It’Snow Fun – Cross-Country Skiing in Perrysburg

Three to four inches (75 to 100 mm) of the lightest, coldest (around 10 F (-12 C))  powder snow was just an illusion in Perrysburg last weekend (Feb 2, 2013).


The geese are too cold to shake the snow from their backs


The oldest of the beehives, with its 3 year old queen, gave up the ghost, along with about 4,000 worker bees, in the deepest cold of winter, despite having honey to spare.


There was a strange crystaline material in open honeycomb cells in the middle of the dead cluster. Some said it is crystalized honey.  Has anybody seen this before?


The new hive is very healthy and energetic.

I set the  Black Diamond trail and the Green cross-country ski trails and did nasty damage to the ski bottoms as the powder just blows away when you ski through it, revealing grass which wipes off all the ski wax and nasty little stones which do worse damage.


The trail has been reset to start at the Constitution Cannons at the East end, and circle old Fort Meigs at the West end. (The Green trail starts below the Cannons and runs flat and level along Water Street for complete beginners). The new asphalt path under the Maumee bridge is very helpful. It is very clean so a little snow covers it well.

Best verified times for the full loop are now being recorded:

Black Diamond Trail, ungroomed, 70 yr+ age category:   58 mins

Green Trail  52 mins

The trouble with powder snow and no base is that it offers no tracking direction to the skiis. When they touch a tree root they wander at will, often invoking the laws of unitended consequences.

Three heavy bruises were detected by the Detroit airport full body scanner (see previous ski blog) on Tuesday morning at 5:30 on my way to New Orleans to complete my farewell to IGMA friends and the glass industry I knew so well, having now happily retired.

In Nawlins (New Orleans, LA) Preservation Hall has 45 mins of grand old Dixieland music, every hour, on the hour, for $15. Not to be missed. They had a drum solo in St Louis Blues that must have lasted at least 4 minutes – audience and all were equally delighted and exhausted.

Preservation Hall Sign

Further East along Bourbon Street, on the North side, is Fritzels where Tom Fischer’s band plays traditional Dixieland jazz (there are very few places left), allow photographs and serve good beer.

FritzelsRichard Scott the pianist plays awesome Fats Waller and Jelly Roll Morton:

Big beads are the fashion this year as New Orleans warms up for Mardi Gras on Tuesday 12th. Feb.






Spring Arrivals

Two weeks ago (April 23) we had the first batch of ducklings two of goslings, and a new moon. The goslings run under mother’s wings when the hawk is near. And the bees have doubled their accommodations The new moon had bright Venus (not in the picture below) close by.  It’s fun to look at the sky and think where we are in the solar system in three dimensional terms. When the Sun is down it is really only behind the Earth. Look at the moon and it will “Point at the Sun”.

Venus too can be seen in her varying positions in the Western evening sky or the Eastern early morning sky. With a little telescope you can see a large thin bright crescent when she is close to us, or when on the other side of the sun she appears to be very small (about 1/3 the size when close) and full ; when she is the highest in the evening sky, she is at the same distance from us as the sun is from us, she looks like a 1/4 moon, half in shadow, and of intermediate size. I am still trying to decide which of the 3 is the brightest? Another way of sensing our place in the dynamic solar system is to watch a sunset and think not of the sun setting but of Earth rapidly rotating with the sun stationary and our horizon rising up in front of the sun (don’t fall over backwards).

The Birds & the Bees – Blue Honey?

Spring on the Maumee River had 2 escaped white farmyard ducks trying to join in the mating fun with their wild companions. We’ll watch out for dappled white ducklings.

Among the wild ducks one often sees one single female being wooed/saught by ten or more drakes,  sometimes with much splashing. Where are the other 9?

The geese are all paired up – we never see the mating but some are obviously carrying eggs judging be the size of their tail ends. The male is more alert with head up and watching for problems like pesky photographers.

As soon as it was warm enough to fly, the bees climbed out of their winter cluster where they’d huddled for warmth.  My project this year is to simply record, as best I can with a cell phone camera, each flower harvested by the bees.

Starting with the Snowdrop: I could confirm that one as it was the only flower open when the first bees were bringing in yellow pollen.

This is my best close-up yet showing Snowdrop pollen on the hind legs, just about to be brought into the hive. Unlike the regular camera which does not like to zoom in when in macro mode, this phone camera has no macro, but when fully zoomed, and using flash, it took this amazing detail from about 4 inches away. Very hard to focus properly.

Then this delightful blue Siberian Scilla or Squill (thanks to Jen & Scott for i.d.) flower gave some bees bright blue pollen. It should be used to feed baby bees and hopefully does not make blue honey.

The Pear tree was next to blossom:

Then Myrtle:

The bees like Myrtle but so does this impersonator who seems to have no stinger (I’ll check it if I can catch it) but looks enough like a bee for the predators to avoided it.

In the river the Walleye are running and many fisherfolk are standing in very cold water for long times:

 This man caught 3 but appears to have used 4 arms to do it:

In the house, O’s Amaryllis finally decided to gloriously bloom after at least 2 years of false starts. I’m tempted to bring in a few bees for it, but Alice might not approve.

As the Equinox passed we had one clear sky at sunrise letting me catch another solar alignment. It will need a small picture placed on that sunny spot on the wall to see if it will light up again at the next Equinox on September 21st?





In the night sky last Sunday and Monday (3/25, 26) the Moon danced with Venus and Jupiter.


The Moon quickly shifted position as Venus and Jupiter slowly drift apart.  (The lowest 6 lights in the right hand image are only from Maumee  buildings)


One Final Observation:

The Exxon Valdez, which dumped so much crude oil on Alaskan shores years ago, was sold for scrap the other day. I had never realized she’d been sailing in the interim, under the most amazing name of “Oriental Nicety”.   I don’t want to know under whose flag?