Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Facilities Update, alas...

What has a total distance of 57.49 miles and a total time of 1 hour and 6 minutes?

How long it's gonna take me, in good weather and with NO traffic, and the mileage I'm facing (one way), to drive to my new office location!

Yup, that's right. We just received word that the company I work for has decided to consolidate their three locations (buildings) down to two. To stay with the company I (we) have two choices - work out of either the Andover or Boston facilities.

Staggered moves will begin in September with the transition expected to be complete by December 31, 2009.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Door etiquette or rather lack there of...

Let’s talk about door etiquette or lack there of; more specifically the proper use of double doors. The ones often found in business, malls, schools, etc.

When you approach double doors, similar to the ones pictured above, how would you proceed? Would you use the door on the left or door on the right? For example, let’s say you’re exiting, so you’re walking out of the building. Which door (side) do you select and why?

Just curious because all too often I witness people using the door on the left, why?! I find this a strange and unexplainable phenomenon; it’s mind boggling. Often times this occurs even when someone is attempting to enter at the same time - daaaaaahhhhhhh.

I do not know if there are any “official” rules governing the use of doors, if not maybe there should be, but at a minimum I'd like to think that common sense and common courtesy would prevail and guide those confused soles. Alas, like SO many other things these days, no such luck – you’ve got a better chance of hearing a turtle fart…

Why can't we just all remember to use the door on the right? Don't use the door on the left, even if it happens to be open. Even if using the left door wouldn't put you in anyone's way, you still shouldn't use the left door. Follow the Door Rules. Walk on the right, and use the door on the right. Don't try to slip through on the left, even when nobody else is around, because the entire door system will break down.

Someone needs to come up with a song to help teach those offending dipsticks proper door etiquette. Perhaps, something similar to the Gary Rosen and Peter Gould song called–
righty tighty, lefty loosey jingle.

Here are some additional door etiquette topics to discuss and ponder: Single doors used as both an exit and entrance - Letting people exit before entering, i.e. elevators. Holding doors for others – when and when not to and Revolving doors - use common sense.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Oh Deer Frances Williams...

This is a picture of a Frances Williams hosta, one of my favorites, and was given to me by Emilie and JoAnne for Father's Day. Unfortunately, I've not had good luck or success with the Frances Williams in the past. The plethora of other hostas we have are doing fantastic. However, this was the one; the one plant that was going to do well, after all it was a given as a special gift, so it must!

Take a look at her today, less than a month since being put in the ground here. Now if her condition doesn't infuriate you then you're dead inside. This is what I came upon the other afternoon and it REALLY makes my blood boil! This was NOT the only plant to fall victim to this carnage. There was another hosta stripped of her beautiful heart shaped leaves, as well as a section of our raspberry bushes, urrgh!!

Care to take a stab (at the guilty party) at who or what is responsible for this pruning?

"(Our) Survey said!" (from the game show Family Feud) -

They were fun to watch when in the neighbor's yard nibbling but not anymore. That all changed when they came a grazing in our yard and gardens. They're NOT too cute to me anymore! If it's not one critter pest, i.e. woodchuck, rabbit, slug even, then it's another! Venison anyone...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009

1 Chick, 2 Chick, 3 Chick Make 9...

Here are the latest additions to the ole Lincoln Street homestead -

From front to back; a Black Australorp, a Rhode Island Red and a Barred Rock (like New Honey).

These little ladies (pullets) are 3 weeks old and will be joining the 8 week old Amberlink and Black Sex-link chicks already outside in the coop when they're older and full feathered - about 3 more weeks.

These three bring our chicken total to nine with the plan being to cull down to 6; one of each breed, plus one. All brown egg layers and making our backyard coop a unique and interesting mixture.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Boobies Make Me Smile!


Just what did you think I was referring to?!?! Geesh, you all need to get you dirty little minds out of the gutter!

But of course I am referring to the Blue-footed Booby, Sula nebouxii (pictured below). The Blue-footed Booby has a long neck, a sharp bill and bright blue feet. Its feather are brown on the wings, and its head and neck are brown with black streaks. Its chest and undersides are white.

The name “booby” comes from the Spanish term bobo, which means "Stupid" or "Fool" or "Clown". This is because the Blue-footed Booby is clumsy on the land.

Father's Day 2009

"A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty." - Unknown

Happy Father's Day!

Below is a little history on this wonderful holiday:

  • In 1910, the city of Spokane, Washington celebrated the first Father's Day.
  • In 1924, the third Sunday in June was proclaimed Father's Day by President Calvin Coolidge.
  • In 1926, the National Father's Day Committee was formed in New York City.
  • In 1956, Congress recognized Father's Day as a holiday.
  • In 1966, a presidential proclamation by Lyndon B. Johnson declared the third Sunday of June officially Father's Day.
  • In 1972, President Richard Nixon made the third Sunday in June a permanent national observance of Father’s Day.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Find the Critter XI

Please disregard the mess...

Can you find the critters in the above picture?

FastPitch - Season 1

Emilie's first spring softball season has come to an end and boy did it go by fast! She's a natural...

