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Maybe own a bit of history, kind of

That up there is the Wesley Tree in beautiful Winchelsea, the ash tree under which John Wesley preached his last ever outdoor sermon, 223 years ago today (spooky — I didn’t realize it when I started writing this post, but the date was October 7, 1790).

Actually, it’s not really. Tourists (or the devout, if you prefer) picked bits off of the original tree until a strong wind came along in 1927 and blew down what was left. This substantial tree was grown from a sapling taken from a cutting. So it’s kind of the historic tree.

Anyway, sadly, we’re having a serious ash die back over here, caused by a fungus, Chalara fraxinea. It turned up in Poland in 1992, ripped across Europe (Denmark lost 60-90% of their ash trees) and arrived in the UK in 2012, in a shipment of young trees from the Netherlands. There’s a lot of ash here, so this isn’t good.

So when the Wesley Tree looked unwell, everyone feared the worst. Well, it turns out the bugger has an altogether different fungus, the Hairy Bracket fungus. Which may or may not go along with an even eviller fungus, White Rot.

Damn, this tree hugging is complicated.

So what they’re doing up there is lopping off the affected limbs and hoping for the best. They’re also appealing for locals to take cuttings and seeds and grow backup trees, in the event of a bad outcome.

I was going to say, if any of my readers are Methodist arborculturists, you should totally ask for a cutting. And then I realized that might import ash dieback to the US.

So, bad idea. Forget I said anything.

October 7, 2013 — 10:55 pm
Comments: 26


Uncle B had to go into London for some tiresome bidness thingie, so this is pretty much what it looks like at Badger Acres today.

The original is not my .gif — it’s something I loved and snagged off the internet a thousand years ago — but I spent a good hour squeezing it and tweaking it and getting weasel all over it (the eye twitch at frame 35 is mine). The current iteration of Photoshop has some much improved animated .gif tools and I’m just getting around to playing with them. I could swear they weren’t there a few months ago, so it must have been a silent update.

I’ll be thrilled if they’re still updating this thing. Adobe is trying so damned hard to get me on the cloud version of P’shop.

Right. And now I think it’s naked videogame and potato chip time. Good weekend, folks!

October 4, 2013 — 5:46 pm
Comments: 20


Roast beef, roast potatoes, carrots and peas…in a bowl made of yorkshire pudding. I know…food always looks gross in black and white, but I can assure you, this was a bit of alright.

I lumme some yorkshire pudding.

Honestly, folks, I don’t know what to say about politics at the moment. It’s not that I’m not following. I am. But damned if I can figure out where it’s going. Everything has an ominous, oppressive feeling, like the heavy air before a thunderstorm.

Though I should probably let you guys know, my gut feelings are *always* wrong.

October 3, 2013 — 10:39 pm
Comments: 27


Baby thinks Uncle B’s beard is his mama.

It’s been a week yesterday, and he’s just starting to kitten up. He did nothing but eat, sleep, purr and poop nuclear waste for a week. We think, being the runt in a household of ten cats (did I mention this?), he was chronically malnourished. Oh, they clearly loved their animals well enough, but it was a small flat and a lot of competition.

Now he’s getting bigger by the day, he’s developed the strength to run up and down the bed like a nutcase and ruin sleep. The three of us had a pretty broken night, and the two of us that should have remembered totally forgot an early morning appointment to have the boiler cleaned. There was a hammering on the door in the wee hours and I somehow managed to throw open the front door wearing my jeans inside-out, white pockets waving jauntily.

Yep, I was all tee’d up to post about the shutdown. But frankly, you guys read the same web sites I do and I didn’t have anything original to add.

Except, maybe — thank you, O Lord, for the ham-fisted incompetence of mine enemies.

October 2, 2013 — 11:01 pm
Comments: 17


This is the message you get when you go to www.nasa.gov (among other sites). And the awesome thing about this is, it’s pure spite. There’s no earthly reason to shut down an existing, fully functional website. It’s not like anyone pays hosting fees day-by-day.

If you click through to the list of stuff that isn’t happening due to the ‘shutdown’(LOL), you get a bunch of hilarious drama queenery. The very first bullet point is:

Vital services that ensure seniors and young children have access to healthy food and meals may not have sufficient Federal funds to serve all beneficiaries in an extended lapse.

Translation: Meals on Wheels and Head Start have will run out of money in a few weeks if this keeps up. ZOMG!

The BEST, though, was the veterans thing. Even though most monuments in DC aren’t actually staffed and even though the Park Police are an essential service and still on the job, some bright spark decided to pay people to put up barricades on the Mall. Pure theater.

A group of elderly veterans from Mississippi turned up to see the WWII monument and (with an assist from their Congressman) — dramatic pause — stepped around the barriers and did it anyway. Park Police wisely stood aside and let them.

Anyway, there’s still time for this all to go horribly wrong, but so far Obamacare sucks and the ‘shutdown’(LOL) doesn’t suck. Such timing.

October 1, 2013 — 8:43 pm
Comments: 29

Here we go…

Ted Cruz. Still getting the hang.

Pretty sure I’m on Team Cruz in this thing. I can’t predict how this Mexican standoff will turn out — likely badly for the GOP, but that’s true of every single option that I can see. The media will make sure of it.

So, what the hell? Why not look like bomb throwing maniacs. My mother told me, first promote the notion that you’re a little bit crazy, then people will always be a little bit careful around you.

September 30, 2013 — 10:05 pm
Comments: 17

Well, that went better than expected

No, really. She growled and hissed and tensed like a guy wire on a suspension bridge, but no swipe at him. He’s been around three days, and she’s okay as long as she can’t actually see him. She’s hiding in the back of the house right now.

Last time I took a kitten in, she wouldn’t let me near her for a year. She let me feed her, though. She’s good like that.

Good weekend, folks!

September 27, 2013 — 11:11 pm
Comments: 11


Is it real? Well, it’s out there. Nobody’s taking responsibility as yet. I can just hear the brainstorming session, though:

“We need healthy young people to sign up for this thing. What do kids like?”
“Pictures of cute animals with funny captions?”

On a related note, we’re thinking of calling the kitten Buster. Short for Filibuster.

September 26, 2013 — 10:19 pm
Comments: 20


Oh, hell no, I didn’t name the kitten Narcissus. We’re still weighing options. And of course he’s tracking the arrow, not looking at himself.

But if I can’t use my new baby to score cheap posts on busy days, what IS the point?

September 25, 2013 — 9:12 pm
Comments: 22


Big and in color. Go on. You know you want it.

As I suspected from the slightly evasive emails, the big chunky dark ginger boy in the pictures was spoken for. May I present — that cat’s little brother.

This is a seriously tiny kitten. When I said “no way!” to age ten weeks, the woman copped to eight. Yeah, I dunno. He’s as small as Damien was at six weeks, and Damien was a shrimp. Well, we’ll stuff him full of calcium and protein and let him keep his balls as long as practical and see if we can’t big him up a bit.

Anyway, he’s a beautiful, charming little booger. He purred all the way home (almost a two hour trip), got out of his carry box, trotted to the john and had hisself a proper pee and poop (good GOD kitten shit is pungent), followed it with a big meal and now he’s tapped out on Uncle B’s chest, sparko.

I kind of painted myself into a corner here. I told Uncle B if he didn’t come up with a name, I was going to call the cat Jesus Christ Monkey Balls. That was two weeks ago. And. Well. No, it hasn’t stuck, but the poor little bastard is in peril of it sticking.

So here’s what we’re considering so far (audio).

September 24, 2013 — 9:23 pm
Comments: 52