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Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Knowledge Dogs Protect Us From

I found out during spring yard cleaning. It was nerve wracking, but then I like creepy things. I also have a great first line of defense. Here's the background: I occasionally circle the tennis courts and bring home the unwanted escapees. Go to Petsmart and three tennis balls are at least $5. I'm cheap. As you might guess, freebies lead to abundance. My backyard was carpeted with the things. May geek that I am, I wanted to count them so I organized them. Woofie was immediately interested, but then she loves to play ball. (See Imminent Tennis Ball Seizure.) I think it was her careful examination of each ball that made me notice at all. I grabbed the camera because I thought it was funny that she was being so picky. Sorry the pictures are a little rough.

She started to "kill" the ball, common dog play. I caught a glimpse of something shiny on the ball and was worried it was a tack or a nail. As I got closer, I realized that my previous double quotes needed to be edited out.
She realized I saw and decided to let me in on her secret. She apparently killed it before it could camouflage to an actual tennis ball again. Here's a closeup:
I never knew. I realize now just how much she does to protect us and keep us from worrying. I wanted to celebrate her prowess:

Here are some previous kills I found once I knew what to look for. The last two pictures, I think, indicate a scalped mutant and in a separate location its oddly crusted brain.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

So What is It?

I've gotten a few higher ed opinions about what this may be.  Most of my measuring devices are very crude, but it is hard like chert and breaks like chert.  I like chert.  However, the dots and patterns in the rock suggested to me that there's something more going on.  Ideas?

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Long Time...

 For those of you who have been waiting, longing and pining for my next post.  Here it is.

This is (as far as I can tell) the flower of a Carolina fanwort.  Zoom in and you'll see the spiderling about to "balloon".  A spiderling sends up a bit of spider silk, catches the wind and sails away to its new neighborhood.  The spider species is ... uh ... I don't know, it's hard to tell with little ones.

As for why it's been so long, bummed-outted-ness.  In a stupid accident, the drive with years of photos fell about three feet.  Backups are sporadic due to lack of funds.  Camera is failing, or lenses.  Definite bummed-outted-ness.  The data recovery is estimated to be between $800 and $900.

I'm still figuring out the whole emotional part of this event.
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Saturday, July 30, 2011

That's One Impressive Pansy

Why are pansies considered weak? I guess calling someone a nosegay is too politically incorrect? Rose is a verb. Daisy is too Dukes of Hazard. Iris is anatomical. Poppy has drug inferences -- or sounds like your grandfather. Bird of paradise has amazingly narrow targeting potential. Day lily, night lily.

This pansy is one of hundreds taking over the neighborhood.  Hardy little fellers.
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Spider Satisfaction and Insect Fix

This summer has gone by very quickly. Our lives have been up in the air (see my Blogspot Pivot blog for more info), so we've not had enough adventures. But there are still insects and bugs for my jonesing.

The orange jumping spider is a species that I've caught up with twice, each individual had recently caught prey. I flipped the leaf over to get better lighting, but the spider wasn't overly eager to pose.

Next is a group of bees which are members of a mystery species. I saw a similar group a couple of years ago. Like last time, I spotted these near dusk. They congregate on grass seeds, some flying off and then coming back to the same stalk. I'm not sure what the social structure is, but they do seem to be a group of some sort so they aren't solitary, but then, I saw no evidence of a physical hive. I have to read some more bee books.
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Super Weevil

I was thrilled to get a good shot of both sets of wings. As amazing as they are though, beetles still look pretty comical when they fly.
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Monday, May 23, 2011

Rubber Shell and Other Local Trash

Here's logarithmic trash. I think it's a part of a balloon. We found it walking in one of the local creeks.

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Tuesday, March 08, 2011


 Jumping spiders affix a safety line before making a jump. You can tell if a jumping spider has been around because of the single strands of thread draped over leaves and branches.

It got misty, windy and frozen quickly enough to form horizontal icicles.

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We've had one of our spring snowstorms.  Sixty degrees Fahrenheit down to 30° F. There should be a rule that the average high temperature should not be allowed to drop more than 10 degrees per 24 hours. We could deal with the weather just like the Dow regulations...
  1. If before 2pm the comparative average temperature (CAT) has decreased by 10%, the weather activity will be terminated for one hour.
  2. If before 2pm the CAT has decreased by 20%, the weather activity will be terminated for two hours.
  3. If the CAT has decreased by 30%, the weather activity will be terminated for the weather day.
... on the other hand maybe that's not such a good idea.
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Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Tribute to Mo Willems

I love Mo Willems' books.

This is my Etch-a-Sketch portrait of Knuffle Bunny. Be kind to me, it's my first portrait in this medium.

That is NOT a little leporid reproductive organ at the bottom.
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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Post-Holiday Decorations

Kai and I went for a walk and saw great things in the snow, including these tiny icicles. They will be gone by tomorrow. Yesterday it was below freezing, today almost freezing and tomorrow we're expecting mid-fifties.
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Solstice Lunar Eclipse

It was the first lunar eclipse on the winter solstice since Gallileo's time. The kids' sleep schedule is a wreck. They did fall asleep outside in their sleeping bags which was oddly funny.

Astronomy pictures are hard. I definitely need some more practice. This one was hard for me particularly when there was as much moon in shadow as not. The contrast was too high and I managed to gray out the reflected light and gray out the red shadow. Oh no, I'll have to take more pictures...

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