Monday, May 31, 2010

Special Day

Today was a special day because we had our first meal of the season from vegetables grown from our garden. We had squash, fried green tomatoes ( maybe one of my most favorite dishes....EVER), and new potatoes.
Jilda whipped up a fresh batch of cornbread and a pitcher of sweet tea.
I'm still glowing.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

After the storm

Just when I thought things were back to normal on the farm, things go south. This past week, after doing a capture and release (many miles from here) of the raccoon that slayed our chickens, I thought it would be safe to buy more baby peeps.
I went by Jasper Seed and Feed on Friday and picked up six little ones. They were really cute and they'd let you pet them without freaking out. First night everything was hunky-dory, but when I went out this morning, there was no sign of the peeps.
Either the raccoon found its way home or another member of the family decided to take up residence at the Watson Chic-Fill-A.
I fretted about that all morning until a thunderstorm rumbled up from the south and blew down about half of our corn.
By early afternoon, with the power off (knocked out by the storm), I was ready to pull up stakes and move to the city.
But this evening when we returned from a visit with my mom, we got out of the car and saw our first gardenia  blossom of the spring. The next few days, the aroma around here will be intoxicating.
So maybe we'll stick around for a while longer.  But if you are of the raccoon family, be afraid, very afraid!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Need a recharge

I think I need to build me a writing room in the barn and maybe change my writing schedule. It seems all I'm doing these days is using the blog for a journal. That was not the original intent. I had intended for the blog to have more depth and provide insight to things I feel passionately about. 
These days, I stay so busy that by this time of evening, I feel spent with little to share. I think my folks deserve more so it is my intention to do some soul searching, brainstorming and try to recharge my creative batteries.
I hope you all have a great weekend.

Friday, May 28, 2010


It breaks my heart seeing the images coming out of Gulf. I find myself getting angry, but what good does that do?
Most corporations are soul-less. They exist for one reason and that is to maximize shareholder profits.
I have two gas cards in my billfold, one of which is a BP card.  It would be easy to unload on this bunch, but what's gnawing at me is that I/we all are to blame as well.
We know oil is a scarce commodity. We fight wars to keep the flow coming. Instead of facing the facts, we buy bigger and bigger cars, and build bigger and bigger houses.
It's hard when the chicken's come home to roost. I fear this spill is an environmental catastrophe, the likes of which, we have never seen before. We will never know the full impact. This could cause species to go extinct.
I feel helpless, but I know there are things I can do. The next car I buy will be a lot more fuel efficient.
I'm having new energy efficient windows installed in our home. I'll be doing research on solar panels and other alternative sources of energy. One person can't make a dent, but if enough of us are affected by this disaster, maybe we all can start this country moving in the right direction.  

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I love me some biscuits

I, am a biscuit connoisseur. The fact that I was born and raised in Sloss Holler, I think qualifies me as an authority on biscuits. 
I don’t consider myself a biscuit snob because I like all kinds of biscuits. I automatically disqualify the ones that come in cans and the ones they eat with tea in England because they’re really just cookies. It’s here in the good old south, we make real biscuits.  
My mama used to make biscuits that were as crunchy as a scone, especially the bottoms. 
There was an old green bowl she kept on the fridge that she used for biscuit making.  She’d sift the flour with a hand cranked sifter, toss in a little baking soda, a dash or two of salt, “a chunk of lard” and a few cups of fresh buttermilk. 
Then she’d slowly mix the concoction together and when the dough was like clay, she’d fold it over and over until it was just right. 
Then she’d roll it out on a sideboard with a rolling pin, and use a tea glass to punch out perfectly round biscuits. Next, she’d arrange them in an iron skillet “greezed” with lard (of course), and pop them babies in the oven.
They came out of the oven golden brown all over. There was enough lard in those biscuits to make your heart flutter when the cholesterol hit your blood stream. 
In fact, most of my mama’s recipes started off with, “take a chunk of lard and add……” 
Some folks bought lard in gallon buckets back then, but mama had her lard delivered in a truck once a month.  Hogs feared her.
When I was drafted into the Army, my basic training was in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. That’s far enough south that at least they knew what a biscuit was. Unfortunately, the cooks hadn’t perfected the art of biscuit making. When I pointed this out to the mess sergeant, he was not amused, so I found myself on KP (kitchen patrol) for a three days. My job was to peel mountains of potatoes and after lunch, I had to clean the cracks in the kitchen floor, with a toothbrush. I learned to keep my culinary comments to myself.
When I got to Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, I had a feeling they were too far north of the Mason-Dixon Line to know about biscuits. This was confirmed when I asked for one that first day, he looked at me as if I were speaking Swahili.
I’d learned my lesson in Kentucky and didn’t dare bad-mouth the mess sergeant, so I moped off to my table and sulked as I munched on wilted toast.
When I got back home to mama’s house from the Army, I was so anxious to have me some homemade biscuits that I felt like eating lard with a spoon straight from the bucket. 
But mama got in the kitchen, fried up some eggs, made a pan of grits, fried some ham with red-eye gravy, and a huge pan of biscuits. I was back in heaven.
Jilda learned to make biscuits from her mom. Ruby’s biscuits were not like my mom’s, but were delightful nonetheless. They were like toasted clouds. Those biscuits were light, fluffy in the middle, and brown on the top and bottom. 
Her family introduced me to many new ways of eating biscuits. Not only did they eat them with eggs, grits and bacon, but they sometimes ate cheese inside theirs. 
They’d munch them with sausage and a slice of tomato inside. Sometimes they’d break them in two, pour fresh honey or sorghum syrup all over and eat them with a fork. I discovered that these were all good ways to enjoy biscuits.
Jilda made biscuits this morning and hers are a cross between the ones our mothers made.  
She doesn’t use lard, so my blood doesn’t slow down to a trickle when I eat them, but they are scrumptious just the same. I would know, because as I mentioned before, I am a connoisseur.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Late Night

