Two fawns and a buck

I looked out my kitchen window yesterday at dusk and spotted a deer and a fawn near the creek by our stone patio.

I’ve been watching for the doe with the injured leg, and thought this might be her. So I was also looking for the second fawn that Mark has been seeing with our doe.

The adult and the fawn wandered down the creek bank (and are visible in the background) when this little frisky guy showed up. This fawn appears to be a bit larger than the other one, and much more energetic. I would bet 10 bucks, no pun intended, that this is the little fawn I saw strolling alone down our drive last month.

Here was the surprise. The adult was a buck, not our doe. I was unsettled by this and worried that something has happened to our lame doe. I googled buck and fawns to see if the father sometimes takes care of the babies to give the mother a break, but couldn’t find any information. In fact, I found the opposite: bucks usually do not hang around the does and fawns. What about Bambi? His father stayed in the picture when Bambi’s mother died, didn’t he?

I don’t know if this is the fawns’ father or Uncle Dan, but he clearly was in charge of the fawns for the evening.

I was trying to take good photos through the kitchen window, using my 300mm lens and a high ISO because of the low light conditions. But the fawns were frolicking all around like two young children at a park in the early spring. Most of the pictures of them are a blur of brown.

This little one, trying to keep up with her brother, spun around this tree, miscalculating a bit. She ran right into it and then fell down. When she stood back up she didn’t move for a while. I think she was stunned.

This is completely endearing:  the buck, seeing what happened, walked over to the little fawn, undoubtedly to make sure she was okay.

I just love watching these animals interact.

Finally, a moment when all three are standing still.

And another, although the buck is moving his head to prune our plants. Because of his apparent preference for this delicacy I think he may be the buck I saw several weeks ago. I sure hope the mother of these two little darlings is okay.

I got out my iPhone and started taking a video. The frisky little guy runs off. The little follower chases after. The big buck watches where they go, thinks,”Dang, they’re not coming back,” and lopes after them.

See more deer posts here.

A thousand bottles

A breeze blows in the window and across the room where it feels cool on my skin and lifts soft wisps of hair off my face. Outside the trees sway and dance with a million graceful arms that make a sweet rustling sound and provide a background for the instrumental music playing from my computer. A steady, but easy and soundless, rain continues to fall as if it will not stop for days. Arthur sleeps in his safe place behind the recliner I often sit in to read. Earlier on the screened-in porch, Arthur’s shivering and quaking from the cool air or fear of the weather eventually drives us both inside.

It’s a very peaceful moment and would that I could bottle it and hang it from my neck on a thin ribbon to experience when I’m not at peace and life is a clanging symbol fraught with uncertainty and fear and longing. Would that I could breathe in this moment and set my soul to rest at whim.

Would that I could fill a thousand bottles and give one to you.

May a cool breeze tease your hair, softly brush your face, and clear your mind.

Have a nice weekend.





The woods green up

This is a project I’ve been working on since the middle of March. I wanted to capture the way the woods green up. I never noticed before that the green starts at the ground and gradually moves up the trees. The limbs at the very top are the last to unfurl the leaves. This is all makes good sense if we consider that it must take more time for the water and nutrients to travel to the very topmost branches of the trees. I really don’t know the science behind the way the leaves come out in spring, but this was fun to watch. I explain how I did this, what I learned, and what I might do differently at the end of this post.

The woods green up from the ground to the sky as the earth reaches for the heavens.

This morning, I sorted through the photos I had taken, titled with the date, and saved in a file. I discarded many that I didn’t think would work, like the one below that didn’t fit into the transitions of the slide show. I actually like the photo because of the shadows.

Taken March 19, 2012

After I had the group of photos I hoped to use, I did an auto-correct on photoshop for contrast and color, hoping that would even out the varied light conditions under which all these photos were taken.

Although I tried to stand in the same exact place on our deck each day, and target the stone patio for the lower and left third of the photo (rule of three), I did not have a very scientific or well-regulated methodology and some of the photos had the patio up high:

And some had the patio closer to the bottom.

Taken April 1, 2012

So I had the problem of lining them up so the transitions wouldn’t be unacceptably jerky. I used the circular stone patio as a guide, created a template on PhotoShop with a rectangle containing the circle. I placed each photo under the template, moved it so that the stone patio was directly under the circle on the template, then cropped the picture along the template rectangle. This method wasn’t perfect, but it was an improvement.

After that it was a fairly simple matter of loading the pictures into an iMovie project, adding transitions between the slides, exporting the movie to a file on my hard drive, and uploading it to YouTube. I added the music as an enhancement to the video on YouTube.

