Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Joy of Birds

Six weeks ago Hambone and I and one of my associated Hams and her Pre-Ham went to the Flea market to see what there was to see.

I stumbled across a bird feeder for $4 so I bought it. Mostly I liked the shape of it, and wondered if there was such a thing as wild birds in Baltimore City.

Three weeks later, we bought bird seed for the thing. Evidently, getting the right kind of seed to attract the right kind of bird is a bit of a science. Luckily Lowes did most of the work for us by putting pictures of the kinds of birds we would attract with each variety of seed. Hambone and I pointed at the birds we'd like to see in the yard, and presto -- A $25 bag of seed was ours.

I filled up the feeder last week, and at first not a whole lot happened. Then the sparrows started to arrive, much to my enjoyment. On the 7th day of bird feeding, the pigeons arrived, which nearly caused me to pull the plug on the whole deal.

What a sight that was, with sparrows on the feeder and big dumb pigeons standing on the ground below the feeder begging like dogs.

However, the doves and the sparrows seemed to drive the pigeons off over time -- perhaps sensing my disdain at their presence. Now the main visitors to our yard are "nice" birds, and I can't begin to explain the change in our yard.

When we sat outside for coffee on Sunday morning, we were serenaded by wild bird calls and we could watch the birds playing and eating on the feeder. Even Maggie was transfixed.

These days she lays by the back door watching the birds all day instead of waiting by the front door for Hambone and me to come home all the time. We all sit outside (when it's not raining) after work to watch the birds. Hambone and I share a bottle of wine, and Mags chews on her rawhide. So peaceful.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A Little Soggy, But Basically OK

I am sure many of you have heard about the torrential rain storms here in Baltimore, Washington and Philly. Yesterday found me in some of the worst traffic *ever* as I tried to make my way to the Mansion on O Street to give a speech to the Woodrow Wilson folks.

It took about two and a half hours to get from here to there, roughly double the normal commute. However, compared to all the others who had their rides quadruple in length, I felt pretty lucky. Many of the attendees were hamstrung by the two closed metro stops down town, and yet others were stuck on the wrong side of the mud slides on the beltway.

In Baltimore, we're wet, but not strangely flooded like DC. THEY really got hit hard. We don't even have water in the basement, if you can believe it.

Go Baltimore!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Best Ribs Ever

In our home, it's not unusual to see Hambone walking through the back yard with a half a hog on his back. Last weekend, for instance, he went hog shooting with one of his friends.

He came back from the trip quite cheerful and wanted to butcher the entire boar right away. However, our next door neighbors who are polite city-folk were having a little cookout with their kids and their parents. We were pretty sure they wouldn't understand about Hambone lugging in 200 pound hunks of boar with the spine and legs still attached.

We went for nachos instead.

He wound up hauling the meat in under the cover of darkness. The "stealth redneck" approach.

We prepped and froze most of the meat the next day, and Hambone made his special secret Rib marinade -- 7 limes, 7 lemons, 17 cloves of garlic, a yellow onion and 1/2 bottle of whiskey.

We let the ribs marinate for 3 days, and last night we grilled it up. As we lifted the ribs to put them on the grill, all of the rib bones fell out into the pan. We slathered the meat with BBQ sauce and grilled them for about a half hour. The meat needed to be removed from the grill with a fork because it was so tender.

That's some good rib eatin' there, man.

If you ever wind up with a whole rack of ribs, let me know how it works out for you!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Becoming a Pod-Head

With all of the hullaballoo going around about iPods, I really wanted to hate them. It's a compulsion with me, where I become contrarian about anything that people rave and rave about.

In a coincidental occurrance, Hambone and I found iPod Nanos on his AMEX rewards list, so we had one sent to us. When it arrived, I snubbed it for days. I wouldn't even take it out of the box. And when I did open the box, I mocked the packaging.

I loaded the iPod up with all of the CDs I already had, thinking that would be lame. But no.. no that wasn't lame. That was... the gateway to a new addiction.

Initially, I enjoyed the shuffle -- everything was on shuffle and I listened to it through the car radio adapter kit. Then I started with the ear buds. Then I started noticing I got anxious when it was not within my grasp.

I have become...

a Pod-head.

The horror.