If summer comes and goes without me blogging about it, does it make a sound?

Suddenly I looked up and it was September. Summer flew by, and boy was it a hot one here in Northern Virginia. We had more 90+ degree days here than last year, and frankly I hate the heat and humidity, so to say that it limited my desire to be outside for extended periods would be an understatement! I didn’t hike, paddle, fish, or anything else nearly as much as I would have liked, but such is life.

The summer wasn’t a total waste by any stretch of the imagination. Probably the highlight of the summer was having the chance to visit St. Thomas where I checked off a bucket-list item by snorkeling around a coral reef with sea turtles! If you have the chance, I highly recommend it.

I’ll try to be back with more posts on a much more regular basis. I still have several posts in various levels of draft status so hopefully this is the start of T&T’s rebirth this fall.

Jim

Nature in Your Own Backyard

It’s been a crazy month so far and it’s left me with little time for managing the blog, so I hope you haven’t missed me too much!

Late Spring and early summer have had the critters out and about, and we’ve been pretty lucky here at the ol’ suburban homestead to have some friendly creature visitors. I guess that’s what happens when you buy the lot that backs up to the woods!

Robins Under the Deck
So it’s not bats in the belfry, but still pretty fun. Mr. And Mrs. Robin decided to make the underside of our deck their home. I noticed it last month, and a few weeks ago saw these eggs in there.
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The kids loved to peek up there to see the eggs, and I tried to give the nest as much space as possible to not stress them out, but unfortunately I discovered last week that the nest had been abandoned and there was no sign of the eggs. That led me to believe that perhaps our next visitor, or one of his friends, had something to do with the disappearance since there wasn’t even a fleck of broken shell in the nest.

“Hey daddy, there’s a snake right there.”
Said my son calmly as he pointed at the four-foot Eastern Rat Snake in our front flower bed.

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I am by no means a snake expert, but a quick look at our visitor told me he wasn’t venomous or a threat as long as we gave him some space. I of course backed that up with a quick search of the interwebs, and once it was clear that it wasn’t going to eat any of the kids we actually had a fun time watching our new friend slither around back and off into the woods.

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My wife was decidedly less amused when she later saw another snake lounging on our back patio while she was out there with the kids one morning. However, we have haven’t seen any since, which lends credence to my theory that they may have come for a little snack at the robins’ nest.

“What the heck is THAT?!”
Is what I said when walked out onto the patio, looked at the stairs leading up to the deck, and saw this:
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Easily one of the bigger winged insects I’ve seen! I took this picture fully terrified that this guy was going to attack me like Mothra going after Godzilla. However, once I consulted the trusty interwebs, I discovered that this is a Luna Moth, and they only fly at night. I’ll pause for a second to let you contemplate the thought of one of these things landing on your face while you sit on your patio at night…
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Now that you’ve thought that through hopefully you can move on and appreciate how cool looking this thing is! The kids never really got to that point though, because apparently dad’s reassurances that it wouldn’t fly during the day couldn’t make them want to get anywhere near him.

That’s all for now, and I’ll try to get back on schedule here.

Cheers everyone!

Some Humor

Came across this one and couldn’t pass it up!

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I’ve encountered over half of these. Not sure what I’d do if confronted with the other four, but I probably wouldn’t do anything on this list. Except for the one you’ll read about below.

Geese
Yeah, they can be pretty aggressive when you get near a nest. Just keep moving!

Wasps
Although the wasps weren’t the size of geese I’ve seen some big ones. One time swimming at a lake in New Hampshire with friends we were climbing up a rock face out of the water and our dogs came down to greet us. In the process they stirred up some nasty black wasps that quickly dive bombed us! One of them stung me, and it hurt like heck so I jumped back into the water without hesitation. Needless to say I found an alternate route out of the water, and the welt on my arm stuck around for a couple days.

Snakes
I generally just avoid them and give them a wide berth. Can’t say that I recommend the balloon approach.

Spiders
If you don’t want to burn everything, the bottom of your boot, sneaker, or flip flop work well also.

Cats
I may have once punted a cat, and by “may have” I mean I definitely did. Walking the dog one evening about nine years ago, and this thing came at us out of nowhere! The dog naturally cowered behind me as the cat charged. She took a claw to the face, and I took one to the calf. Left with no other choice, I went with the punt. Can’t recall what kind of distance I got, but it’s a valid technique!

Welcome!

This is where I offer a generic welcome and thank those of you taking the time to read my stream of consciousness.

This blog is intended to be a place for me to write about life, but primarily centered around the outdoors and outdoor activities.

I might be entertaining or informative, but I can’t guarantee that. I might be incredibly boring. I might post daily. I might post monthly. Maybe I’ll never post again!

I don’t know where this will lead, but that’s kind of the point of it right?