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Tuesday, March 01, 2005
Good-bye gates!

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We went into the city on the evening of the last gate day.  Fought the crowds but nevertheless had a wonderful stroll through Central Park.  Saw lots of gateage.  We heard they were shooting first and asking questions later if it looked like you had even an inkling of a glimmer of a thought of anything remotely resembling vandalism, so we kept our hands in our pockets.  The unknown photographer in the picture above was taking the photo I wanted to take and I didn't feel like waiting; hope her picture came out well.  After they finally turned out the lights we met a friend who lives in the city for a very agreeable dinner (so-so food, terrific company). 

8:58:49 PM      

Sunday, February 13, 2005
Cruel February

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April has been called the cruelest month, but for my money February provides stiff competition.  It feels like spring is imminent - the days are getting noticeably longer, the tree buds are chomping at the bit, there's an occasional bout of warm sunny weather.  A little early spring cleanup is possible, fallen branches can be cleared away, and friends are reported to elicit strange reactions by inquiring at the home center as to the availability of pansies.  And then wham! another snowstorm, more freezing weather, a dark cloudy week.  So was it really a good idea to fuel this cruelty by putting in the witch hazel pictured above, which begins unfurling its blossoms as early as mid-February?  Absolutely!

3:39:29 PM      

Monday, February 07, 2005
Two Christmas Presents

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11:06:39 PM      

Sunday, January 16, 2005
Model Train Project, Phase Two

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Remarkably, construction on the Model Train Project is proceeding more-or-less on schedule.  This is probably due to the fact that there is no schedule.  Progress however has been slowed by minor mishaps such as boulders falling on the race track, scheduling snafus such as planting trees and shrubs before the ground is constructed, a logjam of construction vehicles getting in each others' way, and having to stop work frequently to allow trains and cars to pass.  Not to mention diverting construction crews to work on thingies and whatsits.

4:31:46 PM      

Sunday, January 09, 2005

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The pond is a little boring in the winter, so after Christmas I went out a bought a few dozen clear, irridescent tree ornaments of assorted sizes, at half price.  They float on the water, nearly covering the surface, and shimmer nicely in the sun.  This little spider (1, 2, ..., 7, 8 legs - yep, a spider) seems to feel right at home on the surface of the water in the interstices between the baubles.  Maybe he/she likes looking at his/her distorted reflection.

8:15:14 PM      

Monday, January 03, 2005
More indoor gardening

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The blue-green pot received for Christmas (see previous entry) was slightly chipped, so I mixed up some acrylic paint to a matching color, and then used some glossy acrylic varnish to give it a glazed look.  The repair worked well, but there was some blue-green paint and lots of glossy acrylic varnish left over, so it was put to use by making some decorations for the train project.  The pieces are made from air-drying clay.

Left: a sea creature, about two inches across, photographed sitting on a mirror.

Right: a garden, with three thingies and a whatsit, about three inches across.

1:15:08 AM      

Sunday, January 02, 2005
Indoor gardening

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Received for Christmas one blue-green pot and assortment of driftwood.  Added soil, pebbles, and four dwarf evergreens from local nursery, where they were sitting outside frozen solid.  So far they are doing well and seem to be happy to be indoors.

8:59:01 PM      

Saturday, January 01, 2005

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                                                            In Memoriam

1:21:55 AM      

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

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Behind the Conservatory at the New York Botanical Garden.  Now that's a water garden!

11:43:29 PM      

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

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In the interest of clearing my backlog of unposted pictures, I couldn't resist this one of Hudson, taken about a year ago when he was still a kitten.  His plan of action upon arriving at our house was to inspect every crevice, cranny, room, cupboard, closet, sink, and... refrigerator.  He visited a few times, didn't stay long, and hasn't been back since.  No soft corners for sleeping, no dark corners for mice, and certainly nothing edible.  Boring, been there, done that.

11:39:19 PM      

Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Model Train Project, Phase One


Overall site plan for making use of one free table, one unused model train set, and one undeployed racing car set.  Race track sits on hill above train track, which goes around lake and through tunnel under race track hill.


Completed cardboard "skeleton" of race track hill, with four trial trees of three different species.  Each level is held to the one below by straps of masking tape. Yes, that's sufficient to hold skeleton together when Hudson investigates for mice.

Detail showing removeable upper level of hill to provide access to train tunnel for search and rescue operations.  Seam between upper level and lower level is hidden by race track.  Note strips of carboard folded into triangular shape serving as columns supporting each layer.  Yes, it's strong enough to support Hudson.

Next step: cover skeleton with "skin" of paper and decorate.  Add more unusual trees, whimsical buildings, cartoon people, and so on.

10:53:06 PM      

Sunday, December 12, 2004
Slimy things in the garden

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Above: a big ol' slug showed up on our doorstep on June 25.
Seems like he stayed forever.

Below: we were honored that two little frogs took up residence
in the pond for most of the summer.

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1:36:46 AM      

Saturday, December 11, 2004

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It seemed about time for a picture of the "pond" that this site is named after.  It's the round area in the upper middle of the picture.  I calculate it at about 300 microacres in size.  The picture was taken in late August of this past summer.  The pond contains dwarf papyrus, dwarf water lily (see a pattern here?), native pitcher plants, water lettuce, and pickerel weed.  There are actually a couple goldfish in the pond.  Surrounding the pond are coleus (bottom) and sedum (upper left).  The big rock to the right of the pond was already there sticking out of the ground next to the deck.  It dictated the position of the pond, which was about the first thing I did in the garden after moving in, and the layout of the rest of the garden more-or-less followed from there.  If that rock hadn't been there who knows how things might have turned out differently.  Thus the pond becomes a metaphor for life, choice, and destiny.  Wow.

11:49:12 PM      

Saturday, December 04, 2004
Hudson grows up

As promised, some recent pics of Hudson, now fully grown.

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Above: Fast asleep in his bed after a long exciting cold night out.
Below: Hudson and me on a walkabout. 

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11:19:27 PM      

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

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So I thought I'd take a break from cat pics and rectify the fact that I don't have any pictures of yours truly here by posting this one from a couple years ago. I started out thinking I'd do one of those "self-portraits" where you see the photographer reflected in a shiny surface in the scene, but then it occurred to me to try creating a self-portrait using a lens in the scene rather than a mirror as an auxilliary optical element.

Technical details: Lit by halogen desk lamp. Camera 1: 9mm f/8, 14 elements in 11 groups (2 aspherical), ISO 160 CCD, 8sec. Camera 2 (estimated): 120mm f/2.5, 1 element in 1 group (substantially aspherical), ISO 0 notepad.

11:45:22 PM      

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

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So it seemed appropriate to get my photo blog going again with a couple pictures of Hudson.  These were taken last December and January, when he was still a kitten of about six months.

Above: wrestling the rug is hard work.

Left: potted plants are for playing.

Coming soon: Hudson grows up!


11:38:14 PM      

Wednesday, December 17, 2003
Introducing Hudson

We've found a name for our new cat.  In recognition of his exploratory skills, we are calling him Hudson.  In fact, we think he may be the reincarnation of Henry Hudson, who was last seen floating away in a small boat in the aftermath of a mutiny on his last voyage in search of the Northwest Passage.  This would explain his fascination with water: goldfish ponds, toilets, dripping faucets - if it's wet, he's investigating.  In his new form he's scaled back his ambitions though - his current goal is to find the Outdoor Passage.  That expedition however will have to wait for Spring and better weather.

10:55:09 PM      

Sunday, December 07, 2003
Henry IV, or The Colvins' Big Trip to the Big Apple in the Big Blizzard

The Colvin's had tickets to see Henry IV at Lincoln Center this past weekend. Unfortunately, it was also the weekend that a record-setting early December blizzard shut down the Northeast.  Undeterred, they saddled up the Family Truckster on Friday and braved the NJ Turnpike for nine hours and somehow made it here.

On Saturday the blizzard continued.  Undaunted, we all took the train into the city and had a wonderful time.  Saw the Holiday sights from Rockefeller Center (see photo) to Lincoln Center, had a terrific dinner at a charming restaurant called Santa Fe, and greatly enjoyed the play.  (Shakespeare's all right I guess, if you don't mind the constant use of cliches.)  Got home at 2:00AM, dug a path through a couple feet of snow to the house, and put cars and ourselves to bed.  Promised the cat we'd play with him in the morning.

On Sunday we thanked the Colvin's for coming all that way to help us dig out from the snow, agreed to call them next time a blizzard was expected, and sent them on their way.

