Bird is the word…and bugs…

When Samantha spends the night, she sleeps with me in our bedroom — Grandpa doesn’t really mind the couch. A couple of weeks ago she woke up early and got up to use the adjacent master bathroom, leaving me half-asleep. The windows were open and the dawn chorus was blaring with chirps, songs, calls heard clearly through the bathroom window. As I listened, Samantha began to mimic the loudest of the birds, a two-parter that she started with a carefully pursed whistle and then a caw-caw-caw followed by dee-doo-dee-doo…

I took a Birding class several years back, taught by the eminent Sharon Sorenson. She is a wonder and can imitate any kind of bird sound imaginable. She would have known exactly which bird Samantha was hearing, but I had to look some stuff up. What I found was a wonderful resource from to help me identify my yardbirds. I am not sure what kind of bird Samantha was hearing, but I have recognized the Cardinals and Carolina Wrens. There are at least a dozen species out there, dozens of families of birds living in our trees and under our shrubs, and I kind of wish Sharon would visit some morning and tell me who is what…

I do, however, recognize the sound of the Surfin’ Bird…

Now that summer is nearly here, the birds have quieted down when I head out to my Thoughtful Spot for my morning contemplation. I hope they’re eating bugs, but they never eat the chiggers. Why haven’t chiggers been identified as a plague? Is it just me? I once had a kid come in whining about a chigger bite — a chigger bite! Just One, I asked? How is that possible? Do they only line up for my tender skin? Already this year I’ve had dozens of them bury themselves in spots where I can’t show you, nestling their itchy-asses wherever the sun don’t shine…

I still avoid sitting in grass, even in a lawn chair, which explains why we have covered our garden area with rock; I still get bit, but to a lesser degree. It is also why we rocked a path to the campfire circle, covering islands of chiggers that love to cling to the weeds and jump easily to legs and upward. I use DEET, but sparingly, and it does seem to help with mosquitoes, but those dang chiggers..

Heat and Humidity and overtaken our world, but the pool is up for cooling off.

I’m on my way to pick up the Jr girls for this week’s get-together.


Evening Edition

We went up to the New Harmony Antiques Show yesterday and it was kinda sad. We have regularly attended this show for several decades and the last years have seen it dwindle with few vendors, but this year there were only a dozen antique booths set up and half of those were local stores. Inside the gym, where it is usually packed with sellers, there wasn’t much to see. The crowds were paltry, too. Antiques just aren’t a “thing” right now, but I couldn’t help but notice that the prices are outrageous…I guess they don’t mind carting that stuff around.

I like antiques, but mine are actual heirlooms, making them priceless despite their chips, cracks, and stains…

This morning I woke up early to get some garden work done, having been forewarned that there was a 100% chance of a severe storm set to appear about 1pm. Turns out, it all dried up and we’re settled into a couple of weeks sans precip alongside record hot temps and humidity, so I don’t regret the mistake.

My black-eyed Susans, just one group of plants, has been steadily infected with black spot, and I cut it back from the other plants, removing most of the affected leaves. I’ve ordered some copper-based fungicide to treat any small spots that may reappear, and I plan to do some serious division next spring.

I pulled up the peas and brought in the last harvest, a measly handful of dried pods, making room for the watermelons and cantaloupes to climb.

Here’s the latest photos of the Edible Garden…

Casey’s getting the mowing done and I’ve been just piddling around, relaxing and taking pictures.

Unfortunately, the WC Handy Bluesfest is this week and I wanted to go, but we’ll have to see…Stay safe, friends. Drink plenty of water–don’t wait until you’re thirsty–and stay inside if you have lung problems.


Summer Reading Program

Every year I challenge myself to read 24 books over at Goodreads and most years I easily reach that goal and more, but not this year… Luckily, it’s that time of year when the local library incentivizes us to Read with their Summer Programs. I signed up last Wednesday and received a free pencil, a “Love My Library” sticker, a free round of putt-putt and free kids’ meal at Azzip, a bookmark, and a folder to track my reads by coloring in the books. After I’ve read 10 books, I get to turn in the folder to be entered for the Grand Prize. Samantha and Olivia have already turned in one entry, so I’m lagging behind.

