Sunday, December 30, 2007
Saturday, December 29, 2007
We just need to make sure that we build our future snowmen in a safe location. A safe location being one that my brother can't access with a Honda Civic. Ah, memories...
If you recall Lila is our declawed, indoor cat. Here she is reluctantly trying on one of her Christmas presents from Santa; a cute giraffe head piece thingy. As you can tell from the pics, she wasn't too happy. I can't imagine why, perhaps she doesn't like giraffes or maybe it was too small or possibly too tight but since I didn't put it on her it wouldn't be the latter. Anyway she'll just have to get used to it...
See previous post, "Miss Lila"
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
This just in from Foxnews.com...
Counting monkey pelvic thrusts, crikie! I wonder at what point in one's adolescence does one wake up and say, "mom and dad, I want to go to college to study animal science and one day I'd like to count monkey pelvic thrusts"! Who would have thunk? Had I only known this was an option, alas...Study Reveals Why Monkeys Shout During Sex
For when the above story is no longer available, here it is below -
Female monkeys may shout during sex to help their male partners climax, research now reveals.
Without these yells, male Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) almost never ejaculated, scientists found.
Female monkeys often utter loud, distinctive calls before, during or after sex. Their exact function, if any, has remained heavily debated.
To investigate the purpose behind these calls, scientists at the German Primate Center in Göttingen focused on Barbary macaques for two years in a nature reserve in Gibraltar.
The researchers found that females yelled during 86 percent of all sexual encounters. When females shouted, males ejaculated 59 percent of the time.
However, when females did not holler, males ejaculated less than 2 percent of the time.
To see if yelling resulted from how vigorous the sex was, the scientists counted the number of pelvic thrusts males gave and timed when they happened.
They found when shouting occurred, thrusting increased. In other words, hollering led to more vigorous sex.
Counting monkey pelvic thrusts is admittedly "quite weird, but it's science," researcher Dana Pfefferle, a behavioral scientist and primatologist at the German Primate Center, told LiveScience. "You get used to it."
Male and female Barbary macaques are promiscuous, often having sex with many partners. This means sperm levels can get quite drained.
The females shout when they are most fertile, so males can make the most use of their sperm.
Pfefferle noted her research suggests these calls might also make females more attractive to other males. She added these shouts might play different roles in other species.
Pfefferle and her colleagues detailed their findings online Dec. 18 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Copyright © 2007 Imaginova Corp. All Rights Reserved.
We've actually received more snow this month than we did for all of last winter! So much snow in fact that I'm worried about the weight of it on our pool (cement pond) cover. Although, one of the selling points of this particular pool cover is the add the company put together; the ad shows a full grown elephant standing in center of such a cover. Unless there's a bit of false advertising we shouldn't have any problems, right?!
Sunday, December 23, 2007
The feathered visitors in this picture are: (2) male Cardinals, (2) Juncos and (2) Sparrows. Other birds that we've seen visiting so far this winter: Morning Dove, Nuthatch, Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Blue Jay, Starling, Common Grackle, Downy Woodpecker and Northern Flicker -
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Q: What is the best way to keep a poinsettia alive from year to year?
A: Treat it as any houseplant, but don't over water it or subject it to too much sunlight. To encourage it to bloom for Christmas, make sure the plant has at least 12 hours of darkness, with nighttime temperatures between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the plant under these conditions until buds develop and the bracts (petals) begin to color. When they bloom, take the plant to a sunny, draft-free room. The bracts will color up within 6 to 10 weeks and may continue to bloom until Easter.
The Old Farmer's Almanac new gardening question of the day.
Monday, December 17, 2007
As he is locking him up, he asks, "Why in the world are you dressed like this?"
The Cowboy says:
"Well it's like this Sheriff ... I was in the bar down the road and this purdy little red head asks me to go out to her motor home with her. So I did. We go inside and she pulls off her top and asks me to pull off my shirt so I did. Then she pulls off her skirt and asks me to pull off my pants so I did. Then she pulls off her panties and asks me to pull off my shorts so I did. Then she gets on the bed and looks at me kind of sexy and says,"Now go to town cowboy"!
