Red-Headed Woodpecker at Blackwater

Another bird we saw at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge was a Red-headed Woodpecker. There is a lot of standing dead wood in the refuge because of the water level changes in recent years. Trees less tolerant to wet roots or brackish (becoming saltier) water are dying. One area along the wildlife loom was almost all dead and the woodpeckers were having a heyday based on the numbers of holes we saw…and then we saw the red-headed woodpecker. It wasn’t at work…just looking around in the forest and didn’t notice when we got out of the car (quietly….didn’t turn the engine off or close the doors).

It posed very nicely on the snag – one that the tree top had already fallen from.

So many woodpeckers have some red on their head…but this is the one that gets the name. It is in this area for both breeding and wintering. This part of Blackwater is prime habitat for it…at least for now.

Josey Ranch Lake

After visiting the Pocket Prairie, I headed over toward the lake. The highlight of this part of the walk was a flock of cedar waxwings feeding around the blooms of a tree. I think they may have been eating tiny insects that were attracted by the blooms. They were very active – chowing down before continuing their migration. I didn’t get any great pictures of them, but I saw enough to identify them while I watched them feed! For some reason – a tend to think of them as slightly larger than they are (maybe because they have a crest like a cardinal, and I lapse into thinking they are the same size).

Otherwise the lake was a disappointment. There was a lone Canada goose and a few mallards. The birds that winter there have already moved northward. There were still a few coots around; they were all on the shore. Perhaps they stay for the summer too. The lake was almost empty.

2019 04 d IMG_5914.jpg

The resident boat-tailed grackles are noisy and have a lot of attitude. I took two sequences. On that was walking on the sidewalk as I headed back toward the car…

And another in the front of the drive near the library….I think he might have been warning me to come no closer!

Glimpses of Providence

IMG_3851.jpg

My class was on the 17th floor of the hotel. The classroom and break room had windows in all directions from the hotel offering views of the state capital and Brown university…a park with a skating rink and wind turbines. I even took a picture of part of the hotel façade! Most of the pictures I took were in the morning. One morning the bare trees in a little park were highlighted – maybe my favorite cityscape of this group.

My class was on the 17th floor of the hotel. The classroom and break room had windows in all directions from the hotel offering views of the state capital and Brown university…a park with a skating rink and wind turbines. I even took a picture of part of the hotel façade! Most of the pictures I took were in the morning. One morning the bare trees in a little park were highlighted – maybe my favorite cityscape of this group.

On the last day, I walked by the park (near the skating rink) and realized it was more unique than I has realized from the high window. The playground had nets and cables…not the usual playground equipment. What a fun place in the city – but there was no one there as I walked by on a cold morning. It would be busy in the afternoon probably. I’d seen people there from the window earlier in the week.

Overall – Providence has a welcoming city center. It is clean and walkable. I liked it and will have to go back when I have more time to wonder around.

A Student Again

The paper coasters and pencils in my room at the Biltmore Providence had the slogan ‘we are all students’ and it fit the week for me. I loved being a student. The middle two days (of the 4 day class) were intense and I was very ready to sleep by the end of the day. I woke up at my usual early time each day and saw the sunrise from the hotel room.

2019 04 IMG_3857.jpg
20190405_080442.jpg

Over the course of the class, we created 24 Zentangle® tiles which eventually were attached inside our student journal.

My favorite tile creation of the week was a voice guided Zentangle meditation – not just the tile itself (I like all the tiles I create) but the way it was done. There was none of the usual visual demonstration of the pattern. It requires a lot more descriptive language from the instructor…and good listening skills from the students. I’m not confident that all patterns could be learned in this kind of session – but it was very easy to slip into meditation with this presentation of the Zentangle Method. The mosaic we made afterward (a tile from each student created during the voice guided session) had even more variety than other tiles from the class.

20190403_103117.jpg
20190405_080718.jpg

Here is the one I created. I photographed it after I retrieved it from the mosaic and put it into my journal.

