Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Pumpkin Farm, 191014

October 21, 2014

D and I took the children to a pumpkin farm, while A studied for her exams.

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There were pumpkins everywhere, in huge heaps.

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I caught some munchkins amongst the pumpkins:

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The name of this company is Shaffer and Son!

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I enjoyed seeing the Halloween-themed displays:

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Such pretty gourds!

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We met a few people who had apparently passed on:

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The children, of course, had a great time!

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Here they are in the “fort”:

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Boys will always be rambunctious, and girls will always look on!

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Halloween can be a heavy pumpkin!

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There were several ticketed rides.

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There were a lot of old farm implements, and vehicles, too.

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Oooh, Bonnie and Clyde!

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I never knew I could find tigers (and that, too, a white tiger!) in Missouri…

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I liked the persistence of this sign.

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We went home in the setting sun:

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This is my favourite picture from the evening. Golden autumn moments of childhood….

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click here

for the FB album of photographs.

Here’s wishing those of you who celebrate it, a happy Halloween!

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Rock’n’Roll Half-Marathon, 191014

October 21, 2014

This run had a great slogan:

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Here’s A…

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looking up her name and number:

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Here’s the route:

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The number of runners was huge:

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No doubt about the city!

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She met us after she’d finished:

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Here’s Team Asha, raising funds for the education of children in India:

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Team Asha and Son:

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We went to have breakfast:

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We also went to a donut shop:

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I’d never seen a donut-making machine before!

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The children feasted their eyes:

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We came back home, celebrating A’s achievement! Here are the numbers if you are interested:

Participant Detail
8279
Anjana Mohan
Saint Louis, MO
Age: 35 | Gender: F
Finished In:
01:53:57
Overall: 1012 out of 6361 Division: 79 out of 693 Gender: 359 out of 4080

Train Show, Kirkwood, MO, 171014

October 15, 2014

We’d already had a marathon Lego session in the morning:

https://www.facebook.com/BangaloreTrafficPolice

We decided to visit tht

Train Show

(my goodness, they are already talking about 2015!)

in the afternoon.

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My father collected

Tri-ang Model Railways

pieces for more than twenty years, and the collection was carefully maintained by my brother after my father’s death. We had quite a huge setup, and I must say, with the Indian dust, it was quite a pain to maintain

It was a riot of colour, scale, and detail.

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My favourite was the road roller that had flattened one of the workers. Another laconic worker stands ready to scrape the single-dimension friend off the roller, and two others wait with the stretcher:

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Here’s a beautiful gradient bridge

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There was a tiny pumpkin chugging around in this Halloween diorama:

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Thomas the Tank Engine is one of KTB’s favourites:

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For all the detail, though, I looked in vain for the kind of sets my father had collected, eg, a mail train that would whip off the tiny post bags at one station and drop them off in a container on the other side.

I must say, the average age of the people who had the collections can be described thus: “When there was any hair, it was white.”

There were, however, times when some of us were less than interested:

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Here’s our little paper-hat engineer:

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And the other one!

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Alas, the sale area was completely given up to serious scale-model fans. If they’d just had one ordinary train set, their sales would, I feel, have gone much better!

I’ve put up more photos on

my FB album, click here

Here are two videos that I took:

See the detail in the painted backdrop, and the scenery around!

and

Even the cars in the parking lot had appropriate number plates!

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It was an enjoyable show that brought back many memories.

Memories, and feelings

October 13, 2014

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How to take the sting
Out of sad memories?
How to prevent the thoughts
From running down one’s cheeks
In pearls of relived emotion?
Perhaps, one should store memories
Consciously; peel away the layers
Of emotion that make them memorable.
Leave the facts–what happened…
Like flowers laid away in books,
Which have no fragrance, no roundness,
But still bring back the remembered time,
One’s memories can then take one back
To relive the times, without the wracking feelings
That wrenched at one’s heart then,
With deep pain and gut-wrenching agony.
Can one sanitize memories?
Or will they, as a friend says,
Always be associated with the emotions,
And shake one deeply each time
Those days pass once again before the mind’s eye?
Is a sad memory always a living thing
That brings back those feelings
That have been lying, forgotten, but present?
Or…can one mummify memories
And make of them life-like things
That yet have no pain…
Nor the power to bring agony to life afresh?

