LIFE'S BETTER IN THE MOUNTAINS

Monday, January 26, 2015

Roadside Art


Old cast iron bathtubs are a common sight in yards in our county.  Even old toilet bowls and tractor tires are sometimes filled with dirt and used as planters.  There is often one or more cement pieces;  the frogs under the umbrella, the duck with her ducklings, and the ubiquitous Snow White and the Dwarfs.  We usually pass by these pieces of "art" without giving them a second glance.

But every now and then we come across something unique.  Something really creative and fun.  Such was the sight as we drove along the East Fork River and came upon an abandoned old truck by the roadside.  Imagine our surprise to find a large (apparently cement) black bear in the driver's seat.



The bear keeps his eyes on the road.


 A closer look showed a wild boar peeping out from under the front fender.

 There seems a bit of wash problem from recent rains.


I must admit I love seeing roadside art.  Some of it is tasteful but most of it is tacky.  But keep in mind it's all in the eyes of the beholder after all.

As Albert Einstein said, "Art is characterized by an irresistible urge in the creative artist."

I often wonder exactly what creative urge led some folks to put so many things in their yards.

Friday, January 23, 2015

We Love Lucy



We've had a whirlwind week.  Three gorgeous warm and sunny days.  Such a welcome January respite.  Today winter returned like a lover scorned, slapping us with freezing rain and wind.  Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.

Lucy does not like rain at all.  And especially not the freezing rain and wind.  We stick her towels in the dryer to warm and tumble while she is out.  She seems to love the warm towel placed over her back as we dry her thick coat.

She likes to sleep near the fireplace either in her bed or on the floor.  She still loves to use shoes for a pillow.

It's even better when there is a soft foot to lie on.




 But if the footrest is up, shoes still make a nice pillow.
Don't worry Dad.  I'm guarding your shoes for you.




 Her favorite place is still with her head on the new bee pillow.


We welcomed the days of sunshine especially in view of the dismal Packer loss last Sunday.  Oh, the agony to have played a better game and to have lost in the end.  I have no interest in the Super Bowl this year, since my two least favorite teams are playing.  But hey..."news" reporters...  Enough already about deflated footballs.  And for heaven's sake, stop calling it "deflate-gate."  Really.

Today's quote comes at an appropriate time for our Congress.  I wish they would heed these words:

"The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others."
Albert Schweitzer    
HAVE A MOST WONDERFUL WEEKEND, EVERYONE!

HELP OTHERS

 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Honor the Man and His Legacy


Today we honor Martin Luther King and his legacy.  And some of his dreams still awaiting fulfillment.






 This marker is in a church cemetery here.
It marks a separate section of the cemetery set aside for slaves.



" The time is always right to do what is right."
Martin Luther King

Friday, January 16, 2015

We Love Lucy


December brought several packages to our house.  One box was large.  From a good friend in Milwaukee.  We put the box on the floor and opened it.  There were several gifts inside.  As usual, Lucy watched attentively as we opened the box.  In addition to the wrapped gifts, there was a small pillow that seemed almost an afterthought to protect the other packages.  The pillow had bees on it.  The instant Lucy saw the pillow, she began to wag her tail and do a bow.  She just knew that pillow was for her.

She couldn't take her eyes (and nose) off the pillow.  My husband and I looked at one another.  Was the pillow meant for us?  Or was it meant for Lucy?  Meanwhile Lucy looked lovingly at the pillow and then pleadingly at us.  We gave in.  The pillow would be Lucy's.

Lucy gently carried the pillow to her bed beside the fireplace.  She pushed it against the window and put her head on it.  She uses the pillow as a chin rest when she is looking out at the birds.  She rests her head on it when she snoozes.  Lucy loves that pillow more than any other gift she has received.

Ooh.  This is SO comfy




 Just perfect for looking out the window.

We let our friend know that Lucy had taken possession of the pillow and sent her some photographs.  She loved the pictures and is delighted that she made Lucy so happy.  Had we known Lucy would love such a pillow, we would have gotten her one long ago.  (Thank goodness the pillow has a zippered removable cover so I can wash it.)  Our friend did not tell us whether or not the pillow was meant for Lucy, but she is glad Lucy is happy with it.

Our thoughts still go out to the people of France with admiration for the way they have reacted to the tragedy there.

Thomas Jefferson's quote from so many years ago is appropriate still:
"Our future depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost."



HAVE A WONDERFUL AND SAFE WEEKEND, EVERYONE!




 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Winter Sky


We had bright sunshine during last week's chilly weather.  Sometimes the clouds looked like massive contrails from giant jets.

Taken from our deck




 Proof of the saying, 
"If God is not a Tar Heel, why is the sky Carolina blue?"


Today the sun is obscured by clouds, rain, and fog.  At least for now the temperatures are above freezing but that may change later in the week.  We are prepared for the potential icy roads with a stocked larder and plenty of propane to run the generator.  But we do hope the rain stops before the next cold front comes in.

Here's hoping the sun soon returns to shine on all of us.  Even on the bitter Cowboy fans who mistakenly believe the Packers stole the game from them.


Friday, January 9, 2015

We Love Lucy


Our Lucy is an observer.  She watches carefully when we are completing tasks or putting something together.  It's as if she is trying to learn how to do it herself.  She is always interested in watching us take the ornaments off the tree and pack them away.

My husband was taking the very last of the ornaments down.



Hey Dad.  Are you sure that is the right box?




 Lucy, you be careful around those ornaments.
You talking to me, Mom?  I'm always careful.




 Just look at that sweet little praying cherub.
I'm a cherub too, aren't I?
I just don't have any wings.





 And you gotta love an angel that dresses up for Christmas


And today I think I caught the last ornament hangar in my vacuum cleaner.  What a nuisance. Catching something like that means stopping and removing the rollers to get out the metal.  Happens several times every Christmas.  At least we no longer have a real tree with falling needles to vacuum.

Our weather has been very chilly this week, with temperatures well below normal.  Some days we did not get out of the 20s.  You will notice that I did not use the word "cold."  That's in deference to our daughter who went to work Monday with the Milwaukee temperature at MINUS 8 degrees.  And to add insult to injury, they have had more snow.  And our son and daughter-in-law in Indianapolis where the temperature did not get much above single digits.  For us the sun has been shining every day and that makes all the difference.

Our quote for the day is often attributed to Voltaire.  In truth it was made by Evelyn Beatrice Hall in a biography of Voltaire.

"I do not approve of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it."



Je suis Charlie


 



Monday, January 5, 2015

Demise of Favorite Bird Box


What a nice holiday we had.  We still have a few remaining decorations to put away but that is one great perk about being retired.  It doesn't all have to get done in one weekend.

We have several bird houses and bird boxes scattered in the trees.  A few are merely decorative but most of them provide nesting boxes for our birds.  There is one box that has always been my personal favorite and the favorite of many of our songbirds.  It has a rather strange shape with wood and metal and the birds seem to love it.


A Tufted Titmouse getting the nest ready







 Another year, another titmouse



 A White-breasted Nuthatch



 Yet another titmouse



 And another nuthatch



Last week, we awakened to a sad sight.  A large section of the bird box was missing.  I think I know who the villains were.  We have lots of flying squirrels in our trees and occasionally they will enlarge the openings of bird houses and take them over.  I strongly suspect they tried to enlarge this one and broke out the panel.  It did not come loose in a single piece but rather broke into several splintered sections.




Beyond repair, and useless to everyone now, the box swings sadly.  Such a shame to see my favorite bird box so damaged.



We took the box down and it was completely empty as we suspected.  It was unique and I doubt we will find another just like it.  But I do hope we can find one the birds like as well.