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Friday, July 30, 2010

Skywatch Friday

Threatening clouds. They seemed more dramatic before I looked at the photo. It's been dry lately, so I hope for rain but these are storm clouds - come and go. Need a more steady soak.

A group of photobloggers post a photo of their skies each Friday - it's called Skywatch Friday. Click the link to see photos from round the world.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A boy and his dog

He weighs 60 pounds, she weighs 100. One of the most people-friendly dogs we've known. Of course she gets along with the cats as well. She's a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, rescued from a breeder. She's more patient with him than I am!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I don't know the name of these, but they come up by themselves in various places every year. I have a soft spot in my heart for the native plants so I am not as tidy about trimming and pulling as I probably should be. All in all, I'll trade a messy looking fence for these beauties!

Edit: I found a web site that helps identify flowers: and it narrowed my search to the point that I could identify these! It turns out they are called yellow toadflax, or butter and eggs. They aren't native, although they've been here since the 1600s so it seems to me they might as well be. Their scientific name is Linaria vulgaris.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More babies

Taken at my daughter's house, I think they are robins, but I'm no ornithologist! Until recently, I thought that most of the local birds only raised one brood a year, but many species raise two or three families every year!

Monday, July 26, 2010


It's probably the wrong name for this insect, but I've been calling them grasshoppers since I was a little boy.

This grasshopper was relaxing in a shady bit of a Queen Anne's Lace. It was relying on the camouflage effect I think, because it didn't move even when I got close. The best view was from underneath the plant, and through the camera, I could watch it breathe. It was very relaxing.

I was inspired to post this photo when I saw Afanja's Skywatch Friday post.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Schenectady is sort of old. Not as old as Rome, but 1661 isn't too shabby. A lot of our local history is gone. Plowed under to make way for development, or the caretakers died, or, or, or...

By our usual standards, we might not consider this plane historic. She didn't drop any bombs, didn't end (or start) a war, and she was built in 1944, so she isn't really that old.

But it isn't the physical aircraft that's historic, it's the feelings she evokes in people when she flies in. Liberty Belle is a B-17, the plane nicknamed the Flying Fortress because of all the self-defence guns poking out of them. This type of plane carried out many bombing missions in Europe in WWII, and one of the reasons this particular plane brings out fond memories was her reputation to take battle damage and still fly home.

When I went to see Liberty Belle, she was at the Albany airport. It had rained earlier, messing up their schedule. As a means of raising money to keep her flying, the organisation that owns her takes people for brief (an hour or so) flights. For a fee, of course. I had hoped to climb aboard for a ground tour, but they had so many people who wanted flights that they were going to be busy flying.

She was a thing of wonder to see glide in. Not many B-17s are still flying; around a dozen. An amazing, historic aircraft.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Skywatch Friday

The sky from the community garden plot framed the cloud which framed the tree. How could I resist?

A group of photobloggers post a photo of their skies each Friday - it's called Skywatch Friday. Click the link to see photos from round the world.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Central Park has a beautiful rose garden, and I visit as often as I can. The heat has been hard on them, but the roses are still gorgeous.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


This will take some explaining.

This is in Central Park. The main body of water is called Iroquois Lake. Iroquois Lake drains to the east via a small creek that, as far as I can tell, has no name. The main road into the park, Iroquois Way, passes over the creek via a concrete bridge.

It's been dry and hot lately, so the pond's water level is low. Low enough that the outlet has dried up and one can now walk on the creek bed. Under the bridge.

Someone who shall remain nameless was chasing the rumour of a 'giant frog' under there, so we had to go. The ground wasn't too muddy, even though the sun never reaches under there. While walking around, a drop of water went down my back. Which seemed curious, since above my head is an arched bridge - water can't exactly settle on it. The day was hot and dry; it seemed most unlikely that water was seeping UP the bridge from the ground only to leak down on me.

As I looked for the source of this mystery, I saw dozens of these stalactites. To me, they appear to be calcium carbonate but I'm no chemist. They are hollow tubes and each one has a drop of water on the end, slowly growing. The base, where they connect to the 'ceiling' is in the middle of a chalky white patch, and they all appear to be growing along the seams in the concrete.

It's still a mystery to me. Is the concrete still curing after all these years?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


My little one and I went to Central Park over the weekend. The goal was to go swimming but we arrived before the pool opened and did some wandering and playing while we waited.

I always liked the swings, even as a boy, and so this will look very familiar to those who know me personally. What's unusual is that someone took a photo of me. This might be the only photo of me on a swing. Ever.

He's pretty good with a camera, don't you think?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ready for rain

As you can see, this is an old pair of shoes. I don't polish them because I want them to be ready for inspection, but because I have a tendency to ride the motorcycle in the rain. The polish helps protect the shoes.

Maybe I ought to clarify what I just said. I don't intentionally ride in the rain, but I do sometimes ride on iffy days. Today, the National Weather Service is calling for a 60% chance of heavy rain, mostly between 1pm and 4pm.

