Archive for March, 2008

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I thought it was spring…

March 30, 2008

I tried to post this a couple days ago, lost it somehow, then found it in my drafts, so here it is. Since I started this, most of the snow is gone again.

Doesn’t this look like a beautiful spring day? Look at all those buds on the tree and that gorgeous blue sky!

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Can you believe I took both the photo above and the one below on the same day? The tree in the one below looks perfect for a Christmas card…

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All this snowing and thawing and raining, etc. has turned my back yard into a lovely swamp…swamp.jpg

I truly can’t wait for those lovely spring days when it gets warm during the day and cools off nicely at night! It is supposed to be in the 60’s on Tuesday, but with rain. I don’t really think my yard needs more rain!

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Glacial Geology

March 25, 2008

I am getting very impatient for spring to finally materialize. Being somewhat warm (above freezing) today, I decided a walk in the local cemetery was warranted. This particular cemetery was established in 1838 and has continuously been used since that time. The whole area around the cemetery was formed from by glaciers, but most of the moraines, kettles, kames, etc. are no longer identifiable because of the impact man has made on the area. The area was quarried extensively in the late 19th century, but the glacial formations in the cemetery itself are largely unaltered. It is a fascinating place to visit. The land all around is mostly flat, but the relief inside the cemetery is amazing.

Here is a kettle formed by glacial movement. It has been terraced to allow for benches so people can sit around it and the stones in the middle are what remains of a fountain.

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To give you an idea of the relief here is another picture of the same kettle pond, from one of the highest points in the cemetery.

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Looking in the opposite direction from the last picture, here is a view of the top of the building in which the library is housed at a local university. The campus is built right on the edge of the river, so it is not up on a hill. I just happened to be quite high up on a hill when I took this picture.

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Here are the stairs I climbed to get these great pictures. Sometime I will go back and just take pictures of stairs in this cemetery. Because of the unusual landscape, there are stairs in really odd places.

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So among the eskers, kettles, kames, and oh, yeah, the whole area is a terminal moraine I did take the time to look at some really neat grave markers.

This marker is different from others I have seen. I think it is really neat.

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This monument is fairly simple, but one of my favorites.

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As I was descending this incline, I stepped onto what I thought was snow, but turned out to be ice. The hill is terraced for the graves, and I was going from one level down to the next at the time. It must have looked hysterical as my feet went straight out in front of me and I landed on my left kidney. I am simply thankful I didn’t land on my head, shoulder, or especially my camera! I picked myself up and took two more shots…

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The roots of this tree actually cover the back of this marker. It is in a really odd location. I was standing on the road about 6 feet away from the marker as I took this picture.

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After my fall and two final pictures, I decided I should take my weary body home, so I trudged hobbled back to the car. I pulled a couple muscles in my leg and can’t walk very well. I did have the sense to walk to the car on the road however, which was completely free of ice and snow and ice pretending to be snow.

These are a couple of other pictures I took while at the cemetery. The day was nice but very overcast and I thought the sun looked rather odd, so I snapped a picture of it.

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This other photo is of a retaining wall that is badly damaged. I assume the rocks underneath were an original wall and the damaged part over top was added later to reinforce the original. At any rate, I think it is an interesting photo.

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Easter Wanderings

March 24, 2008

Yesterday, Easter, we went to my in-laws house for a few hours. As we were driving there, I spotted a very large gathering of geese at a set of ponds near my in-laws house. I, of course, had my camera, but I also had a car full of unwilling participants in photo gathering, so we continued to our planned destination without pictures of the geese. I told Jeff that I really wanted to go to the lake later and get some pictures as it was a decent day weather wise and there would still be some ice at the lake.

After lunch and some “encouragement,” aka begging, Jeff agreed to go to the lake. I offered him a cup of coffee from Starbucks, which would get me closer to the ponds with all the geese, so I could stop “for just a minute” and snap a few photos. It worked like a charm…except that most of the geese were gone, and those left had moved further north, well away from the access road, so a “quick photo” would not be so quick after all! Oh, well! I could still go to the lake…

Not thinking clearly, I had left the house with my camera, but not with appropriate winter wear. As we got out of the car at the lake, I realized the error of my ways as a very cold blast of Canadian air hit me full in the face. I promptly put up my hood which provided a barrier when I was facing south, but of course the lake is to the north. At least my ears were protected, unlike Jeff’s. As we began walking, I got excited as the lake was angry looking, so there were lots of waves. The ice that was present was the kind that built up there in layers and was hesitant to loosen it’s bitter grip. I only took about 30 pictures before I could no longer feel my thumbs and my fingers were raw (no gloves either). Here are a few of the best.

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This one reminds me of something in a sci-fi movie…some alien planet’s surface or something.

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Check out all that glistening ice on the beach and grass above it.

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As the water came up to the break wall, there were some pretty big splashes.

