Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Where does the time go?

"Nothing lasts forever - not even your troubles"

----Arnold H Glasgow

Monday, September 25, 2006

Dog days (actually evenings)

Christine took a few shots of the dogs that I could not resist posting. It has been some time since I gave them a little blog time. That is Tucker's favorite toy...a little stuffed Hedgehog.
Bear is tough to get a good picture of. Christine's folks sometimes refer to him as the absence of light.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Rainy Sunday Mornings are Good

It rained heavily last night, but the dogs were up at 7:00 am and so was I. We had about a half hour for our walk prior to the rain starting up again. The break provided some really nice morning light. I have lived a lot of cool places (and some not so cool ones...extended college life has a way of exposing one to the dark side of housing), but the view here may just be the best yet.
This little guy has the common name of green stink bug which is totally unfair. The scientific name is Nezara viridula. The bug was well camouflaged against the Tulip poplar leaf.
Some early morning fall color.
The corn was harvested last week and in the morning light the stalk residue was a rich gold color.
By the time we returned the rain had started again.
You can tell that Christine waxes her car regulary :-)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Random Saturday

This morning I participated in Clean Sweep. Haywood County has an interesting watershed. No water flows into it via stream and everything leaving the county exits only via the Pigeon River.

This means that if water quality is poor there is no one to blame but us, the residents. That does not stop controversy and finger pointing, but it does limit the number of accusations considerably and gives attorneys a few less scraps to fight over.

During Clean Sweep about 25 volunteers cleaned about 2 miles of Richland creek. My team consisted of myself and seven Forestry and Wildlife Management students from the college. We probably pulled about 600 lbs of crap from the waterway including 2 tires, a wallet (with a NC drivers license and social security card), a wooden pallet, 50-60 beer cans, a 15' X 15 foot carpet, part of the front end of an old car, and about a zillion plastic grocery bags. When I am given the choice for plastic or paper from now on I am going paper! I know there are environmentally sound reasons to make either choice, but that plastic just hangs in the plants on the bank for eternity.

The clean up wasn't nearly as bad as I expected. The stream was remarkably clean considering it runs through downtown. Areas near bridges were the worst. The few people around who still chuck garbage in the stream apparently don't like to walk and tend to pull up next to the bridge and throw their trash over.

Since several of the folks on my blog roll regularly post reviews of the yummy food they have recently eaten I thought I would entice them with the image above from Waynesville. The same Citgo also serves Cappuccino, fried chicken and pizza, so there is something for everyone.
I took this shot after Christine and I got back from a late coffee and early lunch at Panacea. I just took it from the car window. I liked the angles.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

My kind of hero...

OK, well Stain Boy can't be described as super in any sense of the word. I know we have some real comic book afficionados in this blog circle. I just finished a quirky little book by Tim Burton. The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories is a collection of odd tales told in verse and includes great characters like Mummy Boy, VooDoo Girl, Anchor Baby, and of course Stain Boy.

If you like Burton movies you must give this book a spin. You won't be disappointed. It had me cracking up and admiring Burton's genius.

There are also some Shockwave animations highlighting some of the characters at Burton's website (scroll down).

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Weekend Shots from Waynesville

I took some time on Sunday to get some shots around town that I had been wanting to capture for a few weeks. This is the old drive-in. I would love to find a shot of it in operation to post a comparison.
This is what I think was a furniture factory in better days. It sets on the edge of one of the main entrances to town right next to a Vet's office. Makes me wonder what a hub of activity it must have been at one time.
Plants, weather, vandalism, and time are slowly reclaiming it now.
Too bad someone didn't find a better use for it prior to it reaching this state of disrepair.
Finally, the few remaining Tobacco growers in the area began harvesting. This Burley was cut by one worker and then speared on the stake by a second worker. I am told that the correct term is that the worker "spuds" the plant on the stick. I am not a huge tobacco fan, but my grandfather grew it and so I enjoy seeing it around.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Foggy Mountain Morning

I got up this morning and walked the dogs. It was unusually misty and foggy...even for here. Near the end of our regular walk there are three donkeys. Their ears always stand up when they see Bear approaching. I had this great plan for a shot with the donkeys kind of fading into the foggy backdrop. I rushed home to get me camera and drop off the dogs. Great plan, but it turns out that these donkeys absolutely love people. As soon as I walked back without the boys, they cantered over for pets and a closer look at what I was up to. Oh well...I'll have to wait and try that one again.
On the way back from the donkeys I saw this web and the Black and Yellow Argiope (ar-GUY-oh-pee) waiting behind. This is the spider that is at the center of the old southern myth that if you see your initials in the spider's web you will be dead in three days...looks like I am still safe at the moment. That story must have horrified kids with M,V, W, N, and O's in their initials. I can imagine around Halloween, with an overactive imagination, you might be able to see anything in there.
One of neighbors is into natives and has some beautiful staghorn sumacs on his property. The fruit is a fantastic color in the fall.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Does your dog bite?

