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Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Best Husband in the Whole World

Yesterday was our 17th wedding anniversary. I can't figure out how that happened on so many levels. From simply wondering where the time went to realizing I have married the most wonderful person on the planet to being in awe that he has put up with me for so long.
I thought this was the sweetest most awesome gift (outside of sticking it out with me) that my husband has ever given me. It's a little coupon book. I put up a couple of the coupons. Everything I have ever asked for is in this book. I have no idea what I did to deserve such a kind and attentive person for a spouse, but I hope that I can give back to him what he's given to me.

PS - I was paying attention to him, too. I got him 24 bottles of Dr. Pepper in the original 8 oz glasses, down to the design, with original cane sugar. I took some shots, but they turned out yellow. I am voting this the best anniversary ever - for now.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

What's in My Yard

It never ceases to amaze me what a wealth of material my own yard holds. The above dandelion that's gone to seed was near our dog run. I love the way the two grass blades frame it.


Above is a jumping spider I found on my poppy buds. He got bored with staring me down and went about building his tripwire web. They can see very well, so it's quite difficult to photograph them at times as they will literally leap away.


Above is a honey bee. Not sure what kind of plant it is. I'm sure my neighbors consider it a weed, but I think they're pretty, so I pull them when they die in the fall.


One Doesn't Belong

Well, technically, it would depend upon what category you would be using. The two insect shots were taken when I got home from my hiking trip. The above photo is a Golden Northern Bumble Bee. They always look so cute and fuzzy. Fortunately, I've never forgotten and tried to pet one. If you look really close, you can see his proboscis. That would be the pink three forked apparatus he's brushing the tops of the flowers with. I didn't know that particular body part could split out, but apparently it's made of three different body parts altogether. Every once in awhile it'd stop and brush the proboscis with its front legs. Don't know if this was to clean off the proboscis or if some of the pollen tastes bad. Who can say?



This is the Old Gallatin City Hotel. It's all that's left of a town called Gallatin City II. The area is currently encompassed by the Missouri Headwaters State Park. I love old abandoned buildings. My husband would like to get a jeep someday so we can go up the jeep trails. I'm all for it if there's a ghost town or two along the way. Below is link with a bit of history about this particular area.
http://www.montanahistory.net/stateparks/missouriheadwatershistory.htm


This is a plant bug as far as I can tell. Not sure what kind. His markings are very intricate and well designed for his habitat.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My Awesome New Camera

I just got a Nikon D-300 camera. It's a digital SLR. Which means that the lenses from my film camera fit onto this new camera which is digital. I feel like that was redundant but it's nearly midnight, so I don't have enough awake brain cells to fix it.

In any case, to make a long post short, I love this camera.


Monday, June 22, 2009

What Gets Noticed

Sometimes titles don't come easily to me. Especially if it's not obvious what ties my choice of photographs together. However, the title for this blog entry finally came to me. The common denominator in all these photos is an ability to notice detail. Not only on my behalf, but on the behalf of nature as well. If you look really closely at the photo above, you will see there are black birds in the trees. They are very good at keeping an eye on my cat. They know he's around before I do. Of course, for them, this attention to detail means the next generation will survive and live on.
It's not as dire for me of course. For me, it's more about noticing that special detail that makes a photo stand out. Half the time I'm not even sure I'm aware of it or if I could even explain it. I do love attention to detail, but it's just so much a part of my nature that at times I couldn't even put my finger on it. Why did I take the picture above? I would say because I like the way the petals are arranged and how the flower is open enough to see in, but not so open as to be exposed to the world. That's probably pretty close. To be more succint, I like the way the petals are framing the middle of the flower. (Never could remember the technical parts for plants.)

Now the bottom photo is another matter altogether. Noticing a grasshopper that is about 1/4" to 1/2" long in a big wide meadow takes some skill. At least I like to think so. Here I've learned one thing that helps immensely. Grasshoppers like thistly plants. They also like Tansy. (Of course, this is another form of attention to detail.) When I see these plants, I know to keep my eye open for grasshoppers. The other thing I like about spotting such small things is it's like a big what doesn't belong game to me. Lots of times when I go to look at that brown patch on a leaf, it's leaf damage. However, it's a tiny grasshopper enough times that I keep looking. And sometimes it's something else entirely, and that's the best surprise of all. Never knowing what I'll find keeps me entertained when I'm out wandering around.



