first Katydid sighted in 2014
Wednesday, July 16 2014
This evening the plan was to get falafel in Woodstock with our friends Mark & Maresa, and Gretchen (who had been working at the Woodstock bookstore but then driven to Kingston for a haircut and then the Stockade Tavern for a shandy with friends) had originally planned for me to meet her in Woodstock. But I'm tired of all the two-car socializing we've been doing since all her work became local, so I told her to pick me up (even if I'm a bit out of the way when driving from Kingston to Woodstock). She called me when she was on her way, and I waited with her in the driveway with the dogs, who were a bit perplexed that I'd told them they "get to come," but hadn't loaded them into the Subaru.
In Woodstock, Gretchen parked near that Indian restaurant we haven't patronized since that one time in 2003 and we walked on a side street to the park where part of the weekly Woodstock Farm Festival is held. At the falafel stand, we ordered our usual stuff while trying to keep the dogs (well, mostly Ramona) from sticking their heads up the skirts of strange women. Mark and Maresa were soon behind us in line, and once we had our falafel, we decamped to a blanket Gretchen and I had spread on the grass in relatively unpopulated part of the park. As we ate our falafel (as usual, nobody ate as quickly as me), Ramona played enthusiastically with Maresa's dog Lydia. They played so well together that we realized that the big impediment to proper play when we'd visited Maresa's house had been the presence of so many toys.
When the falafel stand shut down, Kathy (the woman who runs it) and her husband went into Woodstock somewhere and came back with a bunch of vegan frozen "yoghurt" for us. It was sprinkled with fruit and exactly what I wanted (usually I don't have any desire for a sweet dessert, but I was still hungry and it was more sour than sweet). It was sprinkled with fruit, including slices of Kiwi fruit; I gave those to Gretchen because of some bad allergic experiences I'd had with Kiwi fruit (including Kiwi-Lime Mad Dog) back in the 1990s. A two adults happened by with two kids, one of whom was a girl (she was wearing a skirt) and other was probably a boy (though, as a prepubescent child with long hair, he looked like a girl). The kids were so infatuated with our dogs (despite Ramona's upskirting inclinations), that the parents hung out and talked nearby while the kids play with the dogs (mostly Ramona) and interacted with us adults. The kids didn't seem to mind that Ramona stuck her tongue in their mouths or nibbled on their ears, though they shrieked about it when it happened and then went in for more. At some point Kathy (the falafel woman) noticed Ramona's facial injuries, so I told the whole story of her last altercation with a bear (Gretchen and I have been telling the story on a need-to-know basis; some of our friends, such as Susan the Artist and Nancy, are too temperamentally nervous to hear the story). For the kids, it was like learning a whole new side of a celebrity. When the parents concluded their conversation and went off in separate directions, they each took one of the kids with them, indicating they weren't part of the same family, though I had the feeling they might eventually be together as part of a Bradyesque bunch.
The other morning I'd walked the dogs and, instead of taking all my firewood salvaging gear, I'd just taken a plastic bag so I could gather mushrooms. All the mid-summer rain has encouraged the fungi in the forest to fruit effusively. Mostly all I'd found was some sort of seemingly-edible species of Lactarius (it looked like Lactarius subdulcis, though Wikipedia insists that species is not present in North America). But it didn't look to be tasty enough to risk it actually being a similar-looking poisonous Lactarius. What I really want when I'm mushroom hunting is something obvious and plentiful like Chicken of the Woods. This evening on the drive home from Woodstock, we stopped at Sunflower, where they were selling Chicken of the Woods for $17/pound. (Also while we were there, Gretchen commented favorably on gentleman's whistling, and it turned out that he was a semi-professional whistler; he even went out to his car to retrieve a copy of a CD that he gave to Gretchen, saying his whistling could be heard on it.)
This evening I heard the first Katydid of the year. They're in their initial effusive stage, not yet making their ominous "Ch-Ch-Ch-Chah" call, the one foretelling the end of summer. Instead, their call is a friendlier "Zzz-zzzz-zzz-tck-tck-tck!" I heard that sound and wasn't entirely sure it was coming from a Katydid, but then I saw one climbing on the screen of the laboratory window.
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