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.

Out in the Garden

The peas have broken through.  Lovely spots of green adorn our garden.

Tender shoots come out to greet the sun

Tender shoots come out to greet the sun

Because we have bunnies in the area, and because they have rabbit habits, we have to install fence around the garden.  That’s what we did yesterday.

Safely behind the fence.

Safely behind the fence.

That was yesterday.  This morning, I went to look for Sylvia and found her inside the fence.

Busy, busy, busy

Busy, busy, busy

Do you think you can keep up with her?  I can’t.

Come back tomorrow.  I’ll tell you what she was doing.


On this Memorial Day [observed] our thoughts are on those who served our country.  We also salute those who are serving today.  Deep heartfelt thanks and God’s blessings to you and to yours.

Barbara and me with our Dad, who was home on leave.

Barbara and me with our Dad, who was home on leave.

Two of Dad’s brothers and two of Mom’s brothers also served in WWII.

I looked for a picture of our younger son, who retired from the US Air Force after 22 years of active duty.  I was unable to find one.  I suspect that he doesn’t mind.

Later today, Sylvia returns after a week with her dad.  Perhaps she can help me find what I’ve been looking for.

Unrelated Trivia

I’m harvesting asparagus twice a day now.  Yes, it grows that fast, and I want to get it at its peak.

So far the Saturn sighting project has been shut out by cloudy skies.  Looks like I might get a chance later this week.

Looking for a Ringer



Feeling encouraged by the warmer air and the fact that Saturn is now at “opposition” (which gives us our best view), I made plans to do some star gazing.  Actually, it was planet gazing that I had in mind.  It has been years since I’ve had a good look at Saturn’s rings.

Activities started with retrieving my large (10 x 80) binoculars from their case.  Then I carefully cleaned the lenses.  With tripod and mount it hand, I assembled them all in front of the office widow.  It was good to go.

I double checked the online star map and retrieved my own star map for easy reference.  Now I only had to wait for darkness.

Around 11 PM, I went out.  Some clouds were in the sky.  Perhaps they wouldn’t interfere.  They did.  Clouds thickened.  I went to bed.

I’ll try again tonight.

I Spy Asparagus

Yesterday, I posted about rhubarb.  It is one of two perennial vegetables that we grow in our garden.  The other is asparagus.

Doing well and ready to harvest

Doing well and ready to harvest

Our asparagus patch is producing well this year.  We’ve enjoyed several meals with it already and more coming soon.

Last evening, I steamed a big batch of it to go with beef and noodles.  My was it tasty!

This morning I did a couple of experiments with the unused portion of the harvest.  First, I cut off the butt ends and chopped those into short lengths.  These I washed, dried and put in the freezer.  Later, I’ll add more in the freezer bag.  These are destined to end up in soups.

The head ends, I cut to length, blanched and then cooled in ice water.  After drying they went onto a tray, which I placed in the freezer.  When they are individually frozen, I’ll place them in a freezer bag for storage.  (Should be good for up to seven months I’m told.)

As I wrote, these are experiments.  The cutting season only lasts six to eight weeks.  We may eat it over a longer period if these work.  Alternatively, drying and pickling are other options, but I’m not inclined to try either method.

I’ve found an interesting Website for Asparagus Lovers.  It has everything you’d like to know about this tasty perennial vegetable.

Please Pass the PI

This PI is round

This PI is round

It was September 2009 when our friend, Lin, wrote: “Is eating pie out of a cup acceptable? Irene had me busting at work this morning, eating leftover pie from yesterday’s birthday celebration out of a cup. Apparently we used all the plates at the party.”

We have all heard of cupcakes, but cup pie?  It didn’t take long for me to respond.

Would you eat a pie?
That’s what I’d like to know.

Yes, I’d eat a pie,
I would eat it in the snow.

I would eat it with a pup.
I would eat it in a cup.

I would eat it with a spoon.
I would eat it very soon.

I would eat it in the fall.
I would like it best of all.

So, my friend, please pass the pie.
It is the apple of my eye.

For what it’s worth, my favorite is Sylvia’s rhubarb pie.  Just ask Sharkbytes.

Like in the Movies

Picture from a different day

Picture from a different day

I looked up from the computer keyboard.  Out on the lawn a young doe was moving rapidly across the lawn.  She paused just before reaching the driveway.  I’ve noticed that all the deer, unless they are in panicked flight, stop at the driveway.  They pause and look all around before proceeding.  Do you suppose their mothers taught them to look both ways before crossing a road?  Hhmmm . . .

She continued her deliberate walk until she reached the neighbor’s fence.  There she stopped again.  Looked around as a bird landed on a fence post right in front of her.  That’s when the moment began.  A moment when I felt like this was a Bambi movie.

The bird looked at the deer.  The doe looked back.  This went on for some time.  I almost had the feeling that they were having a conversation.  What would they say?

Conversation over, the deer continued along the fence to the low spot.  The she bounded over it and continued on her cross-country way.

Sorry I did not have time to open blinds and get the camera.  I didn’t want to miss out on the movie.

Good News

Our visit with Sharkbytes ended with Sylvia and our guest attending our church’s Mother/Daughter banquet.  Sharkbytes was the featured speaker and everyone loved the program.

Ready to hit the trail.

Ready to hit the trail.

Sylvia observed Mother’s Day with our son and daughter-in-law.  Good food and good conversation.  It was a most enjoyable day for both of us.

Barbara and Sylvia

Barbara and Sylvia

On Monday, we were back at the orthopedist’s office.  We were in dread after the doctor’s telephone conversation on Friday.

After a round of questions from a nurse, the physician’s assistant came in and showed us the images from the C-T scan as she explained what we were seeing.  Obvious signs of healing were evident.  The displacement is visible in the images, but should be no hindrance to healing or life thereafter.  Sylvia has only one limitation for now, “Don’t lift anything heavy–like a full gallon of milk.”

We left feeling a lot lighter and with hope and optimism in our hearts.  Happy campers.

We’ll go back in three weeks to have the cast removed and more X-rays to see how healing is progressing.  If necessary, they’ll give her a wrist brace that is secured by Velcro.

Up Tempo

Last evening, right on schedule, we heard a knock on the door.  It was our friend, Sharkbytes.  This evening, she is the featured speaker at our church’s mother/daughter banquet.

Yesterday, Sylvia had harvested sixteen pounds of rhubarb.  In the afternoon, with assistance from her part-time helper, Sylvia baked a rhubarb pie.  It was not easy, but we did wait to bite into that delightful creation until Sharkey arrived.  You can see a picture here.

When last we met, we made a promise to do some music together and that’s what we did.

Just having fun.

Just having fun.

Sylvia was supposed to join in on guitar, but the broken wrist has removed that option.  She still has her voice and joined in the singing.

We heard from the orthopedist today with results from the C-T scan.  Sylvia has a dislocated fracture.  We’ll be back in his office on Monday morning.  Further diagnostics to follow.

We’re having a fun day.  Lots of music, talk and laughter.  Life is good.

What a Week

It has been one busy week for us.  It started Sunday.  After lunch Sylvia and friend, Bonnie, drove to Flint for Crystal García’s graduation party.

Angel, Crystal, Sylvia, Eveliz and Edeline. (photo by Bonnie

Angel, Crystal, Sylvia, Eveliz and Edeline. (photo by Bonnie)

Crystal just graduated with high honors from the University of Michigan – Flint.  Her degree is in psychology.  We’ve known Crystal and her family since her father came to pastor the church we attended in Connecticut.  At that time, Crystal was a pre-schooler.  Later, Rev. Angel Gardía accepted the call to pastor a church in Flint.

That was Sunday.  On Monday, I took Sylvia to Hastings in the morning.  At the orthopedist’s office, they removed her plaster splint, the doctor examined her wrist.  It was not perfectly set as we had thought.  After that a technician put a fiberglass cast on her arm.

Monday afternoon I took her back to Hastings for a C-T scan of the break area.  We are still waiting hear about the results.  We expected a call on Tuesday, but are still waiting.  The office said, “Probably tomorrow.”

So far this week has flown by with many things happening.  I want to do like Hobbes (Lin’s not Calvin’s) and take a nap.

Quo Vadis

Today’s post title (Quo Vadis) comes from Latin.  It means “where are you going?”

Lately I’ve been on a blooming flower frenzy.  That continues, just because I like it.

I've been eagerly waiting for these

I’ve been eagerly waiting for these

First one red tulip opened.  A couple of days later, there were two red tulip.  Shortly after, we have all the tulips, red, yellow, and the combination of those decorating our flower beds.  Aren’t these yellow tulips with red veins particularly attractive?

Between our garage and barn there is a peculiar shrubbery growing.  I believe that the original occupants “heeled in” an azalea and a rhododendron.  That would have been a temporary measure.  Life, or cessation of the same, intervened and the two shrubs remained in their [supposed to be] temporary home.  By the time we moved here, fifteen years ago, the roots were so intertwined that I couldn’t separate them.  (Yes, there is a parable in this.)

Now we have early azalea blossoms and later, rhododendron blossoms will grace this impossible shrub.  We’ve come to appreciate it.

Azalea blooms first

Azalea blooms first

Today the cherry trees are in blossom.  I have no pictures to show you on this damp and dreary day.  Maybe the sun will come out tomorrow.