Sunday, October 25, 2009


First things first - my award from W VA Fur and Root - This is the best I can do! Well, that and Thank You!!!!!
ADDING ONTO MY GRATITUDE LIST, I will put shatters, and, of course, friends. Here on the Eastern Shore, we have several names for fallen pine needles. The Come Here’s call them pine straw. Then, in time, in an effort to be more “Shore-ified” as a friend of mine from Tangier calls it, they pick up the term shatts or shatters. If you are from “down the county,” like Northampton County, you call them shatts. If you are from Accomack County, you call them shatters. Now the trick is to learn what to call them where you live, because if you are from New Jersey, for example, and live in Accomack County, and call them shatts, you are still wrong. Oh, it is so hard to learn the local languages!
My first year teaching here, I taught on the fair island of Chincoteague every afternoon. It was a long drive up the road and across the cause way and series of bridges, but in the class room it was also a trip thru time. Many of the kids were 5th or 6th generation “Teagers” and spoke with a totally different accent than those on the mainland. Like the folks on Tangier, an island out in the Chesapeake Bay, their language still had a bit of the old English “brogue”… it was similar, but not quite the same. It took some learning to understand what a kid meant when he said he didn’t have any “brain” – but meant brown, or asked how to paint a “clide” – cloud. They went dine tine after school – that’s where the stores were. And pine straw on the island is called shatters. Boy, I could take a digression award for that paragraph!
Anyway, my friend, Pat, who should get paid by John Deere for advertising their products, drove up to my house the other day in his tractor, pulling a little – or not so little – wagon behind it loaded with shatters which he dumped at the end of my turn-around. To Eastern Shore men (and women) a load of shatters, especially nice clean shatters, is like a load of gold. Well, OK, that is stretching it, but you get my point. Pat does the town a great service by raking up the shatters that fall along the roads in town. We used to have a couple of EXCELLENT workers here in town that kept the place looking as beautiful as it could be, and one of their jobs was to sweep up the shatters from under the pine trees. I, as a conscientious citizen used to give them a place to dump said shatters – my front yard! I them hauled them around to various garden areas to mulch the azaleas, camellias and other acid loving plants. They made the town look nice (and BOY! Do we miss them!) and, I saved them from having to find a place to dump them. Shatters are good on asparagus and excellent for your strawberry plants. Punkin followed me around hiding in the leaves that are falling, and inspecting the mulching.
While carrying a load of shatters out back, I saw this huge fungus. The locals call this a chocolate pie fungus. I can’t imagine why!
While Pat was here delivering the shatters, he helped lift the Stand-uppity garden he made for me so I could slide bricks under the legs. During the heavy rains earlier this summer, 2 of the legs started to sink deep in the ground. Now, it is closer to level again. See the cover? Did you ever wonder what they do with all those big campaign posters along the road? If you ask real nice, “they” will gladly dump them at your house when the election is over. All you have to do is find out who “they” are! The posters make great ground covers to kill the grass and weeds over the winter so the place is ready to plant in the spring. They also made a great cover for my Stand-uppity garden to keep it dry over the winter, and keep the planting mix clean.
Answering a question about the mini roses –
And 2 new fall azaleas.
Hope you enjoyed my language lesson!

