Search This Blog

Monday, August 31, 2009


The youngest helping gather in the fruits of his labour, in this case a yellow squash. We have a plot at the local community garden and it's been glorious to see all the plants maturing in everyone's place. There's something magical about eating food grown with your own hands.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Skywatch Friday

Here's another Skywatch Friday post, taken just this morning. Visit the link for all the other participants!

Yes, it's cloudy here and it looks like we'll be getting rain again. Had about a week free of it, so that was nice.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I guess they're called turtleheads because they look like a turtle's head. We started out with one, and bit by bit a few more grow each year. Now, we have a 4 foot long section of flowers! They're quite attractive and have a very delicate scent. The bees really like them because there aren't too many flowers open right now.

Chelone obliqua speciosa are apparently known all over the Eastern US.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Drinking fountain

In 1904, the Schenectady Women's Christian Temperance Union spent $850 to build this drinking fountain and donate it to the city. The park where it's situated is now called Veteran's Park. Back then it was called Crescent Park; a suitable name, since it's just a sliver of green at the foot of State Street hill, at Lafayette Street.

The WCTU was formed by women worried about the destructive nature of alcoholic drink; they were in favour of moderation in healthy things; total abstinence from those that harm.

Sadly, the fountain is disconnected; no water for the thirsty now.

Monday, August 24, 2009

House blessing

We have many Guyanese families in Schenectady. Many of them are Hindu. There is a custom of blessing a house with a religious ceremony called a puja. This is done on a particularly auspicious day for the home owner. The celebration includes food, offerings, music, singing and the erection of small flags, called jhandis.

We'd noticed the flags, of course - they're beautiful and bright when new, but they remain in the yard until tattered and faded. To our Western eyes, they don't look quite so appealing then.

One very kind lady explained to us that flying the jhandis are a way to keep blessings on the house. As the wind blows, it blows the blessings from the flags to the house. There's real poetry in that.

Blessings on you all.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Airport window

The Albany International Airport has artistic works in many places. This window is one of them. This one is Flying Fishes by Lillian Mulero
Digital print on vinyl applied to the window. The accompanying card reads: 'A Flying Fish darts through both sea and sky in this work that transforms our view to an aquarium of great proportions. The massive silver bodies of planes and fish overlap against the blue of air and water in this visual pun meant to cleverly delight and displace.'

It's beautiful.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Taken at the community garden plot, our youngest thins out the radishes. The plot is a thicket given all the rain we've had.

Casimir Pulaski

This is another of those monuments sited in a place one wouldn't expect. On a narrow strip of grass and trees at State Street and Nott Terrace is this monument honouring Casimir Pulaski, hero of the American Revolution. He was never here; his statue was erected by the Polish population of the city to honour their distinguished countryman's service to the fledgling USA.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

City Hall

This is the back side of City Hall. Repairs were recently completed to the tower and dome - it looks great. It's on the national Register of Historic Places. I bet the Mayor who authorised it wouldn't have believed that - people during the Depression called it Fagel's Folly because it was so expensive.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

MVP building

This is the back of the relatively new MVP Healthcare building. It's quite tall, and as it's near the top of State Street hill, it rather dominates our skyline. I think it's a bit sad that it was built so close to the First United Methodist Church, but at least they didn't tear down the church! This is typical of the sort of construction that has occurred here in the past decade or so. Square, industrial brick buildings.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lily in the Jewelweed

Wile walking through the lower part of Vale (near Nott Terrace if anyone wants to visit) I was looking at the jewelweed (also called touch-me-not) to see if the seed pods had begun ripening yet (they haven't). I couldn't believe my eyes when I came across this gorgeous lily tucked in the midst of all the jewelweed. I have no idea what species the lily is, but I later found several more examples.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


He's in there! Camouflaged in the leaves and water plants near the shore, this bullfrog knows when to stay perfectly still. I knly found him by carefully listening and moving slowly. It's very interesting to listen to the various frogs all calling. I can't tell if they're threatening the competition or calling their loved ones, but they do seem to answer each other.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Garlic Chives

In our garden, we have a small clump of garlic chives. I'll be darned if I can remember when we got them, but it always makes me smile to see them bloom among the coreopsis flowers. They taste good, too!

Friday, August 14, 2009


Every Sunday during the summer, the city hosts a Greenmarket. I think that's the right word - several streets are blocked off and vendors come to sell local meat, cheese, vegetables and even crafts. There was a man playing guitar - very nice all around. A brief sprinkle passed by, but it was mostly dry all day. This is a great event to have in our city. I like eating local food and supporting local farmers.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Twilight at the park

Calm evening, few bugs. We hung around. This isn't black and white, but it's pretty close.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Stop and smell the roses

I don't often post people photos. For some reason I am not yet comfortable asking permission to take a snap. Although most people who know me would be even more surprised to see my own face on a blog - I am a bit camera shy myself. The two might be related...

Anyway, this is in the Rose Garden in Central Park. I stand 6 feet 3 inches (190.5cm) tall and this rose is taller than I am! My lovely wife took the photo for me.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Roadside flowers

This is a very typical view of what it's like when the side of the road hasn't been mowed for a while. Queen Anne's lace and chicory quickly dominate. This particular roadside hasn't been mowed all season and the Queen Anne's lace is chest high.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


I went downtown to the Greenmarket yesterday and spent some time browsing through local produce, meats, cheeses and wines. Crafters were there too, and a very nice guitarist. Downtown on Jay St, near City Hall. On my way there, I saw this chicory plant growing out of the sidewalk. These blue flowers tend to grow at the sides of highways, but they can be found pretty much anywhere that full sun is available.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Grapevine beetle

Found this fellow crawling on my grape vine, where else? The Internet tells me it's a Pelidnota punctata, common name Spotted June Beetle or Grapevine Beetle. He is large - over an inch (25mm) long which made him easy to spot among those large leaves. The hooks on the ends of his legs allow him to really, really hang on. My youngest let the beetle crawl on his arm for a bit, but was he found it very ticklish.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Skywatch Friday

It's Friday, when photo-bloggers round the world post photos of their skies, for Skywatch Friday. Do pay them a visit!

This is St. Adalbert's Roman Catholic Church. Founded in 1903, part of the Albany Diocese. It is built high on the hill in the Mont Pleasant neighbourhood that overlooks General Electric.

Built as a reminder of Our Lady of Czestochowa, the spiritual and cultural focal point of Poland, St. Adalbert's Church has had nine pastors, all of Polish descent. In the early part of the 20th century, Poles, then Italians were emigrating to the US, and many of them settled here in Mont Pleasant. In 1890 there about 200 Poles lived here; in 1900 about 1700; in 1910 4200. Italians started coming about 10 years behind the Poles. Where there are people, there are churches...

It's not easy to get a good look at St Adalbert's from below - lots of trees on the sides of that hill. Oddly, the best view might be from the elevated highway Interstate-890 (which we often think of as an eyesore itself.) This was taken as we were driving by on I-890. The sky behind the church is what it looks like today, an amazing clear blue.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Sometimes it seems that living with a 7 year-old is nothing but noise and movement - the energy the young possess can be overwhelming at times.

And sometimes there's peace.

By the bye, when we go fishing, we release the fish unharmed back into the water.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Spanish-American War memorial

We have small memorials scattered throughout the city. I might probably say hidden, because they are often difficult to find, or they're in a place where it's inconvenient to stop the car for a look.

This is located in Central Park, on the hill that comes down from Central Park school to the Rose Garden. He overlooks Iroquois Lake, high enough on the hill that few people walk up there when they go on the path round the lake. He's tucked into the trees - it isn't easy to get a photo!

Researching this, I came across an interesting web site that has many historical markers catalogued:

Monday, August 3, 2009

Baby grapes

Wild grapes. The vines are quite common, but not all grape vines seem to produce grape clusters. I don't know enough about grapes to understand why. Most of the wild grapes in these parts are vitis labrusca, or fox grapes.

Back in the 1850s, fox grapes were bred (is that the right word?) to form several varieties for human consumption. Fox grapes can be... well, foxy. It's not a flavour everyone likes. One of the most popular varieties is the Concord grape, now more popular in jellies and juice than they are eaten as fruit. Speaking of which, they have seeds!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Theme Day - Night

It's the first of the month, and another theme day for the City Daily Photo blogging community. This month's theme is Night. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

I think this might be the most difficult theme day I've participated in. I could not come up with an idea to save my life. I almost posted my shaky hand-held photo of the International Space Station going overhead, but figured that would be a speck of meaningless light to most everyone but me.

So I chose the Moon instead. It turned out to be an interesting job to get the exposure just so - I wanted to keep the trees but I didn't want the Moon completely washed out either. If I ever get my act together and learn to use the Gimp I'll be able to tweak photos like this one, but for now, this is what was captured by the camera.
Blog Widget by LinkWithin