Friday Night Open Thread- Strawberries and I Love This God Damned Duck

I went to a local farm today (Family Roots Farm) and got a bunch of freshly picked strawberries, and man, there is nothing better:

I cleaned them all and have them in the fridge (those I did not eat), and on Sunday I am going to make a run of jam. Because I am a fatbody, I am going to try to make a small batch with Stevia and see how I like it. The berries are so sweet I can’t imagine it won’t be delicious. I’d do it tomorrow, but Lily has her appointment in Pittsburgh, so by the time I get home tomorrow I won’t want to deal with it.

In other news, a fellow on the other side of town is completely redoing his garden- he’s getting old and does not want to deal with it anymore, so I got about 150 dug up dandelion daffodil bulbs, a bunch of ferns, and a bunch of other stuff, so we tilled the outside of my fence, put down landscape paper, planted all the bulbs, and mulched. Also on the outside of the fence I am putting a mess of black eyed susans I grew, as well as some more honeysuckle, and a bunch of day lilies and I dug up some of my perennials that spread like nuts, split em, and those are going there, too.

Getting a bunch of early blooms on the first run of tomatoes that I planted several weeks ago, while the second run is about a foot tall, and the third run is still only 3-5 inches big. Spotted a few broccoli crowns, the squash is going well, peppers are looking good, peas are up to about six inches and starting to climb the trellis, and it looks like next week I will have to construct the stick teepee trellises for the pole beans.

It also looks like it is going to be a banner year for sunflowers- I planted about 40 of them all around the place, the big honking 12′ tall ones. Last year they didn’t do much of anything, but this year they are looking like champs. Also, I am going to have my first run of blueberries this year and looks like the dozen or so blackberries I put in around the compost pile are really taking off. I swear I can sit and watch the apple and oak and maple trees grow this year they are getting so big- maybe the willow is teaching them something. So far this year, everything is going gangbusters on the garden front.

Speaking of honking, I am in love with Pearl and I told Tamara that we are making her an unofficial BJ mascot. I think when I revamp the store after the site relaunch, she is going to be featured on some items. I mean look at her:

I mean that’s a good god damned lucking duck, and she knows it. I swear she is smirking. A reliable source has informed me that she is possibly nesting with Mabel and Maddie tonight.

In other bird news, I got a lot of them and they are demanding as all hell. I am going to have to fill the hummingbird feeder tomorrow, I have so many of those dive bombing little bastards around. I can sit on the porch for an hour and not see one, and then one shows up at the feeder and six of the pricks show up out of nowhere and jump on the poor bastard. Looks like the battle of Midway around here.

Finally, I spoke with Sarah, the author of D-Day girls, and she would love to do an AMA. You all want to set a time? Like in a couple weeks so people can read the book first?

67 replies
  1. 1
  2. 2
    oldster says:

    “so I got about 150 dug up dandelion bulbs”

    You sure you mean “dandelion”?

    Fresh strawberries really are heavenly.

  3. 3
    rikyrah says:

    The strawberries look delicious 😋
    Pearl is indeed a beauty😍😍
    You really should set up a camera for the birds, Cole😊

  4. 4

    she is going to be featured on some item

    I think we should at least wait until we are sure if she’s a Pearl or an Earl.

    BTW, I’m thinking if she does turn out to be a for sure female, we may rename her Penelope. John is right, she just has so much pizzazz she needs a funkier name.

  5. 5
    Jerzy Russian says:

    This post got me thinking: it has been a while since I’ve played a rousing game of Duck, Duck, Goose.

  6. 6
    John Cole says:

    @TaMara (HFG): Fuck that you can’t rename her she’s Pearl to me

  7. 7
    Jerzy Russian says:

    @TaMara (HFG): You might have mentioned this at one point, but the dogs and cats don’t bother the ducks? Or vice versa?

  8. 8
    Mary G says:

    Pearl does have a big personality. Put up pictures (have Tammy take them) when the sunflowers and everything bloom, pretty please John.

  9. 9
    Sure Lurkalot says:

    @TaMara (HFG): Whatever the duck/drake is or named, the life form is ridiculously adorable.

  10. 10

    @Jerzy Russian: Ducks are fierce and the dogs and cats respect that. They all hang out together in the backyard. They are also highly sensitive. When Bixby was sick and didn’t come outside for two weeks, they stopped laying regularly. When I’m gone on a trip, even though they like my petsitter, they stop laying and are very clingy when I return home.

    They even developed a little crush on my late, great Jake Panther kitty (here).

  11. 11
    Tom Hamill says:

    John, try Erythritol rather than Stevia for a healthy calorie-free sweetener. See here:

  12. 12
    Jerzy Russian says:

    @TaMara (HFG):

    They all hang out together in the backyard.

    I guess they must play Duck, Duck, Goose together, where the role of the Goose alternates between them.

