Sunday, December 30, 2012


This year I have decided to make a New Year's Resolution.  This is not something I normally impose upon myself.  I figure that starting a new year and actually making it to the end of that year relatively intact is enough to hope for, never mind trying to set a specific goal for the year.  So, this new year shall start with a clean staircase.  Yep, I will try to keep it that way all year.  No using between the rungs as a convenient filing system.  Everything will find a place to belong without cluttering up the staircase.  It will look a lot nicer and it will force me to keep only what really needs keeping.  In the past (and I have no photo evidence - too ugly and embarrassing), coupons, keys, an odd photo or two, a saved newspaper clipping, gloves in winter, reminders for renewals, papers to hang on to to give to someone else who might be interested in what ever the subject happened to be, business cards and more......accumulated between the rungs.  NO MORE!  I have a desk upstairs (although it mostly is storage for things that have no place to be stored rather than a desk where I sit).  I have file cabinets in the workshop.  I have a filing box near my computer.  I have a mail holder thingie (with key hooks) on the workshop door that is home to my calendar and bills to be paid.  The calendar even has a storage pocket for each month where I keep stamps...and small stuff.  I have bookcases and, in the workshop, storage shelves.  And the best thing yet...I have a trash receptacle nearby!

Monday, December 24, 2012


Another one?  Really?

Tuned the last of the pre-Christmas piano tunings this morning.  The last one was supposed to be the same piano but tuned last of the day on Friday.  That is until the church decided they didn't want to roll the extra piano into the sanctuary until after Sunday's service.  The tuning got moved to today.  The permanent sanctuary piano turned out to be the last tuning on Friday.

Got that?

Merry Christmas to everyone out there still reading!

Ho, ho, ho 'tis the season.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Cleaning Up for the New Year

Since I have today off (YAY) and I had the weekend off (YAY), I decided it would be a good time to sort and clean.  You know...all that stuff that just gets shoved into any available spot, just temporarily until you have time to clean.
Ahhh, 80° and humid - to be there now...
I found this postcard in a pile of stuff that I had intended to scan someday.  The scene is Palm Passage, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas USVI.  In December 1980 and January 1981 we spent a month on St. Thomas.  We often ate lunch at the outdoor cafe in Palm Passage.

The autographs on the back of the postcard
This card was never sent and was used for autographs.  Many evenings, while staying at Point Pleasant, we would walk around the cove to Coki Point and listen to a group of young locals playing steel drums.  They were the high school band.  We'd buy ice teas and find a bench under some palms and listen for a half hour or so.  I think they enjoyed the appreciative audience as most of the tourists would just walk on by.  They got a kick out of being asked for their autographs. I wonder what these 'kids' are up to these days?  Wow, they would be around 47, 48 years old!

Saturday, December 15, 2012


It only took ten years to make it happen...
The linden tree as the removal service began work early Friday morning
Friday A and I had the linden tree cut down. It was a beautiful tree in many ways.  A tremendous annoyance in every other.
Waaayyyyyyy up there with a chain saw
Back when we moved here and built our house attached to my parent's house my mom would not allow the tree to be cut down.  "It's beautiful."  "The house will look so bare at that end."  "Just trim it some."
This guy really knew his stuff
Well, all that may be so, but A and I got real tired of the bugs that, along with my mother, loved the linden tree.  Spiders, bees, winter moths and ants.  The spiders and ants particularly bothered me.  For many months my truck, which was parked beneath the tree, would be covered, inside and out, with spiders and ants.  Mostly the spiders gave me problems as they bite.  Nothing like driving down Nugent Stretch, at night, trying to squish spiders on the inside of the windshield as I drove.  They came inside the house, too.  I think the ants taught them how to do that.  The bees arrived when the tree was in bloom.  They would buzz all around, high on each branch...and then crawl around on my truck trying to lap up the sweet sap that would drip down.  Oh yeah...that sap was a real hassle, too.  For a month or two the truck would look sugar coated.  A hates the winter moths.  Don't ask me why, but at age 30 she is deathly afraid of moths.  It was hard getting home from work after dark and seeing thousands of the white-winged things crawling up the trunk of the tree...and then have to get out of the truck parked right there next to 'em.
Less and less tree
Ten years of whining and complaining to my mom combined with her forgetting that she had said not to cut it down...
Chain saw man back on solid footing
Now its gone and along with it all those pesky problems.  I'm sure we will miss the green of it and the shade of it near the house next summer.  We will love, however, the opportunity to have a better, maybe bigger, vegetable garden.
Me and the stump (Thanks, R, for the photo)
Gone except for the stump.  The tree service's stump grinding machine is in the shop for repairs so they will be back in the next week or so to erase the last reminder of the linden tree.

(I missed some of the action - the main trunk being felled and slamming to the ground.  I had to be at a tuning job.  I got home in time to see it in its fallen position, though, before being sliced up, loaded, and hauled away.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Book Review

I'm starting to write this book review after noting that Blogger has a Save feature.  I kind of knew the feature was there, just wasn't too sure about how well it would work. I won't be publishing this right away.

