Archive for July 2014

07-29-2014 Journal Entry – My Favorite Addiction!   1 comment

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These days it’s become chic to announce your addiction, get your 15 minutes of attention, and then check into some over priced and ridiculous rehab center.  It apparently makes a person something of a celebrity when they can gain sympathy for having the good sense to go to rehab.  It’s a lot of nonsense to be sure but it is what it is, you get to be the final judge. It"s worked for more celebrities than I could possibly name but Lindsey Lohan and Charlie Sheen immediately come to mind.

I need to step up myself.  Being a former smoker I realize just what an addiction is and how difficult it can be to stop.  It’s been some thirty years since I last smoked but as one addiction is disposed of others then become a real possibility.  I drank a little too much for a time but eventually was able to put that behind me and there were a few other minor things like green M&M’s, chocolate of any kind, and Tootsie pops.  I seem to require at least one ongoing addiction at all times.

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About fifteen years ago I became hooked on something new which has become my all time biggest addiction and there doesn’t appear to be any rehab facility anywhere to address this problem.  The first step in any twelve step program is to admit you have a problem and I’m here today to do just that.  Here it comes. I AM ADDICTED TO JALAPEÑO PEPPERS!!!!!  I feel so much better now that I’ve finally shouted that out to the entire world (meaning this blog).

Yesterday I was running errands and doing some food shopping when I drove past my favorite Vietnamese market.  I stop there often because they carry a huge assortment of southeast Asian spices and food products that I was introduced to while serving in the Far East for a few years.  They also carry a wide assortment of fruits and veggies priced well below other food retailers in the area.  What did I find? They were having a huge sale on jalapeños and I was immediately caught up in the excitement of the moment.  I was out of control with desire and immediately purchased twelve pounds of some of the most beautiful jalapeno peppers I’ve ever seen. I made the purchase and couldn’t wait to speed home with my peppers .

I decided to pickle and can them as quickly as possible. I currently eat at least a jar a week and when your buying them off-the-shelf from a Walmart or Hannaford it can get a little pricey.  I had enough peppers to fill at least twelve pint jars which would tide me over through a couple of months during the upcoming winter.  I took a few minutes to develop a recipe for a brine, wrote it all down, and checked my canning supplies to be sure I had a sufficient number of jars to get the job done. With my jalapeño peppers in one hand and a cutting board in the other I was ready to begin.

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I put on two pair of latex gloves to protect my hands, I plopped my ass in front of the TV, and watched a movie while slicing the jalapeños.  That’s what we call a night of relaxation in this house.  An hour or so later the job was done and the peppers stored in the refrigerator to await canning tomorrow. Thank God for latex gloves!

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It’s now tomorrow and here are the jalapenos fresh from their water bath.  In a month or so they’ll be ready to eat whenever I get the craving.  I’ll keep my eyes open to purchase more if I can find them because I can never have enough.  That’s how an addiction works.

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07-27-2014 Journal Entry – Harvest Time Begins!   Leave a comment

I know it’s a little early in the year but with the garden filling up with cucumbers it was time to get busy.  Last night I gathered all of the equipment together in preparation for canning.  I cleaned jars, gathered lids and rings, pots and pans, and updated my experimental pickle recipe. We normally make hot Bread & Butter pickles and a lot of them.  I’ve made dill pickles in the past but never was really happy with the results. My approach to things has always been to identify a problem and then fix it and this new recipe for Hot Mustard Dill Pickles is the fix.

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I took my normal kosher dill recipe and jacked it up with a number of additional ingredients and spices. The end result will be pickles that are extremely hot, canned in a liquid containing dry mustard, curry, habanero powder, and a handful of other minor ingredients.  I soaked the cukes in canning Lime overnight which should help keep them crispy once their canned.

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Yesterday afternoon we picked the cucumbers, zucchini’s, and jalapeño’s from the garden along with some herbs.  I’d be making my mustard pickles and my better-half would be making her new experimental recipe for hot pickled zucchini or as she calls it Hot Zucchini Pickles. She’s trying to come up with a few solutions for processing and storing of the large number of zucchini’s we’re expecting.  She’s always made a lot of zucchini breads but we can only eat so much of that.

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We work well as a team and set up an assembly line in the kitchen.  I sliced the cukes, the habaneros, and a few jalapeños and set them aside. She prepared her zucchini,  and jalapeños, and we were ready to rock and roll.  She was responsible for packing the jars and I then added the brine, capped the jars and placed them into the water bath.  It took a couple of hours of work but we rolled along like a well oiled machine.

