Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween, Embarrassment song, and garden update

Happy Halloween tomorrow. I hope all will be safe and get treats without tricks. I already posted my pumpkins for weekend snapshot and I decided not to carve. The photograph above is one I took in color of a blue sky with wild looking clouds but I decided I liked the half tone version, particularly for the time when the witches ride. Halloween also seems like a good time to post a windows movie I made with one of my original songs. The song title is Embarrassment and I recorded this in 1998. Since Halloween is the night of the bizarre, I give you my bizarre, and yes embarrassing song about embarrassment. But first an embarrassing picture of me taken sometime around 2002. Even I'm not quite loose enough to find embarrassing pictures of myself to accompany the music, except for the one above. I can't use embarrassing pictures of family and friends as I know some of them follow my blog. Besides, I'm not that mean. So the song is sung and written by me and the photographs are from Funpics. There are reasons I think the photos I picked go along with the song but it may not always be obvious why I thought that. So without further ado, Embarrassment song made into a windows movie below:

Update on my autumn garden, photo below of my babies all tucked in for the first night of freeze warnings which was last night:

Don't they look snug as a bug in a rug. I bet there are a few bugs joining the plants for a warm cozy bed.

I hope everyone has a Happy Halloween Wednesday!

Monday, October 29, 2007

More of my new garden story

If anyone is arriving here from Weekend Snapshot, my WS post is below this one or you can click here. If anyone is interested in my new garden story, here it comes.
I am thinking of my current gardening venture as my new garden story as opposed to the old garden story which I summarized in my garden story post. The plant above is a volunteer cleome which has sprung up in one of my garden boxes. The problem is that cleome is a summer flower and it won't survive the winter, even in the protected box . Therefore, it's a weed by any other name, which means it's taking up room from a planned crop. My first cleome was a gift from a neighbor who had it volunteering in a spot where she didn't have room for it. Therefore, she let me dig it up and start some cleome in my garden. Each year it came back and spread out to new spots and I had a ton of cleome which I love. The cleome below was growing during the summer of 2000 and turned a path into a cleome riot.
This year, cleome was a casualty of the drought. The only watering I did all summer was a little hand watering with a watering can and that didn't include very many flowers. My roses were one of the few things that got watered occasionally. Basically what could adapt survived and what couldn't didn't. I assumed that was it for the cleome which I've had, beginning with my neighbor's plant, for over a decade. I could of course buy seeds another year but it's not the same. A new crop of cleome is springing up as a result of my hand watering my fall greens, followed by some blessed soaking rains. Sadly, this time of year, it needs to be treated as a weed and pulled up because it will take away nutrients from plants that can be coddled for months to come, even after a hard frost. Cool season plants only need protection from the boxes tops which I put on while the sun is still heating them up in the afternoon. I just saw that we are having hard frost warning this week so I'll have to start covering my boxes for the night soon.Another hard one for me is the volunteer tomato plant. Yep, you heard me right. That healthy plant above which is growing like a weed in the middle of my lettuce is a tomato plant. I didn't even grow tomatoes this year. This is my first year in 30 years that I didn't bother with tomato plants. Apparently some of the seeds from past crops and fruits which didn't get picked remained viable enough to spring up in the middle of my lettuce. Tomatoes aren't going to grow in the winter in a climate which gets hard frost and some snow. It ain't gonna happen no matter how much solar heat my boxes get. Which means that 3 foot tall healthy tomato plant is a weed, sucking nutrients away from viable plants. It's hard for me to pull it up. Before you start feeling too sorry for me, how about that lettuce?
I'm thinning the lettuce every day for delicious salads. The radishes are about ready to start picking too. The baby spinach and carrots are coming along too. I have 4 boxes filled with food. Even better is the rain. We had days of rain and I've collected close to 100 gallons of water. The run off from the gutters filled two 34 gallon trash cans with water the second day of rain. The rain and unseasonably warm autumn have made all sorts of odd things happen. Spring and summer flower beds have decided to have a go at the growing season they didn't get because of the drought. The iris bulbs and lilies that didn't bloom this summer have decided to grow like crazy this autumn. I've even spotted a few buds so maybe I'll have iris and lily blooms covered in frost. I photographed roses in the snow a few years ago which I loved.
Even the morning glories are having a last hooray. It's such a mixture of autumn and spring everywhere I look. The big thing though is I'm pretty relaxed. I'm willing to enjoy the surprises and not worry too much about what this bodes for the actual growing season. I have a feeling there will still be some seeds hanging around that will stay viable until May, when they will have a shot at producing plants that will get an actual chance to survive.
I'm looking forward to the autumn foliage which is still in the early stages of changing where I live. We're usually a couple of weeks behind the mountains. That's part of the fun I get from a mountain trip in the fall. It spreads out the enjoyment of the autumn blaze. In general, I'm enjoying watching the season's surprises play out. I need to pull up my cleome and tomato plants soon. They are weeds when they start at a time they can't grow, in the middle of plants that can. That is sensible but I think I'll hold off. It's simply too much fun to see the crazy mixed up seasons in my crazy patchwork quilt of a garden.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Weekend Snapshot: Number 8

