The good idea

July 31, 2021

Yesterday I had what was thought, a good idea. Slide a new memory card into the camera and get some great pictures of different birds and wildlife. Guess the critters didn’t get the memo because we couldn’t find any wildlife to shoot. So we’ll share what pictures we did take.

This weed with the dead leaf stayed still long enough that we got this shot. The weed didn’t move much after the picture either but we were on a quest to find some wildlife and moved on. It was still there when we came back too.

Been seeing spider webs and this one caught my eye. Don’t remember seeing spiders around the webs so perhaps the feral cats took up a new hobby. Either that, or they ate the spiders after the webs were finished. We’ll keep looking and hopefully see a spider, or cat that looks like he’s grinning.

We shared another spider web shot because this one reminded us of the new bridge going up across the Mississippi River. At least we thought it looked like a bridge. Whatever it looks like to you may not be the same as our vision.

And we did see a critter, albeit a small one. This Monarch butterfly flew over my head and made me think I’d missed the shot. Then it landed about 10 feet away and the camera was ready. This one looked to be a fine specimen. Managed to get 2 shots before it flew off again.

We’ll end with another plant that didn’t run away as we got closer. Some days we’re luckier than others. This one had the little white blooms you see in this picture and we’re not sure if it’s a weed or flower yet still think it looks interesting enough to keep around. No plants or spider webs were harmed during this photoshoot.

Enjoy our Saturday. Now for some coffee and chips. Comments are always welcome.

Odds and ends

July 30, 2021

Got the errands run and finished looking up at the smoke filled sky so now we’ll share a few pictures taken yesterday. Now, in no particular order, here are few pictures that may be different from what we usually post..

This robin was atop an old dead tree nearby and he sure was staring at something. With him being about 100 feet in the air we didn’t have his perspective on things to see what he was looking at. Thought it interesting that the wind made his head look like a jay.

We had a half inch of rain overnight and saw that some leaves hold onto the water better than others. This is something we noticed a long time ago but it still amazes us. For some reason the rain drops on the leaf to the right look green themselves in this unedited picture.

The rain did strange things to the spider webs in the bushes also. The drops look suspended as if we caught them dripping, we did not. Small strands of the web are holding the water drops in place. Not for everybody but we like it. We took about 5 shots at different settings and thought this one was the best.

The heat index, or whatever they call it, was over 100 degrees yesterday. While out looking for a Kodak moment we noticed fluffy under the wifes car trying to keep cool. Must have worked for him as he stayed under there most of the day. After we took this shot we noticed 3 more cats underneath the car but didn’t want pictures of just paws and tails. At least we’re starting a cool down today with lower humidity.

Finally, this beauty flew over heading east. While we’re no longer on the flight path occasionally we do see a stray. Don’t know the type of plane but do know it was fast. Thank God for fast shutters. Normally when someone flies over our little part of eastern Iowa it is a Med Flight helicopter in route to a nearby hospital. They make more noise than the jets.

Enjoy our Friday, and the pictures. Now for more coffee and some donut holes. Comments are always welcome.

Why is it?

July 29, 2021

Feeling much like the cat pictured above, and having had some coffee this morning, thought it time to get busy and get this post out. Been hearing things lately that leave me grinding my teeth while my blood pressure goes up, so will address a few of them here.

No secret the covid vaccine has been in the news lately with the talking heads proclaiming that those of us who don’t want said vaccine are knuckle dragging troglodytes with a very low IQ. What I don’t get is the same people who keep telling we have to get the shot say nothing about the many thousand untested immigrants who cross our southern border weekly. Shouldn’t testing be a prerequisite for admittance?

Then some say these untested masses are flown, or bussed, to other states and cities and placed in motels. How many of these people have the virus and is that the reason for the spike in cases in different areas? If it is necessary for us to get the vaccine to help our fellow Americans it should be just as important for the illegal immigrants.

Something else sticking in my craw is this whole idea that anyone who disagrees with this administration is shouted down, called an idiot, and basically ignored. Case in point is gas prices. Read a newsletter online that stated Biden was responsible for the rising gas prices and the comments were over 99% against the piece and stating the the President doesn’t set gas prices and stop blaming him.

Okay. But who shut down the pipeline and revoked oil leases by executive order? Media covered it and claimed it was about time someone stuck it to Big Oil. And didn’t Biden, again by executive, start pushing more ‘green’ energy. What a hoot. We could go on but like the cat, we’re running out of steam.

Enjoy our Thursday. Now for more coffee and some Corn Pops. Comments are always welcome.


July 28, 2021

Was going back and forth over which of two posts to use today and noticed time slipping away when I stopped to get more coffee. So we’ll go with plan B. The following are some pictures taken yesterday and include the smoke from a fire. Our fire department had training at a house about a quarter mile away and when done they burned the house down. Only took around an hour for the house to go. The tree tops at the bottom of the pictures are old growth trees not hedges!

