Monthly Archives: September 2018

A Little More Furniture

Rental Truck Filled With Furniture

Rental Truck Filled With Furniture

We rented a truck today for the third time this year. The first time was on Saturday, January 6, when we moved Margaret from her house to ours. That was mostly her bedroom furniture and boxes of the things she’ll need here at our house. The second was on Tuesday, July 24 to move a bunch more furniture that we will either keep ourselves or get rid of more carefully (i.e. sell rather than give away). Today we moved furniture that was to be given away. We filled a 16-foot truck pretty full and took it to A Wider Circle (http://awidercircle.org/). They took most of what we brought, leaving us with just a few of the things to dispose of (when furniture isn’t good enough for charity, it’s time for the dump). There’s still more at the house, of course. Mostly things that will go directly to the transfer station, either metal (shelves, a dryer, a refrigerator, etc.) or trash (particle board cupboards that don’t last and aren’t really worth anything).

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Black-eyed Susan

Black-eyed Susan

Black-eyed Susan

I took some pictures of skippers on black-eyed Susan flowers this evening. I also got a few decent shots of a little leaf hopper, which I haven’t identified. They are quite small and this one was probably only about 5mm long. There are about 3,000 described species in north America along and it is estimated that there are more than 100,000 species worldwide, with less than a quarter actually having been described. I decided to post this picture, instead of one with an insect, just because I like the shallow depth of field on the yellow petals of the black-eyed Susan.

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Michael and Tanya

Michael and Tanya

Michael and Tanya

On Easter Sunday I took a photo of this handsome couple and it was pretty well received by those who know them. I’ve known Michael for quite a while but that was the first time I met Tanya. Since then they have become husband and wife and it was good to see them today at their church picnic. I crashed the picnic (technically, I was there as a guest of Cathy’s mom) and enjoyed seeing lots of old friends and acquaintances, including Michael and Tanya. It was a hot day but it wasn’t raining, so that was something. We enjoyed burgers and (even more so) sausages made from Rocklands Farm meat. If you aren’t familiar with the farm, check them out and give them a visit (http://www.rocklandsfarmmd.com/). I often walk off and take pictures of animals and flowers when I’m there but wanted to stay out of the sun today so didn’t. I did get a picture of a Commelina communis flower (Asiatic dayflower), which is a pretty blue flower with only two petals. I also took a few nice pictures of some of my friends’ children, which is generally easier than photographing adults. Nevertheless, this photo of Michael and Tanya turned out pretty well, in spite of the bright background.

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Huberd’s Shoe Grease

Huberd's Shoe Grease

Huberd’s Shoe Grease

In general, old stuff like this isn’t really worth keeping. We’ve thrown away old tins and boxes and bottles of stuff that are either unidentifiable or dried out or gone bad. But sometimes the packaging is just classic. After a very quick searched I found that Huberd’s Shoe Grease is still available and the cans are only slightly different to this one, which probably dates to the 1960s. The new cans say “Original” at the top and have the URL for their web site (http://www.huberds.com). Also, new cans come in 1 pound (454 gram) and 7.5 ounce (213 gram) sizes, compared to this old one, which only has 7 ounces. From their web site:

A. E. Huberd founded his shoe grease company in McMinnville Oregon in 1921. In his workshop, A. E. concocted a beeswax and pine-tar formula that he introduced to logging camps and sold to lumberjacks. The lumbermen throughout the region helped Mr. Huberd improve his formula, build his customer base, and establish a thriving manufacturing company. Huberd’s products are made much the same way today.

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Spider Web

Spider Web

Spider Web

The afternoon sun was lighting up three or four prominent spider webs today. Spider webs can be tricky to photograph. In particular, you can pretty much forget about auto-focus, unless there is something substantial caught in the web (or if the spider is there, which is sometimes enough). Another thing is that you want them to show up against whatever background is available. If the web is lit by the sun, as this one is, then you want a relatively dark background. This is an old web, not obviously inhabited any more. One of the others I photographed had a spider on it, although she scurried for cover when I got close. I did get one picture of an orchard spider (Leucauge venusta) on her web, though.

