Random Thoughts


Last Thursday, Sylvia returned home to take care of some unfinished business.  (She was with her dad that week)  We went in to Lake Odessa for lunch at the Chinese/Thai restaurant.  When the fortunate cookies came, she opened hers and read it.  I opened mine and showed it to her.  They were both the same.  That was a great sign and a good omen.  At least, we thought so.

We returned to the house and had some Dove dark chocolate with mint.  The inside of her wrapper had the same message as mine.  Is this another sign?


Sunday evening, I had been watching a turkey vulture glide around the neighborhood.  There was a strong breeze from the west, which makes for good vulture watching.  They seem to hover in place and then swoop off with the wind.

It was time to fix my supper, so I went into the kitchen.  As I looked out the kitchen window, the buzzard was low over our lawn.  It seemed to be hovering and then it began to drift down wind.  It headed straight toward me and passed within 35 feet of my head, which was safely protected by the house.  It was an awesome sight.


Is anyone else interested?  I’m thinking of doing a GoFundMe site.  The purpose would be to purchase Prozac for Angry Birds.  I’m hoping that the Prozac won’t change the music and the sound effects.

Keeping Warm

I looked out my office window.  That’s when I saw her in the driveway.  I think she was catching some rays.  The asphalt makes a nice solar heat collector and the air was cool.

I went out to her with camera in hand.  She was patient as she posed for me.


I tried to get a low-angle view.  My efforts failed to capture a usable image.


I was hoping to get an image like the one above, which I captured six years ago.  It didn’t work for me this time.

I’m not sure why these two mantises look so different.  I tried to find some info online, but nothing helpful found.  Not that it much matters to me.  I’m more interested etymology than entomology.

In the Garden

Not a lot happening in the garden these days, but the growing season is not yet over.  On Thursday, Sylvia said, “You’ve got to get a picture of this.”  I did.


Can you see the three blossoms on these peas?  We are left wondering if we will pick peas in October.  Wouldn’t that be swell?

I turned around, took a step and a half to check out the kale.


The kale is doing well.  This is our first year to grow it in the garden and are very pleased with what we’re seeing.  Oh, and eating too, of course.


Isn’t that pretty?  When you’re served a meal with a kale garnish, do eat the kale?  I do.

Shortly after I captured those images, Sylvia moved in with cutters in hand.  She harvested some of the choice parts.  Some of that bounty she coated lightly with oil and sprinkled on a bit of sea salt with lime.  These went into the oven to become this:


Word of Warning: You may find kale chips highly addictive.

Red Tail

I recently shared my experience of seeing a red-tail hawk split in two.  Actually it was a pair.  I had been seeing red tail activity for some time when that happened.  Since then, I’ve seen the pair in close proximity to each other on several occasions.  The day after sighting the “split,” I saw the male fly while the female remained on the power pole.


Look between her toes.  What is that?


Looks like lunch to me.  What do you think?

I didn’t like having branches in the way so I moved to the front door.  The next day, I captured this image.


When I tried to capture a second, sharper image, she flew away.  I was left with an empty frame.  Some days seem to be like that.

Who R U?

High in the birch tree sat a bird.  It was not one of the normal cast of characters.  With my unaided eye, I could not identify the species.  Seven power binoculars didn’t help.  The camera, however, did.  I had to process the images a bit.


I believe this is an American Kestrel (Sparrow Hawk).


The swallow-like tail shows better in this shot.  When it flew, it looked a lot like a swallow, but larger.

It is obviously a member of the falcon family, but which?  Can anyone help with the identification?  Sharkey?

Color Me This

Yesterday, our friend, Sharkey, posted some fall foliage colors on her blog.  The images are delightful.  Our secondary road is enough south of her that we are a few days behind in the color tour.

Nevertheless, it sent me to the front deck this morning.  That’s where I get a view of some of the first trees in the neighborhood to go through the transformation.  Here’s the wide view:


Neighbor, Bob, Cut hay last week and Sylvia power washed the decks.  Their combine actions seemed to bring on rain.  It’s finally dry again.  Hay can dry and, if this weather holds, we can seal the decks.  Back to the color.


