Monday, November 24, 2008

I Like Beavers

LONDON (AFP) – Four families of beavers have arrived in Britain for a landmark project which will see them introduced into the wild here for the first time in over 400 years, experts said Friday.
The wild beavers were captured in the Telemark region of Norway and brought to London, where they arrived Thursday and will spend six months in quarantine.
The animals will then be released in Argyll, western Scotland, during the first half of next year. Experts say they hope the beavers will help create new habits for wetland wildlife in the area by building dams.
"Beavers are native to Britain but were hunted to extinction over 400 years ago," said Simon Jones, project manager for the Scottish Beaver Trial, which is coordinating the animals' reintroduction.
"We are excited to get the trial under way and really see what benefits beavers can bring to Scotland."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Doggie Bag Surprise

Got home from work the other evening and had the munchies and couldn't wait for dinner, so I pillaged the fridge and came across JoAnne's doggie bag. Although, I initially had some apprehension about eating her leftovers that quickly passed and I basically inhaled them. My craving now satisfied and tummy at bay for a little while, I started feeling guilty, so I did the only thing I could think of...I left her a note!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Dam Creeping Charlie

Q: Our lawn is being run over by ground ivy. How can we get rid of it?

A: Ground ivy, also called creeping charlie, is a perennial broadleaf weed that lights up the horticulture hotlines all over the country in the spring. Interesting enough, the best time to apply a control for it is when you apply your fall lawn fertilizer. Look for a weed-and-feed product that contains prodiamine. The herbicide will prevent the ground ivy seeds from sprouting, and it will kill any tiny plants that have already started growing. Consider another possibility - hand-pulling. Ground ivy is completely edible and was one of the "potherbs" harvested in early spring when little else was available. It contains Vitamin C.

Interestingly enough me padre and I were just discussing this annoying plant, which is growing out of control in his yard, and how we might remove it. We first had to identify what we were dealing with and that we did, I think. However, I don't know if I have me padre 100% convinced but perhaps come Spring when it begins flowering he'll be sold. I also hope he'll begin the process of hand-pulling this sucker outta the ground.

This invasive lawn weed (Glechoma hederacea) of the mint family is sometimes referred to as: creeping Charlie or creeping Charley, gill-over-the-ground, string-of-nickels, chain-of-coins, field balm, cat's foot, and run-away-Robin.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Adorondack Chairs

Here is a picture of the recent additions to the ole homestead.

These two beauties are Adirondack chairs, which are typically very expensive when purchased brandy new. However, this pair didn't cost me a thing! Believe it or not these chairs were sitting curbside and screaming take us, take us - so I did!

There are a couple pieces of wood that need to be replaced, some screws tightened and the green staining needs to be killed but for the most part they're in great condition and well worth what they cost me.

They're very comfortable to sit in and the other nicety is that the arm rests are nice and wide, which is just perfect for resting my beers on without needing to be concern of them falling or slipping off - booyah!

Toof, Toofs, Toofies II

Well, it's official, Emilie now looks like a typical 6 year old - NO top two front teeth!

She lost one about a week ago and the other this morning.

The second tooth was just hanging by a root last night and was the funniest looking thing. Hermey the Misfit Elf (JoAnne), from the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (TV special) fame, attempted to pull the tooth last night from an unsuspecting Emilie. Can I just tell you that this was NOT a good idea - you may have been able to hear the blood curdling scream and subsequent crying (and not mine).

It's actually a good thing it didn't come out last night, as the "tooth fairy" didn't have any singles on hand, wink wink. Tonight though, tonight she will come will plenty of singles, just like a groom-to-be's bachelor party...

To access the original Toof, Toofs, Toofies posting.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Parasitoid

Ophion Wasp

Another glass crawling insect of ours. The weather warmed up quite a bit this past Saturday and as a result there were a number of insects out and about; this critter was just one of them. I like the fact that these pests are so accommodating and make themselves available for such cool close up photos.

I believe this is an Ophion Wasp of the Ichneumonidae family. Ichneumon wasps are important parasitoids of other insects - insects that live in or on, and eventually kill, a larger host insect. Common hosts are beetles, moths and butterflies.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bark Bark

I took the pictures below last weekend. As you can see the trees contain some recent damage - the bark has been removed and some branches broken. Do you know what caused this damage?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

M'm! M'm! Yuck!

"Beef. It's what's for dinner". However, that was NOT the case for my dad last night. He chose to be creative and whipped up the following meal or rather goulash. After all, he has honed his skills and is now a master of the can opener...
  • 1 can Corn
  • 1 can Beets
  • 1 can Lima Beans
  • Open and mix all three together
  • Heat
  • Eat

Below are few fast food advertising slogans - all of which this concoction was NOT.
  • Subway - Eat fresh
  • Taco Bell - Think Outside the Bun
  • McDonald's - I'm lovin' it.
  • Wendy's - Do what tastes right.
There was this one time, as a youte, that I was forcefully encouraged to eat a beet at the diner table and let's just say that the outcome was not pretty, purple but still not pretty.

Also worth mentioning, since it ties in with the theme, is the fact that President-elect Barack Obama shuns beets.

Frost vs Freeze

Q: What is the difference between a frost and a hard freeze?

A: A frost refers to the conditions that allow a layer of ice crystals to form when water vapor condenses and freezes without first becoming dew. A hard freeze is a period of at least four consecutive hours of air temperatures that are below 25 degrees F. Many plants can survive a brief frost, but very few can survive a hard freeze.