Although we still have a few days before Halloween, I'm doing my Halloween post for weekend snapshot. Maybe some of you will help me decided if I'm festive enough.I am seriously considering not carving a pumpkin for the first Halloween in my life (well maybe I had some help as an infant). When my daughter got old enough to have her own pumpkin ideas, I got two pumpkins. That way we didn't fight over what the jack o' lantern would end up looking like. She was more of a traditionalist than me. I didn't even paint the little pumpkins in front of the big one below. I bought them like that at the store.
I'm pleased that the Virginia creeper which grows on my railing has turned orange, or partly so, in time for Halloween. If anyone has an opinion, feel free to vote. Should Carver carve her pumpkin or be lazy and go with the blank face look on the big one, and let the little store bought painted ones suffice for the Halloween look? I realize that many countries and cultures don't celebrate Halloween so some of you may think I'm making a mountain out of a pumpkin decision.

I think I may have answered my own question. I can avoid carving and have my creative pumpkin fun. I've already made a bunch of fun faces using this pumpkin simulator. Monday is the official weekend snapshot day so check back at their link for more participants.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Photohunt: Pink

Pink isn't my color so when I saw there was an upcoming pink hunt I was at a loss. Then I thought, flowers. I do love some of my pink flowers and I have a ton of flower shots in my old photograph files. I put it out of my mind until we were driving back to the hotel after hiking at the Peaks of Otter in Virginia and I saw that store above. I didn't get my camera ready fast enough for the whole store but as you can see that's one pink store.We were driving through Bedford, VA the next day on our way to some more hikes before heading home when I spotted the pink sign on the side of the Academy of Music. I'll let you decide if the academy is pink, peach or coral and white, as pictured below. Either way, I thought it was lovely.
I had no idea that I had captured a pink house until I got home. It wasn't what I focused on. I cropped it out of a larger picture once I realized, yep, that's a pink house. One cropped view directly below.And then another view below which shows a bit more. I might even like living in that little pink cottage and as I said, pink is not my color. In my imagination, that pink cottage is bound to have a secret garden too. It's practically a secret house as will be obvious in the very last photo.The last photograph shows the full shot that I cropped the pink house out of. I was trying to take a picture of the bridge but we were moving too fast. Little did I know that there was a hidden pink house for me to use for this week's photohunt. You will probably have to click inside the picture for an enlargement to see the pink house but it's there towards the right, protected by trees. Unfortunately the arches on the bridge were only shown off a few yards back from where I was when my fingers went click. The arches of the bridge were what I was trying to photograph but lucky for me there was a surprise in the pictures, the lovely pink cottage. I'm feeling quite in the pink after finishing this post. I guess I could have photographed someone in the picture of good health for that meaning. Since I'm slightly left of most, I guess some would say I could photograph myself for pink but I think I'll stop here. Happy weekend.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I sing - My first attempt at a windows movie

