Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Pop Culture Frenzy, Round 29

Here we are for another round of Pop Culture Frenzy.

Our question involves an upcoming display to take place December 21-23 at the Michigan State Capitol building.  What is this display?

A statue of a Spartan battling a Wolverine?
Hostmaster:  incorrect.  I like that idea!  A Buckeye could be standing nearby, ready to jump into the fray, like a tag team.
  Here's a thought.
Since a buckeye is a tree, there
could be a second statue of
the victor lifting his leg
 on the Buckeye.

Hostmaster:  Now that would be art!

Back at it.  What is this upcoming display in Lansing, Fluffy?

A nativity scene?
They can't do that!  It
goes against separation of
church and state!
Hostmaster:  no, the display won't be a Nativity scene.
Santa and his reindeer?
Hostmaster:  no.  Though surely someone would be offended somehow.
Santa is associated with Christmas.
Not everybody celebrates
Christmas so Santa might
make them feel bad.
Hostmaster:  of course.
You know what makes me feel bad?
All the dead birds on the ground
under windmills.
Hostmaster:  WHAT?!?
That's a lie!  It's propaganda.
It's true.  I can show you pictures.
Let's do it later though.  
Hostmaster is looking woozy. 
Hostmaster:  umm.  Bryan, take over.  I have to leave.
I didn't know parrots could vomit
in flight.
hmmm.  OK.
I'm reading the news article Hostmaster
used as his source.
Here's the answer:
The Satanic Temple of Detroit
has made a display.  You can see it at
the Michigan State Capital
 December 21-23.
 Satanic Temple kinda
sounds like a religious group. 
Wouldn't the separation of church
and state thing kick in here, Cyndi?
Well.  It's only fair.
After centuries of Christians
forcing their beliefs
on everybody.
There's a picture of the Satanic Temple
display. There's a
pentagram, cross, snake, giftwrapped box
and printed words reading:
"The Greatest Gift is Knowledge."
Reindeer are friendlier than snakes.

Since Hostmaster is indisposed, I'll sign us off.
Be sure and join us again for pop culture frenzy.
Merry Christmas. 
There's a link to that display if anybody wants to see it: 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Peek a huh?

When I was a kid the front door of my home featured a peephole.  It was pretty cool.  When you looked through the hole the front porch was visible but in a distorted fun house sort of way.

What a handy thing to have, a peephole.  If the doorbell rang when you weren't expecting anyone you could see who it was without opening the door.  If it was, say, a vacuum cleaner salesman you could avoid him by simply not answering the door.  (Eventually this technology found it's way to telephones in the form of caller ID.)

In time, my parents replaced that door with a peepless model.  Never again did I live in a house with a peephole in the door.

Till now.

 We really don't need a peephole.  You can see who's standing at the door on the back porch through the kitchen windows.  Still, it's there.  The little kid in me spontaneously peeked through the hole yesterday.  The porch was visible, distorted in that crazy rounded way.  The railing around the porch looked like it was about to undulate.  Off to the side there was a large white something.  My first thought was, Wow!  It must be a rare white elk!  How did it get so close to the house?  Did it jump the fence?!

I stepped away from the peephole, mouth agape.  No way, I thought.  It can't be.

A second glance revealed it was just the peephole version of the propane tank.

You know...

There COULD be a white elk around here.

Coming up the trail from somewhere.

Saturday, December 6, 2014


The Northern Raccoon, aka Common Raccoon, American Raccoon and coon is found in prairies, forests, marshes, sub divisions in most of the US, southern Canada and parts of South America.  Their scientific name is procyon lotor which means something like dog/bear washer.

Speaking of washing, there is some disagreement on whether or not a raccoon washes his hands and/or washes his food.  The activity often interpreted as washing is probably the animal manipulating the food in his front feet, not to clean it or his feet, but to soften the food before eating it.  This theory holds water because when no water is around, the coon will make the same foot motions in dirt as he does in water.

Raccoons are intelligent, resourceful and versatile.  Omnivores, they eat many things from fish to nuts.  They'll eat things you'd rather they didn't, like your chickens' eggs, corn off the stalk and the trash out of your garbage can.

Some Raccoon Facts

-  they are nocturnal mammals

-  a group of raccoons is called a nursery

-  average life span:  2-3 years (up to 20 years in captivity)

-  weight:  up to about 25 pounds

-  length of body:  roughly 20 inches

-  length of tail:  10 inches

-  top causes of death:  hit by car, killed by hunter

-  predators:  coyote, mountain lion, man    

In spring, the male raccoon mates with multiple females.  He then goes back to his solitary life wandering around in a range of 3-20 square miles. 

The female's range is 1-6 miles.  She has one litter a year, gestation 60-73 days, of 1-7 kits. The youngsters stay in the den for a couple months then accompany mother when she goes out to forage for food.  They typically remain with mom for a year.   A raccoon will make a den wherever-  a tree hole, a hollow log, an abandoned beaver den or under your back porch.

Raccoon are good swimmers, climbers.  They are inquisitive, aggressive and vicious if messed with.

Some raccoons living in cold areas will fatten up in summer and fall.  In winter they will live off their fat busily asleep in their den.  Raccoons don't hibernate, they simply choose to nap heavily during cold periods.

The feet of the raccoon are hairless on the bottom.  The front feet include a thumb giving them a hand like appearance.  The coon's feet are quite dexterous.  However, the thumbs are not opposable.  The rear feet are longer and thicker than the front feet.

Raccoons are susceptible to diseases such as canine distemper, parvo and rabies.  Raccoons do not make good pets.

What I lack in thumb power, I make up for in viciousness.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

If we keep moving, we just might survive this perilous day!

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 at the LLBean shindig.  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 business called Talons puts raptors on leashes and brings them to various places for various events 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  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.