Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sky Watch #42

The team that keeps Sky Watch Friday going week to week does a superb job for us. Thanks guys!

I'm excited this week! My photos aren't the greatest in the world, but they are exciting to me. It's been such a long time since I saw a rainbow. On Earth Day, April 22nd, we had more rain most of the day. In late afternoon it stopped, and the sun shone brightly for a while. All of a sudden it started raining again, but the sun was still shining. I half-heartedly went out to the deck in back on the off chance that there was a rainbow. I was disappointed. The cloud cover was just too dense to see anything else. Don't know why I even bothered to open the front door, but I did - and there it was! I ran for the camera, and got these. Two minutes later, the clouds had covered it from that view too.

The second one is pretty fuzzy. It started raining really hard, and I guess I rushed it.

Thematic Photographic #47

Carmi has given us the theme of Musical for this weeks Thematic Photographic. I think this theme is my favorite so far. I'm really looking forward to seeing what the participants show us.

I have many pictures inside my head that I wish I had taken to commemorate concerts and musicals I have attended. There is even one I so wish I had, of my best friend's violin lessons I sat through many times when we were children. But I don't believe I ever had a camera with me at those wonderful times. And if I had, I probably would have been so distracted by the music that I would not have thought of taking a photo.

But I do have these. One I took myself, experimenting with a toy keyboard, and the other his mother took at a friend's home, a lesson.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Think Green Thursday #2

This new meme, Think Green Thursday, is hosted by Gina, otherwise known as The Pagan Sphinx. I think she has come up with a really great idea. Thanks, Gina.

There are so many ways to "Go Green" that are so easy. Sometimes we don't even think of them because they are so obvious. For instance, my friend Lisa works in an office at our local municipality. She is able to scan all sorts of documents and email them. Frequently she is still asked to fax these papers. Why would she have to waste paper like that?

I notice that some of the biggest wasters of paper seem to be government offices. They do not recycle, or at least they do not recycle nearly so much as they should. Don't they get it? Of all people, why government offices?

In our every day lives, we can all save so much. I carry canvas bags in my car all the time, and when I shop, I take them into the store with me. It amazes me how many people at the check out counter still try to put a plastic bag inside of my canvas one. "But it might be soiled." Hey! It's washable.

And there's always the little recycling mailer for your ink cartridge, or you can take it into Staples or wherever, and earn $3. credit with it. So easy.

I must say, these are not exactly soul-stirring photos, are they? They are just reminders of how easy it can be.

I really ought to have something really green to add before I stop preaching.
How's this? I have a new hanging basket, and in the background there is a pot of mums.
I have some pansies, and there is a new little azalea plant.

And then there is a fresh batch of mint. Can you smell it?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Flowering Tree

Can anyone tell me, please - is this a redbud tree?

A few years ago, I planted a row of trees of various kinds near the back deck. I had received them from some group of other, and they looked then like little sticks. They were not identified. Of course, they all grew, and were too close together. One was an apple. I have since separated them, and this one I planted all by itself on the side of the house. It has very pretty blossoms, but I don't recognize them. Its leaves are fairly shiny, some elliptical, some heart shaped. I have a tree book, but it isn't very satisfactory and has no color pictures. I'm being lazy - just throwing it out there to see if anyone recognizes it.

Please Call Your Rep

Word has come to us that the House will vote TOMORROW on the Matthew Shepard Act (H.R.1913). This act can go a long way in fighting hate crimes.

You may remember that Matthew Shepard was the young man who was killed, ten years ago, simply because he was gay. Ten years! It has taken ten years for this matter to finally come to a point at which our Representatives may decide to say THIS IS WRONG.

There are people out there flooding the offices of the Representatives right now with absurd lies, trying to get them to vote against this act. Your Representative may well decide that is the way to go, unless they hear from all of us that we want hate crimes stopped. Please call your Representative. And please call TODAY before 5:00pm. That vote will come tomorrow. They must hear from us today.

If you live in my part of the world, down in Cape May County, NJ, you can call Mr. LoBiondo at 1-292-225-6572. It will only take a minute of your time. Just tell whoever answers the call why you are calling and urge him to vote YES. Wherever you live, it is easy to find the number for your Representative on line.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Hornby Island Eaglet

Yes! We have an eaglet! One egg to go.

And on the home front, I finally got a decent photo of a hummer.

A Good Day for Hummers

I am very happy to report that both my friend and neighbor, Lisa, and I have had lots of hummer sightings yesterday and today. they are really here at last, and are establishing nests. Of course they keep both of us busy, attempting to get photos of the speedy little critters. Lisa has had better success at this. She is younger and quicker, and also has a great camera now that allows her to take pictures from a greater distance than mine does. I get older and slower every day, and am often shaky when I try to focus on them. I know - excuses, excuses!