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I will never understand how birds can float around in such cold water! At least they were somewhat protected from the wind. They are in a stream that empties into the lake.

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This is slightly further upstream from where the ducks were. This is where I realized that I could no longer feel my thumbs and decided it was time to head back to the car to relative warmth.


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Outdoor Fun

March 19, 2008

On Sunday we took the kids to an outdoor ice rink for some fun and exercise. I was feeling lousy so I opted to take pictures instead of skate. Jeff decided to keep me company instead of skating, so the kids got to go out on their own and have some fun.

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Erin decided that she would skate with only her helmet, gloves, and obviously her skates. Normally she wears shin guards and pants as well. We were a bit concerned that she would hesitate because falling would hurt more than usual, but she proved us wrong and tore up the ice!

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Sarah, being her usual silly self, provided us with this silly face which I couldn’t resist photographing!

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It is sort of hard to tell, but if you look at Erin’s hair, you can tell that she was in motion. Both girls were jumping up and down on the ice in front of us. I can’t remember why now, but it was silly.

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I took this one because I thought the steeple was cool, and it shows how nice the day was. It was a little windy and chilly, but the kids stayed plenty warm zooming around the rink.

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WW: Remote Joe

March 11, 2008

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More on the Butterflies…

March 4, 2008

I was so tired yesterday that I could not think straight. As I read about ways to put a slide show into my blog, I inadvertently chose the ONE option that does not embed the show…go figure! I have since fixed that, and the show below will take place right here in my blog.

As we walked through the conservatory, there were many wonderful blue butterflies flying around, but I could not find any on something stationary that would allow me a good picture. I had yet to figure out how to turn on the feature allowing me to snap multiple pictures one right after the other, so I literally chased several of these elusive butterflies through the place all to little avail! There are two pictures in the slide show of the elusive Blue Morpho. I took 27 photos total in an effort to get one awesome picture of them, but I seem to have failed, for the pictures I have posted are the best I was able to capture, but only mediocre at that.

I posted the names of the butterflies that I could identify from other places. If there are any Lepidoptera experts out there and I have mistakenly identified any of these butterflies, please feel free to correct me!

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After checking out the butterflies, I had to check out the Niagara Gorge and the Falls.

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Can you imagine getting in a cable car and traversing the Niagara Gorge? Yes, it is below the falls…but still!

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See the cables running across the gorge? They are for the people crazy enough to get into that cable car!

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If you enlarge the picture below and look very closely at the center of the picture below, you can see the power generation plant that the kids and I went to last summer.

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Check out the thickness of that snow and ice pack! As you will see in the pictures below, the amount of ice is incredible. Jeff and the girls read about the Honeymoon Bridge. It was a steel arch bridge whose abutments were right at the river’s edge. In 1938, during a wind storm on Lake Erie, tons of ice was washed over the falls and jammed up near the bridge. The pressure from the ice was so great, that it pushed the bridge off it’s abutment on the American side, effectively causing it to pull from the abutment on the Canadian side. The entire span fell in one piece onto the ice. All that is left of the bridge today is the abutment on the American side, which now boasts a tall tower with an observation deck overlooking the American Falls. If you look at the picture of the Rainbow Bridge below, you will notice the arch abutment is set back a ways from the edge of the river.

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After freezing our fingers, toes, and noses off at the river’s edge, we headed into Buffalo to grab a bite to eat. On the way, we saw a spectacular sunset, which of course looked so much better in person! I still like the photos I took of it.

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One of our favorite places for food in Buffalo is Montana’s. I would have taken a picture of my dinner, except my family thought I was nuts when I suggested that I should get my camera from the trunk and take some photos. Eventually they will learn, but for now, I have to be patient with them.

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This is a painting on the side of the restaurant. I thought it was just way too cool to not photograph. It was quite dark out when this photo was taken, so I was quite pleased with how it came out.

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I am again exhausted beyond belief, so I am going to retire to my bed and get some shut eye! Hopefully there are not any terribly obvious typos, cuz I am simply too tired to proofread tonight!

Oh, one more…I think the reflection of the tower in the side of the Sheridan is soooo cool! I noticed it as we were getting in the car to leave the Canadian side. I hoped the picture would come out, and in fact it is much better than I had hoped for!

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Butterflies Aplenty

March 3, 2008

Jeff and I decided it was time for a day trip. Early this afternoon, we hopped in the car and headed out. Our destination was the Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Since I got my Nikon, I have been dying to go to the Falls and take some pictures. I love the way it looks in the winter with all the snow and ice.

We arrived at the conservatory right around 3 pm, giving us up to 2 hours to walk through. I am not entirely sure how long we were there, but I took over 100 photos. I am simply going to post a slideshow…I hope. I have never done one of these before. I will comment and post more tomorrow…I am exhausted!

Simply click “View All Images” and you will be taken to slide.com to view my slide show. More tomorrow…I promise!