Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What's news?

In this undated image provided by the American Birding Association, a Rufous-necked wood-rail walks along the edge of a marsh at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge near San Antonio, N.M. Experts say this is the first time the species has been spotted in the United States. The bird is typically found along the coasts and in tropical forests in Central and South America. (AP Photo/American Birding Association, Jeffrey Gordon)
This comes under the heading of "I knew I was a geek when I got excited over the Rufous-necked Wood-rail showing up in New Mexico."

As a confirmed bird-watching nerd, I want to meet the reporter (Susan Montoya Bryan) who pitched this story and the AP editors who recognized it was every bit as, if not more, interesting as a royal baby -- to some of us anyway. Thank you; all of you. I've been disgusted about most of what you've deigned to pass onto us these days, but this almost makes up for the media's current absorption in the royal after-birth (wait...that didn't come out quite right...).

And, by the way, Ms. Montoya gets extra points for mentioning one of my favorite movies, "The Big Year," though the fact that she had to explain the movie is kind of a let down. I mean, when when making pop culture references you never have to explain why you just compared someone to The Dude. It was probably inserted in there by an editor, who was obviously not a birder and had to Google the movie title to find out what it was about.

Really, though, considering the rarity of this occurrence -- a shy, reclusive bird showing up thousands of miles from its usual habitat -- should be major news above what to name one of the hundreds of thousands of babies born on July 22. And who cares what they name the baby, since it will have 15 names anyway, one of which will probably be Fortescue (I don't know this for sure, but it sounds like it should be).

So I pass this along for my fellow birders because the story disappeared very quickly from Yahoo feed to make way for this inane announcement: Royal Couple Begin Parenting.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

At the Fair

It's that time of year again -- county fairs all over the place and we arrived just in time for Madison County's -- the little fair that could.

Chicken pictures are always funny. No exceptions. Ever.

It was 95 degrees out -- the pig was probably the smartest one of anyone at the fairgrounds. We all should have just been taking naps.

And then there was this the chicken, an animal you just can't take seriously.

 I mean, honestly: How goofy can you get?

                     I had to ask...

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Madison County 2013 Fair Parade

The Cornucopia Volunteer Farm, of which Dirtman is executive director, was invited by the Madison Emergency Service Association (MESA) to march with them in the Madison County Fair Parade.

There are so many things I love about local parades, not the least of which is the interaction between the participants and the observers. Marchers shout out news from their floats and watchers ask after relatives as they march past. Candy flies and marchers jump off floats to embrace friends. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish who is in the parade and who is supposed to be off to the side watching!

 Did I mention it was hot? Like, close to 100 degrees hot? Just thought you should know that in view of these guys marching the two miles in wool suits.

I refer again to the heat... you really can't blame the Madison County High School Band for not donning uniforms...

...and I was surprised at how many of them interrupted their summer vacation to march in the parade -- toting those heavy instruments.

There were lots of Miss This and Miss Thats, but this little one was workin' the wave, even though she'd been doing it for the last mile!

Some clown got in the way of the camera.

Pre-teen boys crack me up. I loved this age when I was raising my kids -- they're up for anything and so endearingly goofy.

This guy was doing back flips all the way down Main Street. I sort of hope this one was his last, because he looked pretty well done in.

Every local church had a float featuring their vacation Bible school theme. The part I love: The church men who do all the grunt work for these events who have to blend in with the theme, but look oh-so-uncomfortable doing it.

A little promo for the farm

And one thing about local parades. Really...

...can you ever have too much red, white and blue?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Very Happy Blog Post from a Very Happy Sisiggy

Warning: The following post may cause a blood sugar spike or gut-wrenching nausea for some readers. For this we, in Linguiniland, apologize. We will return to our usual snide commentary and annoying whining at a later date. So spare the the e-mail complaints; you know who you are...

As I was fleeing leaving West Virginia to come back to live in Virginia, the finale of the William Tell Overture by Rossini was playing on NPR. Most people know this as the theme song for the old Lone Ranger TV show.

I thought it appropriate.

Someday I may write a blog post on the past 18 months. But I am still mulling over a lot of the issues. I don't want to bash an entire state based on a bad experience in one little corner. And we met some very nice people there who more than made up for others' duplicity. So we'll leave the West Virginia Experience for another day, perhaps never. Best not to give energy to the negative.

We find ourselves in historic downtown Madison, Va., which happens to be -- to quote Oh Brother Where Art Thou -- a geographical oddity: 20 minutes from everywhere. We're 20 minutes from Culpeper, 20 minutes from Charlottesville, and 20 minutes from Orange.

The first time we walked into this house, Dirtman and I knew it was right for us -- even more so than the house we had agreed to take that was given to another family. I have been sufficiently chastised by my lack of faith (Sufficiently and continually, I should say. This whole journey has been a consistent issue of faith).

Our furniture fits exactly; the bedroom curtains look like they were custom-made. The kitchen is large enough for me to play in, but small enough for me to be able to reach things. There is a closet big enough for Zsa Zsa to sleep in (it's become her "thing" lately). It's within walking distance of antique shops, a quilt supply shop and the best BBQ joint in Virginia (we used to eat there back when Chuck had soils work in this area). From here we can get to the farm without having to drive through any major towns or traffic. Our water doesn't stink and the showers work.

And did I mention a dishwasher? Oh yes. In fact, right now, as I'm sitting here typing this, I'm doing the dishes. There is no tower of glasses and cups next to the sink (because, you know, the world would blow up if you drank water out of the same glass twice...).

I am within walking distance of the library!

Our neighbors seem nice and one even brought us a pie, which showed enormous empathy because, if there is one thing you need after moving and unpacking all day, it's pie! (And she has a dog too, so she gets extra points.)

We are well aware, though, that some of our enthusiasm may be because we've been in a cycle of misery for so long that normalcy calls for a celebration. It's like we've been hitting ourselves over the head with a hammer and it just feels good now because we've stopped.

Okay, maybe not...

All I know is that we feel more at home here than we have since The House That Shall Not Be Named, in spite of the boxes all over the place and the fact that, in my search for a job I have to answer stupid questions like: If you saw a fellow associate stealing, would you: a) grab some for yourself; b) shoot associate in the head with the unlicensed gun you brought with you to work; c) offer to drive associate home in a car you steal from your supervisor; or d) none of the above.

And...Wait! There's more!

As if we weren't happy enough, Heir 2 got a job at AOL! You know what that means? That means he gets to play ping pong at some point during his employment (Heir 2 said AOL was very proud of the fact that they have a ping pong table...everyone he spoke with mentioned the ping pong table; it was the one constant in all his interviews). AND...he got an apartment -- on the ground floor, so those who are helping him move (John Boy is not among them because we got him first) are grateful.

Can you stand all this happiness? (This is where, normally, I would insert some deflating comment about an on-coming freight train BUT I WON'T! Hah!) I've learned my lesson and will anticipate only floods and floods of blessings; Blessings!

Because right now I have an entire set of clean dishes, yet my fingers aren't pruney from the dishwater; I have an invitation to have a beer at a friend's house where I can take Zsa Zsa with me; and I checked out a book on birding after a leisurely stroll to the library with Zsa Zsa (who waited obediently outside in a very, very, very, very rare down-stay -- so, see...miracles DO happen!).

Editorial staff thanks you for your indulgence. We will now return to our regularly scheduled griping.