Today we paid a visit to the The F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm in Akron, Ohio. It was a fine, cool, beautiful day for a walk in the gardens and natural areas of the park. The last time we visited there was in October 2008. The nature center itself has undergone major improvements since then including installation of solar power panels on several rooftops, LED lighting, new pavement, and pavilion areas. We enjoyed walking through the woods and photographing various natural subjects and captured many splendid views of everything from mushrooms and flowers to vines and butterflies. Only two images are included here but I’ll be working on other images and posting them to a photo gallery — maybe add one or two to my 2011 photo calendar. It’s late now (actually after midnight) so I’ll post and go to bed. I like these low-key, slow-paced days.
We were minding our own business, heading out on a pleasant little Saturday morning trip to a shopping area, more as an outing than an expedition. Stopped for a red light at an intersection, all was was quiet when suddenly –BOOM– a heavy blow from behind rocked the Insight! A second later we realized we'd been hit by a large black car. I shut off the engine, carefully got out of the Honda –the guy who hit us was already out of his– and we examined the results. (He said he "thinks" his foot slipped off the brake at the stop.) Whew! Nobody hurt. No broken glass. No smashed plastic lenses. No folded or torn bumpers.
The Insight, however, now wears as part of its rear bumper the distinct impressions of the other guy's license plate bolt heads (you can count the sides) and license plate frame. Of course, the other guy showed no signs of impact on the front end of his car. Probably nothing to be done but application of a bit of touch-up paint and. Too little damage for a call to the police or a call to the insurance company. So we were given the guy's license info, shook hands, and parted company. I think I know what I'll do about the bolt impressions –a new bumper sticker will do the trick– but some small scuffs and scratches will be harder to hide. The Insight is only a bit over a year old and was unscathed up to this point. Now it has its first permanent marks and I'll be reminded of the incident almost daily.
We'd parked in a far corner of Lehman's now huge lot. When we returned from visiting a nearby (completely spotless) pizza and ice cream store, our little Insight had been joined by a not-so-little pickup truck from out of state. Stunned by the comparison, I shot a cell phone camera image.
As a pleasant diversion (and out of curiosity) I left early for work Wednesday morning and made a trip out to Letha House Park in Medina County, the site of the Cuyahoga Astronomical Association's observatory. I wanted to see what progress had been made on the new driveway and parking lot for the park. I also figured I could enjoy a little nature walk around the pond and wetland area there, a little respite before the workday –and night– began. There was no progress on the lot except that a giant digging machine had been removed. The day was sunny and surprisingly hot. Walking slowly, dressed in shorts and tee shirt, I sweated as I moved along the path to the wildlife area. Dragonflies (yes, again) were everywhere so naturally I started shooting photos of them.
I also encountered a bird that flitted from perch to perch obviously trying to evade me but not wanting to go very far. I figured it was a mother and didn't want to tip me off about the location of her nest. Later I was able to confirm that it was a female red-winged blackbird. This particular bird was holding an insect in her beak, obviously a meal for her offspring, as I photographed her watching me.
Note: At home that night I found my camera no longer wished to talk to my PC. Haven't yet fixed it but I can do what many others do… offload the photos from Compact Flash using a media reader.
After being off a couple of days late in the week (scheduled and "sick") I had recovered enough from my recent head cold and was able to put in my scheduled hours at the office on Saturday. Then, due to our change in operations to a summer schedule, I was off on the Sunday when I would have worked in previous months. Then I was also off today (Monday) due to observance of Memorial Day. It's no wonder I wake up these days wondering just what day of the week it actually is!
She and I made an effort Sunday to spend some time together. We wanted something low-key since I was not yet feeling back at full health so we headed to the zoo for a nice, quiet walkaround. As we approached the parking lot we could see that droves of people of every description were descending upon the entrance. I circled the Insight around and through the lot and we headed back home for lunch and to regroup. She proposed we check out a park we had not yet visited… Wellington Reservation of the Lorain County Metropark System. We were very impressed by the facility and She was excited by the prospect of using one of the park's pontoon paddle boats… "some day, not right now." We set out on one of the trails and discovered they are interconnecting loops. After following the outer line of the combined loop system we returned to the start having hiked 3.8 sweaty miles. She was pretty well tuckered out and I feared a relapse of my illness (which fortunately did not happen). Showers and a nice dinner at home put things right.
We both had plans for Monday (the holiday). She needed to help her mother and I needed to go to the Observatory to take advantage of an unusual opportunity. During our April 4, 2009 public night, the dome's shutter began acting up. (The shutter is a sliding door that covers a slit opening in the dome used to give the telescope access to the sky.) It was difficult to open for the night and was nearly impossible to close! College carpenters built up a scaffold inside the dome early in May and determined that the rollers that carry the shutter had derailed — nominally the rollers move along an iron bar at the top of the opening easing operation. The craftsmen lifted the shutter back on to its track and lubricated the wheels. With the scaffold in place the telescope could not be moved so all use of the Observatory was suspended during the balance of April and through May. Today, while the scaffolding was still in place, I replaced the pull ropes that are used to manually open and close the shutter; there was no telling how much longer the scaffold will be available. I have no idea how old the cotton rope was; I replaced it with a tough poly braided rope. The shutter works better now than it has in years though close examination of the condition of its wooden components left me with worries. She finished her duties in decent time. My job took longer than expected. We both opted to spend the balance of the afternoon and evening at home resting up. Interesting weekend, that!