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Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

     It's funny how little things can remind you how fortunate we are.  The afternoon before Thanksgiving the waste drain out of the disposal became clogged and stayed clogged despite some valiant efforts by plunger and Liquid Plumber.  When Durelle remembered that the dishwasher empties first into the disposal, she began to imagine Thanksgiving without either appliance and exclaimed,"Well, there goes Thanksgiving!"  Conveniently, a local plumber showed up in a couple of hours and fixed the problem for 75 bucks.  I reminded everyone that we have had dozens of memorable Thanksgivings without benefit of those two handy inventions.  Just this year our son, Mark, and his family did it without power in Nashua, NH.  A couple of Weber grills and a turkey fryer handled things with only a little inconvenience.  Later, the memories around the fireplace playing cribbage and visiting will last longer than those inconveniences. 
     The Cloutiers, as well as those who are so kind as to check this space from time to time, have much for which to be thankful.  Cindy did not work today so she was able to join us for most of the day.  I did our turkey on the Traeger grill, but everything else was just as we have done it for many years.  We did set everything on the kitchen island and served ourselves buffet style for a change.

     That yellow bowlful in the foreground is not scrambled eggs.  It's Yukon Gold mashed potatoes.  Needless to say, there will be bountiful leftovers, sandwiches and eventually turkey soup.  Baxter, of course, found all this activity very exciting.

     The overnight lows were in the thirties, but the sunsets in our back yard have been very pleasant.

      So, it is most appropriate in these troubling times, that we pause to observe everything that is right.

Thursday, November 13, 2014


        A recent evening offered a propitious opportunity of hazy clouds and imminent showers that just might present some good photo ops.  The opportunity presented itself to the southwest and toward the photogenic treeline.  So, I wandered out back and took the shot below.

     While I was there, the phone in my pocket rang.  It was Durelle on her evening dog walk through the neighborhood.  She said that there were some "pretty skies" out front and perhaps a rainbow.  I do what I'm told. I went out front with camera (and martini) in hand.  Sure enough there was a rainbow forming.

     It wasn't bright, but it was complete in that it was visible from end to end.  Even zooming out to the maximum 35mm, I could not get both ends in the picture simultaneously.  I framed some shots at one end at a time.  As I did so, the rainbow got brighter.

     After a few minutes it slid eastward until it was almost pouring down Cindy's chimney.

     If you look closely, over the tree, you can see the weak beginnings of a double rainbow.

     The second rainbow is also barely visible in this shot halfway between the main rainbow and the flag.  Yes, I know I should have taken it down at sunset, but I was busy!  
     Life is good.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Feeding the Monster

     As Bud Wilkinson, the legendary football coach at Oklahoma, once said, "When you have created a monster, you have to feed it."  Feeding a "travel blog" when you're not traveling sometimes feels like that.  Most, if not all, good blog posts start with a few good pictures.  I made a couple of false starts in the past week; now I'll attempt to turn them into an enjoyable post.  One morning I was up early enough to see the sunrise quickly evolving in the east, so I snapped a couple of pleasant shots before firing up the coffee maker.

     To me there are a couple of notable aspects to that sequence: first, only a few seconds separate the three pictures, and second, the roofline forming the horizon is Cindy's.  Nice, but not enough to make a blog.
     A few days later, well after sunrise, I spotted what I thought was the head of a"our" bald eagle in one of his favorite roosting spots.  I grabbed the camera and headed out only to see one of the immature eagles swooping over the water.  I went to maximum zoom and actually succeeded in keeping him in the viewfinder for several random shots as I hoped for the best.  That done, I looked up at the bald eagle.  The telephoto lens revealed that the flash of white that was still there was the fractured end of a freshly broken branch.  Oh, well.  At least there was the big ole 'gator across the pond and an egret practically at my feet.  Before I discovered that my eagle was only a branch, I thought that the fact that I could have all four of those different wildlife shots taken in our back yard within a span of two minutes might be the basis for a blog.  Alas, the first shots of the real eagle were unusable.  He was moving.  I was moving, and the camera was on telephoto.  That's a recipe for blurry, useless pictures.  So all I had left were the two below.

     Finally, along came some wildlife pictures to save the day.