Saturday, December 19, 2009
I first noticed this bird fluttering through a half-snow covered chrysanthemum. It wasn't leery of human presence at all, and approached within six feet of me several times. It flipped and flitted through the snow while I watched and snapped pictures, for a total of about 20 minutes over two or three different sessions.
As an aside, this wild nor'easter weather also failed to discourage the presence of Pennsylvania's first recorded Allen's hummingbird, which is still feeding happily away at a feeder in a suburban Lancaster County townhouse development. Us Easterners are familiar with the ruby-throated hummers, who are not particularly cold hardy. However, each year, more and more reports of rufous, and now Allen's hummers are turning up in the east. These birds are well equipped to deal with temperatures into the teens and may stay in a northern area where feeders are available until late December and even January. Quite an interesting development!
Sunday, November 08, 2009
Sunday, November 01, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
These little gourds can be had for 3 or 4 for a dollar and are a fall staple of the festival's sales spots, along with mums, pumpkins, apples, whoopie pies, and ham & bean soup. Not to mention that everything under the sun can be found at the yard sales and impromptu flea markets that sprout up across the county for this four-day festival.
The FFFF parade on Saturday also faced miserable weather conditions: cold rain interspersed with spitting snow. Nonetheless, even the little guys came out to see the tractors ride through town.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Several weeks ago, two enormous steam generators destined for the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant arrived in the United States. A French company called AREVA constructed the generators, which were shipped by boat across the Atlantic, north through the Chesapeake Bay, and as far along the Susquehanna River as the water depth would allow. Then, the generators were boarded onto specialized carriers to make their way across Lancaster County at 3-4 mph. They arrived in town Friday, and were parked along a side street for the weekend.
These behemoths are 74 feet long, 25 feet high, and weigh in at over 1,000,000 pounds each. The logistics of moving them safely are apparently tremendous, as the sheer weight is a threat to local roads and bridges that were not designed to handle such loads. To help alleviate the strain, each generator is loaded onto a carrier with 24 axles. Each axle supposedly carries weight equivalent to a fire truck. The generators appear to be accompanied by a large fleet of State Police Officers at all times, and local newspapers report that the convoy is over a mile in length when on the move.
On Sunday night, these generators are slated to leave town. They must cross Route 30 to reach TMI, but they are too heavy for the bridge that would take them across the U.S. Highway. So, the plan is to close Rt. 30 in the wee hours of the morning and have the equipment to cross 30 at grade by going up an off-ramp, removing the guardrails that make up the center median, and then exiting by the off-ramp for the westbound lanes.
One of the policemen on duty said they take a corner much better than you would think!
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Yesterday, however, the birds upped it a notch. As we were crossing the Susquehanna River at the start of our commute, we saw a large bird fly over the bridge. I couldn't confirm it was a bald eagle, but when I looked to the right, I saw a second bird with the distinctive white head and tail flying low and fast over the water. This eagle eventually landed on a rock in the river, next to another large bird. But they were too far away at this point to ID the third bird.
As we arrived in York, we figured it would be too great a coincidence to see our "regular" eagle. But, we kept our eyes peeled, and sure enough, the eagle was perched on the concrete box. This time he had a friend, a second eagle sitting on a small stone in the stream. We turned the car around to get a better look, and took a picture with the only camera available to us, my coworker's iPhone. Today, with my camera in my lunch sack, we saw no eagles at all ... go figure!
Sunday, September 20, 2009
This is Summit Lake in Lassen Volcanic Park, with Lassen Peak in the background. Our first night of camping was spent in the edge of the trees to the right. Lets just say that this was a bad time to discover that we'd forgotten to pick up any bug spray. As the sun went down, I walked out along the lake and found this hidden view - you had no idea the mountain was back there from the campsite.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
I hopped on E-bay and had soon purchased seeds for "Aunt Ruby's German Green," "Cherokee Purple," "Yellow Pear," & "Mexican Midget." I also planted a hybrid "Early Girl" as insurance. After much worry and trepidation over the future of my little seedlings, we were fortunate to have the most perfect tomato-growing summer possible here in central PA. Temperatures were reasonable, rain was plentiful, and the tomatoes darn near took over the yard. Here's a pie plate full of them, including two oddball varieties that volunteered on their own, with no aid whatsoever from me. I guess they're a gift from the people that owned the house before we did!
Thursday, September 10, 2009
After many moons without a new post - moons that encompassed a wedding and a honeymoon and various other smaller-scale adventures - I am dipping my toes back into the blogging water.
Towards the end of August, our weather switched abruptly from high summer to early fall, and this clear warm evening on the river was just the ticket. I actually wore out the batteries in my camera taking multiple pictures of golden sunset interplaying with river and bridge.
Sunday, May 03, 2009
Monday, April 06, 2009
While the large flocks of snow geese and tundra swans have moved on, a few individual geese were still to be found. A group of three were foraging within a few yards of the road for most of the morning. This is one of the three. Two of the three were noticeably holding a wing at an unnatural angle; they will not be making the migration this year.
