Sunday, June 25, 2017



"I believe God sent me here and I do not think about security."

I have watched this video a few times and there is nothing I can add. Next time the word "hero" is tossed out like chicken feed, think of this man; these men. 


"..................all braying for blood and violence. They want you gone and prefer you dead. Take them seriously. Black Lives Matter and the Alexandria ballpark shootings have put ambush-murder firmly on the table. Expect more. Look to your own safety. Stay away from crowds. Don't be anywhere near this. Keep Plan B close to hand. First out is best out. Be ready to roll."



Who Knew? But seems reasonable and worthy of reading. Easy to work around me thinks.

Just took the photo outside this morning after torrential thunderstorms yesterday.  While sizing in Photoshop, I see we have scapes. Homemade pesto very soon and all garlic needs for the next few weeks, will come from these.

Scapes need to be harvested for the good of the garlic bulb. I think it is a garlic sex thing. Much of the plant energy now goes into growing the scape. Harvesting the scape after it turns the "curly que", puts that growing energy back into the bulb. 

If you have not planted some garlic, find good larger bulbs at your local outdoor farmers markets over the weeks ahead. Ask if they are grown locally. Set them in a cool dark place for storage and plant just before hard freeze and winter sets in. Cover with straw and some kind of heavy wire on the top of the straw to hold it in place. Come spring, watch for sprouts through the hay and slowly remove hay layers as overnight freezing quits and warmer wet days of spring set in.  Be a better gardener than I am by weeding more often. 

Of all that we try to grow, garlic seems the easiest and most forgiving.



Over coffee and breakfast sandwiches, her and I discussed this last article we had read that morning. Shaking our heads while trying to drink coffee, a challenge these days. A few minutes reading this article will have you spilling morning coffee also.

Eighteen shoppers queried and then a Chicago Illinois law firm steps in. Illinois, the state gone beyond broke. Keep your eyes on this story.

So a 4x4 (4" x 4") is not a 4x4. Has never been a 4x4 for decades now. There are reasons a 4x4 is not a 4x4. Decades ago, a 4x4 came from the saw mill. Met certain structural requirements, but was a rough piece of lumber and never the perfect 4x4 as measured for consistency in building.

4X4's became 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" after all four sides where run through planers for smoothness and consistency of dimension. Most all other rough-sawn woods were reduced from their original mill-sawn industrial named size. 

Walk into Home Depot looking for 1x10's and the employee will take you to the 1x10's that measure 3/4" x 9 1/4". The large print on the stall most likely will say 1x10.

Clean water in Flint is not as advertised. "Health care" and you can keep your doctor! How about the inside of that burrito photo? Does that burrito you just purchased for lunch look like the photo? Your deli sandwich? The sandwich handed over the counter to you; does it look like the photo on the wall? And that gorgeous model most likely advertises differently than what he/she (species type) looks like in the morning? I digress.

And from recent experience, does that little handheld, battery-operated car vacuum cleaner really work as advertised? Screwed myself on that purchase and I knew better at the time.  No! It does not work as advertised. Not even close.

The 4x4! The 2x4! The 1x8 pine board! How about one coat covers paint! Go ahead here, name a few more items that are not as advertised.

A state gone broke and beyond repair now ravaging their business base. If this is the beginning of suing folks and businesses for things not being as advertised, then it's best businesses in Illinois, shut their doors, salvage what they can and move out - way out. 

Be careful where ya move though. Do your home work as other states are on the heels of complete financial and social failure too. My bet is that there are a few politicians and leaders of the pack that are wondering how to got out of Illinois in the weeks ahead with out being seen. 

Probably not too long now before a state border exit fee to get out. Papers on why you are leaving and are there relatives left behind?


Stay vigilant!

Sunday, June 18, 2017


I repeat myself.  Soon, I will be able to just re-publish one of my old posts links each week. 

Summer time and this week we are in the heat. Mother Nature is taking note and doing what she does after weeks of spring soaking. It is a time to step back and take note. I do that stepping back much easier and more often now than I ever did as a young man. I never get tired or bored of watching her, mother nature. 

Tomatoes watered this morning before the heat sets in. Rings on the metal tomato brackets tell me of noticeable growth just over night. An inch easily.  Zucchini and yellow squash sport new center green growth. Flowers around the yard give off life with out even trying. Herbs ready for some harvesting for meal times. A time in my life now where I so appreciate the simple beauty this world sets forth.

In the After After, beings happening upon this property will find it consumed of vegetation. Thick roots rounding everything man built and slow consumption and deterioration of a home once lived in. Will they wonder who lived here and what life was like back then? I sure hope so. 