It sprinkled a bit before I took this photo. I don't know if you can tell from the patch of the back step showing between the shoes. I'll probably ride if it doesn't rain before I leave. I don't like being wet when I'm at work. If I get wet on the way home it isn't so bad; I can always change clothes when I get home. I feel grateful that I have a choice - some people work outside rain, snow or shine.

This tin of shoe polish must be 20 years old. It's got enough polish to last another 5 more. What other product is still useful 25 years after you bought it? Amazing stuff. I had to research why it is called Kiwi. It turns out that the inventor, an Australian, was married to a New Zealander, and named it in her honour. How sweet!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


It's been hot. It's been dry. Very little in the way of rain lately. We do get the occasional thunderstorm though, usually when it's time to weed the garden!

This is me, being a little kid (barefoot as usual!) playing in the water in the gutter on the street. Ten minutes later, the street was dry again.

It was still hot. But now it was humid!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Day lily

It's been hot and dry for a few weeks now and the flowers are stressed. The day lilies still open each morning but they don't last until evening, so the only way to take their photo is in the early morning.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Skywatch Friday

We've been suffering from a heat wave this past week with temperatures hovering near 100F (37C) the whole time. The sun keeps beating down, even through clouds.

A group of photobloggers post a photo of their skies each Friday - it's called Skywatch Friday. Click the link to see photos from round the world.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Join the King's Army

Fort William Henry, Lake George.

One of the living history actors inducts the little guy into the 35th Regiment of Foot. They have to practise marching and 'firing' a musket.

Perfect form!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

1755 Grenadier

Living history of the 35th Regiment of Foot at Fort William Henry at the southern end of Lake George. This man is a Grenadier, one of the King's fearsome shock troops.

Fort William Henry was the centrepiece of James Fenimore Cooper's Last of the Mohicans. The novel has some historical errors, but then again, it's a novel, not a history.

We spent the afternoon at the fort, learning a bit about life in 1755, how the fort was built and destroyed. The men and women of today's fort are 'actors' living out the history of the place. We saw the Grenadier throw a grenade, cannon loaded and fired and a demonstration of 18th century musketry. I love history and I wish I could have spent more time.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

How he hangs on!

A brown beetle with six spots was upside down on the steps the other day. I couldn't let it suffer there, so I picked it up, to put on a nearby plant.

He didn't want to let go.

I didn't fault him one bit.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day

July 4th is celebrates in the US as Independence Day, the day the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. I always found that interesting because the Continental Congress declared independence 2 days earlier. The war stretched on for 5 more years, essentially ending only with the surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown in October 19th 1781. Technically, we remained at war until the Paris Treaty of 1783, at which point Britain officially recognised the United States as independent.

On a parallel line, the Second Continental Congress created the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union which were ratified March 1 1781. Of course, the Confederation didn't last that long, and was eventually replaced with the current United States Constitution, adopted September 17th 1787, finally ratified on June21st 1788.

None of those dates are celebrated or recognised in any way. Celebrations aren't logical I guess! For many Americans, this is a day of outdoor barbecues, fireworks and a day off from work.

This memorial is in Vale Cemetery, overlooking the Cowhorn Creek. I was very surprised to see it decorated with US flags - it seemed as if only vandals and people looking for a secluded place to have a beer party came down here. Those flags might not be memorable to anyone except me and the people who placed the flags, but that's why I have a blog!

The text of the monument reads:


Sacred to the Memory of FIFTY SEVEN AMERICAN SOLDIERS Who were buried at Schenectady during the REVOLUTION. Their remains were disinterred Nov. 1854 and reinterred with MILITARY honors In August 1859. They were again removed and placed beneath this stone

(at this point the inscription wraps around and I haven't got a photo of that side! Oops. I'll toddle back and get that photo ASAP.)

A strange coincidence on this date. The two Presidents who signed the Declaration of Independence (Adams and Jefferson) both died within hours of each other exactly 50 years later, July 4th 1826.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Skywatch Friday

When we visited Hawai'i, the number of rainbows was amazing. They were so strong and clear. Here, rainbows are rare and delicate. I most often see them in the late afternoon, after a thunderstorm mas swept through from west to east. The sun breaks through in the west, behind me, but the skies are still dark and raining to the east.

A group of photobloggers post a photo of their skies each Friday - it's called Skywatch Friday. Click the link to see photos from round the world.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Theme Day - Reflections

On the first day of every month, many in the City Daily Photo community post a photograph that realises a particular theme. This month, the theme is Reflections. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

No particular art from me - this is a straightforward photo of my oldest son's car after a thunderstorm rolled through. The sky in the reflection is dark while the sky overhead is light - it made for a very clear reflection.

If you like reflections, James at Newtown Daily Photo runs a Weekend Reflections theme where you can see close to a hundred photos of reflections each and every weekend; many from people outside the CDP community, so you can see photos from new people as well as familiar names. It's another very cool community of very nice people.
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