Friday, April 30, 2010
7:17 pm edt
Mine are not the endangered dog-faced salamanders with a red ruff, but
three stinky dogs that know how to have a good time.
It was one of those perfect spring days and they just couldn’t resist having a pool party. As
I sat on the bench while they splashed and swam in the disgustingly-muddy pond it occurred to me that this really is the Peaceable
Kingdom. The sun warmed my shoulders. I watched my animals at play and all was right in my little world.
Princess Poppy, the cat prowled the shoreline in search of frogs that obligingly jumped into the water for her amusement.
There are so many frogs; too many to count, so her game is safe for the summer. Mr. & Mrs. Mah-lard
bobbed contentedly around the south end of the pond and when the dogs all charged in, they acted as if they too were part
of the party. Rather than fly off as might be expected, they deliberately swam toward the dogs and the
Dear Ernie, who isn’t the smartest pooch I’ve ever owned, but is a sweet-natured boy of questionable ancestry
tried to distinguish himself today as a bird dog. He and the ducks played a game of chase for about a half
an hour and his feathered friends were clearly enjoying themselves. Even when big Ted powered through the
water in their direction to retrieve his ubiquitous Frisbee the ducks remained nonplussed. They really seemed to be having
as much fun as the dogs. Julie needed no encouragement to plunge into the smelly mess and when the boys
tired of water sports she continued splashing about on her own. As if she had a real purpose, she suddenly
raced up to the house to collect a withered lilac stem I had thrown out, then back into the water.
Sure, they all need a bath now, but seeing my animals having such a good time made it all worthwhile. After
the party the dogs napped. I continued spring planting, envisioning the dahlias, backed by sunflowers, cleome and zinnias.
I know it will be beautiful, but as I look at all the wildflowers flourishing without my intervention, I had to question
what the heck I was doing. My efforts will be no competition.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
5:48 pm edt
“…the rich man is not he who has plenty of
money, but he who has the means to live now in the luxurious surroundings given us by early spring." Anton
What could be truer! Early morning, the air is still crisp and cool, but the sun is fast burning
the frost from the just mown grass. I sit on the porch with a mug of coffee and watch the world awaken.
The dogs and cats investigate signs left by any nocturnal interlopers like Billy Possum who frequents the garden shed
just in case there’s a bowl of cat food.
When Roosevelt and Taft were campaigning for the presidency each chose a wildlife figure to represent his party.
Of course Roosevelt’s was the Teddy Bear, but Taft was Billy Possum. While the Teddy Bear
has endured the test of time, does anyone remember poor Billy?
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
A couple old friends.
8:37 pm edt
I took a bouquet of beautiful lilacs to my old (94 years old!) friend
Dorothy who is incarcerated in a fancy nursing home. I also took her some socks and some past issues of
the New Yorker. She loves all this stuff and looks forward to these "surprises." Sometimes
little things really do mean a lot. Unlike many of the other “residents” of the home, Dorothy is sharp as a tack.
Mentally she’s just as she always was, but she’s no longer ambulatory which is why she’s there. I
think of her as the original hippie and while visits are always jolly, it saddens me to see such a smart, fun-loving woman
now resigned to ending her days in this warehouse of the living dead.
From there it was off to see Ginny
who just celebrated her 99th birthday! Like Dorothy, Ginny is more with it than a lot of people half
her age. She’s amazing!
“I sure do miss my chickens,” she told me last week, so when I found this rooster that won’t awaken
anyone with his crowing I knew it would make her smile. Ginny is an inspiration and unlike myself, she’s
a real farmer. She still lives independently on the 160 acres where she and her late husband raised dairy
cattle and crops. Until just last year Ginny kept about 50 chickens, but she wisely thought it might be
difficult for her to get to the hen house in the snow, so now she has none. This shouldn't suggest she
is retired. She rides a bright red ATV down the long lane to her mail box. “I can get that
thing up to 85 mph,” she once confided. She’s already in the process of putting in a big garden
and her social life is busier than mine. She says work is what keeps her young and I believe it.
She leases her fields to a mega-farmer and shakes her head as if in disbelief at the way agriculture has changed. “That’s
not the way Emmet and I farmed,” she reflects. What used to take the two of them three days to plant
is now done in a couple of hours. Even so, she is happy her land is still in crops, not houses, so to ensure
this will always be the case she has put her property into an agricultural trust. While all around her
the fertile fields have fallen to “development,” Ginny’s farm will always grow food. It’s
a very special person who makes provisions to preserve what matters so that it will remain when they are no longer here.
Ginny is special indeed.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
8:34 am edt
I’m a tidy person. After all, we Virgos demand
order in our lives; no clutter, no chaos. That’s the rule—until a puppy enters the scene.
My usually-neat house is a jumble of toys. There isn’t a single room that doesn’t have
at least one partially-unstuffed animal, ball, chew stick or disgusting cow hoof littering the floor. I
look at my little cross-eyed girl, collect the clutter and return it to the toy basket and all is forgiven.
Someone mentioned the plethora of puppy pictures on this blog site. It’s true and I should
be ashamed because my own reaction when people trot out photos of their children or grandbabies is one of utter boredom.
Babies all look like J. Edgar Hoover. I think there is really only one newborn picture and the hospitals
just keep selling it to every new set of parents. I’m never sure of an appropriate response when
these photos flash on a cell phone or are lovingly withdrawn from a wallet. “Oh, I didn’t know
babies could be morbidly obese…,” or “Do you think that point on top of his head will go away?”
Instead I mutter something about how cute he/she is and listen politely as the proud presenter rambles on about how
long the kid sleeps or what it is eating. I’m not good at baby chatter—unless the baby is a
So, here she is again. You can see how she’s grown! Her hair isn’t
really as light in color as it appears in this picture. It’s just the morning sun. My apologies,
but I can’t help myself.
Monday, April 26, 2010
A good kid.
6:59 pm edt
When I hear people complaining or worrying about their kids I realize how fortunate I am to have a daughter who causes
me no worry, no grief, no financial burden, no embarrassment…, I could go on and on. My kid simply
saves animals. Tomorrow she is delivering her most recently rescued cat to his new home, but it certainly
won't be the last critter plucked from peril. It doesn't matter if their big or small, furred or feathered. If
they need help, Jill comes to their aid.
She found Chuck the duck on the side of the road, frozen and unable to walk. He wasn’t far from deaths door.
