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Tuesday, June 30, 2009


My wife really likes daylilies, and we have quite a few planted in the front. The thing is, they spread somewhat easily, and now we have a daylily jungle!

Daylilies are beautiful, but sad in that each flower blooms for one day, then fades. Every day brings a different garden, because every bloom from yesterday is gone.

Not much aroma for such a large flower. I can only guess that my nose hasn't got the proper range to smell the fragrance, because bees, moths and beetles all seem to find these flowers without any trouble.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Robins almost ready

Some birds have learnt to coexist with people, and robins seem to be one of those species. This is a light sconce at work, under a metal awning. It's reasonably sheltered from sun, wind and rain, and the robins have decided that this is a good place to raise some babies.

I've seen 3 chicks in the nest, although only 2 are visible here. The babies are very quiet when people walk by, but they chirp up a storm when mum or dad shows up with a beak full of bugs! These chicks have most of their feathers - I suspect they'll be out on their own within the week.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ladybug nymph

Insects are amazing creatures. Their adult appearance is often nothing like their adolescent appearance, and the ladybug is one of those insects where the nymph is dramatically different from the adult.

This is a close-up of a nymph on one of my plants in the window box. She Who Must Be Obeyed knew what it was straightaway. Comes from hanging out with 6 year-olds, I guess! As near as I can tell from searching the Internet, these nymphs do not eat plants - they eat insects who eat plants. This one is walking down - head to the right side of the frame.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Skywatch Friday

It's Skywatch Friday; the day of the week when participants post photos of the sky where they live. This wasn't taken today, but it's only a few days old. Taken between rain showers, I was particularly struck by the little sparrow. Don't know why, exactly. It's just an amazing thing to see these little birds day after day, blazing sun, pouring rain or driving snow.

Visit the Skywatch Friday web page to see what the sky is like elsewhere!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Easter Lily

No, this isn't an old post escaping from a time vortex. And yes, this really is an Easter Lily. I have a personal weakness regarding plants. I can't throw them out. When we receive an Easter Lily, I keep watering it until it's safe to plant outside. And so now we have a collection of Easter Lilies in the front yard.

When allowed to bloom on their own schedule, they start in the middle of June hereabouts, and last for perhaps two weeks. This bloom is one of the last on the plant for this year. They smell so wonderful just outside the window!

Baby tomato

This year, we took (rented?) a plot at the Community Garden near our house. Community gardens are a project to put unused lots to work. Each gardener pays a small fee for a plot, and gets to cultivate it as they see fit.

We've already been harvesting lettuce - a nice treat. This is a future harvest - a baby tomato. We have quite a variety there: leeks, chives, squash, zucchini, lettuce, celery, kale, beans and flowers to attract pollinators.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hydrant flushing

Once or perhaps twice a year, the city comes round and opens the valves on the fire hydrants, to flush out any accumulated minerals in the pipes and to make sure they operate properly. Spring cleaning, if you will.

Our water system is very old, and our water contains a lot of dissolved minerals; manganese, I'm told, is predominant and accounts for the reddish colour that can be seen in the standing water at the base of the hydrant.

When the city is flushing hydrants, don't wash your clothes, or they'll get that slightly red tinge, too. Necessitating another round of spring cleaning! By the way, our city water supply is artesian, very pure and quite tasty compared to some municipal water I've tasted.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Yellow flowers in bloom

I have this... theory, I guess I'd call it. It seems to me that the flowers that bloom are grouped by colour. So, one moment most of the blooms will be yellow, the next moment, blue, the next, white. I haven't any idea how accurate this is - it just seems that at the moment, yellow is a predominant colour.

The flowers in the foreground come from my mother-in-law. She calls them Japanese Buttercups, but Google doesn't know about them. I think I trust my mother-in-law more than Google, so Japanese Buttercups is what I'll refer to them as. They are very vigourous - they seem to expand every year. This lot started out as one plant!

In the background are yellow coreopsis. Google tells me that the name comes from the Greek word meaning bedbug, of all things. Apparently, the Greeks thought the seeds looked like bedbugs. Who knew? These flowers seemed to spread for a few years, then they died back. I'm not experienced enough to know if this is a natural cycle or something I did to them. They seem very hardy, and if I remember to pluck the old flower heads, will continue to bloom for quite a while.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Manx flag

The Celtic Faire was located downtown, on Jay Street. Jay Street has been closed to auto traffic, and is now pedestrian only. There are many shops and boutiques there, and the street is lined with flags.

