Monday, July 31, 2006


The first phase of the CRP SVCP testing project has come to an end.

We are considering this phase a smashing success. Empircal evidence has proven that the location of the RTD did not improve participation in the Relocation Program.

Logically before we can begin Phase 2 we needed to temporarily remove the RTD. This produced immediate and encouraging results.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Gone Fishing

Metaphorically of course. While sitting next to a lake knocking back beer in cans doesn't sound all that bad - the whole worms...bait ... fishing line thing is not for me. I also have an irrational fear of fish hooks...

My sultry wife and I take this week off each year to celebrate our anniversary, and PTown is our usual destination... little change-up this year...have I mentioned that we are sending Ferris to university less than 2 months.

We wrote that check yesterday - to kick off our 'week at home' vacation.
This is not a bad thing - while I will miss 'Town', we love our home, and love spending time here.
I will update you with pictures... and yes - with a chipmunk update.

Once again the blogging experience moves me more than I could have expected.
Recently, I read that one my blog friends needed to find a Justice of the Peace here in CT. I was thrilled to be able to help.
Over the weekend - I was honored to witness my wife the JP join this wonderful couple in Civil Union.
A heartfelt congratulations to the happy couple.

Friday, July 21, 2006



It's time for the summer feeding. Though I have always thought of this lawn care step as optional.
The summer fertilizers are often mixed with insect control - which is nice and can help control mosquitoes, ants, ticks and some other nuisance lawn pests (remember grub control is separate – we will talk about that next week). But if the lawn is stressed from drought or high heat, I feel it's better to skip this step.

In the heat of the summer grasses go dormant naturally. If your lawn is browning or yellowing it doesn’t mean that it's in jeopardy. Once the fall rains come and the nights cool off, a healthy lawn with well established roots will bounce back.

Since here in the North East we are enjoying regular rain and only the seldom heat wave, I plan to apply the summer feed this year. This will actually be the first year I have applied this step. My goal is to thicken the lawn due to massive grub and drought damage from last year.

So remember, each lawn and each part of the country are different and so you will need to make an individual choice... to feed or not to feed.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Who needs chipmunks

While my Italian-wife is busy preparing meatballs for the chipmunks, let's go off on a tangent.

Last year we had a problem with slugs in the garden near our kitchen door.

This year we thought we would be a bit proactive. So we put out cups of beer before we started to see any damage. As you know, slugs just can't resist a frothy cup of brew.

So I go out the other night to set out some really cheap (and nasty) beer.
Slugs are not beer snobs...and evidently neither are some other forms of wildlife in our area.

When we checked the cups the next morning - they were empty. Not only empty but in different locations. Clearly they were not lapped empty, as... say... the FREE dog may have done - something must have picked them up and sipped.
I also noticed the garbage had also been tipped over.

Now - what sort of animal lives in suburbia, tips over garbage, and has the dexterity to knock back a cup of beer?

Somewhere out there, right now, in the back yard - there is a raccoon with a hangover.

I am going to put out more beer tonight. Let's see if he pushes through the pain for a little "hair of the dog".

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Variable 2

It has been brought to our attention that the chipmunks may actually be dining elsewhere...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

CRP update

As discussed, we have created a plan to test the Retrival Process by changing one variable with each CRP Retrival session. The first variable to be addressed was 'Location'.

On Friday, my hardworking wife had the day off from work, and handled the implementation of the CPR Single Variable Change Process - also known as SVCP.
She updated me on CRP SVCP progress throughout the day. She was also working closely with our CRP Assistant.

Here are the updates I received throughout the day:

9:36:23 E.S.T.
"I inspected the RTD. One noteworthy observation... chipmunks may not want to share bait with ants."

10:12:23 E.S.T.
"Earlier this morning, our CRP assistant was stalking an area in the stonewall by the smoke pit.

I moved the RTD to this new location, installed fresh bait, and reset the trapdoor (I think)."

10:32:23 E.S.T.
Let's see if our CRP assistant leaves the bait alone.

...Later that evening - the CRP Assitant spent a good deal of time monitoring the trap.

I suppose its needless to say ... no chipmunks yet.

Monday, July 17, 2006


It’s one of those decisions – to travel light or not. I chose to travel light…which means I had nothing with me that didn’t fit in my pocket.
Therefore, I have no pictures.

But NYC was an incredible amount of fun.
Others have pictures; I know…I saw the flashes.
Let’s see what gets posted.

(CRP update is in the works…)

Friday, July 14, 2006



Time to let the grass grow long.
When the summer heat starts to rise -- raise your mower deck a couple of notches. The longer grass will shade the roots, and also cause the grass to developer stronger, deeper roots.
For me this is a particularly tough stage, as I like my grass crew cut short for tidyness. But leaving it tall will pay off in the long run.