And here I am...
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Raspberry patch bird house, for rent -
Snow has taken up residence is this Robin's nest -
Duplex, recently vacated, move in condition -
A sleeping Hydrangea with blooms gone by -
Monday, December 10, 2007
Would Gay Fruit Fly be considered an oxymoron?
A couple genuine oxymora. Phrases with an inherent contradiction:
- definite maybe
- deliberate mistake
- instant classic
- sweet sorrow
- jumbo shrimp
- loud whisper
- near miss
- same difference
Interesting article none-the-less.
Q: What's the best way to prolong the life of my Christmas cactus?
A: When the buds of a Christmas cactus look as if they're about to open, make sure you water the plant regularly and keep it cool.
The Old Farmer's Almanac new gardening question of the day.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
No, offence intended to any of my readers, reindeer's, pickles or sex toys.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
It was a 90 mile trip (about 1.2 hr drive) each way and well worth it.
He put on a good show, as did the comedian who opened for him - they were both very funny. I can't recall his name at the moment, my apologies.
"I don't care who you are, that's funny right there!"
"Lord, I apologize for that right there"
"He was madder than a midget with a yoyo"
Saturday, December 01, 2007
A chicken farmer went to a local bar, sat next to a woman and ordered a glass of champagne.
The woman perks up and says, 'How about that? I just ordered a glass of champagne too!'
'What a coincidence,'the farmer says, 'This is a special day for me, I'm celebrating.'
'This is a special day for me too, I'm also celebrating!' says the woman.
'What a coincidence' says the man.
As they clinked glasses the farmer asked, 'What are you celebrating?'
'My husband and I have been trying for years to have a child, and today my gynecologist told me that I'm pregnant!'
'What a coincidence,' says the man, 'I'm a chicken farmer and for years all my hens have been infertile, but today they're finally laying eggs.'
'That's great!' says the woman, 'How did your chickens become fertile?'
'I used a different cock,' he replied.
The woman smiled and said, 'What a coincidence.'
I built two 6' doors that we hung up top to protect the rabbits. During the winter the plastic will stay on and come summer it will be removed. The doors will remain all season long, which I also built with wire. This way the rabbits will finally be protected from any critter trying to get at them, i.e. a raccoon. We and the rabbits have been lucky to date - no critter incidents.
As you can see in the below picture, the doors are hinged up top so the doors can swing up to open. I drilled some holes; one in the door and one in the cage front to put a broom handle in, which will hold the door open for easy access to the rabbits for feeding. Each door is held shut and snug with a bungee cord.
The chickens are housed underneath and doing just fine. The two sex-links are going through a molt. When this happens, which is typically once a year, the birds stop laying. So we're down to just one egg a day from New Honey. Also the cold weather and shorter days usually have an effect on egg production.
Bottom line is that the animals are finally snug and settled in for the long New England winter - bring it on!
Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wed Nov 28, 10:22 AM ET
ROME (Reuters) - A rooster crowing at the break of dawn has earned his owner a 200 euro ($295) fine in an Italian court after neighbors complained it was waking them up too early.
ANSA news agency reported on Wednesday that the rooster's owner in Bolzano province would appeal the sentence, supported by the local Farmers' Association, on the grounds that he needs at least one rooster to breed chickens.
This issue, if it truly is an issue, hits close to home for both my dad and I. You see apparently a crowing rooster is one of the only noise annoyances around these days and therefore many, if not most, towns have specific bylaws banning this animal because of their crowing. Of course towns seem to ignore other noise makers and go after the poor rooster/rooster owners. The town my dad lives in and the town I live in have such bylaws. Heaven forbid if a crowing rooster was to awaken some poor neighbor(s).
How bout these town start addressing and doing something about the other noise issues and other more important pressing issues? For example how bout they address the classroom sizes! My daughter is in accounting 1 that has a class size of 29 students. This to me is unacceptable but they've addressed the rooster issue! Let's see here are a few noise maker examples that come to mind:
- The barking dog(s) - you know the dogs that are left outside for endless amounts of time, whether in a backyard kennel or tied to a runner or on the back porch or perhaps left to run free and it barks and barks and barks. The thing could be barking at it's shadow, a cricket, a walker, a jogger whatever but it barks and barks and barks. The owners of course never hear any of this and the dog continues to bark and bark and bark. However, this same neighbor, who doesn't hear their own dog carrying on is sure to hear a rooster crowing and be one of the first to call in a complaint...
