August 2011


Spider on Sandogardy Pond

Spider on Sandogardy Pond


I was at Sandogardy Pond Saturday and saw this spider hanging out on the surface of the pond. I think it’s pretty cool the way they can take advantage of surface tension to walk on water.

In other news, I just wanted to say that I am astounded Vermont has not been getting more news coverage following TS Irene. In my blogroll I have a link to Little Bang Theory. I have been reading his blog for a year or two. He lives in Western MA near Southern VT, and he has some jaw-dropping photos of the devastation there. His account is heartbreaking.

Next month the Pathfinders are scheduled to have our annual Fall Camporee at Molly Stark State Park. We expect clubs from all over VT, NH, and ME. But I just don’t see how it’s possible that we will be able to camp at Molly Stark after looking at the photos. Google Maps has removed portions of route 9 in southern VT, because Irene has removed portions of it from the face of the earth. Molly Stark is on a closed section of that road (which is a major thoroughfare in that area).

There’s a chance that I will deploy with ACS after all. We do not have an agreement with the state of VT, so setting things up will take longer. Also, I don’t know what good a warehouse would do, since it is not possible to deliver goods to the stricken areas of VT via the roads. You can’t get there from here!

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9:12pm Sunday
Irene is finished here. There’s still a little rain and wind, but nothing major. We were getting a little cabin fever this evening, so Va and I went into Tilton for some takeout. There was a tree down in the road, so we had to take an alternate route. We brought dinner home, and afterwards, I drove to Concord to do some work on the school’s network. They will have school tomorrow, though most of the public schools cancelled classes (too far) in advance. I guess they’ll get to make that up in June.

2:31pm Sunday
We lost power for thirty minutes. I had just put on some water to make Ramen noodles. It had almost come to a boil when we lost power, so I went ahead and added the noodles and let them “coast” to the finish line. Then I forgot about them. They did cook, but they got a little squishy. Then power came back after less than a 30-minute outage. If this is the worst that happens to us, then we can count ourselves blessed.

1:43pm Sunday
Irene seems to have run out of steam. We never got more than a heavy downpour, so I guess we should count our blessings. Radar shows that most of the rain has passed to our North (even though the “eye” is to our southwest, coming up the NY/MA border.

10:00am Sunday, Aug 28, 2010
It’s raining pretty hard right now, but not more than it does during a good thunderstorm. It’s a bit windy, but not too windy. I’d guess 10-15 MPH and coming from the east. I put on my rain pants and rain coat and went out to get the paper. Penny came along too.

Kick the football?

Kick the football?


She brought me her football, so I kicked it a couple of times. I didn’t stay out long though.

8:30pm Saturday, Aug 27, 2011
We started hearing thunder here tonight a little after 8:00pm. I’ll try to update this page as the storm progresses (as long as I have power anyhow).

This evening when I got home I battened down the hatches. I moved some lawn chairs into the basement and stowed some of Beth’s yard toys under the deck. (Stowing under the deck and battening down hatches both sound nautical).

I also put away a few garden tools. Basically, I was looking for anything outside that would make a good missile and securing it.

Then I went out and picked more blackberries. I got about a quart I guess, but there are still a lot of red ones out there. If they survive the storm, I should get another gallon or so. I was surprised to find a spring peeper hopping along a blackberry cane and from leaf to leaf. It was about three feet off the ground. I had no idea they’d ever hang out in a blackberry patch, but there you go!

It’s not supposed to be terrible up here in New Hampshire. We’ve got CT, RI, and MA to blunt the force of the storm. Still, it could get nasty. We stocked up on food and made sure we have lots of water on hand. I think we’re good for a week with no power, and we can make do after that.

I am ready to deploy with ACS-DR in case we need to open a multi-agency warehouse. I’ve written here several times about training for that, and this will be my first deployment if we’re called out (and if I don’t have my hands full here). I might be able to work the warehouse for a week, but we’ll see. There’s no training like on-the-job training!

Unidentified Mushroom

Unidentified Mushroom


I found a couple of these in the woods this evening. I don’t know what they are with any confidence, but I sure think they look cool.

I found out yesterday that Beth and the neighbor kids have been catching frogs and keeping them in a 14 gallon tote out in the yard. They’ve been feeding them bugs. I went and had a look, and saw that the largest of them (a green frog, Rana clamitans) was not the picture of health:

R. clamitans with a diseased foot

R. clamitans with a diseased foot


Maybe I should call that a gangrene frog. I questioned her and found that they’ve had these frogs incarcerated for about a week. I told her that was not good for the frogs and pointed to this one as a prime example. After I took its portrait (fit more for an amphibian medical journal than for a blog), we took them the the catchment pond where they were captured and set them free.

They had three species in there, or maybe four. R. clamitans cell mates included a couple of American toads (Bufo americanus), two spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer), and perhaps a bullfrog – I couldn’t tell if they were bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) or green frogs, because they were pretty young and hadn’t developed ridges yet.

So it looks like the frogs are making a come back at my pond now that I don’t have neighbors draining it out on me or hiring pest companies to poison my yard. And I’ve told Beth I don’t mind if they catch frogs as long as they don’t keep them incarcerated over night. Catch and release girls!

Moon Wasp

Moon Wasp


This evening I walked the trail through my wood lot. As I emerged from the forest, I spotted a dead wasp, head-down in a white pine sapling. It looks like she was mooning someone when she expired.

There were several ripe blackberries near the mooning wasp, and I ate several handfuls before deciding to capture one that was growing near the ground:

Ripe and juicy

Ripe and juicy


Incidentally, I have a new favorite way to eat these. I put about a half cup of vanilla ice cream in a bowl and then add about a cup of blackberries. Then I cover the whole thing with some Orange Crush dessert topping (basically, a syrup). Man… that is good. I had another bowl of that tonight. My hope is that since the bulk of this is fresh blackberries, it’s basically good for me (sugar from the ice cream and syrup aside).

As I made my way through the yard to check out the catchment pond, this little pickerel frog leaped out of my path.

Pickerel Frog (Rana palustris)

Pickerel Frog (Rana palustris)


I think this is the first one of these I’ve seen this summer.
They aren’t nearly as common as American toads, green frogs, bullfrogs, wood frogs, or spring peepers. Those six species are the only frogs I’ve seen on my property.

I mid-identified the small furry mammal in Wednesday’s post, and I am super-embarrassed about that. In the back of my head, I had two names – ermine, and Neovision vision [sic]. I Googled Neovision vision which corrected it to Neovison vison, and when that turned up an American mink, I figured it was solved.

But it was not. I should have pursued the other name as well. An ermine is better known as a stoat, and has the binomial name Mustela erminea. In winter their coats turn white except for the tip of the tail, which remains black.

We saw one of these at the church a couple of years ago so I took several photos and sent one to Fish & Game for an id. And they said it was a stoat.

I organize my photos using a program called digikam (which is an open source package available for Linux, which is my preferred OS). It allows me to tag my photos, and I usually tag by binomial name. I already had a tag for Neovison vison, but there were no photos listed. This is not unusual, because sometimes I archive my photos to DVD to free up hard drive space. This is necessary, because I have taken 30,000 photos in the past three years. When I archive them away, the tags stay in digikam, but the photos disappear. If I bring them back onto my laptop, they show up still tagged.

I suspect N. vison was probably a mistaken tag from when I found the M. erminea, but when I saw the tag, I used that as confirmation.

And that was incorrect! I also have a tag for M. erminea, and here’s who I found under that:

Stoat (Mustela erminea)

Stoat (Mustela erminea)

Sorry for the mistake! I will be more careful from now on!

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