Friday, September 28, 2018

Wild Kingdom

I couldn't sleep very well last night, so I've been up for several hours, thinking about all kinds of things. Even though my brain was busy, I couldn't come up with anything good to write about today until I looked through my photo folder. So today you get animals - insects, an amphibian, and an interesting one with two mammals.

It's always nice to see bees on the purple coneflowers. They were buzzing about just a week or so ago.

The coneflowers are looking more bedraggled, but I was even happier to catch a monarch butterfly.

It's been so wet here in MD (and really the whole east coast) that this toad is perfectly at home, just hanging out in this pot.

This photo is from my SiL, and I love the juxtaposition of their cat curled up comfortably, and a bear browsing just a few yards away. They live in northern PA, and are usually watchful when they are outdoors, especially since this particular bear had two cubs this year.

I hope you enjoy a good weekend with plenty of nature (but no bears).

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Three on Thursday

Joining Carole for Three on Thursday, and today it's with the three states I've visited in the last three days, and what I've seen.

1.  On Tuesday morning, we headed north to visit Justin in NY. He's always busy at work in the fall, so we were only there for about 24 hours and it was pouring during much of it. That didn't keep me from taking a walk during which I got to see plenty of signs that fall has definitely arrived in that neck of the woods.

Oh, no! That wide red center on the wooly bear predicts a hard winter.

 Just a few leaves have changed color on this maple, but the rest are sure to follow.

Dead stalks, yellowing grasses, and misty mountains all show that it's fall.

2.  It was back to NJ on Wednesday, but there was enough to do there that I didn't take photos.

3.  I drove to Maryland at o'dark thirty this morning, and was greeted by a lovely "red in the morning, sailors take warning" sunrise. 

I've tried multiple grocery stores in Elkton, but this morning I found a good one. There is just something noble about shopping at Food Lion!

And now I'm glued to the TV, working on fingerless mitts for Ryan's birthday. The mitt and I are dumbfounded, disgusted, and want to smack Senator Grassley.

Head on over here to read more Three on Thursday posts.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Sometimes Monday ...

... is the day after a whole house full of family members celebrate a milestone birthday.

It was wonderful to have so many family and friends in one place.

A busy weekend is followed by a busy week of travel as I start a three states in three days tour, but I'll be back here on Thursday. Hope your week is off to a great start!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Mycology 101

It seems that everyone has had a wet, soaking summer, and because of the soggy conditions, fungi and mushrooms are springing up in everyone's lawns. The same is true in New Jersey. 

These just look like a multitude of big, brown ones from a distance,

but a little closer, I think they look like snickerdoodles.

Another type in the baked goods genus is this red velvet mushroom (that's what I call them).

I only catch these ethereal, almost transparent ones early in the morning as they seem to almost melt away as soon as the sun shines on them. With only one sunny day this week, they're sticking around.

 We have ugly, brown, stinky ones (that I originally thought were rotting walnuts),

along with cute little floriform varieties.

This interesting spotted one is a little more rare. 

I complained about squirrels yesterday, but they also provide some entertainment when they get into the mushrooms.

They love these red-capped ones, and completely destroy them by nibbling as soon as a fresh crop emerges. It only takes a few minutes before they start flipping around on the ground like the Three Stooges, chasing each other, falling out of trees, or sometimes just lying prone and sprawled on the ground. These mushrooms must be high in psilocybin because the squirrels certainly act high. I've tried to take videos, but no success so far. 

We have guidebooks for almost everything - trees, birds, fish, wildflowers, rocks and minerals - but none for mushrooms, so Mushrooms of the Northeast is on its way to my house. I'll be in both NY and MD next week, so I hope to get lots of use out of it for Mycology 102 and 103!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Three on Thursday

Joining Carole for Three on Thursday, and today it's with three things I hate. I hope you'll understand better when I explain. 

1.  Squirrels
I don't have many tomatoes left in the garden, but the squirrels have made sure that there are even fewer for those last few tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches. They enjoy chewing holes in as many tomatoes as possible with their nasty little squirrel teeth. I wouldn't even mind if they ate one or two whole tomatoes, but they provoke my wrath by taking five or six bites out of eight tomatoes, leaving me with only a couple of good ones. 

2.  Squirrels
My neighbors have a huge walnut tree and the squirrels love walnuts as a main course after their tomato appetizers. I don't really care about the walnuts, but I do care about the little piles of walnut chewings that the squirrels leave everywhere - on the patio furniture, in the driveway, on the hood of my car, and on the steps into the house. I have to sweep up after the squirrels, and the walnut shells stain, so I have long-lasting brown stains everywhere.

3.  Squirrels
I expect the %$#&^*! squirrels to chew tomatoes and walnuts, but their worst infraction was gnawing off one of my limes. I ran out and rescued it before they chewed on the lime itself, and now I've moved my lime tree indoors into Ryan's room. 

