Saturday, August 25, 2012

Rocks, Stones and small Caves

In Spring and now I was hiking through the woods around here - looking at rocks.
I already had posted once about it: Awesome Tree and tiny Caves

So now I want to show you some more of those rocks and "caves" (small openings) from around here that are not so openly and typically seen from the marked hiking paths. Ones that are not being photographed at or all the time or are already made public.

These two caves above might look large - actually they are just about cat sized small holes below the rocks and close to the ground. Photos taken in middle of March - still some ice crystals in there.
There was a small opening to a narrow cave close by, called "Eishöhle", where the monks from the monastery got the ice for cooling the fresh brewed beer in the early 1200's. They kept that ice closer to the monastery though, in a place called "Katzenkeller", a half tunnel shaped cellar in the North side of the woods.
In recent times (about 50 years back) the village children crawled into the partly crashed cave and had small "parties" in there. Parents were scared it would collapse on top of them. So, the exact location of this cave was not passed on much.
When going there this year all of the entry to the cave was gone, completely crashed downhill. Only those icy cold small holes are left.

These two photos above, taken just a week later, are on the hill, facing South, above the village lower in the valley. Just an "Abri", an opening in a rock big enough to for humans to hide in from bad weather with wide opening and safe from wild animals.
This one is about 2m deep, only 60cm high at the opening - but about 4m wide overall. Today I have been there again and took a photo of the "Abri" right next to this big one - only 3m wide and about 50cm high, but also about 2m deep and a bit lower to the ground as well (makes it easier to photograph without using flashlight).

And then there was the hike two weeks ago into a complete different direction. More to the North and uphill.
Located deep between the fields and woods along the hiking path, but not close to it, I could see those rocks behind the trees:

But I had to rush on as the companions I was with had no interest in exploring the rocks further. "If you don't intend on climbing them (as in "free-climbing") then you have no need to go there." Ah well, maybe I go there another time alone or with someone that is interested in rocks.

There was also this interesting wall along the hiking path, from medieval times.

In the woods around here there are many lone rocks, walls from ancient times and newer ones from the start of making fields on this rocky ground. And some caves too - hard to find and small.
A bit further away, in the "Fränkische Schweiz" are some larger caves - open for public only when opened by a guide and paid for.

Surely, lots more to explore. =))

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ghost in my Machine ;-)

The "Ghost in my Machine" told me this a few days ago:

go exist
at this

A lovely, short poem,
with lots food for thought,
written by an algorithm,
that runs on my computer,
taking 20 random numbers,
when 2 or more are identical
they get a word assigned to them,
(out of a list of over 730 words).
The random number picking then runs for 10 times.
After 10 scans it automatically ends -
telling you which "words" were found.

Here how the inventor of this "ghost radar" app described it:
The real "core" theory of the thing is if the little odd seemingly "random" occurrences that people sometimes attribute to ghosts are not "random" but opportunistic tweaks from the otherside to try and communicate, then creating something meant to be easily tweaked and provided words will be the best opportunity for those othersiders to get their message across and understood.The script just makes it so that the thing that needs to be tweaked is on the users computer {not my server} and the random number generator uses the "seed" generated from the users device. FYI those numbers really aren't random; the algorithm varies by device but uses a combination of internal clock time, cpu speed and sometimes even temperature ... all things that an entity 'might' be able to tweak on the users system.  The more frequently a number is chosen the less likely it is just a random event ... I'm calling this 'emphasis'.
Author "Siguie"

So, I have been playing with this app the last few days. Sometimes the word lists it gives out makes sense. Most times however, it needs a lot of interpretation by the reader.

This morning, noting down the words as they appeared, they formed a rhyme I just had to share.

The ghost in my machine writes poetry. =))

Once it's gone public I might add the link to this app here. Until then, should another poem be given out you can be sure that I will note it down and share.

Oh - there are YouTube videos for "Ghost in a Machine" :

and this one:

And I faintly remember there has been a short anime like sequence with that title too. Well, actually it's called "Ghost in the Shell":

And the wikis to those two references: Ghost in the Machine and Ghost in the Shell

And somehow reading all that (and some further writings on "mind-body dualism" and "ghosts in machine (electronic)" the poem is even more BIGSMILE and makes sense.

Looking forward to more poetry and messages from my "ghost in my machine".