I spent all morning on this project. But I think it was worth the time, not because it turned out all that well, but because I learned a lot, which is always good, but especially important as I age to keep my brain healthy.

So here’s to a morning spent on Alzheimer’s prevention, with a video to boot.

As a side note, I was surprised to see that I have 19 videos up on my YouTube channel (57cmsmith) of varying quality, but you have to start somewhere. My most popular video was Animal Control Removal of a Rattlesnake from Hilton Head with 467 hits, followed by the two videos of Mark’s knee replacement surgery recovery at 3 days (115 hits)  and 2 weeks (124 hits). My Self-Pub Proof Copy Arrives video got 97 hits.

Bilateral Knee Surgery – Two weeks post-op and walking with a cane

Two weeks ago today I was sitting in a hospital waiting room while Mark was having his three-hour total knee replacement surgery. Last Thursday Mark put away his walker and started using a cane. His physical therapist continues to tell him he is way ahead of schedule on his recovery. We don’t really have an explanation for that except that his surgeon did a great job with the most updated techniques and appliances, and Mark is determined and has been aggressive with following his recommended exercise routine. I’m thankful for how fast he is recovering and proud of him for how hard he is working at it with little complaint.

Last Friday at therapy he was told he could cut back even further on the CPM machine, but the therapist did not want to  make the decision to stop it, and wanted to wait until the doctor released him from it. So Mark is using the CPM 2hrs on the left leg, which is a little stiffer, and one hour on the right every day.

Mark is finished with the blood thinner shots. He still takes the Lyrica and Celebrex pain meds every day, but has cut way back on the narcotic Percocet and primarily uses it at night if he has trouble sleeping.

He will see the surgeon on Wednesday for his two-week post op appointment. After that we hope to be done with the CPM machine. Mark also hopes to be done with the tight hose he has to wear to promote blood circulation in his legs. He will undoubtedly ask the doctor when he can drive. He also wants the doctor’s advice about when he should back off the other pain medicines. On Wednesday we expect that Mark will have his staples removed and we will see his incisions for the first time. He has been wearing some kind of silver-embedded bandage on each knee since surgery that is supposed to prevent infection. And finally, Mark should be able to shower following his doctor’s appointment.

Mark has three physical therapy appointments this week and again next week. Then we will find out what comes next. The time has gone fast for me so far, but the day of surgery seems a great distance away in my mind. It’s a funny thing about time.

You can find links to the entire series on Bilateral knee replacement surgery here.

Caught by the radar – on YouTube and copyright infringements

8:02 am Tuesday, Dec. 13

I uploaded the video I posted for Ogre Returns part 2 of 2 or Music on the Web using photos of Matthew painting freelance and a song clip from Journey’s “Can’t Tame the Lion.”

8:05 am Tuesday, Dec. 13

I received the following email from YouTube:

“Dear 57cmsmith,

Your video, Matt’s Slideshow Cinci Dec 2011, may have content that is owned or licensed by SME.

No action is required on your part; however, if you are interested in learning how this affects your video, please visit the Content ID Matches section of your account for more information.

– The YouTube Team”

I immediately visited the link YouTube recommended finding the following:

“Copyright Info: Ogre Returns – Cinci Dec 2011

Your video, Ogre Returns – Cinci Dec 2011, may include content that is owned or administered by these entities:

  • Entity: SME Content Type: Sound Recording
What should I do?
No action is required on your part. Your video is still available worldwide. In some cases ads may appear next to your video.
What can I do about my video’s status?
Please note that the video’s status can change, if the policies chosen by the content owners change. You may want to check back periodically to see if you have new options available to you.
Under certain circumstances, you may dispute this copyright claim. These are:
  • if the content is mistakenly identified and is actually completely your original creation;
  • if you believe your use does not infringe copyright (e.g. it is fair use under US law);
  • if you are actually licensed by the owner to use this content.

I need more information. I want to learn more about the dispute process.

Please take a few minutes to visit our Help Center section on Policy and Copyright Guidelines, where you can learn more about copyright law and our Content Identification Service.”

I immediately visited the Help Center link YouTube recommended finding the following:


Content Owners


YouTube Users


Copyright Education

The first link for Content Owners provided information about how to file copyright notifications using YouTube’s “easy-to-use web form”; information on the content verification program for copyright holders who have an ongoing need to removed allegedly infringing content from YouTube; and information on YouTube’s content ID technology that “allows content owners to identify user-uploaded videos and audio comprised of their content, and choose what they want to happen when those videos are found: Make money from them. Get stats on them. Or block them from YouTube altogether.

As I was not the content owner, I didn’t dwell long here.

The link for YouTube Users had the following three choices:


What happened to my video?

Check here if your video was removed,
muted, blocked in some or all countries,
or is unexpectedly showing ads.


Why do I have a strike on
my account?


Why was my account

I click on “What happened to my video?”

“Before reading about the options available to you, we first need to understand exactly what happened to your video. Was your video removed, muted, or blocked in some or all countries? Is it currently displaying advertisements?
If your video was MUTED, BLOCKED IN SOME OR ALL COUNTRIES, or is DISPLAYING ADVERTISEMENTS, YouTube’s Content ID system has identified copyright content in your video.

Content ID matches will appear next to the video on your “My Videos” page, and the video will also be listed on your “Content ID Matches” page.

You can see an example below:

If this happened, you do not currently have a copyright strike against your account.

What I did next:

Okay, I know I’m in violation of a copyright. I also know that probably the biggest repercussion is going to be getting my video yanked from YouTube, and getting a strike against me with YouTube. I imagine if I keep infringing on others’ copyrights on YouTube, eventually my account will be cancelled and I will have to get a new email address and start a new account if I wish to continue with my illegal activity.

I went back to the page for the video in question and noticed that someone had inserted both Journey’s name and links to where the song title could be purchased. I am now part of Journey’s advertising program, which is fine with me. I love Journey. I like them even better knowing how they opted to handle this. I hope people will buy their music.

What I learned from this experience:

1. I learned that, wow, that radar net is pretty good. I am not going to be able to infringe on others’ copyrights on YouTube unnoticed.

2. Probably many artists are willing to let you use their music as long as it is not done in a demeaning manner. This is what I would do if I were a famous musician. Free publicity.

Now what?

I’m wondering if I should upload and post my Ohio River slide show set to Old Man River as performed by Bee Adair. . .

Ogre Returns part 2 of 2 – or Music and the Web

I was going to simply post a Tuesday (under) two-minutes video of snapshots of my son painting freelance when he was in town for a gallery opening on December 3. I used iMovie on my Mac and was going to add a soundtrack. Then I went off on a tangent.

I’m probably not  allowed to use a soundtrack from a recorded artist on my slideshow on my published blog. I don’t have the required rights. This realization led to a whole series of other related (and not so related) thoughts and questions.

What exactly are my rights when I purchase a Trial by Fire CD by Journey produced in 1996? I know I am allowed to play it for myself. And probably play it at a party that I may have. But am I allowed to broadcast it across a sound system at a crowded arena where I host a party to a million people? Probably not. But I’m only guessing, because I really have no idea what my rights are when I purchase a CD.

I am more familiar with what I am allowed to do with the printed word, especially if I am writing something of a scholastic nature, like this post for example. I learned that for the purposes of my college papers, I could quote whatever I wanted from someone else as long as I credited the source. In fact, quoting from another preferably scholastic paper added credibility to my own arguments. What I don’t know is if I have the right to subsequently publish what I wrote that contained said quoted material. What if I put it on my blog? I think I am still okay, because authors like to have their words shared, unlike musicians. I am not permitted to include song lyrics in my published work without permission from the song writer.

I believe I am free to use song titles, however, which usually are made up of lyrics. So perhaps I could also slip a few short phrases under the radar if I really needed  to include lyrics in a story. Or I could try to track down the performing artist and seek permission. I’ve thought about doing that for a slide show I made about the Ohio River while I was in college. I set it to the music, “Old Man River” performed by Bee Adair. I have no idea who Bee Adair is, where he (or she for that matter) lives, and even if he or she is still alive. It’s a pretty cool little slide show with some great shots of the Ohio River and people working or relaxing on the river, but it really isn’t much to look at without the music.

What really confuses me is YouTube. I can embed any YouTube video on my blog that I want to. They make it easy for you to do. I don’t think they would encourage it if it wasn’t permitted. So I can put a YouTube video of Journey’s “Can’t Tame the Lion” on my blog. Can I put my own slide show with “Can’t Tame the Lion” playing in the background on YouTube as a video and then on my blog?

Truthfully, I really don’t know. Do you?

Here’s hoping I fly under the radar yet again.

You can hear the complete song track by Journey, “Can’t tame the lion” on YouTube. If you’d like to read more about Journey, Mark Pakulak at The Idiot Speaketh has a wonderful post with photographs of Journey in his Music Flashbacks series. No animals were injured in the production of this video.

