Showing posts from June, 2011

A Walk in the Forest

So I did my presentation this morning to graduate students at Morehead State University. I used Skype for audio and video, and for the slides, and everything went pretty well, except for the Audacity recording, which died before saving the audio. I have a bunch of 10-second clips, but they account for about 3/4 of the talk, and would have to somehow be reassembled. So I was disappointed. Anyhow, the whole exercise ended after one. I had broadcast it on Ed Radio, and that went well too - it was cross-broadcast on #ds106 radio, which made my day. So I threw some tunes on Ed Radio and tried to recover the audio, but it wasn't happening, and I gave up around two, went to get a coffee, and didn't come back. I went, instead, to this forest, the forest I think of as 'my forest' partially because it's the forest just down the road from the office and partially because it's the forest that has been a refuge for me in the past. So it's my forest, and it


Lupins , originally uploaded by Stephen Downes . Every summer the roadsides along Moncton area highways erupt with bright pink and purple lupins. This is a relatively new thing - I don't recall seeing the giant masses of them ten years ago. Maybe one day they will be declared weeds and eradicated, but I quite like them and think they're a far sight nicer to drive by than grass and regular-grade weeds. More lupins here .

Hard Rain

Hard Rain , originally uploaded by Stephen Downes . The skies opened around noon and a hard rain came down. Thunder, lightning, and even a little hail. I'm hoping that this marks the beginning of summer.

Moncton Highland Games

Play some bagpipes while you watch the slide show: Youghal Pipe Band ( source ) Two years ago the Moncton Highland Games took place in Victoria Park, just a couple of blocks from home, and I took some photos of the event. I was really pleased to be asked by the organizers to take more photos, and so this year Andrea and I went out to the games' new location at the Bernice MacNaughton High School field, which turns out to be a really nice venue for the games. We arrived in the morning, made a couple of circuits around, got rained on, broke my glasses, went to repair my glasses, got back and was there for the event wrap-up. A really nice day even if the weather was very, um, Scottish. Anyhow, I do recommend playing the slide show in full-screen mode. And here's the photo set .

Dark Light

Flowers , originally uploaded by Stephen Downes . Trying to take photos of flowers in very low light just after the sun had set. Not a bad result.

Eaves and Soffits

Eaves and Soffits , originally uploaded by Stephen Downes . Finished the eaves we started as yesterday's handyman art. We cut and installed the soffits (I learned that the secret is to install the circular saw blade backwards to cut the thin aluminum without wrecking it). Each 18-inch segment had to be measured individually as the width of the eave overhang varied between 15.75 and 16.75 inches (normally it would be 16 inches, but exactly three pieces were that size). That's what you get from an 80 year-old house. The soffit was easy to install, but the drip edge (which the previous installation had not had; for some reason the previous renovators saw no need for one) was dicey, because there wasn't a good surface to adhere to. All in all, it came out pretty neat and trim, and I'm happy with the results.

Eaves Repair

Eaves Repair , originally uploaded by Stephen Downes . Makin' Some Art handyman style. The snow and ice last winter took out our eaves troughs - and soffits, and the front part of the house. Having a tree fall on it didn't help. Rebuilding is in progress. Today we spent the entire day replacing the faschia board - that's the long board running horizontally just below the brown shingles. Which may not seem like much, except that we decided to reinforce the old joists as well, because the ends were a bit the worse for wear, so there's a whole lot of framing behind the faschia that you can't see. Tomorrow the plan is to put on the drip edge, faschia and soffits, all in aluminum. Fun fun.

New Oak Tree

New Oak Tree , originally uploaded by Stephen Downes . Landscapers from Corn Hill Nurseries plant a new tree, a big beautiful Bur Oak , on our front lawn. We've been planning this tree for years. Now it's here, and it looks great.

Buying an Oak Tree

So it appears the city is going to take down what remains of the maple in the front yard and we will be losing our beautiful old tree. It can't be replaced, of course. But we are trying anyways, and have decided to but an oak tree. So it was off to Corn Hill Nurseries, where we picked out and paid for our new oak. While there, it was a chance to work with the new camera on bright objects under very low overcast light. Still learning.

Fish Flying Through the Air, Free

I've always wanted to tell this story (if you're only interested in ed tech move on). I remember catching my first fish like it was yesterday. It was on the Castor River at the Ninth Line Road, here (there was no McMansion there at the time). It was a big mudpout . I ran some line through its gills and attached it to a stake so it would stay alive. My parents came driving by and I proudly showed them the fish. After they left, I played with the fish, spinning it in circles around me, and the line broke. The fish went flying through the air, skipped a couple times on the water, and disappeared under the surface, never to be seen again. It was ironic watching this video watching this boy call his first-caught fish "Free."

The Fall of the Tree

Tree , originally uploaded by Stephen Downes . "It's an ill wind that blows nobody good..." The front of my house gets the yellow warning-tape treatment as today's breeze, which according to the news got up to 70 kph, was enough to knock down two major limbs into my front yard. Nobody was hurt and the only thing damaged was the maple itself.