Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

gone to Portugal

be gone until September 22. You can find me at my travel blog here.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

no explanation

Our wood stove has been moved by forces we cannot explain. This cast iron is the single heaviest object in our home, it cannot be moved by either of us alone.
Today, I noticed that the stove had been moved about 5 inches in a way such that the connection with the stove pipe was now at an angle. Here are the pictures I took of the movement. I am almost positive that this movement happened last night or early this morning, I think I would have noticed this fairly significant crooked aspect of the stove as soon as I saw it.
I took this picture and labeled to show the movement marks. This stove is so heavy that it took both John and me to move it back to the proper position lined up with the stove pipe and parallel to the lines on the stove pad (composite stone material). Nothing else around the stove, nothing else in the house has been moved or changed position at all.
This is extremely strange and quite frankly, a tad creepy. Anyone....thoughts on this?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Thursday, July 9, 2009

mountain mushrooms

close up of the surface of some kind of Boletus mushroom
Reishi mushrooms have been used in traditional Chinese medicine as a herbal medicine for more than 4,000 years, making it one of the oldest mushrooms known to have been used in medicine.

fit for a cake

I think the rododendren blossums look like a confection fit for a fancy cake

fishing in the trout pond

camp by the creek

Mayberry lives,for now

cultural icons at least around Mt. Airy, NC. , Andy Griffith and company.
this diner is hanging on near an exit off Interstate 77. John had a fried "bolony" sandwich.

Monday, June 22, 2009

best farm stand I have seen

talk about eating local, farm stand just down the road from my mom. You pay on the honor system, that must very rare these days!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

lost turtle

we had a turtle visit our garage, perhaps a female looking for a place to lay eggs. John took her(?) back to the ditch.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sunday, June 7, 2009

this applies to everything

"We must draw closer to Nature while reflecting profoundly on the implications of being sparks of divinity residing in biological bodies. Though most people no longer want to garden, camp, hike, study nature, or even sit quietly doing nothing in the fields, we must do more of exactly those things. Teachers, artists and other leaders are capable of creating psychic ambiances and physical environments in which people will return to those activities gladly.

For, Nature, if given a chance, crafts the human spirit, young ones and old ones, to higher states of perfection at which many problems simply don't arise."
The picture is from my garden, the quote is from the latest edition of the Naturalist Newsletter, I always find lost of useful and fascinating information about nature with photos and the writing is profound and inspirational.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

backyard bugs

coming in for a landing on my butterfly weed, dug up not too far from J &L.

and the deathwatch or click bug beetle. Ency. Brit says:
an anobiid, or borer insect, of the family Anobiidae (insect order Coleoptera) that makes a ticking or clicking sound by bumping its head or jaws against the sides of the tunnels as it bores in old furniture and wood. Believed to forecast an approaching death. Its name is derived from the credence that it was often heard by the people “on watch” with an ill person on the verge of death.
They are sometimes found in our yard,

Sunday, May 31, 2009

a microcosm of the world

My swiss chard, a thing of beauty. Picked from my garden and had to take a picture before eating.

Human beings are the only living things that can create ugliness.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Good life for goslings

Mom, we're paddling as fast as we can!
watchful father keeps a look out
still fluffy and cute...

Friday, May 29, 2009

population explosion...

We have about three generations of baby Canada geese on the Washington waterfront.
Quite a few people are enjoying the geese. When I was taking these pictures there was a couple feeding the geese.
Feeder: I love the babies, they are sooooo cute!"
Me: Yes, they are cute, we certainly are getting more geese each year.
Feeder: Oh no, these geese will leave in the fall. We buy a truckload of bread (day-old bread, I assume) each week just to feed the geese.

Of course, our Canadian geese follow the trend of becoming non-migratory with the population increase that comes from less natural threats and truckloads of bread. From a single flock of a few birds several years ago, and none on the waterfront, we now have several hundred at least. 
But who am I to spoil someone's pleasure in making contact with another living creature, even one that is close to becoming an invasive species. In these pre global collaspe times, it really makes no difference.

