The Coming Blueberry Revolution

The birds in my yard are pissed, and it’s about the blueberries.

Actually, the only thing I know for sure about the birds is that if they could, they’d eat all the blueberries off my plants and I’d never get more than one or two. I know this to be true because they did it last year. This year, I got a couple of rolls of plastic “chicken wire” and pretty much imprisoned them—the bushes, that is, not the birds. And I may have gotten as much as two quarts from my five or six bushes.

The weirdness comes in when I get the creepy feeling that the birds are watching, and taking notes. This happens when I unwire the pieces of chicken wire to pick whatever is left of the ripe blueberries.

What they are saying about me is chillingly Orwellian, frankly. They want to know why I get all the berries. Why I don’t share. Why I am cruelly letting them starve. Letting their little chicks go hungry. Continue reading

Eat Your Yard

I started making pickles (garlicky dill) three or four years ago, and jam (blackberry and raspberry, then last year, strawberry), and not too long ago, after she took a jar back to New York, my daughter said her friends thought it was so cool that I actually made stuff like that. I’ve been homebrewing beer since the late eighties, and so this didn’t seem to me all that much different. I don’t know why I was surprised that these college students would think that making pickles was so unusual. I’m guessing most of them don’t come from Portland. (If you’ve seen Portlandia, you know what I’m talking about.)

photo of young cucumber

This thing is now about as big as my forearm, and is going to have to be quartered to fit in a pickle jar.

A couple of days ago, I was picking snowpeas in my garden and my next door neighbor was in her yard, watering their flowers. I said, I just love being able to walk out into my yard and eat stuff that’s growing there. She just smiled. She thinks I’m a good neighbor (and I try to be), but she may think I’m nuts, too. Which I might be. Continue reading

Flamethrower, Part Whatever[U]

This morning, as you can see in the image below, the hornets have gotten pretty close to covering half of the lens of this dish. I wonder when the reception is going to start to fail.

hornets nest on satellite dish

So how much of the lens needs to be covered (and is lens the right word?) for the satelite dish’s reception to fail? Any experts?

I mentioned in my post yesterday that this thing is about five feet from the sidewalk. I was being generous. It’s more like 2-3 feet. I hope this image gives the idea of how close it is:

It’s not like I took a tape measure to this, but it seems to be to be a good deal closer to the street than I remembered.

Can’t immediately recall whether I mentioned it in a previous post, but how I noticed the nest was because I heard it. Was listening to my new morning-walk soundtrack, Rufus Wainwright’s Out of the Game, and I just happened to go by during a break between songs. I noticed because I heard it, or them, buzzing.

[Update] I checked on Wikipedia and guess who selected this location? The queen. See 3 Life cycle there. I guess there is no king, but if there were, he would probably have recommended against this particular spot.

Still Got a Picture?

(The continuing story of the hornets’ nest.)

Dear Neighbor:

Hope you still have a picture, but if you don’t, I think I know why.

Kind of looks like the face of an alien in one of my son’s video games. Is it winking?

Maybe this picture will help your picture.

Your neighbor,


P.S. Did I mention that this nest is about five feet (max!) from the sidewalk?

And check this out:

hornets nest on satellite dish

I get the idea that the reception is not going to be very good very soon. And are these guys getting irradiated?

If these little guys are getting irradiated, then will we have a new superhero?

Can’t wait to see where we are tomorrow, though I hope I don’t walk by when my neighbor decides to take action.

Flamethrower, part deux

In the continuing story of the hornets on the satellite dish, here is a photo from yesterday.

They are making progress. Soon, there isn’t going to be a picture.

Hornets on the Satellite Dish, day 3

These folks are getting close to no the point when reception is going to be really screwed up.

That was yesterday. This was today.

hornets on the satellite dish

Not sure if you can see it here, but the hornets are getting closer to covering the lens of the receiver.

Tomorrow? Who knows.

Thanks, Kim W. for the solution if my neighbors stumble across this.

Anyone Got a Flamethrower?

I’ve had to give up running because of a truly joyful case of plantar fasciitis, so I’ve been walking instead. Came across this yesterday on my walk. And I thought the poison ivy hedge of one of my neighbors was one of the more prominent dangers in my neighborhood. I was listening to music but it was in between tracks, and I heard the nest before I saw it.

hornet's nest on satellite dish

Hornet’s Nest on Satellite Dish

It’s hard to see any good coming from this. Sooner or later, the hapless owner of this dish is probably going to have someone go, Dad, the TV’s not working.

Frankly, I’d call a professional. Or complain to the dish company. Those poor techs. They’ve likely seen worse.

I have to admit a certain admiration for the incredible delicacy of the papery husk of the nest. Seems almost a shame to hose it down with insecticide. Flamethrower?

The First Day…

Can’t remember when I first heard the bromide “the first day of the rest of your life,” although it may have been in the Pleistocene era when my age was in the single digits and the only whiskers ever on my face were those of my father when he hugged me. I have the recollection, which may be entirely engineered, that I found it deeply profound, altering my view of something or other. As with cliché, the trite bromide is, if not profound, then at least useful because it can be true — like the broken clock that’s correct twice a day.

Today may be the first day of the rest of my life, but it is not the first day of my new life. That comes in a couple weeks. For my dear readers in other countries who visit my site regularly to post spam comments (can you please not? It’s a real administrative pain and I have filtering software), there will be more on this later.

1981 Châteauneuf de Pape

Bought this bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape a heck of a long time ago and am wondering if anyone out there has any notion of whether a) it has any value, b) if it’s even drinkable, and c) what it might go well with if I do decide to drink it.

If you know anything about any of this, comment, please.

The bottle

1981 Châteauneuf de Pape


The label

1981 Châteauneuf du Pape, the label


1981 Chateauneuf du Pape

1981 Chateauneuf du Pape, the neck