Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Today we took my old dog Mitzi to the vet for her final journey. Mitzi's free now, free of the pains and inability to get around, free of the deafness and the failing sight and the confusion, free of the many indignities making her life miserable and us increasingly unable to care for her. We were able to enjoy her company and give her a good home for quite a few years. I hope if her spirit goes somewhere there are squirrel spirits to chase but never catch, just like she used to.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Sometime in December it Might Have Snowed.

And that's about all there is to say about that.


There were some nice patterns piling up there! But that didn't amount to much, nor did this next: Snow?

And that, thus far, has been the sum total of our snowfall for December in Topeka. Not much comparison to years past, it seems.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Kaw River State Park, December Edition

Rich and I made another trip down to see the river at Kaw River State Park the other day. It was one of those absolutely gray days we've been having a lot of lately. The river is at sort of a medium level and the trees and bushes mostly bare. Here are some pictures, all from December 12, 2011.

All the greens and golds have changed to mostly browns, and the water looks chilly and slow. I am waiting now for a day when it's been really cold for a while but yet there is no ice on the roads. If there is ice on the road, the road to the river is closed because part of it is a 15% grade, very steep indeed. Deep winter edition, probably coming later.

Now December Comes Already

Time keeps on ticking, ticking into the future...

December's days grow short and dark, and the cold creeps in. I enjoy this part of the year more than many people do, I suspect. I'm not thrilled with having to get around in ice and snow, but I really do not mind the dark.

Let's see what I have to show for December, so far.

How about a tiny little tiny dog's baby tooth? Cricket is growing up and changing from baby teeth to big dog teeth. I guess they mostly just swallow them, but she spit this one out on the couch. So tiny! She actually lost this in late November but it took me about a week to get around to taking the picture.

Ah, more rain on December 3, a bit cold this time. But any rain is still welcome!

Ms. Monarda in her late fall colors. I think she's still quite pretty!

On December 6, Rich and I went out to west Topeka to the hill by the new theater to take pictures of the Moon and Jupiter, very close together in the sky. This is a composite picture, with Jupiter exposed in one picture and the Moon in another. Their positions are exactly correct.

I zoomed in as far as I could on Jupiter...did I capture some of her moons here? I don't know. I would like to think that I did.

Moon in the trees from my own back yard on December 7, handheld. Just interesting, not the world's greatest moon shot.

Moon on December 8, once again handheld from the back yard. Plenty of clouds tonight.

On the morning of December 10 there was a lunar eclipse as the Moon was setting in the west. My pictures of that are from Maple Hill, not Topeka, but I am tempted to post them here anyway. Maybe I will, sometime later.

More Moony Stuff (November)

I've been so lax about posting, again. This was an attempt to capture the lovely Moon and Jupiter combo we've been seeing a lot of this fall. I nearly cut Jupiter out of the picture, here. Taken November 9, 2011.

More Moon stuff from the next night, some better attempts. Never possible to truly get the exposure right for both the Moon and Jupiter.

In the picture below you can see the patterns of the moon in the reflection. I liked that a lot.

Picture that Moon as seen in some of the above pictures, with the beautiful bright Jupiter in the sky, and both reflected in the lake. It was such a wonderful sight.

I believe that concludes the Moony-ness of November.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Today, rain.

Finally, a little rain. Even though there's a prediction for some amount of snow later in the evening, I will take any water the skies want to give in any form possible.

Water on the sidewalk is good.

Water on the sage is also good, and pretty.

Water is welcome!

Kaw River State Park, The Low Time

The Kaw River is a much different river right now than it was in June when I last posted pictures from the Kaw River State Park. It's very low, and there are huge sandbars that were not at all visible in June.

I could walk down the boat ramp quite a ways for some downriver views.

And some views across the river, with the wide sandy banks showing.

The trail back into the woods was full of bright colors in the afternoon sun.

These bushes, some about 15 feet high, lined the trail as far back as I could see. There were robins very interested in them, who I don't think appreciated my presence. These are just lovely, the bright red berries and the glowing green foliage. However, I have discovered that these may be the very invasive amur honeysuckle, which is not a good thing to have there.

There were lots of amazing trees sporting amazing colors, too.

Most amazing sight of the day, perhaps, is this view of the valley taken from the top of the hill on the road down to the river, a 15% grade that has to be closed in the winter whenever it's slick. Thanks to Richard Mote for stopping on the road so I could hop out and take this picture.

And just one more, along the less steep part of the road. There are trails leading off all over the place. Someday if I feel up to it, there are places I would like to explore along them.

It was a wonderful afternoon, and a well-timed visit. Today it rained.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


OK, yes, I will on occasion post insufferably cute dog pictures, like these.

We could be excused because she really did need a sweater for the chill that is now creeping into the air. Chihuahuas are from much warmer climes, and don't carry a big load of fur to keep them warm. She resisted at first, but once it was on she cavorted around the yard with no problem, and even liked wearing it in the house while napping on the couch.

Happy Howl-O-Ween!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Heron Hunter Moon

Out at Lake Shawnee the past couple of nights, I was graced with the gorgeous face of the Moon.

Above images from October 11. Hunter's Moon, so called, some believe, because the falling of the leaves and the clearing of crops from the fields made it easier to track creatures under the bright Moon's light. Also, the cooler weather is better for butchering and preserving meat. Stock up the larder, Winter is coming.

The next night, we went back out hoping for a sight of the Moon and Jupiter. We did see those, but we were also granted the presence of a heron perching on a snag in the middle of this part of the lake, under the light of the Hunter's Moon.

The heron arrived before we could see the Moon, and then, she appeared:

The heron stayed, as far as I know, the entire time we were there under the Hunter's Moon.

The Moon alone, never as interesting to me as when She plays with trees and clouds and the lake, but this was the gorgeous color of her face when she rose out of the clouds.

There was a very strong moon path this night. At times the waves on the lake made it appear like a series of Moons rippling through part of the water.

As far as the Moon and Jupiter, it was indeed a wonderful sight, but my photographic capabilities could not do it justice. Imagine the Moon above in the image below, and reflected on the rippling lake, add the conversation of the geese and the patient heron still sitting, and you will come closer to the wonder of it all.