While this was going on the critters here were out and totally ignoring the fire, smoke, and noise. It turned into a hot day yet the critters were still out.

I believe this is a house wren and he sat on a power line long enough for us to get this shot. He was looking around like he was King of all he surveyed. Looked right at us and didn’t flinch.

Got this shot just as he was lifting off to go elsewhere to do his bird activities. Not sure where he went, but he was in a hurry to get there. When he left he didn’t come back so we’re glad we got the pictures. For being so common, these birds are fun to watch and hard to miss.

Finally, saw this woodpecker in an old oak tree and got some pictures and this is our favorite. In the others he was almost hidden by the branches he was trying to put holes in. We usually see this guy in the early morning and that bright head really helps us find him in the branches.

So there’s a few more pictures as we’re still downsizing some of the pictures from yesterday. We hope you like them. Enjoy our Wednesday as we’re now halfway through the week. Now for more coffee and some pizza. Comments are always welcome.

Late again

July 27, 2021

As the saying goes, ‘the road to Hell is paved with good intentions’. Or something like that. The day started out as usual, the critters got fed and watered, and I grabbed the camera to see if there were any pictures to had this morning. There were.

Got pictures of different birds, different cats, a Monarch buttery, and more before 7 am rolled around. The wife came home from work and while watching local news we heard a house not too far away was going to be burned to the ground. Turns out the fire department was doing training with the empty house and when the training ended they would burn it down.

So I changed batteries in the camera and headed back outside to see if any interesting smoke could be seen. While waiting a few more birds were willing to pose for the camera along with another cat. But once the dark smoke started rising it was all bets off.

240+ pictures of just the smoke later I realized how much time had passed and quit taking pictures to come back inside and do this post. Uploading and downsizing said pictures come next. So while we are sorry about being late we feel it was worth it. Will be interesting to see how the smoke shots turn out as while shooting the smoke I saw dragons, pirates, zombies, angels, and a dog in the patterns of the smoke.

If the pictures turn out to our liking we’ll share a few of the ones we think are the best. If they don’t turn out, we will not be happy campers. Enjoy our Monday and keep cool. Now for some coffee and pizza. Comments are always welcome.

Playing with the camera

July 26, 2021

Before we show the pictures we feel an explanation is due about the pictures below, and all taken before my eye surgery in September. Since my cataracts get in the way of manual focusing I now use auto-focus and as much as I don’t like doing that have found it isn’t such a bad thing after all. In this post I’ll to try to explain a little about what some manual settings do and show the picture in each instance. I’ll do this on the pictures of the moon as then I was just playing with the camera.

These pelicans are a sight to see if you live near water and are lucky enough to have them around. Went out yesterday and didn’t see much to take a picture of until I glanced to the north and noticed these critters circling around in a cloudless sky. Could watch these birds flying for hours if there were more hours in a day.

The two pelicans above gained a friend and while they weren’t as symmetrical were still fun to watch. They must have had a destination in mind yet took their time getting there. And we aren’t complaining as we got see these big birds dancing their ballet that much longer. Now a short primer on manual settings.

These three pictures of the moon were taken one after the other and the only thing we changed is shutter speed so you can judge for yourself the difference the settings make. All three were shot at an ISO of 320 and at F 4.5 with the difference being shutter speed. In this picture the settings were shutter speed 1/160 of a second, aperture was F 4.5, and an ISO of 320.

This second one, which I think shows more detail was shot at a shutter speed of 1/250 of a second, aperture F 4.5, and an ISO of 320. None of these pictures have edited, photoshopped, or altered, except to make them smaller. We make them smaller as at full size the pictures come in at around 10 MB.

This last picture had a shutter speed of 1/400 of a second, an aperture of F 4.5, and the ISO was 320. Looking at the three pictures now, I still like the middle one as I think it shows more details. The finished picture is more of personal taste as to which one you prefer. The settings mentioned are not meant to be guidelines for taking of the moon as it isn’t the same every time we see. Several things can affect the outcome and sometimes we get lucky.

Finally, another shot of a flower that grows along the alley in some weeds. It may be a coneflower, but don’t quote us on that as we know just enough to be dangerous if taken as an expert. We hope you liked the pictures and our explanation of how changing settings can alter a pictures look.

Enjoy our Monday if you woke up breathing and our condolences if you didn’t Now for some coffee and roll. Comments are always welcome.

Sunday snicker

July 25, 2021

An eighty-five year old couple, married for almost sixty years, died in a car crash and went to the Pearly Gates.
They had been in good health for the last ten years, mainly as a result of the wife’s interest in healthy diets and exercise.

St. Peter welcomed them into Heaven and took them to their small palace in heaven- complete with a large bedroom, Jacuzzi, full kitchen, and billiards table. “How much will this cost us?” asked the husband. “Nothing,” St. Peter responded. “This is Heaven- everything is free!”

