Thursday, June 29, 2006

Dolomedes triton local spider killing a big cricket

What a great growing season it's turning out to be. We've had miserable weather and far too much moisture in recent years to have much for garden produce. This year it's a paradise of bounty.

The girls are playing sad at Jean's when they discover this rich presentation of edible sunshine. I can't remember the last time I saw berries carrying this much luxury. Jean has sizable thick walled green peppers ready to eat already. As long as I've been tending soil, the peppers have not been so far along at this part of the calender.


Dolomedes triton local spider killing a big cricket


teen angst in the middle aged

I'm an angst ridden soul most days. I over think and fuss and fidget like an old < insert gender of choice > most of the time. It's the way life is for me.

Lately the tension has surrounded my thoughts of abandoning LJ to move to a less journal oriented space, but on investigation, I can't find anything to indicate that the LJ administration discourages blog type entries, which kind of surprised me.

So in the future if you find my need to post links to things that interest me and brief but position oriented statements on those entries irritating or disagreeable, the delete button is as handy for you as it is for us all.

If you have some information regarding what is typically blogging behaviour on LJ that isn't user driven, please contact me, as I would not want to contravene the mandate here.

My style of journal when I was doing this on paper was much the same as I began this venture. I am the universal traveller and make notes about the sights along the way and now I'll be going back to that format. I started that way then somewhere I got the idea my style wasn't appropriate for this medium. On further thought I think that's ridiculous. Avoiding someone on the web is so easy! I can be as easily avoided as anyone, so I'm going back to my freewheeling, scattered, and varied style postings. Or maybe for some it will be more akin to a furthering of that style.

Conformity isn't something that comes naturally to me and for the longest time I thought that was a shortcoming. Now I don't think it's a shortcoming, but it is something that alienates me from many straight line thinkers. I would think that my type would have had their genetics weeded out of the stream by now if we didn't serve some key purpose. It's obvious to me that to adhere to the community norm has it's benefits.

I always think about this when I see a friend of mine and his activities in his church. He's not a particularly religious man, but after a nasty break with his then wife, he became a member of a local evangelical Christian church. He's not stupid that's for sure. The congregation was overwhelmed to have a new family participating and years later they continue to support and facilitate a much smoother path through life for this guy and his kids. Vive la differance.

Context is important, but to my mind, so much of it simply reveals lazy minds following the line of least resistance. Maybe not in this friend's case, but certainly that would be my opinion about many of the paths people follow in groups. It's simply easier that way.

It irks me because it appears to me that it cripples our ability to change. It seems like we are genetically programed, hard wired if you will, to avoid change, maybe increasingly at our peril. The irony to me is that we lust for knowledge while grossly out of balance with action. It's so much easier to know something than it is to act on any of that information.

Consistently I meet Jews with lucid minds. I'm intensely curious about the norms of parenting styles within that culture and what role conformity plays there.
Love, goyim.

Much of my sense of frustration comes from my own inability to change the things I'd like most to change about myself, never mind the changes I think might be wise for others or other groups large and small.

So my place in the order of things is not a straight line. Mine is to paint with a broad brush and not stick to the proverbial shoemakers last. I have about the same capacity to change those habits as others more competent to follow the straight and narrow do with embracing improvisation.

I'm not sure a change here will even be noticeable, but rest assured the ground has shifted at this end.
Rave on you crazy diamonds

Paul's images

Paul Furman's photography frequently works well to capture my imagination.

More details from the nursery, starting with a dragonfly detail into the
next page with the tiger lily:
And more selections here:

Red Dragonfly (large version in sub gallery) with my new macro lens:

Interesting bushwhacking field trip to re-discover the last two
surviving specimens of a rare Manzanita in San Francisco, near Lake Merced:

Two urban shots on the way to a party in Oakland:

'Poapalooza' Native grass education field trip on Edgehill Mountain,
where I offered some assistance in identification, the fog was so heavy
we needed rain coats from the dripping trees & icy wind. Not many grass
photos, mostly Calamagrostis nutkaensis:

A few tree branches & neighborhood shots:

More tree branches, neighborhood and murals:

SF Ghetto shots while getting tires replaced:

Technical ID snaps of Clarkia gracilis ssp. Sonomensis, St. Helena Rd.:

Sunset from East End of Bay Bridge (3 shots):

Paul Furman, photography
Bay Natives Nursery
(415) 722-6037

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

life in the slow lane

Brought Meite home from the film last night. Had a lame dinner out with the crew and a grad student from Nebraska. He's an army brat so I'm sure our left leaning film choice was way over the top for the poor guy. He was a good sport though and was great company, offering laughs all evening.

I'll be making four trips to the city in three days this week. That's a record I'm not anxious to repeat. No time to run and fatigue is scraping away at my sense of humour.

I got the young Aphonopelma seemanni slings transferred into reconstituted substrate as I woke up this morning. They seem to be doing really well. I hope that trend continues.

