Monday, September 15, 2008

Gingerbread Man

So, when hubby was studying for his professional engineering license, he became interested in Fresnel lenses, which are pretty cool. I realized that they were magnifying lenses, but wasn't aware that they are also what is used to bring ships safely home via lighthouses. Hubby acquired a few Fresnel lenses, one being about the size of a magnifying glass, another being very thin and plastic. He used it to light the fire when we were in the Boundary Waters. It worked much better than rubbing two sticks together.

He also acquired one that was fairly large. He and our daughter amused themselves by melting pennies on the driveway. I've seen mean boys burn ants with magnifying glasses, but I have to say I was impressed by how little time it took to melt copper, and I think we might have started a driveway fire with not much trouble.

Hubby and daughter also took a welding class together last summer, just for grins, something new to do in their spare time. This is the frame she made for him, compliments of welding class, for Father's Day. Love the picture of them before class.

With that background, here is a dream I had several days ago.

I was in the kitchen when hubby and daughter came in from the garage, wearing their welding gear. They had scouted scrap metal because they were going to make the world's largest cookie cutter. After which they were going to make the world's largest cookie. It was going to be a gingerbread man. Their biggest dillemma was how to mix that much dough. And then there was the question of how and where to bake it. But they had pretty much decided on the driveway and something to do with the Fresnel lens. The phone rang and I, thankfully, awoke. Because what the hell am I going to do with the world's largest gingerbread man?

Given my penchant for cooking when the weather turns cooler, I can see a lot of cookies and jam coming up! Anyone want jam?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Alfie and Co.

We live across the street from a vacant lot, which is owned by the people caddy-corner to us, who keep it neatly mowed and landscaped. Behind the lot is a lake, which is the reason we get a lot of interesting visitors in our back yard. Critters like large tortoises, large toads, mama ducks trailing babies and such.

One guy who has been here since we moved in four years ago (and has nothing to do with the lake) is a squirrel. He hangs out in the back yard and likes the tree just across our back fence. He also likes to tiptoe along the top of the fence. He amuses me when I am sitting at my desk.

A couple of years ago I was on the phone with my daughter, while I was sitting at my desk. I told her the squirrel was on the fence looking at me. She said that I should name him and that his name should be Alfred. Last winter, the day before a blizzard was supposed to hit, I saw Alfie in the yard with a large pecan. I don't know where he gets them, because I don't notice any pecan trees nearby, but he doesn't seem to stray far, so there must be some. Anyway, he dug a hole and buried the nut. Then, he went to another part of the yard, dug up a pecan, took it to a different location in the yard and buried it. He repeated this process several times until all the nuts were apparently in their most desirable locations. I had no idea we had all these buried nuts in the yard.

I was at a garage sale several months ago and bought a large bag of pecans, still in the shell. I thought Alfie might appreciate them. I tossed a few out and they stayed there for quite awhile. I figured Alfie didn't like nuts with human 'stuff' on them. But they did eventually disappear, so I threw out a few more. They were taken sooner than the first, so I continued tossing them. Long story short, Alfie has started expecting the pecans. He even has taken to coming to the window and looking in if I forget to toss them. Even if I do, he likes to check in. Last weekend, I was doing a workout in the living room and he decided to veg out on the chair on the porch and watch while I lifted weights. I have never seen a squirrel so laid back.

Later on that day, I caught something out of the corner of my eye. Lo and behold, we had a rarely seen roadrunner in the back yard. He ran back and forth for awhile, flew up to the roof of the neighbor's shed, went back to run back and forth, then flew over to the fence and into the field behind the house.

Then, of course, we have this little mutt. Our daughter's new puppy who lives at her apartment with her and we dogsit from time to time. Including tonight. Yeah, she's getting the drift with the house training, but you can tell it was a struggle. I need to get out the steam cleaner.