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Category: Rural and small-town living

Life far from freeways, Starbucks, malls, and other benefits/distractions

The Great Neighborhood Garden Project

So I received a text from Neighbor J two days ago: Would you like to participate in a community garden? X says we can use his fenced area; it’s full of raised beds. Every year since the truly heavy DIY work on the former Ye Olde Wreck (now Mo Saoirce Hermitage) was finished, I’ve been promising that this will be the year I build raised beds and plant a veggie garden. Every year, the expense of the project plus the fact that I’m a really, truly, terribly awful black-thumbed gardener means I put on my guilt and put off the…

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Dispatches from a small town

Last week the local grocery store was out of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes. Of course. That’s old news. Covid-19 business as usual. The new normal as pundits keep telling us. This week they received new supplies, but when I dropped in Friday they were not only out of the infamous items, but either stripped of or light on dozens of others. Eggs were unavailable. Butter was gone except for a few pricey specialty types at $12 a pound. Yogurt was sparse and only a few gallons of milk remained. Items featured in the week’s sale flyer were…

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Hysteria Hits the Hinterlands (and a small Friday ramble)

I hit the library yesterday to do some ‘Net surfing and emailing, only to find it “canceled” like so much else. It was open and minimally staffed, but had the air of a haunted house. Patrons could check out and return books, but the banks of library computers were shut down (“until at least March 31,” said the signs), chairs were removed from all the carrels and upturned on the long reading tables, and the ever-present din of children was absent. I never thought I’d miss the shrieks of rugrats, but I did. The place was a freakin’ tomb. They…

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A Tuesday ramble, with links

I’m back from a Thanksgiving break. I hope everybody had a filling and fulfilling holiday. Mine was quiet and uncomplicated, exactly the way I like it. Just some random thoughts … —– The Trump impeachment hearings have finally done for me what years of willpower and determination couldn’t do: They’ve made me lose all interest in politics. For years I’ve known intellectually (and have written) that political “news” is mostly a con and a diversion. For years I swore off news and politics (which are increasingly synonymous) and pledged to ignore them. But I was sucked in anyhow. Now? I’m…

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Computers have arrived! (And other, smaller events of the day.)

We may be an awesome species, but there are moments that make one want to quit the human race. This morning I was YouTubing instructions on how to dance the waltz (don’t ask). At the end of a video that showed no more than the basic 1-2-3-1-2-3 box step, there came a warning: Do not try this without supervision, specialized equipment, and further training. Fortunately there was no caution about the waltz being known to cause cancer in the state of California. But really, people. Really??? —– Back on the good, even grand, side of human nature … The White…

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Tuesday ramble: Computers, apples, computers, tomatoes

Last Saturday I thought I might gather some links for you. I’d been using the library’s computers all week, but mostly visiting “friendly” sites. I hadn’t done any general surfing. And OMG, when I ventured into the nooz world, I had to flee after a few minutes. The library keeps its computers muted by default, but apparently they have no defenses anywhere. Pop-ups pop, and pop again, sometimes four or five times on a site. Banners wave and zoom and flip and flash, and change color and generally demand more attention than a petulant two-year-old. Videos play by themselves as…

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Amazon, boo. Apples and friends, yay.

Knowing Amazon, I didn’t intend to appeal the shut-down of my blog Associates account, but at the urging of a kind reader, I ended up giving it a shot. The message that belatedly came back to me from the Associates program began: Dear Sir or Madam, We received your appeal regarding the termination of your Associates account. A specialist has reviewed your account and the decision to terminate your account was found to be correct. As stated previously, under the terms of the Operating Agreement (https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/help/operating/agreement), we may terminate your account at any time, with or without cause [my emphasis].…

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Behinder and behinder …

I apologize to all the people to whom I owe either thank yous or emails in general. In the best of times, I can be a slow correspondent, but right now a lot of Life is happening. Nothing bad, I promise. On the contrary. But extracurricular writing is taking up hours upon hours (surprising and pleasant hours) of my time. In between writings, The Wandering Monk and I have been working like hell to turn a quarter acre of weeds and trash into something resembling a real lawn. The Monk has been great, especially considering he’s laboring for free and…

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We are about to venture Across the Street

I’m noodling one of those philosophical blogosauruses (blogosauri?). With luck that’ll be coming along soon. But Sunday, between rounds of making notes for that, Ava and I made an inspection tour of our property. (The land is hers as much as mine, as any four-legged critter that dares step foot on it quickly learns.) As we walked, Ava took advantage of the “facilities” and read her pee-mail while I drew plans in my head. Though The Wandering Monk and I aren’t yet done with the inside of the house, our attentions are starting to turn to the land and how…

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Small-town vignettes

I check my rock garden plantings and find them still alive after five days. If I squint hard I can even imagine the little sedums and Alyssiums are actually growing. Definitely none are gasping their last. It’s a miracle! Life in these fecund boonies might make a gardener of my black-thumbed self yet. Even my one dry, brown, bedraggled clearance-sale tomato plant has exploded into a giant green wonder, filled with new blooms and one actual fruit (after deer or some other critter tiptoed through in the night and stole all the original ones). I’ve lopped stray branches from skinny…

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