Tag Archives: iPhone

Olivetti and Flowers of Flying Hat (20-24)

Keyboard

When possible, I use a large keyboard, not the small letter touchpad of iPhone. Who can possibly compose substantially on an iPhone?  My hands are large, like a teamster’s.  Here is my keyboard (QWERTY) I have pressed and pressed posts since 2005. I ratchet out fifty-words a minute when inspired or copying.  Nonetheless, I still have a typewriter although it is in the barn.  It is an Olivetti portable I purchased in Amarillo, Texas, back in the 1970s.  I look at Office Depot and Staples most times I shop and I still see typewriter ribbons stocked. How long will Office Depot stock typewriter ribbons? Probably not much longer.  I like the clack, clack of the keys hitting paper, although it has been twelve years since I used the Olivetti.  Although I eschew Wikipedia, the typewriter ribbons link above is quite informative.

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20. Yucca blossoms

Here I have more photographs of flowers that blossom on Flying Hat Ranchito, an ongoing project of mine for 2012-2013.  The yucca stalks that blossom flowers have been erect for two weeks, but only today have I seen blossoms.  Although we have had rains that nourished the first eruptions of grasses and plants, for almost three weeks now we have been bereft of moisture.  The pastures are already browning and it isn’t even May.  Most likely, the failure of the yucca stalks to bear flowers emanates from our dry spell — we shan’t call it a drought, just yet.

21. Horse mint

Horse mint is neither as prolific nor robust as it was two years ago.  Again, we lack additional rains to bring the horse mint to full fruition.  But some hearty plants, nonetheless, have sprouted.

22. Texas pricklypoppy, Papaveraceae (Poppy Family)

To my west, on the Dooley place, a whole field of Texas pricklypoppy has erupted.  I have a few poppies on Flying Hat Ranchito, and No. 22 is an example.

23. Unidentified

Yellow flowers predominate this time of year on my ranchito, especially the Cut-Leaf Daisy.  But No. 23, a yellow flower, I have not identified.  I first had it down as a Black-Eyed Susan, but now I am not so sure.

24. Indian Blanket

Indian Blankets are rather sparse this Spring, not fully developed as two years ago.  Nonetheless, here is No. 24, a photograph I took this morning over in the far field.  I have brilliant photos of the Indian Blanket from year’s past, but this No. 24 is from my project of photographing wild flowers for 2012-2013.

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This morning as I drove along the southern boundary of the far field where the large pecan tree lives, I came across a roost of Monarch butterflies among the Mustang grapevines and mesquite.  I estimate twenty to thirty Monarchs abounded, played and flew about the fence line, large butterflies they were.  ‘Tis not a promise, but I may go over in the morning and photograph the area.  And, I shall come back to the house and type out my spiel on a QWERTY keyboard, not an iPhone.  Furthermore, my Olivetti portable needs to be resettled in my office and not remain in the barn, do you not agree?

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Filed under Flowers of Flying Hat, Wild Flowers of Texas

Rain comes, chores follow

For the last two days, rain has fallen, perhaps as much as three inches.  My rain gauge cracked and I estimate the amount cautiously.  Replacing the rain gauge is a task ahead of me.  Weather forecasters — I listen to the Dallas-Fort Worth NBC television station — say the rain will stop by tomorrow.  My water tank appears up by several inches, although it is too muddy to trudge down to verify.

The plow follows the rain.  That’s an old adage.  Here’s another one: Chores follow the rain.  Right at the top of the list of my chores is to perform foundation dirt work on the alleyway and barn area.  Water runs off the barn roof and into the alleyway and horse stall.  In addition, I have to transport my Case DX-55 tractor to the repair shop to fix the linkage to the PTO (power train operation) so that I can do another chore.  I have to shred some sprouting mesquites in the fields with the tractor and shredder.  Until the rain subsides and sun dries the soil a bit, I am at ease in the ranch house.

Here is a photograph of rain puddles in front of the barn.

Here is the rain runoff in front of barn. Notice Star on the right side of the tack room.

The runoff from the barn roof floods the alleyway. This is a chore to follow the rain.  Notice the green trees and grass in the background.

The alleyway and stalls will need more foundation after the area dries.

