Fall Jobs

October 24 – The end of the growing season has just about arrived, with rain and cooler weather. The other day, Chris wanted to use the hand mower, so I got it out of the barn and she started it up and away she went, mowing around trees and areas where the rider mower could not go.


[ Calico limas ]

In the meantime, I got out a small bucket and went to pick the current crop of ripe calico lima beans. These are beautiful large beans and we have been freezing them while using other foods. I saved quite a few of the best pods and will use their seeds for next year’s crop.

After awhile Chris switched to the rider mower and did a great deal of the yard with it, but at last just had to quit and come in and take a break. But soon she wanted us to go out to our large burning pile and take some pictures of the tall golden sunflowers that had sprung up in it.

While looking for a good spot to take the pictures from, she discovered an amazing patch behind the pile, numerous tomato plants that had sprung up on their own over the past several months. There were hundreds and hundreds of ripe tomatoes, mostly Pearlie Pinks that are a very prolific bearer of plum-shaped-and-size tomatoes. We could hardly believe there could be so many, and we had never looked back there all summer.


[ Pearlie Pinks ]

Of course, we soon had some buckets and were busy filling them. The vines had grown up all over and through many dead branches we had thrown on the pile, and we soon found it was hazardous to walk on them. We had to walk very carefully, for it would have been very easy to crash through and land in a heap among the scratchy branches. After a lot of picking we had filled two four-gallon buckets of tomatoes, and then some. Up to the house we staggered, and Chris soon had them all poured out into a couple of large shallow cardboard boxes so she could take good pictures.

We took some up to Harvey’s folks and his sister’s family, and some to our neighbor Joe and some to Harvey’s Aunt Betty. We found to our dismay that there are a lot of stick-tite bushes growing among the tomato plants, and our clothes had become plastered with the little stick-tites that took a long time to remove.


[ Chestnuts ]

Our second chestnut has joined the first, and is bearing now. It is larger and older than the one we have been harvesting, but has much smaller burrs that usually contain only one nut or even none at all. But the nuts are larger than those from the other tree. Our cucumbers are done for the year, and I have pulled up the vines dragged them away for disposal.

Have been using our new chain saw recently to cut some branches we have been waiting to cut for a long time. Apricot and albizzia and oak and an old stump that I cut into but still have not removed completely. These have all been added to our burning pile. Was surprised at how heavy some of the branches were, while other varieties were fairly light. I would have cut those heavier ones into smaller sections had I known about the weight! – DALE

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In Which Richard Comes to Harvesters


[ Dale amidst the boxes ]

October 17 – Probably most of you have become acquainted via our blog with the work of Harvesters in this area. This group works so hard to see that those who don’t have much food in their pantries or fridge, are treated to enough to make a number of nourishing meals.

Every 2nd Wednesday of the month, the big truck comes into our church parking lot where a group of volunteers, some church members, others with just a heart of gold to help out with the distribution. Sometimes a problem comes up, and we can’t start at 9:30 am as we usually do, but not long after that, when the various kinds of food are all ready to be given out, the volunteers move to the boxes they will be taking care of.

Years ago, when the program first began at the present site, the food was in various compartments in the truck. However, not too long ago, it was put on palettes which were removed from the truck and placed in a semi-circle in the driveway. Makes it much easier for the volunteers to do their part in distribution. When the food was in the truck, it was hard for short people like me to reach the food at the top of the big boxes! I had to nab someone taller to cut part of the cardboard away, not once, but several times before the box was empty. With the new palette program, I can pick up the food from the front or back or side, whichever I choose.

This time, however, one pallete while being lifted out of the truck was jiggled around enough that it broke the supporting bands and fell heavily to the gravel driveway! Whish! Whoosh! Sizzly Sounds! Finally, all was quiet, but the soda pop was scattered here and there finally landing in a big heap. Was that pop wasted? Not at all except for those that had popped open!

171017_CarLinesOne of the teen-age volunteers, a relative of Pam and Dennis who were instrumental in getting the Harvesters to the church, decided he was going to do what he could to save that pop! As the cars were moving slowly up past that area, he quickly went to them, one by one, and asked what kind of pop they would like. Running quickly to the pile, he found the pop and ran back with the drink the drivers chose. Talk about a considerate and bright young man!