A while back I posted a short clip from I Sing, a song that I wrote sometime in the mid 1990s and recorded in 1998 on my Mean Mad Mama, Layers, CD. I decided to try my hand at posting the full length song with photographs from my life thus far, 1957-2007. Animoto , the service I used for the prior clip, requires a ton of photos to mix them up for an auto produced video for a full length song. I didn't want to try and come up with enough photographs it would require for that. Therefore, I have made my first windows song video which is easy and doesn't require as many photographs. This is just straight one photo per frame without any cool effects. It's rough and rugged and thrown together, but so am I. At least it gives me a way to post a full length song. I'm singing and playing guitar. Violin is by Hollis B. and bass by Thomas W.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More Travel Pics and digressions

We headed out Friday morning in the rain and nothing could have made me happier. North Carolina is in a severe drought. I feel particularly bad for farmers who have been wiped out. Today I read in the paper that they have added to mandatory restrictions for residential accounts and are asking people to voluntarily reduce their water consumption in half. I've been doing more than the mandatory all year so it doesn't have much affect on my personal situation.
When it does rain I collect water to use in my garden and since my gutters don't work well in spite of being cleaned, strategically placed containers get the run off and a small amount of rain can fill a can with water spilling out of the gutters. Odd, but I've gotten 10 gallons of water out of 1/8 inch of rain that way. Even so, I almost feel guilty about how great my fall lettuce and spinach are doing when I read about how hard the farmers are being hit. Irrational of me, I know. It's a problem of scale and expense with farmers not facing restrictions on use so much as it's too expensive to irrigate without any rain to speak of.
It was pretty noticeable in the forest that Virginia has fared somewhat better in terms of drought than North Carolina. When we were in the NC mountains in the spring a lot of rhododendron were killed by the drought already as that part of the state has been in a long term drought. I noticed how much better the mountain laurel and rhododendron looked, along the forest trails in Virginia, and this was after a long hot summer. After typing that I googled and much of Virginia has been hit hard by the drought. However, the part of the Virginia mountains we were in is in much better shape than any of the North Carolina forests we were in during the spring, which accounts for the differences in how the forest plants look in the NC and VA mountains.
I had planned on posting more pictures from the mountains and forest trails since my last post didn't cover the longer hike we did on Saturday. I finished reading my local newspaper article on how hard the farmers have been hit by the drought, and then I found myself inserting all these farm pictures I took on the road. Pretty much all of these are in Virginia not North Carolina. However, with farmers on my mind when I went to insert a photo, my fingers seems to gravitate to the farms.Normally when I go to Virginia it's towards the DC area and when I go to the mountains it's NC so I was surprised that it's closer to the part of the Virginia mountains we were in than it is to the NC mountains we usually go to. None of them are that far in this day and age. I remember as a child it took forever to get to Boone to visit our grandmother but that was when the roads were a challenge. I kind of liked the fact that much of this trip was on much smaller highways than the ones we take to the NC mountains.I had to laugh after my practical post for photohunt where I discussed how practical maps were. We had plenty of maps but on the way home we ended up on a back highway that was prettier and meandered. I assumed it was planned until Bill said, I don't know how I ended up on this road but it's prettier than the other one. I said, are we lost? He said, of course not, we're heading south east and we live south east so we'll find the highway we want eventually. I trusted him and he was right.Bill and I have been taking trips together to the mountains for close to 30 years. Hard to believe. We started going to the mountains before we were dating. We were camping buddies. Then we got married in 1980 and still camped some and with my grandmother in Boone, NC and his in Bristol, TN we combined family visits to the mountains on both sides of the family. It was kind of cool to find out from my grandmother that a lot of my mother's wedding presents came from Bill's grandfather's china and glassware store although the two grandparents never knew each other. There just weren't that many places to buy that kind of thing in that part of the country in the 1940s so that's where people shopped for wedding gifts.
The totally bizarre small world story came out when our parents met shortly before our wedding. Bill's mother was telling my mother about when her brother died and my mother said to my father, who was talking to Bill's father, you need to hear this. It turned out that late in World War II my mother in law's brother was on a transport carrier ship of some kind on the way to England that collided with another large ship. I'll have to ask Bill to help with the details as he's better at remembering those types of facts than I am.To make a long story short, my Dad was on that ship at the end where most everyone survived and Bill's Uncle was on the ship at the end where there were few survivors. My Dad, of course, had told my mother about it and about how awful it was trying to rescue people and about the fatalities. When she was hearing from my soon to be mother in law about how her brother died, she instantly realized it was the collision my Dad had survived. Sort of surreal in a way. Another meandering post from a 49 year old woman. I have been so focused on turning 50 this year, I have almost forgotten to be 49. I will be working in the fact that I'm 49 for the next two and a half weeks every chance I get. Did I happen to mention that I'm forty nine. I just had the best news flashing across my computer. We are getting significant rain over the next few days, starting today. Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain . . .

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

First name tag, community blogging, moutain pics

This will be a combo post. The photographs were taken on my trip this past weekend to the Virginia foothills and Blue Ridge Mountains. The picture above was taken at the James River. The smoke is from a paper mill and the odor was unpleasant driving to the James River Park but wasn't noticeable for too long. I hope the people living in the area don't have to cope with that smell too often but I fear they do.Theresa at Theresa's Life passed on the Community Blogger Award to me which I greatly appreciate. Theresa is a very warm, generous blogger and I am grateful to have gotten to know her. You never know what you will find out on her blog. She used to sky dive which is something I've half wanted to try but missed my chance. She went for it and I'm impressed. I'd like to pass this award on to SabineM who is also a warm, generous blogger who leaves encouraging comments and I enjoy visiting her blog. She has wonderful photographs and I always find her posts interesting. Sending out good thoughts for SabineM and others in Southern California. For that matter I recall that Theresa is also from California but since she hasn't mentioned on her blog that the wildfires are near her, I'm hoping I'm correct in assuming that they aren't.I would also like to pass the community blogger award on to Karoline. I am blown away by the photography, poetry, and essays at Karoline's site and she is another warm, generous blogger. There are so many that I would like to mention. However, if I start to think, I'll do what I did with a few treats and awards which I have yet to pass on. It will take me forever because thinking is a risky business with my head. Therefore, I'm naming those two for now, and sometime in the future, I'll do the comprehensive list of blogs I enjoy and say something about each of them.You may have to click inside the picture above to get the joke but there is a small object on the river. Bill and I had been discussing birds overhead and one landed on a piece of wood in the river and Bill pointed it out (heron). I then asked about the object in the river which is shown here and said, what kind of bird is that. Bill said, the great fisherman. I took a picture and then realized once I zoomed in a tad, what the joke was. It was a human fishing off of a raft. I thought the great fisherman was a bird I didn't know about.

SabineM tagged me for a first name tag and here's how it works:Use the first letter of your name to answer each question.

Must be places, names…Nothing made
up. Can’t use own name for boy/girl’s name question. If can’t answer, skip to next one.

