Saturday, 3 June 2023

Pioneer Days Today

    Today our tiny community will celebrate “Pioneer Days” with activities typical of a small town.  There will be a parade down Main Street that will look pretty much like the photo above, taken in 2016.  There will be a Softball tournament, Pancake Breakfast, Logger events, Face Painting, a Rock, Paper, Scissors Contest, and a dance.  Along with this years Pioneer Days there will be a High School Reunion which is not graduation year specific.

    For me, the big event will be an opportunity for our Tuesday Night Jam to play.  We have done so previously for past Pioneer Days, but our numbers keep changing because of people moving away and new ones added, but hopefully we will put out some lively tunes.   I have my truck all loaded with a PA system, music stands, and my guitar and mandolin.  We will start playing in the park pavilion at 12:30 today.  Photo below from 2017.

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Friday, 2 June 2023

A Clearwing Hummingbird Moth

     Every year when our Lilac bushes bloom, I eagerly await the arrival of the Clearwing Hummingbird Moth (Hyles lineata).  Hummingbird moths were the most puzzling insects I had ever run into.  I was not aware that such a thing even existed, when long ago, I first saw one darting around on a Lilac bush.  

    My first thought was that it was a tiny hummingbird, but hummingbirds are already tiny and this thing was even tinier than that.  It moved like a hummingbird, and went after the pollen in the Lilac flowers like a hummingbird, but it was just too small.  I thought I had discovered some unknown creature, then with a little research, I realized that it was a Hummingbird Moth.

    Unlike a hummingbird that has a beak, the Hummingbird Moth has a coiled proboscis, that straightens out when it is sucking nectar from a flower. 

    I never see more than one or maybe two at the same time, so they aren’t real common.  Some years I don’t see any at all, which sets me worrying, but happily this year, I saw one and was lucky to get some photos.

    If you want to get more information about them, check out this video.  It begins with a brief description of hummingbirds, then introduces the Hummingbird Moth.  It shows them flying around.

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Thursday, 1 June 2023


    The other day I was reminded just how depend I am upon my computer.  I was working on my iMac and suddenly my mouse quit working properly.  It began acting erratically, preventing me from doing the things I was wanting to do on the computer. 

    I changed the batteries in the mouse--no difference.  I rebooted the computer--no difference.  I soon realized that it was the mouse that was the problem.   I was in a panic, it felt as if Doom itself was hovering over me.  I couldn’t do anything without my mouse.  I depend on it and my computer, for my painting, for my photography, for my writing, and for my music.   It was a horrible feeling to suddenly be cut off from all of those things and more.

    Incredibly, I discovered that sometime in the past, I had bought another mouse, which was still in its box, and had never  used, so luckily, I was able to use it to get back to my normal routines.   Living in a tiny, isolated village like I do, means that I wouldn’t have been able to run down to a local store and buy a new mouse, but in the end, it all worked out.

    I constantly hear stories about how dependent young people are on their phones.  Usually upon hearing about that, I shake my head in disbelief, but I now realize that I am just as dependent on my computer.

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Wednesday, 31 May 2023

Kona in the Garden--Not Helpful

    I have mentioned before that Kona loves chewing on sticks.  She will often pass up her bowl of dog food in the house, go outside, and then start chewing on a stick.  I don’t understand it, but of course, I am not Kona.

    Yesterday I was out in the garden weeding.  Kona walked by a row of beans, noticed the stick sticking up at the end of the row with the green bean envelope on it.  She pulled it out of the ground with her mouth, then nonchalantly, carried it over to the grass and began chewing on the stick.   Obviously, there are not too many row markers left in the garden, thanks to Kona.

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Tuesday, 30 May 2023

Goutweed: Invasive Plant

    Above is one of my early paintings of Hostas that I had planted that grew in the small garden by our deck.  Those variegated leaves around the edges of the painting are Goutweed.  At first, I just had the hostas in the garden, then the Goutweed somehow spread into it from another garden on the other side of the house.  I didn’t mind, because the variegated Goutweed leaves were attractive.

    The other day, I was surprised read an article that said that goutweed was a terribly invasive plant.  “One of the worst garden plants.”   While I didn’t know it was “Invasive”, I did know that it spread like crazy and choked out other plants.  In fact, those Hostas have been totally wiped out by the Goutweed.  Below is a photo showing the same “garden” as the painting, but how it looked like last week.  As you can see, the Hostas are gone, starved out by the variegated Goutweed which mutated to a plain-leaved Goutweed, and the garden just became just a thick clump of green leaves.

    I hate invasive plants, so I am working to get rid of the Goutweed.  First I pulled out the plants, (of course the roots are still in the ground), then I covered the area with sheets of metal roofing that will block out the sunlight and hopefully eventually kill the roots.  I will leave the roofing on the area all year.  See the photo at the very bottom of the page.

    Goutweed was introduced to the US in 1860.  It was soon recognized as being invasive.  For some reason, plant stores were not prevented from selling it, and still sell it today, even though it is a terrible thing to plant in a garden.  I sure didn’t know it was so invasive when we first bought some.  It should be banned.

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Monday, 29 May 2023

The Dunster General Store

    I have often mentioned Dunster in my blogs and yesterday we drove the 24 miles (39 kms) to go to the Dunster Store, which pretty much is Dunster.   There is not much else in the hamlet, except for the old train station, which is now the museum.   For a tiny facility, there is a lot to be had in the Dunster General Store:  Groceries, fresh produce, pots and pans, beautiful handmade African baskets, a post office, and a lot of the miscellaneous items, one might need.

    The store also features wonderful friendly service by Chantel, standing at her post behind the counter.  When we went to the store yesterday, we were surprised to see more of our McBride friends there, than we usually do when we are shopping in McBride.

    The Dunster Store is a unique establishment, with the friendly neighborly feel of a general store from the past.

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Sunday, 28 May 2023

Bear: Checking Things Out

    Yesterday evening this bear came leisurely walking through our front yard.  We first saw it over close to where the bird feeder used to hang, then it meandered over to our house to check out the flowers growing just below our windows.  

    I went searching for my camcorder and by the time I found it, the bear was in the pasture, looking through the fence that surrounds and protects our garden.  

    I was able to get this photo of the bear, standing on its rear legs, inspecting our garden.  

    I was on our balcony taking the photo, and when the bear noticed me, it slowly ambled on down toward the pond, and then disappeared into the bush.

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