Rule of Spring #124: Release unto your garden a swarm of gentle, fun-loving, insect-eating ladybugs.
Come this time of year, it’s a tradition at my house. Survey the desolate, winter-scorched wasteland of our once glorious (and green) yard and give it some color (even if it’s just thousands of shiny-red hunchbacked beetles no larger than a pencil eraser.)
Our butterfly bushes may have died a shivering death, but now the yard comes alive in a bloom of crawling red dots.
The ladybugs are back.
Every year about this time, we get a package of the winged critters. It’s great fun when you have a kid, not to mention good for your yard. The littler fellers … correction, little ladies (say, how do they reproduce if they’re all gals?) are good for gardens. I’m told they’re voracious predators of aphids, mites, and for all I know, other ladybugs. Continue Reading »
Hear my latest commentary on WJCT about ye olde Chase dog.
When last we heard from our intrepid traveler, he had concocted an unbelievable plan to run a 15 kilometer race at 8:30 a.m. on a Saturday and then make a 12:50 flight for a conference in New York. Too little potassium as a child left him with no understanding of time. To him, it sounded “doable.”
He figured he could accomplish this through several time-saving techniques, like only putting on one sock before the race. He also figured that cursing ferociously during the drive to the airport could rip a hole in the space-time continuum letting him leap into the future. (He watches too many movies.)
Surprisingly, all went according to plan for the young lad. His bags packed themselves. Traffic parted as he approached. Not even the stench of a port-o-let threw him off his game.
He ran his race, and ran it fast. It was a great race — more than a minute faster than his last 15K. And there was even time for a visit to the beer tent after the race. Don’t hold that against our young protagonist.
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On Saturday morning I will run a very big race in Jacksonville — the River Run. It’s a 9.3-mile jaunt that attracts thousands of runners. I’ve been doing it for years, but last year I missed it for a conference. This year I wasn’t about to let the same thing happen — even though the race and the conference fall on the same weekend. So — since I lack any realistic grasp of time — I’ll run the race then fly out for the conference. Only four hours separate the two.
It will take surgical precision and military-like agility to pull this off. I’m not entirely confident I can do it, but if I do, this is how it will go down:
5 a.m. – I am referring to this as zero hour because the likelihood that I will actually wake up at 5 a.m. is zero. When the alarm clock goes off, I’ll curse it before hitting the snooze button. Zero hour will be delayed.
5:15 a.m. – The new zero hour.
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I knew my daughter was growing up — I see the evidence of it everyday. No doubt about it, she’s a big kid. But not until I started typing that e-mail did it occur to me that I was also the PARENT of a big kid.
No longer a “new” parent, I’m now someone with experience and wisdom in this thing called parenthood. I’ve served some time, got some gray hair and racked up enough credits to graduate from newbie father to junior dad. I think I get a patch and a discount down at the club store.
For me this was about as cool a revelation as I’ve ever experienced.
What prompted it was an e-mail from a co-worker asking whether her newborn should go on the family dental insurance. First off, I was stunned (and a little moved) that someone was asking ME parental advice. What beer goes with trout? OK. How do you properly embarrass yourself in front of a crowd of people? I gotcha’ covered.
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