Maybe I should engrave a rock saying, "Life was good, 2017." Lord knows this part of the country can grow some rocks.


I have read that celery stalk left overs can be re-planted. Carrots, too. So is it so? Yes it is. Also lettuce stalks.

Truth be told, I am a kid in a candy store when it comes to trying something like this. With nothing more than a will to find out for myself, a little garden dirt, water and sunshine. The celery stock above is an inch and a half in length and was set into the garden a little over a week ago. That is all I did. No muss, no fuss.

Go ahead. Put some good soil in a pot and set it on your deck where the sun shines. Put in a couple celery stalk end pieces; a few left over carrot ends. Keep it watered and enjoy. It is free and you are growing something; something you can eat. 

I will talk daily now to the celery, along with the onions, garlic and other growing vegetable family members. Going on week three in June 2017. I will talk to the flowers, too, for they bring on the bees. Yep, those are weeds between celery and onion.


THE MORNING CALL TO LIFE happens daily and has for as long as I can remember here on the hill. At 04:32, a bird of some sorts, who must live close outside our bedroom window, starts the daily call to life. Three chirps, pause then three chirps. My first roll over to the awakening starts. If I have checked once, I have checked the clock a dozen times and the little bird gets an "atta bird" for timing, consistency and dependability. More of Mother Nature's choreography and conducting.

Some daylight advancing as his/her whistle chirping continues. After about a half hour, the chirping sounds as if the little bird has turned to sound in another direction and then, much further off in the distance. Maybe another post position from which to announce. Then quiet.

Five AM breaks with the wife quietly getting up, house creaking from her movement, kitchen lights on and the oh so important coffee kettle gasps the first perk. If I wait long enough, the smell of fresh coffee arrives in the bedroom. 

This morning bordered on working similar living conditions in The After. I/we have been too lazy to go to the store this week for milk, creams and a basic here and there.  Her has run out of coffee cream. She does have to share with the cat and that extra consumption from her corner of the fridge might just been the difference. The last can of evaporated milk from the shelf saved the morning as she mixed that into her first cup of coffee. Eyebrows raised on the first sip and the first taste and cups of coffee this morning from her vantage will be just fine. BUT to the store before lunch today is job two or three.


I strive for good final thoughts with each blog ending. A way of capsulizing some sense from the week past; an opinion or way of putting my stuff away. And I did again this week and just know deleted it all. Seemed too much and did not quench my want of a good ending. 

Yesterday I happened on one of the blogs I read and rank at the top of the kind of reading and writing I am drawn to. Some folks can so easily hit the nail on the head. I ramble too much. Talk too much. Take too long. I know that.  See!!

For me this week, -HIGHCOUNTRY BLOG- does it better than I could ever hope to achieve. Enjoy. Look at some of the other stories here. Like a good friend sitting and story telling with imagery.

Fresh fruits, corn and vegetables are coming to our outdoor markets around the country now. Take time to stop in, support local growers and workers of the land. Treat yourself to these times of the season.

Watch the world you walk in this week.

Thanks again for visiting YMATA.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


1 Gallon jug with lid-
10 Tea bags-we like Raspberry Flavor-
Fill with fresh cold water-
Set outside in the sun for a few hours-
Remove tea bags-
Add sweetener if you are so inclined-
Pour in large glass half filled with ice cubes-
Chill remaining tea till gone-we drink the whole gallon in a given day-
Best thirst quencher I/we have found on hot hot days.

Mid-nineties this past week. The other side of winter. Garden and herbs finally responding to warmth.


ARTHRITIS is an individual gift given later in life. No cure and it gets worse. I am blessed with both shoulders now out of cartilage and the gaps between the joints are minimal. I believe I am getting fairly good at living with some pain and discomfort during daily routines. My left shoulder catches and there is a combination of movements I use get the arm to where I want it. A learned response. The right shoulder just acts up through the range of motion.

Went to another doctor this past week for another opinion in hopes of hope. But I knew better. "Let me tell you about your shoulders" he said looking at two large X-rays. Then he stood up and put me through movement tests. I cannot put my hands up in the "hands up don't shoot move." Both arms lean forward. But in a moment of having to, I think I could get a few more degrees vertical. I laughed. Woe be to me if my hand and arms are pulled to my back for hand cuffs.

The doctor had me stand and he winced as he raised both arms high over his head demonstrating my next move. I was going to say to him, "let me tell you about your shoulders." I raised both arms over my head.  The arms bent and strength tests. "Does that hurt?"  "Yes."  "Does that hurt?" "Yes." Repeat.

