Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Fun Fact

Fun Fact!

According to the Humane Society, there are 77.5 million dogs owned in the United States.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Springtime Gardening Itch

The gardens have been turned and are ready for planting once the weather warms. The winter rye that we planted in the fall is no more and has been mixed into the soil along with the compost I spread on top of the snow just a few short months ago.

I've also built and added a fourth 4'x8' raised bed yesterday. Not sure what I'll plant in it or if it'll even be ready for planting this year. I don't have too much soil to fill it with. I did, however, clean the animal pens and cages yesterday and added that "stuff" but that's really too rich for planting in now.

Since we got hit, and hit hard, last year with tomato blight I've decided to take a different approach this season. Instead of buying tomato plants from the local nursery Emilie and I planted 100 Burpee tomato seeds, of four different varieties, indoors one week ago today. We certainly do NOT need that many plants, just planted all the seeds in each packages. We'll see how successful we are and how many actually come up. I'll be happy with 50%. If this doesn't work then I'll fall back and punt and head to the nursery...

1 - Burpee Big Boy Hybrid (78 days)
2 - Burpee Delicious (77 days)
3 - Burpee Super Beefsteak (80 days)
4 - Burpee Summer Choice (73 days)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

When Is A Hole A Door?!

So here it is a beautiful 60+ degree Saturday. The birds are singing, the sun is shinning, the cats have been tossed outside to enjoy the day and Emilie is outback playing.

Now the problem with tossing the cats outside is that they don't want to be there, so they're usually trying to sneak back in any chance they get. Well, back several years ago our dog thought it was okay and a good idea to take a tiny rip that was beginning in our sliding screen door and make it BIGGER. Yup, we'd catch her chewing and pulling on it - I guess she was prolly trying to tell us something. Well, the dog is long gone but the hole still exists and is about the size of a volleyball now or was - damn I curse the days that I am only somewhat handy, otherwise I would repair it, damn!

With the beautiful weather we opened up the french doors to let in some fresh air. Well, this poses a problem because now the cats use the hole in the screen as their little kitty door, uugh!

So, in an effort to prevent the cats from coming back in the house, I prop Emilie's placement against the hole and then use a pair of sneakers to secure it in place. OK, admittedly it's not the prettiest but it's a temporary solve - damn I wish I was handier.

Since Emilie loves to do the in and out thing, she is constantly opening and closing the screen door. You can now see another flaw in my temporary fix for the hole, opening and closing the door. The fix for this was to lock the screen door, hooray problem solved right?! Nope, now how is Emilie going to do her in and out thing with a locked door?! She was instructed to use the basement door but cmon she's only eight and wasn't about to walk ALL the way down the deck stairs, into the basement and then up ALL the stairs into the kitchen, nope.

She had something else in mind; a work around if you will. Can you guess what she did and what I heard, hmmmm?!? Like the dog who thought she had a good idea too, I hear the distinct ripping noise of screen (it does make a unique sound, really it does. If you don't believe me take out one of your window screens and tear a small piece and you'll see or rather hear what I'm referring to. You can always prompt something in front of the hole to "fix"). I jump up and come into the kitchen in time to see Emilie crawling through and half wedged in the screen hole. The ripping sound was of course her making the hole bigger so she could fit; it was simply too small for her to get through, AAAAAAHHH! So, I rolled up a newspaper and administered punishment as you would a dog - when in Rome right! I believe we've corrected her and this behavior. Now, if I was only handy enough to repair this hole properly, curses!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Chimney Inspection?

Notice anything unusual atop the neighbors chimney, hmmm?

Yup, right on, it's a grey squirrel. Otherwise known as - varmint, nuisance and general pest, at least that's how I view them. They're no good; good for nothing and not very good swimmers either, hehehe!

Unlike the grey squirrel that for some strange reason fell or jumped or slipped down the chimney at my dads house and who eventually croaked in the fireplace (good thing there's a door on the fireplace), this one just poked around for a little while and then moved on.

Give it time, he'll be back and end up taking a similar plunge. However, the outcome will be different, as the neighbors do NOT have a door on their fireplace. The chase that will ensue will be similar to the John Candy (Chet Ripley) and Dan Aykroyd (Romain Craig) scene in the movie The Great Outdoors where they chase a bat around their cabin in an effort to catch.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Fun Fact


According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the most leaves on a single clover was eighteen.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Can You Spot The Difference?



