Saturday, June 30, 2012

Needlecraft Magazines from 1920s

We uncovered treasures when we cleaned our attic.  One was a grouping of Needlecraft Magazines from the 1920s, tied together with a string.  Fragile the pages, but I carefully turn them and try to envision the lady who turned them first.

The July, 1920, issue of Needlecraft, advertises the Zu Zu Ginger Snap Cookies, made by the National Biscuit Company (now Nabisco).  "With a ready supply in your pantry, you are prepared at all times for any occasion of serving--whether it be a child's breakfast, a formal dinner, or an afternoon tea."

The May, 1921, issue, advertises Pepsodent, the new-day dentrifrice.  "Send the coupon for a 10-day Tube and see how teeth whiten."

That same issue advertises Sani-Flush.  "Sprinkle a little into the bowl, according to the directions on the can, and flush.  It's white magic."

A full-page ad for Fairy Soap, "Use it every way every day."  Nathaniel Kellogg Fairbanks, born in Sodus, New York County in 1829, and later moved to Chicago after the Civil War, started a business of importing cottonseed oil and manufacturing soaps, one of which was Fairy Soap, named after the first four letters of his last name, Fairbanks.  It was a white soap that floated, a competitor to Ivory Soap, the original floating soap on the market since 1878.

That was way back in the 1920s, but look at us, we're still buying Nabisco cookies, brushing our teeth with Pepsodent, sanitizing with Sani-Flush, and using floating soap.

Nice attic discovery.


Sit and Swing With Me

Friday, June 29, 2012

Brain = Marvel

Our internet provider has been down all morning.  Man, that sure threw a wrench in my routine.

New license plates came in the mail this week.  New numbers, new letters.

I'm one who uses mneumonics, words and phrases to remember names and numbers by association.  With our old license plates, I memorized the jingle, Eat A Peach.  It's funny cuz the minute my eyes glommed onto our new plate numbers, a mneumerism came to me without effort.

If my mind isn't paying attention as it should when I'm being introduced to a stranger, two minutes later my brain will be scrambling.  That's when a person falters and comes up with generic, one-size-fits-all words.  Some brains are harder to rein in, line mine.  The mass of mush encased in my skull is like a bucking bronco. It doesn't want to be fenced in with hand-me-down thinking.

If I'm introduced to someone whose name is Phyllis, I'll probably associate her with Phyllis Diller.  The next time I see Phyllis, I'll think of the crazy lady with a wild set of hair and a cigarette holder, and I'll know her name is Phyllis.  If it's a man and his name is Fred, then I'll associate him with Fred Flintstone.  If my license plate would have been FTX, maybe Fat Texas would be a good word association.  Our street address is easy to remember, cuz we were victorious in winning WWII.

Just imagine the flowing river of names and numbers our brains keep track of over a lifetime.  We remember faces, first and last names, maiden names and married names, birth dates and anniversaries, addresses, zip codes, telephone numbers, fax numbers, websites, user names, and passwords.  We remember experiences from way back to when we were in Primary playing with clay and learning the abc's.  The brain retrieves a memory, and we can close our eyes and live through it again and again.  Our mind's eye keeps photos of faces and places.

We remember prayers, quotations, languages, grammar, punctuation, and scads of rules for every side of life.  We interpret road signs, read labels, work puzzles, read books, follow road maps and instructions how to put an end table together or put the ingredients together in a recipe.  We go to school and keep jamming knowledge away like we're stuffing a pillow.  We have to remember what to do with a hammer, a table saw, nail clipper, and a pepper grinder, how to start a car, know what to do with a blue tooth, and make wise decisions in a hurry.  Plus, maintaining a vocabulary, remembering how to write cursive and how to print.  In my case, throw in Gregg Shorthand, which is a system of writing in scribbles and scrawls.  We must keep track of time, know the calendar and manage our months, weeks, days, and down to hours and minutes.  Civilized man has put together a complex society in which we all take part and must abide by, to make life work.  All the while keeping the lid on our emotions and the social skills that keep us from killing each other. To top it off, we carry grudges, cuz the brawny brain insists on harboring and lugging around bad bruises and those who did the bruising.  How does the brain keep it all straight.


Main Street Watering Hole
Horse and Buggy Days

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Peek Into My Childhood

When we were kids, it was hard to understand why older people talked about the good old days.  They'd start their conversations with things like, "I remember back when.......".

Well, slap me silly.  Here's another example of what goes around, comes around.

Don't ask me what made me think about green stamps and gold bond stamps, but the memory flitted through my head like a butterfly when I sat down to blog this morning.  Me, sitting at the kitchen table, and mom getting me set up with an unfilled stamp book, strips of perforated stamps that had been hastily tossed in a big bowl, and a saucer of water.  She didn't want me licking the gummed backside of the stamps, so I dipped my pointing finger into the water, smeared it onto the back of the stamps, and glued them into the trading stamp book the stores gave us.  Pasting trade stamps was my job, just like it was daddy's job to milk the cows and mom's job to feed the chickens.  My family needed me.

S & H stood for the Sperry and Hutchinson company, founded in 1896.  In the 1960s, the company put out three times as many stamps as the U.S. Postal Service.  Gas stations and supermarkets gave the stamps to their customers based on the dollar amount of their purchase.  Consumers could then exchange filled books of stamps for premium gifts, which were mostly housewares of some sort.

Our 1950s family kitchen table was rectangular, with a red Formica top with chrome trim and chrome legs.  Our chairs were a red and white strong vinyl with chrome legs.  Even though some of the chairs had been torn and the stuffing was poking out, my parents wouldn't have dreamt of replacing the set.  Instead, they poked the stuffing back in and put strips of tape over the tears.  Back then, the kitchen table was like an altar, where we gathered three times a day to eat and visit and laugh about stuff.  Brother and I spatted over certain parts of the chicken, like the gizzard.  The family patriarch would settle our spats by cutting the gizzard in half, giving each of us a half, and telling us to keep still.  Our kitchen was small, so the table stayed pushed up against the wall while we ate.  Bro sat on one end, daddy on the other end, and us girls sat side by side.  The family of the 1950s functioned with unspoken routines.  We knew where we belonged, just like the cows that went directly to their same stanchion, morning and evening to be milked.

Yes, it is now I who am spouting off about those good old days.....which, in reality, weren't really all that good.  It just seems that way cuz we can't ever get them back again.  More than anything, maybe it's the way the 1950s farm family worked together, prayed together, and stayed together that makes those days so dear.  Yea, that's probably what it is.


