Wednesday, April 21, 2010

2010-04-21 Wednesday - Website Graphs

You can graph a website by going to Webpages as Graphs and entering the URL of your choice.  It works by going through the HTML code used to build the page and creating a graph based on specific tags in the code.  It took several minutes to generate the graph for this blog, but only a moment for since there are less tags in the page at GP.  It's interesting and fun to watch.

jbftimes graph graph graph

Monday, April 19, 2010

2010-04-17 Saturday - WCU Visit, Dillsboro

This weekend we went to an open house at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC.  To say the town of Cullowhee is small would be an understatement.  We had to stay in Dillsboro since there is nowhere to stay near the college.

We were very impressed with the school and the programs offered.  Stephanie is interested in chemistry and forensics and WCU has some fine programs to offer in both.  It's her decision, and I don't envy her.  This could be a tough choice.

The hotel we stayed in was right on the bank of the Tuckasegee River and we could walk out our patio door to be on the bank.  Saturday morning there was a lot of activity with mallard ducks, Canadian geese, and a heron all out feeding and preening.  I tried to get a few pictures in before we had to check out and get to the open house.

The river runs 24/7 --they never even turn it off.
(You may laugh, but they turn the Pigeon river off and on.)

About 8:00 am.

The hill across the river.

A bit closer...

Closer yet shows the veins in the rock.

Some ruffled feathers...

Easily smoothed.

A heron!  I love herons.

I caught the heron fishing.
Sorry about the shaky camera work, 
but I was zoomed way out.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

2010-04-11 Sunday - Backyard

Sunday I went behind the garage to clean up the vines growing back there.  I think the majority of it is honeysuckle, but there are some other things mixed in there, including the dreaded porcelain berry.  I had a heck of a time extricating the mulberry from it.  The whole fence back there was covered and I pulled down and bagged about 15-20 pounds of vines all the while being buzzed by carpenter bees.  I tried to get a picture of the bees which sometimes hang in the air directly in front of you and stare, but I couldn't coordinate it with the camera and after about 20 minutes I abandoned the idea.

I got about half of the vines down and realized that I was hearing a bird fluttering around.  I stopped immediately and started looking for a nest.  It didn't take long to spot it with two tiny speckled eggs in it.  With a sigh I gave up cleaning the rest of the fence until the fledging is complete.  I grabbed the camera and being very careful not to touch the nest grabbed a couple of pictures before clearing out of there.  I hope to catch sight of the parents so I can find out what kind of birds they are.

Half of the vines down.

55 gallon drum liners full of vines.

The rest of the vines.

The nest with eggs.

They are very tiny.

Carpenter bees drill perfect holes.
You can actually hear them chewing.

Some attempts at catching the bees in flight.

The shadows are sometimes easier to see than the bees.

"Sharkey says: All of life comes from some strange lagoon. It rises up, it bucks up to it's full height from a boggy swamp on a foggy night. It creeps into your house. It's life! It's life!"

From the song "Sharky's Day" from Laurie Anderson's "Mister Heartbreak" cd. (lyrics)
copyright 1984 Warner Bros.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

2010-04-10 Saturday - Front yard - The Carnage

Three years ago a good friend of ours dug a dogwood out of the woods behind her house in Waxhaw and gave it to us.  I planted it in the front yard and mulched it, and watered it through the drought.  It was small, but it had two branches full of leaves on a thin trunk.  I was hopeful.

Last year a squirrel pulled one of the branches off it which accounted for half of the tree.  I shook my fist at the squirrels (a regular event at our house), cleaned it up, and watered what was left.  It was unbalanced, but it was alive.  I was hopeful.

Saturday I was out in the front yard and noticed that a branch had fallen from the willow oaks (a way too regular occurrence).  Only one branch had fallen in the whole yard and it fell on my half a dogwood snapping the remaining portion off completely.  I shook my fist at the willow oak, shook my head, and threw the branch away.  I just pray that the dogwood will have the same will to survive that the hollies I am trying to eradicate exhibit and sprout anew.  I am cautiously hopeful.

To compound matters, I got another dogwood from my friend Nic (who also helped me plant it) and there is currently not one leaf on it.  Perhaps I am just not meant to have a dogwood in the yard.

