Sunday, July 30, 2006

Our Local corn is up!

All you need is a Weber grill, dozen ears of corn, your favorite chair and a good beer!

Our Local corn is up! This past week it has just started hitting the farm stands and today, my wife and I, went out and got some for supper. Beautiful, beautiful corn and we have been waiting about 11 months for it. Lots of farm stands and lots of fields of corn, all waiting for us. Tomatoes were out, cucumbers looked good, lots of onions, potatoes and celery. Life is good. The kids were coming over for supper so we bought a dozen ears and for the 1st time I did them on the grill, in the husks. I’ve done them on the grill but never in their husks.
  1. cut tassels off of the corn

  2. strip off the extra outside husks

  3. Soak corn for at least one hour

  4. On a 350 degree grill put corn down

  5. Turn every 10 minutes or so for 30 minute This is how the husks looked after 15 minutes

If they are steaming they are done and if not steaming open the end of one and take a look. Probably done. Set aside and cook remainder of meal. I did this one with cheeseburgers and hot dogs and it sure was an easy meal.Candy corn, just as juicy, tender and sweet as it gets!

Monday, July 24, 2006

The hose

The hose I alluded to in my last post resided in Mr. Williams’, our principal, office. It was kept in a small, all glass, china hutch to the right of his desk on its very own shelf. South Dakota allowed corporal punishment at that time and the little, black, hose was the only fulfillment that I was aware of being used. It was used for the very hardest of cases, it was said, and most of the stories about the hose were obviously urban legends. I think it was a very effective tool for the principal to use. The principal means of classroom control was to send troublemakers to the hall and extreme misbehavior bypassed the hall with a visit to the principals office. My daughter, a math teacher, informs me that it is exactly the same system in use today, in her school, sans the hose. Glad to see that progress is being made in our schools.

The difference between our discipline system and my daughters was the hose, or at least the threat of the hose. I remember going to the principals office, on legitimate business, and always glancing over to see if the hose was still there and it always was. Once a classmate and I were required to go visit the principal to interview him and write a story. When we were seated, I glanced over to the china hutch for a quick look and the hose was missing. I looked everywhere for the hose, before Mr. Williams came in, and couldn’t find it. I remember a sense of relief coming over both of us as we realized the hose was gone. It was a very good interview with Mr. Williams. We couldn’t wait to get back and tell our classmates that the hose was gone. At the next recess we were informed that we must be nuts because the hose was back. That principal must have known what he was doing. Duh….!

I remember being sent to the hall, for some infraction or other and praying that the principal would not come down the hall because he always stopped and inquired what you were doing in the hall. If the infraction was serious enough he took you to his office to talk with you after giving you plenty of time to stare at “The Hose”. Then would talk to you about the error of your ways and then send you on your way. Every time I had to go to the office for “misbehavior” the experience would always leave me shaking in my boots and swearing I would never put myself in that position again. During a Christmas party in the 6th grade I shot the teacher in the back of the head with a dart gun [long story] and got taken to the office by the teacher. As she left the office, glaring at me, I noticed the principal opening the hutch, reaching in and removing the hose from the shelf. He held it with one hand and struck his other hand with the hose and while looking at me placed the hose on the desk directly in front of where I was about to be seated. As I stood in the office, looking through the glass into Mr. Williams office, I felt myself shaking. As Mr. Williams walked over to the door to let me in, His secretary whispered “good luck” as the door opened. My head snapped around toward her and my eyes got big as she said that. What did she know? Mr. Williams indicated for me to come in and sit down and as I did he began closing the Venetian blinds that separated the two offices. "Oh my God, I'm going to really get it this time", I thought. My heart rate had to be somewhere near 200 bpm. The hose sat on the edge of the desk, directly in front of me. I could feel the sweat dripping down my back and I thought about bolting out the door. I just stared at "The Hose". It looked like he had cut it from his hose that he uses to water his garden. The hose was not perfect as the cuts on the ends were not perfect and for some reason that made me feel a bit better but I still knew I was dead. I tried to look at the principal as he spoke, as I knew this was very important but my eyes kept looking down at "The Hose" no matter what I tried to do. I apologized as sincere as I could and tried to convince him that it was mostly an accident. My mouth was going so fast I was slobbering. One of my problems was that I thought our teacher was lazy and was doing a very poor job teaching us and that finally came out of my slobbering mouth. When it did I figured I was really dead. Mr. Williams stared at me for a long time and then just stood up, opened the door and told me never to come back under these circumstances. I almost broke my neck getting to that door as I tripped over the end of the chair and stepped on his shoe. I never, ever, went back.