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After all was said and done we had ten pint jars of the mustard pickles and six additional pints of pickled zucchini.  The jars sealed properly and will be ready for labeling tomorrow. Unfortunately we have to wait a month or so before we can taste the finished product.  The veggies need time to absorb the flavor from the brine and the heat from the hot peppers.  We can’t wait to try them and will keep our fingers crossed for the anticipated good results.

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“The Finished Product”

07-25-2014 Journal Entry – Beach Day!   Leave a comment

On many occasions I’ve mentioned having a whole beach day or just walking the beach to relax for an hour or so. I’ve also received a few emails from people asking whether we ever actually go in the water way up here in Maine. Everyone assumes that the water is so cold here that we can’t really do much actual swimming.  I admit that during most of the year the last place you’d want to find yourself is in the ocean.  But, there are a few weeks of the year when we can and it’s well worth the wait.  Today was one of those times.

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My better-half, her daughter, the grandson, and I decided we needed some beach time. The weathers been sunny and hot for a few days which we hoped had warmed the water up a little.  You’d have thought there was ten of us from the amount of gear we had to wrestle into the car. It was like watching the Beverly Hillbillies loading their truck before their trip to California.  Beach chairs, extra towels, cameras, sun tan lotion, diapers, a huge umbrella, and two plastic  buckets and a couple of shovels.  Unbelievable…

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I for one was exhausted before we even got there. We made our way to a small beach in Scarborough, Maine which is just up the coast from the always over-crowded Old Orchard Beach. The town was on top of things as usual and immediately extorted $10.00 out of us to park the damn car.  After unloading all of the essentials we made our way the waters edge. When we arrived the place was busy but not too overcrowded. We found a spot and proceeded to set up camp.  I’m guessing there were a few hundred people there with only four I could see in the water swimming. They were young kids and seemed to be having a ball and even if the water was freezing cold they wouldn’t have noticed.  I walked to the water, stuck in my toe, and immediately discovered why no adults had taken the plunge. It was a bit nippy to say the least.

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People watching is always fun and beach people watching is even better. I saw a few attractive beach bunnies romping around in their bikini’s and that was great as always. There were many more folks in skimpy outfits that really caught my attention. Have you ever seen a big beautiful woman in a two piece swim suit that had been lost in all of her immense beautifulness.  I did and it was more than a little scary.

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In a short period of time the number of people easily doubled. It was an endless line of families dragging their kids and tons of beach gear to stake out their little plot of sand. The temperature of the water rose a few degrees and all of a sudden everyone was in the water.  It was cold at first but once your body adjusted it was fine. I was in and out a number of times throughout the day and it was heaven.

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The one thing you can rely on is that if more than a few people congregate anywhere the merchants and their endless advertisements will follow.  The nice quiet beach was strafed by a continuous line of small planes dragging their messages behind them.  They were just loud enough to be annoying and it continued all day.  Where’s an anti-aircraft gun or a Stinger missile when you need one?

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The grandson had a ball and easily exhausted all of us adults rather quickly.  He was covered in sand and yogurt pops, smiling and flirting with everyone in the vicinity.  He eventually tired himself out completely which was our clue to head home.  He was asleep in the car seat before we were even able to get the car packed up.  

We had a great day

07-23-2014 Journal Entry – Another Rainy Day!   Leave a comment

It’s raining like hell this morning so I decided to spend this time in bed enjoying the sounds and smells of the day.  I like walking in the rain almost as much as I enjoy listening to it but not today.  Today is going to be a computer day for me because I have a number of things that need to be accomplished.

In my last posting I made an attempt to create some discussion with my list of ten questions. While a good number of people visited and read the posting the response to my request for their answers apparently fell on deaf ears. Not one single response was disappointing as hell but not totally unexpected. At least I tried to wake up a few brain cells out there and just so you know, I will try again.

Today is the day I begin learning how to use the new software package I recently purchased.  Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 & Adobe Premiere Elements 12 has been purchased and installed and await my full attention for the next six hours or so. I’m also awaiting the arrival from Amazon of a 400 page User’s Manual I was forced to buy because those cheap bastards at Adobe don’t feel that including a Users Manual is cost effective.  Both of the programs are massive and without a manual you might never ever know all of the bells and whistles they contains. I’m praying that the manual arrives today or tomorrow so I can spend the next few days experimenting with the software. I need to get up to speed as quickly as possible because I have projects that will be much easier to complete once I’ve gotten a little hands-on experience.