I had to rescue the lime even though it's only the size of a large olive, but now I'm not sure what I'll do with it. Maybe make the world's smallest vodka gimlet, because anything is better than letting the squirrels have my first lime.

Head on over here to read more Three on Thursday posts.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Unraveled Wednesday

Joining Kat and friends for Unraveled Wednesday (now with actual unraveling)!

I knit a couple of squares for Kat's blanket project, and I have to admit they nearly kicked my butt. They aren't terribly difficult, especially once I was able to orient my miters correctly to start knitting the log cabin frame, but I had difficulty with picking up stitches neatly and consistently along edges. There are both cast on and garter edges, and I need lots of practice with both of these before I feel comfortable, things look good, and I contemplate a blanket of my own.

Janelle has finished seaming her epic sock yarn blanket, and as with all of her knitting, she is taking the time to complete the blanket edge the right way. After much experimentation, she found that on one long side of the blanket she'll have to pick up 480-496 stitches, so my complaints about picking up 54 stitches on the longest edge of these squares were not valid! She did share this helpful Very Pink Knits video resource with great information about picking up stitches, weaving in ends (smiles and umbrellas!), and seaming in garter stitch. Next time my squares will look much better, Kat!

I ended up knitting a third square after I realized I had accidentally picked up a size 7 needle instead of the 8 I used for the first square. I did unravel this one, but it only yielded two small lengths of the gray yarn that Kat is using for seaming. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished blanket and am sending Kat plenty of good seaming juju!

It felt good to finally finish up my squares, so I made myself finish two books that were dragging, Night of Miracles and The Overstory. Both were three-star reads for me, but just barely. I happily started fresh with two new books, Farsighted and The Art of Logic in an Illogical World. They are both nonfiction, complement each other, and are just what I'm in the mood for reading right now. 

What are you making and reading this week?

Tuesday, September 18, 2018


I just found out that the home I grew up in will be for sale soon. It's not listed yet, but I learned through a friend of a friend of my SiL that it will be within a month or so, and I am curious. The photo above is what it looked like when we sold it in 2009 and my father moved into assisted living. I've only driven past it once in the last nine years, but I've often wondered if the new owners tore down the shed and play house that my grandfather built? Did they replace the carpeting in the dining room that my mother accused me of slopping "pea juice" all over? (She always served peas in milk and butter, and I did drip a bit of it onto the floor one Thanksgiving, but my mother seemed to be holding me responsible for every old stain on the white carpet.) Do they know that my mother loved the house that she and my father designed so much that one of her last wishes was to stay in her home with hospice care and not be taken to the hospital at the end of her life?

My mother and father built the house in 1963. I remember being there when we bought the lot from my uncle, the well-drilling, cement pouring, and then the building.

We moved in the day before I started first grade, and lived there relatively happily until my sister and I grew up and moved out on our own.

So I'm fairly sure that the playhouse and shed are gone,

but I know that this rock right next to the driveway remains,

along with plenty of lovely memories of growing up here.

I think I might go rekindle those memories when the realtor holds an open house.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Sometimes Monday ...

... is a day when I express my gratitude for technology. Without it, I wouldn't have been able to receive these photos of sunset that Justin took as he flew into the Yukon Territory. 

No people, no snow, no polar bears (two people have asked me if he'll see any), and no addresses (only GPS coordinates), but that's just the way Justin likes it.

I'm hoping to see many more of his photos when he comes back from the wild in a couple weeks!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Three on Thursday

Joining Carole for Three on Thursday, and today it's to say that spelling does count. 

A new sign was recently placed on the front of our municipal building, and it's creating quite a stir in town.

The county government has its own sign shop that makes the signs for towns within the county. They printed this one, but one of our borough's Dept. of Public Works employees placed the sign and didn't notice the problem.

The county sign shop also had a problem with that tricky plural/possessive apostrophe a few years ago on this sign in the park. (The bees also look like angry hornets to me, but that's not spelling-related.)

The borough's best (really the worst) one can't be blamed on the county sign shop. We got new police cars about five years ago, and they clearly had to be repainted. I make plenty of my own spelling errors, but luckily, they're not on public display!

Head on over here to read more Three on Thursday posts.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Because It Can't Be All Bad News All the Time

I've been listening to NPR this morning, and the stories about Tim Piazza, Venezuela, the Dallas police shooting, "fake news", climate change, and Florence have me blinking back tears. There is bad news every day, but maybe all the news is weighing heavier on my heart than usual because it's September 11th. Whatever the reason, it can't be all bad news all the time, so I'm sharing a few rainbow photos from back before we had rain every day.

Please ignore the table that I should have wiped off and windows that should be washed. I'm going to look for some positive things today, and I hope you have a chance to do the same. :-)