TGIF – Computer Blues

When I tried to put together this mornings post before I left home the laptop decided to lock up and laugh at me…So it was shutdown and hit the road with my post peculating in the back of my mind. The very first thing I heard on PBS as I was headed down the street I live on was about a major traffic backup two exits past the closest cross street to work. That told me right there not to hurry…so it was off through the country instead of down the freeway. Sadly, my back road trek still got me to within a couple of blocks of the office by 8am, and that’s where I spent 25 minutes trying to finish the trip. You really have to love Houston traffic…Or move.

The weather this morning was really what I consider springlike. It was 61 degrees when I hit the kitchen, so doors open and first cup of the morning while being serenaded by birdsong. The predominant player this morning, as on most here, was our state bird. When you get a half dozen Mockingbirds singing their hearts out to mark their territories, you really have a full chorus going.

I try not to let my political rants get out here very often, but this story in the Washington Post really got me .

The lawyers said any conversations Cheney and the officials had about Plame with one another or with reporters were part of their normal duties because they were discussing foreign policy and engaging in an appropriate “policy dispute.” Cheney’s attorney went further, arguing that Cheney is legally akin to the president because of his unique government role and has absolute immunity from any lawsuit.

U.S. District Judge John D. Bates asked: “So you’re arguing there is nothing — absolutely nothing — these officials could have said to reporters that would have been beyond the scope of their employment,” whether the statements were true or false?

“That’s true, Your Honor. Mr. Wilson was criticizing government policy,” said Jeffrey S. Bucholtz, deputy assistant attorney general for the Justice Department‘s civil division. “These officials were responding to that criticism.”

So there America, as far as your government is concerned, if you criticize this administration they have an inherent right to lie about you or break the law and you, dear citizen, have no recourse. Welcome to Mr. Bush’s Compassionate Conservative America, land of the rich and liars…

Source: Judge Told Leak Was Part of ‘Policy Dispute’ – washingtonpost.com

Here is a photo I took earlier in the week of a moth sitting on the outside of the window beside my seat at the computer…The photo was taken from the inside with the outside lighting showing through.

Have a great day…

Almost through the week morning muse…

I see that even though the Blue Ridge Mountains are having a couple of days of early spring weather again they are looking a bit dry. Checking out Ray’s Weather Page today he closes his forecast with a warning about the lack of moisture and the chance of fires…But with maybe a frost in the forecast, my how nice it must be…coffee on the deck anyone?

Drought conditions continue to worsen in Western North Carolina with no relief in sight. Winter was very dry, and while we have had a few rainy days, Spring has been exceptionally dry as well. We are in the neighborhood of 50% of normal rainfall this year. Going into early summer, dry ground conditions will tend to reduce our normal afternoon and evening shower/thunderstorm activity. Our only hope at this point for drought relief is tropical activity later this summer. Be extremely careful with fire! The forest fire in Linville Gorge a couple weeks ago may just be the precursor of things to come. For more details about drought conditions across the country, see www.drought.unl.edu/dm/monitor.html.

Source: Ray’s Weather Center – Valle Crucis – booneweather.com

Kate at Cider Press Hill commented on the fact that the bird population in her area was down and posted on the connection to West Nile. I stumbled across this article this morning at the Washington Post…

Experiments had predicted that certain birds might be especially vulnerable to West Nile infection, and earlier tests on birds found dead on the ground appeared to confirm that some species were suffering a significant toll. But the new analysis is the first to track populations directly, species by species and year after year at the same locations.

It shows that the post-1998 declines were greatest at times and places in which the virus was especially prevalent — as indicated by the number of human infections diagnosed. As expected, American crows were among the worst hit, suffering declines of as much as 45 percent in some regions and wipeouts of 100 percent in some smaller areas. Other species that suffered included the blue jay, the tufted titmouse, the American robin, the house wren, the chickadee and — unexpectedly — the American bluebird.

“These are not the rare, vulnerable populations we think of as being at risk due to introduced species. These are our everyday, backyard country birds,” said Shannon LaDeau, an ecologist at the bird center who led the study with Marra.

Looks like we are in for a rough ride for the next few decades no matter what form of disastrous outcomes floats your boat…Global warming, imported diseases, bugs and plants let loose in damaged ecological niches. They all cause unforeseen consequences we have to live with.

Source: Bird Species Plummeted After West Nile – washingtonpost.com

Here is another shot from Monday. I stopped under the bridge on 1462 over the Brazos River and took this shot. You can tell from the red color of the water that the rains have been falling quite a bit far upstream. The dirt down here isn’t that color. And from the fact that the water is as high as it is, a whole lot of rain must of fallen. Normal water level at this point is probably 20 feet or more lower than this with a lot of sand showing in the bed of the river.
Time to hit the road…Y’all have a great day…

From Monday Afternoon


I had a visit scheduled on Monday with the Doc, so naturally, I scheduled the whole day as a holiday…After the Doc and a slow meander home along the bay I had a quick lunch and took myself off to see if I could find something to photograph. I had been meaning to stop along the road here for a while since I pass it almost every day and just hadn’t done so. Monday I did. I hope you enjoy the shot…

First Friday of NCMD Y2

I stood out in the backyard last evening and watched the weather light show as the severe thunderstorms moved across Houston to the north of here. Lightning rolled through the clouds over two thirds of the sky as the mockingbirds sang in the background. We were far enough away that the thunder didn’t really reach us…just the light. Oh, occasionally you’d hear a low rumble from off in the distance, but there nothing coming through to match the grandeur of the lights…Sometime later in the night we must have finally received some of the rain that was in the storms since the back porch is wet this morning, but our rain didn’t come with a percussion section like the rains to the north.

