No carpentry today………..
I wrecked my back and I’m taking a break. You might want to mark your calendar at this rare instance of surrender to common sense on my part. It could be years before it happens again.
No wandering the back roads with Buddy………
Last week I momentarily lost my mind….or what’s left of it……..and I also lost Godzilla (my beloved Ford Expedition).
THE BOSS has been afraid to drive the truck because it’s so big and she’s so small. On one of her days off last week I “accidentally missed my turn” and the next turn “just happened” to be onto a lonely back road. I climbed out of the truck, told Frankie to swap places and off we went. After a few miles with no accidents and no opposing traffic she was hooked on the power and the view from way up there and was flying down one of the main county roads. She even whipped that big green monster into the Wal-Mart parking lot to pick up a few items. On the way out again she had that “Go ahead and pull out in front of me now!” gleam in her eye and I knew I was a walking man, once again.
No sitting in the backyard shooting burd photos…….
The neighbors are mowing and the burds done vamoosed, at least for the time being. They’re already upset at me for hanging out under their tree……and the feeders…..most of the past 2 days making all kinds of racket with the power tools and the obligatory swearing.
Oh well…….there is a bright side.
NO COOKING TODAY……
If THE BOSS isn’t wiped out from her shift at Sheetz we’re meeting up with the in laws at Foster Falls in New River Trail State Park for a cookout, maybe a little
worm drowning fishing and maybe a few shots of the bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) I spotted nesting across the river from the park on an earlier visit. I don’t have enough lens to get any decent shots of them on the nest but I may get lucky and catch them in flight.
We shall see…….
All these no’s reminds me of a song from the days of my misspent youth. Now it’s stuck in my head. If you click play below and it gets stuck in yours as well don’t say I didn’t warn you.
After all these years I still think Morticia Addams (Carolyn Jones) is a dish!
For those of you who have risked whiplash while shaking your head over some of the things I do to myself (and admit to) this will probably come as no surprise. Spring Fever (aka THE MADNESS) has seized me once more.
You’ll note that Frankie is running for her life in the first frame. After 25 years she has learned that when I get THAT LOOK in my eye it’s best to get far, far away. Of course, yesterday being my 27th birthday……again……she refrained from employing BANGY! BANGY! (the swift and repeated application of a cast iron skillet to my headbone until I change my mind…..what’s left of it).
As I was out shooting photos of Frankie’s Azaleas in bloom I happened to note the sorry state of our picnic table.
Four Blue Ridge Mountain winters have really done a number on this poor thing.
Among other career paths (just call me a jack of all trades, master on none) I actually got paid to bend nails risk self inflicted amputation drive the site foreman to wonder if he had been drunk when he hired me work as a carpenter for a couple of years. A quick appraisal of that poor table revealed that I could salvage the frame but would have to replace the table and bench tops.
Piece of cake!
As with most home improvement projects, a simple project soon turned into a major pain…..literally! After two days of what has become a construction project rather than a repair my already screwed up back is killing me! Before my accident I could have built a new table in an afternoon. Of course, before my accident, I would have gotten by with repairing the table rather than building a new one.
At least the folks at Lowe’s are happy because I take the time to visit their web site before handing Frankie a list and saying “I need this.” She then drives to the store, walks up to the customer service counter, slaps the list on the counter and says “I need this.” The list even has the sku numbers and price so all they have to do is send one of their evil minions scurrying through the aisles to retrieve the items on the list.
Construction should be complete by tomorrow afternoon. I would say that all I had to do after that was stain and seal the finished table. I’m not saying anything of the sort even though I am about half stoned out of what’s left of my mind on prescription pain killers. That statement always gets me in trouble and I’m not tempting fate anymore until I start my next “simple” project.
At least, so far, I haven’t lost any fing…..
Oh no……you’re not going to read about me losing a thumb…….or maybe an ear applying stain. You may laugh but with me anything is possible! Is that neck starting to bother you a little bit now?
More photos to follow.
It seems like just yesterday the world was dreary shades of gray and brown but now that the rainy days have given way to sunshine and mild temperatures the world is greening up in a hurry,
There is even new color on the pier in the stock pond down the road.
The first buds on Frankie’s azaleas were just starting to show earlier in the week.
Now it seems as if dozens of new blossoms pop open each morning.
It’s going to be tough concentrating on my training program for the next few mornings with skies as clear as these.
Spring also brings earlier sunrises and later sunsets, both of which seem to be more spectacular this time of year. My shutter button finger is getting itchy again so I’m going to have to figure out how to juggle the need to work with the yearn to get out and shoot more now that the weather is nice.
