Thursday, September 22, 2022


The title means this post is 'safe for breakfast, Jaycee!'

I bought a new carpet for the livingroom yesterday because it was a pattern that I'd loved for a few years, and the colors went with what was already there. How often do you see something you really love being clearanced out? Unfortunately, once I got it home, while the colors were just right, but the size of it wasn't. 

So I waffled around about what to do with it today, and got the bright idea to do some switching around, moving the 8 ft round carpet from the library, and putting the new 5 x 8 ft into the library.  I changed out the throw pillows and it was perfect, I kept walking out of it and walking back into it, just to admire the new look.

Silly how such a little things can makes such a big happy, isn't it?

I spent the rainy chilly day baking bread, stuffing zucchini for Tim's supper, and trying to figure out the meaning of 'cursus'. Reading wasn't doing it for me, despite Northstoke's help, but I found some videos put out by the English Heritage, and got it all sorted out in my mind. 

I think I needed this rainy, puttering day. 

Best part? 

No spiders. 


This is the new rug, which was bought for the livingroom which wound up in the library. 

This is the rug that was in the library, that got moved to the livingroom. 

These are the pillows bought to pull together the livingroom.  

Bob lives in the library. He approves the changes. 

As always, please excuse the poor photos. Someday I will have a decent camera. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

For Northsider

  This is the lean-to. It will keep three tractors under cover. 

After working today, we headed for home, and on the back of my seat, there was the biggest freaking spider that I've ever seen in my life. It was grotesque, with a swollen body the size of a marble, stripey legs. Tim saw it first. 

"Get that rag off the floor and get it out of there," he said. 

So I gingerly picked up an oily rag, gathered up the spider, and tried to shake it off outside, but it clung there to the rag, stubbornly. 


I gave it a little flick with my finger...


Totally not kidding. I almost lost my cookies. I had spider guts on my fingers. 

It was so gross. 

We could not figure out how it got in the truck, but when I got home, I ran my fingers through the back of my hair while I was talking, and pulled away a handfull of cobwebs. 

I need to go lie down. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Another project

 Tim was up at 6:30 this morning, and raring to go. "Get up! Time to get up!" Just as excited as a child on Christmas morning. 

I did get up, but I wasn't all wound up and raring to go like he was. We had a big pile of wood waiting for us in Grand Valley, fresh from Levi's saw mill. We were adding on a 24 by 12 lean-to on the side of the garage. Tim had cemented in the four support beams on Saturday but we needed to  complete the cover for it, building the framework and putting up 13 beams, one end of which attached the the garage, and the other end fit onto the support framework. 

Tim and I usually work well together, really, but the one thing that really bothers me is that he has a plan in his head, one that I can't see, so I have to wait to see what he's doing. Unfortunately, he is a thinker, and so he spends a lot of time second guessing himself and measuring twice, cutting once, etc. while I stand there trying to figure out what the vision is. 

By lunch time, we had six boards up. 

Totally not kidding. 


So, I began getting impatient like I do. Despite my vow of patience, despite my vows to go weed something if I was getting irritated (for the record, I did get some weeding done), I found myself saying things like, "Tim. I don't understand why you just have to do things the hard way, every time." He snapped back, "Well, what's your plan, then?!"

Honestly. You never see the married people on television fixer-upper shows bickering. We've never once just quietly done a project without some irritated bickering and snapping. I guess it's safe to assume that DIY television won't come knocking on our door anytime soon. 

Tim did incorporate a couple of my ideas into cutting the beams and attaching the hangers.  I carried the finished beams over to the building and set them where they would eventually be mounted. Even he had to admit that things were going much faster. We had all the beams up by 2:30. I pushed the 4 by 8 sheets of plywood up a ladder to where Tim was waiting to grab the end and shift them into place on the roof. He hammered, while I hauled out another sheet and started up the ladder. By 4, we were installing the fascia.

We drove into town to get supper at a fast food place, (I was dirty and sweaty and not fit for anything else). and then got back to it, installing the drip edge, the rolled roofing,  and the flashing. By 6:30, we  were done. We gathered up the debris and we gathered up the tools and put everything away. 

We drove home in contented silence. We were both bone tired and aching but very proud that we'd gotten it done. All of it. For all the snapping and bickering, we really do work well together. 

Tim said, "That's what happens when you are retired. You work sunup to sundown."

"No, we don't," I said firmly. 

LATE EDIT (specifically for Han Dylan) We added this structure to the side of a 24 x 24 ft garage. It will hold 3 tractors backed in to 3 bays. 

Monday, September 19, 2022


Julie Green is a prophet. God told her that King Charles murdered the Queen for the crown. Of course, she also claims that President Biden is dead and that Barak Obama is running the country through a Joe Biden body double. 

She could easily be dismissed as a religious nut wad except...

She is a spiritual advisor to Doug Mastriano, the Republican gubernatorial candidate who participated in the January 6th debacle. He also uses a white supremacist online group to attract followers. He vows to deregister every voter in Pennsylvania and make us all re-register to vote. He also says that he can decertify the votes from anywhere if he believes that there is any irregularity. 

He is losing in the polls, but I still have a question. How can he only be losing by 10.4 points? 

Saturday, September 17, 2022


 I am about tired of tomatoes, I can tell you that. Probably one more picking, and we'll call it good. I dug the potatoes today, which were disappointing. I picked beans again, and pulled the onions. I have three more zucchini I have to figure out what to do with. Probably at this point just go ahead and shred them and put them in the freezer in 2 cup packages for zucchini bread. 

Tim is building a lean to for the tractors at the side of the garage. He has been working on the Oliver, and finally got that operational, so he's a happy guy. He was going to sell the Oliver for the longest time. Now he's going to keep that because he wants a bucket loader (and he's got the bugs worked out of it). He loves the new (1956) Farmall because it has a winch, so now he's thinking to sell the old Farmall (1940 something)

I think he won't sell any of them. 

So we worked on our projects, me in the garden, him on the garage. William bounced between the two of us, helping his grandfather, helping me. He was a good extra set of arms and learned how to use the level today. 

So really, the only thing left, really are the pumpkins, which will need to be cooked down. We both love pumpkin soup and Tim loves pumpkin pie. It's quite a satisfying pile of fruits and vegetables in the chest freezer. Once we start stocking it with venison, we will be set for winter. 

I drove home to begin work on the produce, and Hairy lay across the driveway, stretched out on his side, his back towards me. I stopped the car, and he did not move. I tooted the horn. He did not move. I got out of the car and made my way slowly to him. I expected him to be dead. He opened his eyes and looked lazily at me. 

"Will you move?" I asked, giving him a nudge. He leisurely got up and moved to the other side of the driveway. As I was unloading the car, William got a dish of kibble for him. He moved very quickly when he heard that. What a stinker. 

That's it really. Sometimes your most productive days will simply bore the snot out of everyone else. Sorry about your luck. 

Friday, September 16, 2022

Dodged a Bullet on that One.

 William will be hunting for the first time this year. Tim had wanted him to use the .222 that HE had bought as a boy, to learn the craft, but unfortunately, .222 ammunition is no longer made. So, Tim found a rifle for him, a gun that allowed it to 'grow' with the child, with stock additions that made the gun longer as William's arms grew. It also had a scope, which was a new thing for him. He has only used his bb gun and the .22, which had open sights. 

