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Monday, June 30, 2008

Last of the peas

The peas are just about done. They don't like the heat and I don't see any more flowers so this is the end of fresh peas until next spring.

I like to pick the pods, hull them and eat them right off the vine. They're amazingly sweet that way!

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Summer is the season of thunderstorms.

This is a photograph of the street in front of my house. A moment before this was taken, hail was falling, but by the time I got the camera out it had stopped.

Luckily though, the sun was positioned just right to create a faint rainbow right in my field of view, so this frame has heavy raindrops superimposed on a rainbow with an asphalt background.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ice cream truck

Summer must be here, the ice cream truck is coming around!

You can't make it out here, but the name on the truck is 'Mr Ding-a-Ling.' It plays children's songs as it drives through the neighbourhood.

When we hear Greensleeves, It's a Small World, or Fur Elise or Camptown Races, we know who's near!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Famous grave... sort of

Vale Cemetery has many families who were famous in Schenectady buried in it. One of those families is the Westinghouse family. The famous member, George Westinghouse, Jr., is buried in Arlington Cemetery, but much of his family lie here. George's father, George Sr. invented the thresher, so his family was quite well known even before George Jr. did his inventing. George Jr. attended Union College, also here in Schenectady for a few months before quitting to start his career inventing.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Perpetual Care

Some of the monuments in Vale Cemetery have small signs like this engraved on them. I found the juxtaposition of the words and the dry, cut grass interesting.

The small trees just sprouting in the cracks are proof enough of the amount of care it takes to maintain a place like this.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Vale Cemetery

Took a walk in Vale Cemetery today. It was a nice day, and the cemetery was quiet, with only a few people aside from myself.

I took this photo in 'Potter's Field' - a section set aside for the burial of the poor. In this particular section, there are many who died of the flu in 1918, as well as several Native Americans. I found this particular headstone and was unable to leave without getting it's portrait.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Milkweed flowers

The milkweed is blooming.

That may not sound like a wonderful thing, but it's pretty cool. Although they have broad leaves and shade (and crowd out) other plants in the garden, the butterflies like them, and if you lean close, they have a very subtle fragrance which is very pleasant.

In the autumn, those flowers will have been transformed into pods containing dozens of seeds, each one on a tuft of fluff, waiting for the wind to carry it to a new place. Where they'll bloom next summer.

We always leave a few of these to grow in the garden. If you are so inclined, be aggressive when pulling them in the spring - they will take over!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Nice sky

Every so often the skies cooperate and we get a pretty sunset. While this isn't exactly sunset, it's close.

I think they're called crepuscular rays.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The strawberries are ripe!

While not in the city itself, there is a family farm called Buhrmaster's . They are on NY Rt 50 in nearby Scotia.

We wanted to pick our own rather than buy them already picked. We took the little one and off we went. The lady at the field found this unusual specimen and gave it to him.

He was very impressed, and insisted I take a photo of it.

Monday, June 16, 2008


Not that you can tell, but this is in the dog park. My 5 year old took this photo. I think he has a better eye for art than I do!

This is simple weeds growing in the cracks in the macadam surface of the former tennis court. He saw the shapes converging. When I saw this, I saw the inevitable progression of time, working to return the asphalt back to its constituent materials.

I think I like his perspective better.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

My street

This is a view of my street. The markings on the utility poles are new. It looks like someone is getting ready to do some work on the street because gas lines are being marked with paint.

I can't wait to find out what's going to happen!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Central Park's Iroquois Lake

I thought it might be interesting to put the camera down low to see the plants growing in the pond. I guess technically it's called Iroquois Lake, but I always called it the pond.

It's shallow, and heats up quickly. Water plants thrive in these conditions, and quickly fill the pond with growth.

I think the ducks and geese appreciate it, but the people who rent paddle boats may not.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Ripe strawberries

It doesn't take long for the strawberries in the side yard to get ripe. We don't have many plants, so these are a real treat!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dog Park

In Central Park, one of the old tennis courts has had the nets removed, and the enclosure turned over to dog owners and their charges.

People bring their dogs, who get to mingle and socialise with each other and the humans. The humans get to mingle and socialise with the other dogs. A match made in heaven.

Drop in some evening around 6.00 PM.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


It's hard to believe these have been gone for two months, but it's true. The flower garden has almost been overrun by green and the wondrous colours of early spring are just a memory.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Typical weather

I'm on vacation, so I hope Blogger manages to auto-post this for me!

