Monday, September 28, 2015

This Fall Keeps on Giving

   I didn't start this fall with any intention of taking pictures of fall colors. Colors this year have been brilliant and wide spread. So here goes with some more fall colors that were given to me.

Brush  on the river bank

Wagon trail

Aspen at the bottom of the escarpment

This time I got some sky in the photo like I was supposed to.

A cooperative pileated woodpecker that posed for me.
       I was surprised to see two flowers in bloom.

Common bluebell

Smooth fleabane

Saturday, September 26, 2015

I Bin Workin' Hard!

    I've been working hard to get some photos of fall colors. Yes, our colors started few weeks ago and the best of it is over.

    Along with colors we had some good sky scenes with cloud build ups. 

     So from time to time I grabbed the camera and took a bunch of shots. Most I deleted. 

    So here are some of the shots I kept.

Excuse the neighbor's eave's trough on the left

There's a lot of power in this one.

Lots of sunlight on the birch

A large poplar that's past it's prime

A mountain ash with red berries to go along with yellow leaves.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Blogger Mumblings

     This last week I've heard a couple of bloggers mumbling about making changes to their blogs for the sake of improvement. 

    It's always good to hear a blogger talking out loud about making changes. You can read into that making improvements. Sometimes a change in direction is what is pondered. Do they want to change the emphasis from self to others? Do they want to change the topic a bit? Is there a set pattern that they would change?

    One of the bloggers meets up with other bloggers once a year. This year they are going to make it into a writing workshop. What a super idea. Most of us are writing by ourselves. We don't discuss things with others. I hope these bloggers have a productive weekend. When I tell others that I write a blog they put a pleasant smile on their face and that's about it. They don't really know what a blog is. So I don't get to discuss my writing. 

    Another blogger has a fairly narrow subject matter but it is extremely well written. I hope she finds the new direction so that she keeps being enthusiastic about blogging.

   I have a little note on my desk to remind me of the objectives I laid down when I started blogging. I cover these goals but have wondered widely to other areas. So the list I started with was incomplete.

   It's fun to go back once in awhile and look at the things I wrote. The writing has changed. I guess along the way I've maybe learned some things. Reading other blogs certainly helps. Other blogs give ideas for topics. I never want to get in a rut and write on the same topic.

    There are some things I would like to change. I'd like to change my header. I'm sure the regulars would like to open this blog up and see something different. I would also like to change the format. I've monkeyed around with the format but can't make anything that is much different. 

    So do you ask yourself questions about your blog? Are there things you would like to change? What things have you changed that you really like and feel that were successful?

    What things would you like to see change on my blog? What topics would you like to see on my blog?  Now that I've given you a chance to make comments, I'll have to make some response.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Equinox Thoughts

      Tomorrow is the first day of fall and it usually causes me to stop and think about seasons,weather and time.  The Equinox seems to be a very definite line between summer and fall. One minute it's summer and the next minute it's fall. In reality we've been sliding into fall for quite a few weeks. Our weather has been more variable. We get cooler nights and daytime highs are not as sizzling. The cold northern air is pushing south and mixing with warm air. The two air systems don't like each other so they
fight and push back and forth.. Sometimes one wins and then the other wins. Guess what? We have cool days and warm days. Now when I wake up in the morning it's not very light. I don't have enough time to go for a bike ride after supper unless I want to ride in the dark. Daylight is much less than a few weeks ago.

     So things have been changing and we have  a line to mark the changes. So when the sun shines directly on the equator we have the term equinox to describe the situation.

     Here the sun rose at 7:21 and set at 19:33 which gives us 12 hours and 12 minutes of sunlight. Our days are rapidly getting shorter.

    With the fall Equinox I always think about September. September gives us some interesting times. We see some vivid colors. We see plants that have become inactive. We have some good things and some bad things. We can have very pleasant warm weather and it's been known to snow here in September. Other people like September because they say it's not too hot or too cold. September seems to be a  time to finish summer.

   Where ever you are I hope you are enjoying some gentle September weather.

