That Nature Show

That Nature Show

Birds of A Feather Flock Together

0 Written by: | Friday, Nov 21, 2014 11:00am

Twitcher photo via Wikipedia

Twitcher photo via Wikipedia

This column, That Nature Show, is about the nature right under your nose: in our backyards, playgrounds and parks! Stop and look around, you’ll be amazed at what surrounds you.

I’ve become a birder (in British English the pejorative is a “twitcher.”)  The kind of person for whom “the very mention of some exotic avian delight, a purple Peruvian rock thrush for example, sends them into paroxisms. They literally twitch; hence “twitchers.” I set out seed every day during the winter and it has been really wintry recently and I watch the birds from the bay window of the house eating and flocking with the kind of rapt attention Husb. has for Battlestar Galactica.  Read More →

That Nature Show

Comet Landing: It’s This Generation’s Lunar Landing

0 Written by: | Friday, Nov 14, 2014 11:40am

Handout picture taken by the Rosetta space probe shows the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Photo via phys.org

Handout picture taken by the Rosetta space probe shows the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Photo via phys.org

This column, That Nature Show, is about the nature right under your nose: in our backyards, playgrounds and parks! Stop and look around, you’ll be amazed at what surrounds you. 

Holy smokes, call your mother, we landed on a freakin’ comet 317 million miles from home. I was hopping around yesterday shouting, “We landed on a comet! Forget being an English major, study physics!”

Read More →

Featured, That Nature Show

Bats, Blobfish and More: Creepy, Weird Animals for Halloween

0 Written by: | Friday, Oct 31, 2014 9:00am

bat

This column, That Nature Show, is about the nature right under your nose: in our backyards, playgrounds and parks! Stop and look around, you’ll be amazed at what surrounds you. 

Velllcome, friendos, to That Nature Show’s Halloween edition. Bwhahahahaha. Today we’re going to be glad that after Friday we can take our banana and calavera costumes off, go back to being our selves — suburban mothers of two, poetry slammers, hipsters, lacrosse dads, wearers of designer boots, purchasers of pour-overs, because the world’s weirdest animals never can. For as long as it lives the warthog will be a warthog. It doesn’t get to play around.

The aye-aye (above) will always be a aye-aye. It can never get out of its wacky vampire-bat-ish clown suit.  See how surprised-Gremlin it looks? Like, I’m stuck in this pop-up Halloween store cheap made-in-China costume? Are you serious? What the %^&?

Interestingly, aye-ayes are primates, and so related to us, and the only place they live is on the island of Madagascar.  All I can say about that is, thank G-d, all we have in Baltimore is rats.

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Health and Fitness, That Nature Show

Chronic Illness Awareness Month

0 Written by: | Friday, Oct 24, 2014 10:00am

This column, That Nature Show, is about the nature right under your nose: in our backyards, playgrounds and parks! Stop and look around, you’ll be amazed at what surrounds you. 

It’s Pinktober. Breast Cancer Awareness month. I’m all for it, all pink-frosted donuts, and ribbons, and running shoes. Like the bumper sticker says (and I find both soft-core-y and infantilizing):  Save the ta-tas. My mother had a double mastectomy in her thirties, and survived. My mother-in-law died of the disease. Read More →

That Nature Show

That Nature Show: The Fungus Among Us

0 Written by: | Friday, Oct 17, 2014 12:00pm

Mushrooms_in_the_grass

This column, That Nature Show, is about the nature right under your nose: in our backyards, playgrounds and parks! Stop and look around, you’ll be amazed at what surrounds you. 

Husb., a biology teacher, likes t-shirts with Sheldon-y, Big Bang Theory inside-joke science slogans on them and I like to get them for him. He has one with the molecular formula for caffeine on it. (Yay! Caffeine! “The most widely consumed psychoactive substance in the world.”) Another, one of my personal favorites says, “Stand back, I’m going to try Science. ” Another asserts, “I’m A Fungi.”

Teehee! Oh, you wee silly science folk, y’all are so adorable with your weak humor I want to be one of you. Read More →

Baltimore Fishbowl Weekend, That Nature Show

In Praise of Napping

0 Written by: | Friday, Oct 10, 2014 1:00pm

Photo via NYTimes

Photo via NYTimes

This column, That Nature Show, is about the nature right under your nose: in our backyards, playgrounds and parks! Stop and look around, you’ll be amazed at what surrounds you. 

There’s not enough napping. Our modern lifestyle of hectic constant busyness —  the never-ending errands of suburban motherhood, homework, sports practices (for instance, my son, 9, has taken up fencing, for which he needs, so help me gods, his first jock strap) business and holiday bazaar planning meetings, commuting, shopping for school uniform regulation white sneakers that gray with mud not 24 hours after purchase, email-answering, to-ing and fro-ing —  is contrary to our mammalian biology. Read More →

Baltimore Fishbowl Weekend, Lifeline, That Nature Show

Fall Foraging for Chestnuts

0 Written by: | Friday, Oct 03, 2014 2:00pm

images

This column, That Nature Show, is about the nature right under your nose: in our backyards, playgrounds and parks! Stop and look around, you’ll be amazed at what surrounds you. 

Everyone’s going apple picking. Sure, you could do that (here is a list of Maryland pick-yer-own), but you’re not everyone. You like difficult things.  You are a Baltimore County forager. This isn’t trendy farm-to-table eating, this is backyard-to-pie-hole Paleo. Read More →

Lifeline, That Nature Show

That Nature Show: Where Does Your Sewage Go?

0 Written by: | Friday, Sep 19, 2014 10:50am

800px-Discharge_pipe

This column, That Nature Show, is about the nature right under your nose: in our backyards, playgrounds and parks! Stop and look around, you’ll be amazed at what surrounds you. 

When my kids, now 7 and 9  were little, there was a children’s book that got famous called Everybody Poops. Here’s the movie version.  

I thought my potty training days were over, but here’s the deal: right now, as I write this, there are about five guys in my basement with what looks like giant dental equipment dealing with what I foolishly thought was simply a clogged shower drain, but turns out is a massive problem going from my house to the main sewer line in the ground several yards into the backyard and needing the assistance of a backhoe and a jackhammer. Something about tree roots, and terra-cotta,  also something about over-zealous use of toilet paper. When I heard this I turned to my children grimly, and said, “Have you been balling up the Charmin?”

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That Nature Show

Bringing Color to Fall: Chrysanthemums

0 Written by: | Friday, Sep 12, 2014 12:00pm

 

Historical painting of chrysanthemums from the New International Encyclopedia, 1902. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Historical painting of chrysanthemums from the New International Encyclopedia, 1902. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

This column, That Nature Show, is about the nature right under your nose: in our backyards, playgrounds and parks! Stop and look around, you’ll be amazed at what surrounds you. 

Garden centers are full of chrysanthemums in stunning fall tones. Yellow is the color of the small original flower, native to China where it is one of the four noble plants, and the subject of edifying poems.  Cultivars include orange, purple, purple with orange undertones, brick red, maroon, you name it. Mums come in whatever color you want to adorn your front stoop, along with pumpkins, gourds, and bales of hay for a fall-themed entryway. Read More →

That Nature Show

Time to Plan Your Leaf Peeping

0 Written by: | Friday, Sep 05, 2014 12:00pm

Photo via riotofreasons.blogspot.com

That special light of early fall. Photo via riotofreasons.blogspot.com

It’s that enchanting Charlotte’s Web time of year, the season of “mists and mellow fruitfulness,” said the poet John Keats.  Early fall.  The light angles in such a way that everyone looks well-rested.

Grapes are reaching their full ripeness in Maryland vineyards.  Target is starting to flush with Halloween candy and farmer’s markets with pumpkins. My kids are starting to think about costumes. My son, 9, wants to be a ninja. My daughter, 7, wants to be a cat fairy princess wearing tap dance shoes. I just want to stare out the kitchen window at the trees that are starting to turn from green to gold. I would like it to be September forever.

Word to the wise: if you want to make a leaf wreath with all your gorgeous findings, as I did a few years ago, do not do what I did. I was like, how hard can it be to make a leaf wreath? Does it take a genius? And then I glue-gunned my collection of orange and red maple leaves to some chicken wire that I wrestled into a star-shape. Duh. They crumpled up and turned mouse-brown, and I had the worst looking fall wreath on the block: dead leaves on chicken wire.

If you want the leaves to keep their color, you have to preserve them first. Thank you, Martha Stewart.  Read More →

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