Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Cross-blogging today

I posted some thoughts about sameness on my LiveJournal. Here are some photos that kind of go with that entry.

(Sorry about the quality here...scanner issues, so I took a digital pictures of them...too much coffee makes for shaky handheld shots!)

A child enjoying birds in Rome
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Market day in Florence...
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Captain at the wheel, Barcelona
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Countdown to Mets Opening Day

Monday, March 28, 2005

PhotoFriday Challenge: Tiny

tiny fern on Appalachian Trail, Fishkill, NY

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Friday, March 25, 2005

Eagle eyes...or maybe a hawk

I went out recently to visit the Hudson River to see how the ice floes were flowing in late winter. On the way, I spotted a raptor of some sort sitting in a towering dead tree. I couldn't believe how beautiful he was, so I pulled over on this very busy road and jumped out of the car with camera in hand. I tried to sneak up on him..ha! Golden eagles can see a hare up to a mile away...what was *I* thinking? I zoomed my digital camera in as far as it would go while I was walking up to the tree. He spotted me, of course, and began to fly. Luckily, he flew right overhead and I got my first ever raptor-in-flight photo.

I searched the internet for wingspan photos of raptors so I could identify the one I saw. After many failed searches, I emailed our local newspaper's environmental editor to see if he could ID it. He wrote back, flattered, made a guess but referred me to the local bird club president. She agreed with him and now I have two new nature friends!

This is the red-tailed hawk, probably a younger one, quite common in Dutchess County, NY. I like when they use the word "common" when it comes to animals.

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And I got a seagull, too, but it wasn't as exciting... = )

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Waiting for the birth of my....new perennial bed!!

Last fall I decided that I was sick of being afraid of the deer. I was sick of being the victim to their appetites and grazing whims. I was downright tired of spending money and planting gardens for their dinner. For a good number of years, I let my gardens go wild and whatever came up, came up. What came up was a lot of weeds and poison ivy and an oregano plant gone wild. Herbs gone wild!

Last fall, after discovering the mighty powers (and odor) or Milorganite, the deer have been kept at bay...well, as long as I remember to put it down in the beds. I planted a mostly perennial garden on a rocky slope near the pool and I'll fill it in this spring and summer with flowering annuals. We've figured out the grazing pattern of our neighborhood deer and mended a few fences they seem to walk over. Hopefully they'll stay on the outer edges of our property now.

I'm the best at picking out new plants. Usually I pick based on what's on sale or what looks neglected. I'm a sucker for those weepy plants in the corner that look like they need a home. Most of the hostas and lilies in my yard are garden gifts from my family. The hostas were Gramma. The lilies were from Dad, but were originally from Gramma. The roses were inspired by my mother's love of roses. This year, I'm going to spot the hillside by the street with rooted cuttings of forsythias from my gramma's then from dad's. The bee balm, coreopsis and yellow primrose are from my aunt, who got most of her plants from a neighbor. I can't wait to grow my plants large enough to share!

Enlarging gardens here is a slow process. Digging new beds here isn't possible with all the shale in the yard. Thar's shale in them hills! If I want a new bed, I have to bring in topsoil. I'm determined though. This is the year of the garden! Hmm...I wonder if the deer are thinking that, too...

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Want to see a great garden site? Check out my friend Arevanye's garden!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Suuuuure, it's spring...

Six inches of the heavy wet snow today. Power lines are down somewhere in the school district and we have a snow day. Just a bit tired of it, but it's pretty to look at. One more snowman to make. The kids can make another snowball for storage in the freezer.

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Not long now before baseball starts, thank goodness. Eleven days and four hours til Mets opening day.

The countdown clock.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

TV and eggplant parmigiana

Ok, this is how much of NOTHING there is in my life in March. I'm going to write about tv and food. I don't blame you for clicking "next blog."

There was a time in my life when I used to watch tv. I used to. I know I did because I remember shows like ER and ...and...ok, I had just one show, but at least I watched that one regularly. And I remember when I stopped watching. It was December 1995, just a few short weeks before my son was born.

ER was on and we had friends over for dinner. We all sat in the living room and watched. I was the only one of our (then) large circle of friends who was close to "the kid years." I sat uncomfortable in my chair, not because of my condition but rather the condition of the character on ER. It was that awful early ER episode where they lost the mother in baby delivery in the ER and at the end, the father was shown rocking his newborn child in tears because the mother died.

Needless to say, this upset me and my husband and just about everyone in the room. We turned the subject, and the channel, to things much lighter.

Then my son was born a few weeks later and I didn't have time for tv anymore. Well, at first I did. I remember the first weeks when I was home with him. He'd sleep and I'd watch the great old shows like Columbo and Cagney & Lacey and Mary Tyler Moore and M*A*S*H*.

Honestly, that's the last time I remember watching actual shows. Sad, isn't it, that the shows I watched were already 10-20 years old at the time? I just didn't find any show as cool as my son. = )

Nowadays I have more time to watch but I haven't found anything of interest. West Wing is good, Everyone Loves Raymond makes me chuckle, but aside from live sports and news (and ok, the Food Network), I don't watch.

I don't like "reality" tv. What's realistic about seeing who will eat the most bugs? When does that come up in real life? I don't get off on seeing bad singers get bashed by supposed stars that I don't know. I can't believe American Idol's mis-broadcast phone numbers got so much press.

What's outside is much more real to me. I'd rather get out into the woods or where real people gather than sit inside and watch someone else supposedly "living." But that's just me. And we know I'm out there already.

For some reason, I took pictures of the eggplant parm-making process.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Photo Friday Challenge: Glow

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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

March into April already

Far too long since I wrote actual words and not just photo captions, so here goes. That and I'm quite sick of posting pictures that contain "snow" and "ice" and "migrating geese." I want daffodils and I want them now. Is this witchy attitude from age or just a particularly tough New York winter? I hope it's the latter. March never felt so long. February is such a tease, 28 days and out. March's 31 days feel like...35 at least! But hope is on the horizon, or at least in my spring bulb garden.

The post-Easter, $1/pot sale hyacinths I planted in May last year are coming up a bit prematurely. Worry not, they seem a hearty bunch, if a bit hasty. I can't remember what color they are, but the surprises in a spring garden are half the fun.

I've got 40 lbs. of milorganite that says the deer are feasting elsewhere this spring. Only minor invasions this winter by these itinerant bambi-wannabees. Perhaps they thought my rhododendron needed a trim near the bottom. They could've been right. The blackberry bramble near the street could use a cutting back, too, but they didn't seem as attracted to that one.

A right neighborly bunch, those deer. And friendly, too! I recall one early fall morning last year when a deer was chomping at the last blooms of my roses. Helped himself to all of them, save this one. He stood there, beneath my window, for a long while, listening while I schooled him in the finer dining choices in my neighbor's yard. He nodded attentively, all the while grazing in between the thorns (deer tooth floss, my friend quipped), as I gave him my recommendations. It wasn't until I tried to move closer that he ran off, clearly heeding my sage advice, or perhaps he was full. Tell the neighbors I sent you! Try the tulips! She's the only brave soul who still plants them! Ta, ta!

We'll see what spring brings. That sounds skeptical, doesn't it? Maybe I am getting a bad attitude. The calendar says spring starts on Sunday. The weather forecast for Saturday is snow. Seems like Mother Nature needs a bit of attitude adjustment herself.

Right now, I have a split whole chicken slow-cooking on the grill outside. It was marinated in soy sauce, italian herbs and lemon juice. If that doesn't chase away the winter blues, I don't know what will. Ok, maybe mango-mojitos delivered by a cabana hunk on St. John's would. But then, who'll entertain the deer?

Monday, March 14, 2005

Methinks enough snow already

Lovely stuff, snow, but I'm ready for spring. This is last weekend's pile-up.

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Supporter of Wild horses news

Good news on the wild horse preservation front.

BREAKING NEWS!March 10, 2005

Dear Wild Horse Supporters:

We have great news to report following the National Capitol Hill Day for Horses: A companion bill to H.R. 297 was introduced today in the Senate to reverse the Burns Amendment to the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act. As you know, the Burns Amendment opens the door to the slaughter of thousands of our wild horses. Please write your two U.S. Senators urging them to co-sponsor S. 576, introduced by Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-WV), which would restore the prohibition on the commercial sale and slaughter of wild horses and burros...(read more)

If we cut up beasts simply because they cannot prevent us and because we are backing our own side in the struggle for existence, it is only logical to cut up imbeciles, criminals, enemies, or capitalists for the same reasons. ~C.S. Lewis

Friday, March 11, 2005

Photo Friday: Faces

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Friday, March 04, 2005

PhotoFriday Challenge: Obsession

That was easy. ;-)

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Today's farm shots

Went out today with the 35mm and the digital, but my battery died on the 35mm. Ugh. Well, I kept going and this is what I got today.

35mm is my friend

I'm going out today to try out my old 35mm camera. The poor thing has been sitting all alone on my son's desk since the arrival of our digital camera two years ago. The snow is on the ground. I see some blue sky. It's time to see if I remember how to focus and use f-stops.

I recalled the story of my broken flash as I packed my bag to go. I'll retell it as I had when a costumed chipmunk in Disney world "asked" where it was. I told him to try not to move while posing with my kids indoors (room was too dark). He shook his paw at me and pointed to my camera bag as if to say, "Duh, mommy, no flash at a character breakfast?!"

Me: A turkey landed on my flash and broke it.
Chip: (or Dale, I can never tell): (gestures: huh?!)
Me: A turkey smashed it.
Chip/Dale: (flapping his arms and gesturing "no")
Me: Well, they fly when they don't have their seatbelts on...
C/D: (confused)
Me: I had a 20-lb frozen turkey on my front seat...a free one, ya know, the ones you get when you buy an insane amount of groceries at one store...
C/D: (nodding)
Me: So I was taking it home and had no room on the backseat, so I plopped it on the front seat.
C/D: (shaking his head, seeing where this was going)
Me: My flash and camera were on the floor of the front seat, I had to stop quickly and lemme tell ya, turkeys can fly. *smash*
C/D: (self-forehead-smack)
Kids: (smiling for camera)
C/D: (holding verrrrry still)

(will post the pic I got later)