I Thought It Was a Green Heron

When I lived in Alexandria, it was adjacent to Huntley Meadow Park, a Fairfax County Park complete with a boardwalk over a beaver pond,

  • dozens of waterfowl,
  • deer,
  • coyote,
  • fox,
  • muskrats,
  • snakes,
  • frogs.

We often saw Canada geese and Great Blue Herons but we never saw a Green Heron.

I had to move to San Diego before I thought I saw my first Green Heron.  Located on Paradise Point in Mission Bay, the Barefoot  Bar & Grill is a tiki-inspired bar and restaurant.  The bar also sells Swimmy Snacks to feed the fish swimming in its saltwater aquarium in a fenced-off portion of the Bay.  Although these fish do not appear on the menu, they do have a few feathered fishermen. While the California Brown Pelicans occasionally did a fly-by, one small heron seemed to be a regular diner.

On one visit, the heron decided to explore as it wandered around the patio tables as if looking for additional food choices besides fresh fish.

If it was a Green Heron (which I now doubt), ” from a distance, the Green Heron is a dark, stocky bird hunched on slender yellow legs at the water’s edge, often hidden behind a tangle of leaves. Seen up close, it is a striking bird with a velvet-green back, rich chestnut body, and a dark cap often raised into a short crest. These small herons crouch patiently to surprise fish with a snatch of their daggerlike bill. They sometimes lure in fish using small items such as twigs or insects as bait.”

Now I’m wondering what type of heron it was.  What do you think it is?

Why Didn’t You Shovel the Other Side?

snowy dayWhen you are a Fed in the DC Metro area  Monday through Friday, the OPM website tells you whether or not to report to work if there is any snow or other major weather event.  However, if you have to work on the weekend, you are on your own.

In the  1990s, I ran the post library at Ft Myer next to Arlington Cemetery.  On Friday evening, I was in Mechanicsburg, PA to accompany my husband to a mandatory evening function.  (I can’t remember what it was, but it involved evening wear.)  It had snowed all day and we thought that the event might have been canceled but Central PA routinely deals with the type of snow that would paralyze DC.

On Saturday morning, we got up extra early to shovel the snow away from the cars so that we could begin the two-hour drive back to Arlington, Virginia.  The Pennsylvanians had already cleared the snow in Carlisle, PA, and south along US 15.  In Maryland, I-270 was in almost as good a shape.  I-95 in Maryland and Virginia was tolerable.  The roads on Ft Myer had not been touched.

Fortunately, my Chrysler convertible had front-wheel drive, as long as the snow was shallow enough for the wheels to haul the low chassis through the snow.  My husband’s four-wheel-drive Jeep did better in the snow but a higher center of gravity meant it was not as stable as my convertible when changing lanes on icy highways.

When we got to the library, the Jeep lead way into the partially shoveled parking lot.  My husband drove the Jeep back and forth creating parking spaces for both of our cars.   Stepping into knee-deep snow, we waded to the front door of the library.  He made coffee in the staff room while I began sweeping off the front step enough to empty the book drop outside the front door, which was fortunately almost empty.

After a quick cup of coffee to warm up, we got back into our winter jackets to begin shoveling the path we had created wading up to the front door.  The snow was heavy and wet, each shovelful was a struggle to for two semi-fit fourty-somethings.

“Why don’t they get some soldiers out to help us?” he asked, gazing down the street at the barracks a few blocks away.

“Don’t know who to call on the weekend,” I explained.

We kept shoveling and thinking of all of those nearby 18-year-olds who could have finished this off in a much shorter period of time and might have enjoyed the chance to have fun in the snow.

After an hour, he went back into the library.  By now the ten-foot sidewalk was half shoveled.  The library had opened at  11 and so far no one had come out to brave the snow.  I continued shoveling for another hour and was almost finished when he came out with some salt to melt the slushy sidewalk.

I had just finished shoveling and he had most of the slush melted on the half of the sidewalk to the driveway.  The half of the sidewalk to the street was still full of snow although the base engineers had plowed the street by now.

A lady parked her car on the street at what would have been the sidewalk if it had been shoveled.  Although not an authorized  parking spot, it was the quickest path from the street to the library front door.   Grimacing, she stepped into the snow and marched as fast she could through the snow.

“Why haven’t you shoveled this yet?” she demanded, ignoring the half a sidewalk that we had shoveled.

“We did shovel the half to the parking lot,” I replied, pointing the shovel at the wet side of the sidewalk.

She threw her book onto the counter and huffed off.

About thirty minutes later, a sergeant came by with eight young soldiers, carrying shovels.  They spaced themselves out and had the rest of the sidewalk shoveled in about twenty minutes. When I asked where they had been that morning, they looked at  each other, laughed, and said “Asleep in our bunks.”





July 20–National Moon Day

Today is the fifty-first  anniversary of man’s first walk on the moon  on July 20, 1969.

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 carried the first humans to the moon. Six hours after landing on the moon, American Neil Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface. He spent two and a half hours outside the spacecraft. Buzz Aldrin soon followed, stepping onto the lunar surface. After joining Armstrong, the two men collected 47.5 pounds of lunar material. Their specimens would make the journey back to Earth to be analyzed.

In the command module, a third astronaut waited. Pilot, Michael Collins, remained alone in orbit until Armstrong and Aldrin returned.

In honor of National Moon Day, take the Ultimate Moon Quiz.

It is not a particularly difficult  quiz or I was a lucky guesser.

Ultimate Moon Quiz Results

The Ballast Has Shifted


storm at sea

Ballast in the hold

shifted as  waves

beat against the sides,

the vessel listed.

Winds rose

waves pummeling

ever harder.

The vessel groaned

as the ballast shifted further

up the starboard side.

Ceaseless storms broadsided

the vessel which

floundered in the maelstrom.

Without a firm hand

on the wheel,

swirling winds and currents

decided her track.

Sickness stalked the vessel.

Equipment failed.

The crew mutinied.

Winds of change

blew against the sides


the ballast in the hold.

The vessel groaned

righting itself.

Mr. Christian smiled.

The ship of state sailed on.

Reblog: Walking from Harvesting Hecate

Andrea Stephenson, a librarian in the UK, has written the blog I wished I had had the eloquence to write.  She loves walking in nature; it grounds her.  She expresses how it might feel if she were not white.

English Woods

From her post (not the beginning)

I take it for granted that I can walk where I want to walk without needing to have an explanation. I take it for granted that I belong in this space, that I belong in nature and should have a relationship with it. When I walk, I draw on memory, history, past and present to find my place in the world. Very occasionally I’ve felt vulnerable, as a woman alone, but in general I don’t think twice about my safety. Somehow I feel no harm will come to me among nature.

To read more click here.

What Would Hoover Think?: Another Attempt to Slow Down Enterprising Squirrels

Since we moved to Central Virginia,  we have had an ongoing struggle making our bird feeder more squirrel proof.  We are on our third feeder and the squirrels have outwitted us every step of the way.

Jean Marie Oliviere sent me a link to the Ninja Warrior  Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder.  Mark Rober put a lot of thought and effort into building his squirrel proof feeder and documenting the success or lack  thereof of his attempts.

If you enjoy watching cheeky tree rats  engage in a battle of wits with humans, then you will love the four squirrels in this Building A Perfect Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder.