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The other day I did something I don’t think I’ve ever done before. While brushing my teeth, the toothbrush flew out of my hand and landed in the sink. Of course, that’s never going in my mouth again. So I reached in the drawer, opened a new toothbrush, and finished the job with the new one. As far as I know, that’s the only time I’ve started brushing with one brush and finished with another.

Ta da!

Published in: on June 18, 2010 at 11:23 am  Comments (4)  

Kitchen Project

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I have been aware for some time that many of my herbs and spices are past their optimal potency. I received a set when I first moved out on my own after college. That was 1985, and I still had them, some untouched. Another set came in the form of a wedding gift in 1987. Others had accumulated over the years, from what source or unto what purpose, I have no clue. There were 40 different spices in my cabinet, and multiples of most of them. For example, I had three different bottles of dill — two weed and one seed…I never used any of them. There were four different oreganoes, three different nutmegs, three of parsley flakes, three of coriander, two of marjoram.

Marjoram. What is that?

There was tumeric, thyme, and two different fennels. I even had a full bottle of tarragon, which I am convinced is poisonous to me. …poppy seed, caraway seed, mustard seed…

Sixty-nine bottles and boxes and jars of the stuff. The label of one bottle was completely worn off, and I couldn’t identify the contents. It smelled familiar. I kept it, not because I think I’ll use it, but because I need to identify it before I dispose of it. Yes, I said “need.” Leave me alone!

All which were twenty or more years old were automatically dumped, and any that smelled stale or weak followed. It felt good to clear the space, to divest myself of the unhelpful items. With that out of the way and the cabinet freshly reorganized, I was ready to set about the next project, which was spending the afternoon making my personal recipe of homemade chili. But I had to go to the grocery store first; I had no cumin.

Published in: on January 26, 2009 at 5:02 pm  Comments (14)  

A Rocking Chair by a Window Full of Snow

Yes, there has been snow! It’s 8:30 AM while I write this, and it’s still falling. There is good coverage of a few inches, perhaps, and the wind is gusting it around like dust. There are flakes moving in every direction at once. Lots of birds have been on my feeders, including, for the first time this winter, Pine Siskins. This calm is a glorious dynamic.

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The footsteps I made when going out to feed Faulkner and water the birds have been covered over with fresh snow. Now grackles have made their way to my white lawn — just a few. That’s the third species of blackbird to send a scouting party here this morning: Rusty Blackbirds, Brown-headed Cowbirds, and Common Grackles. Depending on how they assessed my seed supply, I might have a yard filled with black before the white has a chance to melt, each a beauty pronounced by its opposite.

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I have come recently to learn that today contains the inauguration ceremony for our new president, Barack Obama. I will pray for him, that he may bear with wisdom, grace, and courage the burden that is now his.

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I’m soothing my sore throat with a big cup of Irish breakfast tea…milk in first. And now a Red-winged Blackbird becomes the next Icterid prospector. As the birds come and go, the sun is making an appearance. Light flurries still freckle the scene. I think one of the best ways to be at home is exactly this.

Published in: on January 20, 2009 at 1:21 pm  Comments (3)  

Removal of the Lightning Tree

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For three days last week, the good guys of Steve’s Tree Service methodically cut away and cut down the old white oak in my back yard. Faulkner was temporarily relocated to another yard during the action. There are a few photos here, but many more are located on my Flickr site.

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Published in: on September 29, 2008 at 5:36 pm  Comments (3)  

An Experiment, Thus Far

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A full year has passed, now, since I cancelled my cable subscription and unplugged the television. I’ve been without TV at home that whole time. The decision was made to accomodate my desire to read more, write more, and communicate better with people in my life. I also thought I could save money, making good use of the more than $600 that I was handing over to the cable company over the course of a year. Here are some observations, so far:

I didn’t save money. Time that I might have spent in front of the TV was spent in front of my eBay home page. That’s not where a competitive person should occupy himself.

Because there was no TV, I had time to develop this blog, and that has been good for me. It’s not the kind of writing that I expected to happen, but I think it’s a nursery from which necessary words will eventually emerge (and some already have).

I did not read as many books as I imagined. Much of my reading was of a technical nature, researching for the kayak purchase and use.

Correspondence with friends and family did not seem to be affected. It seemed to happen no more and no less than before.

Some church members who learn about me not having TV in the house don’t quite know what to do with that. They think it’s a religious conviction (like giving up some item for Lent) or that I’m trying to be Amish (not really). They’ll hear me refer to something I saw on TV at a friend’s house or while staying in a hotel, and their reaction is odd, scandal-scented, like they caught me smoking weed or something. Then I have to explain that, no, it’s okay if I watch TV, I’ve just decided to not have it in my home for a while. I’m not sure that clarifies anything. One person taunts me, at least weekly, by saying, “Hey, did you see such-and-such on TV last night? OH, that’s right…you don’t HAVE television!” He enjoys that. Some folks have the impression that I don’t like TV; to the contrary, I like it too much, and that’s part of the point of going without it.

I have missed TV. Even now, I have the consistent urge to flop on the sofa, turn on something funny, and disengage from reality. It was strange to not watch the NCAA basketball tournament and Final Four, to miss the entire baseball season, to not have Saturday night BritComs, and to miss all the great machinery and science of The Learning Channel, Discovery Channel, History Channel, etc.

Not sure what I’ll do next. There’s no rush to change what I’m doing, but eventually I’ll probably get TV again. Maybe there’ll even be some updated equipment.

Published in: on January 8, 2008 at 3:02 pm  Comments (7)  

Walking on Thanksgiving

After dinner, Daddy and I went walking in the pasture to feed the cows, and Mama got a well-deserved nap. Rain had come through in the morning while I was driving from Lancaster to Antreville, and now the afternoon was becoming clear and warm. We talked while I reunited with the trees where I was raised.

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Published in: on November 25, 2007 at 8:32 pm  Comments (5)  

Tidal Creek Habitation.3


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Out in the water with a walkway back to shore is another way to occupy the creek. In a place like this I see simplicity and comfort. There is an elegance to living when you have what you need but not a lot more, a trim fitness that invites awareness of deeper thoughts.

On the porch of such a cabin I might have ginger ale and baseball on the radio, a deck of cards and friends visiting as often as they would come, two or three at a time. There might be a Frisbee to throw to passing boats, and a kayak to retrieve it when they miss. There would be a Bible or two, moving with me from bedroom to water’s edge and back. And there would be some pens, pencils, and notebooks for writing.

And if your dock were next to mine, and we liked each other, perhaps we’d make a rope ferry so we could be neighbors when the tide was high, sharing blue crabs and pumpkin bread. I imagine that might be pretty nice.

Published in: on July 19, 2007 at 11:36 am  Comments (6)