After unloading, all is ready for the program to begin! Richard, a good friend to so many in the Pleasant Hill area (and former postmaster), and a special friend to us, asked if he could come to help! Could he?!?!! Since we are always in need of volunteers, we didn’t hesitate or take time to think about the offer.


[ Richard and Dale \

So this time at the end of the line, Richard took his place carting ten-pound sacks of potatoes to the waiting cars and pick-up trucks. Dale was next in line with huge heads of cabbage. I enjoyed delivering beautiful melons.

As usual there were so many different kinds of food that it’s hard to remember all of them. Besides the potatoes, cabbage, and melons, here’s a list from memory: watermelon, avocados, buns, strawberries, mushrooms, eggs, papaya, pineapples, grapes, mangoes, plantain, flower bouquets, bread, and more.

I think I have mentioned in earlier blogs, that I really do like to talk to people, to give hugs or handshakes, and just to find out how they are doing. At first, I was in a bit of trouble because I talked instead of giving out the food, so Mike always worked near me so he could do what I should have been doing! Young and friendly Josh does the same thing, so even if I’m not doing my duty, I am enjoying conversations with people who might need a little pat on the back or a few words of assurance! (more tomorrow on this subject…) – CHRIS

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Old Books, Old Letters


[ Old poetry books from the Moyers ]

October 12 – As my mom used to say when we were kids many years ago, “I’ve been so busy today that you’d have a hard time following me around!” Way back then I couldn’t understand what she was talking about, because I always thought that kids of my age could run around a lot, and could easily beat out any adult. Besides, who could be that busy?!

I often found myself up in my favorite tree with a book in my hand, reading away by the hour—after I had completed the chores Mom had for me to do. Guess that’s why I didn’t want to sleep in for a couple hours after my dad had gone on to work. Seemed to me a real waste of good time, especially when I could be reading a good book. Not that we owned many ourselves because the wages Dad made didn’t do much besides buy the things we really needed. Sometimes the school library had sales of out-of- date books that we could buy. Not too many because we didn’t have enough nickels or dimes to buy more than a couple.


[ Textbooks, anyone? Dutch Twins? ]

But what really made me feel happy was the fact that one of our neighbors, Ellen Falvey, the teacher in a little country school, noticed that all of us kids really loved to read, so she would let us borrow enough books to read for the summer! How well I remember The Dutch Twins, Tom Sawyer, Little Men, Little Women, Little House on the Prairie, In the Big Woods, The Little Engine That Could, and so many others.

Now and again these days as we go to a garage sale, I buy up all (and there might be only one, or not even that) the old books, even text books that I can find. So interesting and fragile they are! But these days, when I am about my mom’s final age, I, too seem to be busy all of the time, and get some of my reading done while I am working, using an old cassette tape, or a CD that I carry around outside in a case when I work in the garden or mow the lawn.


[ Old Minuteman yearbook cover ]

Speaking of old things, I recently enjoyed sorting through a collection of “paper work” that my son David brought for me to look at. They were a collection of cards, letters, and memories from an old friend of the family who died a number of years ago. Sure did enjoy them, including a ton of cards sent to her by her husband. There was even a WWII ration book with many of the stamps still in place. – CHRIS

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Thoughts on Harvey, Irma, and Maria

October 9 – As I sit here in the comfort of our home this evening, I am reminded again how blessed we are and how thankful we should be to know that we have nothing of the sad days that the folks in Puerto Rico, Texas, and Florida are still recovering from.

171009_MariaPathNo longer is a news broadcast what it used to be when there were at least a few words spoken or a smile on the face of the news anchor or in the broadcast itself. Dale and I were talking about that just a few days ago. By the time all of the shocking news items have been on the TV or radio, there’s just no time left to tell about anything else and to help us to meet problems with courage, and even thankfulness that we are still alive, that we have water and electricity that our friends are not suffering or among the missing.

One of the saddest parts of the news is this: folks, who have lost so much of anything they ever owned, finally get the OK to go back to their home to see how much they have lost. There they find that a good many of the possessions they had to leave behind when they took shelter in various approved places, were nowhere to be found. Someone figured out what to do to steal some of the few items those folks had left. Dale and I have discussed that many times, and I guess we just don’t understand that sort of behavior. How in the world could a person make off with the very few possessions left behind by flood victims?