Pizza Rock

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

New Addition to Blog.....Photo of the Day

High temperatures are moving into our area today, forecast calls for high 90s.  Early morning breezes have the flag dancing and our windows open to let some fresh air in the house.  Won't be long before all windows and doors will be closed and the air-conditioner turned on.  It's summer!

We're gearing up for a G-clan family reunion here this Saturday.  Cannot wait for hubby's family to come to our house, get re-acquainted, and eat a good old-fashioned pot-luck picnic dinner together.  We may go to the cathedral  for our spiritual food, but the communion received at an outdoor family reunion is the best blessing there is.

To all the G-clan planning to attend, we can't wait for Saturday.  To those who aren't able to attend, we will miss you so much!


Starting today, I'm introducing something new to my daily blog.....Photo of the Day.  The picture will be one taken by me of a simplicity, an oddity, or a marvel.  My photos won't be spectacular or breathtaking, but might possibly tweak the human spirit or give a giggle.  Please have fun with me as I share the small things that get overlooked on this beautiful Earth of ours.

Plant Pants

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rats, Cats, Hats, and Bats

My blog host is giving me problems.  Sentences and paragraphs are being highlighted in white for some reason, and I'm not comfortable posting the blog that I just spent two hours writing.

Monday, June 25, 2012

High School Friends????

Let me tell you about the lesson I learned yesterday and how it was taught to me.

An elderly lady was celebrating her birthday with an open house.  She's one of those sweet ladies that deserves to be honored, so we dug through our drawers, found a  birthday card and drove over to the party.  Her nephew went to high school with me, and I hadn't seen him since he graduated in 1963, one year before me. My fingers and ears were crossed, hoping he'd be there.

Sure enough.  There he was, sitting at a table, eating. His hair was thick and white, distinguished, debonair, and dashing as I'd imagine.  Thank the lord I put on lipstick before we got out of the car.  The chair right next to him was empty, so I took that as my destined opportunity to wake up our friendship, give him the proverbial hug, tell him how darned good he looked, let him fuss over me, you know, the usual gig.  Here's how our visit played out.....

Me:  Hi, there.

He:  Hi.

Me.  Do you remember me?

He:  (Silence.  Staring at me.)

Me:  Do you remember (my maiden name)?

He:  (Silence.  Staring at me.)

Me:  Ah, we sat by each other in study hall.  We used to be friends.

He:  Oh?

Me:  (Starting to feel uncomfortable.)

He:  I'm really sorry, but I have no idea who you are.  Your name just doesn't ring a bell.

Me:  (Wanting desperately to ring his bell.)

He:  I've been away for a long time.

Me:  Well, I guess I thought we'd have a chat and reminisce, but my mommy told me never to talk to strangers.

He:  (Laughing)  Gosh, I'm sorry, but I don't remember you.

That, my friends, was my lesson.  What we hang onto and value, the next person may have years ago tossed in the wastebasket.  It scares me to think how many things in my life may fit into that same scenario.  If I could do it over again, my next comment to him would have been.....

Me:  Don't tell me you don't remember that night we parked and got your car windows all steamed up!

Wonder what the old goat would have had to say then.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Orange Kisses in the Ditches

Tiger Lilies Where We Live
There's an old superstition that smelling a Tiger Lily will give you freckles.

 The roadside ditches right now are intermittently splattered with these wild kisses of orange.  A sweet legend from the ancient past tells that a Korean hermit stopped to help a wounded tiger by removing an arrow from its body. The tiger begged the hermit to perpetuate their friendship after it died.  The hermit promised he would.   When the tiger died, its body turned into a Tiger Lily.  Some time later, the hermit drowned and his body was washed away.  The Tiger Lily spread itself everywhere...looking for its beloved friend.

How sweet the reminder that a painful loss may turn into a thing of beauty.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Chesters and Tree Jumpers

These are prison terms for child molesters.  Chester Molesters and those who f___ goats and jump from trees.  Good descriptions of the 'creature' found guilty yesterday on 45 counts of child molestation. A little voice in the back of my head is telling me to avoid using his name, because the s.o.b. doesn't deserve one.....except maybe I can refer to him as the snake.

The panel of jurors found the snake guilty of hurting, abusing, raping, and molesting children.  The worst of the worst crimes.  What makes me sick is the way he hid behind a charitable organization while he crawled and cruelly took advantage of at-risk kids.

News reports commented how he laughed and snickered during his trial.  One of his adopted children was allegedly abused by him, as well.  Then there's Dottie.....the loving and loyal football coach's wife who testified that they slept in the same bed and her loving husband came home for supper every night.  Victims testified how she stayed upstairs and didn't respond to their screams for help as the snake raped them in their family home.  Is this a horror story or what.

Let's just pretend there's a bunch of boys having a sleep-over in our basement.  Young boys fooling around, having a grand old time.  I don't know, but isn't there a difference between hearing kids horsing around and kids screaming for help?  Most humane adults would check to see what was going on down there if the noise elevated regardless of their activity.

My stand is strong on this.  I worked in the juvenile justice system.  I spent years reading graphic reports of children under age 2 and up to age 18, being brutally molested.  We flung reports up against the wall because of those bastards, those pedophiles.  There's no space open on this planet for those who hurt our children.  Each and every single one of us is responsible for the children, whether they belong to us or belong to our neighbors and friends.  Vigilance is the word I'm looking for.  All of us must be vigilant and watchful for the slightest signals that something doesn't seem quite right.

The mother of victim #9 testified how she couldn't figure out why her son didn't have underwear or socks in the laundry.  One night her son called her late at night to come pick him up at the snake's house.  When she got there, he was waiting outside without shoes.  Her son's behavior started to change.  His stomach hurt, he couldn't sleep, there were issues with his studies, and he complained how he couldn't go to the bathroom right.  She took her son to the doctor.  The diagnosis was acid reflux, with no physical exam of the boy.

My intent is not to rehash the trial.  I want to turn up the volume on our adult responsibilities.  Parents of children need to focus on the welfare of their kids, and maybe less on working hard to buy them $150 sports shoes.  Our values somewhere along the line went haywire, and we're feeding the wrong end.  We've got to open our eyes and our ears, and if our intuition spikes the least little bit, let's play close attention to what's going on.  Inquire.  Do whatever necessary to make sure our children are not being hurt by those in high places.  Our Creator gave us an intuition for a purpose, and we cannot and should not ignore signals.  Children are vulnerable, they live under intense peer pressures, they easily get trapped in situations where they really don't know what to do, who to tell, and even what's right and what's wrong.

We must teach our kids to protect their bodies.  A body is a temple.  Let's teach them that it's okay to scream at the top of their lungs if someone touches them in the wrong places.  There are snakes hiding everywhere, sometimes disguised as sports heroes, icons like a Penn State football coach.

