Sunday, October 30, 2011

Before the Colors are Covered in Snow...

We had snow for a day this past week, followed by a quick melt. The inevitable blanket will be coming soon. We hauled away the outdoor pots of annuals and stored the pots indoors (the cold/moisture is hard on them in winter). There is no need to wrap any shrubs this year, as we did away with the only remaining globe cedar (great decision!). Everything else should hold its own without too much coddling, as it should be.

Resident-lawnmower-man used his leaf sucking power tool to collect the leaves in the yard and produced a nice heap of leaf mulch. I got him to spread the mulch on the areas of the raised beds where the new lily and tulip bulbs are planted. I think that's a reasonable amount of coddling (because I like my flower bulbs a lot). With the addition of some snow, I am hopeful about their survival this winter. I plan to have a great mass of annuals (poppies, cosmos, zinnias) grow in this open space currently planted with bulbs, so that the annuals disguise the dying foliage of the bulb flowers.

Otherwise in outdoor activity, I have been excited about photographing the northern lights. With the aid of this website:, you can get a day or two of notice about great auroral activity for the northern hemisphere. Outside of the technical photographic elements, there is a challenge of finding a spot without any lights where you can run to safety in the case of wild animals, and staying warm while standing by your tripod. In the case of scary animals, I have made mental plans on how I might use my tripod as a weapon. It's always good to have a plan.
One of my September northern lights photographs, taken near La Ronge:

Someone actually called the police to investigate on the night we took this photo. Apparently showing up at a beach at midnight seems suspicious. The police didn't think a couple of people with tripods and cameras looked suspicious at all, however.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Birds: Dazed and Confused

Or perhaps, I could have titled this "Birds: Drunk and Disorderly." We had a hard frost about 10 days ago and the mountain ash tree's berries have increased their sugars, and are now fermenting. The birds gorge themselves on these tasty (to them, anyhow) berries and fall out of the tree. Several have also flown into our windows, with one fatality and several temporarily dazed individuals. I have asked RLM to get some decals for our large windows, but the larger problem of the week is that the birds are drunk! No drinking and flying, and the skies would be a safer place.