I should have written this afternoon because we had tickets to a concert in Birmingham tonight. I told myself we'd be in plenty of time to do an update.
Well, it's 11:20 p.m. and we just rolled in. The concert was incredible. The opening act was Jason Towns Earle who is Steve Earle's son. His band was almost Rockabilly. They put out a really good sound with a female bass player and a fiddle player.
The headliner was The Swell. The group consists of Irish singer Glenn Hansand and Czech pianist Marketa Irglova. They were in the independent film "Once." Jilda and I saw the movie last year and it blew us away.
This is the first concert we've attended in some time and it was well worth it. The venue was the Alys Stephens Center for the performing arts in Birmingham It was designed as a music auditorium so the sound was incredible.
Anyhow, we both blissed out all the way home.
Have a great Thursday.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Walker County Green Interview

Channel 55 interviewed Jilda and I this evening. The topic was the new website we created called
The local news outlet was interested in hearing out thoughts on recycling.
We talked about the website and the fact that we've been dabbling with recycling for years.  We recycle our aluminum cans, scrap metal, and newspapers (until recently).
We had a water filter installed on our cold water in the kitchen so most of the drinking water comes from there. We do buy bottled water occasionally when we're traveling. It's difficult to take our sink with us so we backslide.
One statistic I found while preparing for the interview and that is that we Americans use 12.5 million plastic bottles an hour. Most of these bottles go straight to the dump. The sun will burn out before these things break down in a landfill.
I know Alabama lags behind most other places on the planet when it comes to the environment. We'd like to do our part to try and change that.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Plumbing Job

My water bill was through the roof last month.  When I called to complain, the lady said they have new fangled meters these days and they can to an analysis on the usage and tell if something was amiss.
She called back later and said that in fact, I was using almost twice the water that I normally use and that it was constant throughout the day. This can only mean one thing - WATER LEAK!!!!!
My pipes have been spliced a few times during the thirty years we've lived here, so I knew pretty much where to look. The last issue we had was under the deck, so that's where I started. After twenty minutes of digging, I unearthed the pipe and it was not leaking.
The second place was out by the apple tree where the old stand pipe once stood. The moment I stepped on the sharp-shooter shovel, it sank to the hilt, and I knew the leak was there.
I turned the water off and started repairs when I realized I needed a new fitting. I turned the tool shed upside down but I didn't have an extra fitting which was the right size.
I went to plan B which is to look in the barn and Sharky's old truck. Sharky was Jilda's dad and he was a plumber from way back.  Whenever I need a tool or some other obscure part, I can go to the barn and look through the bins, buckets, and shelves where he stored such things, and more often than not, I find what I'm looking for.
I didn't find it in the barn so I decided to look in his old blue Ford pickup which is parked behind the barn. I opened the door and scooted in the passenger side and started going through to boxes and sacks in the floorboard of the old workhorse. I casually looked where the driver normally sits and there was a snake that looked as long as flagpole.
You could say I exited the truck quickly, but that would not capture the level of haste I used to get out. I bumped my head, my knee, and both elbows. I didn't soil my britches, but I swear I came close.  I said cuss words that I'm sure has me on the highway to hell.
I'm not sure if it was a rattlesnake or just an old chicken snake because I didn't take time to make the proper ID, but either way, I prefer not to intrude where I'm not wanted.
I left my wire pliers, in the cab, but I think I'll leave them there till maybe December. It should be cold enough then the send the critter into hibernation.
I went to the hardware store and bought a sack of fittings just in case I have an issue in the future. If anyone wants a great deal on an old Ford pickup, just let me know.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Pomegranate Blossoms

