duck flanking maneuvers in the park

We brought some old bread to feed to the ducks at the zoo. Vanessa has done it many times with Sean. I asked her if I put the bag of bread on the ground, if the ducks were smart enough to flank me from behind to grab the bag. She said they are. So, I didn’t put the bag down, but it was amusing to watch a small group of ducks who hung around behind us, hoping we’d lay the grand prize bag of bread on the ground. We also saw one small duck who was willing to dive into the frigid water after pieces of bread while the others squabbled on the surface.

night rider

Vanessa recently bought a used bicycle trailer for Sean to ride in. Daylight hours when I can do something with Sean outside are almost non-existent in the winter. (I hate it when it gets dark at 5:30.) I’ve finally gotten fed up with this fact and just decided to go outdoors in the dark with him. So, we had a nice night-time ride last night.

what it is we been doin'

We took a ride on the new Rail Runner commuter train from downtown Albuquerque to Bernalillo. We met my parents for supper and rode back. It gives you a tour of many back yards. I feel bad for the people near the train with the constant honking at every intersection. The train sways gently from side to side. There is even a bathroom (unlike the bus). The eventual cost for a one-way ride will be $2…although it’s free for the moment.

We went to me grandparents’ house the other day. They are turning a storage closet into a bathroom. Wish I was that handy.

We watched Trekkies the other day. Our favorite in the documentary was the teenager who enunciated everything carefully and sounded like Dan Akroyd in character. This documentary was something like 10 years ago, so hopefully he’s been able to live it down.

Yesterday, we hiked from the Sandia crest to the tram with Sean. We had him walk part of the way and carried him part of the way. His whine meter was turned to 100. We had to keep finding little ways of distracting him to keep him walking. And then eventually, we’d just carry him. Due to the recent high rainfall, there were many interesting types of mushrooms and fungus. Orange, red, puffballs, etc. Sean loved to poke the puffballs with sticks to watch the yellow powdery smoke drift up. “Fire? fire? more fire?”

goatheads, goatheads, rolly polly goatheads

We pulled up a bunch of goatheads the other day from the church parking lot. When the plants get really large, you can just roll them up like a giant thorny carpet. The small ones are the problem. And of course, we probably scattered hundreds of seeds all over the place. I think goatheads are probably one of the most vicious plants ever. Venus flytraps got nothin’ on this!


We went camping in the Jemez mountains with Sean. It was somewhat of a training run for us, being our first camping trip together. We learned a few things. Do not forget the warm stuff. It’s cold enough during the night that you can see your breath. If it’s raining (which it usually is this time of year here) then you’ll need something to do while stuck in your car or tent. If you don’t have an air mattress and are sleeping on the ground, you might not sleep at all. Anyway, we did have some fun. We waded in the river up there and our campsite was pretty isolated, so it was nice not to hear anyone around.

Ant War 2: Despair

The Ant War against the red ants continues in our back yard. We have been trying some sort of granules against them. The ants laugh in derision. I’ve tried flooding their hole with buckets of water. The just move the hole a foot. Not only are we losing the war, but there is now a second red ant den. Ants: 2 Alters: 0 Vanessa points to an article about fighting ants. I might try some boiling water.


There is apparently a place in London called Eel Pie Island. “The eel pies served were famous and led to the [naming] of the island although with increased pollution the eel population declined and pies are no longer made.” When an eel pie is the best thing you can find to eat, you know you’re in Britain. Fortunately, I hear they’ve brought in curry now and that’s all anyone eats. No word on eel curry pie. Here’s a picture of the island. Seems like the past has come up with all nature of culinary oddities that delighted at the time, but that future generations would find abhorrent. Mincemeat pie, anyone?

I went out to a sort of large pond by the river near Tingley Beach this weekend. We were helping to plant varieties of plants in the mud there so that one plant species (like cattail) wouldn’t take over. Unfortunately, most of the plants they plant are eaten by geese and other birds. In fact, as we labored in the mud, ducks and geese swam in the pond waiting for us to leave so they could swoop in on the tasty vittles we’d just put down for them. Some city employees were laying down a biodegradable netting over some sections to see if it works. Other bird countermeasures they’ve tried have been large balloons or ribbons fluttering in the wind. None have worked so far.