Almost Spring

Filed under: Agriculture,Chambers Quiz,Family Updates,Farm,Photography — Chamberlain @ 6:14 pm
No. 183

A few random notes and pictures from recent strolls through Moone Athy, where the days are getting longer and warmer.


On the wildflower path, the first irises have just appeared – thanks to Aunt Delphine. This will lift one’s spirits.


Aunt Delphine’s Irises

In the winter each year we do burns of the pond berms and pastures to enhance growth of native prairie flora and to prevent damage to the ponds.

Controlled Woodland Burn

Here’s a field at the south end of the Deer Print pasture that was burned earlier this winter. Prairie wildflower seeds have been sown here.

Burnt pasture. Later in spring we’ll show the grasses that emerge.

Here’s a gigantic burl – we’d like to get this into the hands of Bill Cromie to see what he could do with it on his lathe.

Giant Burl

Another unusual sighting…evil eye ice formation at the northern property edge…

Look at this!

Finally, another Quiz. Where’s this? Winner gets a free sit…

Where’s This?




Our Onion

Filed under: Chambers Quiz,Family Updates,OurOnion — Chamberlain @ 7:05 pm

Paparazzi are relentless in hounding Chambers’ clansmen. Recently they have managed to run down the reclusive Burnell Chatfield as well as another individual whose sartorial elegance suggests that he is a family member – if not an immediate member of the Chatfield branch, then certainly a close relative of Burnell. A genealogy prize is on offer to anyone who can name him, with extra points for the name of his fashion designer. Anonymous entries to conceal an acquaintance with these individuals will not be accepted.


Chatfield attempting to elude paparazzi

Unidentified family member
Referee, Women’s Fast Track Roller Derby


We are relying on our Iowan or San Franciscan colleagues to help clarify this connection.


Addendum: Photographs from the Memorial Day Clan Reunion have been temporarily preempted by this unexpected appearance.

Fern Quiz Prize Awarded to Clan Member

Filed under: Chambers Quiz,Horticulture — Chamberlain @ 1:29 pm

The Carter Center has kindly agreed to subsidize the family Botanical Quiz Prize and has generously donated a lovely centerpiece to Calvin F. Gatch Jr for his correct guess Onoclea sensibilis. The Trustees felt that quibbling (see Comments) about the failure to identify the location was counterproductive. Here is a photo of the prize.

Interior/Exterior Floral Centerpiece. Click for larger view

Many thanks to the Carter Center, and to the many less fortunate that submitted guesses about the Spring Botanical Quiz, “Better luck next time!”


Chaos Erupts in Iowa

Filed under: Chambers Quiz — Chamberlain @ 11:15 am

This morning’s eagerly anticipated announcement of the Chambers’ botanical quiz winner ended three weeks of intense suspense and speculation. For many, however, suspense turned quickly to disappointment, suspicion and anger as crowds gathered about the home of Calvin F Gatch Jr, burning the Iowa Farmers Association flag to keep themselves warm in the midst of the Midwest’s blackberry winter. Mr Gatch, the declared winner, had not ventured from his compound for two weeks when, after several abortive incorrect entries, he stumbled upon the correct answer – the Bead Fern, known better by most of us as Onoclea sensibilis. Here is what we know about this specimen (the fern, not Mr Gatch):

Sensitive Fern (Bead Fern)
Onoclea sensibilis

Sensitive fern gets its name from the tendency of the fronds to wither at the first slight frost.

• Family: Dryopteridaceae
• Habitat: wet meadows and woods, swamps, streambanks; usually in slightly acidic soil
• Height: 18-24 inches
• Location of spores: on separate fertile fronds, within bead-like modified leaflets
• Stipe (leaf stalk): yellow or pale tan, dark brown at the base with a few scales
• Growth pattern: random
• Persistence: deciduous

Here is a photo of a stand of these ferns which up till now we did not know we had here at Moone Athy

Alas, the location of this stand, at the base of a north-facing slope at the edge of a newly planted wood, has not as yet been correctly identified by any contestant, so no prize can be awarded – Quam tristis et afflictus! – as Spiro Agnew used to say.

The Clan offers its reluctant and perfunctory congratulations to Mr Gatch and hopes that the clean-up at his compound goes uneventfully.

There is much more to relate than we have time for today so stay tuned to your inbox…

Quiz Help

Filed under: Chambers Quiz,Family Contests,Family Updates — Chamberlain @ 12:10 pm

To give a little more assistance to those struggling with our botanical quiz, here’s a photo of the plant which you can now click on for a bigger view. Also the location of the specimen has not yet been identified…


What’s This??? Click for Larger Image


Does this help???

Mother Nature struck Moone Athy yesterday at 5:00 AM. There was a huge storm and a torrential 30 minute downpour, with incredible flash flooding. I have startling photos on my cell phone which, unfortunately, is malfunctioning. I am trying to resuscitate it – if successful these will be posted.


Haiku Heist

Filed under: Chambers Quiz,Family Updates — Chamberlain @ 10:27 am

Our readers will certainly remember the hotly contested (but still undecided) Haiku Competition . Irate Rumpians are clamoring for closure. To date we have been hesitant to disclose details, but as our investigation is finally beginning to bear fruit, we can be more forthcoming. The fact is that someone hacked their way into our site and made off with the Haiku Trophy. However, our security mavens are confident that we are within reach of the Trophy and the culprits. We have been told that it is now permissible to post a photo of the get-away vehicle. This was obtained by surveillance video in the Dubuque Iowa area.

Theft of Haiku Trophy Caught on Video

Needless to say, we have spared no cost in this inquiry. Our team of investigators, headed up by Fr. Brown, includes Hercule Poirot, Philo Vance, Charlie Chan, Nero Wolfe, and Sir Denis Nayland Smith (see below).

Haiku Heist Investigator Smith

Once restored, rest assured that the Haiku Trophy will promptly be awarded. Details concerning this carefully choreographed caper will be the subject of future posts.

Meanwhile, your patience is greatly appreciated.

Thanksgiving Addenda

The Thanksgiving Posting failed to acknowledge the contributions of two clan members. Aunt Alicia Withers generously supplied turkeys, and John McClelland created and supervised the bonfire activities. Our apologies and a belated ‘Thank You’ to you both!

The Chamberlain

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