Sunday, September 16, 2018

Tree shopping

This week I'm going tree shopping--to buy a tree in memory for a recently deceased friend. We've decided on a black gum tree, which seems to be good for this area and is beautiful in autumn:

And, then next spring we'll bring in part 2 of the memorials, with the purchase of a larch tree--a twin to the larch we already have near the back patio--only this one will be going in front.

Hmmm, that might be a worthwhile "retirement" project: asking people, who probably wouldn't entertain the thought themselves, if they'd like a new tree for their front or backyard. All it would take is some money, some time, some helpers and some jumping of hoops for permissions (landlords, etc). I'll have to start a list!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

BBC/PBS mysteries

To all my fellow PBS/BBC mystery lovers, here's a new type of show that we just discovered and like very much. It's an 84-minute DVD titled " Inspector Morse's Oxford." It's a wonderful companion piece, as they say, for all Inspector Morse mystery lovers. It was produced for the 25th anniversary of the TV series and was filmed right in Oxford. The narrators are none other than the author of the Morse books, Colin Dexter--and let's be honest, from the get go he comes across as a classic quirky Brit, as well as the actor that plays Morse's assistant and later star of his own PBS series, Inspector Lewis, Kevin Whately.  I checked: has it and pretty cheap!

P.S. You see the problem is that we are actually running out of series that we haven't seen...I mean the really good ones: Vera, Foyle's War, Morse, Lewis, Midsomer Murders, Hamish MacBeth, Dr. Blake mysteries, Brokenwood, Shetland, DCI Banks, Brother Caedfel, Grantchester, Endeavor, Bletchley Circle...see what I mean?!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Not an exaltation of larks

nor a troop of baboons
nor a clowder of cats
not a convocation of eagles
nor an ambush of tigers
nor a descent of woodpeckers
nor a watch of nightingales
nor even a company of parrots...
we have been invaded by a gaggle of geese....a huge gaggle, maybe even numerous gaggles.

We thought that they had passed us by this summer as we had no sign of them at all...until about 2 weeks ago. And then, they appeared. Not just appearing overhead, that is a constant. But, instead, they have taken again this year, to whatever they find in our lawn as they wander and walk and jump and fly and sit and pace for hours all around the Mount property. No, they don't do any damage, unless you call having to walk with your head down, watching where every step is taken, damage.

But, Friday night those of us who eat on the patio were distracted by what appeared to be a goose who could not fly. She tried and tried, but there was something wrong with her leg or wing...something.

Our sister who knows the local bird whisperer made the call and the advice was this. "Let her be overnight and see if nature takes its course or if she recovers and if she is still there in the morning, call me and we'll send a team to get her and we'll take her to Tamarack, the animal recovery center south of Erie."

She was gone. Maybe hobbled around somewhere else. Maybe recovered her flying ability. Maybe something else.

Ah, life, in all its forms. And the coming of autumn. Which is already peaking out--just a little.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Guess who's coming for dinner!

Our dinner (and Evening Prayer) guests tonight were the wonderful residents of Benetwood Apartments, our next door neighbors. Here for their annual meal with us, we enjoyed their company immensely. At my table was Dolores, introduced as the longest resident--having moved there in 1986, at age 58 (her husband was the required 65, she got in as his wife). Now 90, she raved about her years at the senior-living complex and made us laugh with her stories of card games, power walks around the property, and the funny lines by her visiting 4-year-old twin great-granddaughters!

"A great time was had by all" as they say. And the meal? Delicious--see below!

Sunday, September 2, 2018

New detective series

Time to read has caught me up in a new (to me) detective series that I can't get enough of. Today I printed out a copy of the 24 books that Martha Grimes has written, starring her Scotland Yard detective, Richard Jury. I read two over vacation and will now proceed to make my way through the other 22...hope it takes a long, long time!

Here's a short summery from "Richard Jury is a fictional Scotland Yard detective who stars in a series of mystery novels written by Martha Grimes. Initially a chief inspector, later a superintendent, Jury is invariably assisted in his cases by Melrose Plant, a British aristocrat who has given up his titles, and his hypochondriacal but dependable sergeant, Alfred Wiggins. Many of the novels include Divisional Commander Brian Macalvie of the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary. In addition there is a recurring ensemble of background characters."

