Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mmmmm Meat (aka Homer Simpson)!

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
Sorry, I can't answer the question either. However, I can tell you with 100% certainty that you simply can NOT beat a big, fat, juicy bacon cheeseburger! The combination of beef and pig is to die for, mmm mmm GOOD! Just need to figure out a way to include chicken into this burger for the trifecta! Any ideas?!

I am all for boycotting cruelty though - animal cruelty that is not the Guantanamo Bay water boarding cruelty.

We were handed the above pamphlet outside of a McDonald's in Downtown Crossing, Boston on our last visit in. There was a group of wacko-doodles standing in front of the restaurant, holding signs and preaching to whoever would stop and listen. Now I can see boycotting "Ants on a Log" but a nice tender piece of meat, never!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Bad Dog Agits, Bad...

Our washing machine just stopped agitating one day; it's a relatively new Kenmore Elite. Actually, not sure how long we were doing laundry without agitation - of course besides my own agitation but that's an entirely different story for another time and preferably to be discussed over a couple of frosty wobblie pops.

Of course prior to this issue I had NO clue about and had never heard of dog agits, have you? Thanks to Barbara that all changed... It's a relatively easy, straight forward and inexpensive fix that didn't take any longer than 10 minutes to do. F the Kenmore (Sears) repair man. We're in an economic crapper and can ill afford to pay for frivolous services like dog agit repairs.

The washer agitates now and presumably cleans our laundry better - I certainly look better. I'd be happy to document how to agitate, both dog agit replacement and in general agitation for anyone interested.

These are the replaced dog agits.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Edible Flowers...

Just in case you find yourself lost in the great outdoors and need some sustenance or if you get the munchies while working in your yard or garden. Here are some options for you to consider, which have to be far better tasting than "Ants on a Log"...

Q: Which flowers are edible?

A: Among the most common edible flowers are peonies, pansies, carnations, chamomile, chrysanthemums, dandelions, daylilies, gardenias, geraniums, gladioli, lavender, lilies, nasturtiums, primroses, roses, squash blossoms, sweet violets, pot marigolds, and yucca blossoms.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tournament Run

The WHS girl’s varsity ice hockey team made it into the post season for the first time since the program began. This was quite an accomplishment that capped an exciting season! One reason for their success was that the girls tripled the number of goals they scored this year as compared to last.

Their first playoff tilt was at home and the girls came out on fire. They were all over their opponent and won the game decidedly 4-2. Note: Stephanie scored 2 of the goals and assisted on one. The team was riding an enormous high and couldn't wait to get back at it against their next opponent Winchester High. However, due to an unfortunate event their momentum came to an end.

The 49yo assistant coach for Winchester High suffered a heart attack and passed away. Due to these circumstances there was a 10 day layoff and for some reason a change of rinks (farther away).

When the game was played the Walpole girls lost and were ousted from the post season. Did the 10 day delay effect them, yes. Did the change of venue effect them, yes. However, no excuses were made; the bottom line is that they simply didn't play well enough to win but it was a great season none the less.

The game itself and who won was inconsequential; a blip on the radar. After all it was just a game; there will be others and other opportunities for these girls.

In a gesture of compassion, over and above sportmanship, each Walpole player presented each Winchester player with a single long-stemmed red rose during player introductions! It was extremely emotional and very moving - not a dry eye in the rink.

The reaction was remarkable, both before and after the game; players, coaches and fans all moved to tears. The Winchester coaches and high school representatives visited the Walpole coaches after the game to thank them for such an incredible gesture. They also told them they'll always hold a special memory for Walpole and what the girls did.

The Walpole girls may have lost of the game but they won the praise and admiration of a community.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ants on a Log

Here's a great kids friendly snack or so I've been lead to believe. Personally, I'd rather eat dirt but perhaps there are some folks out there that just might enjoy the combination of ingredients listed below. Just trying to do my part and offer some health snacking alternatives...

- 8 celery stalks, each stalk cut into 3 pieces
- 1 8 ounce container of light cream cheese OR 8 ounces of peanut butter
- ½ cup raisins

Fill the celery pieces with cream cheese or peanut butter. Top with raisins.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Find the Critter IV

Ok, here's an easy one for y'all...
Can you find the critter in the above picture?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Daisy Thing Happening

Gerber or Gerbera Daisy, also known as "African daisy" is a genus of ornamental plants from the sunflower family.

This is one of several Gerber Daisy's plants of ours that we've wintered over in the basement. This particular one has been with us for many, many years and typically flowers throughout the spring and summer. It's been in the same pot and the same soil since day one. We fertilize it but I'm reluctant to do much else with it, i.e. re-pot in a larger pot, because it does so well.

We brought it upstairs to the kitchen a couple weeks ago where it's much warmer and sunnier. You can see how she's responded - she's rewarded us with a couple of stunning end-of-winter flowers.

Happy, Happy Girls...

The girls enjoyed some time out of their coop to take in some warm, sunny weather and scratch around for some goodies. As you can see they're looking great; they usually do once they've gone through their molt. They're also beginning to lay with more regularity now that the days are longer and the weather a little warmer.

