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As I commence writing this post, I should have done something like “Travels with Charlie,” Steinbeck’s book, or some kind of version of it. After all, there are four Standard Poodles in the Rooster’s family.
The Rooster’s family just does not sit still. Be it a town within a state, a state within a country or multiple countries throughout the world, they are on the move folks. Some spouses are crisscrossing and waving to each other out the car, bus train or plane window.
For today, Jeff is at home on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. As some of you are aware, he just returned from Stockholm, Sweden 48 hours ago.
Oh and daughter Kathryn, Jeff’s other half, she and the Rooster’s wife just left PHL yesterday afternoon for Düsseldorf, Germany after an, Oh so brief stop in Dublin. I’m sorry Rita no time for a visit to Kilkenny.
Before that Sweden visit, Jeff happened to slip into Thailand, the Philippines, and New Zealand, then coming home via San Francisco. On the way out it was west to east, so he got a circumnavigation in. There must be some kind of a reward out there for that, right? Ah, there is, but it’s for boaters. https://www.cruisingclub.org/award/Circumnavigation
Bangkok, Cheap shopping and fish stories.
The Air Force family of Sam, Zed, Mia, Ana, Dax and Zoe as many of you know, have transitioned from Tinker AFB in OKC, shipped most of what they own to Geilenkirchen, Germany and have been attending Squadron Officers school. I reported on that a while ago. We had them here over the fourth if you remember and off they went to Michigan for a few days before arriving at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, AL. Sara’s daughter. Our Grand and Sam’s cousin went with them to be a Nannie.
Hey Sam, how about a graduation photo!
Things got a wee bit busy in the cramped quarters at the base, and after a week or so, Kathryn and Abby drove to Charlotte, met the family and transferred the kids and Rachael and returned to the Eastern Shore for a couple of weeks. Jeff and Kathryn reversed the trip two weeks ago, and they made the transition in Salisbury, NC this time. It was right after that switch that Jeff headed off to Sweden.
I must give a round of praise for Abby and Rachael. Those two girls were just amazing in caring for their three nieces and nephew. Rachael by day ran a well-organized house with four children five and other. When Abby returned from a hot day’s work at the nursery, she would help her mother and Granny with baths and what all. Granny made most of the weekday meals. Kathy would work the hospital by day and grandchildren by night. Folks, these are four women who can start on my team any day of the week. Semper Fi my ladies, Ooh-Rah!!
For the past few days, the Oregon G-Parents have been with the kids and Rachael in the Atlanta area. Great Wolf Lodge and the Aquarium were on that schedule. Stacy and Elaine took a few days off from the Cattle Ranch in Frenchglen, OR to spend some of the last days for a while with the kids. ( I’ll do a blog on the Oregon grandparents and their ranch soon)
Sam and Zed graduate today, head to Atlanta tomorrow and fly out Saturday with the kids, 4, 5 & under!!!! They will be met on arrival by Granny and Kathryn, (G) & (Great Granny), on landing, and help with the Jet Lag and transition for the next week. Grannies, the gift that keeps on giving.
What about Rachael you ask. Well, she just happens to be taking a phone job interview as I write and left today for Austin, TX as a possible new home location. Rumor has it there may be some Mid-West Irons in the fire also. https://www.statesman.com/news/local/for-second-year-austin-named-best-place-live-america-news-and-world-report/1R3DZ3wmujbm8r7GakwaMO/
And Abby, the recent college graduate has been hired by the local hospital working in an off-site Neurology office. She has been in a training program for the past few weeks learning the ins and outs of an office tech. Put that Psyc degree to work young lady.
The Connecticut connection of son Matt, Beth, David in NYC, Kevin, Jill, and Rebecca have no Moss growing beneath their feet either. Mexico at an all-inclusive two weeks ago, a week at Cape Cod and a quick trip to Gloucester, Massachusetts has rounded out their travels. Matt, David, and Kevin also did the Circle of Hope Hackers Conference in July. https://hope.net/
Kevin did get two weeks in at Ft. Drum, NY with the guard and will start at UConn next week. He also spent some time in New Hampshire with the Love (Marissa) of his life and her family.
As for the Rooster, he got a shot of juice in his Right, Hip Bursa this week, and he’s halfway through a Pastoral Care in Hospitals course. Should he be found worthy at the completion of the course, he will be a Pastoral Care Volunteer. We can only hope they won’t be upset at having a Rooster roam their halls.
Thanks again for dropping by. Cooler weather comes in soon, the leaves will begin to change and soon the smell of Turkey will be wafting from the oven. I know this will happen as the Wolly’s are starting to appear on the roads.
