Monday, September 17, 2018

Sandhill Cranes

Remember the saga of the extra check the town had to cut for the library because the county treasurer used the wrong number?  I delivered the town's check to the library on Friday morning.  The librarian later gave me the check back.  The bank had refused to deposit it because it was made out to the 'Library'.  The Village manages an account for the library funds and the bank felt the check had to be made out to the Village.  (The bank just came under new management so I don't know if that has something to do w/ the bank not taking it.)  I ferried the check back to the town.  The town treasurer crossed out 'Library', wrote 'Village' above it and handed the check back to me.  I gave the check to the librarian this morning and stuck around.  I was interested in seeing if it would go through this time.  Surprise, surprise, it did.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

On her way home before dawn

The hummingbirds left Friday sometime.  I know because all summer there was a flurry of feeding activity at dawn and dusk.  They would visit the feeders during the day too but right after waking up and before settling down at night they must have been thirsty.  They would swarm the feeders like bees.  No hummers at all on Saturday and only one solitary bird this morning.  Figure she could be migrating through from further north.  She wasn't anywhere around later in the day or tonight.  Glad I could provide a little extra 'gas' for her trip.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Library display

 Boy Scouts came through today w/ a display for the library.  They used one display case for Boy Scout stuff and the other for Cub Scout regalia.  I went to the library to get a picture of them w/ the displays.  I'll send it to the local paper and see if I can get some press for the Boy Scouts and for the library.  I was impressed that they had thought ahead to wear their uniforms for the picture though they informed me that since we were taking the picture inside they wouldn't be able to wear their caps.  The librarian and the volunteer on duty this morning were quite impressed w/ what they put in.  I let them know I'd be contacting them sometime in November about when they could take the displays down.  I still haven't figured out a display for Christmas.  Something will turn up.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea)

Stopped by the local telephone company.  The only person in the front office was at a desk to the side and on the phone.  No bell around to ring for service so I stood there waiting.  There was a PC at the window where I stood.  It was running through ads for the company.  I get bored quickly.  Checked around and found a mouse for the PC.  Kicked the computer out it's ad-replay mode and got into the file system.   Found a 'Pictures' folder and in there found a map of the area that this telephone company services.  Looked over at the person at the desk.  Nope, she was still on the phone.  Brought up the map and zoomed in on my house.  Finally two guys from the back office came forward.  They were wearing t-shirts and blue jeans (obviously people who didn't care if I was messing w/ a company computer).  "That's where I live and I want internet service."  I said pointing at the screen.  The short answer is it will be done.   The company is putting in upgraded fiber optics in my area but might not get to my specific house this year (if not, next spring for sure).  I can wait.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Palm Warbler (I think)

What a mess.  Each fall the library makes out a budget and it's signed by the three municipalities that fund the library.  That signed document is sent to the county to include as part of the calculation of mil-rates for property taxes.  Last year the county treasurer's office used a much lower library budget number for this year (where it came from no one seems to know) so the library was running out of money.  The treasurer's office finally agreed they made a mistake and sent the extra money to the three municipalities to give to the library.  (I'm sure it's some legal thing that they can't give it directly to the library.)  The treasurer's office though neglected to explain the precipitating situation to each of the town boards nor state what the extra money was for.   The librarian asked to be put on the agenda for this month's town meeting where I live so she could, in person, make clear what happened.  The librarian requested me to attend the meeting also for moral support.  So I did.  Things went well, the town cut the library a check for the additional money, and the librarian left the meeting early.  I stuck around.  I'd forgotten about the gossip one hears there.  While I wouldn't want to be clerk again, I should attend more meetings.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Thirteen-lined ground squirrel

Old Time Radio on Saturday and Sunday nights reserve their very scariest broadcasts for after 10 p.m.  I like to jump into bed, turn off the lights, and listen to the shows in the dark.  Of course, I rarely stay awake to the end and usually fall asleep somewhere between the announcer's introduction and the start of the show.  So I picked up six CD's of  'Classic Radio's Greatest Mystery Shows' from the library - episodes from shows like The Black Museum, Escape, Inner Sanctum, Quiet Please, The Weird Circle, and The Whistler.   This week, right around sundown, I and the portable CD player go out on the deck.  I can do a crossword puzzle while listening to a show.  By the time it ends I've finished the puzzle and it's very dark.  Indy comes outside also and lays next to my chair on the deck.  Just too scary to listen to these old radio programs alone.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Northern Flickers (Yellow-shafted)

Since Labor Day I've been putting little 'H's on the calendar each day that I see a hummingbird. In 2017 the last one left between 2 to 3 weeks after the beginning of September (later than other years.)  Most of the little birds have already gone but there are at least four still around.  I kept four feeders up (and they still fight over them).  I only put a couple of days worth of fluid in each feeder so it doesn't sit around too long. The belief that leaving feeders up will delay a hummer's migration isn't true.  You need to remove the teeny tiny little welcome mats for them to get the message to leave.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Turkey Vultures (mostly)

For the last week I've watched turkey vultures circling the hay field by the house.  Usually it was only a few and, while a little creepy, I figured they were using the warm air rising up in that area to gain altitude.  I was on the deck, doing my daily crossword puzzle, when the usual number of birds started flying in circles.  More and more came in from every direction to join the group.  There was the odd young eagle and crow mixed in but mostly it was vultures.  Think they are joining together for a migration south.  Just in case they were looking for one more snack before hitting the road, I made sure to move my legs every so often and otherwise look 'lively'.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Deer twins

