Sunday, December 30, 2007

Critter cam?

Chipmonk creeping through the holly.

Fox lurking in the houseplant... preparing to pounce.

Chipmonk hiding in Mom's Christmas tree.

Fox and chipmonk divide the crumbs from Mom's table.


My sister's dog's toys, up to no good and pretending to be caught on the critter cam (my sister's idea). I had to be coaxed into the idea, but my brother got me going by taking the first pic above.

Isn't that a nice holly plant he gave us for Christmas, by the way?


I just noticed that the chipmonk is hiding between examples of Mom's smocking, Mom's tatting, and Mom's crocheting. There is even a ceramic Santa she painted, in the background. She also made the ceramic napkin ring holder and the angel in the last pic, as well as the boxwood Christmas tree on the table. She's pretty crafty!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Better late than never

Santa brought 1/4 inch (.6 cm) on Christmas, but waited until yesterday to deliver the main gift: a whole inch (2.5 cm) of rain!

You know you're deep into drought when just an inch of rain makes you so happy. Of course, when you're this far gone, one inch doesn't help that much, but we'll take every little bit we can get.

We still need something like 12 - 15 inches (30 - 38 cm) 24 inches (76 cm) to catch up. I don't think it's going to happen. Weather experts are predicting more dry, dry, dry, at least through spring.

But I can't think about that now... it may rain again tomorrow.


I was wrong about the rain deficit -- it was worse than I'd thought.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

From all us turkeys.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Geckie loves her (very fancy) humid-hide. It's filled with moist sphagnum moss and helps her shed her skin.

Plus I think she just likes the getaway. She's still not eating much though.

Click the pictures for larger leopard gecko-ness.


Did you see the Friday Ark?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Foggy bottom

The sun is a boor
who seines the slithery mist
then throws it away.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Latest game cam

We haven't had a bobcat picture in quite a while. This one seems particularly well-fed.

He probably ate all our chickens, but he sure is handsome.

Tentative fawn. Click to see the larger version... you can still see some spots on the haunch.

The fawn in the foreground is too dark and the deer in the background is too light, but I thought the focus was reasonably good on both of them.

It's gotten warm again lately, which means the animals have to be closer to the camera to trigger it. The weatherman was expecting a high of 75° yesterday, but I'm not sure it reached that here. (That would be a record high.)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Happy thoughts, Anita, happy thoughts!

Remember this purple wall?

It's in the garden I went ga-ga over on the Shoals tour in 2006. Lavish slobbering was carried on here: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4.

That gardener, Phillip, started his own blog, called Dirt Therapy. You should check out his Christmas decorations. This one in particular just makes my mouth hang open. Isn't it amazing that real people do this, and not just when they're expecting a visit from magazine photographers?

Anyway, now he's tagged me for a meme about "eight things that make you happy". So here are some recent happies:

Girls Dominate the Siemens Competition. Woohoo!1

The library left a message that my copy of An Ice Cold Grave is waiting. Yay!

Latin Via Proverbs.

A little birdie told me that we might be getting a few really nice knives for Christmas.

My daily email from The Writer's Almanac (which is really more of a Reader's Almanac if you ask me). Each entry includes a short poem, and "Literary and Historical Notes," which often contains biographical tidbits about writers or artists (on their birthdays). Example from December 4th: "It's the birthday of poet Rainer Maria Rilke … who made a career as a poet by seducing a series of rich noblewomen who would support him while he wrote his books."

Stephen Duffy & the Lilac Time have a new album, Runout Groove. Had to get it from, but that's ok because it was dispatched in a hurry.2

Brittlestar's new one is out soon too. Well technically it's already "out" but due to my computer-with-not-one-ounce-of-spare-memory problems, I'm forced to wait for the hardware version.

The last one, I think I'll expand into a separate post.


1 Must... resist... saying... "You go girls"!

2 You can listen to some of it on their myspace page.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Devil's walking stick

Devil's walking stick, Aralia spinosa.