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This week another of my goals is to begin preparations for my first canning class of 2014.  A number of my better-half’s friends are interested in learning how the process works so they can eventually can their own pickles. With so many requests I decided to do a class that would take care of them all at once.  I’m just a week or so away from canning my first batch of pickles this year so I’ve invited a group of them to get together, watch me do a batch, take appropriate notes, and return home to attempt to do some of their own. I’ve tried to convince them that canning is a simple process but they appear very skeptical.  I also make myself available 24/7 for emergency telephone calls when the occasional mishap arises.  I’ve done a few one-on-ones in the past which were very successful so this should be a breeze.

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I’ve been cleaning and preparing jars for a few weeks because it’s going to get very busy very quickly and I need to keep ahead of things.  I’m estimating we’ll be canning 40-60 pints of hot Bread & Butter pickles, 20 pints of hot Mustard Dills, and 15-20 pints of hot Kosher Dills.  Add in another 30-50 half pints of assorted jellies, jams, and relishes and you can see that we’ll be canning our asses off for six weeks or so. If I do say so myself, we make some damn good pickles, a truly excellent variety of jams, and the relishes can speak for themselves.   Many of the folks who request our pickles return the jars for a refill and as you can see I have them everywhere.

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Fun, fun, and more fun.

07-20-2014 I Have Questions, Do You Have Answers!   Leave a comment

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Socrates is famous for this quote, "The unexamined life is not worth living."  With that thought in mind I’d like to ask  you ten questions.  These questions  will concern your values, your beliefs and your life in general. To answer them truthfully will require that you examine your belief system when faced with difficult situations and ethical dilemmas.  You may be surprised just how much personal reflection it requires and how many interesting discussions it may initiate to answer them.

I’m putting forward these ten questions to start our discussion and more will follow if there’s an interest.  I’ll answer each question myself as truthfully as I possibly can and I hope you’ll do the same. If you wish, please send me an anonymous email or comment with your answers. I’m sure they’d be of interest to us all.

Q1.   Do you believe in God? If not, do you think you might pray if you were in a life-threatening situation?
A.   I’m not a believer and one of the reasons is that I’ve been in life threatening situations a few times and there was no praying going on.

Q2.   If you found yourself attracted to a person of a different race, how would your behavior  differ from what it would be with someone of your own race?
A.   Not one bit.

Q3.   Would you be willing to give up television for  five years if a benefactor would provide for 1,000 starving children in some poor country?
A.   No.

Q4.   Would you add one year to your life if it meant taking a year from someone else? Would it make a difference if you personally knew the person whose life you’d shortened?
A.   No, I wouldn’t do it regardless of who it was.

Q5.   Would you be willing to murder an innocent person to end world hunger?
A.   No.

Q6.   If you could prevent either an earthquake in Costa Rica that would kill 10,000 people, a crash at a local airport that would kill 100 people, or an auto accident that would kill a friend or family member, which would you choose?
A.   The earthquake, of course.

Q7.   You are given a $1,000,000 to donate anonymously to charity. How would you do it?
A.   $500,000.00 to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and another $500,000.00 to the Wounded Warrior Fund.

Q8.   If 100 people your age were questioned, how many do you think you’d find leading a more satisfying life than your own?
A.   20

Q9.  If you could wake up tomorrow in the body of someone else, would you do it? And next, who would you pick?
A.   No-one, I’m comfortable  in my own skin.

Q10. Does the fact that you’ve never done something increase or decrease it’s appeal to you?
A.   A definite increase, I’d love the challenge.

Did they make you think a little? I hate to admit it but they did for me. 

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07-19-2014 Journal Entry–Freaking Wasps!   2 comments

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For months now I’ve been telling you about the attempts by my better-half to convince me to buy a few goats, a dog, chickens, and even a few boxes for raising bees.  As you also know I not really crazy about any of those ideas and have been more than clear about it.

In the last few months I thought we’d finally settled those desires with a big fat NO WAY. This story continues forty-eight hours ago when the better-half left for work after telling me she’d be working a little later than usual.  I had a handful of stupid little chores that needed done and was sure this extra time would allow me to complete them.

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Let me give you some background information to make this story a little easier to understand.  A few years ago we had our house resided.  New house wrap was installed and once and for all we thought our home would be sealed from intrusion by Mother Nature’s millions of little friends.  From that point on the assault by bees, wasps, yellow jackets, and lady bugs continued but with little success on their part. Since wasps and yellow jackets love to build their nests on wood surfaces under the eaves of houses I thought we were finally safe because the siding was vinyl and they couldn’t attach their nests to it.

