Thursday, August 31, 2006

under the weather

I haven't posted since Monday because I've been sick. I've come down with another bronchial infection. So I'm on antibiotics, Singulair, and a bronchodilator and I'm feeling better already. I'll get back to this soon.

Monday, August 28, 2006

quote of the day

At the worst, a house unkept cannot be so distressing as a life unlived.
----Dame Rose Macaulay

searching for a gem

Saturday morning while Dorothy and I were out yard sale-ing, we stopped at a little cafe that we had not noticed before. We're always searching for a new place to eat. This place looked a little run down, but in the past we've found excellent food at some quite humble appearing establishments. From the outside this one looked, well, it was tottering on the verge of ramshackle. We went inside hoping that this would prove to be a gustatory rough diamond. An attempt had been made to create a country cottage ambiance, without success. There were crumbs on the floor from previous customers and the booth upholstery had been repaired with duct tape. I think shabby chic was the style they were aiming for, but Okie abandon is what they achieved. Dorothy didn't say anything so I didn't either, after all, she's the expert and I use her as my culinary canary in the mine shaft. If she thinks it's ok then it's ok with me.

The place was called Ma's Eatery. Ma must have called in sick that day and left the business to her two vengeful step-children. The coffee was not hot. I like my coffee hot. I could see the coffee machine from where I was sitting and its red light was on so I would assume it could generate some heat. When the waitress came around to refill our cups it didn't raise the temperature of my coffee by a degree.

I had biscuits and gravy. That was a mistake that I make often. No one makes biscuits and gravy like Dorothy's. It was tasteless. I had to put salt on it and then put too much. Dorothy had a western omelet. The cook had burned one side and disguised it by simply flipping in over, presumably thinking that Dorothy wouldn't notice. The black part was visible soon enough, though, as Dorothy began to eat.

We didn't get in an uproar. The two step-children didn't look like they would be receptive to constructive criticism. We simply paid our bill and left. But, we did cross that place off the list of restaurants we'll be frequenting.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

quote of the day

Time is a cruel thief to rob us of our former selves. We lose as much to life as we do to death.
-- Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey, 'A Woman of Independent Means'

Saturday, August 26, 2006


Two weeks ago I showed you pictures of limbs down in the yard from a severe thunderstorm, but now I think there may have been a small tornado. Dorothy noticed some dead leaves on a tree at the back of the pasture, so we drove the truck over there and several very large trees had been uprooted. Winds from a thunderstorm don't normall uproot trees that have a trunk diameter of 2-1/2 to 3 feet.

These two trees were growing near the top of the bluff overlooking the creek. They were huge oaks that were at least 50ft tall.

I'm looking down from the top of the bluff to the dry creek bed. This is the first time in 26 years that Peacheater Creek has gone dry. Just to the right of the pump house is the root system of the tree completely out of the ground and the trunk is resting horizontally.
You can see where as the trees came down they knocked the top out of another tree. That broken trunk in the center of the picture is about 30 ft off the ground.

Dorothy didn't want to get out of the truck. She was afraid of getting ticks on her. Later, I found one on me.

Friday, August 25, 2006

miscellaneous paraphernalia

I read a lot of blogs. I like to get a slice of life from each blogger I read. I will never live long enough to read all the books I want to read, absorb the information I crave, or experience all the things others have done. But, I can learn a lot from my blogger friends who continually amaze me with their thoughts and actions. Here are two blog posts that I've read recently that have been thought provoking: Driftwood Inspiration, and Maya's Granny.

This morning at 8am I picked my grandson Hunter up at the church office where my daughter Kelly works part time. We went to yard sales looking for books to resell online, then to the Piece of Cake to see Grandma. One of the books I bought had this photo inside:

Rather artistic, don't you think? You never know what you'll find in a book.

When we returned home this afternoon, Dorothy spotted this kitten inside my table saw. I grabbed my camera for a lucky shot.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

quote of the day

You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need.
-- Vernon Howard

Since Marley is in school it was just Hunter and me hanging out together. We went to the Piece of Cake where he had chocolate milk and I had coffee and a sausage roll. (sausage, cheese, and jalapeno peppers baked in bread)

Then we checked out the pumpkin. The middle picture was taken on the 13th and the bottom was taken today 9 days later. It's growing quite rapidly.

Monday, August 21, 2006

quote of the day

An infinite God can give all of Himself to each of His children. He does not distribute Himself that each may have a part, but to each one He gives all of Himself as fully as if there were no others
--A.W. Tozer

1st day of 1st grade

She's ready for school.

Not only is this Marley's first day of first grade, but this is the first day of a new school, and it's her teacher's very first day to teach school.