Also, it's a myth that clippings on the lawn cause thatch. However I generally remove them so that they are not tracked into the house. But at this time of year leave your clippings if you can as they contain alot of moisture. Mulching mowers are ideal.

note: my boss is away until the end of next week - and while one might think this should make blogging particularly easy, I am the pinch hitter.
I do have a CRP update and hope to get it posted tonight or sometime this weekend.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Changing variables

First, let me thank you all for the great suggestions. Please keep 'em coming. Clearly we can use the help, as the end of day 2 still brings us no chipmunks.

We have considered perhaps adding crackers or chips, possibly a brand change even chipmunk porn... and possibly relocation of the RTD.

After much discussion and some speculation - we have settled on changing the collection site as the first course of action.
(And while inviting them in to share the Barco lounger and the Hi-Def channels is clever - its sorta what we are trying to prevent.)
We will keep the same incentive, as its important to change only one variable at a time for an accurate test.

...and so we will select a new site this evening.
Remember, "Chipmunks are easy to catch, and can be caught with little effort."

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

CRP Retrieval Day One

We set the trap in its first location.

It's very discreet, and filled with yummy Jif.
The placement is so clever, you can barely see it... so I circled it for you.

I checked it a little later...

Notice the door is still in the open position. You see - when the chipmunk enters the RTD (Retrieval Transport Device) they quickly move to the back to acquire their Retrieval Incentive (Jif), and thereby tripping the lever which closes the door. This assures their safety during transport to their new location.

I will come back and check again later.

Later that evening, I check again.
The door is still open. I check the Jif - seems fine, still looks tasty.

I begin to wonder if chipmunks are nocturnal, and plan to bring it up at our next CRP status meeting. Perhaps we will form a committee to do some independent testing and research on the chipmunk habits. This research could certainly speed the Retrieval process, and becoming more familiar with our client will surely increase participation.

I check the RTD this morning.

Hmm, still no chipmunks...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

And so it begins...

Through research done for the CRP I have learned that:
"Chipmunks are easy to catch, and can be caught with little effort."

This is good news. We are excited about the project.

We have selected our Retrieval Incentive:

The first Retrival Site has been selected and the trap (tho we like to call it the Relocation Transport Device or RTD) is in place.

And so we wait for the Chipmunks to come streaming in.

Monday, July 10, 2006

bravo Italia

What to do when its a beautiful day - but you still want to watch the World Cup?

Friday, July 07, 2006


Rotation cleaning.
This is a method I use to save time and not get behind on my cleaning.
Each week when you do your cleaning, pick one room and wipe all the tops of the doors and windows, picture frames, baseboards etc. If you do one room each time the task is not nearly as daunting and these small out of the way areas won’t have to wait for a big seasonal clean.

Also, if you have mini blinds – you will find that if you give them a quick vacuum every other week – you won’t have to take them down and try to wash them in the tub or the back yard to get the caked-on dust off (dust should never be caked on to anything).
It’s not as time consuming as you may think. While you are running the vacuum around just pop on the brush tool, close the blinds and vacuum. If you are wearing the ‘vacuum tool belt’ it’s made all the easier.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Chipmunk Chronicles

After doing some research we have made some important decisions regarding the Chipmunk Relocation Program (CRP). The first was to, of course, come up with that nifty acronym. (Logos and marketing materials are with our design group now)

Relocation Site Selection
Research has been done to select a desirable Relocation Site for any chipmunks brought into the Program. The site had to meet certain criteria:
- adequate food supply
- available water
- compatible fauna
- 5 mile distance from site of origin

We think we have come up with the perfect location, where added features also include – a walking/biking trail and close proximity to back roads. Because as you know, chipmunks derive great joy from running in front of fast moving objects. We think it may actually be a competitive sport.
The new site is actually a tad under 5 miles. So we are planning a ‘Test Phase’ which may include marking and tracking the first chipmunks to participant in the CRP.

Next on our agenda, and to be discussed at our next regularly scheduled meeting, will be Retrieval Locations and Incentives.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

It’s a jungle out there

It seems that ever since our beloved cat passed away last year we are overrun with wildlife. Not only has every bird in town moved to our yard, but the rodent population is booming as well. We really had no idea our cat worked that hard.
We always knew he was an amazing hunter. He brought home a variety of cute, cuddly, fluffy creatures from rabbits to mice to birds and I often suspected that cat could take down a deer. Oddly, since he has passed, a family of deer has also moved into the back yard.

So we are dealing with the deer, and trying to get along with the birds, despite the fact that we have to deal with the damn Doves fornicating all over place.

But when all of the crocus and hyacinth bulbs got eaten we needed to stop the madness.
They were eaten by chipmunks.
We have way too many chipmunks.

The chipmunks are living in the laps of luxury now. They are procreating at astounding rates and we have created a safe haven for them inside of our fence. You see, the fence keeps all the neighborhood cats out – so there are no predators for them to fear. Our lumbering Free Dog is no match for the speed of these cute rodents… tho she continues to try.

We must bring down the chipmunk population.
That is our quest.
Our plan is to start a chipmunk relocation program.

We have purchased one of these:

we went with the model 0745 – specifically designed for chipmunks.

I will keep you posted on our progress.