"You are doing remarkably well given what I see on these X-Rays he said." Meds (I most likely will not take due to possible side effects) prescribed. Normal aging is enough w/o voluntarily adding a side effect or two. Then another additive to solve the side effect and the gift of arthritis keeps on giving. 

Crap, I am talking about my aches and pains just like my folks did! 


HAVING A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR SMART PHONE. Or something along that line said the headline. Like so many reads I attend on a weekly basis now, I am to a point where I do not even skim the article. I paragraph glance, a learned habit in reading news. I am finding a common thread of words and notions from article to article. Not a good practice to be a well-informed person though. Add to this my life long tendency to not pay close attention to many things; it seems my opinion and take on today can easily be off-kilter. But how off-kilter can one be in a kilter-world oozing off the edge?

I hope I do not become one of those folks who lives phone in hand as a norm. Like breathing air norm. I enjoy looking for and watching these folks. Not being judgemental here but I am. A group of four folks waiting to order breakfast and everyone has a phone in hand or parked next to the knives and forks. Most of the time the groups' heads are down, waiting for a signal, a sign, a vibration or ding. 

A lot of personal entertainment can be had just for the observation. Causes me to ask myself a lot of life questions for which I have no response.

Dear lord, please give me the strength not to fall into this. Please!

Photo above.

JUMP DAY had arrived. Two college girls I knew and I had taken hours of instruction prior to our first jump out of a Cessna 172. We tumbled, rolled and jumped off of saw horses practicing the landing. I became confident in the landing roll on the ground. Knew I could do it. 

The two gals got suited up, received last instructions and took off in the plane. I watched. I really did not want to jump. Deep down inside and admitting only to my weaker self. But it was too late into program to quit. Besides the college girls were going to jump in just a few minutes. No way can the plane return for me, only for me to bag it. Nope, a man's man it was to be. 

I watched the girls jump individually using the static line. That line automatically pulls the rip cord after leaving the plane. Their chutes popped open and they gently floated to earth and landed like rolling feathers in the hay field. A beautiful sight. 

Last minute checks from my instructor, helmet on and climbing into the Cessna without doors. I sat there as we took off knowing this is the only time in my life I ever had gone flying that I would not be there for the landing. 

We climbed to altitude, 3000 feet maybe a little more. Circled over the airfield in Ellensburg and to the outlying farm fields described by their low fencing. Another beautiful Eastern Washington morning, warm breeze and as the plane slowed down, I turned to sit with my feet outside the plane. Push had come to shove. 

Static line hooked up, foot on step hands on wing strut. I jumped with arms out in a flying position. But instead of achieving that flying position, I achieved the headed straight down to the earth flight position. Moments later a noticeable jolt and my helmet fell down over my eyes. 

I pushed the helmet up to witness the most beautiful parachute over head. All filled out with air and I hung there in moments of beauty and floating that was worth it all.  I knew then and there I would be able to say for the rest of my life, "yes, I have parachuted from a plane." Deep in a dark corner of my mind I knew I was going to live.

I pulled on the shrouds spinning left and then right, soaking up every little experience I could. I picked an into the wind approach for the oncoming landing. I assumed a landing like a feather moment as I had watched the gals.  Pulled up my feet to avoid the barbed wire fence and prepared for the landing roll. 

I hit the ground like a ton of bricks. Did a good roll thank goodness. But it was a hard landing. Of course I had an extra hundred pounds that that the gals did not. Forgot about that. Picked myself up, noticed everything still worked, unhooked the chute, rolled it up and walked to the nearby road. 

"Have you ever parachuted from an airplane?" 

"Well, yes I have."

"Have you ever jumped again?"

"Well, no I have not."


Keep your knees bent!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

CHICKEN PLAYS PIANO- Gets Standing Ovation

We are constantly on the hunt for good media entertainment. We have watched some of our favorite movies too many times and both of us channel surf too much now.

I have been able to save a few of the evenings by recording programs I will not normally sit down and watch due to the hype and over soaking of crap. Recording allows me to fast forward to just the parts that may interest me/us. 

And so it was a few nights ago when I pulled up America's Got Talent 2017 and fast forwarded to the first act, a chicken playing a piano.  It was a train wreck from the beginning and I could not turn it off. My wife became so annoyed that I was going to sit there all night watching this kind of *************, that she got up walked out and went into the office seeking a normal zone. Suffice it to say, she was upset that I had stooped so low for some evening entertainment. 

