POW…..straight to the moon!
A hand held shot with the new lens last night. I’m pretty impressed and can’t wait to see what it can do with a tripod. I might even remember that it’s in the back seat of the truck, get it out and use it one of these days!
Just a few random shots from today
Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis or Solidago virgaurea). I used to blame my seasonal allergies on goldenrod until I discovered the allergy is actually caused by ragweed which blooms at the same time. Goldenrod’s bright yellow blooms make it more conspicuous, hence the association with the onset of hay fever. I’m still staying away from anything yellow until my head clears up. In the meantime, thank God for Loratidine!
Burd on a ladder
Two does and a fawn. Frankie shot this while I drove.
Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis) also known as Red Lobelia
Sunset in Crockett’s Cove. Frankie shot this as we were heading home. I starting to think that I may be creating a monster. She’s already taken possession of my 35MM SLR as well as Laura’s old digital point and shoot. Now that she’s learning to shoot my DSLR I just might have to find a good place to hide it.
Yesterday afternoon getting out with the camera again felt so good that I just had to get a few more frames.
Even though I really shouldn’t have been out driving, watching the sunset through the window just wasn’t enough. Besides, the Methodist church out on rte. 52 is nearby and on high ground so……….
The view from the parking lot was gorgeous!
As I wandered back home, the long way or course, I got to see a couple critters out and about.
I can’t say how many points that buck has in his rack (I’m guessing 6) but these 2 were probably 150 yards out and I could tell he was a buck with the naked eye! This was also when I realized I had left my glasses at home. This shot was at max zoom with a 55-250MM Image Stabilized lens in fading light.
I soon realized the drugs hadn’t completely worn off yet because I was having hallucinations. You wouldn’t believe what I thought when I saw this horse.
Deciding to err on the side of safety I headed for home. Besides, the light was fading fast and I was afraid of what I might see looming up in the headlights. That horse was enough!
12 hours later:
On the way to town
The pond I pass each morning as I take THE BOSS to work.
In the field at the bottom of our street.
It’s a very good thing I have a fresh supply of allergy meds on hand. That golden rod is blooming all over the place!
All of these frames were shot from the driver’s seat of my truck. I’m not quite ready to try my legs on rough ground just yet.
I’m sticking close to home today because I really shouldn’t be out roaming the streets just yet. I moved the wrong way a couple of days ago, triggering my already wrecked back, which in turn caused my legs to give out and the next thing I knew I was on my butt with the dawg licking my face and my sister in law asking if I was okay. That would have been bad enough but when I landed on the porch I did so in exactly the right way to trigger my back again! I’ve spent the past couple of days with alternating hot and cold packs as well as taking the pain killers my doctor has prescribed for just such occasions. The back and legs are much better now but the after effects of the drugs make the worst booze hangovers from back in the day seem tame by comparison.
That said, my trigger finger was getting itchy and cabin fever was driving me out of what’s left of my mind. The sun was already too high to crank off a few rounds at the idiot across the street without somebody spotting where the gunfire was coming from so I settled for staking out Burd Town with my camera and my trusty sidekick, Sam the Wonder Dog.
For those who are unfamiliar, Burd Town is my name for my wife’s collection of burd feeders hanging in the tree outside our bedroom window. This is part of our green initiative because I no longer need an alarm clock to tell me when the sun has come up. Bright and early each morning, there are about a bazillion tweety burds screaming “HEY, HOW ABOUT SOME SERVICE HERE. THE FEEDER’S ARE EMPTY, AGAIN!” right outside the window.
I love observing nature because I almost always learn something.Today I learned that life as a burd is really not much different from that of humans……at least married humans.
“There I was, minding my own business, sitting on the sofa….”
“Then the wife showed up.”
“What are you thinking about?”
“Well, if you don’t want to tell me just say so!”
“No, really I wasn’t thinking about anything.”
“You were thinking about one of your old girlfriends, weren’t you?”
“No really…I wasn’t thinking about anything at all!”
“I suppose you think I’ll believe that!”
“So……what were you thinking about?”
Well, by now I probably have the female readers all fired up and the male readers thinking “Yep!” Fellows, don’t let the other half catch you grinning at this. The next thing you’ll hear is “What are you smiling about?”
As I gaze out the window a line from a Led Zeppelin tune keeps running through what’s left of my mind:
“If it keeps on rainin’, levee’s goin’ to break,
If it keeps on rainin’, levee’s goin’ to break,
When The Levee Breaks I’ll have no place to stay.”
If you look closely you’ll see our darling daughter’s smiling face in this frame. The quality of the shot could be much better but please bear in mind that it was shot through two windshields (windscreens to those of you of the Brit persuasion) and a downpour. Adding to the challenge was the necessity of trying to trip the shutter between the sweeps of 2 sets of windshield wipers.
