10/30/2007

Comet 17P/Holmes

(Toledo, OH) Yes, this image is mostly a fuzzy blur, but I make no claims of being a particularly skilled photographer. Comet 17P/Holmes is normally far too faint to be seen without a telescope, but a recent explosion on the comet has increased its visibility by over one million times.

For the next few nights, the best time to see the comet is around 8:00 pm EST. Look in the northeastern sky about 30 degrees above the horizon; if you know your nighttime sky, you will see the comet in the constellation Cassiopeia. Those of you who live near the Outer Banks will have the perfect location to see the comet from the beach.

Due to its distance from the sun, there is no tail on Comet 17P/Holmes. Be sure to head outside and see this once-in-a-lifetime sky show.

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10/29/2007

Fall Squashes

(Ida, MI) Nothing says "fall" to me like the arrival of gourds and squashes to roadside stands, like these beautiful vegetables I saw along Lewis.

In the bright mid-afternoon sunlight the colors were a bit muted, and I was too lazy to use an image-processing program to increase the saturation or play with the hue. Still, they look quite tasty, and I wanted to buy an entire trunkload with which to decorate my house.

Frugality, however, won in the end, just as the thought of a wild spending spree at Las Vegas hotels gets rejected when it pops into my pointy head.

10/27/2007

Harvest Time

(Ida, MI) I passed a field in lower Michigan recently that caught my eye, traveling as I was in between colleges. Clouds were rolling in from the west, but the sun still remained above and behind me.

I am not sure if this was land for sale, but it would not surprise me if this land was being marketed. Many farmers are finding that there is more money to be made by selling off sections of farmland to developers, and subdivisions seem to bloom overnight in Monroe County where once grew stands of wheat, corn, and soybeans.

10/26/2007

More Fall Leaves

(Toledo, OH) In the fall there are many beautiful colors to be found in Northwest Ohio, and these maple leaves were especially eye-catching in the late afternoon sun.

Fall is without a doubt my favorite season, and just based on the weather alone I would never have a desire to peruse Arizona luxury real estate.

But the beauty of trees in the fall is a natural wonder I would miss if I were to move from this area. Besides - how much sand and cactus can one person need, anyway?

10/22/2007

Sycamore

(Toledo, OH) The leaves on this tree lead me to believe that it is some sort of sycamore, but I was more intrigued with the colors of the leaves than the exact typology of the plant.

Radiating in the sun, the yellow and orange leaves created the impression that the tree was on fire, a blazing conflagration amidst neargy trees not yet so colorful.

And I will not be offended in the slightest if this image makes you think of horse riding apparel and long rides in the country on a Sunday afternoon in the fall.

10/20/2007

Foxglove Meadow

(Toledo, OH) Pictured on your left is a view from the west of Foxgole Meadow, a public space in West Toledo. If you look closely you can see the dozens of Mallard ducks that call the park home.

This is one of my favorite places to unwind, and I find a walk along the park's mile-long path to be an exercise in meditation. My kids, of course, would prefer that I invest my time, energy, and money in home theater popcorn machines, but there are simpler pleasures that offer greater rewards.

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10/19/2007

White-breasted Nuthatch

(Toledo, OH) I came across this White-breasted Nuthatch in Foxglove Meadow, a public park in West Toledo. The bird played hide-and-seek with me for a few minutes, scurrying around the trunk of this oak tree as I tried to take its picture.

I suspect that this bird has little interest in the availability of World Series tickets, despite the fact that the Cleveland Indians are but one game away from the Big Dance. After I left the nuthatch returned to its winter preparations, which might not include an extended stay in Toledo during the coldest months.

10/16/2007

Female Mallard Duck

(Toledo, OH) This solitary female mallard duck seemed to be gazing at its reflection in Tifft Creek on a balmy Monday afternoon in West Toledo. The rest of the flock of ducks, which numbers over one hundred individuals, took off when a city mowing crew was cutting the grass in Foxglove Meadow park.