Next, he took them to the Championship golf course just minutes away from their mansion. They would have golfing privileges whenever they wanted, an angel as a caddy on command, and the course even changed daily to represent the most elite courses on Earth. “This is… stupendous,” the wife asked. “What are the green fees?” Again, St. Peter said “Nothing. This is Heaven- everything is taken care of.”

Next, he took them to the equivalence of a five-star restaurant next to the course. Wagyu beef, prime rib, lobster, veal, salmon, rare vegetables and spices- all one could eat.

“How much-“

“Again, free,” St. Peter responded to the wife. “This is Heaven.”

The husband paused. “Well… this is all nice, but… do you have any low cholesterol, low-fat options…?”

St. Peter chuckled. “In Heaven, you don’t have to worry about Earthly problems. You will never get fat and you will never get sick.”

Suddenly, the husband grew angry, and screamed toward the sky. St. Peter and the man’s wife tried calming him down, but he kept getting angrier.

“What’s the matter???” the wife asked. “Why aren’t you happy here???”

The man responded, “This is all YOUR fault!!! If it weren’t for your frigging ‘bran muffins’ and ‘paleo chicken’ recipes, we could have been here 10 years ago!!!”

They’re off!

July 24, 2021

They helicopters are flying over to cover it, the police have led the runners, and they’re off. Another Bix 7 is underway. This annual 7 mile foot race has many participants and probably just as many spectators every year. Except last year which was a virtual race.

This causes a problem for people in our area as we only have one entrance and exit during said race that one must detour about 4 miles to even begin to use. Yes, it is a Saturday, yet some people work the weekend and have the added miles on their commute. Some say that’s a small price to pay for the benefits to our fine our city. These people do not live in the affected area and can afford to be so cavalier.

At the closest point this race comes within 3 city blocks of our house and we haven’t walked up there a single year. If you like to run, go for it. If you see me running call the cops because it means a big critter is trying to kill me. But I digress. In a few hours the streets will open up again. We’ll just stay home as we have all the fixing for ribs on the grill and will do just that later.

In one of my strolls outside this morning I noticed a cardinal and got a few pictures. Wished for more but the bird I saw just couldn’t keep still and ended up in the trees. If the pictures turn out we’ll share them Monday and if not, we may share them anyway Enjoy our Saturday and keep cool. Now for some coffee. Comments are always welcome.

Been thinking again

July 23, 2021

Yes, we’re late. Seems like every time we have good intentions life gets in the way. But now the errands are done and things that popped up needing attention are fixed, so here we go.

While out buying groceries we overheard an older gentleman talking to the chip guy and were surprised the chip guy acted surprised. The older gentleman said that prices were going to go up, shelves were going to be empty again, and there could be a food shortage. And I agreed. Perhaps not an actual shortage, but a big enough kink in the supply chain to make it appear so.

And if you watch some of the videos of Biden during a speech getting far off topic or sounding like he’s making a word cocktail, it isn’t hard to believe. So I’ll go out and see if there are any critters that want their portrait taken today and enjoy the solitude. It’s a lot better for my blood pressure and mood. It will be nice once my eyes are fixed and I can actually tell if I take a good picture or not.

Then we have the Olympics starting and the mass media will follow it around the clock. We will not watch a bunch of grown athletes take a knee during our National Anthem. When they made their choice we lost any respect we had for them. Much like when NASCAR went Woke, we have better things to do with our time.

But enough of that, enjoy our Friday as the weekend is here. Going to a hot one here so we’ll spend it inside as much as we can. Now for some coffee. Comments are always welcome.

Made a mistake

July 22, 2021

Yesterday in the post I stated that there were no critters to take pictures of and it seems a mistake was made. When out later this mistake was recognized and corrected.

In that post we mentioned we haven’t seen a monarch butterfly that would sit still long enough to let us get a picture. As you can see, that changed yesterday. Went outside on a whim and noticed the butterfly on the grass but didn’t have the camera, so went back inside to get it. When back out we noticed the butterfly was gone but found it on a nearby plant. This is one critter we can now say we have seen this year.

Don’t know if dead bugs count as critters or not. It just looked almost mechanical laying on its back atop the garbage bin. As you can see it almost looks like something from an alien type movie or something. Yes we knew it was dead yet can’t deny we found it interesting.

These two starlings were posed at the top of the old pine tree and while not super clear, we took the shot. Could have edited it to straighten the tree yet if you know the tree you know it looks like this. It just isn’t straight at the top.

Finally, a few crows came back around yesterday to let us know they haven’t forgot us. Still don’t know how they can make so much noise. So critters did come out yesterday, it was just later than expected. All these pictures were shot with auto-focus and will continue to be until my eyes get fixed.

Enjoy our Thursday as it’s another day we can add to our memories. Now for some coffee. Comments are always welcome.