    There are songs that roll around in my head for September. My favorite is Neil Diamond's September Morn. Do you have a favorite September song. There are many of them.


Saturday, September 19, 2015

EEK! The Freezer Crashed

   The good thing is it wasn't my freezer that crashed. It was my neighbor's freezer that quit.

    Why is it that when freezers crash , it's always a big surprise. We rarely know when our freezer is on it's way out. Sometimes we don't catch the down freezer for a few days. Half the stuff  or worse  is thawed.

    Then panic!, panic! Help ! Help! What do I do? How much of this can I rescue. Call a repairman. Can he repair it.? Your mind is working in overdrive. Sometimes you can get a repairman quickly enough and the freezer can be repaired. And if it can't be repaired then plans A,B,C,D...

   My neighbor appeared at my door Thur morning. Her freezer had died. She caught it in time to rescue all her food. She happened to go down for a loaf of bread and it felt a little soft and she discovered the freezer was off and would not kick back in. She asked if we had room in our freezer for some of her stuff. She had room in her side by side fridge for the meat but needed a place for her baked goods. Yes, we had room enough for her stuff.

    So her scramble wasn't over. She had to quickly find a freezer and get it to her house. The business could not deliver the freezer until Monday and then they wanted $90.00. They were able to get the new freezer in the back of their Jeep and then wrestle it downstairs on Thur. She had to wash it well as there was a chemical smell associated with new products.

    Now things don't usually happen in ones. Her husband had a medical appointment with the anesthetist as he's having a kidney removed. 

    They had enough stress in this situation. Friday morning she arrived to get her bag of baked goods. 

    How about you? Has your freezer died on you? Have other things quit, like your sump pump?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Another Heritage Ranch Visit

     A few weeks ago I visited Heritage Ranch hoping to see a few interesting, birds, plants and landscapes. I didn't find much and got sidetracked by horses so my post was on horses.

     Sunday afternoon I visited Heritage Ranch again with two friends. We didn't see much for birds. I don't know why? It's a good birding area. We did see a bald eagle. 

     I was able to stop talking long enough to get a few photos.

One of my favorite bridges. It's for cyclists,walkers and skiers. However it's just wide enough and plenty strong enough for a gravel truck to cross.

Going down the 100 steps to the valley floor.

A bend in the river where the bank is eroding. 

Part of the pond made from an old quarry

Bog orchid. I was surprised to find this bloom in Sept.

Now this was blooming lustily. A nickel to the first person who identifies it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

September is a Popular Month

      I am always intrigued by the number of special days that have been designated. Each month is claimed by number causes and celebrations.

     Who says September is National Chicken Month? What does National Chicken Month mean? Who approves or disapproves of such a status? Where can I go to get a month approved as National Blogging Month? What good would it do to have a National blogging Month?

     I'm sure others have more questions about naming a month for some issue or cause. You rarely know about a special month unless you look it up on the internet.

    So as well as being National Chicken Month there are others for September. ..National Potato Month, National Rice Month, National Cholesterol Month, National All American Breakfast Month. So that's a lot of celebration for one month. Trust me, if you look a bit you'll find others.

    Now some months are designated to promote a worthy cause. That's okay.

    Now the month celebration is bad enough but days are taken too. Some days have several designations. Try National Cheese Pizza Day, National Teddy Bear Day, National Play doh Day, National Chocolate Milkshake Day. There are probably many more. Do we need these special days? 

    If I celebrated all these days I would be exhausted. 

     Have you ever participated in one of these weird little days?

     Would you like to designate a month for something special and what would it be?

    I think it's a bit much. I'd like a plain old month that doesn't mix me up. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Cold Front

     Yesterday was a very pleasant warm September day. I hurried to get some jobs done that didn't get done earlier. The wooden shed got cleaned. Everybody has a wooden shed! Just at the end of the shed cleaning the shop vac told me it was full so I had to replace the bag. Edging got done. It was a busy afternoon. 

     Listening to the forecast I realized that a cold front and showers were on the way.

