Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The Up Side of Falling Backward

Autumn’s cooler weather lures me outside like no other time of year, especially with the lower risk of insect bites. I decided to take advantage after my husband had gone to bed the other evening. Taking along my iPod speaker, I sat chilling to music and playing digital solitaire.

Unbeknownst to me, my patio seat’s legs shifted to the edge as I ‘chair danced’. In one breathless moment I went from relaxing upright to staring at the branches of my crabapple tree overhead. Thank heaven nobody witnessed it. Of this I’m quite sure, as no laughter rang out along the windswept street.

It took me several moments to compose myself before crawling off my overturned chair lying atop our coiled garden hose. That probably cushioned my landing somewhat. While my upper arms and hip are a bit sore, the spots aren’t showing bruises. What a blessing I didn’t hit my head on the brick wall, faucet, or even lose my eyeglasses. They did fly off the top of my head, but with a short flashlight search those spectacles turned up.

Best of all, so did a delightful animal surprise. At first I thought a large earthworm crawled onto an unused plastic chair tucked near the weeping crabapple’s tree trunk. But how? Then I noticed tiny legs. Knowing Ohio has salamanders and seeing one are two very different things. Alas, I was too shocked to grab my iPod Touch for a photo. The one below is courtesy of the Wildherps website.

This little guy might be a different species, though the description fits here. I think the tiny creature was stunned as me at our introduction.

Can you believe there is an aquatic species known as the Eastern Hellbender? Have you ever seen a wild salamander?


Thursday, September 24, 2020

Nature's Bounty

My oldest roses, some heritage breed planted before we bought our home, did not fair so well this season. I'm not sure why. But yesterday I picked a red bud off of one and delicate pink blossom off the other. The others are from a younger, thriving KnockOut variety plus some Russian sage (if memory serves).

I love my Mom's old double bud vase.
The base is even heart shaped.

Have you ever seen such a vase? Did you know many KnockOut roses lack the fabulous scent of vintage types?


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Life – I’m Lovin’ It

Dear as he is, my husband’s food cravings are killing me with kindness. Yesterday’s physical check-up informed me that I’m now officially on the diabetic scale, my current blood pressure medication is inadequate, and my cholesterol is too high. Of course, some of this is genetic and these conditions run in my family. And the doctor was happy with my slow weight loss and exercise regimen, plus amused at how I handled hubby’s latest hankering for McDonald’s new spicy chicken nuggets.

In the name of portion control, for the first time in my 51 years I got a happy meal. The smart phone app even let me choose the theme of my toy.

(I could have opted out, but where’s the fun in that?)

My pick? Jurassic World, betting on the hope I’d receive a dinosaur to dress up my little indoor ‘fairy’ (read: zombie) garden. Heh…

Enter, if you dare...

That box has theme park ‘doors’ you can open. Tucked inside were my hamburger (the bun was oversized, but oh, well), apple slices, and the cutest little box of French fries I’ve ever seen. Also, a giant egg!

A Carnotaurus egg?
Dino even has moving parts. Yes, I am easily amused.

 Seriously, check this out...

Did your parents ever buy you a happy meal, or you do so for your children? And why did I wait so long?


Friday, September 18, 2020

Joys of Autumn and Sheer Silliness

Reading about a large family of hardy plants on Pam Montgomery's blog reminded me of a volunteer specimen that seems to be a hybrid between my 'autumn joy' stonecrop (or sedum) near the public sidewalk and a much shorter spreading 'dragons blood' variety close to our house.

Rosy flowered as opposed to rust red,
this sedum still makes for excellent
mantid hunting grounds...

The silly thing I want to share did not photograph so well. With the homeowner in his open garage, I snapped a quick pic and drove away.

The green rectangle frames
what I tried to show...

At least an Internet search offered plenty of images. There are numerous vendors and some of their products actually spin.

I think the solid silver one looks better.

Have you seen one of these novelty car accessories? Would you own one?


Friday, September 11, 2020

Picture Perfect – & – Hoping I Can Help with Blogger

With summer here coming to a close, I am thankful for our grape-style Roma tomato plant my husband picked on a whim and the Gong Bao pepper specimen I found. They have out-produced all the rest. Yesterday, though, I harvested two ripe Marglobe tomatoes that weren’t either munched on or rotting. One I ate right away, the larger one I’ll share with my husband.

