Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Jasmine loves to sink into the muck. She loves to scare the Great Blue Heron. Bonus points if he makes that crazy squawk.

The Green Herons head for the trees, but they don't complain as much. I think they're used to it.

What we call the "swamp" got awfully dry for a while this year. When it was down to one small puddle there were twelve little frog heads poking up out of it. After it finally rained again they sang and laughed.

Like the previous frog video, it's really just for the sound. You'll probably need to turn up your speakers to hear the frogs laughing... it sounds perfectly normal on my computer but when I upload it, the sound gets diminished somehow.

There are actually two types of frog/toad noises here (but I'm not sure you'll be able to hear the lower ones near the end). I'm having trouble identifying them, so let me know if you have any clues.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Monday, September 25, 2006

Birthday snake

He was still a young rat snake (Pantherophis obsoleta spiloides).

But was relocated away from the chickens, just in case.

Hubby's birthday snake.


If you missed the one from last year, check these pages -- he was much more exciting!
First encounter.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Oneonta storm damage

Things got a little intense last night. We were narrowly missed by a tornado! A waning storm suddenly intensified. We ran to our safe place with no time to grab the camera... the dark clouds were beginning to rotate.

When we went into town this morning I took the camera. (Click any of the pictures for a much larger view.)

Near the high school there was a lot of debris.

The fieldhouse is not what it used to be...

News crews were on hand.

Television reported that two infants were injured and trapped inside that SUV the previous night.

Power crews were everywhere. So were sightseers. This is a huge amount of traffic for Oneonta!

This was the strangest damage. Only the flagpoles in the middle were toppled.

Another view of the former flagpoles.

Was that scratch on the courthouse wall there before?

Two huge limbs are missing from this old courthouse tree. I wonder if it will survive. The column supporting the bell was apparently damaged when the limbs fell.

The Co-op roof had a problem.

So did their sign. (Note the snapped tree also.)

More roof damage.

I'm not sure if this building was still in use or not.

Lot of this kind of thing in the area.

This was atypical tree damage.

Most were like this -- as if they'd been twisted off. I believe this is characteristic of tornadic winds.
Updated: I've been told that strong straight-line winds can have the same effect.

This one looked like had a problem already.

We didn't make it down the side streets, which were alledged to have the most damage... We didn't want to get in the way of the cleanup.

Update: Preliminary reports from the National Weather Service indicate F2 tornado damage (113 to 157 mph winds) in Oneonta.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Snout butterfly

It's all anyone ever mentions.

Poor Cyrano of butterflies, with his enormous... panache.

But that eye!


A very agreeable butterfly:
Easy ID -- the only species with elongated labial palpi (the "snout"). Plus, the two front legs on the male are tiny, while the female's are normal.
Easy to predict mass migration -- long drought + lots of rain = lots of snout butterflies, especially in the southwest.


Side Notes:

Libytheana bachmanii.

Mass migrations. We drove through one of these in south Texas in 1996.

Photos with wings open.

There is actually a Cyrano Darner.


More critters at the Friday Ark.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Egg without a shell

It may appear normal, but this duck egg is missing its shell and is covered only by a thin membrane.

Chickens lay eggs at any old time of day, but ducks are more organized: they almost always lay in the early morning. Sometimes if we let them out of the pen before normal, they're forced to lay eggs in the grass or other odd places. Like the porch.

Every now and then a chicken will lay an egg without a shell. It's usually when they first start laying that this happens -- as if all their parts aren't yet working correctly. But sometimes it occurs long after you'd think all their reproductive processes would be sorted out already.

I tried googling to find the cause, but mainly came up with, "It just happens sometimes." I hadn't noticed the ducks doing it too, until this egg.

As this page on Odd Eggs notes, when you pick it up, it feels like a water balloon.


Half the fun of googling is finding the stuff that you didn't know you didn't know. For example I'd heard of century eggs (aka thousand-year-old eggs), and although they don't sound appetizing to me, I'd probably try one. Same with tea eggs. But Balut? Umm, no thanks.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


(Click for extra-large version of beady eyes.)

Do you suppose praying mantids have religious disputes?

Is there a pope of European mantids, and if so, have mantids in Islamic countries declared jihad against him?

Chinese mantids - was there a Confucius among them? Are Indian mantids divided into Hindus and Sikhs?

And, are the Carolina mantids likely to be fundamentalists?


Cool pics of Flower mantids: here, here, here, here, and here.

I just have to throw in the bizarre Wandering Violin mantis.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Sweetie

Over the weekend we celebrated birthdays. We just mushed them into one, since all are within about 3 months: mine, Mom's, brother's, sister's. I married someone with a birthday in this time frame, and my brother not only did the same, but also had his daughter in September. (Not sure what my sister was thinking, marrying a June person and having a kid in March!)

I did a fair amount of pouting when the birthday cake ended up having coconut in it. It looked pretty, but I really loathe coconut. Pickle cake? Sushi cake? Tofu cake? Fine. Dandy! Just not a coconut cake, please. Accusations flew... Did Mom really forget my feelings about coconut, or was she trying to sneakily help my cholesterol level? She sounded innocent, but you never know...

I was really surprised when Hubby came home last night with this beautiful cake. He got lots and lots of bonus points for that. Thanks sweetie!

Monday, September 18, 2006



They could add:
Of wildflowers, Ironweed.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

More rambling, and a recipe

More natural graffiti


Stu, Ron, and Chris all did the same "Things I've Done" type meme. I noted that there were three things I'd done that none of them had.

