Archive | March, 2009

First Lacewing of the year

31 Mar

Unfortunately for it, there are no aphids to eat in the house.

birthday-lacewingHeavens, this photo makes it look monstrous.  The insect is only about 1/4 inch long in real life.

Birthday Notes

30 Mar

Last Sunday I drove home and arrived just in time to go with my folks and Aunt Jane to Aunt Janice’s home for a March/April birthdays lunch.  Brother Charles  and nephew Joshua were also able to come.birthday-dinner

Friday night Angela came for a visit and she, Jay and I played a game of hearts before she drove home.

Saturday evening and Sunday morning the children’s play was performed at church: “Malice in the Palace”, a version of the Purim play about Esther.  Isabelle was Zaresh, Hamen’s wicked silly wife.


It was a small role, but had funny lines: “Oh, my Persian peanut…” , “Yes, my succulent fig.”  The cat’s eye glasses helped a lot.  They were from Suzanne’s birthday party a few months ago.

After church Rita and David came for buckwheat pancakes and a walk in the woods to look for salamanders.  We found a total of twelve, of three species.

Isabelle and I went to her quartet where we worked on the third movement of the Mozart piece–the Rondo.  Syncopation is a difficult concept.

Within the 24 hours from Saturday to Sunday, the grass started greening up. I pulled the straw from off the Hellebores and they perked up.  There are lots of buds. And it was in the 50’s yesterday, which is why we looked for the salamanders.  But we woke up this morning to snow on the ground.  It stayed throughout today on the hills.

This morning I finished reading “Dandelion Fire ” aloud to Isabelle.  What a good book.

For birthday supper we had a green mixed salad with multicolored sweet peppers and a French hard cheese; scallops baked in seasoned light cream, butter and Marsala; a spinach, onion and cheese quiche; and boughten dessert.

And then, after supper, Isaac spied a lacewing on the table.  Jay surmises it hatched on the forsythia or pussy willows.  He will take it to work and release it into a greenhouse there, where it can find some aphids to eat since it is a bit early to find them in the wild here.

Owl Pellets

28 Mar

On a recent walk we came on two batches of regurgitated owl leftovers.  Isabelle brought two of the three pellets home and dissected them.  They were on the woods’ edge in two different locations.  This morning Hawthorne found a couple more in the woods and taste tested them.  Yuck.

owlpelletEach pellet had bones and skulls of several small rodents and birds.


In Bloom in the Bathroom

27 Mar

27-march09Unlike others further south and west of us, who are already planting and have greens  up, this is the best we have managed: pushing the pussywillows and forcing the forsythia.

But my, they are glorious!

Today is the first day it has gotten near 60.  And sunny.

Barth Mapes

26 Mar

There was one more thing Jay and I did on the first day of Spring.We met downtown and attended the memorial service for an old friend, Mr. Barth Mapes.
Jay grew up and is good friends with his son.  Jay remembers
especially a 9-day Boy Scout camping trip to the wilds of Maine on a large lake
where food was strictly rationed and they paddled canoes most of every day.
His father and Barth both went; Jay in a canoe with his father, Barth Jr. in a canoe with his.  The guys brought the canoes together, the fathers in the stern paddling and steering, and the boys, each using a paddle as a mast, somehow attached a ground tarp between the two paddles, between the two canoes so the four of them could sail rather than paddle.
For at least a while.

It is a wonder to Jay that Mr. Mapes and his father would have, and could have taken so much time from work to go on a trip with their sons.  Both men had jobs with high levels of responsibility related to the running of agriculture and animal science, respectively, at Cornell.

Mr. Mapes was very kind to me as a graduate student and later when I ran a research lab.  He and Mrs. Mapes were also kind to the two of us after we were married, including us in family dinners, allowing us to use their family’s cottage in Canada for a vacation.

El Sistema

22 Mar

Jeni sent me a link that I have only just now been able to watch.  The first video is a talk by Jose Abreu, a Venezuelan who had a Suzuki-like vision for the children and music  in Venezuela thirty years ago, about what came of that vision.

The second link is to a performance by one of the leading youth orchestras in Venezuela conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, whcame up through Abreu’s program and is now the conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

I wish there were more discussion of how El Sistema functions, and how it compares and contrasts with the Suzuki system.

Celebrating Spring

22 Mar

Hawthorne celebrated the first day of spring by bringing home the year’s first tick attached to his head.

Isabelle gave her 4-H recitation on “Horse Poetry” and did well enough to be one of our county’s representatives to the district, even though she forgot part of her spiel.  She also made a double batch of pancake batter from scratch for the pancake dinner she went to in the evening.  And came home complaining about the taste of those pancakes.  Upon review, it seems she used baking soda instead of baking powder in the recipe.

Isaac went to work for a few hours at Target; the first time in a few weeks since the school musical has been absorbing his time and energy.

Jay had to work.

And me?  I was carting people, doing laundry, and finished a book–a new thriller which was not too bad, but not good enough to talk about here.

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