Thursday, December 30, 2010

Giddy Up!

Stumbled across what I've since decided is my new favorite TV program.

It's called, "Last American Cowboy" and airs on the Animal Planet.

This epic adventure follows three Montana families of tough, tenacious and headstrong cowboys through freak storms, deadly outbreaks of disease, hungry predators and forest fires that threaten their livelihood.

Good stuff. Montanna looks to be a beautiful place.

Check it out if you dare!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Very Expensive Cat Bed...

This is Lila, one of our two cats. They've been relegated to the basement ever since we had our carpets replaced. It's not that bad. I took some of the older carpets from the bedrooms and laid them throughout the basement, so it stays relatively warm. Plus there are old pillows, rugs and blankets available for them to curl up in.

However, as you can see from this picture, Lila, is the smarter of the two. She can almost always be found curled up on the furnace, which gets pretty toasty.

Who says animals are stupid?

Coco Puff or is it?

So, last night we're done eating dinner and clearing off the table and putting everything away where they go.

I pulled the short straw and was loading the dishwasher when I noticed something familiar to me sitting on one of the plates but also something that should NOT be on a diner plate (at this point I already knew what this item was - honest!). So I proceeded to take a closer look at about the same time as I tossed the question out to JoAnne and Emile, "what is this"?!

JoAnne's reply was, "It's a Coco Puff of Emilie's. It was on the floor."

My response - Nope, that's NO coco puff.

JoAnne - "Yes it is, it was here on the floor. I just picked it up."

My response - Nope, that's not a coco puff!

I made my way to the pantry and removed a single coco puff from the cereal box and placed it beside the "other" item for a side by side comparison. I then presented this comparison to JoAnne and Emilie for their inspection. That's when it all became clear!

You see, if was a "smart pellet" or rather a rabbit turd. A single coco puff looking rabbit turd! Now, don't get the wrong idea here, JoAnne runs a spotless ship here, so don't think that we have a dirty kitchen with droppings all over. Clearly, it hitched a ride in on my shoes from when I was out tending to the critters.

No harm, no foul and thank goodness no one tried to eat it, YUCK!

If you're in the neighborhood, stop in for a bowl of coco puffs...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Number 54

So, I'm presently at work, working like a dog, head down and in the zone. My phone begins to ring, which snaps me back to the present.

It's JoAnne, she's whispering and in a giddy excited voice. She says to me, "I'm at Target in North Attleboro, guess who else is here"?

Although a good guess I was wrong.

Again, she whispers in that same giddy, excited, oh la la, out of breath voice and says, "Tedi Bruschi"!! "He's in the toy isle with his boys"!!

Pretty cool huh?!?! I asked her to take a picture of him but she wouldn't because he was with his boys. Admirable, but c'mon it's THE Tedi Bruschi! Mr. New England Patriot! He's gotta be used to being approached all the time by adoring fans.

Anyway, not sure of the outcome but I suggested that she head over to the book section and see if there was a copy of his book, "Never Give Up: My Stroke, My Recovery & My Return to the NFL". If so, see if he was willing to sign it and if yes then buy it! I already have this book and have read it but owning a signed copy would be pretty cool.

I guess we'll see when I get home if JoAnne had the nerve to approach him. Stay tuned!!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Presto Changeo

OK, so similar to things like the Salmon migration, or the Wildebeest migration, we have a yearly occurrence of our own here at the ole homestead. We might not be swimming against currents, or crossing alligator infested waters but don't be fooled the challenges are similar...

You see, each fall/winter our garage needs to be organized. This organization accomplishes two things really; (1) to shuffle and store the summer items. i.e. mowers, wheel barrel, etc and to pull forward the winter items, i.e. snow shovels and snow blower; (2) to store the trailer indoors and to allow us to park the Explorer inside too. However, this year the challenge has been expanded and we now need to be able to get the aforementioned items in as well as the new Toyota.

Before, November -

After December -

and we did it! It's a tight fit and there are items that will be inaccessible till Spring as they're buried but it's done and everything fits snugly. Bring on the cold, snowy New England weather, we're ready, beeach!

Booyah, Early Christmas Present

Check out my early Christmas present! Rock on!

