Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Rabbit Tale

What do you do with a lost rabbit?

This guy's been hanging around my place for the last three days, at least.

He's obviously domesticated, obviously homeless, and obviously doesn't have the sense to find shelter.

I thought maybe he'd find his way back home by now, or nature would have run it's course. But no. The little guy's still there again tonight. We made some phone calls; The Thomas O'Connor animal rescue said they don't cover my town, and suggested we call the police. We did, and they refered us to the town animal control agent. Gave her a call, she said she can't do anything until the morning, and to call her back then. Tried the MSPCA, got a recorded message with their hours of operation. Hmm.

This has got to be at least the third night of freezing temps for the rabbit. We can't take him in, because the dog would be bouncing off the ceiling, and the rabbit would probably die of fright.
I dug deep, and decided to open up the garage a little, risk exposing some of my most valuable stuff to theives all night, and build the little dummy a makeshift shelter for the night. Replete with carrot slices and dog food.

This better work and keep him alive until the animal control lady can come get him tommorrow.
If this was my dad's time and country, the problem would have been solved already, with rice on the side.

Weathering Heights

Windy and rainy this morning...

Not a good day to be outside by any measure....

But definitely not a good day to be tying down a giant billowing tarp, 60+ feet above the ground, on a steep wet roof, on a crumbling building.

As I paused to watch this battle of man vs. nature, I was amazed to see another worker come walking around the corner of the roof!

He was tethered to the center cupola, but still. Big Brass Ones. What could they possibly pay these people to risk their lives in this way?

This lady watched the scene from across the street in awe...

Passing by the demolition sight again a little later, it looks like they'd just about got it done, rain or shine...

The weather finally, and suddenly, cleared about 12:30-ish, as a new weather pattern pushed it's way in along a broad line.

Just two and a half more months.............

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Hillary Effect

I happened to be working at Springfield College today, and heard that Hillary Clinton was making an appearance, at the P.E. building on the campus. I had no intention of trying to get in to hear her. But I did have the camera with me. A blogger must do what a blogger must do. So I decided to take an early lunch, and get some pics of the Hillary Hordes, waiting in line to see her. There sure were a lot of them.

They must have been lined up for at least a quarter mile. Unfortunately, the small stadium filled up quick. When the police came out to say the doors were shut, they were still lined up into the distance.

No matter, a good sized crowd then clustered around the outside of the stadium, in hopes of catching a glimpse of her.

Occasionally there would be a rush to one door or another, as some rumor spread in the crowd. I guess you either love or hate Hillary. This crowd loved her.

Newscasters were also on hand, of course.

There were some people there with other agendas, taking advantage of the big crowd. These guys were unhappy with a certain construction company doing work on the campus.

For some, hope still springs eternal...

Here's some more (read: better) political blogger coverage of the event: Heather Brandon's here, and Victor Davila's here...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Whiting Winter Walk

Going north on Rte. 141 towards Easthampton, just before you get to the Log Cabin Restaurant area, there is this gate on the right:

It's the entrance to the Whiting St. Reservoir. There are a bunch of signs plastered all over the entrance, like this:

Looks like a good place to go for a walk! There is a 3.75 mile loop around the reservoir, known to hikers, joggers and walkers. Mostly, people who use it are considerate to the fact that this is a public water supply, and don't incur the wrath of the powers that be. The powers that be, who would otherwise shut off access completely, if a few knuckleheads begin ruining it for everybody.

The trail gradually drops in elevation, then levels out, and does a loop around the reservoir. The trails were mostly cleared by tractor. There were some icy spots, but there were also plenty of pine needles on the ground to provide traction.

Throughout the walk the summit of Mount Tom can be seen across the reservoir, through the bare trees.

This cross country skier bypassed the trail completely.

There were several people walking around the reservoir, and a couple photographers with tripod in hand. Man, they're everywhere!

This pumping station seemed to be the only thing with any kind of color, other than the smattering of evergreens; on this grey skied, white, wind-swept landscape.

Just past the pump house was the northern edge of the reservoir. Through the woods we could see an old blue structure, and there was a a short trail leading to it.

It was a rusting pavilion, part of the remains of the once wildly popular Mountain Park. It used to be a full blown amusement park; with roller coasters, Ferris wheels, the whole nine yards. The park existed for a hundred years. Sadly, it finally closed in 1987, unable to compete with modern superparks and their more expensive rides and attractions. Here's a good website, with pictures and info of this gem from the past.

There's little of it left now. There are several areas that look recently cleared, with piles of brush and cut trees scattered about. There are a few fire hydrants sticking above the snow here and there, marking where once there were buildings, perhaps the main fairway.

This property is now one of many being considered for Deval Patrick's casinos; a different kind of amusement park, for a different kind of era.

The most prominent structures other than the pavilion still standing are the graffiti covered remains of a mini golf course.

Blogger Tom Devine and videographer Jeff Ziff documented their excursion here this past summer, when it was covered in vegetation...

We got back on the trail, and rounded the northern end of the reservoir. The sky briefly tried to turn blue, then just as quickly turned grey again. Aaah, January.

We got back to the car, pretty refreshed from the brisk, nearly two hour walk. The whole loop, including the side venture into Mountain Park, was 3.9 miles.

We left and headed north. Just before driving over the pass, we pulled into the Tavern on the Hill restaurant parking lot, to check out the always beautiful view of Easthampton below.

In the distance is Pomeroy Mountain, which I made a mentioned of on the last post.

Call me Ishmael...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Get Your Kicks

Pretty much overcast all day, the sun teased a little, in a feeble attempt to light up Mount Tom, then hurried back into the clouds.

Getting off the highway in Northampton I went through town. The program on the radio was pretty good, so the drive continued. On to Route 66, west.

These kids had the right idea.

It's been years since I went sledding. I've got to try it again. It's like instant age reducer.

A little further on, there's this unusual colored barn.

Pulling over for a pic, the barn's resident soon came trotting over to see just what the heck I thought I was doing.

Following 66 for a ways further to the the border with Westhampton, there's this cool little stream, half frozen despite it's fast current.

It was beginning to get dark, so I began kinda sorta heading back, towards Easthampton. Passing some farmland on the left, there was a stunning view of the Mt. Tom/ Holyoke ranges in the distance.

The views must be magnificent on a clear summer day. On the other side, Mt. Pomeroy can be seen very close nearby. It's recognizable by it's 'receding hairline' of trees at the summit.

This mountain and Mt. Tom stare at each other across Easthampton. The view from it must be great. I've been wanting to climb this mountain for some time. But every time I've been in the area, it's always been too late in the day. One rainy afternoon I found a back road that went very near the top, but it was so muddy, and getting so dark, I had to turn around for fear of getting stuck there all night. It's beginning to become something of a White Whale for me. I have to climb it this year. Why are the trees are so unusually thin on top? Is it private property, and the owners keep it cleared? Or is it just some happenstance of nature? The answer will be had this year...

I looped back north toward Northampton where, coffee in hand, I took a little walk around.

It's good to see that the lights are on at the Pleasant St. Theater, and it's back in business.

It's been taken over by Amherst Cinema, a fact that pinches the nerves of some Northampton residents according to the Masslive forums. Some people would have preferred the Academy of Music, in town, had taken over. Either way, it's good that it's still open.

Hopefully, they'll keep showing the more 'independent' movies, as they have in the past...