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Yum, Yum!

29 May

Well, the snapping turtles didn’t appreciate the cicadas I tried to feed them the other night, but this morning The Squire and I watched two squirrels sit on the patio and eat one after another. They each ate six and then, apparently satisfied, they scampered back the the trees.

They would grab the bug and begin chewing on the nether end, then toss the head and wings, before scurrying away to get another one.

It’s a change from peanuts, I suppose.

Ta Da!

29 May

The church we attend is one of the Queen Anne Parishes, and dates back to the 1700s.

Last summer, The Squire spent many, many days working beside a group of people from various archeology organization, including a professor from the University of Maryland and some of his students, and representatives from the Archeology Association of the Upper Chesapeake, as well as the Maryland Historical Trust. There were other volunteers, some of whom used ground penetrating radar, and a drone.

Yesterday, he received a letter from Jacob Benson, chair of the Harford County Historic Preservation Commission, stating that the church has been recognized for their efforts in preserving the history of Harford county in general, the Joppa Seaport in particular. Mind you, Joppa Towne hasn’t been a seaport for almost two centuries, because it silted up pretty quickly, when the local farmers started tearing down trees and plowing the hills up and down, so all of the top soil ran into the water.

You can see the video at: harfordcountymd.gov/2420/historic-preservation-awards

Scroll down to the third video, which shows Colonial Joppa. What appear to be a lawn mower and a roto-tiller were actually different kinds of radar equipment. It doesn’t mention The Squire by name, but he is parish representative, and received the award for the church.

Well, That Was a Waste of Effort

27 May

There’s been a lot of chatter about how cicadas are edible – if you have a strong stomach. It is recommended that you pick the newly-hatched bugs off the tree, the ones that are still soft and white, rather than dealing with the “ripe” adults. I collected a snack-sized bag of them and put it in the freezer, which is suggested as a more humane way of killing them.

So far, so good, but when I took the bag out of the fridge, I took the coward’s way out, and decided to feed them to the snapping turtles. The only thing they’ve ever taken from me as food is store-bought white bread, so 1) they looked close enough to scraps of S-BWB that they’d take them without question, and 2)I figured they would really like these delicacies.

Well, was I ever wrong! One turtle did accept the first cicada I offered (Shades of Terry Pratchett’s Rat-on-a-Stick!) , but spat it out immediately, and none of the others would even come near them.

There must be some sort of telepathy going on!

I just dumped the rest of the bugs into the pond. Maybe the snappers would change their minds, and if not, somebody downstream got a treat.

We have four turtles in the pond right now, which is at least five too many, and two of them insist upon me feeding them more or less by hand. I put a hunk of bread on the end of a lilac twig and they will swim over and take it. Oddly enough, they are both very gentle when they do this. However, if I don’t move fast enough, they will haul themselves out of the pond and come after me. Nothing will get your attention faster than being barefoot and in the vicinity of a snapper!

How Alarming!

26 May

I have to wait an hour after I take my Synthroid before I can eat breakfast, so I use the time to read the on-line comics and print off the crossword puzzles so The Squire and I can work them wile we eat. This morning he was at his computer, also reading the funnies when suddenly the fire alarm went off. While we bolted for the kitchen I asked him if he’d left something on the stove – a trick we’ve both pulled in the past – which he denied.

It turned out the alarm had misfunctioned. There was nothing on the stove, not even an empty frying pan. We hadn’t put bread in the toaster, and the oven wasn’t on. We waved a towel at the blasted thing, pressed the reset button, took it off the wall and tried to open it. Nothing worked.

stock photo

We finally put it out on the picnic table, where it continued to annoy all of Greater Downtown Bradshaw. After breakfast, The Squire said he had to run over to church for something, but I’m inclined to think he just wanted to escape the noise. After about fifteen minutes after he left, I decided my choices were to carry it out to the barn, or beat it to smithereens with a hammer. I opted for the former, but I could still hear it – over the noise of the cicadas! – all the way back to the house.

The Squire pulled the lawn mower from the barn when he got home, and it was still blaring, but when he finished mowing, the bloody thing had finally quit.

Probably melted into a puddle. And I don’t care!

They’re Back!

19 May

All the news just now is that we are about to be invaded by Cicadas. Hardly earth shattering, although they certainly can be ear shattering. When I went out to get the mail this morning I found half dozen or so on the Hosta along the drive. There aren’t any on the trees so far, so maybe they are hatching first in the shade?

Already, people on the neighborhood bulletin board are asking how to kill them, while others are telling them not to do so. FWIW, when the cicadas have just crawled out of their shells, and are still soft and pink, they are supposed to be edible, and can be fixed the way you fix shrimp – with the same caveat, that if you are allergic to shellfish, you’d be best to avoid them.

Can you eat cicadas? Yes, and here’s how to catch, cook and snack on them. – The Washington Post

I’ll keep you posted!

The Sheer Perversity of Inanimate Objects

7 May

Local Grandson came down a week or so ago and helped us with the Water Problem. While he and The Squire were doing that, I went around and pulled up all of the solar lights that we had placed around the pond, and stuck them into the ground closer to the front porch. This morning I pulled up the ones that were not working; The Squire said he wanted to see if they were fixable – they were not – so I gathered them and dumped them into the recycling bin.

Three of the bloody things lit up!

I had to practically stand on my head to pull them back out, but they are on the picnic table to be replaced around the pond, along with the ten new ones. We’ll see. What do you want to bet they won’t light again when we try to use them?

