Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Unexpected

John and Dell, like all dogs, have different barks for different events or things. The soft whine when they want to be fed, big blustery barks when deer are espied on the lawn, the bark-bark-bark when chasing squirrels, and so on. I can pretty much guess what is going on by the type of bark I hear.

Today I got to hear the "Oh my gosh what is this I want to get it but I'm not sure if it's safe" bark from John while I was puttering about. It didn't quite sound like "I've found a snake" so I wasn't in a big hurry to pull on my boots and tromp down into the woods and find out what all the fuss was about. Eventually I made my way to John with a leash in hand since I wasn't too keen on having to carry a squirming 28 lb mass of dachshund back to the house.

turtles by Teckelcar
turtles, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
It wasn't too hard to find John and I was happy to see that it was not a snake. It was in fact a couple of Eastern Box turtles and, well, they were very busy. First priority was to leash John, who emboldened by my presence to charge at the turtles. Once I had the dog under control I took stock of the situation. I was very glad I had my phone stuck in my pocket so I could capture for all the world to see what one friend called "a very private moment."

Once back inside, with a now very sulky dog, I looked up the mating habits of the Eastern Box Turtle. It turns out that the breeding season lasts from April to October, with the eggs lain late in the season overwintering in the underground nests. Who knew dog ownership could be so educational.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Project MCP: Fall Colors

Fall Colors by Teckelcar
Fall Colors, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
The final September challenge for Project MCP was to photograph a fall color scheme, which is a rather tricky assignment down here in the south. I have found flashes of color, but for the most part the foliage is stuck in late summer mode. Lucky for me the stores pay no heed to the weather and start putting out the fall decorations at the beginning of the month.

For today's photo I roamed the aisles of my local Walmart with my camera in one hand as I shopped. I took pictures of pretty fall themed kitchen towels, various centerpieces, mums in bloom, and so on. Frankly I was amazed that my photography garnered no comment from the staff.

The winner for this week's picture was this pretty flower arrangement. I found it just as I was finishing my shopping in the produce section and was ready to check out. The colors are just right, they are truly evocative of fall. Thank you Walmart for being so helpful this week.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

End of Season

End of Season by Teckelcar
End of Season, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
There has been a bit of snap in the morning air the past week or so. For a brief bit we had some honest to goodness fall weather, however the temperatures have been steadily creeping up. But the damage has been done.

My tomatoes have that leggy and unkempt look that the tail end of the growing season brings. They are, obviously, still producing fruit and we are nowhere near the first frost. The fruit is still very flavorful and tempting as ever. An aspect that was much to my consternation yesterday whilst I was fasting for Yom Kippur.

I'll keep on watering and enjoying the fruits of my labors until the first frost. Miserable as these plants look, they still have a goodly amount of life in them.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Artist of the Week: My Friend the Novelist

This week Meryl gets the nod as artist of the week.

She has always been a writer and this past year she bit the bullet and finished her first novel, Darkness Rising the first book of The Catmage Chronicles. This alone would garner AotW status, but she did far more than write a book, Meryl has also decided to self-publish and the amount of work involved is unreal.

Meryl commissioned a stunning cover from the award winning cover artist Julie Dillion. Contracted a cover designer and spent a fair amount of time hashing out the look of her book. The formatting, editing, proof reading, and... I could go on and on with all the steps needed to put out a quality book were managed by Meryl.

In short it is a monumental undertaking to publish your own book and have it look as good, if not better than, as the books put out by the major publishing houses. So give it a look, there are two places you can go to get a sneak a peek. On Facebook there is The Catemage Chronicles page and Meryl's brand spanking new writing blog This writing Life. Meryl is in the homestretch and will taking the final step soon to publish.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Yom Kippur

Tonight marks the start of Yom Kippur. For those that celebrate, may your fast be easy.

Josh Nelson on the electric Saz Kol Nidre - Yom Kippur 5772

Monday, September 24, 2012

Police K9 Bite Demo

Saturday my club participated in a combination "AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day" and "Meet the Breeds." This meant I spent a good four hours manning a table that had a wealth of information about dachshunds with Dell in my lap. John did not get to come along because, honestly, he's a total butthead around strange dogs.

In addition to dachshunds there were Bouvier des Flanders, Afghans, American Staffordshire Terriers (love those blocky heads, very loving and smart dogs), Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers (the living decoy, they lure the ducks to shore with their playful antics-seriously), and Havana Silk Dogs(a new one to me, very cute). A couple of vet clinics were there including a microchip clinic. Dell got to go through the agility course and was amply rewarded with cheese and hot dogs making this the best day ever in his mind. To me however, the best part was the Hanover Sheriffs K-9 unit demonstration. The dog had laser like focus and you could see it was having a great time. The bite work looks very scary and lord knows the dog could inflict serious damage, but the training was done such the bite work was just a huge game of tug-o-war for the dog.

Here is a video I took of the demo. It's not the best quality, I was testing out my cell phone, and the dog was so darkly colored it disappears into the background, but you get an idea of what was happening.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Huntin' Dogs

Huntin' Dogs by Teckelcar
Huntin' Dogs, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
It's a bit hard to see, but the red boys got a camouflage treatment today.

I'm not sure how it all came about, but Nate asked today if he could paint the dogs in camouflage. A decidedly odd request, I however could see no harm in it. My only condition was that Nate would use colored hairspray and do the whole thing outside.

A few minutes later Nate had a can of green and a can of black hairspray. He did the dogs separately out on the deck and after 20 minutes we had two dogs painted in woodland camo. Just writing about this made me think of this old cartoon from World War I. The formerly red boys were, like the horse, less than enthused about their new color scheme and found a lovely pile of deer poop to roll in.

As you can imagine they didn't stay in woodland camo for very long. The dogs postively reeked and were soon herded off to the bath. Silly dogs.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Project MCP: Signs of Fall

The first turning by Teckelcar
The first turning, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
The third Project MCP challenge for September is "signs of fall."

I had a few ideas on what to shoot, but never really got a chance this week. Between Rosh Hashana and various people being sick I was unable to get out much with my camera. However the signs of fall did find me in the shape of a tree branch practically smacking me in the face.

I was escorting the dynamic duo to their respective soccer practices (conveniently located on the same field) when I had to duck past this branch. I didn't think much of it until the bright scarlet leaves caught my eye.

Eureka!

I had found my signs of fall.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fun With Science

What a recipe for fun- liquid nitrogen, a tightly closed bottle, and 1,500 ping pong balls. This gives the Mentos and Diet Coke stuff a run for the money. Hat tip to the lovely Laura at Fetch My Flying Monkeys.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Talk Like a Pirate, Now With Doughnuts!

two pirates by Teckelcar
two pirates, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Today was my favorite nonsensical holiday, "Talk like a pirate day."

This year I found out that Krispy Kreme doughnuts would give you a free glazed doughnut if you spoke like a pirate, a full dozen if you were in full pirate gear.

Whoa, a full dozen if you dressed as a pirate. I could totally get into that. Even Rebecca was interested, but when I told her to ask Max if she could borrow his costume Max said that he wanted to dress up as well.

Even better was the fact that today the kids have a fencing lesson and the club is a scant two miles from our nearest Krispy Kreme. Nothing like a little swashbuckling to get you in the mood for a pirate adventure.

The line of course was long, but it was a jolly crowd that was pretty evenly split between pirates and landlubbers. Rebecca was initially horrified that Max and I were going out in public as pirates. However once she got inside she realized how much fun it could be. She told me next year she wanted to dress up.

And yes we got two dozen doughnuts for absolutely nothing. Arrr!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Project MCP: Teaching

Pregame coaching by Teckelcar
Pregame coaching, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
The second September challenge is teach/teaching and really isn't coaching a type of teaching?

I snagged this photo with my cell last weekend. The team had just finished warming up and were in a pre-game huddle with their coach. They were being given finial instructions on how to play with, I'm sure, field positioning.

