There’s nothing nicer in the winter than sitting in front of a fireplace with a large supply of wood fuel.
A while back during a wind storm we had a locust tree blow down. It was a tall one at about 70 feet. When it came down it took down a bunch of other trees with it. These things are heavy!
Yesterday I went out to cut it in 6-10 foot sections where I can use my grapple to get them in a clearing where I can cut them into firewood sized chunks that can be split and stacked for the rest of the winter.
We use this firewood every day in the winter to keep our home warm. It is a nice source of renewable stored energy. When we use the fireplace it can be 10º outside and still be 75º inside.
We have a nice wood burning stove in our fireplace as an insert. Its a “reburner” which means it burns extra clean and put out almost no smoke from the chimney. And gets wicked hot.
The first step in getting a bunch of firewood is gathering all the wood into one location. The next step, which I’ll be doing today, is cutting, splitting and stacking it so we can have it dried out for the rest of the winter by the time we run out of what we already have.
Years ago I stopped buying pre-cut timber to burn in our fireplace and replace that wood with wood from our own property. We have plenty of wood here that falls on it’s own or a tree that dies that needs to be cut down. This also gives me an opportunity to clean out the underbrush as much as I can, trim the smaller trees, cut down all the vine that is so ugly and allow us to walk and enjoy the trees and wildlife that hangs around in them.
These days a truck load of timber can cost $600. That’s about a cord of wood. Its not much. Its a little work and time but I enjoy doing this.
I especially enjoy sitting in front of a blazing hot fireplace in the middle of winter around here.
Last week we went to Annapolis to visit with some YouTubers I follow at the Annapolis harbor. They are sail enthusiast. I enjoy watching their adventures on terra firma.
I brought my camera with me in case there was something I wanted to capture that I couldn’t with my cell phone. I’m still learning how to shoot things other than landscapes.
We didn’t take any pictures of the event we attended that evening but ended up working our way into downtown Annapolis where the pride festival was in full swing.
I’m not sure if the amount of people down there was “normal” for a Friday but there were sure a lot of people there. I was quite surprised to drive into town, go to our restaurant and park right up front and center. Looking back, I think it was just the luck of the draw that evening.
It was nice to meet friends I only know over the Internet doing what they love and meeting others who are doing the same. And nice to get back home to enjoy a long weekend goofing around here.
It’s a long way to drive but we should do this more often.
It was one of those temperate spring days in Virginia today. It’s too cold to go out in short sleeves but too warm to we a jacket with the sun out. So I took a nap. I looked like this out:
In addition to flying a drone I also flew some fixed wing aircraft. The winds aloft were a good 20+ miles an hour sustained. When I flew a glider into the wind it would appear to hover in place. That pattern continues today with a 57º brisk wind blowing.
I hope you have a nice day today and can spend it with those you love.
We’ve been together on warm summer days and in freezing, wind driven rain.
At first, I could only hear her calls. That was when she was young and being trained by her parents who are long since gone.
In the last couple of years she has let me walk close to her. This is her territory. I see her all the time as she hunts for small furry creatures.
Today I went saw her through a window on this pole close to the house. That alone is unusual. I took pictures through the double-paned glass which makes things blurry at best when you shoot from any distance.
I decided to walk outside and maybe get a few photos before she flew away like she normally would. I did get a few but something unusual happened. She stayed on the pole.
So I walked closer. Took a few photos. Closer. Took a few more. Then I noticed she really didn’t care about me being there. Clearly watching me but not caring that I was getting so close.
I kept walking.
This is not a small lens. It’s 600mm and designed for shooting subjects at a considerable distance. When I got to 40 feet I stopped walking towards her and took this photo:
At this point I can’t zoom back out much. It’s just she and I looking at each other. She is still not showing any sign of leaving. I can see per pupils in the middle of her brown eyes now. She is very orange. Her feathers are blowing in the wind.