Yesterday I mentioned wanting to get a few shots of a pink dogwood. The white variety is easy because they grow wild but the only pink ones I’ve seen have been in yards or near public buildings. Even though the light was poor due to rainy weather I managed to get a few frame today.
This first one is in a yard along the road to town. I shot this from the truck window while stopped in the middle of the road. One of the benefits of living in a rural area is sparse traffic. Another is having friendly residents who will stop and let you get your shot. The lady traveling in the opposite direction saw my lens sticking out of the window, stopped until I was finished then continued on her way with a wave and a smile!
My plan was to return later, park across the street at the medical clinic and shoot a few close ups on foot. THE BOSS saved me the trip, albeit unintentionally. After picking her up from work she asked me to stop by the library and what should I find right next the building but a pink dogwood!
I’ll return when the sun is out but not even the poor light of a rainy day could diminish the beauty of these blossoms.
The dogwood is the official tree of Virginia and it doesn’t feel like Spring until they’re in bloom. In fact, clicking on the Virginia link above will take you to the official Commonwealth web site where the blossoms are prominently displayed in the header.
Virginia, also known as the Old Dominion, is not a state. One of the original 13 colonies and home to Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in the New World, Virginia is one of four Commonwealths in the United States (Massachusetts, Kentucky and Pennsylvania are the others).
Okay, enough of the history lesson. I have another blog to write before I find a blanket to crawl under until the chill I got shooting photos in the rain subsides. This sort of weather, light rain and 45° F (7°C) really gets into my bones.
If you care to see what else I shot on this rainy day you can find them on my Blogger page. Thanks for the visit!
Buddy and I decided to take the long way to town when it was time to pick Frankie up from work today. We wandered around the yard for a while first (click here for details) because the weather was so nice and that’s what led us to decide to leave for town 45 minutes early……and to get to Frankie’s store, which is 2 miles due east, by heading west a few miles first.
All of these shots, except the last, were shot from the driver’s side window of my truck because I have learned, the hard way, not to go wandering around on rough terrain by myself. While Buddy would no doubt try to help he would probably just lick my face…..and laugh at me…..when I fell on my butt and couldn’t get back up.
THE BOSS says this is a variety of crab apple. I have no idea so I’ll take her at her word. I just liked the blossoms.
As far as I’m concerned it isn’t spring in Virginia until the dogwood is in bloom.
You can find them just about everywhere and I’ve spotted several pink ones, as well.
I’ll have to wait to shoot the pink ones until Frankie is along for the ride. I’ll need her to keep Buddy occupied long enough to allow me to get out of the truck and get the shots. That dog follows me EVERYWHERE! He even gets upset if I close the bathroom door. That’s the last thing I need; a lunatic dog in the shower with me!
Wild mustard is in bloom everywhere as well. I know of a couple of fields that are completely covered with it but, once again, I’ll need someone along to control the BIG RED PUPPY!
A picture is worth 1,000 words so here are 2,000.
Buddy is still growing! If he keeps this up he’ll be hard pressed to get enough of his head out the window when he wants to enjoy his new found passion for the wind blowing his ears and lips back as we travel around town.
When we first adopted him he was content to ride in the middle of the back seat, watching the world go by through the windshield. One day he stuck his head out the window while we waited for a traffic light and he still had it out when we started moving. The look on his face said “YEE-HAW, THIS IS FUN!”
He’s come to enjoy riding this way so much that he’ll scratch at the window with his paw if I forget to lower it. Then one day he accidentally put his paw on the electric window button and you could almost see the light bulb pop up over his head.
Even though Buddy’s gotten so big he can barely fit his head and neck through the open window (and the window openings in my Ford Expedition, Godzilla, are not small) I still keep the “child safety” feature on the power windows engaged. That dog is incredibly intelligent and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he decided to roll the window down so that he could jump out of the truck to chase after something……… or run amok in McDonald’s. He already knows that when we pull up to those golden arches Momma’s going to get him a double cheeseburger!
The storms that have brought so much death and destruction to the Midwest and the South over the past couple of weeks have paid us a visit or two as well. Last week 2 tornadoes touched down in the county to our north and while nobody was seriously injured over 400 homes were damaged or destroyed.
We had strong storms overnight and the wind was so fierce that it sounded like the roof was coming off. I was actually surprised to find no damage this morning. Though not as strong as overnight the winds are still kicking up. To illustrate, the camera wasn’t tilted when I shot the frame above……..
……the winds were so strong that the flagpole was actually swaying in the breeze!
The world is turning green around us so swiftly that it’s stunning.
Also stunning are the flowers springing up, seemingly overnight, everywhere you look.
I shot these tulips from the driver’s side window while waiting on a traffic light.
