Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Privy

We want a 'privy'. For those of you who are too young to know what that's an outhouse. We don't care to have it for it's intended use, which was, back in the good, old days, a rest room. We've used a few of them on our camping escapades, and believe me, it is an 'odiferous' experience not usually desired to be had again. However, as they say, 'any port in a storm.'

We really know we're in the country when we ride along in the car and suddenly see an outhouse on an old property. We've seen them...original ones...on properties which have newer homes and on land with houses that stand looking abandoned and delapitated. I don't know why it gives us such joy to see them still standing, but for some reason, my husband and I both are happy to see the old relics.

Now, I will go back to my earlier statement about wanting one. We don't so much want an old one, for the majority of them have seen better days, having withstood the elements for years numbering close to a century. We'd be glad to have a brand new little shack with a half moon cut into the door, maybe one that they used to call a '2 seater'. Why do we desire to plunk such a building out near our mini-barn shed? Because it would make a great little garden tool shed. It might drive some of our fussier neighbors over the edge, but they'll just have to tolerate it. We don't tell them what to place in their yards, do we?

My husband was born with, and has developed well, a very odd sense of humor. If he had his way, he would get an old toilet, and he'd plant something in it and tell everyone that it's the original 'pot plant' as we saw once in Pennsylvania. Neighbors be on alert! As long as I'm alive, there will be no visual of that sort of potted garden from your windows. However...if he outlives me, I can't promise anything. Also be notified that you may also see a life-sized, wooden cow or sheep or both standing near the barn-shed. He will probably carry out his threat of putting an old bed out in the yard to plant a 'flower bed'. He may also finally hang that huge knight on horseback plaque over the garage door, if I'm not around to stop him. So far, I've been able to prevent all this, but I cannot promise what the future holds. Perhaps you should count your blessings when you see our outhouse.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Who Are YOU Related To?

A good mystery can't be left alone...not by me, anyway. For years I've been digging up roots....MY roots. I've run into some surprises along the way as to who I'm related to, usually in some off-shoot way. My recent exploration of my children's father's side of the family brought me a possible new, yet distant, relationship between an old friend and my children.

My friend's grandfather's family was from somewhere in the Bahamas. So was my ex-husband's grandmother's family. It had always been difficult for me to find anything about Grandmother Carrie except US censuses, until I purchased a subscription to the Worldwide version of There I found her in a passenger list, coming to the USA from the Bahamas with her husband and her first few of many children. I assume that they had been to visit her family there, as I knew from the US census that she'd been living in the states for years. I continued my search and discovered that her father had been married prior to marrying Carrie's mother. Lo and behold, right there in the same town, the surname of his first wife was exactly that of my friend! That news warrants further investigation.

The other day I placed a note on a genealogy site, listing the surnames of my ancestors. Another surprise came as a result. A friend with whom I've recently reconnected asked if I knew that her surname is also connected with one of my ancestral names. Again...furter investigarion is required to relieve the curiosity as to how, if at all, we are connected.

I think I should have been/should be a professional ancestral investigator, I so enjoy it! Not only do I revel in the digging up of my own skeletons, but I love the thrill of connecting others to theirs. Some may call it 'nosey', some may call it curiosity. As for me, I call it intriguing and worthy of the search. I think everyone ought to know who their family is.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


ACHOOOOOO ! Spring is here and the breezes are filled with yellow pollens. Though the leaves have unfurled and blossoms have burst, the pollens continue to saturate the air, causing eyes to water, noses to run, sneezing and coughing to occur all around us. I've never had allergies before moving here, and this is all new to me, but I'm exposed now to new plantlife here that I'd never run into in the North. My brother told me that he experienced this for about three years after moving here, and then he 'got used to it.' I'm hoping to do the same, but this is my fourth Spring here, and I'm beginning to wonder if I will ever get used to it.

There's really not much I can do about it, other than to take Claritin for the symptoms. It seems to work quite well. I am grateful not to be as sensitive as some are, who require injections to combat their allergies. I love to be outdoors at this time of the year, and would hate to have to hibernate behind closed doors and windows during this beautiful season of buds and blooms.

For today, though, I will be inside, and unfortunately I will be exposed to high pollen counts as I tackle the cleaning of the sunroom. Without thinking, we had opened all ten windows in there when the warmer weather came, and that allowed thick layers of yellow pollen to cover every surface of the room. I'll need to carefully dust the surfaces and to vacuum the upholstered furniture, and probably even the walls. Spring cleaning has never been my favorite activity, and it's even more despised with this new enemy at hand. However, the task awaits and must be accomplished.

I wish I had a Haz-mat suit to wear while I clean. Without question, I'll be covered in gold dust, and not the good stuff!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Water: Friend and Foe

The abundant rains of this Spring, combined with the thawing of frequent snow falls during the Winter of 2009, has caused a good deal of inconvenience for many people in my old stomping grounds. There's water that requires pumps in the basement to run incessantly, followed by weeks of dehumidifiers. Homes that formerly stood on dry land are now lake front properties. Some huge, oceanfront homes were in danger of going into the drink, due to erosion, during the storms raging. Drivers, not aware of the depth of the water, plow through it, causing the engines to quit.