Thursday, October 22, 2009



First and foremost, let me thank Connie at W. Va. Fur and Root for the award. It is with humility and gratitude that I receive this gift! However, I have no idea how to post it – I assume that is what I am supposed to do – or even how to get it. I am technologically very challenged, you see. I have been given awards before and even changed my whole blog layout from one I really liked to this one in order to be able to post awards and lists of people, blogs I follow and other things… I have even paid for a couple very expensive phone calls to bloggers trying to walk me thru the process. We came to the conclusion – my computer – or my connection – just will not do this. I have a very slow dial up connection. VERY SLOW. Watching a 3 minute youtube might take an hour to load. There are some videos that just simply will not download. I am on the Planning Commission – when I get sent a copy of the zoning ordinance, for example, and I click open – I can go out and cut the grass, go buy groceries, and the screen is still blank when I come back in. I have to beg someone else to print a copy for me. Very humiliating.
So, for those of you who appreciate my little blog – I do thank you. It makes it all worth while. The purpose of the blog is to share a little joy, a little beauty, a smile with anyone who wants to look. I try not to push any political agenda other than Peace or any religious agenda other than Love and Compassion for all – even for those who hate my guts because I do not believe exactly the way they do – or who criticize me because I do not attend their church.
I try to dwell on the things in life that bring peace, not sorrow. I strive to keep in mind how good it is to be able to have the simple things, to be able to DO the simplest of things. I have friends who, when they know I am struggling (I have Lymes Disease) ask me if I’ve got my socks on. That is our measurement for how well I am doing, because one day I only managed to get one sock on – and carried the other around in my pocket incase someone came by – I would have let them help me put it on. But I got everything else on! I was up, on my feet, even though my feet numbered 6 that day, 2 of them with wheels. (Don’tcha love walkers with wheels and seats? And if you have never had to use one, there is your bit of gratitude for the day!) My philosophy is to always look for the bright spot and not dwell in the shadows – unless the sun is too hot and it is 90 degrees!
Today, I dressed myself and managed to do the dishes, feed the cats. The walker is parked somewhere, the cane is still beside my bed, one is in the car… wheelchair is in the barn. It is a good day! A little while ago I heard from my good blogger friend, Philip, in Ontario, that it is snowing at his place. (Tossing Pebbles in the Stream) Now, I have a love/hate relationship with snow. I think it is beautiful, magical… but I live in the South – not the DEEP South, but in Virginia, and on the coast. Snow is rare. OK, maybe not rare, ummm, well, we can go for several years with no snow at all, or we can get a serious snow storm and a couple feet! But, that is rare! As I read his letter, I looked out the window and then at the thermometer – the sun is shining, it is in the low 60s. Heaven must be about this temperature.
It made it up to the lower 70s yesterday. I went out to take a look at the awesome flowers blooming in the yard. We had an “almost frost” here a couple days ago. An “almost frost” means my neighbors got frost, but my trees kept my place safe. That means my neighbors can now use the term Indian Summer, since one has to have a frost, supposedly a killing frost, before one can accurately use that term. One little open area did get a touch of frost, I guess… this mini rose looks a tad bruised around the edges. Wow, in reality, this little rose as about the size of a 50 cent piece. The red mums look faded, but the yellow ones are still bright and cheerful. The true frost reporter is the impatiens. They are still nice as is the Strobilanthes. The fall camellias are really turning on. It is one reason why I stay here. I can’t imagine not having camellias pretty much all winter. This is Ice Angel. The bees are busy getting their last bit of pollen before the cold temps knock them out again. The daisies by Buddha were filled with busy bees and butterflies. See the fall azalea? This azalea is next to the Beauty Berry Bush. The Adirondacks are still out, I will have a sit in one of them later – might even eat lunch out there. While everyone else had frost yesterday, I had a heavy dew. Pretty isn’t it? Even weeds can be pretty in the frost. This one was pretty just with the sunlight and dew. In case you think I am making too much of the sunlight – we had a solid 6 days of rain last week and over the week-end, temps in the 50s to barely 60, and over 3 inches of rain. The sun is very welcome! One other result of all the rain, however, is a plethora of mushrooms. I found this little family while cleaning out my ground level birdbath. Note the violets are in bloom again! The stone is from my back yard in the Poconos. We have no stones here - they are all imports!
So, my gratitude list and my gifts to be shared today are all these pictures and more, the fact that I was able to get outside and take these pictures, that I have a yard considered by many to be an uncontrolled jungle, by others a place of beauty in all seasons. I might mention my gratitude for an amazing camera that helps me to take these great shots – well, those that are great… and the friend that ignored my request for no Christmas presents last year and gave me this Nikon. She said it was embarrassing to watch me drool every time the Nikon commercial came on, and the whimpering broke her heart…

I am grateful for all of you who share your lives with me - your flowers, your puppies, your new kittens... This is Lynn's newest family member - (not yet named - any suggestions?)I am grateful for my little companion, Punkin, who accompanies me on my photo shoots (and everything else outside!) I am grateful for all of you who read my blog – for those of you who comment on the blog as well as those of you who email or phone me. You know this blog is a labor of love – (this post took 3 hours) - love to be shared. And I am grateful for those of you who call (or email) when you haven’t seen or heard from me… and especially for those of you who answer your phones when I have fallen and can’t get back up. It is humiliating to have to call someone when you are sprawled out on the ground, but then I am reminded of my gratitude for my telephone service… and my chiropractor who has been putting things back together (and keeping me out of the wheelchair most of the time) for over 20 years. Thank you Susan!
I am so fortunate to have so many caring friends in my life. I would try to name you all – but I would not know which name to start with… Each friend is special in his or her own special way. I am grateful for you all – you are all gifts!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


