Rural Life in the UP of Michigan Some stories about life on 160 rural acres in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

December 22, 2011

Kitten Picture

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin0 @ 8:15 pm

Never let it be said that I don’t listen to my readers. Here is a picture of the kitten described in the previous post. We’ve had several cats in our lives, but never had one that prefers to hang out on our shoulders.

December 21, 2011

Plastic Bottle

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin0 @ 10:35 pm

Our son Steve, bless his tender heart, rescued a kitten several months ago. Through a long series of events, the kitten came to stay with us until he could take it with him to his winter quarters. The kitten, Agent, came with several useful accessories, including a cat carrier, food and water dishes, and some toys. He also came with a Dr. Pepper bottle inside a sock.

Since he was such a young kitten, Steve decided he should have something warm to fall asleep with, so he used a plastic bottle filled with hot water and covered with a sock to do the job. And what a great job it has done. We’ve filled and emptied that bottle dozens of times. It hasn’t leaked or broken, and has warmed our Agent over and over.

What struck me about the above is that this plastic bottle was manufactured for one use only, and then was, by design, intended to be tossed out. This item was clearly capable of accomplishing much more than its intended use. Michigan was one of the first states to institute a bottle bill, mandating a deposit on each one of these things. I’m sure this ensures many more of these are returned than would be if there were not deposit.

So where is this leading? Our oceans are being polluted by tons of this non-biodegradable stuff, mainly because we as a people are irresponsible with the things we create. This was brought to my mind the other day when I watched this YOUTUBE. Please watch it yourself if you have the 2 minutes, and let me know what you think. And each time you deal responsibly with your stuff, pat yourself on the back the way the young woman in the video is also patted on the back.

December 17, 2011


Filed under: Uncategorized — admin0 @ 9:25 pm

It was cold this morning… in the single digits. I looked out the window as usual, and noticed the sunflower seed feeders were both empty. We try to feed just the chickadees and nuthatches. I bought the tube type feeders with the perches that make it difficult for big birds to get any seeds. It worked for a while on the Bluejays, but they eventually specialized such that experts among them can contort themselves into the right position to get some seeds.

This morning when I grabbed the feeders and took them inside for filling, I thought I’d try to feed the birds by hand. Our chickadees are pretty tame in that they stay quite near while I’m out there, but they seldom will take seeds from my hands, even when I stand still and open handed for 15 minutes or so.

This morning was different. Perhaps because it was so cold and they were hungry. I was honored to have one after another of the little birds land on my outstretched hand and take a seed. They then flew off to their favorite perch and hammered the shell open to get at the seed inside. I’ll bet I had a dozen confirmed landings before my hand got cold and I filled their feeders and went inside. It is fortunate that a smiling face does not intimidate them, because mine would have caused a few nervous breakdowns.

If there is a greater feeling in the world than winning the trust of these noble birds, I’d like to know about it.

December 11, 2011


Filed under: Uncategorized — admin0 @ 9:46 pm

The other day I opened our bedroom door, and one of the hinges squeaked. “I’d better get that oiled,” I told myself. Three days later, when it squeaked again, I reminded myself that the hinge needed oiling. By the time I got downstairs to the place where the oil can is stored, several other projects had intervened, and the squeak lived on. This continued for probably two weeks until the accumulated self-reminders met a critical mass and I actually grabbed the oil can.

I have a similar problem with tooth paste and dental floss. As each gets low and runs out, I have to remember to add them to the shopping list while going about my daily business. It often takes me a week or more to get the item on the list.

My workshop is worse yet. I’m usually immersed in multi-layered projects in the shop, to the point that the chances I’ll remember to write something down on the list back in the house are about nil. Steve, bless him, noticed this difficulty, and bought me a white board which I attached to a tool cabinet. Now when I run out of glue or 80 grit sandpaper, I can write it in large letters on the white board, and might just see it when I have my list in my hand.

The hinge oiling project was completed in 5 seconds. Once I had the oil can in my hand, I decided to do all the hinges in the house. I’ve never done this before, and didn’t understand what I had in store for myself. We have a pretty small and unpretentious house. But we have LOT of hinges. As I was doing the downstairs doors, I walked by the kitchen, and figured I’d also do the kitchen cabinet doors. That took a while. By the time I was done, the oil can was lighter, and the hinges decidedly better lubricated. And I felt a surprising sense of satisfaction from such a simple job.

December 6, 2011

Painting With Pain

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin0 @ 10:44 pm

The other night as I was falling asleep, I wondered if a headache might be blossoming. My sort of headaches operate on a system of pulses. I never seem to know the frequency or amplitude of these pulses, however. Sometimes I wax slowly toward a headache, only to wane away for some reason. Sometimes I barrel straight into the teeth of one, linger for some hurting days, then barrel back to normal. I never know, but remain forever hopeful if I am waxing that the event will stop short of a big one.

Well, that night the waxing was barreling, I’d say. I woke up in the middle of the night to get up as I often do, and when I got back in bed, I was pretty sure I couldn’t ignore this one. I dozed for a while, and sure enough, I was in the grips of a powerful one. As I was in my half-sleep daze, the phrase, “Painting With Pain” came to me. I could really feel two overlapping spherical lumps, one in each shoulder, a connecting “trunk” going up my neck and into my head, and a tree canopy of sorts inside my head. The pain made a picture that is probably only possible during the half sleep we sometimes have.

I finally got up and fumbled around for a Maxalt tablet, which I place under my tongue. Nothing I eat tastes anything like it, and I think I’ve begun to associate that flavor with optimistic feelings of getting better. I think I dozed on and off, but was mostly awake, until I realized the Maxalt had acted like an eraser. The faint outlines of the pain painting were there, but the pain was mostly gone. I clearly saw a shadow of a tree growing inside my head, painted by pain.

In the morning, the headache was mostly gone, but I didn’t get cocky. The ebb and flow could catch me unawares at any time, and I had to be ready.

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