Friday, June 05, 2020

I love this dog

Today was busy. Jilda and I walked early, but when we returned, we got the baskets and went back out to pick blueberries. 

After about an hour, we drank all the water we'd taken with us, so we headed inside for more. We put the berries we picked on flat pans for them to ripen a little more overnight. We haven't bagged the berries up yet, but it looks to be about two gallons. We need a larger freezer.

This evening I cut grass in the fields. Kodak, the wonder dog, walked beside me the entire time. It was hot, and I tried to shoo him back to the yard, but he wasn't having any of it. He was doing his duty and whatnot.

When I got through, I sat down in the Adirondack chair in the shade to cool off. Jilda brought me a glass of cold water. Kodak inched up close to be petted. After some good boys, and ear scratches, I put the straw hat that I wear in the sun on his head. 

He sat still while I snapped a few pictures. I love this dog.

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Coffee love ~ my column from the weekend paper

I hear people from time to time say they don’t like coffee. It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around that statement. It might seem like a twisted judge of character, but I’m not sure I trust people who don’t drink coffee. 
I’ve been drinking coffee since Dwight D. Eisenhower was president. A historical article said that on D-Day, General Eisenhower locked himself in a trailer and swilled coffee all day, waiting for reports to come in. I’m guessing he was on top of things.
My mom was a coffee lover too, and although I was still in the first grade writing with fat pencils and eating paste, she saw no harm in giving me a cup of coffee. It had cream in it to thin it down, but I never got sleepy in class after I started drinking coffee.
I tend to get a little snarky when I don’t get my morning java, but my wife Jilda is like a pit bull with a toothache if anyone speaks to her before she gets her daily caffeine infusion.
Several years ago, when I worked for MaBell, Jilda, and I joined a coffee club. Every month we received a shipment of coffee from around the world. As an incentive to join, they sent us a coffee grinder, a decorative canister, and a puppy. Just kidding about the puppy. 
The coffee came from Guatemala, Costa Rica, Istanbul, and countries with names I could not pronounce. Each one smelled like heaven in a bag. 
A few years in, we would forget to respond to offers, and the coffee started coming too quickly. We couldn’t drink it fast enough. It was getting expensive, so we canceled the subscription.
Tom Petty is one of my favorite musicians of all time. His music weaves through my memories from the '70s up until he died in 2017. He loved coffee, too.
I read an interview a while back, written by the author who wrote Petty’s biography. One story that didn’t make it into the final book was about Petty’s quest for the perfect cup of coffee.
The story said that Petty and his wife were out driving and stopped at a diner. The coffee they served was near perfect. Petty was a shy person, but he asked the waitress what kind it was. The manager came out and told Petty that it was Maxwell House – "Good to the last drop."
The manager agreed to show Petty how they made the coffee. When he went to the kitchen, he saw a Bunn coffeemaker brewing a pot of fresh coffee. 
Petty installed two of the professional-grade coffeemakers in his kitchen. He installed two because he never wanted to wait for a pot to brew. He always used Maxwell House.
Not long after Jilda and I read this, we invested in a Bunn coffeemaker. It’s the best coffeemaker we’ve ever owned. We tried Maxwell House, but we prefer a different brand of Joe. We buy a wheelbarrow load of Community dark roast coffee each time we go to COSTCO.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I can tell by the aroma from the kitchen that a fresh pot of coffee is ready. Cheers.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020


I had an opportunity to work a little in my shop today. The old place serves as a honey house and a woodworking shop. The latter is where I build beehive components and so forth. In the last few months, I've been saving my mad money. Mad money is money I make on the side that does not come out of the family budget.

This week I bought two components that will allow me to build and finish beehives, tables, chairs, shelves, and other stuff. It's something that I've wanted to do for years.

This afternoon, I carved out some time to do some work organizing the space. There is still a great deal to do, but I'm beginning to see progress.

It will still be a few days before I'm ready to build something, but I'm getting closer each day.

Tuesday, June 02, 2020


Driving home this evening, I rolled down the window.  There is something hypnotic about the sound of the wind as it rushes by my window.

Pulling into my drive, I knew the gardenias were blooming before I saw them. The aroma would have made Mother Nature smile.

One can no longer see our backyard fence because of the gardenia bushes. They all started the same way – Jilda snapped the stem of a gardenia blossom, put it in a vase in our house. When the beauty fades, and the blossom petals fall, she keeps the stems watered.

After a few weeks, the stems all develop roots. We plant those roots, and they grow to ten or 12 feet tall. They just started blooming, but within a week, there will be hundreds of blossoms that look as if they were carved from ivory.

Monday, June 01, 2020

Peaceful places

I wrote on the screened porch today. 
The ceiling fan whispered overhead 
pushing a cool breeze that made
the environment feel blissful.
Even when the world goes crazy,
there are peaceful places.
May we all find one of our own.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Stained glass

I've always loved stained glass. When I was in Panama, there was a small shop tucked between a place that sold cameras and electronics, and rug emporium was a tiny shop that sold intricate stained glass.

The front of the store was glass from ceiling to floor, and the stained glass in that shop was stunning. I went in several times just to let the color wash over my face.

When I got home and married Jilda, I tried my hand at making stained glass pieces that hung in windows. Looking back, I realize that my pieces could have been described as primitive art, but I enjoyed working with glass.

Fast forward to now. I took a mediocre picture of a flower in my yard and looked at my fancy filters for something that could rescue my sad little picture.

I came across a filter that said stain glass. Obviously, I had to give it a try.

I'm happy I did.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

New plant

We have a yoga friend we haven't seen since early March. She and her husband love fresh eggs. This morning we had to deliver eggs to the produce stand and pick up some fresh veggies. Our yoga friend met us there.

We all put our masks on and stood in the parking lot to catch up. She and her husband are delightful people. We gave her two dozen eggs and some young cucumber plants for her garden. She was ecstatic.

After she left, we went inside to deliver six dozen eggs. They give us credit toward our produce purchases for each carton of eggs we provide. It's a win-win.

On the way out, I saw a beautiful Mandevilla plant. Actually, it was two plants in the same pot. We had a Mandevilla plant for several years, but for some reason, it did not survive the winter.

I stepped back inside and used some of my mad money to buy the plant. Jilda knew a perfect location for it. Kodak and I had to agree.

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