About Chuck

I am retired after a career in electronics and in publishing. Today, my wife of 50+ years, Sylvia, and I live in a house on a hill beside a dirt road in rural west Michigan. We enjoy living in this country environment where livestock and wild life out number the human population.

A D H L A S

Sad, but true

Attention Deficit . . . Hey Look A Squirrel

It started this morning. I come into the office with coffee in hand.  I sit down at the computer, and after checking e-mails, I begin my Web-surfing routine.  First I visit my favorite comic strips.  At least I can start the day in a good mood.

Next, I visit my favorite blogs.  I come to Shark’s MQD blog and decide to leave a comment, but first I have to check a detail for inclusion in that comment.  I’ll have to do a search.  I should open a new tab to do that, but I already have more than a dozen tabs open on my browser.  Oh, I’ll just quick check my granddaughter’s FaceBook page and then I’ll do my search.  It won’t take a minute.

I have to click “like” on one post and leave a comment on another and . . . Oh look it’s her Mom’s birthday.  Surf over to Barbara’s page.  Post a birthday sentiment.  Then go to my page and post another birthday wish there.  Won’t take long at all.

I go back to the tab with Briana’s FB page and remember that I’m going to . . . oh yes.  I have to search for . . . what?  Ah yes, it’s for Shark.

I go back to her blog’s tab.  I had a real clever idea for a comment.  Yes, the operative word is “had.”  What do I need to check first?  What was the comment?

I remember what it was I forgot to tell Sylvia yesterday.  I get up and go find her and pass on the info that I should have given her yesterday.

Nellie (our cat) speaks to me as I pass, so I spend five or ten minutes petting and talking to her.  We’ve connected quite well in the past few weeks.

Did I tell you she slipped of the hassock and landed on me. It left a big scratch across my foot.  It looks nasty and red.  Antiseptic cream helps.

Oh.  Excuse me.  Where was I?  Oh yes, I’m petting the cat.  I finish that and go back to the office.

The browser is still open to Shark’s blog.  I had a clever comment for that.

What will I have for lunch?  Speaking of that, I’m thirsty.  I take a big gulp of wonderfully refreshing Guatemalan coffee.  Ahhh.

Oh yes, comment.  I read the post again.  What clever reaction could I have had to that?  Hmm, beats me.  I write, “Looks like everybody had a good time.”

I agree, that’s not even a little bit clever.  (Some days a a guy just has to “fake it.”)

On to the next blog, etc.

Summer . . .

Summer is gone and fall is fleeing.  The warmth of yesterday was followed by rain over night and more this morning.  Sylvia has nearly finished garden clean up.  Only a bit of cabbage remains to be harvested this year.

Garden nearly ready for winter.

Garden nearly ready for winter.

There is a pile of sawdust in the far corner of the garden this is the remains of a couple of tree stumps (not walnut).  It will sit there next year to break down.  The following year I’ll till it into the soil.  If we do that next year it will leech nitrogen (to aid in decomposition) from the soil.  We don’t use commercial fertilizer, so we’ll let it compost.

It was a good year for the garden.  Okay, only one parsnip grew from the planted seed.   Next year we need to plant winter squash.  We’re nearly out of the frozen bounty from the bumper crop we had last year.

The mower deck is off the tractor and the front-end loader is on.  The scraper blade will go on with first snow.

Today is much cooler than yesterday.  Each day, the lazy old sun seems to rise a bit lower in the sky than it did the day before.  The bitter part of fall approaches like a train in a tunnel.

At times like this, I realize . . . I really like summer. :awe:

Happenings

We’ve been a bit more busy than usual over this last week.  In fact it was a week ago that the crew from the tree service came.  They spent Friday and Saturday trimming and cutting trees, hauling and piling brush and grinding out stumps.  They did a great job.  I can actually see the road and our mailbox from our office window.

Trimmed trees look better

Trimmed trees look better

We had a different company that was going to come last fall.  Two days before our scheduled time.  An early winter storm hit us with heavy winds, which caused a lot of damage.  No surprise when the didn’t show.  Two weeks later, just before I called to follow up with them, we were hit by an ice and snow storm.  Again, there was widespread tree damage.  Thousand of homes were without power.  The snow stayed the rest of the winter.

This year, we discovered another tree service that is located just three miles from here.  The owner is a nephew to our neighbor–the one who lives just across the road from us.  He gave us a good price and the guys did an excellent job.

Personal

This week on Tuesday, I had the one-year follow up to my cancer surgery.  The blood test shows no sign of cancer.  For that I am grateful.  It takes me about an hour drive to meet the surgeon (urologist) in his office.  He lives two miles from here.

Wednesday and Thursday we were hosts to some long-time (40 years) missionary friends.  Americo and Kathy are in the states on home ministry assignment.  We had a great time with them as we talked about the times we had together in Ecuador and of the things we’ve been doing since Sylvia and I returned to the states.

Poor Nellie disappeared from view for the duration of our guests’ visit.  After the “aliens” had departed, Nellie ventured out of the basement in search of some loving.

Our church’s annual Missions Conference is this weekend.  We’ll be very much involved in that and Sylvia will baking and cooking some items for that.  Our speakers are missionaries to Ecuador.  We’re looking forward to that.

Sometimes the world seems very small.

I Want to Be

I’ve been thinking.  I’ve been studying.  I’ve come to a conclusion

I want to be a koala.

Briana hold a koala

Briana holds a koala

Did you know?  Koalas sleep about 20 hours per day.  Only four minutes a day are spent in active movement.  Sounds about right to me.

Wait!  I just read the next paragraph.  The typical life span for a koala is 13 to 18 years.  Never mind.

Perhaps it’s not so bad being me after all.

In the Auto State

How appropriate that here in Michigan (aka the Auto State), a funeral home announces a new service: Drive by viewings.  No, really.  I read it in today’s news.

For the person "on-the-go."

For the person “on-the-go.”

What do you think of that?  Wait . . .  Are those stereo speakers in the coffin.  Will they be playing music for the dearly departed.  Can you imagine a future archeologist digging up the remains in an effort to understand our current culture?  What will she think if opening the coffin is accompanied by the sounds of heavy metal?  Perhaps it will sound as tame and lame laid-back as big band music sounds to us today.  [Shudder]

Perhaps cremation is a better idea, but that has it’s draw-backs too.  Some time ago, I received the following in an e-mail.

A news article from a Florida Newspaper:

When Nathan Radlich's house was burgled, thieves left his TV, his VCR, and even left his watch. What they did take was "generic white cardboard box filled with grayish-white powder." (That at least is the way the police described it.) A spokesman for the Fort Lauderdale police said, "that it looked similar to cocaine, and they'd probably thought they'd hit the big time."

Then Nathan stood in front of the TV cameras and pleaded with the burglars, "Please return the cremated remains of my sister, Gertrude. She died three years ago."

Well, the next morning the bullet-riddled corpse of a drug dealer known as Hoochie Pevens was found on Nathan's doorstep. The cardboard box was there too with about half of Gertrude's ashes remaining, and there was this note which read, "Hoochie sold us the bogus blow, so we wasted Hoochie. Sorry we snorted your sister. No hard feelings. Have a nice day."

No doubt that’s an urban legend.  I like it anyway.  There have been cases of not-so-bright burglars (is there any other kind?) who snorted cremains.

Suddenly I feel the need to take a nice hot shower.

Flashback

It was nearly six years ago that I wrote these words:

An abandoned house is a sad site to see. Do you ever wonder about the joyful events and the sad ones that took place inside that house? What of the people who called it home? In thinking those thoughts, the haiku came to me first in English, and shortly after in Spanish.

A very short way from here is where the family lived that gave their name to our road.  The house is gone now, but I captured this image while it was still standing.

101017a

That image inspired these words:

The house is empty,
I hear only the echoes,
Of what used to be.

Casa Vacía,
Suena solo el eco,
De lo que era.

_____________________________________

Out on the Lawn

Last Friday was one of those days that make fall such a wonderful time of year.  The air was chilly, but there was little to no wind and the earth is warm.  It was one of those “perfect days” for mowing the lawn, and that’s what I did.

Long sleeved shirt with quilted vest, cap and gloves kept me warm.  The tractor’s diesel engine droned steadily, which helps me relax.  Okay, it’s not like laying in bed listening to waves breaking on a nearby beach.  To me, it’s a pleasant sound.

I enjoy the warmth of the sun as its light falls down upon me.  The sweet odor of newly mown grass soothes.  The mind drifts to where it wants to go.

In moments like that, my thoughts frequently explore the requirements of living the simple life.  What would it take to live “off the grid.”  How do you cope without commercial electricity?  What if you had no petrol-chemicals?  How would you eat if there were no grocery stores?

The next morning (Saturday), Sylvia asked if I’d seen the lawn.  I looked out the window at this:

Frost morning

Frosty [mid] morning

What a difference a day makes.  As you can see by the sun angle, I am not an early riser.  The garden is mostly done for this year.

What’s in here?

Yesterday, I posted a pic of Nellie with her chin resting on her toy that we call Herr Rabbit.  (Pun intended)  Nellie never showed much interest in this toy.  That was until I started rubbing catnip leaves on it.  Now she loves him.

The other day, Pricilla’s publicist posted a pic of their cat, Sherpa.  He was contentedly enjoying being in what appeared to be a shopping sack.  The post went on to explain that it was a catnip scented sack.  How would Nellie react to something like that?  I had to find out.

I picked some catnip leaves.  I rubbed them all over the inside of a sack that had been in the coat closet.  Then with camera in hand, I watched.

Nellie sniffing the sack contents

Nellie sniffing the sack contents

She liked it.  Nellie is not the youngster that Sherpa is and that may be why she didn’t take up residence inside.  She did, however, manage to snag the catnip, pull it out and devour it.  What did you expect her to do?