--

The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. "Zentangle" is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.

On the Train to Providence…and Home Again

Last week, I went to the Certified Zentangle®  Trainer (CZT) class in Providence RI. I decided to take the train since the hotel in Providence was within walking distance of the train station…and I had never taken more than a day trip on the train. The class started in late afternoon and the train from the Baltimore Washington International Airport train station was about 7 hours. I left in the early morning. It was a little daunting when my husband dropped me off in the dark at a station under construction (or renovation…not sure…most of it was not open). I was glad it was not a cold morning. There were no Amtrak personnel around that I noticed but there were enough experienced train riders to reassure me that I was in the right place. I also learned about the quiet car…what luxury. The sunrise (blur) happened not long after the trek began.

The gentle rocking of the train and the quiet was very calming…so different than an airport. The seats were larger than an airplane seat – and therefore more comfortable. Overall everything was roomier than an airplane. There was never a wait for a bathroom. A lot of people got off at New York and I moved to a window seat – still in the quiet car. I tried taking some pictures from the train window. Many of the views were of cities (construction, debris and trash, industrial areas) and forests.

2019 03 IMG_3818.jpg

As I got off the train in Providence, my seatmate – a native of Providence - pointed me in the right direction for the hotel and Google maps on my phone picked up the directions shortly after I started walking. It was gently downhill! I realized that several days later it would have to maneuver up the hill.

That is what happened on the morning I left. I got some ‘active minutes’ on the walk to the train station and took more pictures as I got tired – crossing the Providence River

2019 04 IMG_3888.jpg

And the landscaping in front of the train station. The landscaping seemed new and I wondered how long it had been since the station has been renovated. Hopefully the one at BWI will be improved by the construction that is happening now.

2019 04 IMG_3891.jpg

The station in Providence was closer to what I expected – a large indoor area where there were wooden benches (like pews) for sitting around an open area…some places to get food. My train did not leave until almost 9. There were marques that were like ones in airports that directed people to the right track a little before the train arrived. I took the elevator down rather than the stairs since I had luggage that was OK rolling…but not carrying.

And then I was on the train for 7 hours – enjoying a good book and journaling the events of the week. Overall the train was a good experience and I found myself wishing that it was possible to take trains to more places I travel.

More posts about my Providence experience in the next few days…

--

The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. "Zentangle" is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.

Road Trip to Florida

Last week we drove down to Florida for the annual Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival in Titusville. I’ll be posting about the trip for the next week or so…but today the post is focused on the drive itself. We left the house at 5:30 AM to beat the worst of the commuter traffic around Washington DC. Venus and Jupiter were visible in the darkness to the east. We made a very cold rest stop at 6:30 AM south of DC and on I95…the interstate we would take all the way to Florida. The temperature was in the low teens. Leaving early had achieved its purpose; no stop and go or slow traffic! We listened to Planetary Society podcasts that my husband had on his phone.

20190122_072031.jpg

It was getting light by our next rest stop at about 7:30 still in Virginia. It was a newer rest stop with a compass in the entry floor, an area to charge/use laptops (we never spend that much time at a rest stop), and a toddler toilet (I’ve only seen these in the newer Virginia rest stops….what a wonderful feature for young families).

We took I295 around Richmond and stopped at a McDonalds for a second breakfast. The sun was shining in our eyes. Turkey vultures were soaring. By 9:40 AM we were in North Carolina. I remembered the rest stop from a previous trip: red tile strips and glass brick.

20190122_094044.jpg

There was a bird’s nest in the tree just outside the building – easy to see in the winter.

20190122_101759.jpg

The next stop was a large truck stop in Kenly, North Carolina- with a large tile mosaic in the entry.

We stopped for lunch at Arby’s in Lumberton, North Carolina that did not take long and then were back on the road – crossing into South Carolina and seeing a Honda plant with its own exit from the highway and water tower.