Let's not be naive to the real world.  Let's not hold onto old-fashioned and unrealistic optimism.  No matter how we sugar-coat our America, don't for a second think we aren't walking on mine fields.  We have got to take our children's hands and walk beside them and watch out for them until they reach the age of majority.

It would be easy for me to write a thousand-page essay on this topic.  For me to not write my feelings would feel morally wrong.  Our justice system fanned its feathers yesterday, and I take American pride in that.  The snake is going home to hell.  Prison populations viciously despise pedophiles.  Even if the court rules to keep him separate from the general prison population, his cell will be a sweet corner of hell.  I've seen the innards of a maximum security prison, and the snake is going right where he belongs.

My heart goes out to the victims of this atrocious saga.  Hereafter, may you be held in Our Creator's hand, safe and loved.

Friday, June 22, 2012

"Create a Plate"

Well, I'll be jiggered.  Both of us slept later than usual.  How in the world did we ever, for over 40 years, set an alarm for 5 a.m., get up, and get going.  Can't honestly fathom that life anymore.  Some retirees ask for trips abroad and jewels around their neck.  Not me.  All I ask is no clock, no shoes, comfy clothes, and my laptop so I can write.  Those are the creature comforts I dreamt of all my working years.

The oats fields in our area are ripening.  One month early.  The reason I'll always remember when oats ripens is because when I was born my Daddy was harvesting the oats.  It became the seasonal reminder of back in '46 when the angels gathered and dropped me down into a happy family of three.  Eight years are between bro and me.  Maybe I've mentioned this before, but I'm pretty sure I was an accident.  Of course, neither parent ever admitted that to be true, but they  probably made a secret pact never to tell me.  I could see them doing that.

Our June morning here is positively gorgeous.  Blue skies, the trees are quiet and green, as are the lawns.  Flower baskets and flower beds are sprinkled with whites, yellows, reds, pinks and purples.  Our rain gauge, night before last, showed we had one inch of a soft and soaking rain.  Just perfect for the crops, just perfect for the earth in general.

Our household has started a new approach to consuming food, for reasons known only to us, to the Great Spirit, to our doctor, and the bathroom scale.  It's the "create a plate" plan.  Visually divide the plate into for fruit, on-fourth for vegetables, one-fourth for meat or fish, and one-fourth for potato.  Reasonable portions, and no second helpings.  That's the plan, but on special occasions we have agreed it's okay to fudge and eat freely.  There's a limit to what we're willing to deny ourselves these days.

This new plan has brought me back to the kitchen.  I'm second in rank in culinary skills around here, trust me.  My style is stingier and more brutal, but that's what is needed right now.  Variety is the key to 'dieting,' so it's exciting to ponder what to prepare.

Last evening I microwaved the crumbled hamburger instead of frying it in a skillet.  I put the meat in my yellow Tupperware strainer, placed the strainer on top of a bowl, covered the strainer with paper towel, and pushed the button.  All the fat dripped down into the bowl, and it's amazing how good that worked.

The word "diet" is the unfriendliest word in the English language.  The very thought of dieting sends an instant message to the brain warning that starvation is on the way.  Then our brains tell us that we are going to be deprived of what we love the most....good food.  And, that, my friends, is enough to send me into a full-fledged, and possibly fatal, tizzy.

Our "create a plate" strategy doesn't involve counting of calories, carbs, neutrons, or futons.  It does require common sense and wise choices.  Eating slower is something we have to work on, too.  We, for all the years of our marriage, have dined by the t.v.  If we had to move ourselves to a table, it would tip our canoe.  Negative eating habits are spawned by the television, but we aren't willing to give up that part of our lifestyle, quite frankly.  Like I said earlier, there are limits to what we're willing to deny ourselves.  As my fingers type this, my conscience is nagging....."Oh, America, you struggle not to eat food, while other parts of the world struggle because there is no food."

Sometimes I think we're drowning in a pool of unrelenting guilt.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Keeping a Journal

This morning I was reading my 2008 Elusive Moose journal that I kept while we were staying Up North.   My heart flipped a few times with silliness when I re-lived this entry.....

Oh, this morning I met a most interesting fellow.  As I was putting the security bar across the dumpster (the bar keeps the bears out) a man came out of the men's bathroom.  He was wearing a plaid flannel shirt, brown cotton pants, had a few teeth missing.  He was probably in his late 70s.  I made a usual comment about the weather.  Just like that, a conversation took off between the two of us that should have lasted longer than it did.  A retired history teacher, a passionate reader, and himself filled with rich family ties to American history.  At present, I'm reading "Saints and Strangers" which is a story about the people who came over on the Mayflower. This man knew of and had read this book and shared that he is a descendant of  Mr. Cook.  Both sides of his family fought against each other in the Civil War.  He talked about  so many interesting was  eating hominy and how his mother used to make it all the time.  That's something I've never eaten, but I told him that I'd make a point to buy and eat hominy.  He and I shared our fondness of scallops and Red Lobster Restaurants.  It was he who shared these things before I did, so he wasn't just agreeing with me, nor I with him.  Just an incredible exchange of common thoughts.  By a dumpster, no less.  I teased hubby about the guy that I met this morning and how we hit it off.  Even at 62, I can still find commonality with the opposite gender.

That is why I journal our vacations, stay-cations, and day-cations.  Ordinary occurrences would otherwise get sucked into the ocean of obscurity, gone forever. Journals keep them so we can re-live them as many times as we want.

Here's another journal entry from the Elusive Moose.....

Me and the Fuzzy One
While hubby fixed breakfast, Fuzzy One and I quietly strolled over to an empty campsite and sat on a big rock overlooking the lake.  I sipped coffee and thought nice thoughts.  The lake was calm, trees reflecting their autumn colors, sizes and shapes.  So quiet.  I wanted to wrap up the moment and take it back with me and hold it forever.  When we walked back to our campsite, hubby had breakfast ready.....homemade sausage, from a local meat market, with sunny-side up eggs.  My craving for citrus reared, so I ate half of a fresh lime.

Morning Meditation
Life is a non-stop adventure with opportunities to talk with strangers, share thoughts and memories with them, and sometimes simply sit on a rock beside a lake and do absolutely nothing.  If only we humans wouldn't have created the hustle and bustle, the drive and the thrive, the go-go-go idealistic life.  The faster we go, the less we will see along our way.  Man, I don't want to miss a thing while I'm here.  Every morning the blackboard is erased, and we're given a piece of chalk to draw our day.  If we're going too fast, our chalkboards will be filled with long lines of emptiness. And, then we'll have to leave.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Reading "The Book of Ruth"

Of my four new garage sale books, I chose to read "The Book of Ruth" first.  As of midnight, I am on page 249.  I have a looming feeling that something dramatic, or even awful, is about to happen to have earned the book the Hemingway Foundation/PEN award for a best first novel in 1988, and Oprah's Book Club choice for 1996.

On page one, I placed an x aside one sentence because it clicked with me.  I'm known to do this.  It's how I collect quotations and how I go back and find them.  I get another level of intimacy with the characters by highlighting sentences and paragraphs that  tell me something I want to know, or that I can chuckle about.

For instance, these excerpts are taken from the first 65 pages of the book.  I'll not bother with quotation marks, cuz we know that Jane Hamilton authored them.  I'm simply playing messenger of her talented writing.

I tell myself that it should be simple to see through to the past now that I'm set loose, now that I can invent my own words, but nothing much has come my way without a price.

I think folks hold on to metal scraps and furniture because the world is an enormous place, far and wide, but they have never experienced much of it, and they're afraid.  They want an anchor so there's no danger of drifting away into outer space, or down under the ground, strange places they aren't too familiar with.

I haven't been out of Illinois.  I only spit into Wisconsin.

Occasionally, I spoke with the chickens, and in the spring and summer I planted and tended and talked with carrots and lettuce.

I started out in the hole, in school, because of my impression that I was a miracle of stupidity, and because I was afraid of my teacher.

Mrs. Ida Homer made me stand in the wastebasket because I wrote on my desk and poked my neighbor.

Aunt Sid tried to tell May that something awful happens to every single person somewhere along the line.

She had grown up knowing that nobody deserved anything, most of all rest.

There was the one summer Aunt Sid took a group to Europe.  they sang songs and people threw flowers at them.  Before they left the U.S. they sold thousands of grapefruits to raise money, and it had to make me wonder if the grapefruits were those Elmer picked way down in Texas.  It had to make me think that somehow, in a strange way, there are a few binding strands between us.  Picture it -- Aunt Sid selling Elmer's grapefruits to go to Europe, to sing songs to the communists so she can write me, so I can read the letters to Miss Finch, and add something new to her brain.  It's all a big old chain.  There isn't one unconnected link.

Still it is books that are a key to the wide world; if you can't do anything else, read all that you can.

She took the casserole dish and threw all the onions into the garbage pail.  There went the whole supper I had planned so carefully.  'You show me where you got them onions from,' she said.  She made me march down the basement stairs with her right on my tail.  When I pointed them out she laughed uproariously, with her hand to her bosom and her eyes closed.  She laughed, not out of happiness, but because what I had done proved to her that I was without one sign of intelligence.  Those onions were actually tulip bulbs.

I had the feeling I knew what it would be like to be a plant stuck in a pot, with a mistress who every now and then remembered to give it a trickle of water. 

This is a story of living a hard life, yet appreciating small and simple blessings. It's a story that shows how mean and selfish some people can be, and what it's like to constantly be put down for everything one does. The author masterfully weaves humor in with the sorrows.  Come to think of it, we all do that in our own lives, don't we.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Memories of Purple and Green

There were two things we watched for as kids running around the farm barefoot.....cow pies and thistles.

Our cow tank, where we watered the cows with spring water, was close to our house yard, so it was easy to wash off the green squish from the cow pies.  The thistle thorns were another story.  I remember plopping down on the ground and picking the thorns out of my feet, hoping none of them would require a needle to be removed.  There was something just awful when mom held my foot with a needle in her hand.

Bull thistle?
.....or a look alike?
The other day we drove by this purple weed that looks like the bull thistles daddy used to cut down in the pasture with a long-handled scythe.  Sometimes I tagged along with him, watching him whack off the thistles so they didn't spread.  Another reason he did this was so our family of cattle didn't get thorns stuck in their noses.  Bottom line, thistles were a menace to the 1950's farmer.

Was it a bull thistle, or a look alike?  I'm not sure.  My knee-jerk reaction was to stop and chop the darned thing down, but instead I snapped a picture.  There's something else interesting about this picture....something else that we don't see a whole lot of anymore.....the farm fence.  Most farmers don't raise a sensible herd of cattle anymore that can freely roam the pastures.  Nowadays cattle are kept inside huge facilities, where they're treated like mechanical milk makers. There used to be nothing sweeter than seeing twenty content cows lying down in the pasture after noon, calmly chewing their cuds, soaking in the summer sunshine.  It gave our world a sense of peace and well-being, anyway it did to me.

Farmer using a scythe
It must sound silly that I'd get excited over a prickly weed.  City dwellers may think I'm a little on the low-to-empty side, but years ago we dealt with even our weeds one-on-one.  Every inch of our farm needed nurturing, and nurturing it got.  Some things needed whacking and others needed watering.  Life was so different.  Lawns and ditches weren't manicured.  If our house yard was mowed, that was it.  Time was better spent tending to the things that mattered....the things that helped our family of  four survive.

Sadly, now days one would be hard-pressed to walk a farm and have to worry about a cow pie or a thistle.  That's sad for the little girl whose feet knew both so well.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Doe Protects Fawn

A couple of days ago I mentioned that we'd been unsuccessfully looking for fawns.  Well, today I have a story to tell.

Yesterday's trolley took us through a forest where we experienced something we, more than likely, will never see again.  In an open field ahead of us stood a doe, so we stopped to see if a fawn might be with her.  Hubby spotted something black moving in the background just as we noticed the fawn walking toward its momma.  Instantly the black object, which turned out to be a coyote, ran toward the fawn.  Mamma deer spun around and bounded toward the coyote and chased him like hell wouldn't have it into the forest, away from her babe.  The poor little fawn didn't know where its momma went, so it just walked into the trees.

We saw four more fawns, but unfortunately they were lying on the road, hit by motorists.  The dear little ones are dropped into a harsh and cruel world, not knowing they are easy prey to predators just waiting to rip their lives away from them.

This experience will be a conversation piece, it was that dramatic.  Sure makes one realize that love lives in the animal kingdom, just like it does in ours.

"We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals... 
In a world older and more complete than ours,
 they move finished and complete,
 gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained,
 living by voices we shall never hear.
  They are not brethren,
 they are not underlings;
 they are other nations,
 caught with ourselves in the net of life and time,
 fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth."
~Henry Beston

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Dupuytren's Contracture and Daddy's Day

The other day I read about a parent, over age 100, who still worries about her child, who's over 80.  What a nice  lesson that age is a meaningless concept contrived by the human mind.  If there was no such thing as age and mirrors, think how better we'd feel about ourselves.

