Archive | July, 2014

Butterflies, Butterflies!

30 Jul

This afternoon while The Squire and I were feeding the fish, he happened to glance up and noticed that our Mimosa tree was covered with Monarch butterflies.  We tried to take some snaps from the ground, but I ran upstairs and took several, including a video, through the bedroom window. It’s hard to get a sense of how many there were, or how much bustling around was going on in a still photo, but there are three in this shot, which may give you an idea.

butterfly 1It might also explain why our hummingbird feeder hasn’t been getting much traffic.

It Must be the Weather

28 Jul

In our parish, the announcements are made from the pulpit before the service starts, rather than after the Peace, which seems to be the custom in many parishes.

The last two weeks, after finishing the announcements, the rector has said, “Let us with gladness present our offerings and oblations unto the Lord.” Even he admits he has no idea why that particular phrase pops into his mind.

Yesterday, The Squire and the other usher brought up the wine and bread (the offerings and oblations), turned and put up the Communion rail – normally done when they return the collection to the altar – and then started back down the aisle, without the offering plates. About a third of the way down, one of the members of the congregation grabbed The Squire by the arm and whispered “the plates“, without adding “you dummy”, I might add. He actually had to whistle for the other usher, who was high-tailing it back to his pew.  When they returned the plates following the offertory, they bypassed the crucifer and put the plates directly on the side table. I have no idea what either of them were thinking.

The Squire has only been the head usher at our church for, oh maybe, thirty years.

Let There Be Light!

19 Jul

Our friendly neighborhood electrician came over yesterday morning and spent most of the day working on the lights in the living room. The ceiling light presented some problems beyond those caused by trying to work with your hands over your head. As I mentioned in my post on June 26th, the wires had been clipped quite short, which left very little to attach the new fixture. In addition, the ground and the live wires had been switched around. (I swear, Laurel and Hardy had a hand in the construction of this place!) It took several tries and a blown fuse (yes, a fuse!) to get the light working – finally.

There were also two outlets that had gone dead. They are on opposite sides of the same wall, and went dead at the same time, so we all – The Squire, the electrician, and I – assumed the mice had chewed through the wires. Oh, joy. Meditating on this revolting development, The Squire remembered that he and my dad had installed those two outlets, and they were also fed from the fuse box in the corner, with the wires coming down from the ceiling.  All of the fuses looked fine, but because he is the “do the obvious first” type, The Squire replaced all of the fuses in the box, and lo! and behold, the lights came on. So easy. Yeesh.

We were also informed that according to today’s code, you are not supposed to have electric outlets above hot water baseboard heat pipes. Huh?  Where are you supposed to put them?  I can see not putting them on, say, the floor where they would get water in them. But why not above them?

This would mean that there would be no outlets in the living room at all, and the only one in our bedroom would be the one behind and under the bed, where the table lamps are plugged in. There would be one in the dining room, and one in the den – on the wall opposite the computer. And unless we wanted to put an outlet over the tub, there is no place suitable place in the bathroom at all.

“Don’t look at me. I’d didn’t make ’em, and I don’t understand ’em, but those are today’s rules. I don’t know nuttin’ about what you guys have here now.”

And the electrician picked up his tools and departed.

The Great Meal Worm Debacle

10 Jul

My ability to grow things is the stuff of legend.

I can’t.

My sister and my eldest daughter could grow cactus in a swamp. I can hardly grow weeds. I have killed snake plant and Wandering Jew. I can make plastic flowers wither.

The Squire and I both enjoy feeding and watching the birds and squirrels in the garden. We’ve always wanted to attract blue birds, but the surest way to do that is with live meal worms. I’ve purchased small quantities from time to time, and set them out along the edge of the main feeder, but only the grackles and the squirrels are interested in them. Sometimes, I’d leave the container of live worms in the fridge too long, and they’d die and make a stink.

As would The Squire. Make a stink, I mean. Not die.

I mentioned this to a friend and he told me growing your own is very simple – and it is. A flat plastic container, an inch or so of chicken mash, a few carrots for moisture and about 100 meal worms, and you’re all set. Put on the lid, but don’t make it airtight, and let nature take its course.  Voila! Something I could actually grow.

