Yesterday afternoon when I stopped to check on our self-serve Orchard wagon, I noticed someone had left their purse on top of one of the coolers.
Cash, multiple credit cards, drivers license, Blue cross Blue shield card, but no phone number.
I got on line, and tried all of my normal tricks to find a phone number. Unless I wanted to spend $9.95 to unlock her profile on one of those sites, I had two other options…send it on the mail, or take a road trip the next day and return it.
6:30 last night, just as it was starting to get dark, a red car pulled into our driveway.
Instinctively, I thought to myself…that is the owner of that purse. (see the thing is, our apple wagon is not in front of our house. It is a mile down the road, in front of our neighbors house)
Sure enough when I opened the door, there she was.
We started talking at the same time…
Did you happen…?
“I have your wallet in the kitchen on the mantle….”
She pulled out a $20 laid it on the counter…
“You don’t have to do that,” I said.
What a nice way to cap off the day.
This morning when I pulled up to the stand to add some pie pumpkins, A tall young man on a BMW motorcycle was munching on an apple.
We talked for a few minutes. His goal was to ride 1000 miles today. Hoping to get home to Texas, by way of Omaha NE. Said he had a lunch date with a friend, before heading south. He signed the guest book. Later this afternoon, I plugged his name into the Facebook search box.
Found him. 😉
I think the random encounters we have with the public is my favorite part of the selling apples.
This week, I’m hoping to finish the exterior of the 36 by 60 barn we have been working on. The next two days will be the most challenging. I’ve decided I’m going to rent the crane one more time to set the Cupolas. It’s just risky to do it any other way. I’ll post pictures when we’re done. Here’s one from a few weeks ago:
When my wife and I decided to get married (42 years ago now) one of the spin off issues, right out of the gate was our different spiritual backgrounds. Won’t bore you with all the details, only to say, I decided to defer to her in that department, because she was worth it.
On a practical level, I was just going through the motions.
I hadn’t really given it (the spiritual component of my life) too much thought.
Until I started to.
I started asking “why?” questions.
The more I read, the more questions. I was like a coon dog on a scent.
I finally had a list of 8 to 10 questions that I needed answers to.
I made an appointment to meet with the guy who was our pastor at the time. Took my questions, along with a few handouts I’d come across along the way. He was a sharp, younger man as I recall, he really listened. By the end of our meeting, I was convinced it was time to move on. The official answers I was given that day just did not add up nor satisfy my intellectual curiosity.
The good thing was, during all of those months and weeks leading up to that meeting, I had been processing out loud. Asking my wife what about this? What about that? So by accident, she too had begun to question some of the fundamental things she had been taught from her youth.
We decided it was time to make some tough choices that we knew might not set well with some of her extended family. But staying where we was not an option.
The fear of what other people think is a snare….it’s called “The fear of man” It is a tough place to live.
10 years later, I found myself in familiar waters.
(This would have been in the early 1990’s.)
Wife was concerned, even back then, on some of the trends happening in education.
She had heard a program on the radio about home schooling, an interview with Dr Raymond and Dorothy Moore.
My first thought was, no way, no how.That’s just plain crazy talk.
Thing about marriage and parenting is, it’s a joint effort. and over the next while, she continued to read and get more information. She didn’t nag, didn’t talk too much about it, but my lack of support and encouragement, didn’t stop her from doing her own research. It finally came to a head (that whole issue of possibly home schooling our kids) With tears in her eyes, she shared her heart with me. At the end our meeting, we agreed we were not going to just jump because this was not some simple thing. We didn’t know anyone else locally at the time who was doing it. We agreed we would take the next year to learn about it, and then decide.
Looking back, that was one of the best decisions we made while the kids were in the home. Ended up doing it for 9 years. Involved the kids in the decision making process as they got older. I could write a blog post on that season of our life.
Emotionally, those same people pleasing fears were in the air. They were in my head. Especially in the early 1990’s, there were a lot of people who thought we were nuts. We’d stepped off the deep end. We probably thought the earth was flat.
The rule follower in me had already tasted the freedom of making decisions not based on what other people might think, but on what make sense to me intellectually after weighing the information. There are relatives to this day, who probably think we were nuts.
