Altocumulus clouds?

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This afternoon, I saw what seemed to be altocumulus clouds near my residence.

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For some of the pictures, I intentionally included elements such as house roofs and street lights to provide some idea of scale and location.

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All these pictures were taken from around the same location and at around the same time, but with the camera aimed at different regions of the sky.

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Large snail

snail1Today, as part of the outreach activities of Ateneo de Naga University in celebration of Ignatius day, I took part in some tree planting in Panicuason, Naga City. We planted saplings at a high location (either a hill side or a mountain side), and I was surprised to find this land snail shell having a diameter of around 8.5 cm. (It was filled with soil when I found it.)

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Happiness is measured in cats

cats I never expected to have a pet cat. But, a few years ago, when my daughter discovered two abandoned kittens in an unoccupied house, we took them and took care of them. One died shortly, but the other one, a male we call “Mow” (pronounced to rhyme with “cow”) grew up part pet, part street cat. We kept one window of our house open so that he could sleep and eat inside the house whenever he wanted to, and explore the outside world the rest of the time. Last year, we were surprised to see that Mow had invited two females inside the house. The tri-colored one we called “TC” and the dark gray one we called “Agatha.” They would sleep on or under the sofa at night and leave the next morning. Pretty soon the two females became pregnant and Agatha stopped coming inside the house. Last month, TC brought three kittens into the house during a rainstorm, but brought them outside a few days later when the rains stopped. Two weeks ago, it started to rain again, and we were surprised to see TC bring in eight kittens. The mystery was solved when Agatha arrived some time later. These two moms now take turns taking care of their kittens.

Mystery plant

wrf1 I just saw this very strange plant in my neighborhood. It’s around five feet tall, with red flowers on top and leaves coming out of its very wide stem. The owner of the plant doesn’t know its name. It wasn’t planted intentionally; it just grew on the property. I tried in vain searching the internet for its name. Please leave a reply if you know what it’s called.

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Atlas moth

(Originally posted at http://joelnoche.multiply.com/journal/item/76/Atlas-moth on October 9, 2011 3:12 AM)

A few weeks ago, we found an Atlas moth in our pond. It was the largest moth I had ever seen. (The soccer ball behind it is around 8 inches in diameter.)

The photo shows that part of its wing (at the lower left of the photo) is damaged.  Some time after the photo was taken, we found that both wings had been damaged.  (We suspect a chicken had attacked it.)  We put the moth high on the branches of a tree.  When we got back to it some time later it was gone.

Botanica Magnifica

(Originally posted at http://joelnoche.multiply.com/journal/item/68/Botanica-Magnifica on September 1, 2011 9:57 AM)


I first learned about Botanica Magnifica from a July/August 2008 issue of the magazine Fine Books & Collections that I bought at a BOOKSALE a few years ago. I used to think pictures of flowers were quite boring until I saw the photographs in this book.  The pictures from left to right show a Passiflora quadrangularis, a Gloriosa superba, and a Cynara scolymus.  (I got the graphics from here using screen captures.)  The book was originally published as a five-volume set with a double-elephant folio book size, and its second copy sold for US$2.5 million before it was completely printed (making it the most expensive new book at the time).