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Purdah Screen

Purdah Screen

Purdah Screen

I posted a photo of a purdah screen back in 2015 (see Friday, November 20, 2015) but thought I’d share a detail of another one today. This is a fancier screen than was shown then and one of two that we have in our living room with the same pattern. These two are not in as good condition as the one shown in the photo from 2015, but I really love the patina of the old wood and the puzzle-like intricacy of the pieces making up the central design. As noted with the older photograph, the outer rails and stiles of these tessellated screens are held together with mortise and tenon joints but they are held together without any other fasteners or glue.

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House For Sale

House for Sale

House for Sale

We’ve been putting a lot of time into getting this house ready to sell. The first step, which didn’t actually affect this house, was getting out house ready for Cathy’s mom to move in with us. Then we she moved in January (with a lot of help from our friends). From them to now there have been many, many days of going through and sorting, trips to the dump, to the thrift store, to our storage units, things brought to our house, two more truck rentals, piano movers, visits from family members, some dot insignificant renovations, lots of cleaning, floor refinishing, painting, yard work, and more. I’ve posted pictures of some of those things (see the list below) but I’ve also posted pictures of some of the many interesting things we’ve found (too many to list below). This week, the house officially went on the market and (as I write this, was open on both Saturday and Sunday, with significant interest). We’re in the home stretch (if you’ll pardon the pun) and really looking forward to turning our attention to the boxes that got moved without really being looked through as well as starting to deal with things like photographs and other documents that need more careful examination.

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Maria

Maria

Maria

We went to see our good friends Jean and Maria this evening and had a wonderful time. Maria is recovering from some fairly substantial surgery to her hip and seems to be doing really well. She’s getting around with a walker and should be back on her feet in plenty of time for her wedding next year. We’re really looking forward to that and talked quite a bit about their plans. I fixed panang curry with chicken for dinner and we also had peaches and whipped cream for dessert (it’s hard to go wrong with peaches and cream, unless the peaches aren’t ripe, of course). Mostly, though, we just visited and talked and got caught up on what’s going on in our various lives. We missed Lexi, of course, but we’ll do it again when she’s in town.

Cathy and Jean went to high school together and lost touch after college. They reconnected in the late 1990s and have been best friends again ever since. We visited them in 1999 when she and her family lived in southern Germany and the girls were not yet in grade school. I just went back and looked at those pictures and it brought back some pretty good memories.

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Silas

Silas

Silas

We had a family dinner night this evening, gathering at mom’s apartment and having Greek food from The Big Greek Cafe. Only one baby was there this time, with the other out of town, but Silas was generally in a good mood. He’s about 2.5 times his birth weight already and going strong. Still small, of course, but not nearly so little as when he was born. On the other hand, he’s developing much more in the way of facial expressions. He isn’t ticklish yet, but if he is startled, he certainly reacts. It was good to see everyone (or the everyone who was there).

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Green Ceramic Frog

Green Ceramic Frog

Green Ceramic Frog

This little green, caramic frog is sitting on our piano. I’m not sure exactly where it came from. Cathy probably knows but I haven’t bothered to ask. It probably showed up in a box at her mom’s house sometime in the last nine months. I don’t remember when it appeared on the piano, but there it is. As you may be able to see, it’s front left leg has been broken. It doesn’t affect the frogs ability to hop, though. That’s mostly because ceramic frogs don’t move very much, I suppose.

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Funnel Weaver

Funnel Weaver Spider

Funnel Weaver Spider

It’s funnel weaver time in the yard. They build webs in the grass and in the garden where the plants aren’t too tall. When it’s humid and the dew settles on the grass, they are particularly easy to find because of the beads of water on the webs. I believe that this is a grass spider (genus Agelenopsis). They generally disappear into the funnel at the side of there web when I get too close but with a bit of patience they can be seen. While I’m not a fan of having spiders crawling on me or having spider webs in my face, I like them for what they eat, so I left them be, for the most part.

