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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Last of the Brussels sprouts

We waited until it snowed to pick these Brussels sprouts. We planted them very late in the season, so it was a bonus to get anything at all. The biggest is about the size of my thumbnail, which I neglected to put in the frame for a sense of scale...

Very tender and tasty.

Monday, December 7, 2009

They don't seem to mind

We had our first 'real' snow this weekend. Not that much, the National Weather Service says 3 inches. The first snow is often magical - it clings to everything, turning the world into a faery's dreamland!

These ducks in Vale Park didn't seem to mind. When I walked down to the edge of the water, they swam over. I didn't have any food for them, but they stuck around until I left.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

It stuck!

It stuck! That's how we say that the snow didn't melt. All the tree branches are covered with snow and it looks beautiful. Of course that means the sidewalks are icy, which is less wonderful, but it's kind of Zen when you think of it.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Skywatch Friday

It's Friday, when many photo bloggers post photos of their skies. Visit Skywatch Friday to see what other people saw in their skies!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Milkweed seeds

My wife likes to let a few milkweed plants grow for the butterflies to eat. At the end of their growing season, the seed pods burst open revealing scores of seeds. Each one has its own fluffy sail, ready to go out into the world and make a mark. And maybe feed some butterflies.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Confused hydrangea

The weather has been so mild this year that the hydrangea has started budding. Again. I'm seriously thinking of cutting it back because I fear this growth will draw strength from the plant - strength it needs to survive the coming winter.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Theme Day - Waiting

Each month, on the first, the City Daily Photo blogs simultaneously post a photograph that expresses a common theme. This month, the theme is waiting.

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Time to replace the bulb

The traffic lights at State St and Brandywine Ave need some attention. These fellows work in the middle of traffic but what alternative is there? Believe me, they are working as fast as they can so they can get out of there - this is a busy intersection.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

I'm not the only one taking photos in Schenectady. These street cameras are becoming more ubiquitous every day. I don't think cameras like this reduce crime, and I don't think there is any particularly good evidence that they help solve crime either.

Does the person watching this recognise me when I go by every day?

As an amateur radio operator, I was more interested in the antennas than the camera. That size antenna probably means somewhere in the 2 GHz band.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Solitary tree

A lone tree keeping watch over St John's Cemetery.

Friday, November 20, 2009

And then there were none

A short walk from where I took yesterday's photo. I looked up and liked the pattern of branches and sky. In the summer no sky at all was visible from here.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The last leaves

In Vale cemetery, one maple tree insists that it will keep its leaves thank you very much!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Clinton and State Street

The north side of State Street seen from Clinton. The whole area has new facades on renovated buildings. It's very nice. Bomber's Burrito Bar just moved in, which has attracted attention. Maybe we'll see businesses moving back to the downtown area after all.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Turnip in the sun

Some years we've already had snow, but not this year. This year, the garden is still producing all the way into November, which seems incredible to me, but my wife planned it, not me. I'm more of a tomato and basil sort of guy; they don't like the cold at all. She planted a second crop of cold hardy veggies like this delightfully coloured turnip.

It's incredible to think that we've had a bunch of nights below freezing and these just keep growing!

Monday, November 16, 2009


It's the time of the year we tend to stop and reflect on what's happened during the year, to be thankful for what we have and to resolve to do better next year.

That's a strange introduction to this odd photo, which is a deliberate attempt by me to visually interpret the idea of milestones. I planned my ride home so that I could pull over and get a photo of the odometer on my motorcycle just before it rolled over to 21 thousand miles.

For those interested, it's a 2003 Kawasaki ZRX-1200R. It's running in this photo, idling at 1200 RPM. Yes, it will go as fast as the speedometer indicates. No, I have not taken it that fast, but I have inadvertently lifted the front wheel clean off the ground.

Something I resolve not to do again!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

House reflected by the minivan

Taken this afternoon - I was stuck for inspiration when it found me! I was trying to get a photo of the little one and he shut the van door. This was way better than what I would have taken by myself!

My friend in Versailles told me about the Weekend Reflections fans; this is my first real submission there. Late, of course, and the title of my blg is wrong. Hopefully I'll get it straightened out the next time I post :-)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Persistent bee

We have a few weeds growing in the hedge. I call them weeds only because that's what everyone calls them. We always called this stuff goldenrod; I think that's right but I'm no botanist!