Emilie and her 12 teammates, known as the Red Rockets, had a ball (no pun intended). They each had the opportunity to play different positions in the field and were able to bat in different orders, with the last batter being the sought after role. This last batter was able to run all the bases, a.k.a. like hitting a home run, after her hit. The team would then take the field to play defense.

The coaches were great and did a wonderful job. We, the parents, we’re also able to meet other parents (Franklin residents), some of whom we’ll undoubtedly be seeing often throughout other extra curricular activities, school events and even sleepovers and play dates.

Here is a picture of her first trophy, which she’s VERY proud of it, as she should be and so are her parents!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Field Hockey Showcase

Yellow pinny for showcase event - #3

Red pinny for All-Star game - #6

My oldest daughter attended the New England Premier Field Hockey College Recruiting Showcase, held in Exeter, NH, this past weekend. The weather was beautiful on Saturday but rainy, windy and cold on Sunday. Generally speaking the girls didn’t appear phased by the conditions and performed well.

The two day showcase ended with an All-Star game. All-Star selections were determined by staff ballots for each game played over the two day showcase. Of course I’m biased when it come to each of my three kids, so I wasn’t surprise to hear them call “Stephanie Frye” as one of the All-Star players – red team, #6. Obviously, being selected for the All-Star game is an indication of how well Stephanie did during the event. Hopefully, we'll be able to leverage this moving forward with college just around the corner.

The New England Premier Field Hockey College Recruiting Showcase is a unique arena for the best high school field hockey players to demonstrate their talent and decision-making skills in game situations — and for college coaches from around the country to conveniently and thoroughly assess their potential. This event is totted as, “the BEST recruiting opportunity for top players”.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bag O Garden Pests

I collected some unwanted pests from my garden last night, see picture above. These are the few that I bagged, the others were anatomically altered and had their heads pinched off before being discarded. They were here last year and went unnoticed until too much destruction was done. I’ve been waiting for them to reappear this year and hope to get a jump on them before they do too much damage and reproducing.

The little green caterpillars are pure destruction and called “Imported Cabbage Worm” because some time in the mid-1800’s they were transported from Europe to Canada, and have spread all through North America since then. They’re an invasive species, of course.

Some might ask why I’m concerned with cabbage worms since I’m not growing any cabbage but rather broccoli and kale. Although they appear very different, kale, broccoli, kohlrabi, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts are all the same species of plant.

The beetles are Colorado potato beetles. They’re serious crop pests of potatoes but may also cause serious damage to tomatoes and eggplants. These pests are more difficult to catch since they can fly. However, their eggs are easy to spot, which are typically laid on the underside of the plant leaves in clusters, and easy to destroy.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Chick Update

There have been some chicken changes at the ole Lincoln street homestead, so it’s about time for an update –

Lucy, Ethel and New Honey have been sold; re-homed to what sounds like a very nice family a couple towns over – with an open invitation to stop in for a visit any time we want. Coop rules and pecking orders are about to change for these girls. They’ll now be sharing their new coop with a 5+ year old rooster named Einstein. If there is such a thing as a lucky rooster, Einstein would be him, and if chickens could smile, Einstein is sporting and ear to ear grim right now!

This change was a necessary one to make room for our new chicks that are now 7 week old. They’re doing just fine and are very friendly but have been housed in a large crate that I am tired of cleaning. The location of this crate has also prevented us from hanging our laundry outside since it happens to be situated in close proximity to the close lines.

If you’ll recall, we started with ten day-old pullet chicks; (5) Amberlink and (5) Black Sex-link. We sold four last week to very enthusiastic, young 4-Her named Adam. He, like Einstein, had an ear to ear grin as he proudly carried his box of chicks to his moms van idling in our driveway.

Today, we’re down to six chicks, three of each breed, pictured below. These little ones can now be relocated to the recently vacated abode decoop of the older hens. This will give them more personal space, more room to fly, jump, dig and scratch and A LOT easier on the farmers who tend to them -

Amberlink -

Black Sex-link -

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Veggie Garden Update

Here it is the second week of June and truth be told I’m still waiting for summer to arrive. We’ve had some fantastic days but all in all the days have been cooler than what’s expected around here this time of year. However, we’re making the best of it and still getting out to work in the yard and enjoy the pool.

The vegetables have all been planted and appear to be doing quite well. Here’s a list of them:

  • Corn – (1) row of Silver Queen and (1) row Yellow Golden
  • Tomato – (20) Better Boy & (5) Roma in garden; (5) Roma & (5) Grape in pots
  • Potatoes – (1) row of Yukon Golden
  • Sunflower – (1) row of mixed varieties
  • Peppers – (6) California Wonders
  • Garlic – (2) rows of Allium California Soft Neck - Jumbo
  • Rhubarb – (1) plant
  • Carrots – (1) row
  • Radish – (1) row
  • Pole Beans – (2) rows Kentucky Wonder, planted two weeks apart
  • Cucumber – (3) plants
  • Broccoli – (6) plants
  • Kale – (6) plants
  • Strawberries – (1) raised bed with oddles of berries
  • Raspberries – (2) row looking full and thick – red and orange
  • Peaches – (1) tree with an abundance of baby peaches throughout
  • Herbs – (4) Greek Oregano, (4) Italian Parsley, (3) Thyme, (1) Rosemary, (1) Fennel & Chive planted throughout the yard

