Friday the 13th Post: Bad Luck Not to Read This

On a Friday the 13th many years ago, I posted a link to a webpage that talked about superstitions about birds, including some stories about Lucille Ball, who must have been a real bird-phobe because she refused to stay any hotel that had a bird painting on the wall.

The webpage talks about the superstitions involving birds that flew through windows, flew into windows, or pecked at windows.

(I know that birds find it extremely bad luck to fly into windows.)

Another webpage on that topic is here.

Above is a photo of our black cat Pook, who thinks that all pictures of Lucille Ball are bad luck.

Pook also say it would be bad luck not to send a link for this post to all  your so-called Facebook friends.

Monday Mother Mystery Answered

IMG_2304On Monday, I asked, "What is the 'Mother' with you?"

And got lots of replies, the first and most definitive from Carol Flanagan, who wrote:


Mother of vinegar is the slimy, gummy, jelly-like substance or layer of film that can form on the top of or in the liquid of apple cider vinegar. It can sometimes make the vinegar look cloudy. Sometimes, it's wispy and looks a lot like a little spider web.

The mother is actually a cellulose substance made up of various Acetobacter, a very acidic strain of bacteria. The Acetobacter combine with the oxygen in warm air to cause fermentation in apple cider, wine, or other alcoholic liquids to produce vinegar. It is the mother that gives the vinegar its characteristic sourness.

This substance can form naturally in store-bought vinegar if there is some non-fermented sugar or alcohol contained in the bottle. While not exactly appealing in appearance, it is completely harmless and the vinegar does not have to be thrown away because of it. Mother of vinegar can be easily filtered out using coffee filter, or, perhaps even better, the mother can simply be left in the vinegar and ignored.

Thanks, Carol! 

When I was young our vinegar always had this weird cottony thing floating in it.  This was the only time that my mother's mother was not my grandmother.

You can stop groaning now. It's not very becoming.

John the Red-shoulder Drops By








As I peered out the picture window this morning, I saw a Red-shouldered Hawk fly in and perch in the backyard (a fairly frequent occurrence of late).

I ran to get my camera and was able to get off two quick clicks before it flew. I was trying to find out if the hawk was Laura or her mate, John, our resident pair. 

I was lucky to get a couple of images for ID purposes at least: Since it had no aluminum band on its right leg, it was most likely John. 

Time to start thinking about working on that nest, guy! Spring is around the corner -- at least today it feels like it.

Nifty History Story about McNamara Park

A smokestack, a small building and a few foundationsWhen I used to work in the Meadowlands, I liked to stop by Tessie McNamara Park on Clay Avenue to see if any interesting shorebirds  or waders had dropped in.

There's a little observation deck overlooking a small patch of wetalnds and water, and in the back is a smokestack -- all that remains from an act of German sabotage that occurred 100 years ago tomorrow.

The Record's Chris Maag has the story, here. Photo above is by The Record's Chris Pedota.