Monday, April 28, 2008

High-Fiber Diet

When I got this willow fencing to screen the chain-link, I knew it might take a beating from the elements. Rust, rot, breakage, yes. However, I didn't expect it to be EATEN away by my nemeses from last year. As it turns out, these slow-but-persistent critters don't just eat tender young green things, no, they're thrilled with this brown-bark smorgasbord, and when I open the door in the early morning fog, there they are, lined up high and low like notes on a staff, "nom"-ing away like slimy LOLcats. Fortunately, rising early and picking them off into oblivion is not difficult, and beats wasting good beer on them.
Hmm. Any French restaurants in the area interested in a supply of fresh-picked, willow-fed escargot???

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Cue The Lovin' Spoonful!

As in: "Darlin' Be Home Soon" 'cause my cup has been (more than) half empty since Thursday

(and the fridge, even more so.)

Don't come home hungry.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Max Wonders... long will this new baby be here, getting all the attention that rightfully belongs to ME??

OK, Last One, I Promise...

...this is not becoming the Dead Insect Blog or anything, but look at what happens to a ladybug when it passes away on a windowsill in the gets all transparent and iridescent.....

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Better Luck Next Time

There was nobirdy on the nest this morning, and just this on the ground below. It'd be nice to think I just missed a rapid fledging, and a single offspring took wing, but....more likely, some jaybird has egg on its face. I'll leave the empty nest where it is, as it may be used again. At least I can finally do the spring clean-up under that tree.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

More Mysteries of Nature

So what's up here? Is this guy passed out, or has he passed on? Why is he planted face-down in the gravel? I found a big bumble like him last summer on one of the butterfly bushes, nose stuck deep in the florets, looking fast asleep. It stayed like that for a day and a night, while I read all kinds of anecdotal nonsense online about sleeping bees. The next day, it was on the ground below the bush, as dead as a fuzzy striped doornail. This one above, he was gone the next day, probably having provided something a tasty morsel. Sad. But easier to photograph than a live one. Still, it's so early in the season, could he haved died from natural causes already? It's too nice out today to go looking stuff up right now....


This is probably Dad on the nest. From what I've read, doves, unlike other birds, incubate their eggs continually for the two weeks or so it takes them to hatch, with the male generally taking the day shift and the female the night. The squabs will be fed by mom and dad with "crop milk" (produced by glands in the parents' throats) and regurgitated seed for another two weeks before they leave the nest. (Bleah!) This relatively short 28-day nesting cycle allows them to attempt multiple broods in a season, which works to the species' advantage, as their lifespan is only about a year and a half.

Hey! It's almost two weeks since the nest was built; soon there will be young'uns!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Wish I'd Had A Carrot With Me

Traffic on Jamaica Avenue was spiced up today by a mountie! There was a small group of uniforms on the sidewalk nearby, as if waiting to take their turns, but whether they were being conditioned to the horse, or the horse was being conditioned to the traffic, I couldn't say.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Mazel Tov!

Congratulations to nephew Alex on a Torah well read. We are so proud of you!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Settled In

The mama bird has been on her nest day and night for six days nows, sometimes facing this way, sometimes that, but always utterly, utterly still.

You'll Understand Why There's No Photo Here

I subscribe to the Consumer Product Safety Commissions recall alerts. Most of the time they're of no interest to me or anyone I know, but in this case, I think you'll understand why I feel compelled to ask each and every one of you to look around the house, dig around in that junk drawer, and get rid of all those old ones you're sure to have just lying around.
From the CPSC:

April 10, 2008
Release #08-247
Firm's Recall Hotline: (800) 434-5207CPSC
Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908

FUNTASTIC Recalls Fake Teeth Due To Violation of Lead Paint Standard
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Product: Hillbilly Teeth
Units: About 26,000
Importer: FUNTASTIC, of Houston, Texas
Hazard: The gray surface paint on the teeth contains excessive levels of lead, violating the federal lead paint standard.
Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

Description: This recall involves a 2-pack fake Hillbilly Teeth withitem # 2657. The item number is printed on the packaging. The gums are brown and the teeth are yellow.
Sold at: Grocery, Drug, Convenience, and Mass retailers nationwide from March 2005 through March 2008 for about $2.

Manufactured: China
Remedy: Consumers should immediately take the recalled toy away from children and contact FUNTASTIC for information on receiving a refund.
Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact FUNTASTIC at(800)434-5207 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday or visit the company's Web site at
To see this release on CPSC's web site, including pictures of the recalled product, please go to: "

Don't click on that link. You'll be sorry.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

And Another Thing...

Originally uploaded by Sharon Kugler
Here's that crocus again. Looked so nice I had to shoot it twice.

Spent the weekend in a Spring Cleaning Frenzy, so if temperatures suddenly drop back to freezing, it's my fault. At least the closets and garage will be tidy.
DH brought me back three cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery, which I've heard much about. They were quite delish, as good as homemade; as a matter of fact, I'd eaten one-and-a-half of them before it even occurred to me that I ought to document. Cupcake photographs are de rigueur, no?
In other news the two doves were back at the nest this afternoon. I took this photo from the garage window, and you kind of have to trust me that you can see a tail and part of a head in the middle of the foliage:
The camera doesn't reveal it as well as binoculars do, but my binoculars won't take a photograph.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

What Housing Slump?

Only this morning I discovered this modest new construction, snug against the trunk of the backyard pine tree. It's well-camouflaged to the casual passer-by, but only about six and a half feet off the ground, tucked in a hula-girl bend of the trunk. After chasing Fiona away from the bulb plantings underneath it ("back to your perfectly good litter box, thank you very much!") and seeing both mourning doves fly away, I used a stepstool and the indispensable Vari-Angle screen on the Canon to take this shot of the (so far) empty nest from above. Off now to buy a bell for Fiona.