This certainly isn't the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about teaching, but I think it works. I am still amazed with some of the images my smartphone can take. It is far from the best piece of equipment, yet with a good eye and careful positioning I can get some surprisingly good images. This one is literally straight out of the phone, all I did was rename it and uploaded onto my computer and then to Flickr.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Baking With Julia- Nectarine Upside-Down Chiffon Cake

Here is my very belated Nectarine Upside-Down Chiffon Cake that was supposed to be for Sept. 4th Baking with Julia challenge and err...  the month is half over and I have next week's challenge just two days away.

Well it's better late than never and it turned out to be the perfect treat to bring to tonight's oneg (links leads to a nice description) for Rosh Hashanah. Nuts and fruits are always a good choice for the new year. For a complete rundown on the recipe head on over to The Little French Bakery and The Double Trouble Kitchen (Yay fellow mom of twins!).

The whole thing wasn't too hard to make, my only stumbling block was not having a 10 pan and I decided it wasn't worth worrying about it not being quite big enough. My 9 inch pan was able to hold most of the batter and the resultant cake was just ducky. I had a fair amount of excess streusel (gee that could be related to the undersized pan- ya think) that I ended up scattering around the cake on its serving platter. I thought it was delicious and it was a hit at the oneg. The cake was light and moist with a lovely tang from the lemon juice. I might try it without almonds, otherwise this one is definitely a keeper.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Rather Vermontish

Max by Teckelcar
Max, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
The weather has been glorious this week, upper 70s and minimal humidity. Just like the summers I know and love in Vermont.

So it has been rather annoying that I have been under the weather this week. I'm much better now, two days in bed did a world of good, but I'm still not hitting all cylinders. Hopefully I'll be able to do the full dog walk tomorrow. The pups have been forced to settle with just a short two block walk the past two days.

As for the rest of the gang, soccer and band having been going full bore, Nate has been doing some fitness training related to lacrosse, and Larry has been enjoying the fact that he is not coaching. After 10 years he has had enough. He wants to be able to go to all the kids games, not just the one he is coaching.

Life does not stop around here, even if you are sick.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Artist of the Week: Community in Unexpected Places

This week's artist is the rather snarky, crude, and irreverent bunch found over at Regretsy (warning seriously rude language and gross imagery). The site was founded by April Winchell, aka Helen Killer and the daughter of Paul Winchell, as a place to show the bizarre and grotesque that can be found on Etsy. Some of the finds are hilarious, quite a few are head scratching, and some are so magnificent in their weirdness April has to buy them.

A rather loose-knit community of self proclaimed "Fat Jealous Losers" (a reference to one Etsian's inability to take a joke) has grown in the comments and forums. Occasionally one of the FJL will put out a request to the community to create something special. A large number of the community are talented crafters, some a part of Etsy, and they always rise to the occasion. A very special request was made earlier this year for a TARDIS shaped ceramic urn. It turned out that Tashi's husband was dying of an incurable brain tumor and he was a huge fan of Dr Who.

The outpouring that followed was unbelieveble.

There was a huge number of offers to create the urn. Others tracked down the actors of the show to sign a card for Kevin. All sorts of gifts and kind actions made their way to the very young and recently wed couple.

Kevin passed away yesterday and here was the final message posted by April from them.

So not all of the internet is cold and dark. Amidst the snark there is a warm and loving place. Hats off to you, you fat jealous losers.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sept. 11th

4th of July by Teckelcar
4th of July, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
A bit of sweetness for a sad day.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Alimation

Continuing on with NIAFPHFPPW I give you a little eye candy in video form. Alimation from Alexandre DUBOSC on Vimeo.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

For Laura

cake by Teckelcar
cake, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I'm sick and completely unable to us my brain. I was literally confused by a ringing phone today. So hooray for memes and being able to phone it in.

Laura of "Fetch My Flying Monkeys" has declared it “National Irritate a Food Pic Hater Food Pic Posting Week” or NIAFPHFPPW . Since I'm all about food blogging I had already decided to join in.