20190122_131656.jpg

The next rest stop did not have any structural distinction, but I did notice a large river birch in the picnic area.

I saw a hawk fly low across the road in front of us and began to see black vultures along with turkey vultures. Our last rest stop for the day had green tile and a skylight in the facilities. The picnic area had sabal palmettos – matching the South Carolina license plates.

We stopped for the night in Savannah – just off I95.

20190123_074843.jpg

We didn’t start out as early the next morning. It was already beginning to get light. We made a stop, still in Georgia, where the roses were blooming.

As we drove into Florida a line of clouds moved in.

2019 01 r IMG_3447.jpg

I took pictures of the Dames Point Bridge going around Jacksonville (some morning commuter traffic).

At the next rest stop there was a pond with a fence around it (with signs warning of snakes)…but I braved the short walk up to the fence (didn’t see any snakes). I took pictures of the birds around the pond…the first for the trip: hooded mergansers,

White Ibis (mature and juvenile), and

2019 01 rIMG_3484.jpg

Not bad birding at a rest stop along I95.

We arrived at the registration desk for the festival a little after 11.

Zentangle® - December 2018

“Thirty days has September, April, June and November…all the rest have 31 save February…” – so there are 31 tiles for December.

f 20181205_021645476_iOS.jpg

My favorite is one that looks a little like Christmas confetti (with snowy auras). And digital confetti pieces are not damaging long-lived plastic debris in the environment. All for the good.

f 20181216_171831670_iOS.jpg

I also tried again making a Zentangle in a busy airport terminal as I waited on my flight home from Texas – with more success than in November. I was much more relaxed on the flight as well.

I probably skewed toward Christmas related colors more frequently in December


But not completely. There was a string of cloudy rainy days that just called for some yellow patterns on the black tiles….and there were two that really did brighten an otherwise dreary day.

--

The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. "Zentangle" is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.

YE thinking: Blog Evolution

2011 12 blog snap.jpg

My first blog post was back in November 2011. I recently went back to look at some of the older posts and did the mental exercise of noting what has changed…what has stayed the same. Some of the early posts started out with quotes like this one from the day after Christmas 2011. There was more text than pictures in those early posts.

The 10 characteristics of a matriarch…and me…haven’t changed. I’m more settled in all of them now than I was 7 years ago:

  1. Past the drive to make a living. The prime drive to establish oneself in the world and make an acceptable home is probably from ages 22-55. It can vary but there comes a point in life where the focus on a career shifts to something else much more integrated with everything else life has to offer because the hard work has paid off and the prospect of doing something completely different can take precedence.

  2. Children are living independently. Until ones children are living independently, you are a mother rather than a matriarch!

  3. Healthy and full of energy. Matriarchs have retained their health through lifestyle choices and care for themselves. They often appear younger than they are because of their attitude toward life and their energy pursuing whatever interests them.

  4. Understands herself better than earlier in her life. The changes that occur as children become independent and the long term career ends (usually intentionally) forces a period of contemplation about what is truly important for the next phase of life. The answers don’t particularly surprise our matriarch…she views the time to think about it to be the tremendous luxury of the in-between days.

  5. Self-actualized decisions. As a teenager and adult, she may have followed the advice of her parents or mentors or managers. All that was good. Now she is much more in the mode of making her own decisions with inputs from others not being quite as important as they were earlier in her life.

  6. Post-menopausal (i.e. past child bearing). The joy of not having a monthly rhythm…feeling great all the time!

  7. Knows how to live within her means. Whatever her financial situation, she knows exactly how to make ends meet and sustain her home. After all – she plans to live to be 100.

  8. Assertive. She is nice about it, but she is savvy and does not let people take advantage of her unfairly.

  9. Lots of self-discipline. She gets up fairly early in the morning because she is enthusiastic about getting started on the activities of her day. Her rhythms of communication with the people she loves are consistent and thoughtful. The interests she develops are wide ranging and shared as she develops relationships with like-minded others.