Later I met with Mr. Williams and other people on several occasions about the teacher in question. They asked me lots of questions about how and what she had been teaching us. I was always taken aside at the end of these meetings, by the principal and he always told me that he was so pleased I had not been back to his office because of behavior problems. I was pleased with my behavior also. Every time it looked like I was going to “misbehave” I had a really good, close-up, mental picture of that hose. I had been closer to it than anyone I knew and I didn’t want to get any closer.

The following year that teacher did not have her contract renewed and we all had to have special classes to bring us up to speed on English and Math. This had nothing at all to do with my behavior in class as it was all due to the fact that I had been trying to impress a young lady. Boy I bet she was really impressed knowing that I had seen “The Hose” and lived to tell about it.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

First grade

The school was a large, imposing, sandstone building that stood up on a hill next to the courthouse. The classroom windows were the largest windows I had ever seen. The windows on the front of the building were like eyes glaring down on all that dared approach those hallowed halls and the front doors were like a mouth, opening and closing, eating and spitting out little children. I had really gotten excited about 1st grade at Sturgis elementary school but now I was shaking in my shoes grasping my new pencil box in one hand and clasping my mothers hand in the other. My mother opened the door and tried to make me enter before her but I held on tight lest she disappear. I was amazed at what lie before me. I was standing in the entryway and a great, shiny, floor rose up ahead of me stretching to a tiny door at the other end. The wooden floors were clean and glistening and had neat doors equally spaced along the walls with big glass in each door. Between the doors, which were all standing open, were rows and rows of chrome coat hoods all about head high and all evenly spaced. I pointed and asked my mom what that white porcelain thing was hanging on the wall. She responded that it was a drinking fountain. I had never seen one before. A desk was blocking our way down the hall and a young girl was seated at the desk with papers in front of her. My Mom stepped up to the desk and said “Mr. Theodore Raymond Dickson “. I was horrible embarrassed and could look only at the floor or the table. The young girl shuffled through her papers, said “Mrs. Swanson’s room” and pointed to the right. We went down a hall and a door on my right, as we passed, I would later find out was to the bowls of the school and the boiler. A big red shiny bell was on the wall to my left and I would also later learn was a fire alarm bell. Inside the door was my 1st grade classroom and most of the desks were already filled. Mrs. Swanson walked up and my mother introduced us both. Mrs. Swanson held out her hand and shook mine and said “Would you like me to call you Theodore, Ted or Teddy young man?” I said Teddy and I should have said Ted as it took me about 6 more years to lose “Teddy”. Oh well it could have been worse because up to now I had always been called “Teddy Ray” and I hated it.

As Mrs. Swanson took my pencil box and me to my new desk, I glanced around the room and none of my friends were in my class. Little did I know but the school had already been warned about my two friends, Steve and Denny, and I. We were not to be put in the same classroom. We had all attend kindergarten together and caused enormous problems for the Sisters. The three of us were Presbyterians but the Catholic church operated a girls Academy and were the only ones to offer Kindergarten, so off we went. I’ll guarantee you that they didn’t slap your hands with a ruler in any of the protestant schools. I was treated to that punishment on my 1st day in Kindergarten. The second time she did it I caught the ruler and broke it in half. At some time later she hit me in the back of my legs with a stick and because of my response, I ended up sitting in Mother Superiors office until my Mother came and got me. I didn’t go back.

We were pre-baby boomers but already we represented a numbers problem for the schools all across the country. For the first time ever there was going to be three classes in every grade level that we entered. The school administrators were already looking at blueprints to build a new elementary school next to our school.

As I sat at my desk and looked around I noticed two things. #! My mother was no where to be seen and #2 all of the walls had blackboards on them. Mrs. Swanson printed her name on the blackboard and I was really impressed with the pure white chalk and the neatness of her name. I remember very little of my first grade year except that I was very impressed with a pretty little girl named Marlene and that I was in the Chipmunk reading group and I wanted to be in the squirrel group. The entire time 1st thru 8th grades I never once heard of someone getting hit on their hands with a ruler or one the back of their legs with a stick but I did hear the stories about the hose and in the 8th grade I got to see it close up, real close up.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Bye, Bye, Bamboo!

At the end of my last posting, yesterday, I said, “Maybe next time I can tell you all about Bamboo that we can’t get rid of or stop.” Today I got a comment from my friend Cookie over at The Cook Shack who said “Betcha it's that Japanese bamboo....” So I searched Japanese Bamboo ,on the web, first and…………

Virginia Tech Weed ID photo on the left and my photo of our problem Bamboo is on the right. Anyone notice any similarities? Dead on Cookie! You probably saved me a lot of searching as there are 1200 species of Bamboo in the U.S.

