Wednesday, April 29, 2009

H1N1 is here

Today is was confirmed that there are three cases of swine flu, H1N1, here in my state. Two of them in the county where my favorite megalo mart is located. Oh joy.

The governor announced that any school with an infected student will be closed-as well as any schools those buses might also service.

Symptoms were listed, and a hotline number available. My understanding is that the key to the symptoms is the fever of 103F or higher. So I won't be calling them over my scratchy throat and stuffy nose.

I took the precaution of taking baseline temperatures of all of us this evening. Surely I felt flushed? My temp? 96.8 F-absolutely normal for me as I usually run cold. Willow was the high one at 99.6-but still under 100 and she did hold the thermometer in place-wasn't I told as a kid NOT to do that? The Firebird was just below the average baseline of 98.6F

Yeah, I still use an old -now banned- mercury thermometer. Shows how much we use one in this house. I think the last temp I took was Louise after her surgery three years ago-with the dog thermometer, of course. Ours is an oral one.

I spent sometime checking out facts about this flu. It is a new strain-no one has immunity. The flu shot will not give you immunity. It will take at least 6 months to develop a vaccine. Initial reports from Mexico show a fatality rate of 7%-extraordinarily high, but minor cases of infection might not be included, raising the mortality vs infection rate.

With folks on alert, we should quickly gain new insight on how virulent the new bug is. But in the meantime, the public cannot be cautioned strongly enough to STAY HOME if you are sick, especially with a fever.

Granted, folks may be contagious before symptoms appear, but Mexico's cases are dropping with their tough lockdown on public gatherings.

I do not believe that WHO would be raising alert status to 5 if this was something minor. Our governor would not be closing schools. I am not buying into conspiracy theories on this one.

I am not urging panic-but what would folks do if panicked, other than swamp the hotline? The sick need to stay out of circulation, not act like a little flu bug is no big deal. If you don't mind having it, fine, but I don't want it. And I don't want my kids and friends to get it either.

So, please keep your germs at home, thanks.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine Flu~Are We ready?

We are sitting on the edge of a deadly flu pandemic, and yet the US seems ill prepared.

The news to date has been focusing on how many cases have been verified...and don't panic. Enough time has elapsed that kids returning from spring break in Mexico have had a chance to not only become ill, but also to infect parents and classmates. Yet the focus is primarily on tourists returning from Mexico-and reports show that the action has been limited to informational flyers being handed out to folks returning on those flights.

"Cover your cough", "Wash your hands frequently".

I bought a bottle of hand sanitizer last fall, which has permanent residence in the car. Whenever we exit a public place, we all use a squirt of the alcohol based germ killer. But what about the shopping bags I touched when putting them into the car, what about all the packaged product that has been sitting on shelves in full cough radius?

Our latest trip to the local Megalo mart on Sunday I was especially vigilant. I caught two people coughing in the store-the first, a man, was walking rapidly down a main aisle,* cough, cough*, making no attempt to cover his cough.

The second, a woman in the same shoe aisle as ourselves, came coughing and spewing straight for us. We fell over ourselves getting out of that part of the store.

Then we were in the dairy section, and I had an enormous sneeze overtake me in the yogurt section. I had several people within feet of me as I unleashed the beast into the crook of my clothed elbow -as I turned away and crouched down so that any escaping blast headed towards the floor, away from the shelves of product and bystanders.

"Here I am bitching about people coughing and I let rip this huge sneeze," I say, hopefully audible to the rapidly retreating backs of my fellow shoppers.

Our last purchase was two beautiful pounds of strawberries. It is only after we are home that I realize that they came from a part of California where confirmed cases of swine flu have been reported. Uh-oh. If one of the , most likely Mexican, field workers was infected and coughed, sneezed, or dripped sweat on the berries, would we get sick? Should I throw them out? How paranoid am I getting about this?

I settled for washing them twice in copious quanitites of cold water, and then de-stemmed them and sliced them and poured so much sugar on them I could hardly believe myself. I remembered reading somewhere that sugar has antiseptic qualities. But yeastie beasties LOVE sugar...what about viruses? Sugar, as with salt, can cause cells to lyse, or literally explode. That is why I put it on the strawberries-it draws a lot of juice out of them, perfect for pouring on sponge cake.