This little guy just looks like he got a bad rap. He didn't even bark when I took the picture. I guess that is how he gets the unsuspecting.
The whole scene made me think of Peter Sellers...

Friday, September 15, 2006

Celebrating another gardening season...

I came across this photo as I desperately try to stay ahead of meta data for the photos I took this year (losing battle I am afraid). I took this early in the spring. Christine has been doing a lot of gardening while I mow. A little blurry, but on a second look during archiving I really liked it.On another note it looks like JamesF's 15 minutes of fame are not quite over yet (lookout Warhol). These numbers are conservative. The maximum visit time was set to only 1 hour as James suspected (I just changed it to 6). However, even if these are inflated by 25% we are still getting some fairly regular traffic. Pretty cool. I agree with Bullbunky...the comments have been so much fun to read...most really brighten my day.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Somebody is watching you...

I took a picture of one of my coworkers and started cropping until I got to this image. I thought it was a little spooky. He is actually sitting across from my desk chatting, but you would never know it from the eyes...looks like they belong in a horror movie trailer.

....the phone is ringing
....don't answer, whatever you do, don't answer ;-)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Touch of Fall in the Mountains

This is our first fall in Western North Carolina and as I was walking around campus I noticed that some early signs were here. The dogwood above has just begun to turn in the last week.
There are also berries of every description ripening. Kind of nice to get an elongated fall season. The cold weather appeared much quicker most years in Vermont and fall often turned to winter overnight. The seasons are changing at a much more peaceful pace here. It brings back great memories of my time in Blacksburg.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Day of the Dahlias

One of the growndskeepers at the colllege has been collecting Dahlias for years and she even formed a Dahlia society to help with maintaining the cultiver collection. Just about all of them are in full summer glory right now.
It was slightly overcast with little or no wind, so I took advantage of the conditions to try and capture some color and texture.
The range of colors and forms is mind boggling. She has over 200 cultivars in one location.

Every now and then, I actully hold the camera steady enough to get a good macro shot. This little grasshopper was even more beautiful close up. Look at those eyes.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Going Bananas

It's Friday and I suspect many of us are glad. Inbetween teaching at the end of the week I try to continue to archive pictures and add metadata (Adobe Bridge is awesome...but the new Adobe Lightroom Beta has been recommended to me, so I might have to try that out.)

Anyway, I came across this cool new little banana cultivar at a trade show called the 'Little Prince' for obvious reasons. Plant breeders are so creative. Have an awesome weekend.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Well here are the most recent stats for Strangers Among Us. Not to shabby for a holiday weekend. I think it is the most fun I have had in sometime on the Internet. Thanks again to the group for making this happen. Everybody played an important role for this to all happen. It has been pretty cool to watch the cluster map to.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Daily Grind

The Coffee Cup Cafe is about 1/2 mile from campus and everyday around 10:00 a.m. a few of us head over and get our daily dose. They make an excellent mocha and a mean grilled chicken casear sandwich.

I would have posted this to Strangers Among Us, but these folks know me all to well to count as strangers. It is amazing how much money one can spend on coffee...but money well spent I say ;-)

Monday, September 04, 2006


Our soon to be 8-year-old lab (in October) Tucker loves to sit out on the 2nd floor deck and make a rabbit count while basking in the sun. I was inside grading papers and thought he couldn't look anymore pleased with his place in the world.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Time on my mind

Been thinking quite a bit about the passage of time lately. ..probably because I will be turning 40 in about 18-months and early next spring Christine and I will be welcoming our first child into the world. Waynesville/Asheville is a big retirement area, so 40 seems relatively young, but I saw this entrance sign to a now defunct motel in town...that apparently was a hot spot 40 years ago.
Time to do the things I enjoy most also seems to be difficult to find...even when I am organized. I am not sure where it all goes. I enjoy my work for the most part and I enjoy my time off to. It just always seems like there is more I would like to do...if only the days were a bit longer or I did not have to sleep :-)

Friday, September 01, 2006

Thanks to JamesF Strangers Among Us HITS Big Time

So I finally got to my e-mail today. Friday, I have class and lab and there were also some meetings and a large display I had to help move (includes a stuffed owl, fox, 1/2 a skunk, and a red tail hawk...but that is a story for another day).

Turns out JamesF submitted our blog (Strangers Among Us) to be reviewed as a Blog of Note and it was chosen. Also I had my e-mail in there from the first days of the blog to have comments e-mailed to my mailbox was a little full this afternoon :-) Most people seem to dig the blog theme and some of the comments have been downright complimentary.