171009_StormCleanupIn these sad days, I often find myself sitting in one of the big chairs watching TV and listening to the reporters and cameramen in so many locations, the latest in Florida, telling of any changes in the areas, those who suffered with Harvey, and the poor folks in Puerto Rico who are left with nothing. All are facing a monumental task of trying to get back to normalcy.

When I saw the diagrams on TV of the THREE storms all in the same area just waiting to show their power, I could hardly believe they would settle down in various locations so close to each other, just showing who is boss! Where are the people of the islands who were pounded with storms before those storms moved north! Where are those in Mexico, with so many dead? How many years will it take to get back to what used to be normal in Texas, or Florida, or several other states north of them?

One of the things that I know I would really miss is a glass of cold water! When I take the plastic bottle out of the fridge to enjoy, I can’t help but wonder how much a person in the hurricane area would enjoy, even just a swallow or two!

171009_IrmaCleanupWhen I think of those highways with all the bumper-to-bumper traffic, with families who tried to move out of the way of danger, I wonder how their children felt about the whole sad story. So many have never seen or heard of anything like this in their short lives. With their schools closed, with friends scattered, with nothing at the shelters but real necessities if they even have those, life is not the same. They will never forget these sad days and would give a lot to go back to normal.

Adults will have a very difficult time as well, trying to salvage what they can of their former home before they went to live in a shelter. What will most of them do, with hardly any having flood insurance, when it comes time to rip out all of the ruined walls and floors, and try to replace their ranges and fridges, their furniture and bedding. It is very hard for those of us who have had no connection with the plight of those down south to really understand the problems.

This has not been a very cheerful blog this time, but I’m sure it’s not very cheerful for those folks either. Please keep them in your prayers – CHRIS

NOTE: just to be clear, I did not take any of the pictures in this post.


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Some Early History – Part 2

October 3 – At one mission station, there was a famine and the missionaries had to find food for the students, so they sent out to the nearby villages and bought bags of dried locusts. The missionary men also went out hunting for African Cape buffalo to feed the students, and brought back several. These buffalo are very dangerous and have big horns that are very thick and hard to shoot through. The missionary men would line up beside each other and fire shots at a buffalo until it fell dead while charging them.

I remember swarms of locusts flying over the mission, millions of them, eating everything they could find as they went, and they were so thick in places that they darkened the sun. Flying behind the swarms would be flocks of big storks, gobbling down the locusts as they flew. Down on the ground, the Africans would be out with branches and sticks, waving them at the locusts to make them fly on and leave their crops alone.


[ African home ]

Other insects I remember were the termites, that build big mud castles, some big enough for a road to go through and many feet tall. Termites eat dead wood and dry grass, so you didn’t find a lot of dead wood lying around, and in winter there were no lawns as the termites ate the dry grass. Any houses made of wood would be eaten by the termites too, so the Africans had to build new houses quite often and those who could afford it put metal strips over the ground to keep them from crawling up into the woodwork and eating it.

In the summer, the male and female termites had wings and would come out of the ground by the millions and fly around looking for places to build new nests. Everything wanted to eat them – frogs, birds, lizards, other insects – and their wings would lie around just about everywhere in great piles, even in the houses where the ladies had to sweep them out. At night they would fly to the windows, attracted by the lights inside, and would flutter on the screens in swarms and if there were no screens, then they would come right in and fly around the lights and fall into the food at suppertime. Many other bugs would fly in too, so if you didn’t have screens, then you ate before dark and went to bed early.

There are interesting ants in Africa. We had army ants that would go in great swarms, marching along and eating anything in their way, so people would leave their homes if a swarm came along and wait until they had left. The homes would be all nice and free of bugs for a while. We had a kind of marching ant that would go in smaller swarms, marching swiftly along on their way to a termite nest where they would go in and each grab a mouthful of termites and all go home together with food for the baby ants. If you wiggled a branch amidst one of these swarms, the ants would rush angrily around, squeaking loudly.


[ Dale and his pet monkey ]

There was another kind of ant, big black fierce ones, that went around alone looking for food, and if you happened to bump one, it would dash about angrily, looking for someone to bite and sting. They smelled bad and stung even worse, so we kids kept an eye out for them. I had a pet monkey that would sit on my lap and her tail would hang down to the ground. I would look for one of these black ants and hit it with the monkey’s tail and make the ant angry. It would dash around until it found the tail and would bite and sting it. The monkey would leap up and grab its tail and scratch and rub it, and look angrily at me, thinking I had done it, and I would have to be very sympathetic or I would get bitten by the monkey.


[ Chris and Blitz ]

For one year I taught seventh grade on Lower Gwelo Mission mission, because they couldn’t find a regular teacher, but otherwise I worked in the town of Gwelo about 20 miles away. Then a young lady teacher came out from Erie, Pennsylvania, to teach, and we got acquainted. She was known then as Miss Christoph, the lady who is today Mrs. Fairchild here. I had a German Shepherd dog that I couldn’t keep, so I gave it to her and then I would have to come out to the mission station from town to see the dog, and then I came out to see Miss Christoph, and eventually we got married in 1955, and came back to America in 1956.

While still in Africa, I had a motorcycle and used to drive out to the mission to see Miss Christoph, and sometimes we would go riding out into the countryside to see the sights. We would take the dog along sometimes, riding between Miss Christoph and me (or on the gas tank), and one day we passed a herd of cattle. My dog leaped off to chase them, not realizing that we were moving along, and so fell flat on the ground with a big Oomph!


[ Lots of passengers! ]

On another day we went out riding and had a number of accidents. First, I lost my motorcycle goggles somehow, then we came up behind a donkey on the path, bumped its hind leg, and it kicked the motor cycle. Then we stopped at a farm and when we were leaving, their dog came up behind me and bit my leg. And finally as we were riding along, we passed a big secretary bird, a tall bird that likes to eat snakes and mice and bugs and things like that, and scared it. It flew up and went overhead, and you know what scared birds sometimes do? Well, I had grey hair as a result (for a while), and the lady behind me laughed quite hard. When you pass a secretary bird when you are in Africa, be careful! – DALE

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Some Early History


[[ Solusi Golden Jubilee in 1944 ]

September 28 – For those of you who are newer subscribers to our blog, you may not be aware that I spent most of my growing-up years in Africa. In 1935 my parents were asked to go as missionaries to Southern Rhodesia in Africa. Southern Rhodesia was named after Cecil John Rhodes, an Englishman who became very well known. You may have heard of Solusi Mission, the oldest Adventist mission station in the world. That is where my parents were sent, as missionaries and my dad was a teacher. At the time, I was just six years old! I liked Solusi Mission a lot, for it had lots of wild creatures, many rocky hills where leopards lived, snakes, lizards, bugs, etc.


[ Proud of my bike (and safari helmet! ]

On the mission station there were a boys’ dormitory and a girls’ dormitory, and inside the floors were covered with a hard layer of dried cow manure. It kept the dust down and made it easier to sweep, but it also smelled bad. But the Africans were used to this from their own huts, so they didn’t mind. I remember that on Sabbaths that the students would line up in front of their dormitories and march over to the church, singing as they went. In the church the men and boys sat on one side and the women and girls sat on the other. Those who had shoes often carried their shoes to church and then put them on before they went in. Most of the Africans were always barefooted. When it came time to study the Sabbath School lessons, the classes would go outside and sit on the ground under trees, because there were no classrooms in the church. If it rained, they stayed in the church.

The missionary kids didn’t go to school on the mission station, but went far away to a school near Cape Town, called Helderberg College. This schoo was 1300 miles away from my home at Solusi Mission and we kids traveled by train for three days to get there. Then we stayed there for nine months until the summer vacation of three months and we went back home again for a while. Even little children were often sent to Helderberg College, some in first grade, and didn’t see their parents for all that time. Parents wanted their children to go to an Adventist school, so they figured it was worth it to be separated for all that time each year.


[ Dapper young man ]

I went there for the first time when I was twelve years old, because I had been taught on the mission station by one of the missionary ladies. There were just three of us missionary kids in that school. One year I came back home to Southern Rhodesia on the train with a pet squirrel. Another time I came home with a big black snake and a small cobra I had caught. I had to keep them hidden away well as the train conductor would not have allowed them on the train.

The missionaries did not usually learn to speak the African languages because they got moved around to other parts of the country quite often, where the language was different. But the African students were taught English on the mission, so everybody spoke English. My mom and dad moved 52 times to different homes and places, and were sent to three different mission stations in eleven years.

Missionaries were supposed to stay in the mission field for six years and then go back home to America or wherever they were from, for a year of furlough or vacation. However while we were in Africa, World War II started and it was too dangerous to take a ship back to America, so we stayed on for eleven years before the war ended. During those years my dad’s mother died, so he never got to see her again.


[ The Tijuca ]

In 1945 the war ended and my folks tried to get a ship back to America, but they were all full of soldiers going home from war and we couldn’t get tickets. We finally found a ship at Cape Town, a sailing ship from Argentina with three masts, named the Tijuca.  We became passengers on that little ship and sailed for a month over to Argentina, and then took another ship home to North America via the Panama Canal. On its next trip back from Cape Town that sailing ship sank, so we were lucky we weren’t on that trip! This is a picture of that ship, at Cape Town, Africa. It had a 300 horse-power engine to be used in harbors for close maneuvering or in windless conditions. (To be continued…) – DALE

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Retirement and Vultures (But not together!)

September 24 – For several days now I have been thinking of the fact that I have written very few blogs, not at all as I first started out several years ago. Not that I don’t have much of anything to write about, but just no time! I know that must sound strange to those of you who have to work in the office or store or in other places, but we’ve been retired now for over thirty years!


[ Dale and Clyde, one of our neighbors ]

However, neighbors, church friends, and others soon learned to count on the help we could give. And before you get the wrong idea, we were pleased to be in the right place at the right time. But it does seem sometimes as if we were “snowed under” and couldn’t say yes to everyone who asked. As the years went by, we had to say no to some requests, but that idea still bothers me! Is old(er) age a valid reason for doing a little less than we used to do? Every person has to make up his own mind in situations like this.

Recently, Dale and I were sitting on the tailgate of the truck, enjoying the pleasant breezes that helped just a bit to cool us down. When it’s ninety-plus degrees, it’s a good thing we don’t have to go out in the fields or garden. We don’t need to be entertained because we see animals and birds searching for food in one of the pastures. A small deer ventured out of the woods and into the pasture to see if he could find any good food. Quietly he stepped across the area, stopping to check out his surroundings once or twice before disappearing into the woods.


[ How ironic – a dead vulture]

A couple vultures arrived, swooping down into the grass to see if the baler had run over any small animal that those vultures would enjoy. Makes me sick to think of that kind of “food,” but I guess they enjoy it. When I told Dale that they reminded me of turkeys, he came up with something I didn’t know (that is NOT unusual because he knows so much about nature). “Well, that bird is a “turkey” vulture so it’s no wonder!”

Well, my curiosity made me check out one of our bird books where I found some interesting info, lots more than I will share here. American vultures have a small head with no feathers. Their hooked bills help these scavengers in their consuming of carrion, as their talons are too weak to hold on to live prey. They don’t build nests but lay their eggs in a cave or hollow long, even in buildings that have become dilapidated through the years.

The Turkey Vulture that we saw swooping over and over the area where the grass had been cut has wings of silver gray. That bird rocks from side to side in flight and hardy ever flaps its wings. The adult has a red head and white bill. We see some of them every day as they check on the fields, especially the newly-cut ones searching for some small animals that may have been run over by the tractor. They are common not only in farmlands, but in woodlands as well. The Black Vultures aren’t so great in finding something to eat, so they check on the turkey carrion and claim it as their own, chasing the original owner away. Sometimes they will check out garbage dumps and enjoy a real meal! Ugh!


[ Future vulture food? ]

Until we moved here from Pennsylvania, I had never seen a vulture that I could remember! We see several birds at once, checking out the fields for prey. They may even swoop down near the bird feeder or rush around back by the woods to find something they think is just wonderful and peck and gobble till the dead stuff is all gone. Many times as we drive along our country road, we come upon several birds gulping down the remains of a possum or raccoon. At the last minute they fly away, only to return very quickly after we have driven by. – CHRIS

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Separate Us From Our Money?

September 19 – Recently had an interesting conversation that turned into a recitation about the times callers would come up with their plan to “rip you off,” as friends used to say. One of the three of us present would tell about a guy who could well be in a foreign country, as we have had so many callers like that every month. Another would call from the same place, and still another, and more, all hoping that we would give answers to their questions; the ones that would give them a chance to find our telephone number. All three of us would rather go to a real store and buy what we need, rather than order on line or just give up information that these callers tried to get.

170919_MagazineGiftCardThe crowning touch came later that day when our mail was delivered to our box out front. When Dale handed me the mail, I started to sort through it. Included in the mail was a letter from a magazine asking us to send a subscription to our friends, an especially appropriate gift at Christmas! As if those folks don’t know we are already sending out gift subscriptions… And to top it off, the letter was addressed to my father-in-law who died back in 1980! Let me see now; he has been in his grave for just short of 37 years. Wonder who made THAT mistake!

Now on a much lighter note. After I had finished hanging out the laundry (did I mention that our clothes poles are really long and strong pieces of bamboo?) We have a huge patch of that and whenever we do some trimming of the dead canes, we have more than enough for our use. Guess most folks never hang out any clothes so they don’t need poles. But I am so glad that we can enjoy the fresh smell of clothes dried outside.

170919_ConeFlowersWhile I was outside, I took time to trim the coneflowers, or Echinacea, if you want to act as if you are really familiar with that name. Usually I try to do that cutting about once weekly during the season, but it has been hot and humid this last few weeks that I just couldn’t do it. Off to the garage to get a pair of scissors and back to the dozens of plants with lots which had gone to seed, and others which had lost their bright pink color. You can be sure I cut as fast as I could so I could finish the job before I fainted! The heat is bad enough, but when the humidity is as high as it has been lately, it’s hard to be outside very long.

170919_SungoldA little later in the afternoon after we had stayed inside for awhile, I decided to pick the tomatoes. We only have a few left; lots of the little golden ones and a number of bright pinkish ones that aren’t really ripe, but in the house they will ripen. Who knows how many we would have had to toss into the compost heap if we had left them on the vines till they were ripe? – CHRIS

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All Quiet Along the Country Road

September 14 – Enjoyed some time out on the front porch where I so much enjoyed just being quiet, putting things in perspective at the twilight of another day, and taking time to remember the many blessings that we have every day.


[ Evening clouds ]

All was so quiet, that as my dad used to say, “so quiet that you could hear a pin drop.” No cars going by, as the folks have all gone home from their work at the office or hospital, and it’s too late to hear the tractors and hay balers moving along as they have been doing every day for sometime now.

These tractors are equipped with lights so they can still do their job after dark, but that’s not the best time to make hay! Speaking of lights, in one of the houses just across the pasture the three big windows facing us were a glistening bright red/orange as the sun was setting behind our house.

Off to the north I saw tiny pink clouds and the trail left behind when a big plane dropped down as the pilot was preparing to land at the city airport in a short time.

I noted how the flag was hanging from the pole, not moving an inch, while earlier this week it was really blowing up a storm.


[ Sing-song singer ]

However, in the quietness, I could hear the sound of locusts with their sing-song music as they enjoyed being back to their usual singing this time of year. On both sides of our yard, the doves were showing their enjoyment of the peace and quietness at the end of the day. When everything else is listening, they softly sing their good night music and rest for another concert in the morning.

As I quietly read about God’s promises to us and the care He has for all His creatures, I heard Dale calling from the living room where he was listening to a talent program. “Look! Look over by the mock orange.” When I checked on that area, I found a small brown rabbit, sitting very quietly. But he didn’t stay long! By the time I got my camera from the house, that quiet little bunny was already moving slowly out of the area. Several times I tried to get his picture, but I don’t think he wanted it in this blog. Actually, I’m pretty sure I mentioned him in an earlier blog when he met up with a snake right out by the woodpile by the barn.

As I turned to check out the pink clouds again, I reminded myself that I need to cut back the big bed where scores of beautiful Lollipop lilies bloomed so nicely this spring. A gift from our nephew Roy in Massachusetts, they have been a bright spot in our landscape for some time now.


[ Inquisitive cat ]

Sometimes I wonder if Cat isn’t thinking we are lonely when we sit out on the porch by ourselves. Tonight when I went out to the kitchen to check on something, she jumped off the roof of our truck and hurried over to the door where I was standing. Just opened the screen door a bit, and she was in the house eating some of her favorite food. Yes, she was glad to be back with us again. Only it turned out that she wasn’t!