  10. Married. She is known for her long duration relationships….most notably a spouse…although it could be friends as well. If she is widowed she does not live in the past but she may not feel it necessary to form a new relationship that cannot rise to the same level of shared history.

I would add at a couple more characteristic based on my last 7 years:

  1. Giving back. Matriarchs are always looking for ways they can be a positive influence in their community and the broader world through volunteering time (and/or money).

  2. For the long term. At some point, taking a more strategic view of the world becomes easier. That translates into living my life thoughtful of what will continue after I am gone. It is the way of savoring the present cognizant of the impact on the future of people and the world.

The weekly gleanings posts appeared almost from the beginning but my picks have shifted a bit toward more visual and science rather than technology.

20181031_003107764_iOS.jpg

I started a monthly doodle post in 2012 then there was a lull after mid-2013 until I took a Zentangle class in January 2015 and started the month Zentangle post. Behind the scenes prep for the post changed over time from taking photos to scanning then to digital tiles on the iPad using the Apple Pencil beginning last spring.

Coursera came along not that long at a good time for me and I enjoyed courses that I’d not been able to take back in my college days. My posts about them started in 2014 and continued for at least 3 years. Now I am more focused on conferences and travelling than online courses…although I might go back to them at some point.

Photography has become a bigger hobby to me over the past 7 years and the blog is a major outlet for my images. When I travel – it’s always with a camera readily accessible. And then I have the illustrations for what I want to write about and a reminder of experience too.

Travel has always been good fodder from blog posts:

  • 2011: road trip from Maryland to Arizona

  • 2012: road trip to Shenandoah National Park in April, Tennessee parks in June, state parks in southern New York in October, Dallas in December

  • 2013:  Arizona in March, South Carolina in April, Norfolk and Richmond in May, Arizona in June, Utah in October, Florida in November

  • 2014: Dallas in March, southern New York parks in May, Newport RI in late September, Chincoteague VA in November

  • 2015: Tucson AZ in January, North Carolina wildlife refuges in April, Dallas in July and again in September, Staunton River State Park (Virginia) for star party in October, Hawaii in December

  • 2016: Tucson AZ in January, eastern shore MD wildlife refuges in March, Dallas in April, Florida in September, Staunton River State Park (Virginia) for star party in October, Festival of the Cranes in NM

  • 2017: Cross country from Maryland to Arizona with a stop in Dallas for my daughter’s conference,  Dallas in March, Pittsburgh in March, Delmarva Birding in April,  Dallas in May, Road trip from Tucson to Pittsburgh in June, road trip from Nebraska for solar eclipse in August,  Staunton River State Park (Virginia) for star party in October, TX for Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival in November, Pittsburgh in December

  • 2018: Dallas in April, Dallas in June, State College in August, Festival of the Cranes in NM, Dallas in December

2018 11 IMG_7491.jpg

I’m sure the blog will continue to change – nothing stays the same and we shouldn’t want it to.  

Travel Day

A week ago, I got up in Texas and got ready to fly home to Maryland. As I got my breakfast, I noticed that the sunrise was spectacular. I quickly grabbed my camera to take some pictures from the backyard. The colors were changing fast. There was a little breeze that caused me to notice the windchimes and I decided to take a silhouette of them with the colors of the sunrise in the background.

Looking back toward the house, there were some hazy clouds that reflected the color. What a great start to my last day in Texas!

IMG_0509.jpg

My strategy for the trip was to pack small bags rather than large ones. I was flying on Southwest so there was no charge for checking two of them. I carried my back pack and tote on the plane. The tote was holding a red poncho that I wore on the plane (and is a good substitute for a blanket). The strategy worked well for this trip. It’s great to not have to lift heavy luggage.

20181216_085527.jpg

It felt good to get home later that day. I always savor being ‘home again’ after being away for a week.