This has been an unusual week. The first of the week was good. I have been feeling better (except for the nausea from the Lymes meds), walking better… getting things done, though not as fast as I’d like them to be done – and then on Wednesday, after walking around and taking pictures at the train station, the knee popped. I don’t know quite what happened, maybe another bone spur broke off in there, all I know is, it hurts. Imagine a thorn under your kneecap where there is supposed to be synovial fluid… but there isn’t much fluid there, so the thorn (bone) scrapes around as you move. Now the good thing is (always gotta find something good here) eventually if you keep moving enough (versus sitting on your keester feeling sorry for yourself) you will eventually grind this thorn down to powder and then you won’t notice the pain as it disintegrates. Sooooo, I was back to being reminded of my gratitude list of strange but simple things – I put my own socks on today, all by myself!
It is strange how when we are able bodied we just do not think about how damned lucky we are to be able to do simple things – walk to the refrigerator and get a drink of water, fix a cup of coffee for ourselves, feed the cats… (Which reminds me of why I do not have a dog… When I cannot walk, who is going to take the dog out?)
When Aunt Kathryn broke her wrist, she realized the difficulty of just getting her slacks on and off. Have you ever had to care for someone who could not manage getting to the bathroom themselves? Have you ever been in that predicament? I have. So on my gratitude list I put being able to go to the bathroom by myself. With that in mind, did you ever have to use an outhouse? In the winter? In the rain? In the summer with all the bugs to keep you company? In the middle of the night? What? No electricity? All things we so take for granted. There is nothing like a bum knee to remind one of these things. I remember having my pelvis broken… in 2 places. Now that hurt.
I was talking to a girl last week who had absolutely NOTHING to be grateful for. She had lost her job and had a number of other problems, but could see nothing beyond having lost that job and the anger of it. She kind of barked at me – “Name one thing you are grateful for!” after seeing me hobble into the room where we were meeting. She could see that I was having a hard time, I was in pain. “Go on, just one thing!”
So, I said, “Toilet paper.” She looked at me with shock, disbelief that I had said such a stupid thing, then you could see her mind playing with the concept of life without toilet paper… “Well, OK, yeah, but that’s not what I meant. Look at you. You can barely walk!”
“Well, that is true, but I did walk in here under my own power. My wheelchair is still in the barn gathering dust. But I am still on my feet. And you (she is a nurse) did not have to empty my bedpan. Toilet paper. And the fact that things could be so much worse… what happened to you can be corrected. You have a chance to make things right. I am allergic to metals. I cannot have a knee replacement. My knee can not be made right. But I can learn to live with it and focus on other things.
“If you want to do a negative gratitude list, you can look at the fact that you are not bedridden, you have not lost your family, you are not planning a funeral for any of your children, you are not in jail, you do not have to look for your dinner in a dumpster… Now turn those things around, you can walk, you can dress yourself, you have a roof over your head, you have a family, you have food…”
“Yeah, right, and I have toilet paper.”
Sometimes people just have to have time to think things thru. It is not always easy.