But I recall from Microbiology that virus have a sort of armor, and attach themselves to the host cell, injecting it to make it a host for more virus.


Maybe that is why the government is doing so little about this. If a killer virus is truly on the loose, we are all screwed. Unless you have a bomb shelter with two years supply of survival gear and lock down in time. Ha.

By the way, the stsrawberries were pretty good. A bit sweet maybe.... :D

Excuse me while I go sneeze.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Poor Ponies

My condolences to the Lechuza Caracas polo team, who lost 21 polo ponies to an incorrect dosage in a supplemental injection.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Common Garter snake

Thamnophis sirtalis


Today at Prescott Willow discovered a hibernicula of garter snakes. This old well cover sits on a rock-lined, hand-dug well; a place these snakes thought made an excellent place for hibernation.

Today there were coming out in force-we counted at least ten different snakes, and when first spotted, there was about a half dozen writhing together as they emerged into the warm sun.

One of the farm boys reached down and grabbed a handful and tossed them onto the well cover. I grabbed my cam and caught this pic of one retreating back to his nest mates.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Piccolomini, Act. ii. Scene 4.

“’Tis not merely
The human being’s pride that peoples space
With life and mystical predominance,
Since likewise for the stricken heart of Love
This visible nature, and this common world
Is all too narrow; yea, a deeper import
Lurks in the legend told my infant years
That lies upon that truth, we live to learn,
For fable is Love’s world, his home, his birthplace;
Delightedly he dwells ’mong fays and talismans,
And spirits, and delightedly believes
Divinities, being himself divine.
The intelligible forms of ancient poets,
The fair humanities of Old Religion,
The Power, the Beauty, and the Majesty,
That had their haunts in dale or piny mountain,
Or forests by slow stream, or pebbly spring,
Or chasms or wat’ry depths;—all these have vanished.
They live no longer in the faith of Reason,
But still the heart doth need a language; still
Doth the old instinct bring back the old names.”


Monday, April 20, 2009

The Crow

My friend and neighbor through the year,
Self-appointed overseer

Of my Crops of fruit and grain,
Of my woods and furroughted plain,

Claim thy tithings right and left,
I shall never call it theft.

Nature wisely made the law,
And I fail to find a flaw

In thy title to the earth
And all it holds of any worth.

I like thy self-complacent air,
I like thy ways so free from care,

Thy landlord stroll about my fields,
Quickly noting that each yields;

Thy courtly mien and bearing bold,
As if they claim were bought with gold;

Thy floating shape against the sky,
When days are calm and clouds are high;

Thy thrifty flight ere rise of sun,
Thy homing clans when day is done

Hues protective are not thine,
So sleek thy coat each quill doth shine.

Diaond black to end of toe,
The counter-point the crystal snow.


Never plaintive nor appealing,
Quite at home when thou art stealing,

Always groomed to tip of feather,
Calm and trim in every weather,

Morn till night my woods policing,
Every sound thy watch increasing.

Hawk and owl in treetop hiding
Feel the shame of thy deriding.

Naught escapes thy observation,
None can dread thy accusation.


Hunters, prowlers, woodland lovers
Vainly seek the lofty covers.

Noisey, scheming and predacious,
With demeanor almost gracious

Dowered with leisure, void of hurry,
Void of fuss and void of worry,

Friendly bandit, Robin Hood,
Judge and jury of the wood,

Or Captain Kidd of sable quill,
Hiding treasures in the hill.

Nature made the for each season,
Gave thee wit for ample reason,

Good crow wit that's always burnished
Like the coat her care has furnished.

May the numbers ne'er diminish,
I'll befriend thee till life's finish.

May I never cease to meet thee,
May you never have to eat thee.

And mayest thou never have to fare so
That thou playest the part of scare crow.

John Burroughs

Saturday, April 18, 2009


We have watched a few new to us DVD's recently.

Marley and Me: I thought Jennifer Anniston did a good job with it, but I wish we hadn't bought it-I probably won't watch it again, unless I need a good cry. :(

Chihuahua: This was cute, Drew Barrymore (ET, Olive the other Reindeer) does the voice of the star chihuahua and it works.

National Treasure: this has been out awhile, and I kept feeling that we had seen it already, but I think I read the book? So it killed it a little for me-you definitely don't want to know what happens. I thought Sean Bean was too likeable for a bad guy.

