Thursday, April 28, 2011


PROGRESS! Thanks to the generosity of a couple SPOTS members, we have been able to move forward with a little building repair. DSC_0441 The masons came yesterday and started fixing up the brickwork under the building. I was there when one of the men asked if we knew how old these bricks were. I answered – “1885 – 126 years old.” And I must say they are in pretty good shape for antique bricks! The 2 front corners were not looking so great, but the rest of the bricks were pretty good.DSC_1022

At first I thought Daniel was working alone. Then I saw his father, lying down on the job! LOL!DSC_1023

Progress. Now we pray that we get the grant that will allow us to put on a roof.

Coming up next – Finding One’s Purpose.

Friday, April 22, 2011


GOT ALLERGIES? The pollen is so thick you can make a path thru it walking down the sidewalk. It does not photograph well, but I thought I would share these shots of the old van. This is one day’s worth of tree pollen.DSC_1014 DSC_1015 That van is actually teal.

Today the weather has turned cold – well, OK, not really cold, but after a day in the 80s and several in the 70s – um, it is 51 as I type this in the middle of the afternoon. I had dismantled the boys’ warm bed for the summer – got that back out and they gratefully climbed in to toast their little toes. I dare you to use the word spoiled.DSC_0927

Sorry I have not been around much lately, but there is so much to do this time of year – and some of my civic duties are taking up tons of time. I am really tired this time of year, with all the work I have to do, in the house, in the yard, and on the computer. Then there is the issue of breathing all this pollen!

Last night I was exhausted and decided I would go to bed early. Thought I would watch the Big Bang Theory and hit the sack. (Yep, I confess to watching that show, and having a good laugh.) However, some kids from town apparently have gotten hold of some fireworks and have been shooting them off in the field at dusk next to my property. My place, as you have seen, is surrounded by woods… Well, last night they managed to set the woods on fire. My neighbor called the Town cop on duty (they have an emergency number) but apparently he did not have the phone with him and he never did answer the message. Had he responded, it might have prevented 2 fire companies from coming out here and having to put the fire out. No one came out from the sheriff’s department, either. Thank god it was not windy or I might not be sitting here typing these words. So, instead of getting to bed early, I was standing out in the middle of the road talking to the firemen and the kids who claimed it was started by some strange boys in black hoodies that they had never seen before who disappeared into the woods. Right. Yet these were the kids I saw running from the fire, no one else.

The azaleas are so beautiful, even with a dusting of pine pollen. What an amazing time of year. buddha-2DSCN1374 DSCN1412 DSCN0086 SF Pita DSCN2091 DSCN1373

Next, irises!

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Buddha said, All of life is suffering… its just that most of us don’t realize that most of our lives. But as we get older, the moments of suffering seem to get closer together.

There is so much suffering in this world of ours. We rejoice at the moments of calm and peace, for there are those who know so little of it. I know, I seldom let my feelings come out in this blog, but every now and again, I am deeply moved. Often, I write things, then never publish them, trying to keep the blog upbeat and positive, filled with sunshine and flowers. But, every now and then, a cloud passes over the garden and the winds blow cold.

Lately I have been worried about my friend Noriko. If you read my posts, you have read news of her recently. I worry because she has been fighting with cancer for some time, and now Japan is going thru a struggle we here in the states can only just barely comprehend.

But I have also been worried about my cousin, Boo. Revisit Boo at Boo lives in Alabama, and a ripping storm went thru there this week-end, tornadoes, serious damage… And I have not heard from Boo for a little over a month, so I decided it was time to make a phone call. I got her nephew John Duke. What he told me shocked me to my core. No, they had not had any damage from the storm… the same storm that killed at least 14 people when it hit NC yesterday… They were fine… Boo was not up yet. Duh, I forgot the time change, it was not quite 9 AM there. But the shocker was that if Boo was having a good day, or a good moment, they would call me and put her on the phone. Boo had not answered any emails for a while because her dementia is so bad, she can no longer use the computer. The last I heard from her she was still writing music… but maybe that was only in her memory. She talked about going to church, Linda and Duke coming up from Birmingham to take her to the Dr… her pace maker… and the songs that were left in her that she needed to get on paper and on a disk.