Can you spot the difference between the two pictures above, hmmm? I'm not referring to the angles at which the pictures were taken at either.

SPOILER ALERT! Okay, here goes - it's the banister, DAH!

Yup, I finally got around to installing our new basement stairs banister. It needed to be sanded and stained and polyurethaned x 3 and looks very nice if I do say so myself. One item of frustration and an item that will forever bother me, is that the banister brackets are different - yup, two different kinds. Of course I didn't notice this when I purchased them but why would I? Live and learn, next time I'll know. They were individually wrapped and came out of the same carton so of course they'd be the same, right? NO! Naturally I noticed this after the packages were opened and I was in the midst of installing the sucker. Fortunately, they're similar, so they'll work. Sumbitch!

I removed our old banister, the original that came with the house, to install at a friends house. She needed the extra support for her treks up and down her basement stairs. So we went without for a little while. However, we had some aged challenged relatives (is this the proper politically correct reference) over the house and not having a banister for them to hold onto really highlighted the need and the danger. Now, if I only had video of them ascending the stairs, I'm certain it would have made Americas Funniest Home Videos and perhaps even qualify for the end of the season hundred-thousand dollar drawing it was that entertaining.

Not Yet Beach Weather In New England

It was a beautiful day last Saturday, so JoAnne, Emilie and I decided to take a drive and headed south. We figured we'd kill two birds with one stone; visit the beach and stop in to see our farmer friend Tim who lives along the way, so we pointed our automobile towards Marshfield, MA - Humarock Beach.

It was chilly once we arrived but nice and peaceful with the sounds of the waves crashing the shore. Come summer time this beach will be absolutely mobbed with hardly a spot sit but as you can see there weren't many people last weekend. This beach is different because there are more rocks than sand, unless you're at the oceans edge, but that doesn't seem to bother the sun bathers come summer.

Below is Miss Emilie engrossed and in her glory collecting rocks. - we left with a bucket full. We hung out for a little while, took some pictures than headed off to see Tim.

Come on summer!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

US Census 2010

I got a letter yesterday telling me I’m going to get a census form next week. It asks me to fill it out and mail it in promptly.

WTF?!?! What did that cost the taxpayers?

Couldn’t they have put that on the form itself instead of mailing this letter?

Dig'n and I'm Not Referring to Gardening

So, I'm driving to work this morning and notice this dark green Toyota Camry approaching who then proceeded to pass me. Okay, no big deal most cars are passing me by in the morning. I've got the cruise control set, I'm listening to the radio (WAAF) and I'm relaxing so pass away.

However, this particular car, once it passed me, then got in front of me in the middle lane. Typically, I wouldn't care as most of the times the person scoots on and is gone. But, NOT this Pecker-Head (PH). For some unknown reason, which surprisingly happens more often than not, he slows down; slows down to the point that if I want to maintain my cruise control speed I need to pass him.

So, off I go and pass him.

As I'm passing this PH I realize the issue of which there were two -

#1 - The dude suffers "DWO". There's nothing that can be done to correct this.
#2 - The dude had his index finger, at least knuckle deep up to the middle phalanx, in his nose and was digging away, and I mean digging, really working it, WOW!

Perhaps, the PH suffers from rhinotillexomania, which I believe could be corrected. However, as I stated earlier, there's no fix for DWO. Now, here is it hours later, at the heals of my evening commute home, and I'm still not sure if I was amused or disgusted by what I saw. You know, some things can't be unseen.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

I'm Getting the Gardening Itch!

Two new house plants and a hold over from last year:

NEW - Mexican Hat plant, also known as Mother of Thousands (Bryophyllum crenatodaigremontianum). So named because of its unusual production of tiny baby plants all along the edges of its leaves. These baby plants drop to the soil below and easily take root on the surface of the soil. Given to us by our farmer friend Tim.

NEW - Sansevieria or Mother-in-Law's Tongue (Sanseveria trifasciata) not to be confused with the Snake Plant, which is all green, while the Mother-in-Law's tongue features a yellow border. Obtained as a "clipping" from one of the many planted throughout my office.

HOLD OVER - Amaryllis (Hippeastrum). This is the same bulb that we enjoyed from last year. It looks just as striking today as it did last year - two flowers wide open with two more about to burst. I kept this dude outside for much of the summer so it could soak up the sun and feed the bulb. About the August time frame I cut back the leaves and moved it into the basement behind my toolbox where it's dark and cool. Then in November I brought it upstairs, placed it in the window and began watering it. WALLAH!