The fires of fall

October 12, 2014

Fall is a time when red seems to appear everywhere, amongst the green.

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Leaves turn into rubies:

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The brown tree-trunks are studded with gems:

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It seems as if the fires are warming the trees one last time, before the cold, and the monochromes of winter, set in.

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Truly, the fires of fall could be called the flames of the forest.

Two very different destinations

October 12, 2014

We pay a lot of homage
To success.
I’ve been watching a music video.
I see the packed halls;
I see the roaring cheers.
It makes me think about the road to this place, Success…
The gigs in small towns, the half-empty places,
The wondering if, after all,
One has the staying power
That, allied (or not) to talent
Could reach that elusive goal….Success.
The road that leads to Success
Can often curve, imperceptibly,
Into the blind alleys of Failure, too.
Success and Failure are like the two faces
Of Janus; one looking forward into the light,
The other, fading into the dimness, the darkness,
Of oblivion, sinking away into the numbers
That are described, in racing parlance,
As “also-rans”.
The efforts that lead to Failure
Are no less than those that fetch up at Success.
I feel for those who end up at the wrong destination….

The music video that brought this on:

Tower Grove Park with Edge Wade, 071014

October 8, 2014

Edge drove down all the way from Columbia to take me to Tower Grove Park, and it proved to be an enormously rewarding outing.

We started with cloudy and overcast weather, and it took a while for us to see some birds; but suddenly, there was an eruption of Warblers in just two or three trees,not too far from the Cypress Grove…. and other birds, too!

Edge emailed me later, ” Warblers we saw were Yellow-rumped (Myrtle subspecies), Tennessee, American Redstart and Nashville. Also saw several Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Blue-headed Vireo,Carolina Wren, Eastern-Wood-pewee, Carolina Chickadee, and Tufted Titmouse, as well as the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Hairy, Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers.”

I learnt a lot, too. For example, when Yellow-rumped Warblers arrive, it means that most of the other Warblers have already left. And that there are about 33 species that pass through Missouri during the migration period!

Here’s one

YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER:

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A

TUFTED TITMOUSE

pecked for insects among the leaves.

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Here’s a

BLUE-HEADED VIREO

which, Edge said, was quite a special sighting:

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I was able to catch a

WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH

on the tree-trunk:

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And just when I thought I’d hit the highlight of the morning…we saw a Red-bellied Woodpecker, and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, on the same tree, too! It was Woodpecker Central, and we just needed a Northern Flicker, a Pileated Woodpecker, and a Red-headed Woodpecker to have a complete smorgasbrod of them!

It was quite amazing to me to be able to actually see and compare a Downy and Hairy Woodpecker at the same time, on the same tree.

Here’s the Hairy:

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Here’s the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker:

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This photo definitely shows that it’s a wood pecker!

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Here’s the

RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER:

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Look at that checkerboard back!

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An

EASTERN PEEWEE

against the light:

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Edge told me that these

WARBLERS

are very versatile; they exhibit warbler, thrush and flycatcher behaviour (flitting through the trees, turning over leaf-litter on the ground, and hawking insects from the air)…

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A female

NORTHERN CARDINAL

was around, too:

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The

CAROLINA WREN

seems to be the American counterpart of our Ashy Prinia…a loud voice in a small bird.

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Edge’s call brought the bird out in a militant mood; they do not like intruders on their territory.

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We sat for a while at the Bubbler; there were no birds to be seen, but the peace of the place seeped into my soul.

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We saw some Mallards on the water, and it struck me how, for a colourless liquid, water takes on the most amazing hues!

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It reminded me of the water around this Wood Duck in Forest Park:

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Edge shared a lot of knowledge about plants, too; this meant that when we didn’t sight birds, there was still a lot of interesting stuff to see and learn about.

This is the Hedge Apple, also called the

OSAGE ORANGE

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Here’s one fruit on the tree:

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The tree trunk is quite amazing:

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Edge said that she’s usually seen trees being much smaller than these. The fruits are not eaten by any animal or bird, and many lay there on the ground…quite an unusual sight in Nature!

