Striped Purple Crocus

(Toledo, OH) I also blogged about this beautiful flower on my main blog, but the image continues to fascinate me. I especially liked the contrast between the dark purple hues of the crocus petals with the almost fluorescent yellow of the plant's stamen.

Of course, many folks cannot be bothered by wandering around among the flowers, and they spend more time shopping for insurance deals on sites like estatecarinsurance.com. Don't get me wrong: saving money is important, but I would rather walk barefoot through the crocuses any day of the week.

Then again, I am far from the typical American consumer, as my idea of "great deal" usually involves a shirt or pair of pants I picked up at a resale shop.

Early Spring Crocus

(Toledo, OH) The arrival of crocus blossoms might not signal the end of springtime frosts, but they are certainly a sign of warmer weather ahead. Over the past day the crocuses in my yard have begun to bloom, and the sight of natural bright colors from plant life in my yard is long overdue.

We are hopeful that the crocus plants will be able to survive the pounding that they will undoubtedly take from our dogs. So far the canine residents have not been interested in digging up the crocus bulbs, though I think we lost a few over the winter to hungry rabbits and squirrels. Unfortunately, there are no provisions for funeral costs after the untimely demise of such plants, but such is the gardening life.



Venetian Blind Snafu

(Bowling Green, OH) In yesterday's warm early spring sunshine my university office became insufferably hot, and I needed to open the blinds and the window to let in some fresh air. The building in which I work is still programmed for winter weather, and of course there is nothing better than a blast of spring air to clear the mind.

As I prepared to leave, the blinds would not close, and it took me 10 minutes to figure out why. It turns out that a small piece of string became trapped in the window as I closed it, and no matter how hard I tugged, the blinds were not going to move.

I certainly did not find that a PhD was of much use in this snafu.

Ripped Jeans

(Toledo, OH) I know that ripped jeans can be the height of fashion in some circles, but growing up ripped jeans meant one thing: you are poor. It was with significant sadness, then, that my favorite pair of jeans wore through and developed a hole.

Now, some of you are suggesting that a visit to the weight loss website http://www.weightlossprogram.net is in order for me, and perhaps you are right, but this particular hole is due to wear-and-tear, not my prodigious abdomen.

So there.

First Crocus Sprouts

(Toledo, OH) I planted over a hundred crocus bulbs last fall, and I have been impatiently awaiting their arrival this spring. I feared that the heavy traffic from my canine friends might have disturbed their underground gestation, but today I witnessed the first shoots pop up from the ground.

Soon my yard will be fat with spring flowers, though not the type of obesity that would lead a person to seek out natural fat burners. More crocus pics are sure to come!


Waning Crescent Moon

(Toledo, OH) When I first owned my Kodak digital camera I spent many nights taking pictures of the moon in its many phases, and after hundreds of photographs I managed to develop some techniques that produced images of respectable quality. I later grew bored with this photographic subject and moved on to other items to photograph.

I recently viewed the moon on a clear night in the countryside and I decided to set up my tripod for some moon pics. I liked this one the best, and with the help of adjusting the contrast via the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) I touched up my efforts.

The moon, of course, does not need to worry about covering its dark circles, though you can visit the http://www.darkcircle-s.com website if embarassing dark eye circles plague you. :-}

Heavenly Rays

(Toledo, OH) My eyes drifted up to the skies yesterday to appreciate both the unseasonably warm weather and the arrival of a few aesthetically pleasing clouds. I enjoyed a few minutes of cloud-watching when the sun made one of those inspiring emerging-from-the-darkness appearances.

I did not experience any moments of heavenly insight, but the moment was extremely pleasurable nonetheless. No thoughts of fat burner reviews or tax form websites or the screechy kid down the block howling at his mother: just peaceful repose on a lazy spring afternoon.


More Spring Sprouts

(Toledo, OH) The sudden turn from winter to spring here in Northwest Ohio created some interesting photographic opportunities. The sprouting plants in this image are lilies, and their appearance next to what remains of a five-foot high snow mound is striking. The effect is almost like looking at a receding glacier.

The warm weather almost makes me yearn for a couple of Nascar jackets to strut around in, except for the fact that I am pretty clueless about stock car racing.

Toledo Recycling Container

(Toledo, OH) On your left is an example of the heavy duty recycling containers the City of Toledo purchased for residents to deposit their recyclable items in. No longer do we have to separate the various cans, cardboard, and newspapers from each other, and this separation now takes place at a city facility.

I suppose the downside to the reduction in refuse workers will cause some folks to consider a Tampa job search in order to provide for their families, but with a projected $45 million deficit, I cannot fault the city for trying to cut costs.


First Spring Sprouts

(Toledo, OH) While walking around and surveying the backyard today I notice that the first plants have started to emerge in my gardens. I am not sure what these green shoots are, though, as I have a wide variety of perennials planted in this garden.

They could be irises, lilies, tulips, or daffodils, or perhaps even crocuses. All I know for certain is that this section of horticulture is not a significant source of certified diamonds.

I now have renewed hope that spring is well on its way, and I look forward to getting back outside and working in my gardens.


Rescue Dog

(Toledo, OH) I also blogged on my main website about Shadow, a terrier mix that we are fostering. He is a handsome little guy between four and five years of age whose former owner had to turn him over to a local shelter after life circumstances forced her to relocate.

Shadow is a friendly fellow who doe not bark much, and he appears to be housebroken. He is a bit skittish when he fist meets people, and he wanted to hide under my kitchen sink when he first arrived. He is starting to warm up now, and he gets along well with the other dogs in the house.

To learn more about adopting Shadow, or if you want to financially contribute to Planned Pethood's mission to rescue dogs and cats in Northwest Ohio, visit the Planned Pethood website for more information.


Chorus of Grackles

(Toledo, OH) I had to walk a mile to pick up a car from the repair shop this morning, and I was encouraged to hear the sound of songbirds in my neighborhood. Over the course of the winter many of the birds in my area migrate southward, and only the hardiest birds remain for the entire winter in Northwest Ohio.

I am not sure if the common grackle migrates much in this area - we are near the border of regions in which there is some migration among grackles. However, I can say that I have heard very few grackles this winter.

At least until this morning.

I passed a tree that was filled with grackles, and they engaged in a variety of calls. This ranged from the loud "gate-screech" call to some more tuneful whistles, and the result was an impressive cacophony of noises from the hundreds of grackles in the tree. I doubt that they were discussing motorhome towing, but you never know: I did not see what manner of travel they used when they arrived.

Engine Work

(Toledo, OH) The sun paid a visit yesterday to Northwest Ohio, and I enjoyed a few minutes of warm rays as I engaged in some minor repairs on an old Toyota my kid drives. Unfortunately,
auto insurance typically does not cover such items as batteries and battery cables, though road service is usually a smart investment in an insurance policy.

At least the kid was thankful for my efforts to keep the car drivable. I ended up taking it to the repair shop for some additional repairs that were beyond my patience, like the rear window that fell off the roller guide.