Monday, May 31, 2010

My World Tuesday = Our First Open Magnolia Blossoms

My World Tuesday = Our First Open Magnolia Blossoms
The Most Blossoms On The Trees Are Way Up High On The Magnolia Trees.
The Bud Begins to Open.

Inside the Open Blossom is This Sight.

This Is A Blossom That Is Completely Open.
Many Times You Will Find Honey Bees Inside An Open Blossom.
I Guess They Will Make Southern Magnolia Blossom Honey.

That's It For Today.
Enjoy the Rest of Memorial Day Weekend.
Now Please Go Visit Some Other My World Tuesday Meme's By
Just Clicking Here:

Final Note:
Denise for My World Tuesday Has Lots of Good Info on the 250,000 Motorcyclists Who Came Sunday to Washington D.C. for the Rolling Thunder Veterans Parade.
Do Visit Her Site to Learn More About Rolling Thunder.
And Yes, Those Moving Motorcylists Do Sound Like Rolling Thunder in the Sky.

Flowers For The Birthday Kids

These Flowers Are For The Birthday Kids:
My Sister Mary Ellen Gariety Thobe of Tipp City, Ohio
My Neighbor Scott Weibel of Haymarket, VA.
Happy Birthday!
I Won't Tell Anyone How Old You Folks Are.
Just Enjoy Your Special Day in The Sun.

Memorial Day Weekend Kicks Off The Pool Season

Memorial Day Weekend Kicks Off The Pool Season
So Grandpa Got Jack Aidan a Shamu Pool.

Grandpa Got The Pool Set Up and Jack Aidan Arrived in His Swimming Trunks.
Here We Go!
Little Jack Carefully Stepping Into the Cold Water.
Shamu Created Rainbows When He Sprayed Little Jack.
Oh, To Be Two Again and Fit into A Baby Pool.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

First Cousins to Graduate in Russia and Bradford

First Cousins to Graduate in Russia, Ohio and Bradford, Ohio
Marissa Wirrig in Bradford High School Orange
Brooke Gariety in Russia Local High School Gold
Both are the Granddaughters of My Brother Carl Gariety and
His Wife Esther Leugers Gariety.
Brooke Graduates This Afternoon at Russia Local High School.
Marissa Graduates This Saturday From Bradford High School.
In Addition Marissa's Boyfriend Graduates This Afternoon
From Ansonia High School Which is Where Grandma Esther Gariety Graduated.
Now Get This
Both Girls Will Go To Edison Community College This Fall.
Both Girls Will Take Courses to be an Assistant Physical Therapist.
Both Girls Will Have Three Classes Together at Edison.
Shall We Just Call Them Kissing Cousins.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Sheramy Bundrick's Historical Novel of Van Gogh

Sheramy Bundrick's Historical Novel of Van Gogh
Sheramy Bundrick is an art historian and professor at the the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg, Florida and this is her very first novel. I enjoyed reading her fiction version of Van Gogh's last two years of life which he spent painting in Holland, Paris and Provence while suffering from mental illness. This novel makes you wonder about the reasons for Van Gogh's mental illness that led him to cut off his ear and present it to a Provence prostitute by the name of Rachel. Did Vincent Van Gogh develop mental illness because he was bi-polar or because he suffered from untreated syphlis. I guess we will never know. At the back of this book is a nice list of famous Van Gogh paintings that are mentioned in various chapters in the book.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Mother's Day Flowers

My Mother's Day Flowers
Thank You, Jenn, Terry and Little Jack!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Another Good Non-fiction Book To Read

Another Good Non-fiction Book To Read

Spring is the beginning of baseball season and I decided to read Roger Kahn's book, The Boys of Summer which as the cover states is "the classic narrative of growing up within shouting distance of Ebbets Field, covering the Jackie Robinson Dodgers, and what's happened to everybody since." I knew I would like this book as soon as I looked at the index. Here were the names of a lot of the ball players my three brothers, Paul, Carl and Harold would talk about with my father in the fifties and sixties: Red Barber, Roy Campanella, Joe DiMaggio, Leo Durocher, Gil Hodges, Sandy Koufax, Mickey Mantle, Pee Wee Reese, Branch Rickey, Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider and Casey Stengel. Just reading these names brings back memories of baseball games behind our house on the farm.
This book includes in most chapters an interesting quote. Here's one Roger Kahn used for the end of the Interlude between Book I and Book II that i really like:
Did I ever dream
I should pass this way again
As an old man?
I have lived such a long time---
Nakayama of the Night.
written by Saigyo in Japan over 1000 years ago
Of course the book's title, The Boys of Summer, comes from the writing of Dylan Thomas:
I see the boys of summer in their ruin
Lay the gold tithings barren,
Setting no store by harvest, freeze the soils.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Great Book About The Buckleys