I'd never seen a pomegranate before last fall. Jilda's sister bought several plants and gave us one. I planted it down next to the blueberries.
A few days ago the gorgeous orange things started popping out on the small bush. We thought at first it was the fruit, but yesterday, I realized that they were actually pomegranate blossoms.
I shot this photo with my iPhone and used my Photoshop app to play around with it. This is the soft focus filter which I think is kind of cool.
The garden has really started growing by leaps and bounds. We have tons of green tomatoes, tiny squash, and potatoes. We ate our first blueberries today. Yum!
Soon we'll be dining on the fruits of our labor.
Jilda just got in from her yoga training and she's whupped. She was, as they say, a sight for sore eyes.
Hope you all have a great week.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Chicken Slayer

I had almost given up hope that I'd catch the animal that killed my chickens. I tried cheese, eggs, and fruit without success.
A few nights ago, I put a can of sardines in the humane trap. Low and behold, I found this raccoon in there this morning. He was not happy. He had somehow scooted the trap about ten feet, from the inside. Not sure how he did that.
When I started to pick the trap up and move it to the shade, he tried to reach his paws through the cage and get me. He weighed about twenty five pounds but he acted a lot bigger.
The trap is an amazing design. It allows you to catch cats, small dogs, possums, raccoon, and other small critters. The one thing I learned is there's not a real good way to get a critter out of the cage.
You have to push the trap door open to give the critter an escape route. I first started to open it with my hand, but the raccoon lunged at my hand, so I quickly scrapped that plan. I had a long stick in the back of the pickup and managed to prop the door open. The little varmint attached the stick before finally scurrying out of the trap and toward the Mulberry River.
He now lives about twenty miles away, in the next county.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Barbwire Sunset

I miss my Jilder. She's in Memphis doing her yoga therapist certification training and won't be home till Sunday evening. Most of my nourishment is coming out of a can. Well, there's bananas, but I've had about enough of them too.
The rain came in early this morning and it was dark and dreary most of the day. I had a lot of stuff to do outside, but getting struck by lightening was not on the list so I sat inside and looked outside.
The evening, I ran over to my buddy Fred's house and we laid down more guitar tracks for the new project. I hope to be completed with the work by mid August. The hardest part is making time to do re-writes on some of the songs. They are very close, but a few of them definitely need work.
When Jilda gets home, we'll get our calendars in sync and schedule some writing sessions to nail those puppies down.
I had just crested York Mountain on the way home tonight when this remarkable barbwire sunset poked me right in the eye. So naturally, I pulled to the side of the road and snapped the photo with my trusty iPhone.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

New Pen

I got up and rolling early this morning. My new friend Charlie had agreed to help me work around the farm.
We raked old leaves and mulched the garden and then we began work on our new chicken pen.
I wanted to do it right, so I bought treated 4x4's 8 feet long. We dug holes two feet deep and sunk the posts into the ground.
I can tell you this, I will be sore in the morning. I haven't dug post holes in a long time. Charlie did most of them but I did about five which was enough to make my arms feel like lead.
We then strung high grade chicken wire around the new pen. I'll build and hang a new pen door and then an entryway into the laying box area.
The last thing that must be done before I call it a done deal is a roosting area. I bought the tin but I still have to get some more lumber to finish the job.
Weather permitting, I'll be through before Jilda gets back home on Sunday.
I can tell you this - it will be an early night tonight because this boy is whupped.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I attended a Digidesign workshop this evening with my buddy Fred. It's designed to develop your skills in the Pro Tools recording software. I really needed some skill development. I know just enough to be dangerous.
The first hour was very basic and I picked up some great tips. The second part was the advanced class and it quickly got way over my head.
The more I learn, the more I realize I don't know squat.
I'm whupped this evening. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New Gig

My mind was drifting across the Universe this morning as I washed Jilda's car. Ingrid (the Volvo) had road grime on her from the last road trip Jilda made to South Carolina.
I didn't hear the phone ring, but my mind came back to this timezone when I heard her calling my name. She handed me the cordless. She leaned over the deck rail and the morning sun was behind her, making her hair glow. It look ethereal.
When I answered the phone, it was Susan Hall, editor for Tri-City Review newspaper in Mobile. She told me that her mom lives south of Birmingham and gets 280 Living newspaper. Apparently her mom routinely mails the paper down to Susan each month. She said that she loved my work and asked if she could start running my column in her paper.
I looked back up at Jilda, who was listening to my side of the conversation, and smiled. She wasn't eavesdropping, but taking advantage of the warm sun on this beautiful day.
Susan asked me to send a column down today if possible because she was actually putting the paper together today.  I sent her the column for this week which was about biscuits.  We briefly discussed deadlines and payment schedules and the conversation was over.
I'm thrilled to pick up another paper. If I had another fifty or so, I'd be REAL encouraged.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Trials and Tribulations of Farming

The chicken-eating critter is still on the rampage. It got our last peep last night and today it grabbed our roster in broad daylight.
We raised Henry from a peep. He was about two years old. I really hated to see him go.
I went to buy chicken wire today. Our chickens were pretty much free range chickens, but the only way we'll have a chance at protecting them is if I build a really solid enclosure.  I'm not sure if that will be fool proof.
I really wish I could catch the critter and take it to someplace far away.
My buddy at the co-op said it was probably a raccoon, but I'm not sure. My nephew has a game camera that has a motion sensor on it. I asked to borrow it and maybe I can catch what it is. That way I'll at least know what kind of bait (other than my dang chickens) it eats.
On the positive side, the garden is doing great!  Jilda and I went out before the sun got hot this morning and weeded the peas and her row of flowers.  We have green tomatoes, blueberries that are a few days from being ripe, apple and pear trees that are full of fruit.
We're about to head out to yoga class. Have a great week.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Interesting World

Wal-Mart is a universe unto itself. We never fail to see something interesting each time we visit. Today we saw couples that looked as if they just stepped out of a fashion magazine, and then we saw folks that looked like biker magazine rejects.
We're way past the point of being shocked by what people wear in there, but we still see things that make you wonder what the heck these folks were thinking.
There was a woman in short shorts and a tank top there today. She had an eye ring and tattoos O'plenty. That in itself is not that strange or interesting. I'm sure the tattoos were quite lovely when the lady was twenty years old, but now that she's about forty, they look a little wilted and sad.
I wonder if these folks have any regrets.
I have a tattoo as well. It's on my right shoulder blade which is fortunate in that it's rarely seen, but also it's located in a place that doesn't droop.
My cousin Micky had MOM tattooed on three fingers of his left hand. That would not have been that odd, except when his hand was down by his side, the tattoo spelled WOW. It wasn't quite what he intended.
I don't really think about my tattoo that often, except when I see unfortunate ones like I saw today. I'd never go to the expense of having it removed. Jilda doesn't have a problem with it so I think I'll just let it ride.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Songwriter Stuff

We attended a songwriter workshop this morning with Carrie Tillis (Mel Tillis' daughter). She is a delightful person.
She gave us her take on songwriting and then listened and gave really good feedback on several songs of those in attendance. We haven't gone to a lot of workshops in recent years, but we always get energized when we do go.
Tonight we went to Berkeley Bob's Coffee Shop to eat supper and listen to our friend Skip Cochran do a few songs. It's always fun getting up with old Skip. He's a hoot. We met his mom Onieda tonight. She lives in Jasper and reads my column in Sunday's paper. She is a neat lady.
It's been a long day today, so we are kicking back for a while.
Happy Saturday.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Jilda got the mail this morning before she left for work. There was a letter for me from Book a Million. I had ask them to consider carrying my book in the local Books a Million stores and they had approved it back before the economy went south last year, but the letter today said they were rejecting it.
I almost let it get me down, but I decided to take the high ground. They wimped out and gave a range of reasons for the rejections. The bottom line, they don't want it. 
Rejection is a funny thing. You can let it get the best of you or you can suck it up, keep writing, and show them what big fat dummies they are by passing on it.
Oh well. Jilda and I are celebrating tonight anyhow. 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Old Group

