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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

the frame

It was a day that crept in so quietly that I hardly knew it was there until I awoke. Arising sore and achy as has been all too often the case, I slowly made my way to the kitchen, mainly because that was where the food is kept. The breaking of the fast was to take place with cream of wheat, even though I didn’t feel like cooking at all. I’m somewhat flummoxed as to my total change of appetite, particularly for breakfast, the cereal that I have eaten in excess of 20 years can hardly be stomached anymore.

The cream of wheat was cooked, a dollop of peach preserves was placed in the middle, hot tea was steeped – English Breakfast by Twinings – and then the fast was broken. This took place as per usual on the far end of the bar next to the wall, at the same place my laptop resides. This machine contains multitudinous amounts of Bible software – thanks to BIL, who just happens to be our local computer guru and also happens to live across the street. As I eat, I also read scripture on the laptop, feeding both the physical and the spiritual.

The previous day’s activity of getting the grass out of the blueberry bed down the driveway had brought home to me that I just couldn’t stay on my knees very long – at least if I expected to get back up. It is a good thing that I can pray standing up, also sitting down and even lying down – it is a multi-positional activity, and it does much good in all areas of life. Putting some thought into the grass removal problem, I determined to build a frame with a wire screen that could be placed over my garden cart and as the grass chunks were rolled around the dirt would fall through the wire into the cart and the mostly dirt-less grass could be discarded.

While I had plenty of scrap pieces of wood with which to build the frame of the screen, I didn’t have any wire screening. To my surprise, when I pulled up the local hardware store, I found it to be closed and vacant and I didn’t even know how long. There was another up the highway but they didn’t have the proper wire. They did recommend another, older hardware place several miles away in what is affectionately known as ‘the valley’. This establishment is one of the “old fashioned” kind of places that pretty much has everything if a person can find it. Usually there is one older person that knows the stack or pile that something is in.

Upon asking for what I wanted, an older man directed me outside to what used to be a tent affair that the top is now torn from. After a freelance search that lasted several minutes, I found exactly the wire I wanted. I then rounded up a younger man and he came and cut me the size piece of wire I desired. Small staples were also purchased to hold the screening onto the bottom of the frame I was to build. The wire was a type of ‘hardware cloth’ that is usually put on the bottom of rabbit cages, except the squares were smaller.

After a bite to eat, I went down to the shop and proceeded to build the wooden frame on which to place the wire. Some scrap 2 by 4s worked quite well and they were cut and screwed together. The wire was then stapled on to the back side of the frame and my ‘invention’ was ready to try out. The only problem with this was that by the time I finished the frame, it was almost too dark to check it out. But check it out I did and it worked as I had hoped and it got me off my aching knees.

It is very enjoyable for me to set out to make something and it works just like I thought it would. God is good. ec

Monday, February 26, 2007


Through the onrush of time, the rising and falling of the tides and the twists of fate, it became another day. That makes me wonder if fate ever just goes straight, without all those turns and stuff. My day began a little earlier than usual, about 7am, when I awoke and started having a disagreement with the CPAP mask and finally just got on up. As I was heading toward the kitchen to break the fast, I had to pass the recliner and it wooed me into its comfy arms and there I reclined for about a time and a half time.

Prying myself loose from there, I later continued my journey to the kitchen and proceeded to break the fast with a bite to eat, some hot tea and some very necessary scripture reading. All my movement around the house was in slow motion due to soreness from activities the day before – it doesn’t seem to take a lot to cause that. The muscles slowly started to come around and cooperate a bit better about noon and the Spice and I went out for the walk of the day – a bit slower due to aforementioned muscle problems – 1.2 miles in just over 30 minutes.

My writing at the computer comes in short segments due to the still recovering back stiffening up after a while. To combat this I have set the timer on my watch for 30 minutes at each sitting and when it alarms, I get up and do something to loosen up a bit. Having already written for a couple of sessions, I finally finished up what I was composing, posted it on my blog and sent emails to those on my lists.

It came time for a snack and the chosen one of the day was peanut butter and strawberry jam. This was carefully blended together and eaten, open-faced, on bread – it was sustenance that sticks to the ribs, or at least to the roof of one’s mouth. Then it was outside to do some work in the blueberry bed that runs down the north side of the driveway. This involved cleaning grass out for the better part of two hours and not getting nearly as much completed as I would have wanted.

The Spice headed out on a shopping expedition with the daughter and the three youngest gruntmonkeys – brave soul. After wearing myself out, I came in, changed clothes and headed out on a grocery run to Kroger’s in North Augusta. This location has a better selection of tea and I am a hot tea drinker and appreciator, but the main reason for the trip was to pick up a lemon-pepper rotisserie chicken – to which I seem to be somewhat addicted of late.

My journey took place just a short while after sunset and the sky was still light. Above the horizon was a band of clouds that was still getting rays from the sun that had already gone from my sight. The sky was a pale blue and the clouds were in varying shades of pink, even into a peach color and absolutely beautiful. I don’t know if anyone even saw or especially appreciated this mind invigorating sight except me, but if that were case, the Creator put on a great show just for me to enjoy and I did so very much.

It was after dark when I returned home and as I walked back into the house, I was amazed by the array of billions of stars God made for me to view. As I stopped and did a complete scan of the heavens, it made me realize how small I really was and yet how much God cared for me. ec

Friday, February 23, 2007

good day

The day dawned, as they usually do, and it was one like no other, since they are all different and it promised to be an adventure. This was because the Spice and I were sitting with the three younger ones of the local daughter – YD. The joyous thundering herd arrived about 8:30am and all wanted to tell me – at the same time – about their exploits of the last several days – two spoke in English and the other in a nearly unknown tongue.

The herd is further identified as GM3, will be 5 in May, GM4, was 3 last November and GM6, will be 2 in about two weeks. Their major interests at the moment, especially the two older, are concerning cowboys, Indians or pirates and all the items of dress and weaponry of these occupations – sparked no doubt by kid movies they have seen recently – and repeatedly. I didn’t delve too deeply but it appeared that they had either got into trouble or crossed their Mom in some way with the aforementioned weaponry as they were forbidden to play with either swords or guns for the day – plastic ones, of course.

As soon as their Mom had departed the premises for her several appointments, GM3 started asking me to make he and his brother a knife out of wood. Of course this sent up warning signals in my mind but he assured me that the only prohibited items were guns and swords – and this was neither. Putting them off a bit, I tried to think of a reasonable alternative because I knew that items like this, wood or not, were capable of injuring their small persons – and accident or not they would still be injured.

In a brilliant flash it came to me that cardboard was an item that was unlikely to injure either of them severely, so I determined to make the requested items out of this material. This was very acceptable to them so the ‘weapons’ were then cut out and they were immediately therewith chasing and dispatching ‘bad guys’. Next necessary item on their agenda was a hideout from the ‘bad guys’. This consists of our two card tables placed next to the couches with a quilt and some throws to cover the openings – a reasonably good ‘cave’.

Time passed, as it usually does, and it became GM6’s naptime – he was placed by the Spice in our crib in the back bedroom for this rest period. A very few minutes later, he suddenly appeared back where we were as if by ‘magic’ – proving to all concerned that his crib at home was not the only one that he could escape from. He was put down again but little Mister Houdini again shortly appeared. The Spice was unavailable, so I walked him back to the scene of the crime. He is officially beyond my lifting limits, but I very carefully got him back into bed and then hung around a bit to make sure the nap overtook him before he decided to escape again.

The other two were put down later for the same very bad thing of a nap. Young Houdini gave us a couple of quiet hours and was up before the other two. It was kind of a coincidence, but GM3 woke up a couple of minutes before YD came for them and GM4 reanimated himself a couple of minutes after. They packed up and headed to pick up big sister from school and left us trying to figure out what to do with the quietness.

Having not felt very swift all day, the only conclusion that I could reach was that I needed to get outside and do something. I did so and involved myself in the beginnings of the long process of re-mulching all of the blueberry beds. After about an hour and a half I had totally run out of energy and came in to recline. After dozing a bit, I arose to do my walking for the day – 1.6 miles in 30.03 minutes. After eating, I spiffied up a bit and was off for our men’s V-cell group meeting – Bible study, prayer and fellowship with Christian brothers.

It was a good day, one made by the Lord and I rejoiced and was glad in it. ec

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


The morning was cool and rainy, dreary even, nonetheless the rain is always much needed. The pond is slowly, slowly approaching full stage, about a foot from overflow. The islands that appear in the dry weather have been underwater for a couple of months now and even the large stump that has been visible for a couple of years is now unseen under the surface.

In spite of the weather, the Spice had an appointment and some errands to run – some of necessity and some of ‘want to’. I was facing the new day feeling a bit slow and much ‘left-over’. I ‘broke the fast’ with physical and spiritual food and then endeavored to widen my horizons from the screen of my computer. Still in my recovery period from surgery, it is difficult to sit even there for more than 20 to 30 minutes – you might say that the chair just gets too hard.

Arising from there, I went on to greater and more wonderful things. Since I was still feeling a bit bedraggled, I made my way to the recliner and did what this wonderful chair does best – I reclined. In this restful position, I listened to the small noises of the house. The sound of the frig could be heard out in the next room, and closer still is the computer of the Spice and I could hear it occasionally, thinking to itself. I’m not sure exactly what this machine was plotting but it was definitely something.

The sound of the rain could be heard just outside the back door. Then I heard the very lonely sound of a crow cawing in the rain – that sounds like it would make a good title for a country song – ‘Crows cawing in the rain’. Since I do not speak (or caw) crow, I’m not sure what the flighted one was saying, maybe nothing more than ‘It sure is wet out here’. It was very peaceful, just lying there listening to the rain and drifting in and out of the arms of Morpheus (sleep). God is good – all the time. ec

Monday, February 19, 2007


This is a medley of several small pieces of my life here on Blueberry Hill. It seems to me that something that is supposed to be healthy should be only that – but it appears this is not the case. The purchase of several cups of yogurt happened about a week ago and the main thing I was looking for in the ingredients was the presence of active yogurt cultures. These bacteria are the ones that are good for the stomach and digestion, and I have needed these of late.

After verifying these were present in the product, I scooped up several among my other items to be purchased and brought them home – I should have read further in the ingredients. It was after the consumption of the first cup of the product that I noticed an odd sweet aftertaste. Then I read all the ingredients and saw that it was sweetened with sucralose – my spell check doesn’t even like that word – by Splenda. Aaarrrgh – that is fake sugar and likely to cause a person to get fake fat.

I’m a person that likes to keep it real and if I want to get fat, I want the real stuff not the fake. How could one even get rid of fake fat – would you have to go on a fake diet? Not only that, but further reading told me that the blueberries were colored with artificial colors. Now I am a raiser and appreciator of blueberries and I like the color just the way it is with the berry – now I’m going to have funny colored insides from the fake color – probably for a long time.

Speaking of sweets, I bought the Spice a large, red, heart-shaped box of assorted chocolates for Valentines Day. The box is about half gone now, with the Spice preferring mostly the milk chocolates and me preferring anything that she doesn’t prefer. Basically, I hate to throw anything away, even calorie-laden sweets, so my job is to save them from being discarded so that their calories do not just leech away into the elements of the outside world. For me to consume these discards is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

We have taken to putting the candy pieces that she might eat on the right side of the box and her rejects on the left. This is a bit like the coming judgment, with the sheep on the right and the goats on the left. At this moment the left side is empty, the ‘goats’ in this case have all gone to inner darkness to be processed. The toughest part of my job is waiting for more pieces to be rejected.

This turned out to be a notable day for me inasmuch as it was the day in which I completed pruning the blueberries and now all the pruning for the season is done on the whole place. The next job that is due to be done would seem to be the mulching of the blueberries, since that is getting pretty thin. This mulch conserves moisture, helps keep the plants cool in summer and also keeps the weeds down. Most anything organic would do but I am going with some pine straw and bark. The toughest part of this job is going to be cleaning out the volunteer growths under the bushes.

These growths are mostly the low-growing brambles that are a pretty prickly situation to deal with. Even though these are tough, I can deal with them but for other sticky situations of life, I have to have a much higher power to meet the need. If you have something you can’t handle in life, my Friend would be glad to help out if you will just ask Him. ec

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Most of us desire to have peace, in our country, our homes, our lives and in our hearts and minds. The Word says: “The effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.” What is righteousness? – God’s right way of living. How does this righteousness come to us? “But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” We are the ones that must strive and seek God’s right way of living. ‘All these things’ refers not only to the basic needs of life, but WHATEVER we need in our lives.

So then we have a part to play in having peace in our lives through right living but how do we maintain peace even in the everyday problems of life? This goes back to the Word again: “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Whether that sounds simple and basic to you or not, it is still the only way to have real peace. ec

PS – The quotes are from NRSV and in order they are from: Isa. 32:17 – Matt. 6:33 – Phil. 4:6-7.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


As I sit and munch the frozen delights of last year’s blueberry harvest, I ponder many things. One of these is whether or not I really know the depths of the meaning of the word ponder. I read the meaning as: considering something deeply and thoroughly or to meditate. Similarly it means to weigh carefully in the mind or consider thoughtfully. It would probably depend on whether the thing pondered was actually ponderable: worth serious consideration or having appreciable weight.

Then to consider the subject ponderable, it begs the question as to whether it is worthy of being pondered by the general population or if it should be considered only on an individual level. Take the subject of blueberries, since that was what I was joyfully consuming when I suddenly realized I was also pondering – even this was surprising to me, that I could do two things at one time. If I had not picked these tasty orbs of flavor myself and had never been around blueberry plants, I might not have known exactly how they came into being.

The bare branches of the blueberry bushes during last winter came to mind. Then there was the tiny swelling of buds, keyed by the ground temperature possibly more than that of the air. Almost overnight there were hundreds of small flowers and then the leaves that give the plant life. Then the bees appeared from somewhere, visiting, feeding from, and during the process, pollinating each flower. It was as though they had a firm agreement of mutual cooperative assistance – something like ‘you can feed if you take the pollen around to the other flowers’.

The tiny petals of the pollinated flower drop and a wee green berry starts to grow. If the plant is healthy and ground moisture is sufficient, it sends sap to the berry and it develops to full size. Even if one is pondering the berries and watching every day, it seems that they start suddenly to turn color. The whole process is amazing to me in that the berry either receives or makes for itself a ripening agent – possibly some sort of enzyme – and slowly ripens. Then the color turns to a deep bluish purple, almost black, but the color is only one indicator of ripeness.

It takes a practiced eye and hand to really tell if the berry is totally ripe. There must be an absence of any reddish tint and a certain slight give to the berry skin with the pressure of the touch. If that fails, there is always the taste method. If one pops a berry in their mouth and the face goes through all sorts of sour contortions, the small product was not ready yet. But if the flavor of the berry explodes on the tongue in a symphony of delightful sweet-tartness, it was ready to pick and you were in the right place at the right time and were the winner of the berry tasting contest.

As you may detect from my writings, I take great delight in caring for the plants on Blueberry Hill and in watching them grow and produce. It seems to me that folks would do much better if they found things they could take joy in rather than in useless things that only end up causing them frustration. As I have heard said many times, the joy of the Lord is my strength. ec

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

mo progress

The work around Blueberry Hill continues at a slow pace as per usual. Sometimes so slow that one would have to line up a couple of stakes to see if I have moved. Of course if one would line up a couple of steaks, like on a grill, the reaction time and movement might be a bit quicker. The problem with getting too rambunctious on a given day is that most of the next day I pay for my folly in achy muscles.

The two large fig trees on the north side of the house were in need of pruning and shaping up a bit. Much wood was taken off and hauled to the refuse pile. The one on the far end of the garden was pruned severely because its limbs were in all directions, hopefully it will shape up now. The largest one on the near side of the veggie growing place lost many limbs as well, but mostly just to facilitate getting under the tree without getting slapped or jabbed in the face.

We normally do not have any burn regulations in this area, only if it is very dry for a very long time. Still I do not burn leaves since these are so valuable for mulch – plus they smoke up the place. My refuse or burn pile is made up of limbs and wood placed in a cone shape to burn quickly with as little smoke as possible. Such was the case this time as well, I touched off the fire with a propane torch and with a minimum of smoke it reduced itself to a pile of ashes in a fairly short while. Of course I was standing by with my trusty garden hose if it dared to get out of hand.

It then came time to play “tag” with the big bad Rugosa rose plant that was in dire need of pruning. As I have mentioned before, this plant produces rose ‘hips’ that are good to eat and is one of the most concentrated natural forms of vitamin C. The flower of the plant lasts only a couple of days or so but if properly pollinated, the base of the flower (the hip) will enlarge and when ripe will turn a deep orange/red. The fruit is small and hollow with many seeds but is still pretty tasty.

Anyway, back to the game of “tag”, I became “it” right away and as is my usual MO (modus operandi), I cut off the limb that tagged me – that was my “tag”. The limbs of this plant have one of the highest concentrations of thorns per inch of any prickly entity I have dealt with. The plant was very scraggly at first, with limbs going off in all directions but the pruning of the limbs continued until it was looking pretty decent. Many “tags” and counter-tags were involved before the final loping off of a limb, so I guess the game came out about even.

The next few days of weather promise to be below freezing at night so I am still pretty safe in my pruning – plus the only thing I have left is the main blueberry patch. This patch has space for 21 plants and 17 of the spaces have mature plants residing. One of the spaces is vacant due to a plant death, one has a young plant that was replaced last year and the other two have ailing bushes that need to be replaced – possibly with another variety.

Only four of the mature plants have been pruned, so I still have plenty of work to do – plus many of the plants are on the verge of budding out, so the work must be completed ASAP. We are on the verge of spring!! Spring is my most favorite season, followed closely by the other three. God does all things well and I am amazed at His work. ec

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Blueberry Hill is gradually starting to take shape for the spring. Though my outside work sessions have been short, they have continued most every day and the results are beginning to be evident. Also my endurance is ever so slowly starting to increase and the length of the work sessions has increased slightly to a bit over an hour. A couple of days have seen two sessions, Monday of this week being one of these.

The following is a summation of the progress so far accomplished. As previously reported, the seven muscadine vines have been pruned and the 4 excess vines dug up. The five larger hazel nut trees have been pruned back to the best 3 or 4 trunks – with the rest of the sprouts cut off at the ground. There were so many sprouts that I am going to use the straightest and longest of these to stake up some green beans in the garden this year.

The aforementioned plants were on the garage/kitchen (north) side of the house – which is generally situated with the front facing west, the back to the rising sun and the bedrooms on the south side. Minor work had to be done on the south side plants, replacing two of the small blueberry plants there – 19 are in that patch – one of these had died and the other didn’t look to be feeling well at all. The four recently planted fig trees on that end were pruned up a bit – it will be hard to tell what else to cut until they leaf out. The 3 small hazel nut trees on this end were also pruned back to three shoots.

In the front of the house, the Juneberry trees were doing well, one didn’t need anything done and the other was pruned slightly. This last one was cut off at the ground line a couple of years ago because of some kind of disease and the existing one grew from the base and seems healthy. It is now almost as tall as the other, although much smaller in diameter. The two Cornelian cherry trees – relatives of the Dogwood – were left alone since I don’t know enough about their growth patterns.

The four paw-paw trees on the south side of the driveway are small as yet – about 4 feet – but still needed some minor pruning to set them in good stead for later in their lives. The 10 blueberry plants on the north of the drive are still small but several are starting to send out sprouts, probably need to thin these on another day, they need to have mulch added as well. My one and only pear tree has now been pruned. It doesn’t seem to grow very tall yet it produces like crazy. As far as I know it is not of dwarf rootstock – one made to not grow tall – and seems to be very healthy.

All of these aforementioned plants and trees were self-planted by the caretaker of Blueberry Hill and I am amazed and blessed to watch them grow and produce. Any work involved in caring for these creations of God is not considered a real chore to me. In fact it is a joy to see them grow and presses me toward worship of the One that created everything. ec

Monday, February 12, 2007


During the last couple of months I have noticed some appetite changes that may or not be a little weird. During the worst part of my health problems, I had almost no taste for any kind of food – very unusual for me. Then what I did eat didn’t taste right and I consumed very little – consequently I lost weight, though I wouldn’t recommend this diet to anyone else.

For about the last 15 years or so, my morning breaking of the fast has been done with dry cereal. The problem with that is that regular milk and I don’t get along very well and I had to have a substitute liquid in which my Cheerios, Rice Krispies and Wheaties could swim. For years this milk replacement was some type of juice – mostly a brand called Juicy-juice and that of several flavors. About 5 or so years ago, I happened upon a milk substitute called Silk – a soymilk product and with great joy and gusto started using that to wet down the dry cereal.

During my recovery, this morning fare suddenly didn’t taste good any more. The only thing that even halfway pushed my appetite buttons was Cream of Wheat – a product that has to be cooked. My method of preparation was to cook it and add butter, then it is normally sweetened but I had to do it a certain way. Instead of sweetening the whole bowlful, I placed the portion of sugar in one spot in the center of the bowl. This enabled me to partake of spoonfuls part sweetened and part unsweetened – this contrast just seemed to taste better.

On a short jaunt through the grocery store I suddenly remembered peach preserves and that I had eaten cream of wheat a few times in the past with a dollop of these on the cereal. The preserves were purchased and for the last couple of weeks it has been the warm cereal and the dollop. This fruit product is placed in the center of the bowl to enable me to get a bit of preserves with each bite.

The subjects of consumption of the other meals of the day have been just as difficult to determine. It wasn’t exactly an epiphany but my first real food desire, after the cream of wheat, came from the Discovery channel. A couple of explorer types were visiting with some South American tribesmen and eating the foods they were eating. The delicacy of the day was fruit bats – they caught them in a cave, skinned them and fried them up very crispy. It wasn’t that I wanted crispy fruit bats but something clicked and it placed a craving within for the lemon-pepper rotisserie chicken that I mentioned a few missives ago – no, I don’t know exactly what the connection was.

Several other food desires have struck in similar manners – the latest came through nostalgia. Years ago, a friend couple had us over for a meal that was new to us – pepper steak. We got the recipe for this and it became one of our staple meals. Basically it is a cheaper cut of meat, top round, which is cut up in small pieces and cooked with beef stock, bell peppers, onions and other flavorings and served on rice. A craving for this dish jumped on me a week or so ago and we just got around to the preparation thereof a couple of days ago.

All I will say is that it was yummy and that there will have to be a repeat performance of this dish in the near future. God is good to make the multitudinous taste sensations in food world and I am enjoying many of them since my appetite came back. ec

Thursday, February 08, 2007


To feel one's oats is defined as: to feel or show giddy animation or to have a strong sense of one's own power. My younger daughter uses a slang expression meaning about the same – feeling froggy. An example sentence would be – ‘You must have really been feeling froggy to do all that’. I’m not sure if I was feeling froggy or feeling my oats, but I had a very big day of activities the other day.

The Spice and I decided to walk MIL’s driveway (two tenths of a mile in length) and we completed 1.4 miles in a little over 33 minutes. The pace was comfortable and was a good rehab activity. In fact it might have been good if I had stopped with that and not done anything else but I felt that I needed to do a little something outside as well. With my tools in the trusty garden cart, I wandered down the hill and proceeded to dig up the extra muscadines – the ones I had set out for someone but they were not needed. The vines were very determined but finally all of them were uprooted and placed on the discard heap. These outside ventures are usually kept to an hour or less per event.

Just up the hill from these are the larger of the hazel nut trees and they desperately needed pruning as well. They are very bad to put out a bunch of sprouts from the base of the tree. My goal it to cut all of these branches back to 4 or 5 trunks per plant – there are five trees in a row at this location. It was getting a bit dark by this time and I was only able to finish one of them before going back inside.

I hauled my carcass to the recliner and crashed for a while to rest. It would have been a big day in my rehab program if I had stopped there and not done anything else. But in just a short while I got the brilliant idea that this was a good time to start back exercising my upper body. The record I keep on when I exercise told me that I had only recorded 6 sessions since September of 2006. I stretched, loosened up and then did just a few exercises and also a few strengthening ones with very light weights and called it a night.

If any of you have ever overdone it with exercise, you know what happened next morning – I could hardly drag out of bed. Even though I don’t know how I could have gone any lighter with the warm-up and the workout – except to leave it out altogether – it was still too much and I paid for it until everything finally loosened up about noon that next day.

After it loosened up I went back out for a short while on the day of reference – in spite of the Spice’s insistence that I might overdo it again. One has to do a little before they can do more – it is the ‘use the muscles or lose them’ theory. It is so hard to tell when I’m overdoing it for two reasons, first, I don’t recall ever laying off for this long and second, I have never been this old before.

Even this short session was very productive inasmuch as I got one of the small hazel nut trees pruned and transplanted two blueberry plants. One of these went where a plant had died and the other was placed where a small one was struggling greatly – if these both live that will be OK too. Just being in the blueberry patch a little while let me know how badly it needs pruning as well.

Then as I sat munching on a PB&J sandwich (with grape jam as the J), pondering the meaning of life, I suddenly realized that I didn’t need to ponder about that anymore because I already knew the meaning – but I won’t keep you any longer for just that. A hint would be that real life is all wrapped up in Jesus, without Him we are not really living. ec

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Inasmuch as the word declivity means a downward slope, the word acclivity denotes an upward slope, anticlinal describes inclining in opposite directions from a central axis and proclivity defines a natural or habitual inclination, it is sometimes hard to know on a given day exactly which way someone is leaning. But then, since the first three words usually are descriptive of the physical and the last is of the mental, emotional or even (horrors) the political, it is possible that I have mixed my metaphors – if indeed there was a metaphor hidden in there somewhere.

Since we are speaking of natural inclinations or possibly of attitudes, it could depend on the time of day or even the phase of the moon as to the leanings of some folks. Then, others have the proclivity of being the same most all the time and every day – and for some this is always on the bad side and not currying favor with anyone. Of course, not all flavor with curry or even like the taste.

Attitude is sometimes shaped by the general impression of what a person perceives they are accomplishing on a given day or even in a given moment. And if their productivity does not match self-expectations, they feel they are “running in circles”. Since I have not seen any great research on circle running, I feel justified in not knowing as to which direction circle runners actually run. My natural curiosity would wonder if the direction is deasil (clockwise) or withershins (counter-clockwise) and questions as to which would be the best for the purposes intended.

Most of us are familiar with nightmares and maybe have had many, as I have, even though all of mine occurred in the past – since I have yet to live in the future. But I was not even aware that there was such a thing as a daymare, especially not in the book of definitions – there it was though, meaning: a distressing experience, similar to a bad dream, occurring while one is awake. After defining this, it seems that I remember a few of these, again in the past.

The following high-class word and feelings normally would only happen to rich folks or royalty. I have read of folks having a general feeling of malaise: a condition of general bodily weakness or discomfort. The funny thing about the word is this is what I have been feeling for several months – and I’m definitely not rich or royal. Only thing I can figure is that I must have picked it up by accident in a healthcare facility – it evidently was meant for some high-class folks that couldn’t keep their appointment that day.

To daunt is to overcome with fear or to intimidate. It also carries the somewhat milder meaning of to lessen the courage of or to dishearten. There was a type of plane in WWII, a dive-bomber, named the Dauntless. Dauntless basically means fearless but there are not many humans with that particular quality in its purest form and our fears are multitudinous. There is a way to be without fear but it doesn’t come without having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. ec

PS - Obviously this was one of my wandering visits to word land.

Monday, February 05, 2007


Our household had quite the exciting weekend with a very unexpected guest dropping by – but first let me set up the scenario. It was Saturday evening and GM1 had been taken out on a “date night” by her Dad – YD and the three younger men in her life were picking up take-out and coming over to visit with us a while. I had talked to her on the cell phone just previously and they were delayed at the take-out place. A short while later, the door opened and my daughter stepped in and with a big smile and said “surprise”!

The odd thing about this was the fact that the daughter that stepped in was the daughter that normally resides in Texas – 1000 miles away. It was momentary confusion in the old brain as I tried to reconcile the person I was seeing with the reality I thought I knew. After happy greetings, the new reality was explained to me. It seems that OD in Texas had not seen me since Thanksgiving and she kept hearing reports of how bad I was doing with my several ailments. When she talked to me I would just say I was doing OK – she couldn’t stand it any longer, she had to come see for herself.

OD had made arrangements for her young ones when FSIL was working and just came right by her lonesome. She had gotten a special weekend rate and flew into Columbia, SC and my other sneaky daughter went and picked her up without a word to us. It was a beautiful thing and we all just mostly sat and talked the whole weekend. She had almost come a couple of weeks before and brought GM5 – but it was probably for the best, according to how bad the Spice said I looked back then.

Today – Monday – was the day she had to go back from her surprise short weekend and the Spice, MIL and I took her back to Columbia to catch her flight home. Among other institutions of higher learning located in that town, it also contains the University of South Carolina – from which OD and FSIL graduated just a few years back – or so it seems, time flies, sometimes whether you have fun or not. We left early for South Carolina’s capitol in order for us to eat at one of her favorite places in that town. This restaurant is a local “plain old food” place and has several locations in that area – the name of the eatery is “Lizard’s Thicket”.

We had an enjoyable meal together and took her on to the airport. We hung around and chatted until her boarding time and sadly departed for home. On the way we detoured to another restaurant for another favorite of the Spice and I – we stopped by “Steak and Shake” for a milk shake. We finally headed back west to our place of abode – arriving about 7:30 in the evening. About 8:30 we got word of her safe arrival in Houston and that she was on the shuttle headed for her van.

The visit was a wonderful surprise and very uplifting for us all. God is good for putting it in her mind and for making the way easier for her to come and I’m grateful. ec

Friday, February 02, 2007


As most of you know from previous writings, we have 6 gruntmonkeys (grandchildren) and they are designated GM1-6, with the older having the smaller number. GM1 is 13, GM2 is 9, GM3 is 4 ½, GM4 is 3, GM5 will be two this month and GM6 will be 2 on the 4th of March. Those last two are 15 days apart. The two older GMs are girls and all the others are 100% boys. GM2 and GM5 live in Texas and the rest live in this area, about 8 miles away from us.

Many things are concerns with parents during the process of raising these little people into adulthood. The most critical of these concerns might be one of the classics of either getting their neck broken or putting out their eye. But other serious concerns are out there as well, such as hoping that their offspring have enough sense to come in out of a shower of ornamental cowbells. One semi-dread of parents (or grandparents) is that they will have one of these little critters that will figure out how to escape from their crib. We were somewhat lulled into complacency because we went through five gruntmonkeys that had made no efforts at crib self-extrication.

All this changed just the other day when YD put GM6 in the crib and went to check on the others at naptime. He suddenly he appeared in the doorway behind her – yikes! YD was hoping this was a fluke thing until his nap was over and he called to her – as he was standing at the top of the stairs – double yikes! YD said they started at every sound of the baby monitor that night, concerned that he might be up wandering around. Emergency plans are in operation at getting him a bed a bit closer to the floor or to put a net enclosure over the existing bed.

A day later, with the escape issue still unresolved, and when GM6 was supposed to be napping, YD went downstairs to answer her door and then chat with her neighbor at that location. She turned suddenly and saw GM6 behind her – he had achieved deliverance from the crib, come down the stairs and out the door to where she was. Maybe not to a parent, but to a grandparent this is just about panic time, because he might pull this same escape at 2am. Time to start thinking about adding on to the height of the crib sides or setting a kinder and gentler animal trap or something.

Of course, looking back, I’m in wonder and amazement as to how we raised our own two daughters into adulthood and to some semblance of normalcy – considering the gene pool from whence they emanated. But God has always been good and supplied grace and strength in time of need – and we were needy back then. ec