Trick Or Treat

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Halloween is a uniquely magical time of the year. Children turn into adults. Adults turn into children.
Halloween past was spent with my three nephews. With only a flashlight the three kids dressed as ghosts were shuffled from one house and on to the next. By the end of the evening each bag was filled to capacity. What other time of year could a kid load up on a mountain of candy and other teeth rotting goodies?
“Whatcha gonna be for Halloween this year,” is a dilemma for children this time of year.
Little girls opt for costumes like an angel, or a princess. Cheerleaders and Cinderella are popular as well as the Ice Queen Elsa or perhaps a teeny bopper (complete with a poodle skirt).
Young boys want a costume that makes a statement. A zombie maybe a vampire. Costumes like a Count Dracula, or Sorcerer Harry Potter are typical. Perhaps dressed as Batman, or Pokémon, even a pro football player (complete only with an agent)
All the little skeletons, ghosts and goblins will come out of the closet this Halloween. So, get ready to have a spooky good time October 31st.
When the neighborhood kids come to say “Trick or Treat” be prepared to see a variety of costumes. This is the best part about Halloween–a kid can be whatever he wants to be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What’s In A Nickname ??

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As friends relived old times during the course of last evening the subject of nicknames arose. So, I started scribbling them down — which is basically what I intended to build this column around.
I went to school with Carla whose nickname was Hurricane. While in grade school, there was an actual Hurricane that made the headlines in Texas called Hurricane Carla. She brought the newspaper to school and everyone called her Hurricane from then on.
Moose got his nickname while playing high school football. A nickname the coach gave him. What if the coach hadn’t liked his players? What other animals would he have used? A weasel perhaps?
Tiny, was a kid in high school who stood over six feet five inches. Yes he was the tallest kid in school and played center on the basketball team.
One friend has the least original nickname ever. He has natural red hair and his nickname is “Red”. My friend Charlotte goes by the nickname Char. Simple idea really, like we don’t have to use both syllables when we call her name.
At times, nicknames make perfect sense and sometimes they do not.
My cousin’s name is William and he goes by the name Will.
Yet another cousin, Michael, answers to the nickname Ronnie.
Go Figure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sound of Birds Stopping By…..

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Construction of birdhouses and bird feeders can be as simple or as complex as you wish to make it. Bird feeders can look like tiny bungalows, wooden A-frames or miniature chalets. Bird houses need no ornamentation to serve the birds using them, but an attractive design can enhance a yard. Thus, the custom built bird feeders are for the person filling them not for the birds.

My neighbor has two wood salad bowls with a wooden rod through the center. The house across the street has a large glass hanging feeder.  

A feeder could be attached to any window.   It will bring the  bird up  close for an exciting view.   The tube bird feeder,  found in any variety store,  could be fun.   One neighbor has a  bird feeder  made from old car license plates.

My  nephew  made an egg carton bird feeder in school. My Aunt Hilda has bird houses made out of gourds hanging off of her porch. My grandmother has a rustic barn creation bird feeder that has painted on the top, “See Rock City.”

Building a bird house can be purely practical or absolutely outrageous.   In   Greenwood  I have found bird house  and  feeders built to resemble a  gazebo,  a church,  a log cabin,  a totem-like housing complex,  a pagoda,  a school house,  even a little outhouse!    It was a one-holer of a different sort.

Would the blue jays, sparrows, starlings or finches that visit the feeder in my yard be more excited if I had a little deck for the feathered guests to stand on? I think not.

Bird feeder and houses are designed to bring pleasure for you and benefit our feathered friends. Where is it written that I have to build a fanciful birdhouse? It doesn’t seem to matter to the birds.

Mix together my plain and simple looking bird feeder with bird seed and it looks like a scene from the movie  The Birds  in the back yard.  Works for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mother Nature Has Done Her Best

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Don’t put away those snow shovels, heavy coats and gloves just yet.   Better double check that bag of salt for the sidewalk too.

Mother Nature has done her best, teasing us that spring is right around the corner. The daffodils have jumped up out of the long silent lawn. Within a few days the tulips should pop up to say hello. Yet, you can bet there is plenty of a snow, ice and below-freezing temperature waiting to grab our attention.

The old saying about Indiana, “If you don’t like the weather, stick around another five minutes and it will change,” rings true. Less than a week ago registration was taken for the men’s and women’s softball leagues. Will they have to clear home plate of any snow?

Last Saturday, folks ignored the occasional raindrops to enjoy the first few days of comfortable weather. My brother-in-law, who supposedly is a winter couch potato, could be found on the golf course. Who can tell what winter will be like in March?

It is nice to see the garden shops around town preparing for their openings. Walmart is getting their patio display in order on their side parking lot.   More than one produce stand is setting greenhouse items. With the promise of warm days not too far away, we will be able to plant that garden!

Remember if you do not like Indiana weather; give it a day or two. Within days of the last snow this month, there were customers in Walmart wearing t-shirts and shorts.

Definitely, the warmer temperatures forecast for the next week is a welcome diversion from ice, snow and freezing temperatures. Yet it means only one thing—potholes.   And plenty of them.

 

 

 

 

Soup’s On !

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My friend Larry was to be released from the hospital today. What better way to say “I care” than to take over a kettle of vegetable soup. My mother is staying with me a few days and the issue sparked a heated debate. Not that she thought it was a bad idea — it was my cooking of the vegetable soup. How could I possibly make vegetable soup without a head of cabbage?