Should you not be familiar with the with the area, Delmarva, where the Rooster has his coop, is a peninsula. The peninsula is made up of parts of three states, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.
During the BIG BLOW (Storm Quinn) last week, March 2nd to be exact, we were stuck here on the peninsula for a brief time. The winds were far in excess of what was safe for vehicles to cross the bridges off the peninsula. Pictured above is the Chesapeake Bay Bridge from Kent Island to Annapolis. Pictured below is the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel that connects the southern tip of Delmarva to Virginia Beach.
Salisbury, MD is the closest reporting station to our Coop. Here is the weather history for Salisbury that day last week : https://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/KSBY/2018/3/2/DailyHistory.html?req_city=Salisbury&req_state=MD&req_statename=Maryland&reqdb.zip=21801&reqdb.magic=1&reqdb.wmo=99999
Outside the son’s house, Tolland, CT.
So what’s going on today, March 7, 2018? Storm Riley is this one’s name. I just happen to be in the Nutmeg State of Connecticut hanging with the son’s family for a few days. And what does the National Weather Service have to say?
URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service Taunton MA
415 PM EST Wed Mar 7 2018
Hartford CT-Tolland CT-Windham CT-Eastern Hampshire MA-
Eastern Hampden MA-Northwest Providence RI-
Including the cities of Hartford, Windsor Locks, Union, Vernon,
Putnam, Willimantic, Amherst, Northampton, Springfield, Foster,
415 PM EST Wed Mar 7 2018
…WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 7 AM EST
* WHAT…Heavy snow. Total snow accumulations of 8 to 15 inches,
heaviest in the higher terrain in northern Connecticut and
* WHERE…Portions of northern Connecticut, western
Massachusetts and northern Rhode Island.
* WHEN…Until 7 AM EST Thursday.
* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Travel will be very difficult if not
impossible. Tree branches and wires could fall. Snowfall rates
of 1 to 3 inches during the height of the storm with
A Winter Storm Warning for snow means severe winter weather
conditions will make travel very hazardous or impossible. If you
must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your
vehicle in case of an emergency.
A Red Pot Recipe
So what does the Mrs. do on that miserable day last week, she makes, without a doubt, the finest Beef Stew of our fifty-two years of marriage in her big red pot.
Vegetable oil, for searing
2 1/2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes after searing whole.
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium onions, cut into 6ths
1 1/4 pounds medium potatoes, quartered
4 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
4 medium Parsnips, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 can, Cream of Celery Soup
1 can French Onion Soup
1 can of Red Wine (Cab)
Pre-heat oven to 300 dgrees. Add vegetable oil to bottom of pot on high heat on stove burner, salt and pepper meat to taste, insert roast into pot when oil is hot, sear for one to two minutes on each side. Remove beef, cut into 2 inch squares, return to pot. Add all other ingredients, stir and place in oven for four hours, remove and serve.
Serves 4-6 Enjoy
How do I not post something for a month, busyness is the answer. Graduations, confirmations and obligations filled the bill. Passing miles beneath our tires as we make multiple trips to Connecticut sharing time with family and friends is part of the equation.
On the slim occasion I’d haul out the Mac to check email, blogs, weather and news, I’d get that look. I’m sure there’s a few of you out there that know what that look is, right? The look is usually accompanied with that one word, “really.” Just amazing how one word can say it all. Back goes the computer into the bag and it’s social interaction time. Not time for a Blog Rooster.
Speaking of Rooster, not me mind you, but the faithful protector of our flock for the past nine years. Casper was his name and he has passed to that great chicken coop in the sky. Casper was the most gentle of all our roosters over the years. He would alert the girls when trouble circled in the sky or lurched outside the fence line. He was pampered and lived the good life here on God’s little acre. Old age finally caught up with the old guy.
We have a grandson entering the National Guard, delaying college for a year and earning the education incentive$. Another grandson graduated from College. He is now a Creative Media graduate working in NYC. We have a set of twins going in diverse directions, Oregon and Delaware for higher learning. The twins are adopted grandchildren. They have a brother whom I’ve mentioned in the past and he will be a senior at the Air Force Academy this year. Another road trip coming up in May of 2018. I have a brother who got engaged, congratulations Rick. A granddaughter busy with a traveling softball team and another who is a gymnast who does gourmet baking, that’s just in Connecticut.
Back in Maryland we have a granddaughter who returns to Mississippi for her senior year @ MSU, a grandson entering Salisbury University and a granddaughter who just finished her first year of teaching.
