Thursday, May 31, 2007


I reported my altitude to the control tower as I climbed through 15,000 feet. The tower guys had been curious about the progress of my flight experiment.

I was alone (with a portable bottle of oxygen) in a Cessna 150; a small training airplane with a 100 horsepower engine.

I heard a guy in a spiffy Beechcraft plane, far below, ask the tower, “How high is he going?” “As high as it will go,” they told him.

At 17,000 feet my indicated airspeed had dwindled to zero, my rate of climb instrument was reading below horizontal and I was timing my climb by the clock. Ice was forming on the windshield—on that August day.

Finally, at 17,140 feet, my experiment concluded itself with a gentle stall and the nose of the plane pitched down in compliance with the law of gravity.

This isn’t as daring as it may sound. The engine doesn’t stall; the wings do. That simply means they are no longer going through the air at sufficient speed to lift the weight of the airplane.

Once the nose pitches down, speed increases and presto! You are flying once again.

As I drifted in my long descent, periodically adding a burst of power to keep the engine warm, I smiled contentedly.

This well used little trainer had bested the factory’s advertised, maximum ceiling by several thousand feet.

I hoped the guy in the fancy Beechcraft knew that.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Largemouth Bass fishing was a popular activity at Sunday’s Wolf family gathering.

In the picture to the right nine year old Makenna Wolf, visiting from Altoona, PA, demonstrates her concentration by always keeping her eye on her cast—well sort’ a.

In the middle picture son Brian helps her display one of the largest of her dozen catches during her visit.

In the next to the top picture son Craig, visiting from the Chicago area, shares a look at another nice bass. Grandson Dane was by far the champion of the event’s fishing competition; he caught over 50 fish.

Finally, above, this large Snapping Turtle delighted folks with its appearance. It came up the face of the dam and is shown doing the turtle version of a sprint toward the safety of the water.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Many of the Wolf family’s finest gathered at my Bellville home Sunday, May 27th for their 5th Annual Ohio reunion. In the front row from left are: Lex Carkido, Ty (the Greyhound), Brittany Wolf, Dane Wolf, Nat Wolf, Makenna Wolf and, Savannah Baker.

Middle from left are: Judy Wolf, Kathy Wolf, Bill and Joyce Olinger (in hat), Janet Wolf, Ron and Marilyn Wolf (in maroon shirt), Tim Wolf and Lindsey Shaw.

Back from left are: Terry Wolf, Craig Wolf, Brian Wolf, Robert Wolf, Neil Wolf (holding son Lucas), Dennis Wolf and Chad Wolf (holding daughter Taylor).

Lex is Brittany’s boyfriend and Ty is her dog. Nat, the matriarch of the picture was the wife of the late John C. Wolf and Savannah is Neil’s stepdaughter. Joyce Olinger is Kathy’s Mom and Lindsey Shaw is Chad’s girlfriend.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Sunday, May 27, 2007



Actually this is the anglicized version of this city’s name which, in French, is Tombouctou in the country of Mali. As you can see in the illustration it is located in the southwestern Sahara Desert area on the continent of Africa.

We grew up knowing it pronounced Tim Buck Too; meaning something like --at the far end of the earth.

It was once the intellectual and spiritual center for the propagation of Islam through Africa in the 15 and 16th centuries. Today it is an impoverished town of about 32,000 population; yet, because of its reputation it remains somewhat of a tourist attraction.

The city still retains its image of being mysterious or mythical. A recent British poll found 34% of the young people there did not believe the town even existed while the other 66% considered it “a mythical place”.

More here if you are really curious:

Saturday, May 26, 2007

TWO LITTLE VISITORS: Cousin Bob Wolf, wife Janet and grand daughter Makenna (9) are visiting over the Memorial Day Holiday and while Makenna and I were exploring the trails we discovered this baby Painted Turtle. It was kind enough to pose for this picture, after Makenna gave it a cooling dip in the pond--and, got a handful of tadpoles in the process.

We then put the little turtle in some cover so it could go safely on its way.

We regarded this episode as quite a coincidence since the blog featured an item on a grown-up Painted Turtle just yesterday.


Do not attempt to deal with a pesky Multi-flora Rose Bush while dressed in sandals, cut-offs and a tee shirt.

Each of Murphy’s Laws numbered from 39 to 104 will conspire to make your body bleed.

Friday, May 25, 2007


Chrysemys picta marginata

If you look carefully you can see why the turtle in the photo has “Painted” in its name. The deep green carapace (shell) is brightly patterned with red and black along the underside of the marginal plates; looking as if it has been hand painted.

These turtles are particularly fond of basking and often many can be seen grouped together on floating logs around the pond in warm weather.

There are several subspecies of painted turtles in the US, but only the midland variety occurs in Ohio. Like most highly aquatic turtles, they usually will not swallow food unless they are at or beneath the surface of the water.

With the coming of winter, midland painted turtles seek deep water, and burrow into the mud or debris at the bottom. The small amount of oxygen they need is absorbed from the water through the inner lining of the mouth and cloaca (end of the digestive tract).

Periodically I will see a snapping turtle as well, but they are far less common sightings.

I think I find that comforting.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


I must have said *expletive deleted* dozens of times recently when I was shoveling gravel out of my lawn tractor trailer. I am confident it was designed by some engineer wannabe who has never done a lick of physical work with a shovel in his life.

The designer left the heads of the bolts that fasten the body of the little trailer to its chassis stick up above the floor.

Consequently, nearly every time you drive your shovel under the load you are rewarded with a resounding CLANG when the tip of the shovel slams into one of the bolt heads.

Now I ask you, how hard could it be to stamp the trailer bottom with a die that sinks the heads of flat head bolts slightly below the bottom surface of the trailer.

Bingo! Then, you can shovel all day without the brain jarring episodes from this poor excuse of a product design.

And, I have the same situation with a wheel barrow from the same vendor. It’s a little less infuriating simply because it has fewer bolts.

I am reluctant to mention where I bought this stuff but I hope every member of Sears’ product approval team is someday condemned to doing their own maintenance work with one of these pieces of junk they have foisted upon a trusting public.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


If you work at it a little bit you can see four planets in the current night sky. Beginning about dark that dazzling object high in the west is the planet Venus. If at the same time you have a clear view of the western horizon, the bright object just a bit north of west and just above the horizon is the planet Mercury.

Wednesday night yet, Saturn will be the brightest object just a bit northwest of the Moon. In fact, all four of these celestial bodies will be in a fairly straight line on a diagonal from nearly overhead to the northwest.

Then, about an hour later the planet Jupiter will climb above the southeastern horizon. It will be the brightest object, by far, in that celestial neighborhood.

I did the moon picture Tuesday evening with a digital, single lens reflex camera attached to my Meade ETX 90 EC telescope. But, even with a pair of 10 x 50 binoculars you can see a nice view of the moon’s craters.

With those same binoculars you can see as many as four of Jupiter’s moons. Draw a sketch of the planet including those tiny bright things you see close by. Then look again the next clear night and compare what you see then with your sketch. Jupiter will be right back in the same place in your sky but the moons will have moved.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


I’ve been grappling with dry and itchy skin lately. My Veteran’s Administration doctor recommended an over-the-counter product called Aveeno.

Produced by Johnson and Johnson it is described as “Skin relief moisturizing cream”.

And, it does just that. Shortly after lathering the cream into the affected area I experience night-long relief from the pesky itching. By morning the skin retains a soft, naturally elastic feel.

It’s refreshing to discover a product that performs as advertised.


Napoleon’s Pyramids by William Dietrich

Done in a tongue-in-cheek style the book set in the late 1700s traces Napoleon Bonaparte’s capture of Egypt with his French fleet and search for Egyptian antiquities which could provide answers to immortality. Some reviewers said, “...accurate historical fact...seething with action, adventure and passion...”

Well, at least some of it was.

Monday, May 21, 2007


North Korea

This impoverished dictator-run enigma of a country has been in the news off and on since the Korean War in the 50s.
It is located directly between Japan and mainland China in the Western Pacific.

Remember the capture of the US Navy ship Pueblo in 1968. While the crew was released after 11 months of captivity, the ship remains on public display in their capital Pyongyang to this day.

Continuing current news has involved their efforts to become a nuclear power and periodic missile test launches (usually threatening Japan); all the while their civilian population is routinely reported to be on the verge of starvation.

Dictator Kim Jong II also has presided over an economy in shambles and a regime known for its human rights abuses.

Despite its warts, God bless the USA.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Mother Nature’s artistry is candy for the eye as she celebrates with this tapestry of an early evening on the pond.


Momma Wood Duck scampered across the pond with her new brood of chicks in tow Saturday; May 19th; the first of her breed this season. The Woodies are very skittish, especially with a new family to protect.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Saturday, May 12th a pair of Canada Geese was again acting as if they were going to attempt a re-nesting on the island. Then, two more adult pair showed up together, each with chicks; one pair with five and the other with four. Remember, my missing pair had five to begin with. Mysterious.

I certainly hope they all do not try to make this their summer home. That could get squishy.

Later in the afternoon a Wild Turkey gobble-strolled his way along the driveway, seeming to pay close attention to the view of the pond. Then he simply meandered into the south woods and went on his way.

Mrs. Muskrat also is busy acting like she is in a parenting mood. That’s not good. They are burrowing, air breathing mammals, and if left uncontrolled, can ultimately wreck an earthen dam. In fact, numerous places around the pond already show cave-in type damage on the banks where they have gotten established before I could discourage their presence.

They tunnel a burrow entrance in the bank below the water surface then continue their tunnel slanted vertically until they get well above the water line—where they can breathe in their den and be quite safe. That’s actually a fairly clever design.

Eviction tools include 1) aggressive trapping, and 2) 20 gauge buckshot.

May 18th; a lone pair of Canada Geese is present today honking loudly as the rising sun melts the dancing tendrils of mist over the pond. The curiosity of the whereabouts of the original chicks continues.

Meanwhile a squadron of Barn Swallows flies a tireless orbit of random shapes over the pond, occasionally splashing the still water for a drink or zooming acrobatically to capture yet another insect breakfast. They are known to mate while in flight and will travel 600 miles daily while gathering food for their young.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Confederate Memorial: Cousin Brad Crownover respects the memorial statue honoring the soldiers who died while in captivity at the Union Civil War prison compound near Marblehead, OH.


Two hundred sixty seven Confederate soldiers are buried on Johnson’s Island near Marblehead, OH. The dedicated memorial is described as Ohio’s most significant Civil War site.

The well maintained burial plot is all that remains from a 16.5 acre, prison compound that was designed to house 3,000 POWs and a garrison of 1,000 Union soldiers.

In 1861 Union officials discovered the need for prisoner of war facilities and Johnson’s Island was one site selected because Lake Erie protected it from raids by Confederate sympathizers in Canada and it was far removed from the Confederate states.

The prison operated 40 months during the Civil War and confined a total of approximately 10,000 captured Confederate soldiers; mostly officers in its later history. The population varied throughout the war due to prisoner exchanges. Prisoners arriving after the battle at Gettysburg were held there as long as 18 months.

Prisoners were treated “fairly well” until war officials learned of the treatment of Union soldiers by the Confederates at such places as Andersonville. Thereafter, both rations and privileges were sharply reduced. Only one prisoner, however, was ever killed by guards for disobedience of camp rules.

Even with these restrictions prisoners were often eating better than their colleagues still fighting for the Confederacy.

Only 12 prisoners were known to have escaped; mostly by the deception of dressing in clothing similar to the guards and walking across the ice to Sandusky or Marblehead.

Fifteen Confederate general officers ultimately were held in the prison. One of them worked on a massive escape plot but could not participate because he had lost a leg at Gettysburg. That plot was foiled when a Union warship with 14 cannon steamed into Sandusky Bay and anchored near the island.

The prison depot was closed at the end of the war in 1865. None of the buildings remain and most of the site has been built over by the lavish homes of today’s island residents.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


In the top photo my genial host Brad Crownover is shown enjoying a beverage on his front patio, overlooking the channel and private mooring facilities for homeowners in Lakeside, OH. My cousins by marriage, Brad and Karen live very close to the East Harbor State Park campground where I recently flopped for a two night visit, which itself, is very close to the Bass Islands, the tourist mecca of the area.

Living in this state of perpetual, nautical ambiance is a lifestyle that would be very easy to get used to.

My tiny camper (below) peeks its nose out between a pair of spiffy motor home coaches at the campground. My temporary neighbors, each a couple with a passion for bicycling, were from Athens, OH (foreground) and, full-time RVers from a small Alabama town (black coach in the rear).

Tomorrow we conclude items of this camping outing with a look at a Civil War era cemetery on Johnson’s Island near Marblehead, OH.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


It is the oldest lighthouse in continuous operation on the Great Lakes. It has operated since 1822.

In 1819 the 15th US Congress appropriated $5,000 for its construction at the entrance to Sandusky Bay at the tip of the Marblehead peninsula. The 50 foot structure was built of native limestone on a base 25 feet in diameter. The two foot thick walls narrow to 12 feet across at the top. At the turn of the century 15 more feet were added to its height.

The original light came from the wicks of 13 whale oil lamps with metal reflectors. This was upgraded in 1858 to a kerosene lantern magnified by a Fresnel lens.

In the early 1900s a clock-like mechanism was installed to rotate the light. The lighthouse keeper had to crank the weights of this system every three hours during the night to keep the lantern turning.

Electricity arrived in 1923 dramatically increasing the candlepower of the beacon.

A total of only 15 lighthouse keepers served in that capacity until the US Coast Guard assumed responsibility for the light in 1946. The beacon was fully automated in 1958. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has owned the facility since 1998 but the USCG continues to operate and maintain the beacon.

Today’s 300 mm lens projects a green signal that flashes every six seconds and is visible for 11 nautical miles.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Monday Morning: My camping visit with cousins Brad and Karen Crownover continues:

-- Brad and I stood on the beach at Marsh Harbor and could see the cooling towers at the power plant north of Monroe, MI—maybe the top half that is. I pointed this phenomenon out to Brad as it occurred to me; we were looking some 25 miles or so NW across very clear skies over Lake Erie and we were experiencing a view over the curvature of the earth.

--Later Brad skippered us on a tour through the West Harbor channel and across the lake to take a close-up look at Perry’ Monument in Put-in-Bay. His 27 foot fishing machine romped across the gentle swells of the lake ahead of the throaty harmony of its muscular 454 cubic inch engine--while swallowing a gallon of gas each mile.

--The East Harbor State Park is a jewel in the state’s system of camping and recreational facilities. It sprawls over 1831 acres and features 570 camp sites. I wound up sandwiched between friendly folks each frolicking in huge (by comparison) luxurious motor homes. And, I appreciated the sparsely populated facility, shuddering to think how this must look when at its maximum summer occupancy.

--This is the second and last of the inauguration runs with the new camper. With few exceptions it is performing flawlessly. Of course, those involve hot water and heat so a little tuning-up work remains before we launch on a more challenging trip.

No sweat. I never thought I would even be doing this at my age.

Monday, May 14, 2007


The waves slapped the beach in their eternal cadence and the gulls squawked--as they always do.

Then I whispered by a protective goose and was past him on the bike before he knew I was coming. Ha. I chuckled at his double take while I rolled around the campground at sunrise.

Yup, yesterday the camper lazied its way to East Harbor State Park between Marblehead and Catawba Island for a gentle two-day visit laced with nautical ambiance. Brad and Karen Crownover live up here and it is their computer that is making this post possible.

Se ya later.

I can still hear the waves calling.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Like the pine cone picture published earlier, many of these are also found on the floor of the woods. Under perfect conditions (perfect meaning not forced open and the contents digested) it could produce an object a thousand times its size.

Of course, it is a close-up peek at a walnut shell that has been opened by the chisel-sharp teeth of a squirrel.

Squirrel teeth, by the way, grow constantly. In the average squirrel the incisors grow 6 inches per year. That growth is controlled by the animal’s constant chawing on nuts and tree branches.

Squirrels also store caches of food all around the woods so they have something to eat during our long winters. Fortunately, they forget where some of them are and those nuts can ultimately sprout and grow as part of our next generation of forests.

Publishers Note: The camper is headed for East Harbor State Park this afternoon for a two day romp. I think I’ll go along.

I am not sure about internet capability up there so if the blog post is late Monday and/or Tuesday, or, doesn’t show up at all those days; Sorry!

The publisher is on a brief sabbatical. Please stay tuned.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

It seems I have been quite busy lately. Therefore I decided to record a typical day’s activities to see just why I feel that way. Here is...


Up at 5:45 a.m. and posted to the blog, read online news and weather sources. Daily check of some 20 “favorite/bookmarked” sites. Wrote “Book report” blog item. Read and answered emails. Made bed. Fixed breakfast. Ran tank sweeper in kitchen and living room. Scrubbed and waxed entry linoleum. Took Max for a hike. Shot photo for blog. Made itinerary for today’s errands. Time 9 a.m.

Inventoried phone line supplies for laptop PC travel. Second coat of wax on entry floor. Cleaned and reinstalled hummer feeder. Processed blog photo through Photoshop. Read Ohio Wildlife magazine. Left for town, time 10:45 a.m.

Visited Mansfield computer supplier for cables necessary for internet hook-ups while camping then on to the Mansfield Moose Lodge for the monthly lunch with the MADGRADS group--did individual and group photos for the web page; 12 noon to 1:30.

Then, exchanged books at the Bellville library, stopped at the grocery, got material at the hardware store to clean exterior mildew, and, recycled plastics. Since it is primary election day I drove past the precinct to insure we had nothing on the ballot and returned home at 2:30 p.m.

Processed luncheon photos and posted them to the group’s web site. Verified insurance coverage with Cleveland VA office via phone. Prepared for testing remote computer use while visiting Brian this evening. Took Max for afternoon hike. Second call from the VA; more clarification on insurance. Left for Brian’s at 5 p.m.

Celebrated his birthday with dinner then spent several hours working on file management on their new PC and testing my laptop for remote dial-up and high speed service to insure it’s functioning when I am traveling. Fiddled with Kate’s laptop but managed only marginal WI-FI experience.

Came down my driveway about 9 p.m. and had to shoo about 150 toads away from the Jeep’s path so I could get to the house without squishing anyone.

And, of course, wrote this blog item as the day progressed.

Now I ask you, how in blazes did we fit 8 hours of work into a routine day like this?

Good night.

Friday, May 11, 2007


Periodically I have found myself helping folks with their photography challenges. So, what better way than this blog to share picture taking tips from time to time. Here is one of several ways you can improve your photos regardless of how simple your camera might be:

Get up closer to your main subject!

Often folks will pose their subject nicely—say on the porch of the house as you see my son Brian in the bottom picture. Then they back up to include the entire house in the photo, causing their people subject to virtually disappear.

In the top picture we have “Gotten up closer” simply by bringing our subject into the right foreground and letting the house be the background. Now, we can see both very nicely.

Stay tuned for the next installment.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


The above photo shows one of the largest “sea” shells I have found around the pond. It measures 6” wide, 3” front to back and 2 ¼” high. Likely its common name is a Freshwater Pearly Mussel. The animal which used to live in this shell probably was eaten by a hungry raccoon. In fact, it is not uncommon to find these shells scattered throughout the woods.

These critters are on the endangered list. In the 1850s a large pearl was found in an Ohio clam and that triggered a rush not unlike the California Gold Rush of that period. In the early 1900s factories in the US harvested an estimated 600 million live shells annually to make buttons.

Recently, while scrubbing mildew off the siding I was startled by motion at my left elbow. It was a Brown Bat trying to escape from his daytime roost behind a shutter. I stepped down from the ladder and he seemed to calm a bit, then went back to bed. I continued my task by giving his accommodations a wider berth.

Meanwhile, the Canada Goose family has been gone for a couple of days now. That is not unusual but it is always somewhat mysterious. Wherever they went, they had to walk. Then, recently I had a pair of adults show up, alone, and spend an hour or so in noisy, animated discussion before flying off again.

About the same time I saw Momma Merganser on the pond—with no chicks either. That made me wonder if the geese were my nesting pair and had lost their family as well.

By human standards, it’s a tough world out there.

On the other hand, in each of the above cases, some predator likely was grateful for its meal.

Finally, May 9th the first Indigo Bunting of the season arrived. It’s a male who looked like he was just molting into his “I’m a very handsome fellow” breeding plumage.

His attitude probably is fairly perky about now.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


When I was tiring of an interesting political career the opportunity to become treasurer of the local school district came along. I accepted the appointment, thinking it would be a rewarding way to finish my working career.

Long prior to that event I had become acquainted with the phrase “functional illiteracy” used to describe high school graduates with poor skills to be productive in society.

Naturally, while I was the head bean counter for the district, my work put me in close contact with the public education process. Here is the signature event I experienced during my four year tenure:

One night at a school board meeting, the board adopted a new policy. Basically, it said all students had to maintain passing grades in order to be eligible for extracurricular activities.

“That’s fine,” I thought as I called the roll; at the same time wondering why, for goodness sake, this had not been their policy all along.

Actually, I was astounded as the meaning of this sank in.

Then, at the very next board meeting, under pressure from the community and some faculty members, the board, rescinded its action of the previous month.

I suffered my new astonishment in silence—I was employed by these people.

In effect, they had just returned to an old policy which said, effectively, failure is acceptable.

"Functional illiteracy?" No wonder.

I made no effort to renew my treasurer’s license and accepted a career promotion to driving a truck into retirement.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

CHERRY BLOSSOM TIME. The wild cherry trees escaped the earlier frost damage and are now blooming merrily (top). Soon, the path along the riparian corridor below the dam will be awash with their pungent, sweet aroma. The tiny wildflowers, Bluets, also are strutting their miniature stuff in small patches, barely taller then their neighboring grass.

Monday, May 7, 2007


My first arrival of the season, a Ruby Throated Hummingbird, was sitting on its feeder support at dawn Sunday, May 6th.

It is always exciting to contemplate that tiny critter’s amazing migration; weighing a maximum of just under ¼ ounce, many of them flew 1,500 miles from their winter range in Central America—flying non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico in the process.

Some of its cousins will continue as far north as the middle of the southern tier of Canadian provinces for their summer breeding. Those more ambitious travelers might fly as much as 3,000 miles between their winter and summer ranges.

It is the only hummingbird that breeds in eastern North America, and, only the male has that marvelous, flashing red throat

Their wing beats an astonishing 53 times per second and they are the only birds than can hover and fly backward.

We tend to think of them as delicate creatures because of their tiny size, but, they will aggressively defend “their” feeder from any interloper brazen enough to attempt a sharing maneuver.

If you witness that behavior often, simply install an additional feeder or two 15 or 20 feet away from any others.

Welcome back my colorful little friend.
Photo/Cornell U

Sunday, May 6, 2007


The Grand Jury Process

The grand jury came to our legal process from old English law. It has withstood the tests of time.

In Ohio grand jurors are chosen much like the more common petit (local trial court) jurors and serve for fixed terms of multiple months. They hear evidence presented by the prosecuting attorney concerning alleged crimes and determine if it is sufficient to indict the defendant for trial.

They also are empowered to determine the evidence is insufficient and refuse to issue an indictment.

This is the good part of the process; protection from flawed prosecution.

However, when only the prosecution evidence is heard by the grand jury with no advocacy for the defendant, an overzealous prosecutor and a less-than-diligent grand jury can conspire to wrongly indict an innocent person.

While that defendant likely would be cleared in a trial with competent defense counsel, the damage of an innocent person suffering an indictment can be devastating.

The process must be monitored carefully and society must treasure the concept of innocence until convicted by trial; even then being mindful the system is not perfect.

--tw, former grand jury foreman.

Saturday, May 5, 2007


Momma Hooded Merganser, a small fish-eating duck, appeared today swimming across the pond with her new brood of seven newly-hatched ducklings.

They swam in a defensive cluster so tight a count was difficult.

I first saw her swim from the nest box area to the island, then to the mouth of the North inlet stream. Later, she zoomed across the pond and disappeared across the driveway into the weeds on the face of the dam.

This is the first successful nesting experience of Mergansers I have observed on the pond.
Photo/3 day old merganser duckling from the Smithsonian National Zoological Park

In the photo above the goose family with six day old chicks meanders by in one of their countless tours of the pond.

The chicks, as usual, are tightly clustered in defense against predation. If a big bass swims by the adults will join the cluster, sometimes attacking the water with their beaks to shoo away the always hungry fish.

Sometimes the fish wins.

It’s hard to visualize now, but, these chicks will be taking flying lessons by mid summer.

Meanwhile, their yellow-green fuzziness will slowly morph into a darker color as feathers begin to appear.

In a month or so they will be 1/2 the size of the adults taking on the appearance and mannerisms of gangly teenagers. About then their trademark black and white facial coloration will fade into view.

The bass, too, are in the family mood. Momma Largemouth Bass is swimming slow circles in the pond’s shallows; sweeping a dish shaped area with her fins which will serve as her “nest”. When she deposits her eggs her ever-present consort will fertilize them with his cloudy sperm, thus continuing their cycle of generations.

Last night the lady, Hooded Merganser flew back to the pond from her evening’s exercise and immediately returned to her nesting duties in the, yup, Wood Duck box.

And, the lady Woodies, four of them, likely are nesting on their own nearby places of high seclusion.

Soon there will be black clusters of wiggly tadpoles all around the edges of the pond.

There could be lots of youngsters in the neighborhood shortly.

Friday, May 4, 2007


In a recent phone conversation cousin Bob Wolf asked me, “Have you ever done a Google search for ‘Fogeyisms’?”

“Well, no I haven’t,” I replied.

He went on to explain he did that recently and there were two listings for this blog on the first page of items returned by his search.

“My oh my” I exclaimed, truly amazed as I pondered this news.

When I am working on production of blog items I tend to visualize this person or that of the several dozen or so I have invited as readers.

Not the whole world.

Even if you just count the folks who prefer the English language, that could be a fairly large, potential audience.

My oh my indeed!

Thursday, May 3, 2007


Monday, April 30th was Tax Freedom Day in the US of A.

The average taxpayer in this country works from January 1st to Tax Freedom Day just to pay his or her federal, state and local taxes.

According to the Tax Foundation ( “Tax Freedom Day is calculated by dividing the official government tally of all taxes collected in each year by the official government tally of all income earned in each year.”

This date was May 5th in 2000 then dropped to April 18th in 2003 due to reductions in our federal income tax. It has climbed steadily since then.

The average American worked 79 days in 2007 just to pay his or her federal taxes. State and local taxes combined are about one half that burden; forcing us to work 41 days to pay them.

Connecticut is the worst state in the union. There you have to work until May 20th just to pay your taxes. The least burdensome is Oklahoma on April 12th. Ohio ranks smack in the middle.

Isn’t that comforting!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007



Darfur is an area of Western Sudan, the country directly South of Egypt on the African continent.

It has been in the news off and on recently because of an ongoing conflict that has left an estimated 450,000 people dead from violence and disease. As many as 2.5 million people are thought to have been displaced by hostilities.

The conflict has many causes including inequality between the area of the country along the Nile River and outlying areas. Over the last 25 years problems have been exacerbated by famine and fighting between militia groups of Bedouin Arabs and native tribes. Political opportunism and skirmishes involving oil rights are also viewed as factors by world authorities.

While pondering the death of nearly ½ million people you might consult this web site for additional information:

Tuesday, May 1, 2007


Too Far From Home by Chris Jones

The author “...writes beautifully of the majesty and mystique of space travel, while reminding us all how perilous it is to soar beyond the sky.”

This is the finest narrative I’ve ever read on what it is like to achieve orbit with a giant rocket strapped to your back; to live in the space station, to endure the effects of prolonged weightlessness, and, to survive a perilous hitchhike home in an antique Russian, Soyuz space capsule--this crew’s only choice after our space shuttle Columbia disaster.


A Long Way Gone (Memoirs of a boy soldier) by Ishmael Beah

A haunting true story of a child in Sierra Leone whose family is killed in a brutal civil war there; he is forced to fight with the rebels, committing atrocious acts for his very own survival.

It is estimated there are 300,000 child soldiers worldwide. Sebastian Junger, author of The Perfect Storm, said, “...Beah has not only emerged intact from this chaos, he has become one of its most eloquent chroniclers....”

FOR THE RECORD: The post “Camping Along the River” was done Monday, April 30th and the post “Bond’s Home Run Performance” was done April 29th. The record of continuous daily postings since January 15, 2006 is intact. --tw