Getting Closer

Getting Closer
Getting Closer

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cameras, computers and other such stuff

April yard Rocky Point (2) It’s been a busy week for me, working  a bit more than 40 hours like real folks, although I still managed to do more than half of that time from home.  Working with the current project leader for a soil survey project I managed a few years ago is actually a lot of fun.  Chris is a great guy, a smart and savvy soil scientist with good ideas.  We spent two full days this week putting our heads together to refine the detailed descriptions of the geomorphology of the area.  April yard Rocky Point

Understanding the landscape and how it was formed is crucial to understanding the soils that form on those landscapes.  Part of the data associated with a published soil survey is detailed information about the landscape for each soil that occurs in the area. After our review, my job this week is to get all that information in NASIS, the big database in the sky.  It keeps my brain running at full speed and makes it a bit hard for me to sleep at night. 

But now it is the weekend, and I promised myself I would refrain from firing up NASIS and trying to keep looking at all that data.  Yeah, probably boring as heck to anyone but the few of us involved in the process, but it explains why I speed read blogs and sometimes don’t take the time to comment.  Sorry folks, really, I love your blogs. I am praying that I never need a knee replacement after reading Laurie’s detailed account of what she and Odel have been doing after his operation.  They are doing a great job, both of them, I just hope I never have to do it. I have been enjoying the migration of the Canadians back to their home territory and the folks still wandering across Texas trying to avoid the fires.  There are several women RV’rs who are departing on their big full-time journeys, and several buying new rigs.  I love reading about their adventures.  I can’t possibly link to all my favorites without missing someone, so I won’t even try. 

It is wonderful to have the MoHo safely at home again.April yard Rocky Point (7)

I love Rick’s detailed instructions and comments about the state of the current computer/internet world.  I searched his blog to find all his posts about Windows 7. One of the comments that he often makes has to do with all the new software that will only run with 7 and won’t run  on XP.  I had to pay big bucks to take my old computer from Vista back to XP so I could run the government software that will ONLY run on XP, so I have been missing out on some of the newer bells and whistles that Rick discussed, specifically the new Live Writer and Internet Explorer. 

While we were traveling last month my Dell Inspiron kept feeling really hot, and I worried that if that computer goes (it’s five years old) I would be in big trouble.  Ahhh.  Solution.  Buy a new laptop with Windows 7.  I have a great friend here in town who is an IT dude and he put me on to a business machine, a lightweight Dell Vostro, with all the bells and whistles and a shiny cherry red exterior to boot.  Also, when I got home from our trip I discovered that the government has updated NASIS to a new version that will run on the XP that is hidden inside the Professional Windows 7. 

Bingo!  I ordered the new machine and decided to keep the old one just for NASIS, but if it dies, I’ll have a backup.  Whew!  Of course, a new machine always means more computer time, and I have been moving programs and photos and documents and re-installing programs and trying to find old disks for programs that I forgot I had. I do love Picasa, and immediately downloaded the newest version to my new Windows 7 computer, only to discover that all the “people” tags did not migrate to the new Picasa with the 60 gig of photos that I have been tagging diligently.  Big sigh on that one.  I wonder if anyone knows anything about that?  Rick?

Lots of lawn to rakeApril yard Rocky Point (11)April yard Rocky Point (15)

I am working as much as I am allowed as a retiree, and saving up the bucks for our big trip to Alaska this summer.  It’s only two months away now, with a departure date of July 6th, after the Fourth of July holiday. 

Klamath Falls is having a huge celebration this year, with some changes to the parade and a big family bbq in Veteran’s Park before the fireworks.  I am so glad to be here for that to share with my kids and grandkids.  I love that holiday, and always insisted on family day picnics where I made the teenagers do three legged races.  They always rolled their eyes and thought I was nuts, but it was a holdover from the church picnics of my childhood.  Melody called me up all excited.  She is on the town committee planning the picnic and said, “Mom, we are having three legged races, you HAVE to come!”.  I’ll be there and will race with my daughter and probably laugh till my sides hurt.

 Lots of trees makes for very few sunny sites to locate the greenhouseApril yard Rocky Point (5)

Sitting here at my desk this morning, I see dirty patches of snow on the shady part of the road, but bright sunshine on the grass.  I raked a lot last weekend, and Mo finished up all the lawns during the week.  It’s beautiful except for the vole damage.  Those dang little critters just make a total mess of the grass when the snow load is heavy, deep, and long lasting. 

April yard Rocky Point (4) One area they tore up especially is the 10 by 12 space where the greenhouse will be.  We are going to stake that area off today, and my job will be to get what is left of the sod up and leveled.  The chickadees are here in force, and the squirrels are already raiding the feeders.  Big sigh again.  One more year of squirrel battles, rabbit battles, and deer battles are ahead of us.  Hopefully we can keep all those critters out of the greenhouse!

Like many of us out there, I read Al’s (The Bayfield Bunch) often, gleaning information about all sorts of things, not the least of which is photography. If you search his blog for the word “camera” you will get 8 pages of posts about this topic!  I once was a “photographer”, darkroom and all, but now I just “take pictures”.  My old fabulous film camera Canon A-1 lies buried in a case in a cabinet.  I haven’t had it out for years now. Al’s photos inspire me, though, along with lots of other great blog photographers, and I decided that I can no longer be satisfied with my little Nikon point and shoot.  It takes nice photos, but the fine detail and perfect focus isn’t there, the telephoto isn’t enough, and the lens bends ocean horizons on the edges.  No amount of Picasa fiddling will fix that.  My choice of camera was the same as Al, I decided on the Nikon D90, and have been searching for the best price, hoping to manage a purchase before we travel the wide open landscapes of Canada and Alaska, hopefully filled with wildlife that will require a telephoto and vistas that will need a wide angle lens. 

I fertilized the rhodies a lot last year, looks like we have flower budsApril yard Rocky Point (12)

Talking with my other daughter yesterday, the one now driving airplane engines all over the country with her husband, yielded a surprise.  In one of her other lives she was a professional portrait and wedding photographer and she offered her high end Nikon equipment to me for the Alaska trip.  Whew!  I can’t even remember what the models are, but it’s top notch, one with a metal body that will be heavier than the D90 but will give me the chance to see if I really want to lug a DSLR around while traveling. 

She also made very clear that her telephoto lens is an auto focus anti vibration thingy that is about $2,000 worth of fancy.  Whew again!  I just hope I don’t get mugged while traveling.  She laughed and said, “Now Mom, the only bad part is that you have to drop it off on your way back from Alaska.”  Well, Duh!  But at least I don’t have to come up with plus or minus $1,000 bucks for the D90 before we leave.  Yay!