The Sound of Birds Stopping By…..

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Road Signs


Have you noticed all the different signs around town? True, more than one sign is strictly advertisements — periodically they are interesting.

One can’t help but notice the flashing neon sign on Madison near the Greenwood Shopping Mall. More than a few letters are gone. It blinks “quor” instead of advertising the establishment sells Liquor.

Did you happen to see the portable marquee sign on Meridian? “Tina, I love you – please come back.”   I wonder what ever happened to Tina.

The canopy sign outside of Fazoli’s advertised: All you “care to eat for $2.99”. I took my nephews and couldn’t help but notice they took the sign down the next day.  

Within a few blocks of the Shopping Mall, there is a deer crossing sign. True, plenty of deer cross a highway causing more than one accident. But honestly, have you ever seen a deer cross at where the signs are?

More than a few banks have electronic signs giving the date, time and temperature.   However; when it is 93 degrees outside, who needs to read a sign to know it’s hot.

There is a stop sign on Main Street in Greenwood that obviously doesn’t mean stop. More often than not when the cars come up to the street they roll right through.   I got a ticket there once. Now I stop.

By far my favorite sign is the billboard on I-65. As you head south toward Columbus you can’t miss it.   “Tattoos While You Wait”   Well, I would certainly hope so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Horoscope Compatibility

 

A friend,  whom I’ll call Suzie,  reads her horoscope each morning as she drinks her coffee.   Lately,  she has been  giving me advice  on how I  should  handle the day.
I am not a superstitious person. I do not believe in fortune tellers with a deck of cards, nor do I believe that my life can be ruled by the alignment of the planets. I do have to admit that every now and then, when she gives advice, she can come curiously close to the fact.
A couple of weeks ago, I picked up a book that had different astrology descriptions about my sign (I am a Gemini – born between May 22 and June 21). Now I have to say I do not believe everything that I read, but it is amusing to read these things to see how close or factual they actually are.
The book  gives  the  names of some famous Gemini:  John F. Kennedy,  Frank Lloyd Wright,  Cole Porter,  John Dillinger —  opps  maybe I’ll skip to the next page.
From what I read, Gemini is symbolized by the Twins which represents the duality of interest, occupation, and performance. Born under the sign of Gemini, my moods are like quick silver and change with the wind. Wait, what was I going to do next?
The reading continues: You think you like everyone and everyone should like you. Therefore you have many acquaintances. Excuse me while I answer the telephone, my friends keep calling tonight.
According to the literature, a Gemini thinks fast, talks fast, and can give the impression of a person always on the go. Actually, you run on nervous energy which can manifest as irritability and restlessness. Sometimes, I get so aggravated with this cell phone for not keeping up with my web page.
It reads that “a Gemini can think and talk but seldom listens”.
“Sorry honey, were you saying something?”
Again, I  don’t believe in everything these  readings  had to say.  Some were close, others were way out there,  and  there were some parts that hit it right on the head.   If you believe in this stuff,  well then good for you.   I think the Pisces astrology  interpretations  fit me the closest.   Guess I’ll have to change my birth date.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mother Nature Has Done Her Best

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.

 

 

 

 

The Dog and Suds Drive-In

 

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Today we live with fast food and drive-thru windows.

I recently took my nephew Doug, to a restaurant located not far from the Fort Wayne exit. The Dog and Suds Drive-In serves traditional all American food, such as hamburger, french fries, tenderloins, shakes, etc.

Our food was delivered by our car hop, Judy, who mentioned that the restaurant typically sells three perhaps four tons of hamburgers in one year alone. The Suds customers can guzzle as much as 1,700 gallons of root beer per year, all served in a frosty mug.

Once again, places you can go offering icy mugs of root beer, double-decker hamburgers and coleslaw served in clear plastic cups delivered to your car. The Dog and Suds eatery makes everyone over the age of 30 feel 16 again.

The neon bedecked sign advertising the drive-in has presided over cities for more than a decade. Within driving distance we have a new yet old restaurant whose owners spend long hours in the day slaving over the grills in 90 degree heat. The menu boasts more selections than many other drive-thru establishments.

The only difference I could see from years past is customers do not signal their need for service by turning on their headlights. Also the car hops do not wear roller skates, but after an evening of running trays to dozens of cars, I bet they wish they had.

In summer, vintage cars and four wheel drive trucks will line up beside motorcycles, sports cars, and vans. Each vehicle has patrons with a craving for food brought on a door hanging tray.

My only problem was when the car hop told my nephew, “Here is your mug,” he took it literally. “Sorry. . get that glass mug out of your backpack.   You cannot take it home.”

 

 

 

 

Life in the Big City

 

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.”