Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Baby Praying Manta

As I sat outside yesterday afternoon composing the post for 2 Things Challenge, I noticed hundreds of little baby praying manta crawling from under the deck, up the walls, up my legs, all over the computer.  They were all really small, about 1/4", but they were really, really FAST.
I'm sure most of them will wind up as spider food (this guy was waiting up the wall but I never saw him catch one), but the survivors will help patrol the property later this summer, helping to control other bugs.

Monday, May 27, 2013

2 Things Challenge: Hole/Half

The 2 Things Challenge this week is Hole/Half.
Even though the days have been warm this past week, the evenings and nights have been quite comfortable to cool, so a hot fire in the chimera has been nice; sitting outside, essentially in the woods, way after dark, reading the Nook, or talking, with a glass of wine and wild critters rustling the leaves not very far away.  I don't know when a half of a hole becomes a whole hole, but the way the opening in the chimera is shaped, with its round top and flat bottom, makes me think of a half hole.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Sunday, May 19, 2013

2 Things Challenge: Dirty/Teal

The 2 Things Challenge this week is Dirty/Teal.  Yes, the color teal did run through my mind and I was trying to think of a dirty teal colored pond, or perhaps some of my wife's knitting yarn, artistically positioned with a pile of dirt or something.  Then I had a vague recollection of a bird called a teal.  I looked it up, and a blue winged teal is a small, dabbling, fresh-water duck.  Hmmm.  I remember some ducks from when we went to Maine.  Sure enough, when I looked at the photos, I had some photos of blue winged teals.  This one was dabbling around on a basketball court, and she had gotten dirty in the process.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Be Careful What You Rescue

A few years ago we found a climbing rose deep in our woods wrapping itself around a big sweet gum tree.  We trimmed it back and transplanted it to a spot in our yard.  It covers itself with beautiful, white, flat roses for a couple of weeks in the spring.

Turns out, though, that this thing is called multiflora rosa.  It was imported from Japan many years ago as an erosion control plant, but is now considered a pest weed and is very invasive.  The big bush below is our current dilemma.  While the flowers are beautiful for the short time they last, the thing is getting way out of hand.  It's already two feet into the driveway, and headed toward the house back behind it.  I think we're going to chop it down and dig up the roots and hope the little rose hip seeds haven't taken hold.  Roundup works, supposedly, but kills other stuff you get it on.  There's no grass growing under this thing to worry about, though.   

Monday, May 13, 2013

New Car, Seldom Fun

We ordered our (my wife's) new car on February 8.  It finally came in on April 5.  It is a 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid, and we had specified the color, the interior color, and that it have tinted windows.

When we went to pick it up, it was still out at the tint shop.  What?  Why wasn't it tinted when it was made? Turns out they don't do that.  If it is supposed to have tint, they do it at the "port," which for southeast Toyota dealers is Atlanta.  It's not really a port, just where they all get sent before they are distributed out to the dealers.  Well this car had already been sent to Hollywood, Florida without tint, but was the only hybrid available in the color combination we wanted, anywhere.  They apparently get a several thousand dollar premium on high end hybrid cars in Hollywood, and the dealer there was reluctant to swap it out to a dealer here in Birmingham (which is why it took so long), but he finally relented.  

So it arrived in Birmingham without tint, and they sent it to their local yokel authorized tint/radio shop.  When we picked it up, it had bubbles and wrinkle in the tint sheeting, some of which went away with time and some didn't.  That is exactly why we didn't want the local guys doing it, but hey, we wanted the car.  We also noticed that the right rear window tint was on crooked and there was a gap of untinted window at the bottom front of that window.  The dealer said they would make it right, so after we got back from my son's wedding and the Disneyworld trip, I took it to them and they gave me another Avalon to drive.  

A few days later, the original salesman drove our car back out to our house and was going to drive the loaner back.  When I examined the car, they had replaced the tint on all but the one window which was okay originally (some of the windows were done several times before the tint guy was happy with it according to the salesman), but they had left visible dirt specks between the glass and the tint sheet on the left rear window, something I was not happy with.  Also they had poked a hole in the vinyl of the door near where they worked on the right rear.  What a crew.  He took our car back and left us with the loaner.  While he was driving back to the tint shop, we decided we didn't want that particular set of local yokels near the car again, so we called the sales manager and told him not to let them touch the car, and if I had to, I would get that dirty window tint repaired at my own expense, but the hole in the vinyl was their's.  

Again they kept the car for several days, and the same salesman finally brought it back to us last week.  The tint is finally right (hope it lasts) and the vinyl guy at the dealer repaired the hole in the vinyl.  He actually did a pretty good job.  We know it's there, so we can tell if we look closely, but most people would never see it.

Other than that, we love the car, and it really does get 40 miles per gallon if I don't hot dog it, pretty good for a car that big.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

2 Things Challenge: Pepper/Salt

The challenge this week over at 2 Things is Pepper/Salt.



Our house, which sits in the middle of the woods, has several large plate glass windows.  Every few days we'll hear a loud thump as another bird smacks himself into the window, even when we have the blinds down so it clearly looks like an obstacle.  More often than not, they merely stun themselves, leave a few feathers on the glass, and are gone by the time we can get there.
Occasionally, however, they are either more stunned and sit there for a while, or are injured to the point the cat causes them to disappear.  I hate it when that happens, but Niko rather enjoys it, I think.

Sunday, May 5, 2013