Wednesday, December 30, 2009

You Know You're Getting Old When...

So, I stopped at the medical center, where my primary care physician resides, yesterday morning to have some blood drawn for my up coming yearly physical. I was in the area and hadn't eaten anything since the night before, so the fasting requirement was met, and wanted to have this taken care of before my appointment. This way my doctor has the results in hand at the time of my checkup.

I'm not sure if it's because I'm getting older or softer, maybe both, but this blood draw REALLY HURT!! - more than I remember or expected! Not to mention the bruise that was left behind. Yeah I know, weenie!

Since we're on the subject of getting older and softer -

This medical center has two racks hanging in the lobby that contain 2"x6" information cards of the doctors that practice out of that facility along with their expertise, medical background and picture. A nice value add that puts a name to a face. However, as I was looking at these cards it hit me and I realized that I recognized and had been seen many of those doctors at one point or another! YIKES!! - You Know You're Getting Old When...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009!

Καλά Χριστούγεννα

I would like to wish a VERY Merry Christmas to my family and friends!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Fun Fact

Fun Fact!

The world's largest gingerbread house was made with 14,250 pounds of gingerbread and 4,750 pounds of icing, and is approximately 1,496 square feet.


Before -

After -

Other than a public service message about how keeping the fridge coils cleaned improves refrigerator efficiency, means the motor doesn't work as hard, so the unit lasts longer and will also saves energy. I got nut'n to add. The pictures pretty much speak for themselves. See we're striving to be greener!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Find the Critter

Can you find the critter in the above picture?


"When the frost in on the punkin..."

Well, you can rest assured that the frost in on the punkin here in New England and then some, yikes!

As you can see our thermometer registered 9 degrees outside the other morning; Thursday (12/17). It was very cold and that was without the windchill, which lowered the temps to zero and below and it's only December. I'm fearful of what February has in store for us.

As luck would have it too (that dam Murphy's Law, I curse you) I was scheduled in the Boston office on this frigid day. I took the commuter rail into the city, which wasn't too bad, as far as the commuter rail goes. However, the walks to the train stations and to and from the office were incredibly cold I tell you. Especially in the city where the winds do some amazing things as it zips between the buildings.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fun Fact

Fun Fact!

There are about 2,500 different types of apples grown in the United States and more than 7,500 types worldwide.

Find the Critter

Can you find the critter in the above picture?

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

The first snowfall of the season has come and gone. Well, the storm is gone, not the snow, alas - it's shaping up to be a long winter. Here are a couple pictures taken the morning after the snow - pretty yes?!

I'm also happy to report that my brother, who was visiting from Miami, still knows how to use a snow shovel. I guess some thing you just don't forget, like riding a bicycle.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

South Division 1 Field Hockey CHAMPS!

The Walpole High School varsity girls Field Hockey team, also known as "The Porkers", won the Massachusetts South Division 1 championship, HOORAY! Including the playoffs the girls had an 20-0-2 record.

Stephanie, a.k.a. "The Frye-A-Lator", finished the season with 16 goals and 11 assists to lead the division. She was also selected to the Massachusetts girls field hockey 1st team All Star and the division 1 Best of 60 All Star teams. Quite the accomplishments for both the team and individually for Stephanie!

The picture above was taken at the end of the semi-finals game. The entire game was played under a VERY heavy fog. From the bleachers, at times, you were unable to see the girls on the far side of the field. They had no problem seeing on their way to an 8 - 2 final.

"I didn't want to let go of him" - Paige

There's nothing more to add to this story other than it brought tears to my eyes!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fun Fact

Fun Fact!

According to William Bradford's book of Plymouth Plantation: 1620 - 1647, turkey was on the menu at the first Thanksgiving.

Find the Critter

Can you find the critter in the above picture?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Fat Lady Has Sung!!

Finally, lawn mowing/lawn care season is officially over for 2009!!

I spent yesterday putting my dads yard to bed for the winter; cleaned the gutters, raked and blew leaves (and cussed at then too), cut and bagged the grass and leaves, and finished by putting a winterizer fertilizer down. Of course the latter is SO counter productive in term wanting to cut the lawn less - what was I thinking...

Here are the mowing numbers for 2009:
  • My dads lawn = 16 cuttings
  • A clients lawn = 14 cuttings
  • Our lawn = 29 cuttings

All my lawn care equipment has also been put up for the winter - I'm one for the season!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Little Pecker Heads...

Care to take a guess at what caused the damage on the side of this house?

You might not be too surprised to learn what caused this but you might be when you hear the reason why!

Woodpeckers - woodpeckers are to blame. Yup, them cute little pecker-head-sum-bitches.

My first thought was that they were after something to eat; something like termites or ants or some other little insect, however, that's not the case.

