Monday, May 31, 2010

now I know

I saw this grasshopper on the chain-link fence in the backyard. I have seen these on occasion before. But what I find odd is the color. I am use to seeing green grasshoppers and not black ones.

On a recent trip to the Sanford zoo I happened to visit their "bug house" which contains their exhibits of insects. As I went from exhibit to exhibit I came across some black grasshoppers which were exactly like the one on the chain link fence. There was a display card explaining what these black grasshoppers were.

So now I know that what I was seeing was an Eastern Lubber Grasshopper. What a funny name. I took some pictures of the grasshoppers behind the viewing glass of the exhibit but they didn't turn out. I did a search on the internet and found a picture of an Eastern Lubber Grasshopper.

So now if you see one of these grasshoppers, you will know that it is the Eastern Lubber Grasshopper. And that concludes the entomology lesson for today. Have a nice day and be safe on this Memorial Day. Lew

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Mary and I went to IHOP for their new pancakes called “stackers”. They were great and we liked them. They are pancakes with cheesecake between the pancakes and a fruit topping in a sweet glaze on top. We had the blueberry topping.

Mary decided to duplicate the stackers at home and got a package of cheesecake filling for between the pancakes.

She also got a can of cherry pie filling for on top of the pancakes. The pancakes were good and the maple flavored sausages just topped the whole breakfast off.

Now we don’t have to go to IHOP for “stackers” but just have them at home. Of course at home it is Mary who is doing all of the work making them instead of the cook at IHOP, so I am not sure which she prefers. Probably going to IHOP and leave the cooking and the dishes to someone else. That is what I would choose if I had to do the cooking.

Tomorrow is Sunday so go out and have a fabulous breakfast with all of the trimmings at your favorite restaurant and have fun. Lew

Monday, May 24, 2010


I recently purchased a box of strawberries at the grocery store because the price was so inexpensive. I figured that strawberries must be in season for the price to be that low. After all, there is a large strawberry festival just south of Orlando where they grow jillions and jillions of strawberries. When I got home I took a close look at the label to see if they were grown in Polk county where they hold the strawberry festival. Much to my surprise, the strawberries were from California. It even says "California grown" on the label.

Why would the grocery store go through all of the expense to import these strawberries from California when there are fields and fields with "billions and billions" (Carl Sagan phrase) of strawberries grown locally. I am baffled by this. I must admit that the strawberries were ripe, sweet, large, and not a bad one in the box. Definitely high quality strawberries. So I have been enjoying fresh sliced strawberries with my cereal in the morning. Does anyone know whether strawberry plants are "annual" or "perennial"? I am depending on Villager or Seaside to let me know on this.

I grew up in a farming community in a rural town in New York. For me, summer was a time of feasting on all of the various crops that were grown or that I found wild: Juicy red McIntosh apples, deep dark Bing cherries, purple concord grapes, pears, plums, and some wild strawberries and wild blackberries. And if there weren't any crops ready for eating, well there was always the wonderful Mrs. Benson who would invite me to have tomato soup and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch with her children. She was always so kind to me and others.

I hope that everyone has a chance to enjoy the fresh fruits like strawberries and blackberries that are ripening. Have a good day. Lew

Friday, May 14, 2010

up, up, and away

Here is the shuttle Atlantis launch from here in Orlando. It is quite a sight when you consider how far Orlando is from the coast. But wait a minute. What is that in the picture that appears to be in the path of the shuttle?

Just a bird. But it is a great optical illusion. Go back to the first picture and see if you can see it. If you can then there is nothing wrong with your eyesight. With this launch I didn’t hear the rumble of the engines like I normally do. There is one more launch left. I hope that those not living near the Kennedy Space Center got to watch the launch live on television as it happened. I also like listening to the prelaunch commentary by the local television station reporters. I usually start listening to the live coverage about an hour before the launch. It is good because the science reporters explain everything that is going on with the launch preparations and what the mission of the shuttle is. Take care. Lew

the marble

Just a marble. What could be so important about a simple marble? Mary was in the backyard planting some flowers when she came across this marble in the dirt. She brought the marble to me to show me. I wondered for a moment on how it came to be there in the backyard. Perhaps some children of a previous owner of the house had at some time in the past been playing with marbles in the backyard and lost one of them. But that would have been a very long time ago and there sat the marble in the dirt awaiting discovery.

