All I wanted was breakfast

This young bandit was probably on an early morning raid for dumpster delicacies in the office parking lot and became startled, running for the nearest shelter. His inexperience showed in his choice of a very short tree with very few leaves. The frightened little guy remained treed until just afternoon, climbing slowly down the tree then bolting for cover. He looks like he could’ve used a big hug.

UP A TREE -- This young raccoon became quite the celebrity at the office on Monday, attracting stares, cameras and sympathy from almost everyone who passed.
IT'S A STRETCH -- The young raccoon tries to get comfortable -- or invisible -- in his perch. (Photo courtesy Kerry R.)

Going back through the archives, this photo turned up. Possibly the same scared bandit. This time, he’s making a beeline from the woods to the cover of shrubs planted under the windows.

SCRAMBLING FOR SHELTER -- Impressionistic photo of a young raccoon exploring the grounds between the office and the greenbelt.

Watch the skies!

For our 300th post, here’s a look at one of our favorite things: the sky.

GET BUZZED -- Two vultures take a morning cruise over the valley.
AUTUMN MOON -- The autumn moon's light throws a nearly bare branchlet in silhouette.
CONTRAILS -- Westbound contrails cut across Sunday's sunset.
MOONSET -- The full moon takes the long way home.
NORTHBOUND -- Chevrons of birds heading north at a time when most fowl are headed south in the Mississippi flyway.

Yellow

Plenty of yellow in the landscape. Not pictured are the yellow mums that are hanging on in the shallow soil of the sad northside garden. The deeper soil that holds a small garden in the middle of what used to be a bermudagrass lawn has brought forth two seasons of floral and insect delight.

STANDING TALL -- The wildflower mix in the garden continues to give forth blooms even into mid-November.
EDIBLE -- Some flowers are more tasty than others.
SUNNY -- Yellow flower turns its bright face to the November sun.
GINGKO -- Beautiful yellow leaves, but I can never seem to shoot them right.

King of the Garbage Can

This black and white (zebra) jumping spider was clambering all over the big green garbage can on this warm fall day. (With highs near 80, it was a great time to give the cars one last wash before the cold of late fall came rushing through.)  Couldn’t tell if he was curious or courageous or both, but when approached by a photographer many times his size, he always turned to face the lens, even appearing to look over his shoulder to keep all his eyes on the big galoot.

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Polo

There are no hooves, no Argentine-made boots and spectators don’t crowd the field between chukkers to stamp in the divots. But make no mistake, this is polo. Below, two-wheeled and one-wheeled versions are demonstrated during a media event at Little Rock’s River Market.

ONE IS AS GOOD AS TWO -- Mandy and Nick demonstrate that bike polo is possible with half the wheels of a usual mount.
SCRAMBLE -- Two two-wheelers chase the ball.

Tarantula!

Fall is mating season for tarantulas and that’s when males tend to roam looking for a mate. Tarantula sightings have been thin this year, but while doing some yard work today, we spotted a big one zig-zagging around the driveway.  During the late summer, we’d noticed a few more burrows and speculated that they might be tarantula homes.  We’re glad to see them. According to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, tarantulas have only been in the Natural State for 8,000 years.  They seem to have adapted quite nicely since then.

Been a very spiderific Sunday!

WANDERING -- A big tarantula -- maybe 5-6 inches across -- wanders the driveway on Sunday afternoon. His behind is front and center in this shot.
SLANTING SHADOWS -- Tarantula casts a long shadow in the November afternoon sun.
DARK and FUZZY -- Top view of our Sunday wanderer.

Photomerge FAIL

Automation can be a boon and sometimes the Photomerge feature of Photoshop is a quicker way to stitch contiguous images. However, at its worst, it can be amusing, or refreshingly abstract. Your call. [compare with the panoramic image in the previous post below.]

ROBOT GONE WRONG -- Amusing result of Photoshop trying to stitch a series of images.

Autumn color 2011

Fall color reaches its dramatic peak in the Ouachita Mountains.

OUACHITA MOUNTAIN AUTUMN -- The fall colors are reaching their peak this week.
RED -- The two Chinese pistache trees in the parking lot put on a great foliage show in the fall, despite being whipped about by the wind.
SUNRISE -- Late fall sunrise finally reaches the canopy in the office parking lot.
EVENING SUN -- Red sunset peeps out from between slowly receding low cloud deck and the western Ouachitas.
TREE CANDY -- Sweet, wild persimmons dangle temptingly about 30 feet above ground in an increasingly bare tree on a windy, overcast day.