This is typical weather here. We're used to the clouds and rain, but that doesn't mean we like it. Although, the blue sky next to a sun-light cloud makes for an interesting juxtaposition!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Never happy with the weather

The temperature today was quite hot - over 95F (35C) and muggy. The sort of day one wishes it were a bit cooler.

OK. Maybe not this cool, but maybe not 95F, either.

This photo was taken just 6 months ago, when shoveling snow made me wish for the warmer months.

One is never happy with the weather!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The peonies are open

The weather was threatening today, but never actually rained. And so I had an opportunity to look at the peonies in my side yard. Not only do they smell wonderful, but they're photogenic, too!

I took the opportunity to visit the Heartland Peony Society's FAQ (frequently asked questions) to get the scoop on why ants crawl all over the bugs before they open. Apparently, there's nectar and they like it!

Friday, June 6, 2008

We needed the rain

It's been strangely dry this spring, but rain will eventually fall. I tried and tried to get a representative photograph, but the lens kept getting wet. This was the best of the lot; I liked the effect on the children walking to school. It's almost as if they're dissolving in the rain.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Not quite strawberry season

We don't have a large property, but we try to keep a few vegetables and flowers. One of the plants my wife likes to cultivate is strawberries. Today, she and the little one picked a ripe one and ate it straight out of the garden, but mostly, the berries look like this one.

In a few weeks they'll all be ripe and eaten.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Cleaning machine

Continuing the 'cleaning up' theme, periodically, the city sends mechanical street sweepers along the streets. They have water sprays and metal brushes they use to sweep the street near the curb. There's a large roller brush that picks up the debris and sweeps it into a bin in front. That bin is periodically emptied into a dump truck, and the water tank replenished at a fire hydrant. It's very maneuverable, as the steering is done by a single wheel in the rear. Watching it pivot neatly around parked cars is amazing.

It was quite coincidental that the street sweeper ran down my street just as I was leaving for work this morning! Thank you for making my little part nicer! Now I can rollerblade in the street again without tripping over all those small stones :-)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Schenectady is an industrial city located in Upstate NY. Upstate means 'north of Westchester County' to us living here. For those living in the Adirondacks, Upstate means 'north of the Mohawk River.' It's funny how no one upstate wants to be associated with those farther south...

Anyway, Schenectady's industry has been in decline for many years. Formerly known as The City that Lights and Hauls the World due to being the home of General Electric and American Locomotive, neither is flourishing here anymore. ALCO is gone entirely, and GE has pared the plant to a shade of it's former size.

Former Mayor Jurczynski (pronounced jur-ZIN-ski) decided to do something about the declining fortunes (and population) of the city, and encouraged Guyanese immigrants living in Queens to move up here, buy some of our run-down houses and rebuild. It was a somewhat controversial decision, but now, 6 years later, I can say that it has been a good decision with very positive results for the city.

Instead of dilapidated and condemned houses sitting on trash-strewn property, these hard-working men and women have cleaned, painted, sided and renovated so that the properties are a thing of beauty. Instead of absentee landlords who rarely care for the property or tenants, these are owner-occupied, with all the pride and care that goes along with that.

I have several Guyanese neighbours, and I love walking by their homes when they're cooking dinner! Such lovely aromas!

By the way, we pronounce the name of our city skuh-NEK-tuh-dee.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Bluegills in Central Park

The bluegills are nesting in Iroquois Lake in Central Park. My son and I went up to soak up a bit of sun and enjoy the aquatic life. The fish carefully fan all the silt off the bottom to prepare for their egg laying. They are very protective of these nests, and aggressively chase off intruders.

Also in (and on) the lake were smallmouth bass, a variety of frogs, Canada geese and mallard ducks.

Several people were trying their luck at fishing, but they didn't seem to be having much in the way of luck. Well, that's lucky for the fish anyway!

This was taken at the fishing deck west of the Casino.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

First post

I was inspired by Eric over at Paris Daily Photo to try to take a photograph a day of Schenectady. No idea how well I'll manage that, but it should be a good way to stay motivated to keep up with my photography. Since the first of the month is Theme day at the City Daily Photo ring, I thought I'd start there. The theme this month is My Local Corner Shop, I thought it fitting to take a walk to the corner and photograph mine:

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