A Special Request

Many of my friends and family have been asking me, “How’s it going?” My answer: “Well things are RFW right now.” The reply is “What’s RFW?” And my reply is “Really F*%king Weird.” They know why that is of course… and because of that I hope they’ll all excuse the letting loose of some recycled nonsense for this week’s silly scribble. You see, I’ve been tringling lately, and of course that could be construed as something that never resembled a bowl of dust chowder hiding in my furnace pillows.

On the other hand, next time I see them, I think I’ll ask both of my grandsons to wash the kitty litter with toothpaste and Chicken Lamp Soup so we can all enjoy another car tasting contest. It takes a lot of skill to taste cars, especially when their eyes are shooting butter globs out of the tailpipe whistle.

Ah yes, good old tailpipe whistle globs. Aren’t those just wonderful on a nice piece of cracked clam shell toasting waffle? Yes, of course you do. In fact, I distinctly remember the time both of my shoes had broccoli oozing out of the chimney faucets. Those were simpler times when rabbits knew how to yodel much more quietly than they do on Sundays.

Please, do not put any more ketchup in my coat pocket.

I am still a bit wonky after my Beautiful Girlfriend flew off to Heaven; so I hope you will all coagulate my indivisibility regarding this short but sweet Happy Friday!!! thing that’s happening right here. So sweet is the shortness of this story that I’m going to march down those stairs (the ones that go from up here to down there) and offer a shiny new dime to the first pencil sharpener that is willing to amplify my nasal tentacles.

Of course, we must finish this silly story with a small space animal that can write its own name with the largest pile of applesauce this side of the Martian Mud Watering Festival. Small space animals generally have names like “Big Giant Tiny Guy” or “Totally Huge Very Little Donut Flattener.” I’ve never met any of these strange beings; possibly because I just invented them with my stainless steel curtain softeners.

Very well then. Please give Love to All You See; and try to remember ask them to Give Me Some Really Delicious Cake. Also, Ask Them Not To Capitalize Every Word In A Sentence; Because It’s Just Not The Way Squirrels Are Supposed To Explode.Thank you, and please feel free to use this special cheese to stay warm on those cold, steamy grocery store power tools.

It’s in the cheese drawer.


At this time I must force you to watch one of my very favorite cartoons. That is unless of course you choose not to do so.

One Week

So… my Beautiful Girlfriend left for The Great Beyond a week ago. OK a week and one day to be precise. Lots of people figured I’d be a complete mess without her… and I admit that my heart aches terribly. Lots of people have said “I’m sorry.” Lots of people have sent their love. And one friend in particular said, “I’m so sad for you.” Well I’m pretty sad too folks, but as I told my friend, I’m immeasurably grateful for the life we built together. Yes, I’ve cried my eyes out several times. One time in particular I cried very loudly and hard. My throat is still a bit sore. And yes, I was home alone so the only people who were affected by my outburst were Ivy Anne and Luna, our two kitties.

It’s OK, they still love me.

Grief mixed with gratitude has brought me a pretty decent helping of peace that surprises even me. I’ve even been able to be a bit silly and make friends laugh. I’m convinced my Honey Pie would want this for me. I know if the situation was reversed, I would be doing everything I could from The Other Side to lift as much sadness from her as I could.

Before she left, we actually focused on gratitude somewhat regularly. It’s a tool we acquired during our recovery from addiction that enabled us to enjoy each day, and especially the last of our time together. As her mobility waned, a successful evening often meant watching our favorite TV shows while stuffing our faces with chocolate goodies. As the end approached, one of my important jobs was to ensure there was a box of Good N Plenty available at all times. And when evening came, I’d prepare a dish of miniature chocolate bars, some peanut M&Ms and maybe some whoppers or some other chocolate remarkableness. I sometimes silently scolded myself for chocolating (Not a word? I don’t care!!) along with her, knowing that my britches would probably tighten a bit. But that never stopped me. I made the mistake of getting on the scale a few times during the many weeks of chocolate holy mackerel; but it was a small price to pay for keeping My Sweet Love’s sweet tooth satisfied.

“We are blessed,” was a common refrain. Because we are.