Monday, March 08, 2010

Spring is Springing Here in New England!

The New England weather is changing (for the better)! The days are longer and the temperatures are warming up. We've had three consecutive days of 50+ temps with the sun shinning away. The critters and bulbs are awakening and the song birds are singing. The chickens and rabbits are also enjoying the warm weather and fresh air now that I can leave their pen doors propped open. The ducks too; I saw them mating this morning for the first time - all signs that Spring is in the air, hooray!

I was out in the yard for a couple hours yesterday picking up sticks, raking and edging. The picture above shows a clutch of our crocuses already a bloom. This itself isn't unusual for this time of year, however, if you look closely you'll see what IS unusual. Do you see them? There are two honeybees busy at work gathering nectar. Now, I don't know if this is unusual to see honeybees out this early but what I can tell you is that I didn't see my first honeybee until July 20th last year! I would say that one of the two events is unusual - you decide.

Anyway, it's reassuring to see these bees so early in the season and hopefully it's an indication of things to come.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Kids Do The Darndest Things

So, my youngest had one of her little friends over the house this past weekend for a play date. Emilie couldn't wait and was SO excited in anticipation. Sadly, the play date didn't really go too well from the get go. Her friend was a bit too bossy and dictative and only wanted to do what she wanted with no concern for what Emilie wanted - this was problem 1.

I guess that's to be expected to some degree at eight years old. However, as it turned out that wasn't the worst part, read on...

This little "friend" was sneaky. She came over toting a backpack with some toys to play with, okay that's fine. I mean after all she wasn't going to the Superbowl for example, just to our place, so we paid no attention to the backpack. What we're we supposed to do search the backpack before letting her enter the house? Mental note to self, check all backpacks and packages before letting them into the house! However, this "friend" wanted to play hide-and-go-seek or rather what she wanted was for Emilie to go hide. When she did guess we saw her do?!?! Well, this little "friend" proceeded to fill her backpack with Emilie's American Girl doll cloths and accessories. Now for those of you who are not familiar with American Girl Dolls and their stuff you're missing out on, well, umm, err, well you're just missing out. The bottom line is that this product and associated accessories are VERY expensive! Nothing like GI Joe and Barbie and Ken back in the day. This was problem 2!

Of course we were in SHOCK and not quite sure how to handle it. So, when the girls went outside to ride bikes we removed all of the stowed items from the backpack and said nothing. Well, guess what? When the girls came back inside and this "friend" noticed that the items had been removed from her backpack she proceeded to pull the same stunt, chase Emilie off, and stuff the goods back into her backpack! "No way" you say and I say "Way"! Can you imagine?! Wouldn't you think that some sort of red flag would go off in her 8 year old melon giving her an idea that someones on to her game? In my humble opinion the answer is yes. Let's hope that she doesn't decide to make this a career, as she's gonna fail and fail hard.

Still shocked and still not sure how to handle this disturbing situation JoAnne just asked her to remove the items the second time, made sure that she did, made sure that they were NOT taken again and left it at that.

Since this would be this particular "friends" last time visiting we decided not raise the issue with her parents and dropped it. You never know how parents are going to react these days and we don't really know these people at all so, we chose to ignore it. I think there's a much BIGGER issue there.


Thursday, March 04, 2010

A Chapter Closes

My daughter and team co-captain, Stephanie, played her last high school varsity ice hockey game last night, (BIG sigh) alas :-(

They were ousted in the second round (quarter finals) of the 2010 MIAA tournament. Although the team they faced finished 2nd in division 2 this yead and who are last years defending state champions, Walpole who finished 10th are the better team. You can take that statement as you'd like - from a biased dad who's daughter plays for Walpole or as fact; I'll let you decide.

It was an exciting and fun season. The girls finished 11-5-4 and ended the season in a three-way tie, getting a share of the Bay State Herget title for the first time ever in their brief, five-year existence. However, it's equally as disappointing having it come to an end, even though we all new it was inevitable.

There are seven seniors on the team that are graduating this year but they graduate knowing they were the building blocks that turned the Rebels from another brand new team into a division 2 powerhouse in just a short five years.

The end,

- A Proud Father!