Peculiarities – Horseshoe Crabs

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Horseshoe crabs are becoming a common sight once more along the beaches of the Delaware Bay. At one point in time they were severely endangered due to being used as fertilizer and bait for eels and whelks.

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A female lays between 60,000 to 120,000 eggs in a season. These eggs are important not only to further the population of horseshoe crabs, but also to provide food for endangered migratory shore birds.

Horseshoe crabs breed in shallow waters and lay their eggs along the beach. They easily upturn in the surf and it is not an uncommon sight to see dozens on their backs along the shoreline. Volunteers gather during mating season to turn the horseshoe crabs right side up again. You can read about their efforts here: Volunteers Saving Horseshoe Crabs

Although we weren’t part of a group, last year my cousin and I flipped all the upturned crabs we found back on their feet, or would that be legs…or claws? Anyway, we turned them right side up again. Unfortunately, several flipped onto their backs again with the next incoming wave. Still, I’m sure a few survived because of our efforts.

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We were really hungry after our rescue mission, and went to a terrific little bayside cafe called “The Landing.”

Peculiarities – Verbing Anyone?


Does the photograph above have anything to do with the title of this post. Well, yes, it does. The next photograph might be explanation enough of my moment of “Verbing.


“I just “smithereened” that plastic egg,” I mumbled as my shoe encountered and “smithereened” yet another Easter Egg. The grandchildren and I have had a good time with plastic Easter Eggs. Usually they are scattered all over the floor. The little ones like to open and shut them. The older boys enjoy using them for an egg toss game. Next week I will gather up every Easter Egg, take them outdoors, and with the grandchildren “bomb” the front yard with a rainbow of eggs. Flinging the eggs and letting them stay where they land creates a random and dare I say, “natural” look to the arrangement of eggs on the lawn. In the meantime I will try to tread softly and not “smithereen” anymore eggs to bits.

Here is a terrific explanation on the ins and outs of verbing: What is Verbing?

Place, Peculiarities & Phun- Block Island Mud on Clayhead Beach

Block Island 2013 278 One of our very favorite beaches on Block Island, Rhode Island, is Clayhead Beach. The bluffs on this beach are one of the first sights you see when you approach on the Point Judith Ferry. Within these bluffs is a clay that gives the beach its name. Those who pass by often take a handful of the clay and spread it on their bodies. Clay packs draw out toxins and are beneficial to your body. These girls were so sweet and allowed me to photograph them as they applied the clay. Block Island 2013 279

Here are the girls again before their walk back up the shoreline to Mansion Beach. Cute!

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Here is a bit of information about Clayhead Beach and Preserve: Clayhead Beach and Preserve

Peculiarities – In Love with Bugs/Dragonflies, Hoverflies and Bumblebees


Dragonfly on Stick

I’ll admit I’ve always been in love with bugs. They are fascinating. Many of the ones I’ve included in this post are beneficial to have in your yard. Dragonflies, beyond their amazing beauty, are voracious mosquito-eaters. Hoverflies, besides sipping nectar from flowers, are a predator of aphids. Bumblebees, in their velvety jackets, are amazing pollinators.


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Peculiarities & Phascination – The Intruder


This week I was surprised by an uninvited guest in my home. A brilliant green praying mantis, measuring about an inch and a quarter, somehow found its way into the house. Even though this amazing bug has outstanding predator qualities, and I am sometimes bothered indoors by the occasional mosquito, spider or stink bug, I knew he belonged outside.


A good way to remove beneficial bugs from your home without harming them is to use a glass and a sturdy piece of paper. Place the glass over the insect and slide the paper between the bug and the wall. Voila…Captured! I try to release any bug that is an asset to a garden or to man into the garden.



The mantis exploring his new home on an Echinacea flower.


Peculiarities – Tiny Tadpoles/The Final Edition

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My tiny tadpoles are both a success and a sob story.

Success – The tadpoles have flourished in a small container being fed boiled romaine lettuce. They are quickly metamorphosizing into frogs or toads. I still have not figured out which species they will ultimately become.

Sob story – After a July 4th weekend camping trip, we arrived home to a small toad clinging onto the side of the rock. I was captivated by the small scrap of life. He had only a stump of tail left, and I knew he would soon have the ability to begin jumping. I resolved to place the container into the garden in a shaded place the next day. The next day arrived only to begin with the discovery of the body of the first toad to morph. I realized that on the screen porch he had begun to need insects to eat and there were few or none. I immediately placed the container outdoors in a sheltered spot and added more water, rocks and a piece of wood that reached the top of the container.

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Success – The rest of the tadpoles/frogs seem to be doing fine. I boiled up some more romaine for those who are still  in the in between stage of development and checked on the ones who are near total metamorphosis. Every tadpole seems to be doing well right now. Hopefully, in a few days I will have an empty container and be happy in the knowledge that the small toads/frogs are alive somewhere in my yard.

