Level playing fields

Most playing fields are level, just not with each other.“OK, Boomer.” The phrase is meant to express youthful disdain for us so-called Baby Boomers – we whose parents went off to war, then returned, victorious in battle, to create the boom of babies that resulted in humungous profits for the cookie-cutter housing industry, and a plethora of job opportunities for soldiers returning from war knowing how to follow direction and willing to trade a rifle for a hammer.

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Water, water …

Rain needed, and lots of it!A blanket of golden leaves lies around the Silver maple trunk like the flannel skirt wrapped around the base of a Christmas spruce. The past few days have been excellent for photography. Clear or slightly cloudy skies and a solar studio light turning single trees into huge sparkling lights scattered through the forest.

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Automatic transmissions and radios

When you want relief from politics and Covid ....I am surviving this Covid thing. We are surviving this Covid thing. My partner, best friend and, not coincidentally, spouse, makes note every day. We have been trapped in our home since March and we still love each other. More importantly, we still like each other.

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Second favorite season

After 480 million years, the tor monster still is not done molting.Every year I write at least one column about how Fall is my favorite season. I can’t help it. Well, my second favorite, in truth.

The camp pot is about to start percolating a fresh cup of coffee in time with a song by the Ventures playing in my memory. Outside the kitchen window, the tree I don’t ever remember its name has lost all its foliage, early to bed for the winter season. But the Silver maple, still mostly deep chili green, and the dogwood, in deep chili green and merlot red, are clad in late fall attire.

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We need better notes

It is fall and time to harvest soybeans and other crops.Trees that stopped feeding themselves weeks ago finally are losing their green as they succumb to the reduced sunlight of shortening days.

Funny how many events in nature seem to be well underway long before we notice. The summer solstice, way back in June, actually marked the beginning of days becoming shorter, leading to winter – a phenomenon we humans, with our ever-so-short lifespan, are only beginning to detect three months later. Continue reading We need better notes

A rifle, a leather belt, and a pen

I always imagine standing with Elmer Fudd and that six-pointer.I met Tom – Dr. Eastler, when I was a new student in the first day of Environmental Geoscience class at the University of Maine at Farmington. I had recently completed 20 years of service to my nation and it’s Navy, generally knocking around the globe visiting with folks while intermittently pretending I was ready and willing to shoot at and/or be shot at by some of those same folks. Continue reading A rifle, a leather belt, and a pen

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.

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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