We baby boomers, and the generation ahead of us, can testify to still cherishing  memories of our parents.  It isn't possible to live our days without reminders of how daddy did this or momma did that.  Today being Father's Day, brings Daddy back as if he was sitting right beside me.  If I close my eyes, I can  pretend to lay my head on his shoulder and feel his head lean down against my head.  He was a genuine guy who raised me in his quiet, no nonsense, way.  If there is a Heaven, he's living on Main Street.

Daddy had what is known as Dupuytren's Contracture.  The tissues in the palm of his hand tightened and formed painless bumps or nodules, permanently bending his fingers into his palm.  I remember sitting on his lap, holding his hand in my small hands, and feeling the bumps, asking him why his fingers were like that.  He told me it was from years of catching a baseball.  This may have been the reason, but there is evidence now that dark-complected individuals with a North European ancestry are prone to having this condition.

As I sit here, looking down at those same kinds of bumps in my right hand, I'm comforted.  Me is he.  I'm not to the point where my fingers are pulling into my palm, but I'm noticing a gradual change in my middle finger.    

Daddy's Day, no matter how old we are, is a sweet time to take a close look at our paternal inheritances.  My sibling and I don't see each other very often, but one of the last times I asked him if he has those bumps in his hands like daddy did.  Sure enough, he opened his hand and showed them to me.  We smiled.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Yard Sale Entertainment

Nature's shades of green are dynamic this overcast morning.  The slightest breeze makes some leaves dance, others stay on the sidelines watching.

Gotta share the fun we had yesterday.  Our afternoon trolley took us to three yard sales that were advertised in the local paper.  Friday afternoon sales are perfectly timed, cuz we grab our evening meal  on the way home.

The first sale we went to had really good stuff.  By that I mean the items were expensive the first time around, and the sellers were offering them the second time around at minimal price.  After years of visiting garage and yard sales, one learns what's a good deal and what's not.

Most yard sale sellers put their books in boxes in one section of their display.  This particular sale did it differently by putting a few books on each table, sorted by writing style.  Some were for kids, some for men, some for women.  When my eyes clammed onto the author's name 'Barbara Kingsolver,' I found the mother lode.

The first book was titled, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle."  Original price $14.95, sale price 50 cents.  352 pages that tells how the author and her family set out to live a rural life, growing and eating only their own local foods.

Kingsolver's second book, "The Poisonwood Bible," is a novel of 543 pages.  Book store price $26, sale price 50 cents.  The story takes place in 1959 in the Belgian Congo.  A Baptist preacher takes his wife and four daughters to a remote village to convert the natives to Christianity.

Book three, "The Book of Ruth," is the first novel written by Jane Hamilton, who writes from her orchard home in Wisconsin.  Original price $11.95, sale price 50 cents.

Book four, "The Book of Virtues," is a hard cover, 818-page, collection of morality, goodness, and right thinking.  Its content is built around the old-fashioned, outdated, principle that a person's character matters.  It is promoted to "hum with moral energy."  Original price $26, sale price $1.

The fifth book to go in our plastic Walmart sack was a Sudoku puzzle book for hubby. Original price $5.95, sale price 25 cents.

Let's tally these prices up.  To buy these books at a  book store would cost $84.85.  We paid $2.75.  A savings of $82.10.

Not only that, but hubby was in need of some paint to finish one of his outdoor projects.  He noticed two partial gallons of paint (just the colors he had in mind) sitting in the driveway.  He asked the price and was told, "free...just take em."  We saved another $30+ on the paint.  That kicked our savings up to $112.10.

Now...which book should I read first.  Hmmmm.  All four of my books are in pristine condition and are tempting me like a box of chocolates.  Hubby can't wait to stir his paint and get out his brush. Guess it's pretty obvious that it doesn't take a whole lot of money for the two of us to have a whole lot of fun.      

Friday, June 15, 2012


Deer in Cemetery
This deer is finding solitude inside this fenced cemetery alongside a dead-end road.  If you look closely at the deer, you can see the scar beside her neck where a gun shot or arrow pierced her.

Many times I've wondered if maybe I lived as some other creature in a prior lifetime.  My compassion for all creatures is intense, and it's hard for me to explain what it's like.  Seeing an animal in pain causes me more anguish than seeing a human suffering.  I've been that way for as long as I can remember, and it certainly doesn't feel like a blessing.  It is tormenting.

This doe looks at me as I take this picture, with no fear.  After having been injured by a human, one would think she would bolt into the woods  at the mere sight of one of us.  It's possible, too, that her sensibility recognizes me as a friend, not an enemy.

We're still looking for the first fawn of the season. Those adorable souls with white spots.  Others are seeing them, but we've not yet been at the right place at the right time.  

Last night a lullaby of thunder and lightning tucked us into bed, and the sound of rain was truly the sound of music.  How thankful the plant kingdom must be for that wonderfully sustaining shower.  

Can't imagine how it can be Friday again.  Wasn't it just Monday?  Life is teaching me not to wish my life away by anticipating something in the future.  It's scary to think how close the end of my life on this earth just may be.  Yesterday I was reading an article that addressed the question, "Is one life enough?"  Hmmmm, that got me thinking.  If push comes to shove, my final answer will be, yes.  I'm not going to have time to do, and see, all the things I'd like, but the world and society is changing so much, so fast, that more and more I feel like a square peg in a round hole.  The safest and comfiest place for me to be is at home with my family and my hobbies.  I've morphed into a home body, and that's just fine.  That tells me I've successfully made the big loop, and I'm perfectly okay now to spend my time with the creative abilities that bless my days.

"Inside myself is a place where I live all alone,
and that's where I renew my
springs that never dry up."
~Pearl Buck  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Send Check and Get Free Hat

Am I ever going to learn that nothing comes FREE?

Hubby picked out, and bought for me, a snazzy new fishing pole.  A closed reel is my preference cuz it's easier for me to cast.  The rod and reel combo he picked out for me is designed for catching small pan fish.  Naturally there has to be one of his lopsided jokes hooked to this story, but we'll keep that in-house for now.

Anyway, when I spotted the tag shaped like a red ball cap attached to the pole, my heart jumped.  "FREE HAT."  Yowza.

We ran it through the checkout, went out to the car, read the instructions how to redeem my cap, and that's when the cuss words came flying out of my mouth.

How to redeem your free cap:

1.  Go to website and print out a form.
2.  Include original, dated store receipt (non-returnable) with the price you paid circled.
3.  Include the UPC bar code from the rod/reel combo as proof of purchase.
4.  Include a check or money order for $5.95 made out to ******* to cover shipping and handling.
5.  Mail.
6.  Wait 8 weeks for delivery.  (That's two frickin' months.)