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Can  you see the almost developed frog/toad on the end of the wood, and the still developing tadpole on the rock?

Here’s a close-up of the frog/toad. My final thoughts on the adventure. I’m very glad I saved the tadpoles. When I first observed them in the puddles I also saw red-winged blackbirds plucking them out of the water as an easy meal. I knew that in their quickly evaporating puddle not many would survive.  I’m glad I saved a few. I feel bad about the one that didn’t make it, but have high hopes for all the others. Would I do it again? Oh yes!

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Peculiarities – Pareidolia…again

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Yes, I’ll admit it might be a stretch, but doesn’t this oyster shell resemble Moby Dick? Another good example of pareidolia.

Pareidolia –

  1. The tendency to interpret a vague stimulus as something known to the observer, such as interpreting marks on Mars as canals, seeing shapes in clouds, or hearing hidden messages in music

Phascination and Peculiarities – Tiny Tadpoles Part II

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The tiny tadpoles I collected from a mud puddle are thriving and growing. Their legs are developing. Yesterday I moved them to a larger container, and filled it with about an inch and a half of pond water. I added two rocks, a round tall stone, and a flat pebble. The pebble is partially submerged in the water and balanced on the taller rock. This will let the tadpoles become accustomed to the change in environment before they are ready to become a land dweller rather than live in the water. When the time is right they can crawl out onto the flat pebble and take a look at the world from a new vantage point. I will still keep the container on the porch. I am sure the hungry birds in my yard would make a quick meal of the little swimmers if they had access to them.

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I also cooked a batch of food to add to the fish food flakes and slimy leaves I have been feeding them. I boiled romaine lettuce in water until it was broken down a bit. I froze a few of the pieces in ice cube trays and gave the remaining pieces to the tadpoles. Within a few minutes they were devouring the boiled lettuce.

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The tiny tadpoles are doing well. I will update their progress in a few days. To read the original post go to this link: Tiny Tadpoles Part 1

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Phascination and Peculiarities – Tiny Tadpoles

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On a visit to the Jersey shore town of Strathmere last weekend, my husband and I parked in a huge puddle on the side of the road. When we returned to the truck after a day on the beach, I noticed that the puddle was filled with hundreds, if not thousands of tiny tadpoles. We have been having daily rains and the side of the road has become a river beside the concrete barrier of the curb. Knowing that the asphalt quickly heats in the summer sun and dries the puddles up, I immediately felt sorry for the tiny swimmers, knowing they probably wouldn’t make it to maturity.

I’m not sure what type of frog or toad these tadpoles are, but I am thinking most likely they are garden toads or tree frogs. I couldn’t resist saving a few and scooped them up with my palm and carried them home in a water bottle. (I say I did this for my grandsons to watch, but must admit, I still haven’t lost my childhood fascination for bugs and such.) A week later, most are thriving, although I think I did lose two or three. They are beginning to develop legs and the shape of their head is changing.

I found a good site explaining how to care for the small amphibians. A good way to feed them is to boil green lettuces until they are pulpy and place bits of it in the water. I am also lucky to have an outdoor pond that is filled with algae right now. (Hmmmm….not so sure that is lucky for me, but certainly is for the hungry tadpoles.) A little pond water added to their puddle water seemed to create the right environment for them.

Funny how quickly a person becomes protective. I am wondering what is the best solution for them as they morph into their final shape. I am thinking lawnmowers and hungry birds, and….well you get my line of thinking. What’s a person to do? Sigh….

Here is a terrific page on how to raise tadpoles to maturity.

Raising Tadpoles

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Peculiarities and Projects – Hanging Basket Hook


In the photograph above you might think you are looking at a typical hanging basket…and you are of course! Look a little closer at how the basket is hung and you might see the purpose behind this “Peculiar” post.


Yes, what you are looking at is a gigantic fishing lure. I found this a few years ago while beach-combing. After I carefully picked it up off the rocks of the Block Island coastline, I dropped it into my collecting bag. It hung alone from the rafters of my porch ceiling for a few years, a reminder of a happy day. This year, however, while looking for the ever elusive S-hook for attaching my hanging baskets to the chain, I came up with the idea to use the lure. It worked great, but just to be on the safe side I wound a bit of floral wire around it too. I’m very pleased with my unique hook!


Peculiarities – Seventeen Year Cicadas


We recently camped in Belleplain State Forest amid the “singing” of seventeen year cicadas, or in technical terms, Periodical Cicadas. My husband and I both thought the sound they created was much like an old Sci-Fi movie when flying saucers descended upon the earth. I’ve included a version here of the sound. You can read more information about the cicadas here: Periodical cicadas


The cicadas leave behind their eerie exoskeletons after emerging from the ground.


