Saturday, March 28, 2009

Garden March 28

Garden March 28, originally uploaded by ElementaryTechTeacher.

I think at the end of the year being able to look at the transformation of my garden on a monthly basis is going to be one of my favorite parts of this project. I spent several hours in the garden today-it had to be around 70 which is unusual for us! Much too nice to be inside. Hopefully by getting a lot of dead stuff out of there the rabbits and moles won't spend so much time there. The crocus are providing some nice color, luckily the varmints didn't eat all of them. I even bought a pack of pansies on a run to Lowe's with my husband. So now there's a touch more color as well.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Bike Crew

Bike Crew, originally uploaded by ElementaryTechTeacher.

Technically I didn't take this picture but it was taken with my camera. Today was my 3rd after school ride with my friend Pat. We had 3 more friends join us this afternoon. We did a short ride knowing that we'll be doing at least 30 miles tomorrow. In this picture from left to right are Kelly L a community member with kids in our school and a first year rider, Pat, a kindergarten teacher and a 3rd year rider, Kelly H, a reading teacher and first year rider, Deb, a substitute and 2nd year rider and myself, another newbie to riding. (You have to click on the picture to see me.) I'm sure this was just the first of many rides we'll be taking together after school. We're thankful for this unusually nice March weather!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Spring Street Cleaning

I saw two different street cleaning crews out on my way to work. It's hard to tell if this tractor is really making a difference or not. There was a huge rotating brush on the front, I had not seen one of these before. But it's good to see them out. That means the roads may be a little safer for biking especially after a few good spring rains.
It may be illegal to talk on the phone while driving and I think after tomorrow it's illegal to text while driving but as far as I know it's still ok to take pictures!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Chives, originally uploaded by ElementaryTechTeacher.

Last fall I brought my herb pots onto the back porch to enjoy them a little longer. Eventually it got cold enough out there that they died off. I was surprised a few weeks ago to see the chives emerging for another season. Another sign of spring.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Last of the Ice

Last of the Ice, originally uploaded by ElementaryTechTeacher.

It wasn't so bitter cold today so I ventured out into the yard with my camera. We have a tiny creek out back that is dry most of the summer but this time of year we do get a nice stream flowing through. I was surprised to see some ice still hanging on. I'm hoping this will be the end of my wintry pictures until next November!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Autograph Book

Autograph Book, originally uploaded by ElementaryTechTeacher.

This was the first thing I spotted when I thought about needing a picture for today. Now that the snowmen are gone I have some new options. I brought this book home from my grandparent's home. My grandparent's family were originally from Waterville, NY which is not far from Utica. This book has many signatures from around the local area. It even has one from Utica. It's interesting reading through the different inscriptions. The first thing I noticed was the beautiful penmanship and straight writing. Not a gift that I possess. It's also strange to think that one would have guests sign a book. Maybe it was because in 1881 they couldn't pull out a camera and snap some pictures and this was their way of remembering who had paid a call.

Sunday Breakfast

Sunday Breakfast, originally uploaded by ElementaryTechTeacher.

Saturday was the first time I forgot to take a picture. I had my camera at the bike ride and planned on taking a picture after I signed in but then I got busy getting ready and forgot. By the time I remembered I needed to take a picture it was after midnight and too late~oh well... On Saturday I bought a new phone. Mainly because my son lost his or had it stolen quite awhile ago. Since then he's bought 2/3 more and they have bit the dust. So, by buying a phone he inherited my old one which is in great shape. So, Sunday morning my husband and daughter made a big breakfast. I decided to try out the camera on my new phone. Not so good with the glare from the window but I like my daughter's blurry hand as she reaches for one of the tasty treats laid before her. I can't help but count my blessings of plenty of food and a loving family as I look at this picture.

Friday, March 20, 2009

First Daffy Bud on the First Day of Spring

My daughter told me I needed to take a picture of my first daffodil bud for my picture of the day. I'm happy that she's helping me out with ideas and that she's paying attention to the garden. These daffodils are barely out of the garden but the buds are there already! A great sign for the first official day of Spring.

Foggy Morning

Foggy Morning, originally uploaded by ElementaryTechTeacher.

I was so thankful I tossed my camera in the car this morning. I stopped three times in a one mile stretch to take pictures. The fog, geese and creek made for great photo ops. The sound of the geese was also wonderful to hear.


Cleaning, originally uploaded by ElementaryTechTeacher.

My son is home for spring break. He's broke so no big trips to Florida or Mexico or some other exotic place for him. So, he spending part of his time cleaning his room. Unfortunately, when my kids clean rest of the house takes on a cluttered look! Before he leaves he will have his stuff either in the garage attic or tossed.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

First Croucus

First Croucus 2, originally uploaded by ElementaryTechTeacher.

After several lovely warm days the crocus are beginning to bloom. I took a few pictures late in the day. The exposure is way off so I just played around with them a little bit in Picnik. I'm not very happy with some of the neighborhood wildlife at the moment. The moles have torn up our yard and the rabbits are eating the crocus buds! I usually have nice big mounds of crocus but this year some of them are going to be mainly stems.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Goodbye Snowmen

Goodbye Snowmen, originally uploaded by ElementaryTechTeacher.

