Category Archives: birds

We’ve had a lovely afternoon and evening at the American Conservation Film Festival.

We are in the four day period of the ACFF, now celebrating it’s 10th Anniversary of presenting conservation and nature support films here in Shepherdstown.

We saw two films this afternoon, but tonight we saw two films accompanied by live discussions and question periods with the filmmakers.

The most interesting to me was Marion Stoddart whose life and career spent saving the Nashua River was so well presented in the short film “The Work of 1000.”

Filmmaker Susan Edwards broached the subject Can one person truly make a difference? This film tells the inspiring story of how a remarkable woman saved a dying river–for herself, for the community and for future generations–and became an environmental hero honored by the United Nations.

Mrs Stoddart, now in her 80s spent decades getting a very polluted river clean… petitioning, demonstrating, approaching manufacturers and politicians directly, and getting her husband and children involved. Her live presentation with the audience was very involving.

Our Nation’s River: A System on Edge  was the second film we saw this evening. Ten minutes long and made by Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of historic natural filmmaker Jaques Costeau. This piece was particularly meaningful for us, since it is about the Potomac River, the water body that forms our northern border and flows from us down to Washington DC.

Ms, Cousteau answered questions but also presented a discussion panel of professionals from the Nature Conservancy and the Potomac River Foundation.

The House was pretty full at Reynolds Hall, Shepherd University, with a number of standers who wanted to catch everything as well. Among the folks there tonight were most of the officers of Sustainable Shepherdstown (My wife is in that bunch, of course), our current State Delegate John Dolan whose work for us has been spectacular and who is leaving office at the end of the session. Steve Skinner, the Democratic candidate for Delegate who, hopefully, will take John’s place, was there as well. Both men realize the importance the Potomac is to our community. Of course, Republican Candidate Elliot Spitzer was NOT there this evening. Preserving our environment is just not a Republican issue… after all, don’t they all think that Climate Change is a joke?

We’re going to some more films tomorrow.

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Cartoon(s) of the Week – Does Big Bird sum up the Debate?

 

Jeff Danziger in the L. A. Times:

So what is memorable from the debate?

– and –

Robert McKee in the Augusta Chronicle:

Are the issues food or labor?

– and –

Nick Anderson in the Houston Chronicle:

Did you see them serve up their achievements or potentials?

– and –

Clay bennet in the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

As displayed by his announcement to cure the deficit by dropping PBS and Big Bird.

– and –

Gary McCoy for Universal Press Syndicate:

Oh well… Halloween is coming. Do you think we can forget politics for a while?

A lovely Saturday…

I took a long ride in to WSHC this morning along the love;y Potomac River. There were fishermen out casting in those little flat-bottom boats with the tiny outboards, and people just sitting on their porches looking out at the Potomac’s flow.

Much as I dislike living in West Virginia, I have to admit that the countryside is beautiful. And there are so many different kinds of birds (from bright red cardinals to dingy black vultures) to track along the back roads.

Today I’ll be doing my show from 11 AM to 1 PM on 89.7 FM (as a 1000 watt station we have a range of about 30 miles from downtown Shepherdstown), or we are streamed live on http://897wshc.org if you are anywhere else in the world. The show is “Talk To Me” and the phone number to do so is 304-876-5369 (if you can squeeze in a call between my regulars). I do song challenges (my score is pretty good – you name it and it’s likely I can play it), music out of my library, discussions of politics and local or national events… whatever you want to talk about.

So tune in if you get a chance.

Living in the rural district…

Bird's nest over our front porch.

Sunny day, warm weather and I spent the last half hour sitting out on my porch with my next door neighbor, Francis, talking about lawn mowing, hay growing, birds nesting, different kinds of tree blossoms…etc,etc. This is nice.

If you are going to be retired, I can’t think of a better place. It’s a great place to write and develop theatre projects (John Case and I are working on an updated

Flowering Pear Tree

version of Odets’ “Waiting for Lefty” which will include contemporary references and some music… we’ll be performing it at The Folly sometime this summer.) It’s also wonderful for gardening and other outdoor activities.

There’s a whole different kind of concerns out here than there is in the closer suburbs… the weather relates more to how the land operates than to what you’ll wear and how you will move around. Rain out here is is a prized phenomenon (and we expect some this afternoon and tomorrow.)

And now that winter has been eliminated by an early spring, it looks like things will get even better.

Two weeks of moving start today…

Elly and Me?

We closed on our “farmette” on Friday, and now we will spend the next two weeks moving, emptying the townhouse and getting it ready for sale (say, are you looking for a nice townhouse in Shepherdstown, WV? Let me know.)

Home for Chicks

The thought of entering a life as somewhat of a farmer has been entering my consciousness as I plan to repair the very old chicken house on the property so we can go out in April (or earlier) to get a dozen or so live chicks. Sure looking forward to eggs by the end of the summer.

If this makes the blog come out at odd times of the day in the next week or so (no internet connected to the new house yet) then we will have to live with it.

Happy Birthday Ben…

Ben Franklin, was born on this day in 1706.

