Posts Tagged ‘may’
Friday, June 12th, 2015
DC reporting in, #18: Presidential Mansions (3-5)
Close to the southern end of Shenandoah National Park one can find the plantations / mansions of three former US Presidents – Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, James Madison’s Montpelier, and James Monroe’s Ash Lawn-Highland. Over the course of the weekend I went to see all three (they are pretty close together), and listened to three different versions of “how one might best try to integrate the fact that they owned slaves with still adoring these guys 100000billion%” – none of them worked all that well, frankly.
What is left of the old Ash Lawn – Highland is tiny, but apparently there was an annex right where the yellow part of the house now is – still, it remains the smallest of the three Presidential homes, by far. Of the three I liked Montpelier best, both because it was far less busy than Monticello and because they had an interesting tour on James Madison and the Constitution, which meandered slowly from empty room to empty room and took you around the Estate in 2.5 hours, rather than the 30 minutes rush-rush affair that the overrun Monticello is.
Although at Monticello, in my opinion, they do the better job of dealing with the question of slavery.
And, that all said, the tour guide at Ash Lawn-Highland probably knew the most about her subject, of the three.
Friday, June 5th, 2015
#5, in stone
Sunday, May 31st, 2015
DC reporting in, #17: Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah NP
Two weeks ago – see how we are slooowly catching up? – I rented a car and spent a weekend hiking in Shenandoah National Park (along paths that divert from its Skyline Drive), just about two hours away from DC. The weather was varied – sunny and muggy and overcast and throughout rather hazy with a torrential downpour or three interspersed, and the mix of it all made for a beautiful long weekend and a great variety of photos and experiences. I saw quite a variety of wildlife, including a black bear! My first bear encounter in the wilderness – but as the bear was ‘only’ sitting in a tree and looking down on us hikers somewhat skeptically, it wasn’t scary so much as tinged with respectfullness of the distance one should give a wild animal such as a bear.
The blue ridge mountains are indeed blue when covered in haze and seen at twilight, but for the most part they were hazy but still wildly green and verdant, so that they were really green ridge mountains, rather than blue. Which, however, did not prevent me from having both “Country Roads” and “The Wide Missouri” as earworms (as the word Shenandoah pops up in both…).
The Shenandoah NP is beautiful, and from time to time reminded me quite vividly of driving through the Palatinate back in southern Germany, as the combination of roads-trees-hills felt very similar to me (albeit there are no bears in the Palatinate, and altogether more small hamlets and coniferous trees). It was good to get out into the countryside and just to walk and walk and walk and carry my camera around :-) – it made me recall just how easy it is to get out into the countryside from Flensburg, and how often I do it there, for a weekend day hike, and how much I’ve been a city girl these last months. It was good to see trees upon trees upon trees upon trees for a while.
Wednesday, May 27th, 2015
DC reporting in, #16: DC Days
I was going to skip two weeks, but on looking back at my calendar I have to acknowledge that quite a bit happened in them and so skipping them would not do them justice … things aside from long days in the Kluge Center, filled with images and books and different reading rooms and database building.
Among these are – as far as photographic evidence goes – the WWII flyby (which meant lunch outside for us LoC scholars on a sunny Friday, instead of inside … only without actual food) and a Sunday out in the outside area of the United States Botanical Garden (about a 20 minute walk from my place) which I spent re-reading some Jules Verne (relevant to my research) and also taking some photographs. There were also lectures at the LoC and another baseball game (this time against the NY Yankees, with much better weather), a barbeque (the other Sunday) and a board game day on which I was introduced to “Fortune & Glory” (fun, & roughly a WWII/Indiana Jones version of Arkham Horror – and for which I imitated various European accents), and also a tour of the National Archives where I saw the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution, among other documents (no photography allowed – but think “National Treasure” for an idea of the layout of the place). More photos from these days might show up here, but now you know what day-to-day DC days are like (the ones that aren’t merely “go to the LoC early, return late) – in brief, anyway, and we’re almost caught up (so we can fall behind again shortly :-)).
Research-wise, my image collection now stands at 514 – not counting Russian images or images that haven’t been sorted into the main image folder. Which reminds me that I need to write about my image processing process at some point… .
Wednesday, May 28th, 2014
I’m off to Bochum tomorrow, for the Imagining Earth conference. My bags are packed, my presentation is printed and the Prezi is both on a virtual drive and on a USB stick, and, while I really rue losing the public holiday and the long weekend to work, I’m also looking forward to it! I’ll be back late on Sunday!
Monday, May 26th, 2014
I am no expert on dragonflies, but from googling I’d say this is a female Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa). Whether it is or not, it was the biggest dragonfly I’ve yet to encounter – it was huge, and when it first flew by me I mistook it for a small bird, from the size and the shadow it made. But no, really big dragonfly. I took this photo in the Langballig Au, but there are lots of them out in the Geltinger Birk, as well – the Geltinger Birk seems to be a good place to spot dragonflies and damselflies of all sorts in general. I think I saw more than 60 last week, of at least four different species. So, you know, if you are an Odonata enthusiast and in the region, the Geltinger Birk is definitely the place to head to, right now. In the unlikely event that you are, send a comment and I will point you to the precise hedge where they were all hanging out.