Tim really studied the situation, agonized over what gun would be best. He really wants William to be a hunter. 

So Tim bought that gun, a .350 Remington Legend but was disappointed to discover that it was not everything it was cracked up to be. It kicked despite advertising that it didn't. He fretted about that as he sighted it in, and then in the end, decided that he needed to find another gun for William. 

Me? I think he just wanted another gun. 

Anyways, he came out where I was cleaning up after supper. He had found the gun for William. He was sure of it. He had placed an order on line. 

I was a little shocked, because to be perfectly honest, that strikes me as wrong. How does the company know who they're dealing with? What about background checks? I didn't even know you COULD buy guns that way. Let me be clear. Tim is a hunter, and he owns many guns, and if I ever stopped to count them, I'd probably be upset. BUT...we do not belong to the NRA, which we believe has a tight hold on the testicles of way too many politicians. We believe strongly that not all people should have guns. We also believe that if you want to own assault weapons, you can just go ahead and join the military. There is no earthly reason that any person in this country needs a gun that fires multiple rounds per second. No valid reason for it. NONE. ZIPPO. NADA. Tim also understands one thing: the gun laws that are changed affect him not at all. Neither does it affect any sportsmen we know. 

(So...please don't waste your time arguing with me in the comments. I won't respond.)

Anyways, the next morning Tim comes to me and says, "I need you to set this up for me." The place he had placed the order, Mossberg Gun Store, had sent an e-mail saying he needed to set up a Zelle account and transfer the money to them. 

I said, "I'm NOT setting this up for you. I'm not sure that I'm comfortable putting all our bank information out there for another payment method. Zelle has some significant issues. I think we need to talk to our bank." 

He agreed to go talk to the bank in the morning, but he said, "Tell them that we will send a cashier's check, just to see what they say." So I sent an e-mail. 

The next morning, we were quite surprised to find a curt e-mail from the company saying that our order had been canceled. If we decided to go ahead with the Zelle payment, they'd be glad to place the order again. My BS detectors were on high alert at that point, so I went back and did some research on the company. They have a BBB accreditation of 'F'. There is page after page after page of complaints. They take the money, send no gun  and their customer service doesn't reply.  Zelle does not offer any sort of protection to the buyer, which is why it is the payment choice of scammers. 

I typed my response to their e-mail. 'After reading about your company, we no longer wish to do business with you.'

Forewarned is forearmed as they say. The company is Mossberg Gun Store. And if any online group is demanding payment through Zelle, and accepting no other payment, go back and check on the company itself. Reputable people will accept multiple methods of payment. 

Thursday, September 15, 2022

A Day in the Kitchen (except for that time when I wasn't)

 I was out of butter. I was out of vegetable oil. I needed eggs. Taco seasoning. Sweet peppers. Shredded cheese. Mozzarella. A strange list of things that I'd managed to run out of simultaneously. On my way to Aldi's, I thought to stop into Goodwill.  I've been going through quite a few tupperware containers, between cooking for others and freezing stuff for later. I thought just to check and see what they had. 

I parked the car and opened the car door and ~ACKKKKK!~ almost put my foot in a very large splat of barf. I think that my subconscious recognized the smell before I did, and my foot stopped just before making contact. My gosh, that was the grossest beginning to a day EVER. Well. Except for the times that I was actually cleaning up after a sick child. That was grosser. This was plenty gross though. Whoever it was had eaten a full meal. 

Anyways, despite that, I did get inside, and as usual, I found exactly what I needed: a large stash of new 'disposible' plasticware from Walmart, still packaged with the tags. I bought all they had, and am restocked, getting 14 new containers for $5, which was a nice surprise. I hadn't noticed that some of them were on sale. 

I took a look at the books, because I need books. Because I have no new books to read Okay dammit, I have no self control. I found a book that looks quite entertaining. Thames: A Biography, by Peter Ackroyd. I flipped through it, and it looks like one of those wonderful books that you can pick up, read a little and then set back down on your bedside table. For 99 cents, it came home with me. With another biography, this one about an actual person. 

I went to Aldi and picked up the things that I needed. I also picked up some vegetables, coffee, and olive oil, as well. $54.00. Eep. I left the store with everything in one bag and spent $54! 

Anyways, while I was in there, my phone rang and I answered it. Tim said, in an irritated voice, "I've been calling you at home!" I said, (because, I'm a smart ass), "Well, I bet I didn't pick up." He rarely thinks I'm as funny as I do. 

I got home and got my groceries put away. I have two loaves of zucchini bread baking and two loaves of wheat bread rising and a pot of chicken vegetable soup with rice in the crock pot. 

Best air freshener ever. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Give 'em hell, Hairy.

 Hairy is a large long haired black cat, one of the four strays (For everyone keeping track, there is Mangey, Hairy, Car Cat ~who is always looking for an open car window~, and Ginger.)  Hairy looks a lot like a four legged yeti, to be honest. 

Hairy used to live with us. It lasted about two months. He was not an indoor cat. He did not want to be an indoor cat. He wasn't destructive or anything. It's just that he scooted out the door every time he had a chance, and then he just stayed gone, to teach us a lesson, I suppose. After several bolts for freedom, he finally just stopped coming back. 

It's a free country, even for cats, I guess.

Anyways, now Hairy is back. He's the most regular feral. He is waiting for me when I wake up and look out the kitchen window. I get a clean bowl for him, put some kibble in it, and set it out. He eats it, although he makes it clear that he wants the good stuff. He gets the good stuff in the evening. That's it. He's fed regularly (usually twice with a small bowl of kibble, once with the good stuff). He doesn't need to be a pig about it. 

Anyways, Ginger came in last night and I took his food out for him, Ginger gets the good stuff whenever he shows up because he does not stop by regularly.  This meant that I had to keep Hairy distracted so that he didn't rush in to gobble up his second serving of the good stuff. It's pretty easy to do, really because Hairy does love to be petted and talked to. 

He's pretty sociable as far as yetis go.

When Ginger finished, I scooped up his bowl and took it in the house to wash
and left Hairy sitting at the door with an outraged look on his furry face. He couldn't quite figure out what had happened, but he suspected that he'd been deprived.

I finished up in the kitchen, set the bowl back out in the mudroom and came back in the livingroom. Suddenly there was a rattling at the storm door which was slightly ajar. "What the hell?" Tim said, and he got up to see what was happening. There was Hairy, sitting on the side porch on his hinder, both paws on the door, drumming them just as hard and fast as he could. 

"KNOCK IT OFF!" Tim roared, pulling the door tightly shut so that the rattling wouldn't be so bad. 

Hairy did knock it off as directed, but of course this has become one more thing to make Tim unhappy about the current situation.

Disclaimer. This is not Hairy. Probably his brother or something. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

The Find

 I had to go to Goodwill today. I feed the cats from little china bowls. Lest you think this is some sort of pretentious behavior, allow me to explain. I wanted them to have bowls that were different from anything in my kitchen. No confusion. I feed the cats, I wash the bowls and they get set out in the mudroom for the next hungry cat. You can go to Goodwill and pick up four mismatched china bowls for 39 cents (Pro-tip: Buy the color tag that is the week's discount. The cats don't care, and neither do I really.) 


The cats are fed at the edge of the driveway, and sometimes before I get back out there to collect the bowls, Tim heads off. He has a tendency to cut corners a lot closer than I do, and so, from time to time, a china bowl meets its sad end beneath the tire of a dump truck or whatever the heck he happens to be driving. Two of them bit the dust in this two week period. 

