Deerbath – formerly birdbath –

… in UD‘s backyard.

Every December, when UD was a kid, her family piled into its Volkswagen Camper…

… which looked like this, and drove – slowly – to Florida, camping all the way.

This trip accomplished two things dear to my father – it saved money on hotels and food (he was cheap), and it got him and his little Jewish tribe away from the madness of the Christmas season.

UD has grown up to detest camping, so I’m thinking I didn’t have the greatest time during all of this.

My one clear memory is being marooned in some state park that smelled of sulfur, and trembling in my half-dome tent as something close to a hurricane whipped the guy lines.

But it wasn’t all a nightmare. The one thing my father threw in to thrill the kids, to make it all worthwhile, to delight and amaze us totally, was South of the Border.


South of the Border! We were allowed to stay one night at this immense garish wonderland that announced itself miles and miles in advance, in the form of billboards with hilarious messages on them. I don’t remember any of the messages, only that everyone in the car (father, mother, four kids) read them aloud (there were tons of them) and screamed with laughter.

The article UD just stumbled on, which informs her that – incredibly – South of the Border is still open, quotes one of these billboards:

Ees onlee wan South of the Border, Amigos

The article wrestles with the staggering political incorrectness of the place, entirely constructed as it was around the image of a fat lazy Mexican named Pedro. They dumped some of the most offensive billboards (like Ees onlee…), but have retained (according to the article) the basic fat lazy Mexican motif.

The article invokes the word kitsch, and indeed South of the Border must have been wee UD‘s first serious encounter with the phenomenon. Whenever she talks about kitsch in her course on beauty, visions of South of the Border dance in her head.

UD‘s not sure why she’s so happy to read that tacky campy South of the Border continues to thrive.

URGENT UPDATE to my post about the curious bug I photographed on my potted…


As a couple of readers already suggested, I was way off in identifying it as an assassin bug.

I wrote to What’s that Bug? about it, and lookee here!

Not only did they write back right away, identifying “this beautiful creature” as a parasitoid Braconid Wasp, they feature my photographs of it today on the blog’s front page.

In case you don’t click over to the site, here’s what they say:

This beautiful creature is a parasitoid Braconid Wasp, and we believe it is Atanycoius longicauda based on this BugGuide image. BugGuide states of the genus: “Parasites of woodboring beetle larvae, especially metallic wood-boring beetles (Buprestidae) and longhorn beetles (Cerambycidae).”

UD Face to Face with an Assassination…


Not that she knew it.
The fool kept photographing
the thing on her potted hosta
because she’d never seen
anything like it before.

She could have been very
badly bitten.


A side view.

From behind.


La Kid.

Home from Ireland for a brief visit.

Snapshots from ‘thesda.

Lexus-on-Lexus violence.

2017 Garrett Park Maryland July Fourth Parade

Uncle Sam whizzes by in a late model Mercedes.

The Mayor waves.

Parade theme: Journalism.

More journalism.

Old-time journalists, including a cigar chomper.

Margaret’s Nature Journal

Man oh man oh Manischewitz. Innocent little UD was just outside sprucing up her garden in anticipation of guests arriving tomorrow to watch the Garrett Park July Fourth parade from her driveway. She saw a wingéd creature unlike any she’d seen before – bright blue, dipping again and again into one of her birdbaths, it had a weird circular shape, and seemed two headed!  A two-headed, two-bodied dragonfly?

UD had in fact witnessed the famous mating wheel and then the absolute madness of two copulating dragonflies.  

Here’s a picture of what she saw (she was too scandalized to have time to take a picture) before the zipping and dipping (all of it around my garden’s puddles and baths) began.

Wow. Pick up a plant container and…

Just got my second mink sighting.

Saw one years ago, and now here’s another (I wasn’t fast enough to take a picture of my own), and it makes perfect sense that we have minks (I suspect there’s a family living under our deck). We have endless rabbits, and minks like to eat rabbits. We have everything minks like: snakes, birds, mice.

UD’s friend Judy poses her pensive cat amid UD’s pachysandra and one of UD’s Ferdinand bulls.

Longtime readers know that Munro
Leaf, author of Ferdinand the Bull,
lived in UD‘s Garrett Park house.

Les UDs bought two topiary
bulls in his honor.

Here’s Judy’s wonderful blog.

Baby wren just out of the nest stares at UD.

The wrens chose this planter full of ferns
inches away from UD‘s front door.

I don’t know about their other babies, but
this one isn’t shy.

“Reports to show cicadas, or their skins, are being spotted in the largest numbers in the greater Washington area, including across Montgomery County.”

Found a cicada shell on the front
steps last week. And now, a cicada.

Shocked Rabbit…

… on UD‘s lawn.

A Little Garter Snake in the Mulch.

UD was patting down some mulch
when along came a snake.

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