Saturday, October 27, 2012

From Summer to Autumn . TREES

A year can get rather long if you wait for the seasons to change to take the proper photo of single trees.

Although Autumn - with colored and falling leaves - seemed to start a bit earlier this year (in August; which was only due to the dryness all Spring and Summer long), 
the trees I have been photographing and thus watching took their time to show off the yellows and reds and half bare branches. 

Finally they did; not all at the same time though. 
It took about three weeks until I was satisfied with the change. Enough change to show the difference of Summer and Autumn on those trees.

So let's start with the Walnut and Cherry trees at the train station again:

in Summer
in Summer

The cherry trees were the first
to start changing color.
And shortly later they still have the leaves,
but the Walnut tree is nearly barren.
The Walnut tree alone.

And again a bit alter.

Next set of images is the Linden tree:
in Summer
in Autumn - still not lost many leaves

The Bloodplum at my house:
in July
in October - not much change ,
but lots of leaves already down

The small tree at the other train station:
in Summer
in Autumn, scrub in front is brown

The big Chestnut tree:
in Summer with chestnuts on
in Autumn with only half of the leaves

and the group of trees close to the wood where I go jogging in Summer.
in Summer, the wheat already ripe
in Autumn, starting to color

Autumn last year - circle completed.
Finally should come the Apple tree in the wheat field; but that one is still green AND the next season of wheat is starting to grow. It looks too much like Spring.

That will have to get it's own update once the leaves change color or have fallen off with still no snow around it. It's snowing today - rather early this year, but not the earliest ever!

And again I have noticed that there are more trees I have photos of - but forgot a season in between for this kind of report on them as well. Such is life!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Words Written

Words Written

words written on paper - you forget until later

words written on stones - they mark your bones

words written on brick – a wall is that thick

words written in the air – you have time to spare

words written with water – worth a quarter

words written on earth – a place for your hearth

words written with fire – make them go up higher

words written on a tree – grows for all to see

words written in bronze – you get another chance

words written in silver – feel a little wealthier

words written in gold – forever they will hold

words written in grey – on the way

words written in brown – don’t frown

words written in blood – start from the mud

words written in maroon – don’t give up so soon

words written in red – goes from feet to head

words written in orange – no need to flinch

words written in yellow – a great fellow

words written in sun – having all the fun

words written in lime – for a healing time

words written in green – nature can be seen

words written in sky – far away to fly

words written in blue – sound so true

words written in indigo - everywhere to go

words written in lilac – no place like that

words written in purple – jump that hurdle

words written in pink – laugh at what you think

words written in white – the world is so bright

words written in black – now go all the way back

Written in 2008, published here for the first time.
This piece is included in my book "Moments in Time".
It is now going into print. 
I'm working on getting a e-book version of it done too. 
Planned by the end of the year. If interested, let me know.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dragonfly or Damoiselle

I did it again.
I made a new painting.
From a good photo.
And documented the making of it with more photos.
It actually didn't take that much time besides the wait in between colors to dry.
(Size 15 c 15 cm)
So, here the progress:
pencil outline and background color - longest wait after that to dry

body and eyes added

some makings in white on top - and changing direction of canvas 

adding the legs and some more details

outline of wings - with line marker instead of brush and paint

half of the wings filled

Special thanks goes to Jasbir S. Randhawa once more for providing the photo (as seen in the small print out on the first photo here). Without that as basis I wouldn't have gotten the details of the wings.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Radio Storms - in our Solar System

There is always something new to discover and experience. This time I was fascinated by the sounds of the radio storm recorded from Jupiter.

This one was on Jupiter a few nights ago.

Turn on your speakers and listen to it.