I got a call from one of my old co-workers today and it seems MaBell is laying off the rest of my old group. There are twenty one people scattered across the country.
In a company with a couple hundred thousand people, that's hardly a drop in the bucket - a blip on the radar, unless you are among those twenty-one people.
I'm hoping some can find other jobs within the company, but details are stretchy just now. All of these folks have homes and families so I hope for their sake there are other jobs they can move to.
I had a feeling when I left a few months ago that it would not be long before the group was dissolved, but I never dreamed it would be so soon.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Speed of Life

Bob Dylan wrote, “Time is a jet plane, it moves too fast.” I thought this was evident when I worked for MaBell, but I’ve found that it’s even truer now that I no longer have a day job.

My neighbor Don Phillips stopped me this week to comment on one of my recent columns about retirement.

“You left something out, he said, and that’s how fast Friday comes around when you’re retired.” I smiled knowingly.

I read an obscure piece on the Internet today about a musician in the Metro subway in Washington D.C.  He was alone playing a violin while people scurried by. The music he played was flawless and yet people passed him by as if he were a fly buzzing about their busy faces.

A few children recognized the beauty of the music and tried to slow down to listen only to be hustled away by harried parents.

He played for one hour and though thousands of people passed, only a handful bothered to stop and listen. His hour’s work netted him $32.

As it turns out, this was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about people’s perception, taste and people’s priorities.

The musician was violinist Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians on the planet.

The music he played was one of the most beautiful and intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, he’d played a sold out concert in Boston where the average ticket cost $100.

What does that say about us? Now there are those who would probably say “Well, if he was playing ‘Foggy Mountain Breakdown’ on a fiddle instead of one of them fancy violins, I’da stopped and listened.” But I’m guessing the result would have been the same.

It’s as if we’re trapped on an Interstate highway with no exit ramps, traveling at the speed of life.

We want more, bigger, better, faster, cheaper things and we want them NOW! I believe that mindset is at the root of many of the problems we face as modern Americans.

If we slow down, even for a moment, we’re afraid we’ll be eaten by wolves or even worse, that people will call us slackers or lazy.

We often measure our self worth with the stuff we have. If you don’t believe this, just go to your next high school class reunion and listen to what people talk about.

“He must be doing well, he has a condo on the beach,” or “Is that a Porsche she’s driving, where does she work?”

To me, success should be measured less by the size of the house, or the make of the car, and more by the quality of one’s relationships.

I have a nephew with a brood of kids and I’m guessing if you looked at his financial balance sheet, you’d gasp, but he and his family are among the happiest on the planet.

He works very hard, but he always finds time for his wife and kids.

I can promise you this, if he and his family passed by the musician in the subway, they would be among those who would stop and listen.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


It's getting personal now. Last night a critter (I think it's a possum) went into the trap I had set, got the cheese, but managed to escape. He/she/it then proceeded to kill and eat all the little chicks. The mama hen has walked around the yard all day looking for them.
Yesterday when I set the trap, I planned to capture the critter, take it somewhere far away from here and release it.
Now, it's personal. If I capture it tonight, it won't be pretty. Maybe I'll tie it to the ground, clamp its mouth shut and let the surviving chickens peck its eyes out before throwing it into a boiling hill of red fire ants and letting them eat it alive.....OK, you know I won't do that, but I can tell you, I AM NOT HAPPY.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bird Trauma

OK, I'm cheating. I'm writing a blog entry the morning after and dating it for last night. We had a bit of trauma yesterday that threw us off course.
When we stepped out to check the garden yesterday morning, we realized that something was wrong. There were feathers all over the yard and with a little investigation we saw that something had killed one of our chickens while she was nesting.
Apparently a possum caught her on the nest, dragged her a short distance away, killed, and ate her. One of the biddies that had just hatched was still in the nest and frantic.
Fortunately there were two hens nesting at the same time and the other hen had just gotten off the nest a few days ago with two biddies. I picked up the traumatized chick and put it with the other hen and she took it in.
I buried the remains of the dead hen and silently cursed the possum.
Yesterday afternoon, I drove to the co-op and bought a trap. Last night when I should have been writing, I was setting and baiting the trap and fantasizing what I'm gonna do with the big old rat when I catch him.
More to follow.