The artist in the photos, my son Matthew, says he doesn’t know what he is drawing until he begins with the black lines when he does this type of work. He also says that this is more about the process than the final result and that small short lines and quick ink spots make for an interesting time-lapse video.

The editor of the video, yours truly, needs a little work as noted by the clumsy ending. I bought the iMovie and iDVD for Dummies book, but in light of the restrictions on music, I may either need to learn how to create my own music via Garage Band, (note to self, order Garage Band for Dummies), or give up this hobby in its infancy and go back to knitting.

Tuesday’s two-minute video – An owl calls

We’ve heard this screeching, or what I called squawking, in the mornings and evenings close to our house. It sounds like there are actually two birds. I looked up bird calls online. The closest sound I could find to what our birds were making was that of a barn owl that you can listen to here.

Up until this weekend, we were never able to see the creature that was making the racket. Then Sunday morning our daughter, who was visiting for the weekend, said that she and her friends saw its silhouette perched high in a tree when they returned to our house late Saturday night. Mark and I decided to sit outside Sunday at dusk and watch for it. We could hear it, but never saw it. (Video is 23 seconds.)

Then Monday, I got lucky. The owl was out in the daytime. I could hear it behind our house. When I stepped out onto the deck, it swooped down and flew along the creek bed at the base of our yard. I could only see the back of it, and still didn’t know what it was. I ran in the house and got my video camera, hoping to be able to catch it on film.

In the video, it is perched just to the left of the center. A large limb runs from the bottom to the top near the middle. A smaller limb behind it crosses on the diagonal. The owl is in the visual “V” made by the two limbs. If you watch closely, you can see it turn its head. About halfway through the movie, I zoom out, you will hear a door slam, and shortly afterwards, the owl turns around and flies away. You can see it more clearly if you go to full-screen. (The video is 1:43.)

I could distinctly hear not one, but two of these birds calling back and forth.

Here’s where the real wonder happened. I got my DSLR with its telephoto lens, and went outside to try to catch a still shot of the owl, hoping if I enlarged it on my computer screen I would be able to see it more clearly and identify it. As I was standing in the grass near my house, clicking away on my camera, the second bird landed on a branch within my camera viewfinder. I kept clicking. (Click on the photo to enlarge.)

Two juvenile great horned owls. November 14, 2011. West Chester, Ohio.

Barn owls do not have little tufts on their heads. With the sound from the video, and the photograph, I think I got to the bottom of the owl’s identity last night. Visit this page, scroll down to the great horned owl, and listen to the nocturnal shriek of an owlet.

Two juvenile great horned owls. Who knew? We had heard the distinctive call of adult great horned owls in the past. So we know they’re in the area. They must have had babies. Pretty cool.


For more bird photos, see my bird page under the wildlife tab above.

Movie Monday — Painting Freestyle

Ha. I got it right this time – the movie’s on Monday. And I’m cutting you a break. This is not one of my movies, but someone else’s. Actually there are two, too-good to miss, quick videos of painting freestyle by two of my talented sons. Think upscale, fast-forward, magic-drawing-board from Captain Kangaroo with pizzazz. They’re having some fun up in Buffalo, NY.

painting freestyle – 11.06.2011 (artist OGRE) from CGT on Vimeo.

painting freestyle – 11.06.2011 (guest artist Mark Grote) from CGT on Vimeo.

You don’t want to miss

your chance to win a copy of Dancing in Heaven at Cynthia Robertson’s blog where she posted a beautifully written review.

Tuesday’s two-minute movie – Chameleon Crazy

Well, this was actually going to be “Monday Movie—one day late.” I’m trying to really embrace this blogging culture. “Monday’s Movie,” “Tuesday’s Trauma,” “Wednesday’s. . .” well, I’ll get to Wednesday later. Anyway, I may not need one. I will probably have given up on this idea by then.

Then I remembered how my son informed me that my “Proof Copy” video was too long. So I wonder how long is too long? Is a two-minute movie okay? Aha. It’s Tuesday. I need a two-minute movie. Unfortunately I have a 7 minute and 41 seconds movie. Now is the perfect time to learn to edit my films.

You’ll see the cuts. Be patient with me; I’m still learning.

And the two minutes is more like two minutes and 46 seconds. I’m working on it.

Grote Ink productions not-so-proudly presents, Chameleon Crazy: or the hard way to remove invasive ivy from your garden.

See more posts about gardening in my series.