I tried to tell her that it was a train wreck I could not shut off. I have never ever heard a chicken play a piano and was in a trance over which I had no control. But she had had enough, to the point of leaving the room. So I turned it off, apologized as it was a low point and I knew it. We both settled into doing a few emails and checking blogs. Nothing of interest on a hundred TV channels!!

In my office, I put on head phones and headed to searching AGT and the chicken. I found it, did not watch it again but wondered what other talent might have been on that night first airing. Low and behold, Puddles Pity Party came on as a contestant.

If you check this out and can get through the clown act, the voice is what hopefully will capture you. I always have to wade through the clown thing to hear him sing. It is the same wading one has to do through some of the Lady GaGa costumes just to get to her voice. Puddles' Clown act is the hook that gets his voice out to be heard.

I went back to the TV, fast forwarded through most of the first two hour season premier episode and sure enough, there he was near the end. I told the wife to give the show one more chance and when she saw Puddles come on, she sat to watch.

We were surprised that no one, especially the judges, knew of him.  Not because of his quirky clown act, but because of the voice. We were also surprised that the audience did not know of him either. Puddles has been around for quite awhile and we are fans. The clown gig is an act well perfected.  Mike Geier a big man with a big voice. 



Nope, not going to feed the world on this beet crop. A test planting as I am the only one here who likes beets. 

I fully expected to see all of them dead the other morning, the last surviving three, also drowned in the early cold June rains like their sisters. But, to my surprise these just might make it to the dinner table this season. 

Been a cold and wet start to summer in middle New England and not conducive to starting beets early or carrots. Just found one of the basil plants has drowned and fallen mid staff. Constant rain reminiscent of the Pacific Northwest  and the accompanying low clouds depression not helping.



The transfer station (municipal dump) is close by and I made several runs yesterday to zero out our week's holdings. An older man like me, pulled up behind me, beeped his horn and threw me a few barbs. Old man talk for "how ya doooohn?"

We soon waded into the lack of understanding our world anymore. Both of us "whying" this and "whying" that and "they do not get it." It is not the way it used to be, whatever it is. We complain, shake our heads and laugh. I like laughing and kidding and this one thing that old men do well. Throwing barbs, grinning and then laughing. A game of catch and release. But through it all, we both realize that it is not our America anymore. Well, it is not the country that built us and that we helped build. Seventy-two years for me and so much has changed.

My older friend wears his age well this day. Thin, stands fully upright, a few days unshaven and fits the scene perfectly wearing a flannel shirt tucked into work pants.  I very much like and enjoy his take on life, living and being old. His dog sits in the passenger seat taking in the on-goings with not a care in the world. I am sure the dog could throw out a few barbs, too, and dog laugh with us if we could cross that barrier.

The garbage dump is a social environment in this neck of the woods. Always cross paths with neighbors and visit with others coming and going. Folks are chatty at the dump and I always find it humming with good human interactions. Every now and then another man's garbage turns into this mans treasure.


Thanks for checking in. 

Eyes wide open when out and about this week.  


Sunday, June 4, 2017


"What's for Lunch?" yesterday caused me to go to the pantry and check out remaining stock. My wife yearned for the old zucchini relish we canned years ago and she thought we were out.

Fresh corn chips from the grocery store also caused me to pull and push jars, finding the last home canned jar of salsa.

We found that we are down to our last jars (summer of 2011) homemade zucchini relish (forefront center in photo above) and our last jars (summer of 2013) of homemade salsa (front lower right). Canned corn and beets gifted from Sometimes is getting low too. Homemade pickles, pickle relish and applesauce still OK, although stock is down.

My wife loves hot dogs.  She says she can live on hot dogs in a no fuss no muss world of worrying about what to eat. I join her often, especially when she adds chili, melted cheese and a little chopped onion. 

A buttered toasted hot dog bun loaded with two spoonfuls of homemade zucchini relish and hot dog placed squarely in the middle is a treat. Here on the hill the lunch counter goes silent for a few minutes during consumption. The only distraction allowed is the dog waiting for bare endbites of the last hot dog bun. 

Time to can again this summer. Two dozen jars of ZR and salsa each for starters.  We are also out of my wife's blueberry and strawberry jam preserves. A small jar serves one breakfast when home madebread comes out of the toaster. Several weekends now will be dedicated to chopping, mixing, stirring, tasting, canning and replenishing shelves.

The photo above is a bare pantry in our world where one is none and two is one. 


The "cray cray world" blather postings will have to wait this week. Seems the days have filled with things to do and final garden planting. Sun on the trees and breeze beckons this morning to get outside and function. Chores have their hands up, no matter where I look. 


Stay the course.