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PIGEONS WATCHING PEOPLE, PEOPLE WATCHING PIGEONS

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: Week 21

This week, just one subject: pigeons.

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While at the party on Saturday, I became — don’t ask me why because I have no answer — fascinated by the pigeons on the roof.

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They looked as if they were holding a conference, maybe doing a little people-watching and pigeon commentary on our fashion sense (or lack thereof).

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Meet the pigeons. Shot with the camera’s telephoto at just about full extension, they are still reasonably sharp.

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SHARING MY WORLD – PARADES, TRADITIONS, AND A JOKE – WEEK 28

Share Your World – 2014 Week 28

Have you ever been a participant in a parade? What did you do?

In 1992 and 1993, Garry and I were the honorary “King and Queen” of the Shriner’s Rodeo. I loved it. Wish we could do it again. We got to ride out at a gallop, then ride around the arena. The hardest part was controlling the horse and not falling off.

It was what got Garry interested in riding and for the next several years, we took lessons and went riding every chance we got.

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If you were handed free opera tickets, would you go or sell them? Why?

I’m not fond of opera, though I like operetta, especially Gilbert & Sullivan. I wouldn’t sell the tickets. I’d give them to someone who likes opera. Ballet I would go to see. I originally planned to be a ballerina, but it didn’t work out.

Why did you start your blog?

Like so many others, as a place to show off my thousands of pictures … and maybe do some writing that someone other than family members and friends might read it. It turned to be a lot more than I expected.

What is your favorite tradition? (family tradition, church tradition, whatever)

Pretty much all our personal traditions revolve around movies and shopping.

We watch “The Quiet Man” on St. Patrick’s Day. It reminds us of our honeymoon in Ireland, when we hunted down the locations where John Ford shot the movie. We watch the fireworks at the Boston Hatch Shell on the 4th of July (these days on television, in the old days from our balcony in Boston), then watch “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”

From Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, we watch our favorites holiday movies including “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “A Christmas Story,” and “Miracle on 34th Street.” Our own private film festival until we run out of holiday-themed movies.

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When Christmas is over, we go shopping. Got to love those post-Christmas sales. We get what we want at half price or less. It’s fun, something we can do together.

We also try to get into Boston at least once during December to see the Boston Pops concert and I can take some night shots of the city.

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Speaking of traditions, we like to shop together at seasonal sales. Like we did yesterday for the big “end of summer” sales. Maybe you didn’t know summer is over, but in retail, it’s already autumn.

We didn’t buy much, but got stuff we like. We will enjoy using it especially because we paid 75% less than regular price. Garry and I were brought up to believe only fools pay full price. W exalt in our bargains.

AND NOW, IT’S TIME FOR A FUNNY STORY

Herb’s buddy George comes up to him after work and says “Hey, Herb! Have I got a deal for you!”

“What’s the deal?” Herb asks.

“I can get you an elephant for $100!”

Herb looks baffled. “George, buddy, I have no idea what in the world I would do with an elephant. What, ride him to work? Let him graze in the back yard? Don’t be ridiculous.”

And George says: “I can get you two elephants for $150!”

“NOW you’re talking,” says Herb.

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SPRING STARTS HERE

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Wood or Season of Spring

Today starts our new Five Elements/Seasons series and our topic is Wood or the season of Spring.

People who have strong energy of the Wood element have a clear vision and goals, and know how to bring them into being. They excel at planning and decision-making. Their piercing, penetrating eyes may attract you. Color for wood is green.


I have so many pictures of spring, wood bark, piles of wood, carved wood, spring swans … it’s hard to choose the best. But I will try!

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A FURRY SUNDAY HELLO FROM NAN

While all the other pups were sacked out in the sun, Nan patiently watched my every move from her place at the gate. As a reward, I did her portrait. Unlike Bonnie who runs and hides as soon as she sees the camera in my hands, Nan stands still and smiles.

Nan at the gate

Nan at the gate

Which means I have a lot more — and better — pictures of Nan than of any other dog. Because she will always give me her good side. I’m not sure she has a bad side!

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Seasonal Scents

S’mores, salty ocean breezes, veggie burgers on the grill, sweaty people on the bus — what’s the smell you associate the most with summer?


