Monday, December 31, 2018

Have a Turkeylicious New Year!

We have been loving the turkeys who visit our yard on an almost daily basis. Today, they got a special treat of high quality sunflower seeds, because the less expensive bird seed we bought was moldy.
The turkeys are happy and healthy. Today, we only had these two come in to feed. Drew puts seed on the bird bath and the stump.
He also sprinkles it on the ground. This way the turkeys have lots of opportunities to grab a bite to eat!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Caesar Pond Ice Patterns

Drew photographing the ice - CLICK ON THE PHOTOS TO SEE MORE DETAIL!
What a great day to be out on Caesar Pond! Drew and I put on our YakTrax and headed out to photograph patterns in the ice. After so much rain, the ice was smooth and gloriously patterned, layer upon layer down into the depths. Outdoor temp. 29F with a windchill of 19F.
There were lots of cracks in the ice, of all shapes and sizes. 
This one stretched for a long distance and was surrounded by millions of air bubbles.
This one had some twists and turns and extended down at least 6 inches from the surface.
This one caught my eye with its triangular pattern.
And, this crack shows crystals radiating out from the central line.
Speaking of cracks, check out what I call ice neurons!
I think these ice neurons are created from spreading water from old ice fishing holes when the ice was thinner? I'm not sure. I have catalogued all of the springs in the pond that I know of, and I don't think this is a result of one.
And, here is a close-up of an ice neuron center with it spreading dendrites!
Then, there were disks of bubbles of all shapes and sizes. This is one of the flat surface bubbles.
This was a common disk design in many spots. Could it arise from a plume of water rising as surface ice was freezing over? Then, the plume froze? Maybe...
And, here are a series of disks through layers of ice!
I love this radiating design from the central point of this circle. Lots of geometry on the ice!
Then, there were these clear bubbles which were rather rare. I wish we could show more depth of field as these were above the main bubble.
And, this mishappen bubble upon a bubble was fairly common.
Now, let's check out the ice domes under the surface!
Like magma rising from the depths of a volcano, we think a bubble of water rose up toward the ice fishing hole as it was freezing.
Some of the domes have very precise borders from an auger that drilled the ice, and the domes are perfectly rounded.
Others have a flattened disk on top of the dome. And, yes the surface ice is flat over the top of the domes.
Check out this dome near the eastern shore. The ice curved around it as if from the surface water being blown by the wind. Notice that the thin center ice disk has broken in the middle.
I call this one a dome volcano! It looks like there were air bubbles galore surfacing from the central disk atop the dome. Cool!
And, then there are what we call the ice vortices! Check out this tube that opens up to a concave disk on top. You can see ice crystals along the vortex tube.
This vortex has a bit of texture on the concave top. Why these "vortices" form, I have no idea. Gotta do some research!
And, this is my favorite topped with what looks like ice foam.
Last of all is what I call an ice rosette. It has a more complex structure below the ice. It too is near the eastern shore, and may have been created by wind blown water as it rose and froze.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Crazy Weather Update - Heavy Rain

* From Friday morning through Saturday morning * A widespread 1 to 2 inches of rainfall is expected during this period, with localized 3 inches or more in the White Mountains and parts of southwest New Hampshire, as well as Midcoast Maine. These amounts could lead to isolated nuisance flooding of urban and low-lying areas. In addition, warm temperatures and runoff will likely lead to ice break up on rivers, possibly leading to ice jams and flooding. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... A Flood Watch means there is a potential for flooding based on current forecasts. You should monitor later forecasts and be alert for possible Flood Warnings. Those living in areas prone to flooding should be prepared to take action should flooding develop. 

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Brrr... Baby it's cold out there!

Today's outdoor temps. are cold! If I decide to try and photograph Comet Wirtanen tonight, the temp will be around 17F. I'm not sure my fingers will be able to handle being exposed...

Monday, December 10, 2018

Crescent Moon

The crescent moon was so pretty tonight. I went over to Caesar Pond at 6:30pm to attempt to photograph it. I used the P1000, in "Moon Mode" for the first time. "Moon mode" has a built-in 3 second timer that drove me absolutely nuts. I would think that I had a focus lock, then would have to wait for three long seconds! And, it was windy, so the camera had some shake to it. When using the full zoom, I must sandbag the tripod legs.