“Can you imagine trying to do all this horrible disease stuff while being homeless?” I asked her some months ago. I’m guessing the length of suffering might have been much shorter, as our ability to get medical care would have been challenging at best. I cannot bear to think about how homeless people suffer each and every day. I mean, my Lovely Bride and I had no debt, a nice home, plenty to eat, cars that work, and an amazing collection of family and friends with whom we share the joy of living. What more can you ask for?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

What came to mind for this week’s video was the song by Barenaked Ladies. My Beautiful Girlfriend and I loved their music when it first came around, even though the members of the group are neither bare, nor naked, nor ladies.

So here ya go.

A Very Short Lifetime

My best friend was whisked off to the Great Beyond yesterday. She also happened to be my Beautiful Girlfriend, my Soulmate, my Love. The People Upstairs (you know, those God people) put us together 52 years ago when we were 17 year old children. She allowed me to marry her when we reached the ripe old age of 19; and I will be forever grateful to have been blessed with over 50 years of wedded bliss.

My Sweetie was an amazing woman who powered through a long battle with idiopathic interstitial pulmonary fibrosis; a nasty lung disease that robbed her of so much. During her lifelong career in nursing she showed me how to care for others with excellence, empathy, and love. I’m convinced that her living examples literally taught me how to become her caretaker these past several years.

I’ll be honest, I’m a bit shell shocked. How can such an amazing lifetime with such an amazing person end so abruptly? Poor baby was in Hospice care for just a smidge over 40 hours; but thank God (whoever They are) we were able to get the meds to ease her journey into the Other Side. When we first met, we very quickly knew we were meant for each other. Our intimate spiritual bond gave us the fortitude to venture into life on our own as soon as we were legal adults. We pretty much literally grew up together; and seems like all the dreams and planning that went along with young love happened forever ago. On the other hand, our deep enjoyment of every moment we spent together made it feel like we just fell in love yesterday.

As youngsters, we partied like there was no tomorrow. After partying a bit too much; recovery taught us how to be grateful for each new day; and gave us the tools we needed to embrace (but not necessarily like) the changes her disease dished out to us. Friends would often be surprised when we told them, “In spite of all the bullshit, we are grateful and content most of the time.” And we were.

We were blessed by a visit with a local psychic back in April; and during the sessions we were told that My Honey Pie would be able to communicate with me easily from Heaven. Well guess what, she already has!! Numerous times, no less. I know this because when my mind is still I receive thoughts that I know are coming from her. I’d love to hear her voice and see her face; but hey, maybe later. I do know that she’ll be the first person I’ll be looking for when it’s my turn to cross over. It will likely feel like a rather long lifetime for me, but from what I’ve heard time is different over there. Guess I’ll just have to wait to find out.

I love you my dear. I’ll see you in my dreams. And then later in person!!

In Servitude To Felines

Once upon a lifetime all my living life from as long as I can remember until now, I’ve lived with cats. Domestic cats, of course. Nothing exotic like lynxes or leopards that some crazy people seem to think is OK. Of course there were dogs sprinkled in with the mix, but the cats far outnumbered them in our family. My Beautiful Girlfriend had a similar upbringing, although I’m not sure her family had as many cats as we did back in the day.

We love cats; and when we married and made our own home, my Lovely Bride brought her kitty NoName from Wisconsin to Florida where I was doing my Air Force thing. NoName ran away for two weeks shortly after we all settled into our apartment. That of course prompted us to answer an ad for “free Persian kittens.” Upon arriving at the “Persian” kittens’ home there was only one kitty left for adoption. Agrisby Anne, as we named her, was anything but Persian. More like a tortoise shell colored, short haired gremlin with fleas that were nearly as big as her. So we brought her home, got rid of the fleas, and did our best to satisfy her insatiable appetite.

Then NoName came home.

OK so now two cats. No big deal right? I mean, cats know where to go potty, and they don’t need you to go with them. They’re pretty independent creatures and we like that. And if you treat them right, they love to snuggle with you. We’ve always been the types to let them outside, but that has hazards; not the least of which is automobiles. And yes, we’ve lost some that way.

Fast forward many cats later, to autumn of 2022. Freddy the Freeloader, our last indoor / outdoor cat, died of natural causes. He was one very cool dude, a feral that My Awesome Sweetheart fell in love with as he roamed about outside our home. She started feeding him outside, and although I knew the end result, I resisted allowing him in the house since we already had two other cats and a dog. In those days he used a plastic kiddie pool we had leaning up against the back of the garage for shelter, and since we hadn’t seen him for a couple days we feared the worst. On my way out the door for work, I lifted up the kiddie pool to see if he was dead or injured and found he was very much alive, as he shot out of there like a rocket. After he slowed down a bit I saw that he walked like he was very drunk. I told my Amazing Best Friend, but since I had to skedaddle for work she was left with the time consuming chore of getting him into a carrier; and then whisking him off to the vet. The vet shot him up with antibiotics and told us to keep him indoors for a couple weeks; after which we let him out thinking we might not see him again.

Turned out Freddy liked our house and us enough to come back, and he was Mr. In and Out for 13 years with us. In fact, he was the last of the indoor / outdoor cats in our line of many, many others. Both of us, of course, were very saddened by the loss of our pal Fred. My Beautiful Honey Pie solemnly pledged, “I don’t want any more animals for a year!!” Within about 5 months we were knocking on the door of the Noah Project, a local no-kill shelter. After proving we were worthy, we came home with Ivy Anne and Luna. Ivy was about 14 months old, 2 of which were spent in the shelter. Luna was 6 when she was dropped off at the shelter, and stayed there for 10 months!! Poor baby.

We love these two rascals. They are indoor cats, an experience we’ve never dealt with before. And in our personal opinion, shelter cats are weird. We’d love to let them outside but both of them would be roadkill in nothing flat. And you know what else? The litter boxes fill up a lot faster. Huge surprise, right? Indoor / outdoor cats actually prefer to do their business outside… unless of course the weather is nasty.

Since my Lovely Lover is not really able anymore, I’m the Lone Cat Rancher these days. I feed the cats. I clean the shit box. I clean the water bowl. I wash the food bowls. Then comes the afternoon feeding. And evening. Then it’s time to clean the water box, feed the shit bowls, and wash the food all over again. And again. And again. Oh and not to forget trying to keep them amused with toys and play time! But due to our serious devotion as foster parents, we do all this with love.

Yes, we really do love our cats, but sometimes we wonder who’s really running the show.

Where’s My Phone??

So there I was, 650 feet above sea level (I looked it up), getting ready to head off to a meeting and see some friends, and I took my phone out of my pocket because it needed to charge a bit so I was gonna plug it in to the car charger thingy and off I went but when I got a few miles down the road I didn’t see my phone but I thought I heard it ring and then I realized that HOLY COW this sentences is way too long; I better stop it right now!!

So I did.

I stopped the sentence I mean.

Because it was too long.

The sentence.

So now I’m making sentence fragments.

Oh wait, that was a sentence…

Anyway so yeah, I hear my phone ring. But I’m looking around the car and it’s nowhere. Between the seats?? Nope. Under the seats?? Nope. HEY LOOK OUT FOR THAT CAR!! OK.. quit hunting and resume driving. But what the heck?? Anyhow?? “I know,” I says to myself, “I’ll use the bluetooth to make a call to see if it’s OK.” And yes, the bluetooth worked fine, so the phone should be fine. But I’d really like to know where it is though, ya know??

“I hate computers.” That’s my refrain when anything goes awry in my universe. Why do I use this encrypted phrase for everything? Well during my many years as a technology guy, it became a kind of vocal therapy on the fly. For example: a software update is applied to some important software everybody uses. Then the system goes kerblooey, and nobody can do their job. I am the service guy. My phone rings off the hook. So I tell them, “Not to worry, we are working on it. And just so you know, I hate computers.” My friends would then tell me, “Well maybe you[‘re in the wrong job!!” And I’d reply, “It’s a good living, but the computers are not my friends; unless they play nice.” So now it’s almost automatic for me to blurt out “I hate computers,” even when I drop an egg on the floor.

So where the heck is my stinkin’ phone?? I hate computers!! It really is a computer you know. OK… I drive the 11 miles and arrive at the meeting place. I look again. On the seat… under my book maybe?? Nope. Between the seats?? Nope. Under the seats?? Nope. I see a friend in the parking lot. “Hey man, will you call my phone?? I can’t find the damn thing.” “Sure,” he says. I hear my ring tone. I follow the sound… and… HOLY CARP!! IT’S ON TOP OF THE CAR!! SHEESH!!! Let’s hear it for the old Otterbox Defender phone case with the rubber jacket that apparently likes to grab the roof of my car when it’s going 60 MPH!! Did I mention that I hate computers?? Oy yoy yoy!! But I’m glad I found my phone. I mean hey, it wasn’t the phone’s fault, so we can still be friends.