Got time for one more?
COVID-19 and the plethora of spin off issues and questions.
I like that word plethora. Like how it rolls off my tongue.
I have to be honest. Up until a couple of weeks ago, I have been intellectually lazy on this one.
Hasn’t meant I haven’t been dealing with stuff, just like the rest of you, because I have. It’s just I’ve not been motivated to learn. So I’ve been quiet.
The vitriol once you step foot in the public square, feels like someone has a wood chipper outside my door. Last thing I want to do is get anywhere close to that sucker.
Then I read something in one of the McGuffey readers I bought for fun last winter… It was an essay on the value of Time and Knowledge
“The…value of mental cultivation is another weighty motive for giving attention to reading. What is it that mainly distinguishes a man from a brute? Knowledge…
Knowledge is power. It is the philosopher’s stone, the true alchemy that turns everything it touches into gold…and opens to us the treasures of the universe…”
Knowledge is power.
So I have started to peck away at the mass of information on the current virus, the history of viruses, prevention, treatment options, vaccinations, and get a working knowledge of it for myself. My baby sister is an RN, works in a local hospital. She has been a good starting place, and continues to let me ask her hard questions.
This feels familiar. Digging in. Reading, Thinking. Asking hard questions.
I will say this,
Once you step away from the wood chipper, there are some things that just do not add up.
When the phone rings @ 5:40 AM, that’s normally not good.
Our neighbor to the west was calling. I could hear panic in her voice.
“Doug, can you help me?”
D. (her sister) had fallen again.
D lives alone. She is in her 80’s. Sharp as a tack mentally, but her body is falling apart.
This was the 2nd time in a week, I’d gotten a call to ask if I could help with D. A week ago, I built her a couple of ramps so she could maneuver her walker into the bathroom, and a second larger ramp to get out of the house:
D is wrestling with the same issue some of you and all of us eventually get to wrestle with if we live long enough. Physically no longer able to live alone yet unwilling to relocate to some type of care facility.
On a completely different note. I had another successful “walk away bee split” this week. That makes three for three.
What a rush to pop open the hive and see new brood! (Brood are eggs that have been capped)
Capped brood (photo by others) I was telling my son about the inner workings of a honeybee hive, and how they instinctively sense when there is no queen.
It has not lost it’s magic…. the gentle manipulation and management of honeybees.
On Wednesday, I made a trip to the University of Iowa hospitals to see a retina specialist. (I had cataract laser surgery and tri-focal implants late February and early March.) Left eye has not been right ever since.
It turns out I have a large blob of normal age related protein that has somehow “folded in on itself” and is floating in the jelly portion of my eye, right in the line of sight. (It moves back and forth, and blocks 1/4 to 1/3 of my vision. There are three options…
#1 Do nothing, it “will probably eventually settle.”
#2 Attempt to blow it to smithereens with a laser.”
#3, “Make some small incisions and scrape all of the jelly out of your eye and replace it with some made made solution.”
Options # 2 and 3 both carry with them a fair amount of risk, and are not guaranteed.
Compared to my friend “D” whose ramp I built a week ago. my quality of life is right @ the top of the scale. Funny how that works. It’s all about perspective.
Last night our family got together to celebrate my parents 65th wedding anniversary.
It seems almost surreal.
We had a house guest live with us back in 2013. Liberal young woman from the East coast. She could not get over how many long term relationships there were in the people she met in our area. We were talking about the 5 serious relationships she’d had up until then, was single again, and wondered if she’d ever find someone else.
Before we left the party last night I attacked by one of my grandchildren: She snuggled and hugged me profusely. It was the highlight of my night. 🙂
Thanks for staying in touch. Always enjoy bantering with each and every one of you!
ps We also had a serendipitous visit from a fellow blogger last week. She was traveling from Colorado to Pennsylvania. She spent two nights our B and B suite. It was good to catch up.
You probably already know this, but if @ any time you that I regularly banter with are in our neck of the woods, don’t hesitate to reach out. I get that some of you prefer to keep your identity obscure. I get it. If on the other hand you’re like me, and love to meet your fellow bloggers, we’ll leave the light on.
