Sunday, June 16, 2013

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - June 16, 2013

Good Sunday morning to everyone! I hope all the fathers out there have a great Fathers Day. My own father died young, so please cherish your dads while you still have them in your life. A good father is priceless.

As it is Sunday, it's time for my weekly off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken along the way. On television topic for a moment -- there should be news tomorrow on the new Big Brother house and, by the end of the week, on the new cast of hamsters. You can still get the Early Bird Special on the live feeds at If you're having trouble signing up for the live feeds, my only advice would be to clear your cache or reboot your computer. It might be easier to sign into the CBS site with your Facebook account if you have one.

Onto the week ... it rained. And then it rained some more. On Wednesday, my day off, it actually did NOT rain! Woohoo! I took a trip into nearby Westfield to visit Mindowaskin Park for a photo stomp of flowers, water fowl, bugs and the cicada "invasion." Here's a video I shot at the park with the cicadas singing their mating song as the background ...

Once I hit Trader Joe's, I was thrilled to find out they're expanding and taking over the whole building at their location. It's now twice the size! YAY! Although everything is still under construction, I already found new items I've never seen before. Trader Joe's is my favorite grocery store and the Westfield location was so tiny. I'm overjoyed for sure!

On the home front, the new landlords sent me the notice of a lease quit/renewal and rent increase. I had been worried as, even though I'm paying above market rate due to past mismanagement, they've been doing a lot of improvements to the building. My lease isn't up until September 1st, but I usually get this notice this time of the year. Okay, they raised my rent $5 more a month. I can deal with that. About the only thing better would have been no increase or a decrease. I can't see that happening!

One thing the new landlords should do, however, is learn their math. The state legal form was led off with an apology for the way it was worded (these notices required by the state always sound like you're getting the boot), how they understand how tough the economy is and blah-blah-blah. Then they said my rent increase is so tiny that it ends up being less than 75 cents a day! Um. Do the math. I believe it's more in line with 15 cents a day.

I found six dollars on the ground at the Bridgewater Train Station last night. I'll put that towards my rent increase! Onto this week's photos ... due to the never-ending rain for most of the week, the majority of these were taken on my Wednesday in nearby Westfield. 

Cicada 15 photo IMG_8075a_zps2265365f.jpg
Is it an ALIEN?

Nah, it's just a Magicicada. More on these in a bit.

Ducks 5 photo IMG_7809a_zps7eba630d.jpg
Hey! Paparazzi! Stop shooting my butt!

My, what a big mouth he has! I guess he wanted to let me know he wasn't just a sitting duck.

Flowers 4 photo IMG_7737a_zps8deb8a8b.jpg
Morning glory!

These are lining the chain link fence at the back of my apartment building.

Geese 6 photo IMG_7901a_zpsc55b0d4d.jpg
Whatchoo lookin' at?

You know, it's rude to honk with food in your mouth, Goosey Lucy.


Look! It's duckies!

Ducks 7 photo IMG_7945a_zpsa48fe635.jpg

Ducks 10 photo IMG_7968a_zps29044362.jpg

This mother duck and her young ducklings kept hanging out in really sunny areas, so I didn't get great photos of them.

Ducks 9 photo IMG_7951a_zpscba2279a.jpg

Ducks 8 photo IMG_7948a_zpsefbc4169.jpg

Ducks 4 photo IMG_7803a_zps28dcc93c.jpg

Ducks 3 photo IMG_7788a_zpsc6c5edb3.jpg

Ducks 2 photo IMG_7782a_zps1c2018f8.jpg

Ducks 1 photo IMG_7776a_zps2a083578.jpg
Idyllic, ain't it?

The pond at Mindowaskin Park is a lot cleaner this month. Yay!

Flowers, wild and not so much ...

Flowers 12 photo IMG_8130a_zps5505747f.jpg

Flowers 11 photo IMG_8080a_zps89bae176.jpg

Flowers 10 photo IMG_8079a_zpsaa8b59ee.jpg

Nightshade photo IMG_8058a_zps935a748d.jpg

Flowers 9 photo IMG_8008a_zps5823be92.jpg

Flowers 8 photo IMG_7757a_zps031e74d9.jpg

Flowers 7 photo IMG_7749a_zps16064980.jpg

Flowers 6 photo IMG_7747a_zps86fa72ef.jpg

Flowers 5 photo IMG_7745a_zpseecadcc9.jpg

Flowers 3 photo IMG_7727a_zps673c1d18.jpg

Flowers 2 photo IMG_7701a_zps4cdc7bf8.jpg

Flowers 1 photo IMG_7692a_zpsae030967.jpg

Chocolate photo IMG_7764a_zpsac1c2468.jpg

I keep telling myself that I need to stop into this little shop on Quimby Street in Westfield. One day, I surely will!

Let there be bees ...

Bee 4 photo IMG_8118a_zps0d9363d0.jpg

Bee 3 photo IMG_8114a_zpsd6b5400d.jpg

Bee 2 photo IMG_8026a_zps0005abfc.jpg

Bee 1 photo IMG_8023a_zps38b1a318.jpg

Moth photo IMG_8010a_zpse302d29d.jpg
Moth on a dandelion

Then there's the cicadas ...

