Monday, September 20, 2021

Circus Circus #MusicMovesMe

It's that time of week again!

It's time for Music Moves Me!

Who are the Music Moves Me bloggers? We are bloggers who blog about music each Monday and if you have music to share with us, you are most welcome to join! (Music Posts Only-meaning at least one music video, please!)   First, there is XmasDolly. (She's back, hurray!)  Her co-hosts are: Stacy of Stacy Uncorked, Cathy from Curious as a Cathy, and me. 

Each month we have a guest conductor. Today, we welcome once again our guest conductor (and all around wonderful person) Cathy from Curious as a Cathy.  Cathy has picked as our theme for this week: You Pick.

I've been having a lot of "blog writers block" lately, so I decided to do some random browsing.  I came up with this tune, which is familiar, I think, to most of us.  What I never knew was its name.  The music is associated with circuses, but the name of the piece is....wait for it...

Entry of the Gladiators.(I've also seen this called "March of the Gladiators" and Entrance of the Gladiators..)  This piece dates from 1897, was written by a Czech composer, Julius Ernest Wilhelm Fučík, and was meant as a military march.

Gladiators?  I don't think the Roman circuses used anything like this theme music when it was gladiator time, but I guess, in some way, you could connect gladiators with circuses.  My spouse, who is into Ancient Romans, explained to me that there would also be entrances of the lions, tigers and bears (we won't go into why they were there, but let's just say it wasn't pretty) into the circus arena.  So, I looked for an online history of this march and sure enough, there is one.

Hearing this song immediately made me think of this 1974 Three Dog Night song called The Show Must Go On. 

Yes, the Beatles had a circus oriented song.  From Sgt. Peppers album, "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite".

Smokey Robinson and Tears of a Clown.

One for the hard rock fans in the audience.  One of my favorite songs, KISS and Psycho Circus. OK, not a true circus, but it has circus in the name and "carnival" in the lyrics.

Last but not least is this Afro Circus Clip from the movie Madagascar 3, where we circle back to our opening song.

Boys and girls of all ages, that's a wrap.

Join me again next week, same time, same place!


Sunday, September 19, 2021


Memories, of the way things were.

I think I've finally overcome the problem of deleting photos (backed up on a UBS drive) from my iPhone.  I was deleting photos and they kept showing up again.  I think it had to do something with iCloud, and now, I can't even turn iCloud on again.

But, being a digital hoarder, it's hard to delete.  The photos bring back so many memories.  Even though they are safe on a PC (one hopes), it's still hard to hit the trash can icon.  Daffodils, flowering trees, azaleas, all now deleted.

I'm still working on 2017.

Sometimes, those photos make me smile, like this one taken in July 2017, at Cutler Botanic Gardens in Binghamton.

Painted rocks, as I've blogged about recently, can be hazardous to the environment  But combined with these zinnias...

...well, it made me smile.

I hope it makes you smile, too.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Birds vs Glass

Nature runs on its own clock, its own calendar.

It doesn't care what we humans come up with.   

Nature is now saying "fall is here" with purple asters...

...and white.

It's the last burst of the wildflowers I love to photograph.

Nature is also calling birds home.

Right now, fall bird migration is in progress. Did you know there is an Internet tool to help track bird migrations?  It's called BirdCast.  Tonight and tomorrow night, BirdCast predicts high migration levels in our area, about 150 miles from New York City.

Trigger alert: If you have a weak stomach, you may not want to click on the next link.

In cities such as New York City, however, another tragic fall is unfolding, as hundreds of dead migratory birds have been picked up in recent mornings.  226 just around the World Trade Center's Freedom tower - that beautiful tower that replaced buildings destroyed in the September 11 attacks.

Tuesday was a bad morning, especially.

Birds can't tell glass reflections from natural scenery.  Actually we humans can't, either, but we learn, at early ages, various cues that tell us nope, don't collide with that.

Birds don't get that education.  The cues that work for us, additionally, don't work for them.  So, it is estimated that possibly as many as one billion (no, that isn't a typo) birds die in collisions with human structures each year. (this link is safe to click on, and it contains fascinating information).

Hundreds of thousands of birds are migrating in North America right now and many will not make it to their destination.  

One thing I never realized until this year is that many of the summer birds we enjoy where I live in the Southern Tier of New York iare actually southern birds who summer here (like reverse snowbirds).  They come around April and May, and leave in September and October, heading back to the places they live in much of the year.  They aren't "our" birds.  In fact, some 40% of birds migrate - some short distances, some thousands of miles.

They come to our northern lands to breed, and our hearts are gladdened by their presence. But now Nature is calling them home.

Around 80% of them migrate at night.  The moon and stars guide them.  They don't have daytime thermals to deal with. Cooler temperatures help dispel the extra body heat of long distance flying.  I never realized that some of the night sounds aren't crickets, but, possibly, birds communicating with their fellow flyers.

The nighttime is busy and full of birds.

That's where turning off lights in city office buildings come in.   They won't be distracted by the light of artificial structures, and won't be drawn in to their doom.  But this solution isn't implemented often enough.  Here's one effort:  Lights out Philly.

Structures can also be designed to be less harmful to birds.  

For daytime collisions, there are other solutions, ones that homeowners (like me) should consider, because birds also collide with the windows of our homes.  I used to think "well, I don't see dead birds here in my yard, so why should I worry?" Turns out I'm wrong. 

I'm only starting my own birding journey, and I still have so much to learn.

One may ask, why should we care about some birds dying, when so many humans are suffering right now?  It's a good question.

