Friday, December 31

a farewell toast to 2010

Bottoms Up!

at the Edge

At the edge of the ice at Canyon Lake, open water and melt water, reflections of the canyon wall.
The lake is Rapid Creek dammed up, with a spillway. The  water passing under the thin edge of the ice sheet was singing. It had a glassy sort of musical sound that was quite intriguing to listen to.

Thursday, December 30

through the Window

Winter storm warning, cold and snowy, house finches through the laundry room window at 2 pm. Inside the window, the summer's impatiens is spending the winter days waiting. Pink and Pink

Wednesday, December 29

melt Water

A December visit to Art Alley, Ma Nature makes her own compositions. Meltwater off the roof.

Tuesday, December 28

some things are Universal

pigeon in Provence
( borrowed from blog Paris Postcard)

pigeons in Rapid City

Some things are just Universal!

Monday, December 27

sherbet for Dessert

 For friends along the Atlantic coast who might need a break from winter, a little summertime sherbet for dessert.

Sunday, December 26

the dinner who Wasn't

Santa not only travels with reindeer, apparently he brings turkeys along as well.

Saturday, December 25

Christmas meringue

Lemons from my cousin Bobby's tree in central FL, to me in SD turned into Lemon Meringue Pie for Christmas dinner. How yummy is that!

Merry Christmas!

Peace on Earth,
Goodwill toward Men and
All Earth's Creatures.

Friday, December 24

we need you, Rudolph

Then one foggy Christmas Eve, Santa came to say,
Rudolph, with your nose so bright, won't you guide my sleigh tonight?

It's been foggy in the Black Hills all day.....

Wednesday, December 22

full steam Ahead

Part of the Canyon Lake Navy, two mallards and a bufflehead drake on maneuvers.

Tuesday, December 21

winter Solstice

Frost flowers for the Winter Solstice
Did you watch the Lunar Eclipse overnight? There were high, thin clouds here, and a ring around the moon, but my NiteOwl child, the Schnauzer kid, and I watched till totality arrived. It was 14F, down jackets and snowboarding clothes were the attire. We finally called it a night about 1 AM. According to what I read today, the last total lunar eclipse on the day of the Winter Solstice was in 1638!

Saturday, December 18

the cold Shoulder

The turkeys came running the minute I stepped out the door. They thought I had breakfast for them, all I had was my camera. I immediately got the "cold shoulder" and they left in a huff.

Friday, December 17

star light, star Bright

Do you see a bright star in the southern sky early in the evening on these December nights? The "star" you are seeing is the King of the Planets, Jupiter. With binoculars you should be able to see Jupiter's Galilean moons as well.

Thursday, December 16

Wednesday, December 15

the goose is getting Fat

Christmas is a-coming,
The goose is getting fat.
Please put a penny in the old man's hat.
If you haven't got a penny, then a ha'penny will do,
If you haven't got a ha'penny, then God bless you!
God bless you, gentlemen. God bless you.

(old English carol)

Tuesday, December 14

the lunch Crowd

I have no idea what was so interesting to this clan of mallards, but something certainly caught their attention. Must be something tasty for lunch, McDuck's maybe?

Monday, December 13

holly for Helen

The mockingbird and the robins will soon have the berries, but aren't they gorgeous! These are in my parents' front yard in northern New York. I always send my mother holly for her December 18th birthday, but I'll have to think of something else, she has bushels of it this year.-

Sunday, December 12

he of the golden Eye

Welcome  visitors, the Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula). These tree-hole nesting diving ducks spend their summers in Canada and Alaska and come to South Dakota waters only in the winter months. I always knew them as "Whistlers", which is what they are commonly called in the Lake Champlain valley where I grew up. Their wings whistle loudly when in flight, hence the colloquial name given this elegant little duck.

Saturday, December 11

at the Crack...

...of dawn on a December morning. Most of the world is still sleeping and misses "rosy-fingered Dawn " painting the sky.

Wednesday, December 8

an exciting Discovery

Spanish researchers have discovered that caffeine and glucose -- found in those longtime favorites, coffee and doughnuts -- actually make you smarter. In a study published in the journal Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, researchers at the University of Barcelona discovered that the caffeine-glucose combo boosts your brain in terms of attention and memory. Rock on, doughnut lovers, we thought that stuff was bad for us!  

Tuesday, December 7

freezing Fingers

When your fingers are freezing, and it is dark, and the  shutter speed is verrrry slow, Christmas tree lights come out very Baroque.

Sunday, December 5

the Snowboarder

Our local ski areas opened this weekend, the skiers and boarders have been waiting, waiting, waiting!
The snow that delayed our trip to Minnesota last week helped out the slopes big time.

Saturday, December 4


 Treats in the Teachers' Lounge.

Thursday, December 2

the Confrontation

round 1
round 2

Who do you think won the Birdfeeder Skirmish and who backed off?

Our Project Feederwatch journal at Lincoln Academy has some interesting observations already. My 9th Graders seem to be rooting for the squirrels, despite the fact that we are supposed to be counting birds.

