Thursday, March 12, 2020

Stocking up

I realized a few days ago where my astonishment at “stocking up” comes from. I’ve been seeing all the advice to be sure you have enough food and medication for two weeks, and wondering how other people live. I always have at least that much and I realized that this is why: 

When my mother was twelve there was a big flood in her hometown that lasted two weeks, much worse than any before, but a creek ran through the middle of town, so lesser floods were not unknown. Usually my mother and her parents and her brother lived in their rather large house alone. My grandfather was a grocer and could bring home anything needed when he came home at the end of the day so they didn’t pay much attention to “stocking up.” When the water began to rise my grandmother sent for her mother and two sisters to come stay with them, because my great-grandmother’s house was in the lower part of town, and she sent her cook home to get her bed-ridden octogenarian mother, because their house, too, was much nearer the creek. My brother’s best friend contrived to get himself stranded on the wrong side of the creek so they could be together. That makes ten. I can’t remember where the other two people came from, but there were a dozen of them. 
The waters rose, and my grandparents’ house was above the water, but only just. It came up to the porch steps, but not into the house. Across the street the court house was similarly surrounded by water. My mother could watch men in boats arrive there every day after the first few days, and build a fire under a huge iron kettle, and make soup, which they then rowed or paddled off to deliver to people who had no food, or who had no means of heating it (this was 1929.) My grandmother needed no such assistance. She fed a dozen people for two weeks with what she had in the house. The day before the water went down enough for people to go home they had three meals of ham and biscuits and strawberry preserves. The morning the water went down enough to leave they had biscuits and strawberry preserves, but they could have had that for several more meals if necessary. 
I don’t even think about keeping enough food on hand for emergencies. It’s just something I automatically do. 

The second week of the flood an airplane (1929, remember--airplanes still rare and exciting) flew over and circled the court house and tried to drop a package on the court house lawn, but missed. The package did not land in the water, fortunately, but on the second floor porch of my grandparents’ house. It was typhoid vaccine.

This flood is the reason that town still has an ordinance that prohibits anyone from operating a motor boat on the city streets. Too many people went too fast and the wake broke a lot of plate glass windows downtown. 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Sully carries a big stick

First time I've been able to take video through the door and get a clear shot. If the door is open he comes to see what's happening.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Walk at Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters, Taylorsville Lake

I went back to one of my favorite walks for the first time since last fall.

DaRon, here's the dam from near the parking lot. The fishing I told you about is on the other side of the dam. Today there was not a single soul trying to fish.

I had the place to myself when I got there at 12:30 on a weekday. (It's usually more popular around lunch.)

Here's the trailhead.

This (these?) trail was built by a Scout as an Eagle project, and then later improved by another Eagle.

Most of the length of the trails don't have much distant view, just walking through woods.

This picnic spot in the middle of the Ridge Trail is new since I was there. I wouldn't mind a memorial like that.

In addition to the table, there's a sort of sideboard at the edge of the clearing.

Not too many flowers in the shade of the woods, but there were Black-eyed Susans.

I went down the Lakeside Trail to where I usually turn back, wanting a picture of the lake. I'd forgotten how little you can see when the leaves are on the trees.

So I went all the way to the bottom. This was the less steep side of the loop. You can see some water through the trees.

Finally, a more open view.

Now, instead of retracing my steps all the way back, I decided to tackle the steep end of the trail.

It's steeper than it looks. I had to stop and rest, panting, three times.
This is not trail, but it's looking back down towards the lake.

In case the pictures truly fail to do it justice, my phone's exercise application thought I had climbed twelve flights of stairs.

I have so many favorite places to walk, but this is a favorite favorite.

Friday, September 15, 2017

avoiding danger

Avoiding danger is not possible. Yesterday at lunch I reached for a banana on my kitchen counter and felt such sharp pain in my shoulder that if I had grasped the banana I would have dropped it. The kind of pain where you can't breathe. Since then I have tried to be very careful what I do with my left--dominant--arm. I have found no way to predict what particular movement will cause pain when.

If reaching for a banana can cause injury, there is no safety anywhere: something I already knew.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

End of summer getting closer

I walked the so-called Big Beech trail today (I've never seen a beech that's really big there--I'd call it the Many Beeches trail) for the third time since that part of the Louisville Loop opened. My troublesome foot is still content right now. Most of the two and a half miles I walked was soft surface; only about a mile was paved, the part to the trail and back from it. That's the part where all the wildflowers were, though, out in the sun and not in the woods. There was plenty of boneset in the woods, but the buds were barely showing any white.

I may have seen this one before, but I have no idea what it is.

The essence of late summer.


I think this is sensitive plant. There was a lot of it.

Most of the goldenrod hadn't opened yet, but this had.

There was plenty of wild ageratum in patches. No, this isn't sideways. It's all reaching out of the shade.

Lots of color. In my yard, the goldenrod, which I should pull up since I'm allergic to it, but don't because it's so pretty and the pollen, unlike some, is heavy and doesn't travel far (such as into the house) is not at all ready to open, and most of the pokeweed berries have been harvested by the birds, so the only patch of color right now is the zinnias by the front steps. I cut some nearly every day.

This walk was so satisfying. The weather was perfect, sunny but not hot, with a mild breeze. I must make more of an effort to take walks that my foot will be happy with.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

some heat

Here's last summer's cayenne peppers, good and dry.

Here's my coffee grinder, nice and clean.

Here's the result, which ought to be about a year's supply, since I don't use much when it's homegrown and not aged on some grocery shelf.

And here's the very last pepper, that was green before the first frost when I spotted it and brought it indoors, where it has been very very slowly ripening, until I picked it today and hung it up to dry and await its turn in the coffee grinder.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

toy drive at work leads to nostalgia

This year our work is participating in a toy drive so I went out and bought new toys for the first time in thirty years or so. I found some amazingly cheap ones, fortunately.

The stick horse has a button you press to make him whinny. (No, don't ask yourself why I'm absolutely certain this stick horse is a gelding: my underbrain at work.)  I, of course, made my own horse noises for my stick horse (he was black, with a white star, and some white hair in his black mane, so his invisible feet probably had at least a few white socks) but I realized how few children nowadays have horses over the back fence to imitate. How sad.

I, on the other hand, had no plush dinosaurs at all. Also sad. This one is so very squishy, yet so RAWR! that I'm tempted to keep him. 

I had a lot of little metal cars, but no tanks. I had a toy tractor, though, and best of all, a fire engine that pumped real water through its hose. I hope that the unknown children who ultimately receive these have as much fun with them as I had with mine.