Friday, August 30, 2013

Lovely little dragons...

Seaside Dragonlets, to be precise. (For once, the female of the species is more colorful!) 2013 has been a fantastic year for dragonflies, and the Avalon yard was swarming with these wee beauties (only a couple of inches long) at the end of July. They are the one odonate species that can handle salt water in its nymph stage...

"Obelisking" to keep cool (lowers the exposed surface area)...

Monday, August 26, 2013

Have patience...

And a back-up plan.

Luckily I remembered in time that the Stone Harbor drawbridge had been throwing tantrums this summer: The large bit of blacktop in front of me was my get-away zone if the bridge had gotten stuck more permanently on the fourth attempt to close... Had time to finish my lunch, too!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

No carnage, all cuteness...

Found this gorgeous little thing (Red-banded Hairstreak) at eye level in some giant fennel at the gardens up the road from my place in mid-July... A relatively quiet year for butterflies, but what we had were pretty spectacular.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Talk About Timing...

I bought a battery-powered LED lantern the other day. And had batteries of the right size that were charged, so I put them in it. Ooh, nice; that was worth the money. I had, however, neglected to do any grocery shopping, and the fridge and freezer were echo-ingly empty.

Who knew that I'd have cause to use the lamp twelve hours later and cheer an empty breadbox?!

This is the road at the end of my driveway, 2:45am. That's the witching hour out here, 2 to 3 am...

I had rolled over in bed a bit after 2am, awake enough to know I was awake--or maybe the box fan shutting off woke me. In the years I've lived here, the power company has done an increasingly brilliant job at keeping the electricity flowing. There's pretty much only one reason the power goes out around here these days, and that's when a utility pole comes down.

Yeah, that'll do it...

Freaking unbelievably, all three people walked away from this with hardly a scratch. I'm willing to bet they had on their seat belts.

The nice fat cable wrapped around what's left of the front end of the car (a Lincoln, I was told) might quite possibly be the cable that belongs to the cell tower located on the property adjacent to the sheared off pole. Or it was one of the local phone company's brand new fiber optic replacement cables... (Guess we're lucky anybody was able to call for help. Although one emergency person and a neighbor did each have a carrier that apparently doesn't have a relay on the tower.)

I've been living fifteen years now on the worst stretch of highway in the county. Too many curves on an undivided "rural" two lane for the (scarily large) size of the "traffic and driving rules? what rules?" contingent. The former property owner's mother, who lived in the house on the edge of the road (whereas I live way in the back) was killed merely trying to pull out of her driveway. I knew that going into it the purchase, but I felt the land and house were worth it. I still do, despite the one fatality on this bit of blacktop that I know of in that time (not counting last year's deer).

I only went out to look at this one because I didn't hear sirens within a few minutes. There's a handful of us that live out here and the fire house is a half mile down the road, so usually we get sirens soon after a skidding and/or crashing noise and lights popping off.

Our 45 mph speed limit doesn't command the respect it should (some more enforcement would be nice), but adding a double yellow line through the entire residential/multiple blind curves stretch has helped despite the cereal-box (or Cracker Jack box, if you're old enough to remember those! not that you get free cheap plastic toys in either these days) -licensed driver here or there who ignores it (some more enforcement would be nice). What mostly does it in for the utility poles (and the occasional driver whose time on this earth is up) are people falling asleep at the wheel, as reportedly happened in this case.

(*pphff* We only rated one firetruck…?!)

Many thanks to all the emergency personnel: police, fire and rescue, and kudos to one of the line owners who had a truck on scene within the hour.

The view the next morning:

Uh-oh. Luckily, I was going left.

Admiring the carnage. (Click to big-ify; you'll notice that pole isn't actually touching the ground...) I asked the cell-tower serviceman who was sitting in his van at the end of my drive as I left if any/all of these companies had a wall back at the office that had photos of the most impressive pole smash-ups. He replied, "Sadly, we do."

This photo begs the question: How many electricians does it take to change a lightbulb? It's hard to see, but I counted eleven (11) trucks, not including the traffic and my own pick-up on the far right. But take note: My streetlight is ON. Nearly twelve hours to get the power back, and the road was closed for quite a good bit of that time. Accidents along this stretch take out a three mile section that necessitates at least a five mile detour for folks. I have mentioned this state road is one of only three north-south highways in the county...?

I think I might be okay to stock up on frozen dinners now. But with all my luck I bet the sale is over.

NOTE: It wasn't actually as bright at 3am as these photos appear (it being well before even a summer day's dawn and the power being off) and I wasn't using a flash, just a long exposure time with the DSLR set on no-flash automatic. And a tripod. (I may not have been completely coherent myself at 2am, but I did finally convince myself that yes, I really needed the tripod if I was serious about taking photos.)