Spiral Light Candle
Sauk Centre, Minnesota: near the corner of Ash Street and South 9th.
(Please, be patient. The live streaming video starts after a (relatively) short canned commercial.)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Behind the Camera: This Will be a Chilly Week

Our furnace quit, night before last.

There's a remote chance that a replacement part will come tomorrow: but it's more likely that it'll arrive Friday. Or maybe next week. As I posted in another blog last night, "I'm Sick, the Furnace is Kaput, There's a Storm Coming: but Other Than That, Things are Fine!." (Through One Dad's Eye (December 29, 2008))

This shouldn't affect the webcam: we've gone the night without popping a circuit breaker, so it looks like my wife's planning with the electric heaters was efficient as ever.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Technical Difficulties and Having a Life

As you may still see, something happened right after 2:37 this morning, and there were no more updates for the picture.

I've started a quick fix - I hope - but don't know if it will work.

And, since I'm already four minutes behind schedule, getting #2 daughter and her finace to the airport, I can't stick around.

Monday, December 15, 2008

This Winter's First Storm

I've heard that parts of Minnesota got something like eight inches of snow this weekend, but around here it was more like three to five inches.

This morning Interstate 94 was shut down between Jamestown, North Dakota, and Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Later, I understand, the stretch from Fergus to Alexandria was closed, too.

Here in Sauk Centre, it's anyone's guess what the school will decide to do.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

White Christmas, Here We Come!

Snow over the last few days gave this part of Minnesota a traditional, seasonal, look.

It also made driving treacherous in spots, but that's par for the course around here.

I've found myself singing "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" off and on. You can see why.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Serious Gap in Service Tuesday Night

Actually, it was mostly Wednesday morning.

If you checked out the Small Town America: Central Minnesota webcam Tuesday evening, or really early Wednesday morning, you might have noticed something wrong with the picture.

Here's what happened:

The webcam sends its signal through the same service that provides our telephone and cable television: economical, and most of the time highly satisfactory.

Earlier this week, not so much.

Here's the sequence of events, as I've pieced it together. All times are approximate:
  • Tuesday, December 2, 2008
    • 6 p.m.
      Internet service lost
    • 7 p.m.
      Internet service restored
    • Midnight
      Internet service lost
      Telephone service lost
      Cable service lost
  • Wednesday, December 3, 2008
    • 5:50 a.m.
      Internet service still out
      Telephone service restored
      Cable service still out
    • Between 5:50 a.m. and 9 a.m.
      Internet service restored
    • Between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.
      Cable service restored
I'm not sure about when we got cable back, but one of my daughters tells me that the cable box display blinked and flickered somewhere between 8 and 9 in the morning, so that's probably when it happened.

I was working on something when we lost connection to the Internet - which is another story.

The point here is that, while we were cut off from the rest of the world, this webcam was, too.

Sorry about that, but things seem to be working now. In fact, the connection is working more efficiently than it has for several days.
About the times I listed up there:

I live pretty close to the middle of North America, in Minnesota. All times are Central time, USA style.

Minnesota time is UTC/GMT -6 hours, which means that our clocks are six hours behind Coordinated Universal Time. That's not taking Daylight Saving Time into account.

This year, Daylight Saving Time started March 9, 2008 at 2:00 AM local standard time and ended November 2, 2008 at 2:00 AM local daylight time. What the Capitol Hill bunch will decide we have to do next year, I don't know.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

More Hummingbirds!

Maybe the hummingbird feeder is getting the avian equivalent of word-of-mouth advertising.

Or I'm getting hummingbirds on a southward migration.

Whatever the reason, traffic at the hummingbird feeder has been up during the last week. Good news.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Yesterday, my oldest daughter and I saw two hummingbirds at the feeder at the same time. The one at the feeder took off and flew away, following the newcomer.

Maybe it was an unnecessary territorial dispute: There are eight stations on the feeder, and plenty of nectar (now).

Or maybe the second hummingbird reminded the first of something urgent, over on the other side of the street. That's wildly unlikely: but fun to imagine.

Meanwhile, the comic strip Zits featured a hummingbird today. (ArcaMax Publishing, whose Zits archive page I linked to, keeps individual strips up for about a month, so enjoy it while you can. :) )

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ash Street: Visible Again

I got home from an out-of-town trip after sunset Sunday night. The trailer that the construction crew has had parked north of our house for weeks may have been gone then.

It was definitely not in place Monday morning.

Can't say that I miss the thing: It was blocking the webcam's view of Ash Street, and the work that's been going on there.

They seem to be pouring the curbs today.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


I saw a hummingbird at the feeder around suppertime today. I alerted the household, so this time they were able to see the little green spot, too.

The way the little creature sat, probing around at one station, then hovered over to the next and repeated the process, makes me wonder if the hummingbird was after the sugar water, the ants that get into the sugar water, or maybe both. #1 daughter suggested that the feeder was providing a sort of main-course-and-desert service.

Unhappily, something seems to have happened to the webcam around 11:30 this morning - so we're the only ones who saw the hummingbird. I've got the thing online again - and will be trying to figure out what happened tomorrow.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Software Problems: Sorry!