The back of the folder lists some recommended books that sound pretty good, but for quick reads I turn to the cozy mysteries, usually set in England in the time between WWI and WWII. The sleuths are rich people who attract murders wherever they go and they always get their man (or woman). You’d think that I would be able to solve the puzzle on my own after reading all the Sherlocks, Poirots, Marples, Campions, and Lord Peter Wimseys. Authors such as Ray Chandler, Dashiell Hammet, and Erle Stanley Gardner alongside more modern writers Elizabeth George, Patricia Cornwell, and P.D. James have schooled me for years, but I rarely figure out whodunnit…

It is Cold today and rainy, but the weatherman has warned us that next week’s temps will be 90-100degrees with godawful humidity, so I’m enjoying it. Casey’s getting the pool ready for Summer and I’m trying to figure out how that skeleton got in Braeburn Castle and who it could be… Any ideas??? Lord Lennox will figure it out…


Just one more thing…

I’m picking up the Jr girls at 11 and we’re off to the mall and other adventures, but I just have one comment on the Platinum Jubilee and the Royal Family…

Harry and Meghan are seriously mental and their decision to leave the Royal Family was based on the belief that they would be able to make more money by capitalizing on their association with them — note she still calls herself a Duchess. When that didn’t materialize and Prince Charles cut them out of his payroll as Duke of Cornwall, their revenge interview with Oprah was full of lies — 17 of them proven to be outright porkies. The Queen’s response that “recollections may vary” is as close as it gets to the RF calling them out. They filed several lawsuits, one against the Queen’s own government for extra security, and refused to come to Prince Philip’s funeral, further hurting Her Majesty.

But they still play off of their royal connection here in America where they maintain a fan club who call anyone who despises them like I do a racist. I hate that and it’s hurts the cause of fighting true racism in our country and the UK. They are seriously unpopular in UK, and disliked by about 67% of Americans, last poll…

Still, they continue to pull stunts like her showing up in Uvalde the day after the shootings, like she represents anybody or anything other than Narcissism. She truly makes me sick.

I’m not going to defend Harry, but he’s very mentally unstable (a fact that the RF covered up for years) and I believe he is abused by her at the same time that he preaches at the rest of the world to get help… And did he Ever acknowledge the Queen’s Jubilee and Thank her for her service — no…

So they got their come-uppance at the Jubilee. They had not coordinated with the Family regarding plans for the many engagements that Senior Royals were attending (Princess Anne was in charge). They did not bring their children to the Trooping the Colour when they could have met all their cousins and Aunts and Uncles, instead having a “birthday party” for their daughter-with-the-stolen-name on Saturday when All of the other Royals were either in Wales, the Epsom Derby, Northern Ireland, and Cornwall — arrangements made well in advance of the Harkles decision to attend.

About that decision: HMTQ ordered them to let her meet her great-grandchildren and they were informed that there would be No Pictures of the event, though it appears there was an official Royal Photographer present to take pictures that Belong to The Queen, not for commercialization. They actually tried to bring in their own photographers, even after being Told not to — that’s who took the pictures they released today.

After they were booed at St. Paul’s on Friday, and seated far away from the Senior Royals, they disappeared, unable to face the public. That’s the smartest decision they’ve made in a while–or was it mandated to them?

Since all the families were present in the room where they made their cameo appearance alongside the Tindall and Phillips children, it must have been icy in there. The next morning they were summoned to see Prince Charles before heading out to St. Paul’s and I believe it was him who let them know they should stay home for the rest of their visit. If you watched as closely as I did, you would see the cousins Blank them at St. Paul’s.

Anyway, today a photo was released of their daughter and she’s a cute little thing, but poor Archie hasn’t been seen full-face in years now… I’m sure they’re jealous that All the other Royals brought their kids and had a great time at the Party and the Pageant, so could hardly wait to get back to America and get their PR machine rolling again — and the darling little girl is certainly a palate cleanser.

I feel so sorry for Archie and Lily…they could have been part of that rambunctious group of cousins, just like Harry was when he was growing up. When will Harry’s therapists finally convince him that living with a narcissist is unhealthy for him and the kids?

Anyway, I could go on and on, but I gotta go. Just wanted to put my 2cents worth in…


Still Partyin’ with the Queen

Occasionally I note that other people are not as obsessed with the British Royal Family as I am; in fact, many don’t even like them… (The Family are like a soap opera for me — I don’t like all of the characters, but they’re essential for the plot.) It is Clear, however, that World-wide most Everybody feels kindly toward HM The Queen. It has been quite emotional for me seeing her on the balcony Three Times! From the Trooping of the Colour on Day 1 to today’s Platinum Pageant, the Brits have put on a spectacular show to celebrate her 70 years on the throne. Last night’s Party at the Palace was so so good — I was dancing one minute and crying the next. Did you happen to see the clip of her having tea with Paddington Bear? Now we know what she keeps in her purse!!

Now that the Jubilee has wound down, I’m about all royaled-out. Back in the gardens, we’re enjoying the Perfect weather and so are the crops.