Friday, June 19, 2009

What an Awesome Day

Today was one of those stellar days. This morning the dew was just spectacular. Above is not actually dew. It's the nymph of a meadow spittle bug. He's covered in bubbles to hide him from predators. He's on a goatsbeard plant, so I'm not losing any sleep over his presence.

Below is a fly hanging on a dew covered leaf. He's covered in dew which is just too cool. I can't tell if he's drinking it up, staying cool or waiting for breakfast. And then there's the last photo...



This is a couple of petals from a sticky geranium flower that have fallen on it's leaves. The contrast in color from the pedals and leaves along with the contrast in texture from the dew is just amazing.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Back to Nature

Starting out with some beauty. This double rainbow appeared sunday evening. Very nice.
Now you may be wondering what exactly is mooning you here. This is a crane fly. From this angle he / she looks much more dangerous than they actually are. My son told me they are related to mosquitos. I guess that makes sense. Fortunately, they don't suck your blood to incubate their eggs. Although I guess mosquitos get pretty big in Minnesota, being their state bird and all. Having grown up in Iowa, the mosquitos weren't so much big as they were constant.
This little one is a grasshopper. Don't ask me what kind. You can kind of get an idea for how big he is if you consider that he's sitting amongst the spines of a poppy leaf. They run about 1/4 of an inch to maybe 1/2 inch long. He is by far got to be the smallest grasshopper I've ever seen. And I believe he is full grown. Pretty cool.


Points of Interest

The first photo is of one of the banners you can currently see around town. There is a small "ern" after Northwest. You can't see it in my photo. I snapped it really quick out the back car window as we were heading away from it up 7th. You can read an article about what has some people in our community upset at the following link:

http://www.mtpioneer.com/JUNE-blast-cleanup.html

I was over to Bogert Park this weekend. We went with my son to check out the new playground equipment. (See bottom photo.) I noticed that they were renovating the bandshell, too. Good thing. I'm surprised it didn't crumble into dust. I'll be interested to see what comes out of it.

To sign off, I will say, no, no one really knows how to play with this stuff. That includes the kids. You're supposed to climb on it, I think. It's not very practical and didn't seem to be getting much use. Oh, well. Maybe it'll grow on me.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Mess of the Month - June

This is the mess for June. Looking a little better. I had to fight the urge to pick up the plates of food. I didn't though. I wanted to get it as soon as I thought of it, so no making it neater. I don't know if I could ever time lapse these, but that's a thought for the future. If so, I'll have to be better about keeping the same angle each time I take the shot. Maybe once I have a year's worth of footage or more just to see what it looks like. Below is a link to May's mess in case anyone cares to compare.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Around Our House

Where to start. Well this is a bit backwards. It all starts with the bee on the bottom. Coming home from a hike the other day, I had remembered I wanted to check to see if our dryer vent outlet was blocked. And it was. With a ton of lint as usual. Well, the bottom flap to the outlet sticks, so I was reaching under to push it out when I felt something prickly. I thought, that's odd. That feels like the hard shell of an insect...no way. Sure enough. I lift and there's a bee stuck in the lint. Dead of course. Fortunately.

Well, in the process of showing this to my husband, he found that our deck is rotting. Joy. I can't tell, but it seemed like some beetles had gotten in there. Great. Guess we should have gotten those trees down a little quicker. He says it looks like the rot is contained in the 2x4 that is part of the deck and not a supporting piece. So it should be easy to fix. We need to restain it this summer. I'm sure that'll be future posts.

Then directly below is a crab spider my husband found crawling on the side of our house. I love crab spiders. They have this funky shape. And some of them change color to match the flower they're on. A very cool little arachnid.






Look what my son did

My son took this picture of a snake. It was in the road when he and my husband came home. My husband didn't want to hit it, so he waited and then my son jumped out of the car with the camera once the snake hit the field. Like mother like son. I'm so proud of him!

Out and About in Bozeman

This post is a few days late. Last Thursday my son and I biked over (Well, he scootered.) to the Museum of the Rockies. The main exhibit is about treasure hunting. It's pretty cool. They have a submersible machine in a tank that you can work by remote. It has a camera on it. We weren't able to get lined up with the barrel to see what was in it, but it was still fun to try and work it. And then they have metal detectors and you can try and find treasure in this big sand box exhibit. It's actually got rubber bits instead of sand though. And, of course, treasure to look at. Pretty cool exhibit over all.