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Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)

Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)

Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)

I stopped at the commuter parking lot on Georgia Avenue where it crosses the Intercounty Connector today and took some pictures of insects on wildflowers growing on the hillside above the parking lot. I had originally stopped because there were beautiful clouds to the northwest but by the time I got there the sky was pretty much a uniform grey. There were goldenrod soldier beetles (Chauliognathus pensylvanicus) all over the goldenrod (which makes a lot of sense) and there were quite a few types of bees. I followed this little butterfly around a while until I was able to get close enough for a few decent photographs. The one taken after this is considerably closer but not as sharp, unfortunately. The dwindling light from the heavy overcast was makign it hard. But I enjoyed being out in the wind and with insects all around.

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Sharks’ Teeth

Sharks' Teeth

Sharks’ Teeth

Apparently my great Uncle Charles was good at finding sharks’ teeth. We found a box of them in my mom’s basement and she said he had found them and given them to her either at one time or at various times over the years. She said they mostly came from southern Maryland or from North Carolina but we don’t really know that with any certainty. They vary quite a bit in size and there are some considerably larger than the one on the right here. Those are not complete and they are quite worn, though. The one in the middle is one of the best in terms of having a sharp edge. In the box was also a stone arrowhead, which I assume was also found by him.

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

We had a really lovely sunset this evening. There were clouds at two different levels. The higher clouds were lit by the setting sun while the lower clouds were mostly grey. The lower clouds, however, were scattered and you could see the upper clouds through the gaps between them. Also, they lower clouds were moving very quickly, both in absolute terms and relative to the higher clouds. It was quite beautiful and changed from moment to moment. There were also at least two bats flying around the yard, hopefully eating mosquitoes. There’s one in this picture, although I’m not sure I could identify it as a bat from the photographic evidence if I hadn’t seen it while I was taking the picture.

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Silas and Kai

Silas and Kai

Silas and Kai

We had a family lunch instead of dinner this week and it was great to have Brady here for a visit. Steve was out of town but Maya brought Kai and Silas was here with Iris and Seth. Shortly before Cathy and I left, we put Silas and Kai on a chair together and took a few pictures. Silas isn’t really able to sit up by himself yet and he had a pacifier in his mouth for all but the last photo that I took. Still, it was pretty cute. Maya would tell Kai to kiss the baby and he’d lean over the kiss Silas on the forehead. Then he’d put his hands in front of his mouth and laugh. So sweet.

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Black-and-Yellow Argiope (Argiope aurantia)

Black-and-Yellow Argiope (Argiope aurantia)

Black-and-Yellow Argiope (Argiope aurantia)

Beside the hose faucet on the front of our house is a largish spider web. It’s been there for quite some time and I took a picture of this lady a few weeks ago. She was much smaller then and I might have thought it was a different spider, except Cathy’s been watching her, every time she uses the hose. Needless to say, she comes in from the other side and does her best to keep her distance. The spider, a black-and-yellow argiope (Argiope aurantia), is a good inch or more in length, not counting her legs. She’s a beauty, don’t you think?

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Crap Aftershave

Crap Aftershave

Crap Aftershave

Seriously, would you buy an aftershave called “Crap”? I mean, what would you expect it to smell like? I understand, it’s meant to be a reference to craps, the betting game played with a pair of dice. But really, an aftershave, which is meant to evoke a mood by way of an odor, using the name crap? I don’t think so. But apparently someone thought this was a good idea and got it all the way through the corporate process to a finished product. We found this in the back of the closet in Cathy’s parents’ house. I’m not going to comment on the fact that someone obviously bought this. I should also note that it doesn’t appear to have been used. Anyway, maybe it doesn’t smell as bad as it sounds.

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Peck’s Skipper (Polites peckius)

Peck's Skipper (Polites peckius)

Peck’s Skipper (Polites peckius)

It was dark and raining this morning and into the early afternoon but by 5:00 PM or so the sun was out and it was a beautiful day. I wouldn’t actually have minded the clouds staying around because our air conditioner has called it quits and a little less direct sun would have been welcome. Still, it was nice to get out and look for insects to photograph. This little fellow, a Peck’s skipper (Polites peckius), was on some blue mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum) in the front garden. I also got some pictures of an eastern tailed-blue (Cupido comyntas) but they weren’t very sharp. Quite shy, those little blues.

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