothing more than a quick mow, if that.  Then I might not be so overwhelmed and I will plant a pot or two.  Meanwhile, I will admire other’s efforts.

2.  Greg and I decided not to put the air conditioners in this year.  Initially, I was a little bit leery about that because if there’s one thing I truly hate in this world, it’s a hot, humid day.  But I keep thinking about the bottom line of our electric bill and also that we are polluting less than we would be if we were artificially cooled and I think that maybe I can stand it.  Fortunately for me, the summer has been relatively comfortable here with only a couple days in the 90s and mostly cooler nights.  And it doesn’t hurt that we have a whole-house fan.  That makes a tremendous difference at night.  If it gets too hot, I just sit in a dark room and wait.  After all, Mark Twain was pretty much right when he said, “If you don't like the weather in New England, just wait a few minutes.”

3.  My niece just posted this on Facebook:  “One day, when I'm extremely wealthy, I'm going to hire someone to read articles of my choosing and sum them up for me. I hate when I find an article I really want to read, but it's too long and I'm too lazy.....”   Well, I know that she’s not too lazy.  She’s a full time mother and going to college at the same time.   But I understand where she’s coming from, I think.  For a brief fifteen minutes one day, I thought about subscribing to The New Yorker.  I think I would really enjoy reading it from cover to cover.  But I know in my heart that I never would and they would just stack up.  There are just too many things vying for our attention these days.  Like blogging, for instance.
  It’s a world of sensory overload.

4.  I sat with some friends last night, one of whom recently lost her elderly Jack Russell Terrier Boomer.  Boomer was a fine, handsome, little dog.  I’m sorry to know I won’t see him again.  We talked about how difficult it is to lose pets who have been members of our families for a long time and the lengths we’ll take to keep them with us…maybe long after we really should let them go.  I’ve found that many people, after losing a beloved pet, often say that they will never go through that again.  It’s just too hard.  But I’m not one of those.  I think that you have to be aware when you take an animal in that you will most likely outlive them.  That’s just the way it is.  While it brings tears to my eyes to think about the pets I’ve let go over the years (Hobo, Henry, Clousseau, Gorky, Dinah, Kitty, Burgess, Tigger and Asta), I wouldn’t give up one minute of the time we had together.  And, I don’t care what my allergy doctor says; I hope to never be without a furry friend no matter how much it hurts in the end, because the joy that they bring while they are with us is worth it.

5.  The daylily pics I’ve posted here today are of a plant that is in our yard.  I didn’t plant it but it seems to be thriving through benign neglect and I’m happy about that.

Linking up today to Tanya’s Willy Nilly Friday 5

 on Around Roanoke…A Daily Photo Blog.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Good Raggedy Fence…

We have a fence in our neighborhood that is a bit on the tattered side.  It is made up of a little of this and a little of that.  Seemingly held together by rust, bits of vine and spider webs.  It may look a little raggedy, but I’m glad it’s there.

This fence has a job after all.  And it’s to keep precious beings like this safe and sound

Linking up with Good Fences on Theresa’s Run*A*Round Ranch Report.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Entering the WABAC Machine…

It’s not exactly the same as having Mr. Peabody around, but having a computer does allow me to store recent history and go back to it.  So I’m going to set my WABAC Machine for June 28, 2014 and travel back in time to Dayton, Ohio, when my brother Rob took my daughter Carrie and me to Carillon Historical Park.  Thanks, Rob!
Carillon Historical Park contains historic buildings and exhibits about the history of technology highlighting the roles that Dayton played in that history from 1796 to the present.   So here we go.
One of our first stops was at Locust Grove School No. 12 (circa 1896).  The elementary school I went to when I was a kid had desks like that.  I’m not sure how that makes me feel.

You can see that the biology lessons were a little different though.

Self-portrait in a chrome ball.  This was taken in the old power station.  If you look closely you can see me, Rob and Carrie.

I love this dress.  It was part of an exhibit about the Dayton Flood of 1913 when the Great Miami River overran its banks.  More than 360 people were killed in that flood but apparently this dress survived.