A Keurig single cup brewer! This is a fantastic little machine! There are over 200 varieties of gourmet coffee, tea, hot cocoa and iced beverages to choose from, so it 's easy to please everyone!

Day's of making a full pot of coffee are no more. Having to microwave left over coffee (which I usually burn and then dislike), also no more. You want a cup of coffee, walk on over pop in the flavor of choice and press the brew button and in less than a minute, BAM, done!

Come on over and I'll make you a cup.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Identify the Hawks, If You Can!

We've have visitors of a different sort the last couple of weeks. Well, let me clarify, we've noticed on several occasions these hawks. I'm sure they're always around but being as allusive and swift as they are we don't typically see them. However, being that we've on the verge of winter with the temperatures dropping and that all of the leaves are now down, these beauties are easier to spot as they're hunting for a meal.

At first I thought these were both Cooper's Hawks but I'm not too sure now. I believe they're two different type of hawks anyway - a Cooper's hawk on the roof top and a Sharp-Shinned hawk in the tree but I could be mistaken just the same. It could simple be they're age difference, adult versus juvenile.

Cooper's Hawk -

Sharp-Shinned Hawk -

Don't be shy. Jump in here and let me know what you think. This comparison link might help or confuse you even more like it did me - Project FeederWatch

Friday, December 03, 2010

Christmas Spirit, Deterrent or Both

After -

Twas a beautiful Saturday morning, when outside the house
Not a creature was stirring. not even a woodpecker;
The tinsel and garland were hung on the house with great care,
In the hopes that the woodpeckers wouldn't reappear;

To date this trick has been working, hanging shinny items to deter the woodpeckers from returning. As you can see there is no more damage today. However, there was quiet a bit, as you can see in the picture below, before it's was repaired.

Before -

Cigars for Everyone!

They're here, they're here! They're finally here!

Our ceiling dwelling spider is officially a mom. From the looks of it there are about a gazillion little ones. Good thing they're not in the downstairs bathroom...oh, wait they are, oops. Shhhhh...

I voted to remove them with the vacuum cleaner but Emilie wouldn't allow it. But they'll stay in that one room right?! I don't have to worry about having one crawl in my ear canal when I'm sleeping or watching TV or anything right?! Well, that good to know, phew.

The Morning After Visit

OK, tell me again how dumb turkey's are rumored to be?!

Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and first thing in the morning, this flock of 10 turkeys came out for a visit. We've not seen them here for about a year now. Kinda ironic that once "turkey" day passed they felt confident enough to make an appearance.

They're beautiful birds and welcome here anytime.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Friday, November 05, 2010

Hi All!

From the roof top (gutter cleaning time), have a good weekend all!

Halloween 2010

Here are the two Jack-O-Lanterns that JoAnne and Emilie carved. I was exhausted just watching them!

Pretty cool right!

And here's the haul, the loot; Emilie's rewards (mine too, shhhhh)...

Another Victory - 2 to 0

Homeowners = 2
Shrews = 0

Yup, I kept the traps baited and lo and behold nailed another unwelcomed visitor. Chances are if there's one, then there's more. Just being diligent!

Now, to make one of these traps large enough to catch the door to door political visitors who came by prior to voting day, hmmm.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Shag Anyone?!

C'mon folks get your minds outta the gutter! I'm referring to rugs with thick rough pile, my goodness.

These are pictures of the bedroom rugs in the house I grew up in. I should have taken a picture of the rake that's used to fluff up the rugs but didn't think of it till now. It's a typical rake that you'd use in the yard to rake leaves only yellow. It's also the cause of much criticism that I still receive today, from some, for being caught using.

Anyway, if you like shag carpet and these colors appeal to you're in luck, as my folks house is for sale!

Friday, October 29, 2010

One Problem After Another II

As the idiom goes, "When it rains, it pours". All I can say of late is, "Ain't that the truth"!

Can you spot the difference between the two pics? Hint, it's NOT the dirt and leaves.

Before (morning of October 28, 2010) -

After (afternoon of October 28, 2010) -

Bingo, you're right it's a 28 mil 15 year new pool liner!! Hip hip hooray!

Yup, the writing was on the wall, so were several holes (in the pool liner). We could have gambled and waited to see if we could perhaps get one more season out of the old, original liner but there were too many downsides to taking that approach.

