Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Bird's Story

Ok, the move is officially over.  We had the final walk-through at the old place today and were praised for our cleaning efforts.  A Marine Inspector General would have found no dust on his white gloves had he checked it out. The owner was very pleased.  Later, the leasing agent, who was there, too, made a comment that it really only had to be “swept clean” for them to give us back the full deposit.  I did not want to hear it, LOL!  Back to life as I once knew it.


Many commented on my last post that they would like to see pictures of the new house and I promise to post them.  Next time!  Tonight I want to share some pictures that I am quite proud of taken with my new camera that I got for Christmas.


I did nothing on Christmas day except to charge the battery that it came with and read the manual cover to cover.  The next day I turned it on and experimented in the house with it. 


The camera is a Kodak P712.  You could not buy these in stores before Christmas and it was ordered online for me.  This camera is not an SLR, but has all the features of an SLR and comes with a 12X optical zoom lens.


I took it with me to work my first day back after the holiday and found an excuse to launch one of the Marina boats.  I had a mission and I wanted to see if the new camera was up to the task.


There is an island nearby that hosts a huge nest high up in an old dead tree. The tree is on the back side of the island away from the boating traffic on the river and is very hard to see if you do not know it is there.  Even on the back side of the island, it is a great distance inland from the bank.



This nest has hosted osprey families as well as a family of eagles over the years.  This year’s resident is an osprey and I was dying to get a good shot of the nest.  I did not dare think I would be lucky enough to even see the bird on this trip.



I had tried to get a shot of the nest from the back side of the island, but the sun was in the wrong position, so I motored to the front of the island on the main river.  After I shot the above picture, I looked to my right down the shoreline and something in a tree on the bank caught my eye. 



I could not tell what was in the tree, but I shot this picture and then tried to get closer at a better angle to check it out.  Applying the great zoom feature, I was able to make out that is was, indeed, the osprey.



I had to try and get a better shot of the bird.  I wanted a solid background behind it and I wanted to be as close as I could.  I would start the motor and get a little speed, then shut it off and drift towards the bird’s position.  Then I would take a shot and repeat the process. 


The osprey kept its eye on me but let me approach much closer than I had any right to expect and that is when I snapped this picture.  I was in a rocking boat and had no tripod with me.  There is no editing except for sizing on any of the pictures shown here… no cropping or anything.



Shortly after I shot this picture the osprey decided that I had gotten a little too close and flew away.  I sat there in the boat with my heart pounding from the excitement of the experience.  I thought I had taken a good shot but did not realize until later just how good it really would turn out to be.


Looking around while I sat there and composed myself, I saw two interesting features on the shoreline that I captured as well.  The first was a fallen tree that caught my eye.



<FONTFACE=ARIAL size="4" color="#0000a0">The second was a system of roots from a tree long ago fallen and not apparent anymore.



I just thought it looked interesting and shot it.  Next time I’m back at this location, I’ll try and get into a position where I can shoot the root system without the houses in the background.  The houses, by the way, are a lot farther away than they appear to be in this photo and are not on the island at all.


It was a fun little excursion for me and exciting, too.  I’ve had occasion to shoot a few more things on the river since then that I’ll share some of those in future posts.  I’ll also throw in some pictures of the new house next time.  I hope you enjoyed some of these pictures, because I had a blast getting them.  Until next time, take care and be safe!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Big Move

I figured I’d better post an update just to let everyone know that we are alive and survived the move, well, er… more or less.  At any rate we are in the new house.  One of the drawbacks of not posting for such a long time is that so much happens and one doesn’t know where to start to bring everyone up to speed on what’s been going on.  I’m going to give it shot, though.


When I posted last, it was the week before Christmas and the great housing search of 2007 had just begun.  We looked at so many houses, my head began to hurt.  We found and bargained for more than one where we were assured we had a deal only to be let down when it was time for pens to meet paper.  After slap wearing out two different agents, we finally found a place on our own and struck a deal we were happy with.


During the great search, Paulette changed jobs, the family desktop computer died a ghastly death and Paulette’s car bit the dust and our kitty, Emmie, became sick.  It was getting her a new car that became top priority, I couldn’t do without my truck and transportation became critical because Paulette has to do a great deal of driving for the new job.  With the kind help of one of my customers at the marina, we were given a deal on a good car that met her needs and did not totally bankrupt us.


Due tothe tightened money situation, our only way of keeping costs down for the move was to pack the household ourselves and to have me take a week off and move all the boxes and loose stuff in a least a million trips with my little pickup truck.  We had professionals move the furniture, but moving everything else by me saved a few hundred dollars.  It did not save my back, though, and I am keeping the Ben Gay Company in business by generously applying their ointment nightly to the offended area.


All that is left to be done at the old place is to remove the screened gazebo that I constructed, have the carpets cleaned and blow the leaves out of the eaves one final time.  Only one or two more trips over there and I am done with it.


We took Emmie to the Veterinarian twice.  The first time was the week before the move.  The Vet found a place on one of her pads that had cracked and did a repair to it and thought she might have a sprain, as well.  He told us to keep an eye on her and let him know in a week if she did not get better.  She seemed better for a day, but became lethargic and seemed to be getting more crippled each day after that.  We knew that we would have to take her in again, but had to get through the big moving days of last weekend first. 


Monday saw Sandy and myself taking Emmie in to see the Vet again and this time her temperature was more elevated than on the last visit.  He gave her a cortisone injection in her left hind quarter and gave me some antibiotics to mix with her food twice a day.  I’ve been getting the medicine down her successfully and she has improved dramatically over the last two days and seemed her old self as I left for work this morning.  What a relief!


I was able to purchase a computer on Sunday at Best Buy using the generous gift card my sister had sent me for Christmas, thanks Jan!  I chipped in some of my other savings as well.  It is a basic computer on the budget minded end of the spectrum, but will suffice.  I think it will be just fine after I upgrade the Ram memory in a few weeks.  It turned out that the Cable connection for our high speed broadband service did not work in the room where we set the office up.  Figures!  The guy finally came and fixed it at 5 pm on Tuesday and I unpacked the new beast and put it together. 


I was very happy with the Windows XP operating system and all of my software is for Windows XP.  Almost all new computers now come with the Windows Vista operating system and most of the software programs I needed to install, (McAffee Security, Drivers for my printer, etc…), would produce a warning that said that the program had known compatibility issues with Windows Vista and warned not to proceed. 


The saving grace is that with a high speed internet connection Windows Vista makes it very easy to go to each software manufacturer’s website for the Window Vistas Fix download for their respective programs.  Whew, time consuming, a bit scary, but a life saver and successful, so far.  It took over three and a half hours last night just to get the computer online, protected, and successfully connected to a working printer.


To say that I am emotionally, financially, and physically exhausted right now would be an understatement.  I’ll survive, though!  There is light at the end of the tunnel and good living is once again within my grasp by the end of another week.  I received a new camera for Christmas and I am looking forward to telling you about it and sharing some of the shots I took before this whole moving thing took over my life.


To those who have been coming to this site from time to time to check for any new posts and were disappointed, I am sorry for the long wait.  I promise that I will post again by Tuesday night of next week and will try to, at the very least, get back on my weekly posting schedule.  In the meantime, I hope you are all well and wish you all the best for 2007.