Monday, August 20, 2012

New Projects in Painting - Update

Another week has gone by. One week with daily adding to my paintings.

And I did take photos for each stage - or what I assumed to be a new stage finished.
(Start  and the first stages )

As promised - here now the update on my "success" or "failure", depending on how tight I see my own work.

Or as it's said: You are your own worst critic.  =))

The spider has some colored spots, the bird some more grey and black.

Two days later - a few tiny additions on both.

More details done on the bird.

Some details on the spider too - still not really liking how it is turning out so far.

Done some black linings on the squirrel - and the feet on the bird.

More shadow on the bird, and done some work on the tail as well. I think it might need an additional foot (although it's not visible in the original photo) and then it's about time to start with the background. A bit scared of "ruining" it.

The spider now has it's hairs. Seems I'm slowly getting there. =))
Or not !!
I haven't done anything with the squirrel painting yet, as I will have to mix all those brown hues and keep them fresh and fluid. Acrylics do dry fast.

OK, then on with the work - still some way to go until I call those paintings finished.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Tree Hugging - Bonsai Experiment - Update

In Tree Hugging - Bonsai Experiment I wrote about a wild growing little tree that I replanted into a bonsai pot.

Well, it didn't like it much and although it grew a bit, it also threw off the bottom sprouting leaves rather fast.
Then, about a month ago, the two big leaves started to turn yellow and eventually fell off too.

The two smaller leaves did develop a little bit, growing to about the double of the size as when I transplanted the tree.

By now they have fallen off too. A few days ago I took the little tree inside as it eventually turned out to be a very hot summer finally here too.

Here a photo of it just before I took it inside:
The little tree still has a green bud at it's top - ready for next year's Spring?!
I'm taking good care of it inside - not too much water or sun through the window now. I will keep you updated, maybe the new leaf comes out sooner than outside. 
Or the roots have been damaged to much by the transplant - and it will stop growing. Which will be the end of this experiment. 
Future will tell.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sun Halo or Rainbow

My first post about a Sun Halo was in June. And I still remember it well.

Yesterday, after humid hot day, it started to cast over. It smelled and looked as if it would rain soon.
In the end, it didn't.

But while checking the sky for rain in the clouds I saw another Sun Halo - only partial this time. You could call it a rainbow as well. Nonetheless, as impressive as the first one.

Yes, I did go and grab my camera to capture this moment.

Here the original:

And now a slightly enhanced photo for the better visibility of the rainbow:

And yes, it was only visible from a certain angle in front of my house for about ten minutes. Then it was gone.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Space Exploration vs. Healing the World

When the Mars rover landed there was a live ticker for comments running and one comment was that while "we all here" celebrate the successful landing someone just died of cancer. 

True - and of hunger and thirst or murder or war as well.

But aren't "we" allowed to celebrate something a team of people have accomplished - just like another team can accomplish a remedy for cancer or other deadly heath issues and famine and drought ans so on?? 

All these things are being worked on but they not always get as much media attention or "fast" success as the rover landing did in that specific moment. 

Today then, I came across this letter, a well written little piece of argumentation for space exploration and all the money that goes into it:

Why Explore Space? A 1970 Letter to a Nun in Africa

Just some quotes from the letter: 
"Efficient relief from hunger, I am afraid, will not come before the boundaries between nations have become less divisive than they are today. I do not believe that space flight will accomplish this miracle over night. However, the space program is certainly among the most promising and powerful agents working in this direction."
Presumably, you will ask now why we must develop first a life support system for our moon-travelling astronauts, before we can build a remote-reading sensor system for heart patients. The answer is simple: significant progress in the solutions of technical problems is frequently made not by a direct approach, but by first setting a goal of high challenge which offers a strong motivation for innovative work, which fires the imagination and spurs men to expend their best efforts, and which acts as a catalyst by including chains of other reactions.
and finishes off with these words:
Very fortunately though, the space age not only holds out a mirror in which we can see ourselves, it also provides us with the technologies, the challenge, the motivation, and even with the optimism to attack these tasks with confidence. What we learn in our space program, I believe, is fully supporting what Albert Schweitzer had in mind when he said: “I am looking at the future with concern, but with good hope."

Now, 40 years later we still need lots of enthusiasm for our youngsters to learn about science and it's application possibilities for humanity.