For now.

How Now, Chocolate Cow??

My Beautiful Girlfriend and I were talking about Cousin John today, and how we miss the guy. He was Brooklyn (NY) born and raised, and he and his mom (Aunt Joyce) would come visit with us when we were kids on Long Island. Many moons and a couple moves later, John and I reconnected in a very big way; and the same became true for Aunt Joyce. So what does all this have to do with a chocolate cow? Cousin John and Aunt Joyce are both living in the Great Beyond now, but I think both of them would react to the next part of this story with an emphatic, yet puzzled, Brooklyn flavored “Oh my GAWD!!”

Several years ago, a survey asked the question, “Where does chocolate milk come from?” Apparently, a thousand people were surveyed and 7 % of the people believed that chocolate milk comes from brown cows. Oh my GAWD!! I wish I was fooling you!! This of course subsequently spread across the pond via the interwebs. Much of the world probably thought we’re a nation of noodleheads.

Now I don’t know what sample of our population was surveyed; but you can bet it wasn’t anyone involved in agriculture. Unfortunately, there appears to be a large amount of ignorance regarding where our food comes from or how it’s produced. Perhaps this is due to the declining number of people directly involved with raising food. There has been small progress over the years, but it seems to be creeping along all too slowly.

I’ve actually had some interesting (saddening?) first-hand experiences with this. I’ve been an organic gardener for over 50 years now; and I often grow more than I need. That gives me the freedom to share some of my harvests with friends. One time I remember vividly was when I asked a friend if they’d like some of my heirloom, organically grown popcorn. “Sure,” they said, “where did you get it?” “From my garden,” I explained. “Oh!!” they answered, wide-eyed, “I didn’t know you could grow popcorn!! How did you grow it??” “Well,” I replied, trying not to giggle, “I stick the seeds in the ground and they grow popcorn plants.” Then I couldn’t help but ask, “Where did you think popcorn came from?” One person said, “I just buy the microwave kind.”

End of discussion.

Well kids, for your horticultural edification I hereby bestow upon you some fun facts of my very own which may or may not be true but I’ll put them here anyway for the fun of it and you know it’s been a very long time since I composed a run-on sentence but I figured it was long past due and I didn’t even use any commas or semi-colons and if you can read all this in one big breath I’ll give you a quarter!!

OK… here are some spillages from my brain area:

1: At least 50% of all ladybugs are not ladies. However, I think it’s good to keep calling all of them ladybugs, because one might be accused of sectional harshment or gender indivisibility if you said something like, “Hey everyone!! Look at this cool manbug!!”

R: Eggplants do not produce eggs. Heck, the fruit doesn’t even look like eggs. And it sure doesn’t taste like eggs neither. So, like, what’s up with the name? Anyhow??

27: Now we come to another totally silly name for a food: grapefruit. Does anyone seriously think those look like grapes? Or taste anything like grapes?? Last I knew, they didn’t grow on grapefruit vines neither. Sheesh!! So if we ship many of them to market at the same time, is that considered grapefruit group freight?

OK, that’s probably enough for now. Oh wait… an old favorite:

Maybe we should all go hang out at Betty Boop’s farm for a “reality” check!

Zooming In The Giant Squishmobile

Well, you can sure tell summer’s coming.  Why?  Simple:  dead bodies everywhere!!  Raccoons, possums, woodchucks, birds, squirrels, and deer, and deer, and deer.  Here in Beautiful West Michigan, lots of deer carcasses adorn the roadsides in varying stages of decay. Seems like some of them could be picked up for fresh venison maybe?? The warm weather has lots of critters in mating mode, and they are moving about like they own the place or something.  Well, ok, they do own the place.  Or at least they used to...  

To show appreciation for all of the Creator’s flora and fauna, humans have chopped up their habitat and shot roads through the parcels.  Then to add to their excitement, we drive through these zoomophone lanes with big metal and plastic monsters at 70 mph or more.  Most animals aren’t quite equipped to get across the road when a four wheeled zipmobile is coming at them out of nowhere.  So, we see lots of babies “sleeping” on various parts of the road.  Makes me sad for them… I try hard to slow down when I see animals near the roadway.  Sure, I have been guilty of assassinating some of those poor babies with my own four wheeled killing machine.  When I’ve been unfortunate enough to kill one of Mother Nature’s babies I have an immediate reaction:  being the big, strong man that I am, I cry like a baby and ask the Great Spirit for forgiveness.

