Posted by: David | November 10, 2013

Fall Back

Hey Internet! It’s been a while. Sorry about that. You know that this whole personal blog thing is “sunsetting” don’t you? Anyhoo, how you doin’? Are ya listening?

Pampas grass in front of the Ivey Science Center. The light hit it so many different ways, I photographed it often this fall.

As indicated in the previous post, this has been a very busy fall semester. The lovely little college where I work now has the largest student population in its 176 year history. I feel very lucky to have spent the last 15 years working there. The past few years have been especially exciting, and sometimes a bit scary. Higher education is changing, they say, and small colleges like ours are especially challenged by the changing landscape. If you don’t believe me just do a Google search: higher education challenges. Books, studies and monographs galore.

Not sure what most of this means, but seeing it makes me happy to work at a college.

Trying to predict what will happen with higher education in the future is impossible. Believe it or not, as a young nerd I realized in the 1970s that there would be a convergence or melding of the technologies of computing, telephony and television. Duh, who didn’t know that, right? It was obvious. But the ways in which those technologies actually did blend were so varied and profuse as to defy any detailed prediction. Smart phones, streaming video and music, and all the crap we so take for granted now– who could have predicted? As technology impinges on education another unpredictable convergence evolves before our eyes. What’s next?

It is mid-to-late autumn now, the first snowflakes and brief snow squalls have flown, and the garden has been put to bed for the Long Winter of Zone 5b. The final cabbages were small and dense, hit by a few frosts. And this year only half as much garlic was planted– about 300 cloves. The photos below are before and after the planting. In between a picture of a lonely radicchio.




I was up on the roof a few weekends back brushing out the chimney. It was a chilly but sunny afternoon. Got a nice panorama of the back yard. There was hardly any creosote to be collected at the chimney’s cleanout door. But enough to blacken the clothes and hands of course.



An unexpected crop this fall was black walnuts. There is a pretty tall tree on our property and usually the squirrels or some other rodents take all the nuts. This year there were just too many I guess. There were tons of apples too– I dehydrated lots of them. Anyway, the walnuts have a smelly and objectionable outer husk that must be removed before setting the nuts in a dry place to cure. The inner shells are very hard. I’ve been cracking them in a vise on my workbench to monitor the curing. The nutmeats are smaller and stronger tasting than store-bought nuts, and a lot smaller and harder to remove from the shell.

Black walnuts curing.

This fall has been more temperate than last, the couple of cold snaps surrounded by days warm enough to get the bicycle on the road. The autumnal foliage was pretty good this year, though not spectacular. It’s so beautiful here anyway that the fall colors don’t even have to be spectacular.

Lake Todd, Newbury, New Hampshire.

Sumac bushes behind Kearsarge Regional High School.

On a couple of recent bike rides through Sutton, the town just north of mine, I found some interesting graffiti under an overpass of Interstate 89. The road is a favorite for cyclists, dog-walkers and other folks looking for a quiet stroll. Not much traffic, hence, a good place to spend a few minutes tagging the concrete abutments without fear of the interruption. Maybe that begets more interesting graffiti.



Back on a beautiful late September day, an old friend, the dog and I climbed Mt. Kearsarge. Actually we drove most of the way up, but the mile or so hike was well worth the spectacular view. The weather was so clear that Mt. Washington was faintly visible on the horizon, as well as (maybe) some of the Boston skyline. There were lots of folks up there that day, and one woman was kind enough to point out the unusually clear and distant views.

Oliver hadn’t had this much exercise in quite some time.



In closing, I’d like to thank you for stopping by.


  1. Hey, welcome back, however brief the stop may be.

    Love the color in the woods behind your house. New England really knows how to do fall. Love the pampas grass, too. Amazing colors in grasses when you get up really close.

    Thank you Pied, and for your comments as always. The trees are bare now, and the wind is howling outside, with the coldest wind chill factor yet for this fall.

    The pampas grass has settled into a dull winter brown shade now …
    Pampas grass, mid-November.

  2. Such lovely photos! I just can’t be arsed to post any. I love black walnuts! Such flavour! Mum has some trees and used to put them in her gravel driveway and run over them to remove the outer husks. Mum is clever that way. I adore black walnut ice cream! I would drive several miles to get that.

    The snap of your garden tucked-in for the winter still reminds me of a mass grave… just sayin’!

    It appears you and your doggy got quite a bit of exercise climbing up there. You are making the rest of us look bad you know! I know you know! Stop it!!

    Hope you post more often that I do. Right now we are equal in that way.

    I started working on the walnuts yesterday. What tedium! 3 hours labor yielded about a cup of nutmeats. They are delicious though. And Mr. Google says that they’ll keep for 2 years in the deep freeze.

    That’s why I exercise! To make all you lazy slobs look bad! HAH! Now you know. If it makes you feel any better, I’ve stopped exercising 5 days a week lately, cutting back to 3. I sleep an extra hour and a half on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

    I’ve been posting on alternate blue moons. I just don’t have the blog love any more.

    • I mean Mum put the walnuts in her drive, NOT the trees. Ahem…

      Dead common that drive-over-the-nuts method. And not recommended. According to the University of Minnesota Extension Service:

      Take care when hulling or shelling walnuts. The practice of driving over nuts with an automobile can be a dangerous one. Nuts and broken shells may be thrown into the air by the tires, possibly causing bodily injury or property damage.

      Good that you and your family survived Mum’s walnut practices!

  3. Oh a happy man in beautiful places– I enjoyed your update David! I like having people like you teaching the youth, it gives me hope.

    Cleaning the chimney sounds messy but a view from the roof is worth it. Heat is also worth it. But I envy your coming snow. If I didn’t live in Oregon I would live in New England.

