Way back in 2008 (that’s 6 years ago…seems like last year), I was digging potatoes and found a big brown wormy thingamabob…I asked, what the heck is this? Someone answered it was a tomato hornworm. We often plant tomatoes and potatoes and sometimes they are fairly close together…no big deal.
I thought it was weird the other day, however, when I dug this year’s potatoes and found another big ugly brown larval whatchamacallit. Granted, the potatoes are near the tomatoes again this year, but maybe tomato hornworms which eat tomato plants like to grow up near taters rather than maters.
Just like last time, I decided to pick this guy up and torment the kids with it. Emily is desensitized enough that she doesn’t even flinch around me any more but the kids are still subject to my weirdness. I probably should have mashed this one since they ruin tomatoes, but I do not often mess with much of anything if it isn’t directly necessary. It took brazillions of years to evolve the way it did; why should I mess with mother-nature?
Today Emily and I celebrate our 20 year wedding anniversary! It’s cliche I suppose, but time has flown and I cannot be any happier to have spent this time with Emily. She is the best of everything I am and I couldn’t be happier (although I wouldn’t be opposed to hitting the Powerball to verify whether that might make me just a little happier).
We are going to go out somewhere nice to eat tonight and spend a nice relaxing evening enjoying our happy life together!
Well, really, so far it is just egg!!! On Sunday, I went outside to feed the chickens and let them roam around a bit in the yard. We don’t exactly allow the chickens to be fully free-range as there are too many predators around and we cannot provide a truly safe habitat for them. Still, we give them a lot of yard time and they have a fair space that is safe when they are not in the yard.
One of the birds spent a good bit of time investigating one area in the yard that was secluded and confined. It was apparent that she was looking for a place to lay an egg. “Hodor” (she was big and not very bright when we got her) is a brown egg layer and one of the two that is a week older than the other birds so it made sense to me that she would lay earlier than the others.
Anyhow, I watched Hodor and she never did lay an egg. I urged the chickens back into the coop area and went out for a bit. When I returned, I opened the pen again and, by dumb luck, looked into the nesting boxes. I thought I might see a brown egg from Hodor, but didn’t really expect anything.
To my surprise, there was a nice but small blue egg! We have two birds which I think are Ameraucanas (or more likely Easter eggers), one of which must be the source of the first egg! My Easter eggers, Sue Sylvester and Houdini, are skittish crazy birds so I figured they would either stay so “cinched up” that they would never lay or be dropping eggs every time the wind blew. Maybe Sue and Houdini will settle in and be pretty cool…or maybe the wind blew. Who knows? I am not sure I care though…after all, one of them gave me my first egg!
We’ve been back from the beach for a few days, but my head is sort of still halfway between home and the ocean. I was looking back over the pics I took and there are far too many of the pier. The other trend I think I found were of the four of us looking like wannabe surfers.
Really, it is more of a matter of wearing rashguard shirts so we don’t get sunburned, but that’s not too sexy so we will go with the surfer look.
Abigail in particular, is the water-dog when it comes to body-surfing. We had several days of pretty rough waves and she didn’t seem to even notice. I was getting beat to death, but she kept going out into the surf. Of course, she, too, was getting beat up, but it just didn’t seem to bother her. And heck, scars and scabs on my little girl’s knees and feet are kind of cool.
Well, beach time is over I guess so I will have to get back into real life mode I suppose. Really though, I suppose I will have enough sand it my delicate parts to be reminded of the beach for some time to come!
I mentioned that we are at the beach and are lucky enough to have a house pretty near to one of the piers in the Topsail Island area. I have this thing for structures I guess. Every time I see a cool bridge, I pretty much take a picture of it. It drives Emily nuts a little. In a way, I guess I get a little satisfaction from that alone, but I digress. I like bridges and stuff like that.
On this trip, I have identified the fact that I also like piers. Every day I walk at least one time to the pier, just so I can look up its skirt as it were. I am fascinated by how it is built and how it stands the constant bashing of the waves and even the occasional hurricane.
From a distance, and even close up in many cases, piers are just amazing works of art! I don’t think I am ready to change careers, but if I were, I think I might consider being a bridge or pier architect…or maybe just a critic…or maybe a hotdog vendor so I can walk on the pier all of the time.