Not surprisingly she picked him up, took him to the vet, treated his frostbitten webbed feet daily and added him to the menagerie
at her home. Most of Chuck’s toes fell off, but as this picture proves, he’s living a happy
secure life with friends Weebles the crippled mini-horse and Martin the crippled goat, along with two dogs (healthy) and twelve
cats. I’m proud of her.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Good intentions count.
3:50 pm edt
Rain aborted the lofty gardening plans for today, but I did get several things planted before the thunder and lightning
rolled in. It’s so gratifying to look out at the just-tilled gardens and know that in a couple of
weeks there will be tidy rows of green shoots—unless the animals and chickens rearrange things as they usually do.
Yesterday I had the privilege of helping with a fundraiser for a woman who has devoted her life to helping animals
as well as the people who care for them. As the receptionist at an emergency vet clinic it was not uncommon
for L. to comfort grieving owners whose animal didn’t survive being hit by a car or some other tragedy.
Over the years she has also rescued and re-homed about 500 cats, a couple hundred of which were kittens requiring bottle
feeding every few hours. It’s not unusual that people like L. who care deeply about animals
also possess a special compassion for their fellow man as was demonstrated last night. About a hundred
people attended a fundraiser dinner to help L. now that she herself needs some help and comfort.
underwent a health crisis and major surgery, but I think that the show of support by people who are genuinely concerned about
her will help her recover more quickly. It was a very poignant evening. Lots of tears
were shed, but they were tears of happiness for a very deserving person. I’ve always believed animal people
are very special in more ways than may be obvious.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Hoping for change.
12:12 pm edt
I doubt that a more reserved, quiet man than my uncle Bill ever existed.
His motto was, “Don’t make waves. Mind your own business….”
Since he’s been dead he has been doing quite the contrary. He writes letters to people who
abuse or neglect animals. Because he was christened with a very dignified name (most unfitting), he signs
these letters from the grave. A signature adds more punch. For security sake (since he’s penning
another letter…) I’ll refer to him as William Cabot Lodge III. Sometimes his missive gets
attention and the animal subject’s life improves dramatically like the shaggy farm dog that moved from rotten wooden
box to a deluxe doggie condo.
“I do hope you won’t be offended, but as I drive past your property en route to work each day I can’t
help but notice that your dog’s house is falling to pieces. Perhaps this is just an oversight…,”
he wrote (or something to that effect). The letters are always printed out, but an impressive masculine
signature is always in ink. Imagine my delight shortly after mailing this note from my genteel uncle
to see major construction going on at that farm.
The dog was tied off to the side as two men smashed his rotten box to bits and began constructing a big insulated house
with a new attached water bucket and food bowl. The dog watched as if he couldn’t believe his eyes.
I could hardly believe my own! Years later that dog is still tethered to the house, but with about
fifteen feet of cable. He seems content.
Not all recipients of Uncle Bill’s
letters are so accommodating. I picture some of these people as they rip open the envelope and read Uncle
Bill’s observation. Red-faced, neck artery throbbing as blood pressure escalates, the reader grabs
the phone book muttering, “Who the hell is this William Cabot Lodge III?!!! I’ll
give this blankety-blank a piece of my mind…!”
But, alas there is no listing for
Mr. Lodge III for he is in the graveyard. Uncle Bill just penned another polite letter to a household up
the road regarding their newly-acquired St. Bernard pup tied with no more than six feet of rope to a box at the back of their
property where it has been ignored and apparently forgotten since its unfortunate arrival.
Any changes to the poor creature’s situation will be noted. Keep fingers crossed.
Friday, April 23, 2010
A predictable ending.
8:21 pm edt
Most people adore robins. I don’t.
These birds that many associate with springtime (although it’s really the redwing blackbirds who are the true
harbingers of mild weather) annoy me. This confession probably seems inconsistent with my commitment to
wildlife conservation, but don’t get me wrong. I would never do anything to harm or discourage the
orange-breasted bird. I just don’t find them endearing.
There are seven cats living here
and there are trees aplenty with suitable nesting spots safely away from the cats’ temptation, yet the robins insist
on the trees close to the porch. This is very aggravating to the kitties. They sit chattering
at the base of these trees, eyes cast upward as the angry robins in turn scream their ‘cat alert’ call from dawn
Yesterday Poppy, who is quite athletic, took things a bit further and climbed the crab apple tree to investigate the
nest being constructed by an industrious pair of robins. She climbed right down to where the half-built
nursery sat. The outraged birds flitted about, swearing at her; chURp,chURp, chURp! She
ignored them and finally came down, but she continued to keep an eye on things.
I watched this day long exchange,
amazed at the robins’ determination to build that nest literally under the nose of an equally-determined cat. They
worked all day and now the nest which is right outside my office is about finished. (That's it in the center of this
It’s not difficult to predict the rest of this story. The female will lay a clutch of eggs which
Poppy will periodically check. The bird will set in spite of the feline interference until her homely children
hatch. I think newly hatched birds look like Dwight Eisenhower. Poppy will continue
climbing the tree and poking about the nest until the ugly kids fall to their death. Then the piqued parents
will leave. Some version of this tale happens every spring.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Not a good night.
11:23 am edt
When I first got this farm I christened it The Peaceable Kingdom, but last night was anything but peaceable!
I write this blog after no more than two hours sleep—and even that was not peaceable.
usually quiet as a tomb, but for the pleasant sounds of peepers or bull frogs later in the summer. With
windows thrown open to the crisp night air how could one not fall into blissful sleep? Last night illustrated
the many ways this was possible.
I watched the disturbing documentary called Food, Inc. before turning off the light and pulling the down comforter
up to my chin. While none of what the film exposed was surprising, being reminded of how entrenched the
food industry is with government was very depressing. It has been going on for decades and there is nothing to suggest that
this collusion will ever end. Images of doomed "food animals" remain burned on the back of my
eyes. Every person in this country needs to see this film.
When at last I dozed off the respite
was brief. Coyotes were nearby and from their joyous chorus they had secured a meal, but their
song was interrupted by a cat fight on the brick porch. I leapt from bed, hit the floodlight and hung out
the window to see a huge, long-haired spotted cat (a stranger) threatening Tom who was trying to catch a few winks himself
on one of the porch chairs. The unwelcome guest was not impressed nor intimidated when I hissed, “Get
out of here!” I raced downstairs and out the door to end the skirmish. The big intruder merely loped
off a few yards, stopped and stared at me. I carried Tom to the safety of his cellarway apartment and returned
to the torture chamber that was my bedroom.