They expect me to write out a check to get something free?  Nah, I don't think so.  I'm surprised they didn't want my fingerprints and blood type, too.

This misleading hoopla bugs me because I remember a time when things actually did come to us free, tucked in with the products we bought.

Back in the 1950s, when mom bought oatmeal, there would be a cup, saucer, or other dish packed right in with the oatmeal.  Interestingly, when sorting through my attic collectibles these last weeks, I found some of those green glasses and saucers.  Talk about the past coming back to visit.

Breeze packed a free Canon face cloth in boxes of detergent.

Flour came in colorful cloth sacks, which housewives used for pillow cases.

Duzz Detergent came with free stemware tucked inside.

Wheaties cereal gave away free cobalt blue Shirley Temple bowls, pitchers, and cups.  We found a couple pieces of this up in our attic, as well.

Cracker Jack had one surprise after another....plastic stand-up toys, planes and boats, and tiny spinning tops.

Gas stations were known to give free glassware with an oil change, as did movie theaters with a ticket to a Saturday matinee.

So, you see, this well-known reel company doesn't really give a hoot if I wear their cap, or don't.  If they did, the cap would have been attached to my pole.  They are playing mind games with their consumers, but this chick isn't going to bite.  They can nicely catch some other sucker that comes along.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Falling Apart Together

The call of an owl came through our bedroom window this morning...that elusive creature with its  haunting call.  To bird lovers like us, that's a truly fine start to the day.

With coffee perked and morning paper retrieved from the mailbox, we're settled in for our morning routines. Dental appointments stare us in the face, but what's a person to do except go ahead and suffer through them.  Seems more and more there's that sort of thing in life.

The human body must have a time clock built in that we can't see.  Otherwise, how would it know when to start falling apart.  When I turned 40, bifocals came into my life, and others have said the same was true for them.  The sixties are sounding their own alarms, and body repair heads our to-do lists.

When we get together with friends our age, there's lots of joking about aches and pains and remedies tried.  It's amazing how we try to help one another if something has worked for us.  On the whole, people walk through life all fancied up, while successfully hiding bodily ailments.  It's an ongoing struggle. Here's an abbreviated list of what we, over sixty. have to deal with......

a - arthritis pain
b - backache
c - cataracts and cholesterol count
d - deafness
e - exercise, lack thereof
f - fear of the future
g - graying hair
h -heart health
i - implants
j - joint replacement
k - knees and knuckles, involuntary cracking
l - legs, restless
m - memory, hit and miss
n - nails, harder to manicure
o - overweight
p - prescriptions
q - quicker to complain
r - rectal drama
s - skin spots and sleep disturbances
t - tooth extractions
u - unwanted hairs
v - vitality gone
w - wary of everyone
x - x-hausted from life
y - y me?
z - zero tolerance for pretty much everything and everyone.

"A man's age is something impressive,
it sums up his life:
maturity reached slowly and against many obstacles,
illnesses cured,
griefs and despairs overcome,
and unconscious risks taken;
maturity formed through so many
desires, hopes, regrets, forgotten things, loves.
A man's age represents a fine cargo of
experiences and memories."
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

River Picnic and Drive on the Back Roads

Both of us caved in to our cravings for Kentucky Fried Chicken.  We threw away our calorie concern and fat fuss, found a picnic table along the river, and dined like a lord and lady.  We licked our fingers and let the cool breezes blow out all our candles of care.  This river scape divinely illustrates how Our Great Spirit spoke to us during our evening meal.

Back roads, the winding ones with less traffic, is where we find sights to awwwwww about, and last evening was no different.

This Amish family had little kids tucked by their feet in the front, the mother was holding a baby, and two more little ones were in the back of their wagon.  As we passed them with our vehicle, they all smiled and waved. The best part was seeing the children with their heads up looking at nature rather than their heads down lost to a text message or a game.  The old-fashioned in me thinks children need to  be learning about the world around them, the same as we adults.

Today our weather has cooled down quite a bit, there's a healthy breeze, and I'm weary from yesterday's jaunt.  Our calendar is open for the next 24 hours, and I'm declaring it a hobby day.  If I find enough gumption to get out of my jammies, I'll get dressed and cozy in with a new kumihimo (koo-me-he-mo) project.  Kumihimo is an ancient Japanese braiding art, and I'm teaching myself how to do it.  So far I've made three ankle bracelets weaving 17 strings, and I'm to the point where I'm thinking about adding beads.  Can't say for sure that I'm ready for that yet.  Maybe I'll stick with the basics yet for a while.

Ta-ta for today.            

Monday, June 11, 2012

Looks Like Rain

Thunderstorm racket brought us a a bit of much-needed rain during the night.  About a quarter of an inch.  Some lawns are turning brown, some are being watered.  It's far too early in the season to see this.

We've already had muggy days.  It's that business of take a shower, put on freshly washed clothes, walk back outside, and start dripping with sweat again.  We carp in the summer heat, then we carp in the winter cold.  Guess we're never satisfied.  It's a lot easier, though, to put extra clothes on to stay warm than it is to remove clothes to stay cool.  Having a charge of Indecent Exposure is something none of us needs on our court record.

Imagine how many conversations there are in one day about 'the weather.'  Isn't the current weather what we talk about when there's nothing else to say?  Every person has their opinion about the weather, and sometimes those opinions clash.  The bride prays that it doesn't rain on Saturday, and the farmer prays that it does.  The Great Spirit must have quite a time deciding which prayers to answer and which ones to deny.

Our area has been incredibly fortunate not to have had destructive storms hit.  How long can our luck last.  Guess when things are going good, a person can't help but wonder when things will go kaflooey.  I find myself wondering that about a lot of things these days.

"Oh, what a blamed uncertain thing this pesky weather is;
It blew and snew and then it thew,
And now, by jing, it's friz!"
~Philander Johnson

Sunday, June 10, 2012

County and State Fairs

Cotton Candy
This morning I woke up with the Fuzzy One curled around my head.  It felt like my face was smooshed in a pillow of cotton candy.  That got me thinking about county fairs, midways with scary rides, church food stands, nightly performances, demolition derbies, and barns filled with 4-H projects.  In a couple of weeks the gates will open, and kids from 9 to 90 will stand in line at the concession stands waiting for something fun to eat.

When my buddy and I were dating, my absolute favorite county fair food was the foot-long hot dog with ketchup and onions. Funny thing, tho, back in those days the hot dog was truly a foot long.  Somewhere over the years the vendor's ruler shortened to about 8", and the intrigue just isn't there anymore.