Rural areas support large skunk populations. Mostly, they don’t make much trouble. Raiding trash cans and digging up gardens occasionally are usually the limits of their depredations. Unless your dog has an unfortunate encounter, skunks rarely bother us.

Lately though, something is going on in the woods between the skunks and other critters. It’s not our dogs (thank God!), but something is causing them to emit their special perfume. More nights than not, the zephyr breeze carries the delicate scent of skunk to our wrinkling noses.

Garry: “Is that skunk I smell?”

Me: “Yep. Again. Not as close to the house as last time. Somewhere out in the back woods.”

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Garry, a passionate believer in room deodorizing spray proceeds to spray the entire area and remarkably, it helps. Of course, almost any other smell is an improvement to “Odeur de Skunk.”

Pepe le Pew would be right at home around here lately. Maybe it’s the coyotes. Or the raccoons or the bobcat. Something is getting the skunks all riled up. I fervently hope they keep the war far from our windows. Because this summer, the scent that dominates, the smell which floats gently on the breeze is absolutely, no missing it, skunk.

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TERRIFIC TUESDAY TRIALS – ALL ALIKE?

Preeti Kanwar at LenzExperiments has started a new challenge, Terrific Tuesday Trials. This week’s theme is “all alike” so, having a few spare pictures around, I thought I’d come out and play with the other kids.


You almost always see swans in pairs. Swans mate for life, so where you see one, the other is rarely far behind.

And of course, when there are babies, you’ll see the whole family, in formation like a proud armada on the pond.

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ODD BALL PHOTO CHALLENGE – WEEK 14

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: Week 14

I took this weeks’ oddball photos today. In my kitchen and on the deck. Just because.

My froggy sun dial on the deck.

My froggy sun dial on the deck.

Gone. We had it for dinner.

Gone. We had it for dinner.

The coyote cookie jar howls when opened.

The coyote cookie jar howls when opened.

MASS DEMONSTRATIONS TO PROTEST NON-HUMAN UNION

Mutants and Hybrids

If you were one part human, two parts something else — another animal, a plant, an inanimate object — what would the other two parts be?


WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 2014 – DATELINE WASHINGTON D.C.

Those who recall the furor over Gay marriage should probably have expected the hysteria over the legalized joining of humans with their favorite technology, animal, mineral or plant.

As millions of teenagers race to fuse with their cell phones, nerds with their computers, aviators with fighter planes, animal rights activists with their favorite vanishing species (leading some to wonder if this will not signal the death knell for many species) and tree huggers with large forests, fundamentalist Christian groups – never imagining the far-reaching implications of this law – scramble to get out of church and on the street.

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“Clearly,” stated the Reverend Righteous P. Indignation, spokesman for the Church of the Ridiculous Assumption, “This is not what God had in mind. Although the Bible does not specifically mention marriage — or fusion — with non-human things, this can’t be right in His eyes.” Indignation’s statement was greeted by catcalls, neighing, bleats, beeps and a goodly amount of shrill ringing.

Many, mirroring the human yearning for the freedom of flight have chosen to become two-thirds bird. Racing enthusiasts have become mostly horse, often with the rear end as the dominant segment while their bookies have chosen chainsaws and jack hammers.

While corporations hustle to reinvent themselves in light of a weirdly altered target audience, communications providers from television to Hollywood try to reconfigure everything from seating in stadiums to snacks at movie kiosks.

The potential impact on major sports has not yet been calculated. Some prefer to be a ball and others a bat, so to speak. Simultaneously, the IRS is — at long last — revising the tax code before everyone gallops, flies, beeps, whirs and chirps him or herself forever out of reach of tax collection.

Only Walmart, ever sanguine, merely widened the aisles in their super-stores.

“We never care what customers look like,” said a spokesman. “If they look or behave like sheep or cattle, as long as they pay at the register, everyone is welcome at Wally World.”

MacDonald’s had no comment.

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WHEN THE COWS COME HOME

Around the corner, there is a farm. Organic. They sell milk. Unpasteurized and not homogenized. The milk separates, with the cream rising to the top. I bought it for a while, but find I prefer homogenized. The also sell eggs and clover honey. They feed the wild turkeys too, so those ill-tempered birds are always lurking, waiting to attack my car.

