Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) Shot from the front porch (range approx. 25 yards), hand held using a a Canon T3 mounted with a Sigma 150-500MM Optically Stabilized lens.
That itty bitty chair THE BOSS uses as a step stool to reach the stuff in the cabinets is an accident waiting to happen!
Said itty bitty chair decided to depart from under my feet this afternoon and I really triggered my back this time!
I blame this on THE BOSS because she was in the same room at the time and was negligent in supervising my actions. (I hope she doesn’t read this)
The meds are kicking in nicely and I will survive .
Man am I ever glad my new La-Z-Boy was delivered a week ago! I’ll be stuck in it for the near future……..in a drug induced haze.
Now where is my little bell? I need it to ring for ice cream and some comic books.
Oh there you are. It’s about time.
Wait…..what are you going to do with that skillet?
Oh look at all the little burdies……..fireworks, too!
I was puttering around in the yard when a sudden rain shower swept through and I took shelter in our backyard shed. This little guy, a male House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus), landed on a nearby branch and I managed to shoot a few frames (My camera bag is ALWAYS close at hand!) before he spotted me and decided to find a more private branch to wait out the storm.
Rainy weather, memory foam cushions in my new La-Z-Boy and a general lack of get up & go have all conspired to keep my cameras idle for the most part but I have snapped a few frames.
These 3 wandered out of the tree line behind the house just as the light was fading yesterday evening. The one on the left is a doe and the other two are yearling bucks.
These guys changed from their winter gray coat to summer red awfully fast. It’s said that the redder the coat the hotter the summer ahead. Looks like we’re in for a scorcher!
The rain has knocked almost all the blossoms off the Granny’s Bonnets but there are plenty of buds ready to bloom at any moment.
Buddy, Lunatic Lab #1, “helping out” with the photography.
Doesn’t that look on Molly’s face just scream “I’m not doing anything….honest!” ?
Gotta have a burd in the mix. Now, to catch up on the backlog of blogs I’ve missed while
unconscious sawing logs testing my new recliner.
Don’t know the scientific name or even if Granny’s Bonnet is the right name. That’s just what I’m told they’re called and they’re my favorite in my wife’s garden. She has them growing in several planters around the yard.
Even though I’m mesmerized by THE BOSS’s Old maid’s Bonnets I didn’t start out to shoot them this afternoon. That said, I couldn’t resist getting a few frames.
Frankie spotted a new visitor to our feeders yesterday, a male Red Breasted Grosbeak, and I was soon at the window trying to shoot a few frames without spooking him. What I managed to get just weren’t good enough to post but I’ll keep trying.
When the grosbeak returned this afternoon, accompanied by a Red Bellied Woodpecker, I grabbed the cameras and slipped out the front door as quietly as I could. I didn’t make it into position without spooking them both but decided to sit quietly at the picnic table out back in the hopes they’d return.
The burds didn’t return while I was out there but I did manage to shoot several frames of another flying critter. I hope you like them as much as I enjoyed shooting them. These were all shot handheld with my Sigma 150-500MM optically stabilized lens from about 15 feet.
As the sun was setting this evening:
Seed pods in our maple waiting to join the billion or so already carpeting the lawn. When I was a kid we called these thing whirlybirds because of the spinning motion when they fall through the air. Those on the ground will really be spinning tomorrow when I run them over with the Dandelion Destroyer!
Mourning Dove on a power line
THE BOSS’s home world The moon
A Brown Shirted Ticket Scribbler (one of Wythe County’s finest) on the Idiot Strip
Frankie’s Old Maid’s Bonnets are growing like mad!
The bird in the rear of this group is a Herring gull
Hunting for dinner on an overcast day.
Sea gull checking out all the control surfaces before take off.
I was lucky enough to be in Virginia Beach when the Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) young were still in their nests high in the branches of dead cypress trees and the tops of some pines in First Landing State Park.
I captured these last two frames late in the afternoon as this bird was hunting along the Chesapeake Bay beaches of the park.
I haven’t been blogging or even online much the past week or so and I think I owe those of you who follow me an explanation. In 2005 I took a bad fall at home which eventually led to surgery and a partially successful fusion of my lumbar spine. Post surgery I spent a year in a body brace 23 1/2 hours a day (I could take it off for showers), sleeping in a recliner while undergoing physical therapy three times a week.
The pay off was learning that the fusion healed improperly. My physical limitations and chronic pain meant I had to retire early. That was the worst part of the whole experience for me; going from working 60 to 70 hours a week to staying home and looking for something to do.
