Tag Archives: Brooklyn

Winter Solstice

It is my recommendation that you not tell your great horned owl that some people celebrate the Winter Solstice with a citrus bath.

You might find your bath interrupted by gallons of ice cold orange juice dumped over your head, all in the name of Dongzhi.

How are you celebrating the solstice?

Are you celebrating Christmas? Does your version of Saint Nicholas ride a sleigh or a Yule Goat?

Are you celebrating Hanukkah? Do you light your menorah with oil or candles?

Do you celebrate Goru with the Pays Dogon of Mali?

If you are in the Southern Hemisphere, then you are celebrating the Summer Solstice. Perhaps you are tying the sun at Machu Pichu?

Here on the back of the hill in deepest, darkest Brooklyn, we are enjoying mulled cider, leftover latkes, and Bubo’s fondness for Christmas carols.

We are also rubbing salve on a dragon who learned the hard way that even dragon scales are flammable when doused with olive oil for the “historically accurate” living menorah.

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Like a Rolling Stone

Oh, the disappointment! I sat down at the table to enjoy one of my newly developed self-segmenting grapefruits only to have it walk away.

It rolled down the front steps and into the Brooklyn night.

Back to the drawing board. And non-enhanced grapefruits.

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Batten Down the Hatches

Here comes Hurricane Irene. By this morning, we in Brooklyn were already experiencing weather due to the arms of the hurricane – rain and light wind.

I spent most of the day yesterday moving things inside from the garden and porches (possible projectiles. a garden gnome is formidable when thrown by 75 mph winds) and boarding up the uppermost windows.

Then I remembered the grotto and my secret subterranean canal. A large concern with a hurricane in the mid-Atlantic coastal area is the storm surge and subsequent flooding. This would make my underground river a danger from beneath the house. So I focused my attentions on the grotto. I pulled my tiny barge in from the canal. I boarded up the entrance to the grotto as best I could, with plywood and rocks knocked loose from this Tuesday’s earthquake.

I put Mahto to work making sand bags and Beatrix helped me layer and stack them to prevent flooding. The Gruffelnut has a surprisingly keen eye for this sort of thing, and with the help of the specimens, I believe the grotto has been blockade off and we should be safe from a subterranean flood. I hope the catacombs do not flood, but we are on rather high ground here. This old house is not located in a flood zone, and with the proximity to The Green-Wood Cemetery, we’re actually near the highest point in Brooklyn.

The dragons and Bubo spent most of yesterday in the wind, watching the storm clouds approach. Poor Barkly, he seems to have gone a bit mad from stress and storm pressure. The Laboratory was a room full of bedlam yesterday, though as the storm steadily approaches, all the creatures seem to have quieted down today. Perhaps anticipation breeds silence?

We have battened down the hatches and we are awaiting the storm.

Batten Down the Hatches is a nautical phrase, originating in the late 1700s (in William Falconer’s An Universal Dictionary of the Marine). Ship’s hatches (doorways, windows) were often left open for ventilation and air flow into the lower decks of ships. When bad weather approached, these hatches were covered with tarps and other coverings, held in place with strips of wood called “battens”. Thus Batten Down the Hatches literally meant  cover the doorways and windows and secure them with the strips of wood.

And you thought you wouldn’t learn something today. For shame, oddlings, for shame.

Stay safe. Be smart. As Cousin Octavia likes to say “A hurricane is like an angry ex-lover. You know it’s going to be bad. Just prepare for the worst and then you’ll just end up wet, tired and slightly dazed.”

Oh, Cousin Octavia. I am often thankful she’s a distant cousin.

I don’t know how the weather is where you are, but here on my side of the hill in deepest, darkest Brooklyn, we had quite the lightening storm. I was sketching ideas for my shrinking violet experiment when I heard an ear-splitting crash. It might have been lightening striking. It might have been a dragon-gone-crazy. I might never know what happened, really.

It doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that there is now an additional opening in the catacombs. It reveals what appears to be a small canal-type waterway. The opening is small, about the size of a medium-sized ottoman, and the temperature within is approximately ten degrees colder than the rest of the catacombs.

The canal seems to be running east/west, and from what I can hear (using the amphiphone I dug up yesterday) there are no rapids or waterfalls on the course.

I am gathering supplies and will begin my explorations on the morrow.

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