Sunday, November 16, 2014

Nice to Meet You, I guess

More muses from the new home front.

A couple months ago, I was mowing the lawn with my new tractor.  After a delightful round of figure eights around a row of pine trees,  I zoomed onto the front lawn giddy with the prospect of doing circles around some low lying evergreens.

There standing before the front porch, was a man.  A strange man.  Yeah.  You bet.  I was startled.   

I turned off the tractor, making a silent vow to keep a gun in the side compartment over the rear right wheel from now on.

"I didn't hear the tractor,"  he said.

Maybe the old man is half deaf.  I stuck out my hand and said hello.

He shook my hand and told me his name.  He said, "I just wanted to see who moved in here."

He told me he walks because the doctor told him to walk.  He figured he'd walk over here today.  He pointed north and told me he lives there.  So, the back of my property meets his.  That's nice.

He gazed at the many mature trees around the front of the property.  "Those trees are planted too close together," he declared.

I shrugged.  The trees are where they are.  This uncomfortable interlude reminded me of why I don't like people popping in uninvited, unexpected. 

"Looks like you have some nice dogs," he said.

The dogs were in the fenced in area at the back of the house.  I wondered how long he'd been wandering around the place.  Did he look in all the windows?  Did he stroll inside and use the bathroom?  Did he examine the toolbox in the garage?

"Hope you aren't bothered by gun fire,"  he said.  "We do a lot of shooting around here."

I wish I'd said- Dude, I'm from Detroit.  Gun fire is a fact of life.  Instead I said, "no sweat.  My husband is a gunsmith."

"Gunsmith," he repeated.

A couple days ago, The Handsome One and I did some target shooting.  One of the luxuries of having acreage is being able to shoot in your own back yard.  When we finished, we headed to the house, exhilarated.  A car appeared and pulled up all the way to the garage.  A woman got out of the car.

"You were shooting just now," she declared.  "We don't do that."

"We hear gun fire here all the time," THO said.

"Hunting season starts tomorrow" she declared.  "We don't shoot the day before."

THO very politely said, "sorry, we're new here.  We didn't know."

I cut in, "you're saying we can't shoot handguns on our property?"

"Our property butts up to yours," she said.  "Shooting spooks the deer."

I raised my eyebrows and wanted to say- we hear gun fire everyday and see deer everyday.  You are saying the deer suddenly become spooked by gun fire the day before Firearm Deer Season begins?!  Go away and don't ever insult our intelligence again.  I didn't say that though.  I simply walked into the house and closed the door.

There's an old saying.  Good fences make good neighbors.   Mayhap, it is good guns that make good neighbors.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Pop Culture Frenzy, Round 29

Welcome once again to Pop Culture Frenzy.

 Recently, at some mall in Vermont,  an LLBean store held a grand opening.  There was an unscripted floor show.

What happened?

A brouhaha occurred when
 the complementary Apple Cider ran out?
Hostmaster:  incorrect.
A squirrel crashed the party and
terrorized the guests?
Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Some people concerned
about animal rights staged
a peaceful protest.  The
hate filled hunters wearing LLBean
clothes violently removed them.
Hostmaster: they removed their clothes?
Maybe all the
fitting rooms were
in use.
No!  Come  on!
Isn't it just good hunter etiquette to remove
 your camo when inside a building?
Come on, you guys. 
You know what I mean.
They removed the peaceful
Hostmaster:  incorrect.  You know, Cyndi.  You've come up with some wild answers but this one takes the cake.  Or should I say birdshot.
Here's what happened.  An owl grabbed a hawk and held on for quite some time.  Eventually, the hawk shrieked.  Then, alert members of the staff separated the two birds.
It seems that a group called "Talons" puts raptors on leashes and brings them to various places so people can stare at them.  Reassuringly, a "master falconer" from the Talons Company tells us: gee, this European Eagle Owl has known this Harris Hawk for six years and have done lots of these grand opening type gigs together with no problems.  Well golly, adds this expert.  They are predators.  
No winners here.
The score remains.
Fluffy/Molly  14
Bryan/Cyndi   10

Friday, October 31, 2014

Just Wondering

Why no interest in the in-between?

Henry at seven and a half months still retains some puppy (i.e. bad) behavior.  For example, he has built up his muscles to the point that he can jump on the bed.  That by itself is not a problem.  The problem is what he does when he's up there on the bed.

He turns down the covers, pulls out the pillows and roughs them up.  No, he isn't thoughtfully fluffing the pillows up for the comfort of his beloved master.  He rolls on the pillows- in an improper and impolite manner.

There's more.  Henry removes dirty clothes from the laundry hamper and picks out the socks.  No, he isn't thoughtfully separating the laundry into darks and lights, hot and cold loads.  He carries a sock into the living room and mouths it- in a very inappropriate way.

Yes, yes.  He's just a youngster, lots to learn.  Thus, Henry receives and will continue to receive regular instruction on proper etiquette.

Still, doesn't it make you wonder?  Why the focus on dirty stuff that has the scent of head and dirty stuff that has the scent of foot?

                            Why nothing in-between? 


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

American Toad

The American Toad is found in the eastern United States and eastern Canada.  They live primarily in grassy and wooded areas.

Toads eat insects and assorted invertebrates, such as earthworms.  The average adult toad can put away 1,000 insects a day.  They eat much like a frog, a long sticky tongue extends and catches food.  Unlike the frog, however, the toad will sometimes use his front feet to stuff more bugs and whatnot into his mouth.  Toads don't need to drink water, they get enough moisture from the food they eat.