I stopped taking photos and just watch her look for things. The smaller birds were watching her closely.
There was a small concentration of animals watching this hunter. I suspect it was so they did not become prey. I estimate her height at 14-15 inches tall and about 8 inches at her shoulders. She is not small.
Spring is just around the corner now. We’ve moved the clocks up and suffered through the first week of time change. Seems silly we still do that. It likely never did make a difference.
It snowed on March 8. The night it snowed it was very cold and fluffy stuff that wasn’t being whipped around by the wind. So it light laid on top of everything.
Once the sun came up above the clouds things started to melt quickly. First the sidewalks but by the end of the day it was pretty much over. It may not be the last snow but it’s going to be close to the last storm we have. It’s snowed here in May so we are not out of the woods yet.
What I do hope happens is we get a respite for a few months from the wetness. Our ground is so saturated with water it’s difficult to even walk on top of it much less manage it with machines. I try not to wish that it doesn’t rain but we could use a little break. Just a couple of weeks of no rain to let the water run down to the tables or rivers.
I woke this morning with ice covered snow. Snow is not unusual for this time of the year. It feels strange only because I think I’m done with the winter of 2018/2019. I am ready for spring.
Like last year, I’ve not had to use my snow thrower to move large amounts of snow as in years past. It sits quiet, thankfully, in the barn. I don’t have to work in the weather now so I let the snow do what the snow is gonna do.
Today it’s been warmer than it’s been since I’ve been physically here this winter. The current temperature in the front yard is 55ºF so the snow is quickly melting. Because of the temperature difference between the ground and the air we get the low fog and cloud layers in the morning.
I missed the 65º “Indian Summer” when I was gone for work a few weeks ago. So the 55º was as warm as I’ve seen it this winter. We normally get a few days like this each year in between the really cold weather we otherwise have.
It’s fun to take the drone up through the fog in the clear above. Things look so different up there where the birds fly.
I don’t know how to get a shot like this without the use of a drone (or helicopter).
This winter has been nice. At night when there is no wind Its super quiet around here above a layer of ice. I’m glad we have four seasons here.
Yesterday we had another snow storm roll through this area. The snow didn’t amount to much. We did get more than was predicted which left quite the wintery landscape behind.
The above was video taken from my drone while the following is from my Nikon camera using an intervalometer:
I’m almost never in a position to use my nicer cameras to do time lapse photography like this. It’s not hard but quite time consuming so if you have to baby sit the camera you can’t be working like I have been lately. But stuck in my home and working at my desk allowed me the time to monitor the camera while it took 1000 images through the day.
Ironically, the above uploaded on to YouTube is about half the actual resolution of the images. You tube and other services take out so much of the quality to save storage space and not use so much bandwidth.
The camera was set up for manual images with fixed focus, fixed aperture and fixed f-stop. All of the rest was done with software. I use Adobe Lightroom to do the heavy image edits, crops and the like. And then LRTimelapse (Version 4) to put together the time lapse. LRT is very cool and powerful software.
And the drone also takes some very unique images in raw image format so that the image can be manipulated very easily post production.
I like the high contrast photography I learned when I was 16/17 years of age. Back then I would look through all the Ansel Adams photographs in awe of how he accomplished such unique high-contrast black and white photography.
He’s gone now but I can’t wait to tell him about drones. He would carry his camera gear on his back, spend days/weeks in the wilderness to get the perfect image.
I flew my drone from my front porch in between work meetings to get this one. Things have changed. Photography has really changed even in my lifetime.
Well, it took me 22 days to write my first post in 2019. Happy new year to you!
All this “Blood Moon” talk hyped up this event which is really just the earth passing in front of the sun casting it’s shadow on the moon (lunar eclipse). It does glow an odd color when in totality. That’s about it though. All the drama in the “news papers” made it more than it really was.
I did get a nice photo of the moon in totality.