This next week is Spring Break.  I’ll be marking a few tasks off my list.  My list of chores is not long, so maybe I will put one chore on a page rather than list the whole congregation of tasks on one page.  That way I can see one task at a time, or one task on one page at a time.  Pace myself, as my step-father used to say.  He did not say much, but that was an ‘adage’ I remember he said.

The list:

1. Construct dirt foundation for alleyway and stalls.

2. Change tire on flatbed trailer so I can haul tractor to repair shop.

3. Take tractor to repair shop and return.

4. Shred mesquite sprouts.

5. Replace rain gauge.

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Filed under Rain, Weather

Notes face-down: bipedalism and scanning the savannah

(Contrary to the suggestion proposed by my daughter, Wendy, I will not be making the accompanying photograph in this post my latest profile picture.)

Bipedalism came first, then the large brain among the history of primates.  The upright stance allowed man to scan the savannah, edges of forest and plains, or wherever he had wandered for food and predators.

I haven’t posted since December 27, 2011, mainly because I have had eye problems (really, only the left eye) since December 25th, Christmas morning, and a “Ho, ho, ho,” Christmas gift I desire to return, but can’t!  I woke up that morning with blurred vision caused by a macular hole in my left eye.  This last Tuesday, January 10th, I received a vitrectomy at Arlington Day Surgery Center, under the skilled hands of Dr. David Callanan (Dr. Wu administered the pharmacological agents — much appreciated).

I may still be bipedal, but I have assumed the position of a face-down recovery period lasting five days or more so that I neither can scan the savannah nor see the quacking ducks on my pond.  I cannot have any hard spirits during my ten-day recovery, but that is not as painful as it may seem to some.  I have this nature blog and like to go out into the field, but the only nature I see are house plants, two dogs and trees outside my living room window.  I take a new interest in bugs that infrequently cross the floor.

I took a picture with my iPhone immediately after surgery and this is what I look like.  I spend most of my days face-down in a specially-designed “chair” and a bedside rest for my face that is like those contraptions in massage parlors for your head as you get your massage.  Dr. Callanan predicts a 90-95% recovery of vision in my left eye with another operation for cataracts in about a year (cataracts — Nile River, Egypt). 

So, I will not be hiking the grove or taking photos of juniper any time soon.  Medical technology and habitat adaptations, however, have come a long way since primates first scanned the savannah.  I’m in a safe wikiup, been worked on by medicine men and women, have taken drugs and have nature outside my window.  My hearing and tactile senses are sharpened.  I listen for the Sandhill Crane that may fly overhead.  I brush my canine that barks at strange sounds at the edges of camp.  Although I question that human society has progressed, today with the skills brought to bear in my life I think in some areas we have progressed.

(Note:  please do not show this photo to your children as it may cause nightmares or sleep unrest.  Oh, go ahead, give the little primates a scare and make up a good narrative while you are at it.)

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Filed under Christmas, Sandhill Crane

Light abstraction at night on I-20

Tail lights and headlights on Interstate 20 near Brazos River (November 2011).

Last Friday night I drove back from Fort Worth, Texas, to the ranchito and took this picture on a hill with an iPhone 3G above the Brazos River as the traffic passed east to west, west to east, on Interstate 20, the major route between Fort Worth and Abilene.

The shaky photograph portrays tail lights and headlights.  The red lights are vehicles heading east, people on errands and business, burning oil to illuminate the night and find their way.  The white lights are vehicles driving west.  A mile to the east (to the left of the white lights in the photograph), the traffic bogged down on the Interstate because of construction with stop-and-go for almost twenty miles due to two-lane passage.  My driving west ( to the right of the photograph), did not slow down that much.

At times out here in the country on the interstate, I can see 20-mile stretches of cars and trucks driving the highway, going to their appointed rounds to deliver goods and visit friends.

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Filed under Texas

Sage blooms in Abilene

Sage blooming in Abilene, Texas, September 20, 2011.

This late summer, thundershowers fall infrequently around Abilene, Texas.  Yet, some showers do fall about this west Texas city that lies close to the Brazos River and Buffalo Gap, a niche in the hills that allowed buffalo to migrate from north to central Texas in the nineteenth century, following the shortgrass and bluestem in their casual browsing.

