Thursday, June 21, 2007

Berry Berry Good to Me

I have the luxury of living near an agricultural research center, so even though I live in a "city," a short walk of five minutes puts me among cattle pastures, corn fields and a swamp (er, sorry, wet-lands). And I've been doing more walking there, which makes me more attentive of the flora and fauna than people who just sachet through in their Hummers (which I do too, sans Hummer).

I did not realize that the road-side is filled with berries! Last weekend there were a goodly number of mulberries and black raspberries that looked ripe (the left and middle photos). The mulberries were pretty decent sized, but the raspberries are just tiny little buds. I have to admit that I snacked on the ripe ones, which I quite enjoyed. There is a huge patch of blackberries (the right photo), but they are definitely not ripe yet. When they are, I will definitely be there to partake, thorns permitting.

Wednesday I stopped briefly to take these photos (but not to take fruit), and just at that moment a service security guard pulled up and asked me what I was doing. I figured I would get a scolding, but what actually happened was she first assumed I was a USDA worker (!), and then she warned me to look out for deer (!). Not as one nature lover to another, and not for any health reason, but just to beware that a deer might jump out and spook me! How considerate.

As a kid I used to sneak-and-snack on neighbors' berry patches that were hanging over the sidewalk. My dad and I were even more brazen at the local university, which planted Service Berry trees around the campus library (we knew them as Juneberries). We would troop to the library with buckets and come back with them full! Juneberries are a little like blueberries, but a little fleshier. Curious college students would stop and ask questions, assuming we were university staff cleaning up toxic plant material. Little did they know. I'm not really a nature-boy, but I know a few good berries when I see them. I am guessing some friends must have even more berry experience than I do.

Footnote: the title is a play on a friend's play on words.

I'll Fly Away

Here I am wrangling my little insect friend on the set of the next blockbuster movie hit, The Butterfly Whisperer. Thank goodness my camera was ready just then.

Update: now I know it's a "Red-spotted Purple."

Thursday, June 7, 2007

New Shoes

Apparently I am now equipped for the hybrid sport of soccer-bowling.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

A Tarnished Silver Lining

I'm watching a television show on PBS called Haley's Hints. It's pledge week and they seem to be running a scad of 1-minute household hints all together. Here are some of the hints:
  • Cleaning pet hair from your couch with kitchen gloves;
  • Opening a tight peanut butter jar with a rubber band as a gripper;
  • Removing tarnish from silver with water softener and table salt;
  • Storing old gift wrapping paper and wallpaper rolls in panty hose!
These are pretty cool hints. Technology and wealth have created tremendous benefits to our society, but they also have created the strangest of little problems that need to be solved. Like, "what the heck will I do with all this old wrapping paper and panty hose?"

I wonder, what would a third-world person think if they saw this show? American culture is pervasive. Perpetual TV re-runs of Dallas and Webster have guaranteed that, so the rest of the world knows about western proclivities. While Juan is sorting coffee beans in his hut, he can dream of the time when he can clean his own silver.

Now please excuse me, I need to buy some panty hose.