  13. 13
    Yutsano says:

    looks like the dozen or so blackberries I put in around the compost pile are really taking off.

    Watch them carefully. Blackberries are notorious for spreading everywhere.

  14. 14
    tobie says:

    I gather that west coast humming birds are much friendlier and more open to sharing than east coast humming birds. That was at least my experience when I was in New Mexico. Last year at my home in Maryland I mistakenly set up two humming bird feeders near in each other and I nearly started World War III, as each bird was trying to protect its turf upstairs at one feeder and downstairs at another simultaneously. It felt like cruel and unusual punishment to have them do, so I eventually retired the feeder upstairs.

    ETA: Pearl is super cool. She struts for the camera.

  15. 15
    West of the Rockies says:

    Someone here last night recommended the Netflix Wanda Sykes special Not Normal. It is hilarious! Do watch if you can.

  16. 16
    Luciamia says:

    I’ll see fresh picked raspberries to your strawberries. Yum.
    Have you ever grown wild strawberries? They’re great cause you don’t have to deal with the constant runners of the regular berry.

  17. 17
    Kayla Rudbek says:

    Just what kind of weirdness is it that my blood test has me as immunized for only two parts of the MMR vaccination? (Already have scheduled the shot again – fortunately it was the mumps vaccine that didn’t appear to take, and not the measles)

  18. 18

    She’s a very pretty duck.

  19. 19
    Jerzy Russian says:

    @tobie: Hummingbirds are assholes out here also, although perhaps not to the same degree as elsewhere.

  20. 20
    Joshua Norton says:

    If you don’t like the Stevia batch try monkfruit. Sugar substitute-wise I really can’t tell it from the real stuff.

  21. 21
    Fair Economist says:

    @Tom Hamill: Erythritol is dehydrating. Those erythritol-sweetened drinks give me headaches. It’s dose-dependent so a little on strawberries should be fine and it is IMO the best tasting noncaloric sweetener.

    For those interested in the biology, erythritol can be absorbed by intestinal transport protein but *not* metabolized by the liver (which I think is really weird) so it gets dumped out in the urine like sugar in a diabetic, pulling some water with it.

  22. 22
    Roger Moore says:

    I sneer at your strawberries. I can get organic strawberries from Harry’s Berries at my local farmers’ market. They’re good enough that fancy restaurants in New York have them flown out daily. I don’t even like strawberries that much, and I think they’re fantastic.

  23. 23
    AnotherBruce says:

    Here’s something you probably dont know Cole. This is the time when Hummers mate. They attract females by climbing up to the sky and dive bombing downward that makes a whistling sound which is a tiny sonic boom. And hummers will scare off any bird that will try to fuck with them. And I mean any other.

  24. 24

    Okay, fingers crossed. Pearl is bunked in with Mabel and Maddie and I’m hoping Mabel doesn’t try to kill her in middle of the night. It’s a bi-level coop, so if Mabel gets cranky with the young’un, Pearl can sleep “downstairs” and I think Mabel would be fine with that. I believe, much like the backyard antics, after a few days they’ll all settle in.

  25. 25
    jayjaybear says:

    There’s a reason Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec god of war, was depicted as a hummingbird. Those little suckers are MEAN!

  26. 26
    frosty says:

    @Luciamia: The previous owners left us a raspberry patch, and they’re my favorite berry. Once they get ripe I have to race the birds to the harvest.

  27. 27
    opiejeanne says:

    @John Cole: Just use sugar. It’s only ten calories per tsp and you probably won’t need much if those strawberries are as ripe as they appear. Stevia is bad for you.

  28. 28
    opiejeanne says:

    @tobie: Hummingbirds are territorial on the West Coast too, and ours don’t like the feeder. They ignore it and go almost anything else.

  29. 29
    NotMax says:

    Repeating this here only because it’s a ray of good news. Maui hiker missing for more than two weeks found alive in forest.

    Meanwhile, we’ve had record breaking heat for most of the week, up into the mid 90s.

    Oh, and if you’ve got several grand lying around doing nothing and always wanted a boat

  30. 30
    NotMax says:


    This. It’s not like you’re gonna wolf down a quart of jam in one sitting, right?

  31. 31
    opiejeanne says:

    @NotMax: Right. I can only eat about a tsp of jam at a sitting, two at the absolute most. I make scones for breakfast sometimes and split them and spread each half with a little raspberry jam. Great stuff but a little goes a long way.

  32. 32
    opiejeanne says:

    @TaMara (HFG): I missed the fun and games with the other duckies, but I have to say that Pearl is adorable. I think ducks are evidence that God has a sense of humor.

  33. 33
    Ruckus says:

    That site lists that huge catamaran as a trimaran. You’d think that someone reporting on boats from HI would know the difference.