I think she's ready to go back home.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

quote of the day

It's a sad day when you find out that it's not accident or time or fortune, but just
yourself that kept things from you.
-- Lillian Hellman

Saturday, August 19, 2006


Next month the English as a Second Language class at the First Baptist Church, Siloam Spring will start a new year. I'm going to help out by teaching a beginner's class. The local paper ran this photo today.

dirty campaigns

It seems like political campaigns are worse each election year. I know history shows that muckraking and mudslinging is nothing new but I'm getting tired of it. I've decided to vote for the opposition whenever a politician spends his campaign funds and time to tear down his opponent instead of simply declaring his own qualifications for the job. We Americans think of our country as the greatest in the world, but we keep electing dishonest people who are completely lacking in character. Our national character is suffering for it. It's time for us to look beyond the speeches and the rhetoric and start demanding excellence from our elected representatives. How? We can start by investigating these people. A simple way to do it is to Google them. Using the internet, it won't be difficult to find out our congressman's voting record. You may discover that your representative promised while campaigning to do one thing and did the opposite, once elected. Hold your congressman's feet to the fire. Write letters. They may be able to finance their way into office using special interest and lobbying money, but they still need our votes. If we don't participate in this great democracy of ours there will come a time when they won't need our votes.

a funny thing we saw today

Dorothy and I spent the morning in the Bella Vista/Bentonville area going to yard sales. I looked for books to resell on the internet while she was on the lookout for clothes for the grand kids. On the way home we saw this car parked a couple blocks away from the lot where it had been purchased by an unhappy customer.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

a day with the grandkids

Yesterday, I showed up at Marley and Hunter's house before 8:00am. We were to spend the day together while their Mom worked. Marley was still in bed so Hunter and I watched Sesame Street until she got up around 9:30. After everyone was dressed and all shoes were tied we set out for the bakery/coffee shop where Dorothy works. We had a nice breakfast of chocolate muffins, chocolate chip cookies and chocolate milk. I just had coffee. While we were sitting there visiting with one another I couldn't help but be thankful for the opportunity to spend time with these kids. That's the best part of retirement. We decided to go on an adventure. By that time we were hungry so we went to McDonald's for lunch, then we were off to the Natural Falls State Park. It was another 100 degree day and the hiking trails were steep but it was nice to sit on a bench at the bottom of the falls.

It was shady and felt almost air conditioned. Hunter spent his time throwing rocks into the water and Marley kept busy collecting rocks. She has an extensive collection that she has brought home from places she has been around the country.

By the time we hiked back up to my truck we were overheated and dry, so that called for a trip to the ice cream store for rootbeer floats. That's just what we needed.

I had a close call with employment the other day. I saw an ad in the paper for a job close to home. I thought it would be good to augment my pension with some spending money. I applied and was hired. I was to start next Monday, but after spending time with Marley and Hunter I decided that the extra money wouldn't be worth giving up the freedom to do the things I love to do. So I dropped by the employment office and gave them the news. I really don't have time to work. I have so much to do , in fact I need to go out right now and check on the pumpkin.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

birthday 61

This has been a busy week for Dorothy and I. We celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary and today was the first anniversary of my retirement and also my 61st birthday. In keeping with our family tradition, Dorothy cooked the meal of my choice. Here's what we had: fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, squash, green beans, corn on the cob, corn bread, and iced tea. Instead of a cake we had peach cobbler and I made some chocolate tea ice cream. I was disappointed that Tara and her boy friend Dusty couldn't make it, but she had to work. I always like my family with me on special days, (and every other day, come to think of it)

After lunch an Oklkahoma style thunder storm swept in and blew over some trees and broke branches out of trees and almost flattened my corn.

pumpkin watch

About three weeks ago I took this picture of the pumpkin. Today, Marley, Hunter, and Jenna went out to check on it's progress.

It's growing fast, isn't it?

Saturday, August 12, 2006

sounds of summer

When I was a kid and living in Hermosa Beach, California, my family would make trips back to Oklahoma in the summer. The heat and humidity was oppressive and the air was cacophonous with the sound of cicadas. The locals called them locusts or jar flies. They were noisy to the point of annoyance. Now, after living in the state for 27 years, I look forward to hearing the cicadas each summer. If you've never hear the sound, the best way to describe it is a metallic whir. They start out at a low pitch and build up to a rapid frequency and loud volume. They've been known to reach 120 decibels. The trees are full of them. The noise serves two purposes. The loud noise repels birds and attracts females. So I guess human males aren't the only ones who attempt to woo females by being loud and obnoxious, although without as much success as the cicadas.
They have an interesting life cycle. They spend 6 to 17 years underground in their nymph stage and finally make their way to the surface where they shed their outer body as a complete shell and emerge as a completely different creature to spend a few weeks mating before they die.

In early summer you will find these carcasses on trees, fences, houses, actually, on all kinds of surfaces.

This is the form they take for the last few weeks of life. These are the noise makers.

Friday, August 11, 2006


Yesterday, Dorothy and I went to Porter for peaches. Hey, an alliteration! Went to Porter for peaches to make peach pies. How's this: Went to Porter, post haste, for their pulchritudinous peaches to make the penultimately perfect peach pie. I'd better quit. Dorothy wants the peaches to make a cobbler for my birthday, Sunday.