The Mind Reader

1 May

After I finished helping set up for tomorrow’s service at church, I gave Hubby a buzz. He picked up the phone and said “I think that’s a great idea.”

“Oh? What is?”

“Stopping at the Amish Market for lunch.”

“Why do I even bother to talk to you?”

“You like the sound of my voice!”

The worst of it is that he was absolutely correct. I was on my way to the market, and I had called to see if he wanted me to bring home some lunch. This happens all the time. If there is something I’ve forgotten at the store, or if I have a sudden craving for, oh, butterscotch candy, I’ll think about it for a few moments, and darned if he doesn’t stop and buy whatever it was I wanted.

And vice versa.

Why do we even bother to talk to each other?

Snake Dance

25 Apr

The pipe that allows water to flow from the pond into the stream has been clogged for months – there’s a picture of the mess on my post of December 1 – but The Squire is simply not physically able to do the work. We’d asked his godson to come lend us a hand, but that was a no-go, so we finally prevailed on Local Grandson to come down to help.

Grandson and his nephew came down yesterday morning (Saturday), and set to work. While Grandson and The Squire worked on opening the drain, Nephew and I got a tarp and some work gloves and began pulling smelly, muddy, leaves out of the “well head”. Messy work, but this nine-year old boy was in hog heaven! He even helped me drag the tarp to the woodpile, which was quite an operation! Both of our wells are spring fed and the water comes up so hard and fast that the well cannot contain it. Not too long after we moved in, The Squire dug a hole around the concrete sides of the well, lined it with cement, and put in pipes to direct the overflow to the pond. Because the “pit” is about 18 inches deep, leaves and muck build up over the winter, and we have to clear it out before summer. Yesterday was a bit on the cool side, and the ground was already so soggy that we didn’t bother to drag out the garden hose and wash out the pit, so it still looks disgusting. The small, squarish lid is just for access to the overflow pipes; the huge round lid covers the actual well.

While they were at it, The Squire and Grandson ran the snake through the pipe from the well head to the pond, and back the other way. Grandson also cleared the pipe from the second well, which we do not use or need, which will help keep the water from flowing over the yard. (We sincerely hope!) The water is flowing much better now, but it will take a month of Sundays to get the ground dry enough to mow. I’ve suggested we get a goat, but that suggestion did not meet with a favorable reply. Probably just as well. We went through this with our horse.

Once the pond was cleared, and we had the well head cleared, Nephew spent about a half an hour catching tadpoles. I had to remind him to be VERY careful; handling a tadpole is just about the same as picking up Jell-O. They are very, very soft and do not yet have bones to protect their innards. Catch and release is the name of the game.

Nephew and I drove up to return the electric snake, and then stopped to pick up some lunch. Some places don’t open until 11:00, so we ended up getting a huge pizza. We swung into Aldi’s to grab some bottles of soda, and I got snookered into buying a big bag of Goldfish for Nephew to snack on.

Which is still on the counter!

Grandson and The Squire also cut up and stacked a tree that had fallen during a storm. Grandson will come back later with his truck to collect some of the wood to burn in their firepit, so he got something out of the day.

Good Night, Sweet Prince

17 Apr

I spent the better part of the morning watching the funeral for Prince Philip, who was a much beloved husband, father, and great grandfather.

There are folks who think Philip was a bit of a jerk, but any man who keeps having his wedding shoes resoled for over 70 years because they meant so much to him is obviously very, very much in love with his wife. He’s been accused of being unfaithful, but as he said, “I’m accompanied everywhere but in the loo by a police officer. How the hell am I going to get away with that?”

This was a private, family funeral, as much as it can be, considering the people involved. My heart bleeds especially for the Queen, as well as for the rest of the family, unable to weep in private, but forced to mourn publicly. I’m sure, when the family gets “back home” in the privacy of Windsor, there will be hugs and tears, but I don’t understand how people manage to keep a stiff upper lip at times such as these. Jackie Kennedy comes to mind.

The Anglican service is always pitch-perfect; I have memories of other funerals we’ve attended that still make me wonder. I nearly lost it when they played Eternal Father and Flowers of the Forest. You’d really think that after all these years I’d be able to “get a grip”, as the saying goes.

I HEARD a voice from heaven, saying unto me, Write, From henceforth blessed are the dead which die in the Lord: Even so, saith the Spirit, for they rest from their labours. BCP

Back on the Treadmill . . .

16 Apr

. . . and I’d hardly gotten off!

My agency found me a very nice job at a place not too far from home, working at the office two days a week, and from the end of the dining room table the other three days. Since Thanksgiving, I’d worked from home entirely. I enjoyed what I was doing, but when the job was winding down I admitted to The Squire that, money or no money, I was ready to take it easy (or easier!) for a while.

My last day at that position was on April 8th, and on the afternoon of the 9th the agency called to ask if I’d like to continue with that company, in a different position, three days a week. “Oh, golly, you shouldn’t have!”

Well, the first department thought you were wonderful, and your site boss really recommended you to the other supervisor. OK. OK. Flattery will get you everywhere.

I went in on Wednesday morning, and was introduced around, all that jazz, and then then my boss told me, “I understand you enjoy filing?” I do. I honestly DO enjoy filing – A,B,C, 1, 2, 3. No guessing games – just put things in order. BUT . . .

This is what greeted me on the first day! I had every bit of it done by lunch time the second day.

Now, if only I could figure out how to rotate this thing, we’d be in business!