Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Seems Like Only Yesterday

Emilie started kindergarten today. She's growing up, she's a big girl now. Seems like only yesterday she wasn't even tall enough to look out the window without a hand up.

Let Stephanie drive my truck the other day, she needs practice that day's drawing near. I remember sitting in scrubs holding her, my first born. Seems like only yesterday.

My son's now 12, an athlete, the goaltender; Mr. Shutout. It seems like only yesterday when I had to beg and pled with him to get him on the ice for his 'learn to skate' lessons. Seems like only yesterday.

Time is passing and passing fast. Having kids and seeing them grow certainly put it's all in perspective but makes me VERY proud, I'm a lucky man!

I turned on the evening news
Saw a old man being interviewed
Turning a hundred and two today
Asked him what's the secret to life
He looked up from his old pipe
Laughed and said "All I can say is."

Don't blink
Just like that you're six years old and you're taking naps and you
Wake up and you're twenty-five and your high school sweetheart becomes your wife
Don't blink

You just might miss your babies growing like mine did
Turning into moms and dads next thing you know your better half
Of fifty years is there in bed
And you're praying God takes you instead
Trust me friend a hundred years goes faster than you think
So don't blink

I was glued to my TV and when it looked like he looked at me and said
"Best start putting first things first."
Cause when your hourglass runs out of sand
You can't flip over and start again
Take every breathe God gives you for what it's worth

Don't Blink
Just like that you're six years old and you're taking naps and you
Wake up and you're twenty-five and your high school sweetheart becomes your wife
Don't blink
You just might miss your babies growing like mine did
Turning into moms and dads next thing you know your better half
Of fifty years is there in bed
And you're praying God takes you instead
Trust me friend a hundred years goes faster than you think
So don't blink

So I've been trying to slow it down
I've been trying to take it in
In this here today gone tomorrow world we're livin' in
Don't blink

Just like that you're six years old and you're taking naps and you
Wake up and you're twenty-five and your high school sweetheart becomes your wife
Don't blink
You just might miss your babies growing like mine did
Turning into moms and dads next thing you know your better half
Of fifty years is there in bed And you're praying God takes you instead
Trust me friend a hundred years goes faster you think
Don't blink
Naw, don't blink

Song lyrics to "Don't Blink" by Kenny Chesney off his soon to be released album titled, "Just Who I Am: Poets &Pirates"

Monday, August 27, 2007

Tomato Canning Time

It's that time of year already - tomato canning time!

JoAnne canned her first batch of the season on Saturday. She used (3) different types of tomatoes: Roma (plumb), Supersonic and Brandywine. You can see the three different varieties in the first picture below. We're growing the Roma and Supersonic and my dad is growing the Brandywine.

Below is a good example of just how large the Brandywine tomato is. This one is about 6" wide but there have been larger ones!

Here is the finished product: 8 quarts and 4 pints. Actually, there were 9 quarts but we couldn't wait and opened one that JoAnne cooked dinner with Sunday night.

There are PLENTY of green tomatoes here and at my dad's so JoAnne is planning on canning more, much more! You just can't beat fresh tomatoes. I know my mother would be proud of JoAnne and would have loved to have had her help for all the year she used to do it, it's a lot of work.

Bluegill or Sunfish

Emilie, JoAnne and I did a little fishing on Saturday afternoon. Actually, it worked like this - JoAnne worked the camera, Emilie reeled in the catches and I baited the hook, hooked the fish and removed them from the hook. Now tell me who had the better job?

Anyway, we had some leftover worms from out trip to Sebago Lake Maine so we went down to a local pond and had some fun. Despite it being prolly the hottest, thickest, most oppressive day all summer long the Bluegill were bite'n. We caught approximately 12 to 15 fish with many of them hitting the bait almost at the instant it hit the water.

Here is a nice looking Bluegill.

Here's one where the hook almost 'took out an eye'. I am happy to report that I was able to safely remove the hook, save the eye and release back into the wild.

This one was ad libbing. Please pay no attention to my dirty finger. Remember, I was baiting the hook and removing the fish so they're gonna get dirty.

And here is the weapon used to land these ferocious fish - the "Shakespeare". Used with a size 8 Eagle Claw snelled fish hook, killer! Don't let the pink colors and floral design fool you, this bad boy can party!

Bottom line is that we all had fun, especially Emilie. Even the fish got a bite to eat, the lucky ones, and all were released unharmed. The remaining worms were also released into my compost pile and the container recycled. A win-win-win!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Lincoln Toads

Actually these are Eastern American Toad not Lincoln toads that's just the name I've given them because these are some of the guys that we've seen in our yard this summer.

The Eastern American Toad (B. a. americanus) is a common species of toad found throughout the eastern United States and Canada.

This dude was hang'n in the pool area.

This one was in the tomato and kale garden. You can see what's left of the kale stocks.

See if you can spot this dude...

Here's a close up of him sandwiched in the crack of our walkway just in front of the potted geranium. It looked like an awfully tight fit but a safe one for him none-the-less. I hope these guys are earning their keep and consuming all the unwanted insects. Of course they'll have competition next year when the guinea hens are released.