A Great Book About The Buckleys

In April I read this memoir about William Buckley's family. William Buckley was the publisher of the National Review and a staunch conservative republican. He came from a family of twelve children. His mother was from New Orleans and was German. His father was Irish Catholic who lived for some time in Mexico while searching for oil. This memoir is written by the youngest Buckley son, Reid Buckley who creates this memoir while he and most of his siblings are either in their 80's or already deceased. I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir which covers all of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century. It is like a trip down memory lane.
I laughed myself silly when I read Reid's version of what happened one time to his mother and favorite aunt when they went to confession at St. Patricks Cathedral in New York City. His mother got a penance of 1000 Our Fathers and his aunt got a penance of 1000 Hail Marys. Reid states in the book that both ladies were already in their 80's and had probably not committed a sin in over twenty years but still went to confession all the time. Reid goes on to tell how the ladies contacted another priest at St. Patricks to find out why they each got such a large penance. Well, as Reid so eloquently relates in the book when the second priest goes to the confessional he discovers that a drunk Irish lay person has snuck into the confessional booth to hear confessions and dole out penances. What a funny story.
Sadly William Buckley died just when his brother's memoir was about to be published. I think a lot of you would enjoy reading this book.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Good News-June Closing On Jeanine's Condo

Good News
June Closing On Jeanine's Condo
The Back Balcony Is Completed.
See Above and Below.

The Kitchen Cabinets Are Installed As Well As The Granite Countertops.
Just Need The Appliances.

The Water Is On.

The Lights Are On.

All The Molding Is Installed.

The Wood Laminate Floors Are Down.
The Ceramic Tile Is Down.

The Carpeting Is In The Three Bedrooms and Loft and On The Stairs.

The Two Bathrooms Have Tubs, Wall Tiles And Hardware.

The Sinks Are In And Working.

The Potties In The Bathrooms and PowderRoom Are Installed.
(That's Very Important!)

The One Car Garage Is Cleaned Out

The Landscaping Is Going In Now.
See Above and Below.
Hurrah, The Condo Is Almost Ready!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Phil and Mary's Visit

This past Friday we had company. Phil and Mary Davis from Gettysburg, PA drove down #15 to visit us. After the house tour, lunch and Jack Aidan's water performance we took Phil and Mary out to visit some wineries. These pics were taken at Barrel Oak Winery in Fauquier County. It is straight west of us in the little town of Delaplane where Willard Scott of NBC fame has a home. In the pic above Mary, Phil and Jack are sampling some white wines while I am taking their picture with my camera.
A nice lady in a yellow pantsuit who told me that she was from Venice offered to take a picture of the four of us with my camera so I let her do so. (Hmmmmm Venice,Italy or Venice, LA where the oil spill is being monitored? I forgot to ask her.)
Anyway we all smiled and said "Cheese". Phil and Jack were single army auditors in Frankfurt, Germany. When Jack and I tied the knot in 1974 Phil gave me a strong scotch and water before the ceremony to calm my nerves. He was also my wedding chauffeur to the army chapel and Jack and my chauffeur to the officer's club in Frankfurt for the wedding reception. Phil drove us in his Volvo. Phil found Mary after he returned from Germany. Mary also worked as an auditor for army audit for four years. She worked in the eastern district under Mike DiFulgo.

Mary Davis only drinks white wine so when we started sampling the red wines Mary started exploring the two story winery. Look at these beautiful roses that decorated one of the tables.

I just had to point out to Mary that these dips and jellies by Robert Rothchild are from Urbana, Ohio which is not too far from Russia, Ohio.
Another pic of Jack, Phil and Mary at the bar of the winery.

Now look below.This winery likes dogs. You may bring your dogs as long as they are on a leash. Here the man behind the counter is refilling the dogs' water bowl. How nice. Phil liked this idea. Phil has two Labrador retrievers and I could just see the wheels turning in Phil's head---like, hmmmmm this would be a good place for my dogs to drink water while I drink wine.
Also, take note of the bar that the owners made themselves for this winery. They used old barn siding and the staves from old wine barrels. The top of the bar is a sheet of steel that the owners took a sanding device to in order to create beautiful circles in the steel. The resulting steel top looks pretty and feels nice and is easy to wipe down.
Outside on the large patio that overlooks the blue ridge mountains I found this darling puppy dog. By the way, Barrel Oak decorates some of its wine bottles with paw prints and they have a "bow red wine" and a "bow white wine."