It sort of looks like a small watermelon, doesn't it? As I gazed at the marble I was amazed (as I have always been) on just how they get those colors into marbles in such an orderly fashion like the stripes of this marble. Then a flood of memories started coming back to me of a very young lad going grocery shopping with his mother. My mom would go up and down the aisles with her shopping cart, but not me. I always headed straight for the cereal aisle. My mom use to let me pick out my own cereal for breakfast. This was to keep me from protesting the cereal that she usually bought for me, shredded wheat. I hated shredded wheat. This wasn’t the sugar frosted bite size shredded wheat. This was the brick size unadorned shredded wheat that no matter how long it sat in the milk, it just didn’t seem to soften. Yuk! With this new freedom of being able to choose my own cereal I excitedly went from one brand of cereal to another looking at the boxes to see what free toy was included in the box of cereal. I didn’t choose my cereal based upon taste but on the toy that was inside. One day I discovered that there were six marbles in a plastic bag inside the box of corn flakes. Neat! I chose that one and when I got home I would get my mom’s biggest mixing bowl and dump the corn flakes into the mixing bowl to get to the marbles which were always in the bottom. Why didn’t I just open the box from the bottom? Inexperience. I just didn’t think of it. After retrieving the marbles, I would pour the corn flakes back into the box. I would eat hearty portions of the corn flakes each morning so that I could hurry up and get another box with more marbles. I built up my marble collection this way and kept eating the corn flakes until eventually they stopped putting marbles into the boxes of cereal. I used to get on the ground and draw a circle in the dirt and “shoot” my marbles. A couple of times I did this with other kids but I wasn’t very good at it and I always seemed to lose some of my marbles to them. I figured that it was better to shoot marbles by myself and that way I wouldn’t lose my marbles (please, no puns about losing my marbles). Besides, to me those marbles had value because I had to eat a lot of corn flakes to get them. I kept those cereal box marbles for the longest time. And so, this simple marble brought back all of these pleasant memories of scurrying down the cereal aisle and the fun times that I had with my free marbles. Sometimes it is the simpler things in life that are really important. This blog was just a little snippet from my life and I would be interested in hearing little snippets from other people’s lives. I guess that this blog has gone on long enough and as Paul Harvey would say “Good day”. Actually, I like Crocodile Dundee better, “G’day”. Lew

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Starship Troopers bug

Mary knows that I like to look at different kinds of bugs. She came into the house excitedly telling me to come see the bug on the front steps. She showed me this bug which was at least two inches long. I haven't seen a bug like this before. I don't know what those two large indentations are for. Actually the bug reminds me of the bugs in the sci-fi movie Starship Troopers where humans battle giant bugs

After taking the pictures we just let the bug go on its way. You can get an idea of the size of the bug by comparison to the cement step.

I was at Wal-Mart looking for snack treats for the rabbit. We had been giving the rabbit these golf ball size of balls of compressed grain that were somehow stuck together. I saw a snack treat for rabbits that were called yogurt bits and were suppose to be small hard chunks of yogurt with blueberry mixed in. They looked and smelled good, but the rabbit wasn't interested. I took them out to the squirrel feeder in the tree but the squirrels didn't want them either, so I guess that I will have to throw them away. We have lots of squirrels which are fun to watch. I always put any leftovers that I think that they will eat onto the squirrel feeder. Time to go. Have a nice day and enjoy the weather before it gets real humid and sticky and topped off with hot, hot, hot. Don't forget tomorrows shuttle launch at 2:20 pm. Lew

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

attack of the snails

Snails everywhere. They are all over the wall, all the way up to the roof line. Too many to count.

And they are in all sizes. Little ones, big ones, and medium sized ones. I am wondering if they will damage the plants.

I have to admit that up close they are really quite pretty with their different colored bands.

Without the close-up pictures of my camera, I would never have seen their beauty and their complex nature. I am just experiencing quite a world of discovery with my camera. Have a nice day and don't forget the launch of the space shuttle Atlantis on Friday at 2:20 pm. It is the next to the last one. After the launch on Friday there will only be one more launch left and then it will all be gone; the live countdown coverage, the rocket glare, the plume going up through the sky, and the rumble of the engines. I will truly miss it all. The passing of an era. Hopefully Seaside will get some pictures of it. Take care. Lew

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

a red toot

Sometimes when Mary is using the riding mower she needs me to move something for her like an outdoor table or chair or wheelbarrow. I am usually busy with something else in the yard. If she were to call out to me I would never hear her over the noise of the engine. Plus I am usually listening to music or audio books on my MP3 player with my headphones on.

