Thursday, December 26, 2013

Martha's People Must Have People

We had a very nice Christmas.  Hope you did, too.  Everything went along pleasantly, even if one of our guests for Christmas dinner is never very pleasant.  And even though mom has a bad cold (that I think I may have caught).  Even though Mrs. Smith's frozen (ready to cook) pies were a huge disappointment with over-spiced pumpkin pie and crunchy peaches in the peach pie (I shall make them from scratch from now on).
Santa arrived at our house, 2013
We were fortunate to have had Santa deliver many good things under the tree and we are thankful for that.  Mostly we are happy that we can spend the holidays with each other and with friends.  But I do have to mention one gift...

On my Christmas list this year was a roasting pan.  I know, I know, not the most commonly requested item for Santa to deliver.  Mom didn't do too well with it, wrapping up an 8 quart stockpot (rather than roaster) with Martha Stewart's name on the product.  Mom realized that she had goofed when she was doing her gift wrapping and read the box where it said "cannot be used in oven".  The lovely salesclerk at Macy's, when specifically asked, had assured her that it could be used in the oven. At the wrapping point she figured we'd just return it after Christmas and try to find the correct item.  So, I decided to look at all the little icons on the side of the box and...Martha Stewart hasn't a clue.  The folks that work for her development team must have slave laborers working for them. 

Not only can you not use it in the oven, it is not dishwasher safe!  These days, who on earth would make pots and pans that you can't put in the dishwasher?  Oh, but it does suggest that this pot will look lovely displayed on a hanging rack.

Martha Stewart must have peons washing pots by hand for her.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Talkin' Turkey

You'd think they would make themselves scarce this time of year...
I've named him Dinner.
"Oh no, it's THAT time of year?"
Leftovers.....(how many can you count?)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thief of Duck Feeding

Now we know why the ducks were pecking along in the grass the other day!
He stole our action!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Duck, Duck, Goo...more Duck

Once again, A and I went down to Mill Pond to feed the ducks.  They are getting familiar with us, now.  Maybe too much so.  Anyway, they were very demanding, with one even flying at me while I sat on the bench bread in hand.

A starting a feeding frenzy.

The ducks were in a strange mood, besides being demanding, that is.  The majority of them would climb up on to the grassy area near us and feed on our bread offerings and something else that was around in the grassy area.  Don't know what they found, but I guess it was yummy.  They were softly quacking while poking around the grass or catching our bits of bread.

Then the quacking would get noticeably louder and in a great whoosh of winged duck, all but a few would fly back into the pond...where they would swim around for a minute or two, poking at each other, quacking...being ducks. 
Non-conformists waiting ashore.
Then, en mass, they would about face and swim to shore, hop up and carry on feeding as before.  We watched them do this three times within a half hour.

Bottoms Up!
Before we left, we had a good giggle watching some bottom work!

The "Duck Dynasty" folks (a favorite show) may like hunting and eating 'em, but we think duck antics are great entertainment.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

It's Quackery

When A and I walked down to Millbrook Meadow we brought a loaf of stale Italian bread to feed the ducks.  With a bit of coaxing, I first got them to feed near the water's edge on a bit of shore near my feet.  Two got very comfortable with that and since, in their opinion evidently, the bread bits were not appearing quickly enough, decided to jump up next to me sitting on the wall.

My new best friends -

Saturday, September 28, 2013

May Be Worth Noting

Deb dressed up...

Well, not fancy or anything, but more than the norm of jeans and jeanish things.  Two and a half weeks ago I had to temporarily assume the role of president of our local historical society when the reigning pres was hospitalized.  I'm the vp.  Of course, much to my dismay, this was just two and a half weeks before the annual meeting and 'chowdah supper'.  The informative email that I received from the pres's wife was that nothing had been taken care of.  Oh _____.  So, while juggling a massive amount of key work (which seems never ending at this point still), tunings, SC estate stuff (though now minor), and of course canning(!), I endeavored to get it all together for the meeting...which I had to lead.  Which I can force myself to do, but I hate public speaking.  And to my surprise the recuperating pres. showed up and ate.'s done with.


I am so glad to back to jeans and a t-shirt today!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

And Then...

I decided to try my hand at canning.  You must understand that, although I can cook, I'm not enamored with cooking.  But I do like a challenge and I hadn't tried canning before.  My mom had made relish years ago but she didn't remember what she did.  Honestly, I think my grandmother did most of it!

