Not-So-Wordless Wednesday: Occupy Thanksgiving

I’m not sure of the accuracy of this depiction of the first Thanksgiving, but it is the inspiration for this Not-So-Wordless Wednesday post.  While there may be a lot happening in the image, I’m not sure if it fully captures all that occurred during that first Thanksgiving.  Many of those lessons seem to have been lost over the centuries, crowded out by thoughts of food shopping and preparation, football, and Black Friday, which, in my opinion, is one of most vile displays of human behavior — so much so that my Mayflower ancestor, William Brewster, would cringe. 

Apparently, we could all use a bit of that first Thanksgiving.

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What Happened To The “G” In HGTV?

A few posts ago, I made a brief comment that the G in HGTV is noticeably lacking.  Personally, I long for the old days when the G, with shows like “A Gardener’s Diary” and “Gardening By The Yard,” far surpassed the number of H shows.

That comment, though, resulted in my fellow garden bloggers agreeing that there is a serious sink hole in the HGTV programming schedule.  One commenter, Erin from Urban Organic Farming In Sidney, wrote, “I’d love if you could write a blog about it, get the readers and writers to write to them and ask that that be rectified.”  So, Erin, I accept the challenge.

My first step was to visit the HGTV website.  Clearly, the opening page is the home page – because it’s all home, all the time.  Surely there must be a G somewhere.  Shouldn’t there?

The truth is that the G has been reduced to a single on-line tab that says “Outdoors.”  The editor is Marie Hofer, and I’m worried about her – especially if her office is proportionately equal to the amount of space HGTV has given to G.  It’s probably too small to fit a desk.

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Are You There, Martha? It’s Me, Kevin

Martha Stewart’s new television season has begun on the Hallmark Channel — and I survived the day without tuning in — and that’s a very good thing.  I offer up this confession because Martha and I, well, we used to have a thing.  Or at the very least, I did. 

I remember it like it was yesterday — the day I met Martha Stewart.  I never actually met her, physically, but it was my first introduction to Martha style.  It was nearly 20 years ago, and I was sitting in my friend’s salon, leafing through magazines.  That’s when I came across an issue of Martha Stewart Living

I took one hit, and I was hooked.  I liked the writing.  I loved the style.  The fonts.  The photos.  The locales.  The recipes.  The gardens and flowers — there was so much in that magazine, and with each turn of the page, I felt my world opening up.  I saw things I never thought I would see.  Articles about terracotta pottery.  Photos of bulbs.  Handmade wreaths!

Then the fiending started.  I found her show (the early version).  In my area, it aired on Sunday mornings, and I incorporated it into my Sunday routine.  Breakfast.  Newspaper.  Martha.  Crossword puzzle.  There was nothing that she couldn’t do.  And it was all perfect.  She could pot an entire container garden and barely get a smudge on her garden gloves.  I, on the other hand, would look like I had been run over by a mulching lawn mower. Continue reading

These Squirrels Are Making Me Nuts

8:00 am: Swept clean.

It’s 8:00 am, and I have swept the walk to my door for the buh-zillionth time, thanks to the squirrels who are ransacking my oak tree for acorns.

They’re also not the neatest nor efficient of eaters. As I sweep, I notice there’s a lot of waste. Mixed in with shards of shells are whole acorns — perfect for tucking away into the nether regions of your cheeks. So I wonder, just what are the squirrels getting so squirrely about?

First, there is the coming winter.  There is a belief that you can predict what sort of winter you will have by observing the nuttiness of the squirrel population.  It’s as if they are our very own Farmers’ Almanac.  If that’s the case, then we are in for an Arctic blast of snow, ice, and below-freezing temperatures — and judging by the acorn debris that is littering my walkway, we may never thaw out.  Either that, or my yard will be buried

24 hours later: Not so much.

in an avalanche of acorn shells — Long Island’s very own Pompeii.

Second, I’m concerned about the frenzy.  This particular squirrel colony is in hyperactive mode, running and racing up and down trunks, onto branches, nibbling here, nibbling there.  The squirrels are not just eating acorns; they are stockpiling them like a cult of the-world-is-ending believers.  If they are like this now, what will they be like in December 2012, the notorious date when the Aztecs predicted the world would really end.  There may not be enough nuts to satisfy their craving.

Third, and I am completely serious here, I think the squirrels have declared war on us.  This nut stuff is just the opening volley.  At this time of year, I cannot even stand and have a conversation with my neighbor on the walkway.  If I do, I will be

Debris field.

pelted by not only debris, but whole acorns, as well.  In fact, I think they are intentionally hurling these whole acorns at me. 