Food distribution, prevention of drought and deluge and other natural catastrophes as well as human made wars (and dangers to our life like nuclear waste or as simple as travelling with a car) are still killing thousands of people each year.
Nations are still concurring with each other on solving those issues as well on finding remedies for deadly illnesses instead of combining their efforts.

It's as if all those years NOTHING has happened. Well, not quite true. Things have happened. 
Scientific discoveries have been made and applied. But the fighting still goes on. 
The internet unites people as they communicate in "social networks" across borders, races and religions. But the fighting still goes on.
Communities combine their efforts on becoming independent from the governmental power grid, save water and energy together. But the fighting still goes on.

There are still lone fighters for the hope of a united world. But what do we do? Each one of us? We know, it's the unity and combined effort of this we all have to work on. In our families, with our friends and then with our governments and leaders of nations. And then between the nations.

I hope that we can overcome all the differences between us, the envy and resentment we experience with the people closest to us, the fear of others not like us and even the hate toward strangers. And finally truly work together for a better world we all want to live in. 

Space exploration is a gigantic step for humanity, and every tiny little step each one of us can take can get the same result as this one big step. It's not a one or the other but a both in harmony and balance that might get us there. The only thing is: time is running out......................... 

As in Space travel: there comes a point of "no return". Once reached it's "game over" and you'll have to start anew, with a complete different basis to work from. But, who knows, maybe that is the "better" solution after all..................

Just some wild running thoughts here at the end. No answer to the question. 

Our moon. Already in ancient times the moon inspired humans to great things. Humankind has come a long way - but there is just as much to move on further.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Low Water in the Creek - Summer update

Another month or so has passed - the water is low in the creek. 

For this season - Summer - that's expected.

But, just a little but, it has been raining every 2 to 3 days since the end of June. And some days it was not just a normal rain but a whole downpour. When that excess water has moved off, the water level went back to low. Very low actually. And it isn't even hot. Seems we are somehow still in a kind of drought.

And although it's just the beginning of August the air smells of Autumn. Some trees, like cherries, birches and  beeches are already throwing off leaves. I have even seen one walnut tree turn yellow way too early.
The boodplum though in my garden has just cast off the fruits we couldn't harvest, but hardly any leaves. The years before it that regularly did in the Summer heat - due to being too dry. Maybe watering it a few times during the rare very hot days has helped.

Not so unusual anymore is the wild plant growing like a pest at the banks of the creek: a Himalayan Balsam
It does have nice deep purple, pink and rose colored flowers. But it suffocates and takes the nutrition for the rest of the vegetation.

And it spreads it's seed by "spitting" them far away when being touched only very slightly. So, if you want to get rid of this plant you will have to "harvest" it before the seeds are ripe. 
I admit, I thought it as a fun game to touch and see how far those seeds would jump. Until I found out about the invasive way of life of this plant here. 

Or should we "harvest" it as food??!!  The green seed pods, seeds, young leaves and shoots are all edible, says the wiki article.

Following a few impressions of the creek today:
Slow flowing water, clear and very low. Normal height is about 8cm higher in Summer than on this photo.
Usually the damp step is fully covered with water about half it's height. 
With normal water level you can't see the step of the inflow on the right side, and the sand bank is covered with water.
 and this Himalayan Balsam "Weed":

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

New Projects in Painting - quick update

Two days ago I posted about New Projects in Painting.

Since then I have done a bit on them - not much really.

For the spider painting I decided to go a different route this time:
First I painted the background - not as black as in the photo, but still rather dark. 
The next day, after the paint was thoroughly dry, I added the rough outlines of the spider (looks like a children's drawing of a spider right now). 
And today, as the white was dry too, added a few red spots where the joints are (the spider has been photographed from the underside - I hope to get that into my painting well enough).

While the paint dried I started with the bird.
Here, after sketching the outlines and main color areas, I started with some bright blue and yellow to the main areas.

Having some free time today - and again waiting until the paint is dry before adding some more, touching and overlapping the already existing spots - I outlined the sleeping  squirrel on the tree stump.

Assuming that I have time for painting every day and not distract myself too much with playing around on the computer and internet (besides writing, household and out-of-home-work, reading my long list of books) I feel confident in getting all three of them done in my set time frame. 

