Monday, April 29, 2013

A, B, C, and now D…

And so we come upon the letter D…hmmm

Dandelion you say?  Why in the world would I include a weed in my ABC book? 

Well, it’s like this, ask any kid what is one of the most fun things to do during summer and they may tell you that blowing on a dandelion puff is right up there with catching fireflies (or as we called them when we were kids, Lightening bugs) 

Besides the fun factor, there is also a nutritional plus with dandelions. Yes, you can eat the leaves and the flowers too!  Although I have never tried them, I have heard that they are tasty. It is good to know that if I had to-- there is something right in my front yard (that I can easily identify) and eat.

So I I’m sure you can guess that I will never use weed killer of any kind on my lawn.  It may never be golf course perfect but it is green and green is good. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Onward to C in the Earth Day ABC book

C is for Canada geese…or is it Canadian geese? And also Cowbirds

First of all I have to admit I used to call these large birds Canadian geese when I do know that the actual name is Canada geese.  I think they were migratory but as of the last few years, they are pretty much a year long resident of Virginia and its waterways.  It is not uncommon to hear the honking overhead as flocks of them travel from one pond, lake or river to another.

They can be problematic, however, since many airports are around rivers.  In fact National Airport is right next to the Potomac River.  They have tried all sorts of things to keep them from flying too near the planes taking off, but that is not always possible.  Usually the damage is not excessive but just last week they did have to change an engine due to a bird strike.  (My hubby works for a major airline) 

As technology and nature try and work out a viable relationship, I sit outside on my deck and listen to the geese.  They are truly beautiful creatures.  Lively, in their family groups because Canada geese mate for life.

C is for Canada, Candian, or whichever geese you decide.

I had the C entry post for my ABC book of nature all set.  And then this morning while checking the blooms on my lilies of the valley I saw a little cowbird amidst the plants. He didn’t appear to be hurt and eagerly jumped on my finger.  So I put him on a nearby branch so that no neighborhood cats would get him.  As of this writing he is still sitting there. 

Cowbirds have two defining habits.  One is that they are nest parasites.  These birds lay they eggs in the nests of other birds and since they are bigger and mature quicker, the other chicks in the nest sometimes starve.  The other is that they eat the insects off of cows helping the cow to be more comfortable, hence the name cowbirds.  So they are yin and yang, good and bad depending upon which habit you are looking at.  I hope this little guy survives.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

ABC book continues…B isfor

ABC book continues…B isfor

B is for Bamboo

I love nature. I just couldn’t begin to name all the plants I adore.  On the other hand the list of those, I’m not too crazy about is a bit shorter.  It contains ones like poison ivy and oak, and maybe the thorns on blackberry vines and roses, but at the top of the list sits the seemingly unimpressive Bamboo. Why you ask?

First of all bamboo grows at an alarming rate, yes, science fiction movie speed.  I swear it grows two feet every day until it reaches heights of 50 feet.  Who needs magic beans when bamboo is around?  Trying to reign in this science experiment of the plant world is an exercise in futility.  In fact my husband just spent his entire vacation in an effort to tame the forest. 

A few hours growth!

No-- we didn’t plant it, a neighbor behind our property made that mistake. You see bamboo sends out underground shoots that laugh at fences.  If you don’t have a pet panda, planting bamboo will be a huge bamboo-boo. Unless of course, you are starting a business making bamboo furniture, fishing poles or plant stakes, all of which are great uses for the stuff.  So there’s the positive, however, I’m not planning that sort of thing so I guess I will just continue to try and contain the stuff as best I can.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day ABC’s

Yeah, that's not a ghost, it's me waving

When I was a kid my favorite kind of book was an alphabet book. You know, A is for…blah blah blah.  So I figured in honor of Earth Day, which, incidentally E is for. I know, I know, I’ve skipped ahead, but let me explain.  For my Earth Day alphabet book, I intend to try (And I emphasize try) and come up with a natural world word and photo for each letter.  So I may choose a plant or perhaps a rock, or even an animal.  It's kind of like another of my childhood faves...animal, mineral or vegetable. Geez I am worried about Q, but that is a ways off right now.  So let’s start…

A is for Azalea.  

