Front Porch Friends(tm) – Baby Cardinals EPILOGUE

I was at work when the baby cardinals left the nest, but the ever-amazing Anne Gresham was able to get these amazing photos of them as they were learning to fly in the backyard.


Front Porch Friends(tm) – Baby Cardinals Day 10 – Fledging Day



And then, suddenly, they were gone.



Front Porch Friends(tm) – Baby Cardinals Day 9

They’re starting to overflow the nest, and are definitely unwilling to pose for any more pictures.

Front Porch Friends(tm) – Baby Cardinals SPECIAL FEATURE: Meet the Parents


This guy has been a fantastic dad.  He not only brings the chicks and their mother all sorts of bugs and grubs to munch on all day long, he’s never out of earshot and comes swooping in as soon as a giant human climbs up on the railing to screw with his kids.

The real star of the show has been Claudia, though.  She is plopped on her brood day and night and only leaves for a few minutes at a time, and then only to go find them more food, without so much as a playstation 3 to bide her time.

Congrats, cardinals!  Hope your next batch is this successful!



Front Porch Friends(tm) – Baby Cardinals Day 8


The little guys are starting to overflow their nest.  Now that they can see, they have apparently decided that they do not like me one bit and hunker down instead of blindly (and sickeningly–see previous post) beg for food.  Their feathers are coming in nicely, though, and they’re (according to my personal reference librarian) all set to fledge in just a few days!


Front Porch Friends(tm) – Baby Cardinals Day 7


The baby cardinals are one week old and getting more and more precious by the second.  Just look at those cute little peepers that are wide open as of today!  Not to mention all the new feathers and horrible, horrible little neck veins!



Front Porch Friends(tm) – Baby Cardinals Day 6








Front Porch Friends(tm) – Baby Caridnals Day 5

Front Porch Friends – Cardinal Babies Day 4


Their Primary Feathers have started coming in nicely!  Thanks wife-bro Anne for filling me in that those horrid looking ebony spikes are Primary Feathers!

Good night little ones! I’m glad your eyeballs are starting to fit the size of your face (but still not there yet).



Front Porch Friends(tm) – Baby Cardinals Day 3


I’m proud to report that #3 is alive and well (and hideous and hungry).

They’re all still quite sleepy, though.





Front Porch Friends(tm): Baby Cardinals Day 2!


The cardinal babies were born last night!

I heard them start peepin’ at about 4:30 in the morning.  They were totally silent this morning and when I got home from work, so I thought I had dreamed it until Claudia flew away and I was able to sneak up there to take a peek.

All three eggs hatched, but two seemed much more active than the other one and apparently thought the clicking of shutter meant they were about to be fed.



Hang in there, #3! The first day is the hardest!

Birthday 2012 – Zombie Birthday Cake

Anne had this wonderful cake for me made at Rick’s Bakery in Fayetteville.  It was incredible!  These pictures don’t do it an ounce of justice, the details (like the dirty and cracked fingernails, or the veins in the eyeball) were intricate and super-realistic.  Most importantly, it tasted fantastic.  Despite all the detail and intricate construction, it was all delicious frosting, and not a bit of hard, nasty fondant.





Even the eyeball (made from a marshmallow?) was delicious.




If you ever happen to be anywhere near Northwest Arkansas, make sure you check out Rick’s Bakery— who also make the best donuts, pastries, and muffins that I’ve ever had.  If you’ve ever lived in Fayetteville, you know what I’m talkin’ about.



Thanks, Anne!  #Bestbirthdayever

BBQ Season in Full Effect

It’s only the beginning of grilling season, but I’ve already made three beer can chickens!  I made this one in the middle of a downpour.

In this photo, beer can chicken, grilled asparagus and green peppers with garlic butter, and homemade mustard potato salad.

Porch Friends 2012 – Northern Cardinal

Spring has brought a lot of new Porch Friends(tm) around!

Here’s our messy (but cozy!) front porch.


Why, what’s that in the little decorative lantern thing we got from a dearly missed friend?





Well I’ll be!  It’s a nesting Northern Cardinal!




After I got that close, she flew off to a nearby branch and gave me the most intimidating look a bird has ever given a human.





And then began calling for her companion, who promptly swooped in to the rescue.





But, he didn’t quite understand what the issue was, and left.