Since I'm anal, I had to also list the things they'd all three done, that I hadn't:

23. Gotten drunk on champagne (Tipsy, maybe. I don't like getting drunk.)

24. Given more than you can afford to charity (Nope. Geez I sound cheap. On the other hand, I can't remember spending "more than I could afford" on anything for me either.)

26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment (Giggling fits, yes, worst possible moment, no.)

29. Asked out a stranger (Too shy, shy.)

36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking (I think in my dancing days I was always pretty self-conscious about it.)

84. Performed on stage (Not unless you count grammar school stuff. I was brilliant as the tail end of a horse in that Girl Scout skit, though.)

85. Been to Las Vegas

100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over

101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge

132. Petted a cockroach (Roach petting is apparently more common than I'd imagined.)


Mom's Peach Crumble

1 egg white
1/2 C sugar (100 g)
1/4 C chopped pecans (40 g)
1/2 C rolled oats (use the one minute type) (45 g)

Pudding part:
1 - 1.1 oz fat-free sugar-free vanilla pudding mix (31 g)
1 C skim milk (240 ml)
1 - 8 oz nonfat vanilla yogurt (Mom uses peach instead) (228 g)
4 medium peaches, peeled & sliced

Beat egg white until stiff. Add sugar, mixing until creamy. Fold in pecans and oats. Spread mixture thinly on cookie sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 10 - 20 minutes. Should be a little brown on top. Remove from sheet to cool. Crumble.

Mix milk & pudding. Stir until thick. Add yogurt & stir. In a small casserole dish, alternate layers of peaches and pudding mix. Top with crumbles. Chill & serve. 8 servings.

I think the crumbles should be held til right before eating, since the pudding makes them soggy before long.

The better the peaches, the better the whole Crumble. I don't think it would be the same with canned peaches. (Come winter I might have to try it though.)

To be so healthy, it's actually really good. I may start listing more of my recipes here since I seem to be developing a tendency to misplace them. (If you've seen my recipe that involves lentils, couscous, an onion, and lots of cumin, please let me know! I thought it was from Prevention but I can't find it on their site.)


For non-American cooks, I used the recipe conversions found here.


Never mind about the lentil recipe - found it!

Friday, September 15, 2006


I don't have to read it.

I wrote it!


Black and Yellow Garden spider, aka Golden Orb Weaver, aka Writing Spider (Argiope aurantia).

Submitted to the Friday Ark.


I don't check my sitemeter obsessively like I used to. But it can be barrel-o-monkeys funny now and then, so I try to look from time to time.

"Chicken nest boxes" has taken a back seat to both "white fuzzy caterpillar" and "yellow fuzzy caterpillar" as top search terms.

Apparently, googling "Alcohol and rambling pic" brings first Woody Guthrie, and then me (a post in which I rambled and offered that many alcohol laws were dumb). The ways of the internets are strange indeed.


It's taking me a while to get back up to speed with all the blogs I read. But I noticed that a few of them had featured the same meme in the past month.

It's one of those "Things I have done" lists and I'm not going to reproduce the whole thing, but here are the things I've done that neither Stu, Ron, nor Chris have done:

11. Visited Paris
75. Gotten divorced
90. Gone to Thailand

I was going to add

108. Piloted an airplane

but that would probably be cheating. My uncle just let me take the controls for a little while.

One side of my family is a flying bunch. My mother flew an airplane before she drove a car. One uncle was an Air Force pilot, and another uncle and three cousins flew small planes for fun & profit. One of those cousins became a Delta pilot.

On the other hand, my Dad was afraid to fly. I used to tease him about it all the time. Especially later, after I had flown and really enjoyed it. Then somehow I developed a fear of it too. I can fly in a plane. I just really, really, really don't want to.

I'm rambling again.

Thursday, September 14, 2006



I changed the name of this post (from "Dewy") after Wayne pointed out that it's not dew in the photo, but guttation. Which is waaaay cooler than dew! (I'd wondered why there was just moisture on the edges.)

There was a chill in the air this morning. First time in ages.

I have a lot on my "to do" list.

And yet I still can't stop watching OK GO on treadmills.

If you have trouble watching videos on the internet because of a slow connection, try this trick: Hit play, then mute your sound. Switch over to another web page, or email, or go make some pasta. Come back later, when it it has finished. Hit play again and it should be viewable without all the jerks and starts. It works for me, anyway.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Critter Cam returns!

We've gotten into the habit of not even checking the game cam this summer, since it was so warm that the infrared sensor never took any pictures. But when Hubby looked last week, we did have two photos. Both had been taken in July.

The first was this curious deer.

Then there was this fine fellow.

Click the picture to see a larger view. (His antlers are covered in velvet.)

It's starting to cool off slightly now, particularly at night. So once we get fresh batteries in the camera, I hope we'll get more critter cam action.


Critter cam entries from last spring include:
Night moves
Say cheese
Ooh, nice...
In the still of the night
More game cam
Bobcat Valentine
How rude!

Monday, September 04, 2006

The wonderful thing about Tiggers

Tigger melons.

They don't have a ton of taste, but they sure do look cool. I believe they originated in Armenia, and they're allegedly sweeter if grown in a dry climate. The seeds came from Baker Creek, the same company I mentioned before.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Rumpelstiltskin's handiwork

Eastern amberwing (Perithemis tenera) male.

Friday Ark.