Friday, February 22, 2013

Pope, Meteor and other momentous things

The early crocuses and snowdrops have been out for about 3 weeks now.  I managed to get out for a couple of days and do more clean up of the front garden: cutting back perennials, pruning roses and cleaning leaves off of the little rock plants.  The weather has been blustery and some rain and sun.  We have had a very few over night light frosts, and no snow.
There have been some very extra-ordinary things happening around the world.  The Pope resigned due to ill health they say.  There will be a new Pope elected by Easter.  There were pictures out of a lightning striking the Vatican but of course it was some photoshop job.  And, of course, the St. Malachy Prophecies popped up again, saying that the next Pope elected will be the last one.  This too, has been called malarky.  After the sky didn't fall at the end of the Mayan carved in stone calendar, it seems to be less easy to sell books, etc. about the end of the world.
A meteor crashed into Russia and not even this seemed to pump up the panic.  There is further reading in the links below, if you are so inclined:
Meteor hitting Russia == Feb 15 2013

Asteroid narrowly misses earth Feb 16 .. missing satellittes

Pope resigns from The Guardian, England:

Pope resigns.. from Russian report:

St malachy prophecy is malarkey and the lighting strike of the vatican is called photoshop work.  St. Malachy by huffington post:

More from Russia:  Davos 2013: world leaders to discuss aliens, super-humans, and immortals
Interestingly, WEF experts believe that significant enhancement of cognitive abilities can be attained through hardware as well as drugs. Laboratory studies indicate that direct electrical stimulation through the implanted electrodes can significantly improve memory. Unlike drugs, such cognitive enhancement therapy is less easily available and is thus less likely to be adopted by healthy people. Nonetheless, the scientists suggest that within 10 years time intra-brain devices and sensors will open a new realm of enhanced neurobiology for those who can afford it. In this context, the scientists wonder whether it can be ethically acceptable for the world to be divided into the cognitively-enhanced and unenhanced. Will the humanity accept the idea that significant cognitive enhancement should be available to purchase on the open market or will there be a push for legislation to maintain a more level playing field?
There has been a nasty spammer posting to Megashot guestbooks, so I have a few more hours work to put some 'there there' comments on the guestbooks.  There is always some idiot to mess up a nice place or a good thing. 

I have a nice little beef stew in the slow cooker, with a spinach/strawberries/pecan halves/feta cheese and balsamic vinaigrette salad to have with it.  Then there will be my purple plum preserves over chocolat berry cups, topped with mango swirl frozen yogurt; for dinner.  Yumm

I recently purchased the 7 Harry Potter books.. nope have not read them yet... for a good price on line.  These books are keeping me up nights!  Delightful, fun reading.  I like that there is always a happy ending and the good guys win.  Its a great escape from life, where things in the news are never very cheery. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

This and that

 A few crocuses are up, but none of the ones in the crocus field are showing buds. There are snowdrops in bloom, the cyclamen, winter jasmine.  The primulas, dutch iris, daffodils, saxatilis tulips and quite a few others have leaves up.  The hellebores will soon have flowers open. 
An overview of the front garden bones, showing the semi heart shape.. just in time for Valentines day.  Today has been a bit of a drippy day, so did not get out to do any more clean up or photos.
I have been adding photos to a few google plus communities.  There are, of course, more active people on the plus than there is on Megashot, so the communities are more interesting.  I managed to get some critiques done last nite and some meet and greet done today, on Megashot, before it slowed down again.  The people at the servers don't seem to be able to manage the site properly.  But Cyrus and his people are hard at work on Version 2, so hopefully it will solve these problems ... if ever they get it finished.
I am really enjoying my new little camera.  I have sent to Lensmate for an adapter that will hold my 58mm filters and the little Canon 58mm close up lens 500 D.  that I bought for the S3 IS.  I am lurking on the SX40HS group on Flickr and am thinking of actually paying up on Flickr again... but really, have so much to do now, that it makes no sense to try to do more.
Yesterday I made a parsnip soup and it turned out really good, so there is one package frozen for another day.  The soups I made last fall are down to about 1/3 of what I had made and frozen.  It is so nice to be able to just go to the freezer for these good, homemade soups.  They are very nutritious, tasty and no salt, unlike the bought canned stuff.  I also made up an extra package of apple sauce today, so will have a bit more of that frozen and on hand for when needed.  There is just one layer of apples left in the bin.(perhaps about 48 apples)  We have been eating them as fresh fruit and in cooking. 

Sunday, February 03, 2013


This is another one of the test shots from the other day with my new little camera with the big zoom.  This is cropped a bit, downsized and USM... nothing else, just right out of the camera.  
This little cyclamen is equally amazing.  It blooms almost constantly.  I have no idea why the others around it don't put up flowers.  I believe they are the same kind of clyclamen acaulis. 
I was able to get a bit more clean up done out in the garden today.  I limed the grass, the vegetable garden, and anything else that I thought liked a bit of lime.  I raked the leaves off the back grass and put them all down along the woodland path.  I added some all purpose fertilizer to the vegetable garden and then topped this up with 5 bags of the compost that the Community Compost guys leave as part of the contract.  They pick up every 4 weeks taking all my garden clippings and debris, and leave me a bag of compost.  They will take wood up to 3 inch diameter.  All this for $20.00 per pick up.  Now the City is talking about giving us a similar service.  Well.. I hope these guys get the contract to do this work.  I am very satisfied with how they do my pick ups.  I cannot see the city buying enough trucks to manage the work, as efficiently as these guys do it. I would say that 90% of my present garbage that the city takes is all plastics from packaging, stuff that cannot go in the recycle bin, so I am already sorting my garbage as these proposals specify. 

Friday, February 01, 2013

A new toy

 A few days ago I bought a Canon Powershot SX40HS with 40X optical telephoto.  The above is one of my test shots.  Just a short zoom to show the lichens on my plum tree.  This looks like bokeh orbs are going to be easy with this new lens.
 This is what I thought was a macro, but I need more practice with this mode.  I later found that the lever to the left goes into wide angle .. so it has a 24mm wide angle as well as the telephoto.  This is moss in a pot that is on the deck table. 
 This is the telephoto plus the digital for 140X it says.  This crow was a long long way away.
 A fisheye effect of the rose buds that I have pruned off the iceberg rose.  The curtains and table are a bit wonky. 
 This is fish eye effect. 
 Changed the toy camera effect to black and white to try for the holga look.
 The bear with the color toy camera effect.  Its quite a lot of fun.
The whole users guide did not come in the box but I found a good pdf of it on the web and keep a copy on my desktop.  This is a shot that talks about how to access the fish eye effect.  I have lots to learn about it yet. 

I have been out in the garden today and a couple of days ago, for a couple of hours each day.  It has been warmish.  I have managed to get two of the roses pruned,  pruned the buddliea back to about a foot high, raked the leaves off of the rock plants, and the thyme circle, clipped back some of the perennials, cleaned up the patio and the deck.  Did a bit of clean up in the moss garden. So, things are starting to look better.  There are some crocus in bloom, that were under some of the leaves I raked up.

I deleted the spam out of the spam folder on this blog and since then I have been getting hoards of spam.  So, I think I will just let that spam pile up in its folder.