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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Puppy in the flowers

Another rescued animal joins the menagerie. This is Roku, the Japanese Chin. He has a liver problem and no one wanted him. Well, except us. His problem is easily treated with special diet and he's quite a happy fellow. He is learning to get along with everyone else in the house. Puppies are... high energy.

Anyway, here he is after a walk, lounging in the flower bed. The violets don't care that they're being sat on and the grape hyacinth colour is strangely influenced by the pure white of his fur. He's looking at a bee, going about it's business; thus the strange pose.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bleeding heart

My bleeding hearts have flowered! That was quick, but we've had summer-like temperatures here (88F - 31C) for the past few days, and the flowers love it!

I likes the out-of-focus background, but I couldn't figure out a way to move the chives and take the photo at the same time. Yes, chives. I'm not sure how they got into the flowers; probably our friendly neighbourhood squirrels at work.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


My hands. Sunburnt. I own a motorcycle, and Sunday I rode from my house to my son in Connecticut. Forgot my gloves. It was a beautiful, warm sunny day. You can see where the wind blew my jacket sleeves up my wrists. They were burnt when I got there - 3 and a half hours riding. The watch band shielded my left wrist and now it looks pretty funny.

Of course, once there, we rode round for another couple of hours which didn't help the sun burn heal. Not that smart but it doesn't hurt. My wife says that only higher-developed organisms can feel pain. I think she's right :-)

We rode to the Devil's Hopyard, which is a very interesting place. Crazy geography with steep hills and deep valleys all jammed together. A nice stream and waterfall, all covered in forest that seemed like it was there for ten thousand years. Why the place has this name is apparently a mystery, which suits the spirit of the place very well.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Seemingly overnight, the violets went from just poking out of the soil to full bloom! How crazy and wonderful Spring is!

These plants are basically weeds if you can imagine it. They seeded themselves and come back in riotous glory every spring. I can't bear to pull them out to make room for 'real' flowers, so the real flowers grow in between the violets...

Fire engine

This is a photo of one of the ladder trucks belonging to the Schenectady Fire Department. They were in the neighbourhood yesterday because there was a fire in a neighbour's house. It was a kitchen fire, and everyone is safe but the fire fighters took every precaution, sending the ladder truck as well as the pump truck.

They never rolled out the hoses, using hand held fire extinguishers to put it out - the neighbour called before it got out of hand, thank heaven.

This is a photo of the ladder truck negotiating the corner on their way back to the station.

Bless everyone who fights fires.

Friday, April 24, 2009


In the spring, the cattails are all dried up and shedding their seeds. Instead of the compact, brown beauties we see in the autumn, we see these downy creations in their stead.

My youngest and I trekked through the swamp in the bottom of Vale (not sure if it's the cemetery here or the park) and had a grand adventure watching for frogs and snakes and crayfish and fish and several species of birds.

This day, we saw a woodpecker - hard to see; easy to hear - mallard ducks and Canada geese. In fact, a pair of geese are swimming toward us in the photo. The male was banded round his neck with a plastic band and large black numbers that were easy to read from a distance. The female had no band.

We did see small fish in the shallows, but the crayfish were apparently all hiding from the sun, because we didn't see any. Walking through the cattails was somewhat laborious because rubbing up against them dislodged the seeds on their downy parachutes and they easily get up your nose and cover your clothes in very persistent down! It was a wonderful day down by the water. Speaking of which: I can't find a name for the pond here although some very old maps name the stream that feeds it Cowhorn Creek.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Yesterday I posted a macro of forsythia. This is what the bush looked like alongside the path, among the trees. Quite a splash of colour!

Monday, April 20, 2009


Walking through Vale and was surprised to see this lone forsythia blooming madly aid the tree trunks. It's in a shady spot, which is a little unusual. Typically, these are planted hereabouts either as a centrepiece to a garden, or as a hedge.

Of course I had to take the macro of it. Tomorrow I'll show the bush in place.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Union College rowing team

It's a cool day today, cloudy and more wintry than springlike. The Union College women are out on the river anyway, honing their racing skills.