I’m going to have to talk to Laura about getting some bulbs for Mother’s Day. I’m sure Frankie will love them.
I haven’t been online much lately because events in the real world have monopolized my free time. Thank you all for your kind notes and concerned e-mails but I have not managed to get incarcerated or to hurt myself again….so far.
For those of you who don’t already know, I was injured in a serious fall at home in October 2005. Despite spinal repair surgery, 8 months in a #%@&!!! body brace and almost a year of intensive physical therapy those injuries left me permanently disabled and unable to hold a job. There aren’t many employers willing to hire an old geezer like me who can’t bend at the waist, sit, stand or walk for more than 15 or 20 minutes at a time, sees nothing wrong with using his cane to settle disagreements and consumes enough prescription drugs each day to keep a small horse stoned out of it’s gourd.
Well, hopefully, that’s about to change.
I’ve begun the application process with a company that specializes in matching people in my situation with federally subsidized work from home programs. I’ve begun the preliminary selection and qualifications process and should begin online training within the next week or so. Once that is completed I’ll be matched up with either a federal agency or private company and will be working from home part time.
This will cut into my online play time and my wandering through the countryside with my camera in my lap and dog at my side but the extra money will be welcome, even if I only make enough to cover my DSL/Sat TV and ammo bills as well as a new piece of photography gear every now and then.
Oh,man………I just looked at that last sentence and realized I’ll need 2 part time jobs just to cover the last item on my list! All I know is something’s gotta give because Social Security Disability Income just don’t cut it!
Well, there you have it. The reason for my mysterious absence lately. I’d write more or include a few photos but I have to practice speaking with an Indian accent in case I’m assigned to a tech support call center. Yeah, I know that’s not politically correct but……..well, you know.
I’m still on the injured list after discovering, the hard way, that the catches on one of our storm windows don’t hold. The window slamming down on my left hand produced deep bruising that not only makes it hard to type, it makes it nearly impossible to use the controls on my camera so I’m not shooting anything new for a few days.
As if the hand reducing my typing style from 4 fingers and the occasional thumb to 2 fingers wasn’t bad enough I managed to twist my left ankle when I missed the bottom step on the front porch this afternoon. Since the left side of my body is just about useless for the time being I am effectively grounded.
Frankie is getting fed up with nursing me and I fully expect her to duck tape me to my chair if I even think about trying to get out of it until I heal. Since I can’t go outside and play THE BOSS has had me busy sorting through the images on my portable hard drive for prints to hang on the walls. Black and white sort of resembles the black and blue left side of my body so…….
It’s a good thing I returned to shoot this old barn several times over the past few months. When I took a shortcut down Atkins Mill Road last week I made a sad discovery. Gravity has finally prevailed and the building has collapsed! There are several other old structures on the same property that are in varying stages of decay. I intend to make a return visit and shoot a few dozen frames before they suffer the same fate.
In case you haven’t heard, I managed to slam a storm window on my left hand a couple of days ago which means I now type with 2 fingers instead of my customary 4 and sometimes as many as 5 or 6 (2 on each hand and even a thumb now and then). The hand is not fractured but the deep bruising makes typing a very slow process and shooting pictures involves setting the zoom with my camera in my lap, picking it up with my right and hoping auto focus saves the shot. Since I do a great deal of my shooting from behind the wheel………. and Frankie scares easily………and I’m afraid of what she might do to me in retaliation……when I’m asleep……… I’m not doing much shooting lately.
THE BOSS has decided we need some fresh pictures on the walls so I’ve been digging through my portable hard drive……How did I mange to shoot over 40,000 frames in just 2 years?
Anyway, from the archives, I present a selection of some of the critters that roam in and around our backyard. Hope you enjoy.
Seeing a piebald deer, like this one, is supposed to bring good luck. We had 2 making nightly visits last year and Frankie still hasn’t hit the lottery! She must be buying defective tickets.
See? There’s another one and still no lottery jackpot!
Peek a boo!
In addition to shooting bird photos from the bedroom window, I also shoot deer photos when the opportunity presents itself. I shot the frame above as well as the next 4 while sitting on the foot of the bed with the window open.
That piebald spike was a regular last summer but we haven’t seen him all winter. We’re not too concerned because bucks are far more skittish that does. Nobody hunts our ridge because local wisdom says there are no deer on Pine Ridge. He’s probably just hiding behind a tree until I put the camera away…….
No, she’s not striking a pose. this doe injured her right foreleg a couple of years back. We were worried that she might not survive but she has and she showed up with her fawn last summer. I spotted her a couple of weeks ago and she’s still favoring that leg…..and she’s very pregnant!
Hard to tell how many points the rack on that buck has but he was a large animal.
Okay, time to hit the pillow.