Sunday, October 21, 2007

Notre Dame makes me cry

I don't want to talk about it much, but it really hurts my heart to see the Irish play so poorly. I keep thinking it's GOT to get better, but what's really sad is that I'm not seeing a lot of improvement from week to week. I don't know what the answer is, but Weis had better stop being so full of himself and start asking some questions. There are a lot of resources affiliated with Notre Dame that he can go to for advice. A couple of names spring immediately to mind: Lou Holtz and this one guy named Ara Parseghian. Lock your ego in its cage for a little while, Charlie, and ask those guys "What should I be doing differently?" Do it now.

I cut out of work early today, because the work was done, and I just couldn't bear the thought of twiddling my thumbs there for an hour, when I could be twiddling them in the comfort of our home. Actually, I've gotten some stuff done, including a load of laundry. I'm glad I came home early, because I just had a new bird sighting! A Yellow Rumped Warbler, affectionately nicknamed Butter-butt. They have a very distinctive yellow spot on their butt. Very cute! They migrate through here on their way to their winter digs. I hope I see him again, but I got a really good look at him--he was sitting on the deck railing with his back turned to me, so I could see his butter-butt. Ha!

My folks dropped by yesterday and dropped some stuff off for us. They knew I'd be working, but when they stopped by, Ken was out running some errands. They brought us a jar of apple butter, from our yearly family apple butter get-together. It's been going on for a few years, and I haven't been able to make it there once. That will change soon. Our family makes apple butter the old-fashioned way: tons of apples and cider and sugar, cooked down in a big iron pot all day long over an open fire. It's some good stuff on a biscuit, let me tell you.

They also dropped off a big bag of potatoes. Mom said their friend called them and told them that a farmer's potato picker was broken, and all those potatoes were going to rot in the ground. When Mom and Dad got there, I guess the potato picker was going again, and Mom said it was funny because the potatoes were piling up in the truck and rolling off, then rolling down the road. She said anyone could have come along and got a bunch of potatoes just walking along the road. Anyhoo, they let Mom and Dad and some other people get in there and pick a few potatoes, and they said that every hill they dug into had 6 or 7 big potatoes. They said they actually had a lot of fun digging them out. It's been years since I dug for potatoes, but I remember that it IS fun. It's like digging for gold. Well, kinda. Okay, it's a potato. But it IS fun--and could I sound any more like some hick farm girl? I don't care. These are some awesome potatoes. Mom said they were big, but they're HUGE! I just pulled one out of the bag and measured it. It's five inches long, four inches wide, and two and a half inches deep. That's a big tater! They brought us a paper grocery bag full, so I need to find some recipes beyond mashed and fried, as well as make sure I find out how to store them best. I'm thinking in the basement, probably by the window where it will be coolest.

Speaking of the basement window, when I got up this morning, I went down to check mail. As I was sitting at the computer, something broke through my sleepiness. I sniffed, and thought, "That smells like skunk!" Then I saw Sheeba over by the window, looking like he was watching something. I turned on the outside light, and sure enough, there was our friend Pepe, chowing down on seeds dropped from the bird feeder overhead. I know a skunk isn't a critter you want to encounter, but they honestly are the cutest things. Their fur is so black and glossy, and their tails are incredibly bushy and lush. I think they're gorgeous animals. Amazing, though, that his odor was so strong it came through into the house! I was very careful when I walked out to the garage this morning...I can just see myself startling Pepe.

In reading up on skunks, though, they have a limited amount of "spray" available, and it takes them a couple of weeks to produce more. So apparently they give ample warning to critters (animal or human) before they spray. They're so distinctively colored that other animals learn quickly that a black critter with white stripes that has its tail straight up in the air is to be avoided at all costs. They can also spray for a distance of 10 to 12 feet.

Wow, don't mess with skunks, man. What an ingeniously designed animal.

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