So, armed with some internet research, canning jars, ingredients, and a friend's large pot, I dove in.

I learned a lot.

1. The size of my kitchen (read teeny) is detrimental to the process.
2. The recipe that says it makes 9 pint sized jars of relish requiring a large bowl, large pot, and large colander, really means gigantic when describing those items.
3. Due to number 2 above, I threw away a lot of diced up green tomatoes.
4. A food processor would be handy.  All that hand chopping is tiresome.  But because of the aforementioned teeny kitchen there is no room for a processor worth buying.
5. However, despite the odds being heavily against me. It worked!  I made relish!
Batch 1 - green tomato relish 
This morning I went out to buy smaller canning jars.  Half pints this time.  This afternoon I'll be at it again.  It's fun in a masochistic sort of way.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

And Still...

I think we are up in the hundreds range.

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Family Story - part five

Well, it has been nearly a month since I wrote here.  Kind of a long time, for me!  Once Marion, George, Peter, Mr. Marshall, my grandfather and his wife moved to Florida it was long spells between visits.  We traveled to Florida several times to visit with them.  Then, with more family of our own, we moved to Florida, too.  By then I was married and we had a daughter.  My folks moved down at the same time.  We all lived about two and a half hours from Marion, George, Peter and family. 

Over the next few years the families visited each other frequently, especially for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Thanksgivings would alternate between the households.  Always Peter would say grace and although we could not understand most of what he said, we could always hear our names in his prayer.  Shortly after Thanksgiving of 1990, Peter became ill and died.  While obviously a sad time for Marion and George, they were relieved that he would not have to be without them to care for him.  They put the Morse Shores house up for sale and moved further north in Florida.  They bought a small house on a lake where George enjoyed fishing until his death in 1993.
Paul at home in Connecticut
 Marion felt very insecure living by herself after George's death and Paul left his home and job in Connecticut to move in with his mother.  Hating the hot and humid weather that draws others to Florida, Paul wanted to move back north but Marion didn't want to live with the cold winters.  They decided to move to South Carolina where the climate was a bit more moderate and where Marion and George had often spoken of living.  They bought land and built a house in the north western part of the state in 1996.
Marion, Christmas 2003
It was in that home that we continued our holiday exchanges, particularly at Thanksgiving, and as my parents had become seasonal Florida residents (snowbirds), they stopped to visit with Paul and Marion on their trips back and forth between Massachusetts and Florida.  And it was in that home that both Paul and Marion died.  Paul in December of 2010 and Marion, just over six months later in July of 2011.
Paul (L) and Marion (R) with Marion's PT nurse after Marion's stroke in 2006-07.  This is the last picture we have of them.

Friday, August 09, 2013

A Family Story - part four

I left off where?  I believe it was about the time that Marion and George got married.  That was 1955 and happens, also, to be the year that I was born. 
According to their wedding certificate, George's two sons were the witnesses, so I would think that they were at least 18 years old at the time.  George and Marion moved in with George's father, Mr. Marshall, and for a time so did George's two sons and Marion's son Paul.  Paul would have been 10 years old at the time.  It must have been quite a crowd! 
Two Marshall houses.  I remember visiting the family at this bottom one.
At some point George's sons moved out and on to lives of their own leaving Marion, George, Mr. Marshall and Paul.  I, of course, was very young and don't remember much about those years.  I remember visiting once in a while and remember Paul living there even after George and Marion had a child together.  It was shortly after that child, Peter, was born though, that Paul left to live with his father.
Mr. Marshall, Marion, and Peter
Peter was born in 1961 with Down's Syndrome and a host of other conditions that go with it.  The doctor told Marion and George that he doubted that Peter would live past two years.  Peter was doted on by Marion and family and all that focus on him, no doubt, was a major reason that Paul moved out.
Paul with Peter at the house in Morse Shores, East Fort Myers FL 1966(?)
After Paul graduated from high school, he enlisted in the Army.  At about the same time, Marion, George, and Mr. Marshall decided that there would be more opportunities for Peter in Florida.  They sold the house in Connecticut and bought property first in Cape Coral, then in Fort Myers, FL.  Marion's father (my grandfather) and his second wife followed them south.  It was in a neighborhood called Morse Shores that Peter grew up.
George, Peter, Marion 1984

Friday, July 26, 2013

How Is the Garden Growing???

Here it is today.
Jungle tomatoes!  Cukes are taking over and they are supposed to be 'bush' plants, not vine.  Peppers, well, eh.

