The Possibility of New Life

For several weeks I have been trying to avoid working on the sideways tree since it affects my allergies.  Having a temp of -5 also might have contributed to me staying home, but only a little.

What is left of the sideways tree

The Sideways Tree

Since so many of the trees in this wooded area are elderly and falling down, I have been looking for ways to encourage new growth.  Not only does it look nice, but I am hoping it will keep the hillside from eroding.

Winter is the wrong time of year for seed production, so I haven’t been able to harvest any fallen ones…except for these guys.

I borrowed this picture from Tree Pictures .

Like a lot of people, I mistook the trees for maples and attributed these nasty seed pods on the ground to some other source.  Turns out they are from a plant that wears a lot of names.  Around here they are called Sweet Gum, but they can also be called Liquidambar, Storax or Alligatorwood.  They are often used in reforestation projects because they grow quickly.

There is an abundance of these seed pods on a neighboring street, so Toby and I have been gathering them up on our walks.  We take them to the area around the fallen tree and lob them into the woods.  To be honest, I have no idea if the pods have viable seeds or not, but I still fee like I am helping to bring the possibility of new life to the area.

These seed pods are so strong and spiky that they can be used around the garden to discourage interlopers.  They are hard enough that you can puncture a tire if you run over them.  By now, Toby and I must have tossed a couple hundred of these pods into woods.  If nothing else, maybe they will discourage some of the animals that travel the pipeline up into out back yards.

Two cartoon deer dying

Aagh!  Avoid the spiky seed pods!


What Do You Do With All The Time You Save?

I am part of a focus group for a major retailer.  So many of the things they ask us about have to do with changing checkout so that you buy your items with your phone as you go through the store, or doing online grocery ordering for curbside pickup.  Lately they have been asking about those services that send food to your house which are supposed to provide fresh cooked meals in 30 minutes.   Evidently they want a piece of that economic pie as well.

Commercials would lead us to believe that families use these services then rush from the dinner table, flinging paper plates into the trash so that they can play soft ball with their kids.  I can’t tell you the last time I saw a family in my neighborhood play ball outside or even throw a Frisbee (ahem, “novelty flying disc”) for their dog.

So, I wonder, what do you do with all of the time you save?








Teeny Tiny Toby’s Terrible Tuesday Temper Tantrum



…which really took place on a Monday…but I am posting about it on a Friday!

I got fortunate in that Toby decided to throw one of these fits in front of the vet.  She was taken aback at the viciousness of his outburst.  She said that this is simply what he does when he doesn’t get his way, and no one should give in to him or he will learn that this is how he gets what he wants.  The down side?  This


I was feeling happy that my little monster had largely outgrown this phase, until today.  Then ol’ crabby pants showed up again to say that he did not appreciate the hug I gave him after supper.  Looks like I had better keep the Band Aids handy.



To read more of Bitey’s adventures, pick up a copy (or download a Kindle version) of his book A Tired Mommy Is a Good Mommy, available at Amazon.