The home owner made several calls in an effort to determine what caused this and why. One was to the local animal control officer, one was to an exterminator and one to Audubon.

It was Audubon that told her the reason was not to find food but rather an attempt to build a nest site. If you look close enough you'll notice that each hole was made directly under the over-hang of the shingle above, which is an indication of their intent - nest building versus feeding.

Interesting stuff!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Senior Health Care Solution

So you’re a senior citizen and the government says no health care for you, what do you do?

Our plan gives anyone 65 years or older a gun and 4 bullets. Your are allowed to shoot 2 senators and 2 representatives.

Of Course, this means you will be sent to prison.

There you will get 3 meals a day, a roof over your head, and all the health care you need! New teeth, no problem. Need glasses, great. New hip, knees, kidney, lungs, heart? All covered.

And who will be paying for all of this? The same government that just told you that you are too old for health care. Plus, because you are a prisoner, you don’t have to pay any income taxes anymore.


Mark Your Calendar...

Sunday, November 15 has been nominated as "Steve Irwin Day" by the Australia Zoo in Queensland.

Also, an Australian scientist has paid an unusual tribute to the late conservation star Steve Irwin by naming a rare species of snail "crikey steveirwini".

"It was the khaki colour that immediately drew the connection to the late Crocodile Hunter."

To read more - Crikey steveirwini! Snail honour for late Aussie star

Thursday, November 12, 2009


and I'm not talking about the Fox TV show Bones but real bones!

What you're looking at is or was a shrew (rodent).

We found this particular dude, dead and floating in our pool during the early summer. Of course at that time he looked different - well, like a shrew would normally look only wet and dead, again, because he was in the pool. Are you following all this?!

Well, Emilie was in charge of his removal and she did a super job. She got the skimmer and scooped him out in one nice, fluid motion. However, her attempt at launching this dude over the fence fell short and he landed on the second rail of the stockade fence - which is exactly where he's remained and still remains today, only no longer wet and missing his epidermis. An indefinate science project of sorts.

Stop by an see him if you're in the neighborhood.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Calling in the BIG Guns - UPDATE

Here is an update on our Muscovy ducks, as you can see they've grown...

If you recall we "adopted" three ducklings. The number three was chosen in an effort to increase our odds of having one male and one female. Of course we ended up with two males and one female. Since keeping two males is out of the question, one of the males has since been re-homed, which also saves on feed and boy can these quackers eat! So, we're down to a strikingly handsome pair (the female is the one sporting the black cap) - we've accomplished our intended goal.

We also purchased a used 5' wide x 5' deep x 5' tall chain link dog kennel that we're using to house these guys. It's working just fine for us and the duckies seem to enjoy it too. Since Muscovies are notorious fliers and escape artists I'll need to clip their wings soon otherwise the kennel investment will be for not. They'll always come home, but I'm sure our neighbors wouldn't appreciate their visits. This should be done twice a year and only needs to be performed on one wing. All I need to do it cut the flight feathers in half - like a haircut of sorts with no pain or discomfort to the animal.

Plan B is in full swing! Think Spring...

Fun Fact

Fun Fact!

The term "granola bar" was first recognized in the late nineteenth century as a term for foods made up of whole grain products that are baked until crispy.

Identify It

What bird did this feather come from?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Put to Bed (for the Winter)

Our gardens and yard have all been put to bed for the winter - night night...

New compost was added to each garden and tilled in. 12-days ago Emilie helped me sow 5lbs of Winter Rye in each, which has taken root and is already beginning to grow.

The closest bed above contains our strawberries. I mowed them down and weeded as best I could. Once the cold weather sets in I will be covering these berry plants with pine needles to help protect them during the winter. Removing them is one of the first order of business come late winter - well before the soil warms and the plants begin to grow.

We've also planted 3-rows, approximately 60-cloves, of California White Garlic (above), which have also begun growing and now stand about 3" tall. I've spread leaf and grass clippings on top of their bed to help protect them during the winter.

Think SPRING!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"I'm wearing two different shoes."

So, I'm sitting in my office (cubicle) yesterday feverishly working away on my computer when I sense someone come up behind me - it's Vlad.

He says, "Hi, what's up?"

I nod and say, "nuttin, same ole thing!" and keep on typing, which was then followed be a period of silence.

Vlad then voluntarily and out of the blue says, "I just realized I'm wearing two different shoes."

I fell on the floor laughing! One of the funniest things I've heard in a long while.

Once I composed myself I said, "that might be true, however, it's not something you should freely admit".

To his credit the shoes were the same make, model and color just one old and one new, so it wasn't too bad but hysterical just the same and par for the course in the life and times of Vlad...

Fun Fact

Fun Fact!

The phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is based in Greek mythology where apples were associated with the healing god Apollo.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Fun Fact

Fun Fact!

