Happy St. Paddy’s Day

Nope, I won’t go anywhere near green beer, or wear anything green other than my emerald ring, and spruce green aran knit sweater.  Truth be told, I prefer Harp to Guinness, but whatever floats your boat …

My favorite local pub had its St. Paddy’s party last Sunday, with live music, probably because it would bring in more customers than they normally get on a Sunday.  We accidentally arrived there when it was in full swing.  We forgot they were having it five days early.  Oh, well; mostly it affected finding a parking space.  Everybody who works there knows us by now, and even the ones who aren’t working our table stop by to say hello.

Try the veal, and tip your waitress.  Um, or should that be try the lamb?  I used to like lamb when I was a kid, but cannot stomach it now; it’s too rich, and it smells funny when you cook it.

Whatever.  Happy St. Paddy’s, everyone!

Nicky Has Hemorrhoids

Hat tip:  Just Me

He posted this on his public author page on FB.  As George Takei would say, “Oh, my.”

This begs several questions.  Which female household member made the 911 call?  Would the Nickster have noticed the excess stink, otherwise?  Why did this warrant a call to 911 to get an ambulance, unless Nicky was screaming about bleeding out?  Was it too hard to drive him 3-ish miles to the local hospital in a personal vehicle, then fumigate it later?

There really is such a thing as TMI.  That FB post was it.

Given that Nicky is freaked out about his move to Pinellas Park on the 31st, does anyone want to place a bet on him entering the hospital again on the 30th?  Asking for a friend.  😉

Minnow Trap

Fortunately, this minnow trap experiment is not an expensive one.  So far, all we’ve caught are some tadpoles (polliwogs, if you prefer).  Either the bait is wrong, or the location is.  Evidently, baby frogs like pizza crust better than goldfish do.  This morning, we relocated the trap near the rock dam at the one end of the pond, where the overflow goes into the creek.

Some of them are almost the size of perch.  They’re not carp, though.  They’re ordinary goldfish that just get that large when they’re not confined to a 20 gallon tank, and have an ample food supply.  They’re considered invasive in this state.  The only reason I give a shit about them is that, in theory, I could get slapped with a fine if someone downstream has a problem with them, and can trace the source back to me.  Wild roses are considered invasive, too, and it’s illegal to have them on your property, although I’d challenge anyone around here to prove they don’t have at least one hidden somewhere in their woods.

If the minnow trap doesn’t work its magic, and the kingfishers and herons are insufficient, a half dozen largemouth bass should do the trick.  I’ve already located a few potential suppliers.  Bass are not expensive.

My leftover pizza crust is probably better used as dog treats.  Ben is the most obedient dog in the world when I show him a piece of pizza crust.  It’s as good as a fake Meatybone, as far as he’s concerned.  He’s such a cheap date.

Kitchen Garden

We’re such tightwads that we save seeds from year to year.  We’ve gotten some interesting squash hybrids that way, and have dubbed one variety “zukezilla.”  It might be a hybrid between a sugar pumpkin and a zucchini.  Whatever they are, they’re good for stuffing.  Most seeds come true.

There are some things I want to order from the garden porn seed catalogs.  We’re not going to dig up the asparagus patch we put in at the old house, so I want to order 30 or so crowns.  The old rule about not harvesting the spears until year two or three isn’t quite right.  They can be harvested the first year, as long as you don’t snap off more than about a third of them from any one crown.  I’ll need Jersey Knight because our soil is heavy rocky clay.

We do have berry canes around here, but no blueberry bushes or black raspberries.  We also have no fruit trees, as far as I can tell, unless there are some crab apples in the woods, which are usually pretty worthless.  I’d like to at least get an apple tree (Honeycrisp?), and a pear tree.  Maybe a couple of dwarf cherry trees, too, and a fig.  The birds will love the cherries, but if I get a dwarf variety, it won’t be such an ordeal to toss some netting over them.  Pretty much any kind of plum is hardy in USDA zone 6, but if I get a peach tree, I’ll have to pay attention to the variety to make sure it’ll grow this far north.  My granny in Iowa, before she died, used to make scrummylicious plum jam from the tree in her front yard. Continue reading

Finally Figured it Out

The hen that lays the blue eggs is an Ameraucana, which is a crossbreed.  She’s got blue legs to match her egg color.  She’s the only one in the flock that has blue legs.  Her feather color scheme means nothing, but her legs are a telltale sign.  Her eggs don’t taste any different from those of her barred rock and Rhode Island Red sisters, which lay brown ones.  She’s not too bright.  The rest of the flock ran for cover a few days ago, when two hawks flew overhead.  I had to shoo that girl into the bushes.

I only hope my neighbors will take in some of our excess veggies, once we get our Spring/Summer garden producing something.  At least I can try to reciprocate for the eggs.

Pond Maintenance

I knew when I bought this property that the pond would need some maintenance.  It’s mostly spring-fed, but does have an additional stream source running through it.  The aerator serves a purpose beyond making a pretty fountain in the middle, when we turn it on.

Now that we have a nearly indestructible rowboat, we got a much better look at exactly what is in that pond.  The plant growth coming up from the mud bottom isn’t nearly enough to cause “pond scum” under normal circumstances.  It is, however, enough to sustain a large school of fish that we don’t want, but have.  That explains why we’ve seen so many kingfishers and blue herons down there, looking for a meal.

We can’t depend on the birds to control the population, so we may have to introduce some largemouth bass.  FWIW, if they take care of the other fish for us, we can always fish the bass on our own property w/o a state permit.  I can clean and scale a fish, fillet it, and have it in my spare freezer within half an hour.  Mostly, my skills apply to fish up to 2′ long.  Not quite up to commercial fishing standards for speed or size, to say the least, but I’m not going to look a gift bass in its large mouth, so to speak, before I prepare it for dinner.

Nicky’s Moving to Florida

Nicky posted on his public FB page that he’s moving to Florida at the end of next month.  Considering that this was posted over a week ago, it seems like an awfully leisurely packing job he’s planning.  Most people can pack up the entire contents of a four or five bedroom house in half that time (or less), while putting in 40+ hour work weeks.  All it takes is good use of their evenings and weekends.

He’s said before that he hates hot weather.  Either he’s going to have to buy a pair of shorts to wear in the summer, or stay indoors in the air conditioning.  It’s not too wild an assumption to make that the decision to move in with Sheryl and Mark was a last resort, and that he was unable to find other accomodations in Chicagoland.  Stay tuned …

Willie Mosconi

I managed to find the two Mosconi books my husband had in one of our bazillions of bookcases.  The one from 1948, reprinted in 1959, is way too elementary.  The one from 1965 is much better.  They’re both about playing pool/pocket billiards.  I don’t aspire to that level of proficiency, but it’d be nice to not embarass myself too badly when playing.

On another topic, our neighbors let their chickens out again to forage this weekend.  I felt awful for them a couple of Tuesdays ago, when something got one of their hens in our side yard.  I didn’t hear any squawking at the time, but I saw the aftermath of feathers scattered around, mid-afternoon.  All three roosters are still alive, so it was one of the hens.  Given the time of day, the culprit probably was a hawk, instead of a fox.  I’m reasonably sure this isn’t the first time it’s happened, and it probably won’t be the last.  Still, I felt somehow guilty that it happened on my property, instead of theirs. I almost wanted to play Taps for the poor thing.

God, We’re Awful

Had to fire the first guy we hired to go to the seller’s house to disassemble the pool table, after he canceled on us twice, with rather lame excuses, considering that we and the seller rearranged our schedules twice to accomodate his.  He probably has figured out by now that we fired him, because we never returned his text to reschedule for a third time.  We hired someone else who showed up on time, got it disassembled in under an hour, made it over here, and did his thing with his buddy.  They got it placed, leveled, and reassembled, etc., in a little over an hour.  The felt was in fantastic shape, and the previous owner was the original one, so there was no issue regarding being able to reuse it.  I paid the seller, and the movers, in cash.

The pool table moving company owner, Ryan, even did me a favor on his way out that had absolutely nothing to do with the scope of the job for which I hired him, and loosened a screw on a door lock that I was trying to change.  I swapped out a similar one a few weeks ago, but couldn’t get the screw loose on this one to save my life, and didn’t want to strip it by using my variable speed reversible drill with a screwdriver bit.  It’s one of those euro locks, and I had the replacement hardware, but couldn’t get the machine screw loose to remove the old hardware.  He happened to have the necessary tools in his truck, because obviously my #2 phillips head wasn’t doing the trick.  Once that screw was out, it took me 30 seconds to slide out the old assembly, pop in the new one, and screw it in place.  No extra charge for the handyman work, but he didn’t mind, and I tipped both of them a $20 each.

The table’s great!  It’s not a freakin’ gorgeous Olhausen, but it is an AMF Playmaster, which is still a very good pool table.  It’s a little slow because the felt is in such great shape, but it will get faster as we play more on it.  Ryan said the felt should be good for another 10 years if we don’t have to have it moved again.  John, the seller, included the rack for the cue sticks, five regular length wooden ones, a semi-shorty, a shorty, and two really sweet graphite sticks.  I prefer the 20 oz. one, but the 19 oz. one is fine, too.  We also got the bridge, two brushes, a fistful of chalk cubes, a triangular rack and a 9-ball rack (both wood), an extra 8 ball, and the rasp to reshape the ends of the cue sticks as necessary.  Obviously, the seller had no further use for any of the accessories w/o the table.  John even offered us some sort of generic rack he was otherwise going to throw out; it’s perfect for my cowboy boots, so we took it.

We played 8-ball and 9-ball after dinner.  I won both games, but it was ugly.  The graphite stick I was using did a really good job of making the cue ball follow, stop, or reverse, upon contact with my target ball, depending on whether I hit it above, on, or below the equator.  But, I am seriously rusty for angle and bank shots.  Considering that I haven’t played pool since college, it could have been a lot worse.  My saving grace is that my husband is just as rusty as I am.

We’re awful!  At least we can practice in the privacy of our own basement rec room/(wo)man cave, instead of making fools of ourselves in some pool hall or dive bar.