Being amphibians, a body of water is needed for reproduction.  At the age of 2 or 3, toads reach sexual maturity.  In Spring, male toads call alluringly to female toads.  After a short but intense relationship, the couple parts.  The female lays 4,000-8,000 eggs in a pond.

In 3-12 days the eggs hatch into tadpoles.  Tadpoles are born with gills.  Over the next 30-70 days the tadpole undergoes metamorphosis, growing legs, arms and lungs, eventually crawling out of the pond as a toad.  The rest of his life (average life span 2-10 years), the toad is terrestrial.  In winter, the toad hibernates.

The American Toad is a solitary sort, most active at night.  The skin of a toad is dry and covered with bumps (warts).  Skin color varies from grey to brown, the underside a lighter shade.

When threatened, glands under the toad's skin secrete a milky substance (poisonous to some predators).

Another reaction to a threat is pooping.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The View

No, not some yapping broads on TV.  The View of which I speak is my backyard.   It keeps getting better!

One month ago

This afternoon

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Grampa, I've Hit the Big Time!

When I was a kid, my grandparents moved from the suburbs to a house on a few acres.  They got themselves a riding lawn mower to handle the grass.  I thought it was very fun to ride that lawn mower.  My grandfather let me mow the lawn.

The years rolled on.  Soon, I had my own home and lawn.  I used a push mower to handle the grass.  Nice and quiet.  Powered by my own sweat.

More years roll on.  Now my "lawn" is several acres.  I still use that push mower around the edges of the house, garage, fence and so on.  The rest of the grass requires something more than an open cylinder with revolving knife blades powered by my measly sweat.

  Enter:  the Lawn Tractor.  Grampa's riding lawn mower was a Tonka Toy in comparison!

Thanks Grampa.   My time on your mower helped prepare me for this milestone.  I'm moving up a cut.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Clean Bees

Some insects live in the ground.  Sometimes they make their home in your home turf.  Some such winged bugs have located their hive in an area of lawn between our kitchen window and the driveway.

Since I am in the habit of walking willy-nilly about the yard, I've experienced irritable insects flying up my shirt.  (Hot under the collar does not begin to describe my feelings about this.) 

Some call these creatures ground bees.  Some call them sweat bees.  I call them uppity squatters.

The last straw was trespass on the dogs' water bowl.

Unfortunately, these gals did not stop by and eat the bees.  Thus, some other method of debeement was called for.


Throw a Tarp on the Problem 

This method is supposed to kill the bees softly.  You sneak out after dark when all the bees have retired to their slumber room deep in the hole.  You place the tarp over the hole, lay some heavy object(s) on top of the tarp.  Flee the scene.

The theory is, come morning when the bees awaken and attempt to leave the nest, they will be unable to get out and smother under the tarp.  Doesn't really sound like it'll work, does it?

It didn't work.  The industrious bees dug through the grass under the tarp till they reached the edge of the tarp.  Off they flew.  They couldn't get back under the tarp to go back into their hole, however. 

Soon, a mob of agitated bees amassed.  They flew round and round above the tarp.  More and more bees joined the air queue, creating a state a major unrest.

The tarp method only made things worse.

Clean Them to Death

This method is supposed to poison the bees without using scary dangerous poison.  Basically, you pour some soap down their hole.  It so happens, since our new house has no dishwasher, there was a nearly full box of dishwasher soap on hand, yearning to be used.  I dumped a whole bunch of the dishwasher soap down the hole.  A great deal of soap powder remained near the opening of the hole.  The bees continued to come and go -into the hole and out of the hole. 

The next day some powder could still be seen around the entrance of the hole.  The bees continued to come and go. 

The day after that, the powder was gone.  The bees continued to come and go -into the hole and out of the hole.

Several days passed.  The bees continue to come and go.  Yesterday I mopped the floors in the house.  Afterwards, I dumped the bucketful of dirty Spic n Span water into the hole.

Today, the bees continue to come and go -into the hole and out of the hole.

They are still uppity squatters.  All that has changed is they are clean uppity squatters.

To be continued, surely.

Monday, September 15, 2014


 We're here!  Moved in!

 Check out this view from the kitchen window.

Meanwhile, the boxes full of our stuff are lined up in rows with aisles in between.  This arrangement works well in the big garage but in the little living room, it's grand, as long as you don't mind walking sideways to move from one side of the room to the other.

Mabel refuses to let a few boxes disturb her serenity. 
Alas, not all of us are as serene as Mabel.  Where is my favorite paring knife?  Why the bleep wasn't it in the box with the other knives?!
Ah, here's the hammer.  Now, where the **** are the hanger thingies for the pictures?  I was so sure I'd packed them with the stud finder.   The stud finder is beeping merrily.  It is clearly a buffet of studs around here.
See, some ninny painted all the walls white.  Some other ninny probably told them it would help sell the place.  White walls are neutral.
It's OK.  A few pictures will perk up these walls.  Let's hang some pictures now! 
Still haven't found the picture hanger thingies.
With the lack of something appropriate to pound, it could get ugly around here.  Perhaps it would be best if I stopped carrying the hammer around the house.

Henry helpfully points out how a colorful rug can brighten a drab hallway.  

Sure, it's easy for you to be easy going, dogs, you aren't still looking for your favorite paring knife. 

And the picture hanger thingies. 

Maybe the thing to do is to go outside......