The financial hit my family took with my disability pension only amounting to about 33% of what I had been earning was bad enough but the mind numbing boredom was the worst part for me. Looking for something to occupy my time I decided to give photography a try. A web search for information about photography led me to Windows Live Spaces. I met a lot of great people including many photographers, both amateur and pro, who generously shared their expertise and took me under their wings. That’s when I started blogging and I’ve been at it pretty much non-stop ever since.Since Spaces bit the dust and I moved to Blogger and Word Press I’ve met even more wonderful people and that includes all of you..
There is another aspect of my injuries which I have to deal with from time to time. Occasionally bouts of depression set in. This is one of those times.
I lose interest in just about everything. In fact, my cameras haven’t been out of the bag in at least a week and I’ve spent more time staring at the idiot box than online.
My family have always been my rock especially during the periods of irritability and flashes of temper. How they put up with my temper and mood swings is beyond me but they do and I’m blessed to have their support. Most importantly they make sure I take my meds and mostly leave me alone until I snap out of it which is best for everyone concerned.
We’re going home for a visit thee end of next week and I know that will do wonders for me. One of the first things I do when we go home, after unloading the car, is head for the beach I grew up on. The sand between my toes, salt air and gentle hiss as the waves kiss the sand is more therapeutic than all the drugs I’ve been prescribed.
I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate all of you who have sent messages asking if I was okay. I’m not but I am getting there. If nothing else, sitting on the beach next weekend watching sunsets like this will recharge my soul. As always, pictures to follow.
Los Angeles times - Trayvon Martin case: Sanford police chief temporarily steps aside
Christian Science Monitor - Will Trayvon Martin case spur rethinking of Stand Your Ground laws?
By now you have no doubt heard about Trayvon Martin, the 17 year old boy shot and killed by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman, variously described as nice guy, one man neighborhood watch, vigilante or wannabe police officer claims the shooting was self defense under Florida’s “stand your ground law”.
I’m not buying it. 911 tapes reveal a dispatcher telling Zimmerman to stop following Trayvon. Minutes later 911 tapes of neighbors reporting a voice pleading for mercy clearly record a gunshot, apparently the shot that ended this young man’s life.
My family owns and uses firearms. My wife and I have held concealed handgun permits for the past 11 years and I have extensive military training and experience with firearms dating back to the late ‘70s. We live in and our permits were issued by the Commonwealth of Virginia, one of the 24 so called “stand your ground” states. The following excerpt from Virginia Common Law covering the use of deadly force by non-law enforcement personnel was included in an e-mail reminder to members from the Virginia Citizen’s Defense League.
“Self-defense in Virginia’s common law goes back over 400 YEARS. If attacked, Common law allows an innocent citizen to be able to defend himself wherever he may be. Deadly force can be used in such a case if the victim REASONABLY feels that he is in IMMEDIATE danger of death or GRIEVOUS bodily injury. If you REASONABLY believe that a person who is attacking you is armed, then you can use deadly force even if, in the end, he was unarmed. Or, if you REASONABLY feel that an unarmed person, who is more powerful than you, is going to kill you with his bare hands and/or feet, you can use deadly force to stop that attack.
The key in Virginia’s Stand-Your-Ground common law is that you are not somehow an instigator of the violence so as to use that violence as an excuse to kill the other person. If, for example, you are closely following a suspect, or are confronting a suspect in some way, (both of which Zimmerman *appears* to have done) you may suddenly find yourself on very thin legal ice if attacked. This is where the extraordinary powers we give police come in handy for them. You and I lack many of those legal protections.
If you do find that you goofed up and are "part of the problem, " then you need to retreat as far as you can, indicate you have given up the fight, and only if cornered and the person persists in what you REASONABLY believe is a deadly attack, may you then use deadly force to protect yourself. You will certainly have a lot of explaining to do to the authorities if you find yourself in this kind of situation.”
In the United States a person is considered innocent until proven guilty. I readily admit that I do not have all the facts in this matter but from what I’ve read, heard and seen in the media when Zimmerman started following Mr. Martin he was no longer standing his ground. When he continued following Mr. Martin after being told to stop by the 911 dispatcher he was no longer standing his ground. By continuing to do so he became an instigator and, at least under our definition of Stand-Your-Ground, committed at the least manslaughter if not premeditated murder when he pulled the trigger.
Zimmerman’s continuing to follow Mr. Martin, in my opinion, constituted legal justification for Mr. Martin to defend himself, not the other way around. I for one think Zimmermen should be charged and made to answer for his actions in a court of law.
The police report for this incident, heavily redacted, has already been posted online and can be read by clicking the this link.
Today started out fine with beautiful weather and low pain levels. Then the madness struck THE BOSS and me simultaneously. We spent the day working on flower beds.
