Weekend Sky: Late Winter Sunset

This is my first time participating in Hammad Rais’s Weekend Sky challenge!

It’s been a bit difficult to capture the sunset where we live – our house faces north and a row of houses blocks the western sky. But before Daylight Savings started, I would take walks in the late afternoon and sometimes be lucky to capture a beautiful sunset. These were taken on March 5, when the ponds were still partially frozen and remnants of February snows still remained.

Countdown 2 Xmas: Mail Toys Snow Night

I’m back at Tourmaline’s Countdown to Christmas. Let’s see, where was I?

Day 19: Mail
I almost always send holiday cards through the mail. Usually they are late, but this year I’ve mailed them all before Christmas! I order my cards from Shutterfly and couldn’t imagine what to send in this coronavirus year! The one I chose was amusing & appropriate, I thought – it just said “Well, That was CRAZY! Happy 2021 (finally)”. It included four photos, one a selfie of me and Dale in masks, one of Hazel, our cat, and two scenic. (I am unable to copy and paste it here and I used up all the cards!) I had Shutterfly print our return address on the back of the envelope, so sending them was easy! I only had to add my half-page letter, address, stamp, seal, and mail!

Day 20: Toys

Day 21: Snow
We haven’t had any (yet)! But here are some photos from last winter.

Day 22: Night
Last night, for the first time in 800 years, Saturn and Jupiter were to line up in the night sky, and we would see them as one brightish light near the horizon. We were going to go to a park after dark to look at this phenomenon, but alas! It was cloudy!

What I like about night at Christmas time is all the holiday lights that brighten up the darkness when the days are short and the sun sets before 4:30 p.m.!

WWE: Mystery on Frozen Pond

In mid November, I was walking around our campus on a frigid day, and noticed some blobs on one of our frozen ponds. From a distance with the naked eye, it looked like ducks frozen in place with their heads sticking out of the water. Of course, I knew it couldn’t be that – probably clods of dirt, but how did they get into the middle of the pond?

I didn’t have my camera with its zoom lens with me, just my cellphone, so I took a couple of pictures, which basically reproduced what I was seeing with my own eyes. It didn’t get me any closer to figuring out WHAT was on that frozen pond.

Here’s the image I took with my Samsung Galaxy:
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What I found curious is that the blobs all had white streaks behind them, as if there was something just below the frozen surface.

I walked home as quickly as possible to get my husband and my camera. It was close to sundown already and I didn’t know if the phenomenon would still be there the next day, since the temperature was supposed to rise above freezing, so I suggested we drive over to the pond (which Dale calls “Swan Lake” when the swans are on it). We both brought our cameras and stood on the bank near the water’s edge. I fitted my zoom lens onto my Sony and magnified it to 300mm, the highest it would go. In the tiny image I could see on the viewfinder, I still couldn’t tell what it was.

Now, a couple of weeks later, I’ve finally gotten around to downloading the photos I took that day onto my computer. Here’s what I discovered:
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The blobs were clumps of wet leaves that had blown into the pond just as it was freezing, creating the effect we saw.  The white streaks around the clumps seem to indicate that due to the leaves, the freeze was slightly thinner in those spots; perhaps a few leaves had frozen just below the surface.

Meanwhile, here is another cellphone photo I took that day, of the other pond on campus. I liked the wavy ridges that appeared on its frozen surface.
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Posted for Jez Braithwaite’s Water, Water Everywhere photo challenge.

SoCS: Dream Is the Stuff of Songs & Snow

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Stream of Consciousness Saturday is a weekly writing challenge hosted by blogger Linda G. Hill. There is a simple prompt or theme and you just write whatever comes into your head – no editing! Except typos. I rarely participate in Stream of Consciousness Saturday, but as I was reading other participants’ contributions, I decided to try it. When I read the prompt – “dream” – my mind immediately began thinking of song lyrics. Also vacations.

Somebody spoke and I went into a dream. Dream a little dream of me. Dre-e-e-eam, dream, dream, dream. Michigan seems like a dream to me now. All of these phrases from songs came into my head when I thought about dream. Perhaps it’s because I’ve just done a post for Song Lyrics Sunday and have listened to a lot of songs. I personally dream of taking a trip to somewhere warm, far from this frigid Midwestern November. Today would have been my ex-husband’s 70th birthday, but he died at 54, and our relationship seems like only a dream to me now. I read old journals and look at old pictures of us together and I can’t believe I ever loved that man and whether I did or not, I spent 20 years with him. Ironically, he was born and raised in a tropical country but hated the heat – and was always willing to go out and shovel snow! I, who was born and raised in Wisconsin, have had quite enough of snow and cold.

Michigan seems like a dream to me now – I don’t have many memories of Michigan but the sentiment is how I feel about the past. Past relationships, past destinations, they are all dreams to me now. I am still blogging about our trip to Europe last summer even though that too seems like a dream. It no longer seems real – but the pictures tell me it was. I enjoy immersing myself in those memories. It’s hard to imagine now that while we were there, Europe had a heat wave that to us Midwestern Americans felt like a normal summer, but the Europeans normally don’t have such hot weather. Hot weather – that too is a dream as I sense how cold my hands are typing this. My present is what I live every day and dreams are what enter my mind at night. I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas – well, yes, but I never dream of a white November! Maybe after Christmas, a trip to somewhere warm might be nice! One can always dream!!

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Looking out the window of a friend’s apartment on Nov. 11 – our Veteran’s Day snowstorm!

Fotunately, the snow itself is practically only a dream now: for a few days, nothing melted because of below freezing temperatures, but now, nearly a week later, only small patches of snow remain to remind us of our Veteran’s Day snowstorm!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Monochrome

Lens-Artists’ weekly photo challenge #70 has the topic monochrome. Monochrome can be either black & white or varying hues of the same color.

Normally, to create a black & white photo, I use my photo software to change it from color to B&W, since I do virtually all my photography in color. In this photo, however, I didn’t have to. It was after dark and the tree was lit from the side, so I got this spooky effect.
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There was not much color in the original of this photo, either, but I did have to modify it to be completely monochrome. It was taken on Halloween, when we had an early snowfall, accumulating to over 3 inches! Fortunately, it is gone now.
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This photo is a detail from the top of a box, created by a resident of our senior community.
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FOTD: Sunflowers in a Heat Wave

While many of the flowers we saw in the gardens of the historic bishop’s palace in Wurzburg, Germany, were bright and colorful, it was clear these sunflowers were being affected by the heat wave that had lasted for over a week in late June. The heat wave ended up lasting for about two weeks, with no relief in the form of rain. Every day was sunny and cloudless, and HOT.
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Temperatures that would be considered normal for much of the United States in the summer are rare in Europe, where summer temperatures are usually in the 70s (well under 30ºC). The wilted look of this sunflower is how many of us felt!

For happier and more perky flowers, visit Cee’s FOTD 8/26/19.