I was given a really beautiful new feeder at Christmas, which I hung outside my front door, where I am able to get some decent pictures once in a while. The only problem is, it is made of glass. At least I think that is the problem. I'm wondering if they sometimes see themselves reflected and think it's another bird. Or perhaps it's the sun reflecting too sharply when it sways in the breeze. Whatever the reason, I do believe the hummers prefer the old fashioned, flat, red plastic feeders. Maybe it's the color? The level of the nectar has certainly gone down faster in the plastic one. I've hung both, and they seem to be gravitating to the little plastic ones. Others have told me they have had the same experience. So this morning I switched to a plastic one outside my door, and the glass one hung from a shepherd's crook down below the steps. The result so far has been several birds coming to the red plastic one.

Of course I now have to be extra vigilant about this one. But in past years, although he and his friends have been up on the step railing making a try for it, none have been successful in their pursuit of the hummers. These birds are just too quick and agile.

And I keep as close a watch as possible when the feeders are up. Going to have to get myself a water pistol. That seems to be the best deterrent for the likes of him. If only our neighbors had sense enough to keep indoor cats!

When my daughter read the above, she commented, "I never hard of plastic being called 'old fashioned' as opposed to glass." She's right of course. I guess the plastic feeders are just 'old fashioned' to me, compared to the new one.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Mellow Yellow Monday #16

Hello again. Drowsey Monkey brings us Mellow Yellow Monday each week, and you will find lots of sunshiney yellow pictures at this site.

As I drove through a parking lot recently, I just had to stop when I saw not only a big yellow car, but also its reflection in a puddle from the recent rain.

The Nests

I am still finding our feathered friends very entertaining. Don't forget, you have access to four nests: The red tailed hawk at Franklin Institute, and eagles in Canada up at Hornby Island, in Sidney, and the third is listed as Delta OWL. I don't know what that means, but that nest contains two eggs, and I don't really believe they are viable. They are left alone by the parents most of the time.

The eagles' nest in Hornby Island also contains two eggs, but the parents are tending them constantly, and it shouldn't be too much longer before they hatch. It's a beautifully constructed nest and on a beautiful site. I have taken a few photos off the screen, which is never a good clear picture, especially with my little camera, but I believe I have a couple of decent shots. Look at that sunlight streaming down this morning! I like the other one too - the close-up shot of the Mama, just waiting patiently on the eggs.

Different cameras focused on the nests give different perspectives.

The nest in Sidney has a lot more action going of course, since there are three chicks to be fed. This picture isn't as clear, but I think you can get a look at a baby.

The hawks nest is fun too, because of the three chicks there. They are a little younger than the eaglets. There is only one camera trained on it, since it is built on a ledge of a building rather than in a tree.

The hawks' nest is in the EDT zone. The eagles are on Pacific time. Just click on the pictures at the top of my sidebar to reach them.

Children's Day

Today is, indeed, Children's Day - Dia del Nino.

And before this month has ended, I can't think of a better day to mention once again that it is Autism Awareness Month. We have so many wonderful children among us who are autistic. We must remember that we are ALL unique. These children and adults are unique, wonderful, loving individuals, who all have different ways of expressing themselves than we may be used to. We should all learn to appreciate them for who they are, and we as adults should be teaching our children to accept and respect them, and when necessary to be patient with them.

Unfortunately, autistic individuals are often ridiculed or feared because of their unique behavior. There is no good reason for this to be the case. Respect, courtesy and kindness are what they deserve from us all.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Shadow Shot Sunday #49

Shadow Shot Sunday is brought to us by Tracey, at her blog Hey Harriet, down under. Since Australia is in an entirely different time zone from the U.S., her Sunday is our Saturday. Confused? Not to worry. Just click on the link, relax, and enjoy.

My shadows today are not going to be sharp and clear. I saw them on a video screen. They are lovely, leafy shadows, falling over the nest of a bald eagle up in British Columbia, Canada. It is one of the live cams I like to monitor. I published the first photo on my blog last Tuesday. It shows two eggs in the center of the nest, and Mama Eagle off to the right. A few minutes later, Mama took off in search of food - or of Papa Eagle - or whatever. She did not return, and the shadows deepened as the evening approached.

The eggs remain in the nest. One of the adults returned the next morning, but I have checked a few times, and the eggs are often unattended. Very unusual.

If you choose to follow the live cam link above, you will be taken to a different nest. Go below it to "Other Cameras" to find this nest at Delta OWL. There are three different nest locations you can see, all in Canada. One already has three young. The other has two eggs still being tended.

Friday, April 24, 2009

They're Here !

There was a HUMMER at my feeder tonight, just as it was getting dark!

I just stole the above from Tracey, at Hey Harriet. It just seemed so appropriate!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sky Watch #41

Thanks so much to Klaus and all the team members who bring us Sky Watch each week.

