Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Getting hotter

Today was a hot one and it gets hotter as we move into the weekend. They're saying it could near 100 degrees F.  I'm excited.

I feel kind of like this carving on the fireplace mantle in the B&B where we stayed in Savannah.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Planting seeds for the future ~ my column from Sunday's paper

Time has made some of the things in my past a little fuzzy, but there are other moments in my life that are as clear as a Windexed window. High School graduation day is a good example. 
It was my first date with Jilda Phillips. She was a 10th grader then. She told me I looked good in my graduation gown. I’d never worn a dress before, so it was a new experience for me. I appreciated her feedback. I remember the swishing sound the gown made as I walked down the aisle. The flat hat tilted to port, and it made me wonder if my head was tilted to port, and it made me wonder if my head was slanted to one side. 
Mr. Gant was the principal at that time. He planted a lot of seeds with his wisdom. When he handed me my diploma, he looked me in the eyes and said in a low voice that only I could hear, “Make us proud, Ricky.” 
Flipping the gold tassel from the right side of my face to the left was an iconic moment in my life. It felt as if I were stepping through a gateway into the future. I wasn’t sure what was in store for me, but getting on with my life was top priority. The experience was exhilarating. 
My work at the Daily Mountain Eagle takes me to local high schools, and I’ve had the opportunity to interview several seniors. The thing that strikes me is they all seem a little restless. I remember that feeling. Most of them enjoyed high school, but they are ready to turn the next page in their lives. I’m excited for them.
I don’t remember many opportunities for scholarships when I graduated. They were there I’m sure, but my grades probably put me on the bottom of the list for potential award offers.
Both Jilda and I attended college. Through the years, we’ve learned the value of an education. Back around 2006, we became active in the Dora High School Alumni Association. During our work there, we both decided it would be a good idea to fund a small scholarship each year for a senior that might otherwise be overlooked for an award. We started in 2008.
Awarding scholarships is our way of planting seeds. Some of them fall on fallow ground, but our hope is that a few of them take root and grow strong. 
Our first recipient was William Justice. Will has done well. He not only graduated from Birmingham-Southern College, but he went on to earn a master’s degree. Since he graduated, he’s done well.

 We put a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt on each certificate we award these days. It says: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
We are both excited for the young folks making their transition from high school to the next phase of their lives.
The scholarship this year is going to a young woman who wants to go into forensics. Together Jilda and I will wish her well. Maybe when she becomes successful, she’ll come back to Dora High and plant some seeds of her own.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Eventful day

Today was kind of eventful in a down-home kind of way. First of all, we picked another basket of blueberries. This is from the first four bushes. They get morning sun earlier than the other bushes on the terrace row. We picked some berries today that were as big around as a nickel. We put an old newspaper down on the table and spread the berries on the paper. This allows them to get fully ripe.  I love picking them and popping the sun-warmed berries into my mouth. Yum.

Then, I went down to check the beehives. I was disappointed that the first three hadn't started making honey in the top super which is where they make the honey for me. When I opened the fourth hive, it was full. I selected the first two frames and took them to the deck to try my hand at extracting the honey.

I have all the equipment, but using it the for the first time was wonky. I learned a great deal. I need a few more pieces of hardware to make this task easier.

When I finished, I had two pint jars of sweet amber heaven. I'd promised one of the first jars to my nephew who helped me get the hives on day one. The second one is next to the coffeemaker. I'll use a spoonful in the hot tea we have this evening.

The last event was I finally completed the chicken pen. My great nephew Jordan and his mom helped in the process. After lunch today, they brought the plastic tub of chicks over and turned them loose in the pen.

It took them a while to venture out of the tub, but when I looked down there at dusk, the were jumping at moths that had been drawn to their warming light.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Blue moon

Jilda and I had dinner with friends tonight. They live in Fayette and we live in Empire, so we met in Jasper which is in the middle.

We don't get to spend enough time with our friends. The last time we saw them was at Christmas. 

We had a delightful time catching up.  

We paid the tab and headed to the cars. I heard Jo Frances say, "Oh look! The moon."  Between two buildings, I could see the moon rising over the city.

I had the camera in my car so I strapped on a telephoto and shot a few frames.

After we said our goodbyes and headed home, the full moon was like a hood ornament for a while before ascending into the sky.

Jilda told me it's the last blue moon of this decade. I'm thrilled that the skies were clear.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Lick the sky

I know I've been into skies these last few days, but this morning when I got up and stepped into the kitchen, I could see color on the window seal. After starting the coffee, I stepped over to the garden door and looked at the sky to the south.

Pulling the phone from my pocket, I snapped a picture but the camera thought the color should be something other than what the irises in my eyes saw – which was clouds the color of butterscotch.

Standing there, my mouth watered involuntarily. I love the taste of butterscotch. I wanted to step outside and lick the sky.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

A view of the west

I had an interview south of Birmingham this evening. It was in a gated community on a hill with a view of toward the west. 

It's a story of a couple in their late forties who were friends for most of their lives. They'd grown apart after college but ran into each other last year. Romance slipped into the mix so they decided to get married this summer.

We'd planned to do the interview on their patio, but a storm moved in from the west and forced us to go inside.

I'm not sure when the story will run, but I'll post it here once it does. I think you'll enjoy it.

Until then, here is a picture I shot before the rain moved in.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Weary bones

I worked hard today. There are many days I work long hours writing, editing pictures, and doing think work, but today was physical labor.

I built the chicken pen over 20 years ago. It served well even though it was damaged several times when storms scraped through the area. Patching and rigging kept it in service, but these last few years it put predatory critters on the honor system.

Jordan is in 4-H and his project is chickens. He and his mom currently have 19 baby chicks in their extra bedroom.  He asked if he could put his chicks here when they get a little better.

I agreed to house them for him but I knew the old pen wasn't going to keep them safe.

Earlier this week, I called a neighbor who is a good carpenter and he said he'd be here at 9 a.m. Before he arrived, I tore most of the old pen down and got the area ready for when the carpenter got there.

By this afternoon, we had it framed and the roof installed. All I need to do now is put the wire up and hang the doors.

I hope our chickens will be happy. 

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