I followed him a little bit, and when he noticed my incessant snapping of photos, he gave me a shitty look and promptly flew off.




Anyway, it’s hard to get a shot into the lady’s nest, but it looks like she’s got three eggs.  She’s been sitting since last week (3/27/12), which means she should be due tomorrow (12 days later- 4/8/12)!



Good luck, Claudia the Cardinal! Plowerhouse those little BB cardinals. We believe in ya!



Spring 2012 and an overgrown back yard

Birthday Gifts 2012

Anne got me these fantastic Sabatier Thiers-Issard carbon steel knives!  The models she got me are from Pre-World War 2 forgings of the steel (they’ve been reground and sharpened).  They sliced through chicken like it was jello and feel perfect in the hand.  Those unfamiliar with Sabatier can get some info here.

This is the 10″ chef’s knife and a 3″ paring knife.

Thank you, Anne, they’re incredible!

Birthday Gifts 2012 – Game of Thrones coins!

Anne got me these great coins from a local coinsmith!  The Shire Post has all sorts of coins, thoroughly researched, from many different Fantasy novels or from historical events.  Tom does an amazing, detailed job with all his coins and buttons, but these are particularly fantastic.  Strongly recommend these as a gift for your favorite fantasy geek.


GM10, Silver Pfenig (penny or half-stag) of Eddard Stark, Warden

This silver piece hearkens back to an early style of coinmaking… when silver was struck thin and 1/20 troy ounce was known as a “pennyweight”. Many coins of the time were made heavier by mixing base metals into the silver, but this one is done in pure .999 refined silver and because of its purity is regarded as equivalent to the slightly heavier “Stag”. The last ruler of the independant North Kingdom was Torrhen Stark, whose castle at Winterfell features heavily in the first of author George R.R. Martin’s novels. Eddard (or Ned) Stark is Torrhen’s descendant and Warden of the North. This piece weighs about 1.6 grams of .999 fine silver, and is about 21mm in diameter. The dies have been done in a primitivistic style and “fabric” reminiscent of the medieval silver pfenig coinage of Northern Germany in the 13th century CE. “Fabric” refers to the heft and feel of a coin… since the coins of this time tended to be quite a bit thinner than the coins we are familiar with today. (note that “pfenig” is the Germanic spelling of “penny” and that originally the penny or pfenig was a silver coin. Monetary debasement in later times reduced the value of this classic denomination to the small copper piece we are familiar with today)… Ned would have been playing a dangerous game politically by reverting to a higher purity standard than was current at the time the coin was issued. It is undated (like most ancient coins) but is thought to have been struck at the castle armory of Winterfell towards the end of Eddard’s tenure. When Eddard (spoiler alert) was betrayed and beheaded, the new owners of Winterfell not only hunted down his entire family but also demanded that all Ned’s coinage be turned in to be remelted, so only a few examples have survived the great remelting to grace the collections of today. Most examples show distinct signs of circulation and often display the “rainbow toning” avidly sought by coin collectors. No two are quite the same as they were struck on hand-clipped blanks. Taken from:  The Shire Post Store

GM09, Iron coin of the Faceless Man

This iron coin is of a size and weight similar to the star, but the similarity stops there. This coin features importantly in author George R.R. Martin’s novels where it turns out to have extraordinary significance. This piece weighs about 6 grams of .9998 pure iron, and is about 26mm in diameter. The obverse features the shadowy form of the Faceless Man… representing a guild of assassins who will take on any job, for the right price. The reverse features the cryptic inscription VALAR DOHAERIS, VALAR MORGULIS… along with an encipherment of that message in the entwined capital letters VDVM. It is undated (like most ancient coins) but is thought to have been struck in Valyria sometime in the third century after Aegon. Taken from The Shire Post Store

Thanks, Anne!!

Birthday Gifts 2012 – A House of Leaves coffee mugs!

Thanks Anne!  AMAZING gift!

Cup 1: “This is not for you.” (dedication in House of Leaves, or pithy coffee cup slogan for those unfamiliar with HOL)

Cup 2: “Little solace comes to those who grieve when thoughts keep drifting as walls keep shifting and this great blue world of ours seems a house of leaves moments before the wind.”

Birthday Gifts 2012


“Every time you call tech support, a butterfly dies.”


Thanks, Mom and Dad!!