Water, water everywhere

This hand pump supplied water for dinner and Saturday night baths..As I was reading some stuff about water one morning this week, I was reminded of the water source of my youth – a twenty-foot deep hand-dug well. It sometimes is difficult to believe that we in 2020 are not far separated, measured sometimes by the calendar and sometimes by miles, from having no imagining of conveniences such as computers or water that simply appears at the turn of a knob.

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A little good news

They have to be taught to hate.Readers of a certain age – which is to say, aging baby boomers – likely will remember a song by Anne Murray in which she pleaded to wake up one morning with “A Little Good News” in the headline news.

Nobody fired a shot in anger, nobody had to die in vain.

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Squirrels ain’t stoopid

Breakfast Club at Chez Deb's.We have a dogwood tree in the corner garden, and one of its branches finally grew to within Gray Squirrel jumping range of the roof. That was fine for a fairly long time – until one particularly ambitious fellow decided to launch himself at the bird feeder suction cupped to my studio window.

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People (and comets) and street lights don’t mix

Comet NEOWISE is only 68 million miles away, outbound at 17,500 mph.My camera and I had an interesting experience together this week. We tried to get a decent picture of the comet NeoWISE. Three nights, three efforts, and I finally got one shot I’d not feel badly about showing people.

Continue reading People (and comets) and street lights don’t mix

We cannot afford it

A mountain of coal ash collapsed more than a million gallons of coal ash slurry into the Clinch and Emory rivers.About 1973, we were heavy into a fossil fuel shortage. Gas lines were nationwide. In some places, the day you could buy gasoline was decided by your license plate – odd numbers on odd days, etc. 

Some people said we were on the verge of running out of oil to make gasoline. Continue reading We cannot afford it

It’s not the haircut

Easy to get around, and nowhere to go.I’m lucky. Or old. Or both. I don’t need a haircut.

A few weeks ago, a friend asked how things were going at my house, what with the stay-at-home lockdown we had been enduring. At the time, we had not been in it very long and, as regular readers will recall, I was, and am, a believer in the mental medication of getting outdoors to commune with nature.

So I told him after nearly 50 years as a journalist, I was used to working alone. I love wandering along or in a forest or a stream and making friends with the critters who live there. It makes one feel pretty special when those critters start to trust you. Continue reading It’s not the haircut

Life on the third rock

A mother robin incubates her three-egg clutch.A friend recently related a conversation in which he mentioned to someone that a certain insecticide has been declared dangerous to humans when used as directed. Roundup has been in the news the past several months, the subject of some court cases involving the cancer- and sometimes death-causing nature of the compound. Continue reading Life on the third rock

Siegfried and Roy

Afternoon Pastoral.Several years ago I was lucky enough to be visiting Las Vegas with in-laws who were able to score tickets to the Siegfried and Roy magic show. As though that were not enough, we had seats right up against the stage, as in my left arm could rest upon the stage. The show was as good as its reputation. Maybe even better. Continue reading Siegfried and Roy

Be social, from a distance

A pair of Mallard drakes wandering a stream.In some ways, this “stay home” situation has not been terrible. It’s been a couple weeks since I had to buy gas (which is almost a shame with prices so low).

On the other hand, keeping track of time is a bit more difficult. It is weird, for instance, when Friday I think of something I must do Sunday, and when I wake up Saturday morning, I spend the first hour reminding myself it’s not time yet. Continue reading Be social, from a distance

50 years, yesterday to an Ent

A resting place for a tired bird, a library for the rest of us.I think I started noticing trees when I lived in Alaska. I wrote a weekly column which my faithful companion, a Bald Eagle named “J Edgar,” delivered from our home in a hollow log to the editor of the community newspaper. Readers were not surprised “The Ol’ Tundra Stomper” (“Tundra Stomping” being Alaskan for “back country hiking”) had an eagle partner.

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Thoughts on a new normal

A web of pipes direct natural gas from beneath Pennsylvania, cutting  webs into state and private land.The manager of a 24-hour grocery was faced with a reality of calculations. Some people shopped late at night, but not nearly enough of them to pay the bills.

“I am about to change the hours,” he said. “We will open at 8 a.m. and close at 10 p.m.”

Some of his customers would complain for a short period, he said, then they would adjust to the new hours. Continue reading Thoughts on a new normal