Ok, so now it’s out.  I’m a big wuss.  I’m the idiot who stops on the expressway because I see a turtle trying to make its way across.  I turn on my flashers, pull off to the side, and dodge cars to whisk the little booger off the road and out of harm’s way.  Then I carry it about 50 yards from the road and stomp my feet until it lumbers off in the opposite direction of the traffic lanes.   As a preventive measure, furry and feathered friends get the horn.  Most animals will run from the horn if you use it in time.   By “in time,” I mean at least 50 feet before you get to the animal.  Otherwise, if you honk when you’re right next to them, they’ll often freak out and run erratically.  Then you end up hitting them anyhow.  If I spy a critter approaching the road and there are cars behind me, I pump my brakes. That serves as a warning, but of course I’m also hoping they will follow my lead and give the critter the right of way.

On the other hand, you have dead bugs.  Sometimes literally on the “other hand”… there’s nothing more rewarding than sticking your mitt out the car window on a warm day and having a bug go kersplat in your hand while you’re playing airplane.  Oh and by the way, no, I don’t swerve to avoid bugs.  Especially not on the expressway… I may be crazy but I ain’t no fool.  If I have time (which means at lower speeds), I try to miss beneficial insects.  You know, bees, dragonflies, butterflies, and of course wasps.  But even now, with the weather still fairly cool, you can tell that my windshield has already sent quite a few insects to Bug Heaven.  As I mentioned earlier, I’m a big wussy boy, and I get sad when I see beneficial insects bite the dust because of my Toyota Sienna Racing Van.

When I’m behind the wheel, I can rationalize about a “good” outcome resulting from killing bugs. I mean hey, I may be feeding some birds with my car!!  At least indirectly.  You see, one of the miracles of Creation is that living things adapt, sometimes in strange ways.  Believe it or don’t, there are birds who have actually learned how to pick up insect road kill for a quick meal.  I first noticed starlings doing this several years ago.  Red winged blackbirds, who travel with starlings during migration, have also learned this trick.  And they must be sharp cookies, because I have yet to see a squished starling or blackbird on the road.

Perhaps all is not completely lost when mammals, birds, and even turtles are executed by cars.  This much I’ve learned through the existence of things like “The Road Kill Cookbook,” which is a humorous rendition about an actual activity in the more rural areas of the country.  Yes, there really are people who eat road kill.  And why not?  Farmers raise hordes of animals every year and they are killed for our consumption.  Can’t get much better at recycling than eating road kill.  Not that I’m eager to do it mind you.  But if it’s freshly killed, a road kill turkey (for example) would be lots healthier food than one you buy from the store.   

No artificial anything!

I’ll stick to the store-bought animal flesh, thank you very much.  I was a hunter years ago, and I do not relish the idea of filling my tummy by killing and cleaning furry or feathered beings. In the meantime, I’ll try to be wary and keep my roadkill count to a minimum.

Speaking of roadkill, this week’s cartoon has absolutely nothing to do with it.  But it’s fun…

Um… I Dunno…

Happy Friday!!  Let’s all play an exciting game of Muffin Toss… which is played by teams of 2 people.  One pitches and the other swats with a canoe paddle. Could you even imagine the number of AAA batteries that are never required for such frivolity?? Perhaps it could be a cure for writer’s block…

So there I was, sleeping under the coffee antenna when an eerie thought came to my mind: “What if I can’t think of anything to write about tonight??” Well of course this quickly turned into a self-imposed invitation to gather nonsense particles and blast them from my consciousness to my fingertips and then to the keyboard and then to the screen and then to my eyeballs and then I realized that I was repeating the words “and then” way too much. I almost failed at this miserably when I mistakenly connected a window screen to my computer rather than a LED monitor screen thing.

Takes some doing!

After a few gluffenings, I bringled through my Tangled Old Archived Silly Text (T.O.A.S.T.) in order to bring some words to the actual electronic screen thing so perhaps you could wince or smile or flail your arms wildly in some sort of “Reader Protection Dance” (R.P.D.) so as not to be in any way crankulated about the fact that you’ve been reading a run-on sentence that really needs to end awreddy!!