A couple of weeks ago we woke to rolling thunder in the distance. It kept coming closer, until it was really booming, lightning flashing, and skies darkening. I drove up to the bay, which is where we usually see the big show in such weather. But I was surprised to see this instead.

There was still a pretty big patch of blue up there at 7:10 am.

As I started home again, I looked to the east. That was quite a different story.

Then came the hail.

And by 8:15 it was all over. This was what I could see from my front door.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Thematic Photographic #46

Thematic Photographic is hosted by Carmi, at Written, Inc. His theme for this week is Round. I am using the same photo for this theme that I have just used for the brand new meme, Think Green Thursday.

More than one homeowner in our area has decided to think green, and start using alternate types of power for their homes. Some are going to solar panels. And some are using wind power. I think that the wind mill at a home up on the bay, spinning 'round and 'round should by an appropriate subject for Thematic's theme this week.

Think Green Thursday #1

A new meme! And one with a great theme! Gina said she has no logo as yet, so I took the liberty of creating one from part of her photograph. Of course, I'll change it when and if she decides on one. Meantime, click on this one to go to her site.

I'm not really prepared for this today. But the obvious thing that pops into my head is this:
You may have seen this logo on my sidebar for quite a while now. Click on it and it will take you to the WE link.

To quote from their home page, "2,202,533 people determined to solve the climate crisis and Repower America with 100% clean electricity within 10 years." And they propose to do this mainly with solar power. Already there is a 96 mile wide area of the desert out west covered with solar panels, working away to supply energy.

As for the individual, I have seen many homes built nearby recently, and some older homes as well, adding solar panels on the roof. That makes me happy to see.

And solar is not alone.

There are even some windmills going up. Mills do often run into local problems with zoning laws, but surely, soon the municipalities will catch up to current needs.

This one is at a home up on the bay, where there is no lack of wind. I'm sure this homeowner will be very happy with his/her decision to build a windmill. And contrary to popular belief, as I stood beneath it, and it spun rapidly, I really did not notice any sound. Different types of mills and different locations may alter that, but I don't believe this person's neighbors will have anything to complain about.

Green energy also means many new green jobs becoming available. No one can complain about that in our present economic situation.


My daughter, Rita, has been active with Amnesty International for a long time.
today she brought this to my attention from their Newsletter.

I will quote this word for word:

"Mariposas Action: Justice, Hope and Renewal

On May 3-4, 2006, police arbitrarily detained more than 45 women in response to protests by activists from a local peasant organization in San Salvador Atenco, Mexico. En route to "Santiaguito" prison, dozens of the women were physically, psychologically, and sexually abused by the arresting officers in police vehicles.

This May makes the third anniversary of the events at Atenco. yet the women continue to wait for adequate justice, and those responsible continue to enjoy impunity. The women have chosen the mariposa (butterfly) to represent their case and to symbolize their need for transformative justice and their own personal renewed strength for having endured and survived such torture. For the next two months, until the anniversary of the events at Atenco on May 3-4, Amnesty International activists are making paper butterflies to send to the Mexican authorities to demand justice in this case. Please join us and make as many butterflies as you can - get your friends and family involved and demand justice for the women of Atenco!"

For a butterfly pattern and instructions go to:

You can send butterflies directly to the President of Mexico at:
Lic. Felipe de Jesus Calderon Hinojosa
Presidente Constitucional de los Estado Unidos Mexicanos
Residencia Oficial de "Los Pinos", Casa Miguel
Col. San Miguel Chapultepet
Mexico D.F., C.P. 11850

Go to the site on your computer, or enlarge one of these photos.
Color or decorate the butterfly however you wish. You may sign your name on it if you like. - Cut it out. - Mail it to the President of Mexico. Send a letter if you wish. - Encourage family and friends to do the same.

For more information on this case, go to:

If you save one of these patterns and print on 8 1/2 x ll paper, it should work well.

Postage is 72 cents if not over an ounce.

Earth Day

Happy Earth Day

Celebrate! Plant something! Or clean up the leaves and debris from your garden.

Or, if the weather does not cooperate with you wherever you are, go to Deborah's blog, Notes from the Cloud Messenger. She has a very beautiful post today. I think you will enjoy spending five minutes of your time with her.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Healthcare for Seniors

There is an email circulating now concerning the future of healthcare for seniors. It is anti-Obama-Administration in nature, and asks that we all make life miserable for those in Washington.

The email included this quote: Bloomberg: "Daschle says health-care reform will not be pain-free. Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them."

I left a message on to the effect that if Mr. Daschle thinks like this,
he has a real problem, and will be a problem. But I find it hard to believe that
Mr. Obama thinks like this. We all know that compromise and dealing with our present economic situation will not be painless for anyone. But to suggest that we "deal with" health problems instead of treating them is outrageous. And I'm quite sure Mr. Daschle, as he ages, will treat, not deal with his own health problems. Did he really say that?

