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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Sunday, June 29, 2008


When I opened my eyes to the dawning of this last Wednesday I knew it was going to be a good day because all of them are, some are just better than others. I also knew that it would have its challenges because all of them do, some that we are aware of and some that we are not. The challenge that I was aware of on this day was that I was going to see my dermatologist.

The challenge part was that I already knew this visit was not going to be one of those “howdy, how are you” kind of check-up visits. Due to a previously taken biopsy I had been informed that I had a basal cell skin cancer on my head that had to be removed. This removal would just be the latest in a series of a dozen or more over the past 10 years or so.

I seem to have no trouble growing these maleficent and malapropos clumps of skin cells with proficiency and a certain amount of profusion. And I do think this ironic inasmuch as they seem to be the only thing I can grow on my head except for scars – certainly not hair. Still I would deem the visit good and bad, bad because it was there and good because she found it and can remove it.

My main concern was whether or not she would have to do a skin graft because the only one she had done thus far reminds me somewhat of a patch one would put on the knee of worn out blue jeans. After only a short wait I was called back and set up for the surgery, an event that I neither dreaded nor looked forward to. About an hour later the growth was out and I was stitched and ready to go.

After instructions and an appointment to remove the sutures I headed for home. She had told me to take it easy for the rest of the day and I didn’t have any trouble doing that especially when the deadening agent wore off and the pain started tapping on my consciousness – more like clubbing me on the head. Since I am loath to take pain medication I just bore with it – Spice calls me stubborn.

Thursday found the wound still very sensitive but I did get out and about a little. On Friday I got some veggies and blueberries picked, didn’t feel like doing much else. More berry picking was done on Saturday and by the end of the day my total quart bags of blueberries came to 23 in the freezer. It seems that I will have to pick most every day of the next week or so to gather all of them in.

I consider the berries a blessing from God, especially since I lost my whole harvest last year due to a late freeze. But God is still good, whether I have berries or not. ec

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Monday morning arrived and I knew that I had to get the garden back under control, at least as far as the weeds and grass were concerned. With my UV protection shirt and hat guarding my skin I set about sending these maleficent garden invaders into outer deadness. This took some time because it seems that I missed a few bramble roots and their spawn were rearing their ugly heads.

While ripping the unwanted growths from their places of encroachment I noticed that the cucumbers, squash and okra had started producing their table gracing and taste bud awakening delights. These were picked and brought into the house to be prepared for use or the freezer. The plants are struggling because of lack of rain and I have been using the sprinkler to keep them alive.

On the way to and from doc appointments I have noticed that the crepe myrtles are starting to bloom, I noticed the white ones first and now the different colors are starting to show forth. When these plants bloom one knows for sure that summer has arrived – if the temps around here were not enough to bring one to this sweaty conclusion.

At the nearby intersection of Hwy #1 and I-520 the state has planted a fair number of palm trees – or more than likely Sabal Palmettos, the SC state tree, AKA the Cabbage Palmetto. These are normally found along the coast and lowlands and I’m sure they are very confused in that they are not even close to any lowlands or salt water – they are also not growing very well either.

Tuesday morning found me bagging up three more quarts of blueberries – bringing the total now to 18 quarts already in the freezer. It also found me defrosting the freezer, something that I should have done a month or so ago. This involved moving the contents of this appliance to other cold locations, unplugging the freezer and leaving the door open for the ice to melt faster.

Then in the early afternoon the Spice and I went by to pick up GM1 and we all went to the back cracker. After a thoroughly cracking and manipulative visit we left the doc’s premises feeling on the better side. We three then went by Logan’s Roadhouse for a late lunch/early supper. After a very enjoyable meal together we were in route to YD’s place to return GM1 to her home territory.

When in route along a particular section and thinking the speed limit was higher than it was, I was pulled over by an officer of the local constabulary, as was the driver behind me. I felt very fortunate to receive only a warning ticket for my inattentiveness and went on my way determined to pay closer attention. We delivered GM1 back home with this lesson in mind when she starts driving soon.

The frost ice that had not melted before we left home had done so and was puddled on the cement garage floor. After drying all this up and washing off the shelves, I plugged the freezer back in and now it is ready for the produce of the season. God is good for making veggies. ec

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

blur 2

One complication that I forgot to mention on Sunday the 15th was that just after we got home from church to have lunch the power went off for several hours. Fortunately our lunch was in the crock-pot and was already done and still warm. After our guests left on Sunday afternoon we just relaxed and rested up from all the hustle and bustle – plus we knew that we were going to start over on Monday.

The start over was due to the fact that we were having another reunion on Saturday the 21st with the Spice’s family and it would be at our place. On Monday we got the linens washed up and replaced on the beds that were slept on. We were also planning the Saturday reunion meal and several other meals on days before the reunion.

Our kin from Florida came in on Sunday the 15th but stayed with MIL until Tuesday. These guests were the Spice’s aunt, her daughter and husband and their son. The aunt was the Spice’s mother’s sister and she stayed over at MIL’s and on Tuesday the cousin and her son came here – her husband went on up to North Carolina to visit with this sisters.

Then on Thursday the 19th the Spice’s uncle came to stay with us along with his wife, her mother and their son. Then on Friday another cousin and her husband also came to stay with us. This was the first time in several years that all beds on the place have been more or less occupied. We have two extra bedrooms upstairs and two downstairs.

Along with this hustle and bustle, I was trying to keep the garden up and running in addition to picking some blueberries. Several gallons of these have been picked and minus some for fresh eating, I have put 15 quart containers of these delicious little morsels in the freezer. Also gathered were a few veggies that were just starting to become mature enough for picking.

On Saturday the 21st we all met at our place – we had 27 persons of all ages. The main dish was tostadas with all the trimmings of one’s choice. To this we added several desserts items, not the least of which was one of my homemade banana puddings, constructed from scratch ingredients. I was hoping for a bit of leftover pudding for b’fast next morning but none was remaining – bummer.

Our in-house guests all too soon dwindled away, two on Saturday, four on Sunday and the three remaining on Monday. We had enjoyed all the laughing and talking and then there was silence. One has to wonder why all the good events in life pass by so quickly. Anyway, God is still good, all the time! ec

Sunday, June 22, 2008


The days of a week and a half ago including the weekend were filled with so many things that these time segments seem like a blur. The keeping of the young ones and cleaning up of the outside parts of Blueberry Hill have been mentioned but we also wanted to get the inside of the house spiffied up since we were having overnight guests come in for our reunion on Saturday the 14th.

We were getting things done but only had Friday in which to finish the rest when things started going awry. The Spice’s Mom was ailing and she took her to the doc – this evolved into a trip to the ER and this is almost always a marathon event. I had to go into high gear to finish cleaning and such alone.

Our guests were to arrive about 6pm and I didn’t finish the house prep until about 5pm. Then it was straight into supper prep and I was only about half through when our guests arrived. They unloaded their bags and we chatted while I finished up supper. As per the Spice’s wishes we went ahead and ate since she didn’t know how long she would be involved at the medical facility.

Though we thought they might keep MIL at the hospital, the tests were good and they let her go home. The Spice got back home just as we were finishing up our meal. As she ate her warmed-up vittles we sat around and chatted about our lives since last year’s family gathering.

Saturday morning came and we arose to start a fun, yet very busy day. We finished our dishes for the reunion and my cousin, her husband and I left to go to my bro’s place about 20 miles away – the location of the reunion. The Spice was feeling a bit leftover from the events of the preceding several days and decided to drive out a while later.

When we arrived some of the usual suspects were already there and more came in until we had the non-exact count of 30 plus in attendance. About half past the noon hour we were called to order, grace was said and we started the feasting event – of food and chatting. The young ones were a little taller and the adults might have had few more wrinkles but it was a fun time together with our kin.

For the first time in several years all of my siblings were present – there are six of us – three guys and three gals. As all good things must do, our time together came to an end and we started departing for home. Another cousin and his wife came home with us to stay the night – the brother of the wife part of our other guest couple. We enjoyed much conversing and finally crashed for the night.

Both couples went to church with us next morning and the services were very meaningful. The guy cousin and his wife left for their home near Atlanta right after church but the other couple came back for lunch before departing for their home around Knoxville. The reunion was great but the partings were mixed emotions – some day we will not have to be separated again – because of Jesus. ec

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

BBH 451

Blueberry Hill report 451. The garden is going great guns with most all of the tomatoes having fruit of varying sizes. Of the two plants I had to replace, one of them seems OK but the other may not make it. It is a little late and hot to replace it again, there may just have to be a gap in the row. If I didn’t mention it before, the two small beds have been combined and are occupied with more tomatoes.

The first large row down the slope is one of cucumbers and several of them are blooming – the green veggies can’t be far behind. We haven’t had a lot of rain so I have had to put the sprinkler on them a couple of times already but as you may know, this is just not the same as rain. Next down the hill is the main tomato row. Bed three has squash plants and they too are blooming. The last bed has okra plants this year and they are coming along quite well, it just takes them a bit of time to get going.

The early ripening blueberries are coming along very well with the gruntmonkeys happily munching on many of these delights over the last several days. The thorn-less blackberries have also made these young ones very happy as well. I also took note that the figs were putting out fruit on the two larger trees but these will be several weeks in the ripening process.

Much mowing needed to be done but my large mower had been out of service due to what I found out was a battery problem. I took this in, had it checked – it was found to be defective and another one was purchased. I was a bit surprised and disappointed that the warrantee on these batteries is only for three months for full replacement and a year for pro-rated replacement – wimpy batteries.

When the Spice took the gruntmonkeys to VBS for the evening I pumped up a couple of low tires and cranked the newly battery-ed riding mower. Off I went around the yard arrayed in my sun-screened hat and special long sleeve shirt to cut the grass and weeds down to size. All went well until I got down to the problem area growing over the septic drain field line.

This was so thick that I had drive the mower like a tank to get through it and then go back over the area a couple of times. Evidently I destroyed a home in the process because I saw a not-so-happy field rat scamper away. After this I still had a bit of daylight left, so I cranked the weed eater to trim up all the edges that the mower couldn’t get to. I finally ran out of string in the waning light and quit.

I was a bit worn around the edges but very happy to get this large job accomplished to make the place look better for our coming visitors. Though it takes a lot of work to keep the area looking decent, we are so blessed to have this home and spot of ground we call Blueberry Hill. God is good – even when we don’t think so or realize in which ways. ec

Sunday, June 08, 2008


The weeds, grass and seedling trees fighting for survival on the slope behind the house descending down to the pond had an easy time last year. Evidently their little plant minds thought that something had happened to their main enemy – me. While recovering from several health problems last year this work just didn’t get done. Parts of the plant misconceptions were corrected a few days ago.

My main weapon in this plant warfare has been called by different names in different locales of the country and probably others in other countries. Around here it is called a weed eater, weed whacker or a string trimmer and I use mine to cut down anything possible. This gasoline driven machine was not cranked at all last year and in fact I wasn’t sure it would after setting up that long.

I got it out, cleaned off the spider webs, gassed it up and gave the cord a mighty yank. On the second pull it fired a few times but with a couple more pulls it reluctantly fired off and in about a minute was running smoothly. I started on the bank below the garden, worked my way through the main blueberry patch, all around the hazelnuts and trimmed around and through the muscadines.

I knew that my cutting string was getting low and about halfway through this job I lost the last piece of string while trying to cut a young tree. This requires a restring of the nylon cord and after a bit of hassle this was done and the labor continued. This job was pushed by the urgency of (a) we were to keep the local gruntmonkeys several days for YD and SIL to take a few days away.

Urgency (b) is that we are expecting some of my family next weekend for our family reunion. And (c) is that we have some of the Spice’s family coming in to stay for the week after that. I do enjoy having folks stay with us for several reasons: (a) we have plenty of room, (b) for the fun, fellowship, laughing, talking and just catching up on what their life has been like and last but not least, (c) it gives me incentive to catch on some cleanup projects that I have been putting off.

Most productive work ceased on Saturday when the four gruntmonkeys arrived – except for keeping them healthy, happy and entertained. They will be with us until Wednesday evening and they really seem to be enjoying themselves so far. The keeping them healthy part was tested today when the Spice had to take GM1 to the clinic – as it turned out she has a case of strep throat.

The Spice had been home about 30 minutes from that ordeal when GM4, while playing, ran by an open door and struck the latch just below his right eye, causing a small but fairly deep cut. The Spice took him to the ER while I once again stayed with the rest of the crew. Instead of a stitch or two the medical staff opted for super glue, probably a good choice for an active 4-year-old.

Besides these small breaks in the action, the playing, swinging, jumping, throwing of rocks in the pond and such has continued unabated – except for naptime and when we finally get them to bed. They have way more energy than I do but we are managing. They are fascinating little beings and such a blessing – most of the time – the other times are not worth mentioning. God is good!! ec

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Yesterday was June 2nd and it was a very unique day, in which occurred several firsts for the Spice and I. First of all that date is our wedding anniversary and this is the first time I have ever been married to anyone for 45 years. She is my first (and only) wife and we determined that we would celebrate by spending the entire day out and about, just being together.

We had intended to get a little earlier start but finally did head out the drive at about 11am. About halfway down the driveway I stopped for another first. One of the blueberry bushes looked to have some ripe berries so I disembarked the van to check it out. Lo and behold there were the first ripe blueberries of the season. I picked a handful to check out the flavor and found them yummy indeed.

For reasons that I don’t totally understand, the Spice doesn’t care much for blueberries in their raw form. On the way to a late breakfast I enjoyed these delectable delights. Some were still a little tart but tasted great – made more tasty by having lost the total berry crop last year to a late freeze.

The restaurant in which we ate our lunchtime breakfast was also a first for me and although the Spice had eaten there before, this was the first time we had eaten there together. It was a bright and cheery place, good food, friendly waitresses and not nearly so noisy as many breakfast spots. It is called the Sunrise Grill and it was a very pleasant dining experience.

From there we went on to Augusta to the movie complex to view – for the first time – a Chronicles of Narnia film, “Prince Caspian”. We enjoyed the movie and the only bad thing about the experience was that the Spice was too full from b’fast to get popcorn – a real bummer for her.

It was a long movie and we were ready to eat again when we got out. We headed out to another part of town to a restaurant that was new to us to have our evening meal. Stonecrest Steakhouse was another first of our day and we had an excellent meal there as well. It might have been a bit pricey but this too was a very good dining experience and after all it was our anniversary.

After this we went over to a sporting goods store, Academy Sports. The Spice had been in before but surprisingly it was my first visit in the place. We wandered around a while then went over to Kohl’s for some items for the Spice. We then headed back to the movie complex to do another first. This was the first time this year, maybe several years, that we had seen two movies in one day.

This second movie was “Iron Man” and we both enjoyed it very much – great special effects. It was somewhat violent but the good guy – though at first he wasn’t so great – won in the end. It was a very good day with this favorite lady of mine and we returned home feeling blessed to have shared these last 45 years together. God is good, all the time!!! ec

Sunday, June 01, 2008


One of my small labors of this last week was to compile the comments from my blog and responses from those I email concerning our daughter’s loss of the little ones. After the compilation, I printed these out and presented them to my younger daughter – there were five pages. She was brought to tears by these words of encouragement yet uplifted by them. We thank all of you very much.

On a less serious note, I was thinking about physical conditioning and trying to stay in shape – round is a shape. I was doing very well with my walking routine until I hurt my little toe and haven’t been able to walk (for exercise) since. In the meantime I have been “exercising” in the yard and garden and at night doing some work on my abdominals as somewhat of a supplemental fat burner.

The problem isn’t the abs of steel, it’s the layer of flab that I have covering them up. But this layer does cushion the steel so it doesn’t get dented and maybe helps in rust prevention. Then the other day while I was shaving, I noticed that my earlobes jiggle when I move my head certain ways. It’s bad enough to have a jiggly middle but the last straw is flabby earlobes.

I remember the earlobes of my youth; they were toned, firm and without any wiggle at all. What can one do to get their lobes back into shape? Then I realized that I had never seen a single publication that has mentioned earlobe exercises. I assume that part of the reason for this is that the lobe has no grasping digit to hold tiny weights, could this be why some pierce and put small weights in there?

Even if I wanted to put small barbells in my lobes I think the Spice would frown on it. I have done sit-ups and pull-ups but I can’t figure out how to do lobe-ups. Could the answer be to wear earlobe braces to hold them in place so they could firm up? Do they do botox in earlobes? Maybe just regular clothes starch would keep them firm. If you have a solution please let me know.

On another note, the garden is looking very good. Several small tomatoes are in place and starting to grow. The cucumber vines are just starting to run and the squash plants are not far from blooming. The “hills” of squash that didn’t come up were replanted and sprouts have now broken the ground. The okra, as per usual, is growing slowly – being a heat loving plant they should already be in love.

The gruntmonkeys have been eating some of the wild blackberries around the place and I found a ripe orb of delight on the thorn-less plants the other day. The blueberries have started to color so it won’t be long before they will be at their delicious best. On a sour note, two of the tomatoes in my main row got some kind of disease – I pulled them up and transplanted two others in their stead.

Meanwhile, it is just another blessed day here on blueberry hill – God is good!! ec