Thursday, August 23, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
I’ll pass, thanks. This blossom opened yesterday (it's about 12 inches across), and within an hour or so, it was covered in flies who were drawn to its odor. A rose it ain’t. Sometimes I wonder if my life isn’t just a bit dull that I would get so excited about a stinky flower, but it has been many years since this plant has bloomed. I guess the almost unbearable hot weather we have been having is just what it likes, which isn’t surprising seeing that these starfish carrion plants are native to South Africa. I posted another picture of this plant in bloom in February. That picture was taken some 17 years ago, and I had already had the plant for some years before that photo was taken. That the plant has managed to survive ME for more at least 20 years is quite remarkable, I think.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Searching the clouds for interesting shapes is one of my favorite things to do. R is not interested in what I see – he never looks when I point out a particular cloud with a shape that resembles a familiar object, animal, or a person’s profile. Today as we emerged from the driveway onto the frontage road to get the mail, I note many interesting cloud formations.
Me: “Oh, look! Look at the clouds! Oh, oh, oh! I see a baboon!”
I had been working on a manuscript about xenotransplantation involving baboons. It could just as easily have been a bear. He turns and looks at me.
R: “So do I.”
Monday, August 06, 2007
The wonderful English actress (Imelda Staunton) who did such an excellent job as the evil Dolores Umbridge in the film “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” was just as excellent as the delightful mother in “My Family and Other Animals” that was presented on Masterpiece Theater on PBS. I remember it well when Senator John McCain, during hearings on cutting funding proclaimed that we didn’t need PBS any more because comparable quality programming was available on A&E and Bravo. That may have been true then, but it isn’t now; that’s for sure (I say, that’s for sure). At this point, our family has invited only one animal to share the indoors with us, the Idiot Kitty. But there always seem to be some uninvited animals in the house. Yesterday morning when R was getting ready for church, he stuck his foot in the shoe he was going to wear and promptly pulled it out again. The shoe was full of sunflower seeds. In the week since last Sunday, some “thing” had been very busy at night while we are asleep blazing a trail from the bucket of sunflower seeds by the back door to the spot where the shoes are kept. Now, where is that Idiot Kitty when we need her?
Saturday, August 04, 2007
What is going on in our garage reminds me a lot of the situation that occurs when things are sunk the ocean, whether accidently or on purpose, such as off the coast of Florida: the object becomes new home for fish and other sea creatures and attracts them to the area. If you build it (or sink it), they will come. In our case, several guests have taken up housekeeping in the garage we built several years ago. Two varieties of bird have nested in the garage, the Phoebe and the Carolina wren. This year, in fact, the wrens built two nests. And there’s the bat. I guess it doesn’t actually live at the top of the stairwell leading from the garage to the second story, but he or she does spend several days a week hanging there – in fact, it is hanging there as I write this. I do wonder a lot about the bat. Why doesn’t it live with a colony with other bats in a cave somewhere? Where does the bat go when it isn’t hanging in our stairwell? And this summer, the organ pipe mud dauber wasps decided to set up housekeeping on the garage wall by the stairwell. Unlike some of the other varieties of wasp that live here, these are very calm and docile, not at all like the yellow jacket or the paper wasp, both of which are very aggressive -- get anywhere near a paper wasp nest and one is likely to get stung. The mud dauber wasps are not aggressive at all. This is fortunate, because we walk within a foot of their tubes very time we go up the stairs and that is why their tubes are still there and this picture was taken. They lay their egg in the tube and then stuff a paralyzed spider in their so the grub has something to eat (I do feel a little sorry for the spiders). When they get inside the tube the sound of their buzzing is amplified and very loud. A free concert.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
After 26+ years living here, we got our first electric bill yesterday. And that’s because on this first day of the month, unlike on the first day of the month since June 1, 1981, I did not have to go to the power pole to read the electric meter. I did not write the figures down in the payment book, subtract the last month’s reading, look up the amount owed on the little chart, and send off the payment. It is an unsettling feeling. I guess I should be glad that is one less thing to worry about, but it has been such a habit for all these years. I guess progress is good. The electric co-op thinks the new fancy electronic electric meters they installed will improve the process. It seems to me it is going to cost them a lot more money having to mail all the bills, but what do I know?