Monday, October 24, 2011

260: Experiment

This afternoon my son and I played with the Garbled Marbles he received as a birthday gift last month. They are super absorbent tiny beads that expand into marble-sized super bouncy balls after about two hours in water. He got so excited watching them grow as we checked on them every 30 minutes or so. When we judged they had stopped expanding, the trayful of wet, bouncy marbles entertained him for at least another hour.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

258: Moving day

We helped a friend move today. Perfect day for it. I kept thinking of times we've moved in swampy August heat, or obscene May flurries, or cold January snow and mud. The cool October sunshine was quite an improvement.

Friday, October 21, 2011

257: Power grid

Thinking of Margaret Bourke-White images like this one when I took this shot.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

249: Firetruck


I can't get away from dogs these days. Do you see the one in this picture?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

248: Strays

The ways that having children has encouraged me to grow as a person have been frequently unexpected. For the second time in the last few months, I picked up a stray. The first time was an injured hiker at Dismal Falls. He needed a ride to a nearby spot in order to meet up with friends who would get him home. Inviting a strange man into my car with my two young children was a nerve-wracking experience, but one I knew to be The Right Thing to Do. I opened the back of my car so he could put his pack inside, holding my breath and trusting my instincts that he was the good person he appeared to be. As we drove back down the gravel road to the small roadside store where he would meet his friends, I offered him apple slices from our morning snack, his first fresh fruit in weeks, and learned he was a college student from our own city, hundreds of miles away.

Today I saw a starving puppy sniffing around a busy corner in the rain as my kids and I pulled out of our neighborhood to run some errands. Instead of shaking my head and driving on, as I think I would have done in the past, I stopped the car. I hesitated. Dogs can be scary. But this one was so very thin, and I could see a tag hanging from his collar. No problem. Check his tag, call the owner, take him to our house until he could be picked up. But the tag was blank. Now what? As I squatted on the corner in the rain, wondering what to do, the dog crawled into my lap. So I picked him up, put in the car, and took him home. Because it was The Right Thing to Do, and my children are watching everything I do. They are learning, and so am I.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

244: Birds and Bones


We had a full day today. Eight a.m. found us at Dutch Gap Conservation Area, where we joined a handful of other families to learn about bird banding. In the above photo, one of the bird-banders is showing us the tools of the trade. She holds a string of bands of various sizes between her hands.

After the birds are weighed and measured, they are fitted with a band around one leg. Another bird-bander demonstrates fitting the band on the bird. You can see the band between her thumb and first finger of her right hand. They assured us the bands are lightweight aluminum and don't affect the birds in any negative fashion.

No blue in this, just my favorite bird shot of the morning.

After the bird-banding demonstration, we made our way up to D. C. where we headed to the National Natural History Museum. My last visit to this museum was over 20 years ago, and I can't say that much has changed there in the intervening years. 

This movie playing on a globe was one of my son's favorite exhibits. The quiet, dark room provided welcome respite from the incredible crowds.

Another favorite-- a giant crystal ball! As you can see, this exhibit, adjacent to the Hope Diamond, was extremely crowded. We were anxious to be on our way after three hours exploring the museum, so we didn't spend much time exploring this fascinating room. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

243: Girls Only

At the Children's Museum today, I felt sad for the little boy who reached for the sparkly, fluffy blue dress, only to be told by his mother, "That's for girls," as she pushed it out of his reach and offered a superhero cape in its place. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

242: View from Dock St.

My daughter and I walked along the completed Richmond section of the Virginia Capital Trail this afternoon. After years of driving by the contraption at the top, I finally learned that it is a raise or lift bridge. The canal lock located to the east of the bridge is no longer in use, and so the bridge has not been raised in many years, but trains continue to use it to cross the canal daily.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

238: Blue Ridge Hiking

Do you see Green Man?

Lucky for me we chose a blue-blazed trail.

Flowers my sweet son picked.

More images of rocks, branches and lots and lots of mushrooms here.