Anyway, it was 110 degrees when we arrived at the peach stand. Fortunately, it was inside and air conditioned. They had everything that could possibly be made from peaches: Pies, candy, preserves, ice cream. We were tempted to buy it all, but we restrained ourselves and just bought fresh peaches and some fried pies. I noticed there were only two fried pies left in the case when we joined the queue at the cash register. I was tempted to be rude and elbow my way to the front of the line to assure that those pies would be ours, but being the civilized man that I am, I restrained myself. One of the pies sold. Well, I thought, Dorothy will just have to do without a pie. By the time we had worked our way to the register the other fried pie had been sold. I told the girl behind the counter, "Please tell me there's someone in back making more fried pies!" "As a matter of fact, yes, there is," she replied. "Oh, boy," I replied.

The fried pies were hot off the stove and we were halfway home before they were cool enough to eat.

a prayer

Oh God, don't be an impersonal God. Be my personal Lord. Not a supreme being who has wound up the universe like a colossal clock and now the decades and centuries tick away and the events of humanity march past in ordered predestined sequence. Be my personal God who is moved with compassion when you see the needs of mankind. One who orders my small life as well as the destiny of nations. Who weeps when I weep and laughs when I laugh. I thank you that by your Spirit you have thus revealed yourself to me.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

quote of the day

Be master of your petty annoyances and conserve your energies for the big, worthwhile things. It isn't the mountain ahead that wears you out - it's the grain of sand in your shoe.
-- Robert Service

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

40 years

Today marks the 40th anniversary of our marriage. 40 years. Time has slipped away like a cat burglar in the night. Where did it go? I'm getting old and forgetful but it seems like yesterday that I first saw that little brown Dorothy with the green eyes and thought to myself, "That's the girl I want". And she's still the girl I want.

quote of the day

"We don't have to live great lives, we just have to understand and survive the ones we've got."
--Andre Dubus

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


"When I can look life in the eyes,
grown calm and very coldly wise,
life will have given me the truth,
and taken in exchange-my youth."

Sara Teasdale

interesting tidbit

The technologies which have had the most profound effects on human life are usually simple. A good example of a simple technology with profound historical consequences is hay. Nobody knows who invented hay, the idea of cutting grass in the autumn and storing it in large enough quantities to keep horses and cows alive through the winter. All we know is that the technology of hay was unknown to the Roman Empire but was known to every village of medieval Europe. Like many other crucially important technologies, hay emerged anonymously during the so-called Dark Ages. According to the Hay Theory of History, the invention of hay was the decisive event which moved the center of gravity of urban civilization from the Mediterranean basin to Northern and Western Europe. The Roman Empire did not need hay because in a Mediterranean climate the grass grows well enough in winter for animals to graze. North of the Alps, great cities dependent on horses and oxen for motive power could not exist without hay. So it was hay that allowed populations to grow and civilizations to flourish among the forests of Northern Europe. Hay moved the greatness of Rome to Paris and London, and later to Berlin and Moscow and New York.
--Freeman Dyson

quote of the day

A preoccupation with the future not only prevents us from seeing the present as it is but often prompts us to rearrange the past.
-- Eric Hoffer, The Passionate State of Mind, 1954

Saturday, August 05, 2006

green spaghetti

The other day, Marley, Hunter, and I made some spaghetti. We used my pasta machine again. I was trying to instruct them in the proper way of doing it, but Marley was either pulling the spaghetti out too soon or letting it pile up under the machine, and Hunter either turned the crank too fast, too slow or not at all. I guess I was getting too impatient because Marley asked it she and Hunter could finish by themselves.

I said, "No. This is a three person operation. I have to feed the dough, Hunter turns the crank, and you catch the spaghetti."
I continued with my instructions and then Hunter said, "Pops, can you go away?". Well, that brought me up short. I was letting my desire for order over ride their need to explore and have fun. So I just let happen whatever would happen. We even added some green food coloring to the dough. In the end we had some pretty tangled up spaghetti, but it cooked up good, and had a great color.

a trip to the garden

This evening I went out to the garden and picked a few things. Here are some tomatoes that are ripening in the kitchen window and some squash. After going without rain for several weeks, last night a severe thunderstorm popped up out of nowhere and gave the veggies a long drink of water. Everything has perked up and we may have pumpkins and corn after all. This morning, Dorothy made omelettes with cheese, onions, and some of these fresh tomatoes. Wow. I'm dreading the day when we have to start buying tomatoes from the store again.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

my own walking track

After my neighbor, Mike, mowed the hay and baled it, he brush-hogged a perimeter around the pasture. I'm using that as a walking track. It beats going into town and using theirs.

One time around the pasture is about 1/2 mile. I can get a good workout every day. I walked three times around today and found no ticks on me when I finished. That's a good thing. At one time I tried to jog along these country roads but dogs were such a problem I had to quit.

The governor imposed a burn ban yesterday. We can still grill but can't burn trash or grass. It's getting dry. I checked the creek while I was walking and there's very little water in it. Now, if they come up with an order to conserve water that will be the end of my garden. I have to water it every couple of days with these 100+ degree days and no rain.