Festival of the Cranes – part 3

IMG_3150.jpg

We made our way to the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center after the fly out. It was still a very cold day. We looked around in the visitor center and bought sweatshirts – giving ourselves another layer for later in the week – and then watched the red wing blackbirds near the feeder in the Desert Arboretum nearby.

There were still a few cottonwood leaves that had not turned brown.

2018 11 IMG_3146.jpg

The saltbush was thick with seeds.

2018 11 IMG_3149.jpg

We decided to take a turn around the wildlife loop. We saw quite a few Northern Shovellers

2018 11 IMG_6205.jpg

And coots.

2018 11 IMG_6231.jpg

My favorite water birds of the day were the pintails.

There were crystals still prevalent on vegetation; it was colder than it looked.

2018 11 IMG_6236.jpg

The day was sunny – the sky clear blue – typical New Mexico in winter.

2018 11 IMG_6248.jpg

Startled snow geese filled the air periodically. I took some sequences later in the week…so more to come about them in subsequent posts.

2018 11 IMG_6311.jpg

Festival of the Cranes – part 2

Our first morning at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge was before the festival officially started. We got up early to travel from our hotel to the ponds along the road just before the visitor center before dawn --- to see the fly out of sandhill cranes that roost there overnight. It was the coldest morning of the week! We bundled up with lots of layers (included snow pants), foot warmers in our boots, and handwarmers inside our gloves. I had a scarf with a hood and then the hood from my fleece too. We managed but I noticed frost forming on the head of my tripod where I breathed while I was taking pictures! I took pictures of a tree on one end of the pond that I remembered from 2016. The tree glowed with morning early light.

Some of the birds were standing on mud….others on ice. I noticed one juvenile (the bird does not have its red patch yet) on ice that quickly stood on one leg. I lost track of the bird in the moving mass of birds, but I wondered if it changed legs after a time…to let the other one get warm.

I took a series of pictures of birds landing and picked the two best sequences. It is interesting how they use their wings to soften their landing. The few birds that landed must have taken off a short time before from another roosting site. This is the first sequence.

And the second.

Some of them seem more alert than others. I like groupings where it is easy to see the iron dust they have on their feathers from their nest sites in the far north. In this picture there are the birds alert, sleeping, and preening….all close together.

2018 11 IMG_5192.jpg

The fly out is all about the cranes taking off. Again – I picked two sequences. They don’t go all at once…but in small groups. The power of the first few wing flaps – to get them off the ground – could be heard across the small distance through the cold air.

And then they are in sky heading to the fields where they feed during the day.

2018 11 IMG_5655.jpg

Cranes are paired for life, so it is not unusual to see pairs.

2018 11 IMG_5695.jpg

Once the sun was up it was easier to see that the shallow pond was more ice covered than water and how some of the cranes looked so much shorter…but with the large body of sandhill cranes. The morning color of the ice…not the golden from sunrise…is a metallic blue.

2018 11 IMG_5871.jpg

I started to look more closely at how the cranes were managing to walk on the ice. They did a little sliding but seemed to prefer taking off from the ice rather than the water.

Just before we left, I took some pictures of the frosted vegetation.

A cold morning…but a good start to our week in New Mexico.

Festival of the Cranes – part 1

IMG_3150.jpg

We enjoyed our second Festival of the Cranes at Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge near San Antonio NM last week. Registration opened in early September and we decided quickly on the sessions we wanted…were early enough to get into them all. My criteria for sessions was: 1) something that we couldn’t easily do on our own or 2) a topic new to us or 3) something we enjoyed so much last time that we wanted to do it again!

20181110_080158.jpg

A few weeks before our departure, I started a packing list color coded by packing location and then marked off as it was packed.

We knew the early mornings to see the fly out of the snow geese and cranes would be very cold…so lots of layers and hand/foot warmers. There were several days that we needed to carry lunch so we took an insulated bag. There was camera gear too; the tripods were in the checked bags – cameras in the carry on.  I took three pieces of luggage: a suitcase that would be checked, a rolling backpack, and a duffel. My husband took four (two that were checked).