Information as found on :

Two nights ago, there was a storm on Jupiter--a radio storm. Amateur radio astronomer Thomas Ashcraft recorded the event using a shortwave radio telescope located in New Mexico. Click on the dynamic spectrum (a plot of intensity vs. frequency vs. time) to hear the whooshing, crackling, popping sounds that emerged from his telescope's loudspeaker.
"Listen to the recording in stereo," advises Ashcraft. "I recorded the audio from two separate radios at 21.1 MHz and 20.9 MHz, so there is a stereo spatial effect from the frequency drift of the emissions."Jupiter's radio storms are caused by natural radio lasers in the planet's magnetosphere that sweep past Earth as Jupiter rotates. Electrical currents flowing between Jupiter's upper atmosphere and the volcanic moon Io can boost these emissions to power levels easily detected by ham radio antennas on Earth. Jovian "S-bursts" and "L-bursts" mimic the sounds of woodpeckers, whales, and waves crashing on the beach. Here are a few audio samples: S-burstsS-bursts (slowed down 128:1), L-BurstsNow is a good time to listen to Jupiter's radio storms. The distance between Earth and Jupiter is decreasing as the giant planet approaches opposition on Dec. 3rd; the closer Jupiter gets, the louder it gets. NASA's Radio Jove Project explains how to build your own receiver.

As a kid I loved to turn the radio dial all the way to the end to hear all the squeaking and squawking and "white" noise, imagining it was aliens communicating with us. 
But maybe, it just was Earth and space. ;-)

And Earth's magnetic field  "sings" too. 

or here:

There are many more sounds in space, we just need to learn to listen to them. 
It's not only with our eyes that we can perceive wonders. Our complete body can. 
Ears, skin, and other sensitive parts we might not even be aware of yet.

We just need to be "quiet" to  sense those not so direct interactions of us with what surrounds us. Technical things can help, but some things not even those can perceive.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Burg Gößweinstein (Castle) - a short visit

On October 3rd, 2012 I went for a short visit to Burg Gößweinstein.
Sorry, the article is only in German! :(
But don't fret, as I have studied History for a few semesters, I can tell the tale in my own words, too, taking the information there and the ones given at the castle itself. :)

It was a nice Autumn day, cloudy, but dry and moderate warm.
View from the castle down over the valley behind the town.
So, this castle lies on top of a steep rock. It has been founded in the 11th century, just 25 km (direct air line) away from the big castle in Nuremberg.
Additions have been made over the centuries to it by various architects and users of the castle.
Some rooms have been restored in the last decade to show how it might have been furnished and used.
For a full description of the re-building and re-structuring of this castle, please check here:
Burg Gößweinstein

Most doors though were locked to  the public. (Entry fee only 2€ for adults - not much at all).
Coming up the hillside to the castle you are greeted by two signs:

The one on the left describing some of the folklore:

"Wer dich , o Goswinstein, erbaut,
verbrauchte manch Pfund heller,
Sigiza alte Knappenbraut,
Führt uns zum steilen Söller.
Wer hoch dort ob dem Abgrund schwebt,
Dem liegt die Welt zu Füßen.
Und wer vor Runzeln nicht erbebt
Darf die Sigiza küssen.

(Translation; as best as I can get it:
Who built you, Goswinstein,
Needed quite some money,
Sigiza old squirebride.
Leads us to the steep attic.
Who floats up high above the abyss,
has the world at his feet.
And who is not scared of wrinkles
may kiss the Sigiza. )

The other sign has been added just a few years back (maybe even just last year - I don't quite recall) and has some more historic facts on it (as they have been researched for now) Much knowledge has been lost about this particular castle):

There was a small chapel (two rooms) with a locked door leading to the main house (it actually  wasan attendance room and was turned into a chapel in the 1800's) - crossing over the dungeon. It had a (restored) painted ceiling showing the sky. Unfortunately, I didn't take a photo of it as there were just too many people inside that small room.
But you can see it on this folder - the left lower corner photo. Interestingly, those metal gears are from a clock that had been in a tower that was torn down. There was also some color window paintings in the next room.
Here an impression of the dungeon. The actual hole in the ground was covered with a metal grid and surrounded with a railing. The bones you can see are not ancient.

