Archive for the ‘mother nature’ Tag

09-18-2016 Journal – Nature Trivia!   Leave a comment

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I’ve always been a lover of Nature and almost anything related to it.  As a photographer I spend as much time as I can out-and-about communing with Mother Nature.  I come by it honestly because as a kid growing up I spent more than half of my time in the woods with my friends. We lived on the edge of huge state park directly adjacent to the Allegheny River and knew every inch of the place.  My father, a hunter, spent a lot of time explaining about local wildlife and how they lived and traveled in the wild. It was just a very cool place to grow up.

So I thought I’d share a few interesting factoids about Nature with you. Here they are.

  • Every year the world’s deserts produce 1.7 billion tons of dust.
  • Nature reserves and national park cover 3% of the worlds surface.
  • Over 99.9% of the land on earth is not occupied by a person at a given time.
  • A tenth of the world’s population relies on the Ganges for water.
  • It takes one hundred years for the deep-sea clam to grow to the length of a third of an inch.

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  • Nearly half of the carbon dioxide emitted by humans since the beginning of the nineteenth century has been absorbed by the oceans.
  • An estimated 30% of Earth’s ice-free land is directly or indirectly involved in livestock production.
  • Since the formation of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago, the sun has become 25-30% hotter.
  • More than 90% of the world’s rubies come from Burma (or whatever they’re calling it these days).
  • Lake Baikal in Russia contains about 20% of the world’s fresh water.

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That’s it for today. It’s time to turn off this computer and get to work in the yard. Winter’s coming and the garden has to be deconstructed.

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ENJOY YOUR DAY OF REST

 

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08-14-2016 Journal – My Almost Friend!   Leave a comment

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Mother Nature is normally not my friend.

We celebrated yesterday because it finally rained.  Not like the dozen or so sprinkles we’ve received in recent weeks but an honest-to-god rain shower.  The rain cooled things off overnight but ten minutes after the sun came out this morning the temperature zoomed back to 90 degrees.

I should be happy . . right?   Not very.  We need a good five or six days of rain just to get the water levels back where they belong.  Early this morning at 5am both my better-half and I were awaken by the sounds of tree branches cracking. Just outside our bedroom window a rather large tree branch snapped and barely missing the house.  This portion of the tree was obviously dead and we knew it was only a matter of time before it fell.  I once attempted to climb the tree with a chain saw to cut it down but it was just too dangerous.

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The house is just a few feet to the right of the photograph.

How it missed the house is a mystery but thank god it did. That’s the second time in the last year a tree has fallen close to the house and missed it completely.  We must have a guardian angel keeping an eye on things.

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Mother Nature isn’t usually this kind.  I remember a time in Massachusetts that we had a storm that dropped a 100 foot tall oak tree onto our backyard and took the corner of my house with it.  At the same time a giant pine tree fell on my car in the driveway and crushed it completely.  I count my blessings any time she chooses to leave me alone. Today was one of those days.

MOTHER NATURE IS NOT NICE

08-10-2016 Journal – Garden Frustrations!   Leave a comment

As you all know I love gardening.  That doesn’t change the fact that at times it’s as  frustrating as hell.  Last year my garden problems concerned a number of God’s annoying little critters that insisted on attacking my garden.  Since I’m a problem solver I installed a fence around certain portions of the garden that they like to eat. Problem solved, right? No way.  The following photos were some of the items harvested so far this year in spite of the critters.

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The culprit from last years fiasco has since disappeared and we haven’t had one of his nightly visits this year. Unfortunately he has friends that were apparently given detailed directions to find us. This year for the first time in eight years we were visited by a big fat groundhog.  He was sitting right in the middle of the yard watching the house when I spotted him the first time.  He ran into a culvert to hide and I immediately dropped a couple of fire crackers in after him.  If it didn’t scare him, it certainly deafened him.  Problem solved, right! Not hardly.

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A week later he was back sitting in the same spot and it appeared he may have been taunting me a little. I couldn’t see all that clearly but I think he might have been giving me the finger as well.  It was time for the big guns.  With my handy pistol in hand I gave chase and took a shot at him. He was one helluva lot faster than he looked and escaped with his life.  Problem solved, Right!   No effing way.

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A few day later I discovered that someone had been eating my kale plants that were of course, not inside the damn fence.  It’s man against the critters once again.  I’ve never won any battles against them before but maybe this time I’ll have more luck.

