Tag Archives: ducks

A quiet, but enjoyable Christmas

Happy Boxing Day, as they might say in the UK!

We had a simple and quiet Christmas here at Casa Poolman. I am about half way through a week-and-a-half long holiday break. Within the University System, we bunch several holidays in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day and close down the institute for a week. I added a couple of  vacation days to that run, so I will have off from the Saturday before Christmas through New Year’s Day. I love it.

Unfortunately, Mrs. Poolman is not so lucky. This was the year she was scheduled to work 12-hour shifts both Christmas Eve and Christmas. It stinks, but what can you do?

I spent the first half of Tuesday putzin’ around and taking care of last-minute Christmas preps. My CCD class provided the readers for a short Christmas Pageant during the 4 o’clock Mass. Everyone we were expecting showed up, and more-or-less on time. Yea! Last year, we had one child who missed all but one practice, but we agreed to let him participate after his mother called up and practically begged us to do so. Then “mom” failed to deliver him on time. We rearranged the readers to cover his slot, but he came running up just as we were walking into church for the start of Mass. I don’t blame the child, but the mom taught us a lesson we won’t forget.

No such drama this year. Our students all did great. After constant encouragement, they all read loud enough that the congregation could actually here them. Yea again!

Our reader team.

Our reader team.

Mrs. P got home around 8 o’clock and we split a pizza for dinner. Very fancy.

On Christmas morning, I got up and drove about 45 minutes out in the country to my daughter’s in-laws. Brad and Annie are great. It was very nice of them to invite me out for Christmas brunch. Writer Princess is very lucky (and so are we) that she has such a great set of in-laws. They a house on several acres out in the boonies. Annie has taken to raising livestock. She has turkeys, chickens, “runner ducks,” guinea fowl and goats. The highlight of yesterday’s visit were two week-old baby goats.  Very cute!

"Well, Tom. We made it through another holiday. Whew!

“Well, Tom. We made it through another holiday. Whew!”

Inquisitive goat.

“So what did you get for me?”

Back home in the early afternoon and started preps for dinner. I planned on a boneless rib-eye roast, twice-baked potatoes, green bean bundles and creamed pearl onions (Mrs. P’s creation ahead of time.) Everything went well, even the green-bean bundles, which were a little more effort than I originally planned.

Mrs. P got home around 7:30 pm and I handed her a vodka and tonic. The rest of our dinner guests included son, girlfriend, daughter, son-in-law, and son-in-law’s brother. I planned to take a picture of the meal, but, frankly, I was so wrapped up in getting it all together when it was time to serve, I just forgot.

Some friends/neighbors walked down as we were finishing dinner. We all gathered in the family room to open presents and visit.

Gathered around

Gathered around

...visiting.

…visiting.

I wish Mrs. P had been around for more of the activities, but given the circumstances, it was a pretty nice holiday.

Against the wind…

This had been around for a few months, but I just saw it. If you haven’t seen these baby ducks fighting the wind, you have to watch it!

Critters in the pool

Part of the “excitement” of owning a pool is to discover what I might find it on any given morning. It is long established that I can tell the time of the year by the plant material there. Pine needles, live oak leaves, pine pollen and oak seed pods all have their seasons.

The big surprises are the animals. One day, Mrs. Poolman looked out to find a family of mallard ducks, complete with the babies. Fortunately, they didn’t stay long because to paraphrase the old saying, “Does the duck s*it in the pool?”

This week I found this little guy. A fiddler crab is no big deal around here, but I am mystified how he got there. It is nearly a mile from any habitat that would support him. That’s a long way to hike for a dip in chlorinated water.

The biggest excitement came several years ago when I walked out on a Saturday morning to find a very large alligator snapping turtle in the pool. This picture is not of MY turtle, but it does represent how attractive he was.

An alligator snapping turtle or Macrochelys temminckii which is Latin for big, nasty, mother f____

If you are not familiar with the species, you should know that they are not nice, cuddly creatures. They are mean.

I took my pool net and chased the sucker all over the pool. He was not interested in being caught. Eventually, I was able to get under him and flip him up onto the pool deck He was a big one, with a carapace (shell) a good 15-18 inches across. My plan was to use a cardboard box to carry him down the road to a pond. I went to pick him up with my hands on either side of the shell. I expected him to just pull back into the shell and let me do it. Wrong! He stuck is VERY long neck out and came back across the back of the shell to get a piece of me.

Mrs. Poolman was watching all this out the kitchen window. I yelled for her to come and help. She shook her head “no” so violently, I think she wrenched her neck.

I eventually got the turtle into a box and down the road to the pond with no further damage. I am certain the turtle did not appreciate the life-saving favor I had done for him. Ingrate!