The entrance was lower than a normal door, with a few steps leading down and in a half curve. It smelt moldy in there. But not scary at all.

In the main part of the castle, open to the tourists, were only two rooms. Both reconstructed: one showing the ladies sleeping/living room and the other the one for the men and visitors of the castle. Nicely done but not true to the way the castle was actually used. Anyway, here the photos I could get of those two rooms:
Woman's room:
Bench for clothes, and table with star painted ceiling. View over the town. 
Curtain covered bed and entrance door. 
Fireplace and wardrobe. The small bench looks as if it belongs there; the glass door cupboard surely not.  It only was there to show some more medieval utensils.
Men's room:
Table and comfortable chair. The description also mentioned some trinkets on the table, but they were missing. On the window sill you can see how thick the walls are on the South side of the castle; the rest were even thicker.

Stair leading into this room. Just outside this was the large stairs leading into the "tower", which too has been torn down and re-built numerous times.
Between those two rooms was a long stone staircase leading down, the official entrance to the castle; locked to the tourists.
After exiting the castle again I walked along the path between building and wall. Looked rather new to me; seems it was established only back in the 19th century as well. But from there I could get a good shot of the "window" of the woman's room:

And, of course a view of the other valley with the town below the castle. By now the weather had turned to more overcast and slight drizzling rain. Still good enough to explore the modern town though.
Direct south with sunlight still strong behind the clouds!
Town view (avoiding the church) with opposite rocks (and a free climber on the right one)

On the way back down, I shot these two photos: the first showing the castle itself in full view, the other some more steep rocks close by.

Now, this small historic excursion is through. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Another "Gardening" Experiment - Bush-Bonsai - Autumn Update

I had thought recently this experiment to have failed and the bush dead.

I was going to discard it. But then the cold weather set in and it was wet, too wet (and cold) for my taste to be playing in the dirt.

Today though, with warm sun and before the weather would change to final Autumn cold and wet for some longer time again, I was back in my garden mowing. By chance, I was on my knees and looked at the bush.
Dry brittle twigs nearly poking my eyes, when suddenly °.°

I see some tiny, fresh green leaves!!!
The bush is still alive!!! =))

So, of course, now even more than before, I will have to take this bucket Bonsai bush into a frost free area over winter --- 


find a new place for it to grow in (pot or nice spot in the garden where it can stay).

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Unexpected Encounter - first chapter

Finished already last Autumn - now placing it into my blog:

This is actually the first longer story I wrote. To have the final version ready as a book took me over two years of writing, adding and editing.
The idea for this story I had already as teenager. When I finally wrote it down now, it turned out quite different to the little bit I had written years ago. 
A long time I had no title for this book. It was just this summer, after having finally decided to bring this project to a finish, that I came up with the title: Unexpected Encounter
Following the first chapter:
"Oh, well!" He sighed and turned his attention away from the early autumn view outside the window back to the teacher and the blackboard.
Another formula to copy down and it was just as boring as the ones before! For him it was all just repetition. To have moved to this town from another state just before school started here was bad enough.
But to realize that in his old school they had a much faster tempo in learning than here, was even worse. There was no subject he wasn't ahead, not enough for him to skip a class though. He would have to watch out that he wouldn’t miss it when they started with things new to him as well. So far, he hasn't found any friends yet and the weekend was coming. His father would be away both days. Actually, he hasn't been home the whole week. So, instead of listening to the lessons, he was planning on what to do with his free time. 
The bell to end the school day rang, waking him out of his brooding. Hastily he scribbled down the last formulas and packed his papers and book away.
The others were already moving out. Some were collecting in the hall and the open area before the building to discuss their plans for the weekend.
He walked past them, feeling rather lonely right now. Even if he was here now for more than a month, he still didn't feel that he belonged here.
"Jason! Wait!" Peter called when he was about to turn into the street leading home. "What are you going to do on Sunday?" 
Jason stopped and turned to him with a smile. "I don't know yet. I guess, I'll just watch TV or do some biking. The weather should be still fine on Sunday for that." 
"I'll be going to watch the new documentary about the "Deep-Sea-Station" they are planning. You can come and watch it with me. After this, we could eat out", Peter suggested.
Jason thought about this a bit. "No, I think I won't have time for it. My father should be home on Sunday evening and I'm supposed to keep the house clean and get some more of our things unpacked. I actually haven't done anything yet."
"You are strange. And the way your family lives is even stranger. But OK, it was just a suggestion. If you don't want to, you don't have to. You have my phone number. Just call me, if you change your mind." And with that Peter was off with his friends that had been waiting a few steps away. 
Jason slowly went down the street, in thought about this short talk. Peter was a classmate and, from the first day, the one that tried to get him into the class community. But, with all the negative experiences he had in the past years, Jason resisted to get too involved with any of them so far. He wanted to observe them a little more before he was ready to accept any of them as something similar to a friend.
He was getting used to being alone, at school and at home too. There was no one waiting for him at home. Not even his cat. That was still with his mother and sister in the old house. Susan, his sister, would finish her last year in the old school, and then go and study somewhere even further away, or so were the plans so far. Mum had a good job she didn't want to quit, earning some extra money for the university he was going to go to in two years time. If he passed the exams for it, that is. His father had gotten this new job here, planning and helping to build the "Deep-Sea-Research-Center"; that was the full name of the project. Jason was supposed to join in later after his studies and he sure was interested in this research work. That was just something he didn't tell his classmates. He remembered too well the bad experiences with that sort of thing in his old school. For him, there was no need to repeat that here. 
But, no matter how slow he walked, finally he reached the front door of his new home. Even after six weeks, he still didn't think of it as his home. And many boxes weren't unpacked yet, adding to that feeling of not being at home, but still on the move.
With another deep sigh he went inside, threw his bookcase in a corner. And immediately went to where it had fallen and picked it up to carry it upstairs to his room. Why make more mess than there already is? he thought and put it next to his desk.
Thoughtfully, he looked out of the window which still had no curtains. Seeing the bright autumn sunshine, he suddenly knew what he would do this weekend. No matter how much homework he got or how messy the place would still be when his father came back home.
All motivated now, he went to the kitchen and packed some foods and water bottles in a carrier box, ran back upstairs, got some fresh clothes and an extra sweater for the nights and wrapped it in the spare blanket from the foot end of his bed.
All of this he stuffed onto the back seat of the car. Actually, it was his father's car, but since he had his driver's license, he was allowed to use it too. He only was supposed to ask and tell where he would go beforehand. As his father wasn't here, and most probably won't be back before him anyway, he just took the keys and drove off.
With this new job, his father also had the service of having someone coming, picking him up and bringing him home, so Jason could always use the car when he thought he needed it. After asking! His father had no real need for it and trusted him to drive carefully. 
