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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Jay Street

Once upon a time, this was an ordinary city street, with cars and sidewalks and parking hassles. Then someone had the idea to make it a pedestrian-only walk, and small stores moved in and trees were planted and it was even re-paved. It's quite a nice place today. It's one of downtown Schenectady's hidden gems, Proctor's on one end and City Hall on the other. If you're driving (I walk there) you can usually park on the City Hall side, but the municipal parking lot behind Proctor's is free on the weekend.

I've been here plenty of times, but it wasn't until recently that I noticed how the rain brings out the pattern of the paving stones.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cat's in the bag

I've known quite a few cats, and it seems that most of them liked climbing into paper bags - especially when young. Well Lance here is no exception. He's still so little that his head fits through the carry handle. Time to get him out of THAT particular bag!

Monday, November 22, 2010

No skateboarding!

This bit of elevated stonework downtown near Proctor's Theatre used to be a popular place for skateboarders to practise grinding (sliding on the body or the trucks instead of using the wheels). Then, no doubt for safety's sake, someone installed these steel balls along the edge, thinking that would put an end to it.

Skateboarders love a challenge, and if you look at the ball, it's clear it's been banged up.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Skywatch Friday

I live in the city, so my view of the sky tends to look something like this. This is sunrise from my bedroom window.

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, November 18, 2010

Oak leaf

During a break in the rain, the morning sun cast its low illumination over this leaf in the parking lot. It's interesting that oak leaves are almost always this colour. They have a certain... aroma, too. I'm instantly transported back to my childhood, tramping through the leaves on the way to school.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thacher Park overlook

Although we live in the Mohawk river valley, we aren't very far from the Helderberg Escarpment in Albany. It's a nice motorcycle ride. Even in the autumn. Winding along the cliffs is a trail called Indian Ladder. The state set aside a big chunk of land here for a state park, the John Boyd Thacher Park. It's very beautiful.

The view here is about a thousand feet above sea level; the valley floor is about 750 feet down. The boys liked the sunshine after the chilly ride up!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Isn't it cool?

That's the question my little one asked me when he picked up this leaf. Then he insisted I take a photo. Why not? It wasn't until I looked at it later that I realised I got his feet in the photo as well. We call sandals like that 'flip-flops, probably from the sound they make as one walks.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Wooly bear caterpillar

I wasn't able to find out why these caterpillars are called wooly bears. The wooly part seems easy enough - look how furry they are! Maybe the bear part comes from the way they hibernate during the winter. They aren't actually furry, more like bristly. Those hairs are all quite stiff, and it can be remarkably difficult to pick one of these up. It's easier to let them crawl onto your hand.

There's a persistent legend that these caterpillars foretell the severity of the winter by the size of the middle band. If it's long, winter will be mild; thin, and winter will be severe. This guy seems to be saying we'll have an easy winter.

For the scientists among us, this caterpillar is the larval form of the Isabella tiger moth, Pyrrharctia isabella.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Warm sun, cold sky

This time of year is just about right to watch the sun set before leaving work. One moment, you're standing in the sun listening to the geese flying overhead. The next minute, you're in shadow, the sunlight overhead, out of reach. You turn and look at the building and you can see the light slowly gliding up the side of the building until at last, it's gone until tomorrow.

Funny how the chill settles on you once that happens.

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, November 11, 2010

Sparrow in the mulberry bush

This mulberry is well on its way to becoming a tree! It's funny; a very old maple tree was growing here and its branches were coming down on the overhead electric wires so the power company cut it down. Almost immediately, this mulberry began to grow, sprouting out of a small space between the old stump and the sidewalk.

Although young, this tree serves to shelter small birds like this sparrow. When I took this photo there were about a dozen of them flitting in and out, between the mulberry and the hedge a few feet away. How they maneuver in between those branches is a mystery to me and I've watched them doing it for years!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Leaf and snow

The snow doesn't last long this time of the year, and it was almost gone by the morning. This is the top of my car. A leaf drifted onto it during the night and made a neat contrast to the snow.

Luckily, most of the leaves are off the trees, otherwise the snow covers the leaves and makes the tree branches so heavy they break. Not much of that this time.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

First snowman

We had our first real snow yesterday. When it accumulates early in the season, we say that it's sticking. Later in the season, we just say 'not again!'

My youngest made a snowman. There wasn't a lot of snow, so the snowy fellow isn't only short, but he's a bit dirty as well. He doesn't seem to mind.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Unusual bus

We don't have double decker busses here, so seeing one is a novelty. Seeing a pink one is even more of a novelty, so I had to stop and grab a photo. It turns out that this is a mobile cupcake bakers! They have a website that explains more about them. Very unusual!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Decisions, decisions

Today is Election Day. The term of everyone in the House of Representatives expires, as do many state governors and state legislatures. There's a bunch of unhappy citizens out there and a lot of incumbents are worried. There's usually a big bunch of noise, then the election, then they all go quiet for another year or so. The elected may change, but nothing else seems to.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Monthly theme day - Public transportation

This is what we tend to call a 'city bus.' As opposed to a school bus, I suppose. City buses are run by the Capital District Transportation Authority. We don't have a lot of routes; mostly the main streets of Albany, Schenectady and Troy. All of the busses have advertising on them. The fleet has recently been upgraded, so they look very clean and modern.

Each month, on the first, City Daily Photo bloggers post a photo centred around a single theme. This month, it's Public Transportation.
Click here to view thumbnails for all participants
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