I was about 18 years old the first time it happened. I was not a religious/ spiritual person @ this point in my life. I was living my version of La Vita Loca.
Anyway, one evening, I was just randomly thumbing through the good book, and a sentence jumped off the page:
“Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.” Proverbs 17:28
Bam/ right along side the head.
My mouth had been getting me into trouble fairly regularly at that point. and I was tired of it. I resolved right then and there, to take this pithy proverb to heart. I would keep quiet the next time I was temped to spout off.
Ever so slowly my interactions with people began to improve.
Side note… On this blog, I assume most of you do not necessarily share my understanding of the Bible, spirituality, etc. although a few of you do. I rarely go there on this space. I have another blog specifically devoted to spiritual stuff, just like I have a “farm blog” more geared to farmish stuff….but I woke up this morning thinking, I would really like to write something that touches on the the coronavirus, the Bible and our current situation, so I am going to go there….
The bible has quite a bit to say about the coronavirus actually , but not in the way you might expect. For example, right now these words have taken on a whole new meaning to me the past month:
6 For the righteous (righteous = a person of faith) will never be moved: …. 7 He is not afraid of evil tidings; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. 8 His heart is steady, he will not be afraid.” Psalm 112
I have those words on a 3 by 5 index card on the dashboard of my pickup. I’ve been chewing on them the past few weeks. Evil tidings is a great way to characterize most of what passes for “news” these days.
Not going to let it suck me in if I can help.
(side note: In case you didn’t know, the Psalms are actually a compilation of various styles of writings… part song book, part personal journal, personal prayers, etc. (think blogger from 3500 years ago).
One last verse on the media..
“…. whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
I (DM) learned my lesson after 9/11. I continue to watch my media intake. No binge watching. I have no interest in keeping up to speed on the day to day updates.
PS. I appreciate each and every one of you that has written and continues to write about what has been happening in your neck of the woods in terms of the coronavirus.
Ranks right up there with peace of mind. (They are not the same).
Both are life skills that (in my mind) are underrated.
Both can be cultivated.
Underrated: Not rated or valued highly enough. When something great doesn’t get the appreciation it deserves.
Last weekend, a good friend at church said to me. “You are not normal.”
That I already knew.
He meant it as a compliment. 🙂
I asked him to clarify what he meant, because I wasn’t 100% sure.
He said he can see it in my attitude about “stuff” and money.
I’m not driven. Doesn’t mean I don’t love putting in a hard days work, Didn’t mean I was lazy. Didn’t mean I don’t see the value in saving money for the future, because I do..
Give you an example. Saw this picture last week about vehicles. It captures my attitude about my work truck that I picked up from my dad:
My work truck is simply a tool. A tool for me to do my job. As long as it’s mechanically sound, it doesn’t have to be pretty.
I used to work with a young man on a regular basis who was just getting into construction. At this time, he had 4 or 5 years experience under his belt. I had 35 years. He came to work one morning with an almost new truck. Parked next to my 15 year old Tundra. He told me to watch out, make sure I didn’t scratch anything, not to accidentally bump against it with my tool belt when I got something out of it.
Who would you rather hire to remodel your home?
Wealth is a tricky thing to keep the right attitude about.
It’s all about balance.
It’s like riding a bike. You can tip over any time.
I can be strapped and worry about money all the time, or rich and worry about it all the time. Afraid I won’t be able to pay my bills or afraid I’m going to loose what I have. Another big contentment stealer is chasing after the mirage of, if I just had____________ then I’ll be happy.
Is it even possible to be content when it comes to wealth and materialism?
Back in 2014, I came across the book Debt Proof Living by Mary Hunt.
(Notice I don’t have a link to that book, you’re smart enough to track it down if you’re interested.) I don’t do this (blogging) for the money.
I do it because I enjoy it. Period.
Hunt’s book completely transformed my attitudes about money.
(I’ve written about this before, so if you’re a long time reader you may remember).
We were ten’s of thousands of dollars in the hole at that point. Financial stress was always in the back ground of my mind. It felt (to use a word picture) like I was piloting a 747 and we were literally 20 feet above the surface of the ocean. The plane was still in the air, and it was moving, BUT the waves were lapping @ my wings.