     It was still nice at 6:30 PM so I did my 20 km(12.5 mi) bike ride. 10 minutes from the end of the bike ride there were a few gusts of wind. By the time I got to the house the gusts were of a higher velocity with a steady wind.

    Light was still good so I thought I'd get  few photos of fall colors. By the time I got out the wind was wild. The cold front was moving through the area.

    So I got some photos but not exactly what I had in mind. I got shots of trees blowing in the wind. Leaves were also blowing above the trees.
    By about 10:30 the front had gone through and it was calm again.

    Not all shots showed the front so many were deleted.

This was a throw away shot into the sun. When I looked at it I could see the leaves whirling above the trees. Enlarge it.

Ominous cloud

Clouds building up.

Ragged scowling clouds.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Buying an Umbrella Can Be Hazardous

     We threw the old umbrella in the garbage can yesterday. The last time we used it we got just as wet as if we hadn't used it. By the time I got it closed and in the car I was wet. It just wouldn't close anymore at least if you're out in the rain and in a hurry..

     We get an average of  12 in (31 cm) of precipitation a year. We rarely have to use an umbrella. On the farm we didn't have an umbrella and I don't remember a raincoat. If it was heavy rain we stayed in. If it was light rain we stayed out and continued working.

    But we decided we had better buy a new umbrella sooner than later so off we went yesterday afternoon.

    We wanted something of quality. Our goal was to find a good reliable umbrella.

    Okay first we found the flimsy umbrellas. We tried them and they were exactly the same as the one we threw in the garbage can. We moved on and found something promising. There was a button on the handle so the Micro manager tried it and to her complete surprise the umbrella popped out causing a  customer beside her to duck very quickly. It was a little embarrassing. So stroke that one off. 

     We did find something that was better than the others and discretely put it on  the back of the rack while we looked at others in another store.

    We came back to get the one we thought was best. the Micro Manager wanted one more look at both of them when they were open. She opened the second choice and somehow her finger got pinched and in trying to escape the pinch she tore a good piece of skin off her finger. She was more that a little upset. 

    So with oohs and aahs, band aids from the staff and the manager the mess was sorted out. The store boxed up all the offending umbrellas and took them off their shelves.

    See , it's not just the pointy end of the umbrella that's dangerous.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Loyalty Points

     I won't start swearing about loyalty points but I don't like 'em.

     I get loyalty points at four grocery chains and I also have Air Miles and Aero Plan. I may have some other loyalty cards but I'd have to look.

    So loyalty cards are meant to suck us in. They are meant to put a little hook on us so that we keep coming back. In the old days my Mom bought stuff that contained mugs or cups or tea towels. It seems to me that these were mostly in soap. Of course, they were in sets so that she had to buy more stuff to get the set. 

     Now with loyalty points the more you save the bigger the loot you get. If you redeem points for little stuff it doesn't seem worth it. So keep on building up the points.

     With Air Miles you need a tremendous amount of points to just get out of town. Now there are fewer places that give you Air Miles. One also has to search very hard to find things that you would like for your points. I did buy my camera with aeroplane points but the price was much more than I would have paid for it on sale. Aeroplan now takes points away when your account is not used  I filled up with gas the other day just to keep the stupid account open. I had to do a search to find a gas station that gives Aeroplan points (Esso)

    Grocery points are a rip off. You have to make sure that you have the card and then that you give it too them. If you check your points total you will find that they sometimes miss giving you points. The card sometimes does not scan. I wish that would happen when they run my groceries through the scanner. 

    Now I wonder how much would I save on my groceries if they weren't giving away those stupid points. I also know that points can't be stupid.

    So there's my little rant for the day!

   I imagine there are worse things than loyalty points.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Labor Day

     Since today is Labor Day I decided to look a few things up about the day.

     Everybody knows that Labor Day is to celebrate and recognize people who work. Labor Day has a long history and I think is recognized in about 80 countries.  

    I thought back to what Labor Day means to me personally. Labor Day is observed on the first Monday in September. So since most of my life has been in education it's synonymous with school opening. The first Monday makes it awkward to set a school year. You don't want to open schools before Labor Day but sometimes if you don't you don't get your legislated days in before June 30. Opening school before Labor Day means that some kids are still away on holiday so you make class lists and pass out books and lay down the rules and some kids aren't there. 

