Showing posts from June, 2022

Picture Intensive Garden Update

We planted some strawberries for the first time this year and planted them through landscaping fabric to control the weeds somewhat as an experiment. After weeks of looking kind of puny, they have started perking up at last. I normally mow the weeds on the right side of the picture but when I took this, it had just rained on us while we were weeding our squash patch so everything was wet. Our potatoes are doing great this year. The kids really enjoyed them last year so we had to plant a couple rows again this year. Our big experiment this year was planting dry shelled beans of various kinds and many of them were climbing beans and have proven to be just that. Others haven't shown much of an inclination to climb despite what the package said. I need to make note to save us the work of installing the fence panels next year if we decide to grow more. The rest of the dry shell beans are looking good. I sense a lot of work later this fall in picking all those beans.  We planted several

Lacking Wisdom Now

My eldest has had braces and so it was no surprise that her dentist said that she would have her wisdom teeth removed sometime this summer to keep the rest of her teeth in their new places. We scheduled a preop appointment and then the actual surgery appointment and before either of us knew it, the day was upon us.  Back when I got mine out, there was no internet or YouTube videos but living in an age where both of those things exist, I wondered if my daughter would say something funny after the operation. I've seen countless videos of teens saying the funniest things while still under the effects of anesthesia on the car ride home. Perhaps that is why my mind was preoccupied with those sorts of thoughts and not where they should have been. After the surgery, we were ushered back into the recovery room and immediately those thoughts left my mind seeing my daughter out cold on a bed with her mouth gaped open and full of bloody gauze and a white band around her head to hold ice packs

He/She Shed

 Last summer, my wife we decided to begin a project that has been on our list for awhile, to build a greenhouse. While mulling that over, I thought it would be nice to include room for a lawnmower so that I can mow my own lawn instead of hire it out as I have done the last ten years. Unlike many of our peers, we actually like parking our vehicles in the garage overnight and so didn't have room for a lawnmower too. So we settled on building something half greenhouse and half storage shed. At first I looked for the easy route of purchasing a kit but I never could find one that fit our needs and so I decided to just design and build it myself. Early last fall I built concrete forms and was able to finagle my concrete guy to work me in between projects. With beautiful weather late into the year, I was able to get everything dried in before the snow flew but I wasn't able to get the siding up. I had planned for that and so bought more expensive sheathing which was essentially plywo

Fatty Jellyfish

If you recall, our daughter requested a jellyfish tank for her birthday last year and we acquiesced and bought her one. The kit came with three jellyfish who survived for five to six months and then perished. They seemed to do alright but just kept getting smaller and weaker until they started losing appendages and just becoming so microscopic that they were hard to even find.  My daughter spent long hours trying to figure out what was wrong, investigating everything from the salt water chemistry to their food. She never found anything conclusive before the experiment came to an end with the third jellyfish's death. We buried them all under a tree in our back yard in a sad funeral.  Due to some vacations coming up at the time (spring break), we counselled our daughter to wait awhile until we returned from them before she tried again. She cleaned everything thoroughly, got the water chemistry spot on and even bought food from a different source. The jellyfish arrived and adapted to

A Tale of Two High Speed Chases

 I was running an errand west of town along a seldom used two lane blacktop road when off in the distance I saw the lights of a police cruiser on and coming towards me. As we are supposed to do, I pulled off to the shoulder of the road and watched as a small black car going maybe 50 mph with a teenager looking young man nonchalantly driving it pass me by going the opposite direction with the police car close behind with sirens sounding and lights flashing. There were two other vehicles in close proximity following the police car due to the slow speed on a road where traffic usually travels 60 mph. It struck me odd that the young man driving the small black car was so nonchalant and I guess I assumed he was being escorted by the police though now that I think back, the police car would typically be in front in that situation. Regardless, I finished up my errand and 20 minutes later was heading back towards town and right on the outskirt of town, I saw the police vehicles, now it was a t

Close Call With Slavery... I think

So I belong to a website called Wikitree, which is essentially one giant family tree for everyone. One of the cool features is that it can connect you with just about anyone and give you the path for that connection. Every week, it sends out a themed email of people connected to you and how many degrees or generational steps apart that connection is. Most of the time the connections average in the low 20 degrees of separation but this past week, it told me I was only 19 degrees from being related to Michelle Robinson Obama in the notorious twitter users connection. My first thought was oh no. Some ancestor of mine was a slave owner and had a dalliance with a slave. I have only traced a couple families to the slave holding south but have yet to see any evidence of slave holding, but I wouldn't be surprised if I was able to go back far enough, that some would. But I clicked on her name to see how we were connected and immediately was reassured that wasn't the case, at least yet.

The Repose of Betty Beaumont Shaw

  After posting my previous post, I thought for some cheap entertainment, I should see if I could locate a record of the grave of George and Betty Shaw, my 5th great grandparents. I was assuming they lived and died in Scapegoat Hill but perhaps they lived outside of it near another church and not in the town proper itself. I searched for George Shaw first but didn't turn up anything I could pin down. So I turned to wife Betty and was quickly rewarded with the following which is a copy from the Pole Moor Baptist Church Burial recods less than a mile to the west of Scape Goat Hill. Note on the fourth line down it says "66, Betty Wife of George Shaw, Scape Goat Hill, buried Nov 29 1866, 75 years old." Also on her line both at the start and the middle are the numbers 64 and 65. There is something scribbled above Betty but the numbers appear to simply be order of death so I'm not sure what to make of the writing. More interesting to me is the opposing page. Reading across

