Friday, April 30, 2010

The peak of the Cherry Trees

This line of Cherry Trees on Weldin road at Immaculate Heart of Mary was at peak bloom the week after Easter. There is another line down Shellburne Road in the Shellburne development though I have no pictures of them. The Shellburne cherry trees are old and suffering, the flowers look great but the tree limbs are falling down. The ones at the church look fantastic.

So good you could almost eat them.

It is a tunnel when you walk under them.

The close ups should give you some idea of the denseness and almost oppressive richness of the close packed blooms. Unfortunately I think scent is traded for looks for these types of plants. Linus liked them though.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Geocities-ize your favorite webpage

This "tool" allows you to see what your favorite webpages would look like as a (now-defunct) Geocities webpage. Remember the awkward backgrounds, blinking text and spinning icons? Remember the bad, bad design taste? It's all there. From the makers: "Make Any Webpage Look Like It Was Made By A 13 Year-Old In 1996"

The Honest Hypocrite (geocities-cized) looks awful!

YSAVEIT philosophy of life license plate on a BMW

I suppose the Maryland owner of this BMW has a better idea of what to do with their money than put it in the bank. They have chosen to express that lifestyle choice with their YSAVEIT license plate.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Panorama of the Shellpot Creek

Last week while cleaning out some of the gutters for Spring, I took my camera with me up to the roof and took many photos of the Shellpot Creek from up the creek to down the creek. I used Hugin to stitch them together in a panorama and now you can look up and down the creek from the same vantage point as I did, click the photo for larger.

I suppose the best view of the Shellpot Creek is from the roof on that corner of the house. Maybe some day we will build a deck up there.

update: The twitpic version is larger. I guess Blogger compresses the size somewhat.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Five snakes on the Shellpot Creek

We gave some rocks by the creek that appear to have a den of Northern Water snakes in them. I assume it is because the rocks get warm in the sun and that is how the snakes get warm on an otherwise windy spring day.

See if you can count how many are in this cleft in the rocks.

This close up (click on the picture for larger) shows at least four heads ( two at the top, one hard to see in the middle, and one at the bottom) though I think there may be more.

Don't forget to include the one that was hiding under the leaves next to the rocks, see its scaly skin in the middle of the picture below.

And one I don't have a picture of in the crack on top of the rocks. Needless to say if I go near these rocks I wear boots and shuffle my feet to give them warning to get away. I only creep quietly to take pictures. I don't remember this many Norther Water Snakes in any other year, perhaps I wasn't paying attention.

Is this a den where the snakes hatched or just a bunch of them overwintering and finally waking up for the Spring? As always a herpetologists opinion would be welcome.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Foggy Shenandoah morning in Front Royal

A typical beautiful Shenandoah valley foggy morning. The fog burned off in an hour or so. This picture doesn't even capture the effect.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Our Northern Water Snake is back

Lynn just got a phone camera shot of what appears to be a Northern Water Snake, Nerodia sipedon sipedon, in the mulch near our house in the front yard.

We like that the snakes eat mice and other vermin, but we also like that they live in the creek and not with us. Hopefully this snake goes back to its earlier home. This is not the first time a snake this large has ventured into our garden.

Remembering the Daffodils of Early Spring

Yellow centers on white background daffodils. These pictures are from a week or two ago when the daffodils were blooming with all their might. Many have since done their duty, and the flowers are done.

These salmon colored daffodils centers coincidentally match the giant terra cotta pots on the porch. Click on the pictures for a more intense closeup.

Magnolias at the Dupont Country Club

Just a little earlier this spring I was being overwhelmed with the wonderful fragrance of all of the magnolias that were blooming in all of the neighborhoods of Delaware. Most have finally reached their peak and moved on, but I tool some closeup pictures of some flowers on a tree at the DuPont Country Club while it was at its best.

Stick your nose in there and smell the flower in this closeup. I can almost remember the smell just by looking at it. The petals feel really smooth as well.

Tulips welcome the spring

The bright reddish pink tulips have grown tall this spring, and also somehow avoided having their heads hacked off by animal or child. One set even survived a late season transplantation.

The purple tulips are a latee blooming variety. They were so close last week. Soon they will open.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Geeky TV show quiz

Howard points to the difficult, unless you love sci-fi, geeky TV show quiz. I scored 100%.

Sadly, all I have now is the realization that I have to get out more. Some questions I didn't know the answer that was correct, but I had watched the other shows and knew they weren't the answer. How well can you do?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fossils in the rocks of the garden

Linus found a cracked open river rock from the neighbor's rock garden this weekend and I saw a fossil of an ancient seashell.

Closer examination showed two seashell fossils on the other side as well.

I know they are just seashells but it is interesting just to find them in river rocks essentially used as mulch in a garden. Since we don't know where they came from, no dating can occur. But one can imagine the process, from laying down the fossil, to turning the layers into rock, to the rock being freed to be tumbled smooth in some river or ocean, to finally the garden, must have been a long one. Linus is now a budding paleontologist.

I think they are brachiopod fossils (a brachiopod is just an shellfish). Are there any experts out there who can tell me more?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Vice President Joe Biden at the Delaware Children's Museum Gala

The Delaware Children's Museum had a grand opening Gala and fund raiser this evening. We had a great time and got to finally meet Congressman Castle and also Vice President Joe Biden.

Here we are with the Vice President. I gave my camera to a woman and asked her to take our picture when we got a chance to say hello to the vice president.

She took more picture than that. There were other folks in line ahead of us, most noticeably a marine in dress uniform.

The very nice woman took pictures of us as we got to say hello and finally the great shot when we were posing. I never even got to thank her for the extra pictures. I told him he was doing a great job, I did not say it was a big f***ing deal, though I was tempted.

He gave a touching speech about how important it was to support the DCM. Being a parent and grandparent you could tell he was touched and of course as parents, Lynn and I were touched by his speech. Beau was the announced host of the Gala, so I was wondering if his dad would show up. When we had to go through metal detectors to get in, I knew something was up.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Mouse battle

We have been battling a mouse in the house since before spring. I think the weather drives them inside. We had scattered sitings, but each time it was a gray streak across the house. That mouse was fast. Last week Lynn "captured" it by throwing a towel over it and then a box, I had to slide another flat piece of cardboard under that and deliver the critter to the outdoors.

The video shows that it was alive when we put him out there, but not doing to well. Later it was dead. I am guessing it was old or had some troubles and that is how we were able to catch it in the first place.

The video is proof that the mouse was alive when we put it outside. Although I wouldn't have minded if a broadwinged hawk swooped down and ate it.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Beautiful Bracketology

Leonardo Aranda's Bracketology - NCAA 1985 - 2009 is a beautiful rendition of the results of the NCAA March Madness men's basketball tournament for the 25+ years of the 64 team format.

I myself have compiled compiled these statistics over the years (2009, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2007, 2006, 2006) in an attempt to win the NCAA March madness bracket pools in which I have participated and just for the fun of studying the statistics. But I am green with envy as well as another appropriate color with admiration when someone takes data that I have kicked around for years and makes a striking visualization from it.

Again I am Salieri* to some Mozart. I recognize genius and beauty, but I can only produce mediocrity. (*the Amadeus movie version of this story, not the real one)

(via Castro's Favorite Color)