Compared to the photo in this post:

Here are a couple shots of plants given to us by our hippie friend, Pete.
These are going to be purple tomatoes.
R says these will be purple, too.
And of course, a massive amount of cucumbers.  This weekend I think I'll can (jar) some sweet and sour.
I kind of forgot to check the plants for a couple days.  Should have this many more in about 4 more days.

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Family Story - Found Photos

Thought I'd post a few photos that I just found.
Marion, in 1942, on 31st Street, Camp Shelby, Mississippi.  Could this be when she married Connie?
Connie 1944
George and Marion 1955
For the fun of it I have included this last photo.  Parrot Jungle just outside of Miami!  A really cool, old Florida attraction that I believe no longer exists.  I went while on vacation with my parents when I was three years old.
George, Sr., Parrot Jungle 1956

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Family Story - the third part

So, last I wrote, I had left Marion and family in San Diego.  They remained there for the duration of the war.  My grandfather worked as a groundskeeper.  His daughter, Marion, worked in a defense plant.  A Rosie the Riveter! 
Marion with Paul as a baby and at four years old
At some point in the late 40's the entire clan moved back to Stamford, CT.  Marion, Connie and Paul moved into an apartment created in a Quonset hut near the beach.  My mother remembers visiting them there.  Shame that there are no photos of it.  My mom and dad remember Connie as being a real nice guy.  He owned a gas station, worked hard, but got nowhere. As a husband, he evidently was not Marion's ideal.  Connie liked to spend more time with his buddies over a couple beers than home with wife and baby.  Sometime in the early 50's, I think, Marion divorced Connie and took Paul to live with her parents.  For several years they lived together in a small rental house in Stamford.  Marion's dad, my grandfather, worked as a machinist for McCall's publishing.  Marion earned a certificate in bookkeeping and found a job in that field.  I suppose that my grandmother spent a lot of time taking care of Paul!  The fifties years moved along and Marion met George.  They were happy together.  George was divorced and had two sons.  When George and Marion married they all lived together with George's father.  Marion, George, George Sr., Paul, Arnold and Allen.  It was a full house that burst at the seams with the children moving out as soon as they could, especially when another son was born.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

A Family Story - Part 2

Marion and her family lived in the Greylock area of North Adams for most of Marion's childhood.  She and her siblings, my uncle Tom and my dad Al, would tell many stories of those growing up years.  Like the boys smoking corn silk, "hiding" behind the mill to avoid getting caught, while their fathers watched from the windows above them.  Or Marion, just a young girl, having to care for her parents and brothers during a flu epidemic and how when she headed out to get bread from a neighbor sank knee deep in mud at the foot of the back stairs, with only her screaming bringing the neighbors to check.  I remember a short tale told each time we drove past a vacant lot at the foot of the Mohawk Trail, entering North Adams.  "There used to be a house there," my Dad would say.  "There was a big mudslide that came down the mountain and destroyed it." (Obviously never rebuilt!).  As a youngster, my uncle Tom built a glider.  Full sized!  The neighborhood boys dragged it up part of Mount Greylock and "launched" him off a cliff.  It flew.  Uncle Tom flew!  His dad heard word of it and took an axe to the glider!  Tom would become a professional pilot in adulthood. 
Marion in her late teens

While living in Greylock and working at the mill, there was occasion, some mill business of some sort, to travel to New Bedford and meet with other mill workers.  That's when my father's family met my mother's family and became lifelong friends.
The Birch/Jennings kids at Mausert's Pond, l-r: Marion, Hugh J., Tom, Norman J., and Al (my mother was not yet born)

Marion, Tom, and Al grew up and into the start of WWII.  Tom entered the Army Air Corps and was stationed in Arizona for part of the war.  Al joined the Navy and spent the majority of the war in the Pacific.  After a short stint when Marion and her parents lived in Stamford CT, the three moved west to San Diego (Marie, Tom's future wife accompanied them) to be closer to Tom and also, they felt, where Al would come ashore.  Sometime near the beginning of the war, Marion met and married Connie, an Army man.  During her time with her parents in San Diego, my cousin Paul was born.  That was Feb. 8th 1945.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Upcoming in Rockport

Please, if you are in the area, support this effort!  We will be attending the concert on July 14th.  I'm sorry that the images did not show on this posting of the flyer but you get the info!

July 12th – July 14th

The US Naval Academy (USNA) Offshore Sail Training Squadron will sail to town in five NA-44 foot sailboats. Sailors from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, ME, the USS Constitution in Boston, MA and the Navy Band in Newport, RI have been invited to participate in the weekend events.
USNA 44s 3.jpg
Midshipmen/Advisors and Sailor Hosting
The RocNavCom is looking for Rockport residents to host the 40 midshipmen and 10 advisors during their visit. The hosts will be responsible for room and board Friday, Saturday and Sunday, transportation to morning events. Due the lack of available lodging for visiting active duty sailors, the RocNavCom is looking for Rockport residents willing to host sailors in their homes. The sailors only need lodging; no meals or transportation is required. We are holding to the Navy standard of the buddy system; hosts must be able to accommodate at least two midshipmen or advisors.

The US Navy and USNA will play kickball with Rockport children 6-16 years old on Saturday.  The children and sailors/midshipmen will be mixed together on the teams, no rivalries. The game will be held at Evans Field at 10:15 a.m. Lunch will be provided for the players after the game at 12:15 p.m. There is a limit of twenty (20) children playing.

Sailboat Tours
One of the USNA’s 44 foot sailboats will be open for free public tours on T-wharf from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Midshipmen will be on hand to answer questions.

Pancake Breakfast
Sunday morning there will be a benefit pancake breakfast at Brackett’s Oceanview          Restaurant from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Enjoy breakfast with visiting midshipmen and sailors while overlooking beautiful Sandy Bay! $5.00 donation at the door, the proceeds benefit the Rockport Navy Committee.
Navy Band Concert
The Navy Band Northeast’s Pops Ensemble will perform a free concert at the Rockport High School, 24 Jerden’s Lane at 1:30 p.m. Sunday July 14th. Tickets will be available Saturday, June 29th at the Rockport Police Station 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
The RocNavCom will be holding a 50/50 raffle. Tickets are available from committee members. The drawing will be held during the USN/USNA vs. Rockport Police/Fire softball game at Evans Field on Saturday night July 13th. Need not be present to win. The game starts at 6:30 pm. Public is welcome.

For more information go to:

Friday, June 21, 2013

A Family Story

This will only be one part of many parts of a family story that I probably will never finish telling.  It is the story of my Aunt Marion.  She was born in Pownal, VT and her parents were cotton mill workers.  Her birth certificate states that her father, my grandfather, Matt, was a spinner.  That was only one of many jobs that he held during his life.  Matt was born in Maine and my grandmother Margaret was born in England.  Marion was their oldest child, one of three, the next in line was Tom, and then finally my dad, Al.  As Marion got old enough, maybe 7 or 8 years old, she was in charge of her younger brothers while her mother and father went to the mill in North Adams, MA to work.  During that time the family lived in Greylock, MA, on Taft Street, in what the siblings remembered calling "the six colors".
Marion and her mother, Margaret

Here's a photo of Marion with her mother in about 1918.  Little did she know what a long life she would have, how many places she would live and all the unfortunate circumstances in she would smile and make the best she could from.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

How Does Your Garden Grow?

The newly planted veggie garden complete with decoration.
All I can say is it better do well this year!  Last year we yielded, I think, a grand total of three tomatoes and one cucumber.  It just HAS to do better this year!  Planted are:  3 Beefsteak and 5 Big Boy tomato, 8 green pepper and 8 red pepper, and 6 cucumber plants.  Since we had the Linden tree cut down in the Fall, the garden will get a good deal more sunshine.We've added new soil, purchased stuff and the super black gold from the dump, errrrr, transfer station, where they compost and grind and process enormous piles of clippings and branches.  The first year we used the dump stuff, the veggie crop was spectacular.  Here's hoping.
One of many poppies seen on a recent walk to the beach.
Flowering plants and shrubs are showing off this year.  May the veggies take a hint!
Mom's azalea at the entrance to her side garden.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

On The Beach

It seems to be periwinkle season!

The last two times that A and I have gone for a walk, we have headed for Front Beach.  Each time it has been low tide.  Lower today than the last time.  Each time we have collected an abundance of beach glass.  Eventually we will come up with something clever to do with it other than piling it in a couple Pyrex custard bowls.  Then I'll take a picture of our pretty glass.  In the meantime, you get a couple other pictures from our walk this afternoon.
Very foggy way out to sea.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Why I Haven't Been Writing Anything

This year Skip's opened on Mom's birthday
I've been busy with.........