  34. 34
    opiejeanne says:

    @NotMax: Those boats. I don’t think I know enough about boats to buy one in Hawai`i and then figure out how to get it fixed. If we get a boat it will be for fishing in the local waterways and possibly the Sound, but the shipping lanes can be really scary when you’re in a small boat.

  35. 35
    West of the Rockies says:

    The Star Trek: Picard teaser is out! Anyone seen it yet?

  36. 36
    opiejeanne says:

    @Ruckus: I noticed that. The trimaran is farther down in the list of boats.

  37. 37
    Ruckus says:

    It was obvious to me – I’ve single handed sailed a large catamaran-36 ft, and have a friend who built his own trimaran to sail to HI. I think he figured out after he built it that sailing it that far was a lot different than around the local area. The idea was grand, the experience of being out of sight of land in a small boat for long periods, not so much. I’d already crossed the Atlantic and been in the North Atlantic in winter, but on a navy ship with power and 450 ft long. That’s a different kettle of fish.

  38. 38
    opiejeanne says:

    @West of the Rockies: I’ve seen the trailer but I don’t think the show has dropped yet.

  39. 39
    NotMax says:

    @West of the Rockies

    Roddenberry would have insisted the wine bottles be a shape or composition more evocative of the future.

  40. 40
    MomSense says:

    I love the god damned duck, too! John, I think you should just use real sugar to make the jam. You can use less sugar since the berries are so sweet, but don’t add the artificial sweetener. It’s unhealthy and tastes like crap. A little jam goes a long way especially when it’s homemade and not full of additives. You only need a little bit.

    Damn, now I’m craving some sourdough toast with butter and jam.

  41. 41
    Martin says:

    Other bits of good news from my neighborhood.

    AB392 is likely to pass and be signed into law. It changes the standard for police use of force from ‘reasonable’ to ‘necessary’. It seems like a small change, but it puts the burden on the police to demonstrate that less lethal options didn’t or couldn’t work. I don’t know if it’ll cause fewer police shootings, but it should make it a lot easier to convict officers for excessive use of force. That should cause agencies to change their approach.

    The state is going to further crack down on vaccine exceptions because people are fucking assholes.

    AB1066 would let striking workers collect unemployment while on strike. (Many other states permit this, but CA is a bit behind here)

    SB142 requires employers to provide not just a private room for nursing or pumping breastmilk, but also provide access to running water and a refrigerator or space and electricity for an employee-provided cooler.

    Oh, and a federal judge in the northern district of CA has blocked Trumps use of reallocated defense money under his border emergency from being used on the wall. Effectively, the judge said that Congress and not he president have discretion on spending, Congress said ‘no’, and coming up with a bullshit emergency doesn’t allow him an end-run around ‘no’.

  42. 42
    opiejeanne says:

    @Ruckus: When we were young we thought we’d buy a sailboat and take long trips but they were a little out of our reach. We came to our senses about the time that boats were being boarded and the owners killed by drug smugglers and a significant number of boats sank in storms. I’ve been sailing on lakes and on the ocean when I was in HS and adored it, but we were never out of sight of land. I went fishing on a large “day boat” out of San Diego in bad weather (hurricane off the coast of Mexico) and the ride was so rough the crew was sick. I spent the night sitting on a cooler on deck, dozing for fifteen minutes at a time and feeding the fishes in between. It was too claustrophobic in our cabin.
    Once the sun came up I could see the horizon and I was fine.
    I think that cured me of wanting to be on anything smaller than a cruise ship.

  43. 43
    MomSense says:


    Awesome. Today our Governor signed into a law a bill that bans the philosophic and religious exemptions for school vaccine requirements. Voting matters.

  44. 44
    opiejeanne says:

    @Martin: Good to hear.
    California will always be my home state even if I don’t live there any more.
    The cabin finally closed escrow on the 21st and I feel a little untethered.
    We decided to sell after the terrible fires in Santa Rosa, Redding, and Paradise, realizing that he fire next time will not spare the cabin, that if firefighters couldn’t keep the fire out of Redding the firefighters won’t be able to stop the fire at Highway 18 before it roars down Daley Canyon, like they did in 2003. Dave’s 72 and I’m nearly 70 and we’re just too old to sift through the ashes of a place we’ve loved. That little cabin will be 100 years old in 4 years. I hope the new owners throw it a party.

  45. 45

    @opiejeanne: Probably a good decision, but we’ll miss your visits.

  46. 46
    Yutsano says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Sorry suckers! They belong to us now! MUAHAHAHAHA!!!

  47. 47
    trollhattan says:

    The California vaccine bill Martin references cracks down on storefront doctors selling medical exemptions, which antivaxxers jumped on when we did away with religious and personal exemptions.

    It’s always something.

    Sponsor is my state Senator Pan, an actual doctor. The antis came out of the woods and flooded the Capitol to protest. Appears it did not work. Pity.