I love the fresh night air, but the air was heavy with pollen and my allergies flared. Desperate
attempts to sleep were aborted by violent fits of coughing that threatened to turn me inside out. And my
hand hurt too! My weather-predicting right hand is a better meteorologist than Al Roker. When it hurts
it’s going to rain within 24 hours—guaranteed!
By now the clock said 2:45.
I had to get some sleep! That’s probably what Mr. & Mrs. Mahlard were thinking as well,
but suddenly a great ruckus ensued down at the pond. From the racket I certainly expected to find a pile of feathers instead
of the pair of Mallards bobbing on the water when dawn finally arrived. My guess is that en route to the
garden shed, the raccoons stopped by the pond for some duck eggs. While the happy couple is still near
their nest site, I see that the nest is now empty.
Cats are supposed to be nocturnal hunters, right? So when a loud gnawing began that sounded like
a beaver working its way through a downstairs wall it didn’t seem unreasonable to expect one of the seven felines in
this household to show a little interest. Wrong again. Nothing interrupted the slumbering
dogs and cats that continued to snore peacefully.
At long last, dawn arrived. There was no point in even trying to sleep once the bird twittering
and Randy’s crowing began. After a few cups of strong coffee I decided to get those pine trees in
the ground so they could start blocking the view of ET’s wasteland (that now sports a black-faced cement jockey on his
porch). I’d marked the proposed planting sights between the fence and the crumbling foundation of
the old milk parlor, but I might as well try to plant these trees in Walmart’s parking lot. Under
the lush weeds and ubiquitous brambles is a challenging layer of things long hidden just about six inches underground.
Five down, five to go. The day is not off to a great start and the sky is getting dark and ominous.
Rain is coming.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Change is good.
8:46 pm edt
The dogs and I enjoyed another long, mind-clearing walk this morning.
Julie is doing so well walking on lead. She sits nicely while I unclip her and then bounds through
Ranger Rick’s woods as if it’s her own back yard. The woods are spectacular this time of year,
dotted with spring beauties, violets, and hundreds of May Apple umbrellas. We cut through old Kenny’s
field and walked half of the perimeter, but it’s now disked and will soon be planted, so the route will have to be diverted
as there is only about a foot of pathway and that will soon vanish.
The soil is loamy and fertile, but
it seems strange to see it all cleared. As I was silently lamenting the fact that I’ll no longer
encounter wood cock or Bob White quail or pheasants I noticed a thin animal path leading toward the stream and decided to
follow it. That’s where I encountered a large snake sunning himself. It wasn’t
a type of reptile I’ve seen before, but I’m sure it wasn’t poisonous and it was indeed a wonderful
surprise to encounter wildlife just when I thought it had all been displaced.
I asked for feedback about this blog
and I got it, but now that I’ve been encouraged to write about things more profound than planting beans and seeing snakes,
I find the prospect of actually doing so intimidating. It requires putting words to the beliefs, motivations
and feelings that while very clear to me are so personal that sharing them is-- well, scary, or so I thought, but then I spent
the afternoon with my former companion and his mate, who has become a dear friend of mine and things became clear. Putting
words to how/whyI consider my life good became easier. This is but one example.
I was devastated
when my long relationship with C. ended. It was the most unsettling event of my life and I dealt with it
by running off to Australia for a month. I returned knowing I could face any challenge life had to offer. Imagine
my surprise when at one of our monthly music parties a woman walked up to me, hand extended and said, “It’s such
a pleasure to meet you. I’ve heard so many nice things about you.” That woman was my replacement,
C.’s new love. She and I have been friends ever since. I also consider C. my friend.
So, in retrospect I guess the reason I can honestly say I am a happy person is because I understand that happiness requires
accepting responsibility (my role in the demise of the relationship), forgiveness (his role in the demise) and gracious acceptance
of any good that comes with change (my friendship with both of them).
another friend sent this unidentified quote to me this morning. It seems especially appropriate. “Be
mindful that happiness isn't based on possessions, power, or prestige, but on relationships with people we like and respect.”
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
10:10 am edt
Here I sit, still in my bathrobe instead of sorting out and addressing
all that needs to be done today. I’m distracted by another writer’s blog. This
blog, which frankly influenced the format of my own is written by a man who has made quite a name for himself writing about
the dogs in his life, although his blog is really all about himself. I read the darned thing every day
although it’s essentially the same self-congratulating stuff or comments about his most recent self-discovery or that
he’s dealing with his “fears.” Then I slap myself for wasting time reading it in the
first place. Why do people go on and on about their emotional battles real or imagined, always noting their
progress when it’s clear they are mired in going nowhere?
had something bad happen in his/her life? An unhappy childhood, a failed relationship or two, money worries…,
the list could go on forever, but as my British friends say in the face of tragedy, “Well, you just get over it, don’t
you?” Yes indeed, get over it. Move on. Live in the moment!
This man, like so many others frequently lauds the young woman he plans to marry as playing a role in his evolution.
As he revealed when his former marriage was ending about a year ago, it was obvious to readers how and why this came
to be. The new bride-to-be appears young enough to be his daughter. That story has been
told way too many times. I wonder if his former wife has a blog. Probably not.
Maybe I read his blog because I’m fascinated by his self promotion. I actually admire it.
While there is much to be said about being humble, maybe I should be more aggressive in promoting myself, but I wouldn’t
be good at it if it meant bragging as this fellow does. Anyway, his blog probably has a lot more readers
than mine, but would anyone want to read about how sitting on a little log-and-board bench admiring a carpet of violets that
grace my Nature trail is how I meditate? Who would care that I find lying on the grass in the middle of
the donkey pasture, surrounded by four-legged or feathered critters a way of affirming my role in the Universe just because
it reminds me of my obligation to change/save what matters even if it’s just on this tiny piece of land?
I don’t think anyone really wants to know about my spirituality, my psychological evolution, my insecurities,
etc. Would sharing any of this make the world a better place?
I fight cynicism on a daily basis
for admittedly I am a cynic. That’s a bad thing, ‘something to work on suppressing,
but I’ll bet if I exploited this inherent trait I’d make more money, have more readers and be more “successful”
than I am. The difference would be the happiness factor. I’m a genuinely happy
person if I don’t think about the things I can’t change like war, discrimination, politics, etc.
Considering all of this, I’d like feedback from those who read my daily rambles. Should I
stop sharing the events of my small country life and instead share reflections like the man whose blog makes my eyes turn
in? What really matters? Oh, I have to get dressed now and walk the dogs while I think
about streamlining the focus of the article on which I’m working. I’ve wasted too much time
already this morning!