Time to replace them. I was headed to the grocery store for onions and passing by the Goodwill. Those bowls popped in my head, and it was still discount day, so I decided to pop in and see what I could get. I had a little stash of sale priced bowls at my chosen 39 cent limit already in my cart, when I saw them, a set of four melamine bows for 99 cents. It was like getting  two free, so I put my china bowls back and got those little set of bowls while wondering how melamine holds up to being run over by the dump truck. I imagine that I'll be finding out. Stay tuned.

Anyways, I was looking at kids clothes because...well...because I am practical...because my oldest grandaughter needs a winter coat...alright, dammit, I have no self control. Anyways, it paid off in spades for me today. Isn't this the dearest little coat you've ever seen? It's pink and black houndstooth which doesn't really show up in the picture.) And it shows no sign of having even been worn. 

And I am sure that this coat cost way more than $5.39 that when it was bought. 

Monday, September 12, 2022

Home Again, Home Again

 We left Friday morning to visit my son and his family. His birthday was last Thursday, and it has been an awfully long time since we were able to celebrate it with him. I made a batch of bread dough up, and baked a cake. I cut up the strawberries, and had heavy whipping cream to be turned into whipped topping for a strawberry short cake. We have a cooler that held it all. along with the pepperonis, the home made mozzarella cheese, and spaghetti sauce from our own tomatoes. We plugged the cooler  into the cigarette lighter and voila, everything stayed cold for the 5 hour trip. 

My 4 year old grandaughter helped me roll out the dough and make the pepperoni rolls (one layer of parmesan, a layer of 3 pepperoni, a layer of mozzarella, top it all off with another layer of pepperoni and roll it up). She had her little apron on, her little rolling pin at the ready, and she stood on the other side of the island in her mother's helper. It was great fun for both of us. 

The pepperoni rolls were finished at just about the same time that her father finished at the office and did his arduous commute down the stairs. The rolls were a childhood favorite, and all these years later, he still seemed to enjoy them. He also seemed happy with his gifts, a gyuto knife and a block of habanero cheddar cheese from the Amish store. 

It was a such a happy weekend with the granddaughters. The baby is not quite two months old but I got a smile today, and I am convinced it wasn't gas. The four year old and I had a wonderful weekend playing Go Fish, reading books, taking walks. We went to the playground, we went out for supper, and we gave a unicorn a bath. 

The thing that I love best is that every night, when we went to bed, the door would very quietly creak open, and a little figure from across the hall would slip in to tell me something. Once it was to lend me her Thumper bunny to sleep with. I think that she just wanted to make sure that I was still going to be there the next morning. It was a wonderful long weekend, and the best part, when we were getting ready together this morning, she studied me in the mirror, and said wistfully, "I wish you could visit me every day." 

Me too. Me. too.

Tim and I left this morning and had a leisurely trip home with a couple side trips. We had a late supper, tomato soup with grilled cheese, and then walked out to take the shopping cart someone left in front of our house back to the grocery store where it belonged. We made a circle to the library and then walked back home. 

The evening breeze was cool. It feels like rain is coming in. A comfortable night for a walk and a good way to work the kinks out after our day in the car. 

Hairy the cat met us on the side walk, and he was glad to see us, leading the way up the driveway. Car Cat was there too, and they both meowed and led the way up to the driveway where they knew that they would be fed. 

My house seems so quiet after a weekend with a baby and a four year old. 

Thursday, September 8, 2022


 My condolences to her subjects. I cannot claim to be an expert on foreign politics, but she seemed a grand lady.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022


 Headed east to celebrate my son's birthday Friday morning. I'm taking the makings for pepperoni rolls, the comfort food of my children's childhood. His oldest daughter will help me roll out the dough and layer the pepperoni and cheese and then roll it all back up. I picked tomatoes today and tomorrow I will make another batch of sauce for dipping the pepperoni rolls in.

Doubt I'll get a post in before I leave because I will be cooking most of the day tomorrow and getting ready to leave. 

See you Tuesday-ish. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

The Good Stuff

 Yesterday morning, when I went out, the orange and white tabby was in the back yard. 

The previous day I had seen him for the first time, He slunk out from beneath the dump truck to where two of my other strays were feeding from their dishes. There was some growling, so I got another dish of food and set it out for the newcomer who had returned to hide under the dump truck. This guy looked so awful that I would have given him a can of 'the good stuff', but I didn't want a cat fight.

When I pulled out of the driveway, he'd once again come out from beneath the truck and was eating ravenously. 

I was glad to see him back, and so right away, I went inside and got the last can of good stuff from the top of the fridge and gave it to him. He's very wary. He stood up when I approached with the dish, prepared to bolt. I got as close as I thought I could without scaring him off, set the dish on the ground with a few kind words, and then went back inside to watch. 

He was very interested in the food, but made a great show of grooming himself while keeping a close eye on that food dish. Finally, he dared to move a bit closer to it. And then closer still...and before too awful long he was polishing the bottom of the bowl. 

Tim does not hate the cats, but he's not happy about them. He's not a fan of animals in the house. He never has been. These cats aren't, but I think he has this horrible fear that they will be once the weather turns bad.


He does not mind the occasional bag of kibble.

He doesn't mind the little collection of china bowls that I picked up from Goodwill to keep them fed. 

He did wince a little when I spent $30 on Ivermectin for Mangey. 

He also began to look a bit unhappy when I needed the good food. I could mix the ivermectin into it, and Mangey would gobble down the full dose. 

But for all of that, Mangey healed up so remarkably quickly that Tim stopped complaining at all. He now comes around so infrequently that the little stack of cans sat on top of the fridge for a month or so, which I am sure that Tim found reassuring. 

But now there is another, and I'd fed him the last can of the good stuff. 

I had to pick up a few groceries and thought to pick up another half dozen cans of cat food. It is 83 cents a can. Because I am thrifty, I compared single price cans to multipacks. It got very pricey very quickly. But...I saw one case of 9-Lives. It contained 36 cans. It was $22.84, which worked out to 63 cents a can. Plus, each can was 5.5 oz compared to the fancy feast I'd been buying which was 3 oz. I could get two meals from each can. Doing some math, I figured that I'd be cutting the costs of my feral cat hobby by more than half. 

Tim was not happy to see the carton of cat food. Even with the explanation. 


But I fixed him right up. I can barely keep up with the tomatoes coming ripe in the garden so I've spent a lot of time in the kitchen lately. I made up a batch of my best spaghetti sauce yet. (secret: sautee the peppers, onions, garlic and mushrooms in a little olive oil, and then add the tomatoes and simmer.) I made homemade meat balls. He couldn't stop raving about how great this batch of sauce had turned out. "It's perfect," he said. 

Cats aren't the only critters that like the good stuff.

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Yard sale

 Yesterday, we dressed up and headed to our favorite little restaurant. It was not open. It should have been based on the hours posted on the door. 

All was not lost. Across the road was a yard sale. There was a LOT of old furniture and tables of stuff. My spidey senses began to tingle.

We darted across the road. Settees. Tables. A chest. Several secretary style desks. Chairs. I mean, probably 50 pieces of furniture...and did I mention the tables of s.t.u.f.f? Dishes. Glassware. Assorted geegaws.