And we were off! I was surprised at how quickly the critters multiplied. Cue the music for The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. I still wasn’t getting any blue birds, but by gum, we had meal worms! My friend said that because the worms like the dark, he often put a piece of folded newspaper on top of the chicken mash. The worms would crawl in between the sheets of paper, and could be shaken into the bird feeder or lifted off very easily.

Well, I did exactly that, except because my paper was more than twice the width of the plastic box, I had an extra “flap”. The phone rang while I was in the middle of this, and I walked off with the flap up – and the lid  off. (Don’t give me anything complicated to do. I’m easily distracted.) The worms don’t travel fast, but they can make some real headway if you leave them overnight.

I found the top of the dryer covered with the silly things the next morning. I scooped them all up, shook a few out of the inside of a pair of gardening gloves, turned the newspaper folded side down, and made sure the lid was secure on two corners.

Well, last night, The Squire was fixing dinner (he’s well trained that way) and he discovered several meal worms had made their way into a bag of potatoes and had had a high old time. Do you know how bad rotten potatoes smell? Lordy!  I think even skunk is easier on the nose – and your not apt to put your thumb into a skunk, either. (Oh, there’s a picture for you.)

Let’s just say he was not pleased.

Anybody want a meal worm farm?


The Voice of the Lord…

9 Jul

…strips the cedars bare. Storm 1

It also does a really good job on the trees in our back yard.

We had a tremendously bad windstorm last night, and when I came home from mid-week service, this is what greeted me in the driveway. I originally thought The Squire had moved the branch so I could get in, but it had, by the grace of God, actually fallen into the bushes by the side of the drive.

Do you see that straight tree trunk next to the arch? The branch came from that tree, which is on the other side of the drive way. It probably flew fifty feet before it landed.

The Squire had to take the chainsaw to it, load it onto the cart, and then haul it out to the brush pile at the back of the property. It did a number on the bushes and took out the hummingbird feeder, but we are glad it didn’t land on the arch, or block the drive completely.

Or worse.

Aubrey Nicol

8 Jul


Aubrey Nicol, all 7 pounds, 9 ounces of her, put in her appearance at 3:55 on July 7, 2014.Aubrey 6

I wouldn’t go so far as to say her mom and dad are proud of her, but she is a beautiful, quiet, and sweet tempered baby. I claim she got that full head of black hair from The Squire’s side of the family, but her dad says “It’s all Italian.”

Could be.

Every night during Amanda’s pregnancy, Steve would lay his head on her tummy and talk and sing lullabies to the baby. Having heard his  voice from the very beginning, she instinctively turns her head toward him now when he is talking.

She is very good about picking up her head and looking around, although she hasn’t quite gotten the “laying it back down” part sorted out.  Plonk!

Way back when, I made up name plaques for each of the grandchildren, so of course Aubrey had to have one, too.  Across the top is Russian, Hindi, Urdu, then Aramaic, English, Cherokee, and Arabic, Hebrew and Greek on the bottom.

Welcome to the big world, little girl!

Aubrey 2

Who Are You Again?

1 Jul

I was at a meeting today and needed some information from the Internet. I don’t own a cell phone, so I borrowed one from a friend and dialed the house. The voice on the other end sounded strange, but hey! it’s a cell phone. What do you expect?

“This is your wife. I need you to look up something for me.”

“Who is this?”

“Your wife. You know, that lady you used to date.”

“Um, ma’am, I have no idea who you are.”

I pulled the phone away from my ear, and looked at it. Our phone number ends with a 9. The number I had punched in ended with a 6.  I just hope that poor man didn’t have to explain that conversation to anybody.

Speaking of misdialing, several years ago I received two or three increasingly irate calls from an elderly gentleman, asking for his daughter.  Our area has two exchanges – 676 and 679 – and after the third call from this man, practically insisting I was holding his daughter hostage, I tried calling our number, but with the other exchange. Lo, and behold, there was “Jessica”!  I explained that her dad was looking for her, and what had happened. We had a good laugh, and I never heard from him again.