You think I’m kidding.  Just listen to the sound of a whole acorn falling from the tree and hitting the roof of your car parked on the driveway.  It’s like the acorn shot heard ’round the world — and I find it difficult to believe that the velocity is the result of gravity alone.  There has to be some squirrel strength behind that acorn.  Perhaps the squirrel soldiers have fashioned a sling shot in the upper branches of the tree.  Then, “Ready.  Aim.  Fire.”  And each time they hit me or the car, I swear I can hear them giggling.

What to do with my furry frenemies?  Trap them and release them to another location?  Nah.  That only encourages replacements to take up their positions.  Cut down the oak tree?  Absolutely not.  I

Come on, Squirrels. How about a day off?

love the tree more than I dislike the squirrels.  For, now I will have to be contented with a broom and a hard hat — and if  the neighbors think I’m the nut case . . . Well, we’ll just see who’ll be laughing when the squirrels chase us up into the trees.

 In the meantime, a friend found an abandoned baby squirrel and is now rehabilitating it.  In addition to sweeping the walkway, I offered to  gather acorns to feed this foster squirrel.  I must be nuts.


Hydrangea Hating Madonna Crosses The Line

Photo courtesy of

What’s with Madonna?  I never really asked myself that question because I’ve always been a bit of fan, enjoying her music, relishing the controversy, and admiring her skill at always reinventing herself.  She was my generation’s Lady Gaga.

But now?  Now, she has gone entirely too far – much further than writhing on the floor in a wedding gown at one of the earliest MTV Video Music Awards, much further than the “Sex” book fiasco, much further than her

The presentation is made and . . .

mediocre acting career.  Wait, that last one probably wasn’t much of a stretch.

In case you haven’t seen the video, here is a brief summary.  Madonna was holding court at the Venice Film Festival, sitting behind a table and a live microphone.  A man approached the table and presented her with a giant purple Hydrangea bloom and said, “You are my princess.”  She politely accepted the flower.  As the

. . . the eyes roll.

man walked away, however, she turned to her left (at a person off-camera), and made big, exasperated eyes.  Then she turned right and said, “I absolutely loathe Hydrangeas.”

Really?  Loathe?  I mean who can loathe a plant?  You can certainly loathe, I don’t know, a serial killer, a dictator, maybe even Brussells Sprouts if you had to choose a plant (although, personally, I love them).  I might be tempted to say that I loathe weeds and weeding.  The truth is I enjoy weeding.  And as for the weeds, they can be annoying and tiresome – but I would never say that I loathe them.  In fact, I actually like some of them – but that’s a whole other post.

Beware of empty apologies.

To add insult to injury, she then released a video, “Madonna’s Love Letter to Hydrangeas,” in which she appears to be apologizing to a Hydrangea bouquet.  “You have no idea how many nights I have lost thinking how I hurt you. Words cannot express how sorry I am. To think I may have caused you pain.”  But faster than a ray of light, she throws the bouquet onto the ground, and says, “I’m left with the fact that I still hate Hydrangeas! And I will always hate them!”  Then there is an expletive and a statement that she likes roses.


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The Tree

Damage from Hurricane Irene.

Around the corner from my house, a tree fell during Hurricane Irene, blocking the entire roadway.  By fortune, the tree did not land on a car or a house or power lines.  Had the wind shifted, had the break happened a little bit lower on the trunk, who knows what damage that tree could have caused.

Still, there is something sad about the loss of a tree.  As I looked at the site, I was taken by not only the enormity of the tree, but also by its age.  They say that by examining the rings of a tree, you can see the tree’s life, when it was a wet year or a dry year.  But the rings certainly can’t tell you what that tree came to mean to so many people; rings cannot tell you what any tree means to any person.

Staring at the tree, I thought about the trees in my own life.  There was the fir tree in the backyard, under which I would play with Matchbox cars and Tonka trucks, building roads so that a large root became an overpass.  There was the maple tree in the front yard, which would ignite with fiery leaves each autumn.  We would then rake the leaves into a huge pile and run and jump into the pile, or even have a leaf war with friends across the street.  My friend Thomas had a tree that was perfect for climbing, giving young minds a wh0le new view of life in suburbia.  My friend Bobby had a tree house, a simple platform high off the ground, a refuge from summer play and heat.

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