We didn’t forget anything…still have some ideas to do better packing next time.

I’ll be posting about the festival over the next few weeks. I took over 5,000 pictures in all because I set my camera on continuous shooting to capture motion (and I took some video too).

Blog posts about our 2016 experience of Festival of the Cranes:

Gleanings of the Week Ending November 3, 2018

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

Planned intermittent fasting may help reverse type 2 diabetes, suggest doctors: And cut out need for insulin while controlling blood glucose -- ScienceDaily – There needs to be follow up study…but if this works, maybe it should be some everyone with type 2 diabetes tries.

10 States Now Get At Least 20 Percent of Their Electricity from Solar and Wind - Yale E360 – Progress! Hopefully other states will join the club and go beyond 30%. During some months in 2017, Iowa and Kansas, wind accounted for over 50% of in-state electricity generation.

Largest ever genetic study of blood pressure -- ScienceDaily – So much for find a root cause for high blood pressure. There are lots of genes and there is overlap with life-style exposures to things like fruit, water, tea, caffeine, alcohol, and salt. It’s complicated!

Too much vitamin A may increase risk of bone fractures -- ScienceDaily – Another study about the danger of getting ‘too much’ via vitamin supplements.

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: Courtship Displays – National Geographic Blog – The treat of bird photos!

Redrawing the Map: How the World’s Climate Zones Are Shifting - Yale E360 – Interesting summary…hardiness zones on the move, Tornado Alley is shifting, the tropics are getting bigger, the Sahara desert is bigger, the 100th meridian has shifted eastward by 140 miles.

The Enchanting History of Notre Dame Cathedral's Famous Gargoyles and Grotesques – The stone carvings are pitted…but the sculptures are still awesome.

BBC - Future - How a daily 10-minute exercise could boost your happiness – The 10-minute exercise is jot down the answer to 6 questions each day: 1) What experiences, however mundane, gave you pleasure? 2) What praise and feedback did you receive? 3) What were the moments of pure good fortune? 4) What were your achievements, however small? 5) What made you feel grateful? 6) How did you express kindness? It’s a good way to end the day on a positive note!

U.S. Air Pollution Deaths Nearly Halved Over Two Decades - Yale E360 – A good trend but there were still 71,000 deaths in 2010 attributed to air pollution – more than traffic accidents and gun shootings combined. Air pollution remains a public health issue.

The chemistry of Venus flytraps in C&EN – I’ve always been fascinated by carnivorous plants. This infographic describes how it take two hairs to trigger the closing of the trap…that it only takes 0.1 seconds to close…and then up to 5 days to digest the insect.

Ten Little Celebrations – June 2018

The ten little celebrations for June started out like other months:

  • Celebrating the last of the spring field trips and the end of schools. I enjoy hiking with school groups….but am always ready to have a summer break!
  • The Frederick MD garden day was full of garden treasures. I celebrated formal gardens…a children’s’ garden…and most of all a woodland garden.

 

  • My daughter managed a weekend to drive down for a weekend visit. She is closer now that she lives in Pennsylvania rather than Arizona, but we are all so busy that we don’t see each other any more frequently.

Then something unique happened: my mother fell and broke her femur…and I went off to Texas for almost 3 weeks. The rest of the little celebrations were all stem from that event:

  • The surgery to fix the break happened within 24 hours and was success.
  • I managed to get to Texas before she left the hospital – barely.
  • She walked about 100 feet with a walker before she left the hospital….and only spent 2 days at a rehab place before going home.
  • I manage a short walk around Josey Ranch lake while one of my sister was with my parents and saw 4 types of herons in about 30 minutes…two were ‘firsts’ for me: a yellow crowned heron and juvenile green herons. It was my only photography away from my parents’ house and was short…but very satisfying.

