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Archive for March, 2008

As much as I hate to admit this, according to AARP, I am “officially” a senior citizen. But, I say they’re wrong! I’m really just a big kid and I can prove it. You see, whenever I go on walks, just like so many young kids, I “collect” things like stones, pine cones, insects, and so on. Really, just about anything will do!

Take, for example, this butterfly. It’s a yellow colored Tiger Swallowtail that I found alongside the road. Obviously, it was at one time part of someone’s front bumper. And, just like all the kings men, I doubt that I can put it back together but, no matter to me! I just had to bring it home anyway and add it to my collection!

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Here’s another example though I’ve not yet identified this particular butterfly. Perhaps one of you can tell me what it is?

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Truth be told, folks, I like to illustrate science (or natural history) subjects and, though I’ve had these butterflies for a couple of years now, I am making a few changes to my blog. One of which is to show some of my illustrations in progress.

Yes, yes, I know that plenty of artists and illustrators do so. In fact, I have provided links in my blogroll to some of those artists. Still, when I started this blog, nearly one year ago, it was my intention to show the nature of New England, especially along New England’s coast as well as my photographs and even some of my illustrations. I’m also quite passionate about conservation art and, much to my surprise, unless you are a hunter, many folks have no idea what conservation art is or how it benefits wildlife and wetlands preservation. Well, it’s time for me to return to my “original” intentions!

I’ve not come far yet (with this illustration), you’re getting in on this right from the start! I’m still in the information gathering stage as well as the planning stage. Thus far, I’m thinking of “drawing out” identifying features and I’m thinking of using watercolor in an airbrush (since I just love the airbrush) and watercolor pencils.

So, step one, I’ve taken my poor butterfly apart and laid it out. However, as you can see in the following images, I’m in desperate need of a body!

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Know where I can get one? Well, actually, I’ve got a couple of ideas. One is from a photographer who, again, is linked to in my blogroll. In fact, he’s an expert on butterflies! Another idea is to visit The Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University.

Hmm! A field trip! I could even make a day of it, … lunch, …! Stay tuned folks!

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To call the kind of weather that we experienced this past Friday “just” March WINDS is like calling a hurricane “just” a slight breeze! Sure, the winds weren’t steady, but when they blew (at 45 mph gusts), well!!! Mother Nature had a field day knocking down trees, power lines, cable and telephone service. In fact, one could seriously believe that Mother Nature was “royally ticked off” about something!

Take these first photos, for instance. They were taken just down the road from my home where there’s a “depression” that fills with water in late winter and early spring and forms a small, temporary pond. If you know anything about ducks then you know that “where there’s a pond, Mallards will find it” and, true to habit, every spring, a pair of Mallards come and spend a week or two, just “floating around,” feeding and, generally enjoying the good life. Well, on about Tuesday or Wednesday, I tried to get some photos of them for this blog but I never did manage simply because they just wouldn’t pose for me! They paddled furiously to the opposite side and, with my zoom lens fully extended, … well, … let’s just say their movements were also magnified making it impossible to get a sharp photo. Now, though, I sincerely hope that they had found another puddle to “hang out” in and that they are not under this tree!

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The real drama, though, at least for me, happened right out in front of my home!

You see, I was on the computer, making a few changes to my blog’s sidebar, when all of a sudden “blip,” the computer went blank, the lights went out and I heard the hot water heater shut off. With the wind gusts that we were having, a power outage seemed inevitable. I did assume, though, that it was a local area outage. I had no idea that it was going to be so personal. However, at about the same time as my home went dark, I also heard a loud “thud!” But again, I just figured a tree had come down somewhere. My home is, after all, surrounded by trees! And, thus far, (knock wood three times), my home has been spared every time. Even this time!

The tree in question turned out to be in my neighbor’s yard. Fortunately, it did not fall on their home but it did fall across their driveway and across the electric wires leading from the road up to their home. And, let me tell ya, it was one good size tree!!! (Please note that the images of the tree were taken the day after for reasons I will explain in a moment.)

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I’m making a point as to the size of this tree for one reason, take a look (in this next image) at the telephone pole that’s in my neighbors yard right next to the tree that came down.

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Sure, the wires were pulled down but they NEVER broke and the telephone pole didn’t even get scratched! However, the same CANNOT be said for the telephone pole in front of my home.

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(I promised myself that I wasn’t going to add this BUT, I have to! Doesn’t this photo [and the next] just “scream” for one of those signs that reads “MEN AT WORK?” πŸ™„ Sorry guys!)

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On the one hand, it was fortunate that the pole and wires were pulled toward the road. However, the wires to my home just pulled everything off the side of my home. (And not a word from anyone about my home needing a paint job!)

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Believe it or not, my home was the ONLY one without power! It’s not all that clear in the images but not a single wire broke along the road, the wires were still live. That is why I did not take photos of the tree damage until the next morning. I was told that those two wires at the top of the telephone pole carry 13,000 volts of electricity! No one, not even the linemen, would walk under those wires!

But, in all fairness to the crews, they did respond quickly … and I mean RESPOND!

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Would you believe that there’s a fourth truck in the opposite direction? πŸ˜€

And, in this next photo, I was just a tad too late! Moments earlier, three crewmen were on their hands and knees, all three looking into the same hole. It reminded me of dogs looking down a chippy hole. I wanted to tell them that the chipmunk was long gone! πŸ˜†

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Okay! While I have been poking fun at these guys, I sincerely hope that it goes without saying how much I appreciate the work they do. They replaced the pole, reattached the wires to the pole and, even though they aren’t supposed to reattach the wires to my home without a licensed electrician present, they did so! (At least one of them had been a licensed electrician and got permission from his supervisor to reinstall the wires.)

It took about ten hours to finish the job. My phone and online service took until the next morning. But, my hat’s off to all crews involved. Way to go guys!

One more thing, in spite of those strong gusts of wind, not one single bird feeder was blown off the pole that I set up last summer. And, yes, I know I’ve gotten lots of mileage from these little wrens but, … just take a look!

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I can’t tell you the number of years that I’ve wanted to attend the New England Flower Show. Of course, I do recall that I’ve admitted at least once before that I am a procrastinator extraordinaire. But this year folks, I FINALLY GOT THERE!

Then again, maybe my “subconscious” just knew that there really wasn’t any rush (and if you believe that one …). This was, after all, the 137th New England Flower Show, making it “the longest continuously running” show in the world. And, with “38 gardens and 192 floral arrangements,” this is also the “third largest flower show in the world.” (Massachusetts Horticultural Society)

Trust me, my feet could attest to the size of this event! Still, I did not manage to see the whole thing. For example, there were “222 retail vendors [and] live music performances” plus “lectures, demonstrations, and competitions.” I did get plenty of photos though! But I promise, I won’t make you look at every single one of them! πŸ˜€

But where to begin?!

How about with this landscape garden near the entrance to the show and a fitting place to be I might add. Did you know that the pineapple is a symbol of welcome?

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Do you like orchids?

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Then again, perhaps you like “traditional” outdoor flowers like flowering quince, azaleas or peonies.

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There were numerous water gardens.

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And even a couple of “non-flowers!”

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Finally (and proudly), I just have to show you my hometown’s entry.

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Had enough?! I thought you might so I’m putting the rest into a slideshow (that is, if I can remember my password) for your viewing pleasure.

[rockyou id=106145651]

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Okay, okay! I get it!

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I’ll fill the feeders TODAY!

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