another ball dropped


A festive holiday ball that someone dropped in an icy parking lot a couple of years ago. (I’m happy to say that this year, we haven’t yet had more than a few stray flakes of snow. I know it’s coming, but I’m not ready for it yet. I’m still recovering from last winter.)

So much for trying to blog daily for the month of November like I’d done the past 7 years. Not only did I drop the ball early in the month, but I dropped it again at the end. I got caught up with a deadline, and totally forgot to post one day. And then once I’d broken the pattern again, I didn’t find it in me to rush back. (Or, if you will, I couldn’t be bothered to pick up he ball again. I figured that the ball had rolled off somewhere, maybe into the bushes, or under the couch, and I didn’t want to have to hunt for it.) I did, happily, meet the deadline, and submitted a paper to a conference. In all, 25 posts does not make a bad tally for the month, especially after 5 solid months without a single post.

However, it’s starting to feel like roughly 60% of the content of this blog is about how I’m not blogging as much as I’d like. Another 30% seems to be about balls. Nah, that can’t be right. I also had the significant and weighty topics of: leaves, poultry, potatoes, pants. In any case, I am more-or-less back to blogging. And I plan to continue to blog more-or-less regularly.

turkey haven

In this part of Massachusetts, its not unusual to see flocks of wild turkeys here and there, and now and then. In our new house, we see them rather more frequently. More here and now, than there and then. A family of them lives nearby, somewhere in the woods around our neighborhood. We started noticing them especially over the summer. There was a group of a few adults, and quite a few chicks. I don’t actually know how many of each there were, but I do know that now we have a group of 8 adults that regularly visit our yard. Especially now that we have put up bird feeders in the back yard. They can’t reach most of the feeders, but the little birds that can are messy enough eaters that there’s usually something to be found pecking at the ground below.

Our family, especially the younger generation, has been enamored with birds in general. So, we tend to enjoy these visitors. The one exception to this was when we had our lawn re-seeded. Then I was rather displeased to see the flock of turkeys out on the front lawn, enjoying the grass seed buffet. There were more than a few times when neighbors may possibly have seen me running across the lawn, waving my fist and shouting, “get off my lawn, you whippersnappers!” Or something like that. I did also enjoy a strategic use of the newly repaired sprinkler system, turning on the sprinklers right where the gang was pecking at the lawn.

Anyhow, here are some photos I took back in July. I know I’ve taken more recent photos of these guys (or gals, really), but it’s fun to look back and see the little chicks. Or the not-so-little chicks. They were cute, in any case.

The turkeys didn’t visit us today, which is Thanksgiving in the United States. Also known as Turkey Day. We figured that they were laying low. But these guys don’t have anything to fear from us: the only turkey on our table was a ceramic salt shaker.

the pullet surprise


I certainly won’t ever win the Pulitzer Prize, but I think I have a winner with this photo I took a few years ago.

Have you ever come across the term eggcorn? It’s a kind of misheard phrase, much like a mondegreen but not necessarily from a misheard poem or song lyric. A while back, I saw a comment thread on Facebook where a friend of a friend mentioned someone mishearing the Pulitzer Prize as the Pullet Surprise. Naturally, this photo came to mind. And then it makes me want to see if I can find photographic illustrations of some other such misheard phrases. Do you have any favorite misheard phrases?

the chicken suspects fowl play


The happy hen, proudly displaying her award-winning feathers at the country fair.


But wait. What does that say?


What, what, WHAT?


Uh-oh.

fresh out of leaves

No leaf photos today.

That fuzzy bright blob amidst the branches is the moon. My phone seems to have trouble focusing on objects that are more than 200,000 miles away.

3 more leaves

Yup, I’m definitely not done with leaves. Here are 3 very different leaves that caught my eye this fall.


This bright leaf found its trip to the ground interrupted by the grating of a large bird cage. I loved the bold sections of contrasting color, and the way the leaf glowed in the sunlight.


While it doesn’t have vibrant colors, I found the curl of this dry leaf to be quite appealing.


This brightly painted leaf was all the more appealing for having landed itself on a swirling canvas of floating algae.

happiness is not a potato

No mockery in this world ever sounds to me so hollow as that of being told to cultivate happiness. What does such advice mean? Happiness is not a potato, to be planted in mould, and tilled with manure. Happiness is a glory shining far down upon us out of Heaven. She is a divine dew which the soul, on certain of its summer mornings, feels dropping upon it from the amaranth bloom and golden fruitage of Paradise. (Charlotte Bronte, Villette)


Happiness is not a potato.

Close to 2 years ago, I was preparing to roast some vegetables for dinner. I washed a potato, and started to cut out some of the eyes that looked like they would be a bit tough, when, to my surprise, I had the impression that the potato was looking back at me. Yes, we all know that potatoes have eyes, but they don’t usually have mournful eyes. Further, I realized that the “eye” I was cutting into with the point of my knife was actually more like the potato’s nostril. Filled with remorse, I stopped to take some photos of my sad, sad potato. (And then I continued to cut it up and put it in a roasting pan.)
Some days later, I came across the quote above, by Charlotte Bronte. Indeed, happiness is not a potato, and I had the photographic proof.

If anything, as far as I can tell, sadness is a potato.

Sad potato is sad.¹

While perhaps not with the same frequency as my sharing of leaves, this is far from the first time I’ve shared vegetables with faces. In fact, 3 years ago, a butternut squash and I declared November 21st to be International Day of the Odd Vegetable.² Together, the squash and I reminisced about an eggplant we once knew.

How about you? Have you come across any produce with personality?

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¹ That’s what I was imagining I’d call a post about this potato.
² Alternately, The Day of Peculiar Produce.