I remain hopeful.

The perpetrator and the victim.

The victim, the carnage, the horror.

2010-04-09 Friday - Clayworks Spring Sale

Friday was the annual Spring Sale at Clayworks.  It's a venue for studio artists and teachers to sell their wares and have a bit of socializing at the same time.  I always love to see how well everyone cleans up since most of the time we see everyone in their clay clothes.  I still wear my clay clothes at the sale since I am generally there to demo.  I love demoing at the sales since it's a chance to have some fun on the wheel and talk to everyone while I'm doing it.  Imagine that.  (It has a lot to do with that extrovert thing.)

During the height of the sale it got pretty crowded up front by the pottery but I was in the back doing the demos, so my pictures are all after the crowds had dissipated and I had taken a break.

After the sale I went over to Twenty Two to meet Elaine, Paul, Scott, Will, and Barbara.  It was very nice time and I had my first Ellie's Brown Ale on tap and that was quite nice too.  I would like to go back there soon.

People shopping and chatting.

Go team celadon!

Paul, Steve, and Michael.

Joe and Julie.

Fred and Becky.

Kim, Shelley, Nic, and Tomoo.

Paul, Elaine, and Steve.

Nic enjoying the spinach dip bread bowl.

Paul, Nic, and Becky.
I was trying to get a picture of Nic and Becky talking
and Paul absolutely stole this picture.

Elaine's pottery.

Pretty flowers in a pretty pot.

Quite an impressive list of artists on name tags.

2010-04-08 Thursday - Backyard

Thursday I took a quick tour of the backyard to check on the pollen, catkins, peas and lettuce.  Things change so quickly this time of year you have to take a look every day or two.  By June I won't be able to keep up with anything but the tomatoes.  We'll see if I can do better this year.

Pollen drift from the tiny bit of rain we received.

Catkins everywhere, silky dogwoods in the foreground.

The grill cover itself covered with pollen and catkins.

The grill that the cover should be covering.

The peas struggling in the 80 degree weather.

It's a small patch of peas and a row of lettuce in the foreground.

More wild violets in the lawn with the catkins.

A cast iron thing that has been by the fence since we moved here.
The wound on it is where I hit it with the lawn mower last time.
I have no idea what this thing is.  I will post a better picture of it soon.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

2010-04-09 Friday - Craig Ferguson - Bonzo Dog Band

Craig Ferguson opened his Late Late Show on Monday with this song. He was introducing his new robot skeleton sidekick, Geoff Peterson. Enjoy.

2010-04-07 Wednesday - Part II

Wednesday night was the first night of class and folks were also getting ready for the big Clayworks Spring sale.  It was nice to get my hands into clay again and seeing my other Wednesday night cronies.

I also caught up with Shelly moving her sculptures to the back and snapped a few pictures.

What can I say about these to do them justice?
Just look at the pictures and enjoy.

I threw some tumblers, and talked to Nick and Kim.

I think Nick lost his hair in a poker game...

2010-04-07 Wednesday - Part I

Spring has sprung here.  The willow oaks in the front yard have leafed out almost overnight.  Just two weeks ago we had our sale on the front lawn and there was no shade from the trees.  Now they almost look like they do in Summer.

The azaleas are in bloom, the pollen has coated everything (and everyone), and the catkins have fallen off the trees --everywhere.  They pile up like leaves in Autumn and generally make a mess of things.  Now the maple seeds are falling and that will be the next mess we have to clean.  It really never ends. 

Willow oak leaves have popped.

Here's how it looks now...

...and here's how it looked just two weeks ago --no shade.

Have I mentioned that I like our lichen?

Azaleas are blooming like small explosions.

Lenten roses and azaleas in the front part of the yard.

Catkins everywhere.

They pile up in the gutters.

Man, that's some good lookin' lichen.

Close up of the azaleas.


Hey, wait a minute!  There's tree pollen in those flowers.
(I told you it was everywhere.)

Catkins on the back deck.

The hostas in the saucer have unfurled.
(Thanks Becky!)

Binkley doesn't mind the catkins.

Pollen all over the mower.

Wild violets in the lawn.

Dancing azaleas.

Catkins falling from the willow oak trees.