Now we’re both hobbling around moaning and groaning. My back is so bad I can barely walk WITH a cane! THE BOSS even had to help me get dressed when I got out of the shower which was an adventure in itself. We both have a nice dose of sunburn to add to the misery…….but it’s a good kind of pain, well earned and something nice to show for our efforts…..besides my ever growing collection of cuts, scrapes and bruises.
I should call Band-Aid and see if they need a spokesman…..or a crash test dummy. I easily qualify, either way.
Pictures of the project to follow…..when I can shoot again.
Yeah, it’s that bad.
…..to bring you the following public service announcement.
I hereby declare winter to be officially over.
Yep, sunny and 75!
If a broke down old geezer like me can get out and mow the lawn….
Hold on a sec…….I need to wet my whistle…….
Now where was I? Oh yes……if a beat up old fat boy like me can get out and do yard w….w….w…. mow the lawn you healthy folks ain’t got no excuse. Now turn off the computer, get outside and enjoy the nice weather. If the weather’s not nice where you are what better excuse for a road trip than to enjoy springtime in Virginia?
P.S. I haven’t been online much the past few days because I’ve been as messed up as a soup sammich. My back has been giving me fits!
P.P.S. I probably won’t be online at least the rest of the day because the engine vibration from riding the Dandelion Destroyer around the yard triggered my back and THE BOSS just gave me a dose of pain meds. The cartoons in my head should begin any minute now.
P.P.P.S. The preceding is all THE BOSS’s fault. She knows I can’t be left at home without adult supervision. At least she got some good pictures of the crotchety old bear she’s been putting up with for the past 25 years! (That would be me.)
I wonder what’s taking the rescue squad so long. THE BOSS said she called them to come haul me off to the emergency room. Sure hope they get here soon. After dark the critters come out and the last thing I need is to get dragged off into the woods by a gang of raccoons………again!
THIS POST CONTAINS ADULT BIRD CONTENT.
PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK!
If there is one thing I don’t need it’s to get kicked off Word Press for posting burd porn!
Spring is in the air and the critters is actin’ like wild animals!
This pair of Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura ) landed in the maple just above me and the small horses this afternoon.
“You burds need to get a room!”
“You heard Buddy, get a room! He’s so embarrassed he’s blushing from head to tail!”
* Actually, Molly had a cat treed in this shot and that’s what she was staring at but the expression on her face seemed to fit the situation so…………….
I don’t speak Burd but I could swear this guy was saying “WOO-HOO!”
According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology web page for Mourning Doves it looks like we’ll probably have a few new additions to the flock in the near future………..and that’s all I have to say about that!
BTW: As most of you know I have been known to get into trouble when left without adult supervision. With that in mind I showed this to THE BOSS before publishing it and asked if I should publish it. She said “Yes, most assuredly!” ……so any complaints should be directed to her. I will be more than happy to provide her e-mail address and/or cell phone number upon request.
I actually shot this last year but y’all know what I mean. Even though we’ve had an amazingly mild winter I am more than ready for warm breezes and spring colors!
Some of you know that I grew up in Virginia Beach which is bounded on the north by the Chesapeake Bay and the east by the Atlantic Ocean. The laid back community known as Chesapeake Beach, or Chic’s Beach ….. with no K damn it!….. to locals, is the stretch of sand I literally grew up on and is forever imprinted in my soul as home, no matter where I roam.
I, as well as many of my fellow beach rats, spent hours and hours sitting on these boulders staring across the bay while pondering life’s mysteries.
THE BOSS on The Rocks
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel spanning the 20 mile mouth of the bay.
Mom and THE BOSS with the CBBT behind them
……..and The Reward at the End.
Our weather forecast is calling for scattered snow showers Sunday and Monday. I’m hoping the weather guessers are operating at their usual efficiency because I usually don’t notice these guys until after I’ve mowed the lawn and they flock in to hunt for insects. Here’s to signs of good things to come!
I got some nice shots of a pair of Mourning Doves, as well. Those will be on my Virginia Through My Lens page as soon as I can get them posted.
The weather was nice today so Daddy got his cameras and wandered out the door. Molly and I went with him, of course. Mama says it’s our job to keep an eye on him because he does stupid things when he’s not supervised.
I don’t know why Mama gets all bent out of shape when Daddy stands on the picnic table. You can see all sorts of stuff from up here!
Those cows have got to be at least a mile away!
All I see is that herd of cats on the neighbor’s porch. As soon as I figure out how to get off my lead they’re in for a surprise!!
Molly has cats on the brain. She just loves chasing them. I bet she even dreams about chasing cats.
This is the first time I noticed the face on our tree. That is spooky!
Maybe Daddy should give the pruning saw a rest.