Wednesday, December 1

Sagittarius, the Archer

A Sagittarius born on December 1 is a reputed to be a  theatrical and flamboyant person. Sunrise on this December 1 seems to be a Sagittarian as well.

Tuesday, November 30

a birdbath Heater

Brings in patrons who are not interested in sunflower seeds, but a drink of water and a bath. Provided, of course, the air temperature is above 32 degrees.

Monday, November 29

the wooly Woolies

Gone are the sleek spotted fawns of June, these twins look more like Teddy Bears at the moment!

you are a long way from Brazil!

Returning from Thanksgiving in Minnesota, found the first of the new Christmas cactus flowers had opened.

Zygocactus are actually epiphytes, not terrestrial cactus like prickly pears, but with a growing habit more like some of the orchids. These have been hybridized for the houseplant trade, originally growing in the rainforests of southeastern Brazil. Happily for us way up North, they are glad to oblige and give us some color in the cold and gray of November and December days.

Tuesday, November 23

what is That?

If this is the Niger River delta from a NASA camera?

Niger River Delta

Monday, November 22

it is only....

 5 degrees, we got 5" of the fluffy white stuff...I hope these babies are sleeping warmly, for the next 5 months.
Winter has arrived.

Sunday, November 21

um. I don't think you'll Fit

Yesterday when I installed the heater in the birdbath, the turkeys paid no attention. This morning, however, a drink was in order. I am used to seeing chickadees and robins perched on the edge, they fit a little more in scale.

I think if this lady hopped in we would see Archimedes' Principle at work!

My apologies for any who were offended by the anonymous comment on yesterday's post. I have removed whole post and modified the comments section so that crap doesn't appear again.

Thursday, November 18

 Sunset like Agate
44N  103W
(Brazilian agate from

Wednesday, November 17

she and He

Both mule deer and white-tailed deer wander through our yard, munch flowers and shrubs, and fertilize the grass. Normally they stay within species specific family groups, not mingling. 

However, this time of year the teen-aged bucks are either confused, blind or plain don't care. This little spike buck, of the mule deer persuasion, was squiring around a group of four white-tail does and fawns. Not only in spring does a young man's fancy turn to love.

Monday, November 15

where's Waldo

My nice new Sigma lens takes a look at a piece of Chazy limestone with its Ordovician fossils.

These critters lived their lives in warm ocean waters near southern Africa. Thanks to plate tectonics and continental drift, they came to rest in northern New York and Vermont on Lake Champlain. I picked this piece of ancient ocean bottom on our beach at camp when I was searching for beach glass and other flotsam and jetsam.

Sunday, November 14

steppin' Out

Cornell University's Project Feederwatch 2010-2011 season started this week. I've been part of this citizen science project for several years, it is always fun to see trends and changes over time. 
The local wild turkey flock is a reliable crowd, showing up daily. Sometimes they are polite and well behaved, other times they act like a rugby scrum or peek in the window from the deck railing. They always have a great deal to talk about among themselves.

Saturday, November 13

the red Wheelbarrow

The Red Wheelbarrow
William Carlos Williams
so much depends upon
a red wheel barrow
glazed with rain water
beside the white
There is no earthly reason why the red thumbtack in the telephone pole made me think of one of my favorite word pictures, but it did.

Friday, November 12

crayon colors on the Corner

4th and Kansas City Street, Rapid City, SD, USA

Thursday, November 11

standing on the Corner

It is rather remarkable what you can find just standing on a street corner waiting for your kid, especially if you have a viewfinder to look through. Storm sewer art.

the Parade

This little kidlet had to be the happiest parade goer ever. I'd guess it was her first one. I was shooting the National Guard soldiers and she turned around at the moment I took the picture, the autofocus found her cute little face and that was that.

Veterans' Day 2010

Ft. Ticonderoga

 Robert C. Booth   WW I
Robert T. Booth   WW II
Christopher H. Booth   Korean Conflict
William H. Saxe   US Army
and veterans of all conflicts and branches.

Thank you for your service to our country.

Wednesday, November 10

what is It?

Challenge: before Photoshop tricks, what was this?

Tuesday, November 9

a new Address

There has been a birdhouse on the south lawn for 30 years, used by chickadees, house wrens, bluebirds or violet-green swallows each summer. This fall it fell victim to a rowdy buck deer who decided to get into a fight with the pole it was mounted on. The poor old pine board house broke into pieces when it hit the ground.

This is the replacement, now inside the woven wire fence that surrounds a crabapple tree protecting it from servine vandalism.

We shall see who finds it a homey place in May.

Monday, November 8

who is watching Who?

Her big "mule ears" gave her away. I would never have noticed her in the thicket, if she had not been "radar-ing" those namesake ears. She was curious about what I was doing with the laundry on the clothesline. The winter coat camo that the muleys and the white-tails wear is remarkably effective even at close range.

Sunday, November 7

some Folks....

are having a harder time adjusting to the time change than others.
This seems to be a paired up couple, they were with a whole bunch of other mallard/mallard pairs in a small backwater area off Rapid Creek this morning.

Saturday, November 6

switch from MDT to MST

Friendly furball waits for the end of Mountain Daylight Time, it is time to "fall back" tonight!