I'll keep you updated!!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Another "Gardening" Experiment - Bush-Bonsai

Not quite a "Bonsai" experiment - but close to it. Let's call it a Bush-Bonsai.

Let's start at the beginning:
About ten years ago I bought this white flowering small bush (Maiblumenstrauch) for a big pot as I didn't yet have access to the garden I have now. 
And some other plants (Rhododendron) too. Those grew too fast and one needed the big pot the bush was in - so the bush got moved to a smaller pot as it didn't seem to need as much growing space as the other plant.

Somehow some Chives plants got into the same pot. And it grew right in the center of the bush, with long roots hard to pull out without damaging the bush. So I left it in, harvesting what I needed and smiling at he Chives flowers when the white ones from the bush were long gone.
A few years later we moved to the other part of the house and now had access to the bigger garden - but the bush stayed in the bush. It didn't seem to mind being moved to various places. Not even very cold and very snowy winters could harm it.

With the changing climate and warmer summer soon it was thought that it would be nice to have palm trees in the garden. There are once that are capable of withstanding moderate frost periods. For two years this one palm tree grew in the garden - then it rotted over winter. It had been too damp inside that small winter-garden like cover the last winter.

It was decided (not by me though) that not only one new palm tree had to replace this one now. But also three more smaller ones were bought, that would still be in pots to take inside during winter until they were mature enough to withstand the cold without a winter-garden structure all over them - only a wrapping when extreme cold should set in. That's the plan anyway. But alas, no new pots!!

So now the little bush - aged quite a bit by now but still bringing the white flowers every Spring - had to move once more out of it's "large" pot so it could be used for a small palm tree. Fore three weeks then it sat in a small red box, drying but not dying. Even the chives I had harvested just before it had been removed from the pot was sprouting once more with fresh stalks.

Such an endurance screamed for action. I found a big empty paint bucket and replanted the bush into this. By now it had been replanted three times, and each time to a smaller pot. This time though I had to cut of some roots to make it fit into the bucket. And I pealed out the Chives too - as much of it as I could distinguish from the roots.

Last but not least I took photos to "document" all this action!! ^^;;

Bush with Chives this Summer
Baby Palm tree in the bush pot

The bush on top of the red box it had been drying in for three weeks.  Good that it did :
Loose soil and dead root parts filled all of the red box with lots of roots  left on the bush.
Placed on top of the soil heap to show the leftover roots.
Chives with roots as long as the actual plant - no wonder I could not just pull them out, as entangled as they all were with the roots of the bush.
Bush now planet in the bucket formerly used for paint. Some  sol leftover as bucket  IS smaller than red box, which is being needed for other things and can't be a pot replacement.

So far the final position of the re-planted bush.
I really hope this bush will survive - I might have to take it to a non-frost place over Winter though. This bucket is truly too small for the roots to not get damaged. 

The bush actually deserves more than a bucket - but with the tiny garden full of palm trees and some area still supposed to stay as grass to lay down on it once in a while, I guess, it will have to grow in a bucket or pot for some time longer yet. :(

Sunday, August 5, 2012

New Projects in Painting

The last one I have done in Acrylic is "The Rose".
By now, I feel it's time to get some more projects from the planning into the actual making of them.
Just need some more motivation to actually get the paints out and simply do it.
So, I printed out the ones I had in mind  for weeks / days. All of them contributions from G+.
And got started - and do my own "chronicle" for the project(s). 

photo by Jasbir S. Randhawa , May 2012
Photo by Peter From , May 2012
Photo by Marilyn Fenn, July 2012
Thank you all for making such good photos that I can attempt to make paintings out of them. Way to go ^^;;

And now what I have got done so far:

And yes, always fresh fruits in abundance and some nuts too. 
This is my dinning room table I'm working on; so if need be, I will have to quickly remove all my painting things. Sometimes I wish for a real art room all for myself: what a luxury that would be to just leave everything as I left it for days and weeks.

Now, I'll see if I do all three of them at the same time - layer for layer, color for color. Or if I end up just getting one done, if at all. Those motives sure are not easy ones in the way I want them to look in the end. 

Wish me patience with myself, stamina, lots of continuous motivation, time and no other complications coming along to finish all three of them. Thank you!!

And be assured - I will show them here. =))