THERE ARE TIMES WHEN I HATE MOTHER NATURE

03-19-2016 Journal–Green Wine & Sake!   Leave a comment

Spring Fever has slowly crept up on me and I seem to be firmly held in it’s grasp.  Garden fever has also arrived along with Lowe’s receiving their first Spring shipments of plants and seeds. It’s taking all of my willpower not to immediately run there and start buying stuff.  I’m trying to keep things under control for a while but it’s not easy.

And here’s a picture to prove to some of you that I actually did celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  It looks almost as good as it tasted:

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‘Green Chardonnay on Ice.’

With green wine in mind I thought I might start the Spring and Summer seasons properly by making my first batch of wine for 2016. In my continuing effort to stay "outside the box" and do new things I decided to make some Sake. It’s been a very long time since I’ve made any so I figured why not.  I did a quick inventory of my winemaking supplies and placed an online order for a few essentials.  They arrived within 48 hours which was perfect.  I then searched up a vendor to buy a case of 375 ml bottles and they’ll be here within a week.

Off to the food store to pickup eight pounds of raw rice, three pounds of white raisins, and a ten pound bag of sugar.  My recipe calls for a sherry yeast but I purchased a new product which is yeast specifically created for making Sake. This yeast will tolerate alcohol up to 16% or 32 proof for you amateurs out there.  It was a bit pricey but if I’m going to do this I should do it properly.

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Yesterday I began the process of crushing the rice and chopping the raisins. Along with a number of other ingredients my primary fermenter will hold what should eventually give me three gallons of excellent Sake. Here are a few photo’s of the prep.  The fermenter will sit for 48 hours after hot water is added and then the yeast will take over. Then I can kick back and wait while Mother Nature does her thing.

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‘Empty Fermenter’

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‘Bags of Chopped Raisins & Crushed Rice’

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‘This + Patience = 3 1/2 Gallons of Sake’

I can’t think of a better way to start my Spring season unless it’s a couple of thick and tasty T-Bone steaks on the grill. I’ll be setting our grill up on the deck this week and the steaks will be cooked as soon as possible after that. 

GOODBYE WINTER, HELLO SPRING

11-02-2014 Journal Entry – My Perfect Woman!   Leave a comment

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“It’s Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature’

Have you ever had something good you were trying to do for someone come back and bite you in the ass?  If you haven’t, you don’t know what your missing.  I’ve never been known as a “relationship guy”and I’ve failed in so many I should be somewhere in the Guinness Book of Records.  As I’ve gotten older I really and truly tried to change my ways with only moderate success.

I was always a good listener but the other skills necessary for maintaining a long term relationship were severely lacking.  After trying and failing and then trying again I began to make some progress and was really proud of myself. My better-half constantly assures me that I’m a good partner and we have a healthy and happy relationship.  Little did I know that she was lulling me into a false sense of security and it all came to a head yesterday.

It all started with a casual conversation about how stressed she was with Christmas approaching.  She was stressing about buying gifts, what gifts to buy, where to buy them, and on and on and on.  I fell for it completely and was actually starting to feel sorry for her.  After being told what a great relationship we had I felt the need to step up and help her out as much as I could. I casually mentioned that I might consider spending some time with her and using my superior shopping skills to help get her back on track.  It might have been one of the dumbest things I’ve ever suggested.

It wasn’t much later when she arrived with a handful of coupons from a bunch of retailers, laid them on the table, and then gave me our tentative travel plans for our full day of shopping.  I’m not saying she set the whole thing up but I’m highly suspicious of how quickly those plans came together.

Yesterday was “THE” day.  I was rousted out of my warm bed, given some coffee, and a “hurry up, we’re burning daylight” comment.  Eight hours, seven stores, two snacks, and three coffees later my ass was dragging.  Thank God for Mother Nature.  It began raining soon after we left the house and the more it rained the more her shopping enthusiasm waned.  As we were leaving the over crowded mall in the late afternoon we made a mad dash for the car and got a little wet.  She decided right then and there we should just call it a day and go home.  Halleluiah and thank God . . . .

It’s now the next morning and I slept in until 8:30 am.  She came running into the bedroom all pumped up with another handful of coupons, ready for another round of shopping.  Get this, she even served me bacon, eggs, toast and coffee in bed.  I think she needs a bit more training on how to be subtle. Once again Mother Nature arrived to save the day.  As we were looking out the window at the already crappy day it began to lightly snow.  The first snow fall this year and I made the most of it.  I was moving kind of slow (intentionally) and told her I really wasn’t up to driving and shopping in this weather. All of my Christmas shopping was already done and I really just wanted to stay at home and relax for an hour or so.  I laid it on pretty thick and before I knew it she left in a cloud of coupons to go shop, shop, shop.