- The motorcycle(s) - it doesn't matter if it's a dirt-bag riding a Harley, a spoiled brat riding a rice-burner, a dick-head neighbor going through a mid-life crisis or anyone in between. The noise their motorcycle makes is fine, what noise they'll say. They'll rev their pieces of crap; vroom, vroom, vroom and be SO proud. However, these are prolly the same people who are the first to call in a complaint of a rooster crowing, go figure...
- The truck(s) - typically the empty ones that are speeding up and down the street make the most noise but there are plenty of others that make just as much, if not more, noise. Like the landscaper trucks that pull the light trailers that bounce and rattle when it hits the tiniest pothole (actually is there such a thing as a tiny pothole? Like an asshole regardless of size, tiny or otherwise, if your an asshole you're an asshole. Same logic holds true for a pothole, yes?) Of course these knuckle heads might not live nearby but rest assured they have no problem with the noise their rigs make but they'll be one of the first to complain about a crowing rooster... Perhaps the town should address the speeding vehicle problem!
- The neighbor(s) - this is a general statement and although not all neighbors are noisy there are some that are. Of course, in my opinion, the noisy neighbors are also the assholes. Like the neighbor, who perhaps is going through his midlife crisis. Maybe he's out in his driveway working on his airplane. You know tinkering with the engine and needing to start and stop it 4 or 5 times while letting it run for what seems like forever and SO proud of his toy. Or the neighbor that fires up his 'Hog' or riding mower at 7AM on a Sunday morning. Again, these prolly are the ones who pickup the phone to call in a noise complaint about a crowing rooster...
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Etymology: alteration of Middle English sprot, from Old English sprott
1 a: a small European marine fish (Sprattus sprattus) of the herring family — called also brisling b: any of various small or young fish (as an anchovy) of the herring family 2: a young, small, or insignificant person
Sprats are little more than smoked sardines packed in a lightly aromatic oil, but that makes all the difference. Anyone who enjoys sardines is usually crazy about sprats.
Here is what a sprat looks like in the wild -
Here is what a sprat looks like in the can, minus the head.
Friday, November 23, 2007
She says, "This is your lucky night. I’ve got a special game for you. I’ll do absolutely anything you want for $300, as long as you can say it in three words."
The guy replies, "Hey, why not?"
He pull his wallet out of his pocket, and one at a time lays three hundred-dollar bills on the bar, and says, slowly:
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
"Jim, don't worry about it. You aren't the first medical practitioner to sleep with one of their patients and you won't be the last. And you're single. Just let it go."
But invariably another voice in his head would bring him backto reality. Whispering: "Jim....Jim....Jim....you're a vet"
Thursday, November 15, 2007
It was entertainment night at the senior center and the Amazing Claude was topping the bill. People came from miles around to see the famed hypnotist do his stuff. As Claude went to the front of the meeting room, he announced: "Unlike most hypnotists who invite two or three people up here to be put into a trance, I intend to hypnotize each and every member of the audience."
The excitement was almost electric as Claude withdrew a beautiful antique pocket watch from his coat. "I want you each to keep your eye on this antique watch. It's a very special watch. It's been in my family for six generations. He began to swing the watch gently back and forth while quietly chanting: "Watch the watch, watch the watch, watch the watch...."
The crowd became mesmerized as the watch swayed back and forth, light gleaming off its polished surface. Hundreds of pairs of eyes followed the swaying watch, until, suddenly, it slipped from the hypnotist's fingers and fell to the floor, breaking into a 100 pieces...
"SHIT!" said the Hypnotist.
It took three days to clean up the senior center.
Monday, November 12, 2007
I looked away for a couple seconds and when I looked back she was halfway over in my lane, still working on that makeup.
As a man, I don't scare easily.
But she scared me so much; I dropped my electric shaver, which knocked the donut out of my other hand.
