Sunday, September 26, 2010

Buried Treasure

My sister now resides in my Grandparents home. Gradually we've been going through things to see what they left behind. My sister got curious and decided to check out the basement - we've know there were vending / peanut machines down there - just hadn't yet checked it out. She's had a week of adventure and unearthed the following...
Advance Machine Co. Chicago, U.S.A.
Pat'd 11-5-12 4-24-23

Otherwise known as the

"Big Mouth" 1 Cent Peanut Vending Machine

It has the original AMCO lock with key.
A box of parts revealed what we think may be gumball inserts for the machines...

Part Number B 2173

Part Number V8ax
This machine she cleaned up a bit - it's nice and shiny....

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Invasion of the Orb Weaver(s)

Last Thursday morning I was busy finishing packing for a weekend getaway. All excited and ready to escape for several days. I opened the back door to start loading my car and was greeted by a new resident in my back yard. Not just in my back yard but on my door frame.
Very startled to discover a female Golden Orb Weaver had taken up residence over the night - it took a moment to register and then I was off to get my camera. My motion detector and awning over the door makes for the perfect home for spiders. But, generally much smaller ones.I made a phone call and put in a request for her to be moved to a nicer more suitable home before I returned from my trip. So, the next day Ms. Orb Weaver was relocated to a flowerbed portion of my yard. Someplace she could still dine on the insects of my yard but not pose the opportunity to fall on me as I come and go.
Before returning from my trip I heard that this stubborn creature had made the journey back to my door frame and resumed her original spot.
Then, I heard she brought along a friend.
So, when I returned home I was greeted by a doorway that looked like it belonged to an abandoned home. I was only gone for 5 days!
Ms. Orb Weaver can be seen in the top right corner and her teensy bit smaller friend can be seen towards the bottom left of the picture.
So, instead of unloading my car after a long exhausting airport day and flight and drive home - I am at my back door photographing spiders that are blocking the easiest path back into my home.
When I start taking photos I notice Ms. Orb Weaver is not alone. She has a potential mate in her web. I watched these two flirt and court for a bit all the while waiting to see if he was going to become her next dinner. I had read that after mating an orb weaver may kill her mate.

Notice the cool zig zag pattern in the web. These Golden Orb Weavers are known for that from what I read.
This is a closer view of the 2nd Orb Weaver that showed up. All lonely in her web.
So, tonight I return home to just the two female weavers. Male either escaped or suffered a sad end. I took some more pictures as I reviewed my spider relocation plan.

Obviously the flowerbed hadn't been far enough away. But I really didn't want to walk down the street to the creek with all the neighbors wondering what I was letting loose out of my box. Plus, I wasn't sure I could catch and contain both of them in one box and didn't want to make the trip twice.
I used a box lid to carefully swipe the web and spider off the door - going for the smaller spider first - and moved her to the far corner of my yard by a tree. She stayed still in the box until she felt the box start to tip - then she spun a web and floated down to the ground. From there (don't know how) I lost her. So no pics of her relocation.
I went back for Ms. Orb Weaver. The larger and more formidable of the two.
Even though the tree is huge with some pretty ivy growing on it - she wasn't too fond of the idea of getting off the box. It took some coaxing to get her off the box lid.
After a bit of nudging she was on the tree. Already shooting out webs. A perfect new home for her to raise her spider babies.
Now, I am really hoping not to wake up in the morning with one or both back on my doorframe. If I do - we'll be taking a spider roadtrip.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

An Amazing End to a Day

Nature never ceases to amaze me. This year I seem to be particularily blessed for taking time to smell the roses. Or maybe I am just taking more moments to actually notice them and enjoy the simplier things.

Tonight was no exception. There is a spot we've been going to see Great Blue Herons - one of my favorite creatures. We went this evening to see how many there would be and to see if we could find any new shorebirds.
This location is smack dab in the middle of farm country. Some digging to sell dirt, some broken tile, and nature creates a pond where a farmable field once was. The saying "build it and they will come" is very fitting here. The birds didn't miss a chance to take over the property. I have witnessed many common birds here as well as some new ones for me. The most fantastic has been a Bald Eagle. But, he's a story I should have told a month ago (I'll catch up sometime and post the pics.)

Tonight, even with storms and rain threatening - my sister and I decided to drive to this area and take a chance. If definitely paid off. Upon pulling up we notice 5 heron in the water. Then, continuing looking count a total of 17 in the area. This is a new record for us for this location.
I take pictures of different birds, enjoy the peace of this area. My sister is checking things out. This goes on for about 45 minutes. We spot some new shorebirds (neither of us thought to bring our books - so couldn't identify them there - still working on that).
(Possibly a Short-billed Dowitcher?)
It sprinkles on us a time or two. Then, around 8:30 / 8:40 the sun comes out and makes for a beautiful sunset.

A few minutes later we notice the start of a rainbow, then notice the far end, then the middle develops. It gets brighter after awhile. Then, a faint second rainbow forms partially above the first. Absolutely beautiful. And amazing to see the full rainbow from one location.
Just when I thought things couldn't get more beautiful... a flock of birds comes over the far trees and towards the pond. They fly beneath the arch of the rainbow, towards us, and then to the far end of the pond. Great blue herons - I counted 46!!! I was amazed. A few landed but most flew on. A few minutes pass and 5 more heron arrive followed a few minutes later by a final straggler. WOW!!Each of these black specks is a heron. Absolutely fascinating. So wonderful to see and hear; as they were a vocal bunch.
I returned home with a big smile! Very happy. And thrilled to have captured it on camera.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring is Almost Here

With spring comes spring cleaning. My list will probably take all season to complete. Plans are to not only clean, but to rearrange and better utilize the space I have

I am two weekends into my project. So far I have assembled a Sauder wardrobe for my bedroom...
tore down a partition wall....
and painted my spare room....
The spare room is going to be my new arts and craft room with some storage on the side. I do my rubber stamp carving using a drafting table. I set it at the window with the best lighting. I can't wait to get the rest of this room in order so I can relax and carve a stamp.
Slowly it is all coming together. It's exciting to see it change and progress.
Happy Spring Cleaning!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Let it Snow

Never post this sign in your yard unless you mean it....

We've had 20 1/2 inches of snow in the last 11 days. Not much has melted because we haven't had our temperature above freezing. Now we are getting more snow. So far 3 more inches. Still snowing.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Hoar Frost / Winter Wonderland

This morning in west central Ohio - we woke up to a Winter Wonderland. A beautiful frost had formed on everything.

And I mean everything...I have a stucco home - frost crystals had formed on areas of the walls - particularily on the corners

Even the grass has ice crystals formed to one side

Per Wikipedia ---

"Radiation frost (also called hoar frost or hoarfrost) refers to the white ice crystals, loosely deposited on the ground or exposed objects, that form on cold clear nights when heat losses into the open skies cause objects to become colder than the surrounding air.

Hoar frost may have different names depending on where it forms. For example, air hoar is a deposit of hoar frost on objects above the surface, such as tree branches, plant stems, wires; surface hoar is formed by fernlike ice crystals directly deposited on snow, ice or already frozen surfaces; crevasse hoar consists in crystals that form in glacial crevasses where water vapour can accumulate under calm weather conditions; depth hoar refers to cup shaped, faceted crystals formed within dry snow, beneath the surface."

The following pictures were taken in our City Park. The next few are of our swinging bridge over a creek.

The frost lasted longer than I expected this morning. Probably until about noon. It was a beautiful morning in a lovely Winter Wonderland.