Monday, April 19, 2010
7:03 pm edt
The frosty morning gave way to sunshine and warm temperatures, conditions
perfect for getting those pine trees and raspberry bushes in the ground. Why does it surprise me when simple
projects like this go awry? The original plan was to put the new raspberry bushes on the outside corner
of the field, but two curious donkeys who watched my excavating with far too much interest foretold trouble to come.
I changed the plan, but foolishly left the wheelbarrow loaded with tools, discarded sweater and the bucket of soaking
plants too near the fence line. It certainly seemed far enough away when I went to the house to
retrieve some forgotten item, but I had apparently forgotten the potential neck extension of curious animals.
I stepped from the back door just in time to see the bunch of lovely pine trees in the mouth of one pain of an ass.
Andy had most of the young plants gripped tightly between his big teeth, head thrown back in that “come chase
me” attitude and Corky was happy to oblige. They had found new “toys” and the race was
on. Time was of the essence!
I scrambled between the wires of the fence and joined the party that was threatening to turn healthy pine trees into
donkey dental floss, all the while screaming threats that probably sounded like, “Wah, wah, wah,” to the longears.
The dogs found all the commotion great fun, so they too joined the party. It seems I was the only
one not having a good time. Andy eventually dropped a cluster of eight trees and I found the remaining
two tangled in the tall grass.
After the plant recovery Ernie decided to move the party to the pond. All three dogs bounded toward
the muddy water. While Ernie instigates these pool parties, he always waits for Ted to charge in first,
as if to test the water and then he follows. While Julie has been poking around the shoreline since she
first arrived here, today she too charged right in, swimming like a fish across the mud hole. The pond
is a leaky mess and while it disappoints me, animals don’t seem to mind at all.
be a hybrid, AKA mongrel, but her Lab genes rules her behavior. She’s growing like a weed and her
developing personality suggests that she’s going to be a chronic fun-seeker. So, now I have three
dirty dogs who don’t smell all that great, but they are happy dogs. How anyone lives without dogs
is a mystery to me! They are constant reminders that living in the moment makes life fun and interesting.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Resting in peace.
2:44 pm edt
Poppy and Sissy are a tag team, usually together, usually playing or
getting into trouble. Here they are desecrating Nettie’s grave. I guess they don’t
know this is a special place. This particular spot is not just Nettie’s final resting place, but
also Rudy’s (aged 16) and Schatzi’s (aged 17). This corner will now be the designated dog cemetery,
although others like Katie, Dorothy, Margie and Buddy are buried elsewhere. It’s sobering to recall
how many four-legged friends have passed in the twenty-three years I’ve lived here.
Under the big lilac bush is the cat cemetery where only Sweetie has a marker. When she had to be
put down after twenty years here, the vet pressed her little paw into a disc of plaster and etched her name, DOB and DOD.
It hangs by a ribbon on a low branch and I think of her funny round face every time I pass that bush. Maybe
grave stones and markers serve an important purpose. I don’t know. I still remember
all of the others as well, even the ones that were only here for a day, such as rescues like tiny Smudge whose brain was so
addled when I found the kitten that the emergency vet said there was no hope. The progressive paralysis
would soon shut down his respiratory system. Smudge is buried along side the cats that lived long happy
In the barnyard is where my old ponies Joe-Pye (almost 40), Wildfire (about 25) and a goat (not old enough) appropriately-named
Pain are buried. Pain lost a week long battle with a bizarre condition called Overeaters Disease. The farm
vet had been here only two weeks earlier to vaccinate all the barn residents. I had said, “Give them
whatever shots they need.”
When Pain became ill and I phoned the farm vet I was curtly informed, “We don’t treat goats.”
Something was very wrong, but what could it be? He had been vaccinated for “whatever he needed”
-- or so I believed. Every day for one week the poor creature saw my small animal vet who raised sheep
and took a special interest in Pain. The goat was ex-rayed, ultra-sounded, given shots for everything from
vitamins to antibiotics, yet his condition worsened until there was no hope of recovery. It was a mystery
and the vet was as concerned as I.
Early one evening he arrived unannounced, syringe in hand and put the tortured goat out of his misery.
We put Pain in the wheelbarrow and a necropsy was performed as we needed to know why he couldn’t be saved.
The necropsy revealed that Pain had literally eaten himself to death. He had apparently slipped through the fencing
and stuffed himself with ripe peaches which shut down his rumen. Had he been vaccinated for Overeaters
Disease he would still be here. Needless deaths like this still anger me. I trusted
the original farm vet who should have known or admitted his ignorance. It almost goes without saying, he’s been replaced.
A neighbor with a backhoe came and buried Pain by the ponies. For days after his death the donkeys
kept a heartbreaking vigil at the site that is now grown over with lush grass. Soon I’ll level Nettie’s grave
and plant it with wildflowers. No other markers are necessary to remember the much-loved animals that are
no longer with me.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Julie, the little angel.
6:39 pm edt
“Who loves me will also love my dog.” Bernard of Clairvaux
has ever owned a Lab or a dog with even a teensy bit of Lab in its ancestry knows that they must have something in their mouths
at all times, and so it is with Julie. Here she is enjoying her rawhide chew just before Ted stole it from
her (I gave her another one…).
The pup is growing like a weed into what I consider to be a most beautiful young lady. Some people
believe in “crate training,” but I do not. To me the concept is like incarcerating a person
while stating he/she is being “trained” to be a good citizen. My dogs are a special part of
the household and they learn that from day one. This is not to say Julie is never confined.
She sleeps in the laundry room at night and if I have to go away during the day, she and the boys have the run of the
basement. No doubt I’ll hear from those who disagree, but anyone who has visited knows these dogs
are well behaved and they are happy family members, not prisoners.
It actually snowed today!
Not much, but even so it was shocking to see snowflakes falling in mid-April, so the trees and raspberry bushes did
not get planted. It is too cold! There’s a fire blazing in the woodstove and the
furnace is humming away.
8:05 am edt
as if winter has returned. The skies are dark and it’s cold. T. was right.
My beans are not going to germinate. I didn’t sleep well, partly due to big commotion downstairs.
Even in my half-conscious state I knew what was going on. The mouse that has become a little too
comfortable living in the kitchen took a chance and left the safety of his home behind the stove. The cats were on him
in a flash. I could hear the dogs’ food bowls scattering across the wooden floor.
