40: Leftovers

(Looking below the surface in the woods.)

It’s day 40 of my commitment to get outside every day.  During the past 40 days I’ve collected a few photos that I couldn’t seem to fit into a post.  Before I move them to a back-up hard drive, I thought I’d go ahead and share a few of them.

(Fungus in the wood pile.)

Today is also the first day of NaBloPoMo and of course I was crazy enough to sign up.  It’s fun, I get to meet new bloggers, and it is always a challenge because every year November turns out to be a busy month for me.  It’s no different this year.  M and I will be engaged in plenty of activities.

(Ready for winter.)

It was below 30 degrees when I rolled out of bed this morning.  The frost is hanging around longer in the mornings.  I wore my winter coat for the first time on Saturday.  Hat, gloves, and winter coat:  the holy trinity of winter around here.  Or it could be frost, ice, and snow.  Depends on how you look at it.

(A tangle of cattails.)

(A mushroom tower hiding in the grasses.)

Today’s walk

I bundled up and went out around noon today.  I like morning walks but may have to start taking them later in the day when it’s warmer.  For today, though, noon was good.  It’s breezy but the sun is shining and providing just enough heat to keep it from being too nippy.

(This morning’s view of the pond.)

The pond was providing nice reflections while the birds and wind produced a lovely autumn soundtrack to go with my walk.  I heard and then spotted a bird I’ve never seen before.  I think it was a small hawk of some kind.  I haven’t had much luck in identifying it (so far).  The photos I took are too dark and blurry to be of much help.


There is a dule of doves living in the woods near an old apple tree.  I pass them on my way through the cattails.  Poor things are frightened into flight each time I come by.  A few weeks ago, during my first pass by them after they’d settled there, the flurry of feathers was such a panic that two of the birds flew into each other.  They are not quite used to me yet, but at least they are a little calmer about moving from the ground to the trees when I come by now.

(A dove in the distance.)

As I sit here typing this, a recording of John Glenn is being recorded on my answering machine.  He’s yammering away about how I should get out and vote tomorrow.  I am flattered that a man who was an astronaut (first American to orbit the earth) and U.S. senator thinks my vote is that important.  Not too flattered, though, since it’s only a recording and only going out to probably every phone number in the state of Ohio.

(The neighbor’s pony.)

The Republicans and Tea Party folks want me to vote, too.  The phone has been a source of much yammering and nagging about politics lately.  It’s worse today.

Not to worry, all you politicos.  I’ll be voting, in spite of having fallen into the enthusiasm gap.  Or maybe because of it.  Whatever the case, I’ll be there with my lack of enthusiasm, unenthusiastically (but without whining about it) voting for the lesser of the evils.  I am old enough to know better than to expect change overnight.  Still, I’m disappointed.  That said, I don’t want to go back to the way things were either.  So, I’ll vote.  I’ll vote.  I really will.  No need to keep nagging me about it.

(Light and leaves drifting.)


I’ve done my civic duty

(This morning’s view of the pond)

And I was more than happy to do so.  This is the first time in a long time in which I voted for someone rather than against someone else.  The “lesser of two evils” vote is not, in my opinion, an exciting kind of vote.

Today I happily and with some excitement as well as hope cast my vote for Barack Obama.

It was surprisingly quick and easy.  The local news at noon had lots of stories and video of long lines in this area.  M and I decided to go just after lunch time hoping to avoid a long line.  The parking lot at the place where we vote was filled with vehicles, but we found a parking space easily enough.  Judging by the number of cars, I thought for sure we’d have at least a short wait.  I was wrong.  Imagine our amazement when we went inside to find there was no line at all.  Just one guy ahead of us and he was pretty much finished with the ID portion of the process and on his way to the booth (not sure why they call them booths anymore since they aren’t booths at all).

We use the Diebold voting machines here (a little about them here).  I’m not too thrilled with that, but didn’t think the paper alternative was necessarily a better way to go.  You do have a choice to use either the machine or the paper ballot.  While I didn’t have any trouble voting, one of the things that concerned me was the way the ballot was set up.  I wish I’d thought to take my camera along (are they allowed in the voting booth??).

The first page of the ballot lists the candidates for President.  McCain is first on the list.  He is followed by several people, some of whom I’ve never heard of.  Nowhere on the first page of the ballot will you find Barack Obama.  Someone easily confused might think he’d been left off the ballot.  He shows up on the next page.  But I have to admit to a split second of confusion when I didn’t see Barack Obama’s name in with all the other candidates.

I’m curious now…  Does anyone know how they decide the order on the ballot?  It was obviously not alphabetical.  I couldn’t find anything about it during a quick search.  I did, however, find this article about how ballot order matters.

Just before heading out to vote, this guy came crawling across the back lawn:

I think it’s a midland painted turtle, but I’m not sure.  According to Ted Andrews in his book Animal Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small, the painted turtle may teach you about the use and power of color.  That’ll come in handy as I’m currently working on a project that involves colors.

The weather is once again sunny and warm.  Perfect for getting back out to the garden.  Which is where I’m headed now.  This evening, I imagine, will be spent watching television, waiting on the election results.

Should be interesting, no matter how it turns out.