See previous posting dated Monday, October 09, 2006 titled "Mr. Eastern American Toad".

Lavender Guinea Keets

Here are the newest additions to our Lincoln Street menagerie - 2 Lavender Guinea Keets. These young'n are three weeks old. They're to young to sex, so we're not sure what we have but hopefully it's a boy and a girl.

Emilie and I went to the Boston Poultry Shows small animal flea market, held at the Holliston Gun Club, this morning. This flea market is held twice a year; spring and fall and always has quite a variety of poultry and small animals. Emilie wanted a duckling but that wasn't going to happen so we settled on these critters. When allowed to roam they're supposed to be excellent bug catchers, especially ticks; lyme disease carrying ticks - we'll see come next spring/summer.

For the curious folk, below is a guinea keet dropping...

Friday, August 24, 2007


We went to Davis Farmland in Sterling Massachusetts today. Here are some of the weather vane's, also called wind vane's, that sat atop several of the farm buildings.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

mmm, mmm Fresh Corn

It's that time of the year! What time you ask? Fresh corn on the cob time!!

We took a ride this afternoon to our favorite local farm, which just happens to be one town over, called Jane & Paul's Farm and picked up six ears. They have a little bit of everything there, all of it farm fresh and delicious! You just can NOT beat locally grown farm fresh corn, you can't.

Here are the six ears prior to being shucked -

And here they are after being eaten -

mmm, mmm Fresh Corn!

Nothing is wasted in our corn eating process: we feed the rabbits and guinea pigs the shucks and the chickens get the corn cobs - everyone enjoys corn this time of the season.

Blueberry Bee's

Here are some blueberry Bee pictures that I took today while we were out blueberry picking -

Monday, August 20, 2007

Go Walpole Little Leaguers!


Here is a picture of my son behind the plate. I took this pic at one of his playoff games this year. Unfortunately, Walpole got knocked out of the semi-finals by rival Norwood. They had a great season and a lot of fun.

Their excitement now lies with their friends who are representing New England in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Christopher is friends with most of the boys on this team. He's played with many of them in KP Hockey, Walpole Lacrosse and Walpole Little League, as well as going to school together.

Click here - Little League WORLD SERIES Baseball 2007

Click here - Official Website of the Walpole Little League

Zinnia's by Emilie

These are the Zinnia's that Emilie planted at the end of her day-care school year. I'm not sure how many seeds she planted but 4 emerged from the plastic cup that she planted them in. We kept them in the kitchen widow till they got big enough to be transplanted into pots of their own.

Well, here they are today planted in the ground; 4 mature plants with beautiful flowers all doing just fine. They've joined the other plants around the pool, added some nice colors to the area and nourishment for the bees and butterflies.

Here is an interesting one- notice the three different colors, how they're layered and how it gradually changes from top to bottom and visa-versa.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Our peaches are almost ready. Don't they look delicious? Well, they have been in past years, so I can only assume they'll be just as tasty this year too, no reason to think otherwise - I'll let you know. I bet you're all jealous and have peach envy too.

The rabbits enjoy the peach tree too; they love to eat the peaches and the leaves. Any peaches that are questionable or are on the soft and rotten side go into the rabbit cages and gobbled up in no time. Emilie likes to pick up the leaves that fall and feed them to the bunnies, which they eagerly devour. Come to think of it last year the woodchucks would venture out and eat the peaches that fell to the ground. Not a big as there were plenty but I'd rather feed my animals instead of some pesky rodent. The good news, at least I think it's good news, is that the woodchucks are no longer around this year. They've migrated to my dad's yard and have become a HUGE nuisance there by helping themselves to his garden vegetables.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Visiting Butterflies

Here are a variety of butterflies that have visited our yard recenttly -

Male Monarch on a voilet butterfly bush.

I believe this is a 'Painted Lady' butterfly, sometimes called the 'Hunter's Buttefly', which is often mistaken for a Monarch. This particular butterfly was pretty beatup but was resting comfortably on this purple butterfly bush.

Here's a female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail sitting a top of a Harlequin glorybower flower.

Here is a female Black Swallowtail. Actually, this is one of the butterflies that we over wintered in our garage as a chrysalis that hatched this spring. My apologies but I do not know what type of plant she is sitting on. I will research and update this posting.

Graf 750 Jr - UPDATED

It's that time of year already; where has the summer gone?!

Took my son to buy a new pair of goalie skates last night. We settled on the Graf 750 Jr, pictured above. For the price we paid I got a guarantee that he'll perform a shutout during the first game he wears them...

Unlike most goal skates that get their stiffness in part from the cowlings, the Graf 750 uses a cut down version of their excellent 705 model which not only assures great fit and support, but also offers wonderful pro level protection. The thermoformable interior is clarino lined to keep your feet comfortable and dry while giving you excellent fit and responsiveness. As one of the most durable skates on the market the 750 is top notch in every respect and will keep you in saves for a long time.