Almost too Pretty to Eat

As for wanting to help, I am not at all technically minded, but have managed to work with the new format of Blogger. Cleo said her human dad has been frustrated. I cant blame him, and who doesn’t want to read more from lovely Cleo the cat? Feel free to skip all this, of course, and forgive me if this seems pretentious. Nonetheless, here goes…

To start, I set up templates for both text and photos/video, using a publish date several years out so they stay in ‘draft’ mode. Switching between HTML and ‘compose’ formats, I copy and paste into a new document. Again, risking ostensible conceit, allow me to illustrate with images:

Text Template with 'Placeholders'

Text Template in HTML Coding

Photo Captured to Its Template
Using the Compose View

Now, the Image Encoded


I've Inserted the Image Code Between Text Lines


The Preview, Incomplete, of Course

Did I just make it more complicated? ~shakes head~ And did you know the thousands of current coding languages are so unlike person-to-person communication that learning them suits those of a science minded disposition? Can you guess how many my husband knew during his technical career?


Sunday, September 6, 2020

Being Fish Food - & - Miscellaneous Thoughts

I'm going to copy some of my blogging friends, such as sweet Pam, and respond to comments while also sharing yet another memory. And like you, dear Ellen, I am definitely a mosquito magnet grateful for cooler weather. As for your thoughts on Alaska, you know what's coming next since I added it in the comment on your blog. But I was wrong on two (!) points. Anchorage is neither on the Kenai Peninsula nor does the peninsula's interior share our Midwest weather.

For those who don't know and may be interested, however, the Kenai Peninsula is about the same size as Ohio. And the state's southernmost regions share our plant hardiness zones. While their shorter summers cause plants to take advantage and mature fast, the mosquitoes flourish during those often rainy warm days.

This is random but worth sharing.
What a lovely September day!

On an entirely different note, Pradeep Nair kindly introduced me to binjal, a tasty treatment for eggplant. Unfortunately, I used my fresh tomatoes instead of tomato paste and the results were too sweet. Oops. But now I know. So thank you, my friend.

At long last, as to the 'fish food' bit of my title, a boyfriend and I used to swim in his neighborhood's pond. One especially dry summer, the shoreline dropped to the point the fish were going hungry. Whatever their usual diet, they schooled around us and began taking bites. For once I wasn't the only one providing a meal. so there's that. ~grin~

Did you know that eggplant got named for being both oblong and white? Would that put you off from eating it?


Saturday, September 5, 2020

Once Bitten, Twice Shy

All my ruminating about bloodsucking insects brings back numerous memories. And many are fond, believe it or not, such as during the summer of 1999. My husband and I spent a week in Alaska, meeting my parents during the pinnacle of their transcontinental camping trip. Among my souvenirs is 'Skeeter', who hangs out on various magnetic surfaces.

Only today did I realize her proboscis is bendable...

To our good fortune, though not Alaskan residents, that season was unusually dry. We didn't have to worry about their legendary insect population while those communities had to cancel all Independence Day fireworks displays.

One fall trip to North Carolina's Outer Banks is another story. We arrived on the island as a hurricane swept out to sea, leaving behind wet and flooded conditions that spawned an epic mosquito population. Hungry females swarmed me every time I entered or exited our condominium, the shaded entryway a perfect place for them to congregate. Thank heaven for liquid bandage, which helped stop the itching.

A most memorable incident occurred at the Pea Island Nature Preserve. Alas, we did not get very far. My husband still marvels at seeing me flee before a cloud of mosquitoes.

A visit to the Indiana Dunes National Park introduced me to biting flies. The whole point to view an ocean-like setting, we never did. At least we enjoyed wildlife at the man-made lake outside our motel room. That and some fine dining made the trip worthwhile.

I've had similar experiences at home, too. Take the work lunch break I spent reading in an old cemetery. A few days later I visited my doctor thinking a medicinal side effect caused itchy bumps. Nope. She asked if I'd spent time among un-mown grasses. Yup. Chiggers found me that year. My guy teases that I should have known to expect bloodsuckers there.

Did you know not all mosquito species require blood for egg production? Or that the name is Spanish for 'little fly'?


Thursday, September 3, 2020

Spoiler Alert: Explaining Yesterday's Joke ...

For those who didn't get the pun (Sorry, Liz, because if you got it I know you groaned - or will soon), look close at the can the complaining explorer holds...

See it now? Heh...

 And if you aren't familair with 'Off' repellent, his colleague brought 'On' by mistake. ~snicker~ And that made me think about the brand name, since who isn't likely to shout, 'Get off me!' when swarmed?

Have you ever been chased by a cloud of misquitoes? Did you know that Alaska is known for giant bloodsuckers?


Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Another Classic from the Mind of Gary Larson

This frame's joke is so subtle that my husband needed a few moments, he said, for it to sink in. Please let me know if you get it or not.


Isn't it funny how brand names become so ubiquitous that we lose the meaning? And, if you're unfamiliar with advertising in the United States, is the punchline meaningless?


Tuesday, September 1, 2020

A Giggle for the Day

Thank heaven Gary Larson is back with The Far Side comics. His humor is just what my husband and I need this year.


Do you get the punchline? Is his warped mind not genius?