Then a little while ago, John Duke called and put Boo on the phone. We talked a little, she asked me what I was up to… I figured putting in my garden was a safe topic. She asked if Hazel was helping me put the garden in. Hazel has been gone since, um, before 1990. I tend to forget when people die. Block it out, I guess. But, ever the gracious Southern Lady, Boo invited me to come down and see her. Stay at her house, we would have such a wonderful time. I told her I would truly love to. And I would… but……….. well, all I can say is I am so grateful to have had Boo in my life. What a joy to known her, to have experienced the joy that she brought to everyone around her. Even in her slightly scrambled phone call, I could feel her love, even if it was love from 20 years ago at that moment… that love never dies.

Yes, there is suffering – perhaps I am feeling it much more than she is right now, knowing she is not able to be on her own, knowing she will not be writing any music today. But I know the world is better for all the joy she has brought to it and all the music she has written, all the people she and her music has touched.

And even tho Boo will never read these words… Boo, I really love you!Cousin Boo

Saturday, April 16, 2011


OK, OK, I HAVE BEEN BUSY. You might have noticed I really haven’t been in touch much this past week or so. Why? Unlike a few friends out west who just got snowed on – again… it has been warm enough here to try to get the yard shaped up a bit and the garden started. The peas are up to the first string (8”) and looking good! DSC_1006 The ‘maters are in the raised bed… a few left to go elsewhere. I just haven’t decided where.DSC_1009 My usual tomato spot is suddenly buried in irises a friend dug up. I will let them bloom out here and then separate them, replant them, or sell some at our plant sale next month.DSC_1005 Have you ever heard of potato growing bags? I hadn’t either, but I am going to give them a try. I’ll try almost anything once. Last year I tried the upside down tomato bags – was not impressed. So, hopefully this will work out better. google potato bags and read about them. Got them started this morning.DSC_1008  Mike came by on Tues and carried the OLD Adirondack chair out to the patio for the summer. It is VERY old and actually came from the Adirondacks over 100 years ago. It is also too heavy for me to carry anymore. So, Mike moves it for me every year. I am so blessed to have so many great friends. And I am learning to actually ask for a favor every now and then. That is the hardest part. But the chairs are ready, the stones have had a new layer of sand in the cracks, and the geraniums are out of the greenhouse already in bloom. Now all we need are the visitors, and I have had a few stop by. You are always welcome if you are in the area.DSC_1011DSC_1010 The chairs sit up on little blocks to keep the legs from rotting. The boys LOVE sleeping in the old chair. It is their favorite, too.DSCN1526 I built the newer one, and the newest is plastic. The kids like that one.

Spring clean up means trimming back the dead branches here and there. The dogwood has just opened – weeks behind my friends in NC. 

The cherry tree is in bloom. The birds will love it in a few months.

Know what these are? Need a hint? They will be delicious on my cereal in a month or so. DSC_1003 The little St Francis garden is filled with violets right now. The coleus are too small yet, the clematis is climbing up the new red frame. See the new Peace rose beside St Fwankie? I bought it in hopes of some Peace in the world, but… well, I am sure you see the news. DSC_1002

Check out this violet. Recognize the black stuff it appears to be growing in? Well, it is under a thistle seed feeder. It is buried in thistle seed hulls. DSC_1001

I saw this out the window this morning. I have 3 pairs of cardinals that live here. I love the spring when they feed each other. I missed the feeding shot, but got this one.DSC_1007

Most of the camellias are finishing up. The bushes are loaded with blooms. DSC_0999 The azaleas are starting. Guess that will be next week’s edition.

Did you know what those little white flowers were? DSC_1004 If you guess right, your prize will be a bowl of them whenever you stop by this summer. The late ones are just thinking about blooming right now.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

from John Fire Lame Deer

John (Fire) Lame Deer

"Before our white brothers arrived to make us civilized men, we didn't have any kind of prison. Because of this, we had no delinquents. Without a prison, there can be no delinquents. We had no locks nor keys and therefore among us there were no thieves. When someone was so poor that he couldn't afford a horse, a tent or a blanket, he would, in that case, receive it all as a gift.

We were too uncivilized to give great importance to private property. We didn't know any kind of money and consequently, the value of a human being was not determined by his wealth.

We had no written laws laid down, no lawyers, no politicians, therefore we were not able to cheat and swindle one another.

We were really in bad shape before the white men arrived and I don't know how to explain how we were able to manage without these fundamental things that (so they tell us) are so necessary for a civilized society."