Dayton has had a long history with bicycles.  Did you know that the Wright Brothers owned a bicycle shop in Dayton?  You can still see it today.  But something I didn’t know, in spite of growing up around there, was that Huffy Bikes came from Dayton.  It all began when George P. Huffman bought the Davis Sewing Machine Co. and moved the company to Dayton.  They made their first bicycle in Dayton in 1892.  Here are a couple of posters from the bicycle exhibit in Carillon Park.

And isn’t this just the coolest bike ever?  The Huffy Radio Bike was manufactured in 1955 and 1956.  Why they ever quit making this one is beyond me.  I was too young for one of those in 1956, but I sure would have thought that was the coolest thing ever in 1960.

Of course, probably the most famous of all Daytonians were the Orville and Wilbur Wright, “whose gift of powered flight lifted the world forever skyward.”  This bench is in memory of them.

A duplicate of this bench is in Woodland Cemetery where the Wright Brothers are buried.  I took a photo of Carrie sitting on the bench in 2010.

And last but not least, they have the coolest carousel there. The seats that are not standard carousel horses have some relationship to Dayton.  Like this seat that represents National Cash Register, a company that was founded in 1884 and was located in Dayton until they moved to Duluth, Georgia in 2009.

This is Scipio, Orville Wright’s St. Bernard.  I found this blurb about Scipio on the St. Bernard Club of America’s website:  He bought this dog from White Star Kennels in Long Branch, New Jersey, in 1917, for $75.00 as a puppy. According to Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, at the time of his death in 1948, Orville still had pictures of this dog in his wallet.

But this one would be the one I would ride on if I were a fan of going round in circles.  I still think that Mikesell’s Potato Chips are the best in the world.  We used to get big tins of these delivered to the house when I was a kid.
  No wonder I’m fat.

The Carillon Park Bell Tower.

Soon after leaving Carillon Park, Carrie and I jumped back into the WABAC Machine and drove into the 21st Century in style.

The End.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Milkweed Menagerie…

Last year, after being away from home for a little while, Greg and I returned home to find this growing in the pachysandra near our house.

I soon found out that it was a milkweed plant and what I learned about it made me glad that it decided to plant itself in our yard.  I won’t go into all the ins and outs of what makes this plant interesting, but what ultimately made me decide that I wouldn’t pull it out was that it is the life blood of the subspecies of butterfly called the Milkweed Butterfly, which includes the Monarch Butterfly.
 Somehow in the back of my mind, I knew that Monarch’s were having a hard time and I learned that, aside from climate change, a further reason for their struggle is that milkweed – so important to the Monarch’s success – is disappearing.  I figured since our yard is no showplace, it might look better with a few Monarchs hanging around.  So I left it.
Well, long story short here.  This is our second year of encouraging the milkweed to grow.  We have not had a Monarch yet.  But I am going to share with you the variety of creatures that are benefiting from our crop.
This is a Great Spangled Fritillary.  I think he’s rather magnificent.

And what I like best about him are his eyes.  They match his outfit.  The first thing that popped into my head when I saw that were lines from the song In the Merry Old Land of Oz.

We can make a dimple smile out of a frown
Can you even dye my eyes to match my gown? Uh-huh
Jolly old town.

We’ve also seen a lot of this little fellow this year.  He’s a Silver-spotted Skipper butterfly.  I think it looks like he’s sporting a fur cape.

Here’s an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.  This guy is beautiful from the top and the bottom and from inside and out.

It hasn’t been just butterflies who like our milkweed.  Today I saw this Hummingbird Moth.

There have been many honey bees.  Yay!!

And dragonflies of all colors and sizes.

This dragonfly was on a nearby wildflower.  I wanted to post this picture because after I uploaded it, I noticed the little bumps all down its tail.

Are those eggs?

I don’t claim to be an Entomologist.  I just poke around on the Internet to find this stuff out.  If you see any mistakes here, please let me know.

