Monday, December 28, 2015

Dancing With Squirrels

     Recently a squirrel fell down an unused chimney in my house and got trapped in the void surrounding the chimney.  We could hear him scratching the wallboard frantically near the flue cap in the living room.  I went up onto the roof and dangled a long rope down the slick ceramic flue, tied it off, and left it there for a whole night and day.

     That didn’t work.

     I thought he might find a way out through a hole in the floorboards or the ceiling within the void.  Gave it another day.


     So I made a squirrel trap from a cardboard box, with a taped-on screen window on top and a sliding trap door at the back.  I removed the caulking around the chimney flue cap, set the cap aside, baited the trap box with half a peanut butter sandwich, and taped the whole box over the flue opening.  Waited quietly nearby.

     When I heard the squirrel inside the box, I quickly slid the trap door down, and he let out a terrified squeak, but I had him.  I carried the trap outside and set it on the grass.  After a few minutes he streaked out, scampered up a tree trunk, and dashed all around through the branches.

     It felt good.

     Now the old guy next door will probably shoot him.


Monday, December 21, 2015

Big December doings

A great deal of aviation history has been wrought during the month of December.

12/17/1903  The Wright Flyer lifted into the cold wind at Kitty Hawk, NC, for 12 seconds, covering 121 feet.  The first powered flight in history.  Within the next 66 years, mankind would go from the sands of Kitty Hawk to the sands of the moon.

12/10/1911  Cal Rodgers flew the Wright EX from Long Island to Pasadena.

12/1/1935 The first airway traffic control tower was established in Newark, NJ.

12/17/1935  The first Douglas DC-3 took off in Santa Monica, CA.

12/1/1941  The Civil Air Patrol was established.

12/7/1941  The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor from the air.

12/20/1957  The first flight of the Boeing 707.

12/15-16/1965  A Gemini orbital rendezvous was flown by Wally Shirra and Tom Stafford.

12/21-27/1968  Apollo 8 orbited the moon with Borman, Lovell, and Anders.

12/7-19/1972  The Apollo 17 crew of Cernan, Evans, and Schmitt made the last lunar landing.

12/23/1986  Voyager flew nonstop around the world with no refueling.

12/15/2009  The Boeing 787 Dreamliner flew for the first time.

12/23/2014  Airbus delivered the first A350.

12/2015  Author Phil Bowie has available on Amazon in print and Kindle DEATHSMAN, the fourth novel in his John Hardin series, which contains thrilling aviation scenes.  People order it in large numbers through his website,

Have a happy holiday season and a bright new year.



Monday, December 14, 2015

’Tis company season

Normal weekly to-do list:

Take out trash if blocking back door.
Do laundry load if hamper overflowing.
Get frozen pizzas, bread, milk.
Hose off children.

Company coming to-do list:

Wallpaper guest bedroom.
Put guests’ pics on mantle.
Paint porch.
Wash, vacuum, polish, dust everything.
Clean all old cars, tree limbs, inflatables, toys off lawn.  Bush-hog, then mow.
Pave driveway.
Buy new car.
Get cat declawed.
Buy two turkeys, 200-pound pig, frozen rolls, 14 kinds veggies, hors-d’oeuvres, corked wine
    fresh mayo, ice cream, six pies, 3 doz. other items on sep. list.
Buy spare refrigerator.
Shop new wardrobes for everybody.
Hose off children.  Re-hose last minute.


Monday, December 7, 2015

Playing word games

     The perennial favorite is, of course, Scrabble, at which Naomi always beats me because she has sneakily researched exotic words like zax and xenophobe.  (Look them up; I had to.)

     There are a few new word games out you may want to try, or buy as holiday gifts for wordsmiths. Here are three:

Split Decision, wherein players are given cards containing a series of words, and you have to decide in which of two categories the word belongs.  It’s a lot more fun than it sounds, and can get hilarious.

InWords, for which each player begins a round by spinning a wheel to reveal an everyday word.  The player then works with team mates to come up with responses containing that word, to earn points.  If you’re like me, you could always use a few more points in this life.

Wordie Wars.  You have to be the first player to come up with a five-letter word from your collection. 

     No four-letter words permitted in any of these games if you lose.