Today's picture is of a cake Rebecca and I made for her end of soccer party way back in May. I'm don't know why it was never posted, but I do remember it being delicious.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Project MCP: Back to School

First day of school by Teckelcar
First day of school, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I took this picture on Thursday morning when the kids were getting on the bus for the first time this school year. It's pretty much a given that this would be my answer to this week's photo challenge for Project MCP "back to school."

I could have opted for a picture of the vast (really with four kids in school I'm not kidding about the quantity) piles of school supplies in our dining room. But it's boring and a bit depressing looking at all that stuff. A picture of a bright and cheerful yellow school bus with a line of freshly scrubbed kids marching in is a much better image.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Watermelon Butterfly

watermelon butterfly by Teckelcar
watermelon butterfly, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
I found this picture from a few weeks ago on my hard drive. I don't know why I never posted it before, but now I have.

I love this particular species of butterfly, the velvety black wings with the bright blue spots make a striking combination. This particular fellow is a bit battered, but still able to fly.

Originally there were three butterflies, however they fluttered away by the time I came back with the camera. I'm glad I was able to capture this one. It took several tries before I got a picture with the wings down/open. Thank you butterfly for staying put.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Artist of the Week: Narnia

orca head by Teckelcar
orca head, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
This week's artist is not an orca, but instead Rebecca. The orca was Rebecca's gift to herself during her tournament last weekend. She has a fair amount of allowance saved up and when she espied this rather large Beanie Ball she decided she had to have it. The toy is rather absurd and she knows it. I'm not sure who noticed that the toy looks like it is Rebecca's head, but I am thankful it was pointed out and I got a picture.

Anyhoo this is not about large spherical toothed whales, but about art created by the girls that love them.

Narnia by Teckelcar
Narnia, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
We have been tossing out last years school detritus when I came across a bundle of Rebecca's graded papers. Inside was a lovely book report on "The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe." The report itself has many, many charming illustrations depicting scenes within the book, but they are intertwined with the text and in pencil.

Rebecca did a lovely job and certainly earned her 100%.


Tuesday, September 04, 2012

In Which I Am Irked

Updated!

Dear County School Board,

Because of your last minute change of policy on Thursday in regards to medications specifically exempted last year, I have to go to the school to insure my son gets his much needed enzymes.

What really irks me is the required signed Dr.'s orders that I found out were needed on Friday at around 3. The Friday before a holiday weekend with the expectation of the clinic receiving them Tuesday morning.

Let me repeat that. I need to get signed paperwork from the CF clinic in Richmond, which has at best a two day turn around and shuts down at 4:00 pm, the next business day- sorry next business morning.

Oh yes and if I had asked for the form a week and a half ago in order to insure it would be done in a timely fashion I would have been told it was not necessary, enzymes are not a controlled substance. Fortunately I am available, I feel sorry for those who can't take time off.

I do not blame the school, the clinic, nor the people at the CF clinic, they are all lovely and very helpful.

Thank you so very much.

PS And thank you for maintaining the tradition of torpedoing the county wide school system website the week before school starts.  Why you have to overhaul it (and change urls) every year is a mystery to me. At least this time there is a temporary redirect site.

The very, very nice people at the CF clinic were able to send it off before noon. I seriously owe those people cookies.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Last Day of Summer

Somehow I feel this is fitting as I tenderly shove my brood out the door and back to school. Courtesy of my mother in law.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

On the Go

On the hunt by Teckelcar
On the hunt, a photo by Teckelcar on Flickr.
Rebecca had her first soccer tournament this weekend and it was a bit of a mixed bag. Her team, won, tied, and lost. I know a few parents were dreading the ride home, their daughters were taking the final loss very hard. But Rebecca had a good time and was happy with how she played.

She would have been even happier if they had won and was a bit sad as she left the field. I knew it was best to give her space and wait for the car's air conditioning do its magic. 15 minutes she was feeling better and looking forward to being back home. That is the one thing I have learned about Rebecca if she is overheated or hungry- don't try to talk to her, just manage the situation until her needs are met.