There are 90 days of fall so get out and enjoy it before winter hits.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Find the Critter XIX

Can you find and name the critters in the above picture?

Closed for the Season

As Lasky said, the security guard at Walleyworld in movie National Lampoon's Vacation, "Sorry folks park's closed. Moose out front should have told you".

We'll, I'm not Lasky, this isn't a movie and I'm not talking about a park. However, what I am referring to is our pool and our pool is now officially closed for the season - Sorry folks pool's closed. Grumpy home owner has told you!

Signs the Economy is improving

or is it simply a selfish, well-to-do pecker-head showing his true colors?! I'm thinking the latter!

Back in October 2005 McDonald's replaced the coffee in it's 600 New England stores with Newman's Own Organics Blend coffee! I really like this coffee, sooo much better than Dunkin Donuts, and stop whenever I get a chance. This Saturday I stopped to grab a cup on my way to Westwood.

So, I'm sitting in the drive-thru and queued up behind an impressive black, freshly washed and waxed Lexus LS series sedan driven by an older gentleman that I would guess was somewhere in the area of late fifties, early sixties. The Lexus dude pulls up to the window and pays for his order. As he waits for his food to arrive he takes the coins that were given to him with his change and tosses them out his window against the building - I was shocked! We're not talking about a lot of money here but the amount doesn't matter. The ignorance of this stunt is unsettling. Certainly he could have chosen something better to do with it. For example, give it back to the clerk and request that it be put in the collection for the Ronald McDonald House.

Prolly think he's some big shot with an over inflated ego. You know, the upper management type with no conscience about his actions and only concerned about himself. I hope that some day he'll need that change and realize the errors of his ways with his mightier than thou bone head stunt. Oh, I also wished for him to choke on his food...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bird Flu versus Swine Flue

My doctor just told me the primary difference between Bird Flu and Swine Flu.

With Bird Flu you need a tweetment, and with Swine Flu you need an oinkment.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hay versus Straw

Q: "What’s the difference between hay and straw?

A: Hay bales are a food source. That is the first and perhaps most important difference. Hay is actually a plant that is cut when it is alive and full of grain. The purpose of the hay is to feed animals. Straw, on the other hand, is simply the stalks of standing plants that contain no grain. The grain is harvested from the plants by a machine that cuts it off of the stalk. The grain is then removed from the field and the stalks are left to die, standing. Once they are totally dead and mostly devoid of moisture, they are cut, raked, and baled. The baled straw has multiple uses. It can be used as animal bedding, erosion control, home building, and more. One thing it is not used for is food."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Future Garden Perhaps...

Can you find the difference between the before and after pictures below?



Yup, you guessed it the spruce Christmas tree* has been removed! I cut it down, loaded it in the truck and took it to our local town recycling center. Although, it might not look too big in the picture it was a lot more work than I thought; limbing it, loading it and unloading it. However, at the end of the day it was worth it. It looks SO much better now and opens the space up nicely. We can now look out the rear living room window and see the back gardens, which were hidden before.

Since this location is sloped so much there really isn't too much we can do with it's, plus it's also a pain to mow. So next year we're thinking of making this our vining vegetable garden and not even worry about mowing it. I was thinking about planting zucchini and summer squash along the side and rear borders and pumpkins and butternut squash inside, where they can creep and grow all over each other. We'll see...

* The previous owners did in fact use that tree as a Christmas tree one year and then planted it the following Spring.

Easter Egg Chickens

Our coop is now complete with the addition of these (2) beautiful little girls. These chickens are known as Easter Egg chickens and will lay blue-greenish colored eggs. They come from a combination of Ameraucana and Araucana chickens. I've been wanting and looking for some of these birds for a couple years now but hadn't found the right ones; these are the right ones!

They're young still but super friendly and have a nice disposition in general. Of course the coop is in disarray as the pecking order needs to be re-set with the introduction of these pullets. It's interesting to see how the seven birds breakout into three different groups. Each group represents how the chickens were introduced, so we have (2) groups of two birds and (1) group of three birds.

We've been getting one egg a day now for two weeks, which is being laid by the Amberlink, hooray!! The others should be starting soon, just in time for winter. This may force me to install a light in the coop this year, not for heat but rather to fool the girls into thinking the days are longers, thus keeping them laying. C'mon girls start-a-laying and earn your keep...

If you're not familiar with what blue-greenish colored eggs look like click here, EGG, to see a picture, which shows them with a brown egg and white egg for comparison. These eggs taste the same as brown and white eggs and any claim to them being lower in cholesterol is false.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Steel Chiminea - Before and After

Call me Fred Sanford if you'd like but at the end of the day I think you'd agree that we scored a winner with this particular "find".