I grabbed onto one of these on a steep trail once, and really wished I hadn't. Floridata calls it "one of the most viciously spiny things in the vegetable kingdom".

Since then I've been a lot more aware of them. But until I looked up the latin name just now, I didn't realize that this was the same plant I'd been trying to identify since the spring.

Before the leaves fell off, and also when in bloom, it reminded me of an oversized elderberry. (But prettier, really -- click the top link.)


Edited to correct a typo. Too anal to let it stand once I'd noticed it. Sorry sorry sorry.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Signs that might be omens

Just after leaving the house, I spied a large kettle of vultures. Maybe someone had left a dead calf again. You know, in that place just down the road where old sofas go to die? But the Purifying Ones streamed out on high before I reached them.

I had a passenger when I spotted the biggest gathering of crows I'd ever seen in my life. Fifty at least, I'm sure, and what in the world were they doing downtown? But once we cleared the next building they were nowhere in sight, leaving me the only witness to the murder.

On the way home I drove towards a sun dog, so bright that it fooled me, until I noticed the other sun.

Back at base, with atmospheric optics too low to photograph, I was on my way to consult some sacred chickens about some eggs. A wedge of Canada Geese flew directly overhead. Not uncommon at this time of year, but combined with the other events of the day, I had a feeling I was going to get bombed from above. Didn't happen though.

Lucky me.



Nifty vulture facts.

Roman superstitions.

Collective animal words.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Guitar (and other stringed instrument) heroes

Unless otherwise indicated, the links will load (from YouTube) the same videos that are embedded... hopefully that will help if you're reading thru Bloglines.

Youthful enthusiam: the Tuttle kids play the Beaumont Rag on mandolin & guitar. Holy crap. This would be good even if they weren't little kids.

(Click here for more of their videos.)

Unusual guitar playing, part 1.
An old favorite: Stanley Jordan. Karen hates jazz. The only time Karen can listen to anything resembling jazz is if Stanley Jordan is playing it. This is more bluesy anyway (Willow Weep for Me). Warning, this one is a little longish.

Unusual guitar playing, part 2.
Something new (for me): Andy McKee. He's his own rhythm section.

Lightning banjo: Just ignore the schmaltzy intro (Oh hi, I'm completely surprised that there's a camera on me!) - the song (El Cumbanchero) is great. (Todd Taylor, also a bit longish.)

Deb, are you that fast yet? ;)

This one is for Sabine, since she's learning the Ukulele (Jake Shimabukuro):


Oh my. Makes me wish I'd kept up lessons. Maybe someone will give me a Bill Asher Lap Steel guitar for Christmas (Ben Harper series, please Santa).

Video link here if you can't see it. Isn't that a beautiful sound?

If you don't know me in real life, you may not be aware that I'm famous for acquiring musical instruments that I never quite learn how to play.

Piano - well that was my parents', so possibly that doesn't count. I took lessons for 2 years or so when I was a kid. I could probably still play Chopsticks.*

Classical guitar - check. I still remember many chords, including my favorite, Em7!

Electric guitar - check.**

Violin - check. Never even got my grandfather's old one fixed; I quit while I was ahead and gave it to my cousin, who does know how to play.

Dulcimer - I can play Amazing Grace and Go Tell Aunt Rhody (probably not without mistakes).

So... I could probably not learn to play lap steel without actually owning it.


Ok, one more. Because I know Maktaaq can't get enough of YouTube.

South African Teaspoon slide guitar man, Hannes Coetzee:


* I blame this all on my little brother and sister, who yelled, "Shut up! We're trying to watch TV!" every time I tried to practice.

** I blame this failure on the guy changing his mind at the last minute, and not selling me his Les Paul. I ended up with a pawn shop imitation that really wasn't that bad, but every time I played it I could only think, "This is not my beautiful Les Paul."