- John (Fire) Lame Deer

Sioux Lakota - 1903-1976

To answer some questions as they pop into your minds… No, all was not as perfect as that sounds… sure, there were people who were unkind or ‘broke” the rules, who deliberately did wrong. Their punishment was ostracism. They were sent away NEVER to return. In time, bands of these “outlaws” joined together, and some became known as tribes in today’s terminology. Some of those tribes even decided to stop raiding other tribes and settle down and raise families. But even so, the original person who was kicked out, never returned to the home tribe or clan. These groups, or bands, were often used by the colonists to help destroy the people living in the area they wanted to use. They were easily bribed, often by alcohol, which was listed on import logs as “Indian control.”

If you can find some of the books written by native people, not people pretending to be Indians or to have an Indian spirit telling them things, the true histories are amazing.

Monday, April 11, 2011

From a FRIEND about her FRIEND by her FRIEND

'It will remind you of the laughs ...'

Mar 27, 2011 

It is a bit bigger than a basketball, this weathered, once white and blue wooden ball that was sold to me as a genuine Confederate cannonball.

Several years ago, a vendor at the flea market in Salisbury was offering it for $100. Cheap, he said, for such a rare Civil War artifact.

Well, I never heard of wooden cannonballs. The vendor said it was the material of choice when the Confederates had exhausted their supply of the real-deal solid iron ones.

While I was wrangling with this unlikely story, my friend, Kathy Day, became involved in my transaction. While the vendor insisted it was an authentic artifact of war, I sure had my doubts and Cathy, as surprised as I on hearing that this heavy, really heavy and dense wooden ball was once fired from a cannon, encourage me to buy it.

But $100 for a wooden ball of very doubtful provenance? About a half-hour into the debate, Kathy had me laughing with her suggestions on what to do with it once purchased. By the end of our laughing, I felt like I had gotten $100 worth of good times out of it.

"Buy it and put it in your living room and every time you see it, it will remind you of the laughs we had about it," she said.

So for the discounted price of $90, I was the owner of an expensive piece of woodstove fuel or a neat piece of American history.

The years have passed, and every time I look at that darn heavy ball, I find myself smiling or even laughing.

Over the years, I have bought a number of items from Cathy who dealt in upscale jewelry, silver, jade and interesting antiques. Each purchase took all my energy to negotiate a deal, and sometimes, as the late Salisbury historian Dick Cooper told me, "the juice ain't worth the squeezin'." Yet, buy or not, I did get more than my share of laughter out of witty haggling with the flea market queen.

She was a loyal follower of my work and a regular reader of this column. She was also a real friend. I have known Kathy and her husband, Michael, for years, and both certainly have added color, flair and substance to my life.

And then, just a weekend ago, Michael told me Kathy had died.

Cancer, which had claimed her good, antique-loving friend, Patsy Lowe, a few years ago, also claimed Cathy.

It all happened so fast. A pain in the back was diagnosed as a symptom of cancer, a diagnosis that revealed that she was consumed by it.

In days, she was gone.

To each life, if we are lucky, there comes a Kathy Day. In the heavenly constellations of our lives, there are winking, delicate, stars of wonderful, individual friendships and personalities of people that make life great to live.

Kathy was a champion of life and liberty, supporting civil rights, women's rights, gay rights and freedom. Some may remember her as feisty, a formidable opponent on a variety of hot-button social and political issues, a pit bull without lipstick. She was the kind of person the world always has room for and so desperately needs, the kind of person who wanted all to be equal and live in harmony.

A couple of years ago, a kitten crawled under the body of a truck at the flea market and, as kittens are known to do, was afraid to come down from the undercarriage of the vehicle. There were four of us under the truck -- three men and Cathy. Having the smaller arm, she was able to reach up and over the rear axle and grab the furry, scared animal. That's just the kind of person she was, willing to help, decorum aside.

Someday, we will all disappear from this earth. Some will be gone, gone forever and some will continue to live through the lives of friends and family.

Her passing has once again made me take a closer look at the people who have come into my life and to value them. My friend, Judge Lloyd "Hot Dog" Simpkins, told me that love and laughter are the most important virtues of life. He is, of course, right. I try to surround myself with people who simply love humor and who love to laugh.

Kathy Day was someone who always made me smile and laugh. And she was right, too, that every time I look at the wooden "cannon ball," I would have a great time remembering the fun experience she and I had that went with buying it.

When Michael told my of his loss, our loss, he ended our conversation with, "Think nice things about her."

Not to worry, Michael.

Within her soul were the elements of blue skies, soft snow, thunderstorms, warm rain, butterflies, whispering wind and love.

I will think nice things about her.

I will always think of her kindness, wit, humor, courage and compassion.