It’s not much, but it’s the best we can do for now.  It’s scenes like these that bring joy and contentment to those that live in this house.


To my eye, that red on the left looked brighter.  Oh well . . .

Yesterday’s Sighting

Last evening, as I was getting supper ready, my eye caught sight of the red-tail hawk sitting on a power pole.  He’s been a regular visitor recently.  This time, he looked especially great in the fading light.

I went to a window and slowly lifted the blinds.  My plan was to go for the camera next.  However, as I finished lifting those blinds, he dove from the pole toward the ground.  Prey?  He was half way to earth when the strangest thing happened.  He seemed to split in two with one side going right and the other left.  Yes, it was a pair of red tails.  From my vantage point they appeared as one until they split apart.

The hawks turned to fly in the same direction, side-by-side.  I wish you could have seen it too.

Making Hay

Mowing the tall grass on the low ground

Mowing the tall grass on the low ground

The sun is shining and our neighbor is making hay on our low ground.  The photo is from last summer.  The only thing that’s changed is the garden, and this has been a different year for the garden.

Can you believe we picked peas in August?  Yes, we did!

Sylvia did two plantings of green beans.  It would have worked well if we hadn’t had bunny visitors. Nevertheless we were still picking green beans late in September.

Zucchini was poor this year.  Instead of an over abundance, we had barely enough for the summer.

Parsnips must have drowned in the wet spring time.  Fortunately, Sylvia froze some of last year’s harvest.  Parsnips went well with last night’s shepherd pie.

We should have an excellent asparagus harvest next year, Lord willing.  This summer, I blanched and froze some while Sylvia was with her dad.  When we tried it recently, we found it to be very good.

We are already thinking about next year’s garden.

El Comercio

El Comercio is Quito, Ecuador’s major newspaper.  I’ve been following them on Facebook for some time now.  I’d heard about Cotopaxi, the volcano, erupting.  That’s when I found El Comercio’s online presence.  It has been interesting to read news from that small country where we lived for nearly three years.  (Okay, that was forty years ago.)

When we lived in Quito, we would walk out to the sidewalk and turn south.  There in the distance, dominating the horizon, was the perfect cone shape of Cotopaxi.  It is both beautiful and iconic.

Recently, I’ve found plenty of reasons to continue following Ecuadorian news.  Few folks around here got to see Sunday evening’s blood moon.  On Monday I logged onto Facebook and found that El Comercio had published a number of photos of the lunar eclipse.  This one was my favorite:

Ecuador's view of Sunday's eclipse

Ecuador’s view of Sunday’s eclipse

I enjoy pictures like these and the many others I’ve seen on various blogs and Websites.  However, witnessing it with my eyes was by far the best.

Do you follow the news from somewhere other than where you now live?

Blood Moon

Last night, there was a blood moon.  In other words, a total eclipse of the moon.  It should have been visible from here.  I was ready, and my camera was ready too.

Results were mixed.  I did, however, learn a few important lessons.

The first lesson was, never try to capture an image of the moon by shooting through a window.


This first shot was a test.  The double glass left some artifacts around the brilliant full moon.  Also,  to shoot this wide, I need to manually control aperture and shutter settings.

As the eclipse started, it was time to capture the next image.  I did this while standing in an open door.

Second lesson was, don’t hand-hold a tight shot of the moon.


Not too bad, perhaps.  I did brace against the door frame.  Yet, it could have been better.

The third lesson was, atmospheric conditions can spoil your chances.


I had setup the tripod and was going to capture that “perfect” image of the blood moon.  It never happened.  Dark clouds were rolling in, obscuring the moon.  After much waiting, I managed to capture the above image, which was only partially cloud shaded.  After that I only caught brief glimpses of bits of the moon.  And then it could no longer be seen from here.

Sic transit gloria.