 

  • Last but not least – the physical therapy milestones just before my left: my mother walked down a paved alley and across a grassy lawn with her walker….and we’d already gotten a cane to be ready for her next milestone! The she – and the whole family – celebrates every milestone!

Home Again

I’ve been away from home for almost three weeks. This is my first day back and I hope some of my normal routines will be re-established quickly and easily. I’ll be posting the June month-end posts over the next few days as part of that return to ‘normal’….along with grocery shopping, yard work, and laundry!

On a positive note – spending a period (like 2-3 weeks) with a different-than-usual focus is always a learning experience. It will take some introspection now that I am home again to internalize the nuances of the experience.

Stay tuned!

Hot in Texas

Coming from Maryland to Texas has been a shock in terms of temperature. It is hot. Most of the time I’ve been indoors – staying with my mom at the hospital and rehab and now home. Every time I venture outside, I move as fast as I can to get to the next air-conditioned place. And this is only June. It will be even hotter in Texas as the summer progresses. At this point the plants are still flourishing if they are watered regularly. I took a few pictures of the plants at the rehab facility when I walked around the place when my mother’s room overflowed with other visitors.

I wondered how well the fern would last as the summer progressed. In Maryland they seem to do best in shady moist places. This plant was in partial shade…and it would take a lot to keep it moist on a 100-degree day.

20180615_093241.jpg

Packing for Texas

20180611_110217.jpg

I’m in Texas! I bought my ticket less than 48 hours before flying…so this was not a planned trip and I realized as I packed several differences from my usual trek to Texas. First, I don’t know how long I will need to stay so I decided almost immediately to check a bag rather than doing it all in a roll-aboard and a tote bag.

Second, I checked of the weather and realized that it is going to be a lot hotter than I’m used to (I’m remembering why I don’t like to go to Texas during the summer!); on the plus side, lighter weight clothes take less room in the suitcase. Third, since I will be staying for an indefinite time period, taking my regular sized toiletries rather than travel size makes sense (another reason to check the suitcase too).

20180611_130001.jpg

Some things are the same as my usual travel…taking peppermints for the travel days,

20180611_130051.jpg

Having the electronics (iPad and laptop) where I can get them out easily when I go through security….and an almost empty quart sized Ziploc – mostly hand sanitizer,

20180611_130058.jpg

And a zipper case to contain the charging cables – phone, iPad, Fitbit, toothbrush, laptop.

I did not pack the kitchen sink….just all the comforts of home!

Gleanings of the Week Ending April 21, 2018

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

Adventure Photographer Captures Majestic Scenes of the Natural World – Starting out this group of gleanings with some eye candy!

Arctic sea ice extent at 2018 winter maximum was second smallest on record | NOAA Climate.gov – It will be interesting to see what happens to the Arctic this summer since there was less ice this winter.

With a Green Makeover, Philadelphia Is Tackling Its Stormwater Problem - Yale E360 – This article discusses what Philadelphia is doing…also what Philadelphia has learned from other cities. Dealing with stormwater has become a challenge in many urban (or suburban) environments….and rain gardens, green roofs, wetlands, and other techniques are leading to more sustainable solutions.

More Reason to Leave the Car Behind When Visiting the Columbia River Gorge - News | Planetizen – Have to keep this in mind for a vacation to the Northwest.

A North American Climate Boundary Has Shifted 140 Miles East Due to Global Warming - Yale E360 – Quite a few of my family members live in the Dallas area…and they are now on the dry side of the boundary!

Basking sharks gather in large groups off northeast US coast: Group sightings are fairly rare -- ScienceDaily – Opportunist data gathering…maybe someday it will be clearer why they happen with the second largest fish in the world.

Google X Spinoff Dandelion Raises $4.5 Million To Explore Residential Geothermal – Residential Geothermal primed to become mainsteam?

Birding For People Who Do Not Like Lists – Cool Green Science – This is me…a birder that does not like lists. I’m just thrilled to watch them…trying to get good photographs of them.

