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Wednesday, March 31, 2010


A spring crocus bursts through the old leaves of autumn.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

March flowers

Early spring flowers prefer rain to snow, and they've been happy lately!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Busy bee

When the first flowers open, the first bees arrive to harvest the nectar. What an amazing coincidence! :-) I wonder if the bees go out when it rains?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Operation Free

The big dog and I went for a walk, and downtown, in Veteran's Park, a rostrum was set up. Typically, there are very few people there this time of the year, and it was a blustery day, but today several men - obviously veterans - were milling about. Then, this bus pulled up.

It turns out that it's a group of veterans who want to free the US from dependence on foreign oil. An interesting coalition to say the least! They have a web site at Operation Free.

I think they're just getting started. Congressman Paul Tonko made a speech to a handful of veterans, myself and the dog. She's a good listener. I wish them success in their efforts. They need more advertising, because no one was here and neither the Congressman's web site nor the Operation Free web site mention the bus stopping in Schenectady.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Almost gone

The last of the ice blocks from the winter. They're almost all melted now. The river was very calm; weather like this makes it seem very warm no matter what the actual temperature is!

Visit Newtown Daily Photo this weekend for other reflections. Thanks James!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Skywatch Friday

Being Friday, it's time for another edition of Skywatch Friday. Click the link to see skies from all over the world!

This probably looks pretty bad in the small size, but that's about how it looked to me when I heard them. These are Canada Geese, flying north for the summer. Somebody's breaking the rules - they ought to be flying in a vee formation. This bunch is flying in the Uluru formation!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ice sheet

No, it's not a new ice age. I just happened to like this clear sheet of ice. Of course the little one was enthusiastic to help me take the photo. Well, for a bit. Then it got too chilly to hold.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hiking in the snow

There's still some snow down in Vale, but it'll likely be melted this week. This is a very pleasant walk when it's dry; when it's wet like this, it's a hike! Good thing the little one wore his boots. He can walk in the rivulets of melting snow. Too bad his Dad wasn't quite as prepared!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Motorcycle weather!

The temperature was above freezing and the roads were dry, which means no icy surprises! And so I took the bike to work. That snow will be all gone before the week is out and then I can ride every day!

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Black Angel

We've always called her The Black Angel; she might have an official name but I don't know it. She stands watch over the Veeder family plot in Vale Cemetery. I always found her comforting and peaceful. Whoever designed this plot understood comfort; just out of the frame to the right is a semi-circular stone bench where one can sit and remember the family - all the families - in the peaceful wood.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

First day of spring

More even than the beautiful flowers that bloom, these remind me of the cycles of the seasons. These are humble chives, reaching through last year's exhausted growth into the chilly spring air, renewing themselves for another season.

The rest of the garden is covered in last autumn's leaves, dry and mouldy, but chives view that seemingly ugly cover as a blanket to keep them warm at night.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Skywatch Friday

I don't know why, but crows like to hang out in Vale Cemetery. I would have thought they'd prefer the city, where they can scavenge more... stuff, but crows are uncommon on the streets and very common here.

For other Skywatch Friday photos, click the link!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Icy needles

This needs some explanation. This is one of the blocks of ice washed up onto the sidewalk by the Mohawk River. I have no idea how long it's been out of the water, so I don't know if the crystalline structure is how it was made (the way it froze) or how it is being unmade (crystallising as it melts and re-freezes). Each of these crystals is about the size of a crochet needle.

At any rate, the whole block looks like this, and it's quite beautiful in contrast with the dark crust on the top (upper left). When I encountered this, all of the crystals were still lined up in their ranks, but as I stopped to admire it, and frame the photo, Roku the puppy walked over it, dislodging some of them. Twice.

I think he improved the photo.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St Patrick's Day!

St Patrick's Day is one ethnic holiday that every American seems eager to celebrate. We eat 'Irish' food like corned beef and cabbage, we put on green clothes and we generally celebrate the day by festooning green everywhere. (There's even green beer!)

My garden won't get truly green for another few weeks, but the snow drops have made it back into the sunlight. I couldn't resist the subtle green on the inside of this one.

