Monday, October 21, 2013

First snow

Yesterday saw the first snow for this autumn. This is earlier than the first snow the previous two autumns, noted in my phenological journal. In 2011 - first measurable snow (approx. 4") was on November 19; all melted by November 26. In 2012 - first snow was on November 6; no accumulation.
First snow; no accumulation, just visible in patches on grass. Still here this morning.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Canadian Geese and Mute Swans

While we were back east, in NJ, we took my parent's dog, Willow, for a walk every day. We walked to a nearby park where there is a nice loop that circles a large pond. Canadian Geese are regular inhabitants of the park and one day we saw a family with four goslings along the edge of the pond.
We kept our distance so as not to disturb them but with the telephoto lens on my Canon PS 260 camera I was able to get some close shots.
Their feathers look like they would be so soft to the touch, almost like fur.
On our return trip back to WI, we camped at East Harbor State Park again at Port Clinton, Ohio. In the early evening we went for a stroll and happened upon several families of Canadian Geese feeding along the shoreline of East Harbor. A person walking by with her dog scared them into the water. One of the families had six goslings and it was beautiful to see them all lined up in a row with one adult in the lead and the other bringing up the rear. What watchful parents!
On our walk we were hoping to see the Trumpeter Swan adult with the three cygnets that we saw earlier on our trip. I have since learned that these were Mute Swans, not Trumpeters. I was fooled by the orange stain on the neck of the adult. But the orange bill is what uniquely identifies the swan as a Mute. We spotted several Mute Swans; the first was on a nest located out in the water away from shore.

And then we saw an adult with just one cygnet swimming along the shoreline. We wondered if this was the same adult we saw with three cygnets earlier. We hope not...

I made the assumption that the adult was the mother, but I don't know if that is so.

We also spotted several egrets. I tried to photograph one while it was flying, a difficult task.
 Here's one that was standing on shore, hunting for a meal.
A moment after I made this image, the egret darted forward to catch something. I wasn't fast enough to capture it well. Notice what I think is a muskrat in the foreground.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

40th Anniversary

Today was our 40th anniversary. We decided to celebrate by, first, going to the Delta Diner for breakfast. Mike had a Dutch Baby "pancake" and I had a Mexican omelet.
While at the Delta Diner I took some more photographs of what makes this place fun, special and unique.
After returning home, we decided to finish up the day doing what we love best, going for a bike ride. In the late afternoon, we departed on bikes to another favorite eatery, the Farmstead Creamery & Cafe, a woman-powered place run by the Berlage women, mom, Ann and daughters, Laura and Kara. They're also known by the name Northstar Homestead Farms and we're participating in their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. We had a relaxing and delicious dinner before our 20-mile ride home. The weather was perfect for us - sunshine and temperature around 60 degrees. A great day all the way around!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Le Cirque du Cyclisme

For the second year in a row we attended "Le Cirque du Cyclisme," in Leesburg, Virginia. "Le Cirque" is a three-day celebration of classic vintage steel bikes and a showcase for "keepers of the flame," artisans who are carrying on the tradition of building lugged or fillet-brazed steel bicycle frames. These contemporary artisans are not only carrying on a tradition but are also developing new and creative techniques and designs. Their vision includes a blend of artistry and function.

We departed on Tuesday for our three-day road trip to the east coast, travelling through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to our first day's destination, Straits State Park just north of the Mackinac Bridge. The next day's stopping point was East Harbor State Park in Port Clinton, Ohio, another 400-mile day. By the time we reached Ohio, the trees were leafed out and the vibrant greens were so refreshing to see.
We took a stroll through the park in the early evening and came upon a trumpeter swan with three cygnets (baby swans).
We arrived in Leesburg by early evening on our third day of travel but stopped to see the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Canal Towpath trail on the outskirts of Leesburg at Point of Rocks before heading to our hotel.
The C&O is a gravel path that parallels the north bank of the Potomac River for 184.5 miles from Washington, D.C. to Cumberland, Maryland. At Cumberland, one can get on the Great Allegheny Passage rail trail that goes another 150 miles to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
I would love to do a bicycle touring trip that combines, to the extent possible, trails like this, paved or gravel, into one long passage across the country.

The Cirque agenda includes getting in some rides as well as workshops, seminars and, on the third day, an expo and swap meet. Within a mile from the Cirque headquarters, there is easy access to the 45-mile Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) rail trail that goes from Arlington to Purcellville, VA.
This paved trail is a delightful haven from the heavily-trafficked roads and is a joy to ride. On Friday afternoon we rode the 20-mile round-trip to Purcellville from our hotel and had a delicious dinner at Magnolia at the Mill, a restaurant conveniently located at the end of and right next to the W&OD trail.
After dinner, we took a short walk to Velo Classique, the bike shop run by one of the Cirque organizers, Wayne Bingham, that specializes in vintage and classically-styled bicycles, parts and accessories.
The Cirque ended today and tomorrow we head to New Jersey. In the next couple of days I will post photos of some of the bicycles we've seen at the Cirque but in the meantime you can see photos and interviews of attendees at Mike's blog: