Done!

Jul. 22nd, 2013 10:25 am
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (DeCordova Laura Ford Bird)
I finished up the leaf compost yesterday with another four hours of work.  So now I know it takes about 10 hours total to spread 10 cubic yards of soil.  The final third of it was easier in some ways because the heat was much less intense yesterday, but on the other hand, the pile had compacted a bit and gotten rained on a little, so it was heavier soil on Sunday than it had been on Friday.  I raised the overall level of the yard high enough that I had to shorten the downspouts.  I'm just so, so excited about my terra rasa!

I did end up with sun poisoning by the end of my work on Sunday, with big itchy rashes all over my arms and neck.  I wore sunscreen all weekend; I didn't get burned on Sunday but I guess whatever it is that triggers the rashes isn't stopped by sunscreen.  I'm still bumpy today but it's going down.  I need to look for some long sleeve gardening shirts.

We watched John Carter on Friday night.  I guess the movie was a box office flop, but it wasn't a bad film.  It wasn't a great film, either, but it was a solid piece of mid-summer hot night escapism.  The aesthetics were really perfect.  The set design and costuming looked like real labors of love of the original source material, because Barsoom and its inhabitants looked exactly as one would have wanted them to.  The character of Dejah Thoris was really well done, so much so that it occurred to me as I watched that I wished the story could have been told from her point of view instead of John Carter's.

Saturday we binge-finished The Fall, the police procedural set in Northern Ireland starring Gillian Anderson.  As I think I've noted before (if not here, then certainly in FB), it is very difficult to watch in parts, but it is truly a feminist crime drama, something really pretty unique.  The Prime Suspect series showed feminist thought in its portrayal of the life of Jane Tennyson, but The Fall extends that line of thinking from observations about Stella Gibson's life to the situation of women in society as a whole, with Stella clearly using her own experiences with the power struggles in the police hierarchy to understand what is going on in the killer's mind.  As much as Scully will forever hold an important place in my heart, this is by far the best work Gillian Anderson has done.  The rest of the cast is also very strong.  I was astonished to discover that the evil, bad, bad, bad murdering man is played by the same actor who played the Huntsman on the tv show Once Upon a Time, in which he was so nobly doomed.  It's been renewed for another series, which is great because there is not exactly closure at the end of this one.

I have heard that there is a deer and her fawn hanging out in the Cemetery.  It wouldn't be the first time, but it's unusual.  I'm sure they are hunkered down somewhere for the day, but it would be sweet to see them on my lunch walk...
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alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
Went for a lovely walk at lunchtime. Saw a bunny just outside my building, bigger than the Alewife bunnies. No wonder we have coyotes. The fat squirrels (yes, fat even this time of year!) are probably a coyote lure as well. And perhaps the big frogs as well.

The grounds are literally swarming with robins. Seriously, you could trip over them. The ground is still pretty damp and the surface is a giant worm buffet. Hence, happy robins.

Also saw brilliant cardinals and cocky bluejays, but best are the yelling at the top of their little lungs crazy flying northern flickers, doing acrobatics across the tree branches and headstones, making sure that every single living thing nearby knows that yes, a flicker is here! Right here! And did I show you my bright yellow tail yet? Yes? Well,look at it again! Now I yell some more!

I need to pick up a bird song id album. I hear so many birds I can't identify.
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alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
Where did the weekend go? How can it be Tuesday already?

Last night I watched The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. I had mixed feelings about the film. All the Grateful Dead-ish country-ish music actively hurt me, for one thing. In a brilliant movie I could set that aside, but this one had enough other issues that it bothered me. Really my main issue was the way the filmmaker glossed over the parrot man's homelessness and squatting. She kept showing him doing laundry or sorting clean clothing, so it was clear to me that she was trying to point out that he was not some dirty homeless man, but then why never tackle the subject head on? Is being homeless/squatting just a common enough thing in San Francisco for it to be a normal part of the social fabric of life? Maybe I am too much a Yankee Puritan at heart, but I'm not sure that this is something that ought to be celebrated or glamorized or even normalized, particularly when I know from M's work that on this coast at least homeless people are that way only because of extremely bad luck, mental health issues, substance abuse issues or a borderline sociopathic sense of entitlement that makes one think society owes one everything, that jobs are for other people because you are too enlightened to buy into the capitalist paradigm. With this guy I felt like it was the lattermost.

I was also really bothered when he put Mingus outdoors where the poor bird was terrified, just because Mingus was acting like a parrot and defending his nest. You let animals take up residence in your house on their own terms--staking out under the fridge as a nest, for example--and you have to accept that some of their own terms are not going to be terribly convenient from the human's standpoint. You can't punish them for simply being what they are, let alone expect them to understand what that punishment means. He seemed so sensitive towards the parrots on so many other levels, but to me that interaction with Mingus said all this parrot stuff was more about feeling good about himself, and when it wasn't all beautiful and groovy and peaceable he reacted poorly and not in the parrot's best interest.

At the same time, many of his observations about the parrots were astute and interesting, and I think he did provide a public service by talking about the parrots to people and raising awareness of them. The section about Tupelo, the first parrot he took care of who died while in his care, really moved me, because I knew the feelings he was talking about all too well. And although I frequently had issues with the way the filmmaker was presenting information (saying that the only enemy that the parrots had besides hawks was humans, and then showing fighter planes over SF? the entire military-industrial complex is out to get the parrots? please.), I did walk away from the film with a real sense of the marvelousness of these parrots. That these birds who were mostly born in the wild so far away, underwent traumatic journeys to get to SF and then had to adapt to a totally new climate is a testament to their intelligence, to their intensely social nature and to the determination of nature. I would love to see/read a real study about these birds. A bird specialist interviewed briefly in the film noted that studying social relationships among parrots is very difficult in the wild, as flocks are always moving and individual birds are hard to see, so this represented a wonderful opportunity to do some genuinely new research. That's the movie I'd really like to see.

At any rate despite my criticisms it's well worth seeing, if just for the parrots alone.

Dance class tonight, yay!
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (fruityoatytrio)
This weekend we took down Edgar's old cage and packed it off to the basement. It really felt like closing the previous chapter of his life for good, a sign that he is so settled in here that he doesn't need any of the trappings of his old life any more.

We also went to the New England Aquarium yesterday, primarily to see the new marine mammal center but we ended up spending a lot of time watching penguins as well. One of the funnier moments of the day was when M asked me what the penguins with the yellow feathers on their heads were called, and he heard my answer of "Rockhopper penguins" as "rock opera penguins." So that is what we called them for the rest of the day, because it suited them so well. The new marine mammal center right now is just northern fur seals, but that is alright as they are very beautiful and so obviously intelligent. One of them looked like she was dancing in the water, striking poses, drifting into new ones. We found a sign that said although seals don't seem to do this in the wild, once you train a seal to dance, it does it all the time on its own. That is a wonderful thing. Outside, we saw two of the harbor seals do a very silly dance for their trainer, holding their upper bodies out of the water and waving their flippers up and down in unison. I don't think anybody who could see it could help but smile. If I were to become any animal, I think I would be a seal.

I am really liking Stargate Universe. It is indeed highly derivative of many other shows, but it does its deriving quite nicely, and manages to feel like something new.

This is going to be a long week.
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alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
not in the horror movie sense, but in the wrong side of the law sense:

alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
this is my new favorite musician:



(isn't it amazing how flexible his toes are?)
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Success!

Jun. 29th, 2009 12:28 pm
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
It only took about an hour and a half, but eventually the bluejay figured out where out was.  Once he was in the same room as the window, he found it pretty quickly and hightailed it out of here.  Yay for happy endings!

Of course, now I can't get the chimney flue closed and am afraid I broke it, but a roofer is being sent over (I guess roofers take care of chimneys) to see what can be done.
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alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
There is a bluejay in my office with me.  It was trapped in the chimney when I got here this morning.  I managed to get the flue open and after a while it came out, poor little sooty thing.  Unfortunately only one window on this floor of the office suite opens, and it's down the other end of the suite.  So we have that window open, all the other window shades drawn and the lights in my office off, in the hopes that the bird will follow the light to the open window.  He seems to prefer sitting on my bookshelves and yelling, though.  I assume it is a fledgling leaving a nest which had been built at the top of the chimney, and hopped the wrong way out of the nest.  At my parents' house, sparrows occasionally do this in their wood stove.  Animal Control will eventually be here with a net to escort him out of the building if he doesn't manage it himself.

Gosh bluejays are loud when you are in a small enclosed space with one.  Again, poor little thing. 
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alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
Bats need your help!  As you may be aware, bats have been dying by the thousands in the northeastern US of what has been called White Nose Syndrome.  Researchers are making some good inroads into figuring this out, but government help will be needed to put that research into action.  Behind the cut is a letter provided by Bat Conservation International that can be sent to your congressperson and senators.  They generally have contact forms on their websites, making sending the letter very easy.  White Nose Syndrome has been spreading fairly dramatically every year as bats from sick colonies migrate during the spring/fall and mingle with bats from previously healthy colonies.  Already entire colonies have been lost.  Anyway, please help bats.  They helped you look cool through your goth phase (and perhaps still do), the least you can do is help them survive.

BCI's letter )
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (fruityoatytrio)


I like the way his ears flick back and forth. Also, rhinoceros doing flamenco. I like that.
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
Mr Wilson kept the otter safe and warm in his mailbag as they went on their tour of central Scotland

Less randomly, Farida Fahmy has some new content on her website, most excitingly an announcement of a book about her and Reda:  Daughter of Egypt, by Marjorie Franken.  I've already contacted the author to find out how to order my copy.

I think public schools were cancelled today, which seems a bit silly given the weather, but perhaps they were worried about everything freezing over by the time the schools let out.  At any rate it meant the roads and trains were empty, so I made it to work in under 45 minutes, pretty much a record I think.  I remembered to bring a lunch so I won't have to venture out later.  I think it will be quiet in the office today, but that's okay, I'll get stuff done.

 
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
This morning in the Boston Globe there was an article about the ice in which the city is encased, along with a graphic explaining how to walk like a penguin.  I wish I could find a bigger version, but here's what I could find:



I like the penguin's earnestness, as though he is very carefully teaching the silly human how to walk properly.  Though they left out the part where you should eat several times your body weight in fatty fish so that when you do fall, you will bounce and slide without harm.

I was thinking last night about Alaska and my time there.  One of the things I thought about was the raptor rehabilitation center I briefly volunteered at, and so I googled it to see what I could see.  Happily, they've gotten bigger and better!  The Alaska Raptor Center looks like a state of the art facility.  I am grateful for the lessons I learned there, and so I paid some of that back by adopting Gilbert the raven.  Somebody shot him and he can no longer fly, but is otherwise happy and healthy, so he's a permanent resident at the center.  He's not really a raptor, but that's okay.  Masquerading as one suits a trickster. 

After shoveling wet heavy snow this morning and then walking through the wet heavy snow to the train station, I do not think I will hold it against me if I do not work out tonight.  Lots of sewing to do anyway, and I'd like to cook an actual meal with, you know, fresh vegetables and things.
 
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
Sometimes you pick up a book that turns out to be not what you thought it was at all, but rather something better.  I am reading such a book now, The Old Way by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas.  I spotted the book on the remainder shelf at the Harvard Book Store, and knowing that Elizabeth Marshall Thomas had written books about animal behavior (The Hidden Life of Dogs and The Tribe of the Tiger, most famously), I picked it up.  It turned out to be about the Bushmen* of the Kalahari, and I was quite surprised to realize that she was one of *the* Marshalls who packed up their family and headed for the Kalahari in the 1950s.  Despite the fact that none of them (at that time, at least) were professional anthropologists, they ended up having a profound impact on both the anthropology of the area and the field of anthropology in general.  Lorna Marshall's book Nisa:  The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman is a classic introductory text to ethnography--I taught that book as a TA, and even then had no idea Lorna wasn't an anthropologist herself but rather a retired English teacher/housewife/community organizer (fascinating obit about her).  Then-teenage son John Marshall became a pioneer of ethnographic film, and his films about !Kung hunting have also become intro to anthro course staples (if you've ever seen a film in which a group of hunters hit a giraffe with a poisoned arrow and then track it for days until it dies, then you've seen one of his films).  The father of the family, Lawrence Marshall, did not as far as I know go on to write anything, but he helped the !Kung groups that they worked with maintain their economic independence as much as possible, and became a legal champion of their rights.  When they first arrived, it was still quasi-legal for white farmers to kidnap and enslave groups of !Kung and force them to work on their farms, on the rationale that it was civilizing them, and his protests and political connections helped put an emphatic stop to that.

If you've read this far, you probably are willing to read the rest )

Holiday party today, woohoo!
 

Pretty!

Dec. 12th, 2008 01:24 pm
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
Albino raccoon in Florida:

 

Full story here.  I wonder if that is the actual raccoon in the story, since the photo is date-stamped '94, but it's pretty wherever it is.  Its hands look even more like hands when they are pink.

M had to argue with a possum last night about moving his car.  The possum ignored M until he yelled at it, whereupon it looked up, said "whatever, dude" and ambled out of the way, clearly not because it had to but because it felt like it.
 
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (nyah)
"You want to turn me into luxury goods?  Ha!  I chew up and poop on your luxury goods!"

From the Daily Mail:

A mischievous mink is being hunted at a marina after it chewed holes in luxury speedboats, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage.

The black mink was spotted by powerboat owner Elliott Maurice after he discovered a hole in the cabin of his £100,000 boat moored at Brighton Marina.

The 36-year-old businessman said his suspicions were first raised when he notice animal droppings on board his boat.  

More story and adorable photos at the Daily Mail's site.

 


alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (fruityoatytrio)
  • Yay Connecticut!
  • Last night I made a good dinner.  I sauteed leeks and garlic, then mixed that up with cubed potatoes and cauliflower florets and oregano and thyme and pepper, and roasted all that for about 45 minutes.  Then I made a feta cheese sauce, poured it all over the vegetables, baked it for another 30 minutes and then I said yum yum as I ate it up.  It seemed like a daunting amount of work when I got home tired and a bit depressed last night, but that 45 minute roasting period was just enough time to get in a yoga practice, so it ended up feeling very efficient.  Between the yoga and a good meal I felt much, much better about life at the end of the evening.
  • The last time I made a roux for a cheese sauce it was disastrous, but this one turned out perfectly, even using olive oil instead of butter.  I absolutely credit the silicone-coated whisk I got at Ikea.
  • Looking forward to apple picking tomorrow, though I will be showing up late as I have a massage scheduled in the late morning.  Don't you feel sorry for me? 
  • Back when I was in grad school, I ended up reading rather more than I would ever have intended to about Iceland's history and ethnography, because an anthropologist whose theory I was interested in did her fieldwork there.  The current news about Iceland reminds me that the island nation's economy has periodically collapsed throughout all its recorded history, generally due to the fishing stocks collapsing or to consecutive poor harvest years or to plague, or occasionally war.  It's really no wonder that Iceland shifted the basis of its economy off its own land into other people's, in a way.  But in the long view of history, collapse like this is nothing new, and probably nobody will starve to death in little hovels this time around.
  • A blue jay in a green and yellow leaved tree festooned with shiny red berries is a beautiful sight to see.
 
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
Seal kisses are whiskery and fishy and soft and made of awesome.


more seals, plus bonus jelly fish and penguin )
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (fruityoatytrio)
Totally stolen from [livejournal.com profile] peregrinekt--a penguin receives knighthood at the Edinburgh Zoo. I think he was knighted for being adorable, I'm not sure.



Full story here
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (fruityoatytrio)
I have given myself this trainer for an afternoon program at the New England Aquarium for my birthday next month :-)  I'm super super excited.  I've wanted to do the pet the seals and give them fish program for a while, and decided as long as I was going to do it, I might as well do it all and say to heck with expense.  Basically you shadow a trainer for two hours, learning about their daily routine, and of course, you get to interact with seals!  I've been fascinated by seals since the time I spent in Alaska; they were so curious about us, swimming up to our Zodiac or sometimes even up to the shallows of beaches just to see what these odd upright creatures were doing.  You could talk to them, and they'd just tilt their heads quizzically and watch you all the more.  I think they are one of the most beautiful creatures on the planet, maybe not so much on land but definitely in the water.  And they are on the same general evolutionary branch as ferrets, so of course I'm interested in them from that standpoint.  Maybe I'll get to spend a little time with the otters, too--seeing the other creatures at the Aquarium close up would be cool too.  But seals!!!  I get to hang out with seals!!!  :-))))))))))
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (fruityoatytrio)
Teenager finds baby bat in her bra

A teenager was stunned to find that a baby bat had been curled up inside her bra for five hours - as she was wearing it.

...

"I keep thinking how could I have not known it was there?" Miss Hawkins said. "I will certainly be checking my bras every morning from now on."

(of course, I am picturing the goth variety of baby bat curled up against this woman ;-)  I'm glad she reacted so well, though.  And I'm glad the UK doesn't have the same rabies concerns that the US does, or the story would have had a sadder ending.)

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