Busy Days

June 14, 2008 @ 8:40 am | Filed under: Family, Family Adventures, Nature Study

The busier we are, the more I have to write about and the less time I have to write. It’s been an especially busy couple of weeks. Our Shakespeare Club staged a splendid performance of scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I am so proud of those kids. Our plans to perform outdoors were thwarted by San Diego’s first rain in weeks, but our obliging hosts, the Grimms, converted their living room into a perfect stage. We had a great time and celebrated with Alice’s special Midsummer Night’s Tea menu, which the rest of you can get a look at very soon when her long-awaited book hits the shelves.

Other things that have happened in the past few weeks:

• I became the mother of a teenager (speaking of gems). Congratulations, Jane my love!

• Our ballet group had its spring recital. Jane was in three dances and did a beautiful job. They all did.

• The kids and I made a spur-of-the-moment visit to our favorite local nature preserve, Mission Trails. We’d been talking about the Kumeyaay Indians, and the visitor center there has several Kumeyaay artifcacts, including large flat stones with hollows ground into them by acorn- and grain-pounding pestles centuries ago.

This plant was our favorite sight of the day. It’s a member of the yucca family and goes by the colorful common names of Our Lord’s Candle or Spanish Bayonet.

We also saw this guy. He’s much less alarming in his natural habitat than in, say, our laundry room.

• We had an exciting new visitor to our backyard: our very first sighting of the Western Scrub Jay. No photos because Rose and I were too busy gawking. We had bluejays a-plenty at our feeders in Virginia, of course, but here we’ve been in California for a year and a half and we still hadn’t seen their western cousins! Hard to believe, but true. We’re still watching for a Steller’s Jay. Meanwhile, we enjoy the daily antics of our parliament of crows. Ever since I set up my nifty solar-powered birdbath fountain (awesome Mother’s Day present), the crows have been huge fans of Chez Peterson. They arrive with hunks of bread and perch on the edge of the birdbath, dunking their crusts and tearing off little bites of bread. It’s quite comical, and very messy. We have to clean gooey bread crumbs out of the filter every morning, but it’s worth it.

• The vines that took over our compost pile continue to sprawl across the yard. The blossoms look pumpkiny to me, which would make sense because I did dump our rotting jack-o-lantern in the pile last winter. But the fat green melon-thing that is growing on one of the vines looks decidedly watermelonish. Which is very confusing. I did toss some watermelon scraps out there, but the flowers are way too big for watermelon. All the pictures I’ve found of baby pumpkins look very different in color and shape. I suppose it could be a squash of some kind. Did we compost any squash scraps? Looks too fat for zucchini. We are perplexed.

• Some rodent chewed through the big plastic bin I keep my birdseed in. Whoops. There’s nothing left in there but empty sunflower husks. Poor birdies. Replacement bin and seed is on my list of errands for this week.

Oh, I’m sure there was more to tell, but I’m out of time. I’ll end with the obligatory dose of cute.


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Comments

15 Responses | | Comments Feed

  1. Plants in that general pumpkin-y/ squash-y/ watermelon-y group can cross-pollinate and create some weird offspring. Maybe that’s what’s happened in your compost heap. I’d just keep pokin’ it with a stick for the time being.

  2. Ew. Squashiwaterpumpkimelon sounds rather dreadful. Bet we’d have the coolest jack-o-lantern on the block, though.

  3. Several squirrels have done that to our birdseed container when it was outside our garage so I moved it inside the garage. Pesky things ate the corner off the huge wooden garage door and got to the new container. Soooo I bought a metal garbage can and now they sit on top of it and cluck/tsk at me when I walk by. I’ve had it for two years and so far no one has chewed through it. Galvanized metal is a squirrel’s nemesis. 🙂

  4. Here’s a photo of my pumpkins a few years ago – very similar to a watermelon in appearance:
    http://ascozyasspring.typepad.com/as_cozy_as_spring/2006/09/pumpkins_ii.html
    Cute baby. 🙂

  5. Aha, Jenn! That’s it, then. That looks exactly like what we’ve got growing. Thanks!

  6. Busybusy myself but I had to drop in to say Happy Birthday Jane!!!

  7. good luck with the jay sightings, we are in Orange County- the only time we have seen Steller’s Jays were visiting Big Bear. We do have scrub jays here, no blue birds where we are, but if I travel a mere 20 minutes to the next city, we can find some.

    we love birds here, and enjoy hearing about the ones you are finding.

  8. “Galvanized metal is a squirrel’s nemesis.”

    Truer words…

  9. RE: squirrels…we went to a Migratory Bird Day at the local preserve a couple weeks back. Lots of environmental groups in attendance including one that gave us what I thought was a GENIUS giftie: a bird feeder tray that screwed onto a water bottle. Like I said: GENIUS! That would be one water bottle down, 45 or so more to go!

    Sadly, the contraption did not sit well with the local squirrel population. Two days after I proudly hung it in my peach tree (note: 8 years into home ownership I still have no idea how to bring peaches to human consumption without using GALLONS OF INSECTICIDE), I find the device and the sole recycled water bottle…how can I put it?

    …murdered, brutally. And then chopped via tiny squirrel hatchets into itty-bitty bits.

    Squirrels. They have anger issues…

  10. I love your blog Melissa and, along with a couple of others, you have inspired me to start my own! I have no idea if this is terrible bog etiquette, and please forgive me if it is, but I wanted to introduce my new baby to the world:
    http://navigatingbythestars.blogspot.com/
    Thanks!

  11. Not sure if I’ve offended the bog-men!! Of course, what I meant was “blog etiquette”!

  12. I commiserate. I get too busy to blog much, to. And congrats on the new teen!
    🙂

  13. Oooh, there’s an Our Lord’s Candle plant on the corner across from our condo complex. Now I know what it is– thanks!

    Happy birthday to Jane!

  14. Happy Birthday, Jane from the whole crew here! I can’t believe she is a TEEN!
    Oh, that cuteness is just TOO cute!

  15. Happy birthday Jane! Melissa – I just love your posts, so inspiring. Can’t wait to read the new socialization book you mentioned – on my way to preorder now…

    Thanks for sharing 🙂