The weekend started w/ a crash as Mr. Dearhamer's cats pushed a plant off the dresser.  (Note: The cats become Doug's when they are bad and mine when they are cute.)  The dish the plant was in broke into a lot of pieces but I'd picked it up for 15 cents from a garage sale year's ago so no big loss.  Stopped off at McD's for a latte and didn't check it before I took off.  It tasted funny so when I got home I poured it into another glass.  It was all milk - no coffee in it at all.  I went on to the library to train in a new volunteer.  She's had training from other volunteers so all I did was unlock the front door and let her do the rest.  I sat around reading some magazines and played on the computer.  Checked that she backdated the books she picked up from the drop box, knew to disregard articles in book's titles when putting them away, and  remembered to log me out when I got off the computer.  No problems - she can be on her own next week.  Other than that a pretty normal weekend - some ups, some downs.

Friday, September 07, 2018

Burr Oak

It was a little slow at the library while I was on duty so my mind started to wander.  Went w/ a friend recently to see the 'Crazy Rich Asians' movie in the Big City.  First - as a sideline - theaters in the Big City are way, way different than my local one.  This one had copper Greek statues of Medusa in the entry and larger than life statues of Poseidon and Amphitrite in the main hall.  Each showing room had assigned seating, wide walkways, and cushy chairs that reclined. Anyway, back to my mind's wandering.  In the movie the couple book a suite on an airplane. I was curious - how much would that cost?  The Internet is a wonderful thing when you have a question.  Found out Singapore Airlines does indeed have a "Suites Class" and is the only airline that has an optional double bed suite.  A suite includes, among other things, complementary Dom Perignon, Bose headphones, and an amenity kit consisting of a bottle of designer cologne, pajamas, slippers, blankets, and pillows.  Cost for one person from New York to Singapore is $23,000 (additional baggage charges may apply).

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Eastern Tailed Blue Butterfly

I like these little butterflies.  Saw adults in May and they've been around all summer.  The males are blue w/ a black border and  2 or 3 orange spots near the tail.  There is the problem w/ identification of this butterfly - it's missing the two tiny tails at the bottom of each wing.  I'm thinking that this late into the season there are probably quite a few insects that are a little worn.  Late at night, I sometimes feel that way myself.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Library Display

I woke up late this morning.  First let Indy and the cats outside.  I've been letting Dunder & Blitzen outside in the morning since (1) it seems to keep them from trying to escape during the rest of the day and (2) the grass is wet w/ dew in the morning so they are  happy to come back inside.  I listened to the news while fixing breakfast.  Washed and hung out a load of clothes.  Got out a collection of cups and bottles, wrapped them, and put them in a box.  The Boy Scouts who are going to put the next display in haven't contacted me yet so the librarian and I decided to put in a temporary display.  Went outside and picked daylilies for a bouquet to take to the library. Took a shower and dressed.  The rain yesterday caused earthworms to wiggle into the garage and the cats like to play by dropping them in my shoes. Yech.  Put on different shoes.  Made it to the library for Coffee and Conversation at 10 and to install this display.  Why did I add a collection of old milk bottles to a display of coffee cups?  I prefer my coffee w/ cream of course.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Bittersweet Nightshade and Water Hemlock

The Ancient Egyptian professor is an archaeologist and made an effort to impress we 'students' that there is nothing to 'pyramid power'. Erecting a pyramid over your bed won't make you younger and keeping food under a pyramid shape won't prevent it from rotting. Guess every science is afflicted w/ associated pseudosciences. Chemistry has alchemy. Astronomy has astrology. Geology has crystal energy adherents. Math has numerology. Medicine has homeopathy. While I think some alternative medicines won't hurt you, don't forget that both of these plants have been used in the past as natural/organic cures. Bittersweet Nightshade contains alkaloid solanine poison. It rarely kills but it can make a person quite ill. Water Hemlock has the more lethal cicutoxin which can cause nausea, vomiting, seizures, or death. A good reminder to not believe all of the craziness out there.

Monday, September 03, 2018


Part of my Labor Day celebrations is to clean the septic system's filter.  Not as onerous a job as it sounds.  Access to the sewer is via three heavy concrete slabs.  First remove the chains over the top of the furthest slab and then, using applied physics, move it far enough aside to get access to the filter.  Give the filter a quick rinse w/ the hose and reverse the process to put everything back in place.  Got me to thinking though.  My friends Kathy and Stan had recently sold their house and given me three metal rabbit statues. I had a plan for a temporary spot for them but it occurred to me that I might have discovered a more permanent placement.  I had considered planting shrubs or flowers around these concrete slabs but I knew that wouldn't work since the area is trampled down when the sewer is accessed for maintenance.  I'd just let the meadow grow up around them instead.  I decided to place a rabbit statue atop each slab.  The statues have a stable flat base to sit on.  I won't have to move them when I mow.   They are both unobtrusive and yet surprising when the casual observer suddenly realizes they are there.  I kinda like putting up statues - so like Senusret I.  (With as much Ancient Egyptian info I've been inundated by recently, it will be awhile before my mind stops making comparisons.)