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It Was A Day For the Birds October 31, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Louisiana Wildlife, Photography.
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Alright, so if you’ve landed here a time or two, it will come as no surprise that I am enthralled with the birds of south Louisiana. I am particularly fond of the big birds (no, not the Sesame Street variety although Big Bird was definitely a childhood hero). But it’s not that I don’t like smaller birds. It’s just that my eyes aren’t what they used to be so I often don’t notice them as easily and I don’t have one of those groovy cool super-duper zoom lenses to make them look like anything other than colored dots when I do see them. While I’m sure that Santa will be leaving a few of those high-powered lenses under some Christmas trees this year, there won’t be one under mine. But that’s ok, cause I still need to figure out how to use the lenses I do have anyway.

I was thinking though that it’s kind of funny that I love taking photographs of all these amazing birds throughout our wetlands, but I can’t really identify most of them by name. It’s not that some very patient folks haven’t tried to teach me, but I think my memory is beginning to follow my eyes. But maybe if I’m a good girl, what Santa might very well leave me under the tree this year is a birding field guide to help me out.

A good friend once told me that they only had regular birds where he grew up in Brooklyn. And I kept thinking during my trek around the bayous yesterday, what would Sandy call these birds? Highly irregular birds?

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Momster Photog October 30, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Family, Photography.
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6 comments

So on my recent coastal advocacy trip to the Chicagoland area, I had the pleasure of spending a little time with the Momster, BigSis and MediumSis. I took this pic with the Momster’s camera and asked her to send it to me. Where was my camera? Um…good question.

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Anyway, when I got the email with the photo, I was pleasantly surprised to find a few additional photos attached of the fall colors at what I consider one of the most beautiful places in the world–Gun Lake. So today I want to welcome my first guest photographer–the one, the only, my beautiful Mother. I learned from the best Mommie Dearest (and yes I know some of you think it’s not very nice of me to call my dearest mother Mommie Dearest, but no joke, this is how she signs all of her letters to me!) Thanks Mom! Love you!

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We’re On a Mission… October 28, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Photography, Travels.
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…a mission from God. So I wanted to share two more pics from my Saturday afternoon in the City of Big Shoulders, but WordPress was not cooperative this morning. Let’s see if it wants to play nice this evening.

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It Was a Vision of Power October 27, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Photography, Travels.
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It’s a 106 miles to Chicago, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes; it’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses. Hit it!

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And with that, WordPress has decided to stop cooperating. Too bad. Those last two pics I was going to share were pretty cool…but maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.

Only if you have been in the deepest valley… October 24, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Photography, Travels.
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Although not one of my favorite historical figures, I have found this bit of wisdom from Nixon to ring true many times in my life…”Only if you have been in the deepest valley, can you ever know how magnficant it is to be on the highest mountain.” And here are a few shots of the Shenandoah Valley type.

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Many Miles to Go October 20, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Coastal Restoration, Family, Friends, Photography, Travels.
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4 comments

So I’ve been on the road over the last week and still have many miles to go before I sleep (and go fishing). But while I’ve thoroughly enjoyed scenes such as these…

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I’m thoroughly missing scenes like these.

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Tck, Tck, Tck October 15, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Coastal Restoration.
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2 comments

Pretty good video. Are you ready?

Check out http://tcktcktck.org to learn more.

A Monarch Minute? Or is that a Gulf Fritillary Minute? October 12, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Louisiana Wildlife, Photography, Ramblings.
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So I’ve been pretty busy lately. I spent two wonderful days in the Lower 9th Ward this week at an Institute for Sustainable Communities network meeting, have been preparing for a week of advocacy presentations in Chicago and a funders tour in the 5 Bayous and a possible trek to DC following Chi-town. And on top of all that, I even managed to get a little fishing in yesterday thanks to BW, and although I didn’t manage to get any fish in the boat, I’m happy that BW did.

I also happened to be passing my favorite photog spot, and even though I really needed to be making 12,000 copies and burning 100 DVDs, I decided to stop for a few minutes and see if my friends Mr. Osprey and Mr. Eagle might swing by to say hello. Although they didn’t stop by that day, they did swing by the boat yesterday for a very quick flyby.