10/15/2007

October Mums

(Toledo, OH) I came across a patch of fuschia-colored mums this afternoon on a walk with my dog, and I was taken aback by their brilliant burst of color on an otherwise drab October afternoon.

One might assume that such rich color can only be found in such an item as a manufactured animal inflatable, but natural beauty can be found in the most unlikely of settings, like alongside an urban side street, or sporuting next to a commercial dumpster.

Toledo Fire Hydrant

(Toledo, OH) During the first terms of Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, our city executive decided to order the repainting of all city fire hydrants to a dark green color with a white top. Alas, it turns out that the traditional bright red fire hydrants are more visible, and over the past two years the fire hydrants have been repainted.

Green. Red. Meet the new hydrant, same as the old hydrant.

Break out the home theater chairs, folks, and watch the hijinks in Toledo.

10/13/2007

'Nother Toledo Sunset

(Toledo, OH) The evening sky was especially colorful the other night, and my camera captured an atmospheric panorama that bore more resemblance to an impressionistic painting than an urban skyline.

Yes, you don't have to travel to distant locales such as Branson to find natural beauty. My only regret is that I fail to keep my camera with me everywhere I travel, because there is never an end to the aesthetic pleasures one can photograph.

10/11/2007

Leaves Have Fallen All Around

(Toledo, OH) I enjoy the fall colors and the dispersal of leaves from the trees, and there is a certain aroma in early fall unique to this season.

I have also found invigorating the cool breezes that wafted through my window the last few nights. Not that I am in the market for one, but I suspect that rehabs have fewer clients in the first few weeks of fall, as the heightened activity and more salubrious temperatures likely improve everyone's disposition.

10/08/2007

Storm Clouds Building

(Toledo, OH) We likely will not see showers or thudershowers until tonight, but the high heat and humidity are causing thunderheads to build.

I enjoy cloudwatching as a form of relaxation, and thunderheads are among my favorites. There is something impressive about these clouds, with stacked condensation extending up to several miles in height, and extreme cumulonimbus cloud formations can grow up to 15 miles in height.

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10/07/2007

Stonecrop Sedum

(Toledo, OH) Among my favorite perennials is the stonecrop sedum that reappears in one of my gardens every fall. The plant brings a long-lasting burst of colorful hues to my front yard at a time of year when outdoor colors consist mainly of the yellow, orange, and brown leaves blowing around the neighborhood.

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10/05/2007

Orange Sunrise

(Toledo, OH) The sun's rays began burning off the fog that descended on Northwest Ohio last night, and the clouds in the morning sky were especially colorful with the high levels of moisture in the air.

Had I been quicker to recognize the beauty of the morning sky, I would have captured more of the contrast between the brilliant midnight blue and red-orange hues.

We are experiencing a return of summer-like weather, a warming pattern that is expected to bring mid-80s temperatures through the weekend.

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10/04/2007

Peaches

(Erie, MI) On a recent trip to Erie Orchards, the atmosphere was redolent with the intoxicating aroma of ripe peaches, attracting both peach pickers and yellow jackets galore.

And yes - I was also reminded of the Presidents of the United States song "Peaches," although it was one of my children who recalled the tune:

Millions of peaches, peaches for me
Millions of peaches, peaches for free


While I did pay for my picked peaches, I must admit that I plucked a ripe peach from the tree and sank my teeth into a peach direct from the tree. There are few pleasures in life as satisfying as eating fresh-picked fruit, and the nectar of a savory peach in the fall is fructal ecstasy.

10/01/2007

Raindrops

(Toledo, OH) Grey skies and rain are found in abundance this afternoon in Northwest Ohio, and my mood matches the gloomy weather.

There are mornings in which I wake up feeling bright and cheery, and then there are mornings like today, a day in which I just wanted to stay in bed and listen to the rain on my rooftop.

Two cups of coffee failed to elevate me much beyond the category of "functional," but it was out the door and off to work. I'm just glad that this is not a day in which I have to lecture, as my creativity seems tepid at best.

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