Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring Things

Oh, happy Days - Spring is early this year at Lakeside Gardens - The snow has been gone for a couple of weeks although the dark woods still maintains a drift or two. The lake is still frozen but the edges are melting and a couple of good rains should hasten its departure. It's time to make Maple syrup - the earliest season we can remember for that - time to carry away the piles of leaves I had raked last Fall - time to clean out the root cellar and attend to our compost pit - time to plant seedlings and clean up the vegetation in the flower beds - in general, time to mingle with Mother Nature and enjoy the season of resurrection and resurgence...........We started composting the year we moved here, 1972, to be exact. For some strange reason, probably divine guidance, I subscribed to the "Organic Gardening" magazine that year - we were city raised through and through so it was pretty Greek to us - but we read and learned and composting seemed like such a good thing to do because one felt so much less guilty about wasting food stuffs when you knew that they would return to the earth and reinvegetate, (new word, like reincarnate.) We compost by putting all kitchen scraps and garden waste into three covered black five gallon buckets . When they are full, we take them to the compost pit behind our garden shed and empty them. A lot of the decomposing is done in the black buckets by the time we get them out there and then we cover the glop with dirt and let air and rain turn the glop to black gold. It's just another creative outlet and the compost is used to nourish the plantings later that year.........The accompanying pictures show the compost pit with the unused garden veggies and fruits gone bad in our root closet this year, then the pit with a covering of some of the raked leaves from last Fall....... our channel to the lake with the ice melting...... and the ice shanty already off the ice and ready to be used as storage for swimming toys......there is a time for everything under Heaven and I surely do like all these times.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Rhinelander's Little Olympics

Our town had a taste of the Olympics this weekend. We hosted the World Championship of Ice Fishing and the elite ice fishermen from eleven countries competed for the the title of World Champion for 2010 - no prize money involved - just the honor for their country. Each country's team had five or six anglers, a coach and a manager. The countries were Iceland, Latvia, Finland, Sweden, Russia , Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Canada, U.S.A., Lithuania and Estonia. We've had about a two week warm spell so the snow has left our landscape very early this year but the frozen lakes are still solid and they had to drill through twenty six inches of ice. Our citizenry and businesses excitedly welcomed our brethren from the foriegn lands and Bing and I and the three Rhinelander grandchildren participated in the Parade of Nations held Friday night. Thousands turned out to cheer the teams, even two of the racing sausages from the Milwaukee Brewers showed up. Very specially outfitted ice fishing shanties paraded along hoping to gather votes for the shanty contest. The teams marched along, each accompanied by children from various scout troops and schools and Courtney and Alexa's school had the honor of accompanying the U.S.A. float and team......This was a really well run tourney - no electronic help such as fish locators or underwater cameras, no power augurs, no motorized transportation.

Only panfish count in the weigh in and all fish caught were donated to local food pantries......Our fishermen were surprised at the equipment used by the foreign teams and they were surprised at the size of our panfish. The fish they catch at home run three or four inches and here ours run to about 15 inches for some crappies. Their poles are only as big as a flimsy pencil and they don't

have reels - they pull the line in by hand. Their augurs are razor sharp and honed often. Our team had to practice hand auguring because usually power augurs are used around here. A team from the U.S.A. competed in Poland last year and came in last. They're hoping to do much better here on home ice......Our local papers interviewed the fishermen who could speak English and it was so beautiful to read their remarks about actually being here in America versus their perceptions of America from afar. One man from Russia said, "I see the feelings of everyone here. Very good people, and we learn a lot on the ice and on this trip. We will take many good memories home." We read and we know that we are brothers and sisters of everyone populating this vast planet of ours and it was so good to share the joy and meet some of those faraway siblings. We laughed and sang and clapped with them and we love them.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Story to Tell

Last Sunday I was reading the newspaper in the living room and Bing had the History Channel on TV. It must have been a marathon of UFO stories because I was repeatedly captivated by various and sundry tales of alien encounters and unexplainable occurences. I've always been a believer in the fact that there are other intelligent beings out there but I've also always been charged with believing anything anyone ever tells me. Ie, too much naivete for my age. Howsoever, it started me thinking that I'd better get my story about a possible alien encounter down so that, later on, when our science catches up to the others and much is revealed about alien encounters of the past people won't say I'm just a Johnny Come Lately, making up a tall tale..............So, here we go. The picture above is of our bedroom window. This house was built in 1988 and this tale was after we were empty nesters, which would take it into 1993. It was around the first of May of whatever year it was and it was a Saturday. Bing was staying overnight up North on an opening of fishing season trip. Now remember, this is not much of a story and it would never make it past the scrutiny of the naysayers and cynics, but it is what it is, my story. I was lying in bed and looked out the window. About half way up the tree in the foreground there is a large branch extending toward our house. I remember seeing what looked like the shadow of a flying saucer parked on that branch. I distinctly remembered thinking, hah, they weren't so smart, they had the capability to make their vehicle invisible but they didn't relize that it would still cast a shadow. Then, the next thing I knew, I was awake but I couldn't move my fingers, they were absolutely stiff. I was able to walk and went right to the bathroom sink and ran water on them and coaxed them back to normal. I looked out to see if the shadow was still there but it wasn't. A coincidental occurence was a very strange wound on the back side of my left thigh. It was a perfectly circular wound, not like a bug bite or a scrape, just a perfect circle and it healed , not with a nice crusty scab like a common wound, but it just healed with no scab. That's about it, never saw the shadow again, never had stiff hands again and never had a wound like that again.........When I tried to think what might have happened. maybe they had just arrived when I accidentally saw their ship, maybe I awoke from whatever feezing they did of me a little prematurely and maybe they had to dig into me to do some experimentation. Or maybe they just suck blood from the fattest part of a human specimen. I don't think our sons will have some alien coming up to them, saying, hey, we're half siblings, because my egg supply was pretty much gone by then.............Well, that's it. I feel a little blessed to remember even this and I feel a little stupid conveying it, but what the heck, we is who we is, as Popeye or maybe Forrest Gump said.