Today's Flowers (My First Posting This Year on Today's Flowers)

Today's Flowers
(My First Posting This Year on Today's Flowers)
My backyard with American wisteria, red knockout roses, yellow creeping Jenny and lavender cat mint.
Jackson Perkins white climbing roses.

Dead nettle, Latin name is lamium

Hydrangea buds
Sedum in bloom

Blue cornflower and iris stalks under a red knockout rose bush

Hosta, blue hollies, cat mint, sedums, red knockout rose bush and the buds of astilbe plants about to blossom in my birdfeeder flower bed.
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Ben Brzielke, A Bird Expert, Part II

Ben Brzielke, a bird expert here in Virginia told us that we need to clean out our dirty used bluebird birdhouses about two or three weeks after the baby birds have flown away from the nest. You need to do this because the baby bluebird nursery is a mess. Much like a human nursery that isn't picked up and cleaned. You can find food droppings, bird droppings,mites, tics, maggots, etc. So you need to scrub it down with dish soap and water. Then rinse with plain water from the garden hose.Let the door open for awhile so that the birdhouse dries out completely and doesn't get moldy. If you do that at the end of the nursery cycle, you can attract up to three sets of bluebirds to your birdhouse in one spring/summer season. Ben says attracting birds to your yard is hard work but the enjoyment the birds give you makes the efforts worthwhile.

Ben's favorite bird is the North Carolina wren who he says is as active as a Jack Russell terrier. They are always bouncing around doing something. Ben is intrigued by the activity of swallows too. Sometimes swallows will get mites and ticks on their bodies. When that happens they look for an anthill and roll in the dirt. When this happens the ants emit a chemical that clings to the swallows feathers and kills the mites and ticks. Isn't nature fascinating! By the way, I now know why I have lots of swallows. We have a big anthill underneath our pink dogwood tree in the far corner of our lot.

Here's three more bird tidbits we learned from Ben. First, the aggressive blue jay loves to plant acorns. He will never live long enough to see a tall tree grow from an acorn but he keeps on planting the acorns and doing God's work. Second, male chimney swifts are very devoted to the females sitting on the eggs. They will search for shiny objects and present these "gift" to their hardworking and long suffering mates sitting on the eggs to keep them warm. Third, hummingbirds when they arrive in your yard after their migration from the south are very, very thin. They have lost ounces during that long flight northward so they need protein to help gain back the weight that they lost. That is why they may not frequent your hummingbird feeder very much in the month of May. They need protein to gain weight so they are searching for and eating very tiny worms and bugs that have that protein. Later in June they will enjoy coming to your hummingbird feeder that has sugar water instead of protein ladened bugs and worms.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Ben Brzielke, A Bird Expert

This past Wednesday the Manassas chapter of NARFE held its monthly meeting and Jack and I attended to hear Ben Brzielke speak about attracting birds to your property. Ben Brzielke who was born in Germany but who now lives near Waterford, Virginia shared some of his bird knowledge with us. For example, did you know that starlings are not a native American bird? In the 1930's a Shakespearean festival was held up in New York state and for this event hundreds of starlings were imported to the United States from England. So American starlings are actually English birds.

Ben also knows a lot about other wildlife besides birds. For example, did you know that if you build a brand new pond and don't add fish or frogs to it, you will still eventually end up with fish and frogs? Canadian geese and ducks who can fly from one pond to another will get fish eggs and frog eggs caught on their webbed feet and when they then fly and land on a brand new pond they deposit the eggs from their webbed feet. Whala-----there you have the eggs that will hatch and give you fish and frogs in your new pond.

Do you know which gender of bird will return first to your yard? It is the male. He scouts the area in March and when he finds a suitable territory for mating and starting a family he then goes back and brings the female to the suitable territory in April. In April there is lots of mating and nest building. In May the eggs appear in the nest and then the baby birds.

In these three photos above Ben is holding up a store bought birdhouse. Ben says that when you buy a birdhouse look for one that has a deep bottom underneath the bird hole in the box. That way predators cannot reach in to harm the eggs. The predators could be a raccoon, a snake or another bird. Male house wrens can have a harem of three females so they need three houses or nests so they will go to a birdhouse that already has a nest with eggs and peck holes in the eggs to kill the babies and to drive the adults away. Then the house wrens will build their nest on top of the old nest with the damaged eggs. Ben told us that he has even seen them build a nest on top of a dead baby bird. Ben who lives on a large farm says I've seen it all over the years! Amazing!
Tomorrow I give you Ben's tips for cleaning out your birdhouse and why you should do it. Plus he told us something I never knew about hummingbirds. I'll share that with all of you tomorrow. In the meantime go enjoy the birds in your own backyard.