Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Neato Bird!

This past week we were in Bridgeport helping with the grandsons. Sarah and Jeff live just down from Deegan and Hinkle Lakes Park. Judy and I always keep an eye out for birds. We stopped the car on Saturday and checked out the Great Blue Heron that resides in this area. The Great Blue sat motionless until we got out of the car and started walking closer to the beast. The bird decided that enough was enough and flew across the lake.

As we ventured toward Sarah and Jeff's house, we had to stop and check out this exotic white bird. Most folk would think this is a Great White Heron feeding in the mudflats.

The problem is that the Great White Heron is actually a morph of the Great Blue and the range is restricted to the south. The largest and most widespread heron in North Ame
rica, the Great Blue Heron can be found along the ocean shore or the edge of a small inland pond, but the all white form is found from southern Florida into the Caribbean, and used to be considered a separate species, the "Great White Heron."

On closer inspection, we realized that what we were actually seeing is a migrating Great Egret. The Great Egret is found across much of the world, from southern Canada southward to Argentina, and in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. This is the largest egret in the Old World. In the New World, however, the white form of the Great Blue Heron is larger. In the United States, the Great Egret used to be called the American Egret but that was hardly appropriate, si
nce its range extends beyond the Americas and indeed farther than other herons/egrets.

It is always a joy to see these jewels of nature!

Monday, September 20, 2010

WVU versus Maryland

This past Saturday we were treated to the football game between the Mountaineers and the Terrapins. Actually the mascot for Maryland is the Diamondback Terrapin.

The diamondback terrapin is a medium-sized turtle with a dark carapace, or shell, covered with gray scutes, or plates. The scutes:

  • Are unique to each terrapin, just like fingerprints are to humans.
  • Appear to form diamond-shaped concentric circles over the top of the terrapin's shell.

Adults diamondback terrapins have:

  • A yellowish or greenish-gray plastron (the underside of the shell).
  • A horned beak.
  • Webbed feet with strong claws.
  • Rough, scaly skin on the legs and neck.

Diamondback terrapins grow to about 9 inches long. Females grow larger than the males.

What am I doing? Here I am describing the biology of the reptile when I need to blog the WVU game?

The game started at noon. We arrived all in one vehicle (Jeff, Sarah, Shirley - Jeff's Mom, Ms. Judy, Sir Jim, and, of course, Nate and Sam!) As usual, the Milan Puskar Stadium was hopping.

Here is Jeff with Mom Shirley.

Everyone was wearing the ole blue and gold. I am sorry that I gave my genetic traits for the love of popcorn to these boys. Sammy devoured several boxes. Nate ate his popcorn for the first time and also discovered the joy in pouring the full boxes around his immediate environment.

The stadium was packed when the game started. It is always amazing to see the fans enjoying this great event.

Sarah did well. This was her first adventure out for an extended period after her operation.

Half time is always neat with the Pride of West Virginia - the WVU band- performing. They are excellent.

Here is Maryland's Diamond backed terrapin. If he only knew that the Diamondbacked Terrapins were almost destroyed in the early 1900's by humans eating their tasty flesh! This one looks too plasticized to become a gourmet meal.

WVU won 31 to 17. It was a fun day in Morgantown.

A Blast from the Past

This article from a 1977 Gilmer Democrat shows our Rachael with her pet lamb, Daisey.

The article reads "IN LIKE A LAMB- After the most severe winter in more than a century, March mercilessly came in like a lamb. Temperatures rose into the 50's on some of the first days of the month. Rachael Meads, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jim Meads of Glenville cavorted with her per lamb, Daisey, on a particularly nice day last week."

This lamb came from the Gordon farm and arrived at the Meads house when its Mom abandoned the beast. It was spring and we did not have a barn in which to keep Daisey. OK- we kept it in the basement. Daisey wore Pampers for months. We went from newborn Pampers to the toddler size. You would not believe how much money it takes to buy Pampers for a lamb!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Boys of Golf

This week we were treated to supper at the Bridgeport Country Club. OK- it is a golf course with a pool. The boys had their burgers and fries. Sammy sometimes is a picky eater. Now Mr. Nate is another story!

We had supper outside beside the putting green. After our meal, Sammy decided to teach his younger brother the skills of golf.

Enough of this brother stuff! Nate decided it was time to play on his own.

Let's see... Sammy said keep your eye on the ball.

What happened? Where is the ball?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

2010 Gilmer County Farm Show

udy and neighbor, Ruth, are checking out the entries in the Farm Show which was held at the Gilmer County Recreation Center last Thursday through Saturday. We had stopped by to partake of the yummy chicken dinner and then we had to travel to Bridgeport to help Jeff and Sarah.