The smile on that face is the result of Momma and Daddy agreeing to add her sat TV/ Internet/ landline phone service to our account. This means she’ll have all of the above installed and functional next Thursday. Since she has no established credit history it would take much longer and cost far more to put it in her name because of security deposits and installation fees. Frankie and I are established customers so all that has been waived. We’re more than happy we could help with the red tape.
Besides, we really like to see that smile!
On our journey to town today I finally remembered to get a shot of what I think is an old root cellar on 4th Street. If there’s anything stored in there I hope it’s in water tight containers because I’m sure it’s floating by now. There is no door!
The branch (pronounced brainch in these parts) at the bottom of our street isn’t out of it’s banks…..yet….. but it is rising. We’ve been under flash flood watches and warnings for the best part of the past two days and they remain in effect until tomorrow. Being on high ground I won’t start worrying about flooding until I see ol’ Fish Hook (my brother in law) paddling past in an inner tube. All this rain is due to the remnants of Tropical Depression 5 (TD5) and another storm front behind it that is moving in from the Midwest.
Speaking of branches, Burd Town lost a 20 footer last night and it is lying out in our front yard. If the rain ever stops THE BOSS and I will have to break out the Sawzall™,cut it free and then into manageable pieces and haul it up to the tree line.
NOTE: No burds or feeders were damaged in this incident. Sawzall™ is the brand name of a reciprocating saw produced by the Milwaukee Electric Tool Company. These saws are also produced by several other companies and sawzall has become the generic name for this type of tool among tradesmen, no matter who makes it.
One thing all this rain is good for is the green stuff. After Halloween Frankie set Laura’s Jack-O- lantern in this then empty flower bed until we could dispose of it. Apparently a few seeds fell out because this pumpkin plant sprung up a few weeks ago and is now growing like crazy. It has a blossom on it but I doubt it will have a chance to produce a very large fruit before the killing frost arrives. On the other hand, you never know……….. Those seeds survived the #%&@!!! ton and a half of snow we had last winter.
We shall see.
Upon finding this note in my e-mail this afternoon I promptly pulled up the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) web site and took a look at the latest radar images from Blacksburg, Virginia, just up the road from us (40 or so miles north). I’ve found that even I can interpret these images just as well if not better, than the “meteorologists” on the idiot box and I don’t have their high tech devices…..a Ouija board and little bag of shiny stones and chicken bones.
Yep, it’s gonna rain! It’ll be good for the wild flowers.
Naturally, since I own a very large sports utility vehicle, GODZILLA, and I am unencumbered by excessive common sense, I decided this would be the perfect time to get in the truck and go to town. Ain’t nothin’ better for splashing through puddles than 3 1/2 tons of V-8 powered Detroit iron with 2 feet of ground clearance and the largest set of Bridgestone mud and snow tires that will fit in the wheel wells without rubbin’!
The fact that we needed to go to the grocery store had little to do with my decision.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
By the time we made it to 4th Street and Ridge Road my prediction had proven itself accurate. It was raining.
A couple of blocks north it was really coming down as I waited for the little old lady in front of me to decide she had held up traffic long enough and finally make the left turn into the Food Lion parking lot. By this time I had not only contemplated running over her car, I was also asking God why Ford didn’t offer machine guns as an option on their larger SUVs. The smaller ones don’t have enough room to carry sufficient ammunition to make this option feasible.
There are times when the voices in my head come up with some very good suggestions, today being one. Rather than get out of the truck myself and risk getting carried away by the water surging across the parking lot I opted for pulling up as close to the door as possible and letting Frankie run inside. Upon her return, she reported, in a rather cross tone of voice, that the water was more than flip flop deep and she was getting soaked. I donned a concerned expression while she loaded the groceries and turned the heat on so that she wouldn’t get a chill when she got in the truck.
On the way home the rain began to let up enough that I could actually see our ridge (on the left with the cell tower) in between storm cells. This shot was made from approximately 2 miles away.
I’m always fascinated by the clouds of fog rising from the folds in the ridges.
At least I think that’s fog.
This particular spot is right behind my brother in law, Fish Hook’s house. He may have irritated his wife, Pat, Frankie’s sister. While she will deny it if asked, I have seen smoke emanating from her ears, on several occasions, when she is riled up. I should know; I am most adept at causing said emissions, not only from Pat, but from my darling bride, as well. Must have something to do with their upbringing.
I have also discovered that Pat’s a little less dangerous than her sister, when riled up. Frankie is prone to swinging a cast iron skillet at my headbone when provoked. She is also skilled at connecting with said headbone, and I have the lumps to prove it, hence my name for this behavior:
Don’t tell Frankie but I do enjoy the peaceful moments afterwards and the birdies, stars and fireworks are most entertaining. Regaining consciousness, however, is no fun…….unless it takes place in a hospital…….and the nurse actually brings morphine when I ask for it. WOO-HOO!
