Forced Childhood

Every artist has their medium.  Snow is not my daughter’s.  My theory (based on the current state of her basement art studio), is that snow is too monochrome (#FFFFFF is sooo pedestrian).

Yet this irritates me, probably due to my own childhood memories.  Texas didn’t offer much in the way of snow, and as our culture as a whole is heavily influenced by the Midwest and New England and their associated images of holiday blizzards, Christmas time always carried with it a bit of melancholy as I peered out the window across a wind-swept and barren Dust Bowl landscape.  I never once rode a sled in my childhood, and on only one notable occasion do I remember building a snowman (to which my dad added breasts, followed by mom administering a mastectomy via garden trowel).

I am NOT having fun

But the joke’s on this youngest generation.  Climate change will either warm the region beyond the point of regular snow, or cool it to the point that it destroys us.  Either way, those quaint Rockwellian scenes will vanish alongside the planet’s biodiversity.  And I, Dad, will mock my child for her youthful indifference.


Sometimes the Strong Don’t Eat

Or maybe we’re weak.

This year’s squirrel hunting wasn’t so successful, so I have no epic tales of glorious battle to recount.

I’m guessing Calvatia gigantea

But we did spot an epic mushroom.  And I just so happened to remember seeing one of these before on a hunting trip.

Looks like it’s later in its lifecycle

That was 6 years ago.  Apparently it made an impression on me.  Mushrooms are cool.  and creepy.



We went up to the Biggs’ Family Reunion this last week (Dad’s Mother’s side).  As expected, there were a lot of people I didn’t know, and just as many I only vaguely remembered.  I guess I’m bad at networking, even when it’s my own extended family.  Then again, I’m currently hiding from my nuclear family in the basement, so judge if you must.

I suppose that, when the world ends, we should know our kin, so that our collective clan can band together against violent wasteland raiders.  Blood ties!

Amusingly, few of my photos involved this extended family, but rather the activities, so I present to you a montage summary:

The rainbow was a sign…that it would be really hot and humid while we all posed for that group photo
A goby–apparently an invasive species that have to be euthanized upon catching (killed with the Mora)
Dad’s fish–I don’t remember what it was
One of Leigh’s many catfish, which we cleaned and tried to eat, but they tasted like the bottom of the channel in which they were caught. Pity.
My cousin, Jonathan. We give his family a lot of grief for disliking the outdoors, but here’s proof that he had fun anyway.
A catfish of my own
A trip to the Toledo Zoo
More fishing
I caught a nice bass
Look at that packed Honda. That’s a commercial-worthy photo there.


Down to the River

Memorial Day saw us into the unofficial start of Summer, not that we needed the reminder, as it’s been swelteringly hot for weeks now.  But with Summer comes Summer activities, and the old man paid us a visit for some granddaughter time and fishing.

The Mad River provided some relief from the heat–ambient temperature drop from its evaporative cooling effects, though the kid chose a more direct approach (having quickly lost interest in fishing–not as easy as pulling out packs of ravenous bluegills).  I remember being indifferent to the discomfort of wet clothes too as a kid.

The chubs were biting, and I pulled in a satisfying number.  Dad got a shiner, too.  It was much more successful than last year’s attempt at the local metroparks.

Plus, it’s a lot more pleasant to spend the afternoon in a clean and more secluded body of water.  The metroparks are just dirty and I wouldn’t eat anything that came out of those ponds.  Although that hardly matters, as we’re generally catch and release anyway.



There’s an incredible amount of dandelions this year.  And I can’t deny their charm, as their happy yellow blooms dot the landscape–a prelude to my daughter’s romp through their seeding masses, almost colloidal as they hang in the air.

Yet a part of me cringes as I watch countless potential dandelion progeny drift throughout my yard.  I’m conflicted.  Do I despise them as a blight, or tolerate them for their aesthetic/medicinal value?

Like all exotics, they’re unstoppable

I considered buying an herbicide, and I admit, I use Roundup.  But despite the dandelion’s invasiveness, I’m opposed to fighting nature with such overkill tactics.  History has proven that such measures always yield unforeseen, and undesirable, consequences.  So I began removing them manually.

What is this, Chinese steel?

But the weeding tool proved inadequate.

And so I debated.

Many times have I learned that fighting the natural world results in only temporary victories, that instead I should either appease or compromise.  Such was it that I’ve preserved many a garden crop by planting instead tastier alternatives for the neighborhood rabbits.  So why should I dwell on the humble dandelion?

Nay, I shall harvest this plant.  I will use this formerly unwanted bumper crop to instead experiment with salad and tea.  Stay tuned!