Whew!! That was morkulous!!

Um… I dunno… you see it’s like this: I’ve been writing nonsensical verse for many, many yargons now… and because it seems to bathe my spirit in calming waves of constipation, there will probably be a 3 gallon container of stretched almonds oozing gelatinous gunk from the refrigerator’s mucous membranes. This could possibly be attributed to my post-retirement practice of yodeling loudly at various times. When I yodel in the grocery store, people’s expressions change.  When I yodel in my sleep, an elbow is jammed into my ribs.  Guess I’ll stick with the grocery store yodeling…

I must now pause to inform you that while writing the previous paragraph, my laughing face engaged in ha ha with shaking belly muscles; and this has become a form of stress relief for me in various times of need. Right now, however, I really need to know why my window snakes can’t jump anymore. That being said, on a scale of 1 to 34, the odor of root beer sounds like my favorite color of the alphabet.

For those of you who’ve read this far, please be grateful I didn’t go ranting about one of those political ice cream adventure sagas that often cause carrots to explode without warning. The way I figure it, if politics can cause your shoes to boycott small seedlings during an evaporation rampage, things that are far more irresponsibly delicious will soon decay in your ceiling fan’s software upgrade incisions. If that should occur, gargle with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and fried linguini during a hail storm for the best inferno.

But seriously folks, I refuse to be serious because when typing to my friends, my irregular text is regularly consistent with an inconsistent regularity. If anyone is trying to make sense of these silly scribblings, please refer to Gorfle’s Atlas of Crunchy Klinkles (G.A.C.K.) p. 74, paragraph 19; which emphatically states, “Don’t.” 

Also, my nose itches.

An Ecliptical Birthday Present

This coming Monday is a very important date. That’s right folks, if you’ve been listening to the news at all, you probably didn’t hear anything about why this Monday is important… to my brother. You see, way back on April 8 of 1956, my brother was born into this world. So he’s getting a solar eclipse for his 68th birthday!! Is that cool or what?? Of course, neither he nor I will be watching the eclipse in totality, unless we hustle our hineys southward; but that’s not likely to happen. I found a pretty cool website that tells you how much eclipse you’ll be able to see, and when. So here in Beautiful West Michigan (Muskegon specifically) we’ll be enjoying a 91.81% obscured sun. and it will max out at 3:31 PM Eastern time.. My bro lives in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, or “Winedance” as Grandma Loftus used to call it. There the sun will be 78.6% obscured at 2:08 PM Central time. Still should be dark enough at both locations to be quite fascinating. Here’s the site I used to get this info. I clicked on the magnifying glass icon (search) near the top right corner of the map, then typed in the town to find the statistics.

https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/map/2024-april-8

Last one like it for the U.S. was way back in 2017. I’ve heard that lots of folks are traveling toward our nation’s heartlands to be in the path of the umbra, which is the shadow that’s cast from the moon completely blocking the sunlight’s path to Earth. You can see a map of where the umbra will be experienced, along with lots more information here:

https://science.nasa.gov/eclipses/future-eclipses/eclipse-2024

My Beautiful Girlfriend (the Lovely Lady who let me marry her) and I will not be traveling, but will instead be bathing in the glory of the penumbra here at our house in Beautiful West Michigan. Since we’re retired, we’ll be worry free of any work obligations interfering with our eclipse viewing. The only thing that might become an issue would be the lovely Michigan cloud cover we all know and “love” around this time of year.

Supposed to be sunny… we’ll see.

And hopefully all of you know to please be a responsible viewer and DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN during the eclipse. You’ll fry your eyeballs out of your noggin. Eyeball goop will be all melty and run down your face like gooey mascara during a rain storm. Maybe not. But you’ll damage your sight, and there are plenty of safe ways to view the eclipse. Here are some tips:

Hurry to your nearest public library. Many are giving out “eclipse glasses” for free. I got mine today. Other coolness: one of the most remarkable things I remember from the last event was the appearance of shadows during the eclipse. My favorite treat is to enjoy the shadows cast by leaves on trees. So if at all possible, try to find a nice shade tree that allows some sunlight to pass through it; and sit or stand underneath during the eclipse. The shadows cast on the ground give an almost surreal light show during this time… and it’s truly special if there’s a light breeze to move the leaves around a bit. Although it’s early springtime here, I’m looking forward to seeing what effect the obscured sunlight will have on the shadows of twigs and branches. I’ve also been known to punch a pin hole into a piece of cardboard to project an image of the eclipse on a table or something. For more fun, make numerous pin holes… you’ll get lots of eclipses projected onto your favorite viewing surface.

