Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Eight Miles as the Crow Flies

Yesterday was macro day... today... telephoto.

Very large and involved fire eight miles as the crow flies from the house. The page came at 12:30 or so. We have men and equipment from Farmington and Durango and beyond. Will blew work and joined the crew. I stayed in the office until 4 p.m. and fielded calls and coordinated the folks from Farmington.

Regular lens; view from the fire station.

Telephoto; same vantage point.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Promised Grasshopper

We've been inundated with grasshoppers of various sorts for the past six weeks or so. Here's one that was handy on our stucco wall.

Macro Clip

Finally figured out how to use the macro feature on my camera. A really big clip. Now on to the grasshoppers.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Zucchini Ribbon Fettucini

Honestly, I'm not trying to make this a food blog, but I've been cooking lately and some of my meals have been pic-worthy.

Having an abundance of produce from my CSA farmer is often a challenge. This recipe used up four (count 'em) four zucchini (two green and two yellow). I found the recipe here. It's a keeper.

I served it with boneless, skinless chicken thighs marinated in Italian dressing and grilled on the bbq. (Photos aren't very focused.)

Apricot Pie - Oh My

We got a bunch of apricots from our CSA this week and that is one fruit I'm not accustomed to eating out of hand. Not much else to do but make a pie!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Calf No. 17

Since Colorado is a fence-out state, I often see cattle on the county roads in my travels. This morning I saw this guy on the roadside on my way to work.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Poor, Poor Jack..... Rabbit

I'll post the picture of the day lower down so that nobody should inadvertently see it.

I should mention that we have hundreds of rabbits on our property both cottontails and the behemoth jackrabbits. We also have hundreds (if not thousands) of prairie dogs and gophers (and mice and rats and voles and such). Having so many small mammals mean the coyotes have a good food supply and we should have a healthy balance on the property. The small mammals are also food for hawks and eagles and other birds of prey.

This morning I reversed my daily walk. Instead of going counter-clockwise, I went clockwise. Early in my walk I saw this jackrabbit carcass on the north fence. It was about four feet up from the ground. I'm not thinking the jackrabbit jumped on the fence and I don't think a coyote did it. My guess is that this was some bird's dinner and hanging it on the barbed wire was a convenience. (I often see birds of prey roosting on our fence posts.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Squatters at the Fire Station

I often go outside with the Fire Chief while he has his smoke. It's a good time to talk job "stuff" over without the constraints of a desk or phone.

A few weeks back I had noticed a wasp nest on the ridge end and asked that he get someone to take care of it. Imagine my surprise when the wasp nest morphed into a swallow's nest. And.... babies are flying already.

First a picture of the ridge end that I accidentally snapped when trying to focus on the nest. Look how blue the sky is!

Finally got the camera focused and steady. Four shots of the bird(s). You can see the abandoned wasp nest behind the swallows' nest. Here's FLMFPD's resident immature barn swallows.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Wild Sunflowers or Learning to Use My Camera

I bought a new cameral last winter but haven't spent much time learning about it. I bought a Canon S3IS mostly for it's optical zoom of 12x and its image stablilization. In the winter we have a lot of bald and golden eagles and I want to try my hand at photographing them. Needless to say, I didn't do that last winter so I'll take my 365 challenge as an opportunity to learn my camera.

In reading the instruction book I discovered I can highlight specific colors in my picture. Now how I took all the yellow out of this sunflower, I don't know, but it sure looks different, doesn't it?

This shot sure highlights the color of the flower. I like how the background disappeared. Again, I'm not sure what I did to get this shot.

And this one... well, I really like the yellow dots inside the flower. I don't know anything about sunflower anatomy so I have no clue what they are.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Dreaded Musk Thistle

Over three weekends in June, Will and I dug up over 80 cubic feet of thistles, a noxious weed that we have in a few areas of our property. In spite of our effort, I found a few more on my morning walk today.

This evening, I tried to take a photo but I definitely need some practice using the macro mode on my camera and the wind needs to stop blowing (fat chance here on the Dry Side).

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saturday Fire

Perhaps I'll have a picture later of me driving the ambulance, and perhaps not. I did do it this morning though and now I'm qualified to drive it on the open road.

Our quiet afternoon was interrupted with a fire page in the Cherry Creek area of our district. It's about 5 miles west of our house (as the crow flies). Much further on the roads.

Since I'm not a firefighter, I wasn't paged out. (I bet if I get fitter, I'll be a firefighter within a year's time. It's hard staying home when everyone else in the crew is out working.)

Here's a view of the fire from my house. Looks more impressive than it really is due to the zoom capability of my camera.

And then I might as well add a picture of the fire that popped up just a bit later (and is burning simultaneously) about 5 miles east of my house. This one has been attacked with a tanker plane but we are now working it on the ground. This is on Southern Ute property and near some gas wells.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Stoic Dog

While Decker was blissfully chowing down on pansies, Blackie was patiently and stoically waiting for fun which allowed me to snap this picture.

Yummo, Pansies!

I really don't want to only post pictures of my new pups, but sometimes they are the most interesting thing around and sometimes they actually are still enough to photograph.
Decker just couldn't resist the pansies I have growing on my porch.

Strange Flowers

There's a lot of unique vegitation growing out on the Dry Side. Right by our solar panel we have these strange sunflowers cropping up. They bloom all winter.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Chaco Bob Pupsitting

Every day I take Blackie and Decker to the office both for company for me and to socialize them. Today, Chaco Bob (Sandy and Bruce Kowalski's German Shepherd Dog) came visiting.

Chaco Bob is a certified Search and Rescue Dog in addition to just being a cool, laid-back dog.

I don't think he quite knew what to think about the pups, but he might be a very good, calming influence on them.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Big Black Tank

Summertime on the Dry Side necessitates constant vigilance and preparation for wildland fires. While the monsoons are welcome for their moisture, the lightning that comes along with the storms is a source of much concern. In preparation for wildland fires, the fire department tries to provide water caches at various locations around the district.

This big tank is being prepared to be moved and filled for a reserve water supply at a remote location.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

What Is the Dry Side?

On either side of Durango, Colorado is a mesa. To the southeast is the Florida (floor-ee-dah) Mesa where they have lots of water. To the southwest is the Fort Lewis Mesa where they don't.

Here's a map to locate La Plata County in the state.

The area highlighted in yellow is The Dry Side. (This can be clicked to enlarge.)