So Mary bought one of these bicycle toot horns. It is a lot louder than I had expected and I can hear it easily over the noise of the engine. Now pardon the pun but when Mary needs me "she gives a hoot and gives a toot" (sorry I couldn't resist). She likes her riding mower and it is very lightweight. It was a good purchase for us because it will get a lot of use.

Today Mary and I went to the movies to see Iron Man 2. It was pretty good and non-stop action. It starred Robert Downey Jr. The actor Mickey Rourke was in the movie playing the part of a Russian scientist. His acting was so good that it took a while into the movie before I recognized him. But the actor that I liked best was Don Cheadle. I became a fan of his ever since I saw him in the movie Hotel Rawanda which is based on a true story. Of course we had our free popcorn and a diet cola which wasn't free. We went to the 1:00 showing and then came straight home after the movie, arriving at 3:30. A half hour of reading followed by an hour of Judge Judy. For supper Mary made Mongolian Beef which was very good. And for dessert we had orange jello with real whipped cream on top. So all-in-all we had a pretty good day. Hope that you're day was good also. Take care. Lew

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Texas Roadhouse

Mary and I went to the Texas Roadhouse for Mothers Day. Boy were they busy.

Not only was the parking lot filled but they were packed inside also. We had to wait for about a half hour to get called.

Mary waited patiently for our turn. Doesn't her hair look nice? I think so.

We were having a good time chatting while we waited. With a little more time I am sure that we would have come up with solutions to all of the world's problems. The chatting made the time go faster.

It was hot sitting outside on a bench in the sun so we decided to go inside where it was very crowded. We were lucky in that we were able to get a seat for Mary in about a minute. I stood for a while and chatted with a stranger about scuba diving and cave diving. It was interesting. Then I joined Mary in a chair next to her. I also got to look at all of the different cuts of beef that they had on display in a meat counter.

There was a larger selection than what you see in the pictures.

Mary had a tough decision on which steak to order but the waiter described the prime rib to her and she went for that. You can't go wrong with prime rib. Here she is looking at all of the items in the menu that she is holding in front of her.

We ate until we couldn't eat another bite. The rolls are baked fresh and I watched the baker prepping the dough for baking while we waited. The butter that they served with the hot rolls had a cinnamon seasoning in it. It was very good. They had a pail of roasted salted peanuts in the shell on the table and of course as is the custom in this restaurant we got to throw the peanut shells on the floor. It was difficult for us to throw the peanut shells on the floor because that is not how we were raised. They had a second pail on the table that was empty which we put our peanut shells into. We had a good time and left stuffed with some of the food in a styro-foam take-out container. I hope that everyone else had as good of a time as we did. Happy Mothers Day! Lew

mothers day

Mary's daughter Rhonda asked Mary what she wanted for mothers day and Mary responded fruit-bearing garden plants. So she got Mary a nice blueberry plant and a strawberry plant.

The blueberry plant already has both blueberries and flowers for future blueberries on it. Both plants look healthy and vigorous.

The strawberry plant also has a small strawberry and a flower for future strawberries.

I have seen strawberry plants but this is the first time that I have seen one with a flower on it. So now, I know what the strawberry flower looks like.

And here is the young strawberry and soon it will be big and red. We are looking forward to a plentiful crop of strawberries. They go good on our breakfast cereal.

Here's hoping that all of the mothers out there have a nice mothers day on this their special day. Lew

Friday, May 7, 2010

Le Fleur

This is Mary's latest painting which she calls Le Fleur which is French for The Flower. As can be seen in the picture, the painting has a lot of bright and intense color to it. She has the patience to sit for hours putting the details into the painting one at a time. She has quite a gallery of paintings accumulated. She is currently doing a peacock on glass. But she is doing it on the backside of the glass which is called reverse-glass-painting and is quite difficult to do. I think that the peacock will take her a while to complete. Last spring we had a wild peacock in our backyard each day for about a month. We got to feed it and were hoping that he would keep coming back. But then he left and went somewhere else. We could hear him from time-to-time with his raucous calls but he didn't come back. Have a great week-end and take mom out to eat for Mother's Day. Lew

Thursday, May 6, 2010

trip vine

I call this vine a trip vine because they sometimes grow across the ground and I would trip on them. The vines are almost woody-like and very strong. They would not break when I tripped on them and many times they would take me down to the ground. And as if that wasn't bad enough, they have thorns that would tear into my ankles.

