Garden pond with stock tank heater is an oasis for wildlife in the winter

This has been cold winter for us in Ohio. It seems like we’ve been shivering forever and that spring will never come. Our garden’s avian visitors are eager for food and water, frequenting our feeders of black oil sunflower seed and drinking from our garden pond. One of our guests is a flock of dark-eyed juncos. They’re members of the sparrow family. You can identify the slate colored dark-eyed juncos by their dark grey heads, grey bodies, white bellies and white outer tail feathers. They are winter visitors here in Ohio, little birds we love to see make their appearance each year. We love watching them hop around in the snow.

Here are two photos of dark-eyed (slate colored) juncos:

They leave these tracks on our pond when they come to drink.

bird tracks on frozen pond surface


The floating stock tank de-icer you see thaws the surface enough that there’s a hole even in the sub-zero temps we’re experiencing this year. Brrr! If you get a stock tank de-icer, make sure it’s safe for plastic if your pond is a formed pond or has a rubber liner.  They’re great things, ensuring the local wildlife has fresh water and lets oxygen into the pond so our pond fish don’t suffocate under the ice during prolonged freezes. There are raccoons and neighborhood cats drinking from the pond as well. So far, no deer have ventured up, at least not as far as we can tell.


We had our last heater for six or seven years, maybe longer. We finally had to replace it for this season. Even if you don’t have a garden pond, it’s possible to provide water for wildlife in the winter. You can either keep a hole chipped in a container of water or get something like we used to use, heated birdbaths. There are traditional bowl-shaped models as well as more natural-looking birdbaths that just sit on the ground, patio or deck. Here are some examples:


At some point, we should find an alternate way to aerate our pond in the winter that is more cost-efficient. Our pond heater pulls over 1000 watts when on compared to the smaller heated birdbaths that only use the equivalent of a light bulb. However, the little heated birdbaths don’t necessarily keep the water thawed down to frigid temps like we’re experiencing this winter. Cyber Monday Deals Week

I don’t hit the stores for Black Friday. No way, not in cold Ohio! I do, however, love Cyber Monday. Even more, I love how Amazon has extended the fun and savings all week long, just like they did for Black Friday Week. The sales have already begun on Amazon Cyber Monday Deals Week, with a new special being announced every 10 minutes.

Watch their Cyber Monday landing page or use any of the following links to take you to whatever department makes you drool — err — catches your eye for gift-giving this season. Deals are announced ahead of time so you can pop back in when they start.


2013 Amazon Cyber Monday Deals Week

2013 Amazon Cyber Monday Deals Week: New deals every 10 minutes, all week long!


Shop Amazon – Cyber Monday Deals Week in Laptops

Shop Amazon – Cyber Monday Deals Week in Desktops

Shop Amazon – Cyber Monday Deals in Sports


On the Internet, everyone knows you’re a dog



The iconic New Yorker cartoon, “On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog” (published July 3, 1993), slays me. I remember seeing it when it first was published and loving it not only because I was very interested in the Internet plus I am a big dog lover. It strikes me as funny today as it did twenty years ago.

Boy, do I feel old right now. But I digress…

Today, I saw a blog post by Glenn Fleishman on BoingBoing about it called Everybody Knows You’re a Dog, and had to share.  He uses the cartoon as an illustration of how things have changed regarding anonymity online. Now, our information is out there for everyone, whether we choose to be transparent or we’re known by the “breadcrumbs” we unwittingly leave behind us as we traverse the web.  People live in an increasingly transparent culture. It’s an interesting read.

This Joy of Tech cartoon sums the change up nicely:




Especially for those not tech savvy enough to hide their tracks, the day of anonymity online is gone.



Back-in parking spaces in Dayton, Ohio

I was in Dayton a few weeks ago and saw these back-in parking spaces. I’ve seen pull-through spaces around the courthouse square in Newark, Ohio before (and in other towns), but never ones where you back into them. Are these common?

back-in parking spaces in Dayton, Ohio

I can see where they allow more parking than parallel spaces. They probably don’t cause any more traffic backups than parallel spaces do when people are maneuvering their cars into them, either.

Let Meijer know you don’t want the Newark, Ohio store to close


Meijer doesn't have a pain reliever for store closures.

On February 26, Meijer announced that the Newark Meijer store will close on May 24, 2013. This news hit us hard. We’ve been shopping at Meijer since it opened and have received great service from many familiar faces through the years.

Aside from it being a large employer for the county, the store is one of only a few large privately-owned retailers around here. People from all around the county go there for groceries, prescriptions, clothes, household items, hardware, electronics and all sorts of other things.

What’s a community to do when faced with yet another store closing? If Meijer’s presence in the Newark/Licking County area is important to you as an employer or destination for your family’s pharmacy, grocery, and other household needs, don’t just shake your head and comment on Facebook.

What can you do? Let them know directly.

Like the Save the Newark Meijer Store Facebook page:

Contact Meijer directly via email, social media, snail mail and phone.

(use hashtags #NewarkMeijer and #NewarkOhio)

Meijer on Pinterest:
Meijer on Facebook:
Meijer on Google+:
Meijer Press Email:

Meijer Mailing Address: 2929 Walker Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49544

Meijer Phone: (877) 363-4537

It may not change the outcome, but we can sure let Meijer know we want them here in our city! Don’t let them shut down that store without knowingwhat it means to us as a community.

I’ll do anything for cookies

After years of being shot down, Donald lowered his sights a little:


Low expectations


“I’ll do anything for cookies.”

For cookies? Really? Poor guy.

…What would he do for a pie?

I’m not one to call the kettle black, though. I am a fiend when it comes to sweets, especially cookies. They’re little, portable bites of goodness. I made the mistake of baking a roll of Pillsbury’s seasonal peppermint sugar cookies early this week. I used my blackened, well-seasoned baking stone and these rocked. But ya know what? They’re all gone now. Howie doesn’t even like them. He took one bite of one and handed the remainder of the cookie back to me.

Who does that??

I can’t keep stuff like that in the house. If there is healthy stuff available, I’ll eat it. If there are cookies or anything else delectable like them, that’s where I gravitate. Just step away from the sweets, m’am, and no one will get hurt.

The image is an illustration from a 1948 Baby Ruth candy advertisement. Click the image above and you’ll see the whole ad. I found it at, which boasts a huge online repository of vintage ads and art, plus offers prints and hi-res image of the same.

By the way, I always assumed the candy bar was named after baseball great, Babe Ruth, but it turns out there’s speculation it was named after others. Baseball wins, though. Snopes has the skinny.