My better-half told me in passing that a wasp nest was being built under the deck above one of her flower gardens.  Could I take care of it please? I really didn’t listen to her at the time and just went about completing my other chores.

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The second fact you need to understand is that we have a room that opens to the back yard at the rear of the house. This is used for storage of garden supplies, shovels, weed-whackers and other yard implements.  It’s always locked when not in use and I hadn’t been in there for a week or so.  I was intending to get the weed-whacker and start my yard work but as I stood near the door I heard an odd buzzing sound. As I unlocked the door the buzzing got much louder and when I stuck my head into the room I saw hanging just above my head a wasp’s  nest the size of an NFL football.

As you should remember I broke my leg last fall and damn near destroyed my right knee. I’ve healed up rather well but not completely. I have a slight limp and can’t run too fast anymore, or so I thought.

A cloud of about a thousand bees decided I was trespassing in their territory and to my surprise I discovered that I really was completely healed. I took off like an Olympic sprinter running across the yard with thousand of those little bastards hot on my trail. I managed to outrun them and then slowly returned to the house by a circuitous route to plan my revenge.

A long sleeved shirt, long pants, a baseball hat, and leather gloves completed my ensemble.  Along the way I picked up a shovel and a huge can of deadly bug spray.  I approached the nest and was able to see a second nest right next to it. Shit!   I entered spraying my heart out, dodging hoards of bees which were bouncing off my head.  I was able to knock both nests down and spray them heavily and then I got the hell out of there. I waited a few minutes, returned and finished off another thousand bees.  That spray was a real killer and it did the job and then some. How I was able to escape being stung I’ll never know.  Later in the day I cleaned up the debris and considered the matter closed, or so I thought.

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My day continued and the other chores were finally finished. I was walking across the yard and I saw what looked like a lot of bees flying around under the front deck near the flower garden. It dawned on me then that this was probably the one my better-half had warned me about. What did I find but another huge nest of wasps.  What the hell right. I was on a roll and decided to wipe this nest out once and for all, or so I thought.

Since the deck is eight feet high I retrieved a step ladder, my bee killing outfit, the long stick, and the bug spray.  Easy peasy, right?  The only problem was climbing the ladder quickly before they could attack and to not fall off the ladder in the process. I had a stick in one hand, bug spray in the other, and began climbing the ladder with no hands.  The bees immediately saw the error of my ways and attacked.  They knocked me off the ladder which then fell on top of me. I scrambled to my feet and took off running again. I made it about three feet before one of those buggers stung me on top of my head.  They may be small but OMG the pain from that sting was unbelievable. I fled again and took a little time to rethink my strategy while putting an ice pack on my head.

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I returned pissed off with nothing but revenge on my mind. I knocked the nest down and killed everything in it. There were hundred still swarming but they had been sprayed and were slowly dying.  I turned and walked away very proud of myself when one last little SOB came out of nowhere and stung me on the head in the same exact spot as the first one. That shot dropped me to my knees and required a steam of curse words to make me feel better.

My question is this. Did my better-half know about the nests in that back room? She says she didn’t but I don’t believe her entirely. She seemed a little too smug and insincere when I was looking for some sympathy for my wounds.  She finally got her wish that we have bees but unfortunately these little killers don’t make any honey.  Maybe now she’ll attempt to bring some killer goats home to surprise me or maybe some chickens trained to attack. She’s a lot sneaker than she looks.

One last  time darling, no bees, no goats, no chickens but maybe sometime in the future we can get a dog.

That’s my compromise.

07-17-2014 Journal Entry – Yard Photo’s and More!   Leave a comment

Every once in a while I find something that catches my eye.  This photograph is of a entry gate that leads to an old and extremely run down house located next door to nowhere important. I saw it a few months ago as we were driving around looking for anything interesting.  I didn’t stop for the shot then but I did a few days ago when we happened upon it once again.  I found it simple and fascinating.

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It’s been an interesting few days.  Shortly after posting earlier in the week I came down with a truly nasty 24 hour stomach virus.  I won’t get into the stinky and smelly details but that virus targeted areas of my body that shouldn’t be messed with.  All of my activities ceased immediately except for staying within running distance of any bathroom facilities.  I was on the mend within twenty-four hours and regained my appetite and my antagonistic attitude rather quickly.

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Just when I thought things were improving my better-half said those infamous words you never want to hear, “I think I’m getting a sore throat and my stomach hurts.” It’s only this morning that she was able to get out bed and go to work.  She’s one of those women who seems more macho that most men when it comes to missing work.  She gets some sort of rush by being able to make it to work regardless of the circumstances.  I was like that once but times for me have changed, thank God.

