After more than 20 years, the roof on our house was getting a bit tired – the shingles had lost much of the gravel on them, and for some time there had been a few mysterious leaks that I could never completely find. So we bit the bullet and have had the olde shingles torn off and a new roof – with 50 year non-prorated warranty – put up. Day 1 saw well more than half the job done. I set up my two Canon digital cameras with the CHDK software on them to enable the Intervalometer and had them each taking a photo every 60 seconds during the day. I put these together with “Time Lapse Assembler” in to two time-lapse movies at 4 frames per second, so the videos are going at 240 times actual speed. Here they are:

 

 

 

 

Alerted by a post on facebook from Todd Dopkowski that there were northern lights devloping over his place, Lisa and I looked outside around 8 pm, but didn’t see much. Foolishly we didn’t then get all the camera gear setup.

By 9pm it was showing, and 30 minutes later it was on. Then the scramble for the tripod, camera etc started. These are the pictures that Lisa took on her Nikon D50.

At the same time, Roger fumbled around with his Canon PowerShot S2 IS trying to find a setting that would work, and managed this poor imitation of Lisa’s pictures..

Roger's Camera's Interpretation

Roger’s Camera’s Interpretation

There were some amazing other pictures captured in various places. Here are a few links:

Album of viewer submitted pictures on WoodTV in Grand Rapids (includes one of Lisa’s images from above)

Aurora Gallery on SpaceWeather.com – contains links to some amazing shots taken in the USA, Canada and Norway.

This amazing time lapse taken over 2 hours by Michael Gavin at East Martin, Michigan – about 20 miles south of us:

WOW!!!

 

From 1-2 February 2011 we had quite a blizzard – not quite an outright record for snowfall – but the official recording at the Grand Rapids airport a few miles from us is 16 inches – second biggest snowfall in a 24 hour period. We did break the records for 1 and 2 February for most snow on each of those days. Some pictures around the front of our house are below.

Road conditions were terrible, and for the first time since at least Nov 1993 Lisa didn’t attempt to go to work even though we have a 4 wheel drive Jimmy. The County road crews got our road cleared by mid-morning.

 

A very intense storm went through West Michigan on Tuesday evening just after 9 PM, and knocked out power to tens of thousands of households across Michigan – 27,000 of them in Kent County alone, and about 140,000 across all of Michigan.

Thankfully we have a generator, so our power was back on in less than 30 minutes.

Generator in the Barn

The Generator sitting in the barn, plugged into a 50 AMP outlet to feed power back to the house

Power to our area was restored about 8 hours later, but for our neighbour he wasn’t so lucky. Half of a massive Willow tree in his yard broke, and landed on the power line to his house, breaking the wire, AND breaking the power pole that held the wire up.

Crews were on the job right away – by 0700 the next morning all of the underground cables along the road in front of our properties had been marked so that Consumers Energy could safely drill a hole for a new pole, but it took until late Thursday afternoon for “1 pole for 1 house” made it to the top of the priority list, and a crew arrived with a new pole and put it up and reconnected the wires, so the neighbour could stop using my generator and get back “on the grid”.

Below are a few photos taken on my “new” cell phone – a Nokia 2720 with a “whopping” 1.3 MP camera in it.

 

Below are a few images of the water gardens as they were on 10 August – Lilies in full bloom- too bad they’re all yellow.

Tucked in away amongst the lilies I found this little scene.

Grandma - What Big Eyes You Have

Frogs in the Water Garden

 

Lisa noticed this on the outside of one of our UPSTAIRS!! windows this evening. The very cunning frog was hanging out (well was “sticking” out) on the window pane, ambushing bugs attracted to the light inside the window!!!

The Underside of a Gray Tree Frog

The Underside of a Gray Tree Frog

Excuse the apparently dirty window. (click any thumbnail to open a slideshow)

A photo gallery of some other shots from both inside and outside follows: Continue reading »

 

While watering the garden at the back of the house this morning something caught my eye…

The Milk Weed by the back porch

The Milk Weed by the back porch

In case it’s not obvious in this picture what I saw, here it is again…

The Milk Weed by the back porch

The Milk Weed by the back porch

And a much closer view reveals…

Amazing!!!!!

Amazing!!!!!

A gallery is below.

Continue reading »

 

Visitors seen around the yard today include the habitual doe and her 2 bambis, and some “bugs” on the milkweed plants beside the back porch.

 

Since putting in the ponds nearly 2 years ago it has been a constant battle to keep the water clean. I’d only bought a cheap filter at Menards when first getting this set up, and it became apparent that we needed better to try and keep the water clean. Other measures were needed too, like more area covered by lilies or other vegetation. The water lilies we’d had from Menards were tired and not doing very well.

A couple of weeks ago we bought a new water lily, along with some water lily food, and some chemical to help clear the water. The new lily has done amazingly well, the chemical powder to clear the water was slowly working it seemed, and the olde tired water lilies were responding to being re-potted and actually fed for the first time. But it seemed like we still needed a better water filter. Hours spent searching, researching and reading online came up with the thought that we needed a Bio-Pressure-UV Filter – this has mechanical filtering, bio-filtering, and a UV light to kill algae.

Ebay turned one up for $72 plus shipping, and that arrived yesterday. So after much pondering on just where and how to put it, today was spent digging, organising, piping with bigger pipes than I’d used previously, and generally tidying up.

A couple of pictures show this in progress. There’s still more to tidy up before I take the “finished” pictures…

Work in Progress

A view showing the new filter (centre of picture), with the pipe coming up to the top of the spillway in its new trench. The garden to the right is to be a butterfly garden.

Work in Progress

Another view of the work in progress, with the mess laying around waiting tidying up.

 

A few shots taken today in the garden this afternoon, and then this evening from the kitchen window. An update to the water garden, and then a visit from bambis

Yesterday Lisa and I went to Apols Landscaping and oohed and aahed at the amazing selection of water lilies and other aquatic plants they have in an amazing array of ponds, and came home with a water lily, a couple of other plants, some “stuff” to take care of the water with, pellets to feed water lilies with and just for a laugh 5 tadpoles.

So the 2 puny lilies I’ve had for a couple of years got repotted and fed and put into one pond, and the new water lily given a pond of its own, along with the tadpoles and assorted snails that were hangers on.

Yesterday's Purchase

The new waterlily purchased yesterday. It had 2 blooms yesterday - 3 today.

Then tonight after dinner Lisa looked out the window and a bambi was on the patio right outside the kitchen. By the time I’d got my camera, it had raced off to join its sibling across the lawn, and then Mum turned up.

10 Seconds Later

OK - we're done, and I'm out of here, now follow along...

Continue reading »

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