At my home in Virginia the sky is always very clear if there are no clouds. This night happened to be one of those super clear nights so taking a picture of the moon would normally be a piece of cake. Enter the 40 mile an hour wind, 10º temperature and the location of the moon at 90º to the horizon.
The photo was taken with a 600mm lens which is not the smallest, lightest lens in the world. Attached to the camera and a tripod it’s steady but unwieldy. The wind was so strong that I had to use f-stops much higher than I normally would so the photo was not blurry. Had this been in the summer, for instance, I could have laid on my back and peered into the sky indefinitely. Not this night!
I did three sessions each about 5 minutes long. At the end of each session I could not feel my fingers! This photo came at the end of the last session after I dialed in the light and shutter speeds that I could use with a shaky camera(man). It wasn’t until I saw it on my computer that I knew I didn’t have to go out for a fourth session. Shew!
The camera was pointing straight up in the sky making it very difficult to focus on the moon and set the camera up to take the photo. But I finally managed to get a good one. It would have been fun to spend more time outside but it was just too uncomfortable.
Some astronomers have captured a meteor striking the moon during totality. That would have been cool to witness. You can find that on the web if you are interested. I don’t think it was fake news. It’s always possible these days.
I’m not a morning person. Today I made an exception.
For what ever reason I got up early and looked out the window and saw the foggy-ness before the sun had come up. Others in the house had to get up early as well to go to meetings and such so there was movement that probably woke me. We swapped inside cat with outside cats. I ran out the front door with my drone.
The air was calm and cold with fog so thick you couldn’t see very far. Mongrel and I were gearing up for a walk together like we do some mornings. Normally it’s down the gravel road to keep paws as dry as possible. Today it will be in the tall grass thick with moisture which he didn’t seem to mind. I found this interesting and fun to watch. Normally he does not like his paws to be wet like this. Today he was wet to the middle part of his body. Totally soaked. Remember, it’s like 40º!
I was struck by how cool the sun looked coming through the fog in some of my favorite places at home.
I never leave without at least one camera. This has paid off a number of times. It felt good today when I reached for it and took this photo.
The light was super soft and contrasty. This is the “lonely tree”; a name I gave it because it’s all alone in the field near our home. It’s a frequent subject of some of my high-contrast photography.
The photo is not edited and I used no filters. That’s the way it looked this morning. Very moody. I recall thinking, “I can do anything today!” as I walked with Mongrel who was beside himself exploring this “new” landscape wet from head to paw.
Just before our walk I flew the drone up to get this composite photography of the sun rising. Totally different perspective than being on the ground shrouded by the thick fog.
Mongrel patiently waited on me to finish taking my photographs. He does this. He seems to know that when the “bird” lands that we will be on our walk soon. When the drone powers down he gets all giddy, arches his back, bends his tail and hops towards the way he wants to go. He knows we’re going for a long walk.
This week we experienced the first snow of the 2018/2019 winter season. It’s a little early for this much snow so soon but not unusual either. I have some media to share with you
The first to are some time lapse videos I put together from my cheapo Raspberry Pi cameras in the windows. These computers put three time lapse sequences a day together for me so there is nothing I have to do to make these happen.
I was a little surprised at how heavy the snow was at times. Normally we don’t see this heavy of snow this early in the season. It will snow then go away. 5″ of snow is a little unusual. To have this much show meant that it snowed from morning until evening on this day (November 15).
I didn’t have to look too far to find the deer finding refuge from the wind in the tall brush eating the leaves still on some of the trees there.
This blue spruce tree was bought in 1999 from a nursery in Frederick Maryland to use as a Christmas tree when we lived there. The idea was that we would plant the tree once we moved to our new home. We did do that when we moved in here. First it was planted by the mailbox and then we moved it to this place after we wanted to plant the silver maple trees down the driveway. It has thrived in this location.
It’s sunny out now and 40º. The snow is melting off of the paved surfaces and things turning back to normal. The snow on the grass/ground is going to hang around for a while.