Dad and I were exchanging lenses and equipment, and I am not 100% sure if he or I took this picture of a flying cormorant. I think it was Dad, but I enjoy the cormorant's unique silhouette, and since I took the liberty of cropping and otherwise adjusting the photo, I am posting it here :)
And lastly, the song of the red-winged blackbird could be heard throughout the morning. Many were perched at various intervals along the wire fencing used in the park. Here, a blackbird breaks into his call.
Friday, April 03, 2009
Then, on Sunday, my Aunt & Uncle (Salty) came for a visit. Salty explains the situation and history of the bridge very well in his latest post, but I thought you might appreciate a "behind-the-scenes" picture of his totally incredible shot of the bridge.
And then, the storm hit and we got hail. Probably the largest hail I have seen since I was a small girl, but we were fortunate as just a few miles north of us golf ball sized hail stones were reported.
We were very lucky in that we only received high winds and heavy rain, many nearby areas suffered damage and it was later confirmed that a tornado touched down in the northern part of the county. And all this, in March!
Friday, March 27, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
Here Sandy is letting the wind play with the ribbons from the ceremony. They are to remain with the couple as a memento and reminder of the vows taken.
This is the wedding party, including moi. Sandy was the most easy-going bride imaginable - just told me to go find whatever dress I wanted, in hunter green.
And this was the passing of the torch, so to speak. Sandy gave me her bouquet (no tossing involved) at the end of the day, as I am the next to be headed to the altar. While the flowers themselves will eventually pass on, the bouquet contains a hand painted orange butterfly crafted from dyed feathers that will proudly take a place in my bouquet come July.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Personalized, color-coordinated m&m's ... yum! While the natural scenery was beautiful, I also wanted to capture some of the details of the day, things that people might not think to aim a camera at, like candy :)
A close-up of the bride's bouquet and the beadwork and embroidery on her dress.
The informal photo shoot in the Garden of the Gods after the reception was so much fun. The park gets a steady stream of traffic, and lots of people were honking their horns and yelling congratulations while we were taking pictures. A great way to end a great day :)
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
These snowdrops were a surprise. There are quite a few popping up. True to their name, they were covered in snow shortly after the first one bloomed. I've also got hyacinths, lots of daffodils, and some things I don't recognize coming up - so more surprises are in store.
Now this one, I think I am responsible for. But, I don't remember what it is. I was thinking grape hyacinth (that's what I remember planting, anyways) but it just doesn't look right. Oh well, a flower is a flower, and these little spring bulbs are so sweet to see after the dreary winter months.
Sunday, March 08, 2009
Lo and behold, they're ring-billed gulls. I believe we are just about as far inland as these guys go in winter.
This evening, as we were working in the yard, I noticed a long dispersed column of gulls flying overhead. They were moving from the northeast to the southwest. I kept an eye on the birds for more than 15 minutes, and there stream of gulls still had no end in sight. I imagine several thousand were in the group, ultimately.
Over the last week, I've noticed small and large groups of tundra swans taking the same flight path, sometimes in the morning and always in the hour or so before dusk. This last shot was taken from our backyard.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I am amazed by how attracted humans are to waves and sand- even on a cool windy day, plenty of bundled-up families were enjoying the beach while I was huddled up inside an elephant.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Cosmetics aside, meet Lucy the Elephant! She is the largest elephant in the world, so big you can tour her insides. Lucy lives in the oceanside town of Margate, New Jersey. Around the turn of the century, she was built as a gimmick, to attract homebuyers to the growing streets of Margate. Lucy really didn't convince people to buy homes, but she did eventually become the mascot for the town. Soon wooden elephants were all the rage in the beach towns of the mid-Atlantic, and Coney Island had one, as did Cape May, New Jersey.
These copycat elephants were soon lost to history and now only Lucy remains. She sadly fell into disrepair in the 1960s, and was threatened with demolition to make way for condominiums. Townspeople rallied together to raise funds to refurbish Lucy and move her to city-owned property. Lucy is now well-loved and taken care of primarily through the labor of volunteers and the admission fees gathered from those who wish to climb the spiral staircases located in her hind legs. Lucy is now a designated National Historic Landmark. Her story is recapped in a short but interesting movie you get to watch in the room located in her belly.
More photos from Lucy will be forthcoming shortly ...
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Looking back, the first national news item that really left an impression on me was the explosion of the Challenger in 1986. There were plenty of other important news headlines from that era, but as a six year old, I couldn't really grasp politics. But I did understand what happened to that space shuttle and how sad it was. Of course many other headlines have affected our lives since then, good ones and bad. Which ones really stick with you?
Monday, January 19, 2009
We had flurries most of the day, which amounted to a foggy atmosphere and about two inches of really fluffy snow. Down at river level, the ice was fractured and heaving, and the lovely little coating of snow was just icing. It's only been in the last week or so that the cold has sustained itself long enough to freeze the river completely.