The plant on the left is Polygonum cuspidatum, commonly known as Bamboo, Japanese Bamboo, Japanese Knotweed, Mexican Bamboo and Rice Cane, is native to Japan and was introduced into the United States as an ornamental. Widely planted in the Northeast, it escaped from cultivation and became an obnoxious weed. Regardless of this fact, it can still be found in some nurseries.

I now know that I need to wait until the flowers are at their peak and then I can spray it with Roundup, which should also kill the roots. I have not been doing this, in years past and I have not touched it. It is in a lot of unattended places in the cemetery and hopefully this year “Bye Bye Bamboo.
Thank you Cookie! I really love this blogging thing.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I can hear the grass grow

Ever hear someone say “My grass is growing so fast I can hear it?” Let me tell you that when 57 acres is growing like that, they can hear it in the next state. I’m scared to go into the cemetery alone at night because I’m afraid I won’t come out because of the grass. Normally we try and mow every 7 to 10 days and every 2 weeks at the end of the summer. We trim the stones every other time. Right now we are getting hot temp’s during the day [88 to 98] and rain every evening and these are ideal growing conditions for our grass. I was just now looking at one of the sections we mowed last Friday and it should have been mowed this Friday so we have not mowed it in 9 days. Most of it is 8” and the faster growing grass varieties are up to 12” tall. This it the maximum our commercial mowers can handle without switching over to farm equipment. I looked at one grave that the owners decided to help us out and fertilized. We will have to get a good run with the mowers just to get through it. In the picture you will notice that the part of the tier on the right has just been mowed to 3 inches and you can compare that to the grass on the left. It is 8 to 12 " tall. The plant in the far left is a weed and they really grow good in hot weather along with some rain. Today I went after a type of yellow leaf strife that is a weed and quickly repopulates it self. I have never seen it before in the cemetery and some of it I am cutting is between 4 and 5 feet tall. I cut it down to 6” and then hit it with Roundup because I am unable to pull it out of the ground. We also have another weed that has sprung up the past two years and we need to get it out. I don’t know what it is but it is also growing in the Zoya grass areas. Those of you that know grasses know how serious this is because no weeds can survive in Zoya grass areas as it is so dense. Tomorrow will be another Roundup day because I will have to just crawl along on the grass, finding the weed and zapping it with Roundup and trying not to get very much collateral damage.

Since I started this posting, we have lost three days of mowing and weed trimming. The heat wave is getting to people and some of them are dieing and need to be buried. The good news about the heat wave is it is causing the grass to finally stagnate in growth. Maybe we can get caught up.

The guy on the mower is my son-in-law Michael who works for us two days a week. At his real job he works 4 10’s or so. Works out great for us. The mower is an Xmark Lazer Z, 48” zero turn. This one has been on line five years now and this Spring we had to drop a new engine in it. It just got tired and died. On good runs they mow at 9mph and turn on dime. You might notice just how close he is to that pink stone and at 9mph he is being very vigiliant. If you lose concentration and hit that pink stone at 9 mph, even your teeth hurt. Maybe next time I can tell you all about Bamboo that we can’t get rid of or stop.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The cat must DIE!

Monday morning at 1 AM my wife and I were still waiting to see the Dr at our local hospital while I held a piece of gauze over my eye. A few hour earlier, I had been fighting with the cat, PURRSEY, waiting for my wife to come to bed and watching TV. When she came to bed, she threw her pillow on the bed which hit and scared the cat, which meowed and jumped and buried his paw in my right eye with claws extended, necessitating a trip to the emergency room. Eventually the Doc declared I would live and put salve in my eye and sent me home. It has not been a pleasant injury, what with three times a day salve administrations and a constant headache. I kick at the cat every time he goes by but I can only see out of one eye so I always miss, damn. Last night we were at the kitchen bar, again watching TV and the cat came by and decided he wanted up on my lap and chose to climb up instead of jump. Not a good choice because I was wearing shorts. I hollered and nailed the cat with my other foot and he went flying. I surveyed the damage and noticed copious amounts of blood running down my leg and made up my mind that the cat must die.