My Name Starts with:

Ok, I'll admit it, that's a stretch. I thought if I rotated a section of a photograph of one of the curvy roads we were traveling on this weekend it would make a C. It does, sort of. Do I at least get a C for creative attempts to make the first letter in my name out of my photographs. What I'm going to do is, when I can't come up with an answer, I'll insert a photograph instead. The photographs will be a nod to the letter C. The photograph below is to take your mind off that nightmare C. It's a lot less threatening to view a curvy road, right way round, sort of.Famous Singer: Christine Aguilera

Four Letter Word: Crap

Street: Church

Colour: creme

Gifts/Present: crayons

Vehicle: corvette

Things in Souvenir Shop: carvings

Boy Name: Craig

Girl Name: Carlotta

Movie title:
Cramer vs Cramer

Drink: coke


Celebrity: Cher

Magazine: I drew a blank so photo below of steps we climbed instea

Note - The photo below is of some of the many s
tairs we climbed when we went on one of our easy walks the day we came home. Easy because the walks involved stone stairs and were less rustic as well as shorter than our hike the prior day. Easy is relative. I am grateful that Bill helped me along the way. Poor guy, he's 8 years older than I am and still has to let me lean on him as we walk up the steps.
Before I continue with the tag, I have another photograph of stairs we climbed up. As a matter of fact I took pictures of close to a dozen different types of stairs we climbed on our easy walk before heading home. I didn't take as many pictures on our harder walk the prior day because I was too busy leaning on my walking staff as well as on Bill.
U.S. City: Charlotte

Pro Sports: I drew a blank so photo below instead.

Note- the photo below is of the town of Bedford in Virgin
ia. Bedford is the County Seat of Bedford County.Fruit: cranberry

Reason for Being Late to work:

Something you throw away:

Something you shout: cheers

Cartoon Character:

One more set of steps we climbed. Can you tell I stopped a bunch of times as we climbed the various sets of stone steps and
stone stairs.
If anyone wants to play consider yourself tagged but I suggest going to SabineM's Letter S post to copy the list, since mine is so interlaced with photographs that will get in the way.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Weekend Snapshot: Number 7

I went on a 3 day trip to the mountains this weekend. I took this photograph from the car and we were moving fast so I didn't get the whole tree but I liked the affect. We went on hikes along the Blue Ridge Parkway yesterday and today. We got home tonight so I haven't had time to look through my tons of photos yet but I think this one screams Autumn.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Blogrolls (putting them all together)

This is an ongoing effort to have a blogroll of sorts. If anyone doesn't want to have their blog linked here, please let me know. Note this is way out of date. I did it during the fall of 2007 and have debated updating or deleting it. I'm making a few changes but there are so many blogs I've discovered and read now that aren't on this list it's way out of day.

Melanoma Patients who Blog
There are so many melanoma patient bloggers I need to add to this but I just haven't gotten to it.

Miscellaneous blogs I read when I can but this is WAY out of date. I looked at it and started to update it but other than a few links, I decided not to try now.

A Place I call Home

Addicted to Medblogs

Ascender Rises Above

Assertive Cancer Patient

Cariboo Ponderer

Days of My Life in Gozo

Dee's Updates

Farming Friends

From My View

Gathering Round the Table

The Green Fingered Photographer

Jackie Doss

Lissa (leftover reveries)

Lissa (Memory of Rain)




Mimi Writes

Miss Melanoma

Nobody Important

Our Fight

Perfectly Imperfect

The Poormouth

Shortcut to Mushrooms: A vegetarian Food blog

SabineM "Life isn't about Finding Yourself it's about Creating yourself"

Spindrift and dreams

Theresa's Life


Toss That Old Map Away

Tri and Be Happy

Work of a Poet

Photohunters: Practical (posting early and visiting late)

I am posting my photohunt entry very early, even for me, because I will be away from my computer for a few days. I like the challenging themes and for me practical was a challenge. I will be visiting other photohunters late but will try to get to as many as possible when I'm back to my computer either Sunday night or Monday morning.
I must look like I belong on my city's greenway trails because I am often selected by visitors to ask for directions when I'm walking. Knowing that I'm not particularly good at directions, I invariably decide the practical solution is to lead them to one of the many maps which are posted along the trail.
If I'm going on trails I'm not familiar with, I stick trail books or bike maps in my back pack. If I'm going on a road trip, I take my atlas because it's the practical way to be sure no matter how many wrong turns we take, we can find our way back on course. Since the advent of the internet, I also print out directions to my destination. It should be practically impossible to get lost when you travel with me. I hope that everyone has a happy weekend. Saturday is the photohunt day and you can find other hunters at either one of these links -

