May 2012


Today, the Pathfinders met in a shopping center parking lot in Concord to assemble for our first Memorial Day parade. We fell in behind the Rundlet Middle School band, and I was pretty impressed by them. They were about a hundred strong, and they played very well. Their director stopped and said “Hi” to us before the parade started. He told us to be ready for a car to pull in behind the band. That was their water car. He offered to give us water if we needed it, and for that I was thankful. This being the first time I have ever been in charge of a group marching in a parade, I didn’t even think of that.

I was in band during my last year of high school and during my sophomore and junior years at Murray State. I have marched in far more parades than I have watched from the sidelines. But again, this was the first time I was in charge of the group with whom I marched, and that definitely offers a different perspective.

Cheryl, the director who preceded me came out for the parade too. She served as our drill instructor last year. David has been doing that this year, but he was sick today. As we set out, I called “column left march” when I meant “column right march.” Oops! Cheryl offered to call the commands, and I immediately and gratefully accepted her offer.

She did ask me when she should call “eyes right” which is when everyone except the rightmost column looks to the right while the director salutes. I told her I’d like to do it as much as we could. It is usually reserved for the reviewing stand, but I didn’t know if there would be one (and there wasn’t). Instead, she called “eyes right” every time we passed a veteran. They were easy to spot because they were wearing VFW hats (or similar), and they would remove them and salute the US Flag we were carrying. “Eyes right!” Both Cheryl and I would thank them for their service. It left a lump in my throat to think of what those guys had done for us.

The parade took about an hour, but it seemed like it was a lot shorter than that. I had enough flags so that about half the kids were carrying one. So I had them switch halfway through so they wouldn’t get too tired, and so that everyone would have a chance to carry one.

We had a new banner (thank you Darlene!) that two kids would carry, a US, Pathfinder, and NH State flag, plus four guidons. That’s nine flags, and ten of the kids showed up (the one flagless kid and the guidons carriers swapped with the banner and big flag carriers).

In no time, we arrived at the capitol and Rundlet started loading their instruments on their buses. Our group walked back to the shopping center, and that was pretty much it. Joy asked me if I could assemble the kids (she had some cookies she had baked for the Baking honor). So I did and I told them how proud I was of them, and that they looked fantastic. Then I turned them over to Joy. She had a surprise for me – a dozen cookies! She also had a batch of brownies for the rest of the club. I was totally not expecting that. 🙂

When I got home, Jonathan was outside mowing the front lawn. Usually he and David each mow half the yard, but with David under the weather, and since the parade didn’t even come close to wearing me out, I took David’s turn. I mowed more than the boys generally do, including my paths through the woods, the edge of the driveway, and some “wild” spots here and there. Plus the yard.

Then I went in for a bit of rest, but Penny wouldn’t have any of that. She wanted to play (and the mower terrifies her). So I took her for a walk down to Sandogardy Pond. And I took my resurrected camera with me.

Here’s some of what I saw (and I can’t tell you how glad I am to be able to share photos with you again).

False Solomon's Seal (Maianthemum racemosa) with a visitor

False Solomon’s Seal (Maianthemum racemosa) with a visitor


This was in my east woods along the freshly mown trail to the frog pond.
False Solomon's Seal (M. racemosa) sans visitor

False Solomon’s Seal (M. racemosa) sans visitor


This one was slightly more lonely.
Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)

Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)


The last time I went by this one, the light was failing and I didn’t have an operational tripod setup. This time the light was better and my tripod mount was fixed. It is a better result.

Indian cucumber root (Medeola virginiana)

Indian cucumber root (Medeola virginiana)


My camera was out of commission when I first noticed this was in bloom on Saturday. It was nice to be able to capture it today.

Blue-bead (or corn) lily (Clintonia borealis)

Blue-bead (or corn) lily (Clintonia borealis)


The blue-bead lily, aka corn lily, aka Clintonia borealis is too far along now for nibbling on the cuke-flavored leaves. But the flowers sure look nice.

A Quartet of Pink ladies slippers (Cypripedium acuale)

A Quartet of Pink ladies slippers (Cypripedium acuale)


I saw these four ladies slippers Saturday too, but couldn’t share them with you until today. Penny patiently waited for me to finish taking their portrait so I could throw her a stick.

The path through the logged field

The path through the logged field


This used to be a forest with a trail through it until the owner logged it. That broke my heart, especially since the loggers left such a mess behind. It’s hard to walk over all the sticks they left strewn everywhere, but I can’t really complain since it’s neither my property nor the public’s. As you can see, the forest is trying to re-establish itself again (and coming along nicely).

Star flower (Trientalis borealis)

Star flower (Trientalis borealis)


Most of the star flowers are finished now. I was surprised to see this one still looking so good. It’s probably the last one I will photograph until next spring.

Poison ivy blossoms (Toxicodendron radicans)

Poison ivy blossoms (Toxicodendron radicans)


Here’s one you don’t often see – poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) blossoms. I didn’t get too close, as I am most decidedly allergic to them.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tonight I picked up my camera again, perhaps out of desperation, and somehow turned it on. I did swap the memory card in it, so maybe that was it. I have no idea really. Thanks to everyone for their advice on overcoming my broken camera – I really appreciate it. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be able to take a few photos again.

