Wednesday, March 31, 2010

spring brings work

Yesterday I mowed the lawn for the first time this season and today I finished weed eating. It's good to be outside.  I'll enjoy the yard work now until the middle of August when I'll start yearning for those frigid nights and cold days that end the warm weather chores that keep me busy spring and summer.
A few weeks ago I cleaned up the Purple Martin bird house in anticipation of their arrival from Brazil. They seem to be a little late this year and some interloping sparrows moved in.  I searched on the Internet for a way to get rid of the sparrows.  The solution offered was to kill  euthanize the birds.  Well, a sparrow has just as much right to live as the Martins, but they just can't live in their house. A sparrow will steal a Purple Martin's house quicker than a banker can steal the taxpayers' money. So I took down the house and cleaned out the Sparrow nests and I'll put it back up when I see that the Martin scouts have arrived.
Last fall I dug up all my lilly and daffodil bulbs and replanted them around the yard. Here's a stand of Fortissimo Daffodils.

Cherokee Heritage

Last week Kelly and I took Marley and Hunter to the Cherokee Heritage Center to help celebrate Indian Traditions Week. They learned how to weave baskets, make pots from clay, and to use a blow gun. They were also taught Cherokee words and listened to stories.

This crusty old Chrokee marshall brandishes his shootin' iron as
he spins a yarn about Ned Christie, a famous Cherokee hero.

Hunter and Marley pick up their blow guns for target practice

Friday, March 26, 2010

quote of the day

"I just have to shake my head at the tea partiers. I would like each one to sit down, turn off Fox News for a while, switch off Limbaugh/Hannity and examine how the recent health care reforms will impact them. Just them. That's what I did when I was making up my mind about whether to support it or not. I'm middle-class America, 2 job family, kids, mortgage, car payments, insured thru my employer. You know what the impact is on me? Nothing! And it's the exact same thing for everyone I work/worship/play with. And even if my premium goes up, if the result is that we cover 30+ million uninsured people, I'm ok with that. It's worth it to me to not have my local emergency room (which we seem to visit all too often with my crazy kids) crammed with uninsured people who want an aspirin. And spare me the Nazi-Germany comparisons. Hitler wasn't freely elected, subject to a system of checks and balances, or doing his utmost to supply health care to 20 million Jews and Gypsys. Sheesh."

-- comment to Washington Post article about a Health Care bill protester in Iowa

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Jenna:  Look, Grandma!  I found a penny.

Dorothy:  That's wonderful!  Where did you find it?

Jenna:  In Grandpa's pocket!

what i'm reading now

Usually, I read a book and then watch the movie. The Mosquito Coast  is an exception.  I saw the movie more than twenty years ago and just got around to reading the book. It's one of the best stories I've ever read. The main character, Alli Fox, is a brainy inventor who takes his family to the Hunduran jungle to get away from the materialistic American way of life. He believes that he can usher in a new civilization using technology. He is gradually taken over by paranoid obsessions. The story is told from the viewpoint of his oldest son who describes his father's decline from respected hero to the demented creature that not only stands in the way of the family's return to America, but exposes his wife and children  to unspeakable dangers.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring Begins!!

Today is the first full day of Spring and we woke up to the deepest snow we've seen in years. Yesterday, I covered all the new plants I had recently planted and also our Azalea bushes. They were poised to burst into bloom and now we'll be fortunate to see any color from them this year. It's still snowing as I write this and as much as five more inches is expected. Where else but Oklahoma.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

free labor

Jenna and Hunter are helping me plant flowers. We put in some Hellebores which should start blooming as it gets warmer. Winter is reluctant to release its grip this year. Although we should see 70 degrees tomorrow, there's a chance for snow Saturday night and the low Sunday morning is expected to be around 28 degrees.

I had a plan where I wanted the Hellebores to go, but Jenna decided to plant hers in a different spot. Oh, well.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

quote of the day

Once in a museum Bonnard persuaded his friend Vuillard to distract an attendant while he approached his own old painting, slipped from his pocket a tiny box of paints and a brush the size of a toothpick, and added to one of his consecrated canvases minute touches that set his mind at rest.

