Thursday, February 23, 2017

Monday, February 20, 2017

Today's video/The Fighter - Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood

Did you see this on the Grammys? I LOVE this song, and I've ordered the record Ripcord. I bet you can't stay in your chair while you listen! (Sorry there's an ad)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Old sayings

One of the things that goes along with the shift from agricultural to urban in this country is that the old sayings most likely make no sense to someone who has never been in a farm or rural environment. Take this product, for instance.

A lot has changed since 1886.  I'm glad they decided to keep the slogan on the can for old time's sake. What it means is that when chicks first come out of the eggs, it is a little while before they 'scratch' - before they begin to use their claws to rake the bedding material. Chickens spend a lot of their time scratching up the soil for food, and probably that first scratching is an innate knowledge of what they need to do to survive.

So, for a product that promises not to scratch your sink, this is the perfect saying. There's a nice page about the company here.

I've read that more people in cities and bigger towns are raising chickens now, so maybe the saying will be better understood in the populace. I certainly didn't know what it meant until we began keeping chickens all those years ago. Incidentally, we have new chickens arriving in May. I've written about the experience here on the blog.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Today's pictures/Icicles

Not the world's best photographs but top to bottom are the icicles out the north window. In the last one, you can see that they are touching the ground. It took three pictures to get them in because they were so long!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The death of Stuart McLean

Tom and I are so sad that Stuart McLean has died. We have spent some of our best times listening to the Vinyl Cafe, entering into the lives of Dave and Morley and the kids. His voice was so perfect. He told stories that seemed as real as could be. He seemed like a friend who just happened to be on the radio. "Come and get me, copper" is a phrase that sets us laughing every time someone in the family says it.

There is an obituary here, and amazing social media tributes here. He will be sorely missed in this world.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Today's picture - The garden gnome a week later

We've had a little snow since last Wednesday when I put up the blog header photo of the gnome!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Quote du jour/Anna Quindlen

Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.
How Reading Changed My Life
Anna Quindlen

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Today's video/My snowboarding son!

My son Michael works at a ski/snowboard resort, and a co-worker took this video of him.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Today's picture/Cartoon from The Oldie

As I was reading my Oldie magazine this morning, I saw a cartoon that I wanted to post to the blog. I wrote to the cartoonist, Crowden Satz, and asked about using it. For a small charge, he optimized it for me so it would look good here. I think it is just the best cartoon.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Taken at the Flood by Agatha Christie

Taken at the Flood - book 27 in the Hercule Poirot series 
by Agatha Christie
mystery 1948
finished 1/16/17  

The book cover picture comes from my one of my Agatha Christie reference books, 

 which has this to say:

Agatha uses the speech in her epigraph:

There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

It has been ages since I've read an Agatha book, and the old familiar feeling came back as soon as I began; that feeling of ah, I can completely sit back and relax because my reading is in the hands of a master. She really can tell a tale better than almost anyone. As they say, even her worst writing is better than most people's good writing. Her intelligence, her good sense when it comes to characters, her settings all combine to make a great reading experience. 

Another of my reference books 

says that the bombing in the book comes from the bombing of her own house in London during the war. The houses right around hers were "completely flattened," while hers suffered only external damage. Most of the contents were fine. Just this kind of randomness happens in Taken at the Flood. The twenty-four year old Rosaleen married the sixty-two year old Gordon Cloade and two weeks later a blast 
blew the basement in and ripped off the roof. First floor practically wasn't touched. Six people in the house. Three servants: married couple and a housemaid, Gordon Cloade, his wife and the wife's brother. They were all down in the basement except the wife's brother...
The only survivors were the wife and her brother who come to the family estate in Warmsley Vale. Gordon did not make a new will in those two weeks of married life, so his family who were to be the beneficiaries now receive nothing because his old will is 'revoked by his marriage.' I was amazed at this law - that the wife automatically got the money. What hardships this placed on the family. 
The rich, childless man had taken all his relatives completely under his wing. ... Yes, they had all depended on Gordon Cloade. Not that any of the family had been spongers or idlers. Jeremy Cloade was senior partner in a firm of solicitors, Lionel Cloade was in practice as a doctor. But behind the workaday life was the comforting assurance of money in the background. There was never any need to stint or to save. The future was assured.
A stranger comes to town saying that perhaps the first husband is still alive, which would of course make Rosaleen's second marriage invalid, and the money would all go to the family. Or if she died, the same thing would occur.

I read this for the 

and I took special note of life in the third year after the end of the war. The young Wren who had done overseas service is thrilled to come home again ... for about three days. 
And already a curious dissatisfied restlessness was creeping over her. It was all the same - almost too much all the same - the house and Mums and Rowley and the farm and the family. The thing that was different was herself....
And her mother's life
Except for a rather unreliable woman who came four mornings a week, Mrs. Marchmont was alone in the house, struggling with cooking and cleaning. ...   The small but adequate fixed income which had kept them going comfortably before the war was now almost halved by taxation. Rates, expenses, wages had all gone up. 
A farmer says
"I'm only just keeping my head above water as it is. And what with not knowing what this damned Government is going to do next - hampered at every turn - snowed under with forms, up to midnight trying to fill them in sometimes - it's too much for one man."
There is mention of an 'ill will' and 'ill feeling' that is everywhere. 
On railways and buses and in shops and amongst workers and clerks and even agricultural laborers. 
The book offers such a strong sense of English life in 1948. The atmosphere is almost a character in the story. The characters' actions and reactions are in response to the social, monetary, and political situation of the post-war years. I really enjoyed the book and learned so much.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Quote du jour - Kalidasa

Listen to the Exhortation of the Dawn! 
Look to this Day! 
For it is Life, the very Life of Life.
 In its brief course lie all the 
Verities and Realities of your Existence. 
The Bliss of Growth, 
The Glory of Action, 
The Splendor of Beauty; 
For Yesterday is but a Dream, 
And To-morrow is only a Vision; 
But To-day well lived makes 
Every Yesterday a Dream of Happiness, 
And every Tomorrow a Vision of Hope. 
Look well therefore to this Day! 
Such is the Salutation of the Dawn!

Kalidasa, Indian sanskrit poet and dramatist - 5th century AD