Monthly Archives: January 2009

30 Minutes with Photoshop

I have a desk­top wid­get that acts as a sideshows pho­to frame on my devel­op­ment machine. Hav­ing some­thing pleas­ant to stare at when my mind goes blank on a prob­lem is nice.

This morn­ing, dur­ing a par­tic­u­lar­ly intense “now how the hell is that sup­posed to work” spell the pho­to below came up.

big file of the original photo

fish foun­tain in Oax­a­ca

Click on the pho­to to see a much big­ger ver­sion of the orig­i­nal.

I like the pho­to but it was tak­en with my lit­tle point and shoot and has way too much depth of field. I real­ly don’t need to be able to iden­ti­fy the make and mod­el of the cars in the back ground. So I loaded it into Pho­to­shop and spent half and hour or so mak­ing a quick and dirty improve­ment. A lit­tle selec­tive select­ing and copy­ing. Then a cou­ple of rounds with the blur fil­ter and I got this.

a nicer version of the Fish Fountain photo

a nicer ver­sion of the Fish Foun­tain pho­to

Again click on the pho­to for a much larg­er ver­sion. Don’t look too close­ly though. The illu­sion of shal­low­er depth of field works fine in the 400 X 300 pix­el ver­sion above but you can see the seams between the lay­ers and some oth­er arti­facts in the larg­er ver­sion. Still for half an hour of futz­ing around I end­ed up with a much nicer pho­to to use on a web page.

Garden Report — The Aftermath

Now that most of the snow is melt­ed it’s time to have a good look at the gar­den and assess the dam­ages.

There aren’t real­ly any sur­pris­es. Most of the dam­age was done by the very cold tem­per­a­tures on Dec 19th (10.4F) and Dec 20th (4.1F)

Among the casu­al­ties:

what was a lovely varigated euphorbia

what was a love­ly vari­gat­ed euphor­bia

once again the jeruslem sage is taken back to it's base by a col

once again the jerusalem sage is tak­en back to it’s base

I don’t know if the euphor­bia will recov­er. The jerusalem sage prob­a­bly will. When I first got it I plant­ed it in one of the exposed beds by the dri­ve­way. It die back that win­ter with a low of about 20F. I moved it up into a bed close to the house and it has been fine for the last two years. But even the shel­ter of the house won’t save some­thing from the kind of lows we had.

Sur­pris­ing­ly lit­tle dam­age was done to the gar­den by the snow load. One of the but­ter­fly bush­es got bro­ken. Most­ly my fault because I didn’t cut them back in the fall. Still they are tough as nails and even the snow couldn’t do the sort of dam­age a cou­ple of pan­icked sheep can do. (Long sto­ry — no pics sor­ry)

broken butterfly bush after the snow

bro­ken but­ter­fly bush after the snow

On the oth­er hand this weep­ing cypress was utter­ly and repeat­ed buried by snow plumet­ting off of the roof. Amaz­ing.

not broken not even a little

not bro­ken, not even a lit­tle

Some­things sur­vived both the snow load and the freez­ing temps amaz­ing­ly well.

mint  after the big freeze

mint after the big freeze

varigated sage still holding it's leaves

vari­gat­ed sage still hold­ing it’s leaves

I’m not sur­prised by the mint — it’s stuck in the wash­tub for a rea­son — con­tain­ment! The sage on the oth­er hand, I expect­ed to turn to mush long before the temps got any­where near as cold as it was.

And then there’s the dam­age that the snow and ice did to the gut­ters. We tacked them back up as best we could but it wasn’t always a enough to keep the rain and snow melt mov­ing along the drainage sys­tem and not plash­ing down into the gar­dens. (Also note that the frost heave brought all of the land­scape light­ing wires back to the sur­face. )

when gutters fail...

when gut­ters fail…

All-in-all not near­ly as bad as I expect­ed. It will be inter­est­ing to see how many of the pere­nials come back this spring and which ones go mys­te­ri­ous­ly miss­ing.

Flood Update — and Gallery Test

We drove to town this after­noon to get the mail (Yeah, I know no way for us to get out = no way for the mail to get in.)

I got these shots of Cher­ry Val­ley and the Sno­qualmie Riv­er (from a mov­ing vehi­cle…)

<click for larg­er images>

Note that the lit­tle white peaks in the last pic­ture are the tops of a set of 6 indus­tri­al sized green­hous­es.

— —  —  —  —  — -

This is also a chance to try the Word­Press gallery plu­g­in that now comes with the vanil­la install. meh, not bad, but not great either.


This pho­to of Wood­inville-Duvall Road through the Sno­qualmie val­ley was sent to Jim by Jer­ry one of the fel­lows in SVARC. The “un-offi­cial” ver­sion is that it will take 4 days to fix. We sur­mise that it’s dam­age to the road sur­face and not to the under­ly­ing bridge struc­ture because the traf­fic cam­era showed an ambu­lance cross­ing ear­li­er this morn­ing.

woodinveill-duvall road 09 jan 2009

wood­inville-duvall road 09 jan 2009

W-D road rarely clos­es due to flood­ing. Now we’ll have to wait for 124th to open. Which could be days yet.

At 11:30(ish) this morn­ing the traf­fic cam­eras on 124th (south of town) showed:

from the roundabout facing west across the valley

124th from the 203 round­about fac­ing west

from west snoqualmie valley road facing east

124th from west sno­qualmie val­ley road fac­ing east

Live cam­era cov­er­age for the mor­bid­ly nat­ur­al dis­as­ter obcessed here:

Traf­fic cam­era of W-D Road here. (It’s off-line at the moment 11:22 am)

Traf­fic cam­era of 124th (our next best hope) here fac­ing east across the val­ley and here fac­ing west.

Snow Report — a Little Late

The snow has just about all melt­ed — now we’re hav­ing floods. But here are a few of the best pic­tures from the Decem­ber snow storms.

We are very grate­ful to have Adven­ture Truck on our side.  He got us off the farm and safe­ly back every sin­gle day of the storm except Christ­mas. Some­days we only went as far as the Start­bucks and the post office (noth­ing in the box­a­gain!) but it helped.

adventure truck powers along

adven­ture truck pow­ers along

Some of our ani­mals love the snow, oth­er not so much. Ivan will sleep on the back porch while it snows on him. We have to remem­ber to keep the laun­dry room door shut or he’s like­ly to come into the house and head for his couch look­ing like this:

ivan on the back porch

ivan on the back porch

On the oth­er hand Tuck­er — the barn cat- real­ly hat­ed the snow. It quick­ly got to be too deep for him to walk through and he was stuck in the barn for sev­er­al days. Here Jim is talk­ing to him a cou­ple of days into his con­fine­ment.

jim talking to the snow bound cat

jim talk­ing to the snow bound cat

There were a lot of lit­tle birds hang­ing about the place. We couldn’t keep the feed­ers clear of snow and even­tu­al­ly start­ed lay­ing seed and water plans on the cov­ered porchs. Here a jun­co sits fluffed up against the cold in the maple tree out­side my office. (The pic­ture is cropped from a much larg­er image show­ing the entire flock.)

juinco in the maple

jun­co in the maple

One last pho­to just because… it makes me laugh.

ivan after helping with chores

ivan after help­ing with chores

Note the lit­tle birdy tracks in the snow!


so the oth­er day as i was look­ing through some of the thou­sands of fold­ers of pho­tos we have i found this one.

other than the catchy rhyme it's a lousy sign

sign on the fer­ry

oth­er than the catchy rhyme it’s a lousy sign.

i just want to know who they (the peo­ple who designed the sign) think is going to under­stand that this is where you should go if you need to get into the lifeboat?