Monthly Archives: August 2008

Tidiness – a multiple choice quiz

I’m not a tidy person. I’ve never been tidy and I doubt I’ll ever by tidy. I married a very tidy person. He likes things in their places and gets grumpy if things are not where they belong. These two facts sometimes cause some issues. These issues are compounded by having teenagers who, by nature, are not all that tidy either. The tidy person has been away for over a week. He comes home today.

Guess what the three not tidy people are doing today.

Choose the best answer:

a. nothing — we are not tidy, remember?
b. running around frantically cleaning the house
c. hiding things in closets and drawers
d. cowering in the corner with the dust bunnies
e. none of the above


Reenadinna Yew Wood
Reenadina Yew Wood ~ Killarney National Forest ~ Co. Kerry, Ireland

I just noticed, on my post editing interface I can insert photographs from — this is not a function on, so it is probably connected with a plugin I installed a long time ago and recently upgraded.

This is a photo of a stand of yew trees in one of the only ancient yew forests left in Europe. It is located within Killarney National Park and is one of the places I insisted on visiting. The magic you feel while surrounded by gnarled yews on mossy hills is very strong. Even folks who don’t believe in fairies come away with a little more understanding of the folks who do.

New Yard Bird

So the other day I heard the blue jays making their jay noises. I hear them sometimes, but not enough to consider it normal, so I often check on what’s going on when they start their calling. Not long ago they alerted me to an interesting standoff between a  hawk and a couple of doves. This time, however, all I noticed were the jays in the tree. I turned to go inside when I saw a small bird in the branch closest to me. I stood still, barely breathing, and it turned full circle to let me see it’s yellow undersides, dark gray back and black necklace. I also took note of its white eyering. We stared at each other for a while, then it flew off to the other side of the yard. I flew into the house and found my Sibley’s Guide. I knew it was a warbler because of the shape and beak. I looked at the prothonotary warbler first, because I thought that is what it was, but the prothonotary warbler doesn’t have the black necklace. After browsing the guide for a while I decided I’d had a Canada warbler in my yard — although the back seemed too dull for the breeding male and even the female. They are migrating now, so I think I saw a Canada Warbler, but if you have other suggestions, let me know.

No ghosts, few birds, but lots of people

We spent the weekend camping at Point Lookout State Park in St. Mary’s County Maryland. The area is quite pretty and has an interesting, if somewhat depressing, history. Just after the battle of Gettysburg, the area was made into a POW camp for confederate soldiers. For some reason the men were pretty much left on their own, with little resources including food, water and shelter. Over 3000 died within 15 months. Because of this morbid history, many ghost stories have been circulated about this park. We saw no ghosts, however. Thank goodness!

Because this park is on a peninsula, it is a good resting place for migrant birds, and August is supposed to be the beginning of fall migration. I saw no evidence of that, however, but I didn’t really do much birding. I heard a few goldfinch flying overhead, but I don’t think they migrate. I did, however, see many ospreys. At one point I counted 7 between two trees and the sky. There was a time in my life when this would have been highly unusual, but now the osprey population has recovered around here.

We’ve gone camping with our friends and their children a number of times. They have a son Andrew’s age and a daughter Clare’s age and the boys are good friends as are the girls. However when you get them all together there is lots of whining, arguing, shrieking and talk that makes me cringe.

This trip was no different — the boys made fun of the girls and the girls complained to their parents. Sometimes the complaining and arguing drowned out the Hip Hop and Salsa music from neighboring campsites.

We were not alone in the park. Several sites were being used by a group that was using a generator to power all of their sites.  Two other sites held nine tents between them — a differnent group.

I’m not complaining — it was nice to get away, the weather was great and I enjoy the company of our friends. Next time, however, I think we should go to Cape May. And stay in a Bed & Breakfast. And leave the kids at home.