Saturday, June 30, 2012

Goodbye, Ole Hickory

We said goodbye to the Shag bark Hickory that has been residing in our yard way before we built our house in 1972.  The critter was dying from the top and was creating a hazard to our house.

WV Tree Service out of Gassaway arrived on Wednesday morning.  The company is owned by a local fellow, Gary Ellyson.  Judy taught Gary in Senior English at the high school.  His older brother, Kurt, headed the removal team that included Leroy Goodson, Jim Stokley, and Andrew Blizzard. (The late Gene Ellyson, a Gilmer County barber for decades is the Ellyson boys father.)

The climber on the team was Leroy.  It was neat to see how he scurried up the ole hickory.  His job was to attach a rope to the tree so to make certain the tree falls in the planned direction.

The other team members busily attached the other end to their truck.

 Every project needs an observer.  This one is no exception.

After making the wedge shaped cut into the heartwood, with a pull of the truck,....
 ..the tree came tumbling down.

This is the time when the real work begins.  The limbs were placed in the chipper.

The main truck was sawed into manageable sections. 

Many sections were extremely heavy.  These guys knew how to load the larger sections by lifting them with the bucket on the truck.

 The cleanup and of our tree was amazing.

When they left, they not only raked and blew the sawdust away, but filled any divots with soil and reseeded with grass.

What a quality job!  We are so happy with WV Tree Service.  They are a wonderful crew.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Prehistoric Sex?

updated 6/19/2012 11:18:48 PM ET
A 47-million-year-old fossil of nine turtle couples in the act of mating has been found.
The turtles, described in the latest Biology Letters, apparently died in the throws of passion. While deeply engaged in copulation, they drifted into poisonous water and perished, forever preserved in their lovemaking moment. 

“Many animals enter a trance-like state when mating or laying eggs and it is possible that these turtles simply did not notice that they were entering poisonous waters before it was too late,” lead author Walter Joyce, a researcher at the University of Tübingen, told Discovery News. 

Joyce and his colleagues analyzed the fossils, found in the Messel Pit Fossil Site between Darmstadt and Frankfurt, Germany. Numerous fossilized birds, bats, fish, frogs, snakes, insects and more were also found at the site, suggesting that at least some of them too were poisoned by what was, back in the Eocene, a volcanic lake.

The turtle couples did not all die together, but instead were found at random throughout the site of the former lake. The scientists can tell that each couple consisted of one male and one female due to tail shape and length differences, body size differences and other anatomical features. Females of this turtle species (Allaeochelys crassesculpta), for example, have a hinge in their belly shields that helped them lay relatively large eggs.

It is rare for any animal to die and be fossilized while engaged in a behavior. Other famous examples include fish that choked on large prey items and were later found fossilized in that moment. Certain dinosaurs died fighting or while brooding their nests. Such discoveries are invaluable to scientists because they reveal how animals behaved in the flesh, something that is normally just speculated upon.

“Millions of animals live and die every year and many enter the fossil record through serendipitous circumstances, but there really is no reason to enter the fossil record while you are mating,” Joyce said. “After all, the chances of both partners dying at the same time is highly unlikely and the chances of both partners being preserved afterwards even less likely.”

“The Messel turtles are therefore the only vertebrate fossils known to have died while in the process of mating and this only happened because of the highly unusual circumstances of the lake in which they lived,” he added.

The turtles initiated copulation in habitable water. They then may have gone into the intense “trance-like” state while sinking deeper into the lake. At that point, their skin probably started to absorb poisons from the build-up of volcanic gases or decay of organic matter.

According to the researchers, the mating pairs from Messel are therefore consistent with a stratified, volcanic lake with mostly inhabitable waters and a deadly abyss.

James Parham is an aquatic biologist and hydrologist at the Bishop Museum. He is also president of Parham & Associates Environmental Consulting. Parham agrees with the new study’s conclusions. He told Discovery News, “This is an excellent scientific treatment of some incredible fossil specimens.”
Tyler Lyson, director and president of the Marmarth Research Foundation, also told Discovery News that he supports the new study.

“The argument is strong and the conclusions sound,” Lyson said. “We see similar sexual morphism in living turtles and the fact that there are so many pairs of turtles indicates they were copulating, sunk and died in the more toxic waters.”