Friday, October 09, 2009


AS YOU can see, I have been posting with pictures of things I call “Gifts” – little surprises, butterflies, flowers, little moments that have stopped me in my tracks and made me smile and wonder at the beauty of it all. Well, on Wednesday, I got another gift, and it was a gift of the best kind. A gift that hugs! On my companion blog, , you can see the entire story. I won’t bore you with the whole thing here. What I will tell you is I got a phone call from our “Station Master” – otherwise known as the President of our tiny corporation “Society for the Preservation of the Onley Train Station” telling me that our local electric co-op was arriving to put in a new pole and hook us up for electricity. We had a volunteer, Tom Gonzalez do the prep work, install the big breaker box and meter box and outside connection wiring. Tom does the wiring for Habitat for Humanity around here… (Isn’t it great that there are so many wonderful people out there? We just have not met them all yet!) Anyway, I digress as usual. So I grabbed my camera, hopped in the van, and drove the half mile to the old train station. The guys were getting their trucks in position, and one guy was already in the bucket ready to go up to prepare the wires on the building for connection. I got off a few shots from the ground, then climbed the steps which another volunteer had fixed and attached to the building (Thanks Pat Morrison, Station Master) and prepared to get a closer shot of the guy clipping the wires. First shot taken, he looked down at me and called me by name! “Hey, how are you?” he asked. So we spoke a few more words to each other as my brain furiously worked to recognize any of the face – and there was not much of that I could see as it was in shadow, he was wearing sunglasses, a hard hat, and I had a feeling that I taught him YEARS ago… I strained to see the name on his jacket, but I could not see it for the bucket and his gear. He reminded me that I had taught him his freshman year in high school and he mentioned another student… my mind went racing back – what was that, 20 years ago? 25? I have lost track of who and when as well as names. I guess that happens if you teach long enough. So when I thought he was not looking, I quietly asked his boss what his name was. Virgil! It was Virgil! I taught only one kid named Virgil, and I will never forget him, but that was a few years ago. Sadly I do not remember any of his art work, but I do remember his personality. Here on the shore, Virgil was what people call “a mess.” Now if you are from away, just hang on tight. Being called “a mess,” especially when accompanied with a smile and a loving tone of voice is a compliment. It denotes someone who has a great sense of humor, is guaranteed to make you smile just by walking in the room, is probably trustworthy, and a lot of fun. He is the kind of kid that is just plain lovable without even trying to be. It is funny how kids expect you to remember them even after 30 years, they’ve grown a beard, lost their hair, gained 100 lbs, have grandchildren… not that that describes Virgil – just sayin’… they expect you to remember them even if they were only in the 2nd grade when you had them. I have no idea if Virgil has any hair or not – he was wearing a hardhat. He does have a beard – and it was a very bright sunny day, I think I was the only one who did not have sunglasses on. I have never gotten the hang of taking a picture thru sunglasses… anyway, Virgil got us all connected. Well, not by himself, of course, he had a delightful crew working with him. Truly, they were a nice bunch of guys. And today, we have electricity! But the best part of all, when he finally had his feet on the ground, I got the BEST hug I have had in a long while. In fact, I got several hugs. Maybe he was as happy to see me as I was to see him!

Thursday, October 01, 2009


Some of you might remember, a few weeks ago I shared a few pictures with you - things I saw that were a bit out of the ordinary. I have always considered these brief moments of beauty and wonder gifts. The first time I remember using that term was one summer day, my aunt and I were returning to our home in the Poconos from grocery shopping, and I decided to take the old back way home, a seldom traveled road winding over the mountains. It was a slow ride, the road was in bad repair, but we didn't mind. As I came around a curve, there in the middle of the road was a red fox stretched out. I assumed he had been hit, and slowed down to stop and move him off the road, sprinkle him with a little sage and tobacco, bless him on his journey to his next life, when he raised his head and looked at me. By then I had stopped. He got up, walked to the side of the road and cut me a look that said, "Gee, can't a fellow catch a little sun anymore without somebody interrupting him?" He sat in the tall grass and weeds at the side of the road, barely visible as I slowly drove by. Then when he was satisfied I was not coming back, he sat down in the middle of the road again, probably to take the rest of his sun bath! All I could say was - "What a gift!"
Since then, I realize any day I see anything is first the gift of sight which I do not take for granted - and if it is something that is not seen everyday or even very often, I consider it a gift. So, I asked my friends to send me their "gifts." Some folk put their pictures on their blogs, some sent me pix to put on mine. So, I will try to find where I stashed them and share them with you. Probably my favorite is this picture of a black bear sent to me by spaceflighter... the bear resides in Maine, the home of this chippie, another favorite animal of mine. We don't have bears or chippie around here. This sunflower is from my neighbor Dorothy Perrucci (Onley Images) who said it was a real gift because they did not plant it. She also sent this sunset picture. Don't you love sunsets? I think this is Lake Gaston?
Another friend (Julie) has a little family of mushrooms that come up each year in this spot. Another neighbor spotted this fungus on my Buddha stump. The bright red only lasted one day.
Another very special gift is to have these pileated woodpeckers living a few hundred feet from my house. Tho I have seen them recently, this picture is from last winter.

One of the joys of living here on the Shore is spotting one of the wild ponies on Assateague. They are not that rare, but they have to be kept behind fences since the public doesn't seem to understand they are wild and apparently can't read the Please DO NOT FEED the ponies signs. Ponies, like many wild animals, can become moochers, and are not afraid of humans, especially humans with snacks. The sad part of this story is then folks who then come along and think they can pet the ponies because the ponies are coming to their cars and they often get bitten when they do not feed them. The hand comes out... the pony opens his mouth... One year I saw a father try to put his kid on a pony's back while Mom took the picture. The kid got tossed and kicked in the head. Of course, it was the pony's fault - sue the park.

This little fellow kept jumping up at my front door. Sorry the shot isn't better - it was thru the plexiglas.
Send me a gift - I will put it on here!