Since I’ve been staying close to home these last few days I thought I’d spend a little time photo documenting every type and color of flower in our gardens that we’ve been blessed with this season. I was more than a little  surprised at the variety myself. Here are a few samples of some of those flowers with more to follow as they begin blooming.

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Believe me when I tell you there’s no better way to spend an hour or two each week by walking through the garden and photographing everything. It’s a really tough life I have but you know someone’s gotta do it.

07-15-2014 Journal Entry – Back to the Woods!   Leave a comment

This has been a week of rain then sunshine then rain and on and on and on. The humidity is constantly high and sleeping is a real challenge. It certainly limits my activities to hanging around the house and driving my better-half over the edge. It must be true because she tells me that at least twice a day. What to do, what to do.  My only solution is to take my camera and go forth to play in the woods.  Maybe it was time for a quick check of my favorite swamps to look in on the dragonfly situation. With this much humidity and heat there should be a large increase in their numbers (I hope).  It’s a reasonably short drive so I loaded up my gear and took off.

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I arrived at the sanctuary, parked the car, and stepped into the world of sweat bees, gnats, and those little mites that congregate around your head by the thousands.  I used half a can of the strongest bug spray I could find and it was of little help.

It’s common practice here in Maine for the horse farmers to cover the eyes of their horses with netting to keep the bugs from driving the horses crazy.  If it works for horses then why can’t it work for me.  I reached into my bag of goodies and found some netting made specifically to be worn over a baseball cap and then tied tightly at the neck.  It’s not a perfect solution but it will keep the gnats in the swamp out of my eyes and ears.  The rest of my body is up for grabs but even those damn mosquitos and ticks have to eat too.  Without a doubt I’ll be their lunch entrée.

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On my way to the swamp I have to pass through a few acres of milkweed plants. They’re just coming into bloom and in a few short weeks will be covered with visiting Monarch butterflies.  They love laying their eggs on the milkweed plants which contain a chemical that keeps predators from eating their eggs.  I’ll be back in a few weeks for their arrival which promises  a gang of excellent macro photographs.

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I arrived in the swamp covered with swarms of bugs and discovered to my delight a reasonable number of dragonflies flitting around.  I’ve found if you stand still in one place for a few minutes they tend to approach to check you out. These pictures were of a few that seemed to be purposely posing for me.

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I lasted almost an hour but the bugs made staying any longer impossible. I’ll be better prepared on my next visit and hope to obtain more photos of dragonflies and damselflies.  The variety of colors is absolutely amazing.

***WILDLIFE ALERT ***

(Sarcasm On) This Wildlife Alert arrived on my desk today from my better-half and I promised her I’d put out A BOTA (Be On the Lookout) alert for a herd of those terribly dangerous and ruthless gourd eating deer.  She plans on hanging some sort of crazy noise-maker in the garden to scare them off. Truthfully we’ve had deer eat almost everything in the garden at one time or another but not a single one has ever munched on a gourd.  She has a strange attraction for gourds which I still don’t understand.  Maybe I’ll build a blind for her to sit in near the garden and she can jump out in the middle of the night to scare the crap out of them. I promise to get lots of pictures if she actually does it. (Sarcasm Off)

07-13-2014 Journal Entry–It’s Time!   Leave a comment

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This summer is passing quickly and the time seems to be flying by like never before.  It’s amazing to me how our sense of time changes as a person ages. As a young child the days seemed long and the summers seemed to last forever.  That summer school break always felt like a year to me. During my working lifetime things seemed to drag on and on endlessly except when I was vacationing.  Work was always a definite time slower.

“How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”  ~ Dr. Seuss

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After retirement I discovered something I never expected.  Time has virtually ceased to be a part of my life.  Shortly after retiring I discarded that timepiece I’d worn on my arm in many variations for five and half decades.  That damn device that I looked at and worried over a thousand times a day.  Most of us never realize what a hold the watch has over us and how obsessed we’ve become in wearing them.  Not only do humans require a watch they won’t hesitate to spend thirty of forty thousand dollars for that extra special Rolex.

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I’ve been a rather clumsy person since a very young age and that clumsiness made my ownership of hundreds of watches my curse and Rolex ownership a joke.  It seemed that the more expensive the device I wore the quicker it became damaged or destroyed once it was strapped to my arm. In my twenties I became a Timex owner only because it made wearing a timepiece affordable.