Our friend, Bruce Farmer, won a blue ribbon for his hay (below photo). A first place ribbon also was presented to another friend, Brenda McCartney, for her hay sample.

The show always has a variety of displays. Judy, of course, was interested in the quilt exhibit.

A Farm Show can not exist with out the canning entries. Deb Martzall-Farmer won a blue ribbon for her canned peaches.

Many flowers were exhibited. Judy liked this cactus high-heel.

I, of course, gravitated toward the baked goods section. Jack McCartney provided me with a sample of his candy. Man, it was great!

We did not get to the animal auctions. Maybe next year!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sir Sam of Preschool

Yep, last week was Sammy's first week this fall at preschool. It seems like only yesterday that we were at the hospital, holding him just after he was born, and singing softly to him. Now he is playing soccer and learning so much about his world.

It is amazing to see our grand kids develop their personalities and learn so many skills so quickly.

Thursday, September 09, 2010


MELBOURNE, Australia — Two men were arrested after bewildered diners at a McDonald's spotted them wrestling a 5-foot python named Boris in the restaurant parking lot, police said Thursday.

Victoria state police say the men stole the 8-year-old black-headed python and a lizard from a pet shop on Wednesday. They then brought the snake to the McDonald's parking lot, where they began wrestling with it in front of puzzled customers, police said.

The men, aged 22 and 24, were arrested and charged with burglary and theft. Police didn't release their names.

"In all honesty, it's just a case of dumb and dumber," Detective Sgt. Andrew Beams told Australian Broadcasting Corp. "Anyone who gets out there with a one-and-a-half meter python in a McDonald's car park — they're pretty dumb."

The snake was returned to a relieved Jodie Graham, owner of the Totally Reptiles pet shop. The lizard is still missing.

"He was a bit cold and stressed so I have him in the tank warming up," she said. "I am just glad to get him back."

Black-headed pythons are native to northern Australia. They are not venomous, and aren't likely to bite unless they're hunting prey.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Short Folks

BOGOTA, Colombia — Edward Nino Hernandez (above) is in many ways a typical 24-year-old Colombian male. He loves to dance reggaeton, dreams of owning a car — preferably a Mercedes— and wants to see the world.

Top on his list of people he would like to meet are Jackie Chan, Sylvester Stallone and former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

What sets Nino (pronounced NEE-nyoh) apart is his size.

He is slightly taller than a piece of carry-on luggage and weighs just 22 pounds (10 kilograms).

Nino has just been officially certified as the world's shortest living man by Guinness World Records, measuring 27 inches (70 centimeters).

"He hasn't grown since he was 2 years old," his mother, Noemi Hernandez, said of the oldest of her five living children.

The previous titleholder was He Pingping of China, who was 1.5 inches (4 centimeters) taller and died March 13. The Guinness people discovered Nino afterward.

They say Nino's reign is not likely to last long, however.

Khagendra Thapa Magar of Nepal is expected to take over after he turns 18 on Oct. 14. He measures about 22 inches (56 centimeters) and is currently recognized by Guinness as the shortest living teen. (Photo below)

Doctors never could explain why Nino is so small, his parents say.

"They never gave us a diagnosis," his mother, Noemi Hernandez, said during an interview in the family's sparely furnished apartment in Bosa, a mostly poor district of southern Bogota.

Hernandez, 43, said Nino weighed just 3.3 pounds (1.5 kilograms) at birth and was 15 inches (38 centimeters) long.

She said doctors at the National University studied him until he was 3, then lost interest. She and her husband, a security guard, lost a daughter who was similarly small in 1992 when she was about to complete a year of life.

The couple's youngest child, 11-year-old Miguel Angel, stands 37 inches (93 centimeters) tall and has facial features similar to Nino. The other three boys are of normal height and appearance.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Asian Sheephead Wrasse

The Asian sheepshead wrasse (Semicossyphus reticulatus) is found in China, Japan, North Korea, and South Korea. Its natural habitats are open seas, shallow seas, subtidal aquatic beds, and coral reefs. Its unusual appearance has earned it international media attention.

Many think that the face of the wrasse looks like Shrek!

One of the largest wrasses, the Asian sheepshead wrasse is an extraordinary pinkish-grey fish with large, swelling-like protrusions on the ‘forehead’ and ‘chin’. Like its close relative, the California sheepshead wrasse (Semicossyphus pulcher), the juvenile is starkly different from the adult, being a vivid yellowish-orange with a white stripe from the eye to the tail, black patches on the fins and tail, and lacking the bulbous face protrusions of the adults, for which the species earns its common name.