That Nature Show

That Nature Show

That Nature Show: Want to ID That Bird in The Tree? There’s an app for That

0 Written by: | Friday, Jul 25, 2014 12:00pm

red shouldered hawk

The red shouldered hawk.

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 wish I could bake. My grandmother could bake. She could also sew. Have I told you about she sewed my prom dress in a weekend? It was a fetching pink chiffon off-the-shoulder number. I don’t want to date myself, but back then, the movie Pretty In Pink was of the moment.

I don’t have a lot in common with my grandmother being myself a defroster of food and a purchaser of clothes, but what I have inherited is her twitcher-ness. A “twitcher” is unkind British slang for a birdwatcher, but I fondly remember my grandmother staring out the kitchen window looking all goggle-eyed at a nesting nuthatch, so I say, Twitchers Unite. Let’s talk binoculars.  Let’s talk squirrel-proof feeders. Read More →

That Nature Show

Glorious Hydrangeas

1 Written by: | Friday, Jul 18, 2014 12:00pm

 

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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.

I’m disturbed to know that you need over $88,ooo to be happy in Maryland, the so-called Land of Pleasant Living. How pleasant? My husband is a high school teacher, I am a freelance writer, dear reader, I’ll let you do the math. I still get excited about finding quarters in between the cushions of the couch.  Kids, we’re going out for premium ice cream! 

But — this is what I tell myself as a sort of bohemian pep-talk — we make up in beauty what we lack in cold hard cash. La dee dah. 

For instance, have you seen my hydrangeas? Glory be. I have become That Lady In The First Throes of Menopause Who Takes To Gardening. I believe there is actually a Myers-Briggs personality type for this. INFP, maybe? (It’s definitely for the introverts to sit in the gloaming with a glass of white wine and stare at flowers.) My hydrangeas are gorgeous. Sky blue, the blue the color of the sky in Taos, New Mexico. Multi-petaled. So blue and multi-petaled they look like creatures from another planet, one I would like to go to, unlike Mars. Read More →

Featured, Lifeline, That Nature Show

That Nature Show: The Pesky Mosquitoes of Summer

0 Written by: | Friday, Jul 11, 2014 11:30am

If it's summer, it's mosquito time!  Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

If it’s summer, it’s mosquito time! 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.

On the sleeping porch of grandparents’ farm house on the Eastern Shore, my grandfather hung a large model of a mosquito.  This was emblematic of his dark sense of humor. Because, dang, if every summer I didn’t get bitten by one hundred billion mosquitoes.

I’d jump into the water to escape them and be stung by the ubiquitous stinging nettles. Weren’t Chesapeake summers fun?  At the end of the day, I’d have itched the skin off my ankles from the mosquitoes and I’d have angry red welts on my back from the sea nettles. Animals without skeletons could really pack a wallop. Read More →

That Nature Show

That Nature Show: Wild and Crazy Kids

0 Written by: | Thursday, Jul 03, 2014 1:00pm

kid shot

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.

If you have young kids, you have animals living in your house.  With their little opposable thumbs they leave monkey-like thumb prints on the walls of the stairway to the basement, though you have told them countless times: Please. Use. The. Banister.

They don’t understand logic. Or the importance of showing off to the neighbors that you have clean walls, hand towels, and guest soaps in a cute fragile pyramid in the bathroom. To kids you sound like mwah wah wah taxes blah blah blurgle murgle eat your vegetables, co-pay, orthodontics, Home Goods. You sound like an idiot. Or, as Shakespeare put it, you sound like you’re full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Read More →

Lifeline, That Nature Show

That Nature Show: The World Cup Brings Out the Animal Within

0 Written by: | Friday, Jun 27, 2014 11:00am

 

Suarez gets muzzled.  Photo via The Independent.

Suarez gets muzzled. Photo via The Independent.

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.

World Cup soccer players — and their fans — are everywhere. And exhibiting interesting animal behaviors, too. From which we can learn mostly what not to do.