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Yes, that is an osprey and an eagle. Really, I swear. And this photo reminds me of a recent post I made about the importance of never, ever leaving home without my camera. Well, let’s just say that if you live in south Louisiana, you should never, ever leave home without your camera, but you should also make sure you’ve got the right lens locked in place cause you just never know. Oh well, better luck next time.

So, anyway, back to my quick stop at my favorite photog perch…while Mr. Eagle and Mr. Osprey didn’t stop by that day, another winged creature did. Don’t know much about these kind of winged creatures and originally thought this was a Monarch. But that’s not even close I’ve since learned. Near as I can tell this is actually a Gulf Fritally (agraulis vanillae), also known as the Passion Butterfly. Well, I think.

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For more Gulf Fritillary Minute photos, click here.

To view the video I’ve been making copies of, click here.

And to check out the photos from my amazing and inspiring trip to the Lower 9th Ward, click here.

Next stop…the Windy City. Later gators!

The Art of Simplicity is a Puzzle of Complexity October 9, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Ramblings.
7 comments

I know it’s a little early for a Christmas story, but just come with me on this trip down memory lane. Every Christmas, someone in my family would invariably get a puzzle. It was usually my brother. And after all the presents had been torn open, thank you’s exchanged, and the blizzard of wrapping paper collected and hauled out to the trash, the puzzle box would get opened and the pieces dumped on the dining room table.

And so the dance would begin. While Grandma worked away on preparing our holiday feast in the kitchen, three or four of us would start flipping all the pieces over trying to sort out, and set aside, the edge pieces. Hands would start bumping in to each other and apologies would be exchanged.

Sometimes you’d get lucky and two or three pieces would already be assembled having snuck through the box-shaking machine at the puzzle factory. But the rest of the 4982 pieces would just be strewn about the table taunting us.

Sometimes two or three people would sit at the table while munching on Grandma’s infamous sugar and molasses cookies trying to stave off the hunger pangs induced by the incredible smells emanating from the kitchen. Grandma would occasionally glance out of the kitchen at the puzzle put-er-togethers and then return to whipping up mashed potatoes and monitoring the progress of the turkey and ham in the oven.

Throughout the day, Grandma would continue her peeks out of the kitchen. Sometimes she’d see a group huddled over the puzzle as the pieces started to fall together. Sometimes she’d find just a lone soul, head shifting back and forth from the dwindling pile of pieces to the incomplete, but taking shape, scene. Sometimes the table would be abandoned momentarily while moans and groans at a missed field goal could be heard around the television.

And although we all knew in the back of our minds that the puzzle would not be completed in time for the table to be set for dinner, no one protested when the pieces had originally been dumped on the table. As Mom stared the usual “We need some help setting the table” routine, we’d started searching about for a nice suitable piece of cardboard and began the delicate process of transferring our “work in progress” to be set aside for later.

After the dessert dishes had been cleared, the puzzle, now resting on its cardboard perch would return to the table and the dedicated would continue on with our mission while the not-so-dedicated found a quiet corner from which to nap. But, as if sensing the approach of something big, various and sundry relatives would awake from their slumber and begin circling the table looking for an empty chair. Grandma’s peeks out of the kitchen became more frequent.

The suspense was incredible. Hands and arms began flailing about. More apologies at accidental bumps. And then, the group groan could be heard by the few faithful sports fans in the living room. How could it be?

And without fail, Grandma would stroll out of the kitchen, reach in to the front pocket of her flour and gravy-stained apron, and pop in that last piece of the puzzle proclaiming her victory and our defeat.

And that’s when I’d always remember that each piece of the puzzle is equally important. And I guess I learned a little something about life—something that I try to remind myself of every day. I am but one piece of the puzzle and I don’t mean a hill of white beans unless I’m connected to all the other pieces.