The ground is covered with holes from which the cicadas emerged.

You can hear their song on the video I took amid the trees of Belleplain.

Peculiarities – Pareidolia

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What do you see in the photograph above? I see an owl staring back at me from the piece of wood. I found the weathered piece of wood on the beaches of Block Island, Rhode Island. I instantly saw an owl’s face when I gazed at it laying upon the sand. Seeing faces or shapes in clouds, wood or other objects is known as pareidolia. The dictionary defines pareidolia as:

Pareidolia – The imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist, as in considering the moon to have human features.

I often find faces in rocks. A favorite of mine is pictured below. SPOOKY!!!!

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If you have a few minutes to spare, and want to view more images, type pareidolia into google images.

Another place my husband and I often find strange pictures is on the underside of an oyster shell. I took our oyster shell musings a bit further when I painted the watercolor below. Do you see what I saw and tried to portray? Fun.

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Watercolor on Ampersand Aquabord, Winsor and Newton Paints, Size 5 x 7

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Peculiarities – Strange Centerpiece

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I’ll be the first to admit this is quite a strange centerpiece on my dining room table. If you look closely you can see the bettas that live inside the vases. The bettas thrive in these conditions, no matter what you might read to the contrary. In their natural environment wild bettas live in clogged rice paddies, and do not have long, trailing fins. The bettas above have been bred for captivity. My bettas do well, and are long-lived. One is nearing two years old. Their vases are on the large side and set close together so that each fish can see the others. Occasionally they will puff up their fins and display a bit of aggression, but in my opinion this keeps them interested and more active, which means a healthier fish.

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Peculiarities – Vultures and Vulture Festivals

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On a cold January afternoon I snapped this picture of a flock of vultures near the Delaware Bay. Vultures fill a role, that of scavengers, but I must say it’s hard to become fond of vultures. I do, however, greatly admire their soaring flight and the skillful way they float on the wind currents.

More information about vultures can be found here: Vultures

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A nearby town has a yearly vulture festival. It’s become quite a popular attraction. You can read more about having a vulture festival here: Vulture Festival

ugly birdClose-up photograph courtesy of Morgue File. Morgue File is a terrific artist and bloggers resource. Copyrite free photographs available. Click here to visit: Morgue File


Peculiarities – Mindy the Ladybug

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During the winter of 2012 we had a visit from “Missy the Ladybug.” She vacationed for several weeks in our upstairs bath. She somehow escaped all the perils of the room, and managed to thrive, until one day she found a new abode. You can read Missy’s story here: Missy the Ladybug.

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This year we have her sister, or is that her cousin, residing on my windowsill basil plant. I think I heard her whisper that her name was Mindy. Mindy has made herself right at home. She even seemed impressed with my stained glass angel.

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I love the close-up photographs of Mindy I was able to take.

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Whoever knew a ladybug had such an adorable face?

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Finally she had enough of my attention, turned around, and walked away. I saw her later taking a nap, using the basil leaves much like a beach umbrella to escape the noontime rays of the sun.

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Sleep tight Mindy!

*All artists and crafters are welcome to use these photographs of Mindy and Missy as reference for paintings and other projects.

Peculiarities – Most Popular Post in 2012/Growing Romaine From a Stump

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No, you aren’t seeing things, this is not a stump of Romaine Lettuce growing in water, but it is a group of green onions regrowing. This is an idea I found in the comment section of my original post that spoke of regrowing Romaine Lettuce from a stump.

The original Romaine post was written and published in December of 2011. Since then it has been viewed hundreds, even thousands of times according to my site stats, and commented upon dozens of times. The original post can be found here: Original Romaine Regrowth Post

This year I wrote a recap of the post and gave a day to day view of a new stump growing on my windowsill. You can find the recap here: Recap Romaine Regrowth

Many of the people who commented on the original post also added a few tips of their own. Here are a few of my favorites:

From Alikina on 12/8/12

For those concerned about transplanting – most plants that do well with this re-rooting method (which is what you’re doing – the plant had roots at one point, the grower or the store cut them off, and it’s still living (if it weren’t the whole thing would either be very slimy or paper-dry), so it’s ready to re-grow roots. If you want to transplant to dirt, start it first in a dish of sand, potting moss, or vermiculite (from a garden-supply store), or a ‘rooting medium’, which is a mix of those ingredients, and keep it very moist. Then when you see leaves start to grow, transplant to your garden or to a pot of dirt. I haven’t tried this with lettuce yet (although I will now that I’ve read this!!), but I have with other plants. Some will grow, some won’t, depending on how recently they were picked.

