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Category: Rural and small-town living

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

One small moment of Sunday sanity

Away from the constant drumbeat of scare stories about the new black plague … lies the real world. In case any of you remember last year’s laborious rock-wall project and wondered how the succulent plantings survived the winter: The pictures don’t do justice. While the yellow jumped out into the camera, there’s also quite a lot of dark red that doesn’t show well. I couldn’t get it to pop even with a color-balance and hue-saturation adjustment. Take my word for how colorful it really is. 🙂 The main thing is that the sedum not only survived the winter but is…

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Little rays of sunshine

Pardon the sappy subject line, but after last week’s angry rant it seems right to post some rays (even if they are just very little pinpoints) of good cheer. Life goes on despite every petty act of totalitarianism from every petty politician or bureaucrat — and both real rebellion and creative monkeywrenching appear and grow. —– On the personal front, shortly after I ranted last week, a longtime Commentariat member and friend-I’ve-never-met wrote to remind me, in the nicest way, to follow my own advice. That is: Not to let the bastards grind me (you, us) down. Stupid, evil bastards…

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A Tale of Two Towns

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. Publicly, the worst. Privately, sometimes the best. It was the time of Covid-19 and of goodness and nastiness. —– In a small dry-country town, a health club owner whose business was ordered closed for being “non-essential” during the pandemic panic checked with the sheriff: Could she conduct exercise classes outdoors, with small groups, everyone staying six feet apart? Yes. Midway through her first class, deputies of that very same sheriff arrive. A busybody has spotted the “deadly” and “illegal” activity and they’ve been dispatched to shut her down.…

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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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