But I really want to write about this book.
I don't have anything good to say about it..

This is the book.
THE book
I heard about it from a fellow SBHS board member.  She found it while browsing at the library.  I reserved a copy...placed it on hold...and headed down the next evening to see what I was missing!

I wasn't missing much other than a good deal of aggravation!  The majority of the text is about Dogtown rocks and boulders.  Mostly it covers material already covered in previously published books by other authors.  And they did a better job of it. In fact, the only new information in this book seems to be an analysis of the lettering styles on the Babson Boulders.  Wow!  The author says that the various styles proves that they were carved by several people!  No kidding.  (Or...maybe one guy was just having some fun trying out new styles?  No, not that, but a little lack of research can be a dangerous thing.)

She goes on to indicate that there are numerous Native American cairns in the area woods.  Well, maybe, I say.  But after reading the next section of suppositions and fictionturnedtofact by Ms. Gage, in my opinion doubt is cast upon everything from her pen.
The stone mounds
Ms. Gage claims that the stone mounds at the Haskins Estate (Haskins Park, Poole's Hill) are Native American cairns.  Or to be specific, the cairns are under the neat covering stones.  She feels that these loose rock cairns were not in keeping with the other stonework of the estate claiming that their covering stones are not cemented out of respect to the origins.  She indicates that the pools were cemented stone, as well as the entry pillars.  But what about the 'dry' stone walls?  No cement there.  Even much of the foundation work was not cemented. The author would have done better to have researched more thoroughly before adding guesswork and misinformation to her publication.  If she had really wanted to convey the truth about the mounds, rather than making them into something she wants them to be, she would have found out that the mounds are most likely just the remnants of clearing the land for Haskins to build his estate in 1892.  The hill was originally referred to as Popple Hill because of the enormous amount of stones covering its surface. Oh and that was 1892 NOT the 1880's as claimed by Ms. Gage. the early 1960's, Frank Glynn, a noted Connecticut archaeologist examined the stone mounds of the Haskins estate and found nothing predating "American flowerpot".  Sorry Ms. Gage.

As to the rest of Ms. Gage's suppositions about the Haskins property...
The upper pool 2012
The lower pool 2012
She writes:  "In the wooded area beyond the lawn he built stone-lined landscaping pools...The pipes were part of an elaborate landscape pool system...The pipes were used to add aesthetics to the water flowage from pool to pool...The vertical pipe produced a bubbly fountain affect...The horizontal pipe added an additional quantity of water at the bottom to create a waterfall affect into the lower pool.  It was an illusion amplified by the sound of a waterfall...The pools...were not part of a formal garden...This is the complete opposite of the gently rolling open lawn..."  She continues to add that there were paths through the woods meandering around the landscape pools.  Hah. 
Period photo showing the upper pool in its manicured setting
Truly in error. Had she done a bit of research at the SBHS (which is just down the hill from Haskins Park), Ms. Gage would have found many photographs showing just the opposite of the landscaping details she goes on about.  If she had checked around, she even could have spoken to former residents of the property!  Indeed, the 'wooded' pools WERE a part of the formal landscape. The 'top' pool was a swimming pool, not just a landscape feature!  The bottom pool was a run-off pool for overflow from the pool above.  Both pools had beautiful 'island' gardens.
An aerial view c.1930.  The double set of pools shown as numbers 5 and 6 and obviously included within the lawn area.
A slightly different view from the upper pool.  House to left, cottage to right.  Stone mounds surrounded by young trees and shrubs just right of middle.

And the pipes that Ms. Gage is sure were for the elaborate landscaping pools?  Mr. Haskins had a complex  system of pipes because he was providing his own water supply for the estate.  Pumps drew well water up into the estate's own storage tank and then the resulting pressure from the elevated tank supplied the water to the houses and to the barn.  You can find the remains of these pipes all over the woods in the area because the burned leftovers of the buildings were bulldozed off to the sides taking all the piping along.

Ms. Gage also claims to have found a cistern near the cottage.  What she fails to realize is that her 'cistern' was actually a cesspool.  One of two on the property.  A shame to mix up those usages!
Photo taken during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 showing the water tower in the background.
Ms. Gage's lack of thorough research about the Haskins property leads me to wonder about all her other suppositions presented as facts and the feeling that this is a book she should have never published.  Thank goodness she only paid to have 100 copies printed!

Sorry, Ms. Gage, that's just how I see it after a year of research.


Thursday, December 06, 2012

It Feels Like Winter

At the beach a few cold winters ago.

Dickiebo sent this along to me:

This is amazing, if you have not seen it before just type in your address or any
family addresses and look through the window at the snow falling on your home
today. It's amazing!!!!
Click below to get something for Christmas you won't get anywhere else this summer.
 Yes, it works.  Amazing to see my first Florida snowfall!

Sunday, December 02, 2012


to win an autographed copy!