Monthly Archives: October 2012

Seasonal Greeters

Welcome Friends!

Come inside. Sit a spell. Tell me the news.

A quiet, friendly couple gestures you to the door. Come out of the nippy morning air. I’ll put the coffee pot on. Or stop for an afternoon chat with sunshine warming us through the window.

And then we’ll have special guests one evening. Shorter folks, for the most part. Many with watchful adults in the background. Reach up to ring the bell. Hold out the bag or plastic pumpkin and giggle.

Trick or Treat????

Seasonal Greeters

Against Stereotype

Yellow – Yellow Yellow

Can you even see it? I’m not writing about sunny or cheerful yellow.

Think lemon – as in sour. Or not assembled properly. The namesake of Lemon Laws.

Or perhaps a coward comes to mind. You know the movie character – the old Western where the hero calls the villian a yellow-bellied, yellow-livered, coward with a yellow streak down his back so wide nothing else is left.

Not all is lost. We can make a little lemonade – add sugar and water and optimism.

On a recent October walk I happened across a yard resident wearing yellow tall and proud. Not dull brown or flashing orange red for this stately tree. A simple yellow will do. Nothing to be ashamed of in this rainbow color at all.

Yellow and Proud

If You Want To Be…

It’s a catchy little tune.

I learned it during my 4-H years in Wisconsin.

My children cringed, put hands over their ears, and left the room when I sang it. They were well mannered enough to limit themselves to a face of displeasure if we were visiting my parents and both mother and I launched into it.

Either male children don’t care for that particular foolish song or they didn’t spend enough time in my home state to appreciate it.

I think it’s the latter. They learned plenty of silly melodies and non-traditional words to common melodies. But they never got the hang of this one. Do they not like to sing about emulating a particular species of weasel?

Let’s try it with a visual aid.

All together now —

If you want to be a Badger, just come along with me, by the bright shining light, by the light of the moon; If you want to be a Badger, just come along with me, By the bright shining light of the moon.

What’s not to like??????

 

 

A Tool for the Task

Have you carried pails of water? Or Paint? Or garden produce?

Two buckets, even weight, one in each hand work best. And it doesn’t take a very long experiment for the person doing the carrying to figure it out.

Not many generations ago lots of people carried things in buckets every day. It was part of doing chores. Bringing water from well or spring to house and animals. Toting the milk from barn to storage in a cool place for storage or to be processed into butter or cheese. Moving garden crops to storage in the root cellar.

Centuries ago people developed a tool to assist them. It’s mentioned in the Bible. The English word is traced to before the 12th Century.

The example shown below is a reproduction of the tool used by children – this was a family of boys – made my their father so they could carry the water for the family up a steep bluff from the lake.

Boy sized yoke for water chores.

Mum’s the Word

Produce stand is selling flowers.

One of the few male members of the church group regretted his choice of topics almost immediately.

Which one? Where again? What kind? How much?

The women, including his wife, request details. Aside from the location of the stand he sat at a loss. “I don’t know. Not roses. I know roses.”

In bits and pieces. From flowers recently put for sale other places and the date on the calendar the women close the topic.

Don’t send him to the florist. The phrase rests unsaid on the floor in a heavy layer of caution.

A few days later I pass the produce stand in question and the women’s conclusion is confirmed. It’s October in Missouri. Mum’s the word. And the flower.

Shhhhh. Mum’s the Word

America in the Middle

It’s good to be surrounded by friends.

Even better when the friends are inventive, industrious, and inspiring.

Today I offer a collection of words and invite you to find the thread.

Biathlon.       Fjord.         Lego.         Limpa.

Did you pull your thinking cap tight? Go running to the globe? If you’re opening the atlas I suggest you begin in Europe and direct your gaze to the Northern regions.

You shake your head. America’s not in the middle of this picture. The author must have attached the wrong title.

I plead “not guilty”.   See photo below.

Finland, Norway, United States, Denmark, and Sweden standing together

America stands proud, equal, and in the middle of this collection.

So after you have cross country skied to the rifle range next to the fjord don’t play with the Lego until after you eat your meatball on limpa sandwich.

Thank you Scandinavian friends for enriching American lives.

Hide ‘n Seek

They hide. I seek.

The plant taunts me with the display of two or three.

With my small dish I approach. Will I find enough? Did I wait too long since last time? Delay in this case means waste – with vegatables too hard and coarse to be tasty.

I pull off the obvious ones. Push leaves aside and find more. Is that one too small? Will it be too large the day after tomorrow? The weather is finally good for gardens with rain in small helpings, warm sunny days, and nights above the dangerous frost range.

Pull. Drop. Hunt. My hands and eyes seek fruit that can be mistaken for stems at first glimpse.

Got it! Fresh beans tonight.

Can you find my companions?

Hero of the Deep

Dig beneath the surface. Get to the heart of the matter.

Going deep is what the USS Cobia was built to do. And this WWII submarine did it well.

She’s a veteran of action in the Pacific. Credited with sinking 13 enemy vessels.

All heros require a brain. A submarine is not exception. Officers direct enlisted as the engines are started, batteries charged, ship moves forward, down, turns port and starboard in evasive moves and surfaces again when danger is past. Lookouts and deck gunners remain poised to drop down ladders to the main portion of the ship at the sound of the alarm. Young men move, load, and fire torpedos as directed. Navigation and communication specialists supply vital information. Cooks prepare the best food in the navy for 80 hot, dirty, hungry men. And the pharmasist mate treats wounds and illness.

Control room – The Brain of a Deep Water Hero

Commissioned in January 1944, the USS Cobia resides in the Manitowoc River. Twenty-eight of her sister ships were built here on the shores of Lake Michigan before starting a journey that included Chicago, the river system to the Mississippi and then New Orleans for finishing touches.

To the Finish

AHHH! Autumn!

Darkness drops like a thick blanket after official sunset. Gone are the lingering, warm, twilight hours of listening to children play or chatting with neighbors. Now we scurry inside after dark, only the pet owners venturing out for more than a walk to automobile or dumpster.

Days can be warm, jackets left inside, and patio hours in late morning and afternoon a joy.

Gardens remain green. Mine has been revived by actual rain after a long, hot summer and enough water to live, but not thrive. Tomato plants pull up nutrients from below. Tiny fruit sets, swells, and hangs in shorter hours of sunlight.

Will they ripen? Do they have time? What day will frost arrive?

With hope in my heart I check them daily. I’d like one more pair of red, ripe, fresh tomatoes with my salad this year.

Last Fruit?