Sunday, November 26, 2023

Word of the week

Dehiscence means "the splitting or bursting open of a pod or wound". Milkweed pods are a perfect example of the former; I don't really want to picture the latter.

I frequently mention that I do my fall clean up in the spring, but there are also some chores that have to be accomplished now: moving the potted perennials and such into the garage, storing the patio furniture, cleaning out the bird houses, sanitizing the bird feeders, etc. It has been cold enough for the bird bath to freeze over, even though I plugged in the heater. I don't know if the problem is the outlet, the extension cord, or the bird bath itself. One of these days, I will have to check that out.

Here are the installed flamingos. I hope the neighbors are aghast. Online I found an artificial xmas tree that looks like a palm tree. Wouldn't that make the perfect backdrop?

Today it is snowing, and the snow is sticking... sort of. Later in the week, we expect rain, so this smattering won't last long.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Road trip

Sorry for my absence. It's been a couple of busy weeks, climaxed with a weekend trip out of town. My little family has started a newish Thanksgiving tradition: gathering the weekend before Thanksgiving. Then my kids can do what they wish on the actual holidy, be it spend time with in-laws, hunker down at home, etc.

I rent a place (sometimes AirBnB, sometimes VRBO) near where my son and his girl friend live, and the rest of us traipse up there for a couple of days of eating, shopping, hiking, etc. I've abandoned cooking the traditional turkey meal, so we mostly eat out. No one complains (or they don't dare).

This time we drove down to the Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area to view the sandhill cranes. There is an observation deck, but that's as close as one can get to the birds (unless you are one of *those* people). There were *thousands* of them, filling the air with their gargling calls. We may go back in the spring, as that's when they execute their mating dance.

Since it was close by, we stopped to see the Dunn Bridge, which runs over the Kankakee River. My son is into bridges, especially covered bridges, while my daughter, a newish kayaker, eyed the river for a possible adventure.

As you may have noticed from previous posts, my yard art consists primarily of plastic pink flamingos. Recently, I've added red, white, and blue flamingos for summer display, and black sparkly ones for Halloween. My son and his girl friend found some xmas ones, which they presented to me this past weekend. I'm tickled (flamingo) pink!

I don't have much holiday decor, but I may have to get a spotlight or something, to showcase these latest additions once they are outside.

Sunday, November 05, 2023

Good riddance, DST

Once upon a time, when it seemed the rest of the world was adopting Daylight Savings Time, Indiana did not, ostensibly because of the cows. Dairy farmers, who frequently had "day jobs", did not want to confuse the cows with shifting milk times. There aren't many dairy farms around anymore, and someone decided we should be like (almost) everyone else and suffer through a time change twice a year.

Before adopting DST, during the summer, Indiana time differed from Ohio and Michigan time, which some locals found confusing. After DST, we joined the Eastern Time Zone year 'round, which means that it stays light until 10pm here in eastern Indiana. Fireworks display times shifted from 9pm to after 10. I had to buy some dark, heavy curtains for the bedroom windows. And to me, a morning person, the days felt shorter, not longer.

Several times I tried to stay on standard time, but that gets confusing when the rest of the area is not. I've tried shifting my mealtimes, but the tyranny of the clock seemed to defeat that. I spent years complaining, but now try to keep my opinions to myself unless asked. And even though I sometimes say, "Just pick one or the other, Daylight Savings or Standard Time, and stick to it," I really prefer to have morning light.

With morning light, the days feel longer, the evenings shorter. I get going sooner while still finishing my day by supper. I feel more productive, more energetic, more "normal". But I know I am in the minority. Per usual. End of screed.

Back to the yard. We finally had a hard frost this past week. We even had snow flurries on Hallowe'en. Still, many trees, like my neighbor's ornamental pear and my Japanese maple, cling tenaciously to their leaves. The environs still look green, including the lawn, which I continue to mow. I like to mow, but this is getting to be a bit much, even for me.

This fungi that grows on the oak mulch is not listed in my mushroom book; I had to use Google Photo Lens to identify it as Diplocystis wrightii. There is a type of mushroom known as a Fairy Ring mushroom, but this is not that.

Diplocystis wrightii "fairy ring"

Diplocystis wrightii, up close

The winterberry holly shrubs that are in the back of the yard are covered with red berries, the ones nearer to the house are not. Similarly, the witch hazel bush that I had planted years ago is in bloom, while the ones planted last summer are not. The first example may be due to a microclimate - perhaps too much shade at a critical time? - while the latter is a puzzlement.

Witch hazel, in bloom

Witch hazel, up close

An opussum ventured onto the deck the other evening, apparently checking out the pets' water bowl. The dogs went NUTS - that creature was only feet away, but on the other side of the patio door. When I let the dogs out at night, for their final pee, I turn on a flood light, then the light by the patio door, then let one dog out, then the other, all in an attempt to give the local wildlife a chance to run and hide.

Have an escapist week.