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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!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Autumn flowers

Commercial buildings often have seasonal flowers in their landscaping. These are hardy mums. They'll probably bloom until we get a hard frost, maybe as long as a month. We've already had temperatures dipping to just above freezing; you wake up and have to scrape the frost of the car windshield but the tougher plants are OK.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Art Bike crowd

Another shot from last week's Art Bike festival. There was food, there were people and there were motorcycles. There was a band playing, too - heavy rock. A very nice way to spend a few hours.

Monday, October 12, 2009


No, not an angry tax protest. Defiant is the name of this motorcycle! Last week, Schenectady hosted an Art Bike Festival, showcasing dozens of beautiful, hand made motorcycles like this one. State Street was closed for several blocks to allow for the crowd and for the motorcycles - there were hundreds of bikes there and what seemed like thousands of people. It was great to see so many people walking around downtown.

The bike builders came from far and wide. This bike was built by North Jersey Customs in New Jersey, but we have a local custom house called Broadway Choppers right here in Schenectady (they brought some bikes too!)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Vale Village

I live in a section of the city called Vale. Actually, the Vale neighbourhood is a thin slice between State Street and Vale Cemetery - it's so thin that we're generally lumped together with Hamilton Hill by everyone else in the city.

Several years ago, the city received a community block grant to revitalise the Vale and Hamilton Hill neighbourhoods. Streets were paved, sidewalks and curbing put in, signs went up - it was very encouraging to see.

This is one of the signs that went up. It's an arch across the street, raised up on brick pillars. It reminded me of some of Cieldequimper's photos for some reason.

Avon Market

As long as I'm thinking about local establishments, I thought I'd show Avon Market. Avon is an old fashioned meat market. The kind of place nestled in a residential section of the city, where people can walk down the street, pick up their food and walk home. Not many of these places left any more - it's all major supermarket chains like Hannaford and Price Chopper. Sure, the big chains have a meat counter and they'll even cut your meat to order if you ask them to, but Avon will do their best to order what you want. They recognise us on sight and they never fail to give the little one a slice of cheese or pepperoni.

Good people, good food.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Mohawk Ambulance

While looking through the photos of the Mohawk art, I stumbled across this one. Some days, it seems that all that is left of the native culture is their names...

Anyway, this is just down the street from me. We have private ambulance service here, and Mohawk Ambulance has been in the city for as long as I can remember. For the longest time, they had no competition, thus their slogan 'The Ambulance.'

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sweetgrass basket

Another example of traditional art by the Akwesasne people. This is a basket woven from sweetgrass. It's part of the exhibit at Union College called North By Northeast. The poster reads:

Sweetgrass is a marsh grass cherished by basketmakers for its pliability, colour and wonderful smell. Either woven a couple of strands at a time or braided, it is the signature element of many Haudenosaunee and Wabanaki fancy baskets. Picked in the summer, the grass is cleaned, tied into bundles and hung in the shade to dry.

'In Mohawk and Haudenosaunee culture, sweetgrass is referred to as the 'Hair of Mother Earth.' Its sweet fragrance is appealing and endears us to our Mother Earth. We know we are not disconnected from her when we can smell her sweet hair.' -- Salli Benedict (Mohawk)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Mohawk beaded collar

This is a beaded collar made by Niioieron Perkins of velvet, cotton, satin and glass beads. It's currently on display at Union College's North By Northeast exhibition, courtesy of the Akwesasne Museum. I can't imagine how long it took to make this. It's beautiful, and I'm glad I got to see it.

The Mohawks gave their name to the river that Schenectady is built on. Their culture predates the Europeans here by who knows how many hundreds or thousands of years. We don't get to see much of that culture any more.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Autumn is here

Went to Union College to see an exhibit called North By Northeast (more tomorrow) and it was such a typical autumn day that I took Autumn's photograph!

Sunday, October 4, 2009


This is Rosie, the Scottish Highland cow. She lives at Indian Ladder Farm, a short drive from my house. Although I live in the city proper, I don't have to travel very far to be in genuine farm country, whether it be fruit trees, corn fields or dairy cows. Really, upstate is mostly farm land interspersed with cities along the major rivers (Hudson and Mohawk) and highways (NY State Thruway and Adirondack Northway.) Once off those major thoroughfares, it's pretty rural.

If you're up at Indian Ladder, Rosie is behind a double fence because of those long horns. The folks there don't want you to get accidentally poked as Rosie looks round. She likes apples and will lean in tight if you scratch her under her eyes and on her neck. Very friendly, is Rosie!

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Cucuzzedda is a Sicilian word that generally translates to zucchini or squash. The spelling of Sicilian words tends to be somewhat... flexible, but the meaning comes across to those who have heard it spoken.

These things are over a yard / metre long!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Skywatch Friday

There's a group of photo bloggers who post a photo of their sky every Friday - it's called Skywatch Friday. Click the link to see the marvelous skies from all over the planet.

Don't know what to say about this one. Hand held and a bit shaky, but I don't think the effect was too bad.
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