9:08:08 PM      

Wednesday, December 03, 2003
Meet the new kitten

Brought him home on Sunday.  He's about six months old, outgoing and very inquisitive, quite the explorer.  Every time we open the door to a room he hasn't seen yet, he says "Oh... OH!  A new room!" and rushes in to explore.  I'm a little concerned about what's going to happen when we run out of rooms; may have to keep adding new rooms onto the house.  Likes to climb, is fascinated by all of Priscilla's house plants, likes to combine these interests by climbing into the pots.  Haven't finally decided on a name yet but we're leaning toward Felix because he took his first nap next to the speaker while Mendelssohn was playing.

10:36:20 PM      

Had a great time at the Grand Canyon in early November.  This was our first visit to the area. Spent a week seeing Petrified Forest, Painted Desert, Canyon de Chelly, Monument Valley, and the Grand Canyon, which of course was the highlight of the trip. By this point, through bad planning we had run out of "wow"s and had begun dipping into our emergency reserve of "gosh"s. We saw this sunset from the south rim, near our hotel.

9:33:58 AM      

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Oh, by the way, recently came across this clip revealing The Truth about the "moon landings".  Well worth the time to download it.

11:36:44 PM      

It was a beautiful warm November day, so we decided to go for a walk at the Manitou Point Nature Preserve.  We took the delightful trail that clings to a steep embankment covered with moss and mountain laurel right next to the Hudson River.

We chose this walk in part to visit a geocache that had been placed near the trail.  We had tried our hand at geocaching on our recent trip to the Grand Canyon, and found it to provide a great supplement to the more heavily trodden sights found in travel books.  This was our first local cache.  Casting about the house for an item to leave in the cache, I came across an old camera memory card that was too small to be of any use any longer, and hit upon the idea of filling it with a couple favorite audio tracks.  (I chose Gerard Hoffnung's hilarious "Bricklayer Story", and Grappelli and Shearing playing "I'm Coming Virginia".)  Voila, a new music file swapping network is born.

Hope to post some pics from the aforementioned Grand Canyon trip soon.

11:20:09 PM      

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Took this picture of Mars last night through my 3.5 inch
Questar using an Olympus C2000Z digital camera.  You
can see the polar cap of frozen carbon dioxide (a.k.a.
dry ice), and some large darker surface features.

10:41:31 PM      

Sunday, July 20, 2003

Nancy and Dean came up to New York for the day last Thursday, and Priscilla and
I met them in the city.  We were having beautiful sunny dry un-July-like "bonus
weather", so we went up to the roof garden at the Met where we had lunch with
Rodin and enjoyed Lichtenstein's latest addition to the Manhattan skyline.

10:04:45 PM      

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

This week's Tuesday Night Hike was Black Rock in Harriman State Park.  Top: self-portrait, with lichen. Right: near one of the viewpoints.  Bottom: Herb, resident photographer and tonight's hike leader.

10:20:27 PM      

Tuesday, July 08, 2003
Mr Lincoln's Inauguration

After much anxiety caused by a harsh winter, a delayed start to the planting
season, and a record-break cold soggy spring, our Mr Lincoln rose bush has
produced its first blossom.  It's a good one, and well worth the wait!
It rained right on cue enabling me to snap this nice inauguration portrait.

10:11:26 AM      

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

A great time was had by all at "The Producers" on Broadway.  You really haven't lived until you've seen a dozen or so of the fittest little old ladies you'd ever want to see dance a tap number with their walkers in Little Old Lady Land.

10:49:12 PM      

Finally got some summer weather this week, to put it mildly - it's in the low 90's, about 25 degrees warmer than last week at this time.  This week's Tuesday Night hike was a traverse, up Anthony's Nose on the Appalachian Trail to the newly restored tollhouse on the approach road to Bear Mountain Bridge.

10:05:45 PM      

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Today's hike was a five mile jaunt up (and down!) Diamond Mountain in Harriman State Park.  Below: we paused by a rushing stream.  Right: the Mountain Laurel were not quite fully out; should be spectacular in about a week

11:40:04 PM      

Sunday, June 15, 2003

The flowers of the small red pitcher plant have opened.  They're just as puzzling
as the green pitcher plant's flowers.

