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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Sunday Stills...Go Low


So sorry I missed the last two weeks. Busy time of year in a year that has already shown traces of overall


For more Sunday Stills.....

Friday, October 15, 2021

End 'o Garden

The mums, I think the variety is Sheffield

So...it is time for frost in this area
, past time really, not that I have the slightest desire to see it arrive. Instead I have been reveling in the blooming plant life that this soggy summer sent us. What a year for flowers!

Cannas are at least four feet over my head and still blooming like mad. The invasive purple and blue morning glories that surprised me by coming up from seed every year after I misguidedly planted them a few years back, have covered the arbor and burst out into the yard, waving bright flags until noon or later every day.

The old-fashioned mums the kids hate so much that they dig them all up and give them to me (chortle, grin, chortle) are elbow high, and so burdened with pink flowers that they can barely stand. I do love me an easy flower that practically grows itself. These things languished in plastic bags, practically bare root, until I got around to heeling them into the dirt last year. Hey, I was busy, it was hot and blah, blah, blah. They didn't even notice the abuse and all grew. ALL.

The butterfly bush is in its second year and looks amazing. I bought it last year because the dusty grey foliage looked cool. The bazillions of purplish flowers are a nice bonus.

I go in for that Tarzan-is-about

Various annuals are doing their thing as well. I learned about cutting back and feeding leggy petunias from a YouTube video last year. It works. The red one on the front porch had to be cut back TWICE this year because the growing conditions were so amazing.

'mingo beans

However, as I brush through the narrow path between the morning glories and one of the mums at the back door, I can't help but realize that this is not going to last. Although at this moment there is no frost in the forecast, you can feel it coming, smell it on the air, sense it in the need for warm sweatshirts in the early morning that somedays lingers all day.

Any day now. Or any night.

I am not ready for frost or winter or wind or wild weather, so I just enjoy every hour of good garden time that the good Lords sends me. It will all be gone soon enough. 

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

The Rarest Bird I have ever Seen


Had some problems around the place this morning, but we more or less either solved or shelved them for a more fortuitous day...mostly shelved.

The boss suggested going birding. I was like, "Where?" I've mostly been birding at home lately as warblers and sparrows are migrating and this is pretty much as good a place as any.

He said, "You're gonna think I'm nuts."


"A reservoir."

"Which one? Sacandaga? Beardsley?"


"Which one?"


"Nah, it's too muddy. Remember last time we went when it rained? You almost fell. Let's go to Schoharie Creek Preserve."

So we did. 

And then to Sara Lib Road Quarry. Had a good time, didn't see any thrillers. Just got back into the car when What's App chimed in with a bird alert from HM Bird Club.


One of the really good birders we have met and much enjoyed had found a Barnacle Goose at the exact reservoir where the boss suggested going. 


Thanks to the finder, his co-finder, and a really nice local birder who has put me on several super good birds over the years, (and who waited with his scope when he certainly had more important things to do than wait for me,) not only did I see it, but also got some photos.

If my interpretation of the ABA rarity code is right, it is the rarest bird I have ever seen.

A huge thank you to David, Mark, and John, for finding and sharing the bird, and for making sure I got on it. Sure made up for all the bad stuff this morning.

Rescued this little guy from the road at Schoharie Creek
Preserve. Cute little critter

Sunday, October 03, 2021

Tastes Change


Or do they?

I am sure you remember being a kid when they brought out the watermelon. For us it was usually at a grandparent's house. It would maybe come from a cooler, as its big oval self wouldn't fit in the fridge full of food intended to feed aunts, uncles, a ravening horde of kids, and adjacent relatives.

It would be dark green on one end shading to whitish green on the other and beading with moisture in the sticky summer heat.

You might have just come from running under the sprinkler and be dripping a bit yourself. For sure no one wanted you sitting on their lap.

Then the knife would come down and saw and hack and the slices would fall away in gleaming pink splendor. It was hard for a kid to wait their turn, but soon, bendy paper plate in hand, off you would go to devour like a wolf what I have heard described as sweet, pink, fog.

Everyone dealt with seeds in their own way. There were jokes about what might happen if you swallowed one, with knowing looks from the adults at certain of the aunts who might be adding to the cousin count someday soon. There was a fair amount of spitting of them from rogue brothers and admonishments for same from fake-glaring grandmas, who were really the most indulgent people on the planet.

But the bottom line was that it was good. So sweet, so meltingly delicious. Watermelon was an icon of summer, remembered fondly all year.

