Sunday, September 28, 2008

Celtic Fest in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

I spent today at Celtic Fest in Bethlehem. It was a rainy day, but it felt nice to be under the pavilion eating some piping hot potato soup, listening to Irish music, watching the rain drizzle outside, and dreaming of ole Ireland! In the morning I saw some Irish games, men tossing a 56 pound iron ball, but later many were cancelled because of the dreary weather. We walked around checking out the beautiful photographs, arts and crafts, and handmade jewelry, and I left the festival with a brand new pair of shiny sterling silver earrings with a Celtic design!

We heard a lot of beautiful music including the ever popular Highland Bagpipes. For the sounds of Ireland, listen to the video below:

Update 10/05/2008- I just received an email from one of the musicians in the band! He saw my video posted on YouTube. He said the following: "Thank you for posting that video. It is the band I play with. Their name is Westminster Pipe Band. We placed Second that day. We are from Oklahoma. Have a nice day!"

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Adirondack Mountains, September 19 through 21

I had a beautiful last weekend of summer in the Adirondack Mountains. The weather was clear and crisp, with warm days for hiking and cool clear nights offering splendid views of the Milky Way as we warmed our hands by the fire.

Our first day was a 1300 foot hike up Crane Mountain, offering our first views of the many lakes scattered throughout the Adirondack Mountain range. We saw the first signs of Autumn as a few trees had started to turn crimson. Crane Mountain was quite a climb. We even had to crawl up two ladders fastened to the rocks.

First signs of Fall foliage

Horizons filled with mountains dotted with shimmering blue lakes

Pretty mountain pond

The second day we hiked 2000 feet up Buck Mountain and were treated to beautiful views of Lake George below.

Lake George below dotted with sailboats

Looking over the lake

Early trees changing colors

Hiker women of the Adirondacks!

View from the summit of Lake George below

We stopped for lunch on the summit.

A slice of heaven, a panorama of Lake George

On the third day we toured the little town of Lake George and took a steamboat ride on the lake.

View of Lake George

No visit to Lake George is complete without a ride on the Minne-Ha-Ha.

View from the dock

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet

My latest library selection is "Six Degrees: Our Future on A Hotter Planet" by Mark Lynas. In it he describes what will happen to our ecosystem and speculates on the impact on civilization for each degree of global warming from one to six. The impact is astounding: rising sea levels, drought and famine, destruction of rainforests, loss of biodiversity, human population disruption, and even worse.

Although six degrees sounds insignificant, we experience temperature swings like that every day, in reality it will have a profound effect on the Earth. During the last ice age, the average temperature was only six degrees colder than it is today, and ice sheets stretched across North America.

His book is a carefully researched synthesis of hundreds of scientific studies and models. It presents a compelling case for immediate and far-reaching actions to slow global warming. I think the first step we must take is an unbiased scientific analysis of the data. I've had a lot of conversations with people who do not "believe" in global warming. I think we have to return to the basics and learn to think scientifically and examine evidence in an unbiased search for truth. So often what we allow ourselves to accept is only information consistent with what we regard to be our world view. This human tendency creates a potential bias in our perceptions. It is essential for all of us to study and learn as much as possible. Six Degrees is a compelling first step to take in our self-education. I am looking forward to reading and learning more.

Clap Your Hands, Paws, Anything You Got

Thanks so much to Art from Racing for a Cure for identifying my "mystery insect" from the post below. Turns out we were looking at Wooly Aphids! Since I realized I was quite disparaging in my description of a living creature (I think the term was "creepy"), I have included this video for your viewing pleasure. Yes, I suppose, even Wooly Aphids have a Place in the Choir!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tobyhanna State Park and Gouldsboro State Park

Today we went on a 12 mile hike in Tobyhanna State Park and Gouldsboro State Park. We also biked for 5.5 miles on trails which went around Tobyhanna Lake and into the woods. We had a muggy and humid day for hiking, not the best day for picture taking, but still a pleasant day to be outside in the forest. We saw the early signs of Fall, a few crimson leaves. The trail was rocky and damp and even seemed remote at times because of the foliage cover and the dense brush.

We also saw some very unusual groups of white bug-like beings on some of the trees. I took a video, it's funny listening to our reaction as we look at these strange creatures. If any of you have seen them before or know what they are, please comment in the comment box! Tobyhanna Lake

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Rainy Day Picture Painting

Tropical Storm Hanna is gently reaching into Pennsylvania, leaving me some time for rainy day creativity. This photo captures the colors of Summer slowly transforming into Autumn.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Late Summer in Trexler Park

I love the colors of late summer, just before the leaves begin to turn crimson, orange and yellow. The trees seem bathed in golden light, getting ready for their transformation in the months to follow. Today I took a wonderful lunchtime walk in Trexler Park. I find nature to be a source of consolation and comfort. Perhaps it's the scale of nature, tall majestic oak trees seem so strong and stable. Perhaps it's the predictable cycles of change; every Autumn the hawks feel the call of warmer climes and begin their migration, every Winter Orion shines resplendent in the sky, Spring brings the return of foliage and flowers. Or, most, likely, it's the sheer beauty of it all.

I loved the way this Sycamore seemed bathed in golden light.

Beautiful pattern on the trunk

Golden colors of late summer

These leaves seemed translucent to me.

Interesting tree with late summer berries

A close up view

Flowers growing by the stream

Sheltered by a branch of a Weeping Willow

Roses are still in bloom.

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