Published in the Rains County Leader on July 17, 2018:
At the church where I work, there’s a twelve-month calendar on the wall behind my desk along with a multi-colored collection of dry-erase markers. The idea is that each staff member and each ministry uses a different color so it’s easy to see at a glance what’s happening on any given day. The problem is that we have no color key on the calendar, so we don’t always use the correct marker. One day last week, Pastor Jason came into my office to make note of a few days he is taking off in August. He stared at the calendar for a few minutes.
“I don’t remember what color I am,” he said. “I think I’m green.”
“It isn’t easy being green,” I quipped. When he looked confused, I continued, “You know – Sesame Street – Kermit the Frog.” (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on Tuesday, July 19, 2018:
Last week I wrote about our project to get the motor home road ready and about our less than successful beginning. Actually, we checked the first task off the list as a success when the new house batteries enabled us to turn on the lights. However, our first two attempts at finding LED bulbs to replace the halogens netted us two postage bills for returned items. This task was temporarily put on hold in favor of the generator.
You may remember that, although the new house batteries didn’t get the generator fired up, a new fuse did – but not for long. A magnet of some sort shattered into several pieces causing collateral damage in the process. When I left you last week, David was researching replacement parts.
He was not pleased when an RV dealer told him that parts for the almost twenty-year-old generator were no longer available. Since then, he has found that the dealer was either mistaken or dishonest. He has found the parts on-line, but as feared, they are not cheap. Now we have a decision to make: do we buy parts hoping we can find someone who will install them for us and hoping that fixes the problem; do we buy an entire new generator; or do we buy a portable generator. David doesn’t make decisions quickly, so he moved on to holding tanks. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on June 26, 2018:
One of the first things I learned about living in the country is that there is no shortage of critters – four-legged, winged, large, small, and in-between. Many of my columns have been devoted to my issues with gophers and moles, wild pigs, and bugs of all sorts.
During the years when I planted a garden, my most successful crop was garlic. My neighbor Dirk, who I long ago christened the Garlic King of Rains County, grows garlic that is both huge and delicious, and he generously shares bulbs for planting. With his expert advice, all my bulbs sprouted, grew tall, and put out buds that promised beautiful, orchid-like blooms. Unfortunately, in order to produce the healthiest crop, I had to clip off the buds, but the mild, tasty results were worth it. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on June 5, 2018:
The girls gathered at the gate one morning to give us a friendly send off.
This past week, David and I were house, dog, and cow sitting. The house sitting is the easy part since all we’re expected to do is to make the house look lived in. We try not to make it look too lived in, but just enough to encourage any passing burglars to move on to a less lived-in house. The cow part is pretty simple, too. Since we are still basically city folks, our only job is to count noses on our way in or out. This time there were only four noses – the older ladies were visiting a friend in the hopes of expanding the herd.
The third part of the job is where I usually get my writing material. Spike, the Great
Spike surveying his kingdom
Pyrenees mix who rules the house, is friendly and frisky. He’s also big and strong, and he has a mind of his own. The last time we stayed with him, I took him for a walk on his leash. Even though he has more than sixty acres in which to run, the sight of his leash sends him into a frenzy. His favorite route is up the driveway to the road, to the end of the property, and back to the house. Even though David once clocked him at over twenty miles an hour, when he’s on the leash, he’s content to amble along at the walker’s speed – unless a car comes along. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on March 20, 2018:
Anyone who has pets, especially curious cats, knows that these animals have a thing about closed doors. They have a strong desire to be on the side of the door where they’re not. It’s the pet version of “The Grass Is Always Greener” – that thing that causes cows and horses to stretch their necks between strands of barbed wire to try and reach one scrawny dandelion while standing in a patch of lush green clover. It was also probably the inspiration behind the invention of the pet door that so many of us have installed in our homes. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on March 13, 2018:
Last week I warned that my mind might be a little foggy from the time change when it came time to write this week’s column. Of course, it could also be the allergy/cold medicine I’ve been taking for the last three weeks. Regardless of the cause, I was having trouble coming up with anything readable, so I’m recycling a blog post from several years ago that has been an all-time reader favorite.
When my grandson was 7 years old, he asked his dad why older people sometimes smell bad. That question came up a lot in the caregiver support group we attended in Florida. We also talked a lot about why the homes or rooms of the elderly smell bad. As group facilitator, I tried to come up with answers and even resorted to Google and Wikipedia. The consensus is that there isn’t an overall reason for that “old” smell, like an aging cellular structure or elderly pheromones. Some articles attributed the smell to certain oral medications or topical ointments. Most agreed, however, that the biggest culprits are poor hygiene, both personal and household. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on March 6, 2018:
Next Sunday is one of my least favorite days of the year – the first day of Daylight Savings Time. On that day, people in seventy countries around the world and the entire Continental United States with the exception of Arizona will begin doing everything an hour earlier so that we theoretically have an extra hour of daylight in the evening. The truth is that most of us will miss that “extra” hour because we will fall asleep with our faces in our dinner plates, exhausted from waking up before the crack of dawn. (more…)