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September Beginnings

Many years, and several hundred miles, ago…

If your social media feed is similar to mine — the previous week or two has been filled with photos of friends sending their children to school. Some are posing with smiles. A few look very uncertain about the whole procedure. You see the entire range of kindergarten to off to college.

My mother also recorded the event in our household — at least for her youngest child. I think she actually took the picture a day or two before school started. After all, it was going to be an outside photo (we didn’t own a flash camera).

My preparation involved learning to pronounce the name of my teacher. It wasn’t a difficult name — much easier than my own which I had actually learned to spell by the time school started.

Mother purchased my supplies: tablet, pencils, crayons, and paste.

Ready for First Grade!

A clean dress, white socks, and probably new shoes and I was all set to conquer the world!

Reading was my favorite and continues to be a great joy in my life. In fact, I like reading well enough that I’m making a second career out of writing.

For a peek at a fictionalized, current look at this small, Wisconsin town — try one of the trio of Crystal Springs Romances. First in the trilogy is Starr Tree Farm. Kindle:https://amzn.to/2zqIQEw

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August Advice

A little advice is a good thing. When it comes from an expert, it’s even better.

So here are the professor’s tips for staying comfortable on hot, August days.

Seek the shade.

Drink plenty of water.

Eat your fruits and vegetables.

Professor? Well, for the month of August, I decided to explore close to home. Yes, for many people this is prime vacation time. But for a multitude of reasons, some people are unable to travel. So take a look around and see what you can find within a drive of two hours or less.

Professor Chimp dispenses his advice and demonstrate a carefree attitude at the St. Louis Zoo.

Do you live near a zoo? Have you considered a stroll among the animals as a place for a “date”? Light and casual courting in Comfort Zone, a sweet romance, includes a zoo date with emphasis on elephants.

Kindle: https://amzn.to/2ZvL0Av

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Pretty Pair

Some things pair well — bread and butter, salt and pepper, or cat and dog — often come into our minds as a duo.

Glancing around my home recently, I discovered a few book and mug pairs that I wish to share.

When curiosity about one of my favorite insects strikes, the book comes in handy. Perhaps I saw one on a walk. Or I’m writing and my character would know the correct name. That’s the purpose of Field Guides.

Taking a little time and enjoying tea or coffee with my reading? The mug from the Butterfly House makes the ideal companion.

Do you have any special book and mug pairs?

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Spooky Fun

A sunny, crisp day in fall can contain a lot of fun.

Imagine the swish of leaves as you walk under a tree. The sight of a lone maple in all it’s golden or red glory. The scent of charcoal from one of the last bar-b-que’s of the season.

Or perhaps you prefer the sound of children playing games. Or gathered around a fire pit telling the latest in ghost stories.

In an October past, these figures gathered around a tree at the zoo for a dancing good time.

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Active Fingers

Busy fingers make happy hands. Keep your mind active. Read. Write. Work math or word puzzles.

Or…

Early this year — when Covid 19 was first getting an official name and riding airplanes and ships throughout the world — I decided to work jigsaw puzzles. My goal was to keep my fingers busy with puzzle pieces instead of food while watching evening TV.

Months later — results are mixed. Lots of puzzles have been worked. Some I owned, a couple I checked out from the library, and a timely gift of dozens of used ones filled some boxes.

Did I stop eating? No.

Gain weight? Not much.

Enjoy the challenge? Definitely!

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Hope or Fear

What’s on the other side of the door?

Will the events or items inside feed your inner optimist? Or will they feed the downward spiral of your thoughts and turn you into at least a temporary pessimist?

Can you tell by the door’s appearance?

These mid-20th century doors could do both. They happen to be the main entrance to the campus science hall. The building was almost a second home — right behind my dorm room in hours spent within the walls.

Some days, at at least a class or two, were delightful. My attitude and abilities fit with my major. Other days– not so much. How did I do on that quiz? Why doesn’t the sugar crystalize? Do I care which direction the electrons flow?

Do you have similar doors in your life? Does your experience run more to unexpected pleasure or disappointment?

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Cold Water Beach

Refreshing. Cold. Change of pace.

Not all beaches involve tides, oceans, or salt water.

This lovely beach features rock worn smooth by centuries of water and fresh water that remains cool year-round. The wooden pilings are the remains of an old lumber loading pier. Launch a boat from this point and navigate with care and you could travel a thousand miles before you changed from fresh water to salt.

Where am I? Standing near the Western tip of Lake Superior.

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Separating Spaces

Mending Wall

Good Fences make Good Neighbors

Growing up on the farm — I was acquainted with several different types of fences.

Keeping the “line fence” in good repair was important. This was the marking of your property “line”. Often owners of adjacent properties shared the responsibility — one farmer took care of one stretch — the other the remainder.

Pasture fence and hog fence functioned to keep the animals where they belonged. Yard fences did the same — think barn yard and chicken yard instead of house.

And some fences were temporary — confining animals for a season or a year.

And while the farmers in our area used a variety of materials — wood posts, steel posts, barbed wire, woven wire, chicken wire, snow fencing (slats & wire) — they didn’t follow this historical model below.

Look, Pa! No posts!

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Massachusetts

This month, in elementary schools across the nation, students learn of Pilgrims and Puritans. The Mayflower and Plymouth Rock. Some will dress in the costumes of stern Immigrants or friendly Natives. For the roots of our current Thanksgiving holiday extend back to a time of feasting and thanksgiving for an abundant harvest.

While history takes an important place in Massachusetts – you can’t study the Revolutionary War without mention of Boston, Concord, and Lexington – it is also a modern place. Education, trade, and manufacturing all thrive in the present day.

My travels have taken me to Massachusetts twice – three times if you count an airport arrival followed by a bus trip out of state. In 2013 my travelling companion and I met some very cordial residents in the Western portion of the state. (If you must have a flat tire away from home this is a helpful place.)

In 1998, with a different companion, we visited Salem. What can I say — 17 year old boys have a unique idea of what is interesting. It was an excellent visit. Quality explanations and memorials to the witchcraft trials of 1692. But my favorite part of the town was the waterfront. Imagine men going down to the docks each day. Loading timber and fish into the holds of Clipper Ships. Or unloading the treasures of the Orient from those same ships at the return of the voyage.

massachusetts-1998-salem0001

Sail away on an adventure from Salem, MA.