What Are the Top 10 State Fair Foods?
  1. Deep-Fried Everything, from pickles to butter.  The unofficial motto among fair vendors is "If you can fry it, you can eat it."
  2. Funnel cakes, those insanely delicious fried cakes sprinkled with powdered sugar.  They're usually served on a paper plate....the same size as the plate.
  3. Pies....pie-eating contests and pie-baking contests.  Who can eat the most?  Whose pie tastes the best? 
  4. Sticky Caramel Apples.  
  5. Cotton Candy, spun sugar first known as "Fairy Floss" when served at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis.
  6. The Bizarre, crazy concoctions.  For instance:  Kool-Aid Pickles, Krispie Kreme Burgers, or Hot Beef Sundaes (beef smothered with gravy, topped with a scoop of mashed potatoes, melted cheese, and a cherry tomato on top).
  7. Corn on the Cob.  An ear of grilled corn in the husk, peeled down, slathered with butter, and sprinkles of salt.
  8. Elephant Ears.  Flattened fried dough, butter, sugar, and cinnamon, big as an elephant's ear.  In some parts of the country, this is known as "Beaver's Tail."
  9. Corn dogs.  A wiener encased in a thick layer of deep-fried cornmeal batter.
  10. Food on a Stick.  Everything from a pork chop to a peanut-butter-jelly sandwich.
Remember the Tom Thumb Donuts? Lordie Gordie, we would watch the mini hot fresh cinnamon-sugar donuts being cranked out on a machine and served in small paper sacks.  Nothing was more fun than walking the midway eating warm donuts.

Hubby and I have a county fair memory that goes back to the first one we attended together.  I was 17, he was 18.  Of all frickin' things, he successfully got me through the gate on a "children's ticket."  He thought it was funny.  I didn't.  Little did I know that his silly prank was the beginning of a carnival ride that would twirl us through a lifetime together. 

Saturday, June 09, 2012

"Value your time before you become busy.

Value your health before you become ill.

Value your youth before you become old.

Value your wealth before you become poor.

Value your life before you die."

Friday, June 08, 2012

Raking Hay

This is a hay field, raked into rows to dry.  There's nothing like inhaling the sweet smell of freshly-mowed hay.  It's the farmer's rose garden.

Corn is growing like magic.  Can't see the rows anymore, like we did when it first sprouted out of the ground.  Watching crops grow and the farmers tending to the crops will always be my fascination.  The farming practices I knew as a little girl are obsolete.  Today I'd be hard-pressed to identify the machinery that backs up traffic, as the owners lumber them from one of their farms to the other.

My mind still sees daddy patiently hitching up Barney and Daisy before heading up to his fields.  Oh, eventually a John Deere put-putt tractor replaced his beloved horses.  If I close my eyes and concentrate, I can still hear that putt-putt-putt.

In haying season, the four of us carefully watched the clouds and worked like crazy to get the hay raked, dried, and hoisted up into the hay mow before late afternoon rain storms.  Mother Nature slyly held the trump card in Her hand, and She was known to play for keeps if She was in a bad mood.  Many were our family prayer that She not flood or hail out our crops.

Like all kids who grew up on a farm in the 1950s, I have selective memory.  Time has a paint brush that glosses over reality and shines it up to be prettier than it actually was.  That's okay.  It's sorta like we harvest our memories like the farmer harvests hay...stockpiling the best crop we can.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

"Climb Every Mountain"...Our Beloved Song

Forty-five years ago, right about this time, my best buddy and I sat across the desk from our parish Catholic priest.  He was explaining marriage to us, preparing us for the big "I Do Day."

Back then, the priest had to put his seal of approval on every part of the wedding ceremony, including the songs.  Wouldn't you know it....the one song I wanted at my wedding was the one he would not allow to be sung.  He said it was, "too worldly."

What song, you wonder?

"Climb Every Mountain" from the Sound of Music.  Interestingly enough, in the movie a nun sings the song urging Maria to "climb every mountain" in search of God's will for her life.

My best buddy and I, back in those days, were meek as mice in the presence of the white collar.   The sheet music shook as I handed it to Father so he could read the words to the song.  His verdict was quickly rendered.  I begged him to allow it, like a puppy pleading for a treat.  His answer was a firm and final no.

These are the words he forbid to be sung at our wedding Mass.....

Climb every mountain,
Search high and low,
Follow every highway,
Every path you know.

Climb every mountain,
Ford every stream,
Follow every rainbow,
'Till you find your dream.

A dream that will need
All the love you can give,
Every day of your life
For as long as you live.

To this day, I'm puzzled over Father's reasoning.  Here's why.....

Rainbow is mentioned 6 times in the bible, mountain 304 times, stream 73 times, dream 98 times, love 686 times, life 565 times, climb 28 times, path 108 times.

Maybe I wouldn't be hanging onto my hurt, but some years later a Polka Mass was held in this same church.  The closing hymn was, "In Heaven There Is No Beer."    

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Guest Blogger

I'M   thE    FiZZy  1

Ya  WaNna  no  sumThin?

I  herd  myne  Daddi  tell  myne MommIe  that  fRogs  have  the mostesT  fun.

WannA  no  whY?

Cuz  thay  eetz  wHateVr  bugs  em!


Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Three Words

How do the roses know June is their month?  Just look at these gems strut their rubies and garnets, smiling in the sun.

Another tranquil day in the village. I'm weaving an ankle bracelet for my niece's mid-June birthday.  A few years back I gave her a store-bought one, and she still wears it.  That tells me she should have another, but one made especially for her.  I'm a stickler for handmade gifts.  It's a fine day to play.

If you've wondered why I chose Retired Nature Weaver for my blog name, here's why.

Retired identifies where I stand on the Ruler of Life.

Nature sustains my every breath.  No text book can teach a romance with nature like mine.  A child's ears and eyes are powerful learning tools.

Weaver, for me, is as faceted as the prism, reflecting itself in different directions. Childhood hours were spent watching my twin great-aunts and my mom work their big floor looms weaving strips of rags into beautiful rugs.  Their finished products were the desire of housewives in the 3-county area, and they paid to have them on their linoleum floors.  They would bring the rags, rolled into balls, to the ladies for weaving.  With the years, my passion for weaving grew, and I opted to navigate the calmer waters with the simpler, portable looms.  Half the fun was finding ways to adapt my interest to my lifestyle.

Life's loom soundlessly and senselessly weaves the good, the bad and the ugly things that happen to us.  It's like sliding into home plate when we finally realize that the bad and the ugly were the threads that created the most colorful parts of life's overall design.  It's that business of growing wiser, learning that our sorrows are as necessary as our joys.  Easy to say, agonizing to endure.

