Sunday, November 25, 2012

Enjoying a nice autumn day...

Because these are too cute to resist sharing...

'til next time...

pigs and kids

Just a few pictures of my children with the pigs, or rather hogs, as they should be called now.

'til next time...

Friday, November 16, 2012

An autumn meal...

As the farmer's market comes to an end for the season I had to indulge in lamb chops one more time.  Paired with roasted beets and kale it made a wonderful autumn meal.

'til next time...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

House Centipede

Lately we have found several of these strange creatures in our house. At first I thought it might be a centipede but decided it couldn't be because centipedes have 100 legs.


Turns out I failed science class.
"Centipedes (sometimes called hundred-leggers) are elongated, flattened animals bearing one pair of legs per body segment. The actual total number of legs in most species is closer to 30 than to 100."
(quoted from UC IMP Online)
 I find this confusing and do not look forward to explaining it to my children. "yes, I know honey, we call it a 'centipede' and I agree that the 'centi' part of the 'pede' would lead one to believe that it does indeed have 100 legs. However......"  
And will I be able to admit that for 30 some odd years I would have sworn it wasn't a centipede if it didn't have one hundred legs?
I am pretty sure this is an argument I would have had with my husband. "well, how do you know it is a centipede, did you count the legs?  Oh, you only counted 98 legs?  Then it must be some other type of creature."

Don't even get me started on millipedes. Hint: they don't have a thousand legs.

But back to these creatures in our house...
The fancy name is Scutigera coleoptrata but since that is difficult to pronounce and spell check keeps protesting I will refer to it by the commonly known name of 'house centipede'.

Iowa State University says that "House centipedes feed on small insects, insect larvae, and on spiders. Thus they are beneficial, thought most homeowners take a different point-of-view and consider them a nuisance."
Wait, they eat spiders??

According to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln    "The safest and most environmentally sound way to control millipedes and centipedes already in the house is to step on them and vacuum or sweep them up."

While that sounds like reasonable advice they did not take into account the following information.
According to the trustworthy site of Wikipedia "S. coleoptrata is 25mm (1 in) to 50mm (2 in) in length and has up to 15 pairs of remarkable long legs. These delicate legs are attached to a rigid body. This enables it to reach surprising speeds of up to 0.4 meters per second (1.3 ft/s)"
I actually believe Wikipedia this time as I have engaged in some rather extraordinary leg work in attempting to step on one of these critters. I call it the "centipede dance", I predict it will be the next Macarena.

These articles also state that centipedes require damp conditions. This year while most of the country has been in a record drought we have been living in our own little micro climate.  We had mud most of the summer, the pigs loved it. It rained frequently and when it did we got buckets of rain.  This was a common sight this summer.

While a moat does have a certain appeal it really doesn't go with the style of our house so we are actually trying to not have a moat. One of the reasons we are building the Great Wall of Rightmyer, remember that?  Anyway....all that is to say, dampness is an issue. Based on the amount of water we have had this year my guess is there are millions of centipedes living under our house. Which is not necessarily a bad thing.....Eat.More.Spiders.

'til next time...

This is the reason I am always late...

This picture is from this summer but it is still accurate portrayal of something that has happened one too many times.

Here is the scenario,  we are all cleaned and dressed, ready to leave for town. I tell the kids to go get in the van and buckle up while I load up our stuff. Somehow between walking from the kitchen through the garage to the van my daughter finds something to distract her. The results look something like this.

Sometimes I wish we lived in a high-rise condo.

'til next time...

My children at the zoo

Yesterday we went to the zoo and I posted lots of pictures of the animals.  I also took some pictures of my children because this autumn foliage was too pretty to resist.

'til next time...

This is for my stop whining

My sister has been yelling at me a lot lately via email.  You know what I mean, ALL CAPS, lots of exclamation marks!!!!!  And all over the silly little fact that I haven't been updating my blog.  I told her I would post something, she is probably hoping I will post some adorable pictures of my kids, instead I'm posting some pictures from a misty morning a few months ago.  I doubt this will appease her but here goes....

'til next time...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Visiting the National Zoo and trying to get home again...

Even though it was a cold day we decided to head out to the zoo.  The cold kind of played into our advantage as we were some of the very few people there other than the employees. There were no crowds so I could let the kids wander a bit.  However, since there were so few visitors there we did catch the attention of the zoo employees. After we had passed the same person about five times they finally stopped us and asked what exhibit we were trying to find. I then had to admit we were taking a different approach to the zoo by viewing one exhibit at the far end of the zoo then walking to the other end to look a one exhibit before walking back to the other end and starting over.  Trust me, had we been leaving a trail of footprints that day you would not have been able to figure out where we were going.  Folks, this is how you spend almost six hours at the zoo on a cold day when you haven't had to wait in line for anything. In our defense, we did have to go to the elephant yard about 64,000 times before we saw an elephant.  The elephant house is still closed so the only way to see the great creatures is in the elephant yard. Since it was cold they were staying inside and we were staying at the zoo until we saw one.  Thankfully this standoff ended in the fifth hour.

Now let me bore you with pictures of animals.

Panda area sans pandas at the National Zoo
Near Elephant Yard at the National Zoo
Meerkat at the National Zoo

Meerkat at the National Zoo

Apes at the National Zoo

Tiger at the National Zoo

Lions at the National Zoo

Lion at the National Zoo

using the timer on the camera at the National Zoo

Red Panda at the National Zoo

Finally!! An elephant at the National Zoo

Elephant at the National Zoo

posing with flamingos at the National Zoo

I should mention that it took us almost as long to get home as it did to see the elephants.  I have a problem with driving in DC. I was feeling pretty confident this day because the zoo is pretty easy to get in and out of. However......there was a road closure and a detour and before I knew it I was in a part of DC that I have never been to.  As it is now rush hour the traffic has become even more frantic than usual making it even harder to figure out where I am going.
So I call my husband and say "I'm lost in DC and can you please look at a map and tell me how to get back to Constitution?"
"well, look for the Washington Monument, that will help get you oriented."
"if I could see the monument I wouldn't be calling for directions."
"ok, calm down. Tell me where you are?"
"I don't know where I am, that is why I am calling you."
"ok, what street are you on?"
"ok, I have found you, you need to turn on......"
"I'm not on that road anymore, I think I'm in Kalorama Heights"
"where is that?"
"I don't know, but I think that's where I am"
"Ok, I see where you are. What street are you on?"
"I'm not there anymore.  Now I'm in Dupont Circle but I can't get over to get on the road I need. I'll just circle around. *pause*  This is my 14th time around and I still can't get over, I think I'll just take a side street."
"where are you now?"
"don't know, still sitting here trying to get to the intersection so that I can see a sign."
"well, you need to go downhill, find a road that is going downhill and take it."
"they look flat to me."
"they aren't, find the one that is going downhill and go that direction."
"Since I don't carry marbles with me to drop out of the window to determine the slope of the road how exactly do you propose I figure that out?"
"maybe you should find a place to pull over"
After another 45 minutes of this conversation he did in fact manage to guide me back to an area I was familiar with and we made it out of the city and home again.

This is why my husband doesn't like answering his phone when I call.  This is also why one of my New Year's Resolutions will be to figure out how to drive in DC.

'til next time...