What this rather generic paragraph doesn't say is: 1) Melrose Plant and the "recurring ensemble of background characters" are equal to the award-winning casts of Barney Miller and The Closer...only British and therefore unique, quirky and delightful beyond description! 2) Martha Grimes is a great cookie-cutter plots and descriptions EVER; 3) The next book I will read with a dictionary nearby....every 8-10 pages there's a word I swear I never saw before. Do you know what an "antimacassar" is? Only by usage did I hazard what turned out to be the correct guess. Left on my own--not a chance; 4) Richard Jury himself is in the Armand Gamache club.

So, hurrah for vacations which allow us to find and read good, contemporary fiction. One I really wanted to read, but it's on reserve and is still coming, is Anne Tyler's latest, Clock Dance. Remember, summer doesn't officially end until Sept. 22 this year, so keep those summer reading books alive!

Coming home also meant doing the rounds of the gardens and plants. The hummingbird feeders were empty but the indoor plants all made it, thanks to my substitute "waterers." The gardens look good, too. It was a very good year for our flower gardens. Everything seemed to have its time and looked beautiful and healthy and full when it appeared. One of the very last to make its appearance is this clematis. It wasn't out when I left August 20, but I could tell it was on the verge. Two weeks later, viola, in full bloom and beautiful---it looks like a sky full of falling stars.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

August and December

Thanks to the internet and the ability to read hometown newspapers online, get 24-7 communication with friends via texts, Facebook posts and emails, a vacation isn't really "leaving home" much at all. In fact, since I really love my hometown, my home, friends, ministry, etc. the only reason to take some time away is more for healthy psychological and mental reasons---a change of schedule, a break from daily responsibilities, and time for personal and emotional relaxation, so to speak. It's not just to "get out of town"!

That said, I am enjoying to no end a text from one of my more quirky friends who announced: "You missed a huge snow melt yesterday"! I had read the local paper already and knew exactly what she meant. Seems that the National Weather Service (NWS) had reason to doubt the extraordinary amount of snow that was recorded at the "official" site for our area--our airport--during a huge snowstorm last December 25-27. It seems that they put a study group together and last week announced that errors had been made by a novice snow observer at the airport and that the totals were being adjusted based on the numbers recorded by a 10-year snowfall observer who lived very near the airport. See full article here.

Much of my (our, since many of the sisters share this with me) enjoyment of this announcement comes from our memories of that time. All I recall is that our days consisted of just a few things: watching the Weather Channel, clearing off two dozen of our cars (every 12-hours, over and over again), going to prayer, meals and, as a novice snow observer for NWS myself, measuring the snowfall every few hours and sending the data into the Cleveland station.

We are proud to know that the measurements we took in our yard in Harborcreek were almost exactly what the (revised) official snowfall totals were for both the Christmas storm and for the season's total. Thanks to all my helpers--sisters who measured when I was out of town and all those who showed such interest and gave encouragement all winter. Let's do it again in 2018-19---maybe we'll be the one that the committee checks with to verify their numbers!

Oh, yes, it's really still August, so here's a local view of shore life. It's not unlike lake life, just saltier and much more crowded!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Lighthouses that guide the way

My love of lighthouses got a huge boost this weekend as I spent a wonderful 2 hours at Cape May Point State Park, home of the Cape May Lighthouse. Open in 1859, it has thousands of visitors a year, many of whom climb the steps right up to the observation deck that surrounds the light at the top. It is a beautiful sight to behold--though simple in design and not as "interesting," I'd say, as ours at  Presque Isle.

Additionally, every day that we drive home from the shore, we pass the Wildwood Lighthouse, which is entirely different from the one at Cape May, but just as attractive to us lighthouse lovers!

I remember once reading about a couple whose retirement plans included trying to visit as many lighthouses as they could, along all five great lakes. Add the ones up and down both coasts of the USA and I believe we have an impossible task, even in a lifetime, let alone retirement years. I'll settle for the DVDs that I know are out there!

BTW, do you know that wonderful wisdom tale of the standoff between the proud captain of a submarine and a lowly seaman in a lighthouse? Remind me to tell you. (Spoiler: the lighthouse wins!)