Saturday, January 21, 2006

Hawk (Not Tony)

Yesterday, Bill, the boss at my Ohio office, took me down through the Cuyahoga Valley in search of some deer. Unfortunately, we didn't spot any, but I did manage to spot this red-tailed hawk. (Well, I believe it's a red-tail, but I'm not an expert on birds anywhere, much less here in Ohio.) Bill must have thought I was crazy when I yelled to stop the van and jumped out with my camera clicking away. In the first few shots I got, the hawk had his head turned down, but this is the first one I got where you could see his head. I was walking towards him slowly, trying not to spook him, when he turned and took off across the river.

I can't even get shots like that in Florida! Right place, right time I guess. He settled in a tree on the far bank of the Cuyahoga, so I kept walking towards him, hoping to get some more shots.

After landing on the far bank, this magnificent bird was too far away to get more good shots, but I waited a little while anyway, and sure enough, he took off soon again and began to circle overhead. It took me a few minutes to figure out why, but it turned out that a crow was harassing him. I got this one shot of the two of them fighting in mid-air. I guess the crows get some kick out of it. I didn't see any food involved, and it's certainly not a mating ritual. But whatever it is, it makes for great pictures!

Snow Virgin

I know you've all been waiting for these, so here you go... I got up enough nerve to try skiing Thursday night. I didn't realize just how much nerve it was going to take until I actually got to Brandywine Ski Resort and looked up. A giant hill covered in fake snow loomed above me, and I was completely out of my element. I rented some gear, somehow figured out how to get my feet in the ski boots, and wandered out onto the slopes. My lesson wasn't scheduled for a while, so I waited around watching little kids ski around like they were born with skis on their feet, and other folks on snowboards making the surfers down near me look strictly amateur. The instructor finally came around, and it turned out I was the only person in the sub-beginner lesson. (Remember, this is only the day after I saw snow for the first time, yet here I am taking a ski lesson...) He tried his best, but I just couldn't get it. For an entire hour, I'd struggle up a very slight slope, only to slide back down (sometimes backwards!) with little or no control, unable to stop or turn until I either fell over, or, on one spectacular occasion, smash into the split rail fence that separated the slopes from the meltwater stream below. Of the three rails in the fence, I broke two of them clean in half. It wasn't long after that incident that I decided I wasn't going to pick this up quickly enough, and I limped off to the rental return spot with my ego firmly tucked between my legs... (Big thanks to Wendy, an instructor at the resort, for these pictures. Now I know why she didn't want to be my instructor...)

Snow Forensics

As the snow melted away on Thursday, I started to notice something odd. There were trails of footprints left behind, like something out of an episode of Scooby Doo. Everywhere I had traipsed around and compressed the inch of so of snow on the ground, it was dense enough to melt at a slower rate. So wherever I had been, you could see these footprints. I knew they were my footprints because I was the only one silly enough to go walking around in it for no good reason.

Ohio (5/50)

I figured I should try to find a good Ohio license plate to share with you while I'm up here, and this is what I found. My friend Wendy who works up here has this creative plate that for some oxymoronic reason says UNCRE8V. (She also pulled her old plate from WV out of the trunk that said UNCRE8IV.) This was taken the day after it snowed, I think, or maybe late that same day, so it's starting to melt. And when it melts, some of it refreezes into those icicles you see dripping from the front bumper. That's something you don't see very often back home in Florida.

Previous plates: New York, Maine, Hawaii, Washington.

Snow Show

Here's a snow picture for you, just to prove I actually did see snow while here in Ohio. This was taken last Wednesday (if I remember correctly), down at Brandywine Falls, which I'm sure you remember from my adventures in Ohio last year. So far it's only snowed once during my visit, and it only stayed around for about 36 hours. Yesterday the high temperature was in the mid-50s, so it was all melted except in the most sheltered spots. (This is the 3rd warmest January ever on record here in Ohio. Go figure...) Chances are good for some snow this afternoon and overnight, though, so wish me luck!

Friday, January 20, 2006

On The Grid

Right before I left Florida a few days ago, I showed you a glorious sunrise that was somewhat marred by powerlines in the picture. Well, here in Ohio, I've seen one good sunrise, and what do you know, it's got more powerlines running across it! I've got to start planning ahead for these pictures.

I've got tons more pictures to show you from here in OH, but I haven't had time to get them up. Today might work out a little bit better, so stay tuned if you want to see some snow, and if you're lucky, me wiping out on the bunny slope!

Monday, January 16, 2006

This Week In January

Ever hear of a silk oak? Well, I hadn't either until I came to Bradenton. Turns out they are yet another invasive tree, but they put out these spectacular flowers for a few weeks a year. They sort of look like giant Christmas trees hung with golden ornaments when they are in full bloom. Quite a site to see.

Great Day In The Morning

Here's a little shot of sunrise this morning. I was at work, so I was pretty limited on what shots I could get. Had I known this sunrise was coming, I would have driven somewhere else. So try to look past the unsightly power lines in the foreground. This picture doesn't really do justice to the breathtaking panorama that spread out as the sun inched towards the horizon (yes, this occurred prior to the sun actually coming up). It probably went on for twenty minutes or more, which is forever for a sunrise this grand. I'm on my way to Ohio later this afternoon. I'll be there for a whole week on business, and I expect I won't be seeing this sort of thing up there this time of year. I suspect this sunrise was nature's way of saying hurry home...