Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I hope your Christmas was as good as mine! Got some nice goodies, including a Kindle! It's excellent!
I just ordered a book (Decision Points, by George Bush) and it was quick and easy. Went to the menu, chose the store, searched for the book, ordered it (had enough credit for it), and started reading it, all in less than 30 seconds. Also bought a Dean Koontz book that I wanted to re-read -- same thing.
I do want to get a lighted cover for my Kindle -- they're about $60 at Amazon -- so I can read it at night. Takes me back to when I was a kid, reading at night under the covers.

It's coooold here today, and very windy, so the cold blows right through this old house. Using lots more firewood this year than last year. It's had an extra year to dry out, so it burns fast. I was out moving and splitting firewood several times this morning, and got chilled through. Had to hang out near the woodstove to get warm again. Thankful for this old laptop with the usb wireless that my son-in-law set me up with. I can even ftp into my desktop upstairs (where it's really cold) and get at my files and folders there. I just have to remember to synch them when I update files on one or the other.

Getting lots of seed catalogs already. and will order soon for 2011 garden. I think it will be best to order early, because with this economy going south, some stuff may end up in short supply. I'll concentrate on open-pollenated seed this year, because of that very reason. Best to have some viable seed to save for the future. Call me paranoid, but I'd rather be safe than sorry. Just wish I could convince the rest of my family and friends to do the same. Best to learn or re-learn those food producing and preserving skills now, than to wait until the coming panic.

Praying for a great new year for all my friends and family!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tempus fugeddaboudit!

Time does fly! Been cold and snowy, now rainy and windy, with more cold on the way.
Dorie and I celebrated our 44th anniversary on the 10th, and are looking forward to more of same! I love you, honey!

Trying to get the computer situation stabilized. I've been using an old HP (512mb ram) machine since my Compaq bit the dust, and boy is it slow! I could probably live with it, but it gets so cold up here that my fingers turn blue and it's hard to type. So my son-in-law fixed me up with a refurb laptop, with wireless, and I can drive this old HP from downstairs by the fire. Learning lots!

Still working on that NANOWRIMO novel. I became interested in what my main characters were doing -- should say will be doing, as it takes place way in the future -- and decided to keep them doing it. I hope they remember me.

So far I've received several garden catalogs, and am getting ready to send in a seed order any time now. The way the economy is going, I don't want to take any chances on not being able to get what I want. Also stocking up on canning supplies, etc, and non-perishable foods as well. I'd like to invest in some sort of solar/wind/battery power too, because right now we're at the mercy of a Spanish-owned power company, and I'm just paranoid enough to want to get out from under their thumb.

It's late -- g'nite!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

How to stay busy

I know, I haven't posted in several weeks. Been busy as a one-armed paperhanger with jock itch, in a roomfull of rocking chairs, dancing on a fire-ant hill. Or something.

Been foolish enough to add NANOWRIMO to my list of things in progress, and am only 6k words into it. If you've never heard of it, NANO... is a yearly challenge to write a 50,000 word novel, tarting on November 1, and ending on November 30. I've been gonna give it a shot for several years now, and finally got talked into it. It's really good exercise. See more at .

Weather's been mild for this time of year. Haven't been out deer hunting yet, maybe this weekend. I write in my head while doing other things, so that shouldn't interfere too much. I try that at work, but customers keep interrupting. :-)

Planted some bargain bin bulbs on Saturday, and saved a bunch of them for forcing real early in the spring. That really breaks up the long dreary winter, and I like doing it, especially with daffodils. After they blossom and die back, they can be replanted outside, and will come up again next spring. I also do some Paper Whites -- a variety of Narcissus. They won't come up again, but their beautiful scent makes it worth it anyway.

Back to nano!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day

Well, it's 7AM here in New York, and we just got home from voting. Seemed like kind of a letdown after all the hype, pomises, and mudslinging we've endured for the past several months. I feel like I know a lot of crap I didn't want to know, about a lot of people I didn't want to know, at least at that level.

But most of the things I've learned about most of those people are not the things I needed to know in order to really cast an informed vote. In most cases I heard why I should NOT vote for a given candidate, and I heard very little about why I SHOULD  vote for a given candidate. And that is wrong. But unfortunately it's all I had to go on in many cases, so I had to go with what little I do know, or surmise, about my choices.

All we can do now is pray that it all works out according to God's will (and I do trust that), and, if you'll pardon the cliche, be the changes we want to see in our corner of the world.

Monday, November 1, 2010


It's November already! And before you know it, it'll be time to plant the garden again! :-) I know -- wishful thinking. Gotta shiver through another winter before we can think about playing in the dirt again. Or do we? I think that instead of dumping and storing the planter boxes, I'll cobble up a couple of shelves and flourescent fixtures, and grow some salad indoors. Should be fun!

I picked up a couple halves of chicken, marked down at the store for quick sale, and cooked them up with some onions, carrots, and celery, and some herbs and spices. Ended up with a bowl full of chicken pieces for biscuits and gravy, a few very nice chicken salad sandwiches, *and* ten pints of excellent canned chicken stock, all residing on the shelves down cellar, and ready for some yummy soups, noodles, and other dishes later on.
Then Saturday we did this:
Cari wanted to come down and "Learn how to make applesauce so I can teach mommy!" So we did!
That's a Victorio Food Strainer she's cranking -- best investment we've made for the kitchen in quite a while. They're around $60 at

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cold again!

Well that was short and sweet! It's raining again, and miserable out. No roof work today, I think.

I'm glad I got the garlic planted, though. Now the only thing remaining is to mulch the strawberry bed with a few inches of straw, but I should wait until the ground freezes and they go dormant. Also could start some more grape vines from cuttings. Just watched a video on how to do that, and now's the time for it.
If you're interested, you can see the video at . That's Mike McGroarty, who has built up quite a business for himself -- found a niche in the gardening world, and filled it. You can check that out at

Maybe this weekend.

Gotta finish that article and get to work.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Beautiful Fall Weather!

The weather turned from cold and nasty wet to beautiful, sunny, and breezy for the next xouple of days. Just taking a break from working outside, to catch up on some coffee, writing, and email.

Yesterday, in just over 1 hour's time, I was able to ge the tiller going, till up a patch, and plant 250 garlic cloves. Now writing an article about it, which I hope to sell, complete with pix, to one of the gardening magazines. I plant garlic a bit differently than most folks, and manage to get a very nice harvest from a very small planting. Saving the details for the article, so I can't publish them here.

On Saturday we processed and canned 40 pints of home made applesauce. Dorie had done 46 pints last week, and now we have 1 1/2 bushels to go. The grandkids love it, and we do too. We use a lot of it warmed, spread on pancakes or French toast in place of maple syrup.

The main canning season is about done, but I've still got a pumpkin to do, and want to put up some pickled beets. The canner never gets put away, though, as I use it for chicken or pulled pork, or several other things when we can get them on sale.

Our pastor was just here, looking at the roof that needs replacing. He's coming up tomorrow with a couple of the guys from church to do it.

God is good!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It never ends!

Got the garden just about put away, only need to till a couple hundred square feet now, and will be planting the garlic soon. It was a good year! The pantry is pretty well stocked, and we're pleased with the results.

I didn't get the shed moved, or the greenhouse started, or the grape arbor put up yet, but there's still time. First, though, gotta re-roof the 200 square feet over our living room. That's just under 5 rolls of half-lap, and a bucket of roof cement. No tear-off this time, so I should be done in a day or so, even less if I have some help with it. Then there's one back porch to close in for winter, and I'd like to put a roof over the other one. All in good time.

Meanwhile, we had a funeral last week, and two more later this week -- too many good friends leaving us. One, a close neighbor, died this morning of cardiac arrest, while doing her job as an emergency responder, treating and transporting a patient. She was our town fire department emergency services chief, and a 19-year emt. She'll be sorely missed.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Education of a Wandering Man

I haven’t done a book posting lately, because I’ve been so busy reading and doing other things that I haven’t had time. Been saving them up for a winter day when there’s nothing else going on. But this one I had to share. I just finished Education of a Wandering Man by Louis L’Amour, and I highly recommend it!

L’Amour, most widely known as a writer of westerns, was much more than that. He wrote over 100 books, many of them westerns, to be sure, but a great many of them were set in ancient times – in the Middle East and Asia, and even in modern day settings. They all shared a common characteristic – the author’s love of historical accuracy, and his desire to teach, through his writing, the impacts one single man can have on the world around him.

Given all this, one would suspect that L’Amour was a highly educated man, with a study lined with degrees from the most prestigious universities. Well, he did have many of those degrees, but they were honorary, given in recognition of an education attainable only in the way he attained it. He left school at age 15, with a hunger for knowledge that never left him, and traveled the world on ships, trains, trucks, and on foot, working his way, and ever learning through the vast number of books he acquired and read.

In Education of a Wandering Man he says “No one can ‘get’ an education, for of necessity an education is a continuing process. If it does nothing else, it should provide students with the tools for learning, acquaint them with methods of study and research, methods of pursuing an idea.”

He also says “The idea of education has been so tied to schools, universities, and professors that many assume there is no other way, but education is available to anyone within reach of a library, a post office, or even a newsstand.”

This book is an account of just such an education – one acquired by an attempt to satisfy a hunger for learning that is indeed rare in modern times. That he was still hungry for learning in his late 80s (he died at age 88) says much for this man. He lived to learn, and to pass on his leaning, hoping to instill that passion in others.

I only hope I can pass on that passion to my own grandkids, and I highly recommend this book to anyone with like interests.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Lots happening!

It's harvest time, and we're putting food by, as Gramma used to say. Dorie and I both get involved in it, but she does a lot more than I do. She won't do the pressure canning, though, since she saw my mom scald herself badly, using a old pressure cooker. Doesn't matter that she was not using it correctly, taking unsafe shortcuts, she got burned, and Dorie wants nothing to do with the things now.
So I do the low-acid stuff, like beets and other low acid veggies, as well as pork, chicken, and other meats and stocks.
We had gotten low on tomatoes and sauce, so we concentrated on those this past week or so. Here's a picture of our cellar pantry:

and another

We use the milk crates as well, and there are 27 more quarts of tomatoes stacked to the right of the shelves. We did beets, pickles, sauce, chili sauce (hot and regular), meat sauce with zucchini, etc etc. Still have to do around 2 bushels of apples -- maybe three -- into applesauce, and I just picked another half-bushel of Roma tomatoes, and may make another batch of sauce for pizza, and maybe some salsa.
Sure, it's a lot of work, but it's good eats!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Lots of rain!

It's been raining here off and on for several days, so I've been working inside. On Monday I canned 30 pints of beets from the garden, and they'll taste great this coming winter. Now waiting to do tomatoes, sauce, chili sauce, and maybe some more pickles.
The garden is winding down, with only a row of late beans to pick right now. I harvested the garlic -- got a whole bunch of nice heads, mostly hard-neck, and a few soft-neck.
We had some big zucchini, and we used it for Dorie's zucchini stew -- like a rich spaghetti sauce, with chunks of zucchini in it. I put up 23 quarts of it in the pressure canner, and that'll be great on pasta, or just by itself with a loaf of Italian garlic bread on the side.
There are still some onions and peppers out there too, and a long row of sunflowers starting to bloom. Maybe I'll get some seeds to roast this year, but they mostly go to the birds as winter feed. I just hang up a head of them, and watch the birds go at them.

I've been working on my book too, and it's supposed to be out in March 2011. Doing final edit now, and it's amazing what a difference a hard copy makes, over reading it on the computer. Hoping this one goes well, as I have at least two more waiting their turn.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Our grandkids brought a dozen or so Monarch caterpillars a couple of weeks ago, and we put them into containers, fed them with milkweed leaves, and watched them chrysallize (is that a word?). One of the three came out ysterday, and this one made its entrance this morning. I was fortunate enough to see again the miracle of metamorphsis up close and personal!

I saw it once before, several years ago, and wrote this account of it:


The air was still and crisp. I moved my lawn chair into a sheltered spot near the house, next to a patch of wildflowers and weeds that I had missed with the mower, and sat in the sun. It had been a difficult day, and my head was full of my own self, and all of my problems. It’s a wonder that I even noticed the chrysallis, hanging nearby on a dried-out milkweed plant. A movement caught my eye, though there was no wind. I watched for a moment, and saw that it had begun to split open, revealing a dark interior. At first I thought it was all of one color, but it opened further, and I saw the black and orange cloak of a Monarch. It struggled for a time with its confinement, then stopped, its spindly legs and crumpled wings trapped half in and half out of the unyielding case.
It’s too late in the season, I thought, it just didn’t make it. Too bad. My own thoughts came crashing in again, and I closed my eyes for a moment, to try to sort them out. Things were just not working out the way I had planned them, and now it was too late to do anything about it. Might as well give up, like this poor, dead, black and orange thing. Monarch of what, I thought sarcastically, some king -- can’t even get out of its own shell. Just like me.
Then something brushed against my cheek, and I felt something hit the front of my shirt. The touch was so light that I thought for a moment that a leaf had drifted down from the maple in the side yard. I opened my eyes and looked down, and there was the Monarch, resting on my chest, just over my shirt pocket. Its wings moved slowly, drying, and I could see life working its way into them. The twisted legs straightened and flexed, and it appeared to be enjoying the warmth of the sun.
I sat still, hardly daring to breathe, captivated by the miracle I saw unfolding so close to me, until the wondrous creature gathered up its warmth, and its strength, and flew off to join the rest of the late bloom on their southward migration. Never too late, it flashed in a blaze of black and orange reassurance, it’s never too late to claim a kingdom.
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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Busy Day!

Been a busy day so far!

Stopped at the barber shop first thing, and now feel cooler again!

Then the truck started overheating, was low on coolant. Looks like maybe a small leak in the water pump. Added some cooland, ant it seems okay now. Came back in out of the heat.

Added a 1gb memory stick to this desk-top computer and didn't notice a whole lot of improvement in speed, but it's running, so I must have done it right.

The old Troy-bilt tiller (1963 model) stripped the engine mount bolts last week, and I just now got it back together and working again. They must have been loosening themselves for quite a while, and I just missed it. Gotta pay more attention. Anyway, I was able to replace three of them, but had to re-tap the fourth hole and go to a bigger bolt. The originals were 5/16, and the next size (available) SAE bolt was 7/16, so I opted for the in-between 8MM metric. Seems to work okay, and I put the red loc-tite stuff on them so they'll not back out again. I don't anticipate ever having to change out the engine again.

Came back in and submitted an article on writing, to a magazine -- $75 if they accept it.

Back out and tilled up a space to plant the fall broccoli and kale, maybe even some more beans and peas. Tiller's working fine!

Dug up the garlic, and laid it out to cure. Got some nice heads! Then cut some Swiss chard for lunch -- YUM! Saute a little fresh garlic (crushed) in some olive oil, drop in the washed chard, and add a splash of balsamic vinegar. Cover, and let it steam, tossing once or twice to coat it all. Double Yum!
The only downer was the call from the interviewer I talked to last week, saying that they'd hired one of the other applicants, who had "more computer background and skills than I do." Not sure what that means, since I've been extremely active in the computer field -- teaching, supporting, repairing, building, using -- for over 40 years.

Oh well -- into every life ... speaking of which, I'd better get back out and finish up in the garden, as we're supposed to get some T-shower activity this afternoon, and the tiller still sits out there.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Life by Golda Meir

I’ve been reading My Life, by Golda Meir, and it’s a real eye-opener. It details the life of this amazing woman, and her part in the struggle for an autonomous Jewish state in Israel, and what they went through to establish it. I knew the British resisted their efforts during and just after WW2 to settle in Palestine, but I was amazed at the extent to which they went, to block that settlement.

Anyway, I just read a passage that describes the airlift of Yemeni Jews into Israel in late 1948. These Jews had been isolated as a people in Yemen for 2000 years or so, having been relocated there by the Romans, and serving as serfs and slaves since then, with no rights at all. Golda describes meeting the first planeload, and talking with an old man who had just gotten off the plane. She asked “Had you ever seen or been on a plane before?”

He replied “No, I never had even seen one up close.”

She said “You must have been terrified.”

“No, I was not. Why would I be frightened? I remembered the prophecy in Isaiah: ‘You shall mount up with wings of eagles’”

And she writes “Then he recited the whole passage from Isaiah, blessed God, and said “This was the fulfillment of that prophecy – why should I be afraid?”

I read that with tears streaming down my face – the simple faith of these people in God’s promise to preserve them was amazing!

This book will be a permanent part of my own personal library, and I highly recommend it for all who would like to learn more about what has been happening in Israel and the Middle East.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Learning Curve

Ahh yes -- there is indeed a learning curve associated with Windows 7. Also with MS Outlook, and a few other new bells and whissers on this beastie. But I'm learning!

Along with the new stuff on the machine, we've been busy with canning -- picked two rows of green beans this morning, and we (Dorie, mostly) have 18 pints of them in the canners right now. Should taste good come winter time! On Saturday, she put up two dozen+ pints of pickles -- zucchini pickles, dills, and a few jars of habanero dills as well.

Looked out in the garden the other day and saw this:

then a few evenings ago, this guy was lying in our back yard:

They don't seem to be nipping any more of our produce, and they're fun to watch!

More pix of the garden soon.

BTW -- that brown and white one is called a "piebald" deer. This one is a little deformed -- some are moreso -- due to the genetic aberrations that caused the cool color scheme. It seems to be healthy enough, though, and was out back dancing about the other evening while Dorie was bringing in the laundry off the back line.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Back on the air!

OK -- I've got computer again! Now for the bit of a learning curve that comes with Windows 7.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


I'm temporarily sans computer, getting updated to Windows 7 and a few other goodies.

Back soon, I hope.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Interesting tomato snatcher

I'm missing some Roma tomato plants from out back of my regular garden, in a spot where there were no tomatoes before. I had hoped to avoid the tomato blight for some Roma paste tomatoes that we will can for making sauce later. This critter has been nipping them. We see it morning and evening. Finally got a picture -- not a great quality picture, but enough to show what I'm dealing with.
Hoping to see it on opening day of deer season, as I love venison steaks and spiedies. And that hide will make a beautiful jacket!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Arizona law

Someone just sent me the MSNBC poll asking the question "Do you support Arizona's tough new law on illegal immigration?"


When you stop to think of it, what’s the first thing they ask you – a natural-born American citizen – for, when you go to the doctor’s office? Your ID!

Likewise when you cash a check, get stopped for speeding, (or even jay-walking) open a bank account, buy insurance, take out a loan, or mortgage, get a library card, buy beer (at least in NY State), buy a plane ticket, walk into the courthouse!!!, visit an inmate, etc etc etc, you're required to show your id. And that’s for CITIZENS! So what’s their beef?

I answered as above, then went to look at the poll, and found that 95.7% of responders ON AN MSNBC POLL are supportive of Arizona's law!

95.7% !!!!

Yet bho (ptooie!) is determined to file suit against the state of Arizona and its governer Jan Brewer, to put a stop to the law.

It's about time he understands that it's "WE THE PEOPLE" -- not "ME THE PRES"

If you're interested, the poll is at

Monday, June 28, 2010

Doom, Despair, and Agony on me

Deep, dark depression, excessive misery ...

It's not to that point yet, but it could get there if I keep thinking about the news.

Someone asked what I thought of the following article re the oil spill.

All hyperbole aside, there may be something to it.

Can you say “Revelation 8:8?”

Anyway, my friend was wondering about the immense pressure at the ocean floor, over a mile down. Why does it not simply smother the well?

Right off the top of my head, remember the pressure is relative, so it’s the differential that matters. Think “bends,” and the need for divers to come up slowly from great depths in order to equalize pressure.

The pressure at the bottom is the same on everything down there. Add a unit of pressure to one side of the equation (the stuff coming out of that well) and it’s higher than the pressure of the water trying to hold it down.

I’ve read about the “volcano theory” before, and it is indeed scary. Who knows how interconnected everything down there is?

No, I'm not thinking "Journey to the Center of the Earth;" any prehistoric beasties are emerging as tar balls. But they're leaving a rather large gap down there in all that heat, that has to be filled with something. Like, maybe, Florida? I can see the price of orange juice going up a lot.

A couple of simple illustrations that happened not far from where I live:

A friend from church said one day that he had to save up for a new well, as their well had collapsed on itself, and they had no water. The water table is high right around here, and there’s no natural reason a well should suddenly do that.

I remembered that I had been by his place a couple of times shortly before that, and they were rebuilding the road (Route 79). Both times I had to wait for trucks to unload gravel fill in spots where the road bed had settled. They had huge tamper machines compacting the fill as they dumped and spread it and you could feel it for hundreds of yards in every direction. I told him to file a complaint with the DOT, and sure enough, they traced his well failure to the hydraulic pressure traveling through the ground with sufficient force to collapse the well. They paid to replace his and several neighbors’ wells.

Another incident happened north of Syracuse, back in the 60s, where they were filling sinkholes in the building of I81. After days of dumping and compacting, they were interrupted by a farmer who drove over to complain that he now had a new mound in his hay field. The pressure had followed a fault line to a weak spot, and created a bulge.

I’m wondering if our recent earthquake just outside of Toronto, and felt in this part of NY State, might even be a fore-runner of things to come as a result of pressure changes caused by this blown well.

Do you think it's time to start circling the wagons yet?

I know I’m not investing in Florida real estate real soon ... maybe California orange juice?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


It's starting to come along now; the rain has helped immensely! But it's been slow getting the rest of it planted. Of course, I'll plant some of it at intervals over the next couple of months, for a sustained harvest. I've got to replant a bunch of peas, as the rabbits have about demolished the first planting. There are some peas to pick soon, but nowhere near what there ought to be. Also have some hot peppers already, as well as some green peppers. The cukes and squash are growing nicely, and that first rain made the asparagus almost jump out of the ground! Won't be able to pick any of that for a couple of years, though.
We're seeing lots of beets and Swiss chard, onions, carrots, and the tomatoes and beans look to be right on schedule. Still have lots of time for potatoes, winter squash, and more of most everything else.
I've got most of the materials for a 3-bin compost pile, and am building some moveable fence panels to keep the critters out of my beans and peas.
On the "bummer" side, the birds and bugs got most of the cherries off my new sweet cherry tree. This would have been the first harvest, but it didn't turn out.
Will post morepix later.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Good Day's work

Had the day off today, and it's been a scorcher! But I had to get some garden in anyway, as we're supposed to get some rain tonight. Here's a shot from the southwest corner, showing about half of the garden. Click on the picture to enlarge it if you wish. I'm gradually relocating it to get it out of the shade of the big oak tree. The shady part is still good for some things -- lettuce, carrots, etc, but full-sun loving crops need to be on the far side. The tall stuff on the right is garlic, planted last fall. It's just a couple of feet east of the center of the garden, so you can get an idea just how big 8000 square feet of garden really is.
Today I planted 36 tomatoes, two dozen peppers, red onions, and moved a volunteer clump of violas that appeared in the other garlic patch. Oh, and more cucumbers and squash. Can't have enough pickles! Still have sunflowers, more radishes, some potatoes, pumpkins, pole beans, scallions, marigolds, carrots, parsnips, basil, coriander (cilantro when green, coriander when the seeds mature) chard, nasturtiums, lettuce, broccoli, kale, turnips, and other stuff. Some crops will go in later, to mature towards the fall.
Already have bush beans, beets, garlic, radishes, 50 asparagus plants, yellow and zucchini squash, carrots, gladiolus, dahlias, and a few other flowers. Gotta have flowers!
It's a bit of work, but I love it, and fresh veggies are way better than the stuff they overcharge us for at the supermarket. We eat what we can, and what we can't eat, we can! It's a pretty sight in the dead of winter to see all the jars of home-canned, home-grown GOOD food!

Someone asked about all the white garden stakes -- I recycled them from the railing around a swimming pool deck. They last forever, and they make great marker stakes!

Using Picasa3 to view and upload to here --- dunno how it works.
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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Miep Gies

A beautiful human being passed away in January, at age 100, and I just learned of it. Her name was Miep Gies, and I imagine it is unfamiliar to many, if not most of the people who have been touched by her life.

And that is a crying shame.

Miep Gies was the woman who hid and protected Anne Frank and her family, at the dire peril of losing her own life for it. She is the one who recovered Anne's diary, and gave it to Anne's father, Otto, after the war. Without her we would never have known Anne's story, yet she considered what she did for them to be nothing worthy of note; she was only doing what one human being should do for another.

The NY TImes did run an article about her -- you can read it at
NY TImes Gies Article
It is a good reminder of an era and an atrocity that many -- including some our own current administration seem to be determined to downplay.

Please read the article, and also do a Google search on her name. She deserves to be remembered forever, for what she did.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It's that season again

They say the ticks are going to be especally bad this summer -- just found one on the back of my knee. Maybe I'll get a flock of Guinea Hens to help keep them under control. Wonder if my Golden Retriever (Sam) will leave them alone?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What the ...!???

Hot button warning!
Was listening to a local talk radio show in the truck this morning, and a caller opened his chat by saying "I'm not going to vote [on the school budget] today, because I'm only one vote, and it wouldn't count anyway, because blahblahblah." He then proceeded to sound off on the evils of our political and educational systems, and I had to agree with him on 99% of what he was saying.


That first part, where he said "I'm not going to vote ..."

To my limited cognizance, that means that he had already given up on his right to complain. He was not willing to even attempt to hold up his end of the bargain, so where did he get the right to berate the ones on the other end of the yoke?

I'm not purposely singling out this gentleman, because I know he's definitely not alone. But that's the point, isn't it? He contends that he has only one vote, and it is already rendered nil by the powers that be. His actions don't mean anything in today's world. The actions of one person carry no weight in society whatsoever.

Tell that to Rosa Parks.

Echo it to the young man who stood in front of that Chinese tank in Tienamin Square.

Neither of them are with us any more, but none of us will forget them, and their one "vote" to stand up for what they knew to be right did make a difference to the world they lived in.

Just an opinion.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Great Strategy!

I think I've discovered the best strategy for keeping the tomato plants from freezing -- Procrastination! :-) !!!

I was gonna put 'em in last week, and get a head start this year, but just didn't get around to it. Last night it snowed here, and we've got freeze warnings for the next two days.

So ,,, maybe next week ...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Rose Bush

Finally moved the yellow rose bush from beside Bev and Aaron's home to its new home in the corner fence in our side yard. Could almost hear the poor thing crying "Not again!" It does have a history:

My Grandma moved from Sydney, NY to Bainbridge, NY when my dad was two or three, (1919 or 1920) and took this climbing yellow rose with her. It had been growing for years at the home where she lived. Then when they moved to Binghamton they moved it again -- around 1938. It got moved a couple more times in the early 40s, just after I was born, and in 1947 it got moved to our home on Bunn Hill, between Vestal and Binghamton.
In 1959 we dug it up again, and moved it into Vestal, where it stayed for a couple of years, until Mother and Dad bought this house in Lisle, NY. Dad put it next to the barn in 1961 or 62, where half of it still grows, and then moved half of it up the road when we bought this place, and they put a mobile home on a foundation just on the other side of the barn.
Bev and Aaron bought the mobile home a few years ago, and now they want to build an addition right where the rose bush grew.
So today I moved it, and I'm hoping that it will survive yet again.
It's a beautiful old-fashioned single yellow rose, with the nicest fragrance, and I want to keep it.
After all, it has to be over 100 years old by now.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Got compost?

An 11AM start time at work gives opportunity for other things! I went to the landfill yesterday morning and got a truckload of nice (free) compost for the garden. It took about an hour, and I'll probably do it again later in the week.
They do this every year, and have a huge composting area to handle yard waste to recycle it instead of filling up the landfill with it.
Check your local landfill for a similar program!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

To plant or not to plant

Lots of work to do in the garden! Removed most of the posts and fencing -- it's easier to till that way, and gotta rotate the beds anyway. I've been tilling every few days to try to kill off the weeds as they sprout, and watching for volunteer potatoes so I can dig them out before they can get a start. Garden co-op says that is best way to avoid a repeat of the blight that destroyed the tomato and most of the potato crop last season.

My asparagus roots arrived from Miller Nursery -- 25 Purple, and 25 Super Male -- so I've gotta make the final decision where I want the bed to be, and get the trenches dug for them. We do love fresh home-grown asparagus, and the bed I planted some years ago is starting to peter out.

Will have to buy pepper plants now, as the seed I started was mostly no-show. Sometimes happens, especially with peppers. At least with the peppers I start! :-)

We're out of home-canned beets now, so I've gotta get some out of the garden this year. That's one crop I've had to worst luck with. Maybe better this year.

Cari Grace is planning her garden plot, and will probably plant a 3-sisters garden again, plus a few other goodies. If you've never done one, there are good instructions here Just be sure to explain the history behind them to your kids -- Cari loved it, and can still tell you the story behind it.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Lessons From Armed America

Recommended reading for anyone interested in the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution. Kathy Jackson and Mark Walters have written a riveting book outlining exactly what it means to be armed in America. Whether you carry, or contemplate carrying, a handgun for sport, competition, or defense, you would do well to read and consider this excellent book. It combines anecdotal with statistical evidence to present the privilege and responsibility embodied in the second amendment. Again, highly recommended!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Turkey in the garden this morning!

Looked out the window this morning and this is what I saw checking out the pea patch! Season starts in a week, so this one may be dinner before too much longer!
Sam and I (he's my golden retriever) watched it for several minutes before it finally moved along.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I Love You Three Dots

We've read lots of books to our kids and grandkids, and I've seen some very nice ones over the years. But one new one just made it to the top of our list. It's I Love You Three Dots, by a friend of mine, Mona Haynes.
In it, a mom is helping her young son to learn his numbers, and he asks her about the three dots he sees after each number. She tells him that they mean the idea goes on and on. It's a symbol for something that just keeps going.
Well, the meaning makes quite an impression on him, as we learn later, at bedtime.
It's a wonderful story, and it's available at Check it out for your own kids, or for anyone who needs reassurance that love does indeed go on forever.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


We finally cooked up the 20 lbs of chicken leg quarters that were in the freezer, and I canned them this afternoon in the pressure canner. Got 11 pints of chicken meat, and 9 pints of stock for soups, etc. It stores well in the cellar, with no worries about power failure, freezer quitting, and all those kinds of things.
A word to the wise -- if you want to do any canning this season it would be wise to stock up now on jars, lids, etc. Looks like lots of folks are going to try doing it this year, and supplies may get scarce just about time to put up the tomatoes.
Trying to get a line on where to buy the Tattler reusable jsr lids. BackWoodsHome Magazine had an article on them, and they look like the way to go. WIll post more info here as I find it.

It was snowing this morning here in Lisle, NY. Not sticking, but definitely snowing! We've got the fire going now.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Go Fly a Kite!

Granddaughter Cari Grace came over this morning and said that her mom found her new kite, and asked if I could help her fly it. There is no way I'm saying "no" to that! So we went out and had a great time. The wind was too variable in the back yard, so we went across the road and flew some kite!

It's one of my favorite things to do!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Under Way

I got out to the garden yesterday, and fired up the tiller. Only took one pull! Then I got a whole lotta tillin' done! :-)

It was still early when I finished tilling, so I planted two rows of Early Frosty peas, and two rows of Little Marvel peas. More coming later. Now to put up some support fencing.

I'm under no illusions that we'll harvest lots of peas from this planting, because my grandkids love them! When they arrive at the house (later on in the summer) they say Hi, and immediately head out for the garden, and begin munching on fresh green peas! I don't mind a bit -- it's better than watching them chow down on candy bars! I just want to harvest enough to freeze for later.

Peas are about the only thing I freeze any more. I've become leery of the power company here. NYSEG is owned by a Spanish company, and I'm not comfortable that they even care about their upstate customers. So I'm not making any bets on the power staying on 100% of the time. So, we can most everything, using a pressure canner for low-acid foods. Let the power go off -- I'll go down into our nice cool cellar, and retrieve a home-canned jar of chicken soup, or some beets, corn, etc.

But canned peas can be downright nasty!

Happy Easter

HE IS RISEN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Blind Side

We watched The Blind Side yesterday evening -- Great Movie!!!!!!! I'd recommend it for anyone! Not sure why Quinton Aaron didn't garner any nominations for awards for his portrayal of Michael Oher, but he did a bang-up job as well.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Currently, in a (formerly) great country near you

Someone asked me what my thoughts were on the current debacle that is our political system. After some thought, I answered thusly:

Most of the Democrats see it as "Rallying Behind our Great Leader," and are so caught up in the fervor of Political Correctness resulting from electing a black man (ANY black man) that they are blind to what's really going on. BHO is so caught up in himself, and his vision for America that he thinks he is invincible, and can force his agenda (he thinks it's his agenda) on a public that has been apathetic enough to allow it. Have you read any of his books, or looked into the backgrounds of the people he's been surrounded with all his life? I sincerely believe he is merely a tool, created and prepared by the far left -- Soros and his ilk -- who are the ones driving this wagon load of loony toons. It is they who are forcing this "Progressive" agenda onto the stage. They deny the authority of God Himself, insisting that MAN is indeed the captain of his soul. Their agenda takes literally the last stanza of Henley's great lie, "Invictus" --

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

They have no fear of standing before a Holy God at the judgment, thinking that even if they do, they will be able to stand before Him with heads held high, look Him in the eye, and tell Him that He is irrelevant. And they insist they will lead us into the same doom.

The Republicans have enjoyed the "good life" for so long that they've become apathetic as well, and have forgotten any lessons we've (supposedly) learned over the past 200 years or so. They profess to fear the wrath of God, but most of them are too devoid of character to stand for what is right, and they choose to simply "enjoy" the fruits of their (and everyone else's) labor now.

The "far right loons" as they're called may well be the only really sane and serious voices remaining in this country, insofar as they are very vocally crying out Jeremiads against the debauchery we call politics.

They call for return to the principles on which we were founded. They remind us of the reasons our ancestors came here in the first place. They place the awareness of millions of aborted babies into the forefront of our consciences. They demand that our elected representatives not abrogate the rights acknowledged in our founding documents. And they remind us that we are still, indeed, creations of an Almighty and Just God, who has promised to bless us if we will return to Him.

Meanwhile, most of the rest of us have become de-sensitized by the abundance we have become "entitled to," and which we have abused and misused, to the point where we only cry out when stung directly, and move just enough to ease our own discomfort. Well, the whole hornet's nest had to fall on us at some point, and I think it's now.

That the "far-right loons" must resort to spectacular measures to warn us says much against our current condition. But then again, Noah simply built an ark, and no one paid attention to him.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Job Openings?

Did anyone notice that among the promises made in foisting Obamacare on the average hapless American citizen, was the one about creating jobs?

Well, it looks as if he's delivered on that one as well! Written into the bill is a provision for the IRS to enforce it, and to do that, they say they need 15,000 more people to carry the load.





Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Theory on the Current Situation

I have a theory.

Unlike those “Birthers” as they’re known, I believe BHO may have originated here in the US after all, but not by the conventional method.

I think he may have been put together from old, leftover Muppet and Barney parts, (maybe with a bit of Smurf thrown in) and raised in a tank with other misbegotten creations.

He – and they – were connected to brain feeds and pumped full of data specially formulated to shape their thoughts and actions into Politically Correct ones; into anti-American ideologies, specifically designed to bankrupt and destroy any remnants of the Judeo-Christian heritage we have enjoyed heretofore.

He was then picked from his lesser siblings, (if, indeed, that term applies) and turned loose on a society and civilization that has been dumbed down by the same force that created him, a society that is now ready to embrace him, as he carries out his nefarious programming.

His siblings, though not to be deemed his equals, received further (remedial) programming, and emerged from the tanks as left-wing politicians, and as media types – journalists, celebrities, and community organizers bent on elevating BHO regardless of how stupid they appear to anyone who actually has the talent of thinking.

Earlier versions of these creations were turned loose into all levels of our education system, and have been quietly preparing the citizens of this once-great country, blinding us to this, the cabal’s final onslought. They have succeeded in dragging us nearly down to the level of pre-Renaissance Europe, to the point that we were ready to grasp at any straw that promised buoyancy, even though anyone in his right mind would have realized that Kapok (even Kaopectate) would have been eminently preferable.

I fear for the collective sanity, the social well-being, and the moral underpinnings of this great country. I am afraid that very soon we shall approach the point of no return, and shall face a reality much more horrific than the Frumious Bandersnatch that Lewis Carroll wrote about.

We face the claws and jaws of the Jabberwock itself!


Sic transit gloria mundi. Thus perishes the glory of the world. (Thomas A Kempis)
Non teneas aurum totum quod splendet ut auram. Everything that glitters is not gold. (Alain de Lille):

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Finally Got Going!

I guess I must have shamed myself into it, and got the garden started yesterday. I went out to the shed and liberated some pots and flats, and moved some stuff around. The tiller diesn't look as bad as I feared, so it shouldn't be too much fuss to get it going for another season. This will be its 47th year of stirring up the dirt! It's a 1963 model, that I bought in 1987. I replaced the original engine in 2003, and will replace the (rear) tines again (4th set) before I start tilling this year. It's a good old beast, and I've gotten way more than my money's worth out of it. Even wrote a short story around it. Guess I should dig that out too, and brush it off and see if I can get it published.


While I was out in the garden I grabbed the long-handled spading fork and went looking for parsnips. Sorry, Andria, no luck. But maybe I was in the wrong row. Will try again when things start sprouting -- makes it easier to find them.

So, back in the house, I was able to start some tomatoes (4 kinds), onion seed, 8-packs of sweet peppers (2 varieties), hot peppers (2 varieties) husk cherries, besides some sweet basil that I repotted.

Starting to get the garden bug again -- happens every year about this time!

Maybe this week I can get the tiller going and actually plant a row of peas! oboyoooboy!

Friday, March 12, 2010


March has to be the most difficult month of the year. First it’s warm and sunny, then cold and rainy, and always the threat of more snow on the way.

Go to work, and everyone remarks on what a nice day it is; get a day off, and the weather turns miserable!

Everything begins to pile up until the stack looks insurmountable, and the first thing you know, it’s time to plant the garden, and the seeds are still in the box.

But not this year! Today I’m going to start the onions and tomatoes. Yes, it’s late for the onions, and early for the tomatoes, but I’m thinking it’ll all average out somewhere.

Then there are tomato cages to build, but I can probably let that go for a while – don’t need them quite yet.

And some cleanup still needed from last year’s garden, but I’m not ready to till that spot yet either. And the tiller should be gone over, and the mouse nest cleaned out of the motor housing, but it’s still too cold and wet this morning – that can wait for a sunny day. Ahh – some brush to cut and trim for support for the peas! But I still need to sharpen my brush cutter, and get the tire fixed on the cart.

So, gotta find that bag of potting soil and get the flats ready for the onions and tomatoes, but where is it? Oh yeah – under that pile of stuff I haven’t straightened out in the garden shed yet, because it’s been too cold.


I wonder how much the Garden Center is asking for onion sets and tomato plants this year ...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Young Artists for Haitian Relief

I've posted here before about Anastasia Rizikov, a young lady who I have had the privilege of meeting at two of her piano recitals near where I live. She is an awesome talent, and it is a joy to me to simply have listened to her pour her heart and soul into her music.

Anastasia, with nine other young pianists around the world, recently participated in a special performance on behalf of the children in Haiti.

The performance is at . Please watch it, and participate as you will.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Cabin Fever!!!

I know we shouldn't wish our lives away, but I'm so looking forward to getting the tiller going again, and planting the garden! I'm thinking of expanding it a bit -- it's only 8000 square feet now, and not enough room for what I want to do.
It'll require some extra planning, because I've got to decide what I want inside the fenced area, and what will be safe to leave outside. This year I want to plant a 6x50 foot patch of red winter wheat, to be harvested next year. I've always wanted to try growing, grinding, and baking with my own wheat, and I figure I won't be able to do it for too many more years, so I'd better get started. Part of the new area will be for that, so I'll have to till up the bed and maybe raise some short-season stuff there, and clear it off in late summer so I can plant the wheat.
Then there's a couple of top-bar beehives to make, and bees to buy for them, so I can get some home-grown honey. But the main reason is for pollination. I didn't see a single bee in my garden all last summer! So I'm going to try to make sure they're there this summer.
I've got most of the seed already, from Fedco, and they've backordered the peas I wanted. I'm sure they'll get here in time -- still another month at least before it's time to plant them.
Gonna try potatoes under hay again. Last time I did that, the mice got into them, but we got some beautiful spuds anyway, so it's a tradeoff -- lose some taters, in exchange for a lot less work to do in planting and harvesting.
Any commens or tips on all this will be welcome -- no way I can think of everything!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Here's an interesting tidbit, from the folks entrusted with our care and well-being. This oughtta give the bad boogers some headaches -- and the ACLU too!


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Can we get past it and on with our lives?

No, I don't mean health care reform or offshore drilling, though those are very interesting topics.
I mean the annual frenzy we collectively worship -- the SuperBowl!

It's really getting bad now, but I didn't realize just how bad until I checked out a youngish couple -- three kids with them -- at the grocery store the other day.

They had a cartful of junk foods "For our Superbowl Party!" They were all excited about it, and fretted that they might have forgot something.

Well, yes they did forget something -- and I almost committed one of Political Correctness' cardinal sins as they slid their card and announced "EBT." I very nearly asked them if they realized that they had spent nearly their entire month's food stamp allotment on junk munchies for their Superbowl Party!

With three kids to feed, they blow their whole food budget on one stupid football game! What are they going to eat for the rest of the month?

And they're not alone -- there were other similar abuses, and we see them every day.

When are we all going to wake up?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I think I may have stumbled onto something!

Did Algore watch a lot of movies back in the 60s?

Remember the old “Flint” movies, starring James Coburn and Lee J Cobb? I saw that one of the movie channels was rerunning them, so I tivo’d them and watched “Our Man Flint” this evening.

I never realized how prophetic they were!

The plot – such as it is – is about a bunch of bad guys who invent a way to create natural disasters. A few of these are shown to set the tone, accompanied by a narrator, who ominously anounces: “He who controls the weather controls the world.”

They then proceed to discover that certain area of the planet have warmed by a few degrees, threatening every coastal city with drowning. Pictures of melting glaciers – looking strangely like the ones we’ve seen recently on PBS and the Weather Channel – are broadcast around the world. Panic ensues, and all manner of experts are called on to assess the situation.

They call on Flint, who single-handedly invades the evil island headquarters of the bad guys, which, by the way, is filled with mindless automatons, but he is knocked down by an eagle, and captured. He asks “What’s with the bird?” and is told “That’s a neat touch – an American Eagle trained to attack only Americans!”

He then proceeds to escape, wreck the island, and save his five beautiful assistants, who have been kidnapped by the bad guys. They escape, by the way, by going over the falls in barrels, much like the Dwarves in the Hobbit. (neat Tolkien touch there)

Given the current geo-political situation, I’m wondering if the Grand Poobah of the Algorians might have developed the theory of global warming after watching this, way back in 1966, while waiting to invent the internet.

That might explain a lot of things ... except the dwarves ...


Monday, January 25, 2010

Are we really crazy?

In the grocery the other day I noticed they had a special on Bay Scallops -- $4.99 a pound. Didn't think that was too bad a deal until I looked closer at the label. It said "Product of China."

Now, given the various ways they've tried to poison us, and especially our kids, with toxic metals/paints and other materials in the toys and other junk they ship us, would any of you dear readers want to swim in the bays where they harvest those scallops?


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Enough is enough!

Here's a copy of the letter I sent last night to our senators and representatives from NY . Feel free to copy and use it, substituting the names of your own public employees.
Enough is enough!

Lisle, NY

January 18, 2010

Dear Senators Gillebrand and Schumer, Congressmen Hinchey and Arcuri:

If any of you truly represent me and the great majority of the people in the state of New York -- as you claim to do -- you will vote against the health care bill now being railroaded through congress by an ill-informed, ill-advised, and ill-mannered “majority” that is quite apparently totally out of touch with the American people. We neither want, nor can we afford this misguided attempt to gain control over still another part of our private lives and finances.

And at least one of you might have the courage, backbone, and integrity to submit the following proposed amendment – or one very like it in spirit and intent -- to our United States Constitution. I believe that we the people, the ordinary Americans who have come together to form this great union, and who have chosen you to represent us, deserve no less from you, our public servants.

Amendment to read as follows:

"Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators or Representatives, and Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States, with the exception that term limits shall be established for Senators and Representatives."

Thank you for your kind attention to this matter

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Back to work

I've been off work for 8 weeks following surgery, but am starting back tomorrow! But now I'm feeling the beginnings of the first cold I've had all winter! Oh well, spring can't be far off now, can it?
Please tell me it can't!

Monday, January 11, 2010


Yes it is.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

all gone?

Well, Christmas has been packed up and put away for another year. At least the Christmas trappings are -- the Spirit of Christmas should be a year-round thing. Too bad for many folks it's not. I saw an idiot cut into the line at the landfill this morning, dump ALL his garbage into the recycle bins, and duck out again. Too good to wait in line and pay the toll like the rest of us.

I see the Sierra Club is holding up environmental remedies for environmental reasons ... again? Now an endangered tortise is holding up a solar energy project that would power 142,000 homes, using solely renewable resources. What is the turtle going to do with all that land when we're all broiled -- or frozen, depending on your point of view -- off the planet?


And our wannabe prez's cabinet picks are showing their brilliance again -- NOT! Janet, go back to Arizona, find a rock, and crawl under it! Watch out for the turtles, though.


Is this the 2010 we've all been waiting for?