*** UPDATE ***

My sons team participated in the Valley Warriors Tourney this past weekend. Their first game was on Thursday night. My son played goal and recorded a shutout, 5-0! Outside of practices this was the first game he played wearing his new Graf 750 Jr. goalie skates and he got himself a shutout - WAY TO GO!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Carolina Grasshopper

Can you find the grasshopper in this picture? You have to look real hard, he's not too easy to spot. Plus it isn't the best picture I've ever taken. Keep looking while I tell you a little about him...

I believe this is a Carolina Grasshopper - Dissosteira carolina. The Carolina Grasshopper is one of North America's largest grasshoppers which ranges widely in North America inhabiting weedy grasslands and is considered a minor pest. They feed mainly on several species of weeds and is a strong, adept flier.

Alright, do you give up? Were you able to find him in the previous picture? It's not easy, he's hiding pretty good. I guess that's a good thing from him because if you were a predator you'd walk right on by without seeing him and miss a meal.

Okay, see if you can see him in the following picture - I helped with a little clue...

Here is a link to some interesting images of the Carolina Grasshopper.


Here are the latest pictures of our compost pumpkins. These are pumpkin plants that grew from last Halloween's pumpkins. I tossed them in the compost pile in the fall and here they've come back for another run - no pun intended.

I am fighting my OCD urges to pull these up so I can mow the grass. It also could be that I am just too damn anal. In any event I will be leaving them as they are - as you can see they're doing pretty good. There are 4 pumpkins growing but only two with any size, as you can see below and Emilie is pretty excited too.




Yup, I was lying on my stomach taking these pictures. The neighbors are gonna think I've really lost it now. Actually, come to think of it, I'm sure they already think that; JoAnne does...

See posting dated Wednesday, December 06, 2006 titled 'Jack-O-Lantern 2006'
See posting dated Friday, June 15, 2007 titled, 'Compost Pumpkins'

Monday, August 13, 2007

Egg Identification - UPDATE

Well we've done it! We've identified the mystery egg attached below. We being a combination of Silvia at Casa In Costruzione, and I. I mentioned in my original Egg Identification post, "There's a lollipop in it for you..." for the person who helped figure out what kind of egg this was - well Silvia I owe you a lollipop and I'm thinking a chocolate Tootsie Pop would be in order here.

It belongs to the Chipping Sparrow - Spizella passerina. Otherwise known as the "Hairbird" for it's habit of lining its nest with hair. Formerly, it utilized horsehair, but with the decline in the use of horses it takes any hair available and will even pluck strands from the coat of a sleeping dog - ouch!

Originally inhabitants of natural clearings and brushy forest borders, these sparrows are now found in gardens and suburban areas and have become familiar songbirds. During most of the year they feed on the ground, but in the breeding season males always sing from an elevated perch. Their food consists mainly of seeds, but in summer the adults and the young feed on insects.

Description 5-5 1/2". A small sparrow. Upper parts are brown, streaked with black; underparts, sides of face, and rump are gray. Adult has chestnut crown, white eyebrow, with thin black line through eye. Young birds have streaked crown, buff eyebrow, and duller underparts.

Here is a link to a good picture of a clutch on Chipping Sparrow eggs.

Earlier Egg Identification post from Thursday, August 09, 2007

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Can it Bee...

I was out in the yard with my camera yesterday afternoon taking pictures of all kinds of stuff. Here are few of my Bee pics. Working my way up to "P" pics, stay tuned...

Pool Time Fun

Here are a few pics of Emilie swimming in our pool and diving for colored rings. It was a beautiful day yesterday and Emilie took full advantage of it by hitting the pool. Her swimming skills and confidence in the water have improved greatly since the beginning of the season.

Yup, Moora Ether Bunnies

Knock, knock
Who's there?
Ether who?
Ether bunny

Knock, knock
Who's there?
Moora who?
Moora ether bunnies

Salt & Peppa babies

Abbey babies

Yup, we have moora ether bunnies!

Salt & Peppa and Abbey each had another litter about a week ago.

Salt & Peppa had 6 - all still doing fine. Abbey had 3 - one still born and two doing fine.

Knock, knock
Who's there?

Cargo who?
Cargo beep-beep and run over ether bunnies

Friday, August 10, 2007



Take a gander at our Lupine. Is this impressive or what?! Regrettably this is last years picture and the plant didn't survive the winter. However, it's put out a number of seedlings this year but they've yet to amount to anything. We'll try to salvage a few we some TLC in the hope that come back like gang busters next spring/summer and out do this plant.

Lupine cultivation is at least 2,000 years old and most likely began in Egypt or in the general Mediterranean region. The lupine is a perennial plant that grows from 10 to 16" tall with many large, full flower stalks, the distinctive palmate leaves consisting of several oval, pointed leaflets and have long stems. The stout flower stalks look woolly in bud due to the hairy calyx lobes.are considered a grain legumes, like beans, peas, lentils, etc.

NOTE: Some lupines contain a number of alkaloids such as lupine, lupanine, and sparteine, and they have been known to cause fatal poisoning in animals.