However, we do have a problem in the hen house - we have an egg eater! Yup, at least one of the girls has taken a fancy to eating their eggs and if we don't get out to the coop shortly after ones been laid it's quickly broken and eaten. This is a more common problem than some might think and one that is very difficult to stop once they get a taste and it can also quickly spread to other birds through the coop but it can be done. I have several ideas that I plan on trying:
  • Raise the height of their nest box
  • Add a second nest box
  • Cover their nest box and hang a cloth over the entrance so it's darker inside and not as easy to access. I use a milk create today that I customized and turned into a nest box but it's wide open making it too easy to get at the eggs once laid.
  • Put a fake egg in each nest box. Hopefully this will deter them since all the pecking in the world won't produce the yummy taste of a real egg.
  • Thinking about purchasing "poly peepers". Poly peepers are very flexible glasses or blinders that are affixed directly to the chicken through their nostrils. Once installed the birds can't see straight ahead, which should make it very difficult to see and find eggs to eat. They're actually pretty funny!
  • Find new homes for these hens. After all they're old, 4 years this summer, in terms of being considered productive egg layers. Perhaps, it's time to start a fresh batch of pullets this summer.
  • Last but not least and certainly an option that needs to be considered - the freezer.

Stay tuned...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Through the Eyes of a Seven Year Old

We bought Emilie a digital camera a while back and have been saving most of the pictures that she's taken. Some are good, some not so good but then again the camera isn't the greatest and doesn't take the best pictures anyway. Regardless, she loves it, has a great time using it and that's all that matters!

Here are just a few examples of her work -

Care Bear grape snack time -

Petshop (characters) themed balloon a float -

Chocolate chip waffle breakfast, yum -

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Find the Critter III

Can you find the critter in the above picture?

On our way home from Boston the other day, and just before dark, we came upon these three critters working their way to the tree tops and their nighttime roosting spot . These critters have made a remarkable comeback here in New England and can be found ALL over from suburbs to the city. So much so that there are regular spring and fall hunting seasons to keep them in check. As a matter of fact turkey hunting season begins soon (I believe 4/27) so these critters will need to do a better job at hiding or perhaps end up as someones diner.

Eastern wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris)

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Cause & Effect

(Damn) Cause

(Messy) Effect

Boston Adventure

Paul Revere and the Old North Church

Yesterday was such a warm, beautiful day that we decided to take a ride into Boston and walk around the city.

We were lucky enough to find a parking space, on a side street, in the financial district; cost = zero dollars. We bailed out and headed towards Fanuiel Hall Marketplace, which was mobbed, and caught the tail-end of a street performer; cost - zero dollars. Then we made our way along the waterfront through the Northend, over to Haymarket Square and then to South Station for lunch ; cost - zero dollars.

Finally being able to get outside and enjoy the sun, fresh air & Boston - priceless!!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Hear ye! Hear ye! - UPDATE

They're back...

The weather has warmed up and the melting has begun.

These little ladies have survived their snow covering and reappeared with blooming on there mind!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Hear ye! Hear ye!

Galanthus nivalis, usually known as the Garden Snowdrop.

Hear ye! Hear ye! I bear tidings as sure to thaw the psyches of all the winter-weary as the warm breath of a spring breeze: the shoots of the first snowdrops have pushed up in my yard...

This is a picture of our faithful snowdrop beginning to blossom. She's planted next to our front stairs and has been appearing about this time each and every year since we've lived here (8+ years). This picture was taken a day before our most recent snow storm (3/2), which dropped about 12" on us. As you can imagine this little lady is completely covered at the moment but 60 degree temperatures are predicted for this weekend so hopefully she'll be reappearing soon!

Garden Snowdrop Fun Facts:
  • There are 75 different species and varieties of snowdrops and they're all white.
  • A snowdrop plant looks like three drops of milk hanging from a stem. This accounts for the Latin name Galanthus which means "milk-white flowers".
  • Snowdrops are members of the Amaryllis family.
  • Normally avoided by deer and rodents.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Find the Critter II

Can you find the critter in the above picture?

I noticed this critter resting in one of our Boxelder trees yesterday morning or perhaps it was looking for a meal ahead of the snowstorm.

This is one of several migratory birds that have stopped and visited our back yard so far this year and joins the Eastern Bluebird and Red-winged Black bird. This bird, like the afore mentioned, is beautiful, however it possesses a talent rivaled by few others and one that is truly amazing to behold - these birds capture prey from cover or while flying quickly through dense vegetation, relying almost totally on surprise. It does not bite the prey to kill but rather squeezes it repeatedly to kill it.

This is a Cooper's Hawk.

Amaryllis Excitement "Grows" - UPDATE

The "Amaryllis Excitement Grows" original posting was on 2/16. If you recall the amaryllis was nothing more than a 12" stalk. It's now 3/1 and although still holding around the 12" mark there have been some changes; some impressively beautiful changes; four of them -

The ugly duckling starting to bud -

Buds open, proud and standing tall -

Up close stunning -

It's nice to watch the process unfold and have some color, especially being in the grips on winter.

Click here for the original "Amaryllis Excitement "Grows" posting.