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Lassiter Mill Site

Last week, I took some pictures at the old Lassiter Mill Site which is on my city's greenway route. The parks and greenways for the most part are along lakes, and streams that cut through the city and subdivisions. It's nice because you can walk on wooded paths and in some cases the trees shield the houses from view. I hadn't intended to write about Lassiter Mill, other than a brief mention in my blog, but when I started googling for a brief blurb to accompany the pictures, I found almost no information. One of the few extended discussions about the falls involved guess work which was partially incorrect.
There were much better pictures than I took on one site but no discussion of the history of Lassiter Mill. There was a brief, accurate mention of the history but it took one line from distant history and put it together with recent history which I suspect is why another site had some inconsistencies. The most information was contained on a site with NC waterfalls and that site even asked if anyone knew any more about the Lassiter Mill falls. The problem is none of the tid bits added up to the facts. I didn't see a place to add the information I had on that site. Therefore, in the interest of putting the whole story on the Lassiter Mill (Raleigh, NC, USA) out into the vast internet repository of information, I blew up my photo of the plaque above so I could type up the information. Now when someone is searching to find out more about this site, they will possibly arrive here. I wish the City of Raleigh's site had a write up because mine may have typos but at least I'm putting it out there for the curious. Also, since I am including the plaque photo, that can be clicked on too.
Without further fuss, I give you the Lassiter Mill Site write-up as transcribed by me hurriedly from the plaque: Fifty yards north on the banks of Crabtree Creek, stands the stone foundation of Lassiter Mill. The site originally known as the Great Falls of Crabtree is one of the oldest mill sites in Wake County. The first mill to be constructed here was by John Giles Thomas before 1764. Isaac Hunter was among numerous owners of the site, where successive mills were destroyed by fire, one in 1804 and another in the late 19th century.In 1908 Cornelius Jesse Lassiter purchased the land and built a grist mill. Using two forty horse turbine wheels to generate power, Lassiter ground wheat and corn, and later ran a lumber mill and a cotton gin. The site also became a popular retreat, as a picnic and swimming area for the residents of Raleigh. The Lassiter Mill remained in operation for 50 years until it burned in 1958. The Mill stone you are standing on was one of several used in operations of the mill. Located to the left of this monument stood the Lassiter Mill bridge. The bridge a 110 foot long, 15 foot wide, by 20 foot tall steel truss bridge, replaced an earlier wooden bridge. Originally spanning the Neuse River north of Raleigh the bridge was relocated to the Mill site in 1920. Condemned and demolished in 1984, it is thought to have been the last remaining steel truss bridge in Wake County.

A piece of the bridge is located to your right. Today the Lassiter Mill site is a part of the Capital Greenway system. Note - the piece of the bridge that the plaque refers to is the fourth photograph from the top of this post. All of the photographs in this post were taken last week at the Lassiter Mill Site. This was another of my photo journeys following a medical related appointment. I was on my way home from standard follow up on blood work at my rheumatologist's and it wasn't really an appointment other than with the needle to take a little blood.

When I was looking through my photographs at the Lassiter Mill site it occurred to me that the one above would have been a good one for the Blog Action Day on the environment. It says that high levels of PCBs have been found in carp, bass, and catfish from the waters here and therefore limit consumption to once a month. I don't know about you but I'm limiting my consumption to zero from those waters. However, I realize that doesn't protect me from fish I eat which is likely caught in waters that are just as polluted. If the packages of fish in the grocery store start to contain a warning like that, I'll stop eating them. Not logical at one level to wait on the grocery store label.