Who is to say there is only one way to fix vegetable soup? I make an easy hamburger vegetable soup. When I opened a box of frozen peas my mother simply left the room.

My grandmother used to put (beef) neck bones in a kettle, boil, and let them simmer. Then she would skim the residue from the top. Major Yuck! Today we can just buy a can of beef consommé (stock).

I found out that my neighbor uses Tofu in her vegetable soup. Naturally it was a recipe she jotted down from The Food Television Channel. My friend Myrna swears by her microwave vegetable soup recipe. Vegetable soup in only twenty minutes for those who can’t wait.

I asked around the office and found more than one person willing to share their favorite vegetable soup recipe with me. It is interesting to note that no two recipes were alike.

The majority of recipes did call for the standard; carrots, lima beans, potato, tomato, green beans, corn, celery, onion, peas and yes a head of cabbage. A few recipes were unique adding rice, okra, red peppers, avocado and mushrooms, even a rutabaga.

Why was I worried about not adding the head of cabbage when no two of these recipes even called for the same meat. I could have put in lamb, sausage, ham, chicken, beef or no meat at all. Tom’s rendition of the time-honored hearty vegetable soup calls for one pound of frozen or fresh skinless cod fillets.

My co-worker Stella makes an herbal vegetable soup that you refrigerate and served chilled. The recipe calls for cucumbers, radishes, zucchini, and yogurt. Across the room from her, Betty gave me her recipe that has been in her family for years. It is served with dumplings.

Also in  the office is  Candy, who gave me  her  recipe  for vegetable soup that originally, come from Finland  and  it calls for spinach.  Charlotte  gave me  a vegetable  soup  recipe of her   great  aunt  from  Italy.  It was  a  pasta  vegetable soup.

What about this head of cabbage in the vegetable soup? Larry came home from the hospital and later that day I took over a crock of vegetable soup. It was a labor of love – but no cabbage.

 

 

 

 

Life in the Big City

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My great Aunt Sarah, stopped by last week. She lives in a tiny farming community in southern Indiana. We enjoyed her visit but late on Saturday night she mentioned that she was way too old to enjoy life in “a big city.”

True, we had spent most of the day in shopping malls, but it took me a moment or two to think of what she meant. No matter how you look at it, Greenwood can still relish the small town Midwest spirit.

Consider the changes she has witnessed:   She was born before television,  penicillin,  frozen foods,  contact lenses,  even  the Frisbee,  and  even  the  hula hoop.

Aunt Sarah and her friends were born before radar, credit cards, and ball point pens. Before pantyhose, and before man walked on the moon.

Bunnies were small rabbits and rabbits were not automobiles (Volkswagens). The electric typewriter was never spoken of. A “chip” meant a piece of wood, but hardware meant hardware, and software wasn’t even a word.

In school she never heard of FM radio, music CD’s, electric toothbrushes, or guys wearing earrings. When she went to the 5 and 10 cent store, she actually bought things for five and ten cents. Tupperware, electric blankets, air conditioners were unheard of.

McDonalds and instant coffee were unknown. She could buy a cup of coffee or mail a letter for a nickel. A new Ford cost around $600, but they couldn’t afford one. It’s a shame too, because gas was only 11 cents a gallon.

No wonder she can easily be confused. She lived through an age that saw far more inventions than one could ever dream of.

She is now  back  home.  Playing cards  and  living the life she knows best,  with  her own generation.   Leaving me in Greenwood, a town she refers to as “the big city.”

 

 

 

 

 

Yard Sale . . . . Buy Our Stuff . . .

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In spite of the recent rain and temperatures, yard sales flourish. “One man’s trash is another one’s treasure,” is a prime definition of the yard sales held each spring. On any given weekend from about May to August, signs will appear all over town for yard sales or garage sales.

These  sales offer people a prerogative  to make a little extra cash  as  well as clean out their garages  or  attics.   For people on a fixed income,  yard sales offer an  opportunity for added cash flow.  If you are looking for a hard to find item,   when you spot a yard sale sign,   pull over,   you just might find it at a  bargain price.

My sister-in-law always brags of the great savings she finds at area sales, so I spent last Saturday going from garage sale to yard sales. From that I decided on two important factors of yard/garage sales: one is to wear comfortable shoes and two is to be prepared to see people’s useless items. A yard sale could be defined: I purchase things they no longer want, go home, and put them in my garage with things I thought I needed.

She tells me,   “You will always find a little something.”   She mentions that more than one housing addition has community yard sales.   You simply park your car at one end of the development  and  only return  when your packages  wear you down.

Don’t be surprised to see crafts, lamps, tools, boats, lawn mowers, even refrigerators in the yard. Bicycles, microwaves, high chairs, pots and pans, a fire place, even a Christmas tree, all going for a cheap price in the front yard.

With the wide variety of clothes, toys, furniture, and dishes offered for sale, you might stumble upon just the thing you’ve been looking for. Sometimes you find something you didn’t even know you wanted until you spotted it in a front yard of a house with a sign “Yard Sale.”

I found a bowling pin for less than a dollar that my nephew can use as a door stop in his room. After a year he will tire of it and then it will be time to have a garage sale of my own and recover my money. Who wants to buy a bowling pin next spring?