Beans and Chickens

  We made a quick trip down to our garden on Friday evening. We had gotten a lot of rain in the days before and even more was expected this past weekend so we weren't very optimistic about getting much done. We didn't. I was able to get the grassy areas mowed only getting the lawnmower stuck once. My wife hoes the beans quickly and we left for home again. As it turned out, we didn't get much rain the rest of the weekend but we were pretty busy with other aspects of life anyway. We were amazed at how quickly the beans above had climbed to the top of the fencing panels we installed at planting. I have a feeling that in a matter of a week or two, it will be nearly like a forest in our bean patch. One of those busy aspects was that we had to go pick up our annual order of chickens. For probably a decade now, we have bought the majority of our eating chickens from a local(ish) family that raises them every year. In late winter, we fill out an order form pledging how many chicken

Mary Shaw Bolton

  My 4th great grandmother Mary Shaw was born sometime in 1825 in England. I don't have any birth records but I do have a baptism record that says she was baptized 3 July 1825 in Ripponden, a little village along the banks of the River Ryburn northwest of Huddersfield. Other records with her age listed also back figure to around 1825. I have quite a few records on her parents George and Betty Beaumont Shaw but not a lot on Mary. I suppose there is good reason for it and I shall attempt to explain.  Mary was part of a large family of at least nine children whose father was a weaver according to the info from the 1841 England Census where they were living in a small village referred to as Scape Goat Hill five miles directly west of Huddersfield. When I first saw that name, I wasn't sure I was even correct in my interpretation of the handwriting. Who names something Scape Goat Hill? But a quick google search shows that it indeed was a place and nobody really knows how the name cam

The Reunion

 Although I do have a Facebook account, I never got into Messenger. It just seemed to be a worse version of using the default texting app on my iPhone. I also hated that people could easily add my name to huge groups and then send idle chatter all day long causing my phone to always  beep. So I found out how to mute notifications from Messenger and rarely look at it much to the chagrin of some people I know. But once in awhile I do check in and not to long ago found a message from my graduating class's foreign exchange student. She was going to be back in our neck of the woods and was wondering if I could send out the call for an impromptu class reunion. Since this was a replay of a similar reunion we had ten years ago, all the work was essentially done and so I wrote back that I would send out invites and arrange everything. Getting everyone together on the tail end of a pandemic on a Saturday evening proved to be problematic. The last reunion was held in a restaurant in a town wh

A Yorkshire Pudding Tour

Now Towards the end of this month, I will be setting forth with my family to take a much earned vacation and to visit two states, that have thus far alluded me. When I return, I will be two states (Alaska and Rhode Island) short of having set foot in each outside of airports. The two that we are heading for this time are Oregon and Washington. I have an ulterior motive though in this visit, namely to visit the site in these pictures as well as some other sites that I will leave unmentioned for now. The house below is the home of my 2nd great granduncle, brother to my 2nd great grandfather. The only picture I have ever seen of the house is the one below with my 2nd great granduncle, wife and child standing on the porch. But taking a cue from Yorkshire Pudding, I took a little trip using Google Street Maps and saw what it looks like in more modern times. It is a pale shade of the splendor it was 130 years ago but many of the architectural details are still present. I've been cruising

Judging Readers By the Covers

 Once every year, our community has a big book sale to raise money for the local library. For most of the previous year, boxes of books were collected in a few locations, mostly people dropping off ones they no longer wanted. Those books were eventually consolidated to an upstairs floor of a venue where later the book sale will be held. This year by the luck of being in the wrong/right place at the right/wrong time, I was asked to volunteer in sorting those books into various categories and I accepted. An hour later, I was up on the second floor, pulling books out of a large cardboard box and putting them on other tables in one of about two dozen different categories. It wasn't a lot of heavy lifting but it was quite a bit of walking. What I enjoyed the most however was pulling books out of a box and mulling over who the reader might have been or what the reader was like.  Boxes full of romance novels likely belonged to older women (and perhaps some younger) who had not had good lu

Burning Down the Farm

Back in late March, before I got sidetracked with the last series of posts, I went down to the farm to help burn the CRP (Crop Reserve Program) acres as we are required by the government in order to receive payments. Periodic burning ensures a healthy stand of native prairie grasses which is good for the land and the inhabitants of the fields and discourages weeds and trees that might otherwise takeover if left untouched.  In the fall, a protective firebreak is disked around the perimeter of the field. On the day of the burn, we start on the downwind side of the field and start back burning to decrease any fuel and potential of the fire to hop the firebreak. We essentially light a fire a few feet from the disked firebreak and let the wind blow it toward the firebreak where it quickly burns out and we can move on. The upwind side might continue to burn slowly into the wind and increase the size of the blackened area at the end of the field. Eventually we will both backburn along the sid

The Aftermath

I guess coming from a rural area, I am not wise to the ways of the outside world especially when it comes to tipping. A few days before, another client had approached me and asked how much I planned on tipping the crew. Up until that point, it hadn't even crossed my mind that a tip was even expected of me. So as the last of the clients climbed into the passenger van waiting to take up back to Flagstaff, I dug my wallet out of the bottom of my bag, cleaned it of all bills, and gave it to Bronco. I'm not sure if it had been too generous or insulting low, but it was all that I had and it had been worth every penny and then some. I climbed into the back of the van and my body shut down. For some reason, an intense weariness as if I had survived some extraordinary ordeal overwhelmed me and I didn't even fight it. I fell asleep only waking once at a gas station in Boulder City where we dropped off a few of the passengers. The other clients were still babbling and perusing the che