Thursday, April 29, 2021

Waiting for Cicadas

Brood # 10 of noisy, red-eyed cicadas will emerge any day now in the Washington, DC area.  We went through this before, 17 years ago.  They hatched, they sang loudly day and night,  they mated. They didn't eat and probably never slept. After three weeks, they were worn out. They flew ever more slowly, bumping absent-mindedly into things and people. It was if they were half asleep or dying, which they were. And then they disappeared. Their progeny will emerge 17 years from now, but we won't be around to see it. 

Although many people claim to be grossed out by the mere sight of a cicada, Dilly Dog will be delighted. She was born on an Amish farm seven years ago. During her first few months of life, she seems to have supplemented her diet by digging for moles and voles. When the cicadas arrive, she'll probably think "mice with wings" and feast on them. Fortunately, they're not toxic. 

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Waiting for Hummingbirds


We put our hummingbird feeders out two days ago, on April 8th.  I make the nectar myself, following an Audubon Society recipe:  

(1) Bring 5 cups of water to a rolling boil.

(2) Stir in 1 and 1/4 cups of granulated sugar. Let it boil for a minute to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat. When cool, pour into two 20-ounce mason jars and refrigerate.  

(3) Pour 3/4 to 1 cup of cold sugar water into each feeder, depending on demand. Making 40 ounces at a time provides enough nectar to fill our two feeders twice, with some left over.  

We have two feeders. one in the front yard and one in the back.  I change the nectar twice a week. I bring the feeders with the "old" nectar inside, empty them,  and clean them with hot water and white vinegar. Left alone, they will develop mold and mildew. I put "new" nectar in clean feeders. (We have two sets of feeders.)

The water in the little cup above the feeder is meant to discourage ants, and works quite well. Bees and wasps are another matter. They visit the feeders constantly, so you have to watch out for them when removing a feeder. 

While awaiting the arrival of the feisty hummingbirds (they will get into fights over the feeders throughout the spring and summer), we can see evidence of nesting activity among the seed-eating birds. The male finches have turned bright yellow. A male cardinal will court a female by offering her a sunflower seed.  Male mourning doves waddle purposefully after the ladies, who feign complete indifference.  It's a wonderful circus. 

Monday, March 8, 2021

You Can Fool Some of the People Some of the Time

 Late yesterday afternoon our younger daughter stopped by for a short visit (with social distancing and masks.) She brought sandwiches for our dinner. As usual, we talked about the grand children. The older one, a boy who will turn 13 the day after tomorrow, has had a year of distance learning and doesn't much like it. He's noticed that the teacher takes on a sugary persona when the session is being recorded, but reverts to normal off camera. When the recording stops temporarily,  she'll bark at the students. "You need to sit up straight! You need to pay attention. All eyes should be on me!"  When recording resumes, she's all sweetness again. 

Tomorrow both children (his sister is six) will return to the classroom two days a week. Our daughter is a little apprehensive about this. She's over fifty, but has not been vaccinated. She doesn't know how many, if any, teachers have been vaccinated. Her husband, who's in the US Army band, has been vaccinated. 

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Neatness Counts

 Neatness is important to me. After a year of Covid living in a menage a trois (two people and a dog), clutter abounds. It's driving me crazy. My spouse doesn't seem to mind it as much as me. When one pile of stuff threatens to topple over, he just starts a new one. 

We had two vacuums that were beasts. Now that I have less stamina, I no longer want to wrestle with them. Although my husband is more energetic than I, he was becoming less inclined to drag them out. On the suggestion of a fellow blogger, "High Riser," we bought a powerful, lightweight stick vacuum and are very pleased with it. I've already given one of the beasts away. The other will soon follow. 

The new cordless Dyson needs to be recharged.  Our temporary "solution" was to just lay it on the floor and plug it into the nearest outlet, but after a couple of months of tripping over it, we knew we had to find it a permanent home. Our tiny laundry room was the obvious choice, but the builder of our 50-year-old house provided only one outlet, which was already being used by the washer. 

On to "the addition", which we built twenty-five years ago before Mom moved in with us. First, we assumed we'd just screw the docking station directly into the wall, but the "easy" You Tube instructions involved first installing a 4-foot long wooden plank and then mounting the docking station on that. To make things easier for ourselves and also to avoid damaging the wall, we opted to buy a portable stand.

Nothing is ever easy nowadays. There was still a bit of a hassle in the form of "some assembly required". The stand arrived with a large sheet of small-print instructions involving numerous miniscule screws. Oh, the patience of that man! He persevered and soon we had a handy little "tree" that holds not only the vacuum but the attachments as well.  

See what I mean about the clutter? Would anyone like a never-used sewing machine with its own little table?