An Otter Story

the male otter scaling the dry dam using the pile of rocks below

As you probably know by now, the Ipswich River water level is at an historic low. The poor turtles were getting trapped in the fish ladder, but the otters have been displaying some amazing ingenuity. Back before the drought they used the fish ladder to get from the tidal water below the dam to the fresh water above the dam. Now we’re seeing them use the storm drain system and also scaling the dam using a pile of rocks for leverage.

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Happy 3rd Blogiversary to Me!

happy 3rd blogiversary to me!

Today is my 3rd Blogiversary. On August 26, 2013, I published my first post on ninedarkmoons.com and started a 3 year odyssey of DIY, creativity, photography, and self expression. I’ve also learned way more about website design than I ever thought possible! Over the past 3 years I’ve published 316 posts & over 4,500 photos. I am very proud of what I’ve accomplished.

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A Turtle Story [& Video!]

juvenile painted turtle i rescued from the fish ladder during drought

Due to the current drought in the Northeast, the Ipswich River water levels have been getting lower and lower. The waterfall stopped altogether over a month ago, making our house oddly silent. The fish ladder, which is directly behind our house, runs perpendicular to the dam. Because of the falling water levels, turtles started getting trapped in the fish ladder at the end of July. I rescued 5 and other people rescued a whole bunch more.

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Page Speed & New Theme

final speed test results from gtmetrix showing 97% speed!

UPDATED 8/22/16 with more speed & a list of speedy plugins.
On August 4th I decided to retest my page’s speed. I hadn’t tested it since last July. It was a bit of a wake up call! I scored a big, fat F for speed. Yikes! Since then I’ve learned so much about site optimization and page speed. I’ve downloaded a new, more current theme, have “smushed” all 4,500+ of my images, and learned how to cache my files and pages. WHEW!

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If My Site Looks Different…

black and white yay

If my site looks different it’s because I’m fiddling around with a new theme and trying to customize it to look as much as possible like the old theme. My old theme, Mantra by Cryout Creations, is over 5 years old [I’ve only been blogging for 3, but Mantra has been around since May 2011]. My new theme, Nirvana by Cryout Creations, is 2 years old but comes with many upgraded features that will help me streamline my site.

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I Virtually Made it out of Massachusetts!

my virtual mission screenie showing entire mission from ipswich to the seattle aquarium

I started riding 30 miles a week on the recumbent bike at the local YMCA last month, so I decided to sign up for a virtual mission at myvirtualmission.com. I didn’t really have a specific destination on the west coast, so I randomly chose the Seattle Aquarium. And the awesomest part about that is I keep having nightmares about the Seattle Aquarium [think giant tentacles slamming into glass]. GAH!

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A Heron Story

great blue heron catching fish in the ipswich river

We don’t see the Great Blue Heron very often, like hardly ever. But last Friday morning Jim saw him in the river hunting fish. On Monday morning we saw him so I grabbed my new zoom lens and sat in living room window and watched him for about an hour as he stalked, caught, rinsed, and ate a fish. And shook himself dry like a dog.

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