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When the weather is warm, the cows spend their days in the big pasture. When it gets really hot, they will stand in the stream to cool off. They have as good a life as any farm animal could hope for. Even the chickens look happy … and chickens never look happy. They are congenitally discontented.

The farm is located right on the Blackstone River, so it isn’t only great to have the farm around the corner, but it’s lovely. Any time of year.

The pictures were taken by Garry and me. Each is signed appropriately.

When we are shooting at the same time and place — pretty much all the time these days — we may take similar pictures. Except Garry is more agile than me. He can hunker down and get interesting angles.

I can hunker … briefly … until I tip over. It turns out down is easy. It’s getting up that’s a challenge.

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SEVEN SWANS A’SWIMMING

I see wild animals frequently in my woods. Garry saw a family of deer yesterday out his window, but I missed them because I was too slow getting there. I had some exciting close encounters with the local bobcats which may have been responsible for my heart problems. Regardless, none of these encounters yielded photographs.

So, to meet this challenge, I must return to my faithful, dependable swans on Whitins Pond.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Nature Animals

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NESTING

 

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I took this picture “blind” because I could not see the swan with my own eyes. The nest and swan were almost invisible behind the reeds on the far side of the pond. All I could see was a bit of white. But, I figured,”What else could it be but the other swan?” They are always in pairs, especially this time of year when they are breeding.

So using my super zoom, I aimed at the white thing and took a series of pictures. It was the nest. The camera has far better eyesight than I do.

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SPRING ON THE POND

Welcomed by a singing bird. I think it’s an Eastern Kingbird. Can anyone confirm this or otherwise identify this guy? I managed to grab a pretty good shot of him before he flew away.

It was good to be back at the pond.

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It was our first trip to the pond in 2014. I was wondering how the swans fared through this terrible winter. I don’t have a complete answer, but there are swans on Whitins Pond. And they are nesting. We saw two swans today.

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One was sitting on the nest. The other came right up to us. I wished I’d remembered to bring some bread. He was clearly hoping for a handout!

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Hard winters — like this one that seems to have finally passed — take a toll on water fowl. The pond freezes for long periods of time and there is little or nothing to eat. The heavy snow makes it difficult to hide from the weather.

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I’m glad we still have some swans. A few of my pictures today and I’ll try to process some of Garry’s tomorrow.

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A GOOD DAY FOR BUBBA

Here’s a sequel I didn’t see coming. Not so soon, at least. And, after all our recent trials and tribulations, it’s nice to write this piece. Remember, it’s day by day. We were just trying to figure out how to say goodbye to Bishop aka Bubba, our beloved Australian Shepherd. That was two days ago.

In our last piece, Bubba was struggling to move around and clearly in lots of pain. We figured it was a combination of  muscle damage and arthritis. He was staying downstairs to avoid the stairs which obviously were too much for him. The vet didn’t have much to say except try to make Bubba as comfortable as possible. It didn’t look good.

Bubba has been getting slow walks outside, to get some air and do his business. He didn’t seem interested in joining the other three dogs in our front yard which is reserved for them.  I cajoled and enticed him to no avail. I even got down on my knees and barked at him. Nothing! He just didn’t want to hang with the other furry kids and bark at things, real and imagined. That was yesterday.

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Today, so far, is bright, sunny and warm. A good day to be outside for folks, two and four-legged. I sent the three little kids, Bonnie, Nan and Amber outside to play and closed the doggie door. Marilyn suggested Bubba might be interested. I didn’t think so based on the past two days. But, what the heck, give it a shot, right?

I led Bubba out the downstairs door and out to the driveway. Didn’t expect much. I turned around and he was right on my heels. Wow! I opened the gate to the front yard and, before I could say anything, Bubba raced by me and joined his pals. I couldn’t believe it. The little ones greeted Bubba with cheery barks and they began looping the yard with fresh energy.

I’m not sure how the day will end for Bubba. Marilyn has just suggested I bring him in so he doesn’t overdo things. I’ll do that. But, at least, for one bright April afternoon, our Bubba is doing okay. We’ll take that, One day at a time!