I have this colorful flowering shrub circling my yard.  Although it was already in place when I moved in to the house, I have several colors.  It brightens up my spring even on cloudy days, like today.  Azaleas don’t have any sort of smell, but they shed little pollen so they don’t aggravate my allergies which are going crazy right about now. Yup A--it’s for Azaleas. While I'm at it A is also for Apples, but that is in every Alphabet book.  Apples, however, are a big crop in Virginia with apple festivals all over the place in the fall.  

Come back and visit to see my other Earth Day Alphabet Book entries.  

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Now that’s a bright idea!

I live on a cul de sac and since there are no streetlights it’s pretty dark.  I have neighbors all around but  most of the time they don’t even turn on their porch lights.  I guess saving electricity is more important than illuminating their lives. 

Anyhow, I have two lights on my porch and I usually turn them on at dusk and a lot of times leave them on all night.  One problem with these lights is(since they are mostly the lone guardians of light) that they attract a wide assortment of insects.  So when I open the door to let the dog out to do her business I am entering an entomologists dream.

I’m not too squeamish where moths are concerned but the light is a dinner bell for a varied assortment arachnids. (Yes, that means big, hairy spiders)  And when summer is in full swing, hornets will join th party. I don’t get it. I have never seen a hornet anywhere at night except flying around my porch lights. 

So this year, with the extremely warm winter weather the insects are appearing much earlier than usual.  My husband suggested bug light bulbs.  I know I must seem as if I have lived in a cave, but really lights that do not attract bugs?  How can that be?

Well, I went shopping and purchased two yellow tinted bug light bulbs.  I went for the cheaper (under $3) versions. To my surprise they are working amazingly well!  I think I will return to the store and buy the energy efficient bulbs that cost quite a bit more, but worth it since they will last 7 years. 

So to sum it all up, I’m all set.  Although…in a few short weeks the 17-year cicada will be making an appearance.  Those creepy, green-eyed insects will be my daytime nightmare, but at least they won’t be haunting my nights.

Friday, April 5, 2013


The present tense of brobdinagian...and the future

The title word grabbed you didn’t it? I’ll be honest. It got me too.

I pride myself with having a pretty sizeable vocabulary.  In fact when my daughter was little she didn’t go to Merriam Webster for her definitions, she just asked mom. And now that she is grown, it is not unusual to receive a phone call from her asking me to define a word.  That’s me, good old mom the walking dictionary.

Being the conceited wordsmith I imagine myself to be, it took me aback when watching one of my favorite TV shows, “The big bang theory," one of the characters tossed out the word... “Brobdingnagian.”

I thought, hmmmm this is a TV show, and it can’t be a real word, so I looked it up and sure as shooting Mr. Webster disagreed.  It is a word and it means marked by tremendous size.  The origins are appropriately related to "Brobdingnag" the imaginary land of giants in Gulliver’s Travels. 

I guess you really can learn something new from television, even if it isn’t on the discovery channel. Excepting reality TV shows, the descriptive phrase "Boob tube" is steadily becoming a brobdingnagian fallacy.

When my daughter and I play Words with friends (which we do all the time since I am such a nerd at heart) and she uses one of her off the wall words that no one has ever heard of, I will simply pull out brobdinagian and walk away with the win. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

No fooling!

Nope it's not an's a flower bud
Yes, it's April fool's day so I am posting some quotes to help you get your day started the right way!

"April 1.  This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four."  ~Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson, 1894

"Let us be thankful for the fools.  But for them the rest of us could not succeed."  ~Mark Twain

"We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance."  ~Japanese Proverb

"The trouble with practical jokes is that very often they get elected."  ~Will Rogers

"I have great faith in fools - self-confidence, my friends call it."  ~Edgar Allan Poe

"The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes."  ~Winston Churchill

There you have it...I thank all my blogging friends for reading my sometimes rambling mess.  I thank you all for commenting and following...NO FOOLING!

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