But not one thing was marked with a price. I HATE that. Especially for furniture. There are so many variables. How old is the piece? Condition? Has the piece been rehabbed? Is it a good job or a bad one? I saw a secretary desk.

It still had the key. Good.

It had been completely stripped. If it was really old, this was not good. It was probably a chemical stripper. Pieces had come unglued. The back was broke.

While I was doing my thinking, the man running the show came over and asked what I was looking at in a fussy British accent, which was a bit of a surprise.

I asked the price for the desk, and he began to tell me about how valuable the piece was without giving any numbers. Just that quickly, he began to go down the rows of furniture, telling me how valuable they were, and what they prices given. 

Well, I decided that I was not interested in furniture. I did not need it anyways. I stepped over to a table and picked up a water pitcher. I turned it over and it was marked 'silver solder' which is, by definition, 65% silver with other metal (usually copper and zinc).

Behind me came that snippy British accent. "That is pure silver," he informed me. 

"Actually, it isn't," I began but he interrupted to snap "it IS!"

I put the pitcher on the table and headed for the car. 

The accent came from the porch and across the lawn and tried to chase me. "That is pure sterling silver!"

I shook my head. " it is absolutely not." A man standing near the table picked up the pitcher and carefully set it back down. He gave me a broad grin.

Cemetery Visit

We were headed out for supper but had a bit of difficulty finding something open. We wound up on a street we had never been on before and stumbled on a very well maintained cemetery. 

It was not especially old. Titusville came into prominence August 27th, 1859 when Col. Drake struck oil here, the world's first oil well. With the oil came many a "boom town". Titusville was one of them that managed to survive. There were many very wealthy residents.

The cemetery was donated to Titusville by Joseph Seep, a German immigrant who made his money by purchasing Standard's output and presumably getting it to market to resell.
So while the cemetery was not especially old, the names on the family plots were historically notable so that you could google as you walked among the stones.

Tim was howling at this one. The fellow had two wives named Mary. There was also one named Bridgette on the other side of the stone. He wasn't buried there. We tried to find him but could not. We think he was probably buried with his final wife somewhere.

It was a nice walk under old trees. Far off thunder rumbled.

We never did get to our planned destination, but neither of us minded. 

Earlier in the afternoon, I was leaving the house when one of my strays showed up. I stopped to feed 'Hairy'. While I was doing that, 'Car Cat' came strolling up, so I set out a dish for him too. He still will not be petted. I closed the door and walked past the cats only to see yet another cat, an orange and white tabby, wretchedly thin and acting very unwell. I set out another bowl for the poor thing. He hid under the dump truck as I set his bowl down, but he was eating ravenously before I was backed out of the driveway.

Saturday, September 3, 2022

To Sleep or Not to Sleep

 William was pretty excited to get picked up today, because he's headed to Erie. His mother is picking up her new eyeglasses, but also Spirit Halloween has opened for the season. William has always been a big fan of Halloween decorations and will happily spend hours walking up and down the aisles of Lowe's looking at all the animatronics and Halloween decorations. These Spirit stores are open just for two months. They go into an empty store in September and pull everything out by November 2nd. The one in Erie is a superstore. I imagine that William will never want to leave. 

It is where he got last year's Halloween costume. 

If I were his parents, he'd be wearing the same costome this year, 
but I'm not so I will keep my big mouth shut. 


It's also National Cinema Day. 
Participating theaters are offering $3 movie tickets, and so they are going to take advantage of that while they are in Erie. William is just about beside himself. They are going to see Jaws in 3D. 

I imagine he won't sleep for a week. 

Grandma and Grandpa are on our own, and we're not going to let the weekend go to waste. We're headed to see the Titusville Iron Works. The historical displays will be nice and Tim wants to hear the live music and have a beer. 

Maybe there will be a wine cooler for a lightweight such as myself. 

Once I get that down, I imagine that I'll sleep for a week.

Friday, September 2, 2022

Biscuits, explained.

I was making biscuits again here. There was some discussion about biscuits the last time that I mentioned them. These are biscuits on my side of the pond. You can split them and serve them with chicken gravy or sausage gravy over them. Or you can drizzle syrup on them for the mornings. You can make egg sandwiches out of them. Our favorite way is to have them fresh from the oven with a good butter mix. If you use this recipe (which is my favorite), note that he doesn't mention the oven temp which is 425 F for 12-15 minutes. Note also that you can whip a batch of these up, and then freeze them, baking them two at a time or something. There is something very nice about a piping hot biscuit with dinner. 

I like to make a flavored butter for them. 

Honey butter, which is a healthy jolt of honey, a drip of vanilla, and probably a half cup of room temperature butter. You can add more honey to taste if you want. Blend it together. I use my immersion blender with the whisk attachment. Once it is blended, I put it in the refrigerator until I'm ready to use it. 

Another butter we like is cinnamon butter. which is about half a cup of butter. a quarter cup of confectioner sugar and one teaspoon of sugar blended together. 

The butter is best spread on biscuits or bread as it comes right out of the oven. 

Anyways, I wanted to explain the biscuit part to you. 

So I was making biscuits yesterday to go with supper. We had company coming over. Tim walked in and said, 'your friends are out here...' I know what he's talking about, and he's pretty unhappy. Mangey comes back every couple weeks, and to be honest, he seems to come back for the human interaction as much as the food. I got the good stuff from the top of the fridge and went outside. I did not have time to stop and play with him. He stood watching me sadly through the kitchen glass for some time. It was only when another stray came slinking over to check out the food dish situation, that Mangey decided to eat. 

(Don't worry. I made it up to him this morning. I also went back out and gave the second cat some dinner too.)

There are three strays showing up here regularly now. One of them irritates Tim because he looks for a rolled down car window and hops inside to make himself comfortable for a little snooze.


He is not hurting anything, and really, it's easy enough for Tim to keep his windows up. Then I wouldn't have to listen to him howling when it starts to rain and he hasn't noticed it until his car has gotten a good soaking. I tell Tim the same thing that I tell William: 'Every problem has a solution.' 

(Of course, I have no room to talk. I had washed the cotton bathrugs and had them drying outside. When they are wet, they are so heavy that I worry about damage to the dryer belt. They had been out all day, and were just about dry when the skies opened up. Tim was upset about his car. I was upset about once again soaking wet rugs. We're a pair.) 

But back to the cats, when we get the house built, we'll probably move those three cats right along with us, if they are amenable to the idea. Mousers would be useful to have, and Tim is agreeable to that. He likes a working animal. I'll probably move Mangey inside if he wants to come for the winter. Tim will NOT be agreeable to that. I'll probably see if the tabby (car cat) wants to join us. The long haired black one we tried to bring in a few winters back. It was not successful. He wanted to be an outside cat.

The property is being surveyed down the street. It will be good to have that officially mapped out and fenced in. I will never understand what started the whole thing, but people are mad! Even neighbors across the street who have no skin the game, so to speak. Before it is all said and done, we will have spent $3000+ to end the hostilities. We also chose not to renew a lease over it, which was the first time we've ever had to do that. 

William is back at school. I'll be walking across the bridge to meet him tonight. We'll be going to the camp to pick tomatoes, among other things. It will be fun to hear what he thinks of school.

So there is your update. 

Anyways, the biscuits got done, and supper was nice, a pleasant visit with an old friend. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

It's been a long time since I've had nightmares. Actual, jerk-wide-awake-in-terror nightmares. Crazy stuff that has me laying awake in bed wondering why on earth I'd have a dream like that. 