I haven’t posted anything recently because we have been busy helping our youngest daughter leave the nest. She is moving into her first apartment prior to the start of the fall semester of her freshman year in college. This, ostensibly, in order to have a quiet place to study.
I remember my college days and all I can say is she better not! My parents were 1200 miles away when I was raising hell, chasing coeds and supporting at least 2 breweries all by myself……I mean when I was diligently pursuing my bachelor’s degree but she’s only a couple of miles down the road.
After a few hours each day of lifting and bending more than my wrecked back can stand, in oppressive heat and humidity, I haven’t been able to get out with Sam and the camera. Actually, just getting out of bed has been a major accomplishment most days.
All that is behind me now…….I think.
Laura returned from her vacation trip with John late last night. Yes, while her mother and I were slaving away, Frankie braving the depths of THE HOVEL (Laura’s room) to pack and me fighting my way through furniture assembly instructions only partially translated from the original Swahili, Pidgin Chinese or Martian (I’m still not sure which), Laura was frolicking in the surf and sand of sunny Florida. Well, only partially sunny, I am told, but still better than the near record breaking steamy heat we’ve “enjoyed” here in the Mountain Empire for the past week.
Anyway, John helped me assemble the remaining pieces of furniture today and it appears the move is complete….at least as far as my role in the exercise is concerned. The remaining items can be easily lifted and crammed into the back of Laura’s Jeep.
Now I can get back to roaming the countryside with my trusty sidekick, co-pilot and navigator, Sam the Wonder Dog. Naturally, the TV weather guesser announced this evening that the frog strangling downpour we received this afternoon is but a sample of things to come. We are supposed to have intermittent downpours for the next two or three days with as much as four inches of rain. That’s okay……I’ll probably be posting a lot of waterfowl shots…..or maybe fish. We shall see.
A few shots from the trip home this morning……the long way, of course.
Sights like these sure make getting up early worthwhile!
I’ve been told the number of foggy mornings in August will tell you how many snows to expect over the coming winter.
So far this year we’re six for six.
Last year we had fog every morning in August and the winter brought us nearly 5 feet of snow.
Here’s hoping this one is a bit milder.
As the sun cleared the horizon it brought a promise that the fog would be short lived…….
……as well as a hint of the heat to come.
It also brought glimpses of the deep blue sky that comes with low humidity….
…..and as the haze lifts the mountains once again come into view, with passing cloud shadow revealing why this is called the Blue Ridge.
The weather for the past couple of days can best be described as gloomy! The daytime highs that struggled to reach 70°F (21°C) were a welcome change from the heat wave we’ve been suffering through. On the other hand the steady drizzle interspersed with occasional rain showers soon became monotonous even if we did desperately need rain. The rain is gone now and the heat and humidity have returned, with a high around 90°F (32°C) predicted for every day this week. Oh joy! It’s already 96°F (35°C) and the hottest part of the day is yet to come.
As I sat here waiting for the local self storage place to open so we could unload Laura’s furniture from my truck I was not asleep with my eyes open, despite popular opinion. I was actually trying to decide where I wanted to roam with the camera today my decision was made for me. Frankie was in the kitchen helping Laura fill out rental applications (still no luck on that front) when she shouted “DEER IN THE BACK YARD!” Glancing out the window beside my chair I spotted not just any deer but the piebald buck that roams our ridge.
Legend has it that seeing a piebald doe is lucky. Piebald bucks are eve rarer so I’m expecting Frankie will hit the lottery for a gazillion dollars any day now. When she does you’re all invited to the party!
I got these shots from our back door. They were hurried and the camera got jiggled a few times (image stabilized lens saves the day again). You see, I was fending off a lunatic Labrador Retriever while trying to frame a shot. Sam thinks these critters are big dogs and he’d like nothing better than to run with them.
I guess we were making more noise that I realized because the deer suddenly turned and spotted me in the open doorway 20 yards away.
Sometimes, if I stay really still and don’t present a threat, a deer will go back to grazing and allow me to get a few more frames.
This was not one of those times. When that tail goes up it’s time to switch to a fast shutter speed or all you’ll get is an orange and white blur because that deer’s mind has gone to feet don’t fail me now mode.
If you hover your mouse over the these last three frames you’ll see the frame numbers and notice that one is missing. The missing one was the aforementioned multicolored blur.
There was another blurred frame after this last one as the buck broke left and leaped into the brush and out of sight.
When this guy first started showing up in our yard he didn’t seem to have much fear of humans and that was a concern to me with hunting season fast approaching. Nobody hunts our ridge but you never know……
Today’s episode set my mind at ease. That critter can not only run, he can JUMP!