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Another Sad Passing!

QUITO (Reuters) - Lonesome George, the last remaining tortoise of his kind and a conservation icon, died on Sunday (June 24, 2012)  of unknown causes, the Galapagos National Park said. He was thought to be about 100 years old.

Lonesome George was found in 1972 and had become a symbol of Ecuador's Galapagos Islands, which attracted some 180,000 visitors last year.

"This morning the park ranger in charge of looking after the tortoises found Lonesome George, his body was motionless," the head of the Galapagos National Park, Edwin Naula, told Reuters. "His life cycle came to an end."

George was believed to be around 100 years old and the last member of a species of giant tortoise from La Pinta, one of the smallest islands in the Galapagos, the Galapagos National Park said.
The giant Galapagos tortoises, which can live up to 200 years old, were among the species that helped Charles Darwin formulate his theory of evolution in the 19th century.

The Galapagos National Park is considering embalming George's body so that it can be displayed in the park, Naula said.  A spokesperson said the park plans to carry out a necropsy to determine what may have killed the tortoise.
Scientists had been trying to get George to mate since 1993, when they introduced two female tortoises of a different subspecies into his pen. They laid eggs twice, but they were infertile.
The pen where George lived was visited by thousands of tourists every year, who often had to scramble with each other to take pictures of one of the rarest creatures on Earth.

The islands often attract celebrities, including Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt earlier this year.
Tortoises were hunted for their meat by sailors and fishermen to the point of extinction, while their habitat has been eaten away by goats introduced from the mainland.

Some 20,000 giant tortoises still live on the Galapagos.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Festival Closing

The closing of the WV State Folk Festival is the service on Sunday morning at the historic Job's Temple located about 10 miles from Glenville on Rt 5 West.  The service is always attended by the Belles plus members of the community.

Some members of the Job's Temple Association are on hand to greet the Belles.  These people work diligently caring for the grounds and the historic log church.  Robert Maxwell and his wife Allie were a force behind the recent restoration of the church. 

Rev. Brian Groves of the Sand Fork Church of God delivered the message.

My good wife introduced the speakers.  Fred Radabaugh gave a little church history.  Bob Carpenter does a super job in leading the singing.

It is always a blessing to experience this old log church.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

WV State Folk Festival Belles Breakfast

The WV State Folk Festival invites each county to send a woman to the Festival who demonstrates the pioneer spirit of our ancestors.  These ladies must be at least 70 years old. They are usually selected by the Community Educational Outreach organizations in each county.

For many years, it has been the tradition of the Glenville Presbyterian Church to host a breakfast for the Belles. There was a fine group of helpers at the church.  Sara was a great help and a joy to work with.

Mona and Pastor Charlie set out bell, fiddle, and West Virginia- shaped cookies. Cookies are good any time of day.  The women of the church gave each Belle was a bell-shaped cookie cutter with recipes for the sugar cookies and the breakfast casserole.

Claire and Logan were part of our serving team.

The Belles arrive via school bus.

After registering in the narthex...

the Belles sang a hymn. They were welcomed by Pastor Charlie.

The egg and sausage casseroles were devoured quickly -  along with biscuits and fruit cups.

Liz and Fran serve and pour coffee.  Bus driver, Susie, is watching over her passengers.

It is wonderful to see new Belles each year during the Festival.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

West Virginia State Folk Festival

The 63rd WV State Folk Festival starts today with the opening ceremonies at 4:00.  Hope to see you during the next few days.  We will definitely be at the last activity which is the service at historic Job's Temple.  The service starts at 9:00 A.M. on Sunday, June 24, 2012.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Gospel Sing

On Friday evening (6/15)  the Glenville Presbyterian Church was the site of an old-time gospel sing.  We sponsored a pot luck supper before the sing.  I had forgotten that the laws of photography state that one should never take a picture of the food after the group has started eating!

We had about 25 folks in attendance. Many folks were congregational members, but we had visitors from Elkins and even Florida.  From left to right is Tracy Schwartz, Grafton Wine, Mona James, Fran Schmetzer, and Pastor Charlie Ringe.