Monday, May 25, 2009

first tiger swallowtail caterpillar

This caterpillar showed up on my fennel plant. I love his strips, you can see he (she?) is just about to take a bite.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Vicente, master of tabique (brick) and piedras (stone)

This is Vicente who works for a local landscaper. He begain work in Mexico as a mason when he was twelve, his father died, and he had to go to work to help support his mother, brother and sisters.Here is the path he did with some of the rocks I have collected, the red pebbles are jaspar that I picked up on a Newfoundland beach, the larger stones are from various other places. Each stone brings a memory of the place and time that I collected it. I love the job that Vicente did on this part of the project.
And here is the satisfied client.


This caught my attention full AP article jere
"Other scientists believe the new strain could have been circulating in humans long before it reached La Gloria. The new strain's ancestry has ties to a pig farm in North Carolina where in 1998, scientists discovered that pig, bird and human viruses had combined in pigs to form a new strain of swine flu that also infected a handful of humans."
This photo is one of my Aguascalientes pictures, where you can buy porkskins close to my size. 

Monday, May 18, 2009

skink territory disputes

I was lucky enough to get some nice photos of the back porch environs dominant skink making sure that he remains dominant. This type of lizard does not have sharp teeth, so basically a lot of wrestling with jaws clamped around the head. The red/orange coloration of the head is typical of the breeding coloration of this type of skink.(broad head skink)
We have seen lots of lizard activity in our yard this spring, five lined skinks, blue tailed skinks and the Carolina anole, mistakely called a chameleon locally because it does have a color change but they ususally move too fast to get a good photo. 

Sunday, May 17, 2009

kindness of strangers

This story brightened my day after reading the news

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Got golden dust?

We do, it's everywhere. I think it can be beautiful, like my this red lettuce in my garden.
But John is trapped inside, 5 minutes outside puts him down for several hours.

"We've turned into an American city.”

Recent article from Assoc. Press. When are we going to learn the Drug War does nothing but enrich cartels, destabilizes importing countries, and wastes enormous sums that could be used for treatment and education of drug abusers. The US has the highest prison population of any "civilized" country, and a majority of this incarceration is for lower class, non-violent users of illegal drugs. White collar upper class or famous idiot drug abusers like Rush Limbaugh for example, do not go to prision. 

With its spectacular bay and stunning, snowcapped peaks, Vancouver easily ranks as one of the world's most beautiful cities. But in recent months, the people of Canada's Olympic city have been living in fear.

Even as
Vancouver prepares to host the 2010 Winter Games, its crime rate is going up. Since January alone, there have been 45 shootings in the region, 17 of them fatal. There were 58 murders last year in this region of 2.7 million people, up from 41 the year before, according to the regional Integrated Homicide Investigation Team.

The root of the problem seems to be drugs, or rather a shortage of them.

The Mexican cocaine supply line extends through the
United States, especially Los Angeles, up to Vancouver, according to Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superintendent Pat Fogarty. But now the Mexican government of President Felipe Calderón has mobilized 45,000 soldiers and 5,000 federal police to curb cartel activity. That has driven up the price of cocaine in Vancouver from $23,300 per kilogram to almost $39,000, Fogarty says, and gangs are killing each other.

"People are nervous ... and so are the police," says Fogarty, head of the regional gang task force. "The public's outraged. The government's outraged."

Vancouver social activist Jamie Lee Hamilton, who lives in Vancouver's seedy Downtown Eastside, says she no longer has much faith in the justice system.

"I'm really apprehensive about going out in the evening,"
Hamilton says. "We've turned into an American city.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Couple's Dreams of Immortality at Death's Door, Thanks to Madoff

original article here

Arakawa and Madeline Gins's quest to make human beings immortal is at risk of dying.

That's because the couple lost their life savings with Bernard Madoff, the mastermind of a multibillion-dollar fraud.

Of all the dreams that were crushed by Mr. Madoff's crime, perhaps none was more unusual than this duo's of achieving everlasting life through architecture. Mr. Arakawa (he uses only his last name) and Ms. Gins design structures they say can enable inhabitants to "counteract the usual human destiny of having to die."