After a poor nights rest one really doesn’t want to be greeted by a tiny mouse head staring up from the rug,
but that’s how the day began. It can only improve-- right?
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Gardening is good for the soul.
6:50 pm edt
A busy day. First order of business was getting the truck window replaced. Then
I picked up the white pine trees ordered to start the barrier between me and everything to the north—especially ET.
Also got some more ever-bearing raspberry bushes. I’ll plant this stuff tomorrow, but tonight
I couldn’t resist planting a row of beans in spite of T’s admonition that it was “too early.”
Should this row meet some frigid demise I’ll just replant.
this time of year I actually think I have a jump on controlling the gardens. I’m trying some new
weed control techniques (newspaper layers topped with mulch), so just maybe this will be the year the gardens won’t
become jungles. As I tuck each seed into the soil that is especially loamy this year thanks to a winters
worth of stall cleanings, in my mind I hear Pete Seeger singing, “Inch by inch, row by row….”
Gardening is good for the soul!
My absolute favorite place is Nova Scotia, so tonight I made a soup from my NS cookbook and it was just too good not
to share, so here it is:
Potato Cheese Soup (a recipe
from the Compass Rose Restaurant)
1 C. finely
1 C. finely chopped
1 C. finely chopped celery
3 sprigs of fresh parsley (or flakes)
2 ½ C. broth ( I use Better Than Broth vegetarian, but you could
use chicken broth)
2 C. peeled
½ tsp. dry dill weed
S&P to taste
1 ½ C. grated Cheddar cheese
the butter, add onion, carrots and celery and cook over low heat until the vegetables are tender. Add parsley,
broth and potatoes and simmer until tender. Add dill and cheese, remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.
Puree mixture in the blender and season with S&P.
I topped mine with croutons. It is delicious!!! This is a photo from my friend Carol Rivoire
who raises the nicest Norwegian Fjord Horses I've ever seen at her beautiful Beaver Dam Farm in Nova Scotia.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
8:13 pm edt
Today Julie had her first “road walk” which meant she was
on lead as we headed up the road to Ranger Rick’s woods. She did great for such a young dog!
This pup is a testament to the joys of adopting a rescue! Even with her impaired vision she keeps
up with her big “brothers” and plays with the cats, walks well on lead and to date has not had an accident in
the house. She is a gem!
At the end of the woods I was stunned to discover that Chuck, the farmer who is working old Kenny’s land had
plowed ALL of the fields, right up to the trees and brush. Last year he only worked the east field, but
this year land that has lain fallow ever since I’ve been here is plowed and will soon be ready for planting.
Last year’s corn field will be put into soybeans and most likely the rest will be planted in corn.
Chuck’s cultivation has eliminated the route I’ve walked for so many years, thus one more event has altered
something I’d taken for granted. While in one respect it is nice to see the land being used to grow
foods, it saddens me to see the fields that supported so much wildlife now turned under. Not so much as
a footpath remains, so now it seems the dogs and I are limited to just the woods unless I can fashion a trail around the crops.
My day of rest paid off and I feel much better-- so much so that I worked in the gardens. Radishes,
lettuce and peas are planted in the raised bed and half of the long vegetable plot is turned under. I also
addressed the dreaded lawn issue. Now that the tractor has a new battery, I mowed. As I’ve mentioned
in the past, mowing is my least favorite chore and after today I hate it even more.
was long, so after mowing I raked some of it up to take to the hen with the peeps as they like chopped grass.
As I headed back toward the house I saw with horror that the driver’s side window of my truck was shattered!
Apparently, unbeknownst to me the mower threw a stone. It’s amazing how much glass is in a
small side window. After a couple of hours picking shards from the most remote recesses of the cab, calling
the insurance company and making an appointment to have the window replaced tomorrow morning, I hung a cloth over the void.
I’m hoping it doesn’t rain.
Tonight, after all of the busy work
of the day I sat on the porch and noticed how special my small country life really is. The dogs and cats
either snoozed or roamed about at their leisure. The old orchard is just coming into blossom and it’s
lovely. Mr. and Mrs. Mahlard (the mallard ducks) drifted about the pond and a squirrel tempted Poppy from
the uppermost limbs of the oak tree. Once again I realized what a lovely and privileged lifestyle I enjoy.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Time to think.
4:37 pm edt
I’m trying to rest in order to get well, but it isn’t easy. Indolence is not my nature,
but in doing nothing I have more time to think about things and to contemplate their meanings. One such
thing is the daily visitor at my office window.
Several years ago, just about this time of the year I was harassed to the point of distraction by a cardinal.
I’m not talking about the religious sort, but the avian sort. From the crack of dawn until
after dusk the brilliant red bird followed me. It was a demanding male and it hung on the window sill next to the desk in
my office, pecking at the glass. When I went downstairs it met me at the window in the landing.
Outside it flew from tree to tree shadowing my every move. The only way to escape the annoying bird
was to get in the truck and go somewhere, but upon my return it was always waiting.
I put a cutout
of an owl at the window, but the cardinal was undeterred. I hung a bunch of balloons outside the window.
It broke them. Ultimately I hung a towel over the glass, and although I couldn’t see him,
he was still there as evidenced by his relentless chirping. The stalking went on for months.
I contacted ornithologists and wildlife rehabilitators, all to no avail. No one had an answer or
Strangely it was during this period that I was struggling with a story about my mother’s final day on earth.
It was called “As She Lay Dying” and it ended up being published, but my reason for writing it was more
of an emotional purge. In retrospect I don’t even remember submitting it to the short story contest,
but obviously I had. Writing it required some painful recollections and even more painful acknowledgement
of my shortcomings as a human being, especially as a daughter. Throughout the soul-searching effort the
bird was my constant annoying companion. While it was happening I didn’t connect the two events.
The fiery red creature hanging at the window, his incessant chirping and seemingly senseless obsession with me were
all making a difficult process far more so. The day I finished the story was the day the bird vanished.
It was also the day a letter from Prudential insurance arrived in my mailbox.
informed me that the company had just become aware that I was the beneficiary of an insurance policy which had been taken
out by my mother they year I was born! My mother, by this time had been in her grave more than seven years.
I was instructed to submit some documents proving my identity, which I did and Prudential sent me a most-unexpected
While grateful for the money I couldn’t ignore the coincidence of the memoire and the bird and while this incident
was indeed eerie, it was even eerier when it repeated itself two years later. I was not working on anything
quite as soul-searching as the first, but I was working on the Leaving Fifth Street collection of short stories when a cardinal
(surely not the same one…) again appeared at my office window. It was there daily until the second
letter from Prudential arrived informing me that they had discovered another policy naming me the beneficiary.
I provided the redundant documentation and again I received a check for about $1,000.00.
For the past week a cardinal, this time a female has been appearing at my office window. Unlike
its predecessors it doesn’t hang around all day, but simply stops by several times a day as if to say hello.
My mother’s favorite bird was the cardinal. I have my own thoughts about the significance
of this bird and the awkward relationship she and I shared. I think the recurring appearance of this bird
symbolizes resolution, forgiveness and peace.
Monday, April 12, 2010
A time to rest.
8:59 pm edt
I avoided mentioning that for the past month I’ve been battling
some chest ailment that has again (yesterday)sent me to Stat Care where the tentative diagnosis was “walking pneumonia.”
A chest ex-ray was taken, but this must be read by the radiologist for a definitive answer. Meanwhile
I’m taking some super duper Rx. and while I think my chest feels somewhat better, I remain very weak, so I have resigned
myself to rest.
After a trip into town to purchase a new tractor battery I plunked myself down on one of the comfy porch chairs to
soak up the sun and began reading Jane Goodall’s latest book. Jane has been my hero for a very long
time and this book is just what the doctor ordered. While it may not help my physical ailment, her stories
of hope and success just when things seemed utterly hopeless are helping to alleviate the anger and despair I feel seeing
the destruction of the natural world around me. As always Ms. Goodall is an inspiration. Julie is great. I love her to pieces! Hope
to have a more interesting post tomorrow.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
The cursed tractor..
6:58 pm edt
The trees are just beginning to show signs of green. As I sit on my porch, beyone the pond I can
see neighbor D. through the skeletal woods as he creeps from east to west atop his John Deere. He looks
like a walrus in a tank top creeping along at a snail’s pace mowing acres and acres of grass. When
he’s finished his extended lawn looks as perfect as green plush carpeting. Then he disappears back
into the house and I’ll probably not see him again until the next time he mounts the JD and begins his monotonous east-west
My lawn (such as it is) is a tufted mess of long and short assorted grasses dotted with spring beauties and budding
dandelions. I think it’s much prettier and more interesting than D’s perfectly boring grass.
I hate mowing, except for the nature trail, but I made the first maddening attempt of the season to rev up the tractor
which was as dead as one of the mice Sissy delivers to the back door each morning. I pushed it out of the
shed, drove the truck through the yard and tried to jump the battery, but it wouldn’t even click. I called T.
Equipment must have some kind of micro chip that only responds to a masculine touch. He fiddled with the jumper cables
and voila, it started right up. He left and I set off to mow the nature trail, but before I even reached
the manure spreader (where I was eagerly anticipating cutting the new diverted path) it died again without so much as a sputter
or cough. There it sat nestled between big trees, raspberry bushes and of course, multiflora rose awaiting
Mr. T’s magic touch once again. This time he arrived with tools and some little meter, fussed with
the terminals, disconnected and reconnected and again it started. I drove it back to the shed and quit
for the day. A little red light indicates something is wrong, so it awaits further diagnosis.
Not even the patio bench!
9:47 am edt
...but how can I say no to this face?
9:44 am edt
People sit on chairs, dogs do not. Julie is absolutely positively not
allowed on the furniture.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
11:23 am edt
Cook one box of orzo according to directions.
(Orzo is a rice-shaped pasta.)
Put the drained
orzo in a large bowl and add approximately ½-3/4 C. olive oil and mix well. Add more if desired.
Finely chop 2 or 3 cloves of garlic (depending on the size)
Coarsely chop about a cup of celery and about ½ cup of
Add tomatoes, (Fresh
are best cut in ½” cubes, but you can use drained canned chopped.) black olives, chopped green
or red pepper and crumble one container of traditional Feta cheese (in brine, but drained). Most important
ingredients Season generously with sea salt. are 2 TBSP.
cumin and about ½-1 C. chopped fresh cilantro.
the pasta seems dry, add more olive oil. Can be served immediately or later. Reheat
just until it’s warm. Either way it is delicious.
Friday, April 9, 2010
Long lost friends.
5:45 pm edt
Scanning the obituaries has become a daily habit. A few weeks ago I saw that one of my grade school
teachers had died, but usually I breathe a sigh of relief because rarely is there a familiar name. Maybe
this silly response suggests that there’s still time…. Today a familiar name jumped out at
Larry is dead. Why should it matter? We haven’t seen one another in more
years than I can recall, but when I saw his name and read the lovely tribute in the newspaper I could actually conjure up
his big smiling face in my mind’s eye. It was because of Larry that my life and that of my ex-husband's
changed course in positive ways. Larry introduced us to things we might never have discovered on our own
and for this I’m grateful. I remember him fondly for he was fun, he was flamboyant, he was smart
and generous, but most of all he was a kind person. The world needs more kind people.
about this long lost friend has made me more aware of how important it is to tell others how much they mean or the influence
they have had. I hope I won’t soon forget this revelation. I hope I will speak
my gratitude and appreciation to those who matter, rather than regret my silence when they are gone.
As Mother Teresa said, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
Thursday, April 8, 2010
7:17 pm edt
In yesterdays blog I misidentified Julie’s eye condition. What she has is mild vertical nystagmus
which is apparently not uncommon in human babies and young children. According to ophthalmology sites it
can even resolve itself although the vet did not suggest this.
A new puppy in the house helps one
see the world differently, especially when the new puppy sees the world differently. As I watch Julie discover
her environment I know that this dog was meant to come here. She is safe and happy and seems to have several
guardian angels looking out for her.
Ted and Ernie are such good boys even though Ted has already claimed some of the new toys. They
stick close to her as we walk the woods and fields. It’s wonderful to see Julie running with such
abandon, her big velvet ears flapping and her oversized feet plopping through the tall grass. As I watch
my happy dogs I hear the pathetic four o’clock bugling of the beagle on the corner. He has been tethered to a plastic
dog house since he was Julie’s age. It’s been three long years and judging from his predecessors
he has about seven or eight more years to endure being ignored. In the beginning he cried all the time, but now he’s
silent until four when the wife at this place delivers his daily rations. “Pet
owners” like this make me sick. I considered stealing him, but couldn’t quite figure out how
to get away with it, so he remains a prisoner of the lazy indifferent family.
Julie spent her first night in the
laundry room with toys, food, water and a nice dog bed. Quiet as a mouse she slept until morning and didn’t
even have an accident. She’s just a dear little thing and while she may not grow up to be a star
Frisbee player like Ted or a raving beauty, I think she is perfect.
Sunshine and warm breezes have been
replaced by dark gloomy skies and chilly rain. Snow is even predicted, so I’ve picked the beautiful
jonquils to brighten the kitchen rather than see them ruined in the garden.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Yet another surprise.
7:07 pm edt
When I was
four years old I fell and hit the back of my head on the cement sidewalk. Three days later when my right
eye turned in my mother took me to the ophthalmologist who informed her that the muscle was permanently damaged.
I was issued a one-size-fits-no one pair of giant pink plastic glasses that covered most of my little face, but the
lenses pulled my crossed eye almost straight (but not quite…).
my fate was sealed. I’ve worn glasses or contacts ever since. Even with the corrective
lenses my right eye was always sort of looking left and I saw two of everything with no depth perception at all.
After forty years a marvelous doctor said, “I can fix that.” He did and while I still
wear contacts, my eyes are straight and I only see half as much as I did most of my life—a very good thing to have single
rather than double vision! I also now have some depth perception. Since my visual challenge
began at such a young age, I dealt with it and didn't give the problems it presented too much thought. After
all, if you never come out of the dark, you don’t know that you are blind, right?
And so when
my new rescue puppy arrived today and I saw her crossed eyes I felt an instant connection. The half Lab-half
beagle has been re-christened Julie. Her foster mom had called her Zoe, but I don’t like that name.
She’s a dear creature, but Julie and I just returned from the vet who explained that her crossed eyes are a neurological
rather than an optical condition. It’s called “mild vertical mycosis.” Her
brain sends a twitching signal to her eyes which move up and down at regular intervals. Puppy Julie has
very limited vision that will not improve as she ages. 'Too bad doggie glasses couldn't help her....
Ernie and Ted and all the kitties have accepted this special needs puppy, but they want her to romp and play.
I’m sure she will as she grows accustomed to her new home, but right now she is content to sleep next to my chair.
It’s been a very big day.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Another lovely day.
7:40 pm edt
A most-unexpected sound greeted me as I entered the barn this evening; tiny peeping noises! The
two silkie hens plus the big black Australorpe have been setting a nest of five eggs which I had marked as always noting the
date the girls began their vigil—or so I thought…. I wasn’t expecting chicks for another
week, so apparently some secretive setting was going on. Two little fluff balls are busy poking about the
nest with their three moms. One is orange and the other is black with a yellow stripe on its head.
Three more eggs to hatch….
Earlier in the day there was great commotion in the barnyard and I knew just what the frantic squawking meant. I
raced from the house grabbing the lunge whip on my way out the door. Not a chicken to be seen and by the
time I reached the gate the racket had subsided. The alert sent out by the roosters had ordered, “RUN
FOR YOUR LIVES, BOYS! IT’S THE HAWK. Oh, and you hens might want to hide too….”
Roosters are utterly useless as flock guardians. In the chicken world, it’s every guy for
himself (guy being the key word). In the barnyard a huge pile of yellow feathers punctuated the bright green grass and it
seemed certain that one of the hens had flown the coop with the help of the red-tailed raptor. Certainly
she must be gone or at least seriously injured judging from the clump of feathers, but a head count showed no losses and more
amazingly, no sign of injury on any of the girls, so all is well.
Again today I had a flurry of visitors.
Keep in mind that this place is on the road to nowhere, so it’s not as if folks just happened to be in the neighborhood.
Visits are deliberate. I’m not complaining at all. In fact I’m very
honored. Maybe people just like to sit on the brick porch and watch the dogs show off down at the pond,
pet the pesky cats and forget about their troubles for a while. The warm sun and a brisk westerly breeze
made this a perfect day and place to do just that, but these visits reminded me of growing up on Fifth street.
The German-Italian neighborhood consisted of big houses all built around 1910-1920. They sat little
more than spitting distance apart, each with just enough yard for a nice sized vegetable garden and a few big trees. None
of the men on the street had a white collar job and none of the women worked. Everyone knew everyone else’s
business and people popped in and out of one another’s homes without knocking and usually without any real reason for
the visit. It was just the way things were.
screen door would slam and my mother would automatically unscrew the lid on the jar of Taster’s Choice that sat on a
tray in the middle of the kitchen table, spoon some of the crystals that were supposed to taste like coffee into ugly pink
melimac cups and set out a plate of cookies (home-baked, of course) while the water boiled for the instant brew.
It seems a million years ago. Who would even think of serving instant coffee nowadays!
Monday, April 5, 2010
Spring has sprung.
9:41 pm edt
What a day! Although the temperatures have been mild for about a week, it seems that the natural
world only responded en masse today. Bickering robins tempted the cats as did a young garter snake. Randy
Rooster and his fellow fowl did their best to ensure propagation of their species. In other words, it was
a gang rape that made me very grateful not to be a chicken!
Bluebirds were everywhere.
What a delight. I have dozens of birdhouses, six of which are specifically for bluebirds.
It seems every house has been claimed. As I walked through the barnyard one of these beautiful creatures
sat on a branch just above my head. I stopped and offered a poor imitation of its twitter and it responded.
What an unexpected reward!
Several visitors dropped by, but somehow I finished the skunk article. Such interesting creatures
they are. If you have any interest at all in these beautiful animals I urge you to mark your calendars
for Skunk Fest.
Overnight flies have appeared in the barnyard, but this year I’m ready for the disgusting critters.
I’ve learned that a zip-lock bag filled with water and a few pennies, positioned at entry-ways will discourage
flies. I plan to post these baggies tomorrow. One scientific explanation for why this
works is that the “…millions of molecules of water presents
its own prism effect and given that flies have a lot of eyes, to them it's like a zillion disco balls reflecting light, colors
and movement in a dizzying manner.” I’ll report on the success (or failure) of this deterrent
If anyone has a suggestion for dealing with the fake ladybug invasion,
please send it. Every day I collect dozens of these stinky impersonators and send them outside.
They smell, they bite and they are not welcome in my home!
Other than the unwelcome bugs, life is good. A bouquet of daffodils brightens my kitchen and it
seems everywhere I look outside there is something in bloom. Spring is my favorite season!