Ron and Lynn Kemper below on the far left is talking with Kathy Gilbert.  Ron Kemper's father was a marvelous Gilmer County bird carver.  Lynn has taken up his craft.  These folk live in Florida, but during the summer live on the family farm in Gilmer County.  If you are at the WV State Folk Festival this week, please stop by the Historic Bank Building where Lynn will be displaying her art.  They are marvelous folks.

Ginny Hawker and Tracy Schwarz led the singing.

We finished our hour of old time singing with a great song called "Family Reunion".

Judy is with our neighbor Ruth and her daughter Jennifer. 

It is such a good feeling to be part of community singing and hymns are the best!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

Judy and I have been so blessed to have families that have supported us throughout our lives.  Both our Dads were so special to us.  They were always helping, giving encouragement, and love.  I was born a year after Dad finished his Navy career.  Judy's Dad was still at war when she was born.

My Dad, Jim Meads, enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

Here is Judy's Dad, Carl Musgrave.  He served in the U.S. Army during World War II.

Happy Father's Day to all!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Father's Day Gift?

About a month ago, my good wife sensed that I was looking into a new piece of technology.  She said, "Sweet Heart, why don't you buy that for your Father's Day gift?"  I am not one to disappoint her and always try to make her task easier.  I purchased an Eye-Fi card for my camera. Thanks, Sweet Heart!

With an Eye-Fi X2 card, you can instantly upload full resolution photos & videos directly from your digital camera to your iPhone or iPad, wherever you are. Connect your Eye-Fi X2 card directly to your iPhone or iPad anywhere using Direct Mode - no tethering, Wi-Fi router or Wi-Fi hotspot required. Just turn your camera on, and let Eye-Fi do the work for you.

Thanks to the Eye-Fi app, you can automatically back up and organize photos and videos by date on your home computer, or share them on your favorite online site. Now you can get all your photos backed up and organized, whether you took them with your digital camera or iPhone/iPad. No cables. No hassles.

Key benefits:

•Wireless backups & organization on your computer. Eye-Fi sends your full resolution photos and videos to your computer. No more fussing with cables.

•Stay organized. Eye-Fi automatically organizes photos & videos on your computer by date or drops them into iPhoto on your Mac.

•Select all or just the photos and videos you want and choose where they go. Want to send a few pictures to your friends on Facebook, another group of photos to your Picasa album? Eye-Fi makes it easy.

When used with an Eye-Fi X2 card:

•Instant uploads from your camera to your iPhone or iPad’s photo gallery – anywhere. The Eye-Fi X2 card connects directly to your iPhone/iPad using Direct Mode. No tethering, Wi-Fi router or Wi-Fi hotspot required.

•Use your favorite iOS apps to view, edit and share your photos

•Want to share on-the-go? The Eye-Fi app can use your iPhone/iPad’s data connection (EDGE, 3G or Wi-Fi) to upload stored photos to your favorite online sharing site, wherever you are (data charges may apply). 

Now you know about this piece of technology, I would suggest you look into this for your system.  (Be sure to ask your wife if you should purchase it!)  I now have the camera with the Eye-Fi card installed.  I am ready for the Folk Festival which begins nect Thursday, June 21st.

A Romantic Gift?

I bought this antique rotary hoe wheel on Ebay for the good wife.  It is now displayed in our back flower garden.  We will be celebrating our 45th anniversary on July 2.  Is this not a romantic gift for celebration of four and one-half decades of married life?  Well?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

 Girl Scout's 100th

Rachael and Flora traveled to the Mall in Washington, D.C. last Saturday to celebrate the Girl Scouts 100th Anniversary.  Flora (Top row and second from the left) posed with her  Shepherdstown girl scout troop.

An estimated 200,000 Girl Scouts, family, alumnae and friends from around the world and every Girl Scout Council in the United States attended the "Rock the Mall" event that celebrated the Girl Scout movement. The event featured songs by the girls along with audience participation.

Rachael said it was so hot that she was ready to have Flora checked out for heat exposure when the fire departments arrived.  They were a blessing.  Misting the crowds worked well to cool off the participants.

They had a full day.  The girls attended the Smithsonian's Natural History museum and saw the Hope Diamond and dinosaurs.  Rach and Flora were tired puppies when they got home. It was a great day!