Monthly Archives: July 2018

Rules of the Road

Being yourself, being natural, is, for the most part, a good thing. But like anything, there are degrees of what is acceptable or sensible. Nudity, for example; it’s natural, accepted in places like nude beaches and nudist colonies, but in the busy downtown shopping area, not so much. It is sensible in that the cost of clothing goes way down, and it’s convenient for swimming, but then when the sun comes out it’s not so sensible to fry your unprotected skin and turn into a lobster, or to get frostbite in the winter.

So it is with breastfeeding. Sure it’s natural, but it’s not always practical or socially accepted in all situations. Difficult to do while riding a bicycle, not a good idea while driving a car. If using a cell phone is distracting, I’d say breastfeeding while driving also qualifies.

Even if you’re not driving, but just crossing the road with the kids, it’s not the ideal place to stop and breastfeed them. It’s just not a good idea.

That’s what this mother was doing as I came upon them in my car. While I grabbed my paparazza camera to get some good breast shots for the next  Playgirls in the Wild magazine, the mom came to her senses and told the kids to scram.

“Follow me,” she said, trotting down the road. Now where was that opening into the bushes?

She ducked in, yelling over her shoulder, “Come on, kids! Don’t just stand there gawking!  Hurry up and get in here, or you’ll get shot! Didn’t you see the camera in that predator’s hands?”

“All right, all right. What’s the big deal?” the more foolish of the two drawled as he swaggered off the road.

There’s always one in the family who has attitude. Let’s hope it never bites him.

 

A Not-so-boring Boring Beetle

Many years ago I saw one of these beetles in my yard and later wondered if it was one of those terrible Asian longhorned beetles that destroy our forests. Should I have killed it and saved our forests?

Most likely our forests were not in danger, and I’m glad I didn’t kill the poor bug. Yes, it bores into wood and lays its eggs there so its progeny will also bore into the wood, but it prefers dead wood. By eating the dead wood, it is actually doing more good than harm.

Today, I found this poor little guy already dead on the walk beside my house. I picked it up with my bare hands in spite of the horror I have of touching bugs. If it had wiggled, I would have been in trouble. But no, it didn’t move. I wanted to take its picture so I could identify it for sure.

I apologized to it for placing it in such an undignified pose, but I wanted to be sure, in case I needed to confirm its I.D. by its underside.  If you click to make the photo below bigger, you can see that it has fuzzy mitts on its front legs and tufts of “fur” on its antennae.

Here is what I found out.

It is a banded alder beetle, often confused with the Asian longhorn beetle, a
damaging exotic pest.

I found more information at this site:

https://entomology.oregonstate.edu/sites/agscid7/files/entomology/Banded_Alder%20Borer_13.pdf

They said:

The easiest way to distinguish these two species is  to look at the segment directly behind the head. On the Asian longhorn beetle the area is entirely shiny black while on the BAB the area is white with a single, large black spot that occupies 60% or more of the segment.

DSCN0767

On the photo above you can see that black circle on its head, a sure sign that it is a banded alder borer, and not the dreaded Asian longhorn beetle.

Mick’s Buttercup Squash

The Captain and I try to go to Montana every year if possible. We have found good friends among the farmers we’ve met there. Three years ago, Mick, one of these friends, gave us some buttercup squash that he had just harvested. Since we had our trailer with us, he suggested the easiest way to cook it would be to microwave it.

I did that, and it was very good. So good, in fact, that I saved the seeds of the squash to bring home. For the next three years I planted and saved Mick’s buttercup squashes. This year’s crop is descended from those original squashes he gave us in 2015.

Here is one of them, growing on the garden fence where it climbed up.

The funny thing is that although I carefully started some of the squash seeds in little pots for transplanting when the weather warmed up enough, Mick’s squash has a mind of its own. I must have put some compost in the garden last winter, and this spring, way before I thought it was okay to plant anything, these squashes volunteered to grow in my garden and they have by far outstripped the ones I so carefully tended in little pots for transplanting.

I have found a way of cooking these squashes that makes us very happy. I clean, quarter, and peel the squash and microwave it just long enough to make it barely tender (a few minutes). While that is happening, I sautee some chopped onion  in a pan with butter. When the squash is tender enough to cut easily but not so mushy that it is falling apart, I cut each quarter into slices (the way you would cut cantaloupe in thin wedges) and lay these in the pan to brown a few minutes on each side.

That’s it. Eat and enjoy.

PS When you’re cleaning the squash, be sure to save the seeds for next year’s crop.

Linc is back!

Linc is back! I saw him today. Do you remember his mother scolding him just before he ran away from her? She looked all over and asked her friends if they knew “Where de Linc went?” Because he really was a bit of a delinquent!

If you’d like to revisit that day, just click here: https://wp.me/p1uKoT-2a6

I’ve grown a lot in this last year,

I gave my mom some grief, I fear,

But now I’m older, wiser too,

My naughtiness I surely rue.

My momma loves me just the same,

She’s raised me to be much more tame.

I’m working hard to feed myself,

No need for her to stock my shelf.

She’s worked so hard to help me grow,

I love her lots and told her so.

I’ll soon have babies of my own,

My momma says I’m not to moan,

It’s payback time and soon I’ll see

How hard she had to work with me.

Progress?

Change is inevitable, but not necessarily always a good thing. People of my parents’ day were usually glad to see what they called “progress.” It meant that their hard life would be made easier. I suppose when you have grown up without the modern conveniences that we now take for granted, “progress” seems like  a wonderful thing. Unfortunately, progress usually involves an increase in population to support businesses, and with the influx of people comes the bad with the good.

At one time, we didn’t have to fence our semi-rural property because no one came along to ruin its quiet  ambiance. Yes, I had to set aside a small area to put the deer’s favourite plants behind some kind of fencing, but I loved seeing the animals visiting our yard.

Our once quiet neighbourhood  is now a high-traffic dog walk; in many cases a place where irresponsible people come to let their dogs run free. The deer can no longer visit in peace and I’ve been forced to fence my yard.

But as I went through some older photos, I found this one from the days before “progress.”

Blackberries

I love the taste of blackberries, but I hate picking them. This plant defends itself rather aggressively. The thorns are vicious and you either get your arms and legs scratched up or your clothing torn.  Add to that, the wasps that claim the ripe berries and resent you reaching in to steal them, and spiders that hide behind the leaves and scurry over your fingers as you touch their webs. Shudders! I let the Captain do the picking if he’s home, or his 96-year-old mother (pictured below, picking last year’s berries), if he’s not. They both love picking blackberries. Go figure!

But I think I have found a solution. Take a close look at the vines on these  blackberries below. What do you see? More importantly, what do you NOT see? Thorns! Also, the blackberries are growing on my garden fence so the tangles and spider hiding places are not as many.

Yes, thornless blackberries. Domestic, of course, but I like the idea of no thorns. The berries have a slightly different flavour, but they’re pretty good, and I don’t have to get stung or touch spiders, or tear up my arms and legs to get a few berries. Whoever developed this thornless variety deserves a medal.

These berries are not quite ready, but they seem to be fairly early this year. It won’t be long now before they’re ready to pick.

A Bad Hair Day

I think these are the last of the poppies in my garden that have a different look.

The combination of colours and texture is beautiful, but it was the crepe paper look that made these poppies special for me. I wondered what the word “crepe” meant and found that its origin in 18th C. French was “crespe” which meant “curled, frizzed” from the Latin “crispus.”

In reality, the poppy petals are soft and delicate, but it’s the crepe look that I find fascinating.

D’you ever have a bad hair day

When petals lie down where they may?

You see, for me, it’s nothing new,

They do whatever they want to do.

Crispy,  frizzy, fluttering,

My hairdo takes a battering.

The passing breeze has tousled me

I’m not the queen I’d like to be.

Here comes a lady pulling plants.

I call to her, “Give me a chance!

I’m just not ready yet to die.” 

She halts and breathes a great big sigh.

“I love the messy look  we share. 

To part with you, I could not bear.”