, Salem, MA


December 23, 2011

'On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me ...'

"On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me ... "

Green aphids in an orange tree.

The thought was nice, to be sure. I had mentioned adding an orange tree to my hot, sunny window. But if the truth were known, my true love can't tell the difference between an aphid and a grasshopper.

Nevertheless, you'd think he'd have the sense to buy a bug-free plant! Aphids are such a pain to get rid of, and they do spread so fast in a warm house. So I guess I'll have to quarantine the tree, then spray with Neem oil.

On the second, third, and fourth days ...

UPS drove up and there was this major gift delivery: two turtle doves, followed by three calling birds and four French hens. Actually, I didn't know the exact species until I did some research. This took some work. The first two birds turned out to be common park pigeons, not turtle doves. I know because I looked them all up in my Fielding's Guide to North American Birds. Fielding calls them rock doves or park pigeons, but I like the name turtle dove better for gift birds.

But let me tell you, the next two birds took a little detective work. A call to the Audubon Society positively identified the French hens and the calling birds. All I had to do was dial 617-257-9506, ext. 7741, and a very nice lady just asked me for a description of the weird birds that had been delivered. And can you imagine? She had them identified in a minute! But there is still some question as to whether the French hen just might be a large grackle in winter plumage.

Five golden rings ...

One golden ring would have been lovely and quite sufficient, but five? That might be considered excessive. Gold rings are very nice, don't get me wrong, but maybe just a teensy bit frivolous for a lady whose hands are in dirt every day.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • 'Captain America' tops box office for third week LOS ANGELES -- Captain America continues to vanquish box office foes, triumphing in ticket sales for the third consecutive week and dominating over megastar Johnny Depp's new movie. "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" added another $26 million to i

    April 21, 2014

  • Monday's Best Bets Best Bets for Monday, April 21

    Looking for something to do today? Here are The Salem News' Best Bets:

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • North Shore religion calendar Saturday, April 19 Easter Bunny Breakfast & Egg Hunt, 10 a.m. to noon, Northshore Unitarian Universalist Church, 323 Locust St., Danvers. The youth groups of Northshore and Beverly Unitarian Universalist churches will hold an Easter breakfast and egg

    April 19, 2014

  • North Shore religion news in brief The Rev. Marya DeCarlen has been named the new, full-time priest in charge at All Saints Episcopal Church of the North Shore in Danvers. DeCarlen's ministry with the parish begins Sunday, April 27. Her appointment comes after the church's yearlong in

    April 19, 2014

  • Dear Abby: Teenage girl’s boyish figure is often deceiving to others Dear Abby: I'm a 14-year-old girl with a problem. Because of my buzzed short hair, slim hips and flat chest, I frequently get mistaken for a boy. It really bothers me because, despite my haircut and body shape, I have a feminine face and I wear women

    April 19, 2014

  • This weekend's Best Bets Best Bets for Saturday and Sunday, April 19 and 20

    Looking for something to do this weekend? Here are The Salem News' Best Bets:

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Vet Connection: Is it OK to give a dog a bone? We have all seen the cartoons and commercials depicting dogs burying bones and stashing them away for later. Unfortunately, most pet owners are completely unaware of the significant risks and problems that are associated with feeding dogs these treat

    April 18, 2014

  • Ask Dog Lady: Why is my dog fascinated with burying things? Dear Dog Lady, My dog came across a dead cat at the park and proceeded to bury the cat with surrounding leaves by using her nose and pushing the leaves over the dead cat. Two days later, we went back to the park, and she found the dead cat again and

    April 18, 2014

  • ed Ipswich author to share drawing techniques Most of Ed Emberley's 80 children's books, 20 of which are still in print, have one goal in mind. "Showing the kids you can draw; everybody can draw something," he said. "They get encouragement from working with the simplest thing." Emberley will giv

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • holtenhouse Quick pick 'Voices From the Back Stairs' Jennifer Pustz of Historic New England presents "Voices From the Back Stairs" tomorrow at 2, at the Judge Samuel Holten House, 171 Holten St., Danvers. In her presentation, Pustz explores domestic service in 19th- and 20

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

NDN Video
Comments Tracker