Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Winter Flowers in the Snow

All day Monday, the rain poured down in buckets.  Inch after inch left runoffs, standing water in roads, and forced the rivers out of their banks.  Eight roads in our county were closed because of the flooding.

Two Golden Retrievers went through a lot of towels, coming back inside after the rainy trips out.  It was still raining when I went to bed on Monday night.  Imagine my surprise to awaken Tuesday morning to see everything coated white.

Snow dusted one of our favorite winter-blooming plants.  This mahonia is called "Winter Sun" or "Midnight Sun."  Bright yellow blossoms fill the plant this year and we enjoy watching the flowers and then the berries on this lovely plant.  The snow will not cause a problem because temperatures did not stay below freezing for very long.

These little yellow blossoms will turn into berries soon.

The snow clung to the trees with a light covering on the ground.  Fortunately the snow did not affect the roadways for long and with rising temperatures the snow was gone by evening.

Now THAT is the kind of winter snow we expect here during our mild winters.  Definitely not the 10-12-inch snows like the ones we have had during the past two winters.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Staying on the Learning Curve

Had you asked me anything about John Brown last month, I could have given the answer quickly:
  1. He was an abolishionist
  2. He led a raid on Harpers Ferry before the Civil War
  3. He was hanged
  4. His body lies a'mouldering in the grave
That extensive level of knowledge comes from one of the few times I ever gave John Brown a thought.  The information is recalled from my high school American History class.  Our textbook devoted two whole paragraphs to John Brown and the raid on Harpers Ferry.  It was accompanied by a sketch of the armory at Harpers Ferry.  We studied little about the raid and its real implications and did not touch at all on the man himself.

So what have I learned about John Brown since last month?  Tons.  For instance:
  • The Harpers Ferry raid was not the first incident in which John Brown killed innocent people.  He already had a long history of violent acts in Kansas.  He was a zealot who believed that any actions taken to free the slaves was justified by God.  He met with escaped slave, orator and writer Frederick Douglass but Douglass refused to participate in his activities.
  • Robert E. Lee, then a Colonel in the U.S. Army, led the sucessful attack on the armory where John Brown, his men, and his hostages were sequestered.  His second in command was Lt. J.E.B. Stuart.  Major Thomas Jackson was among the soldiers fighting John Brown.  Major Jackson would later be known as "Stonewall" Jackson.
  • John Brown sustained significant injury during the attack but survived.  He orated eloquently at his trial and many people had great respect for his bravery during his confinement in jail, his trial, and most especially during his hanging.
  • Henry David Thoreau  gave an oration on Brown's behalf,  It was later published as "A Plea for Captain John Brown."
  • Louisa May Alcott wrote of John Brown, "Living he made life beautiful - Dying, made death devine."
  • Herman Melville, on the other hand, called John Brown "The Meteor of War."
  • John Wilkes Booth stood among the citizens watching the hanging of John Brown.
How did I come to know all this (and MUCH more) about John Brown?  I read Midnight Rising, written by Tony Horwitz.  I am a lover of history so I might be a bit prejudiced but I truly enjoyed this book.  Thoroughly researched and annotated, the book flows as easily as a novel.

I have listed only a few points but unless you are a history professor or buff it is a certainty that you will learn a great deal about the Harpers Ferry raid and what it meant and how it affected our nation's history.

I have often repeated that one of the very best things about retirement is having the time to read.  At a given time I usually have three books in process; a novel, a biography, and a non-fiction book.  When I started reading Midnight Rising I did not read anything from the other two books in process.

Next up?  In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson.  My husband enjoyed this story about the American Ambassador to Hitler's Germany in 1933.  And on the shelf waiting a turn is LOST IN SHANGRI-LA BY Mitchell Zuckoff.  Another true story about WWII, this book details an amazing rescue mission in the Pacific.

I hope you can find some time to read something that expands your knowledge about our country.  I think it was Mahatma Gandhi who said, "Live as if you will die tomorrow.  Learn as if you were to live forever."

Friday, November 25, 2011

Fridays are Golden

"Best turkey I ever ate," said my husband.  And these words cannot be taken lightly since there are few people on our planet who love turkey more than he does.  Several readers were interested in the outcome of my first brined turkey.  By his statement you already know that my husband thought it was most delicious.

He has a wonderfully short memory of the Desi/Lucy circumstances the day before.  Typical for us, we had a few miss-steps along the way.  The first thing I did was to allow my husband to order and pick up the turkey.  Remember I told you how much he loves turkey.  He came home with a sixteen-pound bird.  For the two of us.

It all started out so well.  I made the brine and then put the turkey inside a special brining bag.  I got out the roasting pan.  I'm usually a very perceptive person, but it never once occurred to me that the turkey/brine-filled bag would not exactly fit in the roasting pan.  So I'm standing there with six inches of fluid hanging over all sides of the roaster.  Fearing that the bag might break, I called my husband to help.  "Get out the pasta pot,"  I said, "we can't use the roaster because it isn't deep enough to hold it all."  (I don't know if it's really a pasta pot, but it's that large pot you use to make tons of soup or to boil pasta.)  Just a quick eyeballing of the pot next to the now mammoth bag informed us the turkey was not going to fit.  And that is the biggest deep pot we have.  What to do?  In order to shorten this episode, I will tell you that we finally found success with a utility pail.

The pail has never been used except to hold the instructions and supplies needed to de-skunk dogs.  For many reasons I was glad we had not needed to use any.  So we decided that we would put the turkey in the pail.  Now, we did not come to his conclusion quickly.  We took turns holding the bag that was overflowing the sides of the roaster.  I would go through the house trying to find something useful.  Then I would come back to turkey sentry duty while my husband searched for something useful.  I'm not sure which one of us finally came up with the utility pail.  We both thought it weird putting the Thanksgiving turkey in a utility pail.  But, we reasoned, it was clean and had not been used.  So we took out the peroxide, soap, and other de-skunking supplies and washed the pail.  Regardless of our feelings about the pail, we had no other options.

We plopped the brining bag filled with solution and turkey into the clean 12-liter (3.17 gallon) pail.  Perfect!  Then we looked at each other and laughed.  We both said it at the same time. "How are we going to get this thing in the fridge?"  After removing and re-arranging some shelves, we put the pail in the fridge and were actually able to close the door.

The Golden Girls were quite confused despite the fact that they are familiar with our Desi/Lucy predicaments.  They didn't know whether to stay by the one guarding the turkey or to run up and down the stairs with the one trying to find a suitable receptacle.  They were quite happy when the turkey was finally in the fridge and the kitchen was back to normal.

The Thanksgiving Bird in a Bucket.

I've already told you my husband's reaction to the finished product.  As for me?  We always have a fresh turkey and I always put herbed butter between the skin and the meat.  So our turkeys are always quite moist and tender.  I have to admit that this one was more tender and wonderfully flavorful.  But I have to wonder just how tender the turkey needs to be.  Isn't a nine almost as good as a ten?

Will we do it again?  ABSOLUTELY!  After we went through that big learning curve, we aren't about to make this a one-shot deal.  Truthfully, we will purchase all the supplies we need.  The next time won't be nearly as funny, but will run quite smoothly.  Like so many other things, once you know how it is easy.  I hope.

You no doubt came to this post to see the Golden Girls.  They did not get any special treatment on Thanksgiving Day.  No turkey, no dressing, no gravy or potatoes.  Just the constant attention to which they feel entitled.

 You can't blame tryptophan for this nap.

 Lucy still using Ellie for a pillow.

 And two dogs stretched out on one bed.

I do hope Thanksgiving Day went smoothly for everyone.  And that you have leftovers to enjoy.  The weather here has been perfect these past few days and now we are looking forward to the Christmas season.  Which will be here about the time we finish eating the rest of the turkey.

Our quote today comes from John Fitzgerald Kennedy:
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

We're Tacky at Thanksgiving As Well

You already know that we have some tacky Halloween decorations.  Actually I don't think there is such a thing as a Halloween decoration that isn't tacky.  We are a bit more tasteful at Thanksgiving but we still have plenty of tacky.  Now if only I could find a fiber optic turkey...

Our very large Tacky Turkey greets guests in the foyer.

 Our flag looks as if it came from a child's coloring book.  It will surely wave furiously today and tomorrow since we are having some really strong wind.

 On the other hand, I don't think our Thanksgiving wreath is tacky at all.

I am brining the turkey this year.  I had no idea it was this time-consuming.  Mix the brine, boil it, let it cool then refrigerate.  When it's cold add ice water and apple juice and pour over the fresh turkey and let it brine for 24-36 hours.  We'll have the usual side dishes and dessert.  I'm looking forward to finding out for myself if the brined turkey is better.

Whatever you are doing and wherever you are going:


Monday, November 21, 2011

Another Short Trip

There are many places in and around our county that call us to visit often.  One such place is the North Carolina Arboretum in nearby Buncombe County.  Well known throughout western NC, the Arboretum is home to a wonderful display of Bonsai trees.  During our most recent visit we saw that most of the deciduous trees had already lost their leaves.  My favorite Bonsai displays are the ones that mimic the flora in various places in the mountains.

This one represents the trees on Mount Mitchell, the highest peak East of the Rocky Mountains.

 This is a Trident Maple.  A few colored leaves remain but the little tree is mostly bare.

 In the summer, this Roan Mountain Bonsai is filled with gorgeous rhododendron blossoms.

We lamented the fact that it was so late in the fall that none of the bonsai exhibits were in bloom.  The day was absolutely gorgeous with bright sunshine and streams of clouds in the blue sky.  (Yes, Carolina blue sky.)  It was so nice that we passed on the greenhouse, preferring to be out in the wonderful weather.  The day following our trip, the Asheville newspaper had an article about all the bonsai that were in full bloom in the greenhouse.

Art work and water features are all along the paths at the Arboretum.  There is one sculpture that pulls me toward it like a magnet every time we visit.  The bronze is more than twelve feet tall and I love every inch of it.  I have taken dozens of photographs of this lovely piece of art.

Wonderfully titled, "Oh Great Spirit"

 A closer look at the face.  You might notice that behind the sculpture on this side the trees have leaves.  On the other side the trees were bare.  It's about the sunshine.

Much ado is made in mountain counties about whether or not one is "native" or a "transplant," the latter being a rather derogatory term for someone who doesn't understand mountain ways.  There are even automobile tags that read NATIVE.  I am always tempted to carry a photograph of this sculpture and show it to the next person who feel compelled to tell me he or she is native.  I will show him or her this photograph and say, "Goodness, you don't LOOK Cherokee!"

I grew up in Watauga County in higher mountains than Transylvania with more rugged country roads and harsh winters.  But since I moved to Transylvania County five years ago the residents do not consider me a native.

Author Vicki Lane (here) wrote spot-on about how the locals view newcomers.  She included the anecdote in one of her Elizabeth Goodweather books.  (here)  She has lived in a nearby mountain county for many years.  Her son was born here.  Someone once mentioned that Vicki was not a native and she replied that her son was born here so at least he is a native.  The response she got was, "Cat might have kittens in the oven but it don't make'em biscuits."

One of my friends has a typical New York accent.  We were having lunch and someone asked her, "You ain't from around here are you?"  My friend replied, "Well I wasn't born here but I got here as quick as I could."

Very near the Arboretum is the Asheville Farmer's Market.  Several warehouse buildings chock full of fresh produce, jams and jellies, nuts, etc.  It's almost a requirement that you visit there if you are in the vicinity.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fridays are Golden

We've had a great week around here.  The weather has been quite variable, as it often is in late autumn in the mountains.  We have had some sunny days and we always  take advantage of them.  In fact, one of our primary reasons for retiring here had to do with the weather.

Ellie runs free on a recent outing.

 Our Lucy is a very "needy" dog.  She will often lie on the wood floor and thwock her tail for attention.  And yes, she wants you to come to her rather than for her to get up and come to you.  If the tail thwock does not get results, she comes over to my husband's chair and puts her sweet head on the arm of the chair.  That works every time.

It's pretty hard to ignore that pleading face.

Lucy prefers to play on her own terms.  She often signals that by picking up an old rubber tug the girls love so much.  She brings the tug to you and quickly runs away when you reach out your hand.  She thinks that is a great game.

Come on, Dad.  Try to catch me!

 When Lucy tires of the game she takes the tug with her, usually to her bed.

If I don't bring this with me they might just throw it again.

Time is flying, isn't it?  Thanksgiving is next week.  After that the Christmas season will really ramp up.  I love Christmas in a big city.  So exciting, so much fun, and so many things to enjoy.  But I have to admit, I now prefer Christmas in a small town.

Regular readers know how much I love our small town newspaper.  We eagerly wait for the publication on Mondays and Thursdays.  The paper does not have comics, but our "Letters to the Editor" section rivals any comic pages for giving me a laugh.  The sports pages cover only the local college, high school and elementary school sports.  (For instance you would never know that the Green Bay Packers are still undefeated if you relied on our local paper.)

Small towns in the North Carolina mountains still have Christmas parades.  They are not Holiday parades.  Only the larger towns have Holiday Parades.  Nearby Asheville has a Holiday Tree.  A photograph in their newspaper today gives the caption that the man is stringing the Christmas lights on the Holiday Tree.  You figure.

Our neighoring town of Rosman (smaller even than Brevard) had a newspaper article about their upcoming parade.  I found it amusing.  Here it is:

The Rosman Christmas Parade will be held on Sunday, December 4, at 2:00 p.m.  Line-up and registration will begin at 1:15 at Rosman Elementary School.  Parade rules are the same as previous years:
1.)   No ATVs
2.)  No one dressed in a Santa Suit
3.)  Candy must be thrown out of the roadway for the safety of everyone.

I love the simplicity of the parade rules.  Why add all the political rhetoric?  Just keep it simple and easy to understand.  I think we all should look at our own lives and try to simplify things this holiday season.  As someone said, "In a hundred years it won't matter.  It hardly matters now."


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

When you Stop to Think, Don't Forget to Start Again

Sometimes your thoughts are so random and disorderly you have to pause to collect them.  That is fine although if you are a candidate for President of the United States it may be perceived quite differently, especially if you ramble after the pause.

I have no idea where I got this.  I don't even know how it relates to this post.

Today my mind is swirling.

I got an email from a legal team (or a spammer) telling me I was eligible to join a class action lawsuit against Netflix and Wal-Mart.  The email contained inclusive dates of my Netflix subscription.  [Yes, I was one of those who canceled.]  I know that my address is traded in data base sales, but I have to wonder who had my email address?  And how did the "lawyers are us" firm know the exact dates of my Netflix subscription?

I got an email (again) from Newsweek offering me a 90% discount if I would just come back.  You see?  They miss me!  A fifteen-year subscriber to the magazine, I canceled my subscription the instant I heard they were hiring Karl Rove to write columns for them during the election.  That was several years ago and my email address has changed at least four times since then.  So how did Newsweek get my email address?

Since I told you I was rambling, I want to ask a question related to the recent allegations of sex abuse against a prominent former defensive coach in Pennsylvania.  I have listened to far more rhetoric than I wanted.  I have listened to former jocks tell me I just don't understand the relationship between a coach and his players; that I don't know that"what goes on in the locker room, STAYS in the locker room."  I have listened to alumni explain that the head coach did what he was legally obligated to do.  I've been told that the eye-witness was a grad student coach and had a close relationship with the abuser.  I've been told that there is no way I could predict what might have happened were I the witness to such an incident.  I have listened to it all.  I freely admit that there are facts that have not been given to us.

Oh, I promised a question after this ramble.  Here it is:
However you may feel about this entire incident and the circumstances around it, would you feel any different had the victim been a ten-year-old little GIRL???

Another question:  Do you think it would have been handled differently by the parties involved had the victim been a ten-year-old little GIRL???

Monday, November 14, 2011

We Honor Their Memories

Once again I will reprise this story about two marvelous people.  There is some new information at the conclusion.

They met on a blind date and took an instant liking to each other. Much of their courtship consisted of hiking in the mountains of western North Carolina. She was three years his senior, a fact that brought many laughs in years to come. They were married in 1949.

He became a lawyer. A lover of animal, she became a veterinarian, rather unusual for her time. Her continued quest for knowledge led her to take courses in forestry, icythyology, and she loved and studied all things living. She would later give up her veterninary practice to take college-level science courses full time.

The lived in Montana and in New York, but their passion was for western North Carolina where they always intended to retire. The couple were true lovers of the outdoors. When their children grew up they traveled extensively, hiking some of the most rugged mountains in the world. They always stayed in hostels or inexpensive lodging because, as he said, "You meet so many more interesting people that way."

When they were in their 50s he hiked the entire Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia. She joined him for parts of the hike and they celebrated with champagne at the end of the trail. Other hikers were delighted with her ability to identify every tree, every bush, and every flower along the trail.

In 1990 they moved to the North Carolina mountains they loved so much.

Both photographs from the Transylvania Times

She was an avid gardener and an award-winning quilter. Their passion was hiking, especially the lesser known trails in Pisgah National Forest. They were stewards of the land, purchasing land in their community and donating it to be a nature preserve.

After 58 years of marriage they were deeply committed to one another. The continued to hike together...she in her 80s and he almost 80. They hiked at least once a week. If the sun came up, they went hiking.

Their last Christas card.

On October 21, 2007 they went for a hike in Pisgah National Forest. Their son who lived out of State was concerned when he didn't hear from them. He contacted neighbors who also were concerned that they had not returned. The son called the local police.

The car was found near a trail head here in Transylvania County. On November 9, 2007, her body was found near the trail. Telephone records showed that she had made a "911" call from her cell phone on October 21 but the signal was insufficient to relay beyond the tower. Their bank card was used in nearby Tennessee.

Irene Bryant had died of blunt force trauma to the head. Her husband John was still missing.

In February 2008 the remains of John Bryant were discovered near a forest service road in upstate Georgia. He had been shot in the head.

Evidence links the senseless killing of this wonderful and devoted couple to Gary Michael Hilton. Hilton pleaded guilty to an equally senseless murder of 24-year-old Meredith Emerson in Georgia. Under the terms of a plea bargain he was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 30 years.  He was tried in Florida for the murder of Cheryl Dunlap, a 46-year-old nurse.  He was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death.
[Update:   Hilton was extradited to Federal court in Asheville, NC last summer and charged with murder, robbery, and kidnapping in the cases of John and Irene Bryant. He entered pleas of "not guilty" on all counts and will be tried for these crimes in early 2012.]

But this post is not about Gary Michael Hilton. It's not even about justice. There is no justice here. There can be no justice for such heinous actions. This post is about two of my heroes...John and Irene Bryant.

They left behind a legacy of love. Love for each other, their children, their fellow man, and the future. Love of nature, love of the outdoors, and love of these wonderful North Carolina mountains. They are together once again and after four years we still grieve for them. They left the world better than they found it. Let's all take a lesson from John and Irene Bryant. Live your life to the fullest and give back to nature and to humankind.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fridays are Golden

It was a sunny, windy and brisk day.  Perfect weather for Golden Retrievers to run free, so off to the lake we went.  Our community has four lakes so we always have new adventures.  The dogs run and run, smiling all the while.

The wind is blowing Lucy's hair and she loves it.  Ellie prefers to have the wind in her face.

 Even the hair on Ellie's ears is blowing in the wind.

 Lucy abruptly heads down to the water.  She knows she is not allowed to jump in so she puts her paws as close to the water's edge as she dares.  What has caught her attention?

 Canada Geese!  Every time one of them honks, Lucy becomes stiff as a board, raising her tail higher each time.  You can see the ripples on this usually calm lake.  It was that windy.

 So what do they do afterwards?  Once again Lucy uses Ellie for a pillow.  She gazes out as if recalling the fun day at the lake.  Or perhaps she is admiring her reflection in the glass.

 "The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" brought the signing of the Armistice that marked the end of World War I in 1918.

So today (which is the eleventh year as well), we honor our veterans of all wars.  No matter what you believe or how you feel about the wars we are fighting today, you must honor the ones both living and dead who have fought in our armed forces.

In case you are wondering:  there are fifty days remaining in 2011.  If that doesn't motivate you I don't know what will.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

These Turkeys are Already Thankful

Wild turkeys live amongst us in our community.  And this year seems to have been a very successful breeding year for them.  In the late summer we saw large flocks of hens and poults together wandering through our woods.  Now that the poults have grown up, we see fewer large flocks but still a lot of turkeys.  They are pretty much indifferent to our cars and it is not uncommon to find a car stopped in the road waiting for the turkeys to cross.

One of the turkeys prepares to cross the road in front of us.

 The other one soon follows.

 This one does a turkey trot on the way.

These turkeys will not be Thanksgiving dinner for anyone and I think they are already thankful for that.  A vegan friend visited us and remarked on the beautiful turkeys we saw.  I knew she was silently thinking, "How can she eat such a beautiful intelligent bird?"  I have a confession to make.  I have been in the midst of Thanksgiving dinner only to look out and see a wild turkey or two.  I was doubly thankful for the turkey in the yard and the one on my table.  We buy a fresh organic turkey every year, from a local farmer who raises them with compassion.  They live a comfortable life.  (Well, up until the time they are slaughtered.)  Thanksgiving dinner is without a doubt my favorite meal of the year.  And I am thankful for the turkey that makes it possible. 

Can you stand another couple of photographs of the Bass Pond?  The day was so calm and beautiful that the pond was like a mirror reflecting the opposite shore.

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Visit to the Bass Pond

Regular readers know that we often visit the Biltmore Estate in Asheville.  Because we go often, we usually focus on one area.  For our visit last week, we decided to take the easy hike (more like a stroll) down to the Bass Pond.  Of course, we had to stop in the garden to see the mums so beautifully planted.

A glimpse through the gate gives a hint of what's in store.

 A profusion of mums in all different colors.

 The cypress knees look like a scene from a Tolkien novel.

 The water is calm and lovely.

 Some trees are bare but some color remains.

 Even the spillway is a work of art.

The arched bridge is also a work of art.

There were dozens of places one could have stopped and just sat, drinking in the color and the beauty of this magnificent and peaceful place.  We are indeed fortunate to have access to this wonderful place in all seasons.

Every visit to the estate brings the question of where we will have lunch.  In spite of the really great places to eat, we always wind up at the same location every time.  Where is that?  The Dairy Bar, of course.  Fresh ice cream made on the grounds.  It hardly gets any better than that.

Just a note about football and the Green Bay Packers.  They remain undefeated although Sunday's game gave us a bit of a fright.  Quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw touchdown passes to four different receivers and completed 21 of 26 passes during the game.  Right now there is not a better quarterback in the NFL.  We have nearly forgotten the previous Packer quarterback...Brett something or other.  [A note to Brett:  We're just fine if you go into the Football Hall of Fame with your #4 Viking jersey.]

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fridays are Golden

This has been a rather strange week here.  On several days we woke up to clouds, fog, and frost only to have the sun shining brightly and warming things up for the afternoon.  The leaves are stripped bare around here.  In Asheville at the arboretum on Thursday we saw plenty of color remaining.  That is a wonderful feature about our mountains.  A change in elevation and a change in sun exposure can make for very different surroundings.  And we love it all.

Ellie and Lucy lead rather normal lives that don't vary a lot from day to day.  A good romp, plenty of attention, regular feeding, and plenty of sleep make for good days for them.

Two dogs running lickedy split.

 Ellie checking out the sights.

 Lucy checking out the smells.

 Ellie checking out for a nap.

 Lucy checking out for a nap.

Our Friday quote comes from Marcus Aurelius:

We ought to do good to others as simply as a horse runs, or a bee makes honey, or a vine bears grapes season after season without thinking of the grapes it has borne.

So make it a habit to try to do good to others for no reason other than it is the right thing to do.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pumpkin People and Mountain Moonshine Update

They usually appear much sooner.  Last year they were vandalized.  So I feared the Pumpkin People would not make their presence known this year.  Fortunately I was wrong.  They are back, still waving at folks passing by on US 276.

 A never-ending smile must be difficult to maintain.

 Not to mention a hand held in a perpetual wave.

Brevard is the county seat of Transylvania County.  Last week's District Court session included an appearance by "Uncle Buck," charged with selling non-tax-paid alcohol (called moonshine, or 'shine around these parts).  Some of the charges against Uncle Buck were dismissed.  He pleaded guilty to three counts of posessing and selling non-tax-paid alcohol, possession of drug paraphernalia and simple possession of marijuana.

The judge ordered a suspended sentence of thirty days and Uncle Buck was ordered to serve unsupervised probation for a year.  Most of the citizens of our county breathed a sigh of relief.  Hardly anyone wanted the judge to be harsh with Uncle Buck.  We are happy to see him carving his bears with a chain saw and chatting with people who drop by his place.

One of Uncle Buck's bears provides a welcome sign to visitors.