So the inevitable happens: a dwarf hamster LEGO maze:
Somehow I don't think LEGO sells a kit for this.
Unimpressive, to be honest. The frost on the newly mowed pasture behind us is pretty, and the ditch puddles are frozen, but that's about the extent of Old Man Winter's icy grip here, y'all. We'll see 80 degrees in February and March, along with budding trees and blooming flowers--
--before it snows in April. :/
For anyone who might be unaccountably interested in my ditch project, here's a midwinter update. As you can see, everything is dead (except Dog).
This is not necessarily fatal, as many of these plants (and certainly the crabgrass) will come back in the spring. Also, the crayfish and frogs are just biding their time underground.
The makeshift boardwalk on the east (downstream) end of the ditch helps me get to the fruit trees in back without soaking my shoes. Someday I'd like to have a real footbridge here. We'll see.
After spending $70 on two modest-sized rosemary bushes, I happened upon the information that rosemary is ridiculously easy to propagate. According to my sources, you just cut a spike from a healthy plant, strip the lower leaves, and put it in water in a sunny window. A month later, you're supposed to see roots forming.
So I tried it. Below are the cuttings I put in a southwest window exactly three weeks ago. Yes, they're in cut-off water bottles, sitting on a shoebox. Nobody can accuse me of scrimping on supplies. And yes, they're in tap water.
So today I checked them, and what do I see? Roots, baby. This (on the left) is the one most progressed; another cutting has one quarter-inch root. Am waiting on the other two slackers.
Many other plants can be propagated as well, especially herbs. On the right is a coleus cutting that I just stuck in potting soil about two months ago and kept well watered. It will be much more colorful when it gets out into the sun as well.
"Give her a shot," they said.
To be fair, she does have a bark that shatters windows, which she deploys whenever she sees me wearing something different or carrying something strange, like a box. Also, whenever she hears anything that sounds like someone knocking, opening a door, or walking across the room at 5:00 AM, she barks.
So there's that.
We all have our own YouTube list, but since you're here, have a look at mine. Strangely, they're all duets. First up: Aled Jones joins Aled Jones in "O Holy Night" (click on image):
Next up, Michael Bublé joins Bing Crosby, over his objections ;)
Finally, here's the legendary Bing again, this time with David Bowie in an unconventional "Little Drummer Boy."
Just a short list, leaving room for you to share your favorites. Meanwhile, have a blessed Christmas--"Peace on earth, good will toward men on whom His favor rests."
After four months of near drought, we finally got sustained heavy rain. And the drainage ditch in our backyard is acting like a drainage ditch again:
Here's what it normally looks like while I work on digging out the crabgrass:
The part that's submerged in the first photo is the area that's between the strips of black fabric in the photo above. I haven't seen my dear little crayfish buddies (since I don't want to stand in a cold rain looking for them) but I trust they're having fun.
Anyway, hope y'all are having just as much fun this Christmas. We're not likely to have a white Christmas, so I'll settle for a wet one. :D
No, actually, it's a bud emerging from a potted gerbera daisy that we thought was dead and gone. Just goes to show you never know.
Just a sliver of the hundreds and hundreds of (what I think are) Savannah sparrows on holiday. Incredible.
Since my post on The Mad Scientists' Club, I've become acquainted with a few more young adult books that I criminally missed as a young adult. To make amends, I'm sharing them with you. Do not repeat my crime of ignorance.
First: Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham (first published in 1955). This is a biographical novel about the amazing Nathaniel Bowditch--indentured servant, sailor, navigator and mathematical genius who lived during the turbulent years of America's founding. It is absolutely inspirational.
Next we have When Marnie Was There by Joan G. Robinson (first published in 1967). Initially, I pegged it as a conventional ghost story. But because it is so beautifully written, I continued to read--and discovered it to be far more than I thought. One of the most original and happy stories I've ever read.
Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce (first published in 1958) is in much the same vein as Marnie. Despite the terrible title, I was never tempted to put it down. You're thinking it must be a ghost story until the main characters start arguing about which one of them is a ghost. The ending is too beautiful to guess, though the author drops important clues throughout. A better title for this little masterpiece would be something like A Time Travel Mystery or The Timelessness of Intergenerational Love. . . . Okay, I see the problem that the publisher had with compacting the story into a title.
Finally, there's The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke. Published in 2000, this book came out after I had been published myself, which is no excuse for my not having read it. It's one of those books that you never want to end, which is a crazy thought coming from someone who won't wade through long books. Endearing, unpredictable, magical, uplifting--any cliché you want to use in praise of it works.
So, these are my recommendations. I hope that a few lucky readers on your Christmas list find them under the tree.
My first book, Chataine's Guardian, was published in 1984: the beginning of one wild ride.