In all the confusion of trying to straighten out the car using my knees against the steering wheel, it knocked my cell phone away from my ear which fell into the coffee between my legs, splashed, and burned Big Jim and the Twins, ruined the damn phone, soaked my trousers, and disconnected an important call.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
If you give up page down...
We noticed three of these birds walking through the next door neighbors yard and proceed to cross our busy street just before dark. Then all of a sudden two of the three came flying back across - something spooked them. You really need to see these birds flying to truly appreciate just how easy they make it look for such a large bird. You'd think they wouldn't be too agile when it came to flying, however, they're very much like a peacock, very deceiving.
One of the two kept right on flying into the woods behind the neighbor house and we lost sight of it. The one in the picture took a different approach and went up, landing in this dead tree. As you can see he's up there, higher than the roof of the house. We kept an eye on him till dark and we couldn't see him any longer. It appeared that he decided to roost there for the night and was long gone come morning.
The answer is: a wild turkey
Thursday, November 08, 2007
What a noticeable difference it makes with the traffic noise alone. Maybe it's just me but the house feels more air tight. We had three really bad, leaky windows on the south side of the house and each fall we'd install plastic over them in a feeble attempt to stop the cold from coming in. However, now that process is no longer needed. There are no more leaky windows. The installer did a fantastic job not only installing the windows but also insulating, chalking, and cleaning up the mess even to the point of vacuuming the rugs in each room. Hopefully this will allow us to save some money on our heating bills this winter, time will tell...
With the vinyl replacement windows we lost quite a bit of actual window viewing area, approximately 3" on each side and 2" on the top and bottom but that was one of the trade offs.
We attempted to sell the old wooden windows on Craig's List and actually had a few folks respond but nothing became of it. Luckily we've been able to put several of them out in the curbside trash each week and they're being picked up. One more week and they'll be all gone, which will also allow JoAnne to park back in the garage once again.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
The first picture is one of our raises garden beds where we planted kale, lettuce and tomato's. The plants have been removed, the bed turned and almost ready for the winter. All that's needed is to plant some winter rye. However, Emilie thought this was a good place to take a seat and dig for worms.
and here are the fruits of Emilie's efforts -
A handful of worms is a good indication of a well balanced, organically rich bed of soil.
Friday, October 12, 2007
I found this girl patiently sitting in wait on the passing flower from one of our Butterfly Bushes. I didn't stick around to see her diner victim. Hopefully it wasn't a Honey Bee or a beneficial critter but rather a fly or some other nuisance, pesky insect.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Well, not really. Actually, truth be told this is the first geranium bud worm, also known as the tobacco bud worm, I've ever seen, let alone caught and squished. I really should have feed him to the chickens but I was too lazy to walk down back, honest.
Can you believe the nerve of this bug? As you can see it's done a pretty good job completely eating one of the buds. As Vlad would say, 'cmon man' (but with a Russian accent).
I've spent quite a bit of time pruning these geraniums - we have 5 plants in 3 different colors in 2-gallon pots. I dead-head the passed flowers, as well as remove the dead and yellowed leaves. The plants themselves are tired and winding down. They're not as green and full as they once were but they're still blooming today. Regardless, they're not available for dining bud worms.
Here is the dude shortly after I picked him off the flower and just minutes before squashville. Oh, that's a boo-boo there on the outside of my palm. I suffered from a blond moment and cut myself with a pair of hand pruners. JoAnne thought stitches were needed but we settled on liquid band-aid instead.
The bud worm is a serious pest to many garden flowers. They feed on the buds and petals of many commonly grown flowers, including the geranium, petunia and nicotiana. The adult stage is a moth with the caterpillar becoming full grown in about 1 month. The insect survives winter as a pupa in the soil. Where soil freezes deeply, most overwintering insects are killed. With New England winter right around the corner these critters don't stand a chance...
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Yup, I came across this remarkable insect Sunday afternoon. It's only the second one I've ever come across and both have been on our property here. The first one was shortly after we moved in and we found him on an oak tree in the front yard. This one, which is a female, was climbing up the back of the chicken pen.