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Roku by the river

Roku is a small dog, but he doesn't let that stop him. He is very active when we walk, climbing on snowbanks and tree stumps. Here, he insists on climbing a large block of river ice to get a better view for his next foray.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Skunk cabbage

It's a sure sign of spring when the skunk cabbages begin their rise out of the swamp and snow. These are about a week old now. They generat their own heat, which makes the little green plants happy!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Skywatch Friday

This Skywatch Friday I decided to try something a little different. My camera is an older model, and it takes a long time between the moment I press the shutter release (can I still call it that?) and the moment it captures the image. So my framing of moving objects is less than stellar! So this time, I decided to track the object and not look through the viewfinder... So the tree is blurry but the plane is OK. Trade-offs...

The aircraft is the venerable C-130 Hercules cargo plane. We see quite a lot of these planes here because the New York Air National Guard 109th Airlift wing operates from an air base right across the river in Scotia. The 109th has a very unique mission. They help support and supply the scientific research teams in the Antarctic as well as missions to Greenland. They have a special model of the Hercules that has skis installed as well as wheels! Unfortunately, the one plane I managed to capture on film doesn't have them.

A very interesting plane and a very interesting mission.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Tenin Technique

Happy Anniversary to Eric Tenin at Paris Daily Photo! Eric is the spiritual father of all the City Daily Photo blogs. Without him, there'd be no CDP and without them, I wouldn't be here either. Bravo!

In honour of this anniversary, many of us are trying out what has come to be known as the Tenin technique. He places the camera very low - on the floor, even, and takes a photo from that perspective.

The photo today was taken a few steps away from Tuesday's photo. The sidewalks are made of large slabs of slate. They're very flat, and for all I know they're two hundred years old. The concrete sidewalks never last this long! If you look carefully, you can see Lawrence the Indian.

To see all of the photos honouring Eric's wonderful and enviable record (never missed a day in 5 years!) Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

Sidewalk by the Mohawk

Also in the Stockade area is Riverside Park. In one of those accidents where names make sense, it's right by the river! Being close to the river means that ice from the river gets pushed up onto the sidewalk. The dog and I had fun negotiating this!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Front Street

This is in the oldest section of the city, it's called the Stockade, after the boundaries of the original stockade fortifications that protected the city. Of course, if you leave the gates open there isn't much protection. The French lead a raid from Canada to Schenectady and burnt the city in Feb 1690. The statue in the distance is Lawrence the Indian, who helped track the French after the massacre.

Monday, March 8, 2010

State and Broadway

On State Street, driving west. The downtown area is looking very nice after all the construction, or perhaps I should say reconstruction. These clocks are interesting in the era of all digital.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Vale pond

Took a hike into Vale yesterday. I'd normally say 'walk' but yesterday it was a hike. Between the snow and the mud, it was slow going. But it was so worth it! Down at the bottom, late in the afternoon, this beautiful sight magically appeared. I was standing in shadow; the other side was bathed in sunshine, the dark water was perfect to reflect the far bank.

Which qualifies this for a Weekend Reflection! Thanks to James for hosting this very interesting meme.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Skywatch Friday

Hand held and a bit shaky, sunrise comes to my street.

It's Friday, which means there's another installment of photos from round the world at Skywatch Friday. Click the link to see the skies the world over.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Snowy forest

A walk in the woods just after the snow. It's so beautiful and quiet.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Indoor jungle

Every spring we plant a garden, and every spring we put in herbs. Every autumn, I dig up what's left of the herbs and bring them indoors in the usually forlorn hope of having them last through the winter. My wife, bless her, puts up with this mental aberration and endures pots of plants on counters, radiators and window sills for a few months until they can be moved outside once more.

I was petting the dog and looked up to see this pot with the ceiling light behind it and was struck by the resemblance to what my imagination thinks a jungle looks like. Bear in mind that it's either white or grey outside, so my imagination might be forgiven for being... meagre.

The plants are lemon grass (which is doing quite well) and pineapple basil, which is getting tall and leggy like so many plants do indoors.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Chilly swim

The Cowhorn Creek is covered by the city for most of its course, but here in Vale Park, it is flowing free on the surface. Free enough to keep a patch clear of ice on the pond. I don't know what possessed these ducks to overwinter here, but they don't seem to be bothered by the ice and snow.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Theme day - Passageway

It's the first of the month and that means that it's Theme Day in the City Daily Photo blogger community! This month's theme is Passageway. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

This is a dog's eye view of what it's like to walk down our sidewalk this month, freshly cleared of snow.

Do visit the link - the photos are marvelous!
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