This is obviously an 8 seat shell, but the 4 seat teams were out, too.

Go U!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Announcing the arrival of spring

These hyacinths looked for all the world to me like trumpets heralding the arrival of spring. I couldn't resist posting yet another flower photo.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Canada geese

There was a flock of geese as well as some ducks at the Duck Pond in Central Park. We were walking the dogs, and decided to let the missus walk the dogs whilst myself and the youngest checked out the waterfowl. He's off in the distance with his blue jacket on.

The geese weren't particularly afraid of people even though these are wild birds. There are enough people around that they are incautious. I was about 5 feet (1.5m) away when I took this photo.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

First butterfly

I'm pretty sure it's a butterfly: I'm no insect expert. All the moths I know have antennae which are feathery. Anyway, I was down at Vale Park, by the water, looking at geese when this specimen fluttered by. I think he was toying with me, because he'd set down, I'd creep forward as silently as possible and he'd lift off as I got close.

We went through this dance for several minutes until he decided I wasn't trying to eat him and let me take his portrait.

It's washed out because I didn't take the time to try to adjust the camera. I was afraid he'd fly away before I had his picture. All in all a very satisfying photo for me.

Monday, April 13, 2009

First snake

The six year-old was thrilled to find the first snake of spring. This fellow (lady?) was sunning in the leaves on the side of the path. He didn't mind being picked up for all to see. Got petted, ogled then released safely back to his habitat before he could get stressed.

We always called these snakes garter snakes, but after looking up garter snakes, it seems it's such a broad category that ANY snake could be a garter snake! All I can tell you is that his head is about the size of my thumb and he wasn't remotely inclined to bite me. I was calm and peaceful though, so I didn't stress him.

Nature and her lessons are everywhere; even in the middle of the city!

Wild flowers

In Vale Cemetery, on my way down to visit the skunk cabbages, the side of the path was bursting with these little blue flowers so I knelt down and took their photograph. They are on a south-facing slope, so they see plenty of sun during the day and that apparently woke them up from their winter nap. Further down the way, I note the tiger lilies poking their leaves out of the ground, too.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Spring flower

I have no idea what this one is, how embarrassing! It's a low plant, no taller than the span of my fingers, comes from a bulb every year. I liked the back-lit perspective.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Spring flower

I think it's a daffodil, but it could be a jonquil. The squirrels have left random bulbs and I can't remember what's what anymore!

In any event, it's quite short, less than one hand tall, and I love the contrast between the bell and the petals.

Monday, April 6, 2009

So close and yet so far...

Sleeping together on the couch, the cat and the dog don't mind each others company. It's funny though, that no matter how much she stretches out, the dog won't touch the cat. And it's not the claws: as far as I know, the cat has never scratched the dog, even once.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Skywatch Friday

It's Skywatch Friday again. Follow the link to the other participants round the world as they post their skies.

Sometimes, the best sky is way down low, hiding between the houses, peeping between the tree branches. The sky in the clear, above my head that is, is pretty uninspiring. Down on the horizon, it's pretty neat. I think the whole point of Skywatch Friday is to take advantage of 'found' imagery rather than an expression of the photographer's art in creating one, so I don't feel too bad about the result here.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Backup theme day - Crocuses

This was my original theme day submission but I liked the cat better. Of course, that doesn't mean I think the crocuses are bad!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Theme day - Yellow

It's the first of the month and that means Theme Day at the City Daily Photo blogs. This month's theme is yellow. Be sure to visit the other participants; they are an incredible, creative group! Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

I took a classic close-up of yellow crocuses, but I'm guessing that will be somewhat popular, this being early spring in the northern hemisphere. So I tried something a bit different. You'll have to use your imagination a little bit.

This is my cat Huck sitting in the window. Actually, he's sitting on the radiator in front of the window. He loves this spot. He sometimes pushes his head between the slats of the blinds so he can get a better view. He can peer out, watch the birds and squirrels and enjoy the warm, yellow sun. It's so warm and so yellow, when it reflects off him it even lights up the wood window frame with a golden glow. Not too shabby for a domestic short hair tiger tabby!
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