Yes my friends, this eclipse will be special indeed. The weather forecast is looking like partly sunny. Hopefully we’ll have enough clear sky to enjoy the darkest eclipse we’ve ever had the pleasure to enjoy. And hey, to my brother, Happy Birthday Eclipse to you. Hope you enjoy your gift!!

In case you’re wondering how sunshine is made, check this out:

You Gonna Eat That??

Holy CARP!! It’s SPRING OUTSIDE!!! And I have many, many garden chores waiting for me. Not to mention sending out a seed order before planting time (I told you not to mention that!!). My role as a caretaker likely will limit the garden to be a bit different this year. Previous growing seasons found me planting a little bit of almost everything: garlic, Swiss, chard, delicata squash, hubbard squash, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, very old ancestor of kale, pole beans, beets, pak choi, parsnips, popcorn, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, okra, rosemary, thyme, oregano, mint, asparagus, rhubarb, parsley… sunflowers, nasturtiums, zinnias, marigolds, catnip.

Oh and we have an asparagus patch and a patch of rhubarb (or ROObob as Grandma Loftus called it).

I was rattling all this (well, much of this) off to a friend a while back. Then he tickled my funny bone by asking, “Do you eat everything you grow?” “Well,” I replied with a smirk, “we give some of it away.” I couldn’t help smiling a bit more as I visualized myself eating ALL of the produce in one big snarfing session (what can I say, I get amused easily). “No,” he wondered, “I mean do you eat all the kinds of vegetables you grow?” “Well sure!” I responded with a grin. By this time my warped mind silently kicked into silliness overdrive with possible responses:

“Well, we like to plant all kinds of weird, disgusting foods so we can watch them mature and them mow them down with the tractor.”

Or…

“No, I just like busting my hiney to grow food so I can make some kick-butt compost with it!!”

Or maybe…

“Whadda you nuts?? Vegetables are disgusting!!”

Seriously though, yes we do indeed eat what we grow; and I’ve gotten better at planning the garden according to what my Beautiful Girlfriend and I both like to eat. That’s not very difficult since we both pretty much like any vegetable put in front of us. She’s very tolerant when I plant different things for the fun of it. Ground cherries are one example of a home run with my Honey Pie, she really loves those things. Well OK, I like them a lot too!!

A byproduct of living the first 3 years of marriage in the south was that both of us are smitten by greens. Kale, wild cabbage (the heirloom kale ancestor), Swiss chard, and beet greens are some of our favorites. We eat them steamed as a side vegetable; mixed into a stir fry; or added to an egg “scramble” (sauteed mushrooms, onions and other veggies cooked into scrambled eggs with a little shredded cheese on top).

In case any of you are wondering, yes, we did consider ourselves vegetarians early in our marriage. We ate eggs and dairy products, but no meat. Why? Health reasons of course, but our belief system was evolving too. We didn’t like the idea of killing so we could eat; but then we watched shows like Wild America and Nature. Those programs illustrated the fact that all animals, large and small, are part of a diverse tapestry of beings that will either eat or be eaten. Kind of flushed the killing stuff in the toilet for me… and besides, to paraphrase a bumper sticker, if our Creator didn’t intend for us to eat animals, they should never have been made of meat!! I did my share of hunting when I was a kid, but would rather not do that anymore. I am grateful for those who kill the animals for me so I can eat their delicious meat molecules.

And no, Jeffrey Dahmer did NOT speak from the grave to have me say that!!

To this day we still eat a lot of veggies, and we really don’t eat very much red meat at all… our animal protein comes mostly from dead fish and dead birds like turkey or chicken. So if it’s a vegetable, yes we are probably “gonna eat that.” We still eat meatless meals occasionally, and we have not suffered from a lack of protein. We learned years ago that when cooked together, of beans and rice (for example) provide the necessary amino acids our bodies need to make complete proteins. Could we be OK with being vegan? Probably.

Do we wanna? Ummm… no.

Ahh… Springtime. We will soon be seeing stuff just like this, right??