As soon as I went out onto the porch, there she was at the front door, whimpering a bit as she told me she wanted to join me. When I sat down she walked all around my feet, begging to be petted. I know she doesn’t have any doubts about our doing just that. After a bit it was time for her to make her many times daily scratching the wood border around the porch. I think her claws must be made of steel!


[ Robin’s nest by the garage ]

Other birds were here earlier today, but they don’t stay to sing or fly. Two cardinals came along this morning; a vulture family of seven flew all over the pasture across the road while searching for food, dead though it is! Two of the birds perched on the bare top of a tree while watching their parents find food for them. On the back lawn, earlier this morning our family of six and sometimes eight robins were busy finding food for the day.

I try to set aside a quiet time almost every day, just to take in the life around me and the beautiful colors and shapes that I so much appreciate. – CHRIS

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Good Health


[ Yasmine and me ]

September 12 – Yasmine, a lovely young lady from Coventry insurance stopped in the other day to check on the condition of my health. Her infectious smile put me at ease right away. Her first questions had to do with medications I take regularly. When I answered, “I don’t take any,” she said something like, “but what medicines do you take pretty well every day?”’ Since I really don’t take ANY, I repeated what I had said earlier. “Well, that’s amazing,” she said. “And at your age? You just turned NINETY and don’t take ANY medicine. Is that right?” “Sure is,” I answered. “Well, that’s a real blessing,” she laughed.

A bit later she asked if she could take a selfie with me so she will have it to share when she visits other older folks like me! She sent it to our son David so he could put it on this blog. When I received the report from Coventry, I found out that among other things I should “try to walk for at least 10 minutes each day if you are healthy enough to walk; eat fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants (I have been a vegetarian all my life); avoid trans and saturated fats and salty food.”


[ Not much fat in tomatoes! ]

Just a minute, please. I’m going out to the kitchen cupboards and fridge to check on those last words… OK, I’m back. I found some of the foods I eat do have saturated fats but not much. Good to see that our whole wheat bread has very little fats and no saturated ones! One-percent milk doesn’t have much either. Now, as far as salt is concerned, it has always been hard for me to eat vegetables with no salt, so I still have a dash of it as I did on my tomato sandwich today. At least I try!

Oh, I almost forgot the admonition on the last page of the report. “Exercise your mind through reading, socializing, using math or learning a new language.” Well, I have loved to read ever since I learned how many years ago, I love people and have such good friends and enjoy sharing stories and daily happenings with them. (Must be why some of the folks I know mention that maybe I talk too much!) Math has always been one of my favorite subjects, but I must admit I can’t come up with the answers as fast as I did fifty years ago! Learning a new language? Well, I did manage to do that many years ago, first Latin, and then Spanish, but these days most kids and some young adults speak a different kind of language that I need to learn first!

So, as I look back on the visit from Yasmine, I was impressed with her friendliness, her knowledge of her work, and her dedication to the job and the folks who need help along the way.


[ Cat sleeps, we read ]

Remember our cat, the one who claims the name of Fat Cat because she is one? The nicest pet in the world, friendly and happy and just “ruling the roost,” as my dad used to say about animals or people who felt that they truly were the top of the heap! There are a number of stories I could tell about her, but this is one I don’t think I will forget!

The other night Dale and I were sitting in the living room in our usual places, each in an adjustable easy chair. As we were watching the good quiz show Wheel of Fortune, Cat decided to sit with me so she could receive her usual pats and soft scratches behind her ears. I was so wrapped up in the program question that I wasn’t looking when she decided to move a bit. That shook me, and I must have leaned forward to steady myself. In doing that I hit the tray leg with my foot, and the tray slid to the floor.

This startled Cat so much that she just leapt right up I the air, right past my face, and dug into my scalp with her sharp claws! Of course, this all happened so fast that she had disappeared while I was still trying to figure out why my scalp burned so bad! Up went my fingers to feel around the scratches. No wonder I was having a hard time! Not a lot of pain but too much for me. A week later, the scratches were gone, and the cat still sat on my lap, but I made sure that the tray was moved farther away from my chair and me! – CHRIS

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