Bedtime Stories: the kids loved this one. I liked it. Adam Sandler is a little laid back in it (for him), but he has a side kick that is pretty wild, so maybe he just seems tame and normal in comparison.

I guess the one I would watch again in the near would be Bedtime Stories.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Golden Eagle


Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Serene, I fold my hands and wait,
Nor care for wind, nor tide, nor sea;
I rave no more 'gainst time or fate,
For lo! my own shall come to me.

I stay my haste, I make delays,
For what avails this eager pace?
I stand amid the eternal ways,
And what is mine shall know my face.

Asleep, awake, by night or day,
The friends I seek are seeking me;
No wind can drive my bark astray,
Nor change the tide of destiny.

What matter if I stand alone?
I wait with joy the coming years;
My heart shall reap where it hath sown,
And garner up its fruit of tears.

The waters know their own and draw
The brook that springs in yonder height;
So flows the good with equal law
Unto the soul of pure delight.

The stars come nightly to the sky;
The tidal wave unto the sea;
Nor time, nor space, nor deep, nor high,
Can keep my own away from me.

John Burroughs

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter



WHO is it that can tell me why my bed seems so is hard and why the bedclothes will not stay upon it? Wherefore has this night--and oh, how long it was!--dragged on, bringing no sleep to my eyes? Why are my weary limbs visited with restlessness and pain? If it were Love that had come to make me suffer, surely I should know it. Or stay, what if he slips in like a thief, what if he comes, without a word of warning, to wound me with his cruel arts? Yes, ’tis he! His slender arrows have pierced my heart, and fell Love holds it like a conquered land. Shall I yield me to him? Or shall I strive against him, and so add fuel to this sudden flame? Well, I will yield; burdens willingly borne do lighter weigh. I know that the flames will leap from the shaken torch and die away in the one you leave alone. The young oxen which rebel against the yoke are more often beaten than those which willingly submit. And if a horse be fiery, harsh is the bit that tames him. When he takes to -the fray with a will, he feels the curb less galling. And so it is with Love; for hearts that struggle and rebel against him, he is more implacable and stern than for such as willingly confess his sway.

Ah well, be it so, Cupid; thy prey am I. I am a poor captive kneeling with suppliant hands before my conqueror. What is the use of fighting? Pardon and peace is what I ask.

Translated by Julian May

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Happy Full Moon


Spring Peeper


Monday, April 6, 2009

Red-tailed Hawk

Buteo jamaicensis Tree409

We had some great wildlife sitings today. First, on the way to the store, Willow found a brown caterpillar on the seat next to her in the car. I had to pull over and secure it in a cup for the rest of the trip.

Then, on the two lane highway, I spotted a bobcat making a run for it up ahead. I had enough time to alert Willow as it raced across the road and vanished into the woods to the left. Even if I had the camera in my hand, it would have been gone before the camera powered up. Excellent siting, though!

Then, just a few miles up the road, Willow spotted this red-tailed hawk on the power line. I stopped and took some pix, then turned the car around and slowly crept parallel to it, and managed to get two pix off. This was the second, just as it was in flight. It was the best shot of the lot. I was in such a hurry I don't think I had the settings correct on the cam, but still a cool pic I am happy to share. :)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Spotted Salamander


Bucket brigades all over the Northeast are helping amphibians make their trips across roadways to vernal pools for breeding. Today we assisted a spotted salamander that we discovered while relocating a woodpile. We placed it 50 yards to the North near a seasonal spring in a nice little alcove under a root.

Daybreak West


Pussy willows


Saturday, April 4, 2009


Sound the Flute!
Now it's mute.
Birds delight
Day and Night.
In the dale
Lark in Sky
Merrily Merrily to welcome in the Year

Little Boy
Full of joy.

Little Girl
Sweet and small.
Cock does crow
So do you.
Merry voice
Infant noise
Merrily Merrily to welcome in the Year

Little Lamb
Here I am,
Come and lick
My white neck.
Let me pull
Your soft Wool.
Let me kiss
Your soft face.
Merrily Merrily we welcome in the Year

William Blake

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Happy Birthday C

Happy 20th to the Boy Who Lived in the Tree! :-X