Monday, February 21, 2011

Today just some more evidence of my love of rocks...
My son Kevin and I scoured Nauset Beach on Cape Cod for all these stones. They have to meet several criteria in order to be a keeper. It can't be too big, it must be an interesting shape, a pretty color or a different texture. We brought many home but not all made the cut. The above stones made it. They're actually Kevin's, we collected them for him to put in a glass container in his apartment in NYC to remind him of family and vacation. But guess what? They were too heavy to take on the plane without putting his luggage over the weight limit. So they're mine now. Hee hee. Yes, that's my dog Cody checking things out. He's got his nose in everything.
Years ago my dad found an almost perfect heart shaped stone on a beach in North Truro on Cape Cod. He gave it to my mother and she still has it. It's got my name on it; some day I will get custody of it. But not for a long time I hope. The above hearts were collected by my hubby, Kevin and me. No Cape Cod for me this summer and I'm sad about that so I guess I'll just look at my beach stones and remember.


And now for a completely different topic but one close to my heart; my backyard birds.

Waiting his turn...
The bird feeder was very busy yesterday. Stopping in for a little pick me up snack was this red bellied woodpecker.

Our one sets of male and female cardinals. There are at least three different couples that dine at our feeder. The male almost always lets the female eat first while he keeps watch in our weeping cherry tree. After she's done she sometimes waits for him to eat but most of the time flies off. We also had chickadees, tufted titmouse, nut hatches and a little downy woodpecker at the feeder while I was watching.
Of course I can't leave out our neighborhood pest, good old Mr. Squirrel, actually at one time yesterday I counted 9 squirrels running around the yard. I can't say this too loud, I don't want them to hear, we've pretty much conquered our bird feeder squirrel problem. The black thing on the pole is a baffle and they can't get over it. The tree branches aren't strong enough for them to get down near the feeder and if they do somehow manage to make it to the feeder there's a door like thing that comes down and closes off the seed when it senses too much weight on the perch. They try hard but have resigned themselves to eating seed that falls on the ground. Kevin got me a great Christmas gift this year; a combination bird and flower book as well as a magazine subscription to Birds and Blooms. More of my favorite things.
I wish I had a better camera, I can never get an in focus shot of the birds. If you want to see some lovely pictures taken by my friend Sandi head over here.

I'm off from school this week and home alone for February recess so maybe I'll post more often, I think I might get bored.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I Rock

I love rocks, they're one of my favorite things. I collect them from different places and love to look for them on the beaches of Cape Cod. I have rocks in every room of my house and in all the landscaping and gardens around my yard. I did see on one episode of My Strange Addiction a woman who is obsessed about rocks. I'm far from that. And have you ever seen that show? Wow, there are some strange people in this world. Back to rocks...
Our Earth is made up of three types of rocks: sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic and this post is about sedimentary rock; in a round about way. I'll give you the abbreviated version.

Sedimentary rock is formed when the surfaces of the Earth have been eroded over millions of years by wind and water. These bits and pieces of rocks and sand wash down stream and settle on the bottom of rivers, lakes and oceans. Over time more piles on top pressing down on the lower layers. Eventually these layers turn to rock. Most areas of sedimentary rock were once covered with water. The different layers of the rocks gives us information about the geological time period when they were formed. Contained in the rock layers are fossils of plants and animals. Almost all fossils are found in sedimentary rock.

Grand Canyon photo by Reiner Stenzel

One of the most famous examples of sedimentary rock formation would be the Grand Canyon. You can really see the layers.

As I said almost all fossils are found in sedimentary rock including dinosaurs. Above is the mighty carnivore Tyrannosaurus Rex that lived during the late Cretaceous period. Sorry but Jurassic Park got it wrong.
Triceratops an herbivore (or as one of my kindergartners say, whorebivore) lived during the late Cretaceous period with his buddy T-Rex.

Stegosaurus, also a plant eater roamed the Earth during the late Jurassic period. I took these pictures on a trip to the Museum of Natural History in NYC in the Dinosaur Hall. I'm not really one for museums but have always wanted to see these dinosaur fossils. A wonderful surprise exhibit was the Meteor Hall. Perfect for a rock lover like me; where else can you touch a rock that came from outer space!

Just look at this hunk of space rock!
All this leads me to the gist of my post. We were driving down a street the other day when I noticed this snow bank. Sedimentary snow was the first thought in my mind! Look how you can see the different layers from different snow falls.

Is the winter getting to me or what??

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Are you ready for some bowl games?

So there's this big football game today. I don't really follow football excepts the sorry ass Buffalo Bills and it's been 20 years since they've been in the Superbowl. I do watch the Superbowl every year but mostly for the commercials. I was at a Superbowl party several years back when Janet Jackson flashed her nipple. In a room full of people only myself and another guy saw it, everyone else was eating. I wasn't sure at first what I saw but then realized that Justin Timberlake ripped the bodice of her outfit and hello, there it was. Any way I'll watch the game and while I really don't care who wins I'm going to cheer for this team...

The Packards!
I'll also watch the Puppy Bowl. How cute are they? Cuddlier than big sweaty guys in tight pants.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

I can't wait for spring

I lucked out today with a snow day off from school. Some school districts closed their schools last night already. Mine waited until 5:30 this morning. This is the only phone call I want to get that early. In my opinion I think maybe the weather prognosticators didn't get this one quite right. Every channel I checked said we'd get significant snowfall over night with freezing rain and sleet to the south of us. We ended up getting a wintry cocktail of all of the above. Could we have gone to school? Maybe. We've gone to school on worse mornings than today but the day off was nice, I'm not complaining.

I love my birds in the backyard. There's something about seeing a red cardinal on a bland, colorless winter's day. Here he's keeping watch while his female counterpart is eating along side a downy woodpecker.

I wish I had a better camera, it focused on the hydrangea stalks instead of my little friend.
I call these poor little sparrows pig birds because they will eat at the feeder until they can hardly fly away.
Puffing up to stay warm I think.

Oh and on a postscript to this story, go here.