Jason felt a bit guilty though, for not having left a notice on the entry desk. But now, he sure wasn't going to waste any time by turning back to do so. It would be a good five hours drive to the summer lodge of the family. It will be worth it to spend one last weekend out alone in the woods. This weekend the weather would be nice for his little adventure. Why should he waste it alone at home with boring cleaning and brooding about his life?
This is wrong. This is entirely wrong! He had programmed the computer himself and they should be right on target now. However, they were somewhere in the middle of nowhere here. At least, he didn't recognize the stars that were on the screen. He asked his two comrades, but they too were simply puzzled at where they had ended up now.
Usually, they didn't use this old type of spaceship anymore. But, if they wanted to take back samples for testing, there was no other way yet for getting them home without damage or change in substance. Or so they had been told. He still didn't understand all the "secrets" the elders knew about space travel.
His intention had been to help his people this way before it was too late. By now though, he was starting to doubt if it really had been such a good idea. With his two friends here, he couldn't discuss it. They believed everything he told them. They didn't understand a thing about what was happening on their home planet, knew nothing of the dangers and the war that might start. They were simple people, only for service to the "noble" ones.
However, in his opinion, they were just as good as any other people. Even if they weren't as "advanced" as his own kind. That was no reason though to make them live and work like slaves. He had had many discussions with his father about this, never-ending discussions.
He silently sighed, remembering those discussions.
"Marq", the younger of the two called out, "I can see a solar system there with a planet that might carry life on it." 
"Yes, I can see it too. But the sensors tell me, that we shouldn't go any closer to it. It has the "forbidden" signature around it", the other answered.
Both were sitting in the front with their hands over the steering system, guiding the ship manually now and staring on the screen that was showing stars and possible planets with all attainable information the long-range sensors could pick up.
"Well, if it has the forbidden signature, then we should move around it at a very big distance", Marq answered, standing in the back, still trying to figure out from the constellations he could see, where they were.
A forbidden planet. I really should have listened better to the lessons about space and those forbidden planets.He tried to remember, why they were so dangerous.
This one didn't look dangerous to him as they were coming closer to it: nice, blue water and white clouds and enough dry, partly green land in between.
Like his home planet once had been. That was in very ancient times. He didn't know of any person alive that had actually ever seen a green plant growing outside, on the surface. He could see nothing in the real-life image that would make it "forbidden". It must be something right on the planet and not just around it as the over-layering digital image implied.
They were still moving closer to that solar system. Marq had not given any directions to set a new course and his two friends were expecting him to make the decisions and give the commands. This was what they were used to when traveling in space with a "noble" person. Alone, which rarely happened, they did have to make decisions in situations like these. Now, they just relied on their friend, Marq, who was a very "noble" person, to tell them what to do.
Suddenly, lights flashed up, calling him to attention out of his nostalgic dreams.
"Hurry, get this ship further away from this planet!" He shouted his orders and both friends started to push buttons and turn switches.
The ship didn't respond. No matter what they did, they kept getting closer and closer. As if the ship was still on automatic and had started the landing program.
Marq opened a small door in the back and squeezed himself into the small chamber behind. Maybe some wires had gotten undone. This sure was an old ship and not really made for long-distance flights like this. Lose wires from the automatic to the manual steering were what he first suspected and checked, twisting his body in the cramped space to see and reach where those wires ran. Luckily, he knew a bit of the set up of the ship’s wiring. 
Often enough he had helped repair similar ones used for short training flights in their own solar system.
To reach this part of the galaxy, they had used one of the old "gates", a fast means of traveling the long distance between solar systems, speeding through space and time. In the wink of an eye it seemed. It was faster this way than light. Although not yet the maximum gravitational speed that was theoretically possible. Nothing would survive that speed in the physical form.
However, to go through a solar system between the planets, they had to use "slow" drive and no "high-speed" transport. First, so they didn't bump into any fragments, comets, moons, planets and the like. Second, so they had the time to use the sensors and check the information they received if they didn't want to miss the kind of planet they were looking for.
He was sure by now that where they had ended after the "jump" through the "gate" was not the solar system he had programmed the ship to reach, although it was in the correct galactic area. Something had been wrong already then, so maybe even more had been damaged right from the start of their flight than just that automatic-manual switching system.
Marq was still trying to figure out where they were. As if that wasn't enough to worry about, now all these alarms rang in his ears, distracting his attention from what he was doing.