Did you know when the famous Founding Fathers were selecting a National Bird and the majority were hard set on the Eagle, Franklin made his case for the Turkey:

(another great graphic design by the late Herb Lubalin.)

Continuing with food and poison problem…

Here is a rather long video with a French and Canadian co-creation, and it deals with how Monsanto markets their chemical products to farms, etc. Take a look:

UPDATE:

After watching “The World According to Monsanto,” I saw significant proof of the company’s lies, ethical violations, manipulation, bullying and significant health destruction world wide. I hope you take the hour and 3/4 it takes to watch this and then get back to me to discuss what we can do to protect ourselves, our children and out food.

If we don’t act now, it becomes harder and harder to turn the hazard of RoundUp Ready Crops around; to eliminate bovine hormones in our milk, cheese, ice cream; to prevent Monsanto from taking control of the world’s food supply.

In the last couple of days there have been protests in Washington DC against Monsanto. Their grasp on the balls of our politicians and the amount of money they spend on controlling the FDA and the EPA is outrageous.

Some suggestions:

1. Let local restaurants, school cafeterias and grocery stores know that the community is not happy to have GMO contaminated foods in their establishments…

2. Start community gardens and Food Coops to bring untainted foods to our homes…

3. Make sure all our local politicians and state and federal representatives know how we feel (get them to look at the videos we’ve put up over the last couple of days)…

4. Demand that American food be labeled like European food to know when GMOs are present in what we buy.

– then =

5. Don’t buy them.

 

Here’s a PR that went out on World Food Day… Keep this stuff going around:

 

Good luck… we’ll need it.

Last Four Weeks to order Web Poppers at $39.95…

… then I am going back to it’s original purchase price of $75.00.

But since I really need help supporting this Blog (and the weekly Podcast that goes with it) I’ll keep the sale price on until August 27th…

So I’m selling the basic set of my Web Poppers, a collection of small images, averaging 72 x 72 pixels, that are based on Bill’s picture font designs and other sources. They can be used to illustrate posts or to comment on any number of issues. You’ve seen me use them frequently on this blog – I hate posts without pictures!

Each set is delivered on CD with 300 of the most popular JPEG images that I use in my own blogs, Under The LobsterScope and Panhandle Vegan. I have been getting great responses to these for the past year and the number of requests that I release them has been substantial.

So here they are.

The complete set originally cost $75.00, but for the next five weeks they are going for $39.95, all taxes and shipping included. Every set that is sold helps support this blog… and believe me, we need it.

Some samples from the 300:

To purchase, click HERE.

Eighth Day Accompanied on Dog Walk by Red-Winged Blackbird.

I’m pretty sure it’s the same one since there are several others around but none of them seems concerned with the route we are taking. This one jumps from bush to bush to stay within 5′ to 10′ ahead us as we walk.

I’ve named him Nik-Nik after the sound he makes (which I imitate back to him) between chirps (I fear I am a lousy chirper.)

Now that we’re over a week since the first time he walked with us (I think he really comes out when he sees us walk out of the front door of the house), I’ll be disappointed if he’s not there tomorrow.

What a great Sunday Morning…

Our friend the blackbird

Talked to Elly on the phone this morning while I was walking the dogs (and having the fifth day of our friendly red-winged blackbird following us around and making tight circles in the air around us!)  and she’s coming back tonight (her plane leaves Minnesota at 4:30 and I think she has to change flights in Milwaukee…2 hour delay) and my boys will be thrilled. They have so missed their Mama.

G. Bradley Sanders

I didn’t have to water Elly’s gardens this morning since we had a night of rain and thunderstorms (where Byron, my dog who is afraid of thunder, crawled under the bed where he barely fits to sleep in safety) which more than took care of all the plants. So, I went over to Mellow Moods where I had coffee with G. Bradley Sanders, who owns the Timberframe Folly site out in the woods south of town. This was a guy I really wanted to meet for three reasons: his creative history is pretty exceptional, he is putting together a “Folly” at the Folly in August… a 22nd Century Carnival… that I want to be involved in, and I wanted to talk to him about producing Philip Glass‘s chamber opera, The Photographer, at the Folly in a year or so.

The Folly

It’s nice speaking with another 65-year-old who, incidentally, told me he listens to John and me on WSHC Friday mornings. Anyway, now I’m a volunteer for his Carnival Folly… if you’d like to find out more about it, go HERE. Bradley also is willing to let me do The Photographer at the Folly, now I can proceed to my next stage… finding someone to coordinate the music and finding out how much this is going to cost, royalties and such, so I and get into fundraising.

So now I’m going to do the Cartoon(s) of the Week and then get back and give the boys their lunch.

Third day and our friend the redwinged blackbird took a walk with my boys and me…

Not our friend - just a sample

I really expected him to be gone today. When we got over to the marshy area by the runoff pond our friend started  flying around us and then went from bush to bush staying just a few feet ahead of us making his clicks and chirps.

I’m getting to expect him and will be disappointed if he’s not there tomorrow. I think my dogs are getting used to him, too… especially Byron who would most likely eat him if he landed within grabbing room. Nestle looks at him and then goes back to sniffing the ground.