Sunday, May 09, 2010


A young man came up to our table during the signing session at the mall on Friday to talk awhile. He was originally from California but his family moved here a few years ago and he went to school at Bevill.
He said he started cutting a few classes and before he knew it he was behind with his grades. He decided to drop out to keep his GPA which have been rather high, from taking a hit. He said he thought he'd sit out the semester and get back on the ball the next term but he never went back.
He got a job at one of the local bingo halls but when they shut down, he hasn't managed to find another job.
He seemed really interesting in my book. He said that he really enjoyed writing and asked how I got started. I told him about the songwriting and the website. I told him that I've been writing daily since December 1st 2005. I realized as I said that, that this December, I will have been making daily entries in my blog for 5 years.
I went on to say that the columns and the book flowed from the work I've done on this blog.
He listened and said that he fretted that he didn't have anything fresh to say. I listened to him for awhile. He's right. I too fret about not having fresh ideas. But I encouraged him to continue writing, but focus on things he knows and loves. It's true that not everything will be profound, but writing is like playing a guitar, or any other skill, it takes practice.
You cannot go from point A to point B without focus and practice. I know there are some truly gifted writers out there, but I believe that most good writers would agree. Study, read good stuff, and write every day.
I hope my new friend finds his way and does something remarkable.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Adjust the Sails

Bertha Calloway, the founder of the Great Plains Black Museum said that "We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails."
I've heard this said in many ways, but none better than the way Bertha put it. To me it means more than simply go with the flow, it means that you can't control life, but you can control how you react to life's storms.
I could not agree more.
We had fun in Helena today but it was much warmer than we were lead to believe by the weatherman. The sun was out in full force and by afternoon, it was warm as a toaster on the concrete. I'm thankful Jilda had some yoga blankets in her car that we could hang from the west side of the tent and knock the sun off for the last hour of the set.
Tomorrow is Mother's Day. I hope all you mother's have a blessed day.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Garden Picture

I lose track of time when I'm in the garden. Tilling, hoeing, pulling weeds, mulching and observing are all zen-like tasks. I don't get in a hurry nor do I linger too long. I just am.
I know the old saying goes "a watched pot never boils, but I can almost see our garden grow. We walk out every morning with steaming cups of coffee and silently take stock and each evening as the sun sets in the west, we have another look.
My cousin Janet from Florida askied why I haven't posted photos of the garden yet, so I shot a picture this evening when we got back from the book signing. It's still a little early to get a feel for how well it's doing. Pictures don't do it justice.
Anyhow, here goes. Y'all have a happy Friday.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

I Wish

I hear people say all the time "I wish I had....."  You can fill in the blanks with hundreds of wishes. I never understood why people say this. It's almost as if they think it's too late to accomplish what ever it is they wish they'd done. The truth is, unless you are on your deathbed, there are very few things that you cannot do.
Sure it will take time, dedication, and effort, but as long as your are breathing, you can do most anything.
History is full of remarkable people who didn't become successful until late in life.
Writer George Elliot said it best, "It's never too late to be who you might have been."

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


Thirty six years ago today, we set out on the road with a marriage license and an intention to get married. We'd been dating on and off since 1968 and hadn't slain each other so we thought we'd give matrimony a go.
A tornado had damaged the Walker County Courthouse and it was closed for business so we had to get the license in Jefferson County.
Jilda's dad Sharky wanted to see the paperwork before we left town to make sure we weren't pulling the wool over his eyes. He called ahead to his friend Coy Phillips who lived in Brewton, Alabama and was the preacher we'd decided on to tie the knot for us.
We arrived at Coy and Brenda's house in the early afternoon and got married on the porch of their house trailer. Brenda, who'd never taken a picture in her life, shot the wedding portrait.
After the ceremony, we said our goodbye's and headed south to Panama Beach, Florida. That was back before anyone had ever heard of condos. The Miracle Strip was still in full swing and you could walk down the beach without stepping on people.
It was a magical time...a new beginning for us both. I don't think my parents or hers gave us a fighting chance to stay together, but we did.
Leaving or quitting was never in our vocabulary. I can say that there are many times she would love to have beat me senseless with an iron skillet, but she never did. When we had hard times, we worked through them.
We both learned to check in when we were apart, and learned, over time, to listen when we needed to. We learned to say "I'm sorry" when we needed to.
We both shared the love of music, gardening, flowers, friends, and good food. Time slid by so quickly that we hardly noticed it passing.
I can say without hesitation that the last thirty six years have been a gift.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Book Signing