Sorry about that blank picture!

I'm having what I hope are temporary problems with my webcam software.

Thank you for your patience: I am working on a solution.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Independence Day, 2008

You can't hear it, but there pop and crackle of fireworks is in the air.

Which is notable, since that sort of thing is illegal here in Minnesota.

Me? I haven't set off a firecracker in years, but I don't mind people who do. Pulling bottle rockets and assorted scrap out of the yard is a minor annoyance: but it's worth it, to hear the sounds of the Fourth of July, as I remember it, back in the day.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Lightning: Not Good for Computers

This webcam had to be down part of this afternoon, and again this evening, starting at 7:00 Central time. We've had thunderstorms coming through.

There's a flash flood watch for central Minnesota: small potatoes, compared to the tornado watches running from southwest Minnesota to central Oklahoma.

The problem for me is, lightning can cause variations in the household power supply: and that isn't at all good for computers.

I'll have the main computer up and running, when the weather settles down a bit more.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

First Hummingbird Sited!

This evening, maybe a half hour ago, I saw a hummingbird at the feeder. It's the first time that I've seen one there: quite a treat.

The sugar-water solution has been going down, so there may have been hummers here before.

Or, the ants that were marching up and down the pole may have been very, very busy.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Northcam's Back! Just in Time for the Ash Street Project

After being offline for over a week, the northcam is back.

And just it time to show what's happening at the Ash Street Project. The crew started cutting up the street outside, barely an hour before I got the camera and the online display talking to each other again.

The camera is near the corner of Ninth Street south and Ash, in Sauk Centre, Minnesota.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Replacement Webcam Working

So far, the webcam set up in a west window, looking toward the same intersection as the normal one, seems to be working. Which is a little surprising, considering how often I dropped it.

The last fall happened overnight. My son tells me that he found it on the floor, and put the webcam back in it's usual place, on my laptop. I'd wondered who had done that.

I've got the webcam secured firmly this time, I trust, in the lower-left corner of a west window, looking to the north-northwest, with a card set in place to shield it from the setting sun.

The view isn't as good as from the original Ash Street webcam's location: but it will do for now.

I certainly hope that I get the main computer back in working order soon.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Webcam and a Bucky Computer

This afternoon, my main computer started misbehaving. There may be something wrong with the hard drive. Or possibly the file allocation table.

Or, maybe I've got gremlins in the tower.

The long and the short of it is that until some time next week, the webcam photo will be stuck at 4:53 PM, May 21, 2008. Unless I work something out.

I told my 12-year-old son that I'd try setting my laptop up as a substitute. He told me that he'd thought of the same thing (which I believe), and added, "great minds think alike, hmm?"

That's my boy.

I'm taking the main computer in for therapy right after the Memorial Day weekend. That was the earliest opening they had, where I had the thing built.

"Due to Technical Difficulties..."

The 'main' computer here is slightly on the fritz. Something to do with the hard drive, I'm afraid.

I've arranged to take it in to the shop next week, and am hoping for the best until then. Meanwhile, there well probably be a time or three when those once-a-minute updates won't happen.


Friday, May 16, 2008

Swapped Feeders: Now Comes the Waiting

I finally got the new hummingbird feeder washed, rinsed, filled, and hung out.

Why did it take over a week? Good question. I've been a little frazzled lately: more about that at "Through One Dad's Eye."

So far, no hummingbirds, but it's early days: two weeks into May, and the first couple were cold, off and on.

Today, the thermometer registered nearly 80. If this keeps up, we may see hummers yet.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

New Hummingbird Feeder, and a Birdhouse

I picked up a new hummingbird feeder late this afternoon. The one you see in the webcam photo is photogenic, but I realized that the enclosed space in the bottom will be hard to clean.

Besides, the current model doesn't have a perch for the hummers. I read that, although hummingbirds can feed 'on the fly,' they benefit from having perches.

Down side, they'll probably feed more efficiently and spend less time at the feeder.

Up side, I'll have the warm, fuzzy feeling of having helped hummingbirds conserve energy.

I'd gone to Wal-Mart to see what sort of easy-to-plant post they might have for a bird feeder my wife pointed out to me. Didn't find a post - but I'll be taking another look at the bird feeder tomorrow.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Keeping an Eye on Ash Street

Yesterday, I put up a "Keep an Eye on Ash Street" sign. You may have seen it.

So: There's the corner of Ash and South 9th in Sauk Centre? It looks quiet now, but that will change. Ash Street's pavement ends, about a block north of here.

Small Town America: Minnesota Arrives

This blog's purpose, right now, is to give people who watch one of my webcams a chance to talk back.

So: If you've got something to say about Sauk Centre's first view-on-the-street webcam, the Ash Street Project (heading my way), Sauk Centre, or a related topic, Feel free.

That webcam gives a new photo every minute, by the way, and I'm hoping for hummingbirds later this month.
("Following" list moved here, after Blogger changed formats)

Minnesota Watchers


Unique, innovative candles

Visit us online:
Spiral Light CandleFind a Retailer
Spiral Light Candle Store