Today was insanely busy. The Pathfinders had our annual yard sale. We moved a lot of stuff, but sales were a little off this year as compared to previous years. We also swept the parking lot, which is in fact my favorite fundraiser for the club – because it’s work the kids can do vs me and the rest of the staff doing most of it for them. Still, the yard sale and lot sweeping make for an exhausting day.

When we got home, Beth packed so she could spend the night with a friend (one of the Pathfinders). I drove her over and then came home and took a shower. Then I went through my photos from September until now (minus two days) so I could burn the Pathfinder pictures onto a disk and give them to one of the other staff members. She will turn them into a slideshow for our Investiture ceremony next Saturday.

Tomorrow we march in Concord’s Memorial Day parade. After that, I will have to take it easy for a bit.

This morning when we arrived at church, I thought I might take a peek in the canopy garage to see how much stuff had been donated for our annual Memorial Day yard sale. My intent was to take a photo so I could share that here. But my camera would not turn on. Thus the title of this post. :-/

Perhaps it was a bad idea to put the threaded insert into the tripod mount, or perhaps 40,000 pictures was all it could handle (that’s not an exaggeration). So now I find myself without a camera, unless I count my cell phone. But that has a pretty crappy camera in it, so I don’t really count it at all! I don’t know if I can fix it this time, if I’ll have to go without a camera for a while, or if I will get a new one soon. With the prospect of sending Jonathan to UNH this fall, this is not the best time for me to get a new camera.

When we got home I had some lunch and then figured I might take a nice nap. I figured I could slip under the covers for an hour or so between shedding my church clothes and donning my hiking clothes. But before I could manage that, my phone rang. Joy, one of my Pathfinders (who lives pretty close to my house) wanted to know if she and Beth could go bike riding. Well, I knew Beth would want to do that, and I was planning on doing something after the nap anyhow. So I swapped the order of the nap and the activity. Also, I thought it would be better to have an adult around – after all, the roads between my house and Joy’s has some dangerous traffic on it.

So I put on my hiking clothes, got the bike down, filled some water bottles, and Beth and I set out. It’s only 2.8 miles to Joy’s house. Then the three of us biked down to Sandogardy Pond. It was 81 degrees, and there were a lot of people there. I definitely understand why people like going to the pond, but I also like it a lot better when I’m the only one there. With the crowds comes the cigarette smoke and the country music. I let the girls wade for 15-20 minutes, and then we hopped on the bikes again and hit the trails in the town forest.

While we were near, we parked the bikes and then went and visited my Little Cohas Brook geocache. I had placed a travel bug in it back in March, but since no one has been there since, it has just sat there patiently waiting. I picked it up and will move it along as soon as I can.

We made our way back to the bikes, rode around the park for a little while, and then went back to Joy’s house. She gave us Klondike Bars (which were very much appreciated). Then Beth and I headed back home. I plotted our route on Google Maps, and figured that Beth and I put in about 8 miles all together.

Then I came home and had an abbreviated nap (it was nearly supper time). After supper, Penny was begging everyone to play with her, and I was feeling guilty for not taking her on the bike trip – but that’s such a hard thing to manage, especially when there is a road with dangerous traffic involved in the route. So David and I walked her down to Sandogardy.

There were fewer people there the second time around, which is fine by me. Penny had a great time chasing sticks, but I almost felt lost without my camera. I could see that the sheep laurel (Kalmia angustifolia) was almost ready to bloom, and the cucumber root (Medeola virginiana) already had. But no photos. The bunchberry (Cornus canadensis) is fully in bloom now too, but again… no photos.

How will I survive!

Most of these were around the front door of my house this evening. The one on the screen was on the back door though.

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It was a pretty muggy day here today. I took a walk around my woods with the pruners and a bow saw and widened up my path a bit. Beth has been riding her bike on the path, which is something I would like to see continue. One of these days I’ll get out there with the mattock too and move some of the high spots into the low spots. But for now, riding without getting slapped in the face by a branch will have to do.

Here are some shots I got today during my lunchtime walk.

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It has been a week since I posted anything, and since I don’t see any hope of recapping the past seven days with any kind of detail, I’m going to have to jump forward to the present.

But the quick recap is that I went to Spring Escape with Va and Beth last weekend, then haLd a Pathfinder meeting when we got back Sunday afternoon. I had a merit point make-up session on Tuesday, and I’ve hardly had time to sit down.

Pathfinder Investiture is coming up fast, and that’s always the most difficult aspect of being a director. I am responsible for determining what insignia every person in the club has earned, recording by insignia (so I know what to order), and then again by person (so I know who to give it to). Mathematically, that would be a simple matrix transpose operation, but I don’t know how to do that in a spreadsheet. So I do it by hand. I filled out the online order form last night – that took about an hour. I usually sit on my order for a day in case I remember something else, and of course, I did remember some things tonight. So I added them, placed the order ($450!) and then remembered a few more things. But once I’ve pulled the trigger, it’s too late. I’m sure I will remember a few more things in the next two weeks, so I always just plan to place another order after Investiture. Sigh. And this after about six hours of pouring over honor documentation!