I am simply blown away with this critter. Out of all the insects I've seen, come across and caught over the years, this one is far and away the best..crikey
Here she is posing on the bud of a Dahlia, above -
Here she is camouflaged and hard to spot, above -
Here she is on a yard stick. She's about 4" long, including her outstretched antenna -
Again, a remarkable insect...
Saturday, October 06, 2007
The 40' trench was dug to bury 4" PVC piping underground that is to be used for a basement sub-pump. I installed a "Y" connector at the house end of the piping with the plan being for the sub-pump to use one side and the houses front downspout the other side.
Up until now the sub-pump was using (4) gutter downspouts that laid across the lawn. Although this worked, the downspouts didn't connect well and often came loose, it was unsightly and a manual process to boot. However, now that it's underground all those issues are no more.
Stage 1: Dig ditch -Stage 2: Install PVC piping -
Stage 3: Done and cleaned up -
I've sent Billy Ray Cyrus an email requesting that he modify the lyrics to his "Achy Breaky Heart" hit song and change, for starters, 'heart' to 'back'. It could be another hit for the blue collar works and weekend warriors like myself.
For those of you who've been living under a rock, click here to listen to "Achy Breaky Heart" on YouTube - "Billy Ray Cyrus - Achy Breaky Heart".
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Yup, here are a couple interesting pictures I took of an acorn giving birth to an acorn weevil. It stands to reason that we would come across something like this. Between Emilie, JoAnne and I we've been picking up acorns from our front yard for weeks now. I am guessing well over a thousand already, maybe more, and they're still falling. We actually had a contest last night to see who could fill up their bucket the fastest, it was me against the girls. The girls claimed victory but I've filed a grievance and expect the ruling to be overturned. I won't get into specifics but it was ugly some of the tactics they used...
Anyway, I digress...you can see the little tucker struggling to make his way out or perhaps in, how would you tell. He looked stuck and the hole didn't look big enough so he didn't make too much progress on my watch. He might be out by now but I don't plan on digging through the trash to see.
The adult acorn weevil is a brown colored beetle about 3/8 inch long, and has a very long thin snout. The female uses her long snout to make a small hole in a developing acorn on the tree. She lays several eggs within the hole. Her eggs hatch and the creamy white, grub-like larva feeds on the developing acorn inside the nut until fall. The larva grows to 1/4 to 3/8 inch in length and is off-white in color with a brown head. The legless grub is curved and fat in the middle, tapering toward both ends. The larvae within the acorn on the tree fall to the ground in the nut in the late summer or fall.
In the fall the fully grown acorn weevil larva chews a perfectly round 1/8 inch hole in the side of the nut and emerges. The acorn larvae then tunnel into the soil to complete development. They remain in the soil for one to two years before emerging as a new adult weevil to repeat the process.
Part of the reason you find so many "wormy" or "holey" nuts under the trees is because the squirrels leave them behind. It appears the squirrels are able to select the good acorns and hickory nuts during their fall frenzy of nut gathering and burial. This leaves only "wormy" nuts for you.
Here is the latest on the Lincoln Street Tomato Hormworm front...
The above picture is what these big, fat, plump, juice tomato hornworms turn into. It's very unusual to say the least. The weird thing is that they are both alive in the above photo, which was taken about two weeks ago, and they're still like this and alive today. Well the bigger one now resembles the little one.
Not sure if this is their cocoon-type stage or what. For the most part these things are slow; they eat slow and move slow, perhaps it's a defensive thing because they're pretty hard to spot when on a tomato plant and therefore difficult for predators to see. Anyway, they each became very mobile and stopped eating just before entering this stage. Time will tell what happens next.
Oh, also and much to my surprise I found (2) more of these critters on one of our tomato plants tonight. One large and one small. I would have thought they'd be closer in size and pretty much done and into the above stage, as the weather is changing and it's getting colder. Go figure, alas...
Monday, October 01, 2007
I'm holding the critter in the last picture. It's a pretty good close up picture and taken just before I tossed this dude into the chickens pen. There was quite the scuffle between Lucy and Ethel to see who was gonna get this tasty morsel. The good new is they both got a piece.