“At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent.”  ~ Barbara Bush

I can also remember that feeling I had when I was without a watch. It caused me a great deal of stress and concern and on those days when I wasn’t wearing one I was almost panicky. We were raised to know the time and to live by it in all circumstances. The words "Don’t be late!" and "Be on time!" were the mantra for an entire society. We were raised to always be aware of the time and to live our lives by that watch on our wrist. I remember many occasions when I became pissed off with a partner or spouse who continued to be late for appointments which in turn caused some really nasty arguments.

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“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.”  ~Carl Sandburg

It’s been six years since I stopped wearing a watch but you can never really escape this obsession.  I do relish those weeks that go by and I’m forced to ask my better-half over and over again, “Honey, what day is it?”.  That’s a real form of freedom and a dash of mental health I’ve never had before. Unfortunately for the rest of you the ever vigilant manufacturers of this world continue to create a myriad of products that almost always include a digital clock. The coffee maker, the stove, the TV, the stereo, the VCR, a ball point pen, the computer, the IPad, IPod’s of all sizes, and even on a reproduction of a 1930’s classic radio.  It’s apparent we can’t live without timing ourselves. A clock in every room, next to our beds, and everywhere else. Even my favorite digital camera insists on getting involved by telling me the time on each and every photograph I take.

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The more I think about our societies obsession with time the more I realize that my obsession that causes me to fret over that problem is just a time obsession of another sort. As a last thought on Time I refer you to Mr. Steven Wright who puts it all into perspective for me:

“I went to a restaurant that serves ‘breakfast at any time’. So I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance.” 

TIME TO GO!

07-11-2014 Journal Entry – Summer Schedule!   Leave a comment

Now that my better-half has returned home from her trip our lives have slowly normalized somewhat.  She has returned to work after much whining and complaining and is back to her old self.  I’ve returned to my projects again after pretty much ignoring them for a week. Don’t forget her vacation was also my vacation.

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The garden is growing wild and today I finally spent three hours on my hands and knees pulling weeds.  Don’t misunderstand me, I pulled thousands of weeds, enough to fill the trailer pulled by my lawn tractor.  It was extremely hot and in just a few minutes I sweat through my clothing.  I have to admit it felt pretty good to be digging in the dirt because it’s one of those times that allows my body to do it’s routine work and all the while my mind is elsewhere. It takes a good hour of this kind of work to calm me down and allow me to really relax.  It’s unfortunate that I didn’t discover this outlet a few decades earlier than I actually did.  Once again my father was right but I wasn’t listening as usual.

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As you can see the frames are slowing filling with beautiful green plants of all kinds. I’ll probably begin picking, blanching, and freezing kale this week. After it’s washed and blanched I can cut it into strips and freeze it.  It’ll make for some really flavorful soups this coming winter.

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I was forced out of necessity to take the pruning shears to the mint patches. They grow so damn fast and if not properly controlled will take over the entire garden.  It makes working out here really pleasant when all you can smell is the aroma of peppermint and spearmint.  From the looks of things it’s going to be an unbelievable year for the herbs.  I replanted a number of oregano plants after losing a few last winter and the way these things are growing I’ll eventually have enough dried and stored to last me for two winters.

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After all of the weeding was completed I returned to the houses to take a quick shower, make a close check for any of Mother Nature’s little friends (ticks), and to rehydrate.  The next thing on the agenda was to rack off the dandelion wine once again. It’s clearing nicely and the color is spectacular. Now, if it only ends up tasting as good as it looks.  I’ve been disappointed a few times in the past when a gorgeous batch of wine has ended up tasting like battery acid.  I’m crossing my fingers again and hoping for the best.

We’re expecting a beautiful weekend and I’m sure we’ll be visiting the beach and hitting a few yard sales and flea markets.  The better-half has the weekend off for a change and we can have a little quality time together. Sunday is approaching and we’re looking forward to babysitting the grandson for a few hours to give his parents a little breather and some alone time together. It’s something all of us need.  We just have to search out those things that’ll give our minds a little peace and quiet.  I consider my self fortunate to have a number of outlets like that to clear my mind and keep me mentally calm and fresh. 

In just a few short weeks the festivals will begin in earnest.  Almost every weekend from now until mid- October has a festival of some sort scheduled somewhere in Maine.  Every small town and community has one and it’s a great way to support the local farmers and artisans.  Good food, beautiful summer weather, and communities who love to celebrate and share their community spirit with visitors.  It doesn’t get much better than that.