11:48:31 PM      

Wednesday, June 11, 2003


This week's Tuesday Night Hike was a strenuous 900ft climb up the Major Welch trail from Bear Mountain Inn to the top of Bear Mountain, then back down on the Appalachian Trail.  Left: a stop to enjoy the view and fill up on water.  Above: moss and lichen happily share a tree.

11:28:58 PM      

Monday, June 09, 2003

Gratuitous flower picture of the day: water forget-me-nots.  OK, so I'm a sucker for this kind of stuff and I haven't got an original bone in my body.  So sue me.

9:09:24 PM      

Sunday, June 08, 2003

A view of the back yard as seen from the side of the house.  In bloom, from left to right, of varying visibility: Poppies (yellow), Violets (violet), Dianthus (pink), Bearded Lily (blue), Azalea (pink and red), Water Forget-me-not (light blue), Pitcher Plant (yellow-green), Sweet Woodruff (white), Perrennial Geranium (blue), Scotch Broom (pale yellow).

8:33:27 PM      

Saturday, June 07, 2003

This closeup of our Aphrodite azalea makes it clear that azaleas are a type of rhododendron; compare this picture of a rhododendron blossom.  (The upside-down orientation of the Azalea blossoms was noted in post-production, too late to correct the problem.)

7:28:58 PM      

The azaleas were pretty spectacular this year, although a little late because of the cold spring.  Our new azaleas, planted last fall, were particularly late - they didn't start blooming until a couple of weeks ago, and this one only really got going this last week.  The lower half, which was buried in a snowdrift much of the winter, started blooming sooner and more profusely than the exposed upper half.

9:43:53 AM      

Friday, June 06, 2003
Great Expectations

So I decided to try planting some roses this year.  Or as my friend Bob the Cynic says, aphid food.  I ordered them from David Austin Roses last fall.  They didn't ship them until May this year because of our prolonged winter.  They where shipped bare root and severly pruned, which means they looked pretty much like sticks when they arrived.  But wonder of wonders they actually grew, and this little bud arrived just the other day.  Fingers are tightly crossed.

11:20:58 PM      

Thursday, June 05, 2003

Try clicking on the "Nearby Sites" link over there on the left to locate this website geographically and to find other nearby sites.  To read about how this works, and what in the world is meant by the geographic location of a website when everybody knows a website is really located in cyberspace, click on over to

So what is this good for?  Oh.  Well, you could use it for example to find businesses and services near a particular location, for example.  So let's say you're at the Phoenix Japanese Frendship Gardens, and you click on over to to find nearby websites.  Well lookie there, only four miles away is Tanya, Phoenix AZ Escort.  Now that's pretty useful, wouldn't you say?

11:50:56 PM      

I've finally declared my original web site at (thanks Louis and Ribo) completed, and moved it over to our new domain.  You can view it by clicking on "Classic Website" over there on the left.  (Is "classic" too pretentious?)  Well, since I haven't updated it in quite a while it was really completed some time ago even though I didn't know it.  Do you suppose this might be the first completed web site in the history of the web?

10:42:59 AM      

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

It was a rainy evening, and cool for June.  As the radio announcer commented after reading today's weather forecast, we've been having a nice long April this year.  But the small crew that turned out for the Tuesday Night Hike up East Mountain in the Hubbard-Perkins Conservation Area didn't mind, much.

11:14:47 PM      

Priscilla says "blog" sounds like something a drunken pirate might say.  Or eat?

Sally says:

I was wondering when someone would come out with a bog blog. Of course it would be you ;)

Now we need a hog blog, a dog blog, and maybe some machinist can put up a cog blog. I guess it would take a Londoner to do a fog blog and an Olympian to do a jog blog. Up in Seattle they must have a log blog and Christmas Eve someone may do a nog blog.

3:16:45 PM      

Sunday, June 01, 2003

Here are some pictures of the pitchers taken last fall shortly after they were planted.  Click on the thumbnail to see the big pitcher - err, picture.  The pitchers are actually leaves, and the pitcher plant gets much of its sustenance from photosynthesis, supplementing its diet with bugs.  The pitchers mostly died back over the winter, although a few of them survived in part.


9:46:10 PM      

The big green pitcher plant has a flower.  At least that's what I think it is, although I can't quite see how it works.  It's about two inches long.

The smaller red pitcher plant also has some flowers underway, although they don't seem to be quite as far along.  They're about half an inch in diameter.

3:30:05 PM      

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