After scheduling on site visits, talking to the experts and getting numerous quotes we decided it was best to git er done now. One enticing incentive was that here in New England it's now 'off season' for pool companies, so by having the work done now we saved some money.

We went with Heritage Pools. They came with excellent reference and the owner visited with us to explain the whole process. Their bid came in as the lowest and they could do the work before November. However, the most enticing aspect of Heritage Pools was that they saved the pool water and put it back once the new liner was installed. This was a $600.00+ savings alone!

The water was pumped into (3) 20' x 40' bags that covered our front lawn. The work was completed in 5 hours, soup to nuts. Other than a new liner, you'd have never known they were there.

Of course we don't have the money for such a project, so we're gonna need to make some HUGH adjustments. Look'n like we'll be eating a lot of Ramen soups this winter for starters, alas.

Soaked again...

Yup, "V" is for Victory!

JoAnne spotted a rodent in the garage last night.

Hmm, shouldn't be a problem I thought, game on!

So, using some irresistible peanut butter, I set a couple Victor snap traps.

Went to the garage this morning to inspect and wallah!

Homeowners=1 versus Shews=0

Note: I aired on the side of caution and posted this picture versus the zoomed in one. Just thinking about my audience - I care about you all!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Find the Critters

Can you find the critter in the first three photos below?

There are three different pictures with the same type of critter but they're also different.

This is what they're doing - laying their eggs!

It's funny how we've gone almost a year and a half without seeing a single praying mantis around here and then within a couple weeks of each other we run into a bunch of them. With any luck, and their egg sacks, we'll have oodles next year and for years to come.

One Problem After Another...

Needed to call a plumber this morning. We couldn't get the tub/shower nozzle to completely turn off, so the water was running away, and it was running at a scalding temperature too. Our only option was to turn off the H2O main valve to the entire house, ugh!

Of course the plumber we typically use was on the North shore doing a job and unavailable, darn it! So, our only recourse was to break out the ole yellow pages. Some of you may recall the yellow pages. I guess there is still a need after all.

Anyway, we ended up with Roto-Rooter and a very nice, friendly plumber named 'Tony'. He was in and outta here with the problem fixed in under 30 minutes and drove away with a check in the amount of a whopping $275.00!!

Still trying to figure out how we got soaked with the water turned off...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Winterizing - Getting There!

Made some progress yesterday on getting our yard put to bed for the winter. It's a long process and takes time but I made a dent. We're getting there...

The vegetable gardens are all done! They're all had compost added, the soil turned and the winter rye sowed. The garlic, which is starting to poke through the soil, has been mulched. I left a couple kale plants, which I am still feeding to the bunnies and about six red onions that are trying to make a go of it but time is not on their side. Anyway, phew!

Emilie and I got bird feeders cleaned, filled and hung. The birds don't miss a trick and have already begun visiting. I'm thinking it's due to the bad economic times we're all in. We've seen some Chickadees, Titmice and White-breasted Nuthatches.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Double-Yoker!

Check out this EXTRA large monster Americana chicken egg that was waiting for us in the coop the other day, ouch! It's big enough to pass as a duck egg or small child.

We suspected that we had a double-yoker on our hands but how to tell, how to tell, hmmm?

Make a batch of scrum-delicious brownies was the answer!

And sure enough, a double-yoker it twas!

Last Batch of Peppers

Sadly, this is our last batch of Bell pepper of the season. Picked just last week.

The plants have since been pulled, chopped up and added to the compost pile. What has become known as the pepper garden has had rich compost added and the soil tilled. Just need to plant some winter rye and we're all put to bed for the winter.

Onto the next fall yard chore...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Surf's Up!

I saw an unusual thing on my commute home from work yesterday.

A Nissan Xterra with Alaska plates. Now there's something you don't see in New England too often.

Ah, but there's more!

There was a surf board tied to the roof of his vehicle! Yup a surf board! Weird huh!

Is there good surfing in Alaska or how about is there any surfing at all in Alaska?

I understand you can see Russia from Alaska but surfing?!? Hmmm, who knew...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fall Garden Prep

Well, the beautiful weekend is now behind us here in New England and what a beauty it was! Perfect get outside weather.

