Sunday, December 16, 2007

The house is sold, or at least we have signed a contract to that effect and are wading through the final bureaucratic details. Now, we are looking for a place to rent somewhere close to downtown Albuquerque.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Moving On With Margaret's recovery progressing, I am spending more time cleaning up the house in preparation for selling it. We are looking to move back to city life, but have yet to decide on a specific location. I have added a property description page to the web site. I'll post some of the pictures of the place I have made over the 13 years we have lived in it, and I'll try to add some new ones, including some panoramas, to give a better idea of what it looks like.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


One of the most interesting Kodaks in my collection is this recently-acquired No.1 Autographic Special. The camera was made between 1915 and 1920 at a time when Kodak was still making use of lenses and shutters from other manufacturers in Rochester. This one has a fast f4.5 Bausch & Lomb Tessar lens, and an Optimo shutter that was very advanced at the time. The camera was manufactured to very high standards, and has some unusual materials that went into its construction, including bakelite side panels and sealskin leather covering. There is a page about the No.1 in the vintage cameras section of my web site.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

When I get up in the morning there are usually several dozen white-wing doves perched on the bushes around the house waiting for the daily birdseed dole. I can also hear them walking around on the roof, and there are often a few perched around the rim of the big skylight in the atrium. Today was the first time I've seen them actually walking around on the plastic dome surface.

Friday, July 13, 2007

There seems to be some sort of magnetic attraction between my old cameras and old aircraft. When I visited the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, I found myself carrying a heavy backpack of old cameras, and I managed to shoot some photos with most of them during the morning I spent there.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Petroglyph, Chaco Canyon
I have added a brief reading list to my Sacred Places web pages about rock art in New Mexico.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Richard and Rio get their own gallery.

Monday, July 02, 2007

The Desert cottontails are regular daily visitors at our water dishes. The Black-tailed Jackrabbits only show up when daytime highs approach the 100-degree mark. Though the two species show many similarities, they are not so closely related, and their features are more the result of convergence driven by similar environmental challenges.     The little cottontails are much more assertive than their bigger cousins. They are not reluctant to muscle their way through crowds of doves and quail which have come for the morning feeding. If there is a cottontail already drinking from a single water dish, the jackrabbits will wait patiently until the cottontail finishes -- that can be five or ten minutes sometimes, as neither are very efficient drinkers.     Having two dishes with water considerably reduces competition, but the appearance of a pair of thirsty Gambel's Quail proved too much for the jack.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Western Diamondback, Crotalus atrox.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

I have added a couple more images to my infrared folder. They were taken this morning at the flood gate on the irrigation canal near Ft. Selden.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Summer in the Desert

Thursday, June 14, 2007

My pigeons are a breed known as Tipplers; they are endurance flyers, able to remain in the air for many hours. When released from the loft, the flock circles upward, sometimes reaching a height which nearly takes them out of sight. While the pigeons often fly in a circle which may be several miles across, the center remains over their home loft. A clear day with a slight breeze is the most conducive to high, long flights. When the wind blows strongly, the Tipplers will remain at low altitude, skimming close over the mesquite and creosote bush which surrounds our property at great speed. Perhaps they are afraid of being blown too far from home, and they usually will soon flutter back to the loft roof on such windy days.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

There are six or eight birds almost constantly at the feeder in the back patio. They are consuming about two quarts of sugar water per day.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

As we were getting ready to go into town on Thursday, I noticed a movement on the cliffs south of our house. Through the binoculars, it looked like a bird sitting in the shadows. I set up the spotting scope the next day and found the bird in the same place.     I had watched the same place for several weeks at the beginning of the Horned Owl nesting season in March. I never saw more than one adult when I visited the place, and I finally gave up, assuming that they had not nested there this year. Yesterday, two grown young flew out when I approached the site, while the mother sat nervously by. The male also showed up briefly, then he and the two babies flew off around the corner. The female just moved a little higher on the cliff face where she could keep an eye on me.

Friday, June 08, 2007

On Wednesday I drove ten miles east of Hatch to the site of an old mine at the base of the mountains. I climbed to the top of the high ridge above the mine with the wind seeming to get stronger with each step. By the time I reached the ridge crest, the air was a river-like torrent moving at close to 50 mph. Going over to the east side of the ridge got me out of the worst of the wind.     I don't recall seeing so many flowering agave before. I think they take ten or twelve years to mature; the plant flowers just once, and then dies. As soon as the pink buds begin to appear on the twelve-foot flower stalk, the agave leaves begin to shrivel and lose color. By the time the fruits have matured, the plant will be brittle and brown.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Some flowers from the falcon's aerie: Datura, Sunflower, and ??? 

*** Thanks to Katherine Blackett we now know that the pink flowers are Penstemon ambiguus, also known as Sand Penstemon or Moth Penstemon. The mystery now is why we didn't notice such a showy flowering plant before since it seems to grow everywhere in New Mexico.

I found a family of Prairie Falcons at one of my favorite spots about a mile from the Rio Grande yesterday. It is the first I have come across in our immediate vicinity in twenty years. I first heard the female calling as she flew along parallel to the canyon rim I was walking along; it seemed clear she was defending a nest site. I made my way down to the sandy arroyo below and retrieved the binoculars. It didn't take long to find the nest hole in the cliff, and there were three big babies lined up at the entrance.
    I went back the next morning with more camera gear, including a couple telephotos and the digital camera. No sign of birds in the hole, though the mother falcon was still actively defending the site. I spent some time photographing flowers and then decided to walk up close to the nest site to see if I could get some pictures of the adult female. She got incresingly loud, though she mostly sat on rock outcrops close to the site. A pair of mockingbirds and a kestrel came along to give the falcon a hard time.
    When I got to the talus slope at the base of the cliff, I found the single young one there, probably a female judging by the size. She was nearly full-grown, but still had a lot of down and probably could have used another week at least in the nest. My guess would be that the young falcons were flushed out of the nest site the previous night by an owl.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

We drove home in the evening into a blackening sky, rain and hail beating heavily against the windshield. In the morning, the world was new again.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

We weeded the back patio yesterday, but left some volunteers growing at the base of the palo verde.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Cinco de Mayo celebrates victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.