Although we have not spent time with them of late, we have our eldest granddaughter, the USAF Captain and her Captain husband and four great grandchildren out in OKC. Time with them gets spent Face Timing via electronic media.
As any parent and grandparent knows, we swell with pride for those who grow after us. In all we’ve been blessed with three children, nine grands and four greats. We are so fortunate.
Once back home in May from VT and planted on the sand of the Eastern Shore we had the great Irish wedding of our good friends Ed and Alexis O’Leary as they married off their daughter Maddie to John Vilkus. I previously put out a post on this event. That was two weeks of the entire clan here on the shore visiting from such places as Kilkenny and Galway in Ireland and the Queens own London. They are a wonderful lot, an entertaining group full of song, fun and frolic. It’s never all about you, it’s always all about all of you. The Mrs and I have been fortunate in the past to share their family home in Kilkenney in years gone by. It was nice we could offer up a bed or two for this grand occasion. They and some tag along’s even spent an afternoon with us picking crabs and partying late into the night while being entertained with song by the one and only Famous Seamus. Our extended family is loved by us all.
Then there was the 4th of July, which in our little community is a large event with a parade, food, fun and games. HOT is the normal weather occurrence. The event has been taking place in the village for over thirty years. When the organizers say “You all come,” they all do. The local Boy Scout Troop color guard leads it off, followed by all those politicians leading our county and state representatives, sheriffs & troopers, Those running in local elections always make an appearance to garner votes in upcoming elections.
We have kids on bikes and every other mode of transportation, 4x4s, mopeds, getting pulled in wagons and just walking and looking patriotic in their Red, White and Blue. The Buffalo Soldiers always make their appearance and this year a local car club entertained us with a host of tricked up cars. Farmers and their equipment, so vital to this economy, roll out to show their stuff. Some of the tractors were from generations past. Horses and pets also grace the parade route.
And no parade would be without the local Fire Company showing off their pride. As the blare of the sirens echoed and those watching were greeted with tossed candy and Tootsy Roll lollipops, pride swelled in us all. This was America, and this is Allen and it’s our birthday. Thanks to the Lions, the Allen Asbury Methodist Church our Fire Company and all who volunteer from our community for a another great Birthday celebration.
After the parade everyone gathers at the Community Hall for hot dogs, burgers, home-made ice cream and good old down home eating and socializing. A baseball game usually occurs across the street. The wee ones will enjoy the bouncy house and someone is always selling one thing or another. Eventually the crowd will dwindle, folks will head off to other celebrations and perhaps go into the big town of Salisbury for Fireworks.
When the sun sets, and the lights are turned down low, the far off sound of sky rockets at night bursting in the air reminds us all that we are one.
Oh, I totally forgot to mention that the garage, turned into a workshop, which became the Annex and hosted many gatherings is now a guest house and has a new porch which was finished last week. Been busy, please excuse the absence. We even have indoor plumbing.
It is day two of what we are calling 51st honeymoon. It will be a two week travel adventure through DE, NJ, NY, CT to start. I write this on day two of our trip, we are at our son’s home in CT, we shall be here through Saturday when we attend a reunion at my old State Police troop in Stafford Springs. A bunch of old retired farts telling past war stories, another lol. This Sunday we head to Bangor, ME, Monday Moncton, BC then on to Charlottetown, PEI, Halifax, NS, Saint John, BC, Bucksport, ME, Portland, ME, CT, and finally home on the 7th of September.
Who was that just asking what 51st honeymoon meant? Did you ever see 50 First Dates?
Take a gander at the trailer, a really cute movie. https://www.amazon.com/50-First-Dates-Adam-Sandler/dp/B00190L018
Now we have not experienced brain trauma, we are up in our years, were married 51 years ago, and a lot has flown right out and over heads. So, we are just following the script that I somehow programmed into my Garmin Express. I’m going to make a concerted effort to post early and often, kind of like voting, and to keep you all up to date on who, what, when, and where the Rooster and his bride are.
Awoke to 47f/54%rh this AM, already a great first day wake-up.
Today our son and daughter in-law head to Boston with their oldest child, David. David is a college senior and heads out late today from Logan, IAP to Dublin, Ireland and begin his senior year with a semester abroad. He’s already completed one semester out of the country having spent it in Montreal, Canada.
After a quick tidy up of the house we were out the door at 0615 and on the road in our Subaru Forrester for a 360 mile trip to Tolland, CT. We will R & R there until Sunday when we head to Canada.