The first photo is from their molecular paleontology field station. I looked up molecular paleontology. It's really cool. No dinosaur clones yet. They're just figuring out how to tell if the DNA they get comes from the dinosaur itself or is contamination. I thought it was really fascinating. Of course, I'm kind of a geek.

The other photo is from Big Mike out front. I thought the clouds looked really cool through his ribs. It was definitely a fun day.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Constants and Change

Well the first photograph is all that remains of our large pine trees. Pretty much nothing. They finish cleaning up tomorrow. (Been a long day. Pretty much took care of my few remaining PAC tasks and am pretty much officially retired from that job and the pine trees came down on the same day. Sigh.) I was actually a bit excited when I first got home and saw that they hadn't finished and had left one of the trees partially cut up. I figured I might be able to see the damage from the inside or find beetles scuttling off in search of a new tree. (OK. So only I can get excited about such a thing when the beetles are such a serious pest. And the reason my trees had to come down.) Nope. Clean. Odd that they can do such damage and not even get to the middle of the tree. Well, bark beetles can do that, too.
The above photo also makes me a bit sad. It's a magpie nest. I know they were using it last year. I'm not sure about this year. It's cool to see up close. It's about 1.5 feet high and maybe 2 across. Quite the nest. I think magpies are so pretty and then they open their mouths. (I think of them as the Fran Drescher - sp? - of birds. Can't help it.) They also chase the dog and cat. Ours weren't too bad actually. I get a really rough time from black birds for some odd reason.

I took this one in the "meadow" this morning while walking the dog. I wonder what they say to each other. Is there some sort of ant mind meld they're doing?

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Best Kind of Snow

As it happened last year, so too this year. It snowed on June 6th. Although for me, this was the best kind of snow. (Only because I did not have to hike through it or ski in it. I have cross country skis, the waxless kind. No good. Wet sticky snow sticks. No fun.) Yup. This was heavy wet and it remained warm. So it didn't take long to turn into rain and wash away. Yea!





The Things We Don't See

Well this is my out and about for last week. I went up to History Rock Trailhead in Hyalite Canyon. I tried to get to the top. I came up short by .5 miles. Sigh. I did see the rock and I got a gorgeous view of the mountain range opposite at the top, but I could not keep hiking through 2 to 3 foot deep snow in my jeans and my boots. That was a soggy mess. Also as the trail goes higher, it gets more mountain goat like, so I didn't feel it was safe for me to continue on.

I found some interesting things along the way though, so it was well worth the effort. Not sure what the little guy above is. He's some sort of fly or maybe plant bug. Saw him while looking at some flowers.

The photos below are the cool ones. I didn't even know there was an ant in these flowers when I took the shot. Pretty awesome. And I didn't think the bee shot turned out at all. Not only did it come through brilliantly, I got a bonus insect to boot.





Overall a very productive trip despite the fact that I had every kind of possible stinging insect on my trail all day long. At first I thought it was the fact that I had left my shampoo in our bathroom so I borrowed my son's Johnson & Johnson's Baby Shampoo that morning, but then I realized the ugly truth. The night before I had been photographing some ground cover out by the college duck pond and had managed to knock some pollen into the seams of my camera bag. Yeah. Good stuff apparently. Unbeknownst to me I had become the "candy woman". Only one thing landed, and it looked like a fly mimic of a hornet. Too surprised to capture it. Another cool thing I saw was a moth mimic of a bee. Again too slow. Darn it. Perhaps next time.

Crawling in My Back Yard

You never know what you'll find in your own back yard if you just go looking. Mine was hopping the other day with ants and spiders, so I grabbed a few shots. The spider by the nail is good for scale.





Tuesday, June 2, 2009

You Find The Coolest Things

This Sunday we went over to the duck pond by the university which has pretty much become a weekly routine. This week I found some cool things. Above is the reflection of some MSU buildings in the back window of my car. The touch of sunlight off the one building is especially nice.

Below is a Raven's feather I found in the grass. It had fresh water droplets on it. Doesn't get more cool than that.