Home Again – 9/17/2019

I’ve been away for 6 days helping family as they renovate a house in preparation to move. Being there has allowed the adults to work after their day jobs and on weekends without having to worry about the young teen. I was able to be with him on a day off from school, pick him up on two other days as the bus from this school doesn’t run to his current home, and get him to school this morning. It allowed me to help with daily household chores such as laundry and preparing dinner so they could work longer without having to get home to him.

I also filled boxes. They are true bibliophiles and music lovers. Books were packed and boxes and bookcases moved. Extra linens packed and moved. The kitchen and big furniture will have to be moved once the renovation is complete enough to allow them to function in the house, but they are getting closer.

This was my second trip to help out since they purchased the house just as school began and I know that they are grateful as they repeatedly let me know. On this trip, I was talking about trying to pick the apples when I got home, that the deer had not already pulled down and eaten, being fruit that was all over my reach. The Asian pears also heavy with fruit that the birds were damaging and fruit was beginning to fall. The deer don’t seem to want the pears. Generally I pull the tractor near the trees, stand on the seat and grab what I can. They asked me why I didn’t have a fruit picker tool, I didn’t even know they existed. They showed up on Sunday with a brand new extension pole fruit picking basket for me as a gift.

After arrived home today, getting unpacked, and laundry started, I took my new tool out to try.

What a genius idea. Though some of the fruit is bird damaged, there are plenty of apples to make applesauce, and plenty of pears to make Pear and Orange marmalade, my favorite.

The 8 gallon bucket was half filled with the remaining apples and filled to the top with pears. There are many more pears out there, most very small or bird damaged, but I harvested more than enough to can. We generally have a later frost that kills the early fruit blooms and the later blooms produce enough fruit for our use and the fruit gets larger because it isn’t crowded. We did not have that frost this year and one of the two Asian pears had so much fruit that it broke several branches and mostly the fruit is small. If there isn’t a later frost next year, I know I must thin the pears and once it gets cold, I must prune the damaged branches.

I love my gift. I was safely able to get a harvest and the rest of the week is supposed to be a bit cooler, so I will can applesauce and jam.

No Reason – 9/11/2019

We live a few miles from Blacksburg, Virginia, home of Virginia Tech, thus home of many home sport events. Each of these events bring large numbers of visitors to the town; alumnae, parents of current students, visitors from the other teams. Being a large university, there are organized social groups, such as fraternities and sororities and some not so organized gatherings, tailgate parties, and both legal and underage drinking.

Blacksburg also has some beautiful and some unique features. Each spring the roadway medians are planted with seasonal flowers. A bit later in the spring, large hanging pots of flowers are hung from the lamp posts. The medians are well cared for with new flowers planted as the seasons change providing blooms of color to enjoy. Also placed around town are “Hokie Birds,” fiberglass statues about 5 feet tall painted by local artists in varied themes and sponsored or owned by businesses and individuals.

I don’t know how many of them there are, but you see them everywhere. Over the years since they were erected, several have been stolen or vandalized, usually around home sporting event days.

The original town of Blacksburg had 16 blocks and those blocks are designated on signage. A couple of years ago, a local artist produced 16 bronze frogs based on the local green frog and they were placed around town on walls, concrete pedestals, and the curb type edge around some of the flower beds.

One of the frogs was stolen from in front of the Lyric, the local historical movie theater in town, right across from campus. Then another disappeared, reducing the number to 14. Last evening as we were taking our daily walk, this time on the Huckleberry Trail, we spotted this:

The little green frog that sat on a substantial concrete pier is gone along with the pier. Taken during or after the home football game. The path is used by many to get from local parking to an access point to the stadium. The football goers have caused enough property damage to private properties abutting the trail, that the town had to erect a 48″ wire fence to prevent shortcuts through peoples yards.

Most of the stolen and vandalized Hokie birds have been recovered and repaired, but the 3 frogs are gone. This is a crime, not a prank. It troubles me that anyone would even consider stealing or vandalizing the art. They certainly can’t display it in their home and they have deprived others of the enjoyment of seeing it in passing.

Though we don’t live within the town, we consider it our town too and such theft and destruction hurts, that people can be so inconsiderate and crass.

Memory – 9/10/2019

The brain is a miraculous organ. It keeps our bodies functioning even when disease robs us of our memories. We use only a portion of this amazing living computer. Sometimes an accident or illness cause it to glitch.

There are many historical events in my life that I remember with clarity, where I was, what I was doing having lived through 7 decades so far. I was sitting in typing class in high school when the P.A. crackled to life to tell us that our President had been shot, it was the day after my 16th birthday and a party had been planned and then cancelled. I was an occupational counselor in a high school when the space shuttle Challenger blew up over our country on re-entry and all activity stopped as we watched on the handful of TVs in the library. The 9/11/2001 terrorists attacks occurred when I was a high school counselor in a brand new High School and Technology Center with a TV in every classroom and public place in the building. In a city that was a major military hub of the east coast of the USA, many of our student’s having parents working in the Pentagon as we watched horrified as the Twin Towers burned and fell and the Pentagon burned from the strike on it. There are dozen of events etched in my mind, Nixon resigning, Saigon evacuation, Reagan shot, Bobby Kennedy assassinated, the Cuba missile crisis, etc.

But a glitch in the form of a ski fall a few years ago resulting in a concussion, followed by an auto accident this past February with another concussion and now I can’t remember a simple 8 line knitting pattern that I have knit 3 prior times. Every line has to be marked as I knit. It is not a complicated lace, simply remembering which end of the row to increase until the 8th row, binding off some stitches and then repeat. It is frustrating, it is making doing more complex lace pattern almost impossible. Most of the symptoms, such as headache and dizziness are rare now, some simple tasks like releasing the parking brake on the car before backing up have resolved, the occular migraines are much less occurrent, but basic math functions require a calculator, and knitting requires a magnetic marker. I don’t know if these functions will ever fully return or if I will have to keep my knitting simpler and keep my smart phone nearby for it’s calculator function (who still has a real calculator except high school and college math students.) I hope it heals, but at least I have tools to help me through.