A blog about a first-time house owner learning to maintain his backyard, and thoughts about nature, science, history, and life.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Picture of the Day: August 30, 2013

The sun setting over north central Pennsylvania, from the Welcome Center on Route 15 in Tioga, PA.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Picture of the Day: August 29, 2013

I'm having trouble with my camera's memory card right now, so I've been using my phone for photos lately, and the quality isn't as good.  I was way out a door yesterday when I noticed a grasshopper just chilling on the door.  I shot a couple of quick, poor-quality photos.  If only I had a working camera...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Picture of the Day, August 28, 2013: Sunset Over Schoellkopf

The sun sets on Schoellkopf Field, Cornell University, as it also sets on summer for the students.  Today was Cornell's first day of classes.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Picture of the Day: August 27, 2013

I returned home after teaching yesterday (this was up in Brockport) and I saw some ducks - maybe the same ducks that I saw in the park yesterday morning - in the parking lot having a drink.  Sorry for the photo quality...the iPhone's shots aren't the best, and I'm having a little trouble with my camera right now.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Picture of the Day: August 26, 2013

It was a rainy morning in Brockport.  The students come back and it starts to rain.  Blame the students, not the meteorologists.  Anyway, the ducks didn't seem to mind!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Picture of the Day: August 23, 2013

I planted [or, rather, my mom planted] a few dahlias in front of the house, and a couple of them have finally opened up!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Picture of the Day: August 22, 2013

There's a park a couple of blocks down the street from my apartment in Brockport.  Today, as I passed the park on my way into the office, I spotted a member of one of my favorite bird species.  You probably can't see him in the photo above, but you can definitely see him here:

This great blue heron cautiously eyed me as I laid down my backpack to get my camera, then took these few photos.  He held his ground, but I'm sure that if I tried to get too close, he would have flown away.

Of course, Cornell has its own Great Blue Herons; you can check in on them here.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Picture of the Day: August 21, 2013

The photo above is alongside my shed in Freeville.  Guess who poked his head out a minute later to see if the coast was clear:

Yup, my resident groundhog, Bill.  Well, this might actually be one of Bill's new offspring.  I'm hoping they will soon find homes a little farther from home.  But while you're here, Bill, or Bill Jr....do you have a prediction for next winter's weather?

Apparently, he was avoiding the question.  Here's a one-minute, twelve-second staredown that we had...until I moved and scared him back into his hole.  To make it more interesting, I've condensed it down to 10 seconds:

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Picture of the Day: August 20, 2013

I'll be spending part of my time in Brockport, NY as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Meteorology for the next few months, so you'll be seeing content from around the Brockport/Rochester area as well as from the Freeville/Ithaca area.  The photo above shows the Main Street drawbridge over the Erie Canal looking toward the east (roughly).  The photo was taken near sunset; you can see the moon rising in the upper right.

I'm experimenting with photo editing.  Here's the same shot, but with some adjustments to accentuate the greens, blues, and reds in the photo above; notice how, for example, the yellow lights become white:

And the photo below shows an adjustment to the "temperature" setting so that only the "pure" greens, blues, and reds are accentuated.  The "Brockport" sign, flags, and red brick building stand out.  Leave a comment: which one do you prefer?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

August 8-9 Flash Floods: Robert H. Treman State Park

My next stop on my Ithaca flash flood tour last Friday (after Freeville, Ithaca Falls, Downtown Ithaca, and Buttermilk Falls) was Treman State Park, a hidden gem just a few miles south of Ithaca.  I only checked out the lower part of the park, but I heard that upper portions of the gorge trail had been washed out.  The spillway across Enfield Creek was a little more of a raging torrent than a peaceful spillway on this day.  No wading, and also no driving.  Piles of downed branches had accumulated all over the lower park, but especially right near the spillway:

Treman Park is one of Ithaca's many gorges (not the best photo):

The debris was piled pretty much everywhere.  The Enfield Creek watershed must have had more rainfall than some of the other area creeks.  The creek had clearly spilled well out of its banks from Thursday night into Friday morning:

Debris was also accumulated along the creek's edge:

But also well above the creek:

Though the floodwaters had subsided quite a bit - given the debris line, it must have been running awfully high - the normally peaceful stream was still raging.

Not a good day to go for a swim:

In addition to the branches and tree trunks, mud was everywhere, and the clean-up was already underway:

I'm guessing that the wagon was there to help haul the tree trunks and branches away:

The Lower Falls, the smaller of two main waterfalls in the park (though there are several), were impressive:

You can see that the pool below the falls is nestled within a scenic gorge:

In contrast to the peaceful scene above, the falls:

All of the water was diverted around the swimming area:

No need for a lifeguard today:

Some more shots of the falls:

And some more of the debris:

I don't think anyone was planning to use the diving board:

On the way back to my car, I stopped to look at some flowers, which seemed to be enjoying all of the rainfall:

And the bees were enjoying the flowers.  In the face of flooding, life goes on.

I stopped on my way out to take photos of some debris near the park entrance.  This was a hundred or two hundred feet from the creek:

And before our last stop on the flash flood tour tomorrow, here's a video showing the awesome power of water: