Friday, January 24, 2020

Wonky week

Friday is normally my off day, but the holiday on Monday threw my schedule off. I ended up writing three stories and my column before lunch.

Jilda put the hominy-chicken soup on the stove to heat up while we walked. The sky looked almost turquoise. It was a beautiful day, but the wind out of the north was still biting.

When we got to the barn, I snapped a picture contrasting the mossy tree trunk and the old rusty discs.  Something interesting that happened on our walk, but I'll let Jilda share it.

My sister had outpatient surgery today, so this evening Jilda made some Fagioli soup and we took her some this evening.

You might have guessed that when it gets cold here, we eat a LOT of soup. I think it's good for the soul.


Thursday, January 23, 2020

It's the least I can do

The tractor resting in the barn hasn't been cranked for over 10 years. Harry Trueman was still in the White House in 1948 when it rolled off the assembly line.

I ran across it in the late 70s. That was back when my hair was thick and my money was thin. Jilda's dad Sharkey knew a good deal when he saw one. When I told him about the tractor and that it came with a plow, cultivator, bush hog, and turning discs. He reached into his wallet for his folding money.

He paid the old farmer $900 and I drove the old tractor home with him following behind with the flasher flashing.

We used that old tractor for years. We raised potatoes, tomatoes, and enough okra to feed most third-world countries.

Each spring, I would have to coax it to life. I'd drain what little gas was left in the tank, take the carburetor apart, and blow trash out from the tiny jets. And after charging the battery, I'd twist the key in the ignition switch and push the starter button which was down by the gearshift, the old beast would grumble to life.

It was sputter and shake until it woke up, and then it was ready to get to work.

The old engine wasn't that powerful, but some old engineer with a sharp pencil figured out horsepower, gear ratios, to provide the maximum power needed to pull a plow that was sunk knee-deep into Alabama clay.

When the soil was moist, the engine RPM would drop so low that you could almost count the revolutions, but I never had to look back to ensure that everything was working properly because the aroma of freshly turned soil hung in the air like baking bread.

My nephew Haven bought a tractor several years ago and it has all the latest "stuff" on it. He didn't have a place to park it so he asked if he could park it in the vacant stall in the barn. He left me a set of keys so it was hard to say no. That meant that the old workhorse was put out to pasture, so to speak.

Fast forward to this morning - As we walked, I looked into the barn and saw that the tires on the old breast were flat and time had dry-rotted the rubber.

I made a decision, to spend a little money and put the old tractor back in service. Now that I'm getting older, I feel a kinship to the old workhorse. I think it deserves as much.






Wednesday, January 22, 2020

National Shelfie Day

Today is National Shelfie Day. The idea is to promote reading. People are encouraged to take a picture of some of the books on their bookshelf.

I pulled several that I've read in the past year or so. I haven't read the Salman Rushdie book, and I'm only about halfway through the Beekeeper's bible, but the rest I've read.

The picture on the upper left is a pencil drawing that Jilda did of our niece Samantha when she was just a tike. The picture to the left is of her mom and dad, but the candle is blocking her dad.

The small picture is of great-nieces and nephews. The on the right is now old enough to drive.

I hope today has been a good one for you.

#NationalShelfieDay



Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Kodak gets tutored

When we booked the rooms at Mentone, we had three dogs. All of them are seniors and set in their ways. When we go off for the weekend, they all lay by the windows and watch for our car to return.
When we did return, they greeted us and the house looked like it did before we left.

That all changed when we got Kodak, the hurricane dog. He's less than a year old he's like the Energizer Bunny that through some kind of malfunction, got overcharged. I could walk to the mailbox and he would rearrange the furniture the 90 seconds I was gone.
There was no way we were going out of town and leaving Mr. Pandamonium in the house.

The local vet does boarding and both Jilda and I decided that was the best course of action.

We talked to the vet about his "enthusiasm" and she suggested that we get him fixed. That sounded like a plan, but she didn't have an available date until mid-February. We'd have to wait.

When I went to pick him up yesterday, the vet tech told me that they had a cancellation and that they could do the surgery immediately.

So today, Kodak got "tutored."

When I picked him up, he was thrilled to see me. It's early to tell if it will calm him down, but we are hopeful. I wish I could bottle that energy. I have friends who would pay top dollar for it.


Monday, January 20, 2020

Looking up

My phone buzzed this evening before we headed out to yoga. It was my International Space Station tracker app telling me the craft would soon be in my line of vision.

The sun had already dipped below the horizon, but the color didn't get the memo. I know I've taken pictures from this exact spot under similar circumstances before, but I can't help myself. I have to take a picture.

Standing on the south side of the house, I was blocked from the breeze out of the north, but it was still cold.

I looked toward the southwest. The ISS appeared from toward the sunset. Had I taken the picture with my Canon camera, there's a chance you could have seen the craft, but it was much too small for the iPhone to capture.

I snapped the picture anyhow. I never tire was watching things in the sky.


Sunday, January 19, 2020

Perplexing questions

Blogging nightly has a downside. When we talk about traveling, we both fret about the news stories describing how criminals learn on social media that you're out of town. While you're out of town, they break into your house and steal all your Doobie Brothers' records.

So, to guard against that, we don't advertise on social media (or our blogs) when we're out of town.

But, I must say that Mentone is an eclectic little town that we love visiting. There are a few restaurants there that are amazing. We ate out both nights and the food was incredible.

It's an artist community. The small store on the main street has incredible art, books, and things you won't find anywhere else on the planet.

You can't blink while driving through town or you'll miss it. In the scheme of things, it might not be a blip on the radar of some people. But there's something there for those who look.

Yesterday, we stopped at a scenic stop overlooking the river. I shot several pictures there. Just past that stop, we passed a place where a massive rock caused the road builders to turn the pig trail into a divided highway.

Walking up, I stood beside those rocks and considered their history. It's hard for me to work out in my mind just how they came to be there. How is it that rocks that were probably contemporaries of dinosaurs wound up near Mentone, Alabama. I also wondered that if the dinosaurs had been in town this weekend, would they have enjoyed the blackened trout for dinner as much as I did?

Perplexing questions.



Saturday, January 18, 2020

Against the wind

We had an opportunity recently to visit Mentone, Alabama. It's a small town in the northeast corner of the state and a stone's throw from both Georgia and Tennessee.

The place where we stayed was built in 1927. There's a picture on the wall of an old vehicle hauling the lumber to build the lodge from a nearby sawmill.

We drove along the edges of Little River Canyon and stopped at several overlooks. It was rainy and the wind out of the north was biting. We flipped our collars up braved the rain. There weren't many other people stopping but a few strong of heart and spirit :) We made quick friends with a number of them. There's something about facing the elements that bond people together.

I think I'd like to return in summer and maybe sit on a rock close to the water's edge and dangle my bare feet in the icy water.


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