Hunt wrote about that season in her life, and she was a lot deeper in the hole than we were. Her words gave me hope. More than that, she touched on issues of contentment and how to find that sweet spot of contentment.
That was in the spring of 2014, and I’ve never looked back.
Hunt’s book gave me a game plan.
I made a chart, pinned it on the wall in front of my desk. I drew a picture of an airliner skimming the water…then slowly gaining altitude and speed as different debts were paid, and money was saved for emergencies. Just making that chart gave me hope, even though initially nothing had changed in the short term. We’ve stayed on that trajectory ever since.
Early on, we looked at every detail of our lives, trying to figure out where we could cut. (Health care, heating system in the house, all of the normal things you look, even had the house appraised because we thought we might need to move)
Everything was on the table.
It’s not just about money.
It can just as easily apply to how many bee hives are “enough.” (I’ve wrestled with that)
How many laying hens, or number of apple trees to manage or hobby expenses, or (fill in the blank), how much is enough? You know as well as I do, whenever a person focuses on an area of life, it’s real easy for that area to take on a life of it’s own.
She called to tell me she tried the bread I dropped off yesterday. Quoting now, ” You really need to think about entering it in the fair, if they still have that sort of thing.”
Two weeks ago, after 20 plus years of dabbling with bread making, I finally, finally cracked the code on how to consistently make a good loaf of sandwich bread.
Back in my 20’s when my grandmother was still alive (I’m pretty sure I’ve written about this more than once), I asked her to teach me how to make bread.
She was a master bread maker.
Did everything by feel.
Her specialty was rye bread.
She would make 5 loaves at a time.
Used real, freshly ground rye (along with regular white flour)
One of my struggles has always been how to get the loaf big enough (between the rise, and quantity of dough in the pan) to create a respectable sized loaf, but it wasn’t until I watched a video a couple of weeks on You tube, that the lights finally came on and I understood how to shape the loaf.
I still contend bread making is an art.
You are dealing with several variables each time.
Temperature variables. ( The room itself, as well as the ingredients, as well as the temperature in the oven.)
Liquid variables. (A little change goes a long way.)
Yeast variables, (sour dough, store bought, variations of store bought. Has it died? Started to loose it’s viability? etc)
Types of flour variables. (Freshly ground, as well as the multiple varieties from the store.)
Pan size variables.
Timing variables…(ie how long it takes for something to rise,how long to bake, yada, yada,
Then you run into the wholelanguagething. Just like any hobby, or area of life. For some reason, people love to use words that only an insider knows what the heck in the world they are talking about.
Just stop it sometimes.
Tell me what to do in layman’s terms.
Now that I’ve “figured out” how to consistently make a loaf of what I call, Sourdough, rye Swirl, with onion flakes, I can continue to build off my experience.
This particular bread recipe, is great for making sandwiches, or toasted. The texture will melt in your mouth. One of the problems with this bread is, if you eat too much of it, your butt, thighs and or belly may will expand.
I think it has something to do with the sourdough starter.
When I got my monthly statement from XYZ lumberyard in February I questioned the balance due. It said I had a credit almost $2,000.00, when I thought, I owed them about $1900.00. I usually have a pretty good idea on who I owe what to, so when I look in the check book, I know now much is really mine. 🙂
I called and talked to book keeper, just to make sure.
She reassured me, that yes, I had overpaid, everything was correct.
Christmas in February. 🙂
“Would you mind sending me a check for $1000.00 of that, and keep the rest for credit?”
Couple of days later, I had the refund check.
We were framing walls in a basement, later that week and my phone rang. Didn’t recognize the number so I let it go to voice mail. Turned out it was the secretary at the lumberyard. She was calling me on her personal cell phone. Asked me to call her @ the store, she sounded a little stressed.
I called right back, and she started to apologize . Turned out I was correct. She had accidentally, double credited my account. I did not have a surplus.
She was sick.
I need to mention also, that she had only been working there maybe 4 months.
I said to her “It’s OK. Stuff happens. It was a good thing I hadn’t spent any of it yet.”
“So, what is my balance then?” I asked…
“You actually owe $54.19.”