The rich growing season continues. We had a short bought of quarter sized hail on Monday, but not enough to do any damage. We haven't even had any damaging winds this year. It's odd to see the pasture so lush. The brome and june grass is really high and rich looking this year. The tomato fruit is putting on weight nicely even at this early date. I don't know that we've seen a growing season as good since the late 1980's.

I saw a pail of strawberries at Jean's yesterday that were rich with fragrance and purple forecast to the dense essence of strawberry. Fresh jars of jam stood on the counter, theft in the air. < g > I don't recall more attractive fruit ever. Dark and heavy with sunshine.

Not even any bugs to speak of this year. I keep listening for that shoe to drop.

Adri is back home by now I'd think. It was a quick peck on the cheek and a flustered rush to meet her boarding demands. What a wild year it was. I'm grateful it's over and going by the policy to never take a drink that leaves me thirsty, we won't be doing that again. One of the most unrewarding exchanges of human contact I can even imagine, much less experience. Distrust, egocentricity, and any number of other twists of psychological oddities were alive and kicking through the last nine months of life with Adri. She was a study in extremes.

We've had ourselves reflected back to us keenly, which hasn't been a bad thing and is all we've come away with. We know ourselves much better, but Adri we know only what we could observed. She came closed and left having engaged as little as possible and invested nothing at all.

I'll be most grateful for the laundry being done in the washing machine instead of the shower. < g >

In the last couple of weeks she managed to read a real book, as opposed to romantic comics and other drivel. I missed her commentary on it in front of the audience at the grad ceremony, but PU said it tugged at her heart strings. She'd got hooked into Holes by Louis Sachar and was up very late with the dictionary slogging through the most difficult bit of language she had bitten off to date. She had of course not read anything of substance ever, so this little story was had a profound effect by the sounds of her presentation at school the other day. I'm sorry I missed it as it was the only sign of life in all the time she was here. She spoke so little that even to the end I rarely caught what she voiced the first time. How sad, to think she would have been that insulated to keep her own company so contentedly.

Fortunately, we have many other examples of visitors investing in other more entertaining ways with life here. Otherwise I'd have been deeply shaken that we've gone down a very dark road. Granted there are some that are repulsed by a free thinking life style, but generally they avoid us.

I stopped to see a childhood friend yesterday again. He's an engineer of merit and a boat load of fun to talk shop with. I've been playing assistant to his steep learning curve as he ramps up the chip making capacity of his little machine shop. It's taken him several years to allow himself to ask questions instead of pounding away on his own, but now he's in full swing and the service feels good. After so many years without a context, fraternity or community, the friends I have are good ones and I'm so grateful to have something to offer.

Now it's time to re route a chain on an old clock and begin another one before my lunch date shows up without confirmation. I so love my PDA! It's the memory I never had!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Manon's captive eats!

Manon's Dolomedes triton polished off the cricket I put in with her this morning. I thought the cricket was way too big to be food, but apparently not.

Now I see how it is that some of the larger arachnids feed on pinkie rats and such. I read earlier today that these little guys can feast on frogs and minnows. They are reportedly able to spend 30 minutes under water and dive frequently.

Manon's seems to be quite comfortable in her new home. If she's eating, I'd guess she's going to be just fine. What a robust little girl!

Here's another great little bug identification site.

More images of Manon's Six-spotted Fishing Spider






Another day, another week. Got most of my house chores done yesterday to free up some time today. It's not working!! I suppose it's all the same, I'll just keep plodding ahead.

Can't find the leak on the lawn tractor tire, so that's going to bite into the morning as I take it to the garage for a tube insertion! Enough with the tubeless setup already!

The flowers on the garlic have all been lopped off and another trap for a pocket gopher has been dug, tended and set.

I was too tired to run yesterday and then I stayed up catching up on my reading last night, so I feel about the same level of fatigue today, which sucks, but paying the piper I must.

Bonnie found a spider in her laundry yesterday so Manon asked if she could keep it. It turns out to be a Dolomedes triton or Six Spotted Fishing Spider.

Although I suppose there is room for debate. I'll challenge this identification on the American Tarantula forum later. She's built a light web and she was a long way from water... unless Bonnie's laundry was actually growing. It's been known to happen. :P Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow!
Your's truly, Pollyanna. :P

You can see images of Manon's and her new vivarium at my flickr account.


feeding time

Diego's feeding video.

This is a five megabyte file. You've been warned. Feeding a snake with a strong feeding response is fun. Last week this guy just nailed the feeder, so this week I thought I'd try and catch it on video.

I egged him on a bit, but he had been hunting for a couple of days already, so I figured he's wrap it up enthusiastically anyway and he did.

Diego gets fed.

He's a 220 gram 50/50 male (1.0) California Kingsnake taking a 25 gram frozen and thawed rat pup. The f/t rat was thawed, then heated in hot water for several minutes prior to being presented as din-din.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

tree huggers united

Way short of sleep! I missed any images of the clay oven I got to play with! I'll have to arrange to go back and fire it up and make some bread or something. It was a fun toy and I think everyone should have on.