Jilda went with me this evening to sign books at the North Shelby Library. The folks there were great! I was a little concerned that no one would show up, but we had a good turnout.
I saw some old friends and family and it was fun catching up.
The library director is a young woman whose family lives in Nashville and so naturally the conversation turned to flooding disaster.
We have many friends in Nashville and we've tried to check in with them, but haven't been able to reach them.
My heart goes out to everyone affected.
It's been a long day so I'm wimping out tonight. I'll do better tomorrow.

Monday, May 03, 2010


I'm on a quest now. I thought collecting information on where to recycle stuff would be a piece of cake and that I would simply put all the information for Walker County in one place on the website, but it's a challenge.
I learned today that Home Depot recycles small rechargeable batteries and the compact florescent bulbs which was a good lick, but I'm struggling on where/how to recycle newspapers and old tires.
If any of you have any information on these or other recycling info you'd like to share, place send me a note and I'll post it.
Just got back from yoga and it's a late supper. Y'all have a great week. 

Sunday, May 02, 2010


I'm not sure what to make of all this rain. I thought initially that we'd be spared, but it started this afternoon and has not let up.  I had one last look before dusk and my black eyed peas were putting on the frog suits. We'll probably wind up replanting them in another part of the garden that's not as low.
I really need to haul in a few tons of woods dirt and build it up at the lowest point and cut a drainage ditch to divert the water to run off down through the hollow.
My next really big project is to rebuild the back deck, put in energy efficient windows, and new HardyBoard (concrete) siding on the back and sides of the house. 
I plan to do a lot of the work myself, but I'll need some help. I actually enjoy this type of work. The smell of fresh sawdust from an angry handsaw sends me back in time.
When I was about twelve years old, our family had a Jim Walter (shell home) built. The idea was for professional carpenters to come and frame up the house and the owner would come in afterwards and do the finishing work.
I still remember the sounds and smells of a house being built. It was before electric saws were common so you could hear the slow, steady hacking sound of wood being cut to size. 
The rhythm of the hammers and the cussing of the carpenters was all great fun for a kid. I watched it all up close. One day a carpenter was sitting on a floor Joist when he passed gas.  I'm not sure what it is about a poot that always makes you laugh, but I laughed. "Termites," the carpenter said matter-of-factly and he kept hammering  on an eight penny nail.
I learned a lot about how houses are put together just by watching those carpenters that summer.
I hope to be finished with my repairs/remodeling by the end of this summer.
Y'all stay dry and have a great week. 

Saturday, May 01, 2010

My Shoes are smoking

I'm mama-sitting today and even though it's been overcast for most of the day, its warm and blustery. Mama freezes so she wants the ac and all ceiling fans off.
I took it as long as I could before heading out to my sister's deck. It will be a miracle if we don't have storms tonight.
I'm really concerned about the oil spill in the gulf. I have a lot of friends that live there and more that own property there. This event has all the makings of an environmental disaster.
We as a country have to ween ourselves of oil. I believe that it is this dependence that is funding terrorism. But the amount of money involved is so tremendous that any movement away from oil will be aggressively opposed.
I read a book a while back by Thomas Friedman, called Hot, Flat and Crowded. It's about whats happening on the planet.
One theory he talks about is how to promote research and development of alternative sources of energy. He said one way to approach this is to levy a gasoline tax of at least a dollar a gallon of gas. This money goes directly into funding for R&D and also subsidize these industries. This he said would have a number of effects: it would keep the price of gas high enough to force conservation. He said it would also make developing these alternative energy solutions profitable.
Right now, when people stop driving and start turning toward alternative solutions, then the price of gas inevitably drops which causes people to move back to gas.
An alternative energy company cannot gamble billions of dollars without subsidies during the initial years.
So we are forced into the dilemma of buying oil from Saudi Arabia and other middle eastern countries, or drilling for oil here at home.
There are no easy answers but in my opinion, if our planet has any hope of survival, we as a people will have to make some difficult choices.

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