Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Diligence

Bird Update

I wrote a few months back about the problems I had been having with birds in my 65 foot Pine tree.  I kind of outlined how I would proceed with my bird eradication  mission.  And mission it was. 
This year I fought back big time and won!   In early April, I heard the first squawks of the season.  I connected our piano keyboard to our guitar amplifier and fired away!  Each morning between 5:00 and 5:30 if one was awake, I could be heard blasting away at the night Herons who insisted on nesting in my tree.

Incredibly not one neighbor complained!

Each morning I would count about how many flew out of the tree;  2 dozen, 3 dozen, 1 dozen, 4 dozen, then one day there were so many, I used one of my husbands favorite terms; butt load, which incidentally is a unit of measure,  http://www.howtogeek.com/trivia/if-you-have-a-butt-load-of-something-how-much-of-it-do-you-have/ , each morning it took 15 to 20 minutes of hassling so they would not return that day.

I was so tired each morning when I would hear the squawks,  many mornings I just wanted to stay in bed and hassle them later.  But no,  I got up and went outside saying to myself. "Oh no you don't!"

That diligence paid off!  It took about 3 weeks, then they were gone.  Not one bird was left in my tree! Where they went, no one knows.  I just chalk it up to what the Bible at Ecclesiastes 9:15 says about a city:  "And there was found in it a man (or woman),* needy [but]*wise, and that one provided escape for the city by his (her)wisdom.+ But no man remembered that needy man (woman).

There were no birds to be found in the whole town!  I saved the whole town from those birds this year. Think I got credit?  Hah!  But that is okay.  I could walk under my tree this year.  No dead bird stench, no big bird poop over everything.  Just a quiet and peaceful summer and fall.

Lesson learned?  Diligence pays off!  Any goal that is diligently and persistently worked at can and will be realized!

Next year those birds may try to return to my 65 foot Pine tree.  You know what I have to say about that?

"OH NO THEY WON'T!"

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Class of 1973

The class of '73  Wow!



Today at the market 4 women assembled in front of my table.  I heard screaming and saw hugging.

 "What is going on in front of my table."  I thought to myself.  So I approached these women and asked what the ruckus was all about.

One apologized  for blocking my table.

"We're here for our 40th high school reunion,"  another spouted off, and, "I haven't seen her in years!"

Being slow on the uptake, I asked what year they graduated.  1973 was their reply.

1973?  That was the year I graduated from high school.  Has it been forty years?

I overheard one telling the other 3, she had been married for 35 years, her oldest son had given  them a grandchild.  Each shared a little about what they had been doing during those forty years.

It was quite a moment, as I scanned back over the forty years I had been out of high school.

 It has been said that the forties are the old age of one's youth, but the fifties are the youth of old age!  As I observed these women, they were indeed in the youth of their old age! 




Friday, April 5, 2013

The Birds

For the last 8 years or so, we've had a bird dilemma.  Each year towards the end of March  and well into May, Night Herons have chosen the 65 foot pine tree in our front yard to roost and to hatch the next generation.  
Adult Male Heron
When we first moved into our new home, I remember explaining to my youngest, who was about 5,  that we weren't the only family living on our property.    We observed together the various birds building nests in our trees, and enjoyed watching them. 

These are a different kind of bird!

The birds I'm describing now are NOT welcome in my trees.  The first year we had the epidemic we had about 4 dozen of those birds in our tree.  They squawked like chickens early in the morning, left big bird poop over everything in sight, and in their clumsiness while feeding their babies, dropped crawdad shells and small fish in my front yard.  Cars were splattered.  Heads pooped on, and so on and so on.  Friends swore they wouldn't visit me any more.  When asked why, they'd tell me to look at their car!

The worst of the infestation came in mid July with 110 degree temperatures.  I kid you not.  The babies would fall out of the tree.  Unable to get back into the tree, they would die.  Wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of dead birds were hauled off and buried. The stench was overwhelming!

The next year we fought back.  But I must tell you, these birds are protected by law!  Once they nest, it is against the law to bother them.
Heron Eggs
Juvenile Heron

My husband rigged a conduit pole system.  Each pole was 5 feet in length, with connectors.  When they returned each year we would each morning dawn our hard hats and create a 65 foot pole.  I'd hand him each length until we could see it out the top of our tree a block away!  Then we would  shake it until they flew off.  We had about a ninety-five percent reduction of birds in our tree.  There are always stubborn rebels, even in the bird kingdom! The key was to chase them off before they nested.  We knew their biological clock told them they had to lay that egg!  So hassling them each morning was the thing to do!  They'd fly off, where I did not care!

That was our morning ritual for years.  When Barry got sick we were unable to chase the birds away.  They returned.  Not as many as before, but enough to make a mess.  I swore to myself no more.  I would not have those birds in my yard even if it meant cutting that beautiful tree down.

Last year they returned and I went into action. Since loud noises bothered them, my idea was to install a speaker 60 feet up in the tree, record predator noises on my iPod, and blast them!  Nice idea, but it didn't work.  We blew 2 speakers!  I started fooling around with the sound effects on our electronic keyboard.!  I went through most all of them to find something I could use.  I found gunshot sound effects.  I was on to something!  We hooked the keyboard to a guitar amplifier and fired away!  It almost worked except I noticed, about a week later, egg shells on the ground in my front yard. Crap, we were 4 weeks late! Once again wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of dead babies were carted off!

This year there will be no fooling around.  We are on it!   I hope the neighbors understand. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Third Best Thing

I excitedly told my friend that my daughter and son-in-law brought me a gift. 
"Guess what they brought me?"  I excitedly asked her.
 "A new car?" she queried, getting excited herself.
"Well no," I replied, "but the next best thing."
"A refrigerator?"  she asked.

"Well no, then the third best thing."  I retorted.

 I had been lamenting how nice it would be to have one, but they are spendy.  Well  bless their hearts,  they presented me with an i pad.

I was so excited, I had to find my glasses to actually see it to believe it!

The thoughtfulness of those two makes me most proud.

 In 2011, both of them lost their fathers, and their grandfathers. They went through what no one, especially  twenty somethings should have to go through. In a world where there are so many takers, they are givers.  I am so  proud of them!

But back to my i pad, I get to figure this thing out!  Apple is known for their simplicity of use, but for me everything seems to be a challenge. We'll see.

I'm going to have fun with my new i pad, even if  it's the third best thing!
See you on face time!


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Penny Saved? Or a Moment Wasted?

It's been a while since I felt like writing anything.

The other night, though, my mind drifted back to 5 years ago.


My son Morgan and I had gone to store.  Upon leaving and getting into the car, I noticed a penny on the ground.  I showed Morgan and told him to pick it up.  He declined.  I told him the old adage, a penny saved is a penny earned.  He shot back, a penny picked up is a moment wasted!  Whoa! What a come back!  That statement from that 18 year old really made me stop to think   Was it a moment wasted or was it earned to bend over to pick up a penny off the ground?

Recently, Morgan came to visit.  He asked me if I remembered him telling me that.  I said I did.  Well, he reversed his position!  The penny is worth nearly 3 cents, he told me.  I guess the copper, or what little copper in the penny is more valuable than the penny itself. I Googled the cost to make a penny and came across this site http://news.coinupdate.com/cost-to-make-penny-and-nickel-rises-1139/.  

The days of the penny may be numbered!

Maybe Morgan will now pick up a penny off the ground.  I, on the other hand, will continue to deliberate if it is indeed a penny earned or a moment wasted?



Sunday, February 5, 2012

Salmon

A friend gave me about 100 pounds of salmon.  What to do, what to do.

I'm not a big fish eater, mainly because of fish bones.  But occasionally I like a salmon steak.

I have found the easiest way to cook salmon, is to broil it.  My favorite recipe is to salt and pepper the fillet, broil it just until done, and top it with a generous pat of compound butter.  It's easy, delicious and makes for a very nice presentation.  Serve with asparagus spears.

Compound Butter

1/4 pound butter softened (1 cube)
1/2 shredded jalapeno pepper
1 medium clove of garlic shredded

Blend pepper and garlic in softened butter and place on waxed paper and roll into a log or get fancy and use candy molds.
Refrigerate for a couple of hours, for flavors to develop.


But with so much fish, I decided I would smoke most of it.  Since I have never smoked anything (and I mean anything) in my life, I had to do research.  The results were delicious!

I borrowed a home made smoker barrel from a friend that worked well.  Since the first time was a success, I am going to make my own smoker.  Here's how:

You will need a 30 gallon galvanized garbage can with lid.
Drill a hole 2 inches from the bottom, wide enough for a cord to fit through.
An electric hot plate
An iron skillet

Place the hot plate in the bottom of the can and extend the cord through the opening.  Place the iron skillet on top of the hot plate.  Smoke wood chips (any hard wood) in water for 30 minutes to an 1 hour and place in skillet.   You may want to drill additional holes around the bottom of the can for air. Cover can. That's it. A smoker.

For the brine:

1 1/2 cup sea salt
2 cups brown sugar
1 gallon water

Mix all ingredients together and soak fish in brine for 3 to 5 hours.
When done, rinse fish.

Skewer fillets on wires to suspend from top, or cut into chunks and place on a grilling rack, and let air dry for about 2 hours in a cool drafty place.

Place in smoker, cover with lid,  and smoke for 3 to 5 hours. You will probably need to add more soaked wood chips to keep the smoke going  for that length of time. When done the internal temperature of fish should be about 140 degrees.

When done let fish rest and cool.  Place in seal-able bags and freeze until ready to use.

For a nice appetizer flake some salmon, mix with cream cheese and eat on a Ritz cracker.


 A reward for a job well done!