Sunday, April 4, 2010
9:00 pm edt
People ask me, “When do you write?” Unlike some famous writers who swear they get up at 3:00 AM and write
until noon or midnight, my schedule is somewhat flexible, but I usually work in the morning until about 1:00 PM. Unless I’m
really inspired or under the gun for a deadline, I don’t write on the weekends. And so the skunk
story is still unfinished. Tomorrow will definitely be crunch time.
It was just
too nice to sit at this computer when there were endless things to do outside, including hacking more multiflora rose.
While lopping away at the thorny canes I spotted a flash of gray amidst the ground cover and went to investigate.
It was a half-buried Blatz beer can. What a name for a beer! Then I remembered
my friend Tom (from whom I bought this farm) telling me about a friend of his who was down on her luck back in the '60's and
had spent several weeks camped in this area, apparently drinking Blatz to lift her spirits. After all these
years Blatz has reappeared, but I doubt that you could find it in a store. Another can for the recycle
Late afternoon T. and I took our kayaks to the lake that’s only about ten minutes from here. We
can toss the little boats into the truck in seconds and be on the water in no time at all. At this time of day the water
is smooth as glass. It's lovely to paddle back into some of the little bays and watch the wildlife or read.
In one bay I counted ten slider turtles sunning themselves in pairs on half submerged logs.
islands dot the lake. Here and along the shoreline were countless pairs of nesting Canada geese. In all
cases the goose (female) sat on a nest so effectively camouflaged it was almost invisible as the gander strutted and kept
guard. About every five minutes great commotion broke out. It would begin with ear-splitting honking as
two ganders raced across the water with their necks low to the surface. They went after one another with fervor it seemed
certain a fight would break out, but it was just a bluff warning of dire consequences should the opponent ever venture close
again. Then, as abruptly as the challenge began it would end and the two bickering boys would stroll along
the shore side by side as if nothing at all had happened. It was fun to watch them, but the racket was
relentless. As one encounter ended, another began.
This was a perfect day, enjoyed by all the critters here too. The donkeys are beginning to shed
out their winter coats, so I'm grooming them daily, but as soon as I put the brushes away they head for a good roll in the
dirt as Andy demonstrates.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
6:39 pm edt
I tend to take things for granted, so as long as whatever
the tool happens to be continues to perform, I pay little attention to the fact that maybe I should be thinking about replacing
it. So it was today with both of the wheelbarrows. I’m afraid they are shot!
This revelation came about when I got the bright idea to use the fiberglass wheelbarrow as a wash tub to soak a couple
of small rugs. I scrubbed it out, filled it with cold water and the laundry product, patted myself on the
back for being so clever and then added the two little rugs. The intention was to soak them all afternoon,
but it seems the bolts that hold the barrow to the frame have rusted and loosened, but not so they could be tightened.
Oh no, that will never be possible as they are as good as welded in position. The water ran out
almost as fast I put it in. So much for the portable wash tub.
As I tried to fix the rusty bolt
issue I noticed the tire was more than a little mushy. No wonder it was getting hard to push since it seems to leak air as
much as the tub leaked water. Maybe it has a hole in it. Either way, the “good”
wheelbarrow is in need of some serious repairs or better yet, replacement. Then I remembered that my mom
gave this to me for my birthday the first year I lived here, so that makes it about twenty years old. We’ve
both worked hard here and had a good life.
The barn wheelbarrow weighs as much as a car. The bed has some rusted holes in it and that tire is also soft.
I hate to discard anything that still has a bit of life in it, so unless I happen to find replacements for some incredible
bargain price, maybe at a rummage sale, I’ll probably continue to cobble these two back together, or maybe marry them
and have one good one.
A few years ago I bought a heavy-duty dolly at a garage sale with the intention of using it to haul heavy feed sacks
up to the barn. IF there were a paved pathway to the barn, this thing would have done a stellar job, but
trying to pull it along the bumpy ground was more difficult than picking up the sack and carrying it. Today
I hauled it out to the road with a FREE sign on it and it was gone in an hour. I hope it makes life easier
for its new owner. I’m glad it’s gone.
I’ve also been taking my rugs
to the car wash. An Oriental rug dealer showed me how he washed them with a high pressure sprayer.
Until then I had been laboriously hauling them out to the porch, soaking them with the hose, scrubbing them with Woolite
and a brush and then wrestling them over the railing for a time-consuming final rinse and dry. Mr. Squeaky
Car Wash has been a godsend! After vacuuming the rugs topside, upside down, then topside once again I throw
them in the bed of the truck and head to Mr. Squeaky with a fistful of quarters.
The concrete is clean, sloped so
the dirty water drains away rather than pooling and while I’m sure the soap in the “wash” cycle is not Woolite,
it still does a dandy job. I can do several rugs for about $6.00. Back home I still have to wrestle the
heavy sodden rugs over the railing to dry, but it’s much easier than the old way and yesterday I recruited friend R.
so the task was manageable. They are already dry enough this afternoon to bring inside. The colors are
bright and they smell great. Only seven more to go….
So, it’s been a busy day of spring cleaning, but I found these pretty yellow flowers growing along the roadside
and just had to stop and take their picture. It resembles coltsfoot, I don't think it is because the foliage is different.
Friday, April 2, 2010
6:39 pm edt
My not-quite-secret admirer left a present for me today. It was hard to miss the big white bag hanging
on the gate early this morning and I knew before I walked out to retrieve it that it was from Kenny.
In today’s grab bag was a 2010 hunting calendar put out by an Amish meat processor. Each month
portrayed some poor game animal prior to being snuffed, stuffed and mounted for wall decoration. The meat
processor also does taxidermy.
was Andy Weaver's catalog (another Amish concern) from which I could purchase a pocket watch for $49.95 along with other oddities.
I was pleased to see that Kenny had included the current issue of The Budget in the bag. This weekly
paper serves to inform Amish communities worldwide what is going on in each state. Every Amish district
has a designated scribe who is responsible for submitting all the births, deaths, fires, accidents, etc. It’s
actually great fun to read this publication.
Also included were several other
fliers and mini-catalogs as well as two containers of mine in which I’d delivered soup or pie or something to Kenny
months ago. Topping off this array of goodies was a large chunk of Guggisburg cheese.
sure that every neighborhood, rural or urban has its eccentrics, but I think Kenny tops the list out here. How many people
are lucky enought to come home and find a wagon wheel, forty loaves of past-its-prime spelt bread or a bag of treats like
today’s delivery? Kenny is pushing 90 years old.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
No April fool.