I was lucky enough to spend the entire day on Saturday cutting grass - three lawns. Sunday, well Sunday was spent in my garden. Just about have it put to bed for the winter. All that's left to do is to plant the winter rye, wahoo! Yup, picked all the tomatoes and have them stored in the garage. Pulled all the plants and chopped them up nice and small then added them to the compost pile. Four barrels of good rich bedding from the animal pen spread on the garden and turned into the soil! Too much work would be an understatement! Hopefully I'll be able to stand up straight again soon... Can't believe it's that time of year already. Seems like I just did all this, alas.

Also planted (3) 8' rows of California Softneck garlic, mmm mmm good!

I still have the three raised veggie beds to get winterized and will tackle that once the kale has all been feed to the bunnies. Compared to the big garden, these guys will be a piece of cake to take care of. Also, there are ALL the flower beds that need to be tackled too. Always something.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Peckers, of Wood

While outside feeding our rabbits and chickens the other morning I heard the familiar sound of a woodpecker knock knock knocking away. It didn't take me long to find where the noise was coming from. Of course I would have guessed it to be a dead tree or branch, however, that's not the case, nope. This little lady, no really this is a female woodpecker - a Downy Woodpecker, was pounding away on the neighbors house, hehehe!

As you can see she's done quite a bit of damage too. Apparently, there are several possible reasons why woodpeckers peck at houses:
  1. Searching for (drilling) bugs (rare) but consider it if occurring during the winter
  2. Building (drilling) a home (rare) but if it happens it'll be done in the spring
  3. Marking territory (common) a phenomenon called "drumming"
  4. They're attracted to the buzz of electrical wires and appliances in a house, which may mimic the rustling of insects in the wood
Whatever the reason they can do quite a bit of damage in a short amount of time. I just hope this little lady doesn't come a knocking on our house.

Welcome Guest, Finally Back

Can you find the critter in the below picture? Also, to make this a little more challenging name the plant that the critter is dining on!

Well, it's been a couple of years since we've seen a praying mantis at the ole Lincoln Street homestead, so it was a very pleasant surprise when I came across this lovely lady while watering the flowers around the pool.

I would watch her for a while, then continue with my chores, then back again to watch her. On one of my visits she had caught a bee and was contently devouring it, every last piece! Once the Sedum starts to bloom it's loaded with ALL sorts of nectar feeding insects. I'm sure this bee was out enjoying the afternoon trying to put a full days work in when, BAM, he became diner. Ah, the circle of life.

At about this point Madonna's song "Vogue" came on the radio and clearly this mantis could hear it. About the time of "Strike a pose, Strike a pose, Vogue, vogue, vogue, Vogue, vogue, vogue", this lady did as instructed. I know, weird huh?!?!

Anyway, she was gone from the sedum the next day, which was disappointing since Emilie wasn't home to see her. We checked the other flowers in the area but couldn't find her. I hope she sticks around and lays her eggs here so we have oodles next year!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hummingbird Moth

Here are a couple pictures I took of a Hummingbird moth, otherwise known as the Common Clearwing of the Sphinx moth family, one of many, that would visit and spend time dining on the nectar of our butterfly bushes this past summer.

The fast beating wings might lead some to believe that this is a hummingbird. However, there are a couple characteristics that will help to distinguish between the two. The moth lacks the long beak and the wings are usually transparent (like a fly), which is an indicator that this is not a true bird.

Either way, the bird or the moth, they're both cool to watch!

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Another fun filled commute into the office again this morning!

As usual it didn't take long once I jumped into the passing lane that I had a vehicle come up on me and start riding my ass. I've come to expect this type of behavior and often do what I can to irate the knuckle-head even more. However, this morning I was relaxed and enjoying the topic of discussion on the radio, so I pulled over when I had the chance.

As the vehicle passed I noticed several things: #1 - it was a BMW SUV - well, pardon me, #2 - it was a woman - who by the way was very homely, which just might explain her need to over compensate with the pretty BMW SUV, #3 - that she was smoking a cigarette - nasty habit and #4 - she had the audacity to have a "
Save the ta tas" sticker on the rear of her SUV!

