Independence Day

Today, we observe a federal holiday, commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, by the Continental Congress declaring that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and no longer part of the British Empire.  All over this land people will be celebration our nation’s 239th birthday party.  How great is that?

Do take time to review the reasons for this day and why our forefathers approved the Declaration of Independence 239 years ago today.  You can review the document here.

Yesterday, something seemed different.  I was walking down the driveway toward the mailbox, but my usual escort, the killdeer, was nowhere to be seen.  What’s going on?

They've hatched!

They’ve hatched!

The day before, four eggs filled the leaf-lined depression (center frame).  They must have hatched.  Hooray!

The chicks have come out of their shells and are now learning about independence.  I see young people who are going through a process of learning about it too.  It’s a beautiful thing, but it’s neither easy nor cheap.

Paul, in his letter to the Galatians (5:1) wrote: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”  He goes on to warn them not to abuse their freedom.  Those are words to live by.  Consider reading that fifth chapter of Galatians.

Finally, I hope you are celebrating Independence Day and not In Dependence Day.

A Flair For Flowers

While I was mowing yesterday, Sylvia was weeding in the flower beds.  She worked until dark.  She had been out there the day before and is back at it again today.

Sylvia has been working hard

Sylvia has been working hard

Note to self:  Don’t get between Sylvia and her goal.

Isn't it beautiful?

Isn’t it beautiful?

While she was doing that, I spent a few minutes pulling weeds in the garden.  There were a lot of baby maple trees.  I hope I got them all.  Also, I discovered some purslane.  I harvested some for our evening meal.  We steamed it this time and drizzled a little bit of salad dressing on it.  Yum!  Next time, I’ll use raw leaves and tender stems in a salad. :food:

 

Good News Day

Neighbor Bob makes hay

Neighbor Bob makes hay

Yesterday was a very good day for us.  It was one of those days that you check mark on the wall calendar.  (Or do you do that?)

I always look forward to neighbor Bob cutting our lower [used to be] lawn for hay.  It saves me a couple hours and a gallon of diesel each week of the mowing season.  It will feed his beef cattle.  It’s a very good deal for both of us.

On the way out the drive, I stopped at the mailbox.  I handed the contents to Sylvia.  She opened one envelope.  It was from our mortgage company.  Inside was a small check for “overages on mortgage payoff.”  That was terrific news!

Then we drove to the orthopedist’s office.  There, they took X-rays of Sylvia’s wrist.  The images showed good progress.  We won’t have to go back unless she has problems.  Also, she does not have to continue with the therapy sessions, something to which she has been looking forward.

It think we’ll sleep well again tonight.  #feeling good

Miscellanea

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Has anyone seen my office mate?  She hasn’t been around for several day, and I miss her.  She’s always quiet as she goes about her work.

Why are 98% of the items that arrive in my e-mail inbox nothing but spam?

Why do people care which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Is it true that the only unanswerable question is the one that is not asked?

Not Your Typical Monday

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Yesterday (Monday), Sylvia returned home after a week with her dad.  She had a therapy scheduled for shortly after lunch.  A storm front was approaching this area, and Sylvia was concerned.  As she was leaving, I reported that the radar loop showed the rain moving rapidly to the East.  She would get in her car in the garage, and the worst of the rain would have moved through by the time she reached the therapist’s office.  It worked that way.

After Sylvia left, I came into the office to check out the news online before putting together a blog post.  That post was never written.

Over the scanner, county central dispatch tasked a unit to check out the Portland Goodwill store.  They had a report of the roof being down and there were people trapped inside.

I went to the family room so I could monitor central dispatch and see TV reports.  The building had collapsed and the mother and her two young sons were rescued by a cop and an off-duty fireman.

Soon the TV was reporting a touchdown of a possible tornado.  There was extensive damage done in town.  Over the next nine hours, reports continued to arrive at the TV station and to appear online.

In an e-mail exchange, our daughter-in-law, Barbara, reported that she had left Portland an hour before the storm hit.  Her older sister had taken their parents to her home.  That was good.  The parents live a short way behind the Goodwill store.

Two weeks earlier, Barbara’s parents had joined with others to celebrate the 175th anniversary of First Baptist Church.  The tornado (it was later identified as an EF-1) had taken off the roof and done severe structural damage to the beautiful and historic landmark.  The building is a complete loss.

Photo: Lansing State Journal

Photo: Lansing State Journal

The United Methodist church (just across the street) was also badly damaged.  It may have to go as well.

The Congregation church, a couple doors down the street, had just replaced their building’s roof.  The tornado got that too.

One house lost its roof and the couple who were inside said they had to grab onto a chair and a doorknob to keep from being sucked up into the storm.  How’s that for scary?

Videos and still pix show an army of volunteers that came out to assist neighbors and town in the cleanup.  Many area fire departments and rescue units responded to lend assistance.  It is encouraging to see that kind of unity in the face of adversity.

Shortly before lunch today, I heard the report came through that Grand River Avenue (the main street) was once again open for traffic.

Today, life returns to normal for most of us.  Nobody was seriously injured.  Only a few minor cuts and bruises were reported.

More info here: WZZM13

Remembering

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.

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.