Two days ago as I worked late at my office at Cisco College, I walked by three large sagebrush by the back entry door.  A monarch butterfly floated by, floating and fluttering as if they are playing, and landed on one of the blossoms.  But before I could draw my iPhone from my coat pocket, it flew away and out of my range to snap a picture.  Alas, I was too slow on the draw.  I followed it to a green clump of slender grasses and lost it, despite my intent search.  The monarch had buried itself from my eyes, thinking me a raptor?

Yesterday, following the blooming sagebrush and my failure to photograph the butterfly, it rained about the city, to the north and west particularly.  A rainbow emerged with the sun setting to the east.  And, this morning, the temperatures were the coolest since May, a 61 degrees before sunup.

I think, if sagebrush blooms, can rain be far behind?  And playing monarchs about the purple sage?  Not far behind either.

Three sagebrush with blossoms at the back door of Cisco College, September 22, 2011. The monarch flew and hid in the bushes to the upper right of the photograph.

 

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Filed under Monarch Butterfly, Plants and Shrubs, Sagebrush

Little bluestem with iPhone

On February 26, Saturday last, when in the field, I applied the iPhone to take photographs and upload for a field test: short bursts of field notes and photographs as I surveyed 53 acres of Cross Timbers prairie, creek and woodland. I attempted to snap a photograph and upload it with commentary as I went about my survey. While in the field, miles from cell towers, I was unable to coordinate photos and commentary. In addition, the “thumbing” of data on the iPhone was too slow. I was absorbing data much, much faster than I could thumb the phone. I did send a few in-the-field updates onto my blog, but later trashed them. I composed a long post with photographs taken with the Nikon when I got back to the ranch office.  In the field I did not think the photographs had been uploaded.

Today, however, as I was going through the media library on Sage to Meadow blog, I discovered that the photographs with the iPhone had been uploaded! I uploaded one photograph twice, thinking it had not been uploaded the first time. And, here it is, Little bluestem grass that is coming back on the prairie.

Little bluestem grass, Pecan Tree Pasture, Flying Hat Ranch, Texas, February 2011.

I think the utility of the iPhone in field work is evolving.  It is portable and lighter than a camera.  Composing commentary can exceed 140 characters.  It’s not going to replace the steno pad and camera, but it may have some further use.  I like the idea of field work live, or with a minimum of time lapse, as a light and useful activity.

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Filed under Bluestem Field Log, Plants and Shrubs

High grass in the pasture 1:46 pm

Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), Flying Hat Ranch, Texas, February 2011.

[February 27, 2011, added comment.  In my field work, the constant tools (carried in pockets or small rucksack) are stenographer’s pad, pens, tape measure, compass, topographical map and watch.  Close by in the pickup are engineering graph tablets, colored flags, binoculars and camera.  The camera is ofttimes carried around the neck.  I have also been using a GPS lately.  I’ve not used a laptop in the field, but I can see its utility with uploaded topo maps and data entry.  The iPhone may have some applications in field work, but the fundamental tools are steno pad, topo map, compass and tape measure.]

The experiment with in-the-field short note taking has come to an end.  I am back up at the ranch office and am writing on the desktop, not the iPhone.

The use of the iPhone in the field for short bursts of updates works, but the photographic uploads into my blog via iPhone did not work.  Part of the problem is that our ranch is way out in the brush and our cell towers are at Bluff Dale and Morgan Mill, Texas, miles and miles away.  For any extended commentary, a laptop with a wireless connection is much preferable to the iPhone although I will try the iPhone mode again.

While in the field today I kept a written journal and took photographs with another camera.  I am posting the photographs of high grass in the pasture.  The Big bluestem is “big,” reaching six-feet tall.  The Little bluestem is about three-feet tall.  For now, enjoy the field photographs.

 

Unidentified duck taking flight from the stock pond.

Still waters on the stock pond, ducks have taken flight to Blue's pond to the north.

A typical Cross Timbers life zone that has been harvested and cut for several generations. The tree grove is rebuilding itself.

Big bluestem, Flying Hat Ranch, Texas, February 2011.

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Filed under Bluestem Field Log (Live)