--Annette Vaillant

what i'm reading now

Michael Crichton was a great story teller. He is the author of Andromeda Strain, Jurassic Park, and creator of the TV show ER. After his death in 2008 the novel Pirate Latitudes was found on his computer and has now been published. It's a great read. If you like the old time swashbuckling pirate stories then this book is for you. When Captain Charles Hunter (not a pirate, but a privateer) hears of a Spanish Galleon sitting at anchor at an island on the eastern edge of the Caribbean he sets off from Port Royal, Jamaica to capture the ship and lay claim to the treasures on board. His blood thirsty crew are the epitome of the mean and treacherous Caribbean pirates of legend. Only missing were a peg leg and a parrot. They endure cannon fire broadsides from Spanish war ships, man to man sword fights, a hurricane, cannibals, a sea monster, and witchcraft before they find themselves home again. I went through this book in a couple of days, which is pretty fast for me.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

quote of the day

It cuts us off from life, from vitality, from the alive sun and the alive earth, as nothing can. Nothing, not even the most fanatical dogmas of an iron bound religion, can insulate us from the inrush of life and inspiration as money can.

--D. H. Lawrence

gunfight at goingsnake

The gunfight at the OK corral is probably the most famous shootout in history. On April 26, 1881 the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday attempted to arrest members of the Clanton family and after shots were fired and the smoke cleared three of the lawmen were wounded and three of the outlaws were dead. But the biggest gunfight in our history occurred nine years earlier on April 15, 1872 when a posse of U.S. marshals attempted to interrupt the murder trial of Zeke Proctor, a Cherokee Indian who was accused of killing a woman. This happened a few miles from where I live now.

The story is an interesting one. The historical sources tell conflicting stories because it involves a complicated mix of versions told by whites and Indians, Confederates and Union, and feuding families. Zeke Proctor was a boy when he and his family travelled over the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma . He was educated in Cherokee schools that were of such quality that white people in Arkansas paid a subscription to have their children attend the same schools. Zeke grew up to be a respected member of the tribe. He was a farmer and served as sheriff of his district.

The trouble began when Zeke went to visit his Sister, Susan, and discovered her husband Jim Kesterson had left her and her children to live with another woman. it seems that Kesterson had moved in with the widow Polly Beck and was working at the Hilderbrand Mill on Flint Creek near Siloam Springs, AR. When Zeke arrived at the mill and found Jim and Polly together he raised his rifle to shoot his brother-in-law. Polly jumped in front of Kesterson and was killed when the gun discharged. (another version claims that Zeke shot at Kesterson first, barely wounding him and then turned the gun on Polly and killed her. Some claim that Zeke had a love interest in Polly and another says he was furious over an Indian woman being involved with a white man.)

The Cherokee court claimed jurisdiction and a trial was set. The Beck family wanted to be sure Proctor was found guilty so they filed charges in the Federal court in Ft. Smith. There were underlying forces that drove this conflict to its final climax. The Cherokees had fought with the Union during the Civil War and the Becks had been Confederate sympathizers. There had been previous issues between the two families that exacerbated the animosity between them. The court in Ft. Smith sent a posse of U.S. Marshals to the Goinsnake District with orders to take Zeke Proctor into custody if he was acquitted. If he was found guilty they were to return to Ft. Smith without serving the warrant.

The trial was supposed to be held at the Goingsnake Courthouse, but for security reasons it was changed to the Whitmire School in what is now the Christie community. When the posse, which included three members of the Beck family, arrived at the school house the trial had already begun. One version says they rushed into the room and began firing. Another version says that they were ambushed in the school yard by a group of Cherokees.

Eight U.S. Marshals were killed including the three from the Beck family. Three Indians were slain and 14 more were wounded, 11 of them dying within a few days. Zeke Proctor was wounded and his lawyer was killed.

The next day the court was reconvened at Zeke was found not guilty. He went into hiding for awhile and was protected by his fellow tribal members.

In October, 1973, the U.S. District Court dismissed the case of U.S. vs Zeke Proctor. He became a law abiding citizen and served as sheriff, Cherokee senator, and ironically as a U.S. Marshall. He died in 1903 at the age of 76.