So. I'm wide awake at o'dark thirty. This has been going on since last Friday night, and it is starting to wear. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2022


I had to replace my second crockpot today. It died in the middle of simmering split pea w/ ham soup yesterday afternoon. 

Rest in peace, loyal crock pot.

In any case, I set out to replace it today. (Yes. I need two.) 

Goodwill always has crockpots, and they did not disappoint. In fact, the one that I got was in perfect shape and it also matches matches the other crock pot that I already have.

I did not need those practically new BearPaw boots but that did not stop them from jumping in the cart with that crock pot and with...what's this? BOOKS??? (How did those things get in there?)

When we checked out the total was still less than the price of a brand new crock pot. I made sure that I pointed this out to Tim right away.  

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Right Under Our Noses.

 Today was a banner day for me. I got new rugs for the kitchen. I had gone with hooked rugs the last time, but they are not practical for the kitchen. They just need washed too often. Or maybe I'm a slob. Who knows? This time, learning from my errors, I got three rag rugs, things that can easily be tossed in the washer and dryer and back on the floor in no time flat. 

We came out of the store, and it was a lazy afternoon. We ambled down the road to a farm to price the sweetcorn. 50 cents an ear, just like everywhere else, but they were big, freshly picked ears, We got 7 ears. 

Headed back down the highway, I said, "Do you want to go for a walk?" Out of the blue, Tim said, "I want to go up and see Ray,

I was a little surprised. Back when Tim and I first met, 25 years ago, we were both working at a factory. He had two friends, Ray and John. After Tim and I got married, Ray and John came over pretty regularly for supper. Being single, they liked a homecooked meal and the men liked to blab about work. 

The factory closed down, and we all went our separate ways, on to different jobs. John got a girlfriend. He died of cancer some years back. Ray never did get married, He came close once, but in the end, he's just a hermit at heart, an affable, bearded, shy fellow. I wondered why he popped into Tim's head. Seriously. I hadn't seen Ray in years.

When we pulled up in front of his little house, there was no car in the driveway. "He's not home," I said. 

Tim said, "His car might be in the garage." He got out of the car and knocked on the door. He waited a while, and then returned to the car. We had begun to back out of the driveway, when the door of the house opened. I wouldn't have recognized Ray. He's lost 1/3 of his body weight. But his voice was the same. So was his laugh. 

He invited us inside. He's been sick. He hasn't been eating well. I think it is one of those situations where he needs to eat more because he's losing weight, but he's too weak to fuss about cooking and so he doesn't  eat, which has him losing more weight. 

I listened to him talk and I was horrified. 

We had a nice visit. He still drives, and he's coming to supper. 

We drove back down that hill, sober, lost in our own thoughts. It was a shock to think that something like this could happen to our old friend, living his quiet, hermit life, wasting away. 

There are many things in life that we cannot fix, but we can make sure that he is fed. 

Mystery Solved

Tim keeps a close eye on the comings and goings of people in our neighborhood, what houses have a vacancy, etc. The appearance of the yellow wagon in our side yard has been a mystery to us. We haven't been able to connect it to a person, but Tim connected the wagon's appearance, with an apartment being filled next door. So, he walked right over and knocked on the door. A little boy, completely naked, answered the door. His mother had not even heard the knock so she was a bit surprised to walk in the room and see Tim standing outside the open door. 

In any case, they had a discussion about the wagon. Yes. It was hers. She doesn't have a car and she uses the wagon for groceries and transporting her child. She was afraid that it would be stolen so she was trying to hide it. 

Tim came home and got the loppers. He cut away a hiding place to tuck the wagon into so it cannot be seen from the street. 

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Derring Do

I've been on a tear. Tim started it, really. He's had a Dewalt saw in a very large box that he bought some months ago. It has been sitting in the front hall ever since. It is not an attractive decoration, being in the bright yellow and black box, and from time to time, I complain about it. Usually when I get up in the middle of the night and head out into the front hall and trip over it. 

"Why does this have to stay here?" 

"Well, he tells me, "I can always take it upstairs." 

And my answer is always, "So how exactly does that help? You're just moving the clutter someplace else." 

He's been pretty stubborn about it. 

Since my last trip to Pittsburgh with Maddie and Rudy, I have learned something new about the Amish. Everytime we passed a yard sale sign, an accented voice would ring out, "YARD SAAAAALE!!" something which would cause the driver to stop the car. One of their purchases was a cabinet sewing machine, which struck me as a strange purchase for the Amish. I asked where they were going to plug that in at, which struck them as funny. 

The sewing machine would be taken apart and made into a treadle machine. 

I said, "Well, we've got two old sewing machines from a house. The things are very old, metal housing...." Maddie said, "We'll buy them off you." I said, "Don't be silly. We paid nothing for them. I would give them to you." 

Tim and I talked about it later and I eyeballed the old Singer treadle sewing machine, in perfect shape with drawers full of attachments for it. It both struck us as wrong that we'd been using something as a decoration that someone else would put to good use. I dropped a short note in the mail and one of the kids called me on the neighbors phone. Yes. They would surely love to buy the treadle sewing machine from us. 

So the following week, once the rain stopped, we loaded up three old sewing machines and delivered them. I took the lid off the least useful one (the cords were old and brittle). Maddie was thrilled with it. "Yes, she said, "We can use this. It's a fine machine." Levi stopped work at the sawmill and came up to see. We got the others unloaded and they looked at them. Levi inspected the treadle and announced that he'd never seen such a fine sewing machine. 

But, I digress. Moving the old treadle machine out left some space in our livingroom. I began to rearrange furniture and move some of the bigger plants from the office, now that there was room to display them in the living room. 

Tim didn't say anything while I cleaned and bustled around. 

So last night I couldn't sleep and I headed down the hall in the dark, and again, I tripped over the damn Dewalt box in the front hall and I swore my customary swear, and continued on. 

This morning, much to my surprise, Tim was up and moving. He got that saw out of the front hall. Moreover, a organizational thing that I'd wanted him to do for some time got done today. We gave the kitchen a good scrub down and did some rearranging there as well. Tim washed windows. 

I was getting caught up on laundry from being away for the best part of a week, and getting caught up in the moment,'re not going to believe it, but...


Friday, August 26, 2022


I noticed a lady next door bagging her garbage. I smiled at her, but she ducked her head and did not look at me. They're stand offish, and that is their way. Just after they'd moved in, I noticed that she was using a taxi to get back and forth to work, and offered to take her in to save her money, but that was ignored as well.

That's all you can do is offer. 

We set out our wheelie bin for garbage pick up that night before we went to bed. Just by chance, Tim was unable to sleep. He got up and as he passed by the front window, he happened to notice two new bags of garbage set by our bin. 

Now, the thing is, if they'd have talked to us, we'd have told them that they were welcome to set a bag of garbage inside our bin. It's rarely even close to full, so it wouldn't have been a big deal. However, setting extra bags of garbage next to the bin results in extra charge to us. 

Tim moved the bags back. I attached a little note saying 'Talk to us. We're aren't unreasonable, but we pay extra if you put your bags outside the bin.'

It bothers me though. We called the garbage company. They've given instructions to their driver not to pick up extra bags, so if those neighbors want to tuck a bag or two into the bin, no harm, no foul. It will not cost us any extra. If they just bring the bags over and set them along side the bin, they will not be picked up. 

