Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Eve Eve




...it will be the next holiday, wait and see!

We took a quick turn around the houses of renown on Sylvan Place; if they are less dazzling than in the past, we are not in a position to complain. I mean, look:
video

How sweet is that? A homemade, weatherproof diorama. On the lawn. Very old school, very cool.
 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Finch Fight!!

 
It's time for another episode of Real Housefinches of Long Island...
 
Such drama. Now knock it off, there's plenty of room for two.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Chicken Bag Is Watching You

 
 
Does this handbag's steely gaze serve to disarm would-be snatchers? Regardless, it's another adorable handbag-shaped-like-an-animal, second in what is now a series here. (It doesn't take much.)
Let us see if Chicken Bag will be as popular as my most-often-stolen-and-shared photo, Golden Weiner Dog...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

And Another One!

For the second day in a row, a bird I'd never seen before came to the feeders; a white-breasted nuthatch:




It was a busy day at the feeders; the woodpecker from yesterday showed up the minute I put out breakfast; this new arrival above showed up, and there are at least four of these little dudes flitting back and forth, grabbing one seed at a time and then retreating to the shrubs to bang it open. So cute:
 
 
 
 
 



Tomorrow, it's back to work, where the only birds I'm at all likely to see out the window are pigeons, starlings and seagulls.
 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A New Visitor!

Sosixmonthswentbylikethatandthen...
I put out some black sunflower seeds today, and everybody stopped by to check out the feeder. (I guess they were tired of the strictly-safflower-seed diet I had them on. But safflower is the only seed the squirrels will leave alone. And, it's good for them.) So the blue jays and the black-capped chickadees investigated, the mourning doves and juncos joined the party on ground-level, and the finches and sparrows indignantly flew around, chattering about how this was their turf. So funny. Then, this guy showed up:

 
                                                                                          
We've had downy woodpeckers around since I starting using suet a couple years ago, but this is the first red-bellied woodpecker I've noticed. So big and colorful!



 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The First Great Googa Mooga



It's a terrible name for a festival, but it was a beautiful day in Prospect Park. Tickets to this shindig were free but limited, and we were lucky a friend at work had offered us two tickets for Sunday. The first day of the festival, Saturday, was apparently plagued with long lines, food shortages, and many angry tweets were broadcast, so we were a little apprehensive. However, the four of us showed up bright and early on Sunday, and were able to eat and drink without experiencing the logistical problems and enormous crowds of the day before. By the time we sauntered out of the park, later in the afternoon, lines were lengthening and menu items were being "x-ed" off chalkboards, but by that point people seemed happy just to be hanging out in the breezy sunshine, listening to Fitz and the Tantrums play on the main stage. (No, I've never heard of them either, but they were rather good. And they're opening for Dave Matthews next month, so there!)


Thanks to our early arrival, there were lots of shady spots to spread to a blanket and establish a base of operations. Grazing in the grass is, in fact, a gas, and we dug it:



There were something like 75 food and drink establishments represented at the fair, but despite this attractive display:


...this was not a vegetarian-friendly festival, as evidenced by the whole pig being roasted in the large metal replica, seen below.


Hamageddon. Yes. The items we chowed down on included pesto-tomato rice balls from Arancini Brothers:


a BLT made with a slab of grilled thick-cut bacon from Landhaus:

pulled-pork sandwiches:

peppered grilled cheese, and "flights" of bacon (seven varieties from seven locations, on a plate.) There were also wine and beer pavilions wherein to slake the thirst that results from such a high sodium intake:


I was hoping there'd be more free-sampling, but no. The only swag to be had was from the ubiquitous representatives of Orbit chewing gum, who were offering moist washcloths and packs of gum:




The copy was clever, and now, for the rest of this summer, when someone asks me, "Got any gum?" my answer will be "Oh, yeah."

So keep an eye out next year for ticket registration; if the producers didn't wear out their welcome, it may be back. We enjoyed the day and, with any luck, we'll get to bring a few more friends next time.

A parting shot, on our way out, of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial Arch:


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Crafty Acrobats

video


Their cuteness is the only thing that keeps me from wanting to keeeel them! They are a pox and a scourge, I tell you! For six months, this feeder was one of two I could safely put any kind of seed in without having it nommed-in-no-time by these gorram grey bandits. Now it, too, has fallen to the furry ones, and shall from here on forward be filled exclusively with safflower seed, which is the ONLY thing the squirrels ignore. I don't know why this is, they are elsewise omnivorous: rock-stale bagels, cast-off Doritos, and browning limes are consumed with equal ardor. (I don't begrudge the grubby little vermin any seed that falls on the ground, and the DH always scoops out his rolls and bagels, so they get the nice fresh insides of those, as well as fresh apple cores and whole, wrinkly apples we didn't finish.) Nice fresh safflower seed? They couldn't care less about it, and thank heavens for that! Now I just need to get the local garden centers and pet stores to stock plain safflower as well as those squirrel-friendly mixes. Otherwise, I'll be buying plain safflower online, and that means 50-lb. bags. Oh dear.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Soup For You!


Oh, how I wanted to come back here with an interesting, thoughtful, fun-fact-filled post! But I never wrote one. Nevertheless, February is almost gone and I'll be darned if I'm going to leave another month-long gap in the archives. So, I present this as a noteworthy event: I have made a pot of soup from a recipe found in a magazine! Why is that a big deal? Well...
Close family members know of my secret compulsion: I spend a significant amount of time reading cookbooks and collecting recipes. It's only embarassing because I rarely, if ever, actually cook. So this is a red-letter morning, here! I saw a recipe in the newspaper yesterday, and today, I made it! It came out yummy, and I can already think of three ways to tweak the recipe to make it  even better. (The challenge will be following through.)
But this is enough for today! It's a minor domestic miracle, I tell ya.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Indoor Pursuits

Happy New Year.
And a beautiful day it was: warm and sunny and most unlike the season. While I'm happy about the weather, I blame it for the stupid, stupid sore throat I've got, which has caused me to miss the Muppet exhibit in Astoria yesterday, and cancel tonight's plans for tacos and margaritas in Long Beach. Stupid, stupid illness.
That's enough whinging and sighing, now. What can we do while we're stuck indoors?
One thing would be to watch the birds on the window feeder:

video

Okay, so that wasn't the most exciting clip. I did get a couple of still shots that weren't too bad, except for the window reflection:


Once in a while they'll try the purple berries of the Callicarpa, but I gather those are somewhat bitter, and are a food of last resort.


And then, lunch was over and they flew away. 
What now? I could wander over to my desk and start thinking about making Valentines:
Or I could get distracted by a computer file of old family portraits:

Those old studio portraits of family members long gone are a bit melancholy, especially when they're accompanied by plaintive inquiries like, "Do you know who this is?" (Sigh. Whatsamatter, didn't they have pencils in the first half of the twentieth century? They couldn't write a name on the back?)
But one thing I've always found charming is the studios' exquisite logos. Aren't they evocative?
Let's take a look at a few:








Okay, that's enough puttering about. Better go take a nap and get well; the first workday of 2012 starts tomorrow.