We had a Golden Arch breakfast in Bridgeville, DE, Got cheap gas at a stop on the NJ, Tpk ., Gave the attendant a $2.00 tip, you can’t pump your own in Jersey, and ventured across the Hudson river via the Lincoln Tunnel. I usually take the George Washington bridge but travel warnings were predicting a 45 minute back-up. 1010 WINS to the rescue.
When you exit the Lincoln you are in immediate chaos of people, traffic and horns blowing. You’re adjacent to the maze that is Port Authority Bus Terminal and the Theater district. After a left on 43rd st we headed to the river and then north on the West Side Hwy. and on to CT. We would pass the Aircraft Carrier Intrepid Museum on the way. Many years earlier the Mrs. and I were lost below decks when on this ship for an open house while it was being decommissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Year.Old memories rekindled.
For Lunch we would pull off the Merritt Pkwy. in CT and make a stop at a Panera Bread in Fairfield for lunch. This is one of favorite stops when traveling for a great mid-day meal. After lunch we would get some steps in and walk a bit and make a stop at a Pier One Imports store. No buys here. If you remember the lady of the house is disposing, not accumulating.
Nine hours later and four stops we got off the highway at our old, 20 years, home town of Vernon, CT, and traveled familiar roads for a few miles to our sons home in Tolland. A great day, little traffic and a welcoming home. You can’t ask for anything more on your first day of travels. Thank you Lord.
Once again thanks for dropping by the chicken pen. Remember to vote early and vote often. Feeling a little like Charles Karault today.
My wife and I are back in our old stomping grounds of Connecticut where we lived for twenty years and raised three children until 1988 when we moved to the Eastern Shore of Maryland. My wife has spent a good deal of time up here for the past several months using her past nursing skills to care for my sister. As we await her sunset, many gather to remember all the good works of this Nurse of so many years. Many laughs are being exchanged in her presence and she smiles continuously. The door opens and old friends continue to fill the room.
We were quite close when living in Connecticut, as a matter of fact we were next door neighbors for eighteen of those twenty years. Our three and my sister’s two children had two sets of parents and one was always present. A parental eye was always watching and by the grace of God all five kids turned out great.
I was fortunate last week to hitch a ride with a daughter and granddaughter and get to spend some time here also. I’m also playing hooky from Cardio Rehab. My niece is flying in today from Alaska to spend some time with her mother and we shall soon venture back south for a short respite. The grass needs mowing, we will pay some bills, catch up on some appointments and head back north in due time.
While here in the evening, the shade and hanging flower baskets create a gravitational force that lures us to our son and daughter in-law’s front porch.
A cold beverage, usually a wine and beer help to relax us from what becomes a stressful day at times. I must also mention the open aviary this porch has become. Entertainment has not been lacking the past week.
Two large hanging baskets adorn the porch each filled with robust red flowers. You would think that Hummingbirds would be common, not the case. Sparrows have built a nest in the north facing basket.
Last night my son took the below photo of the nest and we were surprised when a rogue appeared among those of the sparrow.
An educational search ensued and this is what we found.
The Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) is a brood parasite, meaning that it lays its eggs in nests of other species. A female cowbird quietly searches for female birds of other species that are actively laying eggs. Once she has found a suitable host, the cowbird will sneak onto the resident bird’s nest when it is away, usually damage or remove one (or more) egg, and replace that egg with one (or more) of her own (watch a cowbird laying an egg in a Northern Cardinal nest on NestCams). The foster parents then unknowingly raise the young cowbirds, usually at the expense of their own offspring. Cowbird eggs require a shorter incubation period than most other songbirds and thus usually hatch first. Cowbird nestlings also grow large very quickly. These advantages allow them to command the most food from their foster parents, usually resulting in reduced nesting success of the host species.
Brown-headed Cowbirds are native to the United States and prefer open grasslands, as well as agricultural, urban, and suburban habitats where grain or cattle-disturbed soil are readily available. Historically they followed herds of bison, eating insects kicked up by the animals’ hooves. It is unknown whether they developed their breeding strategy because they had to move frequently to keep up with the bison herds, or whether they were able to follow the herds because their breeding strategy gave them the freedom to do so. Expansion of agricultural areas and removal of forest cover have greatly benefited this species by providing more overall habitat and by giving cowbirds access to new host species that have not developed defensive strategies against nest parasitism. While it is clear that cowbirds have benefited from forest fragmentation, their role in population-level declines of many forest birds is less certain.