  1. work-as in tunings
  2. Sandy Bay Historical stuff
  3. work-as in keytops
  4. getting the vegetable garden ready for planting
  5. planting seeds to start indoors
  6. watering those seeds and marveling that the cucumbers sprouted, the green peppers sprouted, the red peppers didn't
  7. springtime raking
  8. housework
  9. cooking
  10. birthday in April number one
  11. birthday in April number two
  12. birthday in April number three
  13. finding and working with a SC attorney to settle my aunt's estate
  14. working to take over as representative of my cousin's estate so that I can settle my aunt's estate
  15. keeping up with social media even though, well, I'm not fond of it
  16. more work
  17. painting (as seen in the last post) and two more in my head but no time to start on them
  18. switching the closet from winter to summer clothes
  19. shopping to fill in the needs in summer clothes
  20. reading, I'll update the sidebar soon
  21. filling out applications for various estate settlement issues
  22. time to visit with friends
  23. walks with A
  24. Skip's opened so...trips to Skip's
  25. checking out some auctions with R
  26. laundry...mustn't forget clean clothes
  27. working at the Town Meeting
  28. working the Senate primary election
  29. oooh, NASCAR season is underway, so I'm watching the races
  30. washing windows
Okay, that's enough for you to get the idea!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

What to Call It?

I'm welcoming title suggestions for my most recent oil painting.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Jake the Thief

I had a bit of help with a job estimate on Saturday.

The job was to evaluate a used, well-known name, grand piano.  The customer had purchased it only a week before and was anxious to know if his money was well-spent.  (Why don't they ask before they spend it?)

Anyway, the estimate was a combination thing of checking the piano and also determining whether a climate control system should be installed.

The client could have spent twice the amount and still have gotten a very good deal.  He was happy to hear that.  It was determined that it would be best to wait and see on the climate control system and also decided that he would have it tuned during the first half of April.

Jake, my helper on this Saturday morning venture, was a Jack Russell Terrier (I think).  Actually, by Jake's behavior, I'm darn well certain that's the breed.  While Jake clamored for attention, I did a quick check on the tuning.  Supposedly the piano had not been tuned for over a year...and it had just been moved.  All things considered, it sounded remarkably good.

Except for two bass notes which I offered to touch up while I was there.

I opened my tuning kit and grabbed my tuning lever.  Jake watched, then settled down under the piano.  Other than a couple grrrrrrs Jake was quiet...and seemingly motionless.

I should have wondered.

Jake was a thief.  While my tuning kit was open on the floor, Jake stole my upright lid prop and settled in with his new 'bone'.
Mauled lid prop with the leather half chewed off and very soggy
It took some coaxing with real treats to get him to give up the mauled lid prop.  Leather and wood was evidently a good toy treat and the leather was great fun to chew on...and pull apart.

I'll remember Jake the Thief when I go back to tune.  My tool kit and my newly releathered lid prop will remain well out of reach!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


The 'Snow Moon' last night

My goodness!  The email/web/Internet in my world is nuts right now.  I can't wait for some of it to sort out.

Well, I guess that I CAN wait...and I will.

It's like this:  I have a primary email account.  Currently that account handles personal emails, historic society emails, and two separate piano technician related groups.  There is a big shift happening with the piano groups.  The main group is being dissolved, yet the members don't want that to happen.  A replacement format has been instituted (group 2) that the vast majority of the main group don't like.  The talk is to abandon ship.  Sooooooo, that brings us to the web based piano groups.  I already belong to a group that discusses piano stuff.  It's open to anyone, so it is not very technician based.  Now I've subscribed to two alternate piano tech groups that are determined to replace the main group.  These are the folks from the main group who have abandoned the 'official' new format.  Both these two new groups are Google based and I receive them through Gmail.  I could change one of them over to my primary email if I choose, but the other is a Google+ format that sticks with Gmail.

So, that's two email address...each handling two piano groups, plus other stuff.

Still with me?

Good, because there's more!

There are my two Yahoo email accounts.  The one tied to this blog that also gets a lot of advertising because of using it when signing up for things like BFF Friendly's or Staples.  It also handles my Facebook notifications. The second Yahoo account is my business email.  Somehow the business email also ended up as the spot where I receive two other Yahoo group news digests.

Of course I also have an email through my website.  Thankfully that forwards through to my primary email account.

How many is that?  Ummm (counting off on fingers)...5.

And the non-email places where I write, kind of at my at my blog, my personal Facebook page, my business Facebook page, and my website.

I'm tired.