Sunday, April 29, 2012


Or  maybe just "fire" without the exclamation point, because it was a tame fire.  A controlled burn.

For those of you who don't live in wooded areas, especially pine forests, a controlled burn is a small forest fire.  Forests do have to burn from time to time--it gets rid of dry tangled undergrowth,  breaks down twigs and leaves and fallen logs into soil, and melts the pine resin in the tree trunks to form a hard barrier that discourages bugs.   Rather than have a huge forest fire when Nature is so inclined, the Forestry department does small controlled burns on a regular basis.

A controlled burn is rather like a tame tiger--in theory it's safe, and you can walk right up to it, but if there's an unexpected shift in mood on wind it can suddenly get very dangerous very fast.  So there's sort of a primal excitment in driving down the road with the woods on fire.  Even more so if you get out of the car and just walk up to it.  We followed one the other day:

Within a week, fresh new grown will appear.  Rationally, I know that these are palmettos with charred trunks and new growth.  That doesn't stop me from truly believing that they are some kind of alien life form.

Last weekend we went hiking in a cypress swamp, and I discovered where all those pointy-headed garden gnomes come from--they just grow out of the earth.

This one is starting to grow his face--I imagine that he'll be up and walking around before too long.

And I wonder why some people find living in a swamp to be a bit creepy!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Interesting Occupations

I am sitting here, trying to write an exam.  More appropriately, avoiding writing an exam.  There has to be an easier way of making a living. 

On my bulletin board I have a page from my calendar that a friend gave me--forgotten English words and interesting trivia.  In 1881, residents taking a census in Britain were asked to furnish their occupations.  Some of them included:

Colourist of artificial fish
Proprietor of midgets
Fifty-two years an imbecile
Turnip shepherd
Fatuous pauper
Running about

Some of them apply to me--others are appealing.  At the moment, the life of a turnip-shepherd has a certain calming appeal to it  . . .

And Amanda came through with the Easter picture.  I notice that in every family picture Della has a stranglehold on Dane.  That will get tricky soon when he's a foot or two taller.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Appropriately for the Easter season, our little crippled hen who lives on our back deck went broody.  For those of you who don't live with chickens, "going broody" means that they want to clamp down on a nest and wait for baby chicks.  In Cassidy's case (yep--she's got a wonky leg and thus got tagged "Hopalong Cassidy) she decided to move into Squirrel Timmy's sleeping cage and scream at anything that came by while defending non-existent eggs--and poor Timmy had to find someplace else to sleep.

Normally a broody hen will get over it in about three weeks if nothing happens, but Cassidy had been broody about about two months.  We thought about letting her hatch out some eggs--but you can't sex an egg, and we don't want any more roosters.  So we went to the feed store and bought her a present.   Three little presents, actually.  She was confused for a little while (in her tiny chicken mind she probably thought things like eggs and hatching should have happened) but the little ones immediately went snuggling under her feathers so she decided what the heck.  So she is happy and the chicks are happy and all is well in their little chicken world.

We went to the beach for Easter Sunday.  Amanda and Dane had flown in to visit Della for a week.  So we did the usual things--ate too much, went to the beach to build a sand castle with Dane, had an Easter Egg hunt (with Dane hiding the eggs and Bob and I doing to hunting--and he declared it would just be Bob and I with no help from Della, Don, or Amanda).  And now I realize that any pictures taken were with someone else's camera--will have to ask for them.  But I did catch Bob taking a nap with Jack, who is Della's (used to be Amanda's) proper dog-sized dog.