  48. 48
    Martin says:

    A few other bits of good news. Two big energy developments in the last few weeks:

    1) A natural gas peaker plant that was planned for Oxnard has been scrapped and replaced with a comparable capacity battery facility. CA is currently running a 4 TWh solar/wind surplus which could be captured and offset peaker usage. Basically, battery capacity is becoming cost effective relative to natural gas.
    2) Looks like offshore wind finally has the go-ahead. CA has enough continuous offshore wind potential to meet the entire state’s energy needs. The reason it hasn’t been developed is that unlike the east cost with a large continental shelf to build offshore wind farms on, CAs coast is a subduction zone. Sea floor depth between Catalina and the coast is over 500m. So wind farms here need to be floating, and that’s technologically difficult to do given that the whole point of it is to grab as much of the wind as possible. But, it looks like there’s a number of companies ready to tackle it.

  49. 49
    mrmoshpotato says:

    Happy jamming Cole, and welcome to the party. Pearl is indeed a “good god damned lucking duck.”

    I’m going to have to seek out D-Day Girls from a local bookstore given the short notice.

  50. 50
    Aleta says:

    Forget the mugs, I would donate and even obediently watch YT ads to get videos of Pearl powering around her house and yard. (Actually don’t forget the mugs.) What’s the bet on how many homes will become duck habitat this year because of Pearl’s hypnotic charm. At least five.

  51. 51
    mrmoshpotato says:


    and even obediently watch YT ads to get videos of Pearl powering around her house and yard.

    But please, put the ads at the end of the video. We will faithfully watch the ads, but don’t want interruptions to Pearl’s Royal Quackness.

  52. 52
    Amir Khalid says:

    @TaMara (HFG):
    @John Cole:
    I suggest adding a bit of pizzazz to her existing name: call her Pearl S Duck.

  53. 53
  54. 54
    opiejeanne says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: We still have family in SoCal so we’ll be back.

    @Yutsano: LOL!

  55. 55
    opiejeanne says:

    @Ruckus: Aw, gee. You make me blush.

  56. 56

    @opiejeanne: I went to The Huntington on Monday and stopped at the 99 cent store right by where we had the last meetup with y’all.

  57. 57
    opiejeanne says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: I thought last time we were there it was in Burbank.

  58. 58

    @opiejeanne: Last one I was at was Pasadena, Lucky Baldwins.

  59. 59
    laura says:

    Still waiting for pictures of the bird’s nest on Cole’s beard.
    Pearl has the same star quality as fiona the wee hippo – a thief of hearts.

  60. 60
    J. says:

    @TaMara (HFG): I, too, am in love with your duck and would totally buy Pearl/Earl merch. (I also think Penelope would be a great name for her, if she’s a her, but I would not want to piss off Mr. Cole.)

  61. 61
    zhena gogolia says:

    Pearl is beautiful, and it’s a perfect name.

    We’re still mourning our baby robins killed by fucking crows. The robins seem to be getting ready to build another nest in the same spot, but I’m going to totally ignore them this time. I can’t protect them, and I can’t take the heartache again.

  62. 62
    debbie says:

    @TaMara (HFG):

    she just has so much pizzazz she needs a funkier name


  63. 63
    StringOnAStick says:

    One of my sisters had a white duck like Pearl, bought to give company to an injured Mallard duckling that didn’t survive. It had such a huge personality that they still tell great stories about him 30 years later. He once decided the sprinkler installation guy was not to be tolerated and spent all morning waiting for the guy to bend over to put together some sprinkler system parts and goose the hell out of him. After the third time Duck was penned up, to preserve everyone’s sanity and Duck loudly complained though quacked in obvious triumph when that guy drove away, strutting down the road after he was released to make it as clear as possible that Duck won that round.

  64. 64
    opiejeanne says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Oh, right. I couldn’t remember which came first.

  65. 65
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    Of my Magnificent Seven “Poifick Masters & Heroes of the Zeitgeist“, 5 are birds & 4 of them are ducks (Donald, Daffy, Dirty, & Howard). Your magnifisensation may vary…

  66. 66
    Another Scott says:

    @Martin: I heard a talk recently on the “Internet of Energy”. Although the term has been around a while, he used it to describe a system where devices (of all kinds) could get power wirelessly. Why? So that everything doesn’t need batteries (or at least not such large batteries). I couldn’t help but think of Nikola Tesla’s ideas for such things (of course he had the physics all wrong, but the visionaries often do).

    One can charge one’s phone wirelessly (in many cases), so we know it can be done. But scaling up from a few mA to charge a phone to tens of amps (or more) to run even a single car will be, er, challenging!


  67. 67
    Penn says:

    Re strawberry jam, my wife tells me that if you don’t have sugar you need a different pectin or it won’t set. Or just boil it more and use natural pectin.

Comments are closed.