Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Try to remember to take a moment amidst the hubub of family and friends, and cooking, and all the rest of the "stuff", to give thanks for all your blessings.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Have a Wonderful Memorial Day Weekend

Unlearned Lesson

Memorial Day
Of every year
The little valiant
Flags appear
On every fallen
Soldier's grave--
Symbol of what
Each died to save.
And we who see
And still have breath--
Are we no wiser
For their death?

Dorothy Brown Thompson

Monday, May 18, 2009

That's My World-Twin Lakes Wildlife Management Area

When I got Miz Winnie(photo in sidebar) from Basset and Beagle Rescue of the Heartland in November last year she did not like to get in the car. She was okay once she was in the car, but getting her in was problematic. Since I don't abide dogs that don't like to go in the car, I immediately set out to change that. There is a McDonald's about a half mile from the house, so every morning I went through drive through for my breakfast. It was a quick in and out of the car and it soon accomplished it's purpose. She now thinks she has the dog given right to go with me every time I go.

This morning I went for breakfast and when we got home she didn't want to get out of the car, so I left the car door open and came in the house and she soon joined me. When I went back out to close the car door, she was back in the car. So I decided that her idea on how to spend the day was better than mine (vacuuming, etc.), so off we went. Decided to go to Twin Lakes.

I saw a fair number of birds including this first of year Grasshopper sparrow. (Photo cropped)

There were a fair number of butterflies around some flowering bushes. Saw my first of year Monarchs, Silver-spotted Skippers and much to my delight I saw a White-Lined Sphinx Hummingbird Moth. They are difficult to photograph because their wings go at about the same speed as a hummingbird. This one stayed well out of range of my macro lens, but I snapped a couple anyway and one turned out fairly well(photo cropped)

Another photo (this one was taken at Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area in August last year)

larger image

All in all, it's obvious that Miz Winnie had the best idea for how to spend the day, however, I suspect that I'm going to need to do some reverse training regarding "going for a ride in the car"!

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Today's Flowers

I was headed to Maxwell Arboretum hoping to find some Columbine blooming. As I passed the Nebraska Game and Parks Building I saw a lovely garden of blooming Columbine.

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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Today's Flowers

The lilacs are blooming

So are the crabapples

And so is the geranium tuberosum

All photos taken at Maxwell Arboretum

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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Camera Critters-Northern Bobwhite

Out at Branched Oak Lake this week I saw this pretty lady. Her gentleman friend was with her when I came upon them, but I had the lens cover on the lens and by the time I rectified that little problem he was gone. I don't believe I had ever noticed how stubby the tail of a bobwhite was before.

Head on over to Camera Critters to see more critters (by clicking on the icon)

Camera Critters

Monday, April 27, 2009

That's My World--Naval Ammunition Depot

A couple of months ago the AAA magazine had a short article about how Hastings, a small town (population about 25,000) west of Lincoln had created Greenscape Park. It was created where a building in downtown had burned down. There were supposed to be thousands of tulips, shrubs and trees. When I read the article, I thought perhaps it would make an interesting "That’s My World!" post. I went last week because the tulips were blooming in Lincoln, so I figured they would be blooming there also. One would think that a place large enough to incorporate thousands of tulips would be fairly easy to find. Well, so much for what one thinks. I never found it. Miz Winnie (picture in sidebar) accompanied me, and for some reason she was unusually restless. Perhaps she sensed my mounting frustration at not finding the Park.

Fortunately, I had a second destination for the day. It was the Naval Ammunition Depot.
Hastings was buzzing with excitement on June 10, 1942, six months after Pearl Harbor, when Senator George Norris and Congressman Carl Curtis announced that the Navy had authorized the establishment of a $45,000,000 Naval Ammunition Depot southeast of Hastings. The Hastings area was chosen because of its abundance of electrical power from the Tri-County project, its location equidistant from both coasts and the availability of railroads. The government immediately began the process of taking 48,753 acres of farmland, located mostly in Clay County, from 232 owners.

From the Adams County Convention and Visitors Bureau
The Naval Ammunition Depot known locally as "The NAD," was the largest of four munitions depots in the country and was known for supplying 40 percent of the Navy's ammunition supply at one point during WWII.

The facility produced bombs, rockets, torpedoes, mines, bagged powder and all calibers of smaller ammunition.

There were three other NAD plants located in Burns City, Indiana; McAlester, Oklahoma and Hawthorne, Nevada.

After the NAD served it’s military usefulness
…in December 1958 disestablishment was ordered, to be completed no later than June 30, 1966.
In September 1964, 10,236 acres near Clay Center were transferred to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the Meat Animal Research Center. The administrative headquarters, comprising 640 acres and 28 buildings were transferred to Central Community College in 1966. During 1966 and 1967 surplus land at the NAD was sold to various business and industrial firms who comprise what is now known as Hastings Industrial Park East.

I went to the NAD with a wonderful map (pdf) provided by the Convention & Visitors Bureau.

This was the NAD Administration Building. In Naval terms it was referred to as “Mainsides”. It is now part of the Community College.

Buildings like this were used for “inert storage” or storage of materials to make the munitions.

And these are the bunkers where the munitions were stored. They go on for about five or six miles, and I must say they are kind of an eerie sight.

During WWII civilian employees were paid 75 cents an hour and the work week was 60 hours. Weekly pay was slightly less than $45.