The art of weaving runs through my veins.  How well I remember the sunny day in Maine when three of us oared our way across a lake to a small island. Seaweed floated in the water.  I reached down and pulled out a string of weeds, and then two more.  Dripping with lake water in our boat, I wove them into one, let dry, and that, my friends, is my cherished souvenir from that visit to Maine.

It's interesting to pick three words to describe oneself.  I'm pretty sure if you'd ask hubby what three words best describe me, you'd get a different list.  The fun is looking inside to find what truly honors our existence.

Ta-ta for now.  I hear the call of the loom.

Monday, June 04, 2012

June is National Rose Month

Whether it's their fragrance, or their exquisite velvety feel, we remember roses.  Aren't they the Rolls Royce of American flowers?

Mom had the Seven Sisters Roses, clumps of pink blossoms, that grew in my childhood front yard.  Back in those days, it was a big deal when the rose bush blossomed.  I'd go pick small bouquets, bring them in the house, and put them in our saved jelly jars.

We're not a family that buys store-bought flowers very often.  We tend to prefer those that grow in the wild, and if we're walking along a stream or other secluded spot, a few stems might come home with us and stay until they wilt away.

My thumbs are not green.  I love flowers to death, but I have not the patience to produce eye stoppers.  The only plant in my house is a dear soul that thrives on my negligence.

The best way for me to celebrate Rose Month is to share the rose garden that is a 'must see' for us every year.  Obviously, it is a Master Green Thumb who nurtures this bed of beauties.

Splendor in the Garden

Roses Bring Smiles in Spring

The rose, with its thorns, teaches a life lesson.....

a thing of beauty may have some hurt attached to it.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Garden Art

Rabbits Not Allowed
This is our garden.  Framed with asphalt house shingles for ease of mowing, and a fence to keep the bunnies from munching.  Pretty as a picture!

The sprawling squash are planted by the back ledge, and the tomatoes and climbing green beans are back by the patio.  Hubby is the gardener, and he likes things neat and tidy.  He weeds, and he waters.  He unwinds the garden hose and winds it back up.

BLTs are a summer treat at our house.  Sometimes we buy the maple-flavored bacon, and that makes 'em even better. Whole wheat toast,  thick juicy slices of tomato, layers of lettuce leaves, and a few slaps of mayo.  I make mine into BLTOs by adding a slice of onion.  Like Andy Griffin used to say, "Them's good eats."

So many varieties of tomatoes these days.  I don't think there were so many to choose from when we were kids, cuz I remember only one kind of tomato.  They were big, round, and real red.  They tasted like a tomato....I mean, real juicy drippy meaty tomato.  With salt and pepper shakers handy, we ate 'em like apples.

Come harvest season, our small town busts at the seams with fresh garden produce.  Zucchini squash grow to the size of submarines, and the non-gardener is sure to inherit more than they want.  Last week a neighbor brought us samples of their early onions and radishes.  Yowza, yummy yum yum.  The red radishes snapped when we bit into them, and I even chowed down the green stems of the onions.  Where I live, it's common for one neighbor to tell another, "just help yourself to my garden if I'm not home."  It's that business of love thy neighbor.

"Gardening is the art
that uses
flowers and plants as paint,
and the canvas."
~Elizabeth Murray

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Bird Feeder Vandalism

Boy, is there trouble at our house.....

"What the hell did this?" he exclaimed.
....a night prowler has been in our yard now for the third time.....

Last summer we cut this tree down, but left the trunk and one branch to feed the birds.  It's ain't the prettiest looking thing, but birds aren't as hoity-toity as we humans.  Heck, they fly in and out, happy as you please.  To them, it's the Waldorf Astoria.  Some come in fancy attire, others in casual.  We love them all.  Like the saying goes, "the moment a little boy is concerned with which is a jay and which is a sparrow, he can no longer see the birds or hear them sing."  ~Eric Berne  

Bird feeding is hubby's domain.  He rigs up ways to keep the squirrels away, he cares for and fills the feeders, buys the bird seed, mixes the nectar, readies the wren houses each spring, the whole shmear.  I'm around just for the fun of it.

So, who is the culprit that can straighten an S-hook, flip the feeder up on top of the roof of the one feeder, and empty the hummingbird feeder of its red nectar?  A squirrel surely wouldn't be interested in sweet water, would it?  Our main suspect is a raccoon, yet there is not one trace of evidence on the white wrapping that keeps the squirrels away.

For me, who doesn't have to put all this commotion back in order, it's funnier than funny.  But, my best buddy is not quite so amused.  I'm keeping all weaponry away from him until the case is solved.  He was one heck of an aim in his younger years, and I'm sure he could shoot a gnat off a bird's butt if so inclined.

So, there is our day thus far.  Filled with intrigue, angst, laughter, and mystery.  Maybe we'll have to set up a night watch, where one of us sleeps and the other waits and watches.  Right now, we're placing our bets that it's the masked bandit who's our night stalker.  When, and if, we find out for sure, I'll let you know.


Friday, June 01, 2012

Miracles In the Meadow

Yesterday's trolley took us on gravel roads, but there wasn't a whole lot of dust because of the recent rains.  Driving on our gravels quickly dirties a clean car.  One State bordering ours doesn't have gravels, and we envy those dust-free rural residents.

Wild Roses in Roadside Ditch
We made two camera stops.  My heart skipped beats when I spotted these wild roses in the roadside ditch.  Their sweet simplicity and unassuming presence shroud them with a majestic aura like a bride's veil.  The fragile pink rose, yet resilient and strong, 'to every breeze is flung.'

As we stopped our car for me to get out and take this picture, a utility truck stopped at the intersection and a young man stepped down out of it, and kindly asked if we needed help.  I thanked him, but said I wanted to take a picture of the wild roses.  He smiled a smile that said he thought that was kinda neat.  I, in return, gave him a smile that said I thought he was a real gentleman.  It's that business of mutual respect.

Mama and Her Colt at Lunch Time
One of the most captivating parts of springtime is the birthing of baby animals and birds.  Mama deer are bringing their speckled fawns out of the wooded areas, introducing them to the world, and birds are protecting their nests.  We put the brakes on when we saw this meadow mama providing noon-time sustenance for her colt.  I get such a kick out of the white spot on the black colt's forehead.  Mama eats.  Colt eats.  Mother Nature, their gracious hostess.

Oh, before I sign off, if you have a wish that you want to come true, now that it's springtime, all you have to do is whisper your wish to a butterfly.  It will silently carry your wish on its wings up to Heaven.  It's Mother Nature's Priority Mail system and works like a charm.