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Archive for April, 2007

When someone surfs on Janet’s blog

The chances are there’ll be a bog,

Or seaside haunt with rising sun,

Or swallowtail whose life’s begun

Upon the woodland’s soft debris.

So come and blog eclecticly . . . .

Jean Hodgin, Professor Emerita and Poet Laureate

North Shore Community College, Danvers, MA

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It’s true, I simply cannot deny just how much I love the ocean and quiet early morning walks along the beach! I love the sound of the wind as it whips across the open water and I love the smell of salt air. I love the kind of roar the ocean makes as each swell rises and falls, as if the earth were rocking back and forth. In the calmness of early morning, I love to watch shallow waves as they curl and roll up the sandy beach then quietly, almost timidly retreat. I love the (more…)

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Well folks, it seems that Spring has finally decided to arrive and I have been spending my mornings raking the yard as well as “uncovering” some critters. I’m not all that familiar with amphibians, or reptiles for that matter, so I assume the image is of a toad but, then again, what do I know.

I actually managed to uncover a couple of the little guys/gals and the first of these didn’t look too lively to me. But, as I continued to rake, “it” began to flex its legs and managed to hop one time. I went in for a break and thought, hey, maybe I should take a photo for my blog and to practice using my brand spankin’ new point-n’-shoot digital camera. Ah, but alas! When I came out, “it” apparently had found its “hop” and left for parts unknown!

So, I continued raking and, as luck would have it, uncovered a second toad(?). This one wasn’t too lively either but I scurried off to get my camera anyway, not wanting to miss another opportunity. When I returned, I couldn’t find the little guy/gal and thought, darn, I didn’t think it had it in em’ to move that fast! But, then, I spotted “it” again pretty much in the same place I’d left it. Apparently, “it” was not ready to wake up just then, probably wanting to spend another five minutes or so “in bed.” The little guy/gal had burrowed itself back down into its hole and I got the chance to record my first digital image using my new camera!

Sorry that it’s not the best image in the world. I’m still learnin’ to use all of the bells n’ whistles on this camera and I will use a tripod next time too. Okay, I’ve also been looking up what kind of toad it is and I still can’t tell. Anyone out there have a clue?

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Auction Fever

My apologies for such a long gap between entries but, I’ve been on a mission of sorts and, in the process, I seem to have come down with auction fever!

You see, I’ve been a birder since my youth and I’ve had a pair of really nice binoculars for almost as long as I’ve been a birder. Those binoculars have seen A LOT of use over the years so it’s no wonder that they finally decided to “give out.” I also love auctions but, knowing how addictive they are for me, I’ve managed to “steer clear” of eBay. That was, of course, until this past week. I’m sorry to admit that my desire to purchase another pair of binoculars has led me to “succumb” to the temptations of eBay!

I registered for a buyers account and have been hot on the trail of a really nice pair of Zeiss binoculars. My first three bids were all underbids but I persevered. My fourth bid warranted an email message informing me that I was now the high bidder. Thinking my bid “safe,” I decided to have lunch. THAT, I’m now convinced, was my mistake! For, when I rechecked my email, I learned that I had lost my coveted pair of binoculars for a mere $4.00!

Not to worry though, I’m now back on the trail and, once again, in hot pursuit of another pair of Zeiss binoculars. But, this time, I aim to WIN!

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In recent years, a number of “duck stamp” (or, more appropriately, Waterfowl Conservation Stamp) art competitions have disappeared. And, if the stamp art program does still exist, then the art is being commissioned instead. So, it came as some surprise for me to learn that there’s a new annual “duck stamp” art competition that’s being added rather than removed. It’s called the First Annual State of North Carolina Waterfowl Conservation Stamp Competition and, the East Carolina Wildfowl Guild, in coordination with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, is conducting the art competition.

Now, according to the prospectus, this commission has had a stamp and print program in existence since 1983, which has led me to assume that North Carolina’s program is one of those that commissioned the art or, possibly, that the art competition was open only to residents of North Carolina. At any rate, the proceeds have been placed in a special “waterfowl fund” and those funds have been “used to help North Carolina meet its financial obligations in implementing the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, an international agreement with goals to restore waterfowl populations on the North American continent.” To date, this fund “has raised more than $4.2 million.”

But, as thrilled as I am about this new annual stamp art competition opportunity, I must also admit that I feel that the requirements regarding specie/habitat are incredibly restrictive. Not only has North Carolina specified the eligible species, which many art competitions do, but they’ve also specified the background habitat that each specie must appear in. For example, “Canada Geese in Piedmont pasture” or “Surf scoters flying low along the crest of the ocean waves.” This, in my view, leaves little to the artist’s imagination. But, then again, artists have been given plenty of time for their imaginations to “kick in.” Mail in entries are due January 14th, 2008 and hand delivered entries are due January 27th, 2008. The competition and judging will be open to the public on January 28th, 2008. It will be quite interesting to see the results.

Still, it is a new annual art competition and it is for an important cause. If you are interested in learning more about it, please go to the East Carolina Wildfowl Guild website or you can email them at sgossett@suddenlink.net or call at (252) 946-2897 or (252) 946-9326.

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Many of you are probably wondering where on earth did she get a title like A Little Bit o’ Everything! But, for those of you who know me, especially for those of you who know me well, there’s nothing strange about that title at all. That’s because, when you consider the range of my interests, from art, photography and writing to furniture making and cabinetry, from science and technology to history and biographies, A Little Bit o’ Everything! seems like an appropriate title indeed. In fact, one young man, a student at Tufts University, recently labeled my interests eclectic. I couldn’t agree with him more. How appropriate then, for me to keep a blog for blogs, too, have been labeled eclectic. But, while I admit that my interests are varied, most center on nature, conservation and my concern for the environment.

Okay then, if my interests center around nature or natural history, then shouldn’t the title of my blog reflect those interests alone? Well, that’s probably true because, for the most part, my blog will be about taking a walk in the woods and listening to the sweet sound of a babbling brook. It’ll be about standing on a beach watching the sun rise. It’ll be about the role of art and photography in conservation. And, it’ll include my two cents worth on global warming and climate change. Still, I cannot resist the temptation to digress, and to do so often!

Admittedly, blogging is new to me and my blog is a work in progress! For the time being at least, I plan to include some samples of my woodworking skills. I love medical and science art and I plan to show some samples of that too. I’m also intensely proud of my community and I’d like to mention some of its history and other goings on. Over time though, I’m certain that my blog will become more focused on one or two themes. But, for right now, my blog is an open book!

The real beauty of a blog

The real beauty of a blog, however, is that readers need not be passive. You can make comments that will appear in just a few moments. So, while it may be nice if you agreed with all that I write, certainly, that is no way to achieve growth. I certainly hope that you will be kind, however, even if and when you disagree with my comments or my blogs content. I really look forward to the chance to hear what you think, to learn from your critique. Or, whether you’ve had similar experiences. Or, have the same interests. Whatever comments you’d like to make, I sincerely hope that you will join me on my newest endeavor!

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