More of my photos are here

The most comprehensive information about the NAD is here

The Historical Society has photos from WWII here

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Today's Flowers & Mellow Yellow

Last Wednesday and Thursday were beautiful spring days. In the 70’s, and nary a cloud to be seen. Friday was in the 80’s and a bit too warm for my liking for April. I had a couple of appointments in the morning, met a friend for lunch and did a bunch of errands. I thought about going to my favorite flower picture spots, but I wasn’t dressed for crawling around to get flower pictures, so I decided to pass. The weather forecast for Saturday was for 60’s and I figured that would be just fine. Well, so much for weather forecasts. It never got out of the 40’s, wind chill was in the upper 30’s, it was misting off and on, and this wuss decided not to sally forth. After all, the weather was supposed to be better today. Ha Today has been showers and occasional thunder and lightning.

All of that is a long story to say that these flower pictures were taken last week. These daffodils were at Sunken Gardens. Since they are yellow, I’m cross posting in the Mellow Yellow meme also.

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Camera Critters--First Butterfly of the Year

I said the Muskrat photo was the last of the photos from Squaw Creek NWR. I had forgotten about the first butterfly of the year. There was also a Zebra Swallowtail flitting about in the area. They are stunningly beautiful, but they don't light very long and I only managed one very lousy photo of it.

So the first (and only, so far) butterfly photographed this spring is a Spring Azure.

Head on over to Camera Critters to see more critters (by clicking on the icon)

Camera Critters

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Watery Wednesday-Muskrat

One last photo from my time at Squaw Creek NWR last week. This photo is of a Muskrat.

The presence of Muskrats in a marsh is immediately apparent because of their lodges. The lodges are usually constructed of reeds, rushes and cattails. I read somewhere, sometime that the healthiness of a marsh can be determined by the number of muskrat lodges the marsh has. The more lodges, the healthier the marsh. I was unable to find that in any of the reading that I did today.

Muskrats weigh from 1.7 lbs to 3 lbs. Muskrats are smaller that beaver. The hind feet of a muskrat are partially webbed and the long tail is used as a rudder as they swim. They can remain underwater up to about 17 minutes.

Muskrats will have several litters per year. Each litter will have six to eight young. The muskrats have many natural enemies, such as mink, otters, coyotes, raccoons, and birds of prey. Hence their life span is usually short, about three years.

The rest of the Squaw Creek photos are here.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

That's My World--Squaw Creek NWR

I spent last Thursday and Friday at Squaw Creek NWR. The weather was pleasant and there were a fair amount of birds to be seen.

Have you ever wondered why Double-crested cormorants are called double-crested? During the breeding season they have crests. The crests are very evident in this photo. Kind of neat, huh?

There were lots of Blue-winged teals

And then I had quite a surprise. My first thought was that is sure a strange looking heron. Must be the light. Then I looked through the binoculars and realized the “heron” was in fact a Sandhill crane. Now one does not go to Squaw Creek in late April and expect to see a sandhill crane, but there he/she was.

I cropped the crane so it can be seen clearly. The original photo is here.

The rest of the Squaw Creek photos are here

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mellow Yellow

Today's Flowers are in the next post down

These photos were taken at Sunken Gardens yesterday afternoon.

Tulip Tree


Same kind of Tulip opened


Today's Flowers

Friday afternoon when I was coming home from Squaw Creek NWR I decided to take a detour from the interstate and visit Indian Cave State Park in southeast Nebraska. It’s been years since I was in the park and I wanted to see if it was worth a specific trip to spend a day there. My conclusion was a definite yes. My time was limited so I didn’t take many photos. One of the photos I did take was of these Dutchmen’s Breeches.

Saturday I did my weekly visit to Maxwell Arboretum. Love this pink Magnolia

And these Virginia Bluebells

Those of you who have visited previously may have noticed that I have done some “remodeling”. I have long felt constrained by the small photos that the old template allowed for. However, this morning I wondered if the larger photos make the blog load slowly for those on dial-up. Anyone that has an opinion can feel free to weigh in on the subject in the comments. If it makes it too slow, I'll see what I can do to adjust accordingly.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Camera Critters-Raccoon

On Thursday I went down to Squaw Creek NWR and look who was out and about!

Head on over to Camera Critters to see more critters (by clicking on the icon)

Camera Critters

Monday, April 13, 2009

That's My World--Young Cabin

The Young Cabin is at the Young Cemetery and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The cemetery was established in 1855. The cabin was built by the National Youth Administration, a New Deal work project and vocational training program established for the country's young adults. A dwelling originally constructed in 1856 on the William Young family homestead was disassembled in 1941 and its materials, including the hand-hewn logs, were used in the construction of the Young Cemetery Cabin by National Youth Administration workers .

About the National Youth Administration

The huge numbers of unemployed youth of the 1930s underscored several fears adults had for society. Conservatives saw disgruntled young people as a fertile ground for revolutionary politics while liberals mourned the disillusionment and apathy spreading among American youth. Educators feared that without some type of financial aid, colleges would suffer irreversible damage. ER [Eleanor Roosevelt] worried that long-term unemployment and borderline poverty would undermine young Americans' faith in democracy. She told the New York Times that "I live in real terror when I think we may be losing this generation. We have got to bring these young people into the active life of the community and make them feel that they are necessary."
ER, working closely with educators and relief officials, pushed FDR to address this problem. Although at first FDR did not want to develop programs for young people, this lobbying effort changed his mind. In June 1935, he signed an executive order establishing the National Youth Administration (NYA), a New Deal program designed specifically to address the problem of unemployment among Depression-era youth.
The NYA sought to cope with this problem in two ways. First, the administration provided grants to high school and college students in exchange for work. This allowed young people to continue studying while at the same time preventing the pool of unemployed youth from getting any larger. Second, for those young people who were both unemployed and not in school, the NYA aimed to combine economic relief with on-the-job training in federally funded work projects designed to provide youth with marketable skills for the future.

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Today's Flowers

Photos were taken at Maxwell Arboretum on Friday.

American Pasqueflower

Lenten Rose


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