Is that not the epitome of a hypocrite? I can only assume that it makes her feel good and allows her to plod along her merry way like she's this wonderful and supportive person to the cause. She's trying to sell herself as a do-gooder from a perception perspective. However, in the end, and if she truly believed in the cause wouldn't she quite smoking?! What a douche!

Go figure.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Coleman Stove Mice

Came across these mice this past weekend while rummaging and collecting metal items from in and around my dads place to be recycled. This mother and (3) babies were inside an old metal Coleman camping stove that was tucked away in some dark corner of the shed.

There wasn't much of an opening for the little lady to get through but clearly it was big enough. She had a pretty nice looking nest, if you consider a mouse nest nice, and this family was hidden within. Interestingly, when I shook them out into a plastic tub, the three babies were clamped on to the mother's teats and were being dragged as she scooted around the tub. She made a couple attempts to jump up trying to escape but with the young'n attached that just wasn't gonna happen.

Since I knew JoAnne and Emilie would be stopping by later that day I decided to postpone 'dealing' with these varmint until after their departure. So, I went about my business and continued schlepping metal items to my truck. Upon one of my returns I could hear the babies crying, so I peaked in the tub to have a look see and wouldn't you know it the mother mouse was gone, escaped. Apparently, once the babies let go of their teats, or perhaps the mother instructed them to let go, she was able to jump out of the tub to safety.

Kinda like the Seinfeld episode where George Costanza is at a kids birthday party when all of a sudden the fire alarm goes off and the room begins to fill with smoke. George basically pushes the kids aside as he run for the door and bolts from the building saving only himself.

I wonder what the mother mouse told her babies before abandoning them?

Anyway, when Emilie saw them she was all upset and worried sick about how they were going to survive. I told her that she should be more worried with how they're gonna swim but that didn't go over too well. In the end we deposited them near the base of the shed where I assume the mother ran to. Emilie's hope was that once we left and it was safe the mother would come back for them. With the lion's share of the 'stuff' gone from the shed, these types of rodents no longer have places to hide. Boy, the recession is hitting them too...

Interesting contrast to the mother mouse saving her own ass - we stumbled upon a PBS special the other night called, "The Natural History of the Chicken". One of the stories that was told was how a Japanese Silkie bantam hen named Liza risked her life to protect her six chicks from an attacking hawk. She ran back to them, as the hawk was closing in, and quickly used her own body to cover and protect them. She survived the attack but took the brunt of the hawks attack.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Stop the Presses! This Just In...

Extra extra, read all about it! My posting, dated August 01, 2010 and titled 'Scrap Metal Recycling, Trip #4 - The End', was incorrect! As it turns out it wasn't the end. It wasn't the last trip after all, no sir!

After spending the last month or so sorting, tossing, donating and organizing I realized that there was much more scrap metal to be dealt with, so I made another trip to the recycle yard yesterday. Of course this isn't the last it, nope. There are more metal items that will eventually need to be dealt with, however, my dad wasn't ready to part with them for some reason. Some of the items - a four drawer file cabinet that has sat in a wet basement and with a couple drawers that do not stay latched shut, a couple desks, a couple lovely rusted lawn chairs and a gas grill that has been used like twice in the last five years, alas...

Now before you read the next couple of lines I would like you to say the following out loud, "You might be a redneck if you have the following items in your shed", #1 - a 5-gallon bucket full of rusty railroad spikes and #2 - a 2' piece of railroad track and #3 (although not metal, it's fits the redneck persona) a copier paper box FULL of wine bottle corks. Good Lord!

The total weight of this scrap metal load was 700 LBS!

Which brings the new grand total weight for all five trips to: 3840 LBS!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Phyciodes tharos on Rudbeckia, maybe

I snapped this photo of what I believe to be a Pearl Crescent butterfly resting on one of our Black-eye Susan's. These rudbeckia are in the same flower garden as our butterfly bushes, which draw oodles and oodles of insects; butterflies, bees and a so much more. Sadly, the season is winding down and most of our flowers are on their last legs.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tomater Canning, Batch #2 2010

JoAnne banged out another batch of canned tomatoes this week!

When all was said and done she had canned (21) quarts and (10) pints

That brings the 2010 totals to (37) quarts and (20) pints, with more to come!

Of course we all know picking the tomatoes is the hardest part and boy was I tuckered out after that tasks, pheeew!