The voice of the public does matter to this Administration. Let yours be heard. And if you receive the email that I received this morning, please do not do what it instructs you to do. It says, "If you disagree, do nothing." Respond to the sender and let them know how you feel about it. Your opinion matters as much as theirs. Make them think twice about making life miserable for anyone.

One nice part of blogging is, there is always someone out there who will know how to do enough research to help you answer questions.

Dianne has done that for me on this. She found a source that gave me the answer to whether Daschle made that statement. He did not! I would like to tell you what they had to say, in part. It's rather long, but I think when someone has been misquoted, they deserve to have it known exactly how it came about:

'Bloomberg did run a story about health provisions in the stimulus package on Feb. 9, 2009, under the headline "Ruin Your Health With the Obama Stimulus Plan: Betsy McCaughey." It was a commentary piece written by Betsy McCaughey, former lieutenant governor of New York and an adjunct senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.

McCaughey warned that the stimulus included several troublesome provisions identical to ideas outlined by Daschle in his 2008 book, Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis. Midway through the article, McCaughey includes this paragraph:

"Daschle says health care reform 'will not be pain-free.' Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them. That means the elderly will bear the brunt."

We contacted McCaughey to see which parts of this were her words and which were Daschle's.

The phrase that health care reform "will not be pain-free" is a direct quote from Daschle, she explained. She said the sentence beginning "Seniors should be more accepting" was her paraphrasing of an argument in Daschle's book in which he quotes David Mechanic, a health care policy expert at Rutgers University, saying, "more and more of what were once seen as social, behavioral, or normative aspects of every day life, or as a normal process of aging, are now framed in a medical context. ... Whether wrinkles, breasts, or buttocks, impotence or social anxieties, or inattention in school, they all have become grist for the medical mill."

We think it's a stretch to summarize Daschle's position as saying that seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them. Not treating wrinkles is one thing. Not treating, say, heart disease, is another. But that's fair enough for McCaughey to opine. This is labeled an opinion piece. The point is that these are McCaughey's words, not Daschle's.'

So it seems to me to be as I suspected, that words taken out of context have been used in an attempt to smear someone.

Please, please, please - don't ever just accept what you receive in your emails without investigating. Don't pass on lies or half-truths.

Thank you so much, Dianne. I didn't know how to investigate this. I will put on my bookmarks list today.

Hawks and Eagles

There is certainly no lack of interest in the nests and eggs of these birds. It seems that the live video of the hawks' nest at Franklin Institute went blank for some time yesterday, and they were flooded with comments and questions. Everyone wanted it back. I do not know the reason why it disappeared for a while. From the bloody appearance of the nest when the picture returned, I am guessing that the people at Franklin Institute decided it might be best not to show too violent a scene there. All they said afterwards was that all three babies were active and eating, and there was pigeon on the menu.

I tried to take a picture. All I got was a fuzzy one of two of the hatchlings' backs. But I think it's cute. Look at those tiny wings flapping! The third one is there. It is the smallest of the three - the last hatched - and is not so active as its siblings, who compete with one another constantly for food.

You can see both nests, hawks and eagles, by clicking on the pictures at the top of my sidebar

The eagles link takes you to a nest in British Columbia, where the parents are still taking turns keeping the eggs warm. But if you go below the video to the words "Other Cameras" you can see two other nests as well. One is in Sidney, and in that nest are three more babies, a bit larger than the hawks'. They are really fun to watch! Here is a photo showing the Mama and one of the babies. Again, my little point and shoot cannot do justice to them, taking a shot off a video screen. The baby is in its mother's shadow too, but I think you can get the idea. Actually, the other two are there as well, but aren't sticking their little heads up, and are concealed more by Mama's shadow.

There are videos of yet another Canadian nest as well. But this one worries me. I'll be anxious to take a look when daylight arrives today. They are in a different time zone, and are at least three hours behind those of us on the east coast, so I'll have to wait a while. When I saw this nest yesterday, one of the parents was sitting off to the side of the nest, and two eggs were in the center. As I watched, the big bird turned and took off. I came back to the scene several times, and she never came back in well over an hour. Here is the picture at the beginning, with the parent off to the right. I don't know if something happened to one of the parent birds, or if the eggs aren't viable, or what the story might be. I'm hoping when I go to the site later today, Mama will be warming the eggs again. We'll see.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mellow Yellow #15

Drowsey Monkey hosts Mellow Yellow Monday for us each week. It's spring, and there are lots of yellow flowers to make us happy these days.

I have a few spring flowers blooming out front, and more in the back yard.

The house is yellow too, though it doesn't look that way in the bright sunlight.