Fast forward to now. We still buy watermelons out of big boxes at the supermarket, and we still eat them. However, like so many childhood delights, the glow seems to have faded along with the flavor. We like them, but there is always some left for the chickens to peck.

I figured that our tastes had changed as often happens. I mean, hey, look at cheese. I absolutely hated it as a kid and now it is one of my favorite things...but I digress.

The other day, as we perused the birds on Lynk Street, which is actually a fine rural road out by Bella Terra Farm, we passed an Amish pumpkin stand. You can find them all over, with fat, glowing orange orbs for sale for a fraction of what the English stores ask. (In this case a buck for one the size of a bushel basket.)

So we stopped and grabbed a couple, one for the stump at the bottom of the driveway and one for Peg to carve. We noticed that they also had watermelons, huge, nearly square lumps of different shades of green and grey. Also only one dollar each.

We passed on them at first but then went back and bought one. What the heck? If we didn't like it the pigs and chickens would, so there was no way to lose.

At home I jabbed a knife into it to discover that it had a rind like a rock. However, I persevered and got it gouged and sliced into edible chunks. It was loaded with black seeds like fat black bbs only flatter and bigger. 

It also tasted like summer childhood. Sweet, succulent, melt away in your mouth like that pink mist we mentioned, and leave you smiling and thinking of more all day.

Turns out our taste buds hadn't changed, the watermelons had. We ate watermelon for days and they were good days indeed. 

We also went back for another, but the huge ones were all gone, with normal sized little ones instead. We bought one anyhow, and it is waiting in the kitchen for someone to get hungry and get out the knife.

Meanwhile there are also two little cups of seeds from the big one drying in the kitchen. Guess who's going to try their hand at growing watermelons again next summer.....

Saturday, October 02, 2021

Never, Ever try this at Home


What peppermint fumes feel like

Tis Autumn, the season when us folks in the country wish they were called outsects and lived up to their reputation...rather than being insects and wanting to come indoors en masse. Box Elder Bugs, Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs, Cluster Flies. And I suppose those lantern flies will be next on the agenda, dagnabbit.

In fact night before last I was heading out at dusk to check the stove and bring the doggo in when I felt a sharp stab on the back of my hand. Some kind of fat black-and-yellowish bee must have been hoping to sneak through the crack in the back door to join us in the relative warmth of the interior. My sleeve scooped her up, she felt inconvenienced by same, so she stung me.

I dashed her away, and after some serious trepidation, as so many members of my family are so dangerously allergic to stings, the pain faded, leaving behind a vague itch. Good deal.

However, bugs ain't the only ones what wants ta join us, if you know what I mean. And we accidentally discovered that peppermint oil really does repel rodents. Mice were taking over the folks' house; they had a vial on the kitchen counter, I sprinkled some around, and hey presto! no further evidence of mousy escapades and recent meals.

So we bought some for home. However, it became outdated and smelled a little funky, so we bought some more. Behind a grandchild of Depression Era folks, and having grown up running tame in their homes, it pains me mightily to throw anything out that might be useful some day.

I decided not to waste the peppermint oil. Becky pried off the little plastic thing that prevents an excess from spilling out of the bottle. Then I upended it over a hole near the washing machine that has ofttimes provided ingress to pests and been patched many times...probably for generations of both unwanted mammals and the humans they plague.

Seemed like a good idea, so I dumped the rest down the cellar stairs.....just in case you know.

Seemed okay for a while. Smelled kinda nice and all.

Plus the bonus of not spreading poisons or setting traps seemed like icing on the......

Wait a minute...oh, oh.....

Everyone's eyes began to water and the kitchen became nearly uninhabitable. Liz was baking cookies, but you couldn't ascertain that because of the overwhelming stink of flaming peppermint.

Throats clogged. Eyes and noses ran. We could tell that our collective senses of smell were fine indeed, thank you very much.

I finally got Liz to stuff an old pair of pants over the little hole in the pantry, and you could stand to be indoors, although it felt like a candy cane factory for sure.

I was grateful when it came time to go to bed. When we moved up here and I picked a room, I chose one of the lesser rooms, rather than the opulent master bed room, because it overlooked the heifer barn so I could hear the cows if anything happened in the night.

I was sure glad of that last night, as it is far enough away from the kitchen to be safe from the peppermint skunk in the pantry.

This morning when I stepped out in the hall I was forcibly reminded of last night's folly....


But it's not too bad.

And it will go away in time....