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More Foxes! July 11, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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There’s a family of foxes near where much of my work has been recently, and they make great subjects – local word is that the mother of a litter of kits got quilled badly this spring, and fearing her inability to hunt for her babies, a few kind folks took to throwing out meat and relocating roadkill to assure the brood’s survival.

The result, predictably, is a family of foxes who aren’t shy of people, and while I understand how this might work to their detriment in the future, the present reality is that they’re all still alive.

And other than Momma, who isn’t looking too well, they’re all growing beautifully:

standing fox

sitting fox

daisy fox

I like that one – reminds me of Ferdinand The Bull, who wanted nothing more than to sit under the cork tree and smell the flowers.

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A Couple Of Scenics. July 11, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Sorry, The Usual Suspects got in front of my lens again.

My morning drive takes me from the foggy river bottom where I live to the ridge-top along the Hoosic Range, where the valley-genic nature of the morning’s pall becomes apparent:

river fog sunrise

This is one of those shots I can’t resist taking whenever I see it, in the hopes that one “take” or another will be a real “keeper.”  I mean, they’re all nice, but so far they’re just practice for the morning when everything is gonna gel.

Later in the day the valley clouds lift and I’m thrilled to see the sun after a month of mostly rain.  The bright light allows me to snag a few more “practice shots” despite the breeze, which would make lower-light photography a good bit less productive.  Here’s a shot of a rigid lance of Verbascum thapsis guarding a queenly Echium vulgare from a diminutive Oenothera biennis:

vipers' bugloss and company

Never underestimate an Evening primrose.

Mystery, Um, “Solved!” July 10, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in macro photos.
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Remember these?

moss structures

…and my confusion about whether or not they were reproductive structures, given that I’d been told that moss reproduced sexlessly?

Well, a little Googlin’ revealed that, in fact, they’re sporogonia,  little capsules full of spores.  Here they are five days later, having a smoke after exploding in reproductive ecstasy:

sporogonia

Turns out sphagnum moss has the happy ability to reproduce both sexually (through spores) and asexually (through bits breaking off to form genetically identical clones.)

If I were moss, I suspect I’d opt for the former.

It’s really quite simple – here, let me quote from the web article where I learned this:

“The haploid spores are derived from diploid sporocytes by meiosis: After replication of the genome, homologous pairs of chromosomes come into close proximity, and crossovers of their chromatids may occur. During metaphase I, the chromosome pairs line up across the equator of the spindle; in anaphase I, they separate and move to opposite ends of the spindle. Subsequently, comparable to mitosis, two new spindles separate the chromatides during metaphase II and anaphase II. Thus, meiosis of one diploid sporocyte yields four haploid spores… “

Um…

‘k.

This will be on the test, kids!

😉



Dinner With TCR! July 8, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Dinner with TCR.
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Tonight, a “quicky” – Shrimp and Scallop Tostadas:

tostadas

…with a roasted red pepper guacamole.

Enjoy!

Yellow Hawkweed. July 7, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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On a roadcut.

At a farm in Rowe.

yellow hawkweed

Really.

At Last… July 7, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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…another full moon!

Yeah, I know, it happens every month.  But between cloudy skies (a recent regular feature in these here parts) and not being in the right place at the right time, it’s been slim pickin’s for this last bit.

Anyway, last night I waited for the nearly-full moon to rise at the just-about perfect spot, only to see it appear faintly through the hundred or so miles of thin clouds extending eastward from my vantage point to the horizon.  I won’t repeat what I said in that moment of weakness, having spent the last half-hour scanning the skyline for the expected glory.

I canned the shots I took as I muttered obscenities at the Weather Gods – they (the photos) were pretty lame.

But as it so often happens, the best photos appear in one’s peripheral vision as one drives home, The Unit resignedly packed away.  And last night, because I’m a resolute Slacker/Procrastinator, when my side-view mirror suddenly erupted in Luminous Orbage, I still had Gizmo set up in my passenger seat (the preferred preemptive position for wildlife sightings) and banged a hard right into the nearest farm field, snaking the tractor road past where the telephone wires ruined the effect, and snapped this:

july full moon

The sun’s last lingering light had left the landscape, contributing only the faintest blush to a thin band of clouds which, with a tiny bit of patience on my part, intersected The Orb just so.

I was struck by the royal blueness of the sky, and pleased to see that my camera captured a bit of it.

I’m grateful for these accidents of fate; left to my own devices, nothing like this would ever come my way.

Dinner With TCR! July 5, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Dinner with TCR.
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4 comments

A couple of days ago I came acrosss a healthy stand of chanterelles and picked enough for a couple of meals.  They were fat and clean and really nice:

chanterelles

…and found their way into my belly, thusly –

Ginger Chicken over Basmati rice, with local asparagus and localler (!) chanterelles:

ginger chicken

Enjoy!

Random Rain Shots. July 5, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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From this past week.

Zoar Gap on the Deerfield River:

zoar gap

A farm in fog:

horse in fog

A butterfly alight on hawkweed:

butterfly on hawkweed

We’re depending on these guys and others for pollenatiion this year, as most of the blooming season has passed in the rain, which bees don’t much care for.

And sphagnum moss, loving the interminable wetness, puts out some cool little structures:

moss structures

I thought these were berries or flowers or something, but recently I was told that moss has no such parts, it predating the development of sexual structures in plants.

All I can say is, they sure look like little berries to me, unwrapping from the terminal leaves of their respective stalks:

moss structures

More research is called for, I guess!

More Of The Fen. July 3, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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I love this place.

And at the risk of being redundant, I go by here every chance I get, and if the weather permits, I stop and set up shop.

Last weekend I got here mid-morning and was treated to a disparity of light, with the sun’s slanting rays making the sphagnum moss glow against the deep shadows of the surrounding forest:

pitchers

The northern pitchers were in full flower:

yellow pitcher blossoms

…and their translucent tubes were all but pulsing with back-lit vascularity:

pitcher tubes

These passive insectivores have some stiff competition for the fen’s insect population, including the patient:

bullfrog

…and the quick:

dragonfly

Dozens of these little fellers darted about in precise arcs, lighting only briefly on the curving leaves of water irises, who were in turn a show of their own:

iris

I’ll doubtless be back to see how the scene changes with the seasons.

Happy Belated Birthday, Pagan Sphinx! July 2, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Uncategorized.
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This s a day late because my browser crashed yesterday – sorry!

Most of you who come here know the Pagan Sphinx from one or more of her blogs; I’ve known her for nearly three decades as a best friend, a lover, a confidant and the mother of our two lovely daughters.  She’s beautiful, funny, caring, insightful and talented, and having her in my life and heart has broadened me in ways beyond telling.

Here she is at Elder Progeny’s recent graduation:

[photo deleted by polite request]

Ain’t she cute?  🙂

Happy birthday, Gurrrl, and may you have many more!