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‘Thank You Once Again Mother Nature’

This experience has shown me who my perfect women really is, it’s Mother Nature. She’s a little older than me but she’s still got it going on.  I’m a good listener and I clean up pretty well so we should be able to easily make our relationship work over the long term.  I also understand she’s not much of a shopaholic which is just another plus. My better-half had better slide a little further over in the bed to make room for our new friend.

52 SHOPPING DAYS TILL CHRISTMAS

01-06-2014 Journal Entry–The New Ice Age   3 comments

It’s been another interesting few days. My favorite schizophrenic bitch, Mother Nature, has returned with a vengeance once again. Maine is already well known as being a weather nightmare with constantly changing conditions but it seems to have gotten a bit worse in recent months. Let me explain just a bit.

Four days ago we were in the midst of a blizzard and over the course of a week we received approximately 3- 4 feet of snow. The snow was bad enough but then the temperatures dipped to a really tropical -25° and it wasn’t pretty. I’m not even taking into consideration the wind-chill factor at the time which took the “feel like” temps even lower.

I’ve said on many occasions that I love winter and I love snow but OMG this has been ridiculous. Fortunately those of us living in Maine are normally well prepared for cold weather more than many other places in the country. That being said it’s still difficult to function outdoors during subzero weather regardless of how prepared you think you are.

We waited for a few days for the weather to break and for temperatures to rise to a reasonable level but yet again Mother Nature had other plans. The temperature did rise into the mid 30s which was a relief for everyone because the worry of frozen water pipes finally disappeared. I rolled out of bed as I normally do the next morning and thought I was dreaming. It was raining so hard I thought I was imagining things but I wasn’t. As the rain continued for almost a full day it began to melt the snow and the combination of the two water sources brought an immediate rash of flash flood warnings. Just what we needed to keep things interesting.

After all that, last night after the rain stopped, I walked out of my garage and found my driveway to be suitable for a professional hockey game.  All that water and slush had frozen solid and was as hard as concrete. It was then I decided to listen to the experts and I returned to the house, closed the door, turned up the heat and turned on the television.  Thank God for our electric blanket is all I can say. I found myself over the last few days spending a lot of time in bed watching TV because it’s the only place in the house that was warm and comfortable enough.

The recent forecasts indicate little or no relief in sight which is the last thing any of us wanted to hear. We’re certainly not alone since most of the country is suffering from similar weather conditions or worse.  It’s time to dig into the closet and find those ugly old long-johns, wool socks, and knit caps.  There’s nothing more attractive and sexy than climbing into bed with your better-half wearing everything including a parka with a big furry hood and insulated gloves.  That’s a centerfold picture no one wants to see.

The wind is howling outside the window as I’m writing and we’re all waiting patiently for the next surprise from good old Mother Nature.  Maybe locust!  Stay safe and stay warm and welcome to the new Ice Age.

P.S.  Bye the way, here’s a big one finger salute to all of you “Global Warning” idiots.

07-01-2013   2 comments

I find women interesting and the older I get the more interesting they become.  Highly emotional with all of the accompanying maternal instincts that pretty much control their lives.  The consequences of being the child bearing gender are many but in small doses they aren’t too bad.  As with everything else, too much of a good thing can end up being a real problem.

It’s been my observation that certain women have children, love them, raise them, and send them on their way.  You’d think they’d be happy to have accomplished such a difficult task as having and then raising a child or two or three or even four.  I guess it all depends on the individual woman.

Normally what occurs after the nest has been emptied is their subtle and sometimes subconscious need to try and refill it.  Who’s the only logical candidate to help them accomplish that? The poor spouse or partner. He becomes the target of all those wonderful traits that attracted him to her in the first place. It’s a totally different situation when she begins treating her spouse or partner like he’s a prepubescent child.  The hovering and constant nit-picking can drive a person over the edge.

How can a man deal with these problems without getting angry and hurting her feelings?  Not an easy proposition but unless you find a solution there could be big trouble in River City.

Fortunately if the woman is reasonably aware of what she’s doing and after a period of time (hopefully short) and with the man’s help this phase will pass and life can return to normal (whatever that is).  As a man your lucky if this Empty-Nest Syndrome passes quickly and the one thing that can make that happen is the arrival of that first grandchild.  All of those pent up motherly feelings can now be targeted to the new baby which in turn makes the man’s life a little easier (but not for long).