This flag has some particular significance for me, as it carries the trinacria - the three-legged symbol you can barely make out here. Sometimes called the triskelion, it is known in two places - the Isle of Man, and Sicily. My grandfather immigrated to the United States from Sicily, so the trinacria has a special meaning for me.

I have no idea why the Manx Flag was flying that day, but it made me smile to see it. It might make Babooshka smile, too.

On a housekeeping note, apologies to commenters, as I haven't yet caught up from my offline domestic chores enough to catch up on my digital chores! I appreciate all your remarks and will make a honest effort to catch up soon!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Celtic Faire

Last night, we had a Celtic Faire / Art Night event in downtown Schenectady (Jay St.) It was dusk, so the available light was marginal. There was a bagpipe band (the Schenectady Pipe Band) and I took several photos. This one was the best of the lot, although not exactly professional quality. I love the look of concentration on the drummer's face. They were excellent!

I was a bit surprised to watch the pipers tune up their drones with the help of an electronic tuner. High-tech and ancient tech all at the same time. Very cool.

Treats were, of course, for sale - we bought some Welsh cookies from the InFamous Welsh Cookie man. MMmmmm. Also bought Scottish shortbread from the Ancient Order of Hibernians. I make my own Scottish shortbread, so it was interesting to taste a different recipe. Need to track down a recipe for the Welsh cookies - they were new to me.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Luna moth

I've been away from the computer[1] and didn't have the presence of mind to set up a string of posts for Blogger to automatically post.

This is a close-up of a Luna Moth. Although several people told me these are common, I have to say that I have only seen a very few in all my life.

This is a hand-held photo. I was afraid it would turn out blurry, but there was plenty of sun that morning. I risked putting a finger on the surface the moth was resting on, and then holding the camera on top of my hand. Apparently that worked. I was drawn to the shadows cast by the beautiful antennae. The moth is about as big as my hand.

[1] I was away playing radio. I'm an amateur radio operator (ham) and I have a particular interest in VHF and up. In particular, I like to build microwave radios. There isn't all that much call for microwave radios except during VHF and up contests. In North America, the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) sponsor 4 VHF contests a year: January, June, August and September. I dont want to bore the photo people with ham radio stuff, so I don't normally mention it here.

Mt Greylock is a very beautiful place. The highest spot in Massachussetts, it is home to a wonderful variety of sub-alpine flora and fauna. Including this beautiful Luna Moth.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A more conventional peony

Here's a more conventional look at a peony. There's that little ant, still tending his garden!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Ant tending peony

I tried quite a few shots, but this was the best one available. The ants just won't stop moving!

I don't know why, but the ants constantly work on the peonies. From the moment the first tiny buds form until the last petal falls, ants are constantly roaming the plant, paying special attention to the buds and blossoms. It's a very curious thing.

Curious, yes, but I'm always reassured when I see the ants begin their work in the spring because I know the peonies aren't far away!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Skywatch Friday

It's another Skywatch Friday! Be sure to head over to the Skywatch Friday page and see all the wonderful photos there.

This is one of those sunsets that seem so rare and amazing. Taken at the end of my driveway because if I were to drive to a spot clear of trees and buildings it would be gone.

Magical moment.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


My wife does a great job with the flowers, so they are easy subjects for photography. I don't know that much about flowers - I have to look them up. I'm used to growing vegetables.

Anyway, this is one of the columbines growing in the garden. There are plants of various colours; this one seemed the most photogenic of the lot.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

First strawberry!

It seems like yesterday this was a flower! Being the first strawberry, of course the local wildlife has taken a nibble, but there are more where this came from. Yay!

Housekeeping note: I've been experiencing a bit of a problem posting comments, even to this blog so I've been incommunicado of late. Found out that it's because third-party cookies were disabled in my browser. That's fixed and I hope to start commenting on other blogs very soon.

By the bye. We ate this berry anyway!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Theme day - feet

It's Theme Day again for the City Daily Photo blogger community and this month's theme is Feet.

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

I discovered I didn't take a lot of photos of feet, but went back in time to find this shot of the dogs getting a treat. Femme (the large dog) has very large, web-toed feet, and they're all too often resting on mine!

While not overly artistic, this is a pretty typical scene in our house. I'm not sure if Spot the cat has the dogs believing they are cats, or whether he just doesn't care! At any rate, there's no frenzy here; everybody waits their turn.

Do stop in and have a look at the great photos from round the world at the City Daily Photo portal!
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