Sadly, I have turned on comment moderation. I escaped the spammers for several years, but alas that innocent time is past. I refuse to put on word verification - I have so much trouble with it that I definitely restrict my commenting because of it. Sorry for the hassle and thanks for visiting!
A viola player by the tug of my heart, sidetracked by a career in technology. My favourite programming language is solder, and I'm a ham radio operator because it's an excuse to build lots of strange stuff.
I started a photo blog because of the beauty I first saw in Eric Tenin's Paris Daily Photo. Through him, I discovered the City Daily Photo ring, and I thought I'd give it a whirl. I'm not as dedicated as he is though, so I do miss some days.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.