I had trouble keeping the moon in the frame as I moved the tripod head where I wanted it to be. I was wishing there was a remote control to move the tripod head in tiny increments, because with the camera zoomed in to 432 mm even the tiniest of movements sent the moon careening out of frame. I did use the remote shutter release. AND, my fingers froze!

Here is the Metadata of the "Moon Mode" photo (as per the P1000): f/7.1, 1/50, ISO 800, Focal Length 432 mm, Exposure Mode: Auto, Standard output sensitivity (SOS), Metering Mode: Matrix, White Balance: Auto, Gain Control: 1, Resolution 300 ppi, Bit Depth 8. 

Saturday, December 1, 2018

2019 Calendars are ready to order.

I've updated several of the calendars and created a new one, titled  "Maine Sampler 2019". Let me know of any that you want to order. I should be able to get them by Dec. 21st, if the order goes out by Monday, Dec. 3rd at the latest! Each calendar is $16. I'll take cash or checks (made out to Laurie Haines.) I can deliver locally in Maine. Ack! Sorry for the fuzziness of the photos. I took screen shots from my product page. You can also see them on my Maine Nature Bookstore link.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Weather for November

The average monthly high temperature for November is 44F, and the average low is 29F. This month our average high was 38.5F, and our average low was 25.5F. We got 18 inches of snow in Bowdoin.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Snow Day # 3

Snow Day # 3 is here! Three snow days in November is a record! At 6:30 am, we have 5" on the ground, and it is super heavy and wet. We are fully expecting a power outage today. 

By the way, by this day in 2014, Nov. 27, 2014, we had 23" of snow on the ground, but no snow days as the storms fell on weekends! That 2014-2015 year we had 103" of snow. So, who knows, maybe we'll come close to that snow total this season!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018


Another snow day! The weather wasn't too bad all day until the evening commute. But, I'm not complaining. I haven't gotten a good snow total as the snow was super wet, then fluffy, then compacted as super wet again,and later back to huge flakes. I am going to hazard a guess that we received at least 5 inches of fluff!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Northern Red Oak Tree and beaver damage (photos from Oct 29 and Nov 17)

Aughhhh... The beaver has moved his felling operation to our boat dock area. He has chewed into a gorgeously healthy oak on the shoreline right next to where we chain up my beloved pond prowler!
Here is a closer look at the beaver damage where the beaver cut through about half the tree. 
I like this photo that shows the ring of wood shavings around the tree from the beaver's work! It looks rather festive and symmetrical;-)
And, I found that the rings are showing up nicely through all the parts of the wood. I am assuming that the dark center that is still quite moist, is the heartwood of the tree with the lighter wood being the living sapwood. 
Jump ahead 19 days...The tree is gradually drying and the rings are getting lighter in color, but the heartwood is still darker than the sapwood.
Here is the other side of the cut. I find it interesting that the bottom wood is turning yellow where it was white a few weeks ago.
I decided to photograph the beaver cut a bit more closely as the rings were apparent as well as xylem tubes in the heartwood! (I was also trying out the macro mode on my P1000 camera.) I love the colors in this photo...
Could these be the phloem tubes (see arrow) in the cambium? It is just in from the edge of the bark that you can see in the lower right.
I went home and got a different camera body so I could use my 100mm lens with a Kenko 12mm extension tube for a closer look at the tree rings with xylem tubes. These tubes transport water up the tree, from the roots to the leaves, for photosynthesis.  What I find fascinating is that we see them more pronounced in the thin, darker rings of winter, yet you can see the tubes running through the summer (lighter) wood. I don't know how far individual tubes run but they are an incredible transport system.
Here is another view of the tree rings and xylem tubes in the heartwood. You can also see the scrapes of the beaver's teeth running diagonally through the rings.
Here is the cambium (in from the bark) where we are seeing phloem tubes that transport sugars from the leaves down through the tree to where they are needed during spring and summer.
Finally, Drew decided to put some fencing around "our" boat tie-up tree (also an oak) to hopefully keep the beaver at bay from taking that tree down as well. We also need to wrap fencing around the maple that is adjacent to our dock so it doesn't fall victim to the beaver!