His doubts about the good in his "mission" were getting stronger from moment to moment. Maybe his father had been right in the end, and he just should have let things go the way they would and not try to interfere or change them to his ideas. However, he had felt and still felt that urge to do something about the situation on his home planet. He just couldn't leave it the way it was. Finally, he found some loose wires, but with all the noise and the shouting of his friends and the shaking of the spaceship, it was hard to figure out where they had come undone or where he should reconnect them. And, it got very hot in here too.
There definitely is something very wrong now.
It was a nice drive away from the town and across the country. This way he also was coming closer to the place he so far had lived his whole life. Jason was thinking about the changes that had taken place recently. He had many friends where he had been. But somehow, over the years, they were not as close to him as he thought they were. 
He had always been good in school and learned fast, and it was natural for him to help his classmates after school and explain things to them when they asked. As they grew older this changed. 
Most of his friends now thought him to be arrogant and selfishly interested only in his own advancement in school. Just because they didn't understand things anymore when he explained them. Their knowledge gaps were getting bigger every year, it seemed.
He had talked with his parents about this drifting apart of friends and agreed eventually that it was a phase of becoming adult. Everything changed so fast during this time and interests varied so much more than before. This could cause friendships to just end without anyone noticing when or how. Slowly, Jason had become a "loner". Mainly interested in his studies at school and not in the common activities of his friends. 
Certainly, the work his father had at the time as a scientist, had influenced him a lot. He got along well with his friends and classmates. No one fought or mobbed him. Not as he could observe happening with some others in school. His friends were just not as close as they had been years ago when they had done a lot of foolish things together.
To Jason it seemed, he grew up faster than the rest. When his classmates started to get interested in girls, he already had kissed his first girl. He understood them better too. At least, all his friends at that time had said that. And they sometimes asked his advice on this subject because of their assumptions of him having had the most experiences.
Well, he had an advantage: an older sister, who didn't hide her problems at home. So, when she fell in love for the first time and it broke apart only a few weeks later, the whole family was involved and helped her to get over it.
He had learned a lot about friendship, relationship and trust at that time. What he learned most though was that this "love-thing" would hinder him in fulfilling the plans he had for his future working life. 
Like his father, he wanted to become a scientist: to help lessen all the problems in the world. This too was something that his friends didn't understand. They were mostly interested in living, having parties and girls. Sure, he was interested in those things too. They just were not his main concern for now.
Some time later, his father had received that offer to help with the "Deep-Sea-Research-Center". The goal of this project was simply to "heal the world", as his father put it. 
Jason straight away had agreed that his father should participate in that project. It was their shared idea. Mum and Susan weren't so exited about it. Not because of the project itself, but more because of all the changes it would bring. In the end, it happened that he and his father moved closer to the coast and the project area, and Mum and Susan stayed in their old place. 
His new classmates thought that a strange way to live. He sighed. He didn't bother to explain to them in detail about how and why it was this way right now. Or how he thought it would change in maybe even less than a year. Sure, it could have made things more understandable if he had talked about it right from the start. But he hadn't. 
Now, he was still a loner, just because he didn't really let the others know anything about him. If he was going to have good friends, actually any friends at all, he would have to explain many things to them soon.
But not this weekend. This was for him to relax and forget all the worries and troubles he felt. 
It was getting dusk outside when he finally neared the junction. Here he had to get off the main road and drive into the forest. He nearly was at his destination.
There he would quickly get the things from the car into the lodge and start a small fire in the hearth and EAT. He really was hungry now. He hadn't had lunch, he just noticed. He had been so eager to get here. He hoped, Mum and Susan had left some food tins, the torch and spare batteries when they had left the house at the end of the summer vacation.
They had spent a few very nice weeks together there. Before the big move from him and his father! 
Jason also would check that everything was ready for autumn and winter season. This was something he could do without having anyone tell him to do it. Or have his father come and do it. If there were some necessary repairs, he would do them too.
But, first things first:! Unpack, make the fire and eat, then maybe prepare some more wood (no it will be too dark to do that), then sleep. The rest, well, that would have to wait until tomorrow when it got light again.
He reached the lodge, unpacked the things he had taken along and did everything as he had planned just before arriving. He made a check through the cupboards and found the torch and spare batteries where they were supposed to be. 
After a very short round outside with the torch, making sure everything was as it should be, he placed it next to his bed. He felt rather tired now.
With his mind thinking about his difficulties with friends right now and wanting to change that very soon, he went to bed. 
After having dampened the fire of course.