When I sat down to pay bills a few days, later, when I wrote the check to XYZ lumberyard, I put a little 🙂 (Smiley face) on the memo area.
Next time I was in to that store, the secretary thanked me again for my response to the whole thing and appreciated the memo.
The next time after that, when I stopped into the lumberyard, the secretary asked me about my last name, “Was I any relation, to so and so?”
“Well, so is my dad. She is my dad’s first cousin.”
30 seconds later, we realized her dad and my dad were first cousins.
My grandpa was one of 12 children, and while I knew some of the extended relatives, there are dozens, (my generation) I have no idea about.
My grandpa (Opa‘s) family. He’s in the back row, far left.
My hunch is, the way I responded (or didn’t respond, in this case) to the new secretary @ XYZ lumberyard with the book keeping error, put me on her radar, which in turn opened up a door…
We stopped to see Betty yesterday for a few minutes. One of her sons and his family were in town, they wanted to see us while they were in town. Betty has spent most of the last year (due to COVID restrictions) sitting alone in her room at a care facility.
This was the first time I’ve seen her in well over a year. She was reminiscing about her days as a teacher. She loved being a teacher. Then she remembered her principal, Sister Lucia. “She was a good principal. Had the biggest laugh. I loved to hear Sister Lucia laugh.”
(Wouldn’t that be a legacy to be remembered by your laughter?)
It made me think.
As Betty was attempting to figure out who was in the room, (there were 6 of us), when she got to me, boy did she light up.
Made me feel like a local hero.
You see, my wife has been the eyes and ears for Betty’s family for the past year. All of Betty’s children live several hours away, all in their 70’s and 80’s. With her loss of hearing and sight, even phone calls have been a challenge. So in order to have something to talk about with Betty, my wife and I often make a list things she can talk to Betty about. (Honey bees, apple trees, harvest tables, baby chickens, wild flowers, starting tomato seeds, etc)
So many of the things they’ve talked about this past year, have involved me in one way or the other.
So there I was, in her room, in the flesh.
I could tell she was trying to find the right words to describe me to her family…“This is the guy who builds tables out of reclaimed barn wood then ships them all over the United States! He has so many interests!He is such an interesting person!“
Son and I started another house roof this week. 2600 square feet. Two existing layers that need to come off. 100 square foot of shingle weighs 240 pounds. Doing the math, we will handle close to 4 ton of shingles between the two of us, the next couple of days. Temperatures are in the upper 80’s. Perfect hay bailing weather.
This may sound like one of those “When I grew up, we walked to school, up hill both ways stories”
But I’m going to tell it anyway.
Growing up on a farm in the 1970’s, the weather (hot or cold) was not the big deal it’s made out to be today.
When it was time to make hay, we just did it.
Yes, we listened to the forecast, and might hold off mowing hay if there was rain predicted, but other than that, I had no idea of how hot it was.
“Heat index”… Never heard of it.
These days when the temperatures are in the upper 80’s and 90’s, mentally, I just shift gears.
It’s hay baling weather.
Drink lots of water, wear a hat, If you start to feel woozy/ take a break. Savor the breeze, savor the cloud cover. Just don’t talk to me about how hot it is.
You think this is hot? You ought to be in the haymow.
Nothing more exhilarating than sliding down the hay elevator after stacking a couple of hundred bales of hay.
Had to put her down
I’ll keep the next story short.
Needs to be told.
We have about 20 chickens. Couple of them I’m especially fond of.
It’s their personalities. The ones that come up to me to say “Hi” when I get home from work. Or they’ll let me pick them up and sit on my lap.
And in one case, it was because she was the low chicken on the pecking order. Everybody else bullied her.
Last week I had to put the my favorite chicken down. Wife noticed some blood on her back side. She had been acting a little “off” the past week. Couple of nights when I went to lock them up, she was not in the roost. I had to go find her. That is not normal.
Sure enough, when I went to check her, her back side looked infected. Way beyond the point, of taking her to the vet. I hate watching anything suffer. So I did what any good farmer would do. I put her down. Carried her gently over to an area that I’ve used before to butcher chickens put her in cone and did what I had to do.
