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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Harry, No! Don't look at the Light!


"I can't help, it is so beautiful" (ZAP) -From the movie "A Bug's Life"


After Megan and I moved to the middle of the suburbs, away from our house near the Olentangy River and acres of Olentangy park land, I believe that I went through biotic withdrawal. The challenge at our new house has been to discover new habitats and the animals and dwell in them. I have learned that our lamp post is a magnet for an array of night flying insects.









Aren't these creatures interesting? We all know that nocturnal moths and insects flock to lights at night, but why? After some cursory research, I've concluded that nobody really knows. The most popular theory is that moths navigate using the moon, and therefore are instinctually attracted to light. Others don't buy this theory. I'm just glad that they do, as they provide an interesting naturalizing experience without leaving my sidewalk.

Oh yeah, clicking on each image will reveal a larger, 600 pixel wide image.

For more animal shots, check out the Camera Critters Meme.

Tom

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Videos as Ike Hits Ohio

Exactly one week ago, Ohio was hit with, according to the words of our power company spokesperson, "an unprecedented" windstorm. Winds were sustained at 40-50 miles per hour with gusts reaching 70 miles per hour. The winds continued over a three to four hour period. As a result, tree limbs fell on power lines all over central and southwestern Ohio, causing numerous power outages. Megan and I waited five days for power to be restored.

From weather underground, the absolute best weather site on the internet, here is the raw data for the storm, as recorded at Ohio State Don Scott Airport, about two miles directly west of us.



The second and third graphs tell the story. Take a look at how quickly and how low the barometric pressure dropped on September 14. And in the third graph, you can see wind speeds. The sustained winds on that day were 40 miles per hour, lasting for several hours, with gusts recorded at Don Scott around 60 miles per hour.

What happens with all that wind? Tree limbs fall.

Here I'm shooting a video from our porch. The most interesting thing about this storm was that there was no rain, so the whole neighborhood was tempted to go outside and watch what was happening. In this video, you'll see our neigbhor's silver maple. The branches lying at the end of our driveway had just fallen, missing our neighbor (not the boy running around in the video) who had walked down our driveway by about a minute. He was lucky, several other Ohioans weren't so and were killed by this storm.




Our resident gray squirrels seemed to take advantage of the windstorm, fetching up newly fallen bur oak acorns. This individual is resting atop one of the limbs we lost from our giant bur oak in the storm. Fortunately, it missed hitting the house by three feet, but it did take out our cheap plastic Adirondack chairs. Take a look at how much debris is in the backyard of our neighbor. Normally, I wouldn't be able to see it, but the wind blew down the privacy fence between our two yards.


This is my contribution to this weeks "Camera Critters" meme.


The winds died down about 8:00 p.m. We thought the power might not come on for a day or two, but we weren't expecting to be in the dark for five hours. The talk of the town was how slow AEP was to restore power. First, crews were out of the state working on Gustav and Ike outages further south, and secondly, multiply the debris that you've seen in this video across a metropolitan area of 2 million people (yes, the Columbus metro area is that big!), you are bound to have thousands of problems that take time to fix.

I'm sure many people around still don't have power. Last evening, our local news reported that approximately 30,000 customers were still dark. Hopefully, the lights will come on for them soon as well.

Tom

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Lights are Back On



We are happy.

Thanks everyone to listening for the past few days!

Power being restored- just not to us

No power yet. Our neighborhood has some power, but a large block of houses, including ours and a local middle and elementary school are still dark. Our neighbor told us about a huge silver maple limb that fell and brought the power lines down. Megan and I walked last evening to look at the culprit of our local neighborhood power outage.

There is one stoplight still out on my way to work, which is amazing to me. The light is out on Morse Road, one of the busiest streets in Columbus. Watching three lanes of traffic each way navigating the dark intersection like a four way stop is crazy. When I get up to the front, I hold my breath, watch the other cars, and take my turn.

I'm now seeing more and more power crews around the city. Last evening I visited Kenney Park, my old stomping grounds, and there were no less than seven bucket trucks and several pickups parked behind the old Kroger. They were from a company called "midwest electric", which I had never heard of. The shopping center was mostly without power, and while Kroger and Target were open, most stores were dark and had their security grates dropped over the doors.

I've been hearing rumors that some people are spitting on AEP lineman, employees from our local power company. Give them a break, I say, they were out of the state helping people in Texas when our winds hit, and they have been working 16 hours on, 8 hours off now for over a week most likely. The city is slowly getting the lights back on, thank goodness. Megan and I might just have to wait a wee bit longer, but we're patient.

Tom

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Power on Sunday?

Just learned that we are scheduled to have our power restored by Sunday if everything goes according to plan. Pretty amazing, isn't it? Thank you Ike.

Tom

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

We Have NO POWER!

Hurrican Ike brought 80 mile per hour wind gusts to Ohio and beyond, and Megan and I have been without power since Sunday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. We here rumors that electric service will be restored by Wednesday evening at 8:00 p.m., but other sources are telling us that the lights may not come back on until the weekend.

Fortunately, my camera batteries were fully charged and I've been taking pictures. We had a large limb fall in the backyard, but it missed the house by feet. In the front yard, we had a limb side swipe the garage, and we only have a dent in the gutter. We were lucky.

Tom

Monday, September 08, 2008

Birding the Hoover Mudflats

Labor Day, 2008.















Tom

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Kelleys Island Collective Naturalizing

Rico G. and I are back from our last botanizing trip to Kelleys Island State Park. A few pics from the island. If you'd like to offer an interpretation, please pick a number and go at it. There are some things that we are going to need help with here, especially those two strange cans. These things are all over the island, and the strangest thing is that they don't have any easy way of being opened, and many of them appear to never have been opened. What are these things?

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This weekend, I'm participating for the first time in the "Camera Critters" meme. Welcome new readers.

Tom






Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Off to Kelleys Island



I'm off to Kelleys Island tomorrow, but before I leave, here is a shot of a house centipede that was lurking around the light on our exterior white-painted brick wall. Interesting little fellow (or lady) isn't it? In my brief research I learned these creatures eat other bugs, making them benefical house guests, even though they creep most people out, including me. Also, they aren't native to North America, says Wikipedia. They are native to the Mediterranean region. Who would have thought it.

To me, the head of this thing reminds me of the famous spider Charlotte, from the animated version of Charlotte's Web made way back in 1973. And who was the voice of Charlotte? Well none other than Debbie Reynolds. I learn something new each day. I'm just old enough to have heard of Debbie Reynolds by the way. Its late. I digress. Can you tell I'm tired?

Nighty Night-

Tom