We decided to wait to put up the pool until it gets hot again — probably next week — and in the meantime started a new project down at the firepit. Here’s what it looks like now…from the back of the Edible Garden…

We’re putting up more privacy fence at the bottom so I don’t have to look at the neighbor’s solar panels. We’ll also add some larger shrubs to enclose the sitting area… I have a vision…

The cottage garden is growing and the black-eyed Susans in the Peace Garden are about to explode. We’ve put out three hummingbird feeders and they’re all staying busy…wish I could get a shot of them, but I never seem to be handy with the camera at the right time…

Hope you’re enjoying a lovely day wherever your area!


It was the 3rd of June,

Another sleepy, dusty Delta day…mama hollered out the back door, y’all, remember to wipe your feet!
And then she said, I got some news this mornin’ from Choctaw Ridge
Today, Billy Joe MacAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge

Where were you when you got the news? It was 1967 and ever since I heard I’ve wondered just what happened.

Bobbie Gentry, who wrote and performed the song, said regarding what happened at Choctaw Ridge: “I left it open so the listener could draw his own conclusion.”

The song was #3 on the Billboard Charts for 1967 which explains why it is ingrained in our brains; it’s a good song, but disc jockeys must have been playing on a loop to win out over songs like Light my Fire, Groovin’, Soul Man, and even Respect! Bobbie Gentry quit performing in the 70s, so we could consider her a 1-hit wonder, unless you give her this loophole: She wrote “Fancy”, copied by Reba McIntyre in 1990, which has brought her millions in royalties over the years — more than she made off of the Ode.

Just thought you’d want to give a thought to Billie Joe McAllister today…

I’m still watching The Royals, the Party goes on!


Summer Kick-Off

We’re going to have Weekly Sleep-overs this June, every Tuesday-Wednesday, but our High-Schooler will decide on a week-to-week basis whether she spends the night. Yesterday it was only Samantha, a very tired Samantha at that. We watched some Disney–I love Encanto, so it’s okay to watch it again and again. We did some art and made our own pizzas and she fell out early. This morning we met up with her Mom and Sister at the Oaklyn Library where they’re kicking off their Summer Reading Program.

I came home after dropping them off and we’re catching up with our chores and debating when to set up the pool. Usually it’s up by Memorial Day, but Casey hasn’t been feeling well. Off-schedule makes me nervous, but I’m also not in the mood to put my bathing suit on… In the meantime, he’s out buying a new charcoal grill and when we get the charcoal burning, the Summertime Smell should inspire us, though it probably won’t help with my swimsuit dread…

The Platinum Jubilee is going Strong in London and Trooping the Colour is tomorrow morning, 10am. I’ll be up at 3am to catch it streaming and I’m so excited! Yesterday people started camping out along the mall in front of Buckingham Palace, so I’m back to feeling like I Did make the right decision when I cancelled the reservation for this week. Much better to have a front row seat in front of the telly…

Prince William checking his regiment last week, preparing for the Big Day…


Memorial Day memories

I’ve spent a little too much time in the Way-Back Machine this week, thinking about my Dad who died 25 years ago May 22; it was the Friday before Memorial Day. Quite a bummer, to say the least, and I try not to take myself back to those times for too long, just stopping by to look at who I was, who was my family, and how we survived our grief. Even before that, back in 1967, my Grandpa Eaton died just before the Memorial Day week-end, just as our family was moving to California; it was another horrible time, but a more ancient memory that doesn’t quite evoke the sadness of losing my dad.

Seventeen years ago, on this week-end, we attended the beautiful wedding of Michael and Jessica–such a happy memory!

Back in the 90s we had a pop-up camper and Every Memorial Day week-end we were out in the woods, first years down at Barkley Lake, then moving up to Harmonie State Park, taking along the kids friends and meeting up with Our friends in their campers.

Since the kids have grown up we’ve not had a tradition, though we hit up the cemeteries every few years. Last year we visited the graves of some ancestors who hadn’t been visited since my great-grandmother died — her grandparents and uncles– but I didn’t find her mother and father. Now I know where to look (2 different cemeteries, actually) and I want to make a trip over there, but not today. What we formerly called “Decoration Day” and was supposed to be for all the dead has morphed into a holiday to honor our veterans. Nothing wrong with that, but I think I’ll start a Day of the Dead tradition this year and seek out the ancestors’ graves in November. These pictures are from last year…

My Mom and Dad are in a mausoleum over by Helfrich Park Golf Course and I change their bouquet frequently, marking the seasons and holidays. They are due for their “Patriotic” bouquet, but I’m going to wait and take the Jr kids with me later this week.