Just when you think your life will finally calm down without any more unneeded drama the scariest thing you could ever imagine arrives, “THE CHANGE”.  Night sweats, hot flashes, temper tantrums, and a really unfriendly alter-ego that turns your soulmate and life partner into Mrs. Hyde.  It could take years for this to come and go and it is one helluva a rough ride for all involved.

I found out the hard way just how bad it can be but after much experimentation I discovered a simple way to short circuit the Change a little.  You can’t cure the physical side effects of the Change but you can lessen the impact of the other symptoms with a healthy dose of humor.  It’s almost impossible for her to be totally crazy if you can keep her laughing.  Mix in healthy doses of hugging, touching, and other dangerous activities and you may just survive to reach the promised land.  The promised land is that wonderful place where you can have all the sex you want without fear of pregnancy.  It’s weird that Mother Nature makes you wait until old age for this to occur.  It would have been nicer to have that luxury back in my thirties.

There you have it.  You’re now in your sixties, retired, and have all the time in the world for all that sex you’ve always complained you never had time for.  Unfortunately you also no longer have the kind of stamina that’s necessary to fulfill all of your insane sex fantasies.  On top of that you have aches and pains in odd places making things even more interesting and difficult.

Mother Nature is one ironic and totally unfunny woman.

01-28-2013   Leave a comment

Mother Nature just can’t or won’t leave us alone.  The early part of today was clear and really cold but livable. I  was able to have a few warm hours this morning after the sun came up and rapidly heated the house. I had a quick breakfast of tasty cinnamon buns homemade by my better-half which were excellent.  She’s been fine tuning her recipe for a week  and has finally found the magic.  A good hot cup of coffee with warm buns heated for a few seconds in the microwave, Yum!

She was off to work early as I prepared to do a bit of electrical rewiring in the room I’m remodeling.  I removed the existing ceiling insulation, drilled the appropriate holes in the joists, and replaced the box in the center of the ceiling with a reinforced box that will hold the weight of the fan slated to be installed there. This house in just over twenty years old and nothing is easy. As soon as you start any project it immediately turns into what can only be described as a huge pain in the ass. The builders seemed to have cut corners at every turn and now I have to try and fix things as they’re discovered.

The insulation was installed without a vapor barrier which is a no-no and it’s also so old that it’s easily torn.  What a freaking nightmare.  Before I can do much of anything else I’ll be forced to replace all of the insulation and then install a good vapor barrier which wasn’t included in my original budget for this project.  I’ve just had my project extended by a few days and a few hundred dollars which makes me really unhappy but not at all surprised.

I also removed an electrical outlet in the wall near the door that appeared dead.  Tracing the wires didn’t help much when after a half hour and fifteen feet later I discovered they weren’t attached to any thing. They’d been rolled up and shoved behind the insulation probably fifteen or twenty years ago.  Another little tweak of my nose by this freaking house.

After five hours I called it quits, sat down and enjoyed a good hot cup of coffee.  Then Mother Nature reared her ugly head once again and began to pour on the snow.  It was a light snow but it lasted for almost six hours.

The better-half made it home safely from work, we had a quiet meal, and kicked back for a while.  She’s scheduled early in the morning tomorrow so she headed off to bed early.  I donned my winter outfit and headed outside to clear the driveway of snow before retiring.  Thank God for that new snow thrower.  I cleared the driveway in rather short order just after 8:00 pm so the better-half wouldn’t have issues in the morning.

Now that she’s in bed I have a few minutes to read a couple of chapters.  I need to keep up with the adventures of Detective Eve Dallas, a NYC cop in the year 2056. 

The construction weather report looks grim for tomorrow.  I’m expecting a huge amount of aggravation, followed by a host of nicks and cuts, and the occasional  moments of intense profanity and general yelling. 

I love my life.

Posted January 29, 2013 by Every Useless Thing in Just Saying

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10/29/2012   1 comment

I refuse to be drawn into the hysteria that is Sandy.  I’d prefer to spend this day in the kitchen where I’m creating another batch of my signature chili on this gray and rainy day.  I’ve made about a gallon of it so I’ll be sharing with nearby family members who are currently hunkered down awaiting the storm.  The house is quiet because my better-half is off to see the new grand child for a few hours and I plan to enjoy it.

I’m considering a ride down along the coast a little later  this afternoon to possibly get a few interesting photo’s of the storm’s approach to Maine.

I love Mother Nature in all her scary ferociousness.

Posted November 1, 2012 by Every Useless Thing in Just Saying

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