But we depend on birds for so much - pollination, eating insects that hurt our survival, joyous song, and yes - the needed work of scavenging.  Let's not forget the billions of domestic birds that are direct members of our food chain, too (with apologies to my vegan and vegetarian readers.)

Birds need us.

But perhaps, even more, we need birds.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Summer Ends #SkywatchFriday

I've had phone problems this past week (full, despite working to delete my hoard of photos) and am wondering if my iPhone SE first edition will even permit the next iOS update. I managed to delete three apps, including Facebook (no great loss), enough to be able to take pictures and get email again, and to get the latest iPhone security patch. 

I may be looking for a new phone, or (son's suggestion) less expensive phone and actual camera.  I'm still waffling about that.

Of course, this is Skywatch Friday, not Complaining about my Minor First World Problems Friday, so onward to the sunset I can now bring you.

On August 31 we went to an ourdoor concert in a local park.

I captured a sunset picture there, as the sun set behind a mountain (not true sunset at that point).

And again, the colors were not spectacular.  My not-good timing/luck with sunsets continues.

So I'll just hang tight and keep enjoying the clouds and sun, no matter what.

Now, onward to fall.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

The Future of my iPhone

Today, I am struggling with a decision.

My iPhone, which was purchased the end of July, 2016, is full.  I use it just as much as a camera as I do a phone/text/way to browse the Internet.  The memory is full of photos, and I've been having issues taking the photos off (I won't bore you with the details).  I had to take apps off just to install the latest operating system upgrade, which was an urgent one due to security concerns.  I had to take apps off the phone.

Now, I don't have room for the next operating system upgrade.  

Do I buy the latest iPhone, the one just released (iPhone 13)?  I used my first iPhone for four years.  This one, I've had for five years. My strategy has been to get a new, current phone, and keep it for a long time.

A much better camera than my iPhone SE first edition tempts me, but is it necessary?  I enjoy photography but the limitations of the iPhone (especially with macro photography, for which it would be difficult to purchase a supplemental gadget to attach to my iPhone) frustrate me. So does my SE 1st Edition's inability to take good photos on cloudy days (which we have too many of where I live.)

My son talked to me and said 'Mom, if photography is going to be a hobby for you, you can't cheap out.  I suggest you buy an iPhone model a year or two old, not worrying about the latest built in camera, Spend the difference in money on an actual camera with features you want and decent photo editing and storage software".

But my cell phone is always with me, meaning my camera is always with me.

Then, there is 5G.  Do I really need to upgrade to a 5G ready phone?  Will having 5G matter to me?  Perhaps a year old iPhone model (one of the iPhone 12's) will do.

I'm retired but working part time.  Still, I have to watch my spending.

I want to keep taking good pictures for my readers, like this autumn clementis.

I know, in the scheme of things, this is a minor thing to worry about.  But if anyone has suggestions, I would appreciate it.

One more note:  due to Yom Kippur, I will not be posting comments until this evening (this post published automatically and was prewritten).  

Thank you in advance for any suggestions (I know some of you have made suggestions before, but I think I need one more small push.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day Sept 2021

Fall starts in exactly one week, and my zone 5b garden is transitioning to the new season.  This is a sad time of year for me because I know my outdoor gardening year is coming to an end.  The days get shorter, the sun angle changes, and some of my plantings look weary and worn.

 But others celebrate fall, such as my cultivated purple asters.

Purple turtlehead, a native flower (purchased on a trip to North Carolina back in 2012), which has been blooming for a couple of weeks, is spreading in my shade garden.


Sedum and bee.

My Japanese anemone is just starting to bloom, the first bud unfurling in time for GBBD.  They will be the stars of my fall flower plantings. I apologize for the blurriness.

Garlic chives.

A heuchera (coral bells).

Here are some summer flowers still blooming.


Angelica "Angelface".  

Orange cosmos (left) and lantana (right).  This orange cosmos is a short variety.  My taller varieties all failed and I don't know why.

My nasturtium also aren't looking good and I don't know why, so I didn't take pictures.

More lantana. They loved our hot summer.

So did the zinnias.

Million Bells.

One of my few pansies to survive to almost-fall.  This rarely happens, although it also happened last year.



Last but not least, dahlia.

Thanks go out once again to Carol at May Dreams Gardens, who hosts this 15th of the month Garden Bloggers Bloom Day meme without fail.

Thanks also go to Sandee for hosting #WordlessWednesday.  The linkup is above.

Do you grow flowers?  Why not join in on the fun, and visit other gardeners posting what's blooming for them this last day of (for us in the Northern Hemisphere) summer?

Happy GBBD! Happy Wordless Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

The Season of Winter Squashes

Visit any farmstand in New York State right now, and you'll see the winter squashes have arrived.

We have a garden, but winter squash doesn't seem to do well.  Right now we have one butternut squash plant going, with the grand total of one squash (still immature) on it.  I admit we weren't even going to grow them this year but we received several free starts late in the planting season. I talked spouse into growing them because they would otherwise have been thrown out.  One survived.

But, for those who have farmstands in the vicinity, the selection is amazing.

Blue hubbard, a variety that's tough to prepare (it must be a member of the black walnut family) but worth the effort.  Pro tip:  try to find it cut up, as these can run big and heavy.  For the two of us, we don't bother.

Pumpkins.  Check out these colors.  They aren't just for carving.

Orange with warts. Striped.

Orange. Yellow.


I've already blogged more than once about Honeynut squashes, a squash I suspect may not make it out of the New York area.

There are striped winter squashes such as Delicata, squashes with similar names but way different personalities (butternut and buttercup - don't confuse them).

These squashes, along with apples, are the kings and queens of fall.