Saturday, July 29, 2017

How kind of SJB to let me use his car while he is traveling in Europe.

The clerk at REI says that barefoot runners (a light-weight shoe) are not easy to adjust to.

CD insists that the brain is far more powerful than medical science and neurology have as yet determined.

The Hispanic workman who is shoveling stones for the neighbor’s driveway says he’ll gladly take red beets and tomatoes from our garden.

CS thinks the political ambience is growing darker and darker.

The fellow in the utility truck had not idea where the closest gasoline station was located.

DMG guided me in downloading WhatsApp for our use when Joy or I are traveling.

NM says it’s tough, it’s rough going.

Erv Boschmann recently published a memoir from which he will read at 4 PM, August 12, at First Mennonite Church in Indianapiolis.

DK can’t do coffee on Monday because he’ll be traveling in Kansas.

IEH wants to see a major league ball game with me. (Red Sox vs Yankees)

The tomato stakes were behind the recycling bin as Allen Mast  had said they would be.

O asked us to bring in her mail while she is on vacation.

JG told me via “messenger” that I ask good questions.

The Enterprise Rent-a-Car clerk reduced our bill greatly because of the smoke odor which she herself detected after we returned the car.

I look forward to the next personal contact.


A good family reunion

Tuesday, August 25, 2017

This summer two family reunions blessed our lives. That is no insignificant statement because many family reunions are times of  tension, distrust, guardedness and isolation. Here in this blog I will summarize pictorially elements of these two good reunions.


The Hesses at Laurelville Mennonite Church Center, Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania.



The Glicks at Camp Overlook, Keezletown, Virginia.


Good attendance

The Hess family.



The Glick family (in two photos, with three people missing)

IMG_4850 2.jpg.IMG_4851 2.jpg


Fun activities

The Hesses in the pool.IMG_3977.jpg


The Glicks in the pond.

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Cordial conversation

The Hesses on rockers.



The Glicks on the deck.


Happy mealtimes

The Hesses at lunch.


The Glicks at snack time.


And of course, evenings.

The Hesses around the campfire.


The Glicks before the setting sun.


So very blessed.




Walking (40)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Today’s walk was slow-paced, because I wanted to take in the details of Arbentrout Path in the Shenandoah District of Virginia.


In the distance to the east is the Massanutten Range.




Much of the side-ways were fenced, even forested acres.





Several of the structures by the road were built in the past 30 years, but most have stood for a long time.










The variety in this short span is remarkable.


Another memorable gate fastener.





The truck bumper says “FARM USE.”









Quite  a few run-down lots.



And green pastures to make up for them.

My virility

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

I sincerely hope you won’t mind if I tell you of my virility.

  • At Starbucks this morning, she took one look at me and called me “dear.”
  • Yesterday the clerk in the pharmacy said I was “darling.”
  • The day before that the waitress mentioned “sweetie” every time she saw me.
  • And I have been called “honey.”

I’m waiting for “honey bunch” which surely will come soon.


Walking (39)

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Shades State Park, located about 17 miles southwest of Crawfordsville, is a quiet yet rugged country, just right for hikers.

On Trail 7 I came to an innocent waterfall …


not knowing that the little creek would be the continuation of trail 7. I was grateful for one walking stick, doubly grateful for two as I moved downstream among the slippery rocks.


Such are the rivulets that over centuries have carved through sandstone, leaving spectacular cliffs and ravines.


Trail 7 led to trail 8 led to Sugar Creek whose water I might have seen yesterday in Lye Creek that runs by Winter Wood.


The creek is just about back to normal, but the banks remain muddy.


Grasses bent by the surge, haven’t found the gumption to get back up yet.


But creekside flowers feel no such malaise


Much of Shades State Park features sharp canyons and overhangs. I hope they remain for another thousand years.


A simple agenda

Saturday, July 15, 2017

I count it a privilege when Lali and Doug ask me to tend the property while they are on vacation. The request is modest; it’s not for me to do the many tasks associated with The Juniper Spoon (at this very moment, a crew is serving a wedding dinner), but rather to just “be around.”

There is a list. In fact there are three lists, with the dominant item in bold: enjoy yourself.

Here at Winter Wood my chief responsibility pertains to four hens and a cat with three kittens. Ten minutes ago the hens went obediently from their dust bowls under a tree to the coop. Fifteen minutes ago the final two felines entered the house. Thus my responsibilities for the day are completed.

To tell the honest truth, I set my own agenda and often work well past a heavy sweat. Today I tried to rebuild a walk that had sunk. Yesterday I staked up sunflowers and removed a branch that had fallen. The day before I worked the compost bins and took a load of recyclables to the pick up station.


The stone walk needing repairs there by the tree.

But each of these tasks is simple in technical terms. Or in the vocabulary of agendas. In contrast I think of those whose day is fraught with urgent and sometimes contradictory  demands, people who can’t go from here to there without being interrupted by a to-do, managers of minutia long into the afternoon and even into their dreams.

Here, life is simple. The cats are in the house. The chickens are in their coop. The wheelbarrow and shovel are in the shed. And my supper consists of meat balls and bread pudding sent up from The Juniper Spoon staff.


Walking (38)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Jarod told me of the Heritage Trail in Lafayette, but when I got there, it was obvious that much of the trail was covered by the overflowing of the Wabash River.


So I thought to try Prophetstown State Park, without knowing much about the history of the battleground and the prophet. What might I see on a hot rainy morning?


The park contains useful information boards, featuring geology (and land a thick, underlying rock) …


agriculture with a full-function farm, camping facilities, recreational sites, but most important of all, a large restored prairie.


I wished that I had a guide to prairie flora.






I imagined that I was an early pioneer, walking ten miles to help Andrew pen a letter to the powers-that-be concerning details of his homestead parcel. That helped to make the walk on the prairie all that more meaningful, until …


I came upon a monument of twelve large boulders with a tribal name inscribed on a plaque: Fox, Ottawa, Miami, Winnebago, Wyandotte and others.  The monument was dedicated to the brave people who fought to preserve their way of life. Upon further reflection, I realized that the fictional Andrew and I were one small but significant segment of the force that drove the native people from this area. The land upon which Andrew settled and which he now claimed for himself and his family, once was communal land. The non-fictional I was taking a walk through history, a painful history. I paused to rest and eat an apple …


aware that I was resting on communal property. The remaining three miles of the walk took place within a context that I had not anticipated when I entered the park.