ordinary… mostly

"We have nothing to offer each other, except a haven." — K. Nafziger



April 26, 2014
Lexi and Jack. (Aren’t they cute?)
March 10, 2014
“We all know how this story is going to end.” –Ordinary Spouse

(“We just hope it doesn’t end at 4:30 am.”)

February, 16, 2014
I can haz YouTube video?
February 10, 2014

I guess I know my place in the grand scheme of things.

This week in and out of the forest… 16 December 2012

Three stories from the Laurelville woods this week, starting off with the Geminids…

The Geminids are an annual meteor shower with a peak which unfortunately occurs in mid-December. Nevertheless, the Ordinary Family bundled up and stood on our back porch gazing up at the sky. We weren’t disappointed. All of us saw at least one meteor, and those of us who were more patient saw some extremely bright ones.

I was inspired to get my camera and try to capture some meteors with long-exposure images. Here was my prize for the night…

A shooting star?

Alas – things are not as the seem. If you look closely, you’ll notice how the trail has periodic intense spots. This was an airplane.

By 9:30, I was sufficiently cold to quit watching, even though the peak of the shower wouldn’t come until after midnight…

If you missed this shower, you’ll have another chance soon. The Quadrantids are an equally prolific and bright shower that will occur just after the New Year. You may have to deal with some moon light then, however.

Also on Thursday, we had a visitor in our house…

(Photos by Ordinary Spouse!)

The last time this happened the cats decreed that the mouse should go. This time, they seemed more inclined to make friends. Eventually, Ordinary Spouse caught it and took it back outside.

Finally, here is a little creature we found crawling along our driveway today.

We think it’s a little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus), although that’s mostly just an educated guess (since they’re the most common bats in Pennsylvania). We don’t have a good idea why it was crawling along mid-day. By late afternoon, it was gone.

These cats will be my downfall

This is Jack (short for Jackal). He is our first cat. He came to live with us when a friend moved and needed to give him up for adoption. He tends to get spooked easily. And he sleeps a lot.


This is Lexi (short for Alexis). She is our second cat. She joined the house when Jack needed a friend, and we adopted her from a shelter. She doesn’t get spooked by much of anything.


Around bedtime last night, Jack came trotting through our living room carrying a mouse. Yes, we live in a house with mice. Happily, our cats are skilled in mouse removal.

“Hmmm… Where did that come from?”  I wondered.

I was horrified to discover that one of our outside doors was open. I quickly called Ordinary Spouse to help me look around the house for Lexi, even though it was already clear that Lexi was gone. She doesn’t pass up the opportunity of an open door (whereas Jack wouldn’t venture out). But neither of them is an outdoor cat.

After an hour and a half of searching outdoors without success, I gave up. I put some blankets and food by the doors so that she could keep herself warm and fed if she came back. And I went to bed with my stomach in knots about this dumb cat. You’d think it was one of my children lost in the cold. I’m such a softie.

I woke up twice in the night, and the second time I went to check at the doors. There she was, looking up at me from outside as if nothing was wrong – except that she wanted to use her litter box. There was no indication of where she had been or what she had been doing.

I was so relieved. 

Tonight, every time I get near a door, she dashes over thinking I’m going to let her out again.

Uh, no.

Now I’m sitting here trying to type and she’s taken up residence on my lap. I don’t even like cats. Humph.

Lap cat
Lap cat

Dumb cat.

This week out of the forest… 2 July 2012

Well… here we go with another round of creatures sneaking out of the forest and into our house. I better get used to it.

First, we caught a fishing spider just a couple of feet from our bed…

Fishing spider

Other than the tarantulas that my father kept as pets, this is the biggest spider that I’ve seen. It was roughly four inches in length. We observed it for a few days and then released it back into the wild.

Then on Saturday, it was mice…

Duh. They came from outside. Hopefully, the cats have encouraged them to return there.

However, if the cats can’t convince the mice to leave, perhaps this fellow will…

Black snake

This 4′ or 5′ black snake was sunning itself on one of the stone pillars of our house. I tried to remove it, but it retreated into that hole in the wall.

Oh, well – could you find the mice while you’re in there?

Transition doings and happenings

Our lives are full of transition things right now, and some of it is getting fairly stressful. But here are some of the more enjoyable happenings…

A few years ago when we moved a couch into our basement, it took our entire small group to get it through the doorway (with the door frame removed). This time around, Ordinary Spouse and I didn’t have too much patience and we simply forced it out. On the way, however, Lexi tried to convince us to leave it where it was…

She scooted right up to the top and wouldn’t budge…

Maybe we’ll have to create a new climbing toy in Pennsylvania.

In other news, we’ve had an outbreak of beauty at our bird feeder – a scarlet tanager and an indigo bunting. I’ve been at work both times, but Ordinary Spouse and the girls have been spotted them. I’m especially glad that Middle Daughter (our bird expert) was there to see them.

The pictures are a bit blurry, but still quite stunning. It’s funny that we’ve never had either of these birds before this year, and now they both arrive within two weeks of our move.

And this past weekend, we were out to Laurelville for their Spring Gathering. This is a trip that we had planned a long time ago – we’ve regularly attended these weekends in the spring and fall for many years now. However, since we were there, we had the chance to see our new home and to finalize some of the details of my employment. Here’s our home…

High Alps

And here’s the view from the porch outside our bedroom…

The woods

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

– from “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost

Still crazy after all these years


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