At any rate, there aren't many flowers left in bloom, but these flowers are going strong. They should; they're natives here and are very well suited to the terrain and weather. Since these are among the last flowers, they have been attracting a steady stream of bees. This particular plant had a honey bee (seen here), a yellow jacket and two bumblebees on it at the same time.

It wasn't until I looked at the photo on the computer that I realised just how much work this honeybee was doing - look at the pollen packet on her back leg!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Skywatch Friday

Traces of travellers on a clear day.

For more photos of the sky from round the world, visit Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cowhorn Creek

Down in the bottom of Vale Cemetery, where Cowhorn Creek is crossed by the westernmost path. Down by the Revolutionary War monument, if you're a local.

The trees have mostly lost their leaves although one or two stubbornly hang on. Slumbering for next year's growth.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lest we forget

Not a political statement. But with a son, a son-in-law and two brothers-in-law on active duty, I can't help but remember their service.

Today is Veterans Day in the US; ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand, Armistice Day, Poppy Day or Remembrance Day elsewhere in the world.

Lest we forget.

If you see a veteran today, thank him or her.

For The Fallen
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

--Laurence Binyon

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Late flower

So we're cleaning up the garden plot at the community garden and among the leaves and weeds (oops!) we find the flowers we planted in the spring in order to attract the pollinators to the garden.

I have no idea what this is, but being low to the ground and sheltered by weeds, it has survived the frosts so far.

It's glorious to see a flower blooming so nicely outside in November!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Maple leaves

Someone told me that each tree has its own distinctive colour scheme; colours that are always there but only become visible in the autumn, after the chlorophyll dies off. Most of the maple trees in this area are generally a blend of yellow and red. This tree is a surprisingly uniform yellow. I don't see many of these.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Grasshopper in the sun

My youngest has a deep and abiding interest in insects; actually, he's fascinated by pretty much any creature he can touch. This grasshopper was captured, lovingly admired, carefully carried around on a finger and then released back into the wild.

Soon, they'll all be gone; their eggs dormant in the ground until the spring.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Frosty handprints

Chilly nights mean frost on car windows. Someone (and I'm not saying who) put his hand in the frost and made a handprint. Then someone else thought it'd be a cool idea to be a copycat and take a photo...

Friday, November 6, 2009

Skywatch Friday

It's Friday, which means that there are people round the world posting photos of their skies! Click on the Skywatch Friday link to see many more!

I've been working for some time to capture that eerie large moon that catches your eye and makes you stop and take note. I don't think it's ever going to work with the Nikon Coolpix 950 - it can't zoom enough. On the other hand, I've learnt a lot about hand holding in low light situations.

This photo is one of my learning shots. I thought it was a loser until I saw it at full size.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Rainy leaves

More than anything this reminds me of my childhood. Scuffing my feet through the leaves on the ground on my way to school in the rain.

I always did like the rain.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Dark skies

In an attempt to actually make a photo as opposed to simply snapping something that catches my eye, I thought I'd try this pine tree on a cloudy day in black & white.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Autumn chairs

Enjoying an autumn day out in the air. These sorts of warm, sunny days are ever more precious with the turning of the leaves.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Soccer strategy session

Before their Saturday game, the kids and coach / instructor get together to discuss strategy. At this age, I imagine it sounds a lot like this:

'Let's all have fun, right! Oh, and try not to run around in a clump - spread out a little every once in a while...'

They are such a blast to watch at this age.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Theme Day - Doorways

On the first day of the month, many of the City Daily Photo blogs post a photo based on a common theme. This months theme is doorways.

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

This particular doorway was serendipity. I was waiting in the car for my wife to finish a bit of shopping and I saw the sign but could not read it. So I picked up the camera, zoomed in and found my theme day doorway.

I actually planned to post a macro of my eye (doorway to the soul?) but this is more interesting. The text reads:

Please go to back door
Remove shoes and shelf them
Wash or sanitize hands
Thank you

There is a story behind that sign, behind that door but I do not know it. I hope everyone there is well and wish them the best.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pumpkin patch

Halloween is one of the holidays we associate with pumpkins. We often hollow them out and carve faces into them, then on Halloween night, put a candle inside to illuminate them from within. I say 'we' but I don't know if the younger generation still do this or not. Maybe they get theirs pre-made and injection moulded.