   I admit that I didn't do anything special as far as Labor day is concerned in my classes. No excuse. I just didn't think about it.

    A  a little kid Labor Day brought some mixed emotions. I didn't want to go back to school and end my summer of freedom yet I wanted to go back and meet my friends. I also felt that it was the end of summer and summer fun. Since  I was a farm kid, long weekends didn't mean anything. We didn't go away for a holiday and didn't stop working.

     My dad, being a farmer and harvesting at the time was not happy to hear about Labor Day. It was not a holiday for him. He was not enthused about some people taking the day off with pay and he still had to work very hard.

    Since I've retired I've had time to reflect on Labor Day. I realize that there is an important message in this special day. There are some parades and celebrations. There are some official ceremonies. All of this is to publicize the importance of people who labor. I now look on Labor Day as more than just a day off.

   One thing that still puzzles me about Labor Day. Why don't we say Happy Labor Day like we do for thanksgiving and other holidays?

    I hope everybody had a good weekend and that you're now ready for school or the coming fall season.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

A Tough Book to Read

     I just finished a very tough book to read. Usually books classified as tough are those that in some ways are complex. For me, mysteries are hard to read.

    But the book today is a tough because of the subject matter. It deals with Alzheimer's

    I've known a few people with Alzheimer's and visited with them. I've never had to deal directly with Alzheimer's.

    In this book the writer has Alzheimer's. His mother has Alzheimer's and his grandfather had Alzheimer's.

    On Pluto: inside the mind of Alzheimer's by Greg O'brien is a detailed realistic firsthand account of dealing with Alzheimer's and having Alzheimer's. 

    Greg describes in detail the challenge of looking after his mother who has Alzheimer's while at the same time he has early onset Alzheimer's. Looking after an elderly parent is always going to be  challenge but one having Alzheimer's is much worse.

    When Greg's mother dies he suddenly has to face the stage  his own Alzheimer's. Greg describes in detail his dealing with physicians and denial and anger. It's very direct and authentic.

    Along the way you will learn much about the very epic struggle people have with Alzheimer's.

    This book was tough to read because of the horrible experiences Alzheimer patients go through. 

    I highly recommend this book as you will learn much about Alzheimer's. It's not a book you will enjoy but is well worth while reading.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

How Could I Have Ever Missed It?

      Now most of my readers know that I am an avid cyclist. You know that at age 75 I still ride at least 1000 km (625 miles) per summer. I would ride more if the weather cooperated and if my schedule allowed. I have ridden since 1984 when they started putting in excellent cycling trails in my town. I've been at it ever since. I've ridden about 40000 km (25000 miles). some years I've ridden much more than my goal and some years I just reach my goal. the first few years I did not have my goal of 1000 km. I'm on my third bike and it's just about worn out. I replace bikes when safety becomes an issue. 

     I don't have recent cycling photos. These are from 2009.

     Now I just recently heard of naked cycling day! I had never heard of it before. Apparently this has been going on since 2002.  Apparently many local groups organize a nude cycling day and away they go. Most naked cycling days are in the spring. I wonder why?

    The other day 3000 nude cyclists in Philly road through a wedding party photo shoot! This couple will have something to remember about their wedding.

     So since I keep up on cycling I can't understand why I missed these exciting cycling events. 

     Maybe I should organize one in my town for next spring!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Hey, Skating Started Today!

    I know , I'm always posting about skating, but I have to keep you and myself on track with the season.

    Today many bloggers commented about the waning summer and the approach of fall. It's a milestone in the year. The weather is still nice but it's changing. 

    Well, skating marks an important change in the year for me. I was surprised that I had lots of zip after not skating since April. It was a fun afternoon. Now only five of us skated but it wasn't well publicized.

       Now I didn't get photos of skating. Everything I took I dumped. I still have a few things to learn about taking photos of skaters.

    It's a little difficult to put on clothes for the rink. It's really hard to remember your gloves.