My apologies if these creep you out, but I find them fascinating. These Brood II Magicicada live about a foot underground for 17 years, then work their way up to the surface to molt, mate, lay eggs and die. It will be another 17 years until they "invade" once again.

They're harmless as far as biting goes. I read that if they think you're a tree, they might try to suck sap and that can be painful. But all the ones I met seemed to realize I'm no tree. I did see one knock down a jogger, though. There she was running along. A cicada flew into her. She screamed and fell down. Heehee!

While I've been wanting to get photos of these cool insects, there are none in the areas I immediately travel. After going a few miles away and finding them, they can stay there. Besides flying into people (a lot), the noise is too much. I don't recall the last emergence of these cicadas or the one before. But now I'll remember the constant ringing noise. After spending a few hours in an area hit by them, my ears kept ringing for hours more. Plus, all the dead ones on the sidewalks, porches, lawns as well as the molted "skins," ... it's messy!

Cicada 20 photo IMG_8100a_zps53274db9.jpg

Cicada 19 photo IMG_8096a_zps380ee5f6.jpg
On my arm!

Cicada 18 photo IMG_8087a_zps371b150b.jpg
On my hand!

Cicada 17 photo IMG_8084a_zps63ebf9b7.jpg
On my finger!

Cicada 16 photo IMG_8083a_zps7876117d.jpg
Landed on my jeans

This is how the cicada got on my hand, finger and then my arm. He landed on my jeans as I sat. So I held my hand out to him and he jumped aboard. Finally he climbed to the point where I was worried he'd climb under my shirt, so I shook him off. One that landed unexpectedly on the back of my neck didn't fare as well, nor was as welcome.

Cicada 14 photo IMG_8050a_zps371573e4.jpg

Cicada 13 photo IMG_8047a_zpsafc5f950.jpg

Cicada 12 photo IMG_8036a_zps1820baa6.jpg

Cicada 11 photo IMG_8033a_zps1ed59676.jpg

Cicada 10 photo IMG_8029a_zps222885c4.jpg

Cicada 9 photo IMG_8021a_zps46f2a8e0.jpg

Cicada 8 photo IMG_8018a_zpse9891b08.jpg
With those eyes, you can't hide, buddy!

Cicada 7 photo IMG_8013a_zps4cc3b1f7.jpg

Cicada 6 photo IMG_7994a_zps5002dfb4.jpg

Cicada 5 photo IMG_7842a_zps58c7f298.jpg
Molting leftovers

Some of the trees in the area have thousands of these at their base. Others have hundreds. Even others have none. Kind of like a snake shedding its skin, as do the cicadas.

Cicada 4 photo IMG_7835b_zps1b7cabe2.jpg
The molting aftermath also grips to trees

Some trees are lined with these left behind skins.

Cicada 3 photo IMG_7824a_zps358645e5.jpg

Cicada 2 photo IMG_7817b_zps96f7f3fc.jpg

Cicada 1 photo IMG_7770a_zpsfb77e633.jpg

Then came GEESE ...

Geese 1 photo IMG_7852a_zpsa2d54c59.jpg
The babies have grown!

I believe this is the same goose family I photographed last month. If so, one of the babies didn't make it as it's only five goslings and the two parents. The parents are still very protective of the young. 

At one point the mother (or father?) goose watched a trio of other grown geese about fifty feet away like a hawk. Finally he/she lowered its neck and charged at the trio. They must have known the danger as they immediately jumped in the pond and swam away. Although the parents do watch me intently, they seem to assume I'm no danger to their young.

:::Looking up goose recipes:::


Geese 2 photo IMG_7856a_zps1be3bf2e.jpg

Geese 3 photo IMG_7872a_zpsbdb29df9.jpg

Geese 4 photo IMG_7876a_zps272342dc.jpg

Geese 5 photo IMG_7889a_zps317d12dc.jpg

Geese 7 photo IMG_7902a_zps89231e89.jpg
Not as cute as a month ago

Geese 8 photo IMG_7908a_zps809658f2.jpg
Tired young'un

Window Cat photo IMG_8122a_zps89a90991.jpg
First floor cat in a window

As far as I know, this is the only other cat in my apartment building. A woman lives in the studio apartment there and has since I've lived here. I don't really know her at all, but I talk to her cat.

Vincent photo IMG_7740a_zpsa9d96cb7.jpg
Hey, Vincent! Over here!

He was so intent on watching a squirrel that he didn't realize I was there. Silly kitty!


Anonymous said...

Gorgeous photos, Jackie. I especially like some of the duck pictures: floating in Monet-ish waters or standing on a rock enjoying the view. Well done.

The cicadas' wings are beautiful; the rest of them, not so much. But your photos were impressive.

SueGee said...

Great pictures as usual! So nice and green. The pictures of the cicada on your hand gave me a sense of their size. I don't think I have ever seen one in person before. Growing up in Chicagoland, we just got things like box elder bugs and crickets.

Sue on the Left Coast

RSchnoop said...

National Geographic and other similar magazines should be looking to hire you for your fantastic nature photo skills. You always manage to get up close and personal with animals and insects and then can turn around and document places, weather conditions, events, people and anything and everything that catches your eye.

Anonymous said...

AMAZING photos....