Immortality Quest Hits Financial Snag

The pair's work, based loosely on a movement known as "transhumanism," is premised on the idea that people degenerate and die in part because they live in spaces that are too comfortable. The artists' solution: construct abodes that leave people disoriented, challenged and feeling anything but comfortable.

They build buildings with no doors inside. They place rooms far apart. They put windows near the ceiling or near the floor. Between rooms are sloping, bumpy moonscape-like floors designed to throw occupants off balance. These features, they argue, stimulate the body and mind, thus prolonging life. "You become like a baby," says Mr. Arakawa.

A typical apartment has three or four rooms in the shapes of either a cylinder, a cube, or a sphere. Rooms surround a kitchen-living room combination with bumpy, undulating floors and floor-to-ceiling ladders and poles. Dozens of colors, from school-bus yellow to sky blue, cover the walls, ceilings and other surfaces.

At least one tenant says he feels a little younger already. Nobutaka Yamaoka, who moved in with his wife and two children about two years ago, says he has lost more than 20 pounds and no longer suffers from hay fever, though he isn't sure whether it was cured by the loft.

There is no closet, and Mr. Yamaoka can't buy furniture for the living room or kitchen because the floor is too uneven, but he relishes the lifestyle. "I feel a completely different kind of comfort here," says the 43-year-old video director. His wife, however, complains that the apartment is too cold. Also, the window to the balcony is near the floor, and she keeps bumping her head against the frame when she crawls out to hang up laundry, he says. ("That's one of the exercises," says Ms. Gins.)The couple's destiny intersected with the Madoffs' in 1994, when Ms. Gins met Mr. Madoff's wife, Ruth, at an art gallery. Ms. Gins recalls that she later met the Madoffs at one of her art shows, and Mr. Madoff said he could help her by investing the couple's savings in his firm. 

The couple initially invested less than $1 million with Mr. Madoff. Over time, they added deposits and had several million dollars in their investment account at the time of his arrest, Ms. Gins says. "We were grateful to him; he was making things possible for us," she says.

Since Mr. Madoff's Ponzi scheme came to light, the couple have been trying to sell their seminal work, the "Mechanism of Meaning," a series of 84 8-foot-tall panels that took them 10 years to complete, for about $17 million.

"Museums in the U.S. and Germany would be the best candidates," says Lisa Dennison, an executive at Sotheby's who is trying to line up a buyer. "It's an amazing work, but there are not many possible customers for it."

Barring a sell-off of their collection, the couple fear they won't realize their dream of building a "reversible destiny" village with homes and parks that would combine their theories of life into one community.

"Here was someone we thought was a supporter of ours," says Ms. Gins of Mr. Madoff, "and he pulled the rug out from under us."

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

know about red maples?

Swamp maples are one of the earliest trees to flower here, and even without seeing them in bloom we would know by my allergy suffering husband. Mid February is the beginning of his worst time for allergies and this year is no exception. 
But they are beautiful and reading my favorite naturalist writer, sometime posting from Mexico, but now back near Natchez Mississippi they are unsual in the following way.....(you can read this complete entry and others online at:JIM CONRAD’S NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
The photo credit is also from this newsletter

RED MAPLES FLOWERING Especially with sunlight backlighting them one of the most gorgeous signs of spring right nowis the flowering Red Maples, Those are male flowers, for maple flowers are"polygamodioecious," which means that individual trees  are polygamous and that  that trees can bear only male or only female flowers OR both male and female flowers can reside on the same tree, BUT the most common condition is for trees to have only all male OR all female flowers. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

giant flowers take over home

Terra Ceia farms has the bulbs that make the biggest, brightest, blooms.  We give them due respect and admiration in our house, and they brighten my day every time I see them. I think that for me anyway, the power of beauty and brillant color in living things has a powerful effect on mood.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

tough to be a vole hunter.....

I have been working hard to get rid of those pesky voles, dig, dig dig... hard work for a little guy like me.

I did it for you! (well I guess digging for rodents is my terrier genes)

It's a dirty job but I'm glad to help.

And this is the thanks I get?  Foot washing I really despise.

Sigh...but tomorrow is another day, and I'll still be digging up those voles for you and me.