Water is a good thing, but like everything else, when there's too much of it, it can become a nuisance. I remember flying over the flooded Mississippi River back in the early 1990's. Looking from the plane's window, water seemed to be everywhere, and I just couldn't imagine what the residents in those areas were having to deal with. In later years, there was a trecherous flood in Keene, NH where homes on the river were swept off the banks and damage was horrendous. Then there was Hurricane Katrina which caused enormous devastation to the city of New Orleans.

On a much smaller scale, thank Heaven, we've suffered water damage in a few instances. The water table was high on our East Hampton property, and when the Spring rains came after a particularly wet Winter, we'd sometimes get puddles in the basement. We learned how to fix that...placing a ten foot long lead at the end of the corner gutter pipe that would carry the rain away from the house. It worked quite well as long as it was connected. However, in Nov. 2005 while we were in SC finalizing the purchase of our home there, torrential rains fell in East Hampton for a week or more. Returning home, we opened the door to a 'swampy' odor which came from the basement. Apparently, in strong winds, the corner gutter pipe had disconnected from the gutter at the edge of the roof, and the water rushed straight down and leaked into the basement. What a mess! The water vacuum sucked up the pool, the fans and dehumidifiers dried the rest, the open windows took care of the smell. Much of what was stored in the area had to be taken to the dump.

In August 2009, while away from home for the day, we came home to find our entire first floor under flood waters. The dishwasher connection had malfunctioned, and water poured from under the sink, saturating everything in its path. $10,000 and four months later, we were back on track.

While water can certainly be important to the world, which we also learned during extreme drought conditions in our area for two Summers, it is also prone to be an enemy. I hope, for the sake of my old friends and neighbors in my native area, that the flood waters subside, leaving them with little expense and damage.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I'm Hooked

Wasn't it I who said, "I'll never have a computer!" ? Wasn't it I who could not figure out what was so exciting about video games? Wasn't it I who was so against sitting in front of a keyboard of a screen wasting hours and hours and hours? Yes, I'll admit was I.

These days I do have a computer, in fact I think since I bought my first one in 1996, I've had either four or five of them. I have discovered great joy in computer word games, especially one called Word Builder. If that was the only thing I did on the computer to waste time, it would still be too much time spent. The thing is, it isn't the only thing I do on my laptop. I write emails, and visit with friends via Facebook. I do genealogy research, I write and read blogs, I do a weekly devotional entry for my neighbors church, I check scrapbook and craft sites, I explore decorating options, and I hunt for travel attractions and accommodations. I look up phone numbers for contractors and friends. Honestly, I could spend all day at the keyboard. I usually don't, but there are those days when it's cold and nasty outside, and I'm just not inspired to do any crafting ...or housework.... and before I know it, it's almost dinner time!

I'll fess up. I'm hooked. Hooked up to the world, hooked on the danged information highway. I've got to blame someone, so I'll blame it on all my friends who have gone out to work, leaving me home alone with nary a gal pal in sight to chat with. So...what's a woman to do? Talk to daughters and far away friends via the net, rather than the phone. Being a multi-tasker, it allows me the freedom to chat while I look at pictures or play a game while waiting for slow typists to respond to my statements.

Well, the day is rapidly getting away from me, so I'll close the lid on my little laptop and see if I can find a human to talk to while he rests on the front porch. Believe it or not, I'm much more addicted to him than I am this little black box.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Spring Songs

She often writes my thoughts...or at least, inspires some. Today she wrote about the 'humming' of Springtime as the world revs up their machines for mowing and blowing, lawn vacuuming and wood chipping. Ahhhh yes...the songs of Spring.

Here in our neighborhood, you can tell it's the weekend in Springtime. All of those John Deere motors are running, as well as a few others. We've got a lot of teenaged boys in our area, and when the weather breaks, they come away from their inside video games and computers, and they bring out the remote controlled cars and the four-wheelers and the motorized dirt bikes. The air-field across the tree line is alive with activity as the model planes soar and dive into the blue skies.

I've got to say that I notice the noise, but it isn't really bothersome. I've always had a knack for sorting sounds, and when I'm outside, sitting on the porch, I seem to naturally separate the natural from the man-made songs. I hear the birds twittering and screeching. I hear the dogs barking at the high pitched motors, I hear the 'dumble' bees. (we call those huge bumble bees that nickname because they are always flying into the porch railing or the house.) I hear the children laughing, or the toddler screaming because he's not allowed to follow the remote controlled car on the street.

At dusk, the activities of the neighbor hide behind the walls of each home, and the world becomes still. The whippoorwill sings and the crickets and cicadas click, but those are the sweet songs of Springtime that bring a peace to the heart in the evening. I think it's my second favorite chorus...the first being the early hours of a quiet morning.

On second thought, maybe those sounds of mowers and blowers and lawn vacs and chippers are bothersome to my ears.