This all transpired in just a few minutes. (From the time my wife mentioned seeing blood, to me finding the chicken, then deciding what I needed to do. It was not an act (for me) that I did lightly. But it was the right thing to do.
Then I buried her.
Here’s the thing. We live in such a sanitized culture.
Sometimes life is messy.
Speaking of messy
Son and family are camping this weekend.
We stopped by their campsite last night for an hour.
At one point, I noticed the15 month old , sitting on the ground, playing on top old campfire spot.
I watched as he sprinkled fine grey ash over his legs.
Did my heart good.
His parents didn’t just rush in and stop him..
His mom said, “Why is he doing that????
I said “I think it is instinctive. Lots of animals do that.
Horses love to roll around in the dust…and chickens too. Ever see a chicken give itself a dust bath? “
1 out of every 2000 children had a chance of developing some form of autism in 1980.
Twenty years later, in the year 2000, you had a 1 in 150 of developing some form of autism.
1 in 150.
Today, 2021, that number is now 1 in 54.
From 1 out of every 2000, to 1 out of every 54.
The medical profession as a whole says, “It’s a mystery.”
What changed during that time?…humm….
I think you can absolutely make a case for parents who are leery of pumping there precious child full of vaccines.
Instead of deriding all parents who have questions about vaccines as “anti science,” I believe it is still we the parents, the mom and dad, not some federal government bureaucrat that has the final say….but for how long?
Someone recently asked… Do I plan to get vaccinated?
No I will not voluntarily chose to get the vaccinations that have been “safely fast tracked.”
That’s my choice. Not imposing that on anyone else, or think less of anyone else who chooses otherwise. These are hard, personal, intimate, potentially life and death choices. We have to start giving each other the freedom to make these decisions without mockery.
I am not anti medicine. I love my local Doctors, absolutely love them, my urologist, my local hospital. My sister is an RN. She and I talk about all things medical, all the time. I am not anti medicine. Having said that, the only medicine I am currently on is coffee. Just coffee. My job is physical, I sleep like a baby, have never, ever had a vaccination for the flue before the flue season. Made that choice, years before COVID-19 was in the news. Do you think I’m going to change my mind now, just because the CDC says it’s safe? What do you think….
For years, there has been a similar debate in the public square about the link between Roundup and various cancers. Round up and honey bee loss. Round up and…..
Monsanto (the corporation that owned Roundup) did all it could to discredit any nay-sayers.
My neighbor Paul/ the one who used to plow out our driveway after a snow, died five years ago, in his mid 50’s from a rare blood cancer. As a farmer, even with the proper protection, he exposed himself to a butt load of toxic chemicals. I heard later, the Doctors suspected, that maybe there was a link to pesticide exposure and his rare cancer.
Language is powerful.
Thugs have taken over the public square.
I shake my head.
I really, really would love to interact with some of you on a host of topics, without snark or sarcasm, but probably not in an on line comment thread. I don’t do on line debates in comment threads. There is so much that I don’t know. Maybe via e-mail, or in person….
This post could just as well be about sexuality…
Stewardship of the earth, of which climate change is one piece,
Mr and Mrs Potato Head,
Election integrity, National sovereignty, or twenty other topics.
I have decided I can no long sit on the sidelines and stay completely silent.
Honestly I do not know how much longer we who live in the middle will have the freedom to speak our minds.
And as my country continues head long on a mindless rush to throw itself over the cliff, I find myself moving in the opposite direction.
I saw a clip of a newsman go on a rant, supposedly while on the air, about the Laura Ingals Wilder award. He said what I was thinking, laced with a lot profanities. As I tried to re- track that clip down, it turned out he’s a comedian from the UK, so it was a spoof. I was tempted to include it here. Most of you are savoy enough with the computer, if you’re curious, you could find it.
Is there a place for profanity? I think on rare occasion there is. I can give you at least 3 examples from the Bible, two where God himself uses a type of profanity to emphasize his anger. First time I came across it, I thought, what the heck?! Didn’t know that was in there! so yea, there is a place for anger, and I think several of the things that are making me angry, should.
Profanity as Wikipedia defines it: Socially offensive language, crude…. It can show a debasement of someone or something, or be considered as an expression of strong feeling towards something