Tuesday, December 10, 2013
WHAT CHRISTMAS MUSIC?
In many recent years local FM radio stations would broadcast Christmas music; often beginning at Thanksgiving and continuing through Christmas night.
This year, mostly nothing of the sort, with one notable, local exception and that is Shelby's 100.1 FM who, alone, is continuing that delightful tradition. Kudos to them!
To the rest of you, Bah Humbug! You have turned into a bunch of pasteurized/homogenized, sound-alike sources of noise--often barely rising above what discerning adults would consider pollution of the air waves.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
A Christmas card arrived today--from Cleveland.
"Hummm," I wondered who that could be as I meandered back from my rural mailbox.
Turns out it was from my neighbors John and Sondra Mays.
The Mays often put their little red flag up to have the mailman stop and pick up their outgoing mail.
With the post office's new distribution alignment, mail originating around here now by-passes the Mansfield post office and is hauled about 75 miles to Cleveland where, I guess, it is sorted and distributed toward its destination.
I suspect it may ricochet through Mansfield on its way back to Bellville where postal folks sort it for distribution to their various local mail routes and it is delivered to my rural mailbox...
...about 2 feet from the May's mail box.
Doesn't that just make you tingle all over?
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
RABBIT TRACKING SNOWS are getting out of hand; this one being the third or fourth now in about as many days.
This storm is the one that pummeled the western states Monday and Tuesday then moved east until swinging up the eastern coast. The photo was taken at my Ohio home about 3 p.m., Tuesday. I awoke Wednesday morning with a total accumulation of--about an inch. By daylight light snow was falling in this part of Ohio with about another 1/2 inch of accumulation in the forecast.
The photo was done with a 70-200mm lens on a digital, single lens reflex camera. The lens was extended to its full focal length which is the equivalent of about 320mm on a conventional camera.
The camera was held firmly against a tree trunk beside my upper deck during the 4/10th second exposure. That relatively long shutter speed created the white, vertical streaks of the heavily falling snow. The aperture was f/32 with an ISO setting of 400 all controlled manually.
The orange color naturally exists in the branches of this weeping willow tree on my pond's island contrasting nicely with the dark wooded background. The green is from background pine branches and the reddish hue lower left is from the leaves of a young oak tree.
The color saturation was enhanced during the editing process.
Thanksgiving plans call for our customary trip to Perry County for dinner with Sue's sister Patsy then the ladies will be up and gone by sunrise Friday for their annual assault of holiday shopping.
I'll lazy my way home then go back down and retrieve the survivors Sunday.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING and safe travels to all!
Monday, November 25, 2013
ENOUGH SNOW TO TRACK A RABBIT--
Years ago a local confectioner, the late Scott Brown, used to make annual, snowfall predictions for the Mansfield area; specifically, how many of them would occur over the winter.
Any particular snow event would count only if it produced, yup, enough snow to track a rabbit.
I never learned where that measurement was taken but, Saturday, that criteria was met at my house for the second time this fall.
As that wintry blast was tapering off I noticed a friendly male Cardinal, Ohio's state bird by the way, perched in an evergreen bush near my front door. This rascal's bright red color was not enhanced by editing software. Can you imagine how proud he must have been?
I was glad it was him sitting out there and not me. Temperatures dipped throughout that day to an overnight low in the upper teens.
In spite of those polar conditions he and lots of his feathered pals were busy munching breakfast at my feeders the next morning, evidently oblivious to the cold that had me tucked into a heavy sweatshirt with the furnace working overtime and me still lighting candles for supplemental heat.
Yet, there they were flitting about without a shiver in sight with an average weight measured in fractions of an ounce for some species.
Humans are such wusses.
Friday, November 22, 2013
I fumbled my way through a huge shopping list at our Kroger mega-sized store recently and still was left with two items that escaped my search.
They were Nabisco Honey Grahams and those 6-pack, snack packages of cheese and peanut butter crackers.
The grahams are a really versatile menu item for me. They serve as an occasional breakfast and sometimes serve nicely for a lite lunch. I munch on a package of those little cheesey rascals as my mid-night snack nearly every night.
I explain that to point out this really is an important matter.
The second time I searched the "cracker" aisle was quite a bit more thorough than the first but still--nothing.
Finally, I tracked down a stray employee and inquired about their locations while pointing out I had just left the aisle with the overhead sign silently announcing "Crackers".
"Oh, they are not there," she confirmed and sent me an aisle or two to the left for one of my items and an aisle or two to the right for the other.
"Tell me young lady" I pleaded, "why can't I find crackers in the aisle proclaiming their location?"
She pondered that for a moment then made a somewhat caustic comment about their management-type folks of the male gender, naturally, who make such weighty decisions.
I was looking at her over the top of my glasses with an obviously forced smile as I re-launched my search.
Sure enough, with my elusive products in hand I found both were labeled as "crackers".
While I was pleased with the successful conclusion of my shopping trip I shuttered to think those same management-types likely already were planning their next--and seemingly annual--realignment of the store's overall layout.
Maybe her gender remark was not misstated after all.
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Ahhhh. Squeezed another motorcycle ride in Saturday afternoon. Made me feel like I won the lottery and didn't even buy a ticket.
The afternoon was cloudy and looked crummy as days approaching winter often do, but, the temperature managed to chin itself past 50 so I fired-up the bike and enjoyed a nice rumble around the local township roads.
A sweatshirt and a fleece vest contained body heat and a Frog Togs rain jacket posed as a wind breaker. I slid the helmet vents closed and enjoyed a fairly comfortable ride except...my summer riding gloves performed flawlessly with abundant ventilation and fingers soon felt like I had been juggling ice cubes.
Made me glad I had chosen a local circuit rather than an enduro someplace.
I should have known better.
The first Junco arrived at my bird feeders just a day earlier. That's a picture of one on the left with a tip of my hat to Allaboutbirds.org from whom I borrowed the photo.
Could have done my own picture but cameras don't work well with frigid fingers.
Dark Eyed Juncos bookend the calendar with Ruby Throated Hummingbirds around here; Junco's being among the first winter birds to show up while the hummers play that role as Spring awakens.
Of course, the hummers have more than enough sense to be long gone from this part of Ohio by now.
I don't have much of an excuse for still being here.
But, my lady does. And, that's that.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
FIRST WINTER SNOW--
A dapple of rising sun splashes across an inch of newly fallen snow on this naturalizing firebush just outside my front door this morning.
I didn't venture far in search of an image to salute this poignant arrival of the new season--and used a telephoto lens to boot before scurrying back inside.
Thanks Mother Nature for your frosty decorations in the woods.
Now, where did I put my Florida maps?