But that’s not very photogenic, is it? Let’s start in with some photos from the past two days.

Wild blackberries (Rubus spp)

Wild blackberries (Rubus spp)


About half the wild blackberry canes on my place have bloomed now. I noticed that yesterday.

Domestic Viburnum

Domestic Viburnum


This is some sort of Viburnum growing in a planter next to my office. The leaves say maple-leaf viburnum (V. acerifolium), the flowers say hobblebush (V. lantanoides), and the habit says none of the above. It’s most likely a hybrid, but I have no idea if the two I’ve named are members of its ancestry. That’s why I dislike trying to id cultivated plants.

Blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium augustifolium)

Blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium augustifolium)


Fellow NH Blogger New Hampshire Garden Solutions posted photos of blue-eyed grass last week. I had been watching for some on my property to come up, but didn’t see it until today. But these blooms don’t stay open 24×7. And when they close, they just look like grass. So I could have missed them pretty easily. But not today!

Some sort of cinquefoil (Potentilla)

Some sort of cinquefoil (Potentilla)


I’ve had some sort of cinquefoil (Potentilla spp) blooming in spades for several weeks now. I won’t pretend to know which species this is though, and I’m too tired to try to guess tonight. I’ll happily settle for the genus for now.

In other news, I may have finally managed a permanent fix to my camera’s tripod mount. I bought a threaded insert (brass) and threaded it into the plastic. It was too long, so I put some duct tape on the camera around the insert and cut it off with a hacksaw. Then I filed down the brass and removed the duct tape (it was just there to keep me from scratching up the camera horribly). It seems pretty stable now, so hopefully this will do the trick.

Oh – and this marks my 1000th post. I wish I had time to make it a better one, but this will have to do.

I’ve not felt great the past couple of days. Some sort of sinus problem kept me home from work yesterday. It has since moved into my throat and chest, but as bad as it feels there, it’s a ton better than in my head.

I have a new laptop. My old hard drive was getting pretty full, and the screen was showing its age. It’s not a new new laptop, but rather, something we had kicking around at work. I also got a new hard drive for it, and have spent the evening installing the OS and copying files from my old laptop to this one. While stuff was copying, I took Penny to the backyard for some stick throwing, and also to play with a piece of #14 welder’s glass that I ordered online (it came in today).

What kind of fun can a guy have with #14 welder’s glass? How about… photographing the sun!

The sun through a piece of #14 welder's glass

The sun through a piece of #14 welder’s glass


It has something of a green tint, doesn’t it? So I adjusted the white balance to make the sun white.
Sun with white balance set to... the sun

Sun with white balance set to… the sun


These are not great shots, but they are also the first ones I’ve ever taken of the sun. The camera didn’t much want to focus, so I set it to infinity manually. I think 93 million miles is close enough to infinity as far as the camera is concerned.

Now if I lived a bit farther to the west, I might use this to take pictures of the upcoming eclipse. Yeah – that’s on May 20. But I won’t get to see that here. Instead, I will wait until June 5 and take pictures of the transit of Venus. That won’t happen again for another 108 years, so if it interests you, you’d better get on it now. Google it if you must. The Innernets know all.

I also made a lap around the front of the property.

Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa)

Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa)

American toad (Bufo americanus)

American toad (Bufo americanus)


OK, the taxonomists have moved the American toad out of the Bufo genus and into some other genus. They keep doing that to a lot of frogs, and I just can’t keep track anymore. To me, it’ll be Bufo for a while longer.

While I was out doing all that, Va whipped out the mop. The mop and the dog are not compatible with one another, and since I was feeling better than I had been, I offered to take the dog down to the pond (even though there was only an hour of daylight left, and the sky was clouding up). I’m glad I did.

Lily of th valley (Convallaria majalis )

Lily of th valley (Convallaria majalis )


The lily of the valley was in bloom. There wasn’t a whole lot of available light, and macro photography does not much benefit from flash, so I did what I could. Jack up the ISO to about 800, minimize the f-stop, open up the shutter, and hold the camera as still as I could. I still need to make another attempt on that infernal tripod mounting hole.

We got to the pond, and the dock had been rolled out. So I walked out onto it and steadied my camera on a post to take this shot.

Sandogardy Pond

Sandogardy Pond


It was a nice evening, even if it was threatening to rain. Penny and I continued on, and I found the corn lilies in bloom.
Corn lily aka blue bead lily aka Clintonia borealis

Corn lily aka blue bead lily aka Clintonia borealis


I was out here a couple of day ago (before the black plague/Ebola or whatever took hold of my sinuses) and managed to harvest a few leaves from these. Peterson says they taste like cucumbers, and I would have to agree. I ate half of them raw, and I cooked the other half and had them with butter. They are pretty OK! You do have to get them before the leaves fully unfurl, otherwise, the flavor is way too strong.

Then Penny and I headed back to the house. I had been throwing sticks for her almost non-stop since we had left, and she was starting to get tired. She needs that. When we got home, she lied down next to her water bowl and just about emptied it. Yes – that’s the sign of a good walk!

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