Too pooped to party. If anyone can tell me why the closing tag for the hyper link on the image isn't registering, please save me.































Friday, June 23, 2006

pocket gopher be gone...

Killer me!
These critters eat away at our garden produce and create grief with their digging mounds all over the place. If you don't become expert at killing these things, it's pretty tough to have decent pasture and there's little chance of not ruining a swather trying to cut a hay field. Today it all came together with a good lesson from Pool guy John. Thanks John!

gopher trap set

gopher trap tripped

pocket gopher

pocket gopher

Thursday, June 22, 2006

feeding time

Feeding time again for Diego the Kingsnake

Diego has skipped a couple of weeks of meals to a shedding. He's all bright and shiny again. I tried something new tonight, by placing him in an enclosure that's not his vivarium to feed him. I've never seen him hit feed so hard. He got three coils around this dead rat in the blink of an eye. I'll never tire of the speed with which they strike.

Image number one

Image number two

Thursday, June 15, 2006

build a solar system

Now you can correctly set the coordinates for you missle attacks.


Saturday, June 10, 2006


On Friday afternoons I go into one of my clients store and work in the back on my own stuff and lend a hand out front when customers have questions or quick jobs I can do while they wait.

As I'm finishing up at the shift change at 18:00 one of the new staff members came back to ask if I would look at some work of hers if she brought it in the following week. We got through the niceties and then she said, "Is it true that you keep snakes?" I said yes, three, but that I'm currently learning all I can about tarantulas and that I'd made room for a few at home now.

We were in a back room of a sedate jewelery store, but every word that followed from her increased in pitch and volume. It was like she was on rails and although I tried to defuse the situation, nothing worked so I eventually just began to withdraw attention from here her and write up an invoice. I heard about the garter snake in the window well, and possibly every spider that's ever crossed her path. She was supposed to be out front working, but instead it was like she was in a trance. After a twenty minute rant, I finally interrupted her and encouraged her to bring her work in and that estimates were free and I'd look forward to seeing the pieces next Friday.

I watched as she gave herself what appeared to be a mental "shake" and she clicked back into the person I had met previously. :D This is potent stuff. I am not sure what to expect in the future, but I am gaining more respect for keeping a lower profile.


Friday, June 9, 2006

Wild edibles adventure

This won't be a huge gathering. I think Laura is accepting ten participants. If I'm lucky I'll get to run the clay oven. < g > I've eaten enough of this woman's cooking to know this should be a very tasty day.

Here's a scan of the poster with all the details I have.

Laura is one of the curators at the tall grass prairie preserve in Gardenton, southeast of Winnipeg about an hour. She's a local treasure and I thought some others might enjoy her skills.
Cheers! Ian

Monday, June 5, 2006

I was into the city tonight to see a documentary that won at Sundance. It documents a fellow artist much like the fellow that is responsible for the image linked in "hit the ditch" above. Although not articulate verbally like Robert Crumb, Daniel Johnston in The Devil in Daniel Johnston was on display as genius. Painful, but heart warming.

Meite (eldest) is a food lover like me. We went for dinner before the film to a favourite sushi bar. There was a sparkling balding, and proud early thirties hip and understated young fellow serving us. I hope that paints the image well enough.

I pulled a usual tactic when I see some live wire in the service industry and turned him loose on our order. The only parameter I gave him was that we didn't want to be stuffed full when we were done.

To say that I nailed it would be a broad understatement. I'll have to get all the details of just what he brought us, but suffice it to say that I am ecstatic about how it all transpired.

The first offering was a Korean dish Mr. Chrome-Dome said the Japanese were fond of. It was a brashly balanced dish with fermented cabbage on one side and small octopus pieces on the other. Both dishes carried the same amount of committed spiced heat.

The restaurant wasn't busy and that must have allowed for some extra effort, because the next dish was at least as profoundly invested with care and attention as the first. This one was made with quite a bit of raw tuna and brightly contrasting baby spinach, finely broken, then all mixed together with chopped avocado through an almost sweet sauce.

Next were two exquisite pieces of lightly and simply marinated mackerel. The rice was small and the fish big without creating an over sized bite. It was lightly topped with very fine green onion and set both of us into heavenly place with moans of satisfaction rolling out of us.

A flamingo roll was next, which felt very substantial compared to what we'd already savoured. Meite was still interested in eating so we sent him away for something else, still refusing to order.

He came back with what he just called "new sushi". Basically it was sushami lying flat with fine shredded ginger and green onion sprinkled over each piece and then hot olive oil drizzled over top with some soy sauce added. Red tuna, sea bass, salmon and on other were the fish choices and all but the red tuna was a match for the dish, but over all it was a disappointment.

Warmth in raw fish just won't work for me and the hint of sesame oil tipped the whole thing toward the aura of cheap Chinese food. I probably shouldn't be so harsh about this last dish, as it was consumed with joy and appreciation, but it paled to the dishes that had preceded it.

Sunday, June 4, 2006

Paul's on a bit of a macro binge and I love it!

He's got some other stuff too, but I'm in love with the flowers.