Monday, November 10, 2008

Feeding critters from home

I learned something this weekend... back up a bit here. For starters, I like birds, though contrary to what my lovely wife might say, I am not a "birder". Anyhow... I put up birdfeeders on my front porch and have had managed to attract over a dozen species of birds including a chicken hawk who had a finch-feast last season. Recently, the finches and sparrows have been swarming my porch. At any one time, there may have been 50+ easily there.

Over the last year or so, I have been battling squirrels and solved my squirrel problem by trapping and relocating them. If I don't trap them, they gorge on the birdseed, get fat and sow and get killed on 15th street. So, by relocating them, I'm doing them a favor.

What I hadn't anticipated were mice. I saw a couple of them on the porch eating the dropped birdseed and decided to investigate further. What I found was a mouse mini-colony living in my planter boxed also on the porch. It's a short trip from the porch into my house. Squirrels torque me off but I'm somewhat nice to them; mice, on the other hand don't get any mercy. After savagely catching and killing 9 (at least 3 escaped). Methinks the vermin have won. The birdfeeders have been moved to the backyard. No more birds on my porch for a while.

So, any suggestions on how to keep the mice away?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Hotel travel tip #223

Hotel coffee sucks 99% of the time and it doesn't matter if it's $40/night Motel 6 or a $300/night Sheraton. All hotel rooms have pretty much the same in-room coffee makers and in-room self-contained prepackaged low-grade coffee.

Easy solution. I went out and bought a bag of pre-ground decent coffee (Folger's would be a step up) and small coffee filters to fit the in-room machines. Problem solved. I don't know how the hotel would feel about me using mu own coffee and filters, but I really don't care.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Global warming misinformation and fear mongering

As geologists, we know there is climate change going on. We see it in the geological record with the receding glaciers and the CO2 levels. The fear mongering though torques me off. I get emails from National Geographic. One of the headlines was "Time-Lapse Video: Retreating Glacier" ( . After taking Glenn Thackray's Quaternary Geology course, of course I am interested in this. The video shows the glacial movement and shows the obvious glacial retreat. The video is a compilation of 486 frames stitched together. It's pretty cool, worth a look-see.

HOWEVER... the time frame for the video is May-Sept 2007 in Alaska, from spring to fall. It seems to me that the glacier will OBVIOUSLY retreat during the warmer months and advance during the colder months. If this video were used as evidence as global warming, I would have to call b******t on them.

Upon further reading, this is a small part of a multi-year project which will be composed of over 300,000 photos. The project will continue until fall 2009. James Balog of National Geographic and his colleagues are conducting this project and I look forward to seeing the end results.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Recipe: Fettuccini Alfredo

OK, I love to cook. This one is easy and most restaurants just don't get it. Order Fettuccine Alfredo at a restaurant and you are liable to get bland pasta in oily cream (blech).

Fettuccine Alfredo

1 lb fettuccine noodles

1 cup heavy cream

I cup shredded Parmesan cheese

¼ cup butter

Pinch nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

Boil pasta according to package directions.

Melt butter and let cool. Mix together cream, Parmesan, butter, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Drain pasta and toss with sauce.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Recipes: Curry Chicken

This is my original curry chicken recipe. Since it's inception, I've made changes here and there.

Nick's Curry Chicken

3 lbs chicken cut into bite-sized chunks or strips
1 1/2 lbs coarse chopped white or yellow onion
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tblsp minced fresh ginger
3 tblsp oil
2 qts chicken stock (enough to cover chicken)
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 cp curry powder
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
salt and pepper to taste

In a large frying pan saute shopped onions in oil on medium head until limp. Add chicken, garlic, and ginger. Saute until chicken browned on all sides.

Place chicken in large pan or dutch oven with chicken stock, curry powder, and cayenne and simmer for an hour.

*INstead of chicken stock can use adequate amount of chicken bullion to make 2 quarts liquid