But, here’s the bottom line.  If you see milkweed in your yard, I’d like to encourage you to leave it be.  You will see some pretty neat creatures this summer and it makes a really nice photographic subject in the fall as well.  Not only that, but the birds find it to be a nice sturdy perching stick.  Milkweed...a plant for all seasons.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

At the Columbus Zoo, Part 3…

Are you sick of the zoo yet?  Well, I must say that my daughter Carrie and I never really get sick of looking at animals.  That’s something we have in common.  Her 30th birthday is today, by the way.
Happy birthday, Number One!  
Carrie wanted badly to see a kiwi, which they have at the Columbus Zoo.  I got no pictures because kiwis are nocturnal animals and their habitat at the zoo is dark.  It took me a while to adjust to the darkness and I didn’t immediately see the kiwis, but Carrie did.  They sure are cool birds and bigger than I thought they were.  But they weren’t the only cool animals we saw in the Australia section of the zoo.
Here’s a Kookaburra and he’s sitting in an old gum tree.  While we were admiring him, there was a young girl singing the kookaburra song, making me wonder how many thousands of times that bird has heard it.

This elegant bird is actually a pigeon so watch out the next time you disparage pigeons.  It’s a Victoria Crowned Pigeon.  He’s actually from New Guinea.

Here’s Jane, she was born at the zoo earlier this year.  She looks like she knows her way around these days.

This isn’t a very good photo, but I like it anyhow.  That bird had just hopped off of the roo’s back.  None of it seemed to phase the bunny.

We had a great time at the Columbus Zoo, but the 90+ degree day finally got the best of us so we left without seeing everything we wanted to see.  But we knew we had to get on the road early the next day and head for home.  One of these days, we may well go back.

Friday, July 11, 2014

At the Columbus Zoo, Part 2…

My daughter Carrie and I spent a day at the zoo in Columbus, Ohio, recently.  After we went through the America section, we moseyed on to the Shores area.
There we saw Caribbean flamingos.  It’s not hard to see how they got to be the kings of lawn ornaments.  They are funny birds to me but the color of the Caribbean flamingo is simply spectacular.

Going along at the zoo, our next stop was at the Humboldt penguin habitat.

We were very lucky to see flamingos and penguins in the wild when we lived in Chile.  The flamingos we saw were in northern Chile in Laguna Chaxa in the Salar de Atacama, which is the most easily accessible flamingo breeding site in the desert.  The Chilean Flamingo is very much like the Caribbean but not quite so pink.  This is an old photo from our trip there.

There is a colony of Humboldt penguins that live on an island off the coastal town of Zapallar, Chile, a place where we spent New Year’s Eve day on the beach.  While we could only see them off in the distance, it was neat to be that close to those cool little birds in the wild. 
Also while in Chile, we also got to see Magellanic penguins on a trip we took to Patagonia.  This is an old photo I took when we were there.  I just wanted to pick up one of those baby birds (with the grey feathers) and hug it.  Of course, I didn’t.  I still consider the experiences of getting to see these wonderful birds in the wild to be some of the best of my life.  What I wouldn’t have given to have had my Nikon d90 with me then!

From the Shores at the zoo, we went on to the Congo.  Columbus Zoo has a lot of primate babies right now and we saw them all.  This is one of two Colobus Monkey babies born at the zoo in May of this year.  Their names are Dr. Leonard Hofstadter and Howard Wolowitz.  Obviously, there’s a fan of Big Bang Theory around there somewhere.

We saw the baby Western Lowland Gorilla, Kamoli, but I didn’t get any good photos of him.  And we saw the baby Bonobo, born in 2012.  No good pics of the baby Bonobo either, but it makes me glad to know that the Columbus Zoo has been successful in Bonobo births.  They have welcomed 13 baby bonobos to the zoo since 1990.  According to the zoo website:  The bonobo is the rarest (great ape) with only 5,000-50,000 living in the equatorial forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).   The primary threat to the endangered bonobo is human behavior, mainly habitat destruction caused by logging.  A secondary threat is the hunting of bonobos for bushmeat for native consumption and for sale to logging companies and markets.  Maybe that’s what this guy is thinking about.

But I was thrilled to get to see this baby Mandrill, Mosi, born on September 9, 2013.  He had us laughing at his acrobatics and then seemed to decide that the leaves he wanted were on the other side of the fence or maybe he was just a little curious about us.  What a face!

Next we were on to Australia...