The only nuisances to speak of are the wild rabbits that are getting into the carrots, beans and radishes. Just the other morning, from the upstairs bathroom window, I threw a tube of toothpaste at a bunny that was eating the carrot tops. Surprisingly enough it sailed perfectly and came pretty close to beaning (no pun intended) the pest - it landed just high and to the right, into the radishes. In my groggy state the tube of toothpaste seemed like the best option at my disposal, so I went with it.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Baby Bunny - UPDATE

Here's an update on the baby bunnies that were rejected by their mother -

We removed them from the same cage as their mother, boxed them up and brought them upstairs where it's warmer. We didn't hold much hope for their survival; they were skin and bones and in pretty bad shape, so we weren't surprise when we woke the next morning to one that had passed away.

Surrogate mother JoAnne is determined to save these little guys and made a special trip the a local pet store and picked up some KMR, which is an all natural, no preservatives, made in the USA, complete food source for orphaned or rejected kittens - this also works for bunnies.

She's up early to feed them before work, feeds them when she comes home and at least once, sometime twice before bed. They did NOT like the formula at first, so the force feeding method was used. Today, a week later they're gobbling it up to the tune of 6, 8 and 10 eye droppers full. They've also begun nibbling on rabbit feed, grass and comfrey. All five are doing FANTASTIC! They're alert, active and love running around in the kitchen.

Here is a picture of the remaining crew taken on June 2. As you can see they're a little queasy looking.

This photo is for comparison. The grayish bunny is from a different litter and was born on the same day as the brownish bunny - quite a size difference.

Kudos to Surrogate mother JoAnne !!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

"Of course you realize...this means war" *

There are only two types of bunnies welcome at the ole Lincoln Street homestead - our domestic bunnies and of course playboy bunnies! All others are forbidden, especially wild bunnies.

Operation Chipmunk 2007 was a huge success. No water boarding was required. The enemy has been eradicated with
extreme prejudice.

Operation Woodchuck 2008 was also a success.

We're now facing another conflict (foe), dubbed Operation Hare 2009.

I usually spend a couple minutes looking out the bathroom window, into the backyard, each morning before my customary morning urination. This is typically a peaceful time to take in all the hard work we've done and occasionally catch a glimpse of an interesting backyard visitor, i.e. deer, fox, turkey, rabbits, etc. This morning, however, one of the many wild bunnies who visit regularly was up in one of our raised vegetable beds eating the newly sprouted beans, Ugh!

With a still full bladder, I threw on a pair of jeans and took off for the backyard. I chased the @$%!* rabbit off but the damage was already done. Our newly sprouted beans have been reduced to stems only, no leaves, Ugh! All of our hard work, time and energy, for not, eaten by an unwanted and uninvited pest. Ugh!

It's ironic that on one hand we have a litter of domestic bunnies that we're feeding by hand in an effort save and on the other hand my alter ego
Carl Spackler is coming out.

Click the embedded link above for a Carl Spackler YouTube moment and read the Caddyshack movie excerpt below -

Sandy: I want you to kill every gophers on the golf course!
Carl Spackler: Correct me if I'm wrong Sandy, but if I kill all the golfers, they're gonna lock me up and throw away the key...
Sandy: Not golfers, you great fool! Gophers! The *little* *brown* *furry* *rodents* !
Carl Spackler: We can do that; we don't even have to have a reason. All right, let's do the same thing, but with gophers -!

*Bugs Bunny

Monday, June 01, 2009

Similar Looking but NOT an ALB

Monochamus scutellatus

Cutting the lawn yesterday I got a scare when I came across the insect pictured above. His antenna are as long as his body. It looks very much like the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB), which has been found in several western Massachusetts towns.

The ALB is considered an invasive species in North America where it is a serious threat of hardwood trees including; maple, horse-chestnut, birch, poplar, willow, elm, ash, European mountain-ash, London plane tree, mimosa, and hackberry. The beetles cause damage by tunneling within the trunks and branches of trees, disrupting the sap flow and weakening and eventually killing them. The ALB will kill infested trees and if left unchecked it will continue to spread to adjacent host trees with the same end result.

In August of 2008, officials from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed the presence of Asian Longhorned beetle (ALB) in the City of Worcester. To date there have been ~18,000 trees removed in Worcester alone to prevent this destructive pest from spreading to non-infested areas. The removal began in December 2008.

The good news, for us anyway, is that the beetle we found is NOT an ALB but rather a very similar look-alike called the White-spotted Pine Sawyer - we have ourselves a male. White-spotted sawyer is a native species, one of hundreds of different longhorned beetles that you may find in Massachusetts, but not a very common one. It typically attacks pine and fir trees that are already diseased or damaged and should not be a threat to a healthy pine stand. Not too sure what to do with this dude, prolly end up feeding him to the chickens - good protein for a laying hen.

Check out the Asian Longhorned Beetle and look-alikes website.