Most days, I have seen cool pools formed by the turbulence generated by the pilings of the pier. There are all sorts of fish and birds that seem to accumulate around the pier. People are drawn to the pier too. Of course, people fish from it, but I think I have seen more people resting under the pier than ever before…it is a great shade and wind break…or maybe people are just hanging out there waiting to greet me as I walk by.
Anyhow, I love the pier and I feel pier pressure to take a picture of it just about every time I walk by!
We go to the beach every other year or so and this is our year. This is weird I know, especially since I never went to the beach as a kid, but it truly doesn’t feel like Summer to me on beach years, until we actually go to the beach. Of course, this year we have had screwed up weather so it really hasn’t felt like Summer until now anyhow.
I am not sure why I need to go to the beach to feel Summery but I am definitely on holiday and enjoying my most favoritest season – Summer! We have been to Topsail Island, NC the last few beach trips and I think it has become our new favorite place. When we do the beach, we do the beach and nothing else. Topsail is mostly houses on the beach and not much touristy stuff to do. It’s mostly not crowded and suits perfectly my need to lay on the sand in earshot of waves crashing so I can sleep properly. It’s perfect!
As the kids get older, I think that we have found that it is as much fun to watch them at the beach as any other thing. They like to people watch and body surf and read and all the stuff we do. It’s just total fun! It is contagious and we all just relax and kick back. We are here this year with Emily’s family and it’s a great opportunity to spend time with cousins and stay up late and eat too much rich food. I used to be able to add “get sunburned” to that list but we have taken that out of the mix…we are very diligent about keeping everyone slathered in sunblock…funny how times change and we get smarter.
Anyhow, I love the beach and need to re-charge every couple of years. And like they say, even a bad day at the beach beats a great day at work!
Where did the last 10 days go? It seems like we just got back from the trip we took to Lewisburg, but it’s been a while now! So, it turns out, the Greenbrier resort is in White Sulphur Springs, WV, a few miles from Lewisburg. The Greenbrier is one of those pretty high-end resorts that reminds me of where Daddy tried to put Baby in the Corner. It’s not a place I really understand, but they have really pretty grass, so why not?
Emily and I decided to go and walk around the place and enjoy the beautiful views and take a tour of the declassified bunker that was built into the mountain during the Cold War. The bunker was called Project Greek Island and was built to allow government to continue to exist in the event of nuclear war.
The bunker itself is not all that notable, but the tour given by staff is well worth the cost of the tickets. There was so much secrecy and Cold War intrigue in its construction that simply seeing the structure without the story would be to miss the real gem.
We had a lot of fun walking around the grounds as the staff prepared for the Greenbrier Classic. We spend a few moments indulging our fantasies of wealth and importance and the state of the world during the Cold War. I think the Greenbrier is exactly built for that…a place to get away from reality and ponder things. The cool part for us, at least, is that we didn’t have to pay to stay in the hotel or eat at the restaurants. We were able to escape for a few bucks for the cost of the bunker tour. And even better was leaving with my savings in my pocket, my wife at my side and a reservation back in Lewisburg!
A few weekends ago, Emily and I were without kids so decided to take a trip to Lewisburg, WV. Lewisburg was voted “America’s Coolest Town” in 2011 so we figured we should check it out. There is a lot of beauty across WV, but some of the best of it is collected in Greenbrier county and the counties that surround it. We had a perfect weekend for walking about town and that was exactly our plan.
There are numerous small shops in Lewisburg that very clearly cater to tourists, but are still very cool regardless. In particular, we found a place that was sort of a health-food, earthy, new-age-almost place, called Edith’s Health and Specialty Store. Normally I don’t care much about that sort of place, but we planned to check out every store in town. What I especially liked about Edith’s was the bulk food area in the basement. They had a barrel of the finest dates I have ever eaten. I know, dates aren’t a thing most people care about, let along spend time writing into a sentence, but these dates were so fresh and wonderful, I can’t wait to go back and get more! Dates…who knew?!
There were trinket stores and an outfitter and bakeries and antique stores and even a pecan store. We hit all of the shops and had a really cool time talking about, you know, adult stuff. The kids would have been crazy, but we had a great time eating dates and talking about…whatever we wanted! Lewisburg is sort of what small towns used to be I suppose. From the time before there were big box stores, when people went to the local whatever shop for…whatever. The downtown was alive with people…likely tourists, but still, people wandering around, chatting and enjoying the weather. It reminds me somewhat of my hometown before it hit against hard times.
Near Lewisburg, there are a number of other sights…we took a tour of Lost World Caverns. It was a cave homecoming for Emily as she had gone on a guided tour of the cave when she visited on an elementary school trip when she was a kid. Since we were adults, we got to do a self-guided tour which was cool. It’s nice spending extra time staring at any old dang rock we pleased as opposed to speeding through a tour guided by someone else.
I was especially surprised, as Emily is not a wine drinker, that we visited a winery/vineyard and did a wine tasting. Watts Roost Winery ferments wine onsite, but unfortunately, is closing as soon as they run out of their stock. I guess the owner prefers sheep farming to wine making so is expanding one business and closing the other. Too bad, as the wine was pretty good…we bought 10 bottles of various sorts.
Back to Lewisburg, we walked around and saw Carnegie Hall, one of four Carnegie Halls in the world. We didn’t go in, but we did walk the grounds a bit and get to say we licked Carnegie Hall…who else can say that?!
Across the road from Carnegie Hall is “The Old Stone Presbyterian Church“, an old…stone…church. What did you expect? Anyhow, it has an old cemetery attached as well. It was striking that there were a number of tombstones there that had birthdates before the US of A was the US of A. It’s hard to even think about that for me for some reason…to wonder what the area was like before the area was a state, let along a country. It must have been thrilling and terrifying and amazing and terrifying (again).
All-in-all, it was a great trip to see a cool small town. It was fun to hang with Emily and see some neat things and to sip a little wine, eat some rich food and act like adults!
So I mentioned the other day, that I have a bunch of chickens, one of which I thought might be a rooster. He runs the hens around and very clearly is the boss of the coop. He has pointy saddle feathers and he’s huge compared to the other birds. Still, I was sold hens so I held out hope that “Licorice” was just a bossy hen. I mean, each bird has her (or his) own personality so I thought I might still be ok.
Of course, the kids are out of town with my folks, so Emily and I have enjoyed quiet sleep. On Monday morning, however, at almost exactly 6 am, we heard a sort of ill-formed warble that turned into a rooster-like sound. He practiced a few more times and finally let out a few real rooster crows. By 6:15, he was done. I was able to visibly catch him in the act at one point because I didn’t want to mistakenly pin maleness on Licorice if it were really Beatrice doing the crowing.
Emily didn’t hear him crow another single time the rest of the day or evening. Tuesday morning, he was at it again from 6 until 6:15 am and then he was quiet. That wouldn’t really bother me, but we do live in the city and have neighbors fairly close-by. I will definitely talk to them and make sure they aren’t terribly inconvenienced, but city ordinances do stipulate that while hens are legit in the city, roosters are definitely not.
I talked to a few friends who could have roosters but neither needed him so unless someone else turns up who needs a rooster, Licorice will make us a fine dinner this weekend. I hate to see him go as he is a pretty bird and really pretty gentle with humans, but I do not want trouble from the city or my neighbors. Ultimately, all of the chickens will be eaten as well so this is not a huge deal…just a little sooner than I had planned.
Ah well, I guess this is the life of an urban chicken farmer. I guess you can never truly know whether you have males or females until you get proof…noisy proof…
So last night at 12:11 am, we witnessed the first honey moon (also known as strawberry moon) that happened to fall on a Friday the 13th, in almost 100 years. I stayed up until around midnight to try to take some pics of the moon hoping to see its yellow tint, the reason it is called a honey moon.
The full moon nearest the Summer Solstice is at its perigee or the time when it is closest to the Earth and lowest in the sky. Since it is low in the sky, it appears to be much larger than normal, due to a trick that our brains pull on us…it’s called the moon illusion (see possible explanation here). Add to that the effects of pollution and dust in the atmosphere which reflect light differently, and you end up with a larger-than-normal yellow colored moon.
So I wandered out late last night in my boxers and gum boots to take a few pics. They aren’t high def amazing shots, but I think they came out pretty neat in a creepy-cool kind of way.
The other fun fact is that today, Emily and I are taking a sort of get-away weekend to celebrate (a little early) our 20 year wedding anniversary…so we have a honey moon kicking off a second sort of honeymoon! It must be a good omen!