This past week I've been gathering the snowmen that are scattered throughout the house and piling them here. I think I have them all . Now, to just drag the box up from the basement and pack them away until next January. Time to move on to thoughts of Easter and spring.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Running Sap

Running Sap, originally uploaded by ElementaryTechTeacher.

Today we went to the Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown, NY for the Sugaring Off Celebration which included a pancake breakfast. Our kids backed out of the family outing at the last minute. So, my husband and I were able to spend as much time as we wanted taking pictures. My husband focused on the old tools, hinges and locks. He got some great shots. I just took random shots. If you look closely at this shot you'll see a drop of sap on its way to the bucket. Mmmm, I love maple syrup. It was a beautiful day for wandering around the living history farm.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Jim O'Looney

Jim O'Looney, originally uploaded by ElementaryTechTeacher.

This wonderful gentleman had the honor of being the Grand Marshall of the St. Patrick's Day Parade. He and his wife are two of the kindest and good hearted people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. I don't think the city of Utica could have come up with a better or more deserving Grand Marshall.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Crocus are Up!

The Crocus are Up!, originally uploaded by ElementaryTechTeacher.

The crocus are up! I actually saw a bud on one. So, I'm guessing with temps in the 40s and maybe 50 on Sunday I'll have flowers on Monday! Woot! Spring is on its way...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Kira's Hat

Kira's Hat, originally uploaded by ElementaryTechTeacher.

One of my all time favorite pictures is of my son and daughter walking hand in hand along the beach in Seaside, OR. It's just the two of them in the picture and it's shot from behind-late in the day. They were age 5 and 9 at the time. In the picture my daughter was wearing this hat. That was a magical trip.I hang onto this hat because it brings back such special memories. It was our first to Seaside to visit my brother. My parents were there along with all my siblings to celebrate our parent's 50th anniversary. Kira was 5 and had never met my brother. When we arrived at his house she literally jumped out of the car and into his arms! And this is a child that was/is someone who is quiet and shy until she gets to know someone. We were all surprised but delighted at her behavior. She stuck to his side as often as she could on that visit. That special bond stuck despite the fact we don't see my brother near often enough. It was not a huge surprise when just before her 14th birthday she boarded a plane alone and flew to OR to spend the summer with my brother and to work in his restaurant. Our son had gone out a month earlier to do the same. She loved being with my brother and working in his restaurant and returned again by herself last summer. It was a wonderful experience for her and helped her to become the lovely young independent woman that she is. Unfortunately she won't be returning this summer. The first reason is that she is traveling to Europe with the People to People program. The second reason is due to the tough economic times people aren't visiting the beach town like they once did and business is way down. My brother tried to sell the restaurant for about a year or so with no luck. This fall he finally had to close the door and just walk away. I feel bad for the community. They lost a great little restaurant with delicious, healthy, homemade food and a friendly host. I feel even worse for my brother having to walk away from a job he enjoyed and being unable to find another job. I hope someday soon he will find another job that is less stressful but is one that he enjoys. Sometimes it's hard to understand why bad things happen to someone as hard working and nice as my brother.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Memory Wines

Memory Wines, originally uploaded by ElementaryTechTeacher.

The past two summers my husband and I have been fortunate enough to take a trip across part of the US by car. One trip took us from AZ up to OR and then back to NY. The second trip took us from San Antonio to IL along parts of Route 66 and then back to NY. On both trips we came back with samples of beer and wine from the different states. It's strange but I have a hard time opening those bottles of wine from out west. It took a long time to find a wine rack that would work in our home. We have a very small house with limited places for items such as this. But the simplicity of this rack worked on the buffet and it allows me to show off a bottle of wine from CO, OK, MI, and TX. We enjoy visiting the wineries in PA and NY so it was fun to check out some in other states as well. The most memorable wineries were in Texas. They gave you the feeling that they wanted you to sit down, relax and stay awhile. All the wines from our trips bring back good memories.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fund Raising

Fund Raising, originally uploaded by ElementaryTechTeacher.

Tonight I took some time to work on my fund raising for The Ride for Missing Children. I have a web page set up to collect funds and my husband is going to send out a letter for me to the faculty at his jr. college. One of these days I'll sit down with the other two teachers in my district that are participating and plan some fund raising activities for our school. My goal is to raise $500 which is enough to print and distribute 2000 posters of missing children. If you're interested in more information or making a contribution please click here.


Blocks, originally uploaded by ElementaryTechTeacher.

These blocks have been in the family for a long time. The date on the lid is 1870. On the other side of the lid is a note from my Nana, dated 1967, explaining who played with them and asking my mom to take good care of them because the value of antique toys was rising. By 1967 we had passed the stage of playing with toys and they were kept on display. My mom passed them along to me. I pulled them out a few times when my kids were young and we played with them and spelled their names and then they were put back on display. Some day I hope to pull them out to do the same thing with grandchildren before passing them along to one of my children. I hope they'll continue to stay in our family for a very long time.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Goldfinches, originally uploaded by ElementaryTechTeacher.