This morning I took a shower and almost cried as the water hit the claw marks on my leg. I was brushing my teeth, when in came Purrsey. He jumped up on the edge of the tub and then down into the bottom catching the drops as they came from the faucet. Cute!…………… even more cute would be turning the shower on as I closed the curtains, right? I surveyed the project and carefully considered the fact that the shower curtains would be strips and I could personally get hurt in the escape. How can I tell the wife that it wasn’t my fault? I could say, ”but honey I didn’t see the cat in the tub when I turned the water on to ‘clean the tub’!” Naa. That was the best I could come up with and so I made the decision to let the cat live one more day.

Mowing lawns in 1953

I was about 10 years old when I started mowing the lawn at our house and I took that responsibility over from my older brother Bill. We had a large lot around our home and so it was a lot of work. My Mother was concerned about the yard and was always doing things like replanting bare spots with more grass to make my job tougher. We had a silver reel mower that I would dutifully push from one end of the yard to the other, sometimes forward and back and sometimes in squares. Every once in a while I would do it at angles just to break up the boredom of the job. It wasn’t an easy job: There was a right front lawn and side yard that reached back to a hedge; there was a left front lawn and side yard; there was the tree belt; there was a left rear lawn that had my Mothers flower garden and ended at the garage with a vegetable garden on the side; there was a right rear lawn that ended at the garage side where we had a basketball court with the hoop attached to the side of the garage. There were miles and miles of obstacles and fences and sidewalks that had to be hand trimmed and out back and around the vegetable garden I had to use a hand scythe on the weeds. I hated mowing the yard!

Each time when I started, I would pull the mower out of the garage and faithfully oil each wheel and the wooden rollers behind the reel and I would put oil on a rag and wipe down the blades on the reel. I believed that if I did, the mower would push easier. I think the reason I hated mowing our lawn was that I didn’t get paid for it. I did get paid for doing other peoples lawns and I did about 10 of them, a week for 50 cents each. Big bucks back then. I remember, when I would head out to do the neighbors lawns that I would turn the mower upside down to push it down the sidewalk and the reel wouldn’t turn if you did it that way. Ted’s lawn-mowing service was a big deal back then, a real money making enterprise because I had a BB gun to pay for. Twice a year I would push the mower down to the end of the street to Ted’s Repair Shop and one of the multitude of tasks they performed was sharpening lawnmowers. A sharp mower was a happy mower I felt and besides my Dad paid for it.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

So whats a Heelys

So what’s a Heelys?

I’m sure you were asking yourself that very question, just before you clicked over on my blog. A couple of days ago I was asking myself that very question because my grandson Sam said, “will you buy me a pair of Heely’s grandpa?” I said, “ask your grandma and what is a Heely’s?” Then I said “and why aren’t your mom and dad buying you a Heelys and just what is a Heelys? And how much does it cost?”

Well it seems that those tennis shoe looking shoes are really Heelys in disguise. When you look under them you will notice that the heel has a wheel cleverly inserted making them about as dangerous as a skate board. Well Sam said, to his grandma aka Neena, “Gee Neena they are only $65 a pair and I have saved some of the money myself.” Neena was impressed and caved only later to learn that the money he had purportedly saved was really quarters that his mom saves in a glass jar and were not available to him. So Neena said, “so what” and her and grandson Sam went shopping. Apparently they were $65 per pair until they became in short supply and now they are $85 a pair, going up and down like gasoline. Obviously they bought a pair and Sam has spent two solid days practicing. His 1st crash was in the office, on carpet and he landed flat on his back. He then went and put on his bike helmet and continued practicing constantly saying “come here Pops, I want to show you something” and he shows me his latest gain with staying aloft.

What Sam holds in his hands are the wheels [round things], two inserts [black things] for when he is not using the wheels and a tool [red thing] for removing the wheels or the inserts. To me it looks like a roller skate key and will probably disappear as often. Harking back, please remember the roller skates that you slipped over your shoes and tightened with a roller skate key. Without the key you could not tighten the skates unless you had a pair of pliers. I can see having to supply him with an endless chain of screwdrivers as he and his buddies lose their Heelys tool.

Sam informs me that these are not just Heelys but Fast Style Heelys. He can now do two tricks, Switch which is spinning and going the opposite way and go straight ahead. Going straight appears to be the toughest thing but he is almost there. He says you can’t wear them in school with the wheels and in certain stores. He wants to warn everyone not to use them in Taco Belle restaurants because the floors are really slippery. You will notice, in the photo below, that these shoes are not without risk. That is Sam’s knee. I would like to take this opportunity to warn those of the older generation, who might be so inclined, to avoid trying them out at all costs unless you have a job where casts and head injuries are not important and if that is the case then you probably can’t read this anyway. Remember the skateboard!
I think it was simplier raising children when we raised his Mom!