Sunday, April 19, 2015

April 15

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The 15th was another "spectacular skies over West Park" kind of day.

Walking to yoga.  Looking east.



Looking north.



A closer look at the interesting clouds right above the building.



After class.  Standing in front of the yoga studio, looking east.



Looking straight up.



In the park.  Looking west.





Looking northeast.



The pond!  Looking west.






I like the sun, in this one.



I like the way we can see pieces of blue sky, and then see it reflected in the pond....

This pond is such a huge enhancement to West Park.  I'm so glad it's here.

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

April 14

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It was warm enough (and dry enough) to eat lunch outside at a picnic table!


I'm always going on about the fabulous baked goods from Zingerman's Bakehouse.

They make really good soup, too.  This is potato leek.  Mmmmmmmmmmmmm!

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April 13 -- no new mourning doves

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Of all the sadnesses in the world, this is a small one.

I'd been surprised that the crow who ate the robin eggs in this nest last year had not come back for the mourning dove eggs in the nest this year.  Crows are awfully good at remembering things, or so I've heard.

On the 12th, every time I looked there was a dove on this nest, as there had been for the previous bunch of days.

On the 13th, there was no dove on the nest.  I figured that meant there were no longer any eggs here, and in the late afternoon, I got out my spiffy new ladder.



As sadnesses go, this is a small one.  But I'm sorry this nest will not be productive this year.

I wonder -- once crows have found a nest, is it better to take it down?  So that birds won't waste energy putting eggs here, where they will almost certainly be discovered and devoured?

I'm pretty sure that's illegal.  Messing with songbird nests is verboten, I think.  But I wonder if it wouldn't be better.

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Friday, April 17, 2015

so -- do you still have a landline?

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We still have a landline, but I'm seriously thinking about dumping it.

I've kept it this long, because it has been utterly reliable.  I've had this line since the early 1970s, and it has been down exactly one (1) time in the last ~45 years.  Regardless of whether we have power, the landline is up and available.  Period.

But.

My nose is being rubbed (by the service provider) in the fact that it costs $40 a month.  We make about 4 calls a month on the land line.  That's pretty darned expensive!

I do use it to tell the power company that they need to come fix the power.  But we make essentially no outgoing calls, and essentially all of the incoming calls are from people we don't know who want something.

Hard to justify the expense.

Shutting it off hurts me in the nostalgia.  I've had that number for a LONG time!  But I'm not really seeing nostalgia as a good-enough reason to keep paying almost $500 a year for a service we basically do not use.

Have you still got a landline?  For reasons other than nostalgia?  Do tell -- I'm wrestling with this.......

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optical illusions.....

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April 13

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Daffodils (and shadows).



Maple tree flowers.



Looking straight up at maple tree flowers.


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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

April 11

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Sunrise on a damp day in Tree Town.  It was a touch foggy, and the grass was wet.  I like the slanting sunshine in the lower right corner of this image.  The early-morning sunlight is very yellow.....



The wet grass in our front yard sparkled.  I tried to capture that..........



Hey -- look!  Look what the water droplets look like in the image above!  I wonder how that happened.....



Just the normal lens I always shoot with -- no fancy filters or anything.............



Farmers' market.  Hydrangeas.




Pussy willows.



Those gray things are as soft as they look.  Like kitten fur.



I can't make up my mind about this.  Many twigs, fused........  It is interesting and cool looking (love the curve), but I feel like I'm staring at an unfortunate individual with a birth defect.



Color!




Green!



Zingerman's Next Door for breakfast.  In addition to an excellent breakfast selection, there are myriad choices in the "small gift for a person who has everything" categories.....



One of my go-to favorites.  Cheddar-herb scone.  Mmmmmmmmmmmm.......

The people at Zingerman's Bakehouse who decide what to put into baked goods do an astoundingly good job.  The excellent cheddar would make these good, and the herbs push them right over the top.  Mmmmmmmmmmmm..................................



Really (really) good chocolate, in sourdough bread.  Toni's Come Undone.  Mmmmmmmmmmmm.............


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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

April 9

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Walking to yoga, on a rainy day.

It wasn't actually raining when I went, but it had been (and it was pouring right down when it was time to go home after class).



Mmmmmm.  YELLOW in the landscape!



Yellow.  Hooray.


Crocus.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

April 8

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On the 8th I went to the library to participate in a conversation with Michelle Krell Kydd.


Michelle is an extremely engaging speaker.  She lives in a world I can only imagine, replete with smells.  Populated by artists and visionaries, gardeners and distillers.  Michelle is eager to help everyone learn about (and learn to appreciate) all of this.  She gives us a hand, and a handful of perfumer's blotters suffused with scent, and invites us in......