Coincidently, I did some time travel to my high school daze this week, too. A gentleman DM’d me on FB to ask if I had gone to Harrison, something anyone could know, so I was skeptical. I checked out his profile and could find nothing that triggered a memory, though his profile pic is a young-him and he’s good-looking, so I should have noticed… but he seemed safe, so I answered. I’ve strained and still haven’t been able to remember him, but he’s really a nice guy and we chatted away. Seems he’s a UCC minister, retired, but we all know that pastors never really retire, so he’s still preaching. He posted this on his FB timeline, and I’d like to share it with you:

This is my Pastoral Benediction for Sunday morning, written by the 19th century Swiss moral philosopher Henri-Frederic Amiel. I wish it for all of you:

Life is short so we do not have much time to

gladden the hearts of those who travel with us.

So be swift to love,

Make haste to be kind,

And go in peace to love and serve the Lord

posted by Robert Walker, my new imaginary friend…

I wish I’d said that…


Samantha’s 1st Dance Recital

It was not the first Shannon’s School of Dance Recital for me last night… Melissa was practically a charter member of the school, back when they would have their recitals at the old St. Joseph School gym; it was founded in 1974. Even in the old-school days, they always had the Best costumes! Olivia brought us into the New Era where they rent out a big venue downtown and fill it up with parents, grandparents, cousins, and friends of the dancers, who range in age from 3 to 18 and while it’s impressive, it’s tooo dang long. We are those people who leave early, if we’re lucky enough to have our dancer perform in the first half. Samantha’s dance was to “By the Sea” and she was center stage. I love this little sailor!

I may make it over to the cemeteries tomorrow, but we’re kind of plan-less this weekend…which makes me a little cranky. I’m going to pull up the spinach and plant a couple of rows of green beans in that bed. There is another empty bed that I’m going to fill with green beans, as well — we’re trying to time the harvest to when the New Yorkers visit in early August. We have had so much rain that my bell peppers are showing the stress, but they have plenty of time to pull out of it.

Hope you’re enjoying the Holiday!


Drink up, Pal!

Conversations with my bartender…

Hey! Look who’s here! Let me pop the top off a cider for ya! We haven’t seen you since you got back from your London trip. How’d it go?

It was fine…we had a good time.

Only fine, huh? Didn’t get to see The Queen? No personal audience with Prince Charles?

Oh, you know I’d given up that little dream, but I thought at least I’d be able to go down to watch the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace with Alice, but it seems we were there on what they call the Early May Bank Holiday and there was a marathon kind of running thing going on, so they blocked off not just Buck Palace, but the Parks surrounding it — both St. James and Green and the Mall was covered with barriers and such that stretched all the way around the city, blocking the Horse Guards, too. The Victory Statue in front of the Palace was covered with scaffolding and there was no parade. And Kensington Palace was closed, as well.

So didn’t you see anything else? I thought you were going to Windsor Castle?

We did, we did, but we only had 2 hours there and that was barely enough to run through the State Rooms and St. Andrews or whatever Chapel. The little town of Windsor looked so charming that I feel like we needed to spend at least four hours there, but I went cheap and that’s what I get. We rode the London Eye, visited The Tower of London and Westminster Abbey. Overall, we walked 24 miles in the 4 days we were there and we loved that.

Did you get to check out the Museums? You were pretty excited about going to The Tate Modern, weren’t you? And how about that Shakespeare place?

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre was a joke! It was crunched in between buildings along the Queen’s Walk, so the pictures they use to entice you there must be taken with drones. There was a nice Lichtenstein gallery at the Tate, but the building is not as impressive as I expected. Really, I didn’t get to spend enough time there to judge and though we traipsed through the National Gallery heading toward their restaurant, we moved on very quickly.

Was there anything good about the trip?

Oh, yes, we had a great time, really. The weather was all you could ask for — no rain! Two of three pubs were great. I discovered a new Cider, Old Mout, that was delicious. The hotel where we stayed provided a steady supply of Magners Pear, which I cannot find in the US anywhere except Epcot. Some of the food was good. We love walking and all of the sights and we got a real kick out of using the underground.

Too bad you were disappointed.

I’m following coverage of the Queen’s Jubilee and now the streets are lined with Union Jacks, the Parades are daily…it’s more what I was thinking of…before I changed the reservation…which I might have to admit I regret…if it weren’t for the crazy crowds. But we feel really familiar with the city now, so Yeah, I think we’ll just have to go back, maybe next year…

Drink up, Pal…