They usually would draw blood and hurt. I got to dislike these vines because of the tripping and the thorns.

Isn't that a nasty looking thorn. Almost looks like a fang. When these vines show up in the yard, I cut them down. There was one vine which started to grow around the railing on the front porch.

This was a novelty and so we decided to let it continue to grow. And grow it did. A couple of days ago while standing on the front porch, I smelled a strong aroma very similar to jasmine. I like the aroma of jasmines and have some planted in the backyard. But I couldn't figure out where the aroma came from until I stepped near the trip vine.

Yep, that is where the aroma was coming from. I noticed what looked like flowers but without any color to them.

The flowers were incredibly small and looked to be very delicate. How could anything with such terrible thorns have such a sweet aroma? I guess that the vine is like the pretty rose that also has terrible thorns.

And just look at all of the buds. There are so many buds that I can look forward to the sweet aroma for some time to come. My opinion of these trip vines has changed somewhat to the better. By the way, does anyone know the real name of these vines? They like to rapidly grow up the sides of trees all the way up to the limbs. I always seem to be discovering something new in the plants of the yard. Have a good day and enjoy the sweet smells of spring. Lew

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Today is May 5 and that means happy Cinco de Mayo. This is a day of celebration for the Spanish people. I am sure that there will be various festivities going on and I will try to visit some of them. Our Mexican chihuahua is ready to celebrate with his fancy sombrero hat on. He was a good dog and tolerated our antics with the hat long enough for us to get a picture. I really don’t think that he had his heart in it as can be seen by the expression on his face. But for us humans, I wish Happy Cinco de Mayo to all. Lew

Sunday, May 2, 2010

angry kitten

The proverbial curiosity of a cat.   Tammy is constantly kept busy exploring new things.   Here she is checking out what might be in the holes of the cement blocks.   But then “oops”, she sees me taking her photograph.  She looks annoyed.

Oh yeah, she is annoyed.   More than annoyed she is downright one angry kitty.   Just look at the expression on her face.   I think that I am in for a good scolding from her. 

Oh yeah, definitely in a bad mood!  I don’t think that she realizes that she is a cat but thinks that she is a part of the family with all the rights and privileges thereof.   Aren’t pets nice?    Lew

Saturday, May 1, 2010


In the garage I saw what looked like a giant mosquito up on the wall next to the door. I took a closer look and when I saw the transparency of the wings I knew that it was a lacewing.

The wings appear to be so delicate. I left the lacewing alone to go its way unharried. The lacewing in a way reminds me of my mother. Sound strange? My mom always seemed to know what I was doing, even when she had her back to me. I use to ask her how she knew what I was doing and she use to tell me that she had eyes in the back of her head. When I was very young, I would look steadfastly at the back of her head trying to see these extra eyes. In a child's innocence and gullibility I would say "I don't see any eyes on the back of your head." My mom would respond with "Oh, my hair is covering them." This seemed a logical explanation and so I had to behave myself even when she had her back to me. My mom was a good mom and always kind which made for a pleasant childhood. So how does this tie in with the lacewing? In the picture you can see that the lacewing has small eyes on the back of his head.

I heard that there was a prediction that the oil from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will reach the east coast of Florida in about a week. What will Seaside do? All of those nice beach pictures may get ruined by the appearance of the oil. When I lived in Miami, I always had to take a can of lighter fluid to the beach with me. There were these sticky tar ball things in the water lying on the bottom. I couldn't see them and when stepped on they left a gooey black tarry junk on the bottom of my foot. When I left the water, I would use the can of lighter fluid to dissolve the tar off of my foot. Rumor was this tarry stuff was the result of oil tankers discharging the gunky stuff that remained in the bottom of the holds of the ships after they had off-loaded their oil at the port. This gunk would then slowly wash into shore as these tar balls and the bathers would step into them. Is this the fate that awaits New Smyrna Beach and Daytona Beach? Could be. We will have to wait and see.

Summer is here and it is hot, hot, hot and humid, humid, humid. Thank goodness for air conditioning.   Take care and think cool.   Lew