Friday, September 20, 2019

Learning about bees

Jilda and I got up early this morning and headed a few hours south. The annual state beekeeping conference was in Clanton this weekend.

Planners packed the day with speakers whose topics ranged from backyard beekeeping to using bee stinging therapy.

Being new to beekeeping I'm sure there was a great deal of information that whizzed over my head like UFO's heading to Area 51.

Like learning most new things, you sometimes must let the information wash over. You'll pick up bits and pieces and then somewhere down the road it will click.

The session just before lunch ran a little short, which gave Jilda and me a chance to get close to the front of the chow line. Call me anything, except late for lunch.

When we finished, we headed outside to spend some time in the shade. 

The temp had dropped considerably today and there was a breeze out of the west. We blissed out for a while before heading to our afternoon sessions.

I was a fun and informative day.


Thursday, September 19, 2019

Ceremony

I had an assignment to take pictures at a VFW ceremony honoring soldiers who were prisoners of war or missing in action.

Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts were on hand to offer assistance by passing out programs and commemorative flags.

Thankfully, a bank of clouds shaded the courthouse square during the ceremony.  The crowd gathered was attentive even when the PA system hummed annoyingly. They always do that no matter how solemn the occasion.

When a woman sang the National Anthem, you could tell the veterans in the crowd. While most people covered their heart with their hands, even ancient veterans stood statue straight and saluted. 

As the speakers talked about POWs and MIAs, I surveyed the crowd, and many had tears in their eyes. 

I love that our town takes time to remember and honor the sacrifices that were made for them. 


Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Need some rain

There is no rain in sight so I did the first step in my Bring On the Rain routine. I washed my truck. In years past, this is practically a sure-fire way to make it rain.

A few years ago a local weatherman said he would bet the farm that there would be no rain. That afternoon, I washed my truck. Pulling out of the carwash it started drizzling. A few miles down the road, it poured.  My windshield wipers clicked all the way home. The weatherman now lives in a house trailer at the edge of town. I hated to do that to the guy, but we needed rain.

If it doesn't rain within the next few days we'll move to phase two and start using our grandmother's joo-joo-moe-joe spells.  We don't do it first because once when we did it, we got locusts instead of rain.

The last thing we do is the midnight butt nakid' backyard rain dance. It's not pretty, but when the ground is dry and as hard a slate, I'd do just about anything to bring on the rain.



Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Barbed wire

I got a text from my nephew today. I guessed what he was asking but I couldn't help but have a little fun at his expense. It went like this:

Nephew: Do you have and barbed wire around the house?

Me: No but I have bad dogs. Should we install barbed wire around the house?

My nephew ignored the reply but I knew it made him smile.

Nephew: I just need an inch or two.

Me: Don't we all?

As it turns out, he needed a little barbed wire for a promotion that he was working on.

The thing about the barn is that there are many farm-related things down there that have not been used for 30 years but I keep them just in case.

Today was a perfect example of why I do.


Monday, September 16, 2019

Looking on the bright side

Jilda and I wrote a song with our friend Tracy Lea Reynolds several years ago entitled Look on the Bright Side. In the past, when we performed the song at festivals and coffee house, it seemed to make people smile. But something has changed in our country and looking on the bright side is getting harder to do these days. It seems that people are angry, and all they see is the dark side of every issue.

I can remember in the not too distant past when relationships could be represented by two circles. No two circles were an exact match, but there seemed to be an area where the two circles intersected. Inside this area is where people shared ideas, beliefs, and values. It was common ground.

Coming to a complete agreement was sometimes tricky, but when there was common ground, there was a place to start. There was a path forward.

When there is common ground, there is room for negotiation…for consensus. An agreement can have components that each person values. A win-win.

When I was in graduate school, we studied a theory called the zero-sum theory. This is a mathematical representation of a situation in which each person's gain or loss of utility is exactly balanced by the losses or gains of the utility of the others. To put it simply, if I win, you lose. This theory, like so many other theories from over-paid consultants, proved to be flawed. 

I think some people today are clinging to the zero-sum theory and it explains why some people are so angry. "This is especially true when the topic is one of the hot-button issues like politics, religion, and guns. On these issues, there is no middle ground.

There was a time in my life when citizens and politicians recognized and addressed problems. While each end of the political spectrum felt they had the best solution, they were civil in their approach. They looked at where they disagreed and found areas where their views and values were similar.

Once they found common ground, they could map out a plan to solve the problem that both sides could live with. America won. I miss those days.

Perhaps it's because most people get their news instantly on their computer of phones. But I tend to believe that social media is playing a huge role.

Reading Facebook and Twitter comments these days has become disheartening. Even a simple opinion often generates a thread of snarky, rude, and sometimes threatening comments.

By reading some of these threads, it's easy to determine what cable news talking heads they follow.

It seems that reading and contemplating an issue from various points of view takes way too much time. It's much easier to just to latch on someone else's opinion that agrees with your own. Seeking common ground is out of the question.

We're headed down a rocky road, and it doesn't have to be that way. We live in a garden. If I win, you don't have to lose. If we sit down and find common ground, we can solve almost any problem.

Lyrics to Look on the Bright Side
When all you see is doom and gloom
And there's no end in sight
No matter how long and dark the tunnel
Somewhere there's always a light.


Sunday, September 15, 2019

Optimistic leaves

We had to walk early this morning. Even at 7:30 a.m. there was not a tinkle from our windchimes.

I didn't bother looking at the thermometer this afternoon. Normally, the hummingbirds are tanking up to head south for the winter, but either they left early or they called in drunk today to avoid the heat.

I did manage to snap a sweetgum picture. I think these leaves are being optimistic but just looking at them made me feel a little better.

This is a busy week for us so it will be bedtime soon.

Y'all bee sweet.



Saturday, September 14, 2019

Science

Jilda and I attended a gala for the Main Street organization a few weeks ago. It was a few hours north of here in a city that straddles the Tennessee River.

Cooks Museum of Natural Science was the venue for the event. It didn't take long for Jilda and me to realize that this was a place that our great nephew Jordan would love.

His mom was tied up today, but his grandmother was up for a road trip.

We spent almost three hours going through the interactive exhibits. It was fascinating. Jordan had a large time.

We took a moment to shoot a selfie next to the entryway to the bird exhibit.

It did my heart good to see so many kids thrilled about science.



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