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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Wow, if busy was a minute I’d be two weeks. It just goes to show that if you don’t write about stuff as you go, especially in a journaling sort of way, then you leave out a whole lot of events. I have been thoroughly occupied, a bit pre-occupied and maybe somewhat post-occupied in the last week or so. And this caused me to have not written a single word on my computer writer thingy.

As on occasion I am wont to do, I looked up the word occupy to (1) make sure I was using it correctly and (2) to further explain the depth of the word in context. The third meaning was to fill up, employ, or engage – that would certainly explain why I have been worn out. The fourth definition – to engage or employ the mind, energy, or attention of – finished explaining why I have been leaving stuff out.

The things that have been the greater parts of my ‘occupation’ have been family events and the construction of ‘outback storage’. We had enjoyed the presence of OD and GM5 since November 18th and then in the late evening of Friday, the 21st, we picked up FSIL and GM2 at the airport to enjoy their presence as well and to bring all their Texas based family back together again.

Mixed with all the family preoccupation was two whole days of working on the outback. On Monday past the bro picked up the pre-fab trusses for the roof of said building and stayed on to lay one course of concrete blocks around the outside of the previously poured concrete pad. Bro left after the laying but it was dark when I finished cleaning up and placing plastic over the blocks in case of rain.

On the evening of Tuesday past, both daughters and clans had supper with us and then we celebrated Christmas for OD and all, since they will not be able to come back for the real one. We exchanged gifts and the young ones squealed with delight at all the appropriate times. We enjoyed our ‘first Christmas’ of 2008 – and tried not to think about their upcoming absence.

We tried to crowd in as many family things as possible since the ‘Texas crowd’ doesn’t get out this way very often. Then Wednesday came and we started meal prep for the upcoming Thanksgiving meal. I would be attending two of these meals, one at my bro’s house and then another at our house at 5pm. The Spice didn’t go to the bro’s since she was occupied with prep at our place.

Thursday morn came and I began my day with spiritual and physical nourishment and then started on the two dishes I was to take to the bro’s. The first was a squash casserole that we had prepared for baking the evening before and the pièce de résistance – my ‘famous’ banana pudding. With the casserole baked and the pudding constructed, I set out to my bro’s place.

Being among the first ones to arrive, I was able to get a head start on the talking and laughing that is always a part of our gatherings. All the dishes were brought, lined up on the long table row and after all had arrived, grace was said and the consuming began. It was a peaceful and jolly gathering of just enjoying being together and as mentioned, much laughter.

All too soon came the leaving time but God is good to have allowed us to gather once again. ec

Thursday, November 20, 2008


The day was Monday and it was to be a busy one. It started in the usual customary ways but was different in that this was the day that my bro was to come over and go with me to get lumber and such for the construction of our storage building – that reminds me, I need to come up with a name for this structure. My bro came and we took his pickup truck, it is big, mine is little.

We purchased, loaded up and brought home the lumber to make the forms for the pouring of the cement slab on which the structure will rest. We also got bags of cement and the studs for building the walls. Once home we started putting together and leveling the forms for the cement. We finished mid-afternoon and drove over to Augusta to order the pre-fab trusses for the roof of the edifice.

Since the building is 10 feet by 16 feet, it only requires 9 trusses and these were paid for and will be picked up by bro on Monday next. It is so good to finally get serious about this necessary storage place. Tuesday came and it was the day to get stone from MIL’s to be fill in the soon to be floor – this required 4 trips with my small lawn-tractor trailer. I was mostly used up when the hauling was done.

Then it was time to clean up and go pick up OD and GM5 at the airport, they are to stay until after Thanksgiving. We retrieved them and happily brought them home. They were to install their luggage at our place, then pack an overnight bag and go spend one night with YD – she wanted to stay there the first night and then settle back in at Blueberry Hill.

We took her and the young one there and stayed a short time as well. We then left in spite of the fact that all the lads wanted me to stay and “play with them”. Then Wednesday happened and I spent almost the whole day in the placing and spacing of the stones I had hauled to the form, making sure they were low enough for the poured cement not to have rocks protruding above the surface.

The three young lads came by for their parents to go on errands and when they got up from their nap it was necessary that I play with them. Fortunately I was through with my tiring task and I played for a while. When they left I trucked back over to Lowe’s for a few more necessary items for the building.

Thursday was the big day of pouring the cement. We started shortly after 9am and went till after noon. We did stop for lunch, happy to break from our backbreaking job. I thought that I had stocked up enough sand for the job but I still had to go back for two loads more. We finally finished about mid-afternoon and were both ‘worn to a nub’. Bro went home and I started cleanup.

A few places had to be touched up in the concrete and when it was mostly ‘set’, I finished ‘sweeping’ the surface. It was sundown by the time I finished cleanup and put away all the tools and such. It was good to have the hardest part of the construction behind us but I had muscles hurting in places that I didn’t remember that I had places – I limped inside for supper and hopefully, recovery.

Incidentally, I decided to name the storage building “outback”, since it is behind the house. God is still good, even when most every muscle I have is aching. ec

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


The day was Thursday and I rose early to take GM1 to school because her parents and siblings were still out of town. I ate a small bite to carry me until I could get back home and start my day in the right way. The trip was successful and she was deposited at school – back home I began my day in the proper sort of way. Being a rainy day, outside work was nixed so I spruced up some inside.

Going down to the basement rec room, I found it to be a wreck, with toys strewn about in a helter-skelter manner – these were then put back in proper order. The weather later dictated that a nap would be a good thing to do, so I made a successful effort at that as well. Then the Spice and I made efforts at cleaning out a closet and then I retrieved GM1 from her institute of higher learning.

The rain had finally stopped so I went for a walk as it neared sundown, though this time was hard to tell with all the clouds. It struck me that it was eerily quiet while I was out, the only things being heard were the background noises from the nearby highway and my rhythmic footfalls. The geese were ‘out of pond’, the birds were silent and it was too cool for crickets and cicadas.

The trees were in various stages of coloration with a few already having dropped their leaves. We have some very obstinate oaks in the area, hanging on to their leaves to the bitter end and then instead of the leaves coloring properly, they just turn brown and fall off – probably just to be irritating.

In spite of the fact that it rained a good portion of the day, the pond was not showing any signs of turning around in its quest to become ‘the incredible shrinking pond’. It rained more through the night and the next day I saw ‘stump peninsula’ turn back into an island and later disappear altogether.

Friday evening the Spice and I, along with GM1, went out to eat and then went to the youth service of our missionary conference – excellent speaker and very challenging. Saturday came and I did get to watch my college football team fight through to a victory and later we took GM1 to a birthday party at a local restaurant and we just stayed over and ate at another site ourselves.

We hung around to take GM1 back home – by this time her parents and young ones had returned to the area. We did this and later welcomed them back from their week’s vacation. Sunday was a multi-event day – 9AM play practice, AM worship, home to eat, back for 4PM play practice and then for the PM worship service – all were great but tiring – then we went out with friends afterwards for a bite.

How can something be so uplifting and tiring at the same time – could it be my age showing? Nobody has to convince me that Christ now is and forever will be the most important thing in my life – and by the way, God is good, all the time. ec


Tuesday was a day of appointments and our first was with the seniors for a luncheon together. We ate at the “Honey in the Rock Café”, a restaurant sponsored by a church in Augusta. It was cafeteria style and was good, we left full and also satisfied with the friendly fellowship that was involved.

Back home, I had an appointment with the kitchen to make a dessert for our monthly OTP meeting. The particular dessert is called “Blueberries in the snow” and it is as yummy and interesting as it sounds. The Spice had baked me a couple of small angel food cakes the evening before, so with these and great care I constructed the dessert and placed it in the fridge to cool.

Next appointment was to pick-up GM1 from school and get her started on her homework and a short time later I left on my next appointment, to meet and eat with the OTP guys. This meeting was at one of the guy’s homes and the feast of the evening was catfish stew – it was excellent. I think we all consumed at least two bowls – I had two and a half and wished I had room for more.

Between us we ate over half of the blueberry stuff and I brought the rest home – I was not too unhappy about that. It was cool but we ate outside, circled up around an outdoor fire pit, having a great time just watching the fire and laughing and talking together.

I finally left because I had another important appointment – with my bed. The appointment was short-circuited when I sat down in my comfy chair and promptly conked out. I kept the appointment later when I regained consciousness. Wednesday morn I awoke to another round of appointments – the first one being with breakfast and scripture – I kept them and felt better by having done so.

Next appointment was with the collection bins at the landfill – I took our garbage. Next on tap was one with Wal-Mart to pick up some grocery items. After returning home and putting these items up I left on the next appointment – to keep the young ones of NWT (niece with twins).

NWT had an appointment and when I got there the twins were down for a nap and this lessened the energy needs considerably on my part. But upon walking in the door, her young lad was desirous that I should make paper airplanes. This was done and they flew many trips across the den before he tired of this enterprise. Then we went on to dinosaurs, of which he had many.

Then it was to play-doh and he wanted me to make more dinosaurs out of that – like the ones in his book. I did so and although they didn’t look like much to me, he said they were ‘perfect’. After several of these creations, he wanted me to make them each one a fish so they would have something to eat – they love to eat fish – says he.

NWT came back from her appointment, so I left on my next one, which was to go home to sit down for a while. I need to find something to fill my spare time. It is so good to be healthy enough to be involved in many things – God is good! ec

Friday, November 14, 2008


One of my favorite trees for fall color is not in my yard but in a yard that I pass on the way to church. The last time I went that way it was in full color and absolutely stunning – I believe it is a variety of maple by the shape of the leaves. I do have some colorful foliage down near the pond but the most attractive of these trees are not large – one, a small hickory, was very yellow with all it’s 20 leaves.

I will wait in expectation for these to grow and further expound upon their beauty in the years ahead. These autumnal changes end with something stark and bare when all the leaves drop. But even this gives us a comparison and causes us to more appreciate the new leaves put out in spring.

Some changes come even slower than the seasonal ones – the interstate highway construction in and around Augusta for example. Ever so slowly progress seems to be made but it almost makes me wonder if I will still be able to drive – or even be above ground – when it is all completed.

I have consented to be a character in a play that our church drama group is presenting on New Year’s Eve as a form of ministry. We meet to practice on Sunday AM before the worship service and starting this Sunday, in the afternoon as well. I keep getting the vague feeling that maybe I have bitten off more than I want to chew – but the commitment has been made and it’s for a good cause.

Sunday AM service was great and we were challenged by a message by the pastor’s son – an excellent speaker. GM1 is staying with us while her parents and siblings are away for the week. She was sick and the Spice stayed with her – I went solo to church. Back home and after lunch I developed a bad headache – all headaches are bad but I endure – or enjoy – these less than most.

The result was my non-attendance of PM church and crashing in bed with cranium still throbbing some. Though I wondered if it would, Monday morn came and I woke to find that I had lived through the ordeal. Later in the day I wandered outside to try to get the body moving again.

As the sun was making its farewell appearance for the day, I headed out for my evening walk. It was a bit later than usual and I got to witness the illumination of all three security lights along the way – thrill! Even in the semi-darkness I was able to make out many colors of the leaves. It was cool and perfect for walking – I felt blessed by God to be involved in this endeavor – and headache free. ec

Saturday, November 08, 2008


In the afternoon of the day in question, I finally got the physical cobwebs of the previous several days of heavy activity cleared well enough to get outside a while. A place to put the gravel for my building project was needed so I dug out and formed another earthen basin and also lined it with plastic to hold the gravel and keep it clean – after all the twigs, leaves and dirt are filtered out of it.

After cleaning out some gravel, I quit and went for a walk a little earlier so that I could get back to shower before dark because I would be awaiting the arrival of hobgoblins, since that was the night for such. The Spice was helping out with YD’s crowd since SSIL was out of the country on business.

As it turned out we had no hobgoblins – or any other creature – to come by to receive their treat. My theory on this is since we are at the end of the street and separated from other houses a bit, the effort/reward ratio of walking that far to get a small amount of candy was not maximizing the young ones potential. I remember from back when that I wanted maximum houses – minimum walking.

The Spice came in later with the three youngest of the local gruntmonkeys. They were to stay with us overnight and the next day because their Mom was going out of town with their older sibling on a school band competition. The three were still in their costumes with bags of candy in hand. One would think that they would have run down by that time of night – possible candy high?

GM6 was not too hard to get to sleep but GM3 and 4 were full of themselves and not at all desirous of snoozing at that time. With some effort, sternness (?) and some several short stories later they finally conked out. Had I been a sane and reasonable person, I would have gone straight to bed at that very moment but such is not the case – especially at times – and I was up a while longer.

I went to bed late knowing that I had three ‘alarm clocks’ – in small human form – set to go off at dawn. And next morning, to loosely quote Job, the thing that I greatly feared came upon me. Then I drug out of bed, drug into the kitchen, drug out the cereal, drug out the milk and started three young men eating their morning sustenance. If you got the idea that I was dragging, you would be correct.

The first request voiced after the cereal intake was to ‘go outside’. I put them off for a while for the temp to warm a bit and the dew to evaporate. We did go out a little later for a round of their usual activities – swings, trampoline, the incineration of ‘ant underwear’ and tossing rocks in the pond. Then came lunch and the cajoling of them to enter into nap city.

I was able to watch some college football while they were in the arms of Morpheus and some more, in fits and snatches, after they got back up. We took them back home later to put them down for the night. Their Mom came back from her trip, dropped off GM1 and headed to the airport to get SSIL – returning from his business trip abroad. They got back OK and we went home to rest.

The leaves are coloring, my tiny turnip greens are growing, God is good and all is well. ec

Thursday, November 06, 2008


My plans for constructing a small building for the storage of my lawn and garden equipment are progressing ever so slowly. My aim is to mix the concrete on site with my small mixer and with the help of my older bro, to pour a concrete pad on which to erect said building. The aforementioned bro has been out of town last week and will be leaving again next week, hence the delay.

The four elements necessary for the concrete mixture are cement, sand, gravel and water. The water is readily available, cement can be purchased at Lowe’s, gravel is on site but the big need was sand. Not wanting to have some hauled in, I had three other possibilities – from the stump peninsula, from a spit of sand on the other side of the pond and the last resort was from a spot in the front yard.

When found, the sand would have to be moved from where it was to where it needed to be. This would require the use of the small trailer that came with the lawn tractor. I had not used this device since it came into my possession and when I drug it out of storage, both tires were flat. Fortunately, with some effort, I was able to get them re-inflated and I set out to find the sand I needed.

The sand from stump peninsula was found to be mixed with too much dirt, clay and organic matter but the sand from the spit on MIL’s side of the pond was perfect. The first load was gathered, brought back and dumped into the earthen basin I had previously dug out and formed near the building site – and then lined with plastic to keep it from mixing with the dirt.

The most difficult part of getting the sand was due to the fact that I could only get to within about 50 feet of the source. Then it had to be hauled back up an embankment to the trailer. I used buckets for the transporting – larger ones in the trailer and a couple of smaller ones to haul it up the hill and fill the larger. The sand then was taken back to my place and dumped into the basin.

My day had been busy with the digging of the basin, re-inflating the trailer tires – one of which was tubeless and broken loose from the rim, a real pain – and then hauling four loads of sand. I used the small amount of energy I had left to stow all tools and such and drag my ancient frame back into the house. As is my custom, I promptly collapsed in the floor – to straighten out the old back.

Eventually transmigrating to the recliner, I slowly got my physical act back together again. On the next day I did some sitting with young ones and later hauled three more loads of sand to complete the amount that I thought was needed for the project. Then the next day oozed by into the recesses of time with miscellaneous activities. Next morn, I crept slowly around the “maison”, trying to recover.

At times I seem to forget that I’m not as young as I used to be but God is still good, all the time. ec