A Compound Problem
The cowbird does not depend exclusively on a single host species; it has been known to parasitize over 220 different species of North American birds and therefore spreads its impact across many populations. Although cowbirds have been implicated in the population declines of several rare species, such as Kirtland’s Warbler and Black-capped Vireo, habitat loss and fragmentation likely play a much larger role in causing songbird declines. This is evidenced by the fact that cowbird control alone did not increase populations of the endangered Kirtland’s Warbler; only when cowbird control was combined with habitat management for young Jack Pine forests did the warblers rebound.
Because cowbirds are native to the U.S., they are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and in most instances it is unlawful to use lethal control without a permit, including the removal of their eggs from a nest. However, unpermitted control of cowbirds is occasionally permissible under special circumstances outlined in the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Additionally, in some states, such as Michigan and Texas, permits can be obtained to trap cowbirds to protect endangered species like Kirtland’s Warbler, Golden-cheeked Warbler, and Black-capped Vireo. Please check with your state’s wildlife management agency for local regulations.
Some species, such as the Yellow Warbler, can recognize cowbird eggs and will reject them or build a new nest on top of them. Those species which accept cowbird eggs either do not notice the new eggs, or as new evidence suggests, accept them as a defense against total nest destruction. Cowbirds may “punish” egg-rejectors by destroying the entire nest, whereas it is possible for egg-acceptors to raise some of their own young in addition to the cowbird young (see Birdscope 2008).
To deter Brown-headed Cowbirds:
- Use feeders that are made for smaller birds, such as tube feeders that have short perches, smaller ports, and no catch basin on the bottom. Avoid platform trays, and do not spread food on the ground.
- Cowbirds prefer sunflower seeds, cracked corn, and millet; offer nyjer seeds, suet, nectar, whole peanuts, or safflower seeds instead.
- Clean up seed spills on the ground below feeders.
- Don’t search for or visit a nest when cowbirds are around.
Odd One Out
How do you know if you have cowbird parasitism to report in your NestWatch data?
- First, look for any eggs that appear different or out of place. Cowbird eggs are sometimes, but not always, larger than those of the host bird. This is especially true of warblers and small birds, but cowbird eggs are the same size as Northern Cardinal eggs.
- Cowbird eggs are white to grayish-white with brown or gray spots or streaks. Many species’ eggs resemble cowbird eggs, so you may not be able to tell if the nest is parasitized until after the eggs hatch.
- Look for intact eggs on the ground under active nests. Female cowbirds often evict one or more of the host eggs before they lay their own. However, she may eat the egg instead or damage it and leave it in the nest.
- When nestlings are present, look for a slightly larger nestling that begs vigorously with a bright red “gape” (the brightly colored areas in the corners of a nestling’s open mouth). Most songbird chicks have a yellow or pale gape.
- Cowbird young develop in about 8-13 days, so they may fledge before you expect the host species to have fledged. If you accidentally “force fledge” a cowbird, the parents will continue to feed it on the ground. Putting it back in the nest will probably result in the cowbird jumping out again. The parents usually will also continue to feed the young that remain in the nest until they are old enough to leave.
- Fledgling cowbirds are a dull grayish-brown color, and will be nearly their adult size (about the size of a starling), which often means parents will be feeding a youngster larger than themselves.
Once again the Rooster thanks you for stopping by.
I’ve had my 2’nd cup of Joe and was outside putzing when the rain drove me inside. Well, not actually, I walked. Can’t do my outside stuff so here I am delivering another post. I’ve included a few links to help familiarize you with the area and a few of it’s inhabitants, enjoy. Don’t forget, Blogging 101 week II resumes tomorrow. This is a rewrite from a post I made on our competitive site Blogspot a year ago.
September 28, 2014
On Thursday, during one of my walks on 15 beautiful acres along the Wicomico River, the great fisherman appeared. I’ve often equated the mighty Blue Heron with the Air Force C-5. As the C-5 seems to glide effortlessly just short of a stall, so the Blue Heron replicates that airborne beauty. With Dover AFB so close we get to do a lot of comparative studies.
The otherwise solemn fallen pine from a storm gone by, becomes a picturesque resting place for the Heron to search for a seafood meal below. This fellow could have been a descendant from Michener’s Heron that walked the shore in search of a Blue Crab meal so many years ago.
Maryland is a unique state with a wide range of topography. From the sand and the ocean to the mountains of the west, it has what you seek in natures beauty.
Through time I hope to share my state with you as well as Connecticut where we spent twenty years prior to moving to Maryland in 1988.
Have a great day all you Blogging 101 classmates, we’re back at it tomorrow.