Grandma Huhn & Jane Holiday Dinner

My Apologies That You Have Landed Here October 9, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Ramblings.
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OK, so on occasion I like to check the search terms that have brought poor unsuspecting interweb users to Blue Dog Nights. And, on occasion, I like to share some of the more interesting and funny ones with my five regular readers (and possibly with a few folks out there in cyberland who have become hopefully lost and ended up here, thinking to themselves, how in the heck does this site have anything to do with what I’m looking for?)

So here’s just a select few examples from the past week, and, well, if you thought you’d be lucky enough to be spared my thoughts about each of these, well, you’d be wrong. Quick. Click away before you waste 5 perfectly good minutes of your life.

And yes, some of them are just too bizarre to share.

What if a gator approaches my kayak: An oldie, but a goodie. By far the most popular search string since the inception of this blog. An important question for sure. Too bad no one is going to get any definitive answers here. Just hope no one loses an appendage as a result.

Yankee Springs Recreation Area: Ah, home. It’s beautiful. You should definitely go there if you haven’t been there. And if you have, go back. You know it’s worth the trip.

Sampson State Park: Ah, another past home. It’s beautiful. You should definitely go there if you haven’t been there. And if you have, go back. You know it’s worth the trip. And be sure to stop at some wineries on your way.

What causes Louisiana coastal erosion: Well, there are seven basic causes….sorry, went in to lecture mode for a moment. Good question and everyone should learn more about Louisiana land loss and work to reverse it.

dianehuhn.worgpress.com: Close, but no cigar. Well, cigar I guess since it did get them here. Good thing computers are smarter than us interweb users.

Car jumping through a ring of fire: Whoa! I’d like to see that. We have an annual ring of fire in Yankee Springs, but sadly haven’t seen any cars jumping through it. That would be cool. Well, as long as no one gets hurt.

Human injuries: OK, then. Wonder if this was the same person searching for the car jumping through a ring of fire.

Alligator jumps over kayak: Ooh…I’d like to see that.  If anyone has footage of that, please post it on YouTube.

Do snakes jump in to kayaks: Gosh, I sure hope not.

Subliminal messages in land o lakes: As in butter? (Too much butter is bad for you. Say no to trans fat…brought to you be the makers of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. It’s an excellent source of Omega 3. Now available in a convenient spray. Buy I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter today. Actually, get in your car right this second and go to the grocery store buy some I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. Actually, buy lots of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.)

Louisiana Swamp Dwellers: Oh yes, one of my favorite string of posts. What a great day! Thanks BW!

Gulf coast restoration cost: Um…a lot. But worth every penny.

Living in the swamp: Ooh, yes. I would like to do that some day.

Mean frog: Just say no to frog bullies.

Picture of new sign at Grand Isle: It’s very nice.

How is coastal erosion being addressed: Uh, well, not very well at this point. Reorg the Corp.

Down on the bayou Dave Matthews: Dave! Love Dave! Love Down on the Bayou! Dave, please come visit me and sing me a song. Do you remember me? Front row. Dublin? Remember when you were looking right at me?

Fun stuff to do in Picasa: Oh yes, definitely a lot of fun stuff to do in Picasa. And it’s so easy!

Coastal erosion and poverty: Yep, it sure doesn’t help. I co-wrote a commentary about this once. It got edited, but it still turned out kind of OK.

Blessing of the fleet 2009 Chauvin: Fun day! Pretty boats! Demand Louisiana shrimp! (Also another search string.)

LSU sweatshirt: Don’t own one and probably never will unless someone gives me one.

Barq’s Rootbeer: Yum! A tasty after training treat.

Water hyacinths on the bayou: Bad! Invasive species brought to south Louisiana by the Japanese delegation at the Cotton Exposition of 1884 held in New Orleans. Ornamental pond plants on Spring Break gone wild.

Bayou Cypress trees: Very pretty and valuable. Too bad most of them in south Louisiana are dead or dying.

Cypress trees and saltwater intrusion: Why most of the pretty and valuable trees are dead or dying.

Guy hit by car: What?

Intrusion resimler: What the what?

Training for Mardi Gras Half Marathon: What I should be doing instead of writing this post. Later gators!