I decided not to spend the entire morning in front of my computer again this morning. So, I grabbed the camera and headed off to the back deck to see if there was any action out there. And to my surprise there was! I saw or heard blue jays, a nuthatch, a tufted titmouse, a downy woodpecker, dark eyed juncos, crows, a cardinal, chickadees and lots of goldfinches. I didn't get a chance to photograph all of them but I loved hearing them all fill the air with their songs and calls.
Some of the chickadees are getting their color back and some like these are just sporting a little yellow. This bird was not very nice when it came to sharing the feeder. She ran off several competitors! My husband and I went for a bike ride later looking for more birds. We didn't see a lot but I was happy to see that the geese were returning to the swamp along a nature trail. There's just a little bit that's melted but the geese are ready to take it over. They were too far away for pictures today but we'll be back to try again.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Lenten Rose Bud

Lenten Rose Bud, originally uploaded by ElementaryTechTeacher.

The snow has finally melted off of part of my back garden so today I trekked down there to take a look for any signs of spring. This is the one I was most interested in seeing. I had this plant for several years and all it amounted to was some nice green foliage. Then a couple of years ago I went down to start the spring clean up and much to my surprise it had some beautiful flowers and it was still early spring! So now I look forward to this plant. I had to clear leaves off of the plant but sure enough there were lots of tiny buds like this just emerging. After I had my fun of taking some photos I covered it back up. I know we'll get some more cold weather yet. I also found some Autumn Joy buds. It's great to see the new growth!

Macro Lens

Macro Lens, originally uploaded by ElementaryTechTeacher.

Tonight my husband and I returned to the photo club. This time there was a presentation on macro/nature photography. Perfect topic in my opinion. I love taking pictures but really have so much to learn about the technical aspects. Some of what she talked about went over my head but other topics I had a basic understanding of and hearing it again reinforced it. I decided one of the things I need to learn is simply what kind of lenses I use. This one here is my favorite. It's the one I use to take the shots of the snowflakes. I'm looking forward to using it in the garden again this year now that I have the Gorilla tripod so I don't have to handhold the camera when I'm out there crawling around. Next month we're going to a class at the local photo store to learn about the different settings and features on our cameras. I'm looking forward to the new learning.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Seussical the Musical

Tonight my daughter's high school performed their second of four performances of Seussical the Musical. The school performs a musical every two years. And each year I am amazed by the talent of these young people. Their voices are beautiful, the sets are great and the pit orchestra does an amazing job as well. When the news is filled with worries and you hear reports of gangs and youth in trouble, seeing a performance like this lifts your spirits and gives you hope.

The young lady in the middle of this picture is the Sour Kangaroo and a friend of my daughters.
I forgot to bring a camera but just happened to have my new Flip Video in my coat pocket so I was able to capture a picture.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Last of the Flakes?

Group of Flakes, originally uploaded by ElementaryTechTeacher.

If there was such a thing as a snowbow we would have seen one this afternoon. The snow was gently falling while the sun was out. It was beautiful. Luckily it only lasted a short time and didn't even get the roads wet. I'd like to think that today was my last chance to take photos of snowflakes, but living in CNY, that's probably not the case. There were some nice flakes but they tended to be all clumped together. However, I did get some decent shots. I'm grateful I can do a few enhancements in Photoshop now. Playing with curves certainly helped the quality of the photo.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Asapargus Tip

Asapargus Tip, originally uploaded by ElementaryTechTeacher.

We love steamed asparagus. My son tends to get tired of it in the summer but not the rest of us. On Sunday while perusing the veggie section at the store this bunch caught my eye, nice and thin and firm. It won't be long and we'll be able to buy local. I should see if my husband or daughter would try growing it this year. I know it takes a few years to get it established. I tend the flower gardens and let my husband/daughter tend the fruit and veggies. We like it steamed with butter, s&p, and Parmesan cheese. What's your favorite way to fix to asparagus?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Freesia Petal

Freesia Petal, originally uploaded by ElementaryTechTeacher.

While grocery shopping yesterday I couldn't resist picking up a bunch of freesia. I love the colors, the delicateness of them and the fact that they'll last almost two weeks. By the time they're done the daffodils will be coming from the Daffodil Day sale and not long after they are finished flowers will be starting to bloom in the garden! I'm ready for spring!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Wacky Daffy

Wacky Daffy, originally uploaded by ElementaryTechTeacher.

The snow has melted away from the foundation in front of our house despite getting little or no sunshine this time of year on the north side. However, I noticed yesterday that there was a daffodil pushing up through the frozen ground. With bitter cold wind chills the last two days I'm sure it's wishing it could reverse its direction! This little guy combined with two days in the upper 40s last week and several days of sunshine have sent spring fever running through my system. I'm ready to pull out those gardening magazines and dream about my summer gardens.