This is what pumpkins look like when they are in the field. I don't know why these are called pumpkin patches. I've never seen a 'patch.' It takes a lot of room to grow a pumpkin - the vines spread out quite a distance!
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Friday, October 30, 2009

Skywatch Friday

Somehow I had a complete brain lapse this morning and neglected my daily photo. Remembering that it's Friday and thus, Skywatch Friday, I took a photo on the way home. This is shot from the car as I was driving so the composition isn't the best, but I think the clouds are interesting enough that I'll post it anyway.

Click the link for more excellent photos of skies from round the world.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Autumn grasses

The leaves have already fallen off of some of the trees and the colours are fading to the pale honey of the grasses. Until the snow comes, when the gentle colours will be replaced by the stark white of winter.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


We let some of the mustard green go to seed (bolt) thinking we'd make home made mustard. Imagine my surprise when we tried to harvest the seeds from the seed pods. There are only 4 or 5 mustard seeds in each pod and there are hundreds and hundreds of pods on a single plant. It is a lot more work than I imagined and these seeds are really, really tiny. That's my thumb and forefinger holding one seed pod.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Beaver lodge

This pile of sticks is in the middle of a pond at Grafton Lakes State Park. It is a beaver's house which for some reason is called a lodge. The beaver cuts down all those branches and carries them out there where he builds his house, plastering it together with mud. The entrance is under water, making it very safe to raise a family!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Downtown emu

Yesterday was the last outdoor Greenmarket (farmer's market) downtown. Next week, the Greenmarket moves indoors. We had two special guests - George and Grace, a pair of emus from Cooper's Ark Farm were here. And they were quite popular, too as you can see from the smile reflected in the cell phone...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Autumn colour

We've had several frosty nights and the trees are showing their colours now. This maple tree is in a neighbour's yard - it's amazing how different it can look depending on the way the sun hits it.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


This is a fairly common plant in the forests here. Wintergreen has a minty, spicy flavour and is quite distinctive when you bruise a leaf. I've never made tea from it although I've heard it's good. If I find a large enough patch of it perhaps I'l give it a whirl. I don't really want to strip all the leaves off of a single plant.

This is a fairly thick forest. The wintergreen is growing in a patch of light where a tree fell and made room.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Skywatch Friday

A rare, perfectly cloudless day. And the geese are flying south for the winter...

Visit Skywatch Friday to see the skies of other participants. They're incredible!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ghost of a fallen leaf

when conditions are just right,
on the sidewalk
on a wet day.

No one dislodges it...
The sun comes out
and leaches some of the leaf
into the sidewalk.

A breeze carries the leaf off,
leaving its ghostly image behind
for me to remember it by.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fallen leaf

In our climate, there are many deciduous trees - the sort that lose their leaves in the autumn. The leaves go somewhere, and some days it seems as if they all fall on my sidewalk! Normally, they're not still green when they drop off the tree, but this one decided to be different.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Grape vine tendrils

A close-up of the vines at the Hudson-Chatham winery, south of here. There's something about the contrast between the metal and the vine that caught my eye.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Grafton State Park

Although I live in the city, nature isn't very far away. This is Grafton Lake, a very beautiful State Park set aside for all New Yorkers to enjoy. It was a chilly day, but we met several people walking through the woods along the lake.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

MVP building

This is the front of the MVP Healthcare Building. It's somewhat more interesting than the back.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Always there

Day or night, police, fire and ambulance services are on the job. Thanks to all who serve!
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Friday, October 16, 2009

Skywatch Friday

Taken while we were picking raspberries at Yonder Farms in Kinderhook, NY. For wonderful photos of other people's skies, visit Skywatch Friday!

Note: I published this via Picasa. Should be interesting to see if it's different than when I post throught the web interface.
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

October raspberries

Believe it or not, there's a local farm still picking raspberries! Until the frost kills the plants, raspberries will still grow on certain varieties, and they may taste better now than in June. Not because they're really any sweeter, but because finding even one raspberry in October seems like such a treat!
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