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The fruit had a tart, tangy smell, and seemed very fibrous.

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the

STAGHORN SUMAC.

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is so called for the shape of its infloresence. I was lucky to see a small tree in full bloom. Here’s Edge, showing it to me:

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We saw the plaque for Torrey Berger, who, Edge informed me, invented the term “Birders’ Direct Route”…which could take a birder one to a thousand miles off the mapped route!

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These berries were beautiful.

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Here’s a

BLACK WALNUT:

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The conifer had gall that looked like brains!

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Here’s a pic to show the tiny berry-cones and the gall:

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We don’t know what tree this is, but it’s so beautiful!

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The

SYCAMORE

tree-trunk is a work of abstract art!

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Edge told me this ground cover plant is called Gill O’Ground.

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This tiny flower is Cinque, a kind of Clover:

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I clicked some of the landmarks, such as this Turkish Pavilion (dating from 1872!)

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This is the Bandstand:

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It’s surrounded by the busts of Western classical musicians.

Beethoven:

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Wagner:

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and several others.

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How old is this seat, I wonder?

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Here’s Edge, eating the Uppma that I made, and liking it…she shared some lovely dark chocolate and pickled gherkins with me!

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I loved the punny slogan on her cap!

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Edge dropped me home, and there were these two Grasshoppers, which I had to click:

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A collage of fall leaves is foliage follage!

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I hope you enjoyed my outing as much as I did…thank you, Edge, for a wonderful time!

Forest Park Forever/St.Louis Audubon Society, Bird Walk, 041014

October 8, 2014

It was a nice chill morning as I set out early to Forest Park.

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The rising sun lit up the grasses:

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A pair of
WOOD DUCKS

were my first sighting:

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A
MALLARD

couple also appeared:

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The Mallard male is a bird of colour!

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The beauty of Forest Park never fails to enthral me.

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I enjoyed the perky

HOUSE SPARROWS

while waiting for the walk to start.

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Mark was leading the walk, and we set off.

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It was great to see a female

KESTREL:

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Scopes and cameras were trained on the raptor.

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Notice that fall apparel is being worn!

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Three

MOURNING DOVES

made a nice composition:

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I liked these flowers, too!

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This ground-cover plant (I’d like to know the name) makes for a carpet of tiny pink flowers:

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We gathered on the bank of the creek as we watched a

BELTED KINGFISHER:

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An

EASTERN PHOEBE

delighted us in the Prairie area:

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Mitch Leachman ,

as always, was a fount of information about the birds.

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He told us how watching even the everyday, backyard birds, and learning about their behaviour, would be very satisfying; something I agree with, heartily!

We spotted two

GREBES

in the water.

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When a bird sat high up on a tree, giving the Deepa Mohan pose, it took a while for me to realize it was the

AMERICAN ROBIN:

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We had such a lovely time that the walk extended quite a bit!

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A migrating

MONARCH

alighted on my sleeve, and I realized, looking at its damaged wing, that it would not make the full journey…

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I think this was a

SAVANNAH SPARROW

but I am not sure:

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We saw the Kestrel again, eating a quick breakfast:

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We also sighted a mating ritual:

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Here’s Mitch, in front of the Muny, sharing his knowledge:

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We wound up looking at the

RED-EARED SLIDERS:

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I bid good-bye to yet another Monarch as I set off home:

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click here

for the bird list on eBird.

All the photos from my FB album are

here

A very enjoyable morning, thanks to the efforts of Mark for FPF, and Mitch for SLAB!

Blood Moon, and Total Lunar Eclipse, 081014

October 8, 2014

Some images I took, though half asleep:

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It was, really, a blood moon:

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The moon almost looked like Mars!

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Two common birds, STL, 071014

October 8, 2014

Here is a spattering of Starling wings:

This was a cold morning after a thunderstorm…the very last occasion one would imagine birds would want a bath!

And a White-breasted Nuthatch, hard at work, picking off insects off the tree-trunk:

I had a delightful time with Edge Wade today….more about the Forest Park monthly bird walk, and today’s outing, later…going to sleep early to get up in time for the lunar eclipse.


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