With a chance of rain forecast for the entire day today the prognosticators seem to thing the temperatures here will manage to stay below those in Boone and Floyd. I stay amazed at this weather year. I went out on Wednesday evening and was amazed at the relative cool as I walked along the bayou behind the house. As I did the suburban grassy thing of riding in circles on a large lawn tractor last weekend I cut my trail along the bayou, so the walk isn’t the obstacle course of reaching spiked canes of rose and dewberry. Also, since the grass is short for a double mower width, you don’t have to pay quite as much attention watching out for snakes. I wil be the first to admit though that in the decade and a half we have been here I’ve only seen two or three snakes on my walks through the woods and fields here.

The one thing I did have on that walk was my first encounter with a “wild” hummingbird. By wild I mean not near a feeder or any other human sort of habitation. Since I didn’t take my binoculars I am not sure of the species as the little thing stayed a good 30 feet or more away the whole time I observed it. It flitted around for a good five minutes checking out the tops of last years dead weed stems.

Bald Cypress in fog out in backyard this week.

Stormy Evening


This photo was taken last evening just after sunset as storms moved by to the north. The sky was impressive…

Where has the month gone?

Here we are rapidly closing in on the end of April. Seems like it was just March the other day. The weather system that blew through here yesterday morning dropped the temperature if not the humidity. This morning is dawning a cool 57 degrees with a low fog out the (open) back door. I pulled a Fred first thing this morning (did I trigger your Google alert Fred?) wandering out in the dew covered backyard to see what kind of images I could capture early before the sun came up. It’s always nice when we have a Blue Ridge morning in Texas.

Here is the best of the handful of images I pulled in…my backyard just before sunrise this morning.


The first cup is poured and I see I have mail, so…

Horoscope for the week
I really like Ron’s take on Astrology and find this weeks horoscope ties in with where my head is (how 70’s is that)…

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): According to the macrobiotic approach to diet, the healthiest food for you to eat is that which has been grown near you, or at least in the same latitude. Unless you live in the tropics, for instance, bananas shouldn’t be on your menu. Let’s make that meme your Metaphor of the Week, Aquarius. According to my interpretation of the omens, all your best bets will be local and homegrown. You should pluck pleasures that are close by, and avoid temptations beckoning from a distance. You should trust clues that arrive from sources you can personally verify, and be skeptical of those from friends of friends of friends.

I really liked “the healthiest food for you to eat is that which has been grown near you”. Seems like I keep saying pretty much the same thing…
Source: Rob Brezsny’s Astrology Newsletter

The news from Washington is all the same, so I won’t bother to go there. Just imagine where we would be today had we not tried this experiment in Judicially appointed Presidents. I am sure that just scares the hell out of the right, “Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue”. Come to think of it, that’s just what it’s been, six years of waking nightmares.

Where has the month gone?

Here we are rapidly closing in on the end of April. Seems like it was just March the other day. The weather system that blew through here yesterday morning dropped the temperature if not the humidity. This morning is dawning a cool 57 degrees with a low fog out the (open) back door. I pulled a Fred first thing this morning (did I trigger your Google alert Fred?) wandering out in the dew covered backyard to see what kind of images I could capture early before the sun came up. It’s always nice when we have a Blue Ridge morning in Texas.

Here is the best of the handful of images I pulled in…my backyard just before sunrise this morning.


The first cup is poured and I see I have mail, so…

Horoscope for the week
I really like Ron’s take on Astrology and find this weeks horoscope ties in with where my head is (how 70’s is that)…

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): According to the macrobiotic approach to diet, the healthiest food for you to eat is that which has been grown near you, or at least in the same latitude. Unless you live in the tropics, for instance, bananas shouldn’t be on your menu. Let’s make that meme your Metaphor of the Week, Aquarius. According to my interpretation of the omens, all your best bets will be local and homegrown. You should pluck pleasures that are close by, and avoid temptations beckoning from a distance. You should trust clues that arrive from sources you can personally verify, and be skeptical of those from friends of friends of friends.

I really liked “the healthiest food for you to eat is that which has been grown near you”. Seems like I keep saying pretty much the same thing…
Source: Rob Brezsny’s Astrology Newsletter

The news from Washington is all the same, so I won’t bother to go there. Just imagine where we would be today had we not tried this experiment in Judicially appointed Presidents. I am sure that just scares the hell out of the right, “Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue”. Come to think of it, that’s just what it’s been, six years of waking nightmares.