She brings all sorts of things for us to smell, savor, and consider, and tells us stories about where they came from and how they are grown/made/used.  She helps us acquire a vocabulary to describe the images/memories/feelings smells evoke.

She's going to be at the library again next month.  If you are near Ann Arbor, and are enticed by the thought of a two-hour vacation to an exotic place you never dreamed existed, come downtown on May 20, at 7:00 pm................

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Sunday, April 12, 2015

turkeys!?!

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I am pretty sure I just saw turkeys (two of them) walking up my across-the-street neighbors' driveway.....

Here in the middle of suburban Ann Arbor!

I was too slow to grab the camera, alas.................

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April 6

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7:50 am.



8:37 am.



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Saturday, April 11, 2015

April 5

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One of the things I do is spot anomalies. 

I see this neighbor, all the time, walking his dog.  I'd never seen him with a camera. Until April 5, when he had a big fat camera in his hand, and no dog. 

What had caught his eye?  I got up to have a look.

Ah.

I don't remember seeing this car before.  The guy two houses south of us likes cars.  He's got at least one other car that he doesn't drive very often (or maybe this one has replaced the other one?).  Apparently this neighbor is a car aficionado, too.  He walked all around the car, taking pics from near and far, from many angles.  I bet he'd like a ride......



Cars are not especially interesting to me.

Birds, on the other hand....  More interesting.

Do you remember Clarissa and Bo?  They worked VERY hard at trying to build a nest over our patio, back in 2012.   They were never successful at their nest-building, in part because they could not agree about ... well, about pretty much anything.  Which sticks were good for nests.  Where to put the sticks.  Where to put the nest, for that matter. 

They were much better a tug-of-war than they were at nest-building........



I think this robin nest, also over our patio, was built in 2011.  If I recall correctly, babies were successfully raised here in 2011, 2012, and 2013.  Here's a post about Bo and Clarissa and the robins, from 2012.

Last year a crow found the robin nest.  I saw it watching the robin sitting on the eggs, and I went outside in hopes of shooing the crow away.  It left, but only went several yards.  I stayed outside until the crow was out of sight, but I was sure it would be back.

Someone ate the robin eggs later that day.  We saw shells on the ground.

The robins abandoned the nest.  I hope they were successful at raising their babies elsewhere.



This year, we noticed some mourning doves checking out the robin nest.  As my better half put it:  "Hey, look!  A fixer-upper!"

Their idea of improvement was rather strange.  One bird would be sitting on the nest, and the other would bring a small and shriveled piece of grass.  The bird delivering the grass would stand right on the other bird, and tuck the grass inside the edge of the nest.  We saw this happen over and over.  Standing right on the partner to add a (probably utterly unnecessary) piece of grass.

For the purpose of ending up with a useable nest, it doesn't matter.  Robin nests are very securely built.

Whether robin nests are big enough to house growing mourning doves is another issue.  Mourning doves are noticeably bigger than robins.........

I guess we'll find out.

Mourning doves -- or, at least, this couple of mourning doves -- are much less goosey about having people around than are robins.  We never got within 10 feet of the robins without them flying away. 

This mourning dove let me get up on the ladder about 3' from her(?) before flying off.  (Hence the very clear pic of the dove, in contrast to the much blurrier pic of the robin, which was taken from inside the house!)

You can see the frame around the doorway into the garage at lower left, above.  This bird does not fly when we go into the garage, but does when we come out (unless we close the door quietly).  The robins never stayed on the nest long enough for us to get close to the door.



Mourning doves are not showy birds.  They are mostly soft grayish tan, with a few white and black accents (and very pale blue eyeliner).

Their eggs are not fancy, either.  No gorgeous robin's-egg blue for them.

I've never thought mourning doves are the brightest lights in the sky.  Once I found a mourning dove egg in the rain gutter around our family-room roof....  At least -- I thought it was a mourning dove egg, and now, seeing these, I'm pretty sure it was.

The fact that the doves let us get so close to them as they sit on the nest is perhaps another indication that they perhaps are not quite as on top of things as robins are...........

I wish them luck.  I am surprised that the crow that found the robin eggs last year hasn't been back.....



Later.  Walking.  Crocus.



Another look at the winter aconite.




You don't see very many selfies on this blog.  This egg reminds me of Chicago's Cloud Gate, which is a totally excellent piece of public art.



Here we are getting the same sort of interesting distorted reflections one sees in the Cloud Gate.  I like it.



The next two pics are pretty similar.  This image shows the overall sky better.



This one shows the clouds better.


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