    Are personal blogs in general sunsetting? Mine is doing something and that may be what. But, do you think a moonrise will follow?

    Thanks for that lovely comment LinnieW. I’m not a teacher, I do computer stuff at the college. But I like to think that my interactions with students are occasionally instructive. It’s a joy and a privilege to be able to work in such and environment. In recent years we’ve had more international students attending, and they have added so much to academic “ambience”.

    If you’re missing snow, I guess you must live west of the Cascades. I went to college in Portland, and remember how rare snow was. We’ll be thoroughly sick of it by January, halfway through winter.

    Maybe what’s sunsetting is just my interest in posting minutiae. Clearly Facebook allows that in a much speedier and forgettable way. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for the moonrise.

  4. What does MVI mean? I saw that video. Strange. And I also saw “my drive to work”, but you drive too fast. It looks like a dangerous road, since one cannot see very far and it is narrow. Also, if you drove a little more slowly, one could see the landscape. As it is, one just watches that yellow strip in the middle of the road with a stomach getting queezy, and hopes nothing turns up at the “horizon” at 50 meters or less.

    As to a lady bug getting eaten by a spider …… I cannot see that.

    But the swan on the lake! That was the proverbial luck that helps the prepared mind, as who was that? said. Pasteur? Didn’t that swan know it was getting videoed?! The swan that “lends majesty to the lake” as Ayala said. And Dario in his stellar “Qué signo haces..” what sign is it that you make….” He saw the swan’s neck or throat as a question mark to wonder about the influence of USA on Latin America. A sad story!

    I still think that “The Birdfeeders

    is the prettiest video there ever was, but it is difficult to turn it into a Christmas present, i.e. give it some material consistency, material presence in order to wrap it up and put a silk ribbon around it. In the past there were those neat small floppy disks that could be wrapped up like a real little present. Now, those USB flash disks or whatever they are called, sometimes considered the greatest invention since Jesus Christ and yet unable to get themselves a learnable name, — they look too technological.

    I drive that road every day, and you have no idea how comical it is to be accused of driving too fast. My family ridicule me for my slowness. Capturing video while driving, however, is idiocy. I was interested in the moon when shooting that sequence. The music is what was playing on the car’s CD player.

    I think you might be asking about “WMV” or “AVI”, both of which are video file formats. YouTube accepts uploads of many other video files too. See this page for an exhaustingly long explanation of video file types. The spider capturing the ladybug was the first video I posted to YouTube. It’s a WMV file, same as the birdfeeder video that you like so well. Maybe you meant you don’t WANT to see a spider eating a ladybug? Well the spider doesn’t really eat the ladybug, rather just wraps it up to have later for a snack.

    I edited the birdfeeders URL in your comment. The URL is It’s nice that you like it. The music is what makes it work. I used the same music on another video, but it didn’t fit the action as well.

  5. Prettyplease, could you turn that Birdfeeder address into a link? I thought WordPress did that automatically.

    I thought so too, but apparently not. Here is the URL:

  6. As to “personal blogging” which as you say is sunsetting: if it is true, that is a good thing. One can’t have a hundred million people saying “I like” “I not like” as their only argument to accept or reject a picture, an opinion or even an individual. What’s more, one can’t have those 100 million display publicly that a picture or an individual and even an opinion is being judged as if it were just one more item on a menu or in a shop window.

    For that attitude those aristocrats of the past got beheaded. Now that would be impossible, because there are too many of them.

    However, this blog is NOT what is called a personal blog.

    If it’s not a personal blog, transgressively, then what do you call it?

  7. I think it is called a “work blog” or a “gardening blog”.
    Do you also have to find and type various numbers to get into your own blog? I cannot do it, got three times “erroneous verification number” of which we got two sets of 10. Repeat: TWO SETS OF TEN on a phone which isn’t mine, because I never had any, though I got a discarded one when I promised myself to learn how to do a text message, but could not learn it, since I prefer to spend idling with Russian or even Latin.

  8. I meant to say: spend idling time……, but I am not in a humorous mood. No. It is harder to get into my blog than to handle my bank account, though on my bank account I have Swiss Franks, clean stuff, not earned by cheating those who are slower than I in business or in catching WordPress security codes that come in blocks of TEN on my poor Chaib’s pocket phone

    Today I am going to start reading Susan Sontag on Fascinating Fascism to see if she sheds some light on this story, too.

  9. The funny thing is that I can get into my Blogger blog without ANY identification EVER. I simply click on some icon that says “Blogger” and it opens. Funny, eh?

    • Perhaps WordPress themselves got hacked. Now my husband tells me that they keep sending him numbers and will continue doing so all morning. The poor chaib! Maybe they also think that he is me, because we are the same IP.

      He is working on his laptop and meanwhile his phone keeps peeping: WordPress is sending you another security number

  10. Apparently there was a two or four step identification ritual which I entered without seeing that it was optional, and now there is no backing out, because, first of all, I cannot get in again, though I was able to read a help page which explains what a good password looks like.

    However, it seems to suggest that the security of my account depends on the security of my mail server and that is zero. That Lycos account of mine has had 3 or 4 different owners in recent times, is down half of the time, tells me every two or three days that my password is wrong and then lets me in anyway …. used to let me in. C’est fini: now they are asking me to find my password.
    I can’t.
    So they will send me one to Hotmail.
    I have left that account many years ago.

    Anyway, now I have to concentrate on tomorrow’s visit to the doc and how to get him to cancel his prescription without calling him a crook for not telling me that asthma had been excluded in the tests of the drug he wanted me to.
    try out. Quite a panorama.


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