Posted by mike d. Filed in A Day In The Life...

The birds ate the bird feeder.

Decidedly unexpected.


Lawn Care.

Posted by mike d. Filed in A Day In The Life...

Wow, landscaping is annoying. Specifically: lawn care.

The HoR had a spectacular 0.14acres of land, of which approximately 50% was grass. This did not take much care. A quick mow every week or two and that was about good. Now that I have a real house with a real lawn I am interested in keeping it managed and lush.

There’s a really great This Old House page that goes into great detail on steps… but it feels pretty extreme. Rather extensive, expensive and certainly not a short term fix. While I’ll probably find myself doing the extreme when my cheap efforts fail, right now I’m going for cheap and easy.

This is what I found:

Seeding: Overseed. And rough up that dirt before you put the seed down.

Overseeding is easy. Roughing up dirt with a bow rake? Not that hard on good soil but on our rocky soil it’s a beast. I could buy more topsoil or get a roto-tiller, but that’s major lawn surgery and we’re back on the extreme scale.

Watering: Twice a day for new grass, 1″ of water each time.

1″ of water is a LOT of water. Websites all over the place suggested putting an empty tuna can on the lawn; you stop watering when the tuna can is full.

I tried this with a traditional impact sprinkler. After 15minutes of watering, the can didn’t even have a 1/4″ of water. I am still trying to figure out how many minutes are needed to get an inch. Right now I’d describe my watering efforts as moistening not watering. Unfortunately, our low yield well pump makes lawn watering for extended periods a little extra tricky.

The This Old House link up above conflicted with this advice instead saying 5-10minutes. I’ll trust Bob Vila on this one.

Mowing: Use sharp blades, cut one-third the length.

This one I can do.
Once I buy a mower.

Posted by mike d. Filed in A Day In The Life...

This weekend Jen and I got a glimpse of two Baltimore Orioles in our backyard. What a treat! The bird is fairly rare in Connecticut and rather shy, so it was a bonus to have them hang around long enough for a photo.


Unfortunately, I don’t have a good zoom lens so the quality is low. Still, it’s a good start.

Posted by mike d. Filed in family

Three and a half years ago, on September 20th, 2010 at age 94 my grandmother passed away.

She contributed to a very specific part of my development providing me piano lessons and treats/baked goods a-plenty for most of my life. I remember Christmas carols at Christmas, making homemade doughnuts with her, and playing with marbles that she kept by the kitchen. My memories of her are all positive: She was clever, witty, and warm.

When Mom & Dad D dropped off a few items at the new home last week, they also passed me an envelope that my family had found in some of my grandmother’s items. It had my name on the front. At first I didn’t recognize it for what it was, Time had colored the envelope, it’s edges worn. I opened it to find a letter my grandmother had signed for me but never sent – a belated birthday card.



It’s nothing our of the ordinary. It doesn’t have any special message or touching story. Just a belated birthday card with a technology joke to me from an older generation. But perhaps it is its commonality that makes it so powerful. It is a matter of fact letter signed and sealed with care by someone who loved me.

For me, opening that letter was a very brief visit to Grandma’s. Complete with a piano lesson and homemade doughnuts.



Posted by mike d. Filed in Quickthoughts

Apparently Squirrels read my blog.

They started showing up yesterday afternoon to raid the feeder.

Darn it.

Posted by mike d. Filed in A Day In The Life...

One of the prominent features of the new House is a beautiful picture window off the breakfast nook where we can watch wildlife.

We purchased a cheap plastic cylindrical bird feeder to reside outside this window and our winged friends have been all over it. When the Parents D came to visit this weekend, they pointed out that our seed choice could use an upgrade.

And thusly begins the Great Seed Experiment of 2014.

Our cheap seed was mostly millet. It’s hilarious to watch the birds actually toss the millet aside to get to the good stuff. For our test, we bought a mid-expensive big back of black oil sunflower seeds and a fairly expensive blend of sunflower seeds, nuts, and other seeds.

We will fill the feeder with each type and time how long it takes the birds to empty the feeder. We’re approaching two weeks for the cheap millet. Once we know the favorite, we will buy in extreme bulk.

Note: For one reason or another, there are not many squirrels in our neighborhood. So far, we haven’t had to fight off seed thieves.



Posted by mike d. Filed in Quickthoughts

From Vivienne, this Axe is amazing.



Posted by mike d. Filed in Conversations

Jen and I will be going to Italy for a belated honeymoon this July. In preparation for the trip, we acquired Italian language CDs to listen to on the way to work. Jen started yesterday, coming home with a wealth of Italian phrases at her fingertips.

I needed to catch up.

Since moving to the shore, I’ve started commuting with Sander. This morning when he hopped into my car I informed him that we would be learning Italian and started up the CD.

CD: “Do you understand Italian? … Capisce l’italiano?”
Mike D: “capisce l’italiano”
Sander (in Italian accent): “Doa you understanda italiano?”
Sander: Seriously, that is perhaps the least useful phrase ever if you’re going to Italy.

He jests and jokes, but I’m pretty sure he’ll learn Italian faster than I will.

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