Unless the rock you are living under is lead you’ve probably heard that Uruguay’s Luis Suarez is a biter. He bit an Italian.  I might also like to do that. To an Italian submarine sandwich. I would never bite a member of the Azzuri, which is what the Italian fans call their team, because they wear the most gorgeous blue uniform. Avanti Azzuri! is something I have frequently yelled in the privacy of my own home. Read More →

Culture, Lifeline, That Nature Show

The Magic of Fireflies

1 Written by: | Friday, Jun 20, 2014 1:00pm

Firelflies in a jar. Photo by Langston Creative via Flickr.

Photo by Langston Creative via Flickr.

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.

Mark Twain famously said, ‘The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” But in Maryland in June it’s both lightning and lightning bug season. Read More →

Lifeline, That Nature Show

That Nature Show: We Catch A Rabbit

0 Written by: | Friday, Jun 06, 2014 1:30pm

Peter Rabbit
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.
At the end of the school year my daughter’s class was reading Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit. This was thrilling for her because, 1) her name is Beatriz, the Spanish form of Beatrix (Husb.’s from Costa Rica), and even more awesome than the realization that a famous author has a name close in spelling to yours is, 2) we had a nest of rabbits under our deck.

Read More →

Lifeline, That Nature Show

That Nature Show: The Summer Song of the American Toad

0 Written by: | Friday, May 23, 2014 1:00pm

 

Eastern American Toad via Wikimedia Commons.

Eastern American Toad. 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.

Living in our window wells are toads. Eastern American toads.  You’ll recognize the sound from recent nights, but maybe you didn’t know it was made by an amorous little amphibian. Listen to one here. Toad calls herald summer, as much as the sound of Memorial Day lifeguards yelling at my kids to stop running on the pool deck, hammering blue crabs with a mallet, popping the cork on pink wine, and the incessant whine of my neighbor’s ride-on lawnmower.  Read More →

Featured, Lifeline, That Nature Show

That Nature Show: Loving Horses and the Preakness Despite the Sneezing

0 Written by: | Friday, May 16, 2014 11:00am

California Chrome. Photo via delmarvanow.com

California Chrome at Pimlico. Photo via delmarvanow.com

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.

The Preakness, the “middle jewel” in The Triple Crown is this Saturday at Pimlico. If you know nothing else about me know this: I am so allergic to horses that if I so much as pet one hair on the nose of a horse, I become one giant hive that weeps and sneezes and yet despite this — despite becoming a giant wheezing snot-hive — I pet them anyway, saying between labored breaths and puffs on my inhaler, “They’re so beautiful.”  Snort. “So elegant.” Wheeze. “So fast.”  Then I have to go take a cold shower and a prednisone.

 

Read More →

Lifeline, That Nature Show

That Nature Show: House Wrens Are Mothers, Too

0 Written by: | Friday, May 09, 2014 11:00am

The House Wren

The House Wren

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.

Sunday is Mother’s Day. So, nu, have you bought a gift for your mother, or at the very least called her?  I just yelled loudly, “Mooooom!” and she heard me because she lives only two miles from here, and has her ears always perked for the song of her chickadee. That’s what she calls me.

I used to call her Mama, then Mommy, then Mom, then, as an adolescent I referred to her as That Woman Who Grounded Me Because I Got A C In French, then in my 20s, in my discovery-of-my-Jewish-roots phase, Ema, Hebrew for mother, because I was engaged to a guy from Israel and was learning Hebrew in Jerusalem. Now I just call her Emily. We’ve reached this place, the mountain plateau, through lots of strenuous climbing. 

We have a house wren nesting in window box of the shed. Its eggs are going to hatch by Mother’s Day. Can a bird have better Hallmark-card timing? It’s like a metaphor for the tender care I try to provide my kids. It has feathered the nest, sat patiently on the eggs (that is, when she was not disturbed by my son, 9, leering in to her abode. She flew out and almost hit him in the eye. Who wants to be the mother whose son was blinded in a bird-related melee? Not I. No Red Ryder BB gun). Read More →

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