The New Normal

We had planned to be in Europe for the month of April. Thanks to Covid-19, that didn’t happen. What did happen is that we became even more familiar with a collection of household products that are now part of our “new normal” daily life. The following photo showcases many of them.

Flying Squirrel Circus

This is our entry in Dutch goes the Photo!’s Tuesday Photo Challenge – Animals.

Because we live near woods, we get many animal visitors. For a few years, we have encouraged birds with food, water, and houses.  Squirrels like to share the birds’ bounty, so we have also provided food in their own feeder, while discouraging their visits to bird feeders. it’s very hard to discourage a squirrel. We have found three methods that work well enough:

  1. Put food in the bird feeder that squirrels don’t like (e.g., safflower seed).
  2. Put a squirrel baffle on the bird feeder pole.
  3. Put enough distance between the squirrel and the food.

The last method was put to a serious test last month.  We had placed suet cakes on a shepherd’s crook, to divert our many woodpecker visitors from drilling into our house.  We also placed a squirrel baffle on the staff.   The baffle did prevent squirrels from running up the staff to the suet. Unfortunately, the staff was placed about four feet from a bird bath, and the squirrels soon learned to leap to the top of the bird bath before leaping to the suet.  In fact, they used the top of the baffle as seating while they feasted on the suet.

We moved the staff farther away. The squirrels easily made the 6-foot leap from the bird bath to the new location.

We moved the staff even farther away from the bird bath. While the staff was now out of reach of the bird bath, the squirrels found a new launching point and amazed us with 7-foot leaps. The series of images below captures the acrobatics of that flying squirrel circus. (Click to enlarge.)

Postscript: We moved the staff even farther away and the squirrels have not attempted the resulting 10-foot leap.

This series of photos was taken on March 26, 2020.  Specs are:

Canon 200D, ISO 250, f/5.0, 1/250 sec, 150 mm.

Monochrome Monkey

This is our entry in Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #70: Monochrome.

In February of this year, we visited the four cave temples in Badami, in the Indian state of Karnataka.  As we climbed to the site, we exchanged looks with this wistful monkey.  We each kept our distance.

This photo was taken on February 15, 2019. Specs are:

Canon 100D, ISO 100, f/7.1, 1/125 sec, 31 mm.

Budapest 25 October 1956

This is our entry in Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Numbers: Anything with numbers on it.

In Budapest, Hungary, in the pavement a hundred yards or so from the Parliament building, a set of stairs lead to an underground museum called, precisely,

In memoriam 1956. October 25. Memorial and Exhibition

This museum captures the events of October 25, 1956, when the Hungarian State Security Police massacred Hungarian citizens in the square in front of the Parliament building.  A student revolt led to the collapse of the government. However, Soviet troops invaded Hungary on November 4, and by January 1957, the Soviet Union controlled Hungary.  After 33 years, the Republic of Hungary was declared on October 23, 1989, and the story of the Revolution could be told.

The photo below is of the outside of the barrier wall adjacent to the stair steps down to the memorial.

This photo was taken on April 21, 2019. Specs are:

Canon 200D, ISO 500, f/9.0, 1/30 sec, 18 mm.

Starfish

This is our entry in Lens-Artists Challenge #69 – Seeing Double.

Just eight months ago we were walking on Varca Beach in South Goa, India.  This starfish caught our eye. We didn’t know whether something else (an ocean wave, person, or animal) had flipped it over — there are bird tracks in the sand — or if it had made a very unfortunate move by itself.  In any event, we were struck by the composition in the bright afternoon sunlight.

This photo was taken on February 19, 2019. Specs are: Olympus TG-5, ISO 125, f/4.9, 1/200 sec, 18 mm.