Monday, November 30

scenes of the harvest in the Heartland


Spending Thanksgiving with our daughter and her family in southwestern Minnesota, heart of corn and soybean country, the every day scenes are very different from out our back door in southwestern South Dakota, 7 hours to the west. This neighbor spent all of Saturday and part of Sunday harvesting the seed corn off his fields. The combine made pass after pass through the standing stalks, offloading into a grain cart surprisingly often, the yield off this field was a good one. As he worked the 200 acre field, the resident pheasants and the white tailed deer who take advantage of his "hospitality" were flushed out and headed for safer parts of the hedgerows and groves near by.

Saturday, November 28

watching harvest in America's heartland

Watching the neighboring farmer combine his seed corn crop in southwest Minnesota...

Apologies for recent days lack of ability to comment, I have wrestled with Blogger and finally found and fixed glitch. I won, but it was approaching insanity.

Wednesday, November 25

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

This lady is counting her blessings, since she is a diner at my table, instead of dinner on my table! Best wishes to all for a happy Thanksgiving celebration with your family and friends. Taking a few days off to enjoy the holiday with mine, safe travels everyone, where ever you are bound.

Tuesday, November 24

shadows on the Ceiling

Give high school kids a flashlight and they start playing.... dog/wolf/coyote/fox creature by the fine hands of RAS.

Sunday, November 22

skivvies on 6th

Lots of shop windows are already decorated for the holidays with Santas, snowflakes, snowmen and such...however, this store on 6th Street, in the middle of downtown is going for a different theme...skivvies! Not being biased, the window on the opposite side of the door has a similar display of ladies' undies. They are not nearly as colorful or eye catching as these for the manly men who wear pink, chartreuse or lavender with confidence. I love their non-conformist window dresser!

Saturday, November 21

American Gothic, homage to Grant Wood, sort of

Once again, the neighborhood around my school has provided fodder for the lens, these delightful folks are on the Boulevard, in the historic district. They are just the perfect touch for Thanksgiving among the way too many, way too early Christmas decor at the neighbors.

Friday, November 20


saffron sunset

Black Hills of South Dakota, November 19, 2009

Thursday, November 19


prickly cactus

Wednesday, November 18


glacial branch

Tuesday, November 17


scarlet amaryllis

Monday, November 16


fuzzy gosling

Sunday, November 15


statuesque penstemon

Saturday, November 14


groovy pumpkin

This week my 9th grade English class has been struggling with nouns and adjectives, so we'll help them out. Kind of a photo Madlibs to ease the pain.

Friday, November 13

laundry Day

Do clothespins qualify as Art, I wonder? 

Thursday, November 12

Veterans Day, Main Street, USA

Rapid City Stevens Blue Raider Marching Band and friends honor America's Veterans.

Main Street,  Rapid City, SD
November 11, 2009

Wednesday, November 11

thanks Veterans!

Factoid: The 45 star American flag, created in 1896 after the admission of the state of Utah to the Union. It was the "Star Spangled Banner" for 12 years. When Oklahoma became the 46th state it had to be redesigned. The 45 stars flew over the White House during the administrations of Grover Cleveland, William McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt. This particular 103 year old flag belongs to my parents, Robert and Helen Booth of Plattsburgh and Chazy Landing, NY.  

They are of what Tom Brokaw describes as the "greatest generation". Those who served both overseas and on the homefront, not for glory or recognition, but because it was the right thing to do.

Tuesday, November 10

warts and All

A pile of mini-pumpkins at my favorite local greenhouse.  These are the variety called "Jack Be Little" on the opposite end of the spectrum from "Dill's Atlantic Giant", the darling of the giant pumpkin contest aficionados. These little guys are 2" high and 3" in diameter, not the 1500 lb giants of the contest world.

Did you know that the first pumpkin pies were an invention of the colonists? Pumpkins were divested of their seeds and strings, filled with spices, eggs and milk and then placed in the ashes of a fireplace to bake. The sweet, spicy custard was then served to eager diners. I like the idea of no pie crust to wrangle with!

Monday, November 9

there is a Reason...

...that my birdbaths are empty every morning, this is IT!

Sunday, November 8

do you know Gibbous?

The waning gibbous moon of November, 62% illumination at 7:30 this morning. I got curious, what exactly does gibbous mean? The word comes from late Latin, gibbosus, meaning "hunch-backed or humped".  

Astronomically, it is used to describe a celestial body viewed from Earth that is more than half, but not entirely illuminated by the sun. Gibbous moons are convex on both edges, last quarter is approaching within a day, the moon will become crescent within about 48 hours. The moon is gibbous both waxing and waning.  So, now you know...

Saturday, November 7

gentleman Caller

He is wary enough that I had to take his picture through the window of the garage door. While I did get one for documentation, hoping to shoot a more elegant photo soon. I have had bobwhite and sharp-tailed grouse in the yard foraging under my feeders, but this is the first pheasant to show up ever! My back door neighbor spotted him about 10 days ago when his golden retrievers were having a fit in their yard adjacent to ours.

Wondering where he came from, we aren't exactly what you think of as pheasant habitat, probably someone's hunting preserve. My daughter saw the local coyote tribe drifting like shadows through the side yard last night well after dark, wonder how long he will be visiting. We shall see.

Friday, November 6

colors chase the stars to Bed


November 6 sunrise, in less than 10 minutes,

Ma Nature goes technicolor from horizon to horizon.

Wednesday, November 4

Sirius, the Dog Star

 This is not the Dog Star, Sirius, in Canis Major. Nor is it the Captain of the Black Pearl.  It is, however, Captain Jack Sparrow, stargazing schnauzer.

Sirius, is the brightest star in the night sky, the eye of Canis Major, one of Orion's great hunting dogs. Sirius is visible from nearly all parts of the planet Earth. On close observation, it reveals itself as a binary star system, not a single star. To locate Sirius, draw a straight line through the three stars of Orion's belt, follow the line to the left and it will point directly at the star.  
(diagram from News Tribune, Duluth, MN)

Tuesday, November 3

moon and the winter Constellations

The man in the moon came to earth in my flower bed, but his night time companions, the winter constellations, are beginning to arrive in the late fall skies. Orion, the hunter and his dogs, Canis Major and Canis Minor are visible from anywhere on Earth. 

Astronomers estimate that the three stars in Orion's belt will be visible as that same pattern for 1-2 million more years before they move apart enough to alter the alignment. It is arguably the most recognizable star pattern throughout all of human existence, cultures around the world have stories explaining what the pattern is. The stories are as varied as the people who tell them.

Monday, November 2

I am watching YOU

Their red-brown coats have been replaced with gray-brown, winter is coming. The long guard hairs of a white-tail's winter coat are two times longer than the summer hair, a thick undercoat develops to help insulate their bodies against the cold. Winter guard hairs are hollow and can be fluffed out to add extra air space for warmth, giving a sometimes ratty look to winter deer. The insulation is so effective that snow will lay unmelted on a deer's back during a storm, body heat is not lost enough to melt it off.

Sunday, November 1

back up the Train

Back to Mountain Standard Time!
Did you know the original proposal for Daylight Savings Time was suggested by the ever inventive Benjamin Franklin? He published an essay entitled "An Economical Project" in April 1784 when he was serving as Minister to the court of Louis XVI. His proposal touted the thriftiness of utilizing natural daylight instead of artificial light as a way to save money. Novel idea.