I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Water feature, plus cows

Summer, upstate New York.

There was no place to pull over, but I was the only one on the road so I just stopped the car and rolled down the window to take this picture. I might have liked to try to get the cows from a better angle, but I had an appointment with the alpacas and couldn't hang around.

Breakfast room

I was apparently the only one eating breakfast, so the amount of food was a little more than I needed. And I kept hoping someone would show up and sit in the thrones, but they remained empty.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

The Manor Life

Some of the beautiful parkland around the hotel. There were a few other people walking through the park in the late afternoon and the following morning, but I was mostly on my own. Not nearly as alone as I was at the hotel, though.

The hotel is a Mock Tudor mansion, originally a private home, and since only one of the other rooms was occupied, I felt like a houseguest invited for the weekend by someone I barely knew who disappeared shortly after I'd arrived.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Saturday reflections

I turned my alpaca quest into a mini-vacation by staying overnight at a hotel in northern New Jersey. It turned out to be a very odd and wonderful place, in the middle of a state park so there were beautiful, extensive grounds.

Today I'm lying on my bed watching Project Runway and waiting to see if I have Covid again (negative so far—fingers crossed.) I've realized that one of many ways our lives have changed in the past three years is that I used to wake up feeling a little under the weather and be able to decide whether or not I was going to try to power through. And even if I knew that I had been around someone who was sick (as I was this week) I would just think, Oh no, I guess I caught that cold.

But Covid is different. I had to isolate, stay home, miss the second day of placement testing, and wait to see whether I'm “officially” sick or not.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

A few final alpacas

I think these are the last of the alpaca pictures. I particularly love the way the pattern from the shearing on the alpaca on the bottom left makes her look like she's wearing a sweater. (And a fancy hat!)

Another alpaca snuggle

I understand the impulse; I wanted to snuggle up with them, too.

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Mother and child 2

I think these are the same two alpacas, just snuggling.

Mother and child

I took the picture of the baby alpaca nursing, and as soon as the shutter clicked the alpacas stopped and looked at me like, “Do you mind?”

Alpaca faces

Some of the amazing variety in those beautiful alpaca faces. Alpacas are easier to photograph than birds, but that doesn't mean they're willing to stay in one place for very long, and so some of my pictures are a little blurry. But still worth seeing.

This is clearly the Bad Girl of the alpaca farm


Sunday alpaca blogging

I may have mentioned that I have been sluggish and slothful, to put it kindly, since I came back from Peru. I had a lot of things I wanted to get done this summer, and accomplished very few of them. (It didn't help that the weather was unbearably hot and sticky and that every time I left the apartment I returned with my clothes sodden and my hair dripping.)

Then I happened to see this article about therapy alpacas. The alpaca farm in the article is up near Boston, and had only one free slot for visitors left this month, but it occurred to me that there might be an alpaca farm closer to home, and that really, aren't all alpacas by definition therapy alpacas?

So on Thursday I visited the Shalimar Alpacas Farm in Warwick, New York. It was possibly the only incentive that could have gotten me off my ass and out of the city, and the alpacas did not disappoint.

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Saturday reflections

 A colorful hodgepodge of facades in the city.

We finally had a beautiful, cool, not humid, day, and I spent it all inside administering placement tests for the fall semester. But it was good to see my fellow teachers and meet some of my new students, and I'm looking forward to getting back in the classroom.

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Sunday bird blogging

My summer vacation is almost over and I have done almost none of the things I meant to do, including finishing going over older photos. But here's one from Berkeley, earlier this year: some lovely architectural detail on a house, a framing tree, and the warm light of the golden hour.

And, if you look closely, a downy woodpecker in the tree.

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Saturday reflections

I upgraded my phone a couple of weeks ago; although I was curious about how much better the new cameras are, I was driven more by a dying battery and the fact that I kept running out of storage space.

I haven't tried to take many pictures yet, but this car reflection isn't bad.

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Astronomy Tuesday

I don't think I've seen this before, which always makes me very happy. Despite the uncountable number of interesting things to look at in our universe, there are certain objects (looking at you, Horsehead Nebula!) that show up over and over again.

This is a supernova remnant, SN 1006, and is interesting for many reasons apart from its unusual appearance. Astronomers have never found a black hole or neutron star remnant from the original star. And the explosion in 1006 was so bright it could be seen in the daytime on Earth, and was visible on and off for two years, as recorded by observers in China, Japan, the Middle East and Europe. This was less than 50 years before the appearance of a different “guest star”, the supernova that created the Crab Nebula, in 1054. So even taking into account the very short life expectancies in the 11th century, there were probably many people who actually saw two supernovas during their lifetimes.

Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA); Acknowledgement: W. Blair et al. (JHU)

Saturday, August 5, 2023

Saturday reflections

The reflections are faint, but I do like the way overlapping reflections make museum photos kind of magical. This is the Museo Larco in Lima, and those giant vessels are Incan.

Friday, August 4, 2023

Light and shadows

A bridge over the river in Ollantaytambo.

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Astronomy Tuesday

From Earth, this group of galaxies appears to be in the southern constellation Pavo, the Peacock, so it is referred to as the Pavo Group.

NGC 6872, the galaxy in the upper right, is more than 500,000 light years across, five times bigger than the Milky Way. It's nicknamed the Condor Galaxy because its spiral arms have been distorted into those vaguely wing-like appendages. This gravitational mayhem is courtesy of the (comparatively) small galaxy hovering just above the galactic core.

Image Credit and Copyright: Mike Selby, Observatorio El Sauce

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