Monday, March 30, 2009

My World Tuesday - Windy

The flags were flapping

and the trees were swaying in the wind today.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

PhotoHunt - Hands

These are the hands on a statue near the entrance to the library in Frederick taken last September. Both of us posted this subject (Lil Bits 365 and Lew's Pics).

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sky Watch Friday - Sunset March 22

Last Sunday afternoon, as the sun was sinking low in the sky, I decided to drive about 2 miles to where I could get a good view of the sunset. A quick check of the paper led me to believe I had about 10 minutes to get there, but as I went to the car this is what I saw through the trees down the street. So I took a few shots as the sun dropped behind Catoctin Mountain.

I then drove up the hill and this was the sky 6 minutes after sunset.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My World Tuesday - Signs of spring

The robins are about

Lilac buds are here

Sedum is growing

Dogwood buds reach for the sky

Saturday, March 21, 2009

PhotoHunt - Yellow cab

When one local taxi service became yellow cab, they went all the way.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sky Watch Friday - Buds, birds and sun

Tuesday - Dogwood buds reaching for the sun

Birds chattering in the trees

Sun or moon? The sun about 6:00 PM

Wednesday - Clouds at sunset and a burst of color 2 minutes later.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My World Tuesday - Recycling

On Monday I dropped off a few pieces of scrap metal at the recycling center. Last time I did this I got a couple of bucks for ten pounds of junk. With the economy today, they offered 7 cents. I said that's not worth doing the paper work and was just glad to not have the stuff still in our garage.

I have been recycling since I was a kid. When I was around 9, my buddy and I discovered that we could make a little money for movies and such by recycling. Soda bottles then required a 2-cent deposit. The fish market would pay a penny per pound for used newspapers, which they used to wrap the fish. And the dry cleaners would pay a penny for each coat hanger returned. We would go to the neighbors and collect bottles, paper and coat hangers, loading his wagon and taking our haul to the appropriate store to make a couple of dollars. In the late 1940's that was plenty for a movie, popcorn and a drink. When my kids were young, there was usually a school project or some organization like the boy scouts recycling to raise money. We would save aluminum cans and newspapers delivering to the collection points. When there were not such drives, we delivered our load to the company and have a few extra dollars for ourselves. Our neighborhood association set up a container for recycling years ago and we took our papers, cans and glass there. This helped control our trash disposal fee, which is based on the weight of trash delivered to the landfill. Then the county took over the collection of recyclables and required that yard waste be delivered to two county-run composting facilities. For a number of years we put our paper, cans, glass, plastic and cardboard in a small blue bin and the county picked it up once a week. The crew sorted it into separate bins on the truck. This January the county changed the rules. Now everything goes into a big blue bin and is picked up every other week. They also expanded the types of items are accepted.

It is all now dumped in the big blue truck and sorted elsewhere.

The old way of handling our throw away trash in Frederick was to bury it large trenches in the county landfill. With population growth and increased use of packaging materials and products that are replaced every few years, the landfill was filling up faster than planned. Expanding the county landfill was major issue that took several years to resolve by buying additional land next to the existing landfill. The county also transports trash to landfills out of Maryland.

Trash disposal has become a significant political issue here and in the US generally. In 1988, Maryland passed a law requiring recycling of 15% of solid waste. The law also required that yard waste (leaves and brush) not be disposed of in landfills and special requirements were established for items like batteries. By 2005, the rate of recycling was 39.2%, with another 3.4% waste reduction by reducing waste at the source. Today the issue in Frederick is a waste to energy proposal. The county (together with Carroll county) is planning to build plant to generate electricity by using waste as fuel. The county is also going to investigate a biological waste processing method. The county government has some tough decisions to make to make as it pursues a goal of 60% reduction in the trash.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

PhotoHunt - Four windows

Four windows from one of the many older homes in Frederick County.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sky Watch Friday - Birds and clouds

A black & white taken on a dreary day the end of February and sunrise this past Tuesday.

Monday, March 9, 2009

My World Tuesday - Furry critters

These two Siamese mix cats we invited to stay back in 2001. They were found a the Siamese Rescue in Virginia. They take an interest on what's going on outside. Here's the object of their interest.

With oak trees in every yard, we have quite a few squirrels around. They had no problem finding acorns in the snow.

About two weeks ago, I spotted this guy peering at me as I was taking some pictures of the sunset. There are a lot of dogs in the neighborhood (and leash laws), but I had never seen this one. He looked a bit and then wandered off to the left.

And last year we had several visits from deer.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

PhotoHunt - Space

This is the Mars lander and rover. The lander (including air bag) is an engineering prototype. The rover is a non-functional model built by the JPL folks for display at the Air and Space Museum. In January 2004, NASA landed two rovers, Opportunity and Spirit on Mars and they have returned many images, as well as other data. Here are a few links to some of the images:

Sol 5 Postcard from Mars
Bonestell Panorama
Victoria Crater
Attacking Mars

Below is the Lego version of the rover which was given to me a few years ago.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sky Watch Friday - Birds

As the sky started to clear after the snow on Monday, I went out to take a few shots of the sky and snow. Some noisy starlings were chattering away in a tree on the edge of the field. And I notice this hawk perched nearby looking for an afternoon snack.

After a few minutes the hawk left his perch,

circled overhead, and flew off over the field looking for easier prey (or maybe a quieter place to perch).

Monday, March 2, 2009

My World Tuesday - A little snow

Winter blew back in from the south leaving us a beautiful white blanket over the yard. We had maybe 3 - 4 inches; eastern Maryland and states to the north had more. All these shots are of our yard and the field behind us.

Bridges Between - NOT today!

This bridge does NOT carry you between the west and east banks of Catoctin Creek. At least not for awhile. Last Wednesday I ventured out to find the Bennies Hill Road Bridge in the southwestern part of Frederick County. As I turned onto Bennies Hill Road, a sign warned "Road Closed Ahead". I drove on hoping to get some shots of the bridge, even if it meant a short walk to get there. At the end of my drive I encountered this:

The road is narrow and runs down a steep ridge to cross the creek and reach the valley floor. Here is view going back up.

I backtracked and crossed the creek on Sumantown Road about 3 miles down stream, arriving to this view:

I was able to get a close look at the bridge structure sitting in the road. The decking has been removed and new materials are there to replace the floor beams. The King Iron Bridge Company of Cleveland, Ohio built this bridge in 1879. It is a very rare bowstring pony truss and is listed on the US National Register of Historic Places. The present restoration began last year and will resume in full around the first of April. A representative of the County Transportation Department told me there are about 45 days of work to finish. There is still some stonework to be completed on the abutments. I plan to get photos of the rebuilding of the bridge and will post updates.

Here are some detains of how the bowstring is built