I don’t think the tree likes getting his branches chopped off! I can understand that. Mama and Daddy took me to the vet last winter and you wouldn’t believe what she chopped off!
Part of my job is guarding Daddy’s bird watching chair when he’s not using it. I tried sitting in it once but it flipped over backwards and that was the last time I fooled with that thing! I also learned that using Daddy’s water bottle for a chew toy makes him say all kinds of bad words! He’ll give you a drink if you ask but whatever you do, DO NOT EAT THE BOTTLE WHEN HE’S NOT LOOKING!
This is another part of keeping an eye on Daddy. I don’t think it’s physically possible to do what Mama says she’ll do to Daddy if he spends her Bingo money on camera gear, ammo or another gun but I do know that I don’t want to watch her try!
It was another nice day, sunny and mild, so I was out enjoying the fresh air and looking for something to shoot. There were plenty of birds chirping behind me but that was to the west, looking directly into the sun. Suddenly a flicker of motion in the trees caught my attention and I snapped this shot of a male cardinal using a 55-150MM zoom lens at about 55MM.
Switching to the other camera, which was already mounted with my long lens, I got much closer without moving and spooking him. This shot is at about 350MM.
This one is at 500MM, maximum zoom for this lens.
About 400MM just before he darted off into the trees.
I’ve spent a little time scouting the woods behind the house and have picked out a couple of likely places for shooting from a ground blind. Both are relatively open, easy to get in and out of quietly and not too far from 2 intersecting game trails a den tree with a large, active squirrel nest and several nearby trees with bird nests in the upper branches.
As spring approaches I’ll be getting my hunting gear ready, including a large spray bottle of odorless insect repellant. I hunt with a camera instead of a gun these days but the principles are the same; equipment, scouting, set up and most of all, patience. It’s too bad they don’t make Frontline Plus for humans……it works great at repelling fleas, ticks and other nasty critters on the dogs!
I spent this evening reorganizing my medium size camera backpack and making sure everything, especially my tripod, is ready to grab and go. Now all that’s left is to pick up a box of snake shot shells for my hand cannon and e-mail my wish list to THE BOSS and Mini-Boss. My birthday and Father’s Day are right around the corner and I have my eye on a pop up bow hunter’s blind and a new scent lock camouflage shirt and pair of pants!
I was out in the backyard, standing on the picnic table when this little critter, a female Downy Woodpecker flew over and landed on a branch about 10 feet away!
I know what you’re thinking…….why was I standing on top of the picnic table in the first place, right? You’ll have to go here to find out.
You’ve probably heard me refer to THE BOSS, SHE WHO SHALL BE OBEYED, my better half, the woman who has put up with me for the past 25 years. You may have even seen a photo or two of her winding up to whack me on the headbone with her trusty cast iron skillet. Sometimes I even deserve it but if she happens to read that last sentence I’ll deny any knowledge on the grounds that all that BANGY!, BANGY! on my delicate head has caused severe brain damage.
Today’s post is my attempt to prod her into processing her own shots and getting into blogging.
Last Christmas I gave her a point and shoot to carry around in her purse and she actually takes it out and uses it from time to time.
She’s also been known to take one of my DSLRs away from me on occasion and has captured some fine shots with it. I’m afraid that one of these days she’ll refuse to give it back, just as she did when she got over the fear of driving Godzilla, my beloved Ford Expedition. Now I’m lucky if she let’s me drive it a couple of times a month!
I have to be careful because that cast iron frying pan isn’t the only hardware she’s been known to have access to. I’m convinced that any day now the authorities are going to kick down the door and tear the house apart looking for that 16 inch shell she found when we toured the USS Wisconsin last summer. That’s no pea shooter shell…..THE BOSS is 5 feet tall and that’s just the projectile she’s posing with.
But I digress.
These are a few of the shots I found on the memory card in her point and shoot and I thought you might enjoy them. Oh yes, the watermark. Frankie was born and raised about 15 miles from here in a little mountain town in the New River Valley, or NRV to locals, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia, hence the NRVGirl tag.
From the minute Molly laid eyes on Frankie she decided she belonged to Mama. She’s also my baby girl. Buddy, who adopted me from day one, has been replaced as my chair warmer.
At nearly 100 lbs. she’s a little large for a lap dog but you can’t convince her of that.
She sill allows Buddy to lay on the floor beside my chair and get his ears scratched.
When she’s not keeping my chair or my lap warm she likes to guard my side of the bed.
THE BOSS has also been known to take some outdoor shots. She especially likes sunsets.
THE BOSS says I’ve spent enough time fooling around online so it’s back to kitchen duty for me. Anyone know a good remedy for dishpan hands?