Courtesy of The Old Farmer's Almanac

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New Family Addition - Update

Here's an update on our kitten formally known as Daisy:

First of all her name is now Gracie.

Second, she's found the toilet paper...

* New Family Addition

Go Porkers!

Walpole is once again the MIAA 2008 Field Hockey - Division 1 South sectional champions - for the fifth straight year!

They played Somerset on Saturday at Taunton High School for the South championship and beat Somerset in a very exciting game. Walpole controlled most of the game and won 3 - 1. Stephanie scored the first goal for Walpole.

They face North champions Weston on Wednesday 11/12 @ 5:00PM at Wayland High School in the state semi-finals with the winner moving onto the finals at Worcester State College on Saturday.

Go Porkers!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Yellow Underwing caterpillars

Raking the grass this weekend, we can across these crawly critters - yellow underwing caterpillars or otherwise known as the "cutworm". At first I would simply step on them as I'd dislodge them, kinda like putting out a cigarette butt but this was messy and I soon realized there were simply too many of them. Instead, I began collecting them and feeding them to the chickens who devoured them as quickly as I offered them up.

These pests develop between September and April above ground feeding on the stems and leaves of grasses and other plants, sometimes grazing them off at ground level. When disturbed it adopts a 'c'-shape, as you can see in the picture above, and can get up to 2" long.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


So, we're sitting at the table last night eating diner, JoAnne and I, when out of the blue she says, "shit, we didn't do Emilie's CCD* homework again tonight!".

Do you see the irony here?

* The abbreviation CCD stands for Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. CCD is the basic teachings of the Catholic church. These classes are taught to school age children to learn the basic roots of their faith.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

People Suck

This just it, and hopefully it's not a surprise to you all, people suck!

Yup they do and I know that you know!

I simply do not and can not understand people these days; almost all lack basic common courtesy. Perhaps it's not that they lack it but more that they simply do NOT use it any longer. Let's not overlook how rude these people are too.

Here are some examples of what I'm talking about. I experienced these gems this past week alone -
  1. The 2 female co-workers who decided to have their meeting smack dab in the middle of the main isle way with complete disregard for everyone else who was trying to get past them. You'd think common sense and common courtesy would kick in and the heffalumps would move out of the way but noooooo.

  2. The dip-shit driving the Chevy mini van on the highway at 70+ mph, while talking on her cellphone and driving up my ass, who then failed/refused to use her directionals as she jerked into the passing lane and then back in front of me. She kept flapping her gums into the phone the entire time, not missing a breath.

  3. The person who failed to pull his chair in so co-workers could pass to take their seats. This was not because he was unaware of us trying to pass but more because he is a lazy, ignorant dick.

  4. Yet another co-worker who was working on his laptop and click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, clicking his mouse, as if sitting alone in his living room, as the entire conference room was quietly trying to listen to the presentation being given. He was completely oblivious too, just how ignorant can someone be?

I could go on and on and on; I have endless examples. The moral of the story is PEOPLE SUCK - that's all and have a nice day.

Friday, November 07, 2008

A Long-Horned Grasshopper

The family Tettigoniidae known in American English as katydids and in British English as bush-crickets, contains more than 6,400 species. They are also known as long-horned grasshoppers, although they are more closely related to crickets than to grasshoppers.

The katydid is named for its mating call, "Katydid! Katydidn't!''

This little lady was making her way across a window of ours, which is over top of the garage, so she was up there. I'm not sure how she was holding on and not falling, after all she's walking across glass. Also, you may have noticed that she's missing one of her hind legs. These critters are harmless and quite noisy during mating season but a calming, relaxing noisy. Oh and the chickens love em too...

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Monday, November 03, 2008

What are 13 & 25?

These are the number of times that I cut our lawn, and my dad's lawn over the course of this past grass cutting season -
  • 13 - my dad's lawn
  • 25 - our lawn
We blitzed my dad's lawn this past Saturday; cutting it, as well as picking up ALL the leaves. I may cut it one last time in a week or two, more for picking up the remainder of the leaves than actually cutting grass, as it's no longer growing now that we've had a couple hard frosts.

Our lawn will definitely get another cutting before the mower is put away for the winter. Again, more for picking up rogue leaves than actually cutting grass.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Boxelder Bugs, Boisea trivittatus

Here is a single Boxelder bug sitting on the flower of a sedium.

Here is a close up of a bunch of juvenile Boxelder bugs climbing all over a daylily.

And here they are dotting the back of our house.

These dudes are harmless and typically not noticed during the summer but come fall, August and September fahgetaboutit, they come out of the woodwork in search of a warm place to winter over. In our case they mass on the West and South side of house, especially on the warmer days. They make their way into every nook and cranny - working their way between the storm windows and storm doors and often time hitching rides on us as we come and go to get inside the house. Although the above picture shows these nuisances dotting the house it does not do justice to just how many there are and how they come together.

This has been taking place each fall since we moved into our house, so we've come to expect it and also accept it as an indication that fall has arrived here in New England and that winter is right around the corner.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Happy Halloween 2008

Tick or Treat

JoAnne and Emilie carved the pumpkins below - another year and another outstanding job! Some of the seeds are baking in the oven as I type, just like my mom used to do, and some are being saved for planting come Spring.