Thursday, April 28, 2005

Thursday Three

Thursday Three Courtesy of Possumblog
1. What does your name mean?any connection to what you do or who you are?

My maiden name was Bishop. At one time I thought it was funny to tell strangers that my father was a Methodist Bishop...until this real cute guy said, "I'm a PK too." My given name, Martha, means lady. I hope it is connected to what I do and who I am.

2. Any problems with your name? Do you wish it (either your surname or given name) was changed ?
No problems now, but I hated the name Martha when I was an adolescent. I thought it sounded like someone's great aunt, who was both an old maid and a schoolteacher.

3. Were you named for someone? If so, whom?
No and that was one reason I was sure that I was not loved as much as my four siblings. All of them are named for someone and I got stuck with my name because my father thought it was beautiful.

Bonus Questions -4. Do you go by your first name, middle name, shortened form--(ex. Jim for James)--or by some made-up nickname?
I go by my first name now. In Junior High, I went by Marty for a while but that faded out in high school. My married name is Ferguson, so almost all of them are called Fergie by someone or other.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Orange Almond Cake

Tort Orzechowy
The picture and description of Nina's birthday cake, over on The Other Side of the Ocean, was so tempting that I asked her for the recipe. I made it last night and now have another favorite recipe.

According to Nina, Tort Orzechowy is literally nut cake. It is "infused with tons of orange juice to keep it moist." She substituted almonds for walnuts, which are ground and added with the flour mixture. She also indicated that Poles like buttercream frosting but she shared a recipe for a bittersweet chocolate frosting that she uses.

When I went shopping I wrote down the ingredients I needed, but not the amounts. I bought two 4 oz. bars of Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate and imagine my surprise when the frosting called for 16 ounces! This cake is literally coated with ONE POUND of chocolate.

Snow Tulips Posted by Hello

Crabapple blossoms in the snow Posted by Hello


Ron told me a story about a friend of his who took his girlfriend to the movies. When his friend tried to put his arm around the girl, he accidentally hit her in the face. Ron thought this was very funny. "Doesn't he know he is suppose to yawn and then put his arm around the girl as he brings his arms down?"

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Digital Camera

Digital Camera
I'm having a hard time deciding what to buy for my first digital camera. I really want a digital SLR, but it blows my camera budget. Of those within my budget, I haven't found a camera yet that meets my criteria. The Canon Powershot S1 IS comes close, but it only stores in Jpeg and I'd like more megapixels. I'm also considering the Olympus 765, but don't like the battery and it appears there's no image stabilization. It has more macro capabilities than the Canon though. So I've been looking about six months and still using my old SLR camera. If there are any camera geeks reading this, have an opinion?

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

What was he thinking?

What was he thinking?
Ricky has had a rough week. So have his parents. Why can't that boy think before he acts? It has come to the point that when the phone rings, Steve and I look at each other, willing the other one to answer it. He had both an in-school and before-school detention last week for responding inappropriately when his act of kindness to a girl was cruelly rebuffed. Tonight the bus driver called and he has been suspended for two days from the bus and will have to ride in the front seat the rest of the school year for throwing a soft drink bottle out the window. I can't believe he did that. I was appalled at littering but the driver was more concerned that there were two cars following the bus and the bottle could have hit them. What was he thinking? Oh, he wasn't.

He did not make any excuses and sobbed his remorse into his pillow until he fell asleep. I have to wake him now or he won't go to bed tonight. He already lost access to electronics. What now?

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Why Blog?

Why Blog?
Over the years, I've read several essays on why someone blogs. The conclusion was usually fame (not fortune); in other words, increase traffic, move up the ecosystem, become a big dog in the blogosphere (or big blog in the dogosphere). Of course, most of these essays were written by people who had lots of readers. I knew this reason wasn't true for me, but I couldn't determine what motivated me to post for three years. Now I know.

I blogged for a specific audience and that audience was personified by my mother. Now these essays usually made fun of bloggers who were only read by their mother. That is rather sad, from my perspective as a mother who hopes her sons will honor her and as a daughter who had a mother worthy of honor.

Now that Mom is no longer waiting for my next post (and reminding me when it had been a while), I'm not posting as often. Oh sure, I put up some pictures, but this hasn't been a photoblog. I will compose posts in my head during my day, but never get around to writing it. Perhaps it is still part of the grieving process when it is hard to do anything that isn't absolutely required (pay taxes, pay bills, feed family, and always laundry). Perhaps it is the increased activity of a free lance job and working on Mom's apartment. Perhaps it is spring fever. Perhaps I need to put another face to my audience.

By the way, I'm a flippery fish, one step ahead of the slimy mollusks but below crawly amphibians.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

How do you make an outhouse inviting? Paint the door purple and plant flowers around it. Hubby let twins (then seven) pick out the paint for The Property outhouse door and picnic tables.  Posted by Hello

Daffodils by the kayak/canoe landing at The Property. I planted about 200 bulbs during the Bishop Fall River Party while the rest of the family (except Mom, my sister and infant niece) were shooting at The Highlands. Posted by Hello

Trout lilies carpet the beech woods next to the river at the Highlands. These should be blooming in about a week. Posted by Hello

Highlands bud. The Highlands is our tree farm in Dakalb County. Posted by Hello

A sample of the daffofils in the woods in front of our house. Posted by Hello

Monday, April 11, 2005

Woodcock eggs the moment after the mother flew off the nest faking a broken wing.  Posted by Hello

Saturday, April 09, 2005

American Woodcock

Timberdoodle Scare
As I was scouring our woods for the invasive (and sometimes evasive) garlic mustard (about which I posted 4 times last spring), I was startled by a Timberdoodle taking flight. I looked down where it flew from and eventually discovered the nest resting on a mound of moss with four shiny, brown spotted eggs.

So what looks like a shore bird (three inch bill) but nests on the ground in an emerging second-growth forest? Sometimes it is difficult to key out a bird, but with the long beak, unusual flight profile and ground nest with unusual eggs, this one was easy.

The more common term for Timberdoodle is American Woodcock. As I typed this, I realized that the same jokes could be made about both names. An internet search produced other common names: bog sucker, bog or wood snipe, and woody. I also learned that its brain actually lies upside down in its skull and its ears are in front of its eyes.

I also found a nest of garter snakes. They were wrapped around each other and I counted four heads. I thought it was some type of perverted reptilian activity or a Medusa in the making but hubby said they were keeping warm.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Toadapalooza 2005

My friend Renee sent this picture which she took "a few minutes ago of a male toad arriving on the scene of Toadapalooza 2005, apparently wondering how to get through the blue heron screen. When you only get to party once a year, it doesn't pay to arrive fashionably late!" Every year she sends pictoral updates of the annual toad mating ritual in her garden pond. Posted by Hello

Monday, April 04, 2005

Fungus or Algae?

Fungus or Algae?
As a Master Garden volunteer, I answer horticultural requests phoned into the local extension office. I worked the phones today. There is usually a trend in the questions depending on the time of year. Now the questions are moles, voles, when to plant and moss. One man complained that he had a fungus or algae in his lawn. Want to bet it was moss? He's bringing in a sample.


13 Years
My first daffodils are blooming! They are in a zone 6 microclimate in my zone 5 garden. This bed faces southeast and is next to the pond so it gets reflected heat from the water. Most of the other daffodils just have fat buds.

The crocus are nearly gone, but in 1992 they were in full bloom on this date.

I've been pulling garlic mustard again. Our neighbor works for Nature Conservancy and is testing a biological agent that is suppose to attack only garlic mustard. That would be nice but I'm leery of such things as so many introduced items are now pests. I'll keep trying to hand dig the mustard so they don't have time to seed.

It is spring break for the boys. Ricky left this morning for a four day trip to Red River Gorge in eastern Kentucky with my youngest brother. Brother is part of the Fort Wayne Fire Rescue squad and they have an annual wilderness camp with rappelling, rock climbing and caving. This is the third year for Ricky to join them in the adventure. I went the first year (the only woman) and still remember the night hike to Chimney Rock where one man played the bagpipes that echoed across the valley. It was the most beautiful rendition I've heard of Amazing Grace. There is a ginger-infused, caffeinated ginger ale sold only in Kentucky named Ale81, but called A Late One. We instructed Ricky to bring us back a few bottles.

Ron has to attend baseball practice at the high school all week, but has managed to talk his grandfather into taking him to see a Detroit Tigers game. This is the favorite team of both.

And thirteen years ago today, on a beautiful spring day, I married the most wonderful man.