Saturday, May 30, 2015

Ducks and Drakes

Ducks are ducks, ducks are drakes.  The female duck is called a duck (though ornithologically speaking, the term hen is correct).  Male ducks are called drakes.

The sex of ducklings is not always obvious.  Sometimes the color of the beak is a clue to the sex of the duck.  This method is not always reliable.
In some species that feature brightly feathered males and drably feathered females, the sex of the duckling is pretty clear when the feathers come in.
When you can't tell by obvious feathers, there is the quack test.  When very young, all ducklings make a squeaking sound.  After several weeks, the voice changes.  Females begin to quack.  Males lack the voice box construction to make the quack sound, so they pretty much continue to squeak.
There is another way to determine the sex of ducklings.  It involves grabbing the duck, turning it upside down, locating a certain opening on the lower abdomen and pressing your thumb and fingers around the area.  Under this pressure, if the duckling is a boy, a body part will poke out of the hole.  If nothing emerges, it's a girl.
Or you could wait a few more months and see if you can catch a gal in the act of laying an egg.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Memorial Day

Let us always remember those who paid for our freedom.
God Bless America

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Pop Culture Frenzy, Round 35

Welcome once again to Pop Culture Frenzy.  The folks that make Oreo Cookies are releasing a new flavor to celebrate the season.  The cookies will be available May 22nd where ever seasonal cookies are sold.  I guess.

What is this special addition Oreo flavor?

Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Hostmaster:  incorrect.

Hostmaster:  incorrect.  You surprise me, Bryan.  You usually think out of the dog box.

Ok.  Let's see.  Late spring.  hmmm.

Hostmaster:  incorrect.  Nice effort though.
 Strawberry Daiquiri ?

Hostmaster:  incorrect.  Sounds like somebody likes boat drinks. 

Cotton Candy?

Hostmaster:  incorrect.  Though it may be correct.  There is rumor that they made a Cotton Candy flavored Oreo Cookie at some point.  Maybe it's an urban legend.   Ah, who cares?  I could give you half a point but well, I don't care.


Ground hog?

Hostmaster:  incorrect.  To date, Oreo has made no road kill flavors.

They will be getting none of my business!
Hostmaster:  Fluffy?
Correct.  So ends another round.
Cyndi what do you drink with
I hate camping.  Any drink will do.
Let's sing some camp fire songs!
Round 35
Fluffy/Molly 16
Bryan/Cyndi  13

Friday, May 15, 2015

Let's take this Outside

Take what outside, you ask?  The ducks!

They've been in the basement growing under a brooder light.  You don't realize how smelly ducks can be till you've shared your home with them for a few weeks.  Now they've feathered up and are officially the outdoor birds they were hatched to be.

The ducks show no sign of missing the hard basement floor.  There is lush grass outside.

And the water dishes are bigger.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


Ah, spring.  The grass is greening up, trees are budding.  Hungry ticks lie in wait.

Ticks have four life cycles: egg, larval, nymph and adult.  They eat nothing but blood throughout their lives.  There are two general types of ticks: hard and soft.   Adult hard ticks look roughly like a sunflower seed.  They have a hard shell behind their mouth parts (mouth parts -as in- what looks like it's head.  As though ticks aren't creepy enough, they sort of don't have a head.)  Soft ticks resemble a raisin.  Hard ticks tend to feed on dogs and cats and people while soft ticks prefer birds and bats.

The usual scenario finds a tick waiting in the grass or on a shrub.  When a warm blooded animal passes close by, the tick climbs aboard.  Then the stowaway tick makes its way to a spot on that animal to settle in, bite into the skin, then hang there and eat.  It takes several days for a tick to eat it's fill.

Ticks are Arachnids.  Other members of the Arachid family are spiders, mites and scorpions.  These creatures, when full grown, have fours pair of legs and no antennae.  (Insects have three pair of legs and one pair of antennae.)


When you find a newly arrived tick on you or your dog you can remove it with the sticky side of a piece of tape. However, if the tick has been on the body for a while, it'll have dug it's fangs in, so you'll need to pull it off, ideally with tweezers, aiming close to the skin so as to get all of the tick off.

Now.  Kill it.

Less than one finger of alcohol does the job.  Teetotalers find soapy water works too.

Not only do ticks leave their unwilling host feeling an awful bodily violation, there's also a grim chance the tick will leave a disease behind.  Then there's the unpleasant paranoia that comes after one finds a tick on the body of oneself or a loved one.  Every smallish object from a pebble to a piece of lint becomes the specter of doom and defilement.

Then there's the formication.  You know, that ghastly tactile hallucination whereby one feels there is something crawling on the skin.

To paraphrase Waylon Jennings.  Are you ready for the country, are you ready for ticks?