For those worried about nutrients, the main nutrients in lettuce are formed by the plant from water and sunlight. If you keep growing the lettuce (or any plant) in water and want to be sure it’s getting all the nutrients it needs, or all the ones you’d want to eat, you can either make a fertilizing solution or buy one from a hydroponic gardening store. Google terms like ‘home-made hydroponic fertilizer’ or ‘hydroponic nutrients’. You can also just put safe, mineral-rich things in the growing water. A clean eggshell, for example, will slowly release calcium. A few coffee grounds or a used tea bag will have a lot of nutrients that didn’t make it into the brew – just don’t add too much or you’ll overwhelm your poor baby plant!

Amy 9/16/1

Great tip! We do the same with the bottom white part of a green onion with the roots still on. Stick it in the ground and the green part shoots up for another crop!


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Shannon 8/31/12

That’s really cool. If you are growing romaine in the garden you can also just harvest the outer leaves when you need salad greens and leave the plant intact in the ground to continue growing.

Libby 7/15/12

I am growing mine in a raised bed outside. I did nothing to them, just stuck them into the ground so that the root sections was firmly seated and within 2 days I had new leaves coming up. I have found it works with red cabbage, onions and celery also so far. I am going to be trying more “2nd” helpings as I get them.

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Barbielea 2/5/12

Thanks for this helpful tip. We keep tortoises and guinea pigs, and get through at least four romaine lettuces a week (its a nutritious staple for both). Will definitely try this out.

Davis 5/16/12

This is such a clever idea. Thanks for posting this! I’d heard about it with celery, but never with lettuce. I gave it a try, and it worked! My household has been completely entertained watching this little lettuce grow. (Okay, I’ll admit it…apparently we need to get out more.)

Thanks to everyone who has commented this year, those above, and the many who I did not have space to include. I appreciate each and every addition to my original post, and as you see from the photographs above, I have put into practice some of the advice in the comments too. Happy 2013 to all. Kathy

Peculiarities – Update/The Bat

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This past summer I related the story of the bat in the house. You can read all about it here: Bat in the House. Last week he showed up again. This time we found him in his bat den.

My son is a builder and was replacing some capping on our outside woodwork. As he tore off a piece of the corner eave little bits of grass and acorns fell to the ground. Suddenly he saw a flash of small teeth and heard an angry hiss. Our bat was found at last, in his roost, in the eave of our house. He could not stay. The aluminum flashing would have sealed him within the eave and been certain doom. My son gingerly pushed him out with a soft brush. The bat flew a bit wobbily after being awakened from a sound sleep and rudely swooshed out of his home. He landed on the grass about thirty feet away from the house. He seemed quite stunned for about a half hour, then disappeared. We are hoping that since it was a warm day, he found a new place to roost and had time to pad his new home with acorns and grass. I hope that is the last encounter we have with the bat.

Peculiarities – Geese in December

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Are you old enough to remember the days when flocks of geese really did fly south? The geese in this area don’t seem to follow that rule anymore. Here are a few I photographed yesterday in a local lake.

A great article explaining why geese don’t fly south anymore can be found here: Why Geese Don’t Fly South

While I was photographing the resident birds, I caught sight of this strange duck. It resembles birds we see when we vacation on Block Island in Rhode Island. Anyone know it’s name? I doubt I will see it next time I visit the lake.

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Peculiarities – Update/Growing Romaine from Stump

A quick update to last year’s post on growing romaine from the cut stump. This has been a very popular post. Take a moment to visit the link below or the one listed at the bottom of the page. Many new ideas and comments of those who have tried the technique are in the comment section.  I’ve included six shots of my newest batch of regenerating romaine stumps. By the seventh day the sprouting leaves are ready to eat out of hand or in a salad. They have a mildly bitter taste, but this pairs well with sandwiches and sweet lettuces. Enjoy!

Regrowing Romaine Lettuce 2011

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

Day Four

Day Five

Day Six

Within a week I found the sprouting romaine leaves large enough to eat. To read the original article please click on this link: Original Post on Re-growing Romaine Lettuce

Peculiarities – Butterfly Salt Lick

Butterflies are attracted to salt. For male butterflies especially, it is a vital nutrient. I decided to help them out and make a butterfly salt lick for my garden. I washed out a glass bowl, found an old discarded metal stand and glued them together.

I buried the legs of the stand into my garden soil near plants attractive to butterflies.

I brought home some of the Delaware Bay’s sandy beach.

I added a piece of driftwood, a few shells and sea glass shards as butterfly perches.

A bit of water to activate the salts and minerals in the sand was the last step. My project is finished. Hopefully, I will be able to capture a few photographs of butterflies drinking up the salt.

Click here to read why: Butterflies need salt?

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