Sunday, November 16, 2008

Camera Resolution

Thanks to all who offered their thoughts on digital cameras based on my recent query. Well, I made a decision. Yes, in the best tradition of my workplace (admin group of an academic research unit), I conducted a whole lot of in-depth research, including primary and secondary sources (in print, online, and through personal interviews). I then carefully reviewed the data collected, running queries and meticulously weighing the pros and cons, even assigning weights to certain features. Finally, I decided to change nothing and stick with the status quo. (I told you I worked in academia!)

Seriously, I had gotten as far as narrowing down the brand to Canon, not only because I'm very comfortable with all the camera functions, which are similar across the brand, but because I read Canon donated camera equipment to photography programs at 12 U.S. community colleges, including Washtenaw Community College, where I teach adult enrichment gardening classes and where I've enjoyed taking classes myself. I hadn't figured out which model and in the meantime was actually becoming accustomed to using the viewfinder, not the LCD display, anyway.

Then my refrigerator died (click for details on that adventure). Have you priced fridges lately? Oh my. Fortunately, mine could have a doohickey thingamabob installed to coax the compressor back to life, but this is a temporary solution (could last two weeks, could last two years). In any case, the camera seems less of a priority now (you could even say it's on the back burner, but I really don't want to get my perfectly functioning stove involved in the saga of dying appliances), so I'll keep hobbling along as is, just like the fridge and camera.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


And I'm not talking about the election! I'm talking about changes in my own backyard. And front yard! And everything in between. I was inspired by Perennial Garden Lover's post "The Garden in 2006" to track down some of my own old gardening photos. Because a gardener's work is never done (and indeed we don't even view it as work!) it's sometimes hard to see progress in your own garden. Photos really help put it into perspective.

Here is the right side of my house in the fall of 2002, right after I moved in. Gosh it looks bare! I'm so glad I insisted the people who resided the house (it was old, damaged, and dented white aluminum siding before) leave the cedar panels--the only item of visual interest! The only thing growing besides grass were a few hostas, which I moved out back soon after I took this photo. Unfortunately, that huge cottonwood, which was planted waaaay too close to the house, had to be cut down as its roots were getting into my septic system and bits of septic goo were coming up in my basement. Bleck!

Here's the same part of my house last fall, in 2007. I didn't think to take a photo of this exact angle this fall as well, until it was too late in the season. It's a shame because I've added so much this last season, both plants and accessories: A weathered teak chair and a small section of white picket fence now add a little friendly home comfort to the view. Note my front door is now purple. Note the path and cute shrubs. Note that it doesn't look as bare! And especially note my rain barrel to the right of the house--I made it myself.

Here is the left side of my house in 2002. Aaaaiee. I know it looks bare, but I bought the house knowing I could do the landscaping myself. The house was built in '66 and the interior had already been updated nicely. Note also all the plants waiting to be planted in their new home. After my divorce I lived almost a year in an apartment, and many of my favorite plants from my old home were stored in friends' yards during that time!

Here's the same view from last fall, oh so much nicer. Note the porch railings and the beautiful curving brick pathway (you can see it in the middle of the left side of the photo, lower near the fence panel). And at the left of the house you can see part of a huge privacy trellis a handyman built.

In addition the the ever-expanding beds around my house, I also have a very long bed parallel to my house that provides a screen from the road. I started this bed in fall, 2002, with three arborvitae (which were about 4 feet tall), two barberries, and one pyracantha (prickly shrubs and location selected to discourage kids from cutting through my garden but instead using a public park path not ten feet from where they were cutting through). Uggg, see all that green foliage to the right of the photo? That's buckthorn in the park, which I've been cutting back and fighting with ever since.

By October, 2007, I had expanded the bed some 30 feet and planted more and more shrubs, and my arborvitae were at least my height (a whopping five feet two!).

I just snapped this photo today. The bed has really grown upward and outward and the arborvitae are way taller than me now. (The fire hydrant was removed late last fall as part of street reconstruction, miraculously* without any damage to the dogwood.) Aren't the ninebark cute in their vibrant red coats?

Here's another view where you can see the ninebark better, not to mention the purple front door, the picket fencelet, and the chair (mostly hiding behind the obedient plant foliage).

Compare today with this similar shot back from October, 2002, and well, I'm sure you'll want to join me in a big wallopin' yahoo. YAHOOOOO! (Thank you.)

I don't have similar comparison photos of my side or back yards, but I'll look for old photos and take equivalent shots next season. Now if you'll excuse me, it's not been raining for a few hours and I have some leaves to rake. Besides, you'd much rather go look at your own garden than stare at mine!

*Or possibly because I called the city planners about three times to pleasantly discuss my concerns, including sending them copious photos of the lovely bushes near the hydrant, and to follow up about their construction plans, heh.