Coming home the other evening, just before dark, we came across this steel chiminea sitting curbside. The house had a For Sale sign in the front yard and a pile of trash out for morning pickup. Apparently, this chiminea gem just wasn't wanted at their new abode. I initially drove past but quickly turned around. After all I saw it first and didn't want any other passerby's to try and take my "find". We hemmed and hawed a bit before deciding to take. Part of our apprehension was the fact that we were in the Explorer and not my pickup.

However, at the end of the day I'm glad that we decided to rehome it. We'll break it in once the cooler weather moves in.

This is the before picture -

This is the after picture -

I sanded the entire outside of the stove and spray painted it with a flat black high heat Rust-Oleum paint. Looks nice right?!?! Lowe's has a similar chiminea called the "Garden Treasures Steel Chiminea" selling for $149.00.

If anyone is interested, I will let this refurbished gem go for $75.00 cash...

Can you say S'MORES!!

Fun Fact

Fun Fact!

Blueberries are rich in vitamins C and K.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Find the Critter XVII

Can you find the critters in the above picture?

New England Revolution Night Out

We went to Gillette Stadium this past Saturday night and took in our first New England Revolution soccer game. Although the Revs lost to the Kansis City Wizards 4 - 2 it was a great opportunity to get inside the stadium and check it out. Plus it was a beautiful night. Only half of the stadium was open for seating but we had our choice of location and seats. We were able to take our time getting in and out and puttered along checking out the stadium. This would have been nearly impossible if we were at a New England Patriots game. It was a very good take and very reasonable tickets prices including free parking - two thumbs up!

Fun Fact

Fun Fact!

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are over 93,000 public schools in the United States.

Calling in the BIG Guns...

Okay, here's the issue -

The wet spring and summer we had created perfect breeding conditions for many an insect, for example it's nearly impossible to venture outside when the sun goes down without getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. Another pest that has thrived this season, and one that has worn out it's welcome (which it never really had) is the slug. You can find them out and about in the early mornings, especially when the dew is still covering the lawn or turn over any rock and you'll find the slimy, trail-leaving pests hiding out.

They're eating holes many of our flower plants, especially the hostas, which is clearly their favorite based on all the damage they've inflicted. You can see an example of the damage in the picture below. The other morning I killed over 200 slugs in the back yard alone, which didn't even put a dent in their population. I used a pair if pruning scissors to cut the son-of-bitches in half, however, sprinkling them with good ole table salt immediately dries them up and works wonders too.

Since patrolling for and killing slugs is a time consuming task and really not the best use of my time we've decided to proceed with plan B!

What is plan B you ask? Hmmm?

Well, plan B involves the purchasing one of the bestest, all natural, aka "organic", controllers of slugs in the business...

The Muscovy duck! Game on!

These are (3) week old ducklings that were hatched on 8/13/2009. We only wanted a pair but since they're too young to sex we decided on three in an effort to increase the odds of one male and one female. I hope it doesn't turn into a ducks version of, "The Faber/Leonard Chicken".

The next order of business is naming them. Emilie has taken on this responsibility with the exception of the male (again, assuming we have one), which I've taken the liberty of naming "Kid Rock"!

Yes, of course I need my head examined! I have no one to blame but myself too. However, if this works it's brilliant and all we'll need to worry about is walking in the yard with bare feet, oooh yuck! Perhaps, I haven't thought this through entirely.

Side Note:
Prior to departing on our vacation we relocated our rabbits and chickens to my dad's house to be cared for. I was fit to be tied throughout this whole process and swore up and down that the animals were going to go once we returned - so go figure how we still have them and we're still adding to the menagerie...

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Road Trip Cleanest Lavatory

I'm no expert when it comes to bathrooms, however, I can tell when they're clean, or in need of cleaning or down-right nasty.

During our 2000+ mile vacation journey we made frequent stops at various restaurants and rest areas along the way to "use the facilities". The majority of the privies were fine especially when you stop and think about the number of visitors each relieves and the numbers being performed.

Sadly, I must report that the dirtiest rest area we came across has to be the one we stopped at upon entering West Virginia. The men's lavatory had a, "Closed for Cleaning" sign when we first arrived, which I was happy to see thinking that once opened it'll be fresh and clean. I wasn't in dire need and happy to wait for a clean latrine. I'm still not sure what "Closed for Cleaning" means in West Virginia. I will spare you all the details but rest assured it was NOT clean...

Hands down the cleanest and most impressive facility was in Virginia. Again, we chose to stop at the Welcome Center upon entering Virginia. They were clean and fresh with all necessities fully stocked and functional. These particular washrooms offered something that we'd not seen before. There was a unique stall in both the men's and women's room that had two chamber pots in it - an adult potty and a child's potty! As anyone with little kids can attest, this is a fantastic idea! Not only were there two potties but there was also plenty of room. Many stalls have just barely enough space to get oneself in and situated, never mind having a young'n in tow. JoAnne was sooo impressed that she took the below picture.