On the other side of us, there is a rental as well, an apartment building. Someone has been parking a yellow utility wagon on our side of the fence in the bushes. There are an awful lot of people who don't have cars and they use wagons, shopping carts, and baby strollers to haul their laundry or their groceries or even their kids from place to place. 

Again, I don't want to make anyone's lot in life worse, but the question begs an answer. Are they trying to hid it so that it doesn't get stolen? Dunno. Is it stolen, and they are trying to avoid being tied to the theft, so they are stashing on our property? Dunno. 

I keep telling myself that people are struggling right now. My job is not to make their situation worse. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

The Perfect Storm

 Sunday, I was writing my weekly letter to my youngest daughter and her husband over across the pond. Tim was getting ready for church. He said, "When I get home, why don't we go to Grand Valley?" 

I thought that was a fine idea. It was just him and I for the next couple days, so it gave me a chance to check on the garden. I had tomatoes coming ripe. He wanted to work on a tractor or two. We had finished up all our projects here. 

We headed up, stopping at a friend's to do a swap. They had extra produce. I had jalapenos she needed for her salsa. We chatted for a while, and then headed off, getting to the front door of our home away from home just about the time that the skies opened up. 

We were not complaining about a rainy day, that's for sure. It was dark and breezy and distant thunder and flashes of lightning continued nonstop. One rain front moved out and another followed in fairly short order. There was nothing to do but wait it out, and so we did. I was reading 'The Spectator Bird' and Tim was snoring gently on the couch. 

I marveled at the feeling of having absolutely nothing to do. Nothing. I rocked in my chair, and read my book. The breeze blew through the screened front door and the thunder gently rumbled, lightning flashing over distant mountains. It was wonderful. 

Eventually, I got up and made stuffed zucchini (stuffing: venison, onions, peppers cooked together and put in the hollowed out zucchini halves) and topped with the tomato sauce from my own tomatoes. I popped it in the oven and went back to my book  The rain stopped for a few minutes, so Tim went out to sight in the new .22 he got for William to practice on. 

Soon it got dark again, and the thunder got louder, and a new round of rain came through. Tim came inside and we had a peaceful supper watching the storm move on from out the window. "This is delicious," he said, and helped himself to more. 

And that's how it went. The rain came and went for that night as I washed the dishes, and put everything away, as Tim watched out the front door to see the deer coming in to get fallen apples. We fell asleep watching the lightning through the bedroom window. It was quite a show. 

The next day was no different. Dark, with one storm front after another moving through. In between the storms, we did some thrift store shopping, getting clothes for the grandkids. I found a Woolrich sweater that I loved. We explored and we talked and laughed and drove in and out of the rain showers. Once back, I curled up with a 'new' book I'd gotten. Tim went out to work on a tractor. We took supper to my brother-in-law and sister. I gave her a book that I'd finished. We played scrabble. We came home and watched a DVD we had bought, 'Cider Mill Rules'. Neither of us had seen it since we both have a huge gap in our movie watching...we just never had time...and it was an interesting watch, since I am pro-choice, and he's preacher's son 'pro-life'. We leave each other believe what we will believe. He knows what I believe and why I believe it. I know what he believes and why he believes it. 

Outside, the storms kept moving through, one right after another. 

It has been such a long time since I was actually kept inside by the weather. It really was wonderfully relaxing three days. 

This morning, I dug some wildflowers, and I picked the ripe tomatoes and we drove home to get the wildflowers planted, to get the tomatoes processed. It looks like the rain has stopped. I'm almost sorry about it, because it really was the perfect storm.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Satisfaction Guaranteed.

 This morning, I headed down to Jim's place with the bucket of wildflowers that 
William and I dug up across the creek to relocate on our side of the creek.
The red cardinal flower, I knew...but the blue cardinal flower, I didn't. 

the cleome was a new discovery as well. 
65 years of not paying attention, I'm afraid. 

Jim and Paula were already happily chatting by the creek, 
each with their favorite deck chair from their respective back decks. 

We did a good thing. 

We will rest on our laurels
(which is illegal to relocate). 

Friday, August 19, 2022

Seeing Red

We finished the stairs today. It was a bloodier day than usual. Tim was cutting off steel posts that he'd driven into the ground to provide extra reinforcement to hold the stairs in place in case of flooding. I'm not sure what happened, but he partially cut one, gave it a pull, it snapped and he whacked himself in the head giving him a shallow cut and a big knot. 

He insisted he was fine, and we continued on. 

I am the able bodied assistant to Tim, aka 'hold-this-right-here-like-that-person'. We were putting up the railing on the steps down the bank. Long story short, he told me to hold this right here like that, and I did what I was told. Except that he miscalculated. 

"SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS, back it out, you've got my finger!" He reversed the drill, and I looked at my finger. Sweet merciful heavens. The screw went through one side of my finger and came out the other. It looked gruesome. We were quite nearly done, and Jim gave me some bandaids which I applied extra tightly to stop the bleeding. 

I insisted I was fine, and we continued on. 

William sniggered a little. He was nailing shingle strips down to the treads to make the whole thing slip resistant. Both tenants are in their 70s and this needs to be as absolutely safe as possible. (Before anyone questions our sense in installing the stairs, I should report that one of them was rappelling down the bank regularly. This is definitely safer than that.) 

Anyways, William had the poor sense to say, "I'm the only one who hasn't gotten hurt." It was about then that he smacked his finger with the hammer. There was no blood, but there was plenty of tears. 

But the stairs are done. I am sure the blood splatter will wash away in the first good rain. Jim is pleased, but Paula wasn't home. We're going back to install solar lighting tomorrow, but that is merely a matter of drilling some holes which my fingers will be nowhere near. 

William was being a bit of a snot today, but he got very excited about an expedition. I had spied, with my little eye, cardinal flower growing on the other side of the creek. Since Paula has an interest in putting a garden using native plants, I decided to teach William about river safety, about still waters, running deep, to cross where you see the ripples, because that's where water is lowest. He was quite enthusiastic about our adventure, and found a clam shell as big as my hand. We made our way safely across (it is probably about 40 feet wide) but we went down river following the ripples, and then angled up along a small island where the cardinal flower was. On the way, I found a pink wildflower I had never seen before (LATE EDIT: It's called a cleome, also known as a spider flower), so I dug that up and set its roots in a shallow while I continued on. I not only found the cardinal flower, but growing behind it was BLUE cardinal flower (both are lobelias). We gathered everything up and headed for home. 

William is quite cheerful now that we've had an adventure and he's gotten paid for his work today. I'm musch more cheerful now that I've had a shower and soaked my hand. Tim's just glad we're done. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

The Day of Small Joys.

 What a nice day it was! We got up and got back work on the steps down to the creek. The tenants are awfully excited about this project, and it is fun to see that, and listen to them. The two tenants are of a like age, both of them local history buffs, both of them awfully fond of the creek behind their house. They are so tickled with the project that Jim provided the wood screws. He had a bucket of them that he'd brought along in his move, and he wasn't quite sure why...until we started work on the steps. His contribution saved us a lot of money. 

We slid the risers down the bank and got the supports in at the bottom. I began screwing on the treads. 

While we were working, William was working on a very large willow that had blown down. Tim had cut it back, but the thing sprouted up, creating a wall that blocked Jim's view of the creek from his deck. William lopped the suckers off, happy as a clam to be doing what he considered to be a 'man's job'.

I had to run to Grand Valley to get the post hole digger for the supports on the side.  Tim stayed behind to cut the rest of the treads for the stairs and to visit with Jim. 

While I was down there, I stopped into Albert and Becky's to get tomatoes. I mean I have my own tomatoes coming ripe in the garden, but he has the biggest tomatoes I've ever seen in my life. They measure over 5 inches across, and weigh well over a pound. What is wonderful about them is that one slice laps over your toast for the perfect tomato sandwich. While I was there, I picked up a tomato for Jim and Paula and a nice cantelope. 

I chatted to Albert for a while, and it felt nice standing in the sun, visiting. 

Jim and Paula were as amazed at the size of those tomatoes as I was, both of them saying they'd never seen such huge tomatoes in their lives. 

Tim and I went back to work, supervised by our tenants, listening to the distant thunder, watching the clouds move in, and the sky get darker and darker. More rain was coming, which was a great thing. We poured the concrete mix in the freshly dug holes, around the support posts. With a good rain, the concrete will harden right up around them, and we'll be ready to finish the job. Jim and Paula should be using their steps by the weekend. 

Tomorrow, though, we're taking a day off and taking William to Penn's Caves. He had such a fun time during the last cave explore that he's quite excited about doing it again. These caves are toured by boat which adds to the novelty. He's also excited about the eyeless fish that live deep in the caves. 

We got everything cleaned up and put away just as the weather started getting truly dicey. 

We turned the 'rescued' bike over to the police tonight. No one claimed it from the facebook post. 

Remember the kids across the street? Seems like the parents figured out that the 11 year old was too young to be watching toddlers. They are not left home during the day anymore. But I saw the oldest boy out and asked him if he had a bike. He did not. I asked him if he wanted William's old bike, (which is in pretty nice shape...just outgrown). I told him to run up and ask his mom if it was okay. "No!" he said, excitedly, "i'll take it!" Tonight, I saw him bike riding out with two other boys. That made me glad for him. I think he's a kid who doesn't get a lot of time to play with kids his own age. He waved as I passed. 

This is probably the most boring post ever, but all these little things made for a very satisfactory day. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Defies Logic

 While I was away in England early last spring, the inclement weather and the fact that Tim was not yet retired (which kept him kind of close to home) led him to explore television a bit more. Up to this point, he's not been all that interested in it really. Anyways, once I was home, I discovered my husband had a new habit. I call it screaming mimi tv. 

You know the shows I am talking about: guests get on and scream at each other, sometimes have to be physically separated. Paternity test results are read. Lie detector tests are given and liars revealed on prime time. More party in joy...another in hysterical denial...crazy stuff. 

So when I began hearing fighting and screaming from the office, I began to walk in to see what he was up to, and I was shocked. Tim is a very quiet person. He doesn't appreciate yelling and screaming and noisy public scenes, but here he was.  

"Really, Tim?" I'd say, but not much more than that, because really, I have to admit to being a bit of a true crime junkie. (Dateline, for example.) Tim hates shows like that. 

So anyways, this morning it was raining and Tim was pacing because he had nothing to do, so he switched on the television to see if Trump has been arrested yet, and Maury was on. He settled down. I rolled my eyes. Oh my gosh, I just don't get this.

It was a top ten program, with highlights (?) and catch-ups with people who had been on their show. So there's this one guy, plain as a potato, who decided that his girlfriend had cheated on him, because the toddler looked at him and said, "Que pasa?" 

"The baby doesn't even speak English. Not my kid!" he repeated over and over and over. 

For pity's sake. Maybe the child watched Dora the Explorer.

His girlfriend howled and carried on something awful. "It IS your son. I swear, I haven't cheated on you!" 

Plain Potato Man sat there stony faced. "Child speakin' Spanish."

Well, they did the test and announced the result. The child was his. The woman is yelling "Boom! There you go! I told you!" etc. 

So they did a follow up to see where they are at today. Still a couple. But now Plain Potato Man is certain the oldest boy is not his. "He doin' all sorts of karate moves. Child definitely got Asian blood." 


So the woman is howling and carrying on something awful. "It IS your son. I swear, I haven't cheated on you." 

They did the test and announced the result. The child was his. The woman is yelling "Boom! There you go! I told you!" etc. 

She announces she's not "playing this game any more." 

I thought, "About can you make a life with that kind of stupid?  I'd have been out the door the first time he started that stupid talk..." etc. 

I stopped talking as she said, "I am done with this. I got my tubes tied." 

The man exclaimed, "You did whuuuuuut????"

She laughed and he laughed, and they claimed everything was wonderful, and that he was being the best daddy he could be. 

I'm always dumbstruck to discover just how much dumb there is in the world. 

Tim shut off the television. Evidently it was a bit more dumb than he could take. 


 Last night I woke at about 2:30 AM, listening intently. I had no idea why initially, but it slowly dawned on my sleep fogged mind. RAIN! I could hear the patter of rain through the open window at the head of the bed. 

It seems like a very long time since we got a good soaking rain, but it may have been because for the last three weeks I've been running back and forth between the eastern side of the state and the western side of the state. Maybe I simply missed it. 

I fell back asleep and five hours later, it was still raining when I woke up. 

We were going to finish the stairs today, but that will have to hold for at least the morning. I don't mind. It makes a for a good leisurely morning with a cup of coffee and my BelVita biscuits, reading blogs. Seven of them talked about rain in their corner of the world as well, and how welcome it was. 

Monday, August 15, 2022

Today's Adventure

 Today, we started construction on the steps leading down the bank to the shore of the creek for our tenants. Jim asked for it, but the woman who lives in the other half of the house is beside herself with excitement. 

We worked and laughed together under the cloudy skies. It looked like rain...but as usual, nothing happened. Still, the clouds gave us a nice break from the heat, so there's that. 

Anyways, there were the obligatory trips to Lowes. (Tim needed a new circular saw.) We needed to pick up 2 boards, 2 x 10 x 12. $100. I gulped a little. Luckily we have everything we need for the railings and the tread. 

A bald eagle sat in the tree supervising our work. 

We finished up the work we meant to do today, and I got a bright idea to have an adventure. Yesterday, Tim had noticed a brand new mountain bike thrown off the 5th Street bridge. It had landed on a graveled 'island' of sorts, exposed because we've had so little rain. 

I decided to wade down river to that little place and retrieve the bike.  My thinking was that if we. by some miracle, got rain, the bike would be washed away. So, I climbed down the bank and made my way down river, sticking to the shallows. When I got to the bike, I had a bit of a dilemma because the back wheel was damaged and bent and would not turn, but there came a shout from over head. Tim had dropped some cord and I tied the bike handle bars securely. Hand over hand, he pulled it up. He had the hard part of the job, to be sure. 

By the time that I'd waded back up river and gotten out and walked home, Tim had the back wheel unbent enough that the wheel would turn, He reattached the chain and fixed the kick stand. I've placed advertisement on line. 

For a quiet town, we've had a group of kids who seem to think they are a gang prowling around and night, leaving graffiti and just being ignorant. I am curious to see where this bike came from. 

Tomorrow, we'll go back and finish the steps. 

Sunday, August 14, 2022


 A recent ad on a local facebook site caught my attention. A woman was advertising a house for $1250. A big one, on the corner about 4 blocks from where I live. I was interested because there was no 'For Sale' sign in front of the house. She also was not listed as the owner of the house on the assessment site. 

The ad went on to read that it was an excellent opportunity for someone to own an old house at a fraction of the price. It warned that a substantial downpayment would be required and that the purchaser would need to submit a list of the necessary repairs and a schedule of when they needed to be complete. 

It didn't make sense for a number of reasons:

Number one: the house is a duplex. You weren't owning a house, you were owning part of a house. 

Number two: if the house is selling for $1250, what is considered to be a substantial down payment on that?

Number three: If the house is being sold, then why does the seller need a timeline of repairs? It was not her business what happened after the sale of the property. 

Now, I have a wide streak of curious, so I had to ask. I messaged the seller with my questions. All of them. She answered with: "Do you have enough money for the down payment?"

"Of course" I typed. "What is the down payment on a $1250 house though?"

She explained, "The house is $1250 a month." (The ad did not mention this, so my curious streak continued unabated.) 

She said that it was seller financed, and that the monthly payment included taxes, insurance, interest, etc. The total price paid would be about 9 times the $1250 price she listed.

I said, "Well, that's very unusual. Every house I ever bought, the buyer arranged financing."

She was starting to get snippy. She told me that they had helped many people into home ownership in my area, and that she thought I was rude. I told her that as a potential buyer, I was entitled to ask questions, to do my due diligence. In my opinion, she was being pretty rude herself. 

I said, "What agency do you represent?"

She refused to answer. 

Facebook is a veritable font of information, so I did some checking on her facebook page. She had taken a class by FortuneBuilders. Basically, you can't find a lot of information on it on line, it is all very hush hush, but what I could glean from the BBB site was that it was a scam company. This woman wanted a large sum of money from the 'buyer'. She was charging an exorbitant monthly rent (note that our highest rent is $750 per month, but that is because the utilities are included in those two apartments.) The 'buyer' would be responsible for doing the repairs on the property, but if they fell behind in repairs, or the 'seller' was dissatisfied with the work, she could take the house back for a violation in the 'sales' agreement. It was referred to as a 'remote renovation business'. 

I said, "We buy our houses in cash." 

All conversation stopped there. 

I went back to her ad and warned everyone. Basically, this woman had just bought 1/2 a duplex so recently that the deed had not been recorded. What she was doing was charging someone a huge sum of money to fix her house up for her. The buyer would never own the house. 

How is this even legal? 

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Salman Rushdie

Several years back, as I told gz, Salman Rushdie was speaking at a book store in Harrisburg, PA, some distance from me. I really wanted to hear him, but did not want to drive a couple hundred miles to see him by myself, let alone walk around a strange city by myself at night. 

Tim had zero interest in going, so I asked around but could find no one interested. I did not go.

Imagine my surprise to discover that he spoke at the Chautauqua Institution yesterday. I've been there for other things, but had somehow managed to miss this one. The Chatauqua Institution (pronounced sha TA kwa) is less than an hour from where I live. 

I would have loved to have heard him, but am glad I wasn't there

Who would have guessed that a Iranian fatwa from 1989 would ever have an effect in my corner of the world 33 years later?

Friday, August 12, 2022

A Day Out

For all of their plain ways, it struck me as inutterably sweet that two Amish sisters were tickled pink to find very fancy teacups with matching saucers for $2 a set. Lavishly painted, gilded, the fancier the better, it seemed. They gathered them up, speaking rapidly to each other in German. 

Later, they explained, in English this time, that they were buying them for their mother, who loved to give a teacup and saucer to her all grandaughters at Christmas time, I'm guessing for their dowery chest. 

I loved that little glimpse into their lives. 

Mattie also found a sewing machine with a cabinet. She stood studying it and asked if we could fit it in the car. "You know how it works," I said. "We'll get it in there some way." (We did.) 

I asked her what she was going to do with an electric sewing machine, and she explained that it would be disassembled and refitted with a treadle and belt. That's pretty clever. She mentioned that she buys these sewing machines when she sees them so that the girls can each have their own machine when they're old enough. 

The older children met the car as we pulled in. They were much pleased to see that their mother had brought home three pizzas.  Next door at the sawmill, I saw a tiny little girl driving the team pulling logs to her father. One boy pulled his mother aside to tell her something, and she went quickly into the house and came out with a letter from another sister who was planning a visit. Mattie and her sister read it together. The day was not a good one. They agreed that Mattie would write a letter back, suggesting another day, posting it the very next day. 

Then I took Katie home.  She said, "I don't know when I've had so much fun! It was an adventure!" 

Yes. Yes it was. 

Thursday, August 11, 2022

The Inklings

I learn a lot from reading blogs. One of Northsider's favorite movies is 'Shadowlands'. I have to admit there are a lot of movies that I never had the chance to see, and reading about this one, I didn't remember seeing it, and decided that I should. So, off to the library I went to borrow it. 

I did like the movie very much. Truth be told, I believe that I did see it, long ago in the dying days of my last marriage. I did not know the end was so near, but recognized the fact that it was mortally wounded. I watched that movie, and I remembered crying at the ending, touched at such a great love, recognizing that my own 'love story' fell quite short. 

Though I vaguely remembered seeing it, I'd forgotten most of it, so I watched it again, and was moved. I still cried at the ending, but felt no need to compare. 

I noted that I'd seen it to Northsider and somewhere along the line, someone mentioned 'The Inklings' in the comments. I can't remember who, and I don't want to try to figure it out, but whoever you are, thank you so much. 

The book had to be obtained through an interlibrary loan, coming in from Erie. It is a tattered blue covered book that had not been checked out since 2014. What a treasure it is! Someone has underlined the things that appealed to him. Lewis was a walker, and he believed that "all weather had its attractions". The unknown reader had underlined that sentence and wrote his own note quoting Thoreau (I had to look it up, even though I have Walden upstairs on a shelf): 

I have often wished that I was one of those folks who could quote things off the top of my head. 

I can't. My undisciplined mind wanders freely.

So anyways, here I am, on page 55 of a book that requires me to read with a phone in my hand for easy access to Mr. Google. I am enthralled with the conversations between Lewis and Tolkein. The very thing that turned Lewis from his childhood religious upbringing was the very thing that made turned me from a believer to a non-believer. It was pretty mindblowing to discover this. Tolkein patiently dismantled Lewis' arguments, which set him on a path of rediscovering his own faith. 

What a moment! To be standing under a tree as a wind stirred on a quiet day, bringing down a shower of autumn leaves as your mind grapples with a completely new paradigm.

I don't have a lot of time to devote to reading such a book, but Mattie called me today. There's been a problem after Rudy's last surgery, and he needs to go back down to the Pittsburgh Hospital. She hasn't been able to find anyone to drive them. "Sure," I said. "It's not a problem. I will be glad to." 

She was so relieved. 

I will selfishly admit that a big part of it was to be able to sit in my car and read uninterrupted for a huge block of time, googling, studying, returning to my book is something that I'm very much looking forward to. 

As exciting as it is to be reading about The Inkling, I also can't help but feel a sense of kindredness to this unknown soul who underlined and made margin notes in that old book. 

One final thing. Warnie Lewis quoted Wordworth on the occasion of his retirement from the military. 

And I was struck by their perfection. 
They fit retirement. 

My days are now "made for me", and I like that very much.