More than 50 new Nasca Lines, found with the help of GlobalXplorer and citizen archaeologists | TED Blog – citizen scientists searching satellite images.

Top 25 Wild Bird Brood Parasites – National Geographic Blog – I never can resist the collections of bird photographs….even these that are brood parasites.

3 Free eBooks – March 2018

So many books…so little time. I’m still working my way through the Japanese Illustrated Books from the Edo and Meiji Period. My favorite this month was a series with three volumes:

Kacho shasin zui. Published by Nishimura Soshichi, 1805. Available from Smithsonian Libraries here. I like the images of the birds and flowers as art and snapshots of nature through the lens of Japanese culture of the time. The scans appear a little smudged but that adds to their charm – there were books that were enjoyed again and again!

2018 03 ebook1.jpg

The other books I’m highlighting this month were both written about the same time – the 1920s – and about scenic highways along rivers. The first one is from the west coast…the second is from the east coast. Both highways still exist…although is renovated/modified form. These books were probably produced as souvenirs with annotated pictures.

Oregon’s famous Columbia River Highway. Published by Lipschuetz and Katz, Portland Oregon. 1920. Available from Internet Archive here. Scenic routes have been popular since the beginning of the age of automobiles! Even with the lower speeds of those early cars, there were still turnouts – places to stop to see the river or walk a little way to see waterfalls.

2018 03 ebook2.jpg

Storm King Highway and the Historic Hudson River. Published by J. Ruben, Newburgh, New York. Available from Internet Archive here. A lot has happened along the Hudson River in the last century and not all for the better. I found the highway on Google Maps and the first ‘street view’ was one with graffiti (not the artistic kind) all over the rock wall and rocks beyond. I didn’t look further. It’s depressing to see something that was once scenic turned into a prime example of ‘tragedy of the commons.’

2018 03 ebook3.jpg

Gleanings of the Week Ending March 17, 2018

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

A Day in The Park: Cuyahoga Valley National Park | National Parks Traveler – I’ve been to the park but only saw a small part of it. Next time I need to be more organized!

Top 25 Wild Waterbirds – National Geographic Blog – Some of these birds were familiar….some unfamiliar and living far away from the US!

BBC - Future - The quest to tackle the rubbish dump in orbit – There is getting to be a lot of junk up there!

Flood risk from American rivers is greatly underestimated -- ScienceDaily – A high resolution model that maps flood risk across the whole continent and includes small streams shows 41 million Americans at risk from flooding rivers rather than 13 million estimated by FEMA (their maps only include 60% of the continent and does not include smaller streams). Seems like anyone buying a house would be keen to know if there was a flood risk for the property and FEMA maps are giving a false sense of security. Here’s the link to the full paper: Estimates of present and future flood risk in the conterminous United States - IOPscience

Recycled carbon fiber improves permeable pavement: Technique reduces waste, improves strength and durability -- ScienceDaily – From Washington State University…in partnership with Boeing

Incredible Pictures of the Caterpillars of New England – I’m going to keep a sharper lookout for caterpillars in our area this summer….get subjects for photography because they don’t move very fast!

Spring Break Goes Wild(life) – Cool Green Science – Lots of places to go in the spring – other than a southern beach.

High-Fiber Diet Shifts Gut Microbes, Lowering Blood Sugar in Diabetics -  If this pans out, they need to get it out to doctors treating patients with type 2 diabetes rather than focusing on all the new (and somewhat expensive) drugs that can have side effects.

The Metamorphosis of Butterflies – A 5-minute video from TED-Ed.

A Place for Pollinators: Bees and Butterflies call National Monuments Home – At Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, a 